Lee “Faker” Sang Hyeok considered to be the best League of Legends player of all time discovered the game in 2011 marking the turning point in his career. Faker was picked by SK Telecom T1 K (SKT) in 2013 as their starting mid-laner. Praised as the Demon King of League of Legends he led the team to win their first LoL World Championship. Since then his career peaked in this industry to become our personal favorite. Numerous MVPs and tournament titles, this name is always roared out aloud for his impressive individual performances.
SKT are the only true dynasty in League of Legends history. Likewise, a good game of LoL cannot be explained without highlighting Faker and his team SKT’s greatest moments such as Faker’s solo kills on Kang “Ambition” Chang-yong and Yoo “Ryu” Sang-wook. Not to miss out, 2016 championship against ROX Tigers team leaving no stone unturned to create one of the greatest series ever played. But the one place where they’ve been unable to win a major international title is in front of their home fans.
Team SKT’s reign in esports began because of one person – Faker. Playing at a “godlike” level the team grew too reliant on the player’s skills and gameplay. Be it the junglers, top laners or bot laners Faker had to save them all. Gradually SKT’s foes recognized their weak points to take advantage of them. The mid-laner tried hard to force their team to succeed in every tournament taking great risks which eventually pulled them down. This forces us to think, does SKT really deserve Faker?
The unassailable player – Faker
The Unkillable Demon King, Faker is known for his reserved character which is totally in contrast to his gameplay. Aggressive and dexterous, he plays ahead of his moment and foresees any potential damage in order to plan reactions in advance. He uses premium version equipment to avoid a nano-second distraction from the game, which he believes could even change the gameplay along with quick decision-making skills and reflex actions at the right time. His weapon of choice is the Razer DeathAdder Elite which is the world’s most accurate and responsive mouse. Corsair Sabre mouse, Corsair MM400 mousepad, Corsair K70-Lux keyboard, and Corsair Void Pro headset are the most effective weapons in his arsenal.
Faker’s mechanical in-game skills and game knowledge are second to none. He understands his opponent’s orb-walking to work out strategies in order to get more CS, which most of the players miss out on. His wave management and last hit skills, laning mechanics and ability to conceal his Champion from ganking are remarkable. All this is possible only because of the uncountable hours of gaming invested by Faker in League since 2011. He never misses out on an opportunity to understand and size up his opponent’s Champion. An expert in animation canceling, he utilizes those fractions of seconds upon his opponent’s Champion to gain gold and experience. This way he deals with potential damage and uses this power against the other Champion. Champions like Riven, Ryze, Zed and Ekko are such examples.
Complimentary words like best and undefeatable are nowhere close to describing how good a player he is. Literally mastering all aspects of gaming, Faker still strives to constantly improve his play. Whenever he feels defeated, he returns back to the practicing room to work with his team until his hands feel numb. Dedicated so much to the game that even the slightest mistake would haunt him until it is corrected. Pressure upon him is too high as the team relies on his performance to fight their battles. This in result has affected their overall performance as individual performance is insufficient for success. The formula of adding a veteran or an established player to a team is not enough to bring glory. Instead, working out strategies as a team is the way to go. Faker’s love and trust for his team are so great, even a huge pile of money wouldn’t change his mind to leave, because this is the only team he’s ever been with. When ex-players like Lee “Scout” Ye-chan and Kim “Lava” Tae-hoon left SKT for higher salaries Faker decided to stay.
When Faker broke down
The strongest player in esports who has tasted victory over and over again, broke down when he lost 2017 World Championship to Samsung Galaxy (SG). Left disheartened with an emotional loss Faker burst into tears. An unforgettable yet saddening moment in his happening career, the player struggled a lot in the Worlds. Faker had to drag his team pushing them till the end, rescuing his teammates from their foes. But luck did not favor the team as all his hard work went down the tube. Leaving the stage, he stared back, hoping for a second chance to do it over again because he was sure his team will win even with their drawbacks.
Missing the Worlds
The first time SKT missed the Worlds was in 2014 when Seoul hosted the World Championship. And history has repeated itself in 2018 as SKT have once again failed to go beyond the qualifying rounds. While this may seem like a blemish on their otherwise near-perfect track record, the team would see it as an opportunity to learn from their mistakes and make a solid bounce back in the upcoming tournaments.
Faker’s performance has left all his fans in disbelief. Instead of a world-class player, we saw a mid-laner frequently making the simplest of mistakes we don’t intend to see from Faker. “I ended up not being able to compete in the MSI this year. So unlike last year, I’ve been preparing for the next split ahead of time. I also spent a lot of time thinking, alone, trying to figure out the best way to net success. It doesn’t feel awkward that I’m in such a position at the moment — but it doesn’t feel great that another team is at the top. I guess you can say that it has affected my pride as a player.” We hope Faker takes criticisms as a source of motivation and not the other way round. The team has to get an overhaul and focus on their team abilities rather than relying solely on Faker to maintain their “best team” status.
SKT, your fans await your success. And Faker, the unkillable Demon King, we await your reign in esports!