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With the 2022 League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational on the horizon, the League of Legends Champions Korea’s T1 are one of 11 regional representatives from around the world that are getting ready for the biggest international event of the spring. While MSI 2022 isn’t the final stop for the season, the tournament is key for seeing where each region stands in the global hierarchy.
T1 are heading into MSI as the overwhelming favorites to win the tournament in their home country after pulling off the first-ever perfect season in the LCK. Expectations could not be higher for this team.
T1 (LCK) MSI 2022 starting roster breakdown:
- Top: Choi “Zeus” Woo-je | Signed in 2019. Promoted to main roster in December 2021.
- Jungle: Moon “Oner” Hyeon-joon | Promoted from T1 Academy in December 2020.
- Mid: Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok | Signed to SKT in February 2013.
- Bot: Lee “Gumayusi” Min-hyeong | Signed to SKT in December 2018 as a trainee.
- Support: Ryu “Keria” Min-seok | Signed November 2020. Formerly a member of DRX.
How they got here
The T1 of 2021 consisted of a squad featuring four unproven young players who surrounded the best player to ever log into the game. In a new role, Faker became the facilitator for the team and let the young players thrive with their raw potential. During the course of their 2021 campaign, it was clear this team had a bright future, and with a top-four appearance at Worlds 2021, T1 came into 2022 looking scary. Those unproven players now had international experience.
T1 made one change to their roster in 2022. They promoted Zeus to their main roster and let their old top laner, Kim “Canna” Chang-dong, look elsewhere. Not only did the move turn out to be an upgrade, it made T1 unstoppable.
T1’s 2022 LCK campaign was nothing short of special. For the first time in the history of the LCK, a team finished the regular season undefeated — though it wasn’t without controversy. Their two matches against the second-seeded Gen.G had asterisks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced Gen.G to used substitute players in both of their best of threes against T1. Regardless, T1 took care of business as they can only control how they play against the team in front of them.
After smashing Kwongdong Freecs in 3-0 fashion, the matchup every LCK fan was waiting for was finally going to happen: Gen.G at full strength versus T1 for the 2022 LCK spring title. For T1 a series win here would dispel any “what ifs” during the regular season. And those what-ifs quickly disappeared.
Despite the series being somewhat competitive, T1 wrapped up the title in only four games and completed the first perfect season in LCK history. To add to their feat, many players on the starting roster played through COVID-19 themselves, although they didn’t know it at the time.
T1 locked up four of the five first-team All-LCK spots, with Oner as the odd man out who ended up on the second team. Keria picked up the 2022 LCK spring MVP award — the first-ever by a support player.
Players to watch
Obviously, Faker demands attention and is the star of any tournament he plays in. But besides him, spectators should keep eyes on Zeus. Thanks to the performances of Oner, Keria and Gumayusi last year, spectators already have an idea of what to expect when it comes to those players.
Meanwhile, this will be Zeus’ first time playing on the international stage. Zeus managed to make it onto the All-LCK first-team as a rookie, and rightfully so. According to Oracleselixer.com, Zeus was tied for the highest KDA among top laners in the LCK. He also led all top laners in Damage Per Minute.
That doesn’t mean Zeus is without flaws. Despite the team not dropping a series, Zeus landed in the middle of the pack in laning stats like Gold Difference at 10 minutes and CS per minute. His laning phase leaves a lot to be desired. Due to that and his rookie status, it’s important for Zeus to perform internationally. With many quality top laners at MSI 2022, Zeus will have is work cut out for him against some of the world’s best.
How T1 can succeed at MSI 2022
Anything outside of a tournament win is a failure for this squad. After pulling off the first undefeated record in the history of the LCK, this T1 team is being heralded as one of the greatest of all time.
A loss at this tournament would make the LCK look weak in comparison to the other regions. Even a second-place finish would not look good for the unbeatable T1 squad.
With that said, they have the tools and talent to walk through the competition and they are the favorites for a reason. That doesn’t mean they should take MSI lightly, as Royal Never Give Up are the reigning champions. If T1 have an off series against them, it could mean their floor is a second-place finish.
ASU alum with a B.A in Sports Journalism, Warren is one of the premier TFT Journalists in the scene and is a decent TFT player as well who has peaked Challenger and has had multiple accounts in Master+ over all sets. Warren also specializes in other esports content including League of Legends, Valorant, Smash Bros, and more.