After a five-year wait, T1 and Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok are finally back at another League of Legends Worlds finals; and only one best-of-five series away from winning it all again. The team took down the last hope of the LPL, JDG with a 3-1 scoreline and now await the final series of the tournament in San Francisco.
Faker last made it to the Worlds finals in 2017 where he suffered his first defeat to Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk. Since then, the closest he has come is a semi-final exit in both 2019 and 2021. Now the veteran player gets a chance to lift his fourth Worlds trophy at the Chase Center while leading the younger T1 talents.
“I’m returning to the Worlds finals after such a long time,” Faker said in the press conference after defeating JDG. “So it’s kind of the biggest motivation I’ve been getting right now and yeah I really really want to win the finals.”
— LoL Esports (@lolesports) October 30, 2022
A tale of hard work and experience for T1 at Worlds 2022
Heading into Worlds 2022, T1 were not seen as outright tournament favorites. Teams like EDG, Top Esports, and Gen.G were ahead in several rankings and had performed better in the summer split. Many people did not know what to expect from T1 given the meta shift; their bot lane struggles in the summer. Moreover, Gen.G’s dominance throughout the LCK summer split had stolen everyone’s attention.
T1’s 22-minute demolition of EDG in their first game of the group stage turned heads; it also made them the team to beat in Group A. However, doubt began to creep in after a loss to Fnatic. T1 did not let that bother them as they bounced back with four straight wins. The team breezed through the quarterfinals with a 3-0 clean sweep against LPL’s RNG and were tipped to come out on top against JDG in the semi-finals.
When asked about his debut as head coach and how the team has transformed to the point they are at Worlds 2022 semifinals, T1’s Bae “Bengi” Seong-woong praised his team’s hard work and commitment.
“The fact that we were able to make it to the Worlds finals is mostly because the players were working so hard for this,” Bengi said. “And they were able to step up so much in their performance and form. They all shared the same goal, which is Worlds. Speaking of accomplishment as coach for T1, I want to say is more about our players working really hard. Some of the players, this is going to be their first Worlds finals, some, their second appearance, and some will already have lots of experience.”
A win against the winners of the Gen.G versus DRX matchup will grant Faker his fourth Worlds title and further cement T1’s legacy in League history. With the team set for an all-Korean Worlds 2022 final, Faker believes that their hard work will be the key to lifting the trophy on American soil once again.
“In the past two Worlds that I won in North America, we worked so hard for it; and we were able to accomplish that,” Faker said. “As long as we are putting [in] that much of an effort, it will be able to happen.”
Jimoh Rashidat is a freelance esports writer with over two years of experience. She covers FIFA, League of Legends and general gaming content.