Even the most hardcore League of Legends esports fans find keeping track of every region, including the minor regions, a tall task. As a result, the majority of fans will be unacquainted with many of the teams and players attending the most prestigious LoL Esports event of the year. So Worlds Spotlight was created to help educate and inform the fans of the stories and narratives surrounding these players and teams. Welcome to our T1 Worlds 2021 Spotlight.
Top: Kim “Canna” Chang-dong
Jungle: Moon “Oner” Hyeon-joon
Mid: Kim “Faker” Sang-hyeok
Bot: Park “Teddy” Jin-seong, Lee “Gumayusi” Min-hyeong
Support: Ryu “Keria” Min-seok
Head Coach: Son “Stardust” Seok-hee
Regular Season Placing: 4th
Playoffs Placing: 2nd
T1 took a tumultuous path returning to the World Championship. In a disappointing spring split filled with constant roster shuffles, T1 placed 3-4th after being routed by Gen.G in the semifinals of playoffs. These roster shenanigans continued into summer, with even the coaching staff being kicked towards the end of the season. However, through all this chaos, T1 seemed to be finding its footing again slowly. After going 1-1 for the first five weeks, T1 finished out the split with a strong 6-2 record. This included an impressive match win over DWG KIA, where Keria displayed one of the best Thresh performances of all time. As a result, coming into playoffs, T1 was a dark horse. They had the potential to win it all, but they could also flop out in the first round of playoffs.
T1’s first opponent was Liiv Sandbox, and this match was not an average playoffs match for T1. It was more of a grudge match. Before the series, four Liiv Sandbox players were caught on camera mocking Faker’s tears after his loss to Samsung Galaxy in the finals of the 2017 World Championship. This seemed to have lit a fire in T1, and then they smashed LSB 3-0 and followed that up with a 3-1 victory over GEN, avenging their previous loss in the spring playoffs. Now, only DK stood between T1 and another domestic title. Despite putting up a good fight, DK defeated T1 3-1, forcing T1 to play in the regional gauntlet to determine their seeding at Worlds. In the regional gauntlet finals, T1, narrowly avoided the reverse sweep by HLE and secured the third seed for LCK.
Player to Watch:
Classical : Faker
Faker is back at worlds, and for the first time, he and his team are not the favorites to win. With superstar rookie jungler Oner and one of the best bot lanes in the world, this team certainly has the ceiling capable of winning worlds, even over the likes of DK and FPX, and a key factor will be Faker’s leadership and experience. Aside from Teddy and Keria, the rest of Faker’s young teammates have no international experience and will need a steady hand to lead them.
Yet again, we saw this leadership in Faker throughout the summer split on picks like Ryze and Azir by facilitating teamfight engages and map plays. However, from time to time, we saw Faker force some questionable plays, at least by Faker standards, possibly due to the heavy burden of leadership placed on him. However, if T1 wins a 4th world championship, it will boil down to Faker’s performance. Not based on whether Faker will show up or not, but if Faker will show up or show up swinging.
One of the many hyped solo queue prospects snatched up by T1, people had high expectations for him, and Oner certainly delivered. He debuted as a starter this year in the middle of the summer split on T1. In that short time, he reached the finals of summer and qualified for worlds. In playoffs, Oner performed well, leading all junglers in kills, [email protected], and [email protected] However, despite being on a finals team, his first blood percentage and kill participation were among the bottom half of LCK junglers in playoffs. While this may have been enough to reach the LCK finals, Oner must step up if T1 is to make a run for the title. However, with the way the jungle meta is shaping up at Worlds with playmaking champions like Lee Sin, Xin Zhao, and Qiyana, Oner’s work will be cut out for him.