Faker / Riot Games

Is T1 prepping to drop Faker with LCK roster shuffle?

As the 2021 LCK Spring Split continues to roll on this season, T1 is looking like a shadow of its former self. The organization sits solidly in the middle of the LCK standings and may not be trying to push for a high placement in the spring.

The team has been cycling in new players left and right, and it may be going through a transitional phase with its old veterans. At the moment, the team has debuted two new rookie players and has cycled in five different substitutes in four different positions over the course of the LCK Spring Split. That number could be set to increase even further in the coming weeks.

T1 started the season with most of its previous starting lineup intact. Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok and Park "Teddy" Jin-seong started as the veterans in a relatively young lineup that had high hopes of making it to Worlds 2021. Now, the team has moved away from starting both players for most of its games, opting to try out young talents like Lee "Gumayusi" Min-hyeong and Lee "Clozer" Ju-hyeon who debuted in 2020 but are only now seeing consistent play. The team has also swapped out its top lane and jungle as well, with Moon "Oner" Hyeon-joon and Choi "Zeus" Woo-je making their debuts over more-tenured T1 players.

The jungle position has seen the most substitutions as Choi "Ellim" El-lim and Moon "Cuzz" Woo-chan were swapping in and out of the lineup before Oner jumped into the pool as well. The only constant in the squad so far has been Ryu "Keria" Min-seok who joined in the 2020 offseason and has no substitute behind him competing for his spot as support.

Why isn't T1 starting Faker and Teddy?

Much to its fans' dismay, T1 may be making this split all about bringing up the next generation of T1 talent. For many years T1 was built around legendary mid laner Faker bringing the team to international events. Now, the organization may be planning for its post-Faker existence and giving its younger stars reps under the spotlight.

This idea is even more plausible when considering the coaching staff around the team. T1’s current head coaching duo is Yang "Daeny" Dae-in and Lee "Zefa" Jae-min who were both a big part in DAMWON Gaming’s run to the World Championship title in 2020.

Both coaches are known for bringing up and nurturing young talent, with Jang "Nuguri" Ha-gwon and Heo "ShowMaker" Su growing under their watch. Odds are they were brought in this season to do just that for T1. As the season moves along, expect T1 to try out new combinations of its 10-man roster.