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Daeny / LCK

T1 terminates contracts coaches Daeny and Zefa, so what's next?

Korean powerhouse T1 has made drastic changes to its coaching staff ahead of the week 6 of the 2021 LCK Summer Split. 

Effective immediately, T1 has terminated the contracts of head coach Yang “Daeny” Dae-in and coach Lee “Zefa” Jae-min. This was announced only a few hours before T1 will enter the sixth week of the LCK by facing off against KT Rolster. The two coaches will leave the roster after a very shaky season, which leaves T1 without any official head coach for the time being. 

T1 10-man roster project didn’t work out

So far this season, T1 has been very different compared to previous years. A big part of the reason for this is the coaching staff, as former DAMWON Gaming coaches of Daeny and Zefa have tried to take the team in a completely new direction. 

The new coaches created a 10-man roster going into the 2021 season with the goal of having more variety in the potential starting roster depending on the opponent. While this model seemed exciting on paper, it never got to work in practice. During the spring split, T1 constantly saw changes to the starting roster which ultimately resulted in shaky performances. T1 ended the split in fourth place, which is by no means close to the original goal of reclaiming the LCK throne. 

For the summer split, T1 has moved away from the 10-man roster idea and instead played with the same core of five players that played in the most recent playoffs. While this has likely given some more stability in scrims and on stage, T1 continues to struggle. While the players themselves haven’t been playing at the highest individual level, the biggest problem for T1 has been coordination and team fighting. It seems that a lot of that falls back onto the coaching staff, which is now being heavily swapped out. 

T1 is currently sitting at a 5-5 record in fifth place, which isn’t good enough to go for the trophy and a spot at the 2021 World Championship. 

Could LS step in as the new T1 coach? 

With coach Daeny and Zefa departing, the question remains who will step in and fill their shoes. It’s still completely unknown what T1’s plan is moving forward, but the community has already started to speculate. 

One of the most common speculations falls on T1 streamer and content creator Nick “LS” Cesare, who has previously been in talks with T1 for a coaching spot. In the offseason before this year, LS considered being a coach at T1 but ultimately chose to keep doing his work as a content creator under the T1 banner. It’s possible that this remains the priority for LS, but there will likely still be new speculation until the replacement coaches are announced by T1. 

Another theory is that T1 mid laner Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok will take over and act as a playing coach. This would mean that Faker would start to take even more responsibility for the team and how it performs. Faker has previously been very skeptical about the way Daeny and Zefa wanted to build the team, so now might be a chance for the legend to show what he has from a coaching standpoint. 

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