Faker says he will “be the best player again,” but is he right?

Steven Rondina • March 24, 11:14

It’s been a very rough 18 months for T1 and its top star player Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, but that hasn’t caused him to alter his goals.

The legendary mid laner was the subject of a mini-documentary created as part of YouTube’s Creator Spotlight series. The 12-minute video takes a look at Faker’s career in professional League of Legends with a focus on the years following his third World Championship victory. Though it bounces between his life on the server and his real life, it does include his thoughts on his career at the moment, which has been mired by a combination of inactivity and poor results.

“I always think I’m the best when I play games, I don’t think I have many flaws when compared to other players. Of course nobody knows what the next season would look like, but I think I can be the best player again,” Faker said.

It’s an interesting look at Faker as both a persona and as a player, and one that teases that he has a good bit of professional play left ahead of him. The question now is whether Faker sticking around actually fits into T1’s plans for the team, and whether he’ll be able to reach his lofty individual goals with T1.

T1’s 10-man roster frustrates fans and Faker

Though Faker is the most credentialed LoL pro in the game and one of the scene’s most beloved figures, the last 12 months have been highly controversial for him and his team. Faker was repeatedly benched during the 2020 LCK Summer Split, leading to speculation that the organization was looking to move past Faker in the near future in favor of a younger talent. T1 ended up missing the 2020 World Championship, a major disappointment for the prestigious organization.

In 2021, T1 has taken a relatively unique approach to the game by rolling with a 10-man roster. This hasn’t really paid off especially well as T1 is currently sitting near the middle of the LCK pack, and it has also drawn criticism from Faker himself.

There was some controversy regarding Faker choosing to bench himself as part of the organization’s skid, which renewed speculation that Faker was on his way out the door with T1. According to T1 coach Yang “Daeny” Dae-in, that isn’t the case, and he discussed why Faker made the call in an interview with Korizon Esports.

“And after our DRX match, Faker had a one-on-one with me…He said ‘give me some time.’ It’s an agreement, between me and the player, right? So I told him, ‘keep grinding solo queue, I’ll keep you informed with the scrim data, so come back when you have your performance on track,’” Daeny said.

The LCK is heading into the final week of the 2021 LCK Spring Split, with T1 having already locked a playoff spot. Its last match comes against Hanwha Life on March 28.

Is Faker retiring?

Faker doesn’t seem to be planning a retirement anytime soon. He remains the mid lane starter for T1 and even if the team was ready to drop him, there’s no shortage of landing spots available in both China and North America for him. The big question is when he will be forced into serving in the South Korean military, but that is at least a few years away if he wishes to continue to postpone his mandatory military service.

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