Many League of Legends fans were shocked when SK Telecom T1 were denied the chance to compete in the World Championship Grand Finals after a loss to G2 Esports. But perhaps the most shocked by this historic moment was SK’s own Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok.
In a post-match press conference, Faker said appeared to blame himself for SK not reaching the Grand Finals for the first time in League of Legends’ entire history.
“There were moments I could have played better, but the fact that I couldn’t capitalize on those moments is what I regret the most,” Faker said.
He noted that he could have led SKT “in a better way.”
The semifinals series resulted in G2 winning 3-1 over the Korean superstars, which was watched by almost 4 million esports fans. This has made it the match with the most concurrent viewers across multiple platforms in esports history.
Considered Europe’s best team, G2 was able to take the final game with an impressive quadra-kill on Yasuo, TP’ing into SK’s base.
“I think SKT looked really strong. So we were really nervous. Obviously, we’ve played against them before. And obviously, playing against Faker always a bit nervous for me. We just wanted to try our best and we managed to win it in the end so…” G2’s Rasmus “Caps” Winther told Inven Global.
G2 was right to fear Faker. The Unkillable Demon King had been having a comeback at the World Championship. After a short slump, even being benched during a match against Griffin during the LCK Summer Split, Faker was showing why he’s considered the best player in the world at the championship tournament.
It seemed that pressure of being the best player of all time had caught up to Faker once his team failed to defeat G2.
“Change is important. This year our results are not satisfying, so we want to just get better, or step up based on what we have experienced, and what we failed at this year,” he said at the press conference.
While Faker hinted at wanting a change, whether that be playstyle, roster, or practice schedule is unclear, SKT’s coach Kim “kkOma” Jeong-gyun still had confidence in the team’s current state. Instead, he blamed himself.
““I know that our players are individually much better than G2, so it feels really bad to lose,” kkOma said at the conference. “I feel like the biggest reason why we lost is me, so I want to tell them that they’ve done great work, and that I’m really sorry.”
Despite missing out on the Grand Finals for the first time in history, SKT is still a strong team with a superstar roster. It’s unclear what the future will hold for the team now that their Worlds journey is over.