T1 recently replaced Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok with the talented rookie Lee “Clozer” Ju-hyeon in the Korean team’s starting roster, and it’s not something that the esports organization’s fans are very happy about.
T1 is known for developing new and talented players that later achieve great success on other teams, but it’s rare to see the greatest LoL player of all time getting subbed out in the middle of a split. The last time Faker was sharing playtime was back in 2015, when he shared the mid lane at SK Telecom T1 with Lee “Easyhoon” Ji-hoon.
The more recent swap has made a lot of fans angry, with some claiming that the T1 staff has double standards or poor judgment.
The main frustration is that Faker was the player to be subbed out, while T1 also has a particularly promising bot laner in Lee “Gumayushi” Min-hyeong. Gumayushi was reportedly not allowed to play because the T1 coaching staff thought that starting bot laner Teddy was the team’s strongest asset. This was not taken lightly by T1 fans when the team instead chose to make a swap in the mid lane.
Fans are also worried that Faker is being undervalued by his coaching staff and only used for marketing reasons as the squad’s figurehead. Faker has been the most popular League of Legeds player for several years, and his brand value is very high, attracting huge sponsors including Nike.
To further rub salt in the wound, T1 made a retweet to joke about the absence of Faker. Apparently, the star mid laner has not been participated in scrims and might not even go with the team to the LCK studio. The tweet was made in jest, saying that “faker’s just kinda okay.”
While fans are angry at T1’s decision to swap mid laners, Clozer has been doing great on Summoner’s Rift while playing in Faker’s place. T1 is currently undefeated while playing with the young mid lane prodigy, beating KT Rolster, SANDBOX Gaming, and SeolHaeOne Prince without dropping even a single game.
The 2020 LCK Summer Split Playoffs are right around the corner, but it is still unknown if T1 will keep Clozer in the mid lane for the playoffs or if they’ll bring back Faker when everything is on the line.