T1 took everyone by surprise on day one of the 2021 LCK when the team decided to bench jungler Moon “Cuzz” Woo-chan, ADC Park “Teddy” Jin-seong, and mid laner Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok. Instead, the team went with rookies Choi “Ellim” El-lim, Lee “Clozer” Ju-hyeon, and Lee “Gumayusi” Min-hyeong.
Ellin, Clozer, Gumayusi, and top laner Kim “Canna” Chang-dong started as T1 trainees and all fought their way to the starting roster. The average age for this iteration of T1 is just 18 years old.
The strategy paid off and T1 started its spring run with a victory over Hanwha Life Esports. The organization didn’t explain the reasoning behind the decision or gave any indication of whether or not Cuzz, Fake, and Teddy will be back.
In the match against Hanwha, the rookies shined, especially Clozer who had to face star player Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon in the mid lane. At times, T1 players were in control of the situation, making the right plays and moves on the map.
It’s unclear if T1 plans to roll with this roster for the remaining of the split or if it will be rotating players. T1’s next opponent is current world champion DWG Kia, so the rookies will get a chance to show what they’re made of.
It’s not the first time that Faker has been benched by T1 and it probably won’t be the last as long as Clozer continues to perform. Despite being a part-owner of T1, Faker’s spot in the starting roster is not guaranteed. However, it doesn’t mean Faker will be retiring any time soon. Faker said several times that he will continue to play for as long as he can. Once he decides to retire, Faker will continue to work with T1.
T1 might still go for a different roster on its match against DWG Kia. The current world champions are a stronger team than Hanwha life and are already the favorites to take the title this season.
English speaking fans can watch the LCK 2021 through LCK’s official Twitch channel.
In early 2020, T1 granted Faker partial ownership of the organization. Alongside Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg from Team SoloMid, they are the only players to be granted ownership of a team while actively involved in playing for those teams.
T1 Academy is the secondary T1 team. The T1 Academy roster competes in the LCK Challengers League. The 2020 LCK CL Spring Split starts on January 18.