Following their defeat in the 2022 League of Legends World Championship Finals, many fans were concerned about the future of T1 moving forward. The renowned League of Legends franchise were the heavy favorites to take home what would have been their fourth-ever international title; however, the LCK titans fell short to the greatest underdog adversary in League of Legends eSports history in DRX.
In the wake of their defeat, T1 would have to face the upcoming free agency period on November 21st. Fortunately for the organization, only one of their players’ contracts expired this year; unfortunately, it happened to be their longest-tenured player, and the widely touted G.O.A.T of the League of Legends eSports scene, Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok.
Sang-hyeok has been with T1 since Spring 2013, making him the longest-tenured active player in the scene with nearly 10 years of professional experience. Unlike most other pros from his era, Sang-hyeok has only ever played for one organization: T1. Most of his career, however, was spent under their previous name, SK Telecom T1, which they rebranded from in 2020.
Since joining T1 in 2013, Faker has built the most decorated resume in League of Legends history. His achievements are so far ahead of his opponents that when the GOAT discussion is brought to light, it is often difficult to find anyone of similar pedigree.
Looking at some of his achievements, it is clear why the “Unkillable Demon King” remains at the forefront of the discussion. Faker leads the scene with the most domestic titles at 10; meaning, of the 23 splits he has competed in he has won 43% of them. He has the most international titles at five: three World titles and two MSI titles. He is currently the only active player to have won three world titles, and is one of only four players (his teammates) to have ever claimed back-to-back world titles (2015 and 2016). Of those four players to defend the title, only Sang-hyeok and teammate Bengi have ever won three total titles.
Three More Years!
As the most prolific League of Legends players in the world, it is no surprise that Sang-hyeok received multiple offers from teams outside of the LCK. While he has played in the LCK his entire career, rumors indicate that he was interested in offers from the LCS. Although the exact details are unknown, the rumors are that both FlyQuest and Team Liquid reached out to the G.O.A.T.
Despite the undoubtedly high offers from the American teams, Sang-hyeok has agreed to remain with T1 for another three years. While he has teased the public with offers from other teams in the past, it is no surprise that the T1 superstar will remain with the franchise he helped build. Despite entering free agency multiple times, Sang-hyeok has never left T1.
What is surprising, however, is the fact that he is set to play for another three years. While eSports careers are usually short, Sang-hyeok is already pushing the boundaries of what most viewers consider to be “old.” Although the 26 year old is young in the grand scheme of things, the average League of Legends pro is much younger. Sang-hyeok’s longevity, however, is what has defined his incredible career. If he continues to be as consistent as he has over the past decade, three more years will be no problem for the G.O.A.T.