Only one man in League of Legends has been worthy of being called The Greatest League of Legends Player of All-Time, and that man is SKT T1 Faker. Popularly known as “The Unkillable Demon King”, this man has contributed to what League of Legends should look like and gave a face to the competitive scene. His name has been so popular in the league that when a player plays extremely well or does an insane outplay, the one phrase that comes to their mind is: “I’m playing like Faker!”
The Man Behind the Monitor
Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok is a South Korean League of Legends professional player, streamer, and part-owner to the SK Telecom T1 Organization. He played various other MOBA games before LoL, and instantly became adept at playing the game after discovering it. He dropped out of High School to play professional League of Legends with SK Telecom T1 K where he played for the next year before being promoted to SKT Telecom T1 2.
Today, T1 Faker is a popular figure not only in South Korea but also the world. Many mid lane pro-players look towards achieving the level of skill that Faker has over the game. As a teammate, his fellow teammates on T1 would describe him as jolly, playful, and even funny compared to the persona he shows on the stage where he is serious and unemotional which contributes to the his moniker, The Unkillable Demon King.
T1 Faker’s Early Career
Faker initially joined SK Telecom T1 2 as a mid laner but after showing extreme promise, the organization built a team around him – SK Telecom T1 K. This team would dominate the Korean scene and earn his most famous moment that defines his career. Faker would face up against KT Rolster Bullets’ Ryu in a Zed mirror match where he would outplay his opponent despite being significantly down in HP and defeat him in the duel.
Faker would then earn praise across the world for this play and make Korea one of the most feared regions to compete in the world championships in 2013. Faker and the rest of SKT T1 would compete in the tournament as the crowd favorites where they did not disappoint and completely dominated the entire tournament and eventually winning the coveted World Cup giving the organization and region their first ever championship.
The Championship Years
After SKT T1’s success in 2013, Faker was celebrated internationally for solidifying his claim as the Best Player in the World. This would not come as much of a gift as this gave reason to many of his teammates to break away from SKT in order to create a name for themselves and not only be a supporting role living in Faker’s shadow. In 2014, Faker played with a completely different team aside from his jungler Bengi and lose.
Not qualifying for Worlds 2014, SKT T1 was even more determine to build the team around Faker again in 2015. They would add future superstar toplaner – MaRin to the roster. This team was the most dominant SKT T1 had ever been and easily stomped every other Korean team in the LCK. MaRin and Faker were virtually battling for the spotlight as they both carried SKT to the championships and won the world championships for a second time.
Despite MaRin’s exceptional performance, it was inevitable that SKT T1 Faker would receive more praise as the face of SKT. This led MaRin to break away from SKT to create his own name outside that of SKT. For SKT, this was as an incredible loss, but not one that would change their destiny. SKT Duke replaced MaRin’s slot in the top lane where the team would continue to dominate in 2016 despite having MaRin out of the roster.
In the 2016 season, Faker proved that he contributed greatly to SKT’s success as they continued to win games in the LCK but they weren’t as dominant as they were before where the ROX Tigers were considered the regions best at the time. However, in traditional SKT fashion, SKT T1 Faker rose above the expectations of the people to steamroll the World Finals and defeat Samsung Galaxy in Worlds 2016 and get a back-to-back win.
The Right-Hand of God Departs
The only two people to have the same amount of Championship trophies as SKT T1 Faker are SKT’s coach Kkoma and SKT Bengi, also known as The Right Hand of God. Bengi has been with Faker ever since the formulation of SKT T1 K in 2013. He was one of the hand-picked players to build around the young talent, Faker. Unfortunately, Bengi left at the end of 2017 to play in the LPL alongside Easyhoon, who was a former midlaner for SKT.
In today’s time, many believed that SKT’s success was largely due to Bengi’s influence on the team as a whole. This is because after Bengi’s retirement, SKT has yet to win another World Championship trophy even with Faker at the helm. It also questions why Bengi never had as much popularity on the international scale as Faker despite being the only other pro-player to share his achievements and successes on the international scale.
Coach Kkoma Departs
One thing SKT T1 Faker’s teammates seem to have in common is that they all leave for the LPL after their careers with SKT. Coach Kkoma spent his last years coaching for SKT where he was even able to get married during this time. Shortly after that, Kkoma was scheduled to leave for Vici Gaming despite being there for SKT since 2013. Another of the original 2013 members gone, only T1 Faker now remains on the original roster.
Coach Kim who helped Invictus Gaming win their championship title in 2018 has now replaced Kkoma as coach. Whether T1 will find success with their new coach only depends on how much they can adapt to the meta. The once dominant carry in Faker will need to adjust his playstyle to having more team-reliant tactics and supportive roles that he might not have much experience playing with especially in the meta today.
T1 Faker’s Most Iconic Champions
The Unkillable Demon King has definitely built up quite the reputation for himself if he has certain champions associated with his name. This was showcased during some of the official Riot Games Worlds Themes or LCK Teasers where he was depicted as one of the champions he is known for playing. Discover which champions T1 Faker is known for and which moments make him famous for using these champions.
Who can forget Faker’s Zed? More specifically, who can forget Faker’s Zed outplay against KT Rolster Bullets’ Ryu in the 5th Game for the Worlds Qualification match. After getting taken down to less than 20% HP, Faker defeats a full HP Ryu by perfectly using his kit and inhuman reactions to outplay the midlaner from KT. Ryu’s face on the player cam says everything about how that moment felt – extremely embarassing!
Ryze is probably the champion most associated with Faker with the amounts of games he played on this champion. While he doesn’t have as many flashy plays on this champion as he does on his other picks, this is definitely his most consistent pick with an almost 70% winrate throughout his career. You can see Faker as Ryze on the Legends Never Die music video for the Worlds 2018 theme song against Ambition.
Azir is Faker’s most played champion and it’s no surprise with how flexible this champion can be played as. His most iconic moments on Azir is his 1v3 outplay against KT Rolster on Game 2 in the Summer Season. Despite facing off against an Elise, Jhin, and Alistar alone, he was able to hold them off long enough for his teammates to sweep them off. He’s also featured on this champion in the Summer 2020 Season Teaser at the LCK.
Syndra by herself is an absolute powerhouse in the mid lane. When you put her in Faker’s hands, she becomes absolutely unstoppable and is someone you wouldn’t want to be facing off. Faker has an 80% career winrate over this champion and is a favorite pick when you watch him streaming on Twitch.
Orianna is a popular pick in competitive League of Legends due to her ability to snatch the game with game winning shockwaves at the right moment. Such is Faker’s famous “Shochwave that was heard around the world” where he caught the entirety of KT Rolster’s lineup with one huge shockwave in LCK 2017 Spring Season Week 6. Another moment was against their match with EDG Where Faker singlehandedly won them the game after catching every member of EDG, winning despite being 0-9.
Faker Off The Stage: Hide on Bush
Faker isn’t just an internationally recognized pro-player, he also streams on Twitch with the IGN, Hide on bush. SKT T1 Faker began streaming on January 6, 2017 where his stream broke a record-high 245,100 viewers from a single stream. This is largely due to his popularity beforehand as a pro-player so when he finally decided to start steaming, everybody was incredibly hype to watch the legendary player’s point-of-view.
Unfortunately, Faker only speaks the Korean Language on his streams without any subtitles (because it’s live, duh). This limits the people he can reach through this platform to people who can understand the language or people who don’t mind not being able to understand him. Nonetheless, people enjoy watching The Unkillable Demon King in action on his streams where they can finally learn from him outside of official games.
It also turns out that T1 Faker has an incredible sense of humor on his streams, showing that he is just human after all. Whenever he misses minions or gets killed by an opponent due to a blunder, he drops his signature line “Is this a bug?”, where he jokingly blames the system for his mistakes. He speaks frequently on his streams but prefers to focus on the game more rather than interact with the viewers on his channel.
Faker also has a Youtube channel where he posts clips from his games or some vlogs which are all translated into English. This gives international and local fans a peak of Faker’s life or the language he uses on screen. His personality is definitely something you wouldn’t expect from this man who seems unreachable by ordinary players. His Youtube Channel is always filled with fun videos where you can learn or simply enjoy.
Faker Got Benched?!
In the final weeks of LCK Summer 2020 season, Faker was benched for a rookie named Clozer. This wasn’t the first time he got benched though since he often gets subbed out in the team whenever he isn’t feeling mentally up for the challenge. This doesn’t mean to say that Faker isn’t going to play anymore, it just means he needs time to reset. This certainly won’t be the last time that Faker will be benched in future games.
The Future of T1 Faker
The T1 Faker we have all come to love will remain the Greatest Player of All-Time until somebody else earns more than 3 World Championship Trophies for their team. Looking into the future, Faker will remain as a relevant part of the T1 organization both as a player and part-owner. Unfortunately, South Korean men must undergo mandatory military service which is due for Faker in the year 2023 where he’ll most certainly leave T1.
Of course, this isn’t something to be sad about as it just means he still has 3 more years to add more trophies to his shelf. The Unkillable Demon King has created history in League of Legends and will definitely be a name echoed through the generations. People will covet his IGN, use it as their own and mention it whenever they make an insane play. But for now, he’ll continue being the best the world has ever known even when he retires.
What is Faker’s Birthday?
SK Telecom T1’s Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok was born on May 7, 1996 which makes him 24 years-old as of the year 2020.
How many times has Faker won the World Championships?
Faker has won the World Championships 3 times, a feat he shares with former SKT Jungler, Bengi and former SKT coach, Kkoma.
Why is Faker called The Unkillable Demon King?
He earned this nickname after showing his skills in outplaying opponents and escaping near-death scenarios while managing to defeat his opponents in the process.