Lee “Faker” Sang-Hyeok is, without a doubt, the biggest star of the "League of Legends" world (developed by Tencent TCEHY's Riot Games) and he is considered to be the best in history. In Korea, he is called the Immortal Demon King; he was a three-time world champion, a two-time runner-up, and a multiple-time winner of the LCK (Korean LoL League).
After the 2022 edition of Worlds, where he led T1 to a final in which they lost to DRX 3-2, it was reported that the player's contract was about to expire and that he was analyzing proposals from other regions, not just Korea. So now, all eyes are on him and on what he will decide for 2023.
Who Is Lee “Faker” Sang-Hyeok?
Faker is 26 years old; he has a total of seven World Championship semifinals and won the championship in the 2013, 2015 and 2016 editions. Additionally, he got second place in 2017 and 2022, he has two Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) titles and four LCK trophies.
He is famous for his great skill and ability with the characters LeBlanc, Ryze, Zed or Syndra, and for his aggressive and coordinated play style along with his teammates.
His records include being the first LCK player to reach 2,000 kills and the first to achieve 100 international victories in official tournaments.
Rumors For 2023
In the wake of the 2022 World Cup, Blix journalist, Alejandro Gomis, assured that the Demon King is analyzing offers from different regions. The League Championship Series (LCS, North American LoL championship) is one of the possible destinations, with eventual concrete offers.
One of the interested parties would be Team Liquid, a team that usually obtains the highest positions in the tournament. However, last season they got fourth place, so they could not qualify for Worlds. The arrival of the Demon King could be a leap in quality not only to win the local tournament but also to make an international breakthrough.
Another team that is rumored to be interested is FlyQuest. While it usually doesn't get the best results, as it quite often finishes between the fifth and eighth place in the tournament, this addition could be just what it needs to get out of those positions.
And the last name is TSM, a sleeping giant. The team has been the champion of North America multiple times but, since its participation in Worlds 2020, where it was been eliminated in the group stage with no wins and six defeats, it has never returned to the international arena. Faker could bring it back to the top, although the chances of such a transfer are low.
There is also the language barrier issue, since Faker has always worked with Korean teams. Colleagues who decided to emigrate usually have interpreters in their squads. However, as Faker is not used to this, it could affect his communication, a key factor in his game.
Among the possibilities, there is also one option that was mentioned several times: the "League of Legends" Pro League (LPL, Chinese championship), which is one of the most powerful leagues in the world.
Another important fact to keep in mind is that when he renewed his contract with T1 in 2020 for three seasons, Faker kept a portion of the company as payment. Should he decide to go to another team, he would have to sell his fraction to avoid conflicts of interest.
If he were to continue in T1, by 2023 he would reach 10 years playing for the same organization, something no other player in the history of "League of Legends" has ever achieved.
The future of the Korean superstar is uncertain. All eyes are on him, as his possible departure could drive many more market movements, between those who want to replace him in T1 and those who want to join him in his new destination.
Photo by Colin Young-Wolff via Riot Games
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