Faker wants a challenge in Worlds 2021 playoffs: “I’m here to win”

Faker at Worlds 2021Riot Games

League of Legends’ most iconic player, Lee ‘Faker’ Sang-hyeok, is overjoyed to be back at Worlds and ready to contend for his fourth title. However, he hasn’t felt challenged in the mid lane yet and is looking forward to taking on mid laners from outside of Korea.

The Unkillable Demon King and absolutely crushing it at Worlds; name a more iconic duo.

Faker has been doing Faker things at Worlds 2021, helping T1 win their group for the sixth time and cementing their place in the playoffs.

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After securing the top seeding in Group B, Faker spoke to Dexerto about returning to Worlds after missing out in 2020 and who he would like to face in the knockout stages.

Faker poses at Worlds 2021 photoshootRiot Games
Faker is back at Worlds and ready to win title number four

Faker returns to Worlds

The closest that Faker came to Worlds 2020 was his starring role in the event’s music video – Take Over.

T1 had won the 2020 LCK Spring split but a disastrous Summer split led to them missing Worlds entirely.

However, they bounced back in 2021 and reached Worlds as the LCK’s third seed after beating Hanwha Life Esports in the LCK Regional Finals.

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T1 celebrate LCK REgional Finals victoryLCK
T1 overcame Hanwha Life Esports to earn a place in the Worlds 2021 group stage

“Worlds is the biggest event of the year for any player, so it’s awesome to be back,” Faker told Dexerto.

In a group with EDward Gaming of the LPL, 100 Thieves of the LCS, and the LJL’s DetonatioN FocusMe, Faker provided the performances sorely missed by fans in 2020.

Faker’s group stage stat line was 11/6/23 as T1 went 5-1, winning the group outright after 100 Thieves’ upset of EDG prevented a tie-break situation.

Faker reflects after beating DFM at Worlds 2021Riot Games
Faker put up impressive numbers on four different champions in the group stage of World 2021

T1 set themselves apart

When asked what sets T1 apart from the rest of the field, in what is considered to be an especially competitive Worlds, Faker pointed to two specific factors.

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“We are very strong when it comes to the laning phase,” Faker said. “We also show a lot of strength in controlling the map.”

T1 were not a team that immediately came to mind as pundits discussed their pre-Worlds favorites to lift the Summoner’s Cup in 2021. That honor went to the likes of EDG and FPX of the LPL, defending champions DWG KIA of the LCK, and MAD Lions of the LEC.

However, FPX crashed and burned on the final day of Group A while EDG had to settle for second behind T1. Meanwhile, MAD Lions are embroiled in a four-way battle in Group D. Of the consensus pre-tournament favorites, only DWG KIA have lived up to expectations so far.

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FunPlus Phoenix at Worlds 2021Riot Games
Many pre-tournament favorites, such as 2019 champions FPX, have disappointed at Worlds 2021

With their 5-1 record and first-place seeding out of the group stage, T1 have already shown the world they should not be discounted. And they are only getting started.

After beating DFM in their final match of October 16, Faker made his intentions very clear.

“I’m here to win Worlds” Faker told Laure Valée.

Faker wants to take on the world

“Not all the teams have been decided for knockouts, and neither have the seedings,” Faker said. “So I cannot say who I would like to face in the next round.”

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However, the T1 mid laner felt unsatisfied after the group stage.

“I haven’t faced mid laners who were particularly impressive to me,” Faker said, “but perhaps in a future stage, I will have one who becomes my favorite [to play against]”

Faker competing at Worlds 2021Riot Games
Faker was left unimpressed by the quality of mid lane play from his opponents in the group stage

So who does Faker want to face?

“First, the biggest favorites in the tournament – Damwon KIA” Faker said, hinting at a desire to give the world a showdown against Heo ‘ShowMaker’ Su. “However, I have played so many games against the LCK teams in Korea. I would like to play against mid laners from other regions”.

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With Cloud9 already in the playoffs as a second seed, Faker could get his wish in a matchup with Luka ‘Perkz’ Perković, widely considered the greatest Western player of all time.

However, depending on how the other groups go, Faker could also be pitted against the likes of RNG’s Yuan ‘Cryin’ Cheng-Wei, LNG’s Xie ‘icon’ Tian-Yu, or MAD Lions’ Marek ‘Humanoid’ Brázda, who ShowMaker has called the best mid laner in the LEC.

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Whoever T1 is drawn against in the quarterfinals, they must perform at their absolute best as T1 and League’s most prolific player continue their hunt to end a five-year title drought and secure a historic fourth Worlds title.