After the team’s loss to RNG in the finals of MSI 2022, T1’s CEO Joe Marsh put out a Twitter thread defending coaches Choi ‘Polt’ Seong-hun and Kim ‘Moment’ Ji-hwan in the face of community criticism.
After an 18-0 domestic Spring split (the first in LCK history), many expected that Korean representative T1 would be the de-facto tournament favorite at the 2022 Mid-Season Invitational. Coming into MSI, T1’s roster looked the best it had in years, although there were those who weren’t drawn in by the glitz and glamor of an undefeated split.
T1’s performance at MSI 2022 was a little shakier than their undefeated split would have insinuated, but they still made it all the way to the finals with minimal losses, even taking down their nemesis, European representative G2 Esports, in a clean 3-0 in the semifinals.
But once they loaded onto the rift versus RNG in that fateful final, the wheels began to come off the hype train. They looked sloppy, winning their games through last-minute mechanical outplays rather than the clean, calculated macro gameplay that had won them their LCK split.
And even those mechanical outplays couldn’t secure them the MSI title, with RNG winning out in game five to become the first-ever team to hold three MSI titles.
After their finals loss, the ire of the community was quickly directed at T1’s coaching staff. In particular, Polt’s comments about side selection in the final series during the post-finals press conference came under community scrutiny.
He attributed the team’s loss to the fact that they lost the side selection coin toss for the series, meaning that RNG were able to play on blue side for all three of their winning games in the series.
In League drafting, the blue side gets the first pick of the draft phase, meaning that the team on the red side more often than not has to spend their bans on ‘power picks’ in the meta because they are unable to secure those picks for themselves. According to Polt, the reason for T1’s finals defeat was simply “because we (T1) weren’t able to play on the blue side three times.”
The community was quick to rebuff this claim, pointing to T1’s decision to draft Jhin/Yuumi bot lane in the final game and continually fail to ban Gwen as the real reasons for their loss.
Ain’t no way Polt is going to draft like that in game 5 and then blame side select. If it wasn’t a coin flip the most logical way would have been based on seeding in rumble stage (RNG would still get game 1 choice of side).
— Christian Rivera (@IWDominate) May 30, 2022
Joe Marsh’s response
On June 1, T1 CEO Joe Marsh posted a tweet thread recapping the team’s experience at MSI 2022. In the thread, he stated that despite the community outcry, he and T1’s players stood by the drafting and coaching decisions of Polt and Moment.
“I stand by my coaches,” he said. “Losing one even doesn’t change that they are the right coaches for this team along with Bengi and Asper.”
I stand by my coaches. Losing one event doesn’t change that they are the right coaches for this team along with Bengi and Asper. Our players believe in them, and that is good enough for me. We know we need to improve if we want a chance to win Worlds.
— Joe (@JoeMar) June 1, 2022
Community responses to the thread were mixed, with fans showing support for T1’s coaching staff and calling for their removal in equal measure.
Although it appears that T1 won’t be making any offseason changes (if Marsh’s claims that he stands by his coaches are anything to go by), the team’s loss at MSI 2022 was a crushing blow to the LCK representatives.