T1 Faker wants revenge after G2 loss at MSI 2022: “I have to get [caPs] back”
One streak had to end on the first day of MSI 2022’s Rumble Stage when Europe’s G2 Esports and Korean fan-favorites T1 faced off in the opener. This time, Lee ‘Faker’ Sang-hyeok landed tails. However, while the run is over, the pressure is now off in the star’s eyes.
It was the big storyline heading into the MSI 2022 Rumble Stage — arguably scripted from Riot by how poetic it was. Two regional heavyweights, G2 Esports and T1, were primed to break each other’s streaks in the opener at BEXCO in front of thousands of fans.
For a moment, it looked like the Korean side would continue their dominance from Groups. Having blazed away the competition with ease for the most part, and the cheers echoing around the exhibition hall, they looked a step ahead early. Moon ‘Oner’ Hyeon-joon went on a tear as Viego, and the crowd chorus rose.
However, the wheels soon came off, and as G2 Esports’ comp ramped ahead with superior teamfighting, T1 lacked an answer and their 24-0 record was put to bed.
It’s only a best-of-one though — those losses are bound to happen — and the ever-thoughtful Faker could see the upsides of the setback.
“It’s a shame that we lost against G2 because we were in an advantageous position at the beginning,” he told Dexerto. “It was the first game [of Rumble Stage] though, so it’s better for us to know that we have something to learn.
“We didn’t have too much pressure from the streak, but it was our first game in a few days so we were a little nervous. We didn’t perform too well either, but I don’t think that was because of the pressure.
“If you play professional matches, you know that you win sometimes, and you lose sometimes. That’s why I don’t care too much about the stats. We’re only at Rumble Stage so far, so we’re considering this as a learning opportunity for us so that’s why I don’t care too much.”
It’s not like a 10-time LCK champion, three-time Worlds winner, and the greatest player of all time to keel over for someone too easily. Arguably the player who had made Faker bleed most is Rasmus ‘caPs’ Winther, who boasts a 9-3 record against the Unkillable Demon King.
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The G2 mid had Faker’s number in their first outing, shutting down the Twisted Fate roams with ease. It seemingly ignited a fire in Faker, who played an inspired Zoe game against PSG Talon to break even for the day.
However, he couldn’t help but smile thinking about getting revenge on Denmark’s finest.
“Our revenge match against G2 will be in a few days, but we didn’t want to wait so we had to show the fans that we had something in store so we played our best for the PSG match,” he said.
“I don’t think I care too much about the stats so it doesn’t go towards any rivalry, but I did lose a lot [to caPs] so it just means I have to get him back next time I meet him.”
A decade of Faker
2022 marks a decade of League of Legends’ biggest star. Nine years on from his debut in front of a then-unknowing audience at the old OGN studio, fans have not just gotten to know Faker, but small parts of Lee Sang-hyeok.
His fascination for reading and books. His lack of materialistic need. That beloved thumbs up.
He’s been accompanied by fans most of the way, and looking out across the crowd at BEXCO with thousands chanting “T1 fighting,” it still sent chills down his spine.
“We do have more fans here, which is why the matches are more enjoyable. They’re very passionate to support us, so it inspires us to try even harder,” he said.
“It’s been a while since we heard them cheer for us because of [the pandemic], so even if it did get old before, it’s very new to me now.”
While Faker has won all that one could ever desire, nothing has been able to beat the highs of his debut. He said as much in a tell-all with Inven while at MSI 2022.
However, while Faker the player is having an internal battle with his play — Lee Sang-hyeok the person is finally starting to flourish.
“Back in 2013 it was my debut year so I didn’t really care too much about anything else — I was just focused on the game,” he explained. “However, now I have a lot to think about and I’ve come a long way as a person so the mindset I have going into the matches are different from then.
“My attitude towards life in general has changed.”
He can grasp onto those early years, somewhat, through his teammates. He’s leading a very young T1 roster in 2022 who blew off the nerves in 2021 and stuck it through the off-season to decimate the LCK.
It has changed Faker’s role within the team somewhat. No longer is he the blitzing shining star — he’s got the flashy youths for that. What he does provide is a wealth of experience in-game and a level head to try and keep everyone on task.
“This year, compared to other years, I have a much younger team. All of them are very kind and passionate about the game, so our practice in general has been more fun.
“I am the eldest so there are points where I have to show a good example. With that being said, there’s places where I have to be better too. All my teammates are very mature though, so it’s easy leading them as a fatherly figure.”
Above all the achievements on the Rift though, Faker was rather candid when he pondered what he wants to be remembered for: “I wish, at least to some people, I’m an inspiring person.”
Inspiration comes in many forms, whether it be the fandom lining out the seats at BEXCO, or a player in solo queue wanting to reach the highest echelons of League of Legends like their idol.
That’s not to say there’s talk about things winding down. But Faker’s perspective has slowly changed over that time, taking things as they come — and for now, that means getting revenge against G2 Esports at MSI 2022 and adding another trophy to his case come May 29.
“Looking into the long term, I hope we can have a good Rumble Stage where we prepare well for the Knockouts. To our fans, I hope we can show we’re a real threat on the international stage.”