T1 star hints at roster changes after LoL Worlds 2023
The League of Legends scene is rumbling on toward the biggest event in the game, the World Championship. For T1, this could be the team’s last dance, according to one of their players.
T1 head into Worlds 2023 on the back of a difficult Summer Split in which their LCK playoff chances were far from a sure thing at one point following the arm injury sustained by Lee ‘Faker’ Sang-hyeok.
The star mid laner returned to action just before the end of the regular season after a month on the sidelines. His arrival prompted a miraculous upturn in form as T1 reached the Summer Finals before losing to Gen.G in the title decider.
No organization has won more Worlds titles than T1 (which won the 2013, 2015, and 2016 editions under the name SK Telecom T1), and only a few have made more appearances on LoL’s biggest stage. Still, there is a special aspect to Worlds 2023: For the first time, T1 will be playing a world championship in South Korea after missing the 2014 and 2018 events.
T1 came close to winning the title last year before losing out to LCK rivals DRX in a dramatic final. It was the second consecutive runner-up finish at an international event after finishing runners-up to Royal Never Give Up at MSI a few months earlier.
For bot laner Lee ‘Gumayusi’ Min-hyeong, Worlds 2023 will offer the team the chance to redeem itself for last year’s crushing defeat. He also suggested there is a likelihood the team will not be running it back for 2024.
“Worlds is special every year, and I know our fans might not like it when I say this, but I think this might be the last Worlds we play as a team,” he told South Korean news outlet Naver.
“In a way, I think it’s more meaningful this time because I want to win the tournament with this team. Also, for Faker and T1, it’s their first Worlds in Korea, so they have a strong desire to win.
“I hope it will be a tournament where we can make up for our runner-up finish in the past.”
Gumayusi’s comments might come as a shock to some fans, but there have been rumblings that T1’s team could undergo a number of changes in the off-season. These rumors only grew in volume after the team lost their third straight LCK title to Gen.G.
Gumayusi, top laner Choi ‘Zeus’ Woo-je, and support Ryu ‘Keria’ Min-seok all have contracts expiring at the end of the season. Jungler Moon ‘Oner’ Hyeon-joon has one year left on his contract, while Faker signed in November a new deal until the end of 2025.
T1’s goals for Worlds 2023
Earlier this year, T1 were left disappointed as they placed third at MSI 2023, watching from the sidelines as the final was contested by two LPL teams, JD Gaming and Bilibili Gaming.
That and the fact that Faker is still trying to rediscover his best form have raised doubts about T1’s title chances at Worlds. Still, Gumayusi believes that the team can go all the way in the tournament.
“There have been a lot of tournaments where we have finished runners-up, and it’s very upsetting and frustrating as a player to think about all the trophies we’ve missed out on,” he said.
“But the flip side of that is that we have been able to make the finals, and I think we’re definitely capable of winning Worlds this year. We made the quarter-finals in 2021, we were runners-up last year, so I think it’s our turn to win this year.”
T1 is one of the 14 teams that will skip the Worlds 2023 Play-In Stage and will start the tournament from the Swiss Stage, which will begin only on October 19.