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Esports is one of the fastest-growing industries thanks to the tournaments held worldwide. With this, several gamers are eager to take the trophy home and one of them is the gamer Faker, one of League of Legends’ greatest players. As a matter of fact, he is also popularly known as ‘The Unkillable Demon King’.
Lee Sang Hyeok, commonly known as Faker, is a South Korean professional League of Legends (LoL) player of SK Telecom T1, an esports organisation. The gamer is highly regarded for his mechanical skills and for being an extremely versatile champion pool.
Just like other pros in the industry, he was a regular high schooler who spent his time playing computer games in PC rooms. With his outstanding skills in playing LoL, Faker is one of the two players to win the League of Legends World Championship three times (2013, 2015, and 2016). Faker also became a part-owner of T1 Entertainment & Sports in early 2020.
League of Legends World Championship, often referred to as the Worlds, is a professional championship tournament held annually hosted by Riot Games. Over the years, it has gained tremendous popularity, making it one of the world’s most prestigious and most-watched video games worldwide. With its success, it has the potential to be included in one of the Olympics as an esports event. As a matter of fact, it is now a medal event in the 2022 Asian Games.
During his younger years, Faker always loved video games and puzzles. Most of the time, he was found playing custom maps for MOBA Chaos and Warcraft III until he discovered LoL in late 2011.
Even before Faker became a professional gamer, he had been a huge fan of playing different games. When he became a pro gamer, he focused on playing LoL.
In 2013, Faker was picked up by T1 as their mid laner. Even though T1 has been dominating the South Korean esports scene, Faker led the squad to their first victory at the Worlds.
During the HOT6iX Champions Summer in the same year, Faker established himself as a brilliant player after showing a perfect outplay against Yoo ‘Ryu’ Sang Wook, the mid laner of KT Rolster Bullets.
During Seasons 4 and 5, several South Korean LoL teams including Samsung Galaxy, the entire world champion team, left the country to play for Chinese teams to earn higher salaries. Even so, Faker has declined several offers including a $1,000,000 and decided to stay with T1. Months later, it was reported that Lee has also declined offers from Chinese companies with an offer of $425,403 for streaming.
The number of offers that Faker received simply proves that he’s a huge asset for any team. In fact, Lee is considered ‘The Greatest of All Time’ because of his records and accolades.
In July 2016, Faker became the first player to score 1,000 kills in the League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK). On the other hand, Faker achieved his 2,000th kill with Zoe making him the first player to reach 2,000 kills in the same league in March 2020. A month after, he claimed his 9th LCK title after defeating Gen.G at the LCK Spring finals in the same year.
Followed by his renewed contract with an offer of more than $2.5 million in 2017, Faker recorded his first live stream on Twitch and immediately achieved a peak viewership of 245,100. This set a record for being the most viewed stream for a single streamer.
During the 2019 World Championship quarterfinals, Lee marked his 100th international win making it a huge milestone in his professional career. Aside from Faker, no other pro player has yet reached the same number of wins.
You can say that 2019 was the peak year of Lee as it was also when he earned his 7th LCK title, 1st Rift Rivals title, 8th LCK title, and won his 500th game against Afreeca Freecs with Qiyana. It was also the year when Faker was listed on Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2019 under the Entertainment & Sports category.
In February 2021, Faker played his 600th LCK game making him the first player to do so. Lee’s 600th game was against NS RedForce which he locked in Orianna. He won the game and was even named the MVP. The victory also marked his 399th win in the LCK. A few days later, Faker became the first player to achieve a 400th win in the LCK against Fredit BRION.
With the skills that gamer Faker has been showing, there is no doubt that he will reach farther in his gaming career. He has also inspired aspiring professional esports players to do their best and reach as far or more than he could.
Words by: Whenna Maata