As a person interested in the League of Legends universe, you probably have previously heard of the name Faker. Lee Sang-hyeok known by his pseudonym Faker has been recognized as Messi, and Kobe Bryant in gaming. He is 26 years old and still professionally playing the League, but let’s start with the main question:
How has it all begun? Which way led him to such success?
Faker was born in Seoul, South Korea on May 7, 1996. He grew up in the city of Gangseo and started playing video games at a young age. To be exact, he started playing while still in high school. The interest of Lee in gaming initially started by playing Starcraft but eventually, he chose LOL as his main passion, as the game was released in 2009. He quickly developed a reputation as a highly-skilled player. He played on several amateur teams and gained attention for his exceptional mechanical skill and game sense.
In 2013, Faker was recruited by the South Korean team SK Telecom T1 as their mid-laner. At that point, he was already so experienced and talented, that it was decided to build the team around him being the mid-laner, which means a lot. He made his professional debut at the OLYMPUS Champions Spring 2013 tournament and immediately impressed everyone with his play, leading SK Telecom T1 to win the tournament. That tournament was really a turning point in his career because his skills and amazing game strategies were finally shown on a global stage. The team, not without the help of Faker, has become the people’s favorite, and they have been sent to the League’s world championship that same year. Faker once again crushed the competition, and the team put up a new record, which was a game finished with a score of 15-3. The culmination of the championship naturally happened in the finals, when Faker’s team won a "one-sided" match, scoring 3-0 against the team called bullets. So now a 17-year-old Lee Sang- hyeok already wore the title of the world champion alongside his teammates. Other than that title, his brilliant and skillful play throughout the whole season earned him the honor of being called the best LOL player both by the fans and the critics.
To briefly describe Faker’s experience in the 2014 season, let’s just say it wasn’t the year of his team. Even though he once again proved his title of the best gamer in the League universe, later in the season, because of some difficulties inside the walls of his team, that being his teammate stepping back because of some health conditions, the team and so the Faker himself didn’t get a chance to join the world championship. That little fall in the previous season didn’t get in his way of getting to the world championship in the 2015 season. It may have even motivated him and his teammates more, so that year Faker became one of the three people who have won the world championship twice. (The other two were Faker’s coach and his teammate.) Even at that desired record, the success of Faker in the League didn’t stop. In 2016, the team won the world championship for the third time, and he is still one of two people with three world titles as of 2023. He has also been named the MVP of numerous tournaments and has received many individual accolades for his performances. He was also the first to become player to reach 2,000 kills in the LCK (League of Legends Championship Korea), as well as the first to have played 700 games and won 500 of them. Many of the beginners and even the professional players of the League have asked the same question:
How is Faker so good? How has he achieved such success?
The answer to those questions won’t be that easy to explain, it sure contains lots of aspects. To start from the beginning, it must be acknowledged that, as said, Faker has been playing the game ever since it has been released. That means that he may be one of the most experienced in the game. He has worked on his techniques and gaming style since 2009. His natural talent to it also can’t be overlooked. His instincts, reactions, and amazing ability to foresee his opponent’s each move have helped him on his way to all his winnings. However, it was his dedication to training mixed with his talents, that has made him such a professional. Faker has a rigorous training schedule that includes practicing for hours each day, reviewing gameplay footage, and constantly analyzing his performance to identify areas where he can improve. In addition to his technical skills, Faker is also known for his strategic thinking. He has a deep understanding of the game and is able to anticipate his opponents' moves and make split-second decisions based on that. Another important factor in his success must be the way he can maintain calm and the ability to think logically even under the pressure, which naturally occurs during the championships. To be honest, that might be the most common problem among gamers, but as we see, Faker has overcome it by beating it with his experience and knowledge. In addition to all that, Faker is known for his capacity to play multiple champions at an extremely high level, making it difficult for opponents to counter him. He is best known for playing LeBlanc, Zed, Syndra, Azir, Ahri, and Ryze in the mid-lane.
To summarize all that, Faker is really a true Legend in the League world and in the esports world globally. He has inspired countless players around the world and has helped elevate eSports to the status of a legitimate and respected profession. It has also helped to bring attention to the growing popularity of esports and has paved the way for future generations of players, which we will always be thankful for.