T1 were the first full roster to make All-LCK First team (courtesy of LCK)They dominated the region in every sense. They defined the bot lane meta and essentially forced Riot to patch the game until Ryu "Keria" Min-seok had to stop playing half a dozen Marksman champions as Supports. Lee "Faker" Sang-yeok’s form was the best we’d seen since the years when he was being crowned World Champion. Choi "Zeus" Woo-je was winning top-lane matchups isolated while Mun "Oner" Hyeon-jun incessantly dove bot turrets, regardless of if the enemy jungler was there to defend. T1 looked truly transcendental.
A fully packed Jamsil Arena (courtesy of LCK)Bounce back they did. A week later T1 convincingly beat GEN in the upper bracket finals. A relatively clean 3-1 win that was a couple throws away from being a straight 3-0. Regular season T1 was back. The drafts are different, but the game plan isn’t. Zeus top-gaps Choi "Doran" Hyeon-joon for the entirety of the series, Faker’s clutch-factor shows up big, especially on his Lissandra and Lee "Gumayusi" Min-hyeong is looking better than ever. They’ll win everything, right?
LCK Talent predictions for the grand final (Courtesy of LCK)However, a completely different, yet familiar form of T1 showed up on stage that day. This wasn’t the T1 from the regular season, it wasn’t even the T1 that barely beat KT. It was the T1 from Worlds 2022 Finals, MSI 2022 Finals. It was the T1 that heads into a tournament deciding match as the overwhelming favorite, and crumbles under the pressure. Zeus, T1’s biggest advantage in this match on paper, is outperformed by Doran, GEN’s weakest link, in every single game. Yes, Doran overperformed as much as Kingen did in the Worlds finals, but Zeus looked nothing like his usual self. When T1 were faced with elimination as the series reached the 2-0 point, the carry top laner whose marquee picks are Jayce and Gnar, picks Sion. The team simply gave up on what has been a consistent win-condition from them, in the middle of the series. Faker’s clutch factor and early game impact was gone. He had an excellent Veigar pick in game 1, hard-countering 4 out of 5 GEN champions, yet seemingly made no impact on the entire game. From then on, the drafts got progressively worse and Jeon "Chovy" Ji-hoon outlaned, outroamed and outteamfought Faker in 4 games in a row. Keria, the best support in the entire World, blind picks Braum in game 4, when T1 are on the brink of elimination. This was his second game on the champion this year. Patch 13.5 did change a lot, but it didn’t change this much. Sion had been viable for the entirety of the Split, Zeus had played it twice in BO3s. Keria was the only support player who picked Braum through the LCK playoffs. This isn’t the meta changing, this is T1 morphing into a team who doesn’t know what to do.
LCK Spring 2023 Cup (courtesy of LCK)Four games go by in the blink of an eye, and GEN are deservedly lifting the LCK trophy yet again. They were the best team on the Rift, uncontested. They were already looking incredibly dominant the day prior against KT, and they looked so good against T1 that I am sure that even if the regular season dominant version of T1 had showed up, they’d have had a really tough time taking down this GEN.g.
T1 tournament Results with this full roster (courtesy of Leaguepedia)The debates being had three weeks ago about how dominant this roster is were all valid and logical. They still are. Consider this: if you count the entirety of 2022 (including MSI and Worlds) and the entirety of 2023 so far (Spring Regular Season+Playoffs) T1 played 66 series and lost 8. This is an unbelievable record, and it seems even more unbelievable that a team that is this dominant in one of the strongest regions in the world only managed to win a single title during this period, and the least relevant one too (Spring 2022).
Current T1 head-coach and former World Championship winning jungler Bengi looks at images of SK Telecom's victories.It sounds unbelievable, but we might actually see this roster changed before they win an international tournament or even an LCK Summer title. The clock is ticking, and unless a massive victory is achieved this year, it feels like this roster might become of the biggest what-ifs in LoL history. Is London the stage in which T1 will finally achieve their glory, or will those days remain forever tied to the name SK Telecom?
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