Dec 27 2013 - 1:00 pm

Meet the 'League of Legends' player so good his nickname is simply 'God'

This was the biggest year ever for eSports
Patrick Howell O'Neill
Dot Esports

This was the biggest year ever for eSports. Competitive gaming has more players, a bigger audience, and a brighter future than ever before. Over a period of 10 days, the Daily Dot will profile people who've fueled this unprecedented growth, from top players to industry visionaries. 

In earlier pieces, we looked at Cosmo Wright, the king of speedrunnning, and Erik Johnson, Valve's eSports mastermind. Today, we're introducing you to Lee Sang-hyeok, the Leage of Legends star also known as simply "God."

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Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok is the best player on the world championship squad in the biggest eSport on the planet.

Playing for South Korea’s storied SK Telecom T1 franchise, first a top StarCraft: Brood War squad and now the class of League of Legends, Lee has been called the Lionel Messi and Michael Jordan of his game. A mere 17 years old, he’s the sort of player that fans worship and other professionals admire.

Lee’s style is made for the spotlight. Aggressive, flashy, exciting, and fast, it’s the type of play that goes viral and keeps people talking for days after a match is through. Of course, all that chatter has provoked the occasional skeptic. Is Faker imore hype than substance? Is he really the best player in the world?

This year Faker silenced critics with authority. 

After most of the on-site analysts predicted a Chinese world championship in October 2013, Faker appropriately shed first blood in the finals and his Korean national championship team sprinted to a 3-0 victory over Chinese champions Royal Club, earning them the unquestioned title of best in the world.

Lee obviously knows League of Legends as well as or better than anyone else. He has the potential to outthink anyone. But his most distinctive quality is physical: speed. He can move faster, smarter, and with greater purpose than anyone on the other side of the game.

There are other great players. Even on Lee’s own team, his mate Chae "Piglet" Gwang-jin earned much deserved praise for his role in the team's championship run, especially for his top play in the grand finals. But when you take the year in totality, there’s no one who can compare to Faker.

Lee has earned a few nicknames in his time: “The Unkillable Demon King” is a memorable one. Probably the most appropriate, however, is simply “God,” obviously an honor and a callback to another one of the greatest players in eSports history, the StarCraft: Brood War legend Lee “Flash” Young Ho.

That’s about the highest compliment you can pay an eSports player.

Screengrab via GMT Studio/YouTube

Jan 18 2017 - 9:07 pm

Yes, SKT played Ziggs ADC in a competitive game—and they dominated with him

The current League world champs show us all how OP bot-lane Ziggs can be.
Aaron Mickunas
League of Legends Writer
Image via Riot Games

ADC Ziggs has been spreading like the plague (a really, really annoying plague) through ranked games in League of Legends over the past few weeks, and SK Telecom T1 reminded everyone why they’re the World Champions by taking him into a League Champions Korea game—and destroying their opponents with him.

Jin Air, the team that fell at the hands of the mighty ADC Ziggs in the LCK earlier today, probably thought that SKT’s Bae ‘Bang’ Jun-sik was joking around when he hovered over Ziggs in Champ Select. Surely Ziggs is only a troll pick that streamers play to entertain their audiences or that Bronze players choose because they saw Shiphtur do it once, right? Right?

Wrong.

The irritating, familiar sound of Ziggs saying “This’ll be a blast!” rang loud as Bang locked him in, ready to take the AP terror down into the bot lane. It was a bloody sight to see, as Bang dominated his lane opponents. At the end of the laning phase, Bang had 3-0’d his adversary as the explosive-crazed Yordle. He won trades, outplayed tower-dives, and showed us all just how possible it is to take an AP mage into a role overrun by Marksman champions and thrive.

Was it because Ziggs is OP in that particular position? Was it, perhaps, because the state of ADCs is so pathetic that you can take any old champion into that role and do better than a traditional ADC? Actually, it’s a little bit of both.

This Ziggs pick may begin a trend of meta-breaking within professional play, and because of that casual players will follow suit. Soon, we may see more mages in bot lane, more marksmen up top, and even some supports pick Janna in the jungle.

Ziggs is an important lesson for the future of League. Playing him in the highest level of competition suggests that there may be more instances like this Ziggs game—where pro players figure out ways to use unorthodox champion picks to their advantage.

Sometimes, the meta doesn’t have to be followed—if you can find another champion to play a specific role well enough. A few seasons ago, after all, you’d dodge a ranked lobby if you saw a Rumble lock the jungle role, and now you wouldn’t bat an eye.

Love him or hate him, Ziggs is here to stay, and since the god-team of SKT has now played him in a pro game, you can expect even more ADC Ziggs appearances in your Bronze ranked games. He even has the second highest win percentage out of any other ADC, according to League stats website Champion.gg. Don’t worry if you’re having trouble winning against him, you could always go ADC Syndra.

Jan 17 2017 - 8:11 pm

The spring NA LCS finals are coming to Vancouver

NA’s biggest League of Legends event is returning to Canada.
Sam Nordmark
Writer at @dotesports
Photo via Riot Games

For the second season in a row, the North American League Championship Series will reach its conclusion in Canada.

Following the explosive confrontation between TSM and Cloud9 in the 2016 Summer Split finals in Toronto, the 2017 Spring Split finals will take place in the 20,000 seat Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver from April 22-23.

Riot has not announced when tickets for the event will go on sale, so Canadian fans and those looking to attend should keep their eyes peeled. 15,000 fans attended the 2016 NA LCS Summer Split finals last year, completely filling the Air Canada Centre, which should indicate just how high demand for tickets is.

This marks the NA LCS' second-ever final abroad, as seven of the league's eight finals haven taken place in locations around the U.S. Compare that to the EU LCS, which has been spoiled in terms of its show being taken on the road, as the tournament has visited a multitude of countries since its inception—including Poland, the Netherlands, England, and France.

The NA LCS 2017 Spring Split is set to start on Jan. 20.