Throughout his career, South Korean League of Legends star Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok has played with some pretty good teammates. From top laner MVPs like Jang “MaRin” Geong-hwan and Lee “Duke” Ho-seong to junglers Bae “Bengi” Seong-woong and Han “Peanut” Wang-ho, some of the best in the world have teamed up with Faker on SK Telecom T1.
But he’s never played with a jungle veteran like KT Rolster’s Go “Score” Dong-bin, who’s almost as legendary as Faker himself. The two longtime rivals finally got to team up in a semi-competitive event as part of team Korea at the 2018 Asian Games. And they showed how devastating they can be as a duo, taking apart a star-studded Chinese roster to go 2-0 on the first day of the esports demonstration.
Esports is just a demonstration at these Asian games, a test to see whether it fits the pathos of the multi-nation event. This morning’s games were marred by frequent and lengthy technical pauses—but that doesn’t make the competition any less meaningful.
Instead of the mostly for-fun atmosphere of Riot’s All-Stars event, these players were all representing their countries. Nobody wants to fail wearing their nation’s flag on their chest. Both the LPL and LCK took lengthy breaks in the middle of their playoffs to send their best players to Jakarta to compete. This was no casual exhibition event.
In that atmosphere, Faker, Score, and team Korea thrived. Belying his trademark conservative style in the LCK, Score got first blood in the top lane just past four minutes. That snowballed top lane prodigy Kim “Kiin” Gi-in’s Gangplank far ahead of China’s Akali. When China came to shut down the Afreeca star, Kiin was strong enough to take RNG jungler Liu “mlxg” Shi-yu down with him.
From there, Korea used superior macro to scale past their opponents. The Chinese side lacked engage strong enough to take down Faker’s Galio, who caused constant problems on the front line. Chinese ADC Jian “Uzi” Zi-hao has made a career of coming back in long, drawn-out games, but it wasn’t to be this time. The Korean squad won a clean game in 33 minutes.
Faker and SKT have suffered through a tough year with roster swaps at every position. Faker himself was benched for a spell. But last night was a welcome reminder of how good he’d look surrounded by talent like Score and Kiin.