He would never say it, but it had to make him mad.
For years, SK Telecom T1 mid laner Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok was regarded as the undisputed best player in League of Legends. He was consistently incredible, racking up victories and championships all over the world.
But then Faker fell victim to something that only the best athletes seem to face—fatigue. As people wondered if anyone could ever beat SKT and its star, the world began looking for a fresh face, someone new to carry the torch. New cycles in sports are short; in esports, even more so. And so, prior to the season-ending World Championship, it wasn’t Faker who dominated the best players lists, but rival Korean player Song “Smeb” Kyung-ho.
Stoic as ever, Faker seemed unnerved by the sight of someone else sitting on his throne. But as someone who has professed a tendency to play angry, this could not have gone over smoothly. Faker eventually had his revenge on Smeb and the best of the world by winning back the Summoner’s Cup and adding to his title that of the best in League history.
Ever since, Faker has been on a victory tour, marauding against his hapless competition. He makes the LCK, the best tournament in the world, look like his personal kingdom as he’s racked up kill after kill, win after win, all culminating in another title.
Faker put on a show for the fans this spring, and we just had to put together a reel of his top 10 highlights.
Katarina follows the blast cone
Week one vs. Jin Air
Jin Air tried to put SKT on the back foot by aggressively roaming with numbers. After killing jungler Yoon “Peanut” Wang-ho, Jin Air’s Eom “UmTi” Seong-hyeon thought he had successful escaped to the blast cone. What he didn’t expect was a Katarina dashing to him, following over the wall, and then dancing on his grave.
Faker dodges everything
Week one vs. Kongdoo
Katarina is a pretty risky champion—she has insane burst and mobility, but can be locked down by control mages. Faker would have none of that in this matchup against Cassiopeia as he dodged nearly every ability. This game was already over when Faker locked down the Cass again but his ability to dodge skillshots is out of this world.
WATCH: One League of Legends fan wants you to play the game on the tabletop.
Faker hacks the mainframe
Week two vs. ROX
We just saw Faker beating Cassiopeia, but some of that can be attributed to his intimate familiarity with the champion. He’s so fast on this spell combo that his ult appears backwards, and the Elise sitting in the bush can only watch as her mid laner turns to stone. Don’t worry, he isn’t actually a robot that hacked the mainframe. It’s just that his sequence came so quickly that the spectator mode couldn’t quite load the correct animation in time. That makes you wonder though: is the League software actually slowing Faker down? What would he be like totally unleashed?
More misery for Elise
Week two vs. ROX
After that debacle of a gank attempt, ROX jungler Yoon Seong-hwan desperately wanted to make good on his Elise. He came back for another bush gank and Faker turned it again. Faker’s game sense is absurd—how did he know a spider was coming out of the river? Yoon even had the right idea to rappel the Cassio ult, but Faker got it off way too quickly.
Week five vs. Longzhu
Longzhu desperately needed to stop this SKT Baron to have any chance. But Faker and Bae “Bang” Jun-sik would have none of it. Faker calmly erased the Longzhu support with an accelerated shock blast to start things, and then, once it came off cooldown took down the Zilean too. A Zilean who had ult, mind you. His skillshot accuracy makes you wonder—if Faker played ADC instead, would he be the best in the world at that position too?
4,000 ELO Shockwave
Week six vs. KT
Most of the plays we’ve seen have come when SKT is ahead. That’s because they usually are ahead. But even when things aren’t going well, Faker can be counted on to deliver insane plays. His Orianna is legendary, and he hard carried the 2016 Worlds Final on the champion. We need slow-motion to fully comprehend the genius of this Orianna Shockwave.
Faker’s Zed dances for the win
Week six vs. KT
Faker’s Zed was undefeated in professional play until running into Smeb’s ROX Tigers last year. Now faced off against Smeb’s KT team, Faker’s Zed exacted retribution. This play was started by a clutch save by SKT support Lee “Wolf” Jae-wan on top laner Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon, allowing Huni to throw out a great Equalizer that evened the fight. But KT still had an exposed nexus and Faker saved it by heroicly dancing around the outside, assassinating player after player.
Hurdling the base statue
Week eight vs. Afreeca
This is almost unfair. Talon is already infamous for his ability to jump out of nowhere and delete someone. But leaping over the statue in the enemy team’s base to get a kill? Afreeca must be wondering: why do we even have that statue?
Testing the limits
Week nine vs. Longzhu
Orianna’s ult is incredibly satisfying to hit, but also one of the most disappointing when it misses. Not only is there a big animation that shows the world that you missed, but missing it often means your team is baited into a bad situation. Faker’s bound to have missed some Ori ults at some point, but not when it matters. Needing a big play to save Peanut, he catches Longzhu jungler Lee “Crash” Dong-woo on what must be the last pixel of his ultimate range. He also grabs a double kill because he’s Faker.
Charming a spider
Week 10 vs. ROX
Elise is one of the strongest junglers in the game. She has great cc burst, she can dodge enemy spells, and she can appear out of thin air. Faker must have some spider senses then, because Elise just can’t catch him.
Bonus: Faker dives the back line on Fizz
LCK Finals vs. KT
The LCK playoff format, a gauntlet in which the best team needs only to play one best-of-five, deprived us of more Faker highlights. But here’s a great one from the series against KT. For the most part, Faker played supportive mid laners around a composition meant to protect Bang. But the first game he got on Fizz was a fine one.
KT actually had map control for much of this game, but stubbornly kept plowing into the SKT red-side jungle. They counted on getting a catch that could turn into Baron. They didn’t account for a crazy fish jumping into the back line. Faker got a triple kill and SKT were on their way to winning the game.