“The Golden Road” is no more for Chinese representatives JD Gaming with the arguable League of Legends Worlds 2023 favorites sent packing by none other than Faker’s T1 3-1 in an enthralling semifinal.
T1’s win means fans in attendance will have a home team to root for in the big show next weekend, with the LCK second-seed taking to the stage one final time on Sunday morning chasing the Summoner’s Cup.
This will be T1’s sixth Worlds’ final appearance with the almighty Korean organization gunning for its fourth major trophy since its inception over a decade ago, then as SK Telecom T1. Also hunting for four Summoner’s Cups will be Faker, who was sublime in today’s series win over JDG.
“Last year I experienced a heartbreaking loss, but this time I can make up for it,” T1 top laner Zeus said on-stage following the thrilling series, referencing his team’s performance in last year’s Worlds final against DRX.
There, T1 took DRX to five games but was unable to finish their LCK counterparts. This time, they’ll be meeting their fourth LPL team in a row in the form of Weibo Gaming who overcame compatriots Bilibili Gaming yesterday.
T1 has had a monumental run at its home Worlds, needing to defeat every LPL seed in order to meet WBG in the final. JDG was the toughest one yet being LPL’s top seed, but T1 threatened to end the night early after dismantling the Chinese squad with ease in the series opener.
Zeus’ Aatrox, combined with Oner’s rotations saw off JDG in 24 minutes, but the Chinese squad bounced right back behind 369’s K’Sante, resetting all momentum T1 had gained.
Keria’s Renata Glasc was paramount to T1 taking the initiative right back in game three, participating in all but one of the squad’s 18 kills as the home crowd willed T1 home. Faker’s incredible Azir Flash into ultimate combo caught JDG unawares at the tier two tower and, despite the deficit, T1 marched up mid-lane.
They wouldn’t let this series go to five, shutting out JDG with back-to-back game-turning team fights at Dragon to finish off the LPL top seed.
In total, 4,308,901 viewers tuned in to watch T1 take the win today—the second-highest viewership for a League professional series in the history of the esport according to stats site Esports Charts. It’ll take quite an effort to knock off 2022’s peak record of just over 5.1 million concurrents, but hype for the ultimate League series couldn’t be any higher.
“Around this time after Worlds finals, I left with so many regrets,” Zeus said. “This time, I want to make sure I leave no regrets behind. Faker and T1 will line up against Weibo next weekend for the Worlds 2023 grand final, kicking off at 3am CT on Nov. 19.