Two of the best teams in Korean League of Legends went head-to-head today in a three-game nail-biter of a series. Mid laner Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok and AD carry Park “Teddy” Jin-seong helped lead the charge for T1, who beat DAMWON Gaming 2-1.
It was anyone’s guess who would come out on top in the opening game of the 2020 LCK Spring Split. In the offseason, three-time world champion T1 reshuffled its roster and brought on a new top laner and jungler. T1’s new recruits were unproven and facing one of the strongest teams in the league. They could have easily submitted to defeat, but that was far from the case.
Damwon, on the other hand, left the offseason almost untouched. With the exception of a new head coach, the team—including substitute Lee “Flame” Ho-jong—was back together again. Damwon had a surprisingly successful debut year in 2019 and placed in the top three by the end of the summer season with a full team of rookies. They advanced to Worlds but narrowly lost out to Europe’s G2 Esports in the quarterfinals. Despite prematurely dropping out of the tournament, though, they looked like some of the most promising prospects of the new year.
Today’s series started with a quick and easy win from Damwon, with mid laner Heo “ShowMaker” Soo’s Ryze leading the team to a one-game lead. They looked like a cohesive unit, systematically taking over the map, before pushing down the Nexus.
The next game, however, was in Faker’s hands and his legendary LeBlanc. He took a stranglehold on the game in the latter stages and cleaned up for the win alongside Teddy.
The last game of the series was the closest of the three. Lee “Effort” Sang-ho’s Blitzcrank and Teddy’s quick-footed Miss Fortune inevitably stole the win from Damwon. A well-timed Blitzcrank hook redeemed Effort’s early game blunders and helped secure the game-winning teamfight for T1.
Hanwha Life Esports are next on T1’s schedule. The two teams will face off on Friday, Feb. 7.