It’s not everyday a League of Legends video makes you cry, but you might when you watch the first episode of OGN’s new show focused on SK Telecom T1.
In the first episode of SKT T1: The Chase, all eyes are on Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok. It’s his birthday, and the camera crew accompanies the esports legend and three-time world champion to all his normal stops. This includes his family home, the bookstore, and his sports psychologist’s office.
The first two parts of the episode are very uplifting. A look into his family’s home depicts a very supportive cast of parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, who are all proud to watch him do what he loves. His grandmother says she has watched all of his overseas tournaments, and that she used to stay awake until 4am with him to watch him play League on his home computer.
She recalled one time he practiced playing one-on-ones with Bae “Bengi” Seong-woong, and how he’d go all-in with Orianna’s Shockwave as soon as he hit level six. We’ve never met a grandmother so well-versed in League lingo, but now we’re kind of wishing we had one ourselves.
The next stop is the bookstore, where he debates with himself over which book to buy. He tells the camera crew that he’s read many of the books in there already, but eventually he picks one that his former teammate Lee “Easyhoon” Ji-hoon referred to in an interview long ago. Then it’s off to the sports psychologist, and that’s when things get really emotional.
The start of the visit is pretty tame. The psychologist, Kim Mi-sun, pulls out a standard exam to see how Faker’s psyche is holding up. As Faker runs though the rest of the exam, he begins to have trouble answering some of the questions. He likely began to think back to his defeat at the hands of KT Rolster in the 2018 Spring Split playoffs, or perhaps SKT’s loss in the finals of Worlds last year. The exam is an agree-disagree style of test, where it states something, and then Faker has to decide whether or not he agrees with it.
Some of the tougher questions are flashed onto the screen for the viewer to see—”I have confidence that I can perform well,” “I have confidence that I can win this match,” and “When I see my teammates make mistakes, I feel like I am playing well,” are just a few of them.
After the exam is over, Faker begins to cry. The psychologist asks if he’s tried self-reflecting on his emotions, such as why he feels so overwhelmed. He nods, then says he’s tried, and it always feels like he’s being questioned by his former self—the champion.
She comes back with the results of his test, and informs him that his stress levels are currently at their peak, and that maybe the memory of his defeat on the international stage is still festering inside him. She thinks this might be the cause of his uncertainty, and why he isn’t sure that he’ll be able to perform at the same level again.
“It’s about time I find some directions on where I should go from here,” he says to the camera before leaving.
The rest of the episode is bittersweet. He makes a meal for his family, and they spend some time together before Faker leaves again. As one last remark, his father mentions that he hates that his son needs to leave so much, but that he’s proud of him for working as hard as he does.
The episode, all-around, is a great watch. Between the more emotional scenes at the sports psychologist’s office and even the little stories he told in the car on the way to each stop, fans are given insight into Faker’s mind. He’s a legend and an icon, sure, but he’s also still a person with very normal fears and concerns, and he’s longing for redemption.
So far this split, SKT have found the most success with their backup mid laner, Choi “Pirean” Jun-sik. Pirean isn’t playing bad by any means, but he isn’t playing incredibly, either. That being said, it’s still sort of a mystery why the team isn’t clicking with Faker so far.
After this video and Faker’s own comments on finding direction and wanting something more than just winning, we suspect he isn’t down for the count just yet. There’s still time for SKT to make the miracle run through the playoffs and back onto the Worlds stage. After all, if anyone can do it, it’s the Demon King, Faker.
The next episode of The Chase will probably be for the team’s bot lane carry, Bae “Bang” Jun-sik, as his episode was the only one teased by OGN before the documentary series officially launched, aside from the teaser for Faker’s.