Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok didn’t have the best year in 2018. A lot of it was due to the rest of the SK Telecom T1 team, which lost key players and missed Worlds for just the second time ever. As a result of his team’s weaknesses, Faker looked a bit unhinged. He made more mistakes than usual as he pressed for advantages that just weren’t there while trying to solo carry games.
You can tell in his numbers that he just wasn’t the same. And it goes further than kills and deaths. For example, Faker played only 19 unique champions, his lowest number in years. That was despite an open meta in which nearly any champion could have been viable in the mid lane, as long as Faker’s team could support him as a carry.
Next year should be different in that regard. SKT reloaded in a major way over the last month. Hopefully that frees Faker to dig deep into his bag of tricks. And looking at his solo queue accounts, there are quite a few champions that we’d love to see Faker try out. To be clear, he’s unlikely to deviate too much from his traditional pool. But just for fun, if we had our pick, these are the top five champions Faker would try out in 2019.
Who doesn’t love Pyke? He has one of the highest play rates among supports, according to League stats site Champion.gg. And that’s despite one of the lowest win rates of all support champions. He’s a playmaker who just got a sweet new skin—what’s not to love?
If you love Pyke, you’re in good company, because Faker does too. Lately, Pyke’s been Faker’s go-to champion when he’s autofilled to support. And he dominates on Pyke too. On Aug. 24, he had three games on the Ripper and posted a combined scoreline of 23/6/26. Apparently it is possible to carry when autofilled to support, as long as you play like Faker.
A few days ago, Faker even tried Pyke mid. He usually runs the Aftershock keystone and buys Duskblade first as a support. His mid lane Pyke went for an early Tiamat for waveclear, in case you wanted to try that out. But as long as we’re trying to convert champions from roles into mid lane, can we get even crazier?
Nunu and Willump
Now we’re getting wild. Faker isn’t a prolific Nunu player. But Nunu got some buffs to his AP ratios and can now chomp champions for a juicy heal. Maybe mid lane Nunu is the way to go.
Faker played the new Nunu once in September and finished with a 3/1/8 scoreline. Just watch how he casually flashes into turret range with no repercussions.
Poor Kai’Sa. She probably thought she had gotten away.
Ok, Nunu may have been a little too troll. But one trend that’s actually been a thing in professional League of Legends is the rise of the mid lane ADC. Lucian, Jhin, Varus, Corki, Ezreal, the list gets too long to count. Oh, and how could we forget the Vayne we saw in the EU LCS playoffs.
ADCs that are played mid lane usually don’t build crit since that would take them too long to scale. Well, Draven doesn’t build crit and he’s incredibly strong with early pressure.
The day after Faker played Nunu, he tried out Draven and posted a 9/3/4 scoreline. He went Bloodthirster into Stormrazor—okay, there’s some crit—and dominated the game. We can just imagine new jungler Kim “Clid” Tae-min, who loves fighting, rolling into Faker’s lane and getting his mid laner some juicy adulation gold.
But what if Faker and Clid don’t get along? If that happens, it will likely be up to the best player in the world to show his new teammate who’s boss. Faker’s an incredibly able jungler, and one of his favorite jungle champs for when he’s autofilled is Camille.
People like to run Press the Attack as Camille’s keystone, but Faker likes Aftershock more. It makes sense. It gives her early ganks some juice as well as helps her survive all-in engages. And she’s a perfectly fine solo laner as well, but perhaps not as fun as our last champion.
So far we’ve covered two junglers, an ADC, and a support. But what about top lane, which has the biggest champion overlap with mid? Well one top lane champion that’s a ton of fun and Faker hasn’t tried professionally yet is Kled.
Kled is a ton of fun, does insane damage, and has a cool mechanic with Skarl’s health bar. If anyone can pilot Kled well and use his ultimate to start teamfights with precision, it’s Faker. He actually played Kled all the way back in July and went 9/2/11 on the Cantankerous Cavalier. And if anyone has a right to be a little cantankerous, it’s Faker after the 2018 season.