eSports

LoL: T1 Regains Fiery Form Ahead Of LCK Spring 2021 Playoffs

T1 is back on their winning ways after returning with the all-veteran lineup in LCK Spring 2021.

T1 (Formerly known as SKT T1) is one of the most decorated teams in the history of the League of Legends esports scene. The Korean esports team has bagged three World Championships and asserted its dominance over the LCK and other international tournaments. One of the oldest and most outstanding LoL players, Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, has been associated with this franchise and became the backbone of the team for many years now. However, the last few splits haven’t been the brightest for the team.

Despite the historical achievements, T1 failed to qualify for the 2020 Worlds Championship, which upset fans worldwide. To add more to the disappointment, the team won the LCK 2020 Spring Split but a lousy performance during the Summer Split costed them dearly. Here, they couldn’t claim any of Korea’s seeds for arguably one of the biggest tournaments of all time. After this mishap, the team needed some drastic measures to come back to the winning terms and regain the glory of being the most dominant Korean team.

After winning the 2020 Worlds championship, DWG KIA has overtaken T1 as the region’s favorite. They seek to maintain that position by being at the top of the LCK Spring Split 2021 table. T1, on the other hand, acquired many amateur players for the roster alongside the veteran line-up, making it a 10-man roster with young prospects for the future. The coaching staff also saw a change as Lee “Zefa” Jae-min and Yang “Daeny” Dae-in took charge of the team.

T1 experimenting in the LCK 2021 Spring Split

T1, with a 10-man roster and a new coaching staff, was expected to make some roster changes in the split. The management tried several combinations. They subbed out Faker and other veterans, and made space for the young prodigies in the esports team’s starting line-up. Daeny, the head coach for T1, made it clear at the beginning that his priority is the Summer Split rather than the Spring split. After all, the Summer Split is the decider for which teams are making it to the Worlds. But the decision to shuffle players in and out of the starting roster received mixed feedback from the League of Legends communities.

Fans urged that forcing a player into this situation might take a toll on their self-confidence. They claimed it is difficult to perform, knowing that they would be benched next match even if they perform well on the stage. In contrast, other people stated that T1 is developing the bench strength for the upcoming years and aiming straight for a World Championship.

The experiments pay off

After being completely satisfied with almost all possible combinations, T1 lost quite a few matches, more than they would want. And it frustrated the fans even more. However, the coaches came back to the veterans to take charge of the team as they faced GEN.G and DRX, two of the strongest teams in the LCK, currently behind DWG KIA. As expected, both of these matches ended on a clean 2-0 victory. These wins move T1 to the fourth position on the points table. In addition, they even have a four-match winning streak to keep the momentum going.

Talking about the momentum, in an interview with Ashley Kang of Korizon Esports, Faker talked about this and stated- “Winning every series is more important than ever, not just for the scoreboard, but also for building that momentum”. Therefore, in every match, the veteran line-up with T1 Keria yields good results and prepares them for the upcoming big playoffs of the LCK Spring Split.

T1 faces Hanwha Life Esports next to end the group stages of LCK Spring Split 2021.

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