Lee is one of the only two players to have won the League of Legends World Championship three times. With more than 100 million unique viewers for the 2019 global finals, he surpasses the NFL Super Bowl in a game with 180 million monthly active users, and he is a star LoL player. In this blog, we'll discuss Lee's rise to popularity and how he made a name for himself in the Esports industry.
Lee Sang Hyeok’s early life
Lee was born on May 7th, 1996 in Seoul. In the Gangseo District of Seoul, he and his brother were raised by their father, Lee Kyung-joon, and his grandparents. Lee has always had a passion for riddles and computer games, and during his adolescence, he frequently played Chaos and Warcraft III custom maps. Late in 2011, he stumbled upon League of Legends and swiftly mastered it. He went to the same high school as Deft of DRX, Mapo High School, but quit to join SKT T1 K and pursue an esports career.
Lee’s first tournament
In 2013, SK Telecom T1 K selected Lee as their starting mid-laner. In October 2013, Lee led SKT T1 K to their first League of Legends World Championship victory. SKT T1 K dominated the Korean landscape. Due to his flawless Zed outplay versus KT Rolster Bullets mid-laner Yoo "Ryu" Sang-wook later in the HOT6iX Champions Summer 2013, which would later become one of the most legendary moments in League of Legends history, Lee solidified his reputation as a brilliant player. Lee played his first official tournament for SK.
Teams Faker has been a part of
Faker has had 2 teams in his Esports career. One was SK Telecom T1 K in 2013 and the other one being T1. Let us take a look at his journey with both teams.
SK Telecom T1 (2013-14) (Season 3)
The SK Telecom organization took "Faker" out of the solo queue so that a squad could be built around him in the middle lane. They ultimately decided on Impact, bengi, Piglet, and PoohManDu to be his teammates, and the group was introduced in February 2013 under the name SK Telecom T1 2. They achieved their maiden OGN qualification in the 2013 OLYMPUS Champions Spring. They performed above and beyond all expectations to finish third, falling to MVP Ozone 3-1 in the semifinals and then defeating CJ Entus Frost 3-0 in the championship game. After just one tournament, Faker's dominant play placed him in the running for greatest mid-laner in the world. After their sibling team, SK Telecom T1 1, was dissolved, the team's name was changed to SK Telecom T1.
Faker's brilliant play across the season earned him the title of the best player in the world by most fans and experts alike. The SK Telecom organization picked up a new sister team, ultimately named SK Telecom T1 S, so Faker's team was renamed to SK Telecom T1 K.
After the 2014 season, Lee reportedly turned down a $1,000,000 offer from a Chinese team in favor of staying in Korea with SKT. In November 2014, it was revealed that Lee had turned down contract offers from multiple Chinese businesses, including one for streaming that was valued at 500 million yuan ($425,403 USD).
In 2015, Lee and Lee "Easyhoon" Ji-hoon shared the mid-lane position. Either of the players might be substituted into the game depending on the team SKT intended to use. In the LCK, Lee put on a number of standout performances, including a pentakill with his LeBlanc against NaJin e-mFire. SKT won the summer split and qualified for the world championship.
At the 2015 World Championship, Lee and his team won while only dropping one game in the finals for a record of 15–1 throughout the tournament.
T1 (2014–present) (Season 6)
Lee and his group won the LCK Spring Split to kick off the 2016 Season. SKT's participation in the 2016 Mid-Season Invitational was ensured by this victory. MSI was the only significant international competition they had not yet won at that time. Despite being widely favored going into the competition, they struggled at first and shockingly dropped a few games in the group stage. However, they were able to turn things around during the elimination phase, and they ultimately won the championship by defeating Counter Logic Gaming from North America in the finals.
Lee was the first player in the LCK to surpass 1,000 kills on July 11, 2016. On MVP Beyond's Reksai, he recorded his 1,000th kill while playing Malzahar.
SKT finished third in the 2016 LCK Summer Split, but thanks to circuit points, they were still able to compete in the 2016 World Championship. The club advanced past the group stage and into the playoff round with ease. They defeated the ROX Tigers in a tight 3-2 series in the playoffs. They won their third global championship by defeating Samsung Galaxy in the finals in a hard-fought 3-2 series. The tournament's Most Valuable Player was selected as Lee.
Faker’s last tournament (Season 12)
Lee played his 1,000th career game against KT Rolster on February 18, 2022. He was the second athlete to reach the feat. Leblanc was pinned, and he won the match. The 700th LCK game Lee played was on February 20, 2022. He is the first player in the LCK to reach 700 games. He locked Ahri in for the game when it was against NS RedForce. Lee was a member of the 2022 LCK Spring Split squad that finished the regular season with an 18-0 record and went unbeaten, becoming the first squad to do so since the league's creation. In the playoffs, Lee won his 10th LCK championship by outlasting Gen.G 3-1.
On July 8, 2022, Lee became the first player to achieve 500 wins in the LCK.
How did Lee Sang Hyeok earn a fortune of $1.3 million through tournaments alone?
He has been dubbed the Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Lionel Messi of League of Legends (LoL), but what distinguishes Lee Sang-hyeok is there is no debate – he is undoubtedly the best to ever do it in his field. That makes up for his popularity and fame in the Esports world.
- He has amassed more than US$1.3 million in prize money alone, with the official Olympics page putting his salary at “just shy of US$5 million per year” in 2018.
- He has a YouTube channel with 1.52 million subscribers (via SocialBlade), as well as a Twitch channel (via Stream Charts) that he regularly streams on to an average of 23,000 viewers.
- The ‘Demon King’ earns around $24k a month on Twitch while earning anywhere between £1.2k to £19.6k a month from YouTube.
- The rest of Faker’s money earned has come from many different tournaments as well as three high-profile World Tournament wins, as well as nine domestic trophies.
Faker and his achievements in the gaming world.
- Cool gave him the nickname "Unkillable Demon King," which has grown to be used frequently for him.
- Is well-known for his LeBlanc plays versus MVP Blue during an OGN Spring match; he went 10-0-1 by 18 minutes and forced MVP Blue to concede at 20 minutes.
- Solo-killed Kha'Zix of Ambition at his OGN debut. The ambition was regarded as one of Korea's top mid-laners at the time.
- until the 2015 Mid-Season Invitational final versus Edward Gaming, which he lost with LeBlanc in Game 5, was unbeaten on LeBlanc.
- Many Esports writers and professional players, including Thorin, Alex Ich, and Maknoon, refer to him as the finest League of Legends player in the entire world and have dubbed him the "Lionel Messi of League of Legends."
- Dustin Beck, the vice president of Riot Games, said Faker is the "Michael Jordan" of League of Legends in a press conference at Staples Center.
We hope this blog gave you an insight into the life of Faker and how he achieved so much through gaming.
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