Despite being one of the oldest players in the League of Legends competitive scene, Sang Hyeok “Faker” Lee continues to dominate the Esport. Faker is such a legend that his name has become synonymous with being an absolute monster at a video game. Despite being past the age many consider the peak for video game performance, Faker remains the same living legend as he always was. This leaves many wondering, how is Faker still so good?
Featured image courtesy of the artist. Source unknown.
World’s Best Mental
Competing on stage takes a huge toll on a player’s mental and general capabilities. But no player is as experienced as Faker when it comes to remaining steady, and competing under these circumstances. In situations where most players would crumble under the pressure, Faker plays the games like he’s taking a casual walk in the park. For Faker, it’s just another day at the office.
A player can be good at the game, achieve rank 1 in their ranked ladders on multiple occasions, begin their competitive career, and still fall up short to Faker in regards to mental. But what makes Faker’s experience and mental so unique? Throughout his decade professional career in League of Legends, Faker acquired experience of winning worlds multiple times. This stands as a dream that most players in the world will never achieve. Much more, achieve the goal three times over.
Of course, he’s still a human being. Despite his bigger than life reputation, Faker makes mistakes. It’s about how Faker comes back from those slips in judgement, and continues onward that earned him the title “Greatest of all Time.”
Excellent Team Leader
Practically every player in the world looks up to Faker. He stands as a symbol of excellence and is very much a living legend. But a single, skilled player cannot carry the entire team. A player can be weighed down by their teammates, and therefore their plays therefore may not express their strength accurately. So how is it that the current T1 manages to allow Faker to shine in such a way?
Well, Faker isn’t just an amazing player. He’s an amazing leader. Though he may not be the most “energetic,” for lack of better words, in regards to motivating his teammates, his experience and skill speaks volumes on their own. Because his mental stays so steady through the most extreme pressure situations, his allies can thereby look towards him as an anchor. Whether it’s in LCK Playoffs or on the International Stage for Finals for MSI, Faker’s mental quite frankly shines. The newer players can therefore stand by his plays, attempting to mimic learn from his example and potentially outshine him if possible. That’s the magic of T1’s current roster.
Take for example Keria and Gumayushi. Both have begun making a name for themselves, with Keria being discussion for the label of one of the greatest support players of all time. All professional players have ambition. They’re all competitive by nature, attempting to be the best. And though the undisputable best player of all time is on their team, T1 members likely want to outshine even the likes of Faker.
And when the competition directly in front of their eyes is at that high of a standard, the roster grows in a unique way where the players climb to an unattainable form of perfection. In other words, because Faker is built different, he inspires those around him in a way where no other icon can.
Though Faker has achieved enough in his lifetime, the legendary mid laner continues his never ending grind for perfection. Meanwhile, many other players grow complacent with the idea of their legacy. Many professional players retire either once they’ve accomplished a certain goal, or even after their performance seems to be declining. Honestly, in such a fiercely competitive e-sport, such sentiments are completely understandable. But Faker is, once again, built different.
His career wasn’t always sunshine and butterflies. T1 went through many down times, where the team got destroyed. Many audience members argued that Faker was past his prime, and that his career would be downhill from here. But clearly, that’s simply not true.
Optimal Age (myth)
There’s an understanding among the esports community that players have an optimal age for performance. Once they past that age, their skills only begin to drop. Statistics drew many to this hypothesis, as the majority of players seemed to display this trend. But the hypothesis was created too early, with the supporting evidence having been drawn from circumstantial situations.
Professional Player Lifestyles
Being a professional player is not easy. And though it seems like all glitter and butterflies, being on stage and constantly having to test oneself against the best of the best takes a tole on the mental. The industry is very cut throat, requiring many pro players to live frugally in the hopes of eventually making it big. The unfortunate fact is, most never do.
Many players leave the scene because they simply cannot afford to continue committing their life to a game or dream that may never provide for them. It doesn’t help that the typical lifestyle surrounding League of Legends is incredibly unhealthy, characterized by all-nighters, binge playing, and general lack of self awareness.
Players attempting to sprint to reach the finish line often burn out before accomplishing their goal. Maybe their body begins breaking down, or their mental health determinates. Whatever the case, there’s a lot of reasons that a player’s optimal performance on stage can be bogged down from a unsustainable lifestyle.
How is Faker (built) different?
Check out Ashley Kang’s interview with Faker for Korizon Esports for more information.
In the interview with Korizon Esports, Faker states
“I’ll take myself for example. I’ve also recently been experiencing a drop in my attention span. However, I believe this is based on my lack of looking after my own condition.”
Faker’s overall health and mental seem stronger than ever. Even when comparing how Faker looked towards the very beginning of his career to now, it’s clear that he’s physically healthier. Of course, this is a superficial comparison, therefore doesn’t necessarily accurately represent his well being.
For those wondering if T1 Faker is still good or not, ponder no longer. He’s undeniably still an absolute monster. Some believe that he’s past his prime, but it’s very difficult to realistically gauge how skilled a player is at League of Legends. Especially considering the game heavily centers around team play, there are too many inconsistent variables.
Faker set a record for the most professional League of Legends games in esports history, being one of two players breaking through the 1000 matches mark. Throughout his decade of Esports history, Faker continues practicing the essentials of keeping up his performance. By taking care of himself and creating a routine healthy lifestyle, the living legend stands as an exceptional example of an unbreakable mental. And by doing so, lives up to his name of the best player in League of Legends history.
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