MSI 2023 Preview: T1

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MSI 2023 Preview: T1

Can the LCK powerhouse find redemption at MSI 2023 after their fourth finals loss in a row?

No team around the world has looked as dominant as T1 did while losing back-to-back-to-back-to-back finals. That is four straight runner-up spots for T1 ever since they won the LCK 2022 Sprign without dropping a single series. Since then they lost to RNG in the MSI 2022 Finals, to DRX at Worlds 2022 Finals and got beaten by Gen.G in two LCK Finals, despite being the favorites in almost all of these tournaments.

t1 after drx loss
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 05: T1 reacts onstage after defeat by DRX at the League of Legends World Championship Finals on November 5, 2022 in San Francisco, CA. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

The losses start to hurt more since the expectations on this star-studded roster get bigger and bigger with experience. Back in the MSI Finals in 2022, many players on the roster were still young and could be considered rookies. But now these are the players many fans and analysts consider to be the best players in their roles, which means it looks worse for the team when they fall short.

Of course, this doesn’t mean T1 is suddenly hopeless just because they are labeled as “chokers” online. It’s still a roster stacked with talent. These five players are still among the best in this world at League of Legends, and it would be wrong to count them out even with their recent track record. Maybe they won’t be the outright favorites this time around in London, but a T1 victory on May 21 wouldn’t definitely be surprising.

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No international trophies for T1 for over half a decade

The last time T1 proved themselves as the best team in the world by winning an international competition was back in 2017’s Mid-Season Invitational as SK Telecom T1. Since then they made a lot of deep runs in multiple MSIs or Worlds but always fell by the wayside at the end, even when they were the favorites. In this new era of T1, the only remaining player from MSI 2017 is Faker.

Unkillable Demon King seems unaffected by time as well and is still an important part of the organization’s continuing success. His playstyle changed a lot since his earlier years, a lot more team-oriented now. Sure, Faker is still a playmaker when necessary but it’s more common to see him take a step back on the Rift, put his teammates in better positions by funneling them gold and play a more supportive style. Admittedly Faker has been more mistake-prone in recent years. He especially had a bad performance during the 2023 Spring Finals.

If one player needs to be the poster boy for the current T1 team, it has to be Keria. For the last two years, Keria is not only regarded as the best support worldwide but also as a candidate for the best player at the moment, not common sentiment for a support player who is just 20 years old. He is definitely one of the most mechanically talented supports we’ve seen, capable of piloting a wide range of champions. He was dominating the LCK during the ADC support meta with picks like Caitlyn and Kalista, they are one of the most dangerous Lucian/Nami’s with Gumayusi and at this point everyone saw one of his Thresh clips online. In a meta highly focused on bot lane, he is a massive point of strength for T1.

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keria t1
BUSAN, SOUTH KOREA – MAY 07: Ryu “Keria” Min-seok of T1 poses at the League of Legends – Mid-Season Invitational Features Day on May 7, 2022 in Busan, South Korea. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

There is of course a top side to this team as well. When at their best, Zeus and Oner are the best duo that play around the top lane in the current meta. While he picked up more tanks this split, Zeus is still one of the most dangerous carry top laners in the scene and he is able to carry games with Oner playing around his top laner more than other junglers.

T1 roster and players to watch

  • Top lane: Choi “Zeus” Woo-je
  • Jungle: Mun “Oner” Hyeon-jun
  • Mid lane: Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok
  • Bot lane: Lee “Gumayusi” Min-hyeong
  • Support: Ryu “Keria” Min-seok

It’s hard to pick one or two players to specifically focus on for T1. Anyone on this team can be the carry for any one game. But as a general rule, Zeus and Keria are probably the most important pieces. If Zeus is able to generate those leads he usually does, most teams will struggle to match T1. And Keria is the second one because he is Keria.

For more of our coverage during MSI 2023, follow us on ESTNN.

MSI 2023 Preview: T1
Rohat Dicle Kılınç
Rohat is a writer mainly focused on the League of Legends esports scene, and an LCS hopeful.