Faker Makes A Return From Injury, Helps T1 Break A 5-Game Losing Streak

02 Aug 2023
Tit Krajnik 02 Aug 2023
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  • Faker returns to T1 after an arm injury
  • T1 managed to secure a spot in LCK Summer 2023 playoffs during Faker's absence but suffered in performance
  • With Faker back on the roster, T1 won their first match after a five-game slump
Faker T1
Faker T1 (Getty Images)
Faker stepped down from T1's active roster on July 2, when the Korean esports organisation announced that its star mid laner was struggling with an arm injury. At the time not much was revealed about the severity of the injury, only that Faker would be taking an indefinite break from competing.

In Faker's place, T1 promoted its academy mid laner Yoon "Poby" Sung-won, who had huge shoes to fill. But due to T1's strong start to the LCK 2023 Summer, the team was never in real danger of missing out on the playoffs, so the pressure was not big on the young mid laner.

Still, as soon as Faker stepped down, things took a sudden turn for the worse for T1, who looked like an entirely different team. Before Faker's injury, at the end of LCK 2023 Summer Week 4, T1 were 6-2, which was good for third place in the league standings. By the end of Faker's short break, T1 were 7-9.

Throughout the four weeks without Faker in the mid lane, T1 have played eight series and have won just one – against Noingshim RedForce (2-0). However, the Korean squad were far less successful against DRX (0-2), Gen.G (0-2), Dplus KIA (0-2), Hanwha Life Esports (0-2), DRX (1-2), and KT Rolster (0-2).

Luckily, due to T1's strong start to the season, the team was able to lock in a spot for the LCK 2023 Summer Playoffs by winning just one of their eight series. However, the team's position in the league standings dropped by two spots, how sitting in fifth place, two wins behind Dplus KIA and three ahead of Liiv SANDBOX and Nongshim RedForce.

The effect Faker's absence had was quite substantial, with T1 failing to look nearly as solid as they did with the star mid laner. And the importance of his presence was further established on Wednesday when Faker returned to the starting lineup in T1's game against Kwangdong Freecs.

With Faker on the roster, T1 disposed of Kwangdong Freecs easily, winning the series 2-0, with a +10k and +13 gold leads across the two maps played. Even though Kwnagdong Freecs are one of the weakest teams in the league, T1's improvement was noticeable, as the team now finally looks as solid as they did before Faker's injury.

Faker's return to competitive play comes five days before the end of the LCK 2023 Summer regular season and a week before the start of the LCK 2023 Summer Playoffs. 

Due to T1's abysmal run through the last four weeks (1-7), the Korean powerhouse will not manage to secure a direct bye to the second round of the playoffs and instead begin their journey towards the LCK 2023 Summer trophy in the first round, on Tuesday, August 8, or Wednesday, August 9.