After a chaotic but relatively successful 2021, T1 decide to (kind of) run it back. T1’s year was by no means easy– they seemed to be out of sorts in the 2021 spring season, where it looked like they couldn’t settle on a starting five. When it appeared that they had, there was not enough time for their starting roster to get into their groove, and they were eliminated in the semifinals by Gen G with a 3-0 score line.
In the summer, the first half was rather up and down. However, their fortunes changed after letting go of coaches Lee “Zefa” Jae-min and Yang “Daeny” Dae-in. Son “Stardust” Seok-hee stepped in as interim head coach, and Kim “Moment” Ji-hwan was called up from the academy team. After their coaching staff change, the team became more consistent, ending their summer split at the finals, and despite losing to Damwon Kia, they secured a spot at the World Championship. They also secured the LCK’s third seed after beating Hanwha Life Esports in a close best of five.
Good run at Worlds
Their Worlds run was great considering the circumstances. They made it out of their group first after eventual World Champions Edward Gaming floundered in the second half of the group stage. They had an easy quarterfinal against Hanwha Life Esports, where they dominated 3-0, but then had a rematch of the summer final against Damwon Kia. While they were more evenly matched this time, they still ended up with a loss to Damwon 2-3.
In the offseason, T1 was rather quiet. Stardust was among the first to be announced to leave, citing a mutual agreement to part ways. The organization’s former ten-man roster started to thin out as well– Park “Teddy” Jin-Seong, Ryu “Hoit” Ho-seong, and Choi “Ellim” El-lim all left to join the Afreeca Freecs, Lee “Clozer” Ju-hyeon was traded over to Liiv Sandbox, Moon “Cuzz” Woo-chan joined kt Rolster, and Kim “Canna” Chang-dong left to be reunited with Lee “Effort” Sang-ho on Nongshim Redforce.
T1 League of Legends 'Stardust' 손석희 코치의 요청에 따라 금일부로 계약을 종료하며, T1은 손석희 코치의 새로운 도전을 끝까지 응원하겠습니다. 그동안의 성원과 지지에 감사드립니다. pic.twitter.com/ILvUUWkqWP
— T1 LoL (@T1LoL) November 8, 2021
Eventually, the reason for the lack of new signings was made clear: the roster would stay generally the same, but Choi “Zeus” Woo-je would be promoted to the starting roster. The rest of the roster simply renewed their contracts with the organization. Moment has also stayed with the organization as a coach, and Bae “Bengi” Seong-woong has signed to become coach of the main roster.
What can T1 achieve?
Zeus is known to be one of the best top laners of his generation. From the few games he played last year, his laning and team fight were seen to be very impressive, despite the roster problems during the time that he was playing. Moon “Oner” Hyeon-joon was a breakout jungler this past season, with his aggression being a treat to watch.
Lee “Gumayusi” Min-hyeong and Ryu “Keria” Min-seok were regarded as one of the best bottom lanes in the world, and they proved their worth at worlds as they stood toe-to-toe against some of the best. And who does not know about Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok? His storied career spanning almost a decade, with three world championships and a total of four world championship final appearances. He led last year’s young roster into a worlds semifinal, and now that those members have gained the necessary experience, who knows what heights they can reach this time?
T1 still seek to re-establish their old dynasty in the current era, and they look to be a top contender in 2022.