SK Telecom T1

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Founding of the top team: SKT

SK Telecom T1 was founded / renamed in 2014, by SK Telecom, a Korean telecommunications corporation. The ‘new’ team came about with the fusion of two previous esports teams SKT T1: S and K. SKT as a whole, has enjoyed significant success playing games like StarCraft even prior to League of Legends.

The LoL team first started off dominating the LCK in South Korea with rookie, Faker. As the underdogs, they quickly advanced to the world stage through the 2013 League of Legends World Championship. Since then, they have gained global recognition and remain one of the top teams.

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To maintain their dominance, they have to always be in top form. For that, ten players are included in the roster, with them all coming together to offer support at different times according to the coach’s discretion. Given the fact that they’ve been rated first in world rankings for years, the group is undoubtedly considered to be one of the best esports teams in the world. And, although they seem to be slowing down in 2018, their reputation still stands firm.

SKT’s world class roster

SKT is composed of some of the best players that we’ve seen, which is why they have achieved such staggering results during tournaments. As for the current roster, which includes Faker, Bang, Wolf, Blossom and Untara; Faker acts as the team leader, a responsibility he’ll hold for years to come. Seeing as how each of the players have been part of other high profile teams, they’ve amassed a wealth of knowledge that has proven invaluable for their victories.

While the other members, excluding Faker, may not receive the MVP awards often, you mustn’t underestimate their strength. Previous spring and summers splits have shown most of SKT members to be amongst the best in the world.

True, SKT doesn’t have the absolute best players filling every roll, but as long the team is able to move into the late game, Faker’s shot calling can totally transform any game.

Delving into the roster, SKT’s top play: Faker

Faker has long been regarded as the best mid laner in the world, if not the best period. His mechanics, decision making and ability to fully coordinate with his jungler are all top class, allowing him to gain worldwide recognition. While SKT’s results have dropped in 2018, Faker’s individual play and results have been only effected slightly, with him doing well to control his lane for the most part.

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Faker has been named MVP countless time, undoubtedly the most valued player in the team, and the world alike. With the MVP status, Faker is certainly welcome in any team around the globe, even with a language barrier (just as Piglet was scooped up by Team Liquid). With SKT being able to secure the worlds’ best player for the entirety of his career thus far, there is no doubt that Faker is the strongest and largest pillar in SKT.

History: How did SKT T1 rise to the top?

Going off of the fact that each team member has rightly earned their place on the roster, SKT have managed to win quite a few events.  As early as 2013, way back when the team was known as SK Telecom T1 K, the group won the World Championships, with them then repeating the feat in 2015 and 2016.

As if winning three championships wasn’t enough, SKT continued to steam roll the rest when they played at the IEM Katowice and the Champions Spring, in 2016. The fact that they so effortlessly moved into first place is testament to their focus and determination. Making sure to never lessen their pace, they then went on to win the 2016 Mid-Season Invitational, adding further fuel to them becoming the highest ranked team across the globe. Prior to 2017, they were expected to rise up and keep on winning, which is what they did at the 2017 LCK Split, 2017 LCK Spring Playoffs, and the 2017 Mid-Season Invitational. Since then, they’ve batted about between 2nd and 4th positions at three other events, and so they’re creating more than enough opportunities to propel them back to victory.

In reference to any rewards SKT have won, there are several to mention; with the team being awarded two from the prestigious Korea Esports Awards in 2016, which included Best Esports Team of the Year and LoL Best Leadership Award. Taking a closer look at the leadership award, we can see that it was a formal recognition to the achievements of cCarter (Choi Byeong-hoon). An indication, if you will, of how his experience and prowess has been instrumental in helping SKT gain such astounding results in most of the major esports tournaments. Although cCater is no longer on the roster, his legacy will undoubtedly influence the team to keep pushing forward.

Are SKT T1 supported by any major sponsors?

The fact that SKT is so successful in both the LCK’s spring and summer splits already attracts a multitude of sponsors to their door. On top of their regional dominance, their achievements in the world stage, especially within the most coveted esports tournament, the World Championships, means that they’ve attracted many sponsorships. Consequently, SKT is supported by Corsair, Razer, and Pocari Sweat (a popular Korean drink), to name a few.

Furthermore, SKT has established itself as a major brand in the esports industry by generating an impressive following on social media. Via this medium, fans can access all the latest information from their favourite players via their Twitch, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Weibo accounts. Going off of all the information we’ve provided, SKT is a team that is certain to maintain its awe inspiring record.

Moreover, as you’ve probably guessed, the team’s biggest sponsor is the behemoth Korean telecoms company, SK Telecom, after all, the team is named after them. This type of close sponsorship is rarely seen, as the primary sponsor would likely have to own at least 50% of the team’s shares to maintain the publicity the team’s name brings.

Rivals

With the team existing for so long, it is no surprise SK Telecom T1 has many rivals, especially after being the champions of the world’s strongest region for so long. Samsung Galaxy (now KSV eSports), kt Rolster, Longzhu Gaming (now Kingzone) and Rox Tigers to name a few. All of them have at some point trailed behind SKT, whether it be in the Spring Split, Spring Playoffs, Summer Split or Summer Playoffs.

Even out of Korea, they have found new rivals such as Royal Never Give Up, who fell at the hand of SKT multiple times in the League of Legends World Championships. Even top teams like Team SoloMid and G2 Esports have players expressing their wish to overcome SKT in various interview, especially mid laners like Bjergsen and Jensen who desperately aspire to defeat Faker.

While many players and teams fall against SKT there are some who rise; those who prove that the world’s best team, in fact, can be defeated.

Chances at their fourth world champion title?

Currently, SKT are at a low point. While the individual talent on the team isn’t to poor, some are not too outstanding either. Their risk in signing rookie Blossom didn’t pay off, leading to their downfall in the 2018 Spring split. SKT roster is versatile and can switch members often (due to the huge ten man roster), unfortunately, this may lead to inconsistencies as certain members fail to get proper stage time. This problem worsens if all ten players are forced to rotate in scrims, leading to an overall lack of synergy.

SK Telecom T1 certainly does have a chance at getting their fourth world championship title, however, it is unlikely that this will happen in the near future. The current roster just doesn’t synergise well and are failing to adapt to the rising power of other LCK teams.

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