If you’re wondering who is the best player ever in League of Legends, here’s everything you need to know about Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok.
Who is Faker?
Faker is a South Korean professional gamer for the esports title League of Legends (LoL). Considered by the community as the GOAT of the game, Faker is known for his exceptional skills and mechanics. He has won a total of four World Championships (2013, 2015, 2016, and 2023), 10 domestic titles, 2 MSI (Mid-Season Invitational), as well as the Gold Medal for League of Legends at the 2022 Asian Games.
Often referred to as the “unkillable demon king”, Faker is the most decorated player in League of Legends and one of the very few to stay at the top competitive level for over a decade.
- Real Name: Lee Sang-hyeok (Korean: 이상혁)
- Age: 26
- Birthdate: May 7, 1996
- Country of Origin: South Korea
- Team: T1
- Role: Mid Lane
Since his debut, Faker has always played on the T1 (formerly known as SKT T1) roster, becoming co-owner in 2021.
Faker SKT contract
While Faker has signed with SK Telecom T1 since the beginning of his career, he is not officially bound to SKT for the rest of his life. Through the global Riot contract player database, we can see that Faker does have a contract end date, which ends in November 2025. Considering he has become a co-owner of the organization he plays for, it’s likely that Faker will continue to be part of T1 for long, even if he retires as a player.
As someone considered to be the best player in the world for multiple years, it is no surprise that Faker’s salary/contract has been estimated to be worth millions. While the exact number hasn’t been disclosed, his earnings have definitely gone past the 1 million threshold, given the number of World championships and domestic titles won.
Faker’s title wins
Faker has been on the team’s starting roster since the creation of the SKT ruling dynasty. His glory directly relates to the teams’ success, both locally in the LCK and on the global stage such as MSI and Worlds.
Below is the full list of trophies Faker has earned so far:
- Korea Regional Finals Season 3,
- LoL Worlds 2013,
- LCK 2015 Spring Playoffs,
- LCK 2015 Summer Playoffs,
- LoL Worlds 2015,
- IEM Season 10 WC,
- MSI 2016,
- LoL Worlds 2016,
- LCK 2017 Spring Playoffs
- 2017 MSI.
- LCK 2019 Spring Playoffs
- LCK 2019 Summer Playoffs
- LCK 2020 Spring Playoffs
- LCK 2022 Spring Playoffs
- 2022 Asian Games
- LoL Worlds 2023.
How old is Faker?
Faker is currently 27 years old having started his competitive journey 10 years ago at the age of 16!
Faker’s T1 skins
As a four-time world champion, Faker has four skins dedicated to him. That said, the latest one (2023 edition) is yet to be released. The other three are SKT Zed, SKT Ryze, and SKT Syndra.
Where can you find Faker?
Faker Domestic Career
Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok began his LoL career on SK Telecom. He was originally a part of the SKT T1 2 lineup that was built around him. Together with his teammates, he played in 2013 OLYMPUS Champions Spring. Despite being complete newcomers, SKT T1 2 showed up in the group stage, securing a playoffs seed with a 3-1-1 record (wins-ties-losses).
In the Quarterfinals, they scored a confident victory against Najin Shield, but the following match had them losing 1-3 to MVP Ozone. Still, SKT T1 2 regained their composure and defeated CJ Frost in the third-place match. As for Faker, his acute game sense and mechanical prowess made him one of the best mid laners in the league.
After the tournament, SK Telecom released its other lineup, and Faker’s team was renamed to SKT T1. Under this new flag, they entered 2013 HOT6iX Champions Summer. Their performance grew even stronger, and SKT T1 breezed through groups without dropping a single game. In the playoffs, they dismantled Jin Air Falcons and took down their previous nemesis, MVP Ozone. The finals against KT Rolster Bullets came down to the wire, and SKT T1 had to pull off a spectacular reverse-sweep to claim their first trophy.
With that, they got seeded into the last round of the Regional Finals. They once again clashed with KT Bullets, pulling off a 3-1 victory. and qualifying for their first World Championship. After the event, SK Telecom picked up another 5-man lineup, and Faker’s team became known as SKT T1 K.
Faker went to his first international tournament—the 2013 World Championship—as a part of the SKT T1 lineup. His team tore through the group stage, but it was only in the playoffs that it reached its peak. After 2-0’ing Gamania Bears in the first round, SKT squared off against Najin Black Sword in the Semifinals. Both teams traded blow for blow, and SKT barely squeezed out a 3-2 win.
The finals against RNG were seamless in comparison and the Korean powerhouse claimed the trophy with a confident 3-0 victory. Faker was the clear-cut superstar, and his standout performance earned him the title of the best player in the world.
SKT T1 K started the new season with 2013-2014 PANDORA.TV Champions Winter. This time, their dominance reached unprecedented levels. SKT T1 K took over the group stage and crushed Samsung Blue, KT Bullets, and Samsung Ozone in the playoffs without losing a single game. This run went down in history as the strongest OGN performance to date.
Their success was short-lived, though, as SKT T1 K had to release their support—ManDu—due to health issues. His replacement, Casper, didn’t provide the same presence, and the entire team struggled in 2014 HOT6iX Champions Spring. They barely made it out of the group stage with a 50% win rate and suffered a crushing defeat in the Quarterfinals against Samsung Ozone.
ManDu came back to the team for 2014 HOT6iX Champions Summer. SKT T1 K entered the tournament with high hopes, but inexplicably, they ended up performing the same way they did in spring. A 1-3 Quarterfinals loss to Samsung White put an end to their playoffs run, and SKT T1 K had to play a tiebreaker against the same opponents to fight for the second Worlds seed. In a predictable fashion, they lost the series and were knocked down to the Regional Finals.
But this wasn’t a start of another Cinderella story, and a 1-3 defeat against Najin White Shield eliminated them from the competition. And just like that, SKT T1 K missed out on the 2014 World Championship. In the off-season, OGN changed the sister team rules, and SK Telecom were forced to merge their lineups into SKT T1. Faker stayed as the starting mid laner, although he had to share playtime with Easyhoon.
Even though SKT T1 showed up in the preseason tournament, they struggled to catch up to GE Tigers in 2015 SBENU Champions Spring. With an 11-3 record, they finished the regular season in second place and secured a bye to the Semifinals. There, they defeated CJ Entus in a close 5-game series and went on to face GE Tigers in the finals. Surprisingly enough, SKT 3-0’d the same team that challenged them during the regular season and claimed an OGN trophy as well as a 2015 MSI ticket.
With a staggering 5-0 record in the group stage, SKT looked set to finish first at the event. But inexplicably, they were challenged by Fnatic in the Semifinals. And while SKT T1 managed to score a narrow victory, they fell short in the finals against EDG.
SKT ramped up even more in 2015 SBENU Champions Summer. They towered above the competition, and their 17-1 record made them the best team during the regular season. And even though KT Rolster tried to challenge them in the playoffs finals, SKT sealed the deal with a dominant 3-0. This win also earned them an invitation to Worlds.
Faker put on a clinic at the 2015 World Championship. SKT were a cut above the competition—so much so that they didn’t drop any games before reaching the finals. There, they scored a 3-1 victory over KOO Tigers to take the gold medal.
In the off-season, SKT went to the 2015 LoL KeSPA Cup. They took out SBENU Sonicboom in the Quarterfinals, but they fell short in the following match against ESC Ever.
Even so, SKT T1 came out strong for the 2016 LCK Spring Split. With a 13-5 record in the regular season, they secured a third-place finish and readied themselves for the playoffs. Then, they went on a winning streak, defeating the likes of Jin Air, KT Rolster, and ROX Tigers to claim another OGN trophy.
That being said, they encountered some hardships at the 2016 Mid-Season Invitational. SKT T1 had a middling showing in groups, qualifying for the knockout stage in fourth place. But the Korean powerhouse picked up the slack and dismantled RNG and CLG to win the tournament.
SKT had an even better showing in summer. This time, they managed to finish the regular season in second place, which meant they got a bye to the Semifinals. They kicked off the playoffs with a 2-0 lead over KT Rolster, but inexplicably, their opponents picked up the slack and pulled off a devastating reverse-sweep by KT Rolster. Even so, SKT collected enough Circuit Points to qualify for the 2016 World Championship.
This is when Faker made his presence known at the 2016 World Championship. With his help, SKT secured a 5-1 group stage record and advanced to the playoffs. In the Quarterfinals, they took down RNG with a 3-1 score before facing their strongest opponents in ROX Tigers and Samsung Galaxy. Both series came down to the wire, but in the end, SKT managed to score two 3-2 victories to claim their third Worlds trophy.
Towards the end of the season, SKT attended the 2016 LoL KeSPA Cup. They showed a lot of promise with a 2-0 victory over MVP, but the subsequent loss to ROX Tigers eliminated them from the tournament.
The organization entered the 2017 LCK Spring Split with renewed vigor. SKT dominated the regular season and their 16-2 record earned them a seed in the playoffs finals. There, they 3-0’d KT Rolster and Faker once again cemented himself as the best mid laner in the league.
However, more issues appeared in summer. Due to unstable side lanes, SKT lost a lot of ground and finished the regular season in fourth place. And while they managed to redeem themselves with playoffs victories against Afreeca Freecs, Samsung Galaxy, and KT Rolster, they couldn’t overcome Longzhu Gaming in the finals. Still, this showing was enough to qualify for the 2017 World Championship.
At the end of the year, Faker went to the 2017 World Championship. This time, SKT had a much shakier showing, and they had to rely on their late game expertise to come back from numerous deficits. Their playoffs series against Misfits and RNG went the full distance, and SKT T1 often found themselves on the brink of elimination.
Still, they regained their composure and reached finals. There, they clashed with a fellow LCK team, Samsung Galaxy. However, their lineup was far too unstable to challenge Samsung’s controlled playstyle, and for the first time in LoL history, SKT finished the World Championship in second place.
In the off-season, Faker attended the 2017 LoL KeSPA Cup. SKT kicked off the tournament with a confident victory over Griffin, but a 0-2 loss to Longzhu Gaming put an end to their run.
After a disappointing end to Worlds 2017, SKT T1 decided to make a couple of changes to the roster by bringing new top laners and Effort in the support role. The changes didn’t work out though, as the team struggled in both splits, finishing 4th and 7th in Spring and Summer, respectively.
Faker was also benched in the second split, which led to some backlash during that season. The frequent roster changes couldn’t allow the team to find a suitable playstyle and SKT couldn’t secure a spot for Worlds through the Regional Finals.
After the failed experiment from 2018, 2019 saw SKT completely revamp its roster and only retaining Faker from the previous year.
By picking up some of the best talents from other top teams, SKT T1 was back into dominance, destroying Griffin in both splits and winning back-to-back. Unfortunately, the international results weren’t as great, as the team only managed top 4 results at both MSI and Worlds, losing on both occasions to the rising G2 Esports.
2020 was an important year for the organization since it rebranded to T1 and Faker had renewed his contract with the organization for three years.
The season started off great with T1 winning the LCK Spring, taking its third consecutive domestic title. Unfortunately, the team failed to qualify for Worlds 2020, as the team struggled.
Faker was also benched in favor of Clozer, which didn’t help form a good synergy going into playoffs and the regional finals. After losing to Gen.G in the decisive match, 2020 marked another disappointing year in terms of results. Nonetheless, Faker still boasted outstanding win rates and became the first player to get 2,000 kills in the LCK.
The 2021 season picked off more or less where it ended, with the exception that T1 was already preparing for the second part of the year. During Spring, they fielded several sub-players as Keria was the only starting player throughout the split. Faker benched himself in that period following a period of underperformance.
After 4th place in Spring, T1 started pushing more in the second half of the year, qualifying for Worlds through the Regional Finals. At that point, Oner, Gumayusi, and Keria all became starting players.
Despite finishing at the top of their group, T1 faced DK in the semifinals, losing to them 2-3 and saying goodbye to their title hopes. Nonetheless, Faker continued to establish himself as the most experienced player in the world, having played more than 150 international matches in his career.
A top-four finish wasn’t enough for Faker and the team looked to make another upgrade in the top lane by bringing top laner Zeus.
Results were immediate: T1 managed to take the 2022 Spring title by achieving the first-ever perfect split (18-0). Faker also became the first player in the LCK to reach both 2,500 kills and 700 games. He also became the first player in League of Legends history to play 1000 professional matches.
At the 2022 Mid-Season Invitational, most people looked at T1 and Faker in their strongest form of recent years. However, their win streak was brought to an end when they lost to RNG in the final.
Since then, the team looked in a stagnant form as it often handicapped itself with sub-optimal drafts and meta reads. In the LCK Summer Split, Gen.G defeated T1 to take the trophy.
Nonetheless, the team secured Worlds qualification and went all the way to the final. In one of the most epic matches in recent history, T1 failed to take down the underdogs DRX, losing one of the closest Worlds finals.
Despite the agonizing loss, the roster decided to stick together and give it one last go. During the 2023 Spring Split, Faker broke another record, surpassing support player Gorilla for the most amount of assists.
Despite finishing first in the regular split with nearly another perfect split, the team dropped against Gen.G in the final.
At MSI, the Korean team went toe to toe with winners JD Gaming but they fell to the hands of BLG in the losers’ bracket.
Things got rougher going into Summer, as T1 seemingly looked weakened compared to the start of the season. Mid-way through the split, it was revealed that Faker had suffered from a major arm injury, which led him to be benched. With T1 Academy mid laner Poby coming in, the team struggled and finished 5th in the regular split. Faker rejoined at the start of the playoffs, leading his team to a top-two finish but eventually lost to Gen.G in the finals.
While most eyes were on Gen.G and JDG as the title favorites, T1 slowly worked their way into one of the most dominant runs ever. After a 3-1 record in the Swiss stage, including a win against BLG, T1 went on to take down all the LPL teams: LNG in the quarterfinals, JDG in semis, and WBG in the final. Out of the 15 matches played, T1 only lost two games and almost beat the record for the fastest final ever (still held by IG against FNC).
With this title win, Faker and T1 have won their fourth title together, becoming the first player to achieve this milestone, and also becoming the oldest player to win a Worlds trophy.
With his contract running until 2025, we might be witnessing Faker establishing his legacy again next year.