With T1 qualifying for the Mid-Season Invitational again this year, it's time to evauluate the team's performance so far. After an incredible League of Legends Championship Korea (LCK) 2022 Spring Season, where T1 smashed through the competition and came out on top, they've been placed in MSI Group A along with Team Aze, DetonatioN FocusMe, and Saigon Buffalo.
Not only did they win the 2022 Spring Season, but they did so with style – breaking records as they went and securing their place at the top of the table with 18 wins in a row.
Whether the seemingly unstoppable team can keep their streak going when MSI 2022 kicks off in Busan, South Korea, is anybody's guess. We take a look at their history on the international stage, and consider what we might expect from T1 this time around.
T1 have been key players in the League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational from the first iteration of the competition in 2015, when they were still known as SK Telecom T1. They made a name for themselves right from the start, playing some heart-stopping games as the world looked on. After an intense campaign, they managed to come second across the entire competition, setting the standard for their return the next year.
MSI 2016 took place in Shanghai, China, and had already become an internationally renowned gauntlet for the best League of Legends players the world had to offer. T1 rose to the ranks again, participating for the second time in a row as LCK representatives, and built on their experience from the previous year. Despite losses to North America's Counter Logic Gaming and Flash Wolves from Taiwan on the first day, T1 were able to regroup on Day Two and come back swinging.
After that first day, the team didn't drop a single game, even going back up against CLG once more and securing a win. Fans watched as T1 rose higher and higher, with the dream-team of Lee 'Duke' Ho-seong, Bae 'Bang' Jun-sik, Lee 'Wolf' Jae-wan, Kang 'Blank' Sun-gu and Lee 'Faker' Sang-hyeok ensuring their names would go down in MSI history. In the finals they were once again up against CLG, and T1 used all their momentum to bring home a 3-0 win, holding high the winner's trophy at the second ever MSI.
MSI 2017 was the biggest yet, with huge names taking to the international stage, and a great deal up for grabs. T1 still held the title from the previous year, after seemingly sailing through the competition, but 2017 was to be the year that proved their mettle in the face of a strong challenge.
By no means was this year plain sailing for the tenacious team, who had to muster their strength each day to keep their place at the top of the table. There were a fair mix of wins and losses, but the determination of T1 eventually began to dominate the competition, who came out on top of the Group stage with an 8-2 win/loss record before deleting Taiwanese team Flash Wolves in a 3-0 victory. Ultimately, the final was between T1 and G2 Esports, with both teams looking strong. Incredibly, T1 managed a 3-1 win in the final and were rewarded with their second MSI winner's trophy in a row.
No team had ever, or has ever since, won two back-to-back MSI competitions, so although T1 have had a relatively quiet interval in between, they still hold the record. After placing third in 2019, the team then had to deal with the tribulations of the pandemic, which had a massive impact on esports across the world. T1 received a shake up at the start of 2022, and now look more than ready take on the competition this month.
For many League of Legends fans, T1 head into MSI 2022 as an iconic team, albeit one that has changed over the years. Famously, Faker is still among their roster ranks in the mid lane, having played over 700 games in the LCK with his team, but the newer additions of Choi 'Zeus' Woo-je, Moon 'Oner' Hyeon-joon, Lee 'Gumayusi' Min-hyeong and Ryu 'Keria' Min-seok have created a formidable team that has remained unshaken throughout the 2022 Spring Season.
Fans remain confident that the T1 of 2022 is the team to win the MSI trophy for a third time. We'll just have to see how it all plays out when MSI 2022 starts…