On Jan. 18, the 2023 LCK Spring Split began. The second match of the day was a blockbuster matchup as T1 faced Gen.G. The games were close, but at the end of the day, T1 succeeded in sweeping Gen.G 2-0. After the match, head coach Bae “Bengi” Seong-woong and mid laner Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok joined the press room for an interview.
How do you feel about today’s win?
Bengi: It was our first game of the season, and I’m happy that we started 2-0 against Gen.G. They say well begun is half done, so it feels that we are halfway to a successful season.
Faker: Since it was the first match, it was very important regarding the flow. I think it’s very meaningful that we had a 2-0 win.
In game 2, you benefitted through skirmishes, and it seemed that Lissandra took a major role in those situations. How do you evaluate Lissandra?
Faker: When the situations are set up, all of our players do well, so that went well in game 2. Since there were many things we could do, we had good plays as well.
Why did you build Ionian boots in game 1?
Faker: I had to get past an early game that was slightly disadvantageous, and I needed to catch up with the tempo.
On media day, teams picked Dplus KIA and T1 as favorites. What did you think while watching Dplus KIA play before your game?
Faker: Dplus KIA had a great performance in their first match. Since we beat Gen.G today, if we beat Dplus KIA too, we’ll get good results.
You maintained the same roster from last year. Heading into the spring split, what’s T1’s style going into spring? What do you think needs to be improved?
Bengi: At Worlds, we were a team that was good at both teamfights and macro, especially teamfights. I think we’ll have a similar style to last year since the meta hasn’t changed much. What we have to improve is understanding the meta, since there have been changes in the patches. Even in the next patch to come, there will be big changes, so understanding this is important in the spring.
Faker: The biggest strength of our players is that we have great individual performance. For us to keep showing good performances, it is important to constantly improve with a passionate heart. To do that, we need to work hard individually while clustering together as a team.
You always said that your goal was to be better than before. What do you think you improved the most from last year?
Faker: After losing so many finals, I thought a lot about what could have been done better for us to win. I thought that I should prepare the things we lacked when we had time. This year, my goal is to learn and put what I’ve learned into action well.
On media day, you were the only player to pick Gen.G as favorites. Did their performance meet your expectations?
Faker: Regarding laning or macro, Gen.G is as strong as they were last year. However, I felt that their teamwork wasn’t organized yet. We did win 2-0 today, but they’re still a strong team that can do well.
The rules have been changed for MSI. Two teams from the major leagues will go. What do you think about the changes? What are the pros and cons of attending MSI?
Bengi: Since there are two teams from each major league, the whole tournament has become as difficult as Worlds. Giving chances to more teams is a positive change. The pros of attending MSI are that you can maintain the spring season’s form through the MSI up to the summer split. On the other hand, the schedule is too tight. There will be many teams that are tired from the tight schedule.
Faker: Having two teams go to MSI is very positive as more teams could gain international experience and fans could enjoy more diverse games. As a pro player, the more the competitions, the more chances to find meaningful results. The experience of playing against teams from abroad and analyzing them is a big advantage. The cons of going to MSI is that there’s not enough rest compared to other teams. This could be different for each player, but it could be negative.
Up to now, T1 hasn’t been able to attend the world championships held in Korea. What are your plans for this year?
Bengi: I’ve never thought about planning for the whole year, but T1’s goal is always to become the best. Every year, our goal is to win Worlds. We missed all Worlds in Korea, but there have only been two. This year, we’ll get satisfying results.
(To Bengi) You’ve seen Faker since his debut. What do you think about him?
Bengi: It’s already been ten years since Faker has been around. He’s been around since when I debuted and is still here, showing top-tier performances. He’s still passionate about improving, so I think he’s a model pro gamer to the other pro players.