Lee Sang-hyeok (Korean: 이상혁; born May 7, 1996), better known by his in-game name Faker (Korean: 페이커), is a South Korean professional League of Legends player. Formerly known as GoJeonPa (Korean: 고전파) on the Korean server, he was picked up by LCK team SK Telecom T1 in 2013 and has played as the team's mid laner since.
Faker is renowned for his high mechanical skill and extremely versatile champion pool. He is best known for playing LeBlanc, Zed, Syndra, Azir, Ahri, and Ryze. He is the first player to have reached 1,000 and 2,000 kills in the LCK, and the second to have played 500 games.
Faker is one of only two players to have won the League of Legends World Championship three times, having done so in 2013, 2015 and 2016. He has also won the All-Star Paris 2014, Mid-Season Invitational tournament in 2016, Mid-Season Invitational tournament in 2017 and IEM World Championship 2016. Faker has won a total of $1,254,240.23 in prize money, and is ranked #64 in prize money won across all eSports. He is widely considered to be the best League of Legends player of all time. He owns three different League of Legends skins as a result of winning World Championship, which include SKT T1 Zed (2013), SKT T1 Ryze (2015) and SKT T1 Syndra (2016).
Faker became a part owner of T1 Entertainment & Sports in early 2020.
Faker was born in Seoul on May 7, 1996. He and his brother were raised by their grandparents and their father, Lee Kyung-joon, in Gangseo District, Seoul. Faker always loved puzzles and video games, often playing custom maps for Warcraft III and the MOBA Chaos during his teenage years. He discovered League of Legends in late 2011, and quickly became adept at the game. He attended Mapo High School, the same high school that Deft of DragonX attended, but dropped out to join SKT T1 K and pursue a career in esports.
Faker was picked up by SK Telecom T1 K in 2013 as their starting mid laner. SKT T1 K dominated the Korean scene and in October 2013 Faker led them to win their first League of Legends World Championship. Later in the HOT6iX Champions Summer 2013, Faker cemented his status as a brilliant player due to his perfect outplay against KT Rolster Bullets mid laner Yoo "Ryu" Sang-wook, which would then become one of the most iconic moments in League of Legends history.
In 2014, SK Telecom T1 K followed their success through in the OGN winter season, making the entire run without dropping a single game. They would then go on to win All-Star Paris 2014. However, their Winter season success did not follow through and during the Spring and Summer seasons, SKT T1 K failed to qualify for the 2014 World Championship. In the following offseason, Riot Games changed the team regulations so that each organisation can only have one team participating in each league. This led to the merger of SKT T1 K and SKT T1 S, and the subsequent departures of Impact and Piglet for the NA LCS. The new team would compete under the name SKT T1.
Between Seasons 4 and 5, many top Korean League of Legends players, including the entire world champion team, Samsung Galaxy, left Korea to play on Chinese teams for higher salaries. Faker on the other hand, declined an offer of over $1,000,000 by a Chinese team, preferring to stay in Korea on SKT. In November 2014 it was reported that Faker had declined contract offers from several Chinese companies including one offer of ₩500 million ($425,403 USD) for streaming.
Throughout 2015, Faker shared the mid lane position with Lee "Easyhoon" Ji-hoon. Depending on the team composition SKT wanted to play, either one of the players could be substituted into the game. Faker had many notable performances in the LCK such as a pentakill against NaJin e-mFire with his LeBlanc. SKT ended the summer split in first place and advanced to the world championship.
At the 2015 World Championship, Faker and his team won while only dropping one game in the finals for a record of 15–1 throughout the tournament.
Faker and his team started off the 2016 Season by winning the LCK Spring Split. With this victory, SKT was guaranteed a spot in the 2016 Mid-Season Invitational. At that point in time, MSI was the only major international tournament they had yet to win. They were heavily favored coming into the tournament, but were initially unable to perform up to their usual standards, unexpectedly losing several games in the group stage. However, they managed to turn things around during the elimination round and eventually clinched the title by sweeping the North American team, Counter Logic Gaming, in the finals.
On July 11, 2016, Faker became the first player to reach 1,000 kills in the LCK. His 1,000th kill was on MVP Beyond's Reksai, which he achieved on Malzahar.
SKT placed third in the 2016 LCK Summer Split, but still qualified for the 2016 World Championship through circuit points. The team swept through the group stage and advanced towards the playoff round. In the semifinals they defeated the ROX Tigers in a close 3–2 series. In the finals they defeated Samsung Galaxy in another close 3–2 series, winning their third world championship title. Faker was voted as the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.
Faker renewed his contract with SKT with an "unprecedented offer", which was rumored to be over $2.5 million USD.
On February 6, 2017, Faker recorded his first live stream on Twitch and had a peak viewership of 245,100, setting a record at the time for the most views for a single streamer in the history of the site. However, this record was broken in early 2018 by another League of Legends streamer named Tyler1.
Faker and his team later won the 2017 LCK Spring Split, clean sweeping KT Rolster 3–0 in the finals. This win qualified them for the 2017 Mid-Season Invitational.
At the 2017 Mid-Season Invitational, SKT topped the group stage with a 8–2 record. SKT swept Flash Wolves 3–0 in the semifinals and defeated G2 Esports 3–1 in the finals to become the first team to win the Mid-Season Invitational back to back.
At the 2017 World Championship, SKT were still considered by many to be strong favorites to lift the cup for a third consecutive time despite not winning the LCK Summer Split. After a dominant group stage conceding just a single loss, SKT narrowly defeated Misfits and Royal Never Give Up in the quarterfinals and semifinals respectively, before having to face Samsung Galaxy in a repeat of the previous year's final. SKT's fate was sealed after Faker was caught by a flash Varus ultimate by Samsung's AD carry Ruler, resulting in Samsung Galaxy clean sweeping SKT 3–0, ending the SKT domination at the World Championship. Faker himself was shown to be visibly upset after the loss, and had to be consoled by his teammates to shake the Samsung Galaxy players' hands post-game. However, this caught the attention of many League of Legends fans throughout the world, with much support and many tributes being given to the team's legacy and Faker for his continued success.
Faker played his 400th match in the LCK on July 17, 2018. They successfully defeated their opponent, MVP, 2–1.
SKT finished fourth in the 2018 Korea Regional Finals, failing to qualify for the 2018 World Championship.
On November 20, 2018, it was announced that Faker had re-signed with SKT for another three years.
He had been listed on Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2019, under the category of Entertainment & Sports.
On April 13, 2019, SKT won the 2019 LCK Spring final, earning Faker his seventh LCK title.
In May 2019, SKT represented the LCK at the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational. They finished the group stage in second place but lost 2–3 to G2 Esports in the semifinals.
On July 7, 2019, SKT, alongside with three other LCK teams, won their league's first Rift Rivals championship title after defeating LPL teams by 3–1. After winning his first Rift Rivals title, Faker became the first and only player to have won all of the League of Legends international tournaments (Mid-Season Invitational, World Championship, Rift Rivals, All-Star) organized by Riot Games.
Faker played his 500th match in the LCK on August 21, 2019, during the LCK Summer Playoffs. He won his 500th game against Afreeca Freecs with Qiyana, with a KDA of 7/1/14. He won his eighth LCK title along with his team members on August 31, 2019 in the 2019 Summer LCK Final. His team qualified as the LCK's first seed for the 2019 League of Legends World Championship.
On October 27, 2019, Faker achieved his 100th international win after defeating Splyce at the 2019 World Championship.
At the 2019 World Championship, SKT was once again defeated by G2 Esports in a semifinals series, losing 1–3.
On February 18, 2020 T1 announced that Faker had re-signed with them for three years, in which his contract will last until the year 2022. He also became a part owner of T1 Entertainment and Sports.
On March 5, 2020, Faker became the first player to have reached 2,000 kills in the LCK. The champion used when achieving his 2,000th kill was Zoe.
On April 25, 2020, Faker claimed his ninth LCK title after he and his team defeated Gen.G at the 2020 LCK Spring finals.
|2013||SK Telecom T1#2||OLYMPUS Champions Spring 2013||3rd|
|SK Telecom T1||HOT6iX Champions Summer 2013||1st|
|Korea Regional Finals Season 3||1st|
|Season 3 World Championship||1st|
|2014||SK Telecom T1 K||PANDORA.TV Champions Winter 2013-2014||1st|
|HOT6iX Champions Spring 2014||5th–8th|
|League of Legends All-Star Invitational 2014||1st|
|bigfile NLB Spring 2014||3rd|
|SK Telecom T1||SKT LTE-A LoL Masters 2014||2nd|
|SK Telecom T1 K||IT ENJOY NLB Summer 2014||1st|
|HOT6iX Champions Summer 2014||5th–8th|
|Korea Regional Finals Season 4||2nd|
|2015||SK Telecom T1||SBENU Champions Korea Spring 2015||1st|
|League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational 2015||2nd|
|SBENU Champions Korea Summer 2015||1st|
|Season 5 World Championship||1st|
|League of Legends KeSPA Cup 2015||3rd–4th|
|LCK||League of Legends All-Star 2015||1st|
|2016||SK Telecom T1||Intel Extreme Masters Season X - World Championship||1st|
|League of Legends Champions Korea Spring 2016||1st|
|League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational 2016||1st|
|Coca-Cola Zero League of Legends Korea Summer Playoffs 2016||3rd|
|Season 6 World Championship||1st|
|League of Legends KeSPA Cup 2016||3rd–4th|
|LCK||League of Legends All-Star 2016||2nd|
|2017||SK Telecom T1||League of Legends Champions Korea Spring 2017||1st|
|League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational 2017||1st|
|League of Legends Rift Rivals 2017 LCK-LPL-LMS||2nd|
|League of Legends Champions Korea Summer 2017||2nd|
|Season 7 World Championship||2nd|
|League of Legends KeSPA Cup 2017||3rd–4th|
|LCK||League of Legends All-Star 2017||3rd–4th|
|2018||SK Telecom T1||League of Legends Champions Korea Spring 2018||4th|
|League of Legends Rift Rivals 2018 LCK-LPL-LMS||2nd|
|League of Legends Champion Korea Summer 2018||7th|
|South Korea||2018 Jakarta Palembang Asian Games||2nd|
|SK Telecom T1||Korea Regional Finals 2018||4th|
|EAST||League of Legends All-Star 2018||1st|
|SK Telecom T1||League of Legends KeSPA Cup 2018||5th–8th|
|2019||SK Telecom T1||Woori Bank League of Legends Champions Korea Spring 2019||1st|
|League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational 2019||3rd–4th|
|League of Legends Rift Rivals 2019 LCK-LPL-LMS-VCS||1st|
|League of Legends Champions Korea Summer 2019||1st|
|Season 9 World Championship||3rd–4th|
|LCK||League of Legends All-Star 2019||1st|
|2020||T1||League of Legends KeSPA Cup 2019||3rd–4th|
|League of Legends Champions Korea Spring 2020||1st|
|2020 Mid-Season Cup||7th–8th|
- HOT6iX League of Legends Champions Summer 2013 Season MVP
- HOT6iX League of Legends Champions Summer 2013 Mid Laner KDA Leader
- 2013 Korea e-Sports Association League of Legends Most Valuable Player Award
- Pandora.TV Champions League of Legends Winter 2013–2014 Most Valuable Player
- SBENU Champions Summer 2015 Playoff Awards-Most Valuable Player
- 2015 Korea e-Sports Association League of Legends Best Player Award
- 2015 Korea e-Sports Association League of Legends Popularity Award
- 2015 Korea e-Sports Association League of Legends eSports Award of the Year
- 2016 League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational Finals MVP
- 2016 World Championship Most Valuable Player
- 2016 Korea e-Sports Association League of Legends Best Player Award
- 2016 Korea e-Sports Association League of Legends Popularity Award
- 2016 Korea e-Sports Association League of Legends eSports Award of the Year
- 2017 Best Esports Player, The Game Awards
- 2018 representative for South Korea at the 18th Asian Games as a national player in esports
- 2018 David Yan award for most beloved gamer
- 2018 Korea Esports Hall of Fame (Esports Stars)
- 2019 Korea Esports Hall of Fame (Esports Stars)