South Korean “League of Legends” team T1 was congratulated by President Yoon Suk Yeol for winning another World Championship title in the game and breaking its six-year trophy-less streak.
The context: T1 beat China’s Weibo Gaming with a flawless 3-0 victory at the grand finals of the 2023 World Championship at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Sunday. The tournament kicked off in September with 22 teams participating.
Thousands of people attended the event on Sunday, with Riot Games, the game's developer and publisher, noting that it had sold out the tickets for the 16,000-seat stadium in minutes.
Released in 2009, “League of Legends” is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game in which players compete in a five-on-five match using heroes from a pool.
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Well-deserved congratulations: Yoon extended his congratulations to the team in a statement on Monday, writing in part, “I wholeheartedly congratulate your first World Championship in seven years, your fourth World Championship.”
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Full statement below:
"Dear T1 players,
I wholeheartedly congratulate your first World Championship in seven years, your fourth World… pic.twitter.com/Z2cHnMgvrA
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— Ashley Kang (@AshleyKang) November 20, 2023
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The national team's gold medal win meant that its players, including the country's top esports star Lee Sang-hyeok, better known as Faker, were exempted from South Korea's mandatory military service. Faker reportedly had to sit out the grand finals against Taiwan due to an illness.
Breaking the streak: The Sunday win marked T1’s first trophy in seven years. The last time the team won a World Championship title was in 2016. T1 has won four titles in total, including one in 2013 and another in 2015.
Speaking to reporters after the historic win, Faker said he made it his personal goal to keep his “composure and mindset where even if I go 0-3 in the finals, I would be able to smile.”
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Continue their support: Besides congratulating T1 on their win, Yoon also noted that the South Korean government will “offer adamant support” so that the country’s video game industry “can be globally competitive and be a frontrunner in the industry internationally.”