Credit: Riot Games

T1 carries LCK banner

T1 is the last hope for Korea and the LCK in Worlds 2023 semis

As the quarterfinals drew to a close in Busan, South Korea, the hopes of Korean fans were left resting in the hands of T1, and no one else.

T1 is the only LCK team, and thus the only team representing Korea, still left standing as the semifinals approach at the 2023 World Championship in Korea.

It’s a dramatic fall for the region that was once considered to be above and beyond all competitors. But with the legendary T1 name still in the mix, domestic fans still have hope.

T1 makes semifinals at 2023 World Championship

T1 managed to advance to the 2023 World Championship semifinals without much stress or difficulty. Led by famed mid laner Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, the squad managed to best the LPL’s second seed, Chinese team LNG Esports in the quarterfinals.

That victory came with surprising ease. While many analysts believed LNG was a dark horse at Worlds 2023 and could give T1 fits, the reality was far different. Korea’s second seed defeated LNG with a clean 3-0 sweep, and two of those three games ended before the 30-minute mark.

That dominance wasn’t entirely surprising. T1 has shown good form to this point at the World Championship. The team went 4-1 in swiss stage games, defeating another strong team in Bilibili Gaming with a 2-0 sweep to advance after wins over Team Liquid and Cloud9. Faker and his teammates’ only loss was in a single-game match-up with fellow LCK squad Gen.G.

LCK teams falter in Worlds 2023 playoffs

Gen.G had its own high hopes for Worlds 2023 as the top seed from the LCK and as one of the first two teams to advance from the swiss stage, but it was not to be. Gen.G lost in a close five-game series to BLG in the quarterfinals, much to the dismay of local fans.

Gen.G did make it a close series after losing the first two games of the series. A 47-minute win in game three seemed to turn the tide for the Korean side. But BLG stayed the course and managed to close the series out in the decisive fifth game.

KT Rolster was the next LCK team to fall. After an arduous swiss stage road, KT Rolster faced arguably the most difficult match-up in the quarterfinals as the team was set against the LPL’s JD Gaming. The result reflected the worry many Korean fans had, as JDG disposed of KT with relative ease, 3-1.

Combind with Weibo Gaming’s series win over North American side NRG, this set up the possibility of an all-LPL semifinal round. But T1 managed to prevent what might have been an awkward circumstance for a Korean host crowd expecting its domestic teams to perform.

T1 now faces its stiffest test of the tournament with a best-of-five series versus potential tournament favorite JDG. The winner of that series will face the victor of a Weibo Gaming versus BLG series in the Worlds 2023 final, which will be held in Seoul at Gocheok Sky Dome.

Jared has been involved in gaming media for over two decades. He loves narrative-driven single-player games just as much as he loves competitive multiplayer titles, from RPGs like Planescape: Torment to MOBAs like League of Legends. You can follow Jared on LinkedIn, Twitter or Muck Rack.