Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok does not appear to be eager to leave his home League of Legends region anytime soon.
Faker sat down with Segye Ilbo’s Uhm Hyung-joon after his team, SK Telecom T1, won the League Champions Korea spring split. In a wide-ranging interview, Faker said the concept of playing outside Korea — something many of his fellow countrymen have done in recent years — doesn’t strike his interests.
“I never really had the urge to (play abroad),” he said. “It’s not that appealing to me.”
Regarding international competition, Faker is of the opinion that Korea is still “the most competitive,” and that playing international matches “isn’t that difficult” in comparison, he said. The most challenging foreign team seems to change from time to time for Faker.
The opening ceremony of the LCK finals was wildly popular, as it showcased Faker on the stage sitting on a throne and looking at the LCK trophy. Faker was apparently a fan of the concept and said he improvised a little bit.
“I thought it would be a lot of fun,” he said. “I wanted to be as cool as I could make it, and I think it came out looking great. I didn’t know that we would win before we started playing. No one told me to look (at the trophy). I just thought it would be better if I did.”
League of Legends is a game that ultimately comes down to decision making, and Faker is still one of the best when it comes to making the right calls. Although Faker is the humble king of League, he admits that he thinks he is “the best at it right now,” saying that he makes “best decisions in-game,” which puts him at the top.
Faker also said his regiment is quite strict, which fans have come to expect by now.
“I think I normally practice 12 hours a day,” he said. “My team practices a lot. When we don’t have competition we work on maintaining our health, but when we’re close to competition we work really hard and then go to health maintenance a day before the match.”
Before going into a game, Faker said that he finds not being nervous is the most important. He said he tries to “empty my mind” before each game to prevent from hyping himself up too much, no matter how important the match might be.
Outside of his 12 hour work days and competitive matches, Faker said that he tries to squeeze in sleep, reading, or spending time with his family and friends. Even for Faker, playing a game for 12 hours a day is probably draining, as he said he doesn’t “play League outside of the practice room.”
Faker was also asked about the “secret” to being good at the game, to which he replied: “I think it’s important to be thinking as much as possible while playing.”
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games