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E-sport: “Faker”, Korean star, crowned “League of Legends” world champion for the fourth time

In the universe of League of Legends (LoL), multiplayer team strategy and action game, there is “Faker” and the others. Ten years after its first coronation, the South Korean team T1, which includes the player known under the pseudonym “Faker”, a huge star in his country, was crowned video game world champion League of Legends for the fourth time – a record –, Sunday November 19 in Seoul.

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Big favorite in the final, T1 swept aside Chinese team Weibo Gaming at the Gocheok Sky Dome stadium in the South Korean capital (3-0), to the cheers of a wild crowd of 18,000 people. Already crowned in 2013, 2015 and 2016, the members of T1 regain their throne, one year after their defeat in the final against their compatriots from DRX, at the Chase Center in San Francisco.

From these four global titles, one name emerges: Lee Sang-hyeok, better known by his pseudonym “Faker”. The latter, formidable throughout the competition, further consolidated his legend, while some thought the 27-year-old was on the decline. “More than anything, I am very grateful to have been able to perform in front of so many peoplehe declared after the victory. I hope my teammates, like the supporters, are happy. I simply want to share joy and happiness around me. »

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K-Pop Star

An essential figure in e-sport, “Faker” enjoys celebrity status in South Korea, a country passionate about video games, where he is the equal of a K-Pop star in each of his public appearances . Also a gold medalist at the Asian Games in September 2023, he thus cements his status as a national treasure, by being crowned in front of his audience for the first time. With this fourth title, won alongside “Zeus”, “Oner”, “Gumayusi” and “Keria”, he proves to those who doubted that he remains a monument of League of Legends – of which he becomes the oldest player to lift the trophy.

“Faker”, from the T1 team, next to the trophy, on the sidelines of the “League of Legends” world finals in Seoul, November 19, 2023.

The quick victory in the final (one hour and twenty-six minutes of play) concluded a competition perfectly managed by T1, which was looking to bounce back after its surprise defeat in the final in San Francisco in November 2022 against DRX (3-2) . “It’s unreal, it’s like a dream”reacted Ryu Min-seok, alias “Keria”, who burst into tears after his failure last year.

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In the world of video game competitions (e-sport), League of Legends, released in 2009, is a champion. Online gaming, with an economic model free-to-play (free game which is only financed by microtransactions allowing the player to personalize their gaming experience), sees two teams of five players compete in real time in an arena. The game, developed by Riot Games, has acquired such notoriety that it is at the origin of the professionalization of e-sport. The World Championships final LoL is considered the most prestigious meeting of the year.

The 18,000 tickets for the final at the Sky Dome were sold out in ten minutes, according to the organizers. More than forty cinemas in South Korea also broadcast the match live, while a fan zone capable of accommodating several thousand spectators was set up in central Seoul. A global phenomenon which saw Paris host the World Cup final in 2019. In 2024, the world championship will take place in Great Britain, Riot Games announced on Sunday. A sign of the scale of the phenomenon and the ambition of the American developer, the final will take place at the O2 Arena in London in front of 20,000 spectators.

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The World with AFP

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