“Faker match ‘intuition’ is a 10-year dream come true”…T1 beats Weibo to win title
Wow, my heart is full!”
These were the exclamations of esports fans at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Guro-gu, Seoul, on the afternoon of Sept. 19, when the League of Legends (LoL) World Championship, or “Rold Cup,” returned to Korea after a five-year absence.
It was the first time since the 2018 event that the Rold Cup has been held in Korea, and the first time in nine years that the final has been held in Seoul.
More than 18,000 seats sold out in less than 20 minutes in the August presale.
With the gaming industry experiencing a downturn in viewership and a shrinking industry, there were hopes that the tournament, which will be held in Korea for the first time in a long time, would help revitalize the industry due to its large fan base and market size.
The final match, which began at 5 p.m., pitted domestic powerhouse T1, led by Lee “Faker” Sang-hyuk (27), who has won the tournament three times, the most out of the 12 previous Rold Cups, against Chinese team Weibo Gaming, which made a surprise appearance in the final after defeating favorites such as Genji and BillyBillyGaming.
Tiwon, who hadn’t won since the 2016 tournament in Los Angeles, reached the final for the second year in a row.
University students Kang Min-hyuk, 24, and Jung Tae-kyung, 22, came to the stadium wearing hats of the game character Timo.
Mr. Kang said, “Esports is attractive because it can be enjoyed by people of all ages without the constraints of time and space or ‘physicality.
I’ve been watching and playing with Faker since Season 2 of the Rold Cup (2012), and it’s great to see how they’ve been able to stay on the same team for so long.”
“I didn’t expect T-one to make it to the finals, so I couldn’t get tickets in advance, so I finally got them for 500,000 won at a second-hand market last week. It was worth every penny.”
Lee Jun-kyung (27) said, “I’ve been watching Faker, who is my age, since he debuted in the professional league, and I feel like we’re growing together.
Now that I’m here in person, I can definitely feel the excitement of cheering for a team together.”
Lim Joo-hye (27), who visited the stadium with Lee, laughed, saying, “I think Faker is too much of a ‘nursa wall’ (a four-dimensional wall that cannot be crossed) to grow up together.”
There were also many overseas fans who traveled from far away to cheer for the team.
Tim (29) and Michael (28) from Australia said, “It’s been a dream of mine for 10 years to come to Korea, home of T1, and watch Faker in person. We came to Korea for the Rold Cup, but we also explored other cities besides Seoul, such as Namhae.”
Deborah, 28, and Vladimir, 26, from France, came to the stadium dressed head-to-toe in cosplay as the in-game character Bai.