The Korean team understandably has high ambitions for the Worlds, given their prolonged dry spell in snagging an international title since 2017 after winning the Mid-Season Invitational in Brazil. Ever since, T1 has graced three international finals (Worlds in 2017 and 2022, and MSI in 2022), but with no victories to celebrate.
For Gumayusi, Worlds 2023 will be his third in a row. T1’s past performances saw them lose to DAMWON Gaming in the Worlds 2021 semi-finals, and to DRX in the previous year's finals. Both series were nail-biting encounters extending up to all five games.
A Promise for Revenge
As he begins his preparations for the world championship, Gumayusi has made it clear that he wishes to exact revenge on JD Gaming and Bilibili Gaming for T1’s losses in the MSI 2023 playoffs. He expressed his earnest desire to take down JD Gaming and Bilibili Gaming, the two teams he lost to at the MSI. According to him, upcoming matches against other Korean teams would also be quite competitive and enjoyable.
T1 had a rough experience at the MSI, as they got relegated to the lower bracket after a 3-2 defeat at the hands of JD Gaming in the upper bracket final. Their journey ended abruptly as Bilibili Gaming stopped their progress to the tournament final, beating them 3-1.
T1, along with Gen.G, KT Rolster, and Dplus are slated to represent LCK at Worlds. The competition this year is unprecedented as it will feature a Swiss format for the first time in its history.
Preparation for Worlds
Preparation has proven to be challenging for T1, as only two players are currently available as Choi ‘Zeus’ Woo-je, Lee ‘Faker’ Sang-hyeok, and Ryu ‘Keria’ Min-seok, are all part of South Korea’s team for the 2022 Asian Games. This leaves them less than three weeks to acclimatise to the meta if South Korea makes it to the final. Despite these obstacles, Gumayusi remains optimistic and believes it's an opportunity to work harder and share information about the meta with other players.
End of an Era?
In the same interview, Gumayusi hinted at a potential roster change for T1. Worlds 2023 could mark the end of the current roster, with the contracts of three of the team’s players due to expire at the end of the season.