Despite their strong legacy, the titans of League of Legends suffered a crushing blow at MSI 2023. Here’s T1’s MSI 2023 journey.
The legacy of T1 continued, but it fell short at several international tournaments in recent years. Therefore, T1 players had to prove that they were still at the top of the League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) competition in the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI 2023). Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be for T1. MSI 2023 marked another year of being within touching distance of the finish line and missing out by the smallest of margins. Today, we will discuss T1's journey to MSI 2023, the T1 being the second seed, T1 achieving third place.
T1's road to MSI 2023
Perhaps to the surprise of many fans, T1 finished as the second seed from the LCK. The players finished their LCK Summer Split after a 1-3 against Gen.G who took first seed to MSI 2023. Given T1's recent history of bouncing between first and second place regionally, as well as international performances still leading to a top-three finish, fans expected a lot from this roster.
Due to T1's history of success at international tournaments, many fans were not overly concerned by the team being the second seed from the LCK. Under the new format, the LCK's second seed still had a direct slot to the bracket stage and did not have to complete run-through play-ins. This was different for other regions.
Making it back to the international stage
After reaching the international stage once again, and with expectations on the team to do well, T1 had a lot to prove in the bracket stage. Due to the format change, T1's first match was against the League of Legends European Championship's (LEC) MAD Lions, which T1 demolished in a clean 3-0. With such a promising start and a second-place finish at MSI 2022, fans expected this upward trajectory to continue.
For the most part, this upward trajectory did happen. T1's second match was ironically against Gen.G, who had beaten them in the spring finals to take first seed. While some considered this to be a revenge match, several of the T1 players said they didn't view it as one. Instead they said they were still pleased with the 3-2 victory over their fellow LCK team.
Falling short ahead of the finish line
Despite such a good starting point for T1, it all fell apart shortly after. As the age-old rivalry of League of Legends Pro League (LPL) versus LCK kicked in and T1 faced off against JDG, it became clear that they were so close yet so far as the series ended in a 3-2.
Furthermore, when facing off against the fellow LPL second seed of BLG, who made a Cinderella-style miracle run from play-ins to the bracket stage, T1 found themselves so close, but so far once again. They fell to BLG and were knocked out of MSI 2023. T1 took only a single game off the second-place MSI 2023 team. That concluded their 2023 MSI run, with the only option to come back stronger for Worlds 2023 in South Korea.