League of Legends GOAT Faker frustrated by DDoS attacks against T1: “We were unable to practise, unlike other teams”

T1 needs to survive the lower bracket to make it to the LCK Spring Grand Finals and MSI 2024.

Not amused: Faker said that T1
Not amused: Faker said that T1 "were not given a fair opportunity to practice compared to other teams." (Photo: Riot Games)

League of Legends (LoL) powerhouse and four-time world champions T1 are in deep trouble following their recent drop to the lower bracket of the LoL Champions Korea (LCK) Spring Playoffs with a shocking 3-0 loss against Hanwha Life Esports.

This means that T1 would need to take the longer route and survive the lower bracket quarterfinals and semifinals to make it to the Grand Finals of the Spring Playoffs and qualify for this year’s Mid-Season Invitational.

LoL G.O.A.T. and T1 midlaner, Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, attributed his team's poor performance to targeted Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks against his team preventing them from getting enough practice in a post-match conference on 4 April (translated by Ashley Kang of Korizon Esports).

“I believe it is true for me to state that we were not given a fair opportunity to practice compared to other teams,” Faker said during the press conference.

“We were unable to practice in solo queue, unlike other teams who could, so I think our performance declined overall,” Faker added.

Faker also admitted that T1 “played poorly than [he] expected, compared to what [they] were capable of.”

He added that there might be other factors involved with their loss, but added that the best the team could do “in the time remaining is to overcome this poor environment and prepare to the best of [their] abilities.”

How the DDoS attacks are impacting T1's roster

T1 had been the subject of distributed denial-of-service attacks in Korean solo queue for a while now. In the weeks preceding the LCK Spring 2024 playoffs, players were unable to participate in online practice matches due to these attacks, as frequent disconnections rendered proper practice impossible.

Some of the most affected were T1’s main LoL roster, like jungler Mun "Oner" Hyeon-jun, bot laner Lee "Gumayusi" Min-hyeong, and support Ryu "Keria" Min-seok.

The South Korean solo queue and the LCK Spring Split had been subject to DDoS attacks since 25 February. This prompted the LCK to pre-record their matches and move them offline to prevent these attacks from persisting.

However, the South Korean solo queue remained affected, with DDoS attacks mostly affecting T1’s main roster.

This has prevented the members of T1 from practising as much as possible in preparation for the LCK Spring Playoffs.

IP exposed because of LoL client?

T1 General Manager Jeong “Becker” Hoi-yoon also talked about the issue of the DDoS attacks in a livestream on Afreeca a few hours later.

According to Becker (as translated by T1 fan and X user @an_pilot) the DDoS attacks started in December 2023 and ramped up from February onwards.

“Initially, when we first became aware of it, we didn’t see it as a T1-specific problem or T1 facing difficult circumstances,” Becker said.

“Our understanding is that our IP is being exposed due to the LoL client and the attacks stemmed from there,” he added.

According to the T1 GM, the players were attacked “severely on their personal stream.” The attacks persisted from February to early March, making it nearly impossible for T1 to stream at all.

At this point, T1’s management decided to temporarily stop player streams. On top of this, T1’s team encountered issues “during personal practice time” despite trying to come up with multiple solutions.

This also affected T1’s scrims, which inadvertently affected the team’s preparation for the playoffs. “It's a lie to say that we're practising normally. But what I can say is that they are doing their best,” he added.

Becker said that everyone, including T1’s IT in charge, is doing their best to make the most out of the situation.

T1 will be facing DK Plus (formerly DAMWON KIA) in the Lower Bracket semifinals on Sunday (7 April) at 2:00 PM Singapore time.

Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.

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