Lee “Faker” Sang-hyuk and Li “Xiaohu” Yuanhao, the Emperor of Spring, are set for the sixth multi-series matchup of their careers. The stage is the LoL World Championship (Rold Cup) Finals.
Lee “XiaoHu” Sang-hyuk’s T1 and Weibo Gaming will face off in the final match of the 2023 LoL World Championship at the Gocheok SkyDome in Guro-gu, Seoul, on April 19. As highly anticipated as the Rold Cup final is, one of the more intriguing matchups is between Lee “XiaoHu” Sang-hyuk, who has long established himself as one of the best mid laners in Korea and China. The two players have met five times before.
Their first meeting was at the 2016 Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) in Shanghai, China. After sharing one win and one loss in the group stage, SK Telecom T1 and RNG, which was then part of Xiaohu, met in the quarterfinals. In their first multiplayer matchup, T1 erased their shaky group stage performance to take a 3-1 victory.
The two would meet again at the Rold Cup that same year. This time in the quarterfinals. The flow was similar. Just like the MSI quarterfinals, T1 dropped the first set, but then went on to defeat RNG in the second, third, and fourth sets to advance to the Rold Cup quarterfinals. With the momentum from their victory over RNG, T1 swept Samsung Galaxy in that year’s final to become back-to-back Rold Cup champions.
The following year, Lee “Xiaohu” Sang-hyuk and T1 faced off again in the 2017 Rold Cup Quarterfinals. Despite the pressure of facing the RNG of LPL’s top star, Zenjiao “Wuji” Zhang at the Rolld Cup in China, T1 came out on top with a 3-2 victory. The match featured the so-called “five-gall” that is still talked about among fans, and Lee “XiaoHu” Sang-hyuk dominated the game, picking Gallio in all five sets.
Lee “Xiaohu” Sang-hyuk then went on a three-game winning streak after dropping out of the multiplayer system. However, the LCK entered a dark period from 2018 onwards, with a poor international performance, which is when “Xiaohu” rebounded. He became the first Chinese mid laner to win an international title when he won the MSI in 2018. He went on to win the 2021 MSI, making it two wins in a row, tying Lee “XiaoHu” Sang-hyuk’s record for MSI victories.
At the 2022 MSI, the two players will meet for the first time in five years. T1 and RNG met in the Finals after splitting the Rumble Stage with one win and one loss, with T1 losing in the Finals 2 games to 3. For the first time in his career, Lee “XiaoHoo” Sang-hyuk suffered a multi-game defeat. With this victory, Xiao Hu became the most decorated MSI champion, further cementing his nickname as the Emperor of Spring.
But while “Emperor of Spring” was an honorable nickname for Xiao Hu, it also revealed his limitations. He was unable to carry his spring momentum into the fall. In the quarterfinals of the Rolld Cup that same year, T1 swept the MSI Finals with a 3-0 victory that 바카라 perfectly avenged their loss in the MSI Finals, and Lee “XiaoHu” Sang-hyuk was once again left with a heartbreaking fall.
With such a storied history, the two players are now set to meet in the Rold Cup Finals for their sixth multi-series matchup. For Lee, it’s his first title in seven years, and for Xiao Hu, it’s his first career Worlds final. All eyes will be on Lee “Immortal” Sang-hyuk as he looks to continue his undefeated streak in LPL multiplayer and claim his fourth Rolld Cup title, or on Xiao-hu as he looks to finally defeat the immortal who has stood in his way for so long and claim his first career Rolld Cup title.