Arguably the best player in one of the world’s most popular games has just surpassed a huge benchmark in tournament earnings.
Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok has won more than $1 million playing League of Legends competitively, according to data-tracking site Esports Earnings. Faker is the first pro League player to surpass that barrier. Now, after 35 tournaments, the 21-year-old South Korean superstar has racked up a total of $1.047 million after splitting up prizes with his teammates.
This is a major milestone for the League of Legends pro scene. Faker typically dominates the mid lane (the busy center of the League map) with an overwhelmingly aggressive style. Many fans consider him the best player ever, and he’s one of the biggest draws on sites like Twitch.
Faker was able to leap past $1 million in earnings after his team, SK Telecom T1, pulled out a victory at the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI 2017) in Sao Paulo, Brazil, last weekend. MSI featured 13 invited teams from all competitive League of Legends regions. Those squads then fought over $1.69 million in prize money.
In the end, it was SK Telecom T1 and Faker who took home that top prize, which amounted to $676,000.
While Faker is setting records for League players, his success shows how much more money a pro can make playing Dota 2 instead. League and Dota 2 both grew out of the Defense of the Ancients mod for Warcraft III, but Valve — which owns and operates Dota 2 — has beefed up its competitive scene with huge fan-funded prize pools worth tens of millions of dollars. This has enabled a young player like 18-year-old Syed Sumail Hassan from Pakistan to have already won $2.46 million.
And Hassan is only No. 3 in terms of total Dota 2 earnings.
Of course, that discrepancy isn’t hurting League. The game is as popular as ever, and Faker is still its king.