Caster: “This is when bengi has to step up to save SKT” Caster: “On blue side, remember with bengi in they do not have a Nidalee player. You cannot give Peanut Nidalee. We talked about how you need adaptation and now you’re forced to ban Nidalee on Blue side.
This could be the last game of the night or if bengi has anything to say, we go to a game five.” Already a two-time World Champion, Bengi was supposedly over the hill. But Bengi was a World Champion. And with everything on the line, SKT needed a win. A veteran voice to show them the path to victory. They needed Bengi.
After all, they’ve never won Worlds without him. This is Bengi’s story Bae “Bengi” Seong-woong was born on November 21, 1994 and not much is known about his life before League of Legends. Bengi’s first recorded games were on an amateur team called BBT, which played in a Korean secondary league known as NLB. On that team, he played alongside legendary support player Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong. (Casting) After the team disbanded, bengi ended up at a tryout for SK Telecom’s new sister team, SK Telecom T1 K. And though he left midway because he felt he wasn’t good enough to make the team, coach Kim “kkOma” Jeong-gyun saw something great in the young jungler and managed to pull him back. SKT was built around a young solo queue star that was turning heads at the time, Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok.
The team was designed to be aggressive, capitalizing on Faker’s playstyle. It worked. (Casting) SKT’s sister team placed third in Champions Spring, and posted impressive results in their debut season. But more importantly, they had the potential to be great . MonteCristo: “All aboard the Korean hype train, SK Telecom T1.”
The team went 12-4 in the summer season and qualified for Worlds 2013 where they swept Royal Club in the Grand Finals to take home their first world championship. (Casting) SKT returned home to Korea as champions, and they didn’t slow down for even a second. (Casting) SKT won Champions Winter with a perfect record and were without a doubt the best team in the world. But amidst all the success, few noticed Bengi’s playstyle slowly shifting.
His early game aggression, a hallmark of SKT’s fast-paced bulldozer playstyle, gave way to something more supportive. Bengi was Faker’s invisible guardian. He was the man who set up Faker for the flashy plays that have made him legendary.
There’s no question that Faker was the best, but he couldn’t have done it without Bengi. After Champions Winter, SKT started to crumble. They placed fourth in Champions Spring, and were then swept in a tiebreaker match against Samsung White which forced them to play in the Regional Finals, where they would eventually lose to NaJin White Shield 3-1. (Casting) Just a few months prior, SKT were the reigning World Champions with a perfect record in their home region. But they couldn’t keep up.
Bengi wasn’t solely blamed for the team’s struggles, but the common perception was that Faker, the greatest player on earth, just couldn’t carry his entire team. SKT rebuilt in the offseason, shedding everyone except for Faker and Bengi. The god and his right hand man. But even so, people were ready to write off Bengi. He was part of a roster that not even Faker could carry, and his mechanics were seen as being out of date.
Younger players were faster, more adaptable, and had deeper champion pools. (Casting) In 2015, SKT signed Im “T0M” Jae-hyeon as a substitute for Bengi, and swapped between the two junglers throughout the season. What was telling though, was the fact that SKT elected to play Bengi for all three games of their finals series against the GE Tigers. A series SKT went on to win 3-0.
(Casting) In interviews, Bengi said that watching T0M play helped him regain his confidence after his abysmal 2014 season. That’s right. Bengi, the guy who walked out of tryouts only to be pulled back in, needed a rookie to remind himself how good he could be. SKT went on to win the summer season, punching their ticket to Worlds in the process. Fortunately for Bengi, SKT took mid lane substitute, Lee “Easyhoon” Ji-hoon to the tournament, meaning that Bengi was the only jungler the team would field at Worlds.
SKT went on to win the tournament, giving Faker and Bengi their second world championship in three years. (Casting) But even with a second world championship under his belt, people still kept harping on Bengi. Ahead of the Spring 2016 season, SKT signed Kang “Blank” Sun-gu, and started him for most of the regular season. Bengi only played in 17 of SKT’s 41 games in the spring, and rode the bench throughout the playoffs.
Caster: “I wish I could have been watching their scrims. Watching them decide between Blank and Bengi because from what we’ve seen both of them have been pretty poor.” SKT started Bengi more often in the summer, but as the season wore on, Bengi lost more and more and was benched after just 14 games. Again, Blank played in the playoffs instead of Bengi.
Caster: “Blank, the one thing you can say about him, has stepped up when he’s needed to. You think back to LCK final you think back to MSI final. He was good in those series and he’s gonna need to be good today” SKT took Bengi with them to Worlds in 2016, but he only played in two games during the group stage. SKT started Bengi against Royal in the quarterfinals, but after losing Game 1, quickly subbed him out for Blank. Jatt: “I like the substitution for them. I think Blank has been their go-to for the majority of the season and I was surprised whenever we would see Bengi.
If they weren’t going to make it a permanent thing I thought it was because of his world championship experience. But this SKT team has won the IEM World Championship with Blank, they won MSI with Blank and I think if they want to win they should be doing it with Blank.” The writing seemed to be on the wall for Bengi: he was still good, but no longer great.
But in Game 4 of the semifinals, SKT were on the ropes. Jatt: “SKT have to change things up in this next one because they tried round two of the Miss Fortune lane, they lost again. They have to change.” And with everything on the line, SKT needed a win.
That’s when they called in Bengi (Casting) Bengi started in four of SKT’s Grand Final games against Samsung Galaxy, going 3-1 and notching his and Faker’s third World Championship in five year, cementing SKT’s legacy as League of Legends’ first dynasty. (Casting) Surely the entire world would finally see that when Bengi is sitting next to Faker, no team in the world could stop them. But Bengi is always doomed to be the bridesmaid, and never the bride. He’s invisible and most importantly he’s not Faker.
SKT dropped bengi in 2017 and replaced him with the Tigers’ star jungler Han “Peanut” Wang-ho. Bengi went off to Vici Gaming in China, where he ended up losing a relegation match and being dropped from that team too. (Casting) SKT had a strong 2017, placing first in the Spring Playoffs and second in the summer, but they didn’t look dominant going into Worlds. (Casting) SKT placed second at Worlds in 2017, which marked their first ever loss in a Worlds Grand Finals series. Their first time playing at the tournament without Bengi. YamatoCannon: “It’s insane what they did, knowing that they’ve won three world championships, expecting to win four is natural because of the dominant streak that they’ve had, but in all seriousness what they’ve accomplished, no one is going to come close to this or sure something is quite close to this with the two victories but in theory it’s still incredible what they did.
And maybe it takes one year, maybe it takes two years for them to come back to that same form, but kkOma knows the recipe to success in progressive jackpot slots. SKT knows the recipe for success within League.” It’s impossible to say exactly how much bengi impacted SKT’s playstyle, and whether or not he completely altered the way SKT treats junglers moving forwards.
But he’s returned to SKT, this time as a coach. Bengi and Faker have been reunited. While Bengi is playing an even more supportive, invisible role this time around, one thing will always remain true: when the unkillable demon king has bengi by his side, nothing can stop SKT.