Chovy vs Faker: A Never Ending Rivalry in the House of Legends

Published On: 4/2/2024

“House of Legends” — That’s the opening title for the 2024 LCK Season.

The House of Legends


“House of Legends” — That’s the opening title for the 2024 LCK Season. For another league, it would be grandstanding but the LCK is the best in League of Legends. The LCK is reserved solely for those with supreme talents, capable of meeting exacting standards. That talent spread to all roles in League, but this house’s true foundation is in that Mid Lane.

From Ambition, PawN, and Ryu to Bdd, Zeka, and ShowMaker, the Korean League produces so many iconic mid laners that they’re the LCK’s leading export. Across all the mid lane legends to come from the LCK, two stand out above the rest: Faker and Chovy. Faker is the undisputed GOAT of League, winner of six international titles and ten domestic ones — The Demon King of LoL. Chovy is a newcomer, not a demon king or worlds-winner. But he has his own church of believers, built from an undeniable talent. A talent that has won him the last three LCK splits in a row, beating Faker in the Finals each time.

This year, the rivalry might reach fever pitch. Gen.G has formed a veritable superteam around Chovy, looking at getting their star a domestic four-peat and his first international title. They’ve only dropped one game the entire split. We’re at a crescendo now, sure, but what makes it sweeter is that this rivalry has been building for years.


The Rivalry Runs Deep


The first time these two met at the Finals was in 2019 Spring, when Chovy was a new face on a team of upstarts. Faker already had eight LCK championships and three Worlds titles under his belt, while Chovy had only debuted a year prior. Despite the gulf in experience, Chovy had outshined Faker in 2018. While SKT missed playoffs, Chovy ran the gauntlet to the finals and nearly beat KT Rolster. 

But by Spring 2019, Faker’s roster was brimming with talent, and the demon king seemed back on the throne. But if there was someone that could dethrone him, it felt like it would be Chovy. Because, more than almost any challenger to the throne, Chovy felt like a new Faker. Like Faker, Chovy entered the scene with near immediate success built on very evident talent.

The difference was, Chovy came into a game that was much more developed. Faker entered as an innovator, so far above that he could rule despite inexperience. Chovy didn’t get the same grace, coming in years later to refined metas and teams made up of legends. The Demon King and his superteam dismantled Chovy’s church and scattered the following — 3 to 0.

So it kept going for Chovy. The House of Legends accepted no imitators, no shared thrones. Faker beat Chovy again in the Summer, then in Spring 2020, then in Regional Finals 2021 and Worlds 2021. Gold medals would elude the young star for years. Still, Chovy’s mechanical prowess kept his flock together and all eyes stayed glued to him as the next LCK mega star, if not the next Faker.

In 2022, Chovy would finally turn that talk to reality. In Spring 2022, the two met in Finals again for the first time since 2019. Faker led T1 with a team full of promising young talent, while Chovy joined Gen.G, reuniting with some of his former Griffin teammates (Doran & Lehends) and veteran talent (Ruler & Peanut). Faker would win again, his 10th LCK championship, against Chovy. At this point, it seemed like Chovy might just be another challenger.

However, Chovy and Gen G figured something out in that Summer, won their first LCK title, and have not stopped winning since. Suddenly, the tables turned. Chovy, on the throne in the House of Legends, has resigned Faker to silver for the last three splits. What’s a king to a god?


Student of the game


That’s the story in the LCK, anyways. The international stage told a much different one for Chovy. His dream of playing in the Worlds finals, let alone becoming a world champion, is still distant, with his deepest run only reaching Semi’s. For Faker, Semi’s is his worst result in the last three Worlds. 

Still, it wasn’t all roses for Faker. He had spent seven years trying to win his fourth Worlds title. He’d come close many times but fell just short, raising questions of if he still had the ability that won him his first three. So, when Faker won Worlds again in 2023, it meant more to him. It meant that an old dog could learn new tricks.

“I don’t know what other people believe, so I can’t speak for them. There’s one thing I firmly believed, though. I wanted to learn a lot through this year’s Worlds, and I believed that if I always had the mindset of learning constantly, winning Worlds would follow. Luckily, I was able to win. I’m very grateful for this experience.” - Faker after winning his Worlds title.

Faker stays on top, despite fluctuation in form and meta, because he stays a student of the game, no matter the wins in the past. For many LCK fans, it feels inevitable that one day Chovy will earn his international title too, not due to mechanical prowess, but mindset. In the countless interviews that both of these players do, they repeat the same sentiment. Stay a student of the game. Still, this is the area of the rivalry where Faker holds a clear edge and where Chovy has all the proving — and more of the learning — to do.


“Super Gen.G” vs “The Brotherhood”


Returning to Korea, Gen.G’s slogan for the 2024 Season is “Super Gen.G”. Revamping their roster centered around Chovy and their young ADC prospect Peyz, the team brought back Lehends in the support role and acquired Kiin and Canyon as their Top laner and Jungler — creating a verified superteam.  Meanwhile, T1 kept the same roster for the 2024 season, and brought back their legendary head coach, Kkoma, to strengthen “The Brotherhood”. After all, why would you change a roster full of World champions?

Gen.G has added World Champions to their squad too, though, not just in the form of jungler Canyon but coaches Kim and Mata. And that experience has put them on another level. Gen.G and T1 sit at first and second seed respectively, but Gen.G hasn’t dropped a series in the regular season. It’s in no part due to the fact that Chovy is a legend now, as are his teammates, and the coaching staff is working to keep the legends united.

"Each player has their own formula of winning. It's not easy to fix individual gameplay, because a lot of it is habitual. Thus, a lot of effort was spent in finding what works to formulate our team synergy. Mata spent most of his time sharing his extensive knowledge to our bot lane, and the rest of our coaching staff acted as mediators whenever there was a clash in opinion. They're all veterans at the game at this point, so the conversations about the game weren't easy, but the payoff from it was exponential." - Gen.G Head Coach Kim Interview w/ OSEN Esports, Mar 23, 2024

In this way, it almost feels a reversal of where things were in Spring 2019, five years ago. Back then, Faker had the indomitable superteam stomping the LCK. Now, it’s Chovy sitting at the head of a stacked roster, looking down on Faker.


The Church of Chovy and the Great Sang Hyeok


To make matters harder for Faker, Chovy has never looked better. 

Chovy recently made 1st Team All-Pro, won the Regular Split MVP award, and the Player of the Split. And while statistics in a team game like League of Legends usually need to be taken with a grain of salt, Chovy’s numbers were undisputable. Showcasing sixteen different champions in the mid lane, he’s maintained a 6.4 KDA, farmed 10.1 cs a minute, dealt 734 damage & 479 gold per minute, and averaged just 1.6 deaths per game. This year more than ever, his talent feels supreme. 

But even in this moment of supremacy, Chovy continues to respect and look to Faker. Given Faker’s stature, it only makes sense. For example, Faker has over 38 nicknames in the Korean LoL community. “The Unkillable Demon King” is the one widely known in the West, but “The Great Sang Hyeok” is the one that shows how much respect he has from fans and peers.

Even at his lows, everyone in League fears Faker. In the biggest moments, biggest events he can come alive and elevate himself and his team. Faker knows there is a thin line between outplay and misplay, and landing on the right side is all about measuring risk. It’s that knowledge, that ability to read risk in the clutch, that Chovy studies even as he beats Faker.

"Proactive gameplay always means taking some risk. To come to the conclusion where no risk should be taken is a very result based one... In the end, League of Legends starts from 0-0, and while there may be some advantages and disadvantages from the draft, where you go from that zero all stems from individual skills as a player. Your gameplay always has to have risks.

Both playing against him and watching Faker's matches made me think, 'Why does he perform better when it comes to such important matches'? The answer was in his gameplay, where he's not afraid to take risks, no matter what in-game scenario he is in. I always think that executing the plays needed when I see mid-late game angles is a given, but it feels like Faker plays more aggressively than usual during the laning phase. I think that such aggressiveness implants more thoughts into your opponent." - Chovy, interview with Kookmin Ilbo

Now, with the rivalry climbing to a peak, with years of history as each other’s foils and benchmarks, it’s up to both players to show what they’ve learned. In that moment they meet, there will be no titles or churches, just two teams, two players, one rivalry, one home, one throne.