All League of Legends professional tournaments are scheduled to begin in several days. The LPL has already made a breathtaking start as the others are fast approaching. Previously on the pro stage, fans witnessed many surprises, unforeseen results, and fairy tales.
FPX got eliminated from the 2022 World Championship in the group stage. Cloud9 with Perkz made it quarterfinals, 100 Thieves hoisted the LCS trophy for the first time, and Edward Gaming won the 2021 LPL Summer Split after four years.
Royal Never Give Up was one of the featured teams to compete in 2021. They reached the championship in the 2021 LPL Spring Split and brought the MSI trophy back to China by taking down DWG. Although the summer was not impressive for RNG, they finished the last split in third place and made their way to the semifinals at Worlds 2021.
Xiaohu, a legendary veteran name, became the first player to pick up two international trophies in different positions. He was the team’s mid laner when they reached the MSI championship led by Uzi, in 2018.
All in all, 2021 was a fascinating year for one European team’s fans, MAD Lions. After their discouraging performance at Worlds 2020, MAD parted ways with Orome and closed the crack with Turkish star Armut. In the past two seasons, MAD Lions turned into an elite Western team that plays around skirmishes effectively as they ended the reign of G2.
The LEC had a new king who was one of three favorite teams to compete in the 2021 World Championship. MAD Lions completed the group stage in second place behind GEN, knocked out by the hands of another Korean representative, DWG.
Here are the top five teams to compete in 2022
5. LNG Esports
LNG Esports, who qualified for the 2021 World Championship thanks to finishing the previous season in fourth place in LPL led by Tarzan, strengthened its starting roster ahead of the 2022 Spring Split. Icon, who underperformed at Worlds 2021, parted ways with LNG after battling for the team for the past year. The Chinese organization gained Doinb, who is regarded as the best veteran player in the league.
What LNG needs to take one step forward is a competent mid laner that can compete against the other top-level players such as Scout, FoFo, Rookie, and Knight. Last year, at Worlds 2021, if Doinb had played for LNG instead of Icon, they would have made it at least to the quarterfinals.
Tarzan is the player who can harmonize with Doinb, as he has already done this with Chovy before. They have enough potential to be the most effective mid-jungle duo in the league, which means everything in the current meta.
We have seen before that teams with a solid mid-jungle duo, such as DWG KIA, rule over the league in the long run. LNG will start the upcoming season with the same four players. Fans should expect more from LNG considering what they have accomplished in 2021 without Doinb.
4. Damwon KIA
After two years of domination in the LCK, DWG KIA won’t be kicking off a new season as a favorite for the first time. Their best performing player in the previous season, Khan retired from professional League of Legends, and DWG could not fill the vacancy left by him successfully. Burdol, who made his debut with GEN last season, got the chance to prove himself for the seat in the 2022 Spring Split.
On the flip side, this may sound like an advantage for DWG, but they parted ways with Ghost and Beryl. Instead of them, deokdam and Kellin will play as the new bot lane duo, which brings it questions and doubts considering the other competent bot laners in the league. The former Nongshim duo can perform well, but we will see if that is enough to become champions for the fourth season in a row.
I am undecided on which of the two is better, DWG or GEN. The main reason my vote went to GEN is they upgraded their roster with one of the best mid laners in competitive League of Legends, Chovy. What were their notable weaknesses in recent years? They could not go further past a certain point.
Chovy is the one who can raise the level of any team he goes to, and GEN looked to have solved its problem for the upcoming season. Lehends, Chovy’s former teammate, will play as the team’s new support after spending one year in AFC.
GEN revamped its starting roster around Ruler, and Peanut returned home after appearing well in LGD and Nongshim, respectively. I would not be surprised if GEN and T1 face off in the 2022 LCK Finals considering their potential.
2. Edward Gaming
Another team from China that decided not to change its roster is Edward Gaming. Needless to say, 2021 was like a dream for the Asian representative. They became the 2022 LPL Summer Split champion after many years, and the only player left from the team that reached the championship in 2017 is Meiko.
After this, EDG took part in the 2021 World Championship as one of the favorite teams, along with FPX. Their destiny was different from the other regional opponents. EDG finished the group stage in the first place, defeating the last MSI champion, RNG, in the semifinals. After taking down DWG much easier than expected, EDG put the crown on its head, and said to the world: ‘’Hey dear, the king is back!’’
That can be considered an advantage for EDG not to lose their best players that brought them two championships. There will be no adaptation process for EDG, which means they can have a better start than the other competent rosters, such as LNG and BLG.
When things get tough, EDG somehow finds the right way out of any situation. It is a valuable habit that many teams don’t have. Edward Gaming is one of the few teams that kept their roster the same, which is why they are second on the list.
Some questions like ‘Why is T1 at the top of the list even though they were not so different in 2021, compared to 2020?’ may come to your mind immediately. Of course, there are reasons to think T1 is the best team to compete in the 2022 League of Legends pro stage. At first, their regional rivals DWG and GEN made structural changes in their starting roster. They need to adapt before they fight against T1. Besides that, T1 handed the roster that battled it out in the LCK and surprised fans with their exceptional performance at Worlds 2021.
Zeus will be playing as the team’s new top laner instead of Canna, and with this move, T1 looked to have solved its weak side problem in the top lane. This skilled roster only needed to play together regularly, and they had time to do that last season. T1 is not only a team of talented players but also a team that gained the experience they need to be champions.