As the dust settles on what shaped out to be a historic League of Legends 2021 World Championship, the 2022 LoL Esports competitive season is finally revving up, and so are our League of Legends power rankings.
This offseason was one of the most chaotic yet. Legends returned, superteams emerged and promising rookies were given their opportunity to shine. The Demacia Cup gave us a small glimpse of what’s to come in the LPL, but the rest of the world has yet to show their stuff.
The official action kicks off on Monday with the start of the League of Legends Pro League, while League of Legends Champions Korea, the League of Legends European Championship and the League Championship Series follow suit a few days later. Before the action starts this month, here’s a look at the 10 strongest-looking teams around the world.
10. Bilibili Gaming
Why are Bilibili Gaming here? Simple: Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao. Pack it up, boys.
Alright, maybe it’s not so simple. Other than the legend himself unretiring to walk the path of the seeker once more, BLG’s team on-paper actually looks very solid. Finishing 7th-8th last summer, BLG have decided to revamp their roster, keeping only jungler Wei “Weiwei” Bo-Han. They’ve brought back mid laner Chu “FoFo” Chun-Lan, who had an overall solid 2021 as well as top laner Chen “Breathe” Chen from Team WE. But perhaps it is their bot lane that has got people turning heads.
Other than Uzi, BLG have also brought in 2019 world champion support Liu “Crisp” Qing-Song, whose Thresh’s Flash + Hook in the 2019 finals dazzled the world, and a substitute bot laner in former Beyond Gaming star Chiu “Doggo” Tzu-Chuan. The 18-year-old Taiwanese prodigy had a stellar 2021 on the international stage during the Mid-Season Invitational and Worlds and now has a chance to prove himself in arguably the most competitive league in the world.
BLG are not here to participate in the LPL; they’re here to challenge for the crown. Uzi will have to wait until Week 3 before he can have his grudge match against Royal Never Give Up, though.
— E.G “Megalodontus” Kant
9. FunPlus Phoenix
FunPlus Phoenix are coming off a historic collapse at Worlds 2021, but their response heading into 2022 has been one filled with potential.
FPX made the gutsy call to clean house, which meant saying goodbye to a majority of their Worlds 2019 championship roster, including included the face of the franchise Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang. But the team didn’t replace them with mediocre players. Former Gen.G jungler Kim “Clid” Tae-min and Nongshim RedForce mid laner Kim “Gori” Tae-woo are coming over from the LCK where both players had breakout performances last season. Not only that, but this will be the first full year where top lane phenom Ping “xiaolaohu” Xiao-Hu will have a chance to show off his talent full-time.
The team without Clid already has shown what this roster is capable of. In the pre-season Demacia Cup, FPX dismantled a very hyped LNG Esports squad on their way to a second-place finish.
The team has some question marks, but expect FPX to once again be a mainstay on the League of Legends power rankings in 2022.
— Warren Younger
8. Team Vitality
No one can deny the potential that Vitality have this year. The French team keeps two of its strongest players in former Fnatic jungler Oskar “Selfmade” Boderek and Labros “Labrov” Papoutsakis, one of the most promising young supports in Europe.
To these additions we must add one of the most talked signings this offseason, Luka “Perkz” Perković, who will man the mid laner for Vitality. Perkz was the key to many of G2’s successes in 2019, where they were close to winning Worlds, and helped Cloud9 reach the Worlds quarterfinals in 2021. Vitality will also count on Barney “Alphari” Morris, known to be one of the best top laners in the West, to help make the team the best in the LEC.
Former MAD Lions bot laner Matyáš “Carzzy” Orság is another exciting addition and joins Vitality after offseason drama soured a Worlds appearance for the 19-year-old star. On paper, this roster is likely the most stacked team in the West.
It remains to be seen how the synergies of the team develop and especially if it is a team capable of winning internationally, but Vitality are a clear candidate to win the LEC in 2022 and the only Western team to enter the League of Legends power rankings ahead of this season.
— Alejandro Gomis
7. DWG KIA
DWG KIA finished the 2021 season as the best team in South Korea and world championship finalists. However, their offseason changes leaves them in a much lower position on the League of Legends power rankings than usual.
After saying farewell to Kim “Khan” Dong-ha , DK signed Gen.G’s substitute top laner, Noh “Burdol” Tae-yoon and Fredit BRION’s Yoon “Hoya” Yong-ho. The Worlds runner-ups also swapped their bot lane players for Nongshim RedForce’s Seo “deokdam” Dae-gil and Kim “Kellin” Hyeong-gyu. While DK made no changes to their super mid-jungle duo of Heo “ShowMaker” Su and Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu, the addition of many new players makes it unclear what to expect from them in the new season.
The most important question is whether both top laners can fill the shoes of the players before them. Burdol is only 18 with little experience on the big stage, and although he played in Worlds 2021, Gen.G subbed him out after a poor performance against LNG Esports. Meanwhile, Hoya’s squad finished in ninth place in the previous split. Regardless of these changes, DK still have one of the best mid-jungle combos, and the existing synergy between deokdam and Kellin may be all they need to climb back to the top.
— Rashidat Jimoh
6. Royal Never Give Up
Royal Never Give Up might not be the benefactors of Uzi’s un-retirement, but they’re still ahead of him in the League of Legends power rankings. The org that was once known most for being the home of the legendary bot laner has grown up without him, and this may be their best roster since he left in 2020.
As of today, LPL0006 @UziRNG will officially retire. Uzi was not only the heart and soul of RNG, but also an icon in the esports world as a whole. From a teenager onwards he never gave up and worked as hard as he could to be the best he could in his role, he inspired many. pic.twitter.com/wsqqOnqE4o
— Royal Never Give Up (@RNG) June 3, 2020
After being considered one of the best top laners in the world last year, Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao is returning to the mid lane for RNG, filling in by far their weakest position from 2021. Taking his place up top is former Suning star Chen “Bin” Ze-Bin, who has been one of the strongest LPL top laners for a couple of years and made it to the Worlds finals in 2020.
The rest of the team stays the same, meaning the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational winners and Worlds quarterfinalists just upgraded their roster for 2022. The tough just got tougher.
— Parkes “parqueso” Ousley
5. Top Esports
Top Esports were close to making it to the world championship in 2021. They finished fifth of the LPL regular season, then lost against LNG Esports in Round 2 of LPL summer playoffs.
For 2022, they’re keeping key players such as bot laner Yu “JackeyLove” Wen-Bo. But they are also adding 2019 world champion Gao “Tian” Tian-Liang to the roster, and his experience in the jungle paired with Zhuo “knight” Ding, arguably the best mid laner in the LPL, is no joke. Former JD Gaming top laner Zhang “Zoom” Xing-Ran, one of the best in the LPL in his role, rounds out the Top Esports roster.
While it was against a weakened LPL, Top Esports also just won the Demacia Cup 2021, beating FunPlus Phoenix in the finals. They have showcased that they’re a very strong team to look at coming into 2022.
— Brieuc “LEC Wooloo” Seeger
T1 begin the 2022 LCK season with fewer changes than their biggest domestic rivals of 2021 in Gen.G and DWG KIA. The young, talented team led by veteran Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok finished 2021 as Worlds semifinalists after a narrow 3-2 loss to DK. The continuity of the roster, and the ever-dangerous Faker, will likely make this team a mainstay of the League of Legends power rankings throughout 2022.
[brid video=”912693″ player=”25910″ title=”The%20Rise%20Again%20of%20Faker%20%20How%20Esports’%20Greatest%20Icon%20Reinvented%20Himself” duration=”1435″ description=”Arguably the greatest esports competitor that the world has ever seen, Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok helped build and define esports as we know it today. But even gods aren’t immune to the march of time. After making history with his third League of Legends World Championship victory in 2016, the Unkillable Demon King has been slowly declining, failing to produce results on both international and domestic stages.But in 2021, Faker transitioned from being the star player to a mentor of a team of rookie talent; a team he managed to lead straight to worlds.This is the Rise Again of Faker. Written by: Adam Neylan (@NeylanIt)Edited by: Tomás Roldán (@TomasRoldan1993)Graphics and thumbnail by: Ivan Cortez (@IvanC__14) Script Editor: Samantha Jones (@SammieRaeJones)Supervising Producer and narrator: Colin McNeil (@McNeilColin)” uploaddate=”2021-12-02″ thumbnailurl=”//cdn.brid.tv/live/partners/19254/thumb/912693_t_1638563496.jpg” contentUrl=”//cdn.brid.tv/live/partners/19254/sd/912693.mp4″]
In terms of roster changes, T1 decided to only make changes to their top lane after parting ways with Kim “Canna” Chang-dong. Like most of the current T1 roster, their new starting top laner, Choi “Zeus” Woo-je, is a product of the T1 Academy team. He played some games in the 2021 LCK spring split and also won the Academy series in the previous year.
The T1 rookies showed us at Worlds 2021 that they can go toe-to-toe with more experienced players. Moreover, their strength in the previous year mostly came from their powerful bot lane of Lee “Gumayusi” Min-hyeong and support Ryu “Keria” Min-seok, and that duo has remained intact. With a talented group plus the all-time great Faker leading the lines, T1 look like they are heading for the summit this year.
Consistent domestic results and a top-four finish at the 2021 world championship gave Gen.G a taste of what could have been in 2021. Going into this season, the org has completely rebuilt its main lineup around bot laner Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk, who’s now surrounded by some of the biggest names in the LCK.
Mid laner Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon and jungler Han “Peanut” Wang-ho will be sporting the black and gold in 2022. The pressure is on to see whether the superstar mid and resurging veteran will be capable of bringing enough firepower to rewrite the “one-dimensional” narrative that’s haunted Gen.G for so long. Chovy’s masterful performance with Hanwha Life Esports at Worlds and Peanut’s impressive season with Nongshim RedForce last year showed us that these two are the real deal.
Gen.G have high expectations coming in at No. 3 in the League of Legends power rankings, but they can match those predictions. And you don’t have to take our word for it.
“I heard Ge.nG is invincible at scrims, about 90% win rate,” LNG mid laner Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang said, according to a translation from Chinese esports outlet HUPU Esports. “No matter who they play, they only lost one game per day at max.”
With tested top laner Choi “Doran” Hyeon-joon and support Son “Lehends” Si-woo filling out the squad, Gen.G’s 2022 roster could have the makings of an on-paper superteam.
— Nick Ray
2. LNG Esports
LNG Esports takes our second spot in the League of Legends power rankings after upgrading an already strong team with one of the best players in the world: Doinb. With his addition, LNG have one of the strongest topsides of any team across the globe, with Hu “Ale” Jia-Le and Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong complimenting the former world champion mid laner. There aren’t many other junglers who could better utilize Doinb’s roam-and-brawl style than Tarzan.
LNG’s bot lane could potentially be an issue for them occasionally, but not because they’re bad — the LPL just has a lot of incredible bot lane duos. That said, support Liao “Iwandy” Ding-Yang and AD carry Wang “Light” Guang-Yu are still a strong pair, and again, adding Doinb into the mix could open up a playstyle that suits them better.
LNG also added former JD Gaming support Zuo “LvMao” Ming-Hao to the team. With him on board, LNG may attempt a six-man roster with two clear playstyles, or at least show some different options based on opponent.
LNG got third/fourth in the recent Demacia Cup and ended the tournament with a 3-1 loss to FunPlus Phoenix. Despite that hiccup, LNG are clearly already starting to gel together, at least well enough that they should start the season strong.
1. Edward Gaming
There isn’t much to say about Edward Gaming’s position on this list. Despite being heavy underdogs against DWG KIA, EDG captured the Worlds 2021 title, but it wasn’t much of a surprise if you looked at their performance over the year. LPL summer champs and back-to-back top two finishes in the LPL regular season. But what was surprising is who stepped up for the LPL summer champions at Worlds and finally rewarded EDG fans for their faith.
Heading into Worlds 2021, everyone knew how good mid laner Lee “Scout” Ye-chan, AD carry Park “Viper” Do-hyeon and support Tian “Meiko” Ye were, but the unsung heroes in the top lane and jungle shined brightest. Jungler Zhao “Jiejie” Li-Jie and top Li “Flandre” Xuan-Jun proved they are world-class talents and heading into 2022, and the topside will be at the forefront of everyone’s minds when they think of EDG.
EDG are running it back with a championship-caliber roster. Despite upgrades on other squads both domestically and abroad, it’s way too early to entertain the idea that there is a better team than the world champs.
The new year starts where it left off, EDG being No. 1.
- 100 Thieves
- Team Liquid
- Evil Geniuses
- G2 Esports
- MAD Lions
- DWG KIA
- Nongshim RedForce
- Edward Gaming
- LNG Esports
- Top Esports
- Royal Never Give Up
- FunPlus Phoenix
Editor’s note: The original story misidentified the starting support for T1 and the starting date for the LPL. The story has been updated, and Upcomer regrets the error.