At the end of Friday, each of the four major regions have officially begun their 2022 professional seasons. With that, many spicy picks that teams have been practicing over the offseason have already been put on display. Here are the spiciest pro LoL champion picks in each position that have appeared so far in the young 2022 season.
EDG Flandre – Annie Top
Top lane has had some seriously spicy picks so far in the League of Legends 2022 season. On the opening day of the League of Legends European Championship, Adam Maanane busted out his signature Darius. But it was the reigning world champion top laner, Li “Flandre” Xuan-Jun who has the spiciest pick so far this season. Flandre has an incredibly deep champion pool and flexed that in Edward Gaming’s opening series against JD Gaming. In the series, Flandre picked Vladimir ,which is already spicy, but he turned heads with his Annie pick.
After having success against EDG at the League of Legends World Championship where it even drew a ban, EDG decided to use it for themselves. But not in the mid lane, Flandre locked it in top lane in Game 1. During the game, Flandre’s Annie destroyed Jayce in lane and coasted to an easy 25-minute victory with a 4/1/12 Kill/Death/Assist ratio. It was actually such a problem for JD Gaming that they banned it away in Game 2. This made it the second time in less than three months that an Annie has been banned in pro play.
VIT Perkz – Akshan Mid
To kick off the highly anticipated LEC 2022 spring split Team Vitality, with legendary mid-laner Luka “Perkz” Perković on the roster, had the pleasure of playing in the opening match of the new season. And with the new season, Perkz locked in a new champion. The EU debut of Akshan was locked in and not in the bot lane either, Perkz took it upon himself to bring the marksman champion into the mid lane. However, Perkz and VIT probably want a do-over on that decision.
Perkz made Akshan look awful. His mid-lane opponent, MAD Lions’ Steven “Reeker” Chen, who was playing Yasuo, made Perkz a non-factor. MAD Lions scored the upset over VIT in a short 32-minute game where Perkz went 0/6/4 on Akshan.
MAD UNFORGIVEN – Kathus Bot
In the same game where Perkz took a bot lane champion into the mid lane, MAD Lions did the opposite. The spice was in full effect in the opening match of the LEC as MAD bot laner, William “UNF0RGIVEN” Nieminen brought the Karthus pick into a matchup against Jhin and it actually proved to be very effective in a pro LoL setting.
Karthus was able to keep Jhin in check and ended the game with a clean stat line of 4/1/5. The pick didn’t hard carry the team but it was good enough to aid in the upset over the so-called super team of EU.
T1 Oner – Nidalee Jungle
Heading over to the League of Legends Champions Korea, Worlds 2021 semifinalists T1 got in on the spicy pick action with a jungler that has been forgotten in recent times. Moon “Oner” Hyeon-joon locked in Nidalee in T1’s opening matchup of the LCK 2022 spring split against Kwangdong Freecs. The Game 2 Nidalee lock-in against Lee Sin proved the be the difference maker. Oner claimed the entire map for himself as he finished with a 5/1/5 scoreline. He also earned player of the game honors.
However, Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, probably has a different opinion after Oner stole his pentakill. But all in all, the Nidalee looked real good.
OMG COLD – Rell Support
On the topic of forgotten champions in their main role, LPL’s Oh My God proved that in a meta that is heavily dominated by Nautilus, Leona and Thresh there is another tanky engage support that is still viable. OMG’s support player Liu “COLD” Shi-Yu busted out the Rell in their Game 1 against Anyone’s Legend.
The Rell pick proved to be strong. Even though it was mid-laner Lin “Creme” Jian carrying the team in Game 1 on Akali. COLD’s Rell ended the game with a 0/2/14 KDA as OMG won the game cleanly in 32 minutes.
About the Author
ASU alum with a B.A in Sports Journalism, Warren is one of the premier TFT Journalists in the scene and is a decent TFT player as well who has peaked Challenger and has had multiple accounts in Master+ over all sets. Warren also specializes in other esports content including League of Legends, Valorant, Smash Bros, and more.