With the 2022 League of Legends World Championship just around the corner, Upcomer isn’t just bringing fans in-depth looks at every single team, but also a look at the best players in every role. Through a panel of Upcomer’s League experts, the team has compiled a Top 5 ranking of every player in every role at this year’s Worlds 2022 tournament.
Starting with top laners, Upcomer brings fans a look at what we believe to be the five best players in the role with in-depth analysis and reasoning below.
5. Huang “Wayward” Ren-Xing (Top Esports)
— LoL Esports (@lolesports) April 21, 2022
Top Esports have looked like the best team in the LPL for a wide majority of the 2022 LPL season; their rookie top laner has been a big reason why. In the 2022 LPL spring split, Wayward managed to pick up rookie of the split honors and a spot on the All-LPL third team. Wayward was the only TES player selected onto one of those teams despite taking RNG to Game 5 of the spring finals. Throughout the spring playoffs, Wayward shined even brighter picking up five player of the game awards.
Summer was a small setback for Wayward though. With not having as much success as he did in the spring, Wayward whiffed All-pro selection at the end of the summer split despite his team being much better.
Wayward did have moments of greatness, especially in the summer finals against JD Gaming. Wayward outdueled All-LPL first-team top laner “369” consistently over the four games he played.
4. Li “Flandre” Xuanjun (Edward Gaming)
— LPL (@lplenglish) September 2, 2022
The reigning world champion top laner is heading back to Worlds for the second straight time and his second only time. In his first ever Worlds appearance last year, Flandre made it one for one in appearance to world championship win ratio. Although his signature Graves pick has fallen out of meta over 2022, Flandre still managed to put up a respectable and quiet 2022 campaign.
Despite not making it onto any of the three LPL All-Pro teams in the 2022 summer split, Flandre still lead all top laners in the league in KDA while playing 14 different champions throughout the 2022 LPL summer split.
A rock for EDG that has been incredibly consistent during the back stretch of EDG’s season, what you see in Flandre is what you get and that includes potential bonus games where he can completely take over and carry when needed.
3. Chen “Breathe” Chen (Royal Never Give Up)
— LPL (@lplenglish) September 4, 2022
When Mid-Season Invitational 2022 champions RNG decided to bring in Chen “Breathe” Chen to replace Chen “Bin” Ze-Bin in a complex deal, especially after winning MSI back-to-back, there was understandable trepidation from the community. Despite finishing fourth in the regular season, RNG’s overall game record of 13-3 was better than their finish in spring record of 12-4, where they finished second. Breathe even got five MVP awards, just behind his mid laner and jungler. Breathe is mostly known for his carry picks but can also be left on tanks, and his versatility definitely gave RNG fans some hope the ‘RNG summer curse’ would not strike.
Despite RNG’s disappointing playoffs run, Breathe still put out some solid performances, especially on Fiora. He has drawn bans with her and has only lost once in the five games he’s gotten her, and his prowess on the champ was on full display in Game 5 vs LNG Esports to determine which team would go to Worlds. Breathe duly banished his reputation as a ‘ticket seller’ there and then, helping his new team qualify as the LPL’s fourth seed to Worlds 2022.
This will be his first outing at Worlds and if he reaches even higher heights, it won’t be his last.
2. Bai “369” Jiahao (JD Gaming)
3's, 9's and everything in between. Find out the journey that 369 went on to get here.
— LPL (@lplenglish) August 25, 2022
After a fantastic season that allowed him to capture the LPL title and first-team All-LPL honors in the top laner, “369” enters Worlds 2022 as the arguable best top laner in the entire tournament. 369 led all JDG members in player of the game honors throughout the 2022 LPL summer split with nine which was just two off the league lead. He had an alright playoffs, but nothing spectacular.
369 is capable of taking over games with polarizing picks like Gangplank and Kennen, and has showcased his mastery over the champions throughout the year, having multiple spotless KDA games while easily leading JDG to victories. Specializing in team fight top laners, the stats show that 369 loves to get involved in JDG’s high-scoring games as he led all top laners in the region in assists by almost 50 and was just five kills off the lead in kills, according to Oracle’s Elixir.
1. Choi “Zeus” Woo-je (T1)
Don't mess with T1's little bro Zeus 💪😤 pic.twitter.com/cEy8QD5Nl9
— LCK (@LCK) May 11, 2022
Zeus is by far the youngest player on this list at 18. However, he takes the number one spot. In a list that contains so many LPL top-laners, it is the young LCK upstart from T1 that takes the top spot.
Zeus was officially named the starter for T1 at the beginning of this year along with another batch of talented rookies to surround Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok. In his first split with T1, the team had the most dominant run the LCK had ever seen and was able to take the team to their tenth LCK championship. While T1 fell to Gen.G in the Summer Split finals, Zeus remains an integral part to one of the LCK’s strongest teams.
The young top laner has been able to weather the different meta changes that have been thrown at him. He has been able to play a variety of champions, from carry champions such as Gwen or Jayce, to tanks like Gnar, Ornn and Gragas. There will rarely be a time that any fan tunes into a T1 game and Zeus is ever behind in lane, no matter what he is playing. The world championships are a different matter, but Zeus comes in as the number one top laner in our eyes amongst a very strong crop.
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.