Worlds 2022 is just around the corner, so I figured why not continue the venerable tradition of arbitrarily ranking the top 20 players to the full extent of my biases and receiving hate for it for weeks on end?
Sign me up!
Anyway, here’s the list:
#20: C9 Berserker: From Apprentice to Master
The only NA player on this list, even though he’s a Korean import, Berserker’s performance from the start of this year to his eventual championship run has been nothing short of exemplary.
The former understudy to T1’s Gumayusi, Berserker has been vastly superior to every other bot laner in NA, and easily carried Cloud9 to their first championship in quite some time with his sublime positioning in teamfights.
Strengths: Very good teamfighter
Weaknesses: Might look better than he actually is because of NA competition
Key pick: Aphelios
#19: MAD UNF0RGIVEN: Unmatched Potential
UNF0RGIVEN has been one of my favorite players to watch this entire year.
One of the few bot laners to have the entire Infinity Gauntlet of meta ADCs within the summer split and playoffs, UNF0RGIVEN’s season was cut abruptly short by shortcoming from his solo laners in the playoffs.
He is a complete package in terms of versatility, laning and teamfighting who seems to be limited only by his teammates’ run of form.
Out of all Western players at Worlds, my money is on him to carve out a name for himself after styling on his Asian counterparts in this tournament!
Strengths: Can play every single ADC in the meta, Good laning, Great teamfighting
Weaknesses: First Worlds, First time playing against Eastern teams
Key pick: Twitch
#18: RNG GALA: The PentaKing
While his Lucian has been absolutely terrifying in this summer split, he has looked shockingly lukewarm on other champions throughout LPL playoffs.
Although GALA remains one of the best teamfighters in the world, as well as the greatest Kai’Sa player of all time, his laning has not exactly been top-tier, and he has been susceptible to getting abused by other players further down this list.
Strengths: Monster teamfighter, Monster Lucian, Best Kai’Sa player of all time
Weaknesses: Subpar laning
Key picks: Kai’Sa
#17: RNG Xiaohu: The Spring Tiger
The second-greatest player of all time!
At least in my book…
Then why is he ranked so low, you ask?
Xiaohu has had a decisive return from his MSI championship, placing 4th in the regular season and picking up the All-Pro 1st Team this summer split.
Though he did get outpaced by EDG in the playoffs, he managed to get himself to Worlds following a prudent series versus DoinB’s LNG, where he once again demonstrated his ability to recognize and play to win conditions.
While Xiaohu is never rated as highly because of his lack of brilliant mechanics, his ability to competently play a wide assortment of champions and playstyles make him a much more terrifying player than any hotshot rookie with crazy montages.
Strengths: High IQ, Versatile, Win condition assessment
Weaknesses: Mediocre laner, Struggles in high-skill matchups
Key picks: Galio, Taliyah
#16: TES JackeyLove: The Lunatic Superstar
Look I know what you are thinking…
Does JackeyLove deserve a Top 20 spot after one of the most egregious Zeri ints that cost his team the championship in Game 5?
Well… no. But I can explain…
See, JackeyLove has actually been pretty consistent, by his mediocre standards, throughout this split. His famous laning proficiency remains one of the best, if not the best, among all ADCs in the tournament, and he still has the ability to completely shutout the enemy bot lane and win the game through sheer laning talent.
His teamfighting has improved as well; there were multiple times within playoffs where he was able to clutch out some big teamfighs on Zeri and save his team from precarious positions.
However, Jackey still hasn’t grown out of the lunatic positionings that has plagued him since his rookie days, and is still very susceptible to going aggressive at times and just inting away the game at the most inopportune moments.
Strengths: Monster laner, Versatile champ pool
Weaknesses: Gets caught randomly, Aggressive positioning in teamfights
Key pick: Draven
#15: TES Wayward: The Cocky Rookie
The 2022 LPL Spring Rookie of the Split, Wayward is a sensational top laner that will turn heads at this year’s World Championship.
A cocky, emote-spamming kid with the frightening mechanics to back them up, Wayward has a penchant for finding creative teamfighting angles in clutch situations.
Although I think he will need to develop further to shed himself of his rookie naivety, his raw mechanics and his ability to run over the game when playing strong side, should already make him a fearsome proposition for any team at Worlds.
Strengths: Great laner, Great teamfighter
Weaknesses: Too aggressive, Inexperienced, First Worlds
Key Picks: Gnar, Irelia
#14. T1 Zeus: The Saving Grace
The prodigy that has kept T1 afloat amidst a weird and wonderful season, Zeus comes in at #14.
An extremely powerful laner that can also function as a weakside player, Zeus allows T1 to pivot into top-focused drafts given how bad Gumayusi has been playing this year.
That being said, T1 doesn’t seem to realize that, putting him on Ornn duty during the finals, and ending up getting swept…
Strengths: Best Jayce player in the world, Monster laner
Weaknesses: Team does not play around him as much as they should
Key pick: Jayce
#13: JDG Missing: The Quiet Storm
The highest ranked support in this list, Missing will definitely not be missing from making this list!
Missing has been quietly instrumental in Jingdong Gaming’s ascent to the championship this year, proving to be a key contributor with his proficiency on enchanters.
One particular thing to note when watching Missing is the accuracy of his ultimates on champions like Nami or Yuumi.
I see professional supports either toss these ults out haphazardly or miss people altogether, but Missing has a very good finger on the pulse when it comes to using ultimates at just the right moments in crucial choke points across the map.
I believe his prudence with big ultimate spells was one of the big reasons why JDG were able to comeback against TOP in those 10 games in the playoffs.
Strengths: Best Nami in the world, Excels at enchanters, Good teamfighter, Good laner
Weaknesses: Isn’t known for his engage supports
Key pick: Nami
#12: RGE Comp: The Best in the West
The highest ranked Western player on this list, Comp comes in at #12 after picking Finals MVP in Rogue’s first ever championship!
A teamfighting monster whose laning has improved due to his support’s excellence on enchanters, Comp is the definitive win condition for Rogue.
His performance against G2 in the Finals was quite as close to perfect as anyone could ever get, going immortal whilst sweeping the very team that tormented him for years to finally clinch the chip!
Strengths: Monster teamfighter, Great laner
Weaknesses: First Worlds
Key pick: Caitlyn
#11: RNG Breathe: Most Underrated
I feel like people don’t quite understand just how good Breathe is…
I mean, they know he’s good but just how good exactly?
While he wasn’t available to play during RNG’s MSI run this year, Breathe has come back in for summer split and picked up just where he left off last year. A truly world-class top laner who is able to play tanks as well as carries, there are really no holes in Breathe’s gameplay.
Strengths: Great teamfighter, Solid laner, Versatile pool
Weaknesses: Team does not play around him enough
Key Pick: Akali
#10: TES Knight: The Golden Left Hand
For any other player, getting 10th in this kind of list is probably a career accomplishment.
For Knight, it is a shocking disappointment…
Possibly the best Chinese-born player of all time, The Golden Left Hand has been spinning on all cylinders all split, leading TES to a 14-2 record in the regular season.
He is extraordinarily famous for his Sylas, which is banned against Top Esports 48% of the time…
Let that sink in, teams are so scared of Knight embarrassing their entire families on this champion, it is banned almost half of his games…
An extremely powerful player with as much versatility as carry potency, Knight was largely lukewarm in his pivotal games against JDG and childhood friend Yagao during the 10 games they played against each other in playoffs.
While he seems to excel at melee, playmaking champions, he has looked quite unlike himself on other picks such as Lissandra.
Given his bad run of form in the playoffs it will be interesting to see how he shapes up for Worlds.
Make no mistake, as high as he already is on this list, Knight usually belongs much higher.
Strengths: Sylas monster, Monster teamfighter, Good laning, Good roamer, Champ ocean
Weaknesses: Struggled on low resource picks towards the end, Lukewarm playoffs
Key Pick: Sylas
#9: GEN Peanut: The Lynchpin
Peanut is coming off one of the best splits of his entire career! It is quite daunting to see the young, flashy Lee Sin prodigy of 2015 being lauded for his Poppy and Trundle play in 2022, but hey, that’s just how it goes sometimes!
Armed with some of the best laners on the entire planet, Peanut has been the engine behind GenG’s early and mid games, and has been a crucial bridge to get his laners into their item spikes where they are virtually invincible as a team.
Strengths: Early game engine, Good on summer meta junglers
Weaknesses: Might struggle if meta switches to farm heavy junglers, Might look better than he actually is because of laners
Key Pick: Poppy
#8: JDG 369: The Living Cheat Code
369 is simply the best top laner at Worlds.
Make no mistake, he’s not the best top laner in the world (that would be Bin, who unfortunately could not 1v9 his way here) but, nevertheless a frightening proposition for any team to have to deal with.
369 lit up LPL Summer Playoffs by picking weakside tanks like Ornn and Sejuani… and proceeding to solo kill his opposition left, right and center…
Essentially, he is like a cheat code that you used that you can’t tell your friends about. His team benefits from having a frontline and utility with his picks, but instead of suffering the drawbacks, they also know he might just kill the enemy carry with they ever misplay against him.
Strengths: Best weakside player in the world, Monster laning, Great teamfighting, Monster engage, Great versatility
Weaknesses: Has not been playing many carries this split
Key pick: Sejuani
#7: JDG Hope: World’s Biggest Surprise
We come off 369’s Hype Train straight into Hope Station.
Hope has been a revelation through LPL playoffs, managing to distance himself from all the unbelievable ADCs in his region to come out as the champion.
He was someone I did not have a particular eye on this year, so you could imagine my surprise as I saw him simply tearing apart big names like JackeyLove with his sublime laning and teamfighting.
As opposed to JackeyLove, who still hasn’t tempered his aggression despite his veterancy, Hope has razor-sharp intuition, and is constantly able to tow the line between optimistic aggression and guarded passivity.
Honestly, Hope is seriously good, and alongside Missing, they might just be the best bot lane at this tournament.
If you are like me, and you didn’t really know who Hope is and don’t see a reason to get hyped off of him, trust me, you are in for a big surprise.
Strengths: Monster teamfigher, Great laner,
Key Pick: Lucian
#6: JDG Kanavi: Carry Jungle Extraordinaire
The fact that #6 through #8 are all JDG players should tell you something about the strength of Jingdong Gaming…
But hey! Maybe I’m just BiASED.
Kanavi is simply excellent and I daresay he was the biggest reason why JDG were able to pull off those anime-level comebacks against TOP during those 10 games. A carry jungler who managed to balance it out with effective ganking, Kanavi is essentially unbeatable when he is having a good game, sort of like Damwon’s Canyon.
Something I noticed in those teamfights against TOP was how he plays his bruiser champions like assassins, intelligently getting into small pockets of vision and jumping out at just the right time to pick off a squishy, warping the entire teamfight in just a matter of seconds.
Strengths: Great carry jungler, Great versatility, Great engage, Good ganker
Weaknesses: Forces picks that sometimes backfire like Bel’Veth
Key Picks: Vi, Kindred, Karthus, Bel’Veth
#5: EDG Viper: The Main Character
The international heartthrob of last year’s World Champions, Viper makes it back to Worlds in true Viper fashion – incinerating everything in his way.
Despite not being able to clinch the summer title, Viper is still the best bot laner in China and has been ever since he got imported from Korea.
From laning, to teamfighting, to positioning, the man simply excels in every facet of ADC skillsets in a marvelous maelstrom of talent, the likes of which I have rarely seen from the ADC position.
EDG will be relying on this guardian deity to become the first team since SKT to win back-to-back World Championships, and with Viper at the helm, it is not too impossible…
Strengths: Godlike teamfighter, Godlike laner, Monster versatility, Can play non-ADCs
Weaknesses: Absolutely nothing.
Key Pick: Aphelios
#4: GEN Chovy: The Perfect Player
Ah… can’t wait for the Korean fanboys to see their lord and savior ranked so low…
Look man, Chovy is good. Chovy is great. Hell, he is literally the best laner this game has ever seen…
That being said, he does have good teammates around him and the summer meta was definitely suited to his tastes.
Previously given the title The Uncrowned King, Chovy finally managed to win an LCK championship, after six attempts at the trophy.
With every other player in this list, it’s about how their strengths make them qualified to be here. For Chovy, it’s about how any intangible nook and cranny prevents him from being the automatic best player in the world…
If you ever tried to teach an AI program to play League of Legends optimally, it will eventually come out to a style that is most reminiscent of Chovy’s.
However, perfect play isn’t the only thing that constitutes winning championships – Chovy would know that, because for all his perfect play, this is the first time he has a trophy to show for it.
If the meta stays on Azir and Ahri he will be fine, but I am worried for him and GenG if it swaps over to more roaming style mid laners.
Strengths: Greatest laner of all time, Good versatility
Weaknesses: Not very clutch, Struggles for impact on low resource mids
Key picks: Azir, Akali
#3: TES Tian: An Unbeatable Early Game
The best jungler in the world, who in all honestly deserved to win the championship for his efforts, Tian comes in at #3 following a split which fetched him the MVP award in LPL Summer 2022!
He seemed to have landed in a good meta for him and quickly found his position facilitating his carries, becoming a very powerful early game engine that simply destroys teams before the 15-minute mark.
His genius pathing and ability to sniff out potential dives and ganks nicely supplement his laners’ powerful, yet unreliable, aggression, creating a perfect storm that makes TES potentially the best early game team in the world.
Strengths: Monster ganker
Weaknesses: Will suffer if meta switches to farming junglers
Key Pick: Trundle
#2: JDG Yagao: Sweet Vindication
Ahh.. I can hear the pitchforks from here…
IMAGINE RANKING YAGAO OVER CHOVY?!?! REEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!
Secondly, Yagao is coming off a career-defining playoffs on his road to securing another championship for JDG, displaying his skill on a myriad of different styles and champions.
If you took the nameplates off, I would have mistaken him for his childhood friend Knight!
It is heartwarming for Yagao, who is constantly compared to and laughed at because of his apparent inferiority to his childhood friend, to finally shut the haters up and literally gap Knight in 10 straight games to take home the trophy in one of the most contested LPL splits ever.
He is even occupying a slot in this Top 20 list that would normally be reserved for Knight, which goes to show just how good this man has been playing in the final stretch of the playoffs!
While Chovy is a better laner and arguably even a better teamfighter, he is somewhat limited by his reliance on hard-scaling mid laners that make use of his superb mechanics.
The reason why I have Yagao ranked higher than his Korean counterpart is his ability to play low resource mid laners as well as the hard carries, which greatly increases JDG’s drafting potency, especially when paired with a carry jungler like Kanavi.
Strengths: Godlike versatility, High IQ, Great engage
Weaknesses: Streaky player, Temporary run of form might have fallen off in Worlds
Key picks: Taliyah, Ahri
#1: GEN Ruler: And One to Rule Them All
The Season 7 Worlds Finals MVP is back, and is looking to cement himself as the greatest ADC of all time with another Summoner’s Cup.
With GenG free of all the COVID cases that plagued them in spring, Ruler has been transcendent this split, picking up the LCK MVP award en route to his first ever domestic championship.
Heralded as the best teamfighter in the world, Ruler has reached a level of robotic precision in big 5v5 situations that I have seldom seen throughout my years of watching League.
His ability to micromanage cooldowns, intelligently acquire targets, space accordingly is second to absolutely no one, and he has been the primary reason for GenG steamrolling through the regular season.
Even though the current meta is vastly different from the Ardent Censor meta where he won his first World championship, the strategy remains the same – play around Ruler at all costs.
A combination of unbeatable teamfighting acumen along with best-in-class teammates puts Ruler as a frontrunner for Worlds 2022. Not only that, but given GenG’s playstyle of prioritizing the bot lane, if his team were to win in the end, it is more than likely Ruler ends up with a second Worlds Finals MVP – a feat that no other player has ever accomplished in the history of League of Legends esports.