Following months of intense competition, the eyes of League of Legends esports are now directed to Worlds 2022, where the best teams square off to decide who among them is the best of all. Serving as its stage is North America, which will host for the first time in 2016.
From the behemoths that regularly reside within the LPL and LCK, to the resilient challengers hailing from the LEC and LCS, to the boisterous underdogs that compete within the lower regions, each team treaded their own path towards this stage, and now, all hold an equal opportunity to lift the Summoner’s Cup.
Within each squad lies an air of intrigue surrounding how they managed to reach Worlds. What was the spark that enabled them to catch fire at the right time in the year? It is for that reason Fragster is providing a preview for each competing team in Worlds 2022, from those starting the journey prematurely in the Play-In stage to those awaiting their turn in the group stage.
The first part of this preview series will feature the teams representing the Chinese LoL Pro League (LPL).
Flying the flag for the LPL as its first seed is JD Gaming, who return after a two-year absence. Following a disappointing 2021 season where they missed playoffs entirely at its conclusion, the team revamped its roster for 2022 by building around its electric jungle-mid duo of Kanavi and Yagao.
In doing so, they picked up top laner 369 following the player’s departure from archrival Top Esports. For the bot lane, JDG signed Hope, then an EDward Gaming prospect, and support Missing, who last played for Team WE.
— LPL (@lplenglish) September 1, 2022
While the team staggered to start the year, which was evident in their fourth-place finish for the spring split playoffs, everything finally came together once summer rolled around. Propped by their reliable core and an All-Pro caliber performance from 369 and Missing, JDG steered past their opposition in the playoffs, including winning a pair of 3-2 series victories over TES, to clinch their second LPL title and Worlds appearance.
Although JDG cracked the quarterfinals in their maiden international voyage, expectations are high for the team to surpass their initial showing this time around in NA. After all, the LPL’s first seed ended up winning the whole thing last year, so it’s JDG’s responsibility to keep that trend going no matter what.
Had it not been for Royal Never Give Up and JDG, Top Esports would have entered Worlds 2022 as back-to-back LPL champions. Far and away, TES were the LPL’s most consistent team for the season, regularly sitting within the top half of the league standings throughout the year. Even while the team made some roster changes, which saw top laner Zoom move to the bench for Wayward, the team remained stout in extolling their brand of aggressive albeit sophisticated League of Legends.
That said, the team’s onus isn’t based on an individual. The team’s potency is amplified through their crisp coordination that was perfected throughout the season. After stepping away from competition, jungler Tian has recaptured his old form by garnering a league MVP and All-Pro First Team honors. He is complimented by Knight and JackeyLove, TES’ dynamic duo who have the propensity to take over a game when need be.
Like JDG, TES have notched their second Worlds appearance in its org history, and like JDG, they are expected to be a major contender for the Summoner’s Cup, but should TES translate their stellar consistency to the worlds stage, there’s ample reason to believe they can run away from the field and be en route to the Cup.
If one said in the beginning of the year that EDG would be among the four LPL teams to qualify for Worlds, fans wouldn’t have been surprised at the mark. However, given how their 2022 season transpired, it’s astonishing they did so in spite of the adversity they endured.
The team started with a 7-1 record in spring before faltering in the second half with a 3-5 stretch and losing to Weibo Gaming in the playoffs, all the while swapping the starting top lane position between Flandre and Xiaoxiang. Despite the setback, EDG’s form continued to improve as they ultimately made Top 3 in the summer split playoffs, which sent them to the regional finals as a last chance to reach Worlds. Similar to spring, the team exhibited rotations in the jungler position with Junjia and Jiejie competing for the starting spot.
As EDG’s season reached a critical point in the regional finals, Jiejie reasserted his place in the starting lineup by leading the team in defeating RNG to clinch the LPL’s third seed, setting the stage for their world title defense.
As mentioned before, the team returns with the same lineup that won Worlds last year. In addition to Junjia as their substitute jungler, they will hope to become the first team since SKT to repeat as world champions and continue the LPL’s stranglehold in their ongoing domination of the event.
Royal Never Give Up
Here we are again, huh? Royal Never Give Up, the reigning MSI champions, are back with another bid to capture that elusive world crown. It’s like we’re playing a the same record.
Contrary to the success the team achieved in the spring split, where they won the LPL and MSI, RNG were unable to do the same for summer. While the team simply not playing up to their standards is considered as the reason for their subpar form in the summer split, arguably one of the biggest reasons was their trade with Bilibili Gaming that moved Bin to the latter in exchange for Breathe. By making a significant change in the middle of the season, the team needed time to familiarize themselves with their newest member.
— LPL (@lplenglish) September 5, 2022
Fortunately, the team persevered long enough to continue their journey for ultimate international glory in North America, beating LNG 3-2 in the second round of the regional finals. While there is uncertainty behind RNG’s current form despite starting the year on an unrelenting roll, which a lineup that boasts a great cast of players, including Xiaohu, Wei, GALA, and Ming, no one should discount RNG’s potential of taking over the event at any given moment.