Off-season has been a chaotic mess, especially in the West. The roster stalemate is difficult and many teams are waiting for key players in position to close their roster. However, aside from Barney “Alphari” Morris and Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau, top laners were on the radar. It’s all about bottom laner, mid laner, and jungler.
Top laners like Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu and Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon had disappointing performances at Worlds, while newcoms like Shunsuke “Evi” Murase and Hua “Ale” Jia-Le put your name on the map. The stage is open to fresh faces and grown veterans alike to get the attention they deserve. Furthermore, some of the most promising top laners coming in 2022 are in the lower tier teams.
It’s safe to say that the Golden Guardians are a team worth watching for avid LCS viewers after the solid second half of the Summer Split, but it’s Licorice who put it all together. He and Nicholas “Ablazeolive” Abbott are star players and nearly always give GG an edge. Licorice gel perfect with the current premium meta due to his teamfights and willingness to lead the team.
If a level occurs on the map, Licorice is likely to be the one to initiate it. GG fell whenever Licorice wasn’t in the lead. If Licorice can maintain and repeat his identity as a team hitter, he can build a legacy and separate himself from just being the top laner that was in C9. 2022 could finally be his year.
Astralis’ LoL team has so far been unsuccessful. They felt lost and the squad move was never successful. The only consistent point about Astralis is that Nikolay “Zanzarah” Akatov will pick Trundle in most matches. However, WhiteKnight’s breakout performances in the top lane during the Summer Split led Astralis to their most regular season record, barely missing the playoffs.
WhiteKnight is a player for Astralis, and he always tries to make their games fun. He peaked with Lee Sin while laning was Lee Sin’s main role for a brief stint in Summer, and it’s likely we won’t see him reach that peak in other picks. But if WhiteKnight can display a similar skill level to bearers like Graves and Jayce, he could be one of the best top laners in the LEC.
Top Esports is an underperforming organization in 2021. They had a great World Championship in 2020, but 2021 is going to be tough. 369 has consistently delivered strong performances against the top laners late in the game. Camille, Jayce, and Gangplank are all power picks for him and he’s an extremely reliable late-game carry.
369’s champion pool often leaves him weak early game, but he’s almost always a big late game influence and becomes a problem in teamfights. He plays his own game. However, with TES’ shabby roster, 369’s playstyle didn’t always work out. Wang “Zhuo” Xu-Zhuo often chooses supports that focus on keeping the backline alive rather than initiating. This means that 369’s late-game and late-game slant often leaves TES with no initiator. Looks like 369 was alluding to departure from Top Esports, hopefully he finds a team that better matches his strengths as a player.
Summit is literally a watchable top laner. He is a coin in every sense of the word, and that makes any game he participates in an event in its own right. Sometimes, Summit will beat Jayce 0-9 and increase his team’s chances. Other times, he’ll get three teamfight winning Gnar moves in a single match. There is no way to know what kind of performance to expect at Summit. But when he has a good game, he has a good game.
With the recent Summit leave Liiv Sandbox arrive join Cloud9, he is starting a new journey in a new region. His laning phase is extremely unstable until 2020, but Summit’s teamfights are almost unmatched. He was a big part of the LSB’s brief success over the Summer Split.
Kiin is a relatively unknown player outside of Korea. He’s been with the Afreecas Freecs for most of his professional career, and AF has always been somewhat mediocre. AF has only entered the international scene once, and they were defeated by C9 at Worlds 2018. In a way, AF’s poor performance makes Kiin a well-kept secret for those who don’t. keep up with the LCK. In short, Kiin is an absolute monster.
No matter how hard he was camped and how hard his team lost, Kiin always found a loophole. Sidelaning, teamfights, early change to bot lane, enough dominance in top lane to threaten the Herald at any time. Kiin has it all. The recent top-focused meta has only upgraded Kiin’s strength, and he’s the only reason why AF has the least chance of making it to Worlds this year despite finishing 9th in Season 1. Spring. If anyone will appear in your sights in 2021, it’s Kiin.
https://www.invenglobal.com/articles/15930/top-5-top-laners-you-should-be-watching-in-2022 Inven Global Awards: Top 5 Top laners you should watch in 2022