The 2020 League of Legends World Championship starts in one week, and while the competition will bring many familiar faces back to the international stage, there are plenty of new ones competing on LoL esports' biggest stage for the first time. Let's take a look at the top 10 best first-time players at Worlds 2020.
10. Edward "Tactical" Ra — Team Liquid [LCS]
This summer, Team Liquid switched up its style for the first time in two years with jungler Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen playing primarily towards mid laner Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen, which took some pressure off of AD carry Tactical in his first full split in the LCS. Tactical also has the luxury of laning with MVP support Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-In.
TL should possess a skill advantage throughout the play-in, but as the only first-time worlds attendee on the roster, Tactical will have to rise to a new level of competition individually. Should he succeed in doing so, he will establish himself as one of North America’s top AD carries.
9. Oskar "Selfmade" Boderek — Fnatic [LEC]
Selfmade joined Fnatic’s roster before the start of the season after Broxah moved to Team Liquid, and was the only new player to join the team. Similarly to Tactical, Selfmade is the only first-time attendee on his roster; surrounded by veterans with multiple Worlds appearances.
Since the start of his career, Selfmade’s individual skill has never been in doubt, and his Evelynn was crucial in Fnatic’s sweep of Rogue in the LEC Summer Playoffs to qualify for Worlds. However, Selfmade has a tendency to become a bit of a coin flip player when Fnatic is a bit too loose, and against junglers at the level of Gen.G’s Kim “Clid” Tae-min in the same group, mistakes will not go unpunished.
8. Emil "Larssen" Larsson — Rogue [LEC]
Larssen is the latest prodigy from the LEC mid lane breeding pool to debut at Worlds after Rogue qualified at the end of the 2020 LEC Summer Split. Larssen isn’t just Rogue’s best player: he’s the beating heart of the squad and oftentimes the primary win condition with its methodical, teamfight-heavy playstyle.
In Group B, Rogue will have an uphill battle against both DAMWON Gaming and JD Gaming, but if the European side is to triumph, best believe it will be through immaculate play from Larssen.
7. Zhiqiang "Shad0w" Zhao — MAD Lions [LEC]
MAD Lions has four players who have never been to the world championship before, but Shad0w stands out from the rest. He was named All-Pro jungler in the 2020 LEC Summer Split, and was particularly impressive on Lee Sin throughout MAD’s dash to qualify for worlds as the #4 LEC seed.
Shad0w has already established himself as a world class Lee Sin player, but should MAD succeed in surviving the play-in, he will have to showcase that level of play on more than just one champion in the main event.
6. Hong "Pyosik" Chang-hyeon — DRX [LCK]
When DRX put together its stacked roster at the start of the season, Pyosik was the biggest question mark as a rookie jungler setting up the likes of mid laner Jeong "Chovy" Ji-hoon and AD carry Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu to succeed, but the results speak for themselves.
In Group D, Pyosik will test his mettle against one of the best junglers in the world in Top Esports’ Hung “Karsa” Hao-Hsuan, and FlyQuest’s Lucas “Santorin” Larsen is no slouch either. International play is an entirely different beast for a first-time attendee at worlds, and to prove that he can convert domestic results to the international stage, Pyosik has his work cut out for him.
5. Lê "SofM" Quang Duy — Suning [LPL]
SofM’s long-awaited Worlds debut is finally upon us. After a half decade in the LPL, the Vietnamese jungler has qualified for his first international competition. Suning has been a perfect fit for SofM’s talents, and his electrifying jungle playstyle is the catalyst for many an aggressive early game play for the team.
SofM has quite the reputation domestically, but this is his first chance to introduce himself to a global audience as a top talent. SofM may also feel some added pressure due to the VCS being unable to compete at Worlds 2020, as this makes him the only representative from Vietnam at the entire event.
4. Bai "369" Jia-Hao — Top Esports [LPL]
369 has been the top laner for Top Esports for nearly 18 months, and in that time period has developed from promising young talent to overwhelming force. 369 is the best top laner in the LPL, and his rise has been symbiotic with TES’ transformation from contender to champion. 369 would be the best player on Top Esports if not for the roster’s absurdly talented mid laner, but if the best top laner at Worlds 2020 is your second fiddle, that’s indicative of just how strong TES is.
3. Zuo "LvMao" Ming-hao — JD Gaming [LPL]
Top Esports has a talented roster all around, but its stars shine brightest through its solo lanes. JD Gaming’s ace, on the other hand, is in the bot lane. LvMao is the best support in the world, and seemingly has the ability to turn any champion into a playmaking force.
After LvMao’s insane game 5 performance in JD Gaming’s LPL Spring finals win over Top Esports, expect his Bard to be permanently banned at Worlds 2020.
2. Seo "Kanavi" Jin-hyeok — JD Gaming [LPL]
Kanavi is the other side of JD Gaming’s battery with LvMao, and has had an absolutely incredible season after problems with his agency rendered him unable to compete in the summer prior. Kanavi immediately established himself as the best jungler in the LPL and earned MVP honors for the 2020 Spring Split.
Even though Top Esports claimed the top spot in China over the summer, Kanavi remained the best jungler in the region and heads into his first world championship as arguably the best jungler at the event. Kanavi’s first international test will be the premiere group stage matchup in Group B against DAMWON Gaming and the best jungler in the LCK, Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu.
1. Zhuo "knight" Ding — Top Esports [LPL]
Make no mistake — knight is the best mid laner in the world, the best player in the world, and almost certainly the greatest mid laner China has ever produced. Since 2018, knight has been the LPL’s best kept secret as Top Esports failed to qualify for Worlds the past two seasons, but improvements from knight’s teammates and the signing of veterans Karsa and AD carry Yu “JackeyLove” Wen-bo has put TES at its highest competitive level in organizational history.
As the event’s best player, knight has a good chance at leading Top Esports to the third consecutive LPL World Championship victory, and make history as the first native-born Chinese mid laner to accomplish that feat.
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