As the 2021 Season in League of Legends is about to begin, it's time for the crew of Inven Global to take one last, reminiscent look at the whirlpool of a year that was 2020. And what better way to do it than to give out some end-of-year (though technically start of the year now...) awards?
We're happy to announce the inaugural edition of the Inven Global Awards (IGA). Voted by the crew of Inven Global, the IGA's are awarded to the best teams, players, talent, and stories in competitive League of Legends for 2020, split into 13 categories.
Today, we present you the fourth of those categories: the "Best top laners of 2020" award, presented to the top laners that were the most solid, impactful performers in their own region.
Previously on Inven Global Awards
The off-season winners of 2020
The most improved teams of 2020
The most memorable moments of 2020
* * *
There are many outstanding players in League of Legends across all roles and all regions. These are the best top laners across the LCS, LCK, LEC, and LPL.
Best LCS top laner: Licorice
Despite the end of the year's fall from glory, Eric "Licorice" Ritchie deserves the spot for best top laner in the LCS throughout all of 2020. He was a major part of Cloud9's ability to play so aggressively, controlling the top lane well in nearly every matchup and never becoming a liability for his team. Though he wasn't often on hard carry champs, he performed incredibly well on whatever the draft required of him, and that opened up greedy, aggro plays from Robert "Blaber" Huang and the rest of the team. Licorice has been a dominant leader in the top lane, and even among the other giants in the LCS, he stands above the rest.
LCS runner up: Impact
There were plenty of top laners who could snag the second spot in the LCS in 2020, with many having bright moments throughout the season. And though Impact didn't have a strong Spring Split, he bounced back in the Summer, helping take Team Liquid to Worlds for the third year in a row. He stepped up in a huge way in the Summer and broke Liquid's split record, with a final win-loss record of 15-3. And once again, Impact performed solidly on the international stage. The team didn't advance to the Worlds knockout stage, but he performed well nonetheless.
Best LCK top laner: Nuguri
What should come as no surprise, Jang "Nuguri" Ha-gwon is the winner of the LCK's best top laner of 2020. Not only did he win the LCK in the Summer, but he also helped secure a World Championship trophy for the team and the region. DAMWON Gaming only dropped a few games throughout the entire event, and Nuguri was a big part of that. He consistently pressured DWG's opponents, drawing resources from their junglers and other laners, and helping support the other star players on his team. When he wasn't winning the lane as Ornn, he was breaking the meta on Lulu, Kennen, and other creative picks. He was one of the best players in the entire Worlds tournament, and he was certainly the best top in the LCK.
LCK runner up: Canna
Kim "Canna" Chang-dong wasn't quite Nuguri, but not many could be, and he was a strong force for T1 in 2020. Canna was a pop-off player, securing a ton of solo kills for himself. All roles have multiple viable playstyles, and Canna skewed aggressive. He mostly brought on brusiers and fighters to dominate the lane and help T1 snowball. T1 is known for producing and nurturing strong top laners, and watching Canna in his debut year was similar to watching the legendary Jang "MaRin" Gyeong-hwan.
Best LEC top laner: Wunder
Martin "Wunder" Nordahl Hansen's been atop the region for a while now, winning back to back to back to back Finals with G2 Esports. Yet again, he and his team made it to the Worlds Semifinals — farther than any other LEC team — where he, yet again, matched against Nuguri for the second year in a row. Though he and G2 were not able to take out DWG, Wunder had an incredible year all the same. Though he often looks a bit lost or fragmented in the regular season, come playoffs, Wunder always turns it on and finds a way to dismantle his opposing top laner. The only question is, can he win a fifth in a row?
LEC runner up: Alphari
Barney "Alphari" Morris had a bit of the opposite year as Wunder, getting 10th in the LEC 2020 Summer Split with Origen. However, despite his team's failures, he was still voted as 1st All-Pro top laner for the split because he was individually one of the strongest players in the whole LEC. Now, he took his misfortunes and turned them into opportunity, landing himself on an impressive-looking Team Liquid roster for 2021.
Best LPL top laner: 369
Bai "369" Jia-Hao is incredibly good at League of Legends. Like Canna, he plays a lot of fighters to pressure his lane opponent, but he also plays a lot of tanks when his team needs that from him. Talk about range, he truly has the whole package. 369 had an incredible year, getting second in the LPL Spring Split, then first in the Summer Split, and finally making it all the way to the Worlds Semifinals before losing out to Suning. 369 won lanes he had no business winning, got kills he shouldn't have, and was overall one of the more impressive top laners around the globe in 2020.
LPL runner up: Zoom
Of many top laners on the list, Zhang "Zoom" Xing-Ran, has one of the more "standard" champ pools, but he still performs nonetheless. Much like 369, he had an incredible year in both summer and spring, winning the Spring Split and coming up second in the summer. At Worlds, he was one of the only top laners to take control of the game against DAMWON's Nuguri, securing 12 kills in the 37-minute victory. Zoom met an earlier-than-expected demise at Worlds, losing to Suning in the Quarterfinals, but had an incredible performance throughout the year, really making a lasting impression.
» Next on Inven Global Awards: The best junglers of 2020 (Wednesday, Jan. 20, 10:00 PT / 19:00 CET)
Images by Riot Games
Find full schedules, brackets, and more for your favorite esports on Juked.gg!
For more LoL Esports news and content, head over to our dedicated League of Legends section!