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 sixth of those categories: the "Best mid laners of 2020" award, presented to the mids that were the most solid, impactful performers in their own region.
Previously on Inven Global Awards
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There are many outstanding players in League of Legends across all roles and all regions. These just happen to be the best mids across the LCS, LCK, LEC, and LPL.
Best LCS mid laner: Bjergsen
This is a weird one to start with considering his retirement over the 2020 off-season, but before signing off on his player career, Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg had one last stellar performance in the mid lane for TSM. He was the only TSM member to find a spot on the All-Pro LCS team this summer, voted as the best mid of the split. During the postseason, he stepped up even higher, carrying TSM through a couple of key series before they finally came together as a solid team to eventually take the title. Longtime rival Nicolaj "Jensen" Jensen backed up his summer performance, noting Bjergsen was retiring on a high note.
Bjergsen and TSM might've fallen apart at Worlds, but his domestic performance serves as his grand finale to send him off on a high note into his coaching career.
LCS runner-up: Jensen
Jensen comes in as the runner up, just as the narratives would always go. Despite a 9th place finish in the 2020 LCS Spring Split, Jensen had a really solid individual performance, playing many a 1v9 game. Team Liquid dealt with various visa issues across both of their rosters, and then made some AD carry swaps as well, but Jensen performed very well throughout. Jensen was also a major part of Team Liquid's best ever split record, helping take them to a 15-3 split in the summer. Though they fell in the playoffs, Jensen had a very strong performance at Worlds as NA's third seed, helping Liquid find a win over both G2 Esports and Suning Gaming.
Best LCK mid laner: ShowMaker
Not only did Heo "ShowMaker" Su win the LCK this past Summer Split and get voted as first-team All-Pro, he also won Worlds, bringing the title back to Korea for the first time in three years. ShowMaker is a menace on the Rift, usually playing a very controlled, yet oppressive style. He excels at both standard mage picks like Syndra, as well as more supportive, team-oriented picks like Twisted Fate. He rarely lost lane and usually found ways to be just as impactful in the mid-game even if behind.
ShowMaker is just the whole package. He's never a liability, and his dominance in the mid lane was crucial for him and DAMWON Gaming to secure a World Championship.
LCK runner-up: Chovy
Jeong "Chovy" Ji-hoon is another one of those 1v9 players that really makes the whole team that much better. He was always a solid rock for DRX in the mid lane and played a huge part of DRX's return to greatness in 2020 and their run through the LCK playoffs and to Worlds.
Chovy may not have had his triple-digit KDA this year, but he was an absolutely necessary carry for the team, especially in the LCK playoffs.
Best LEC mid laner: Caps
There may not ever be another player like Rasmus "Caps" Winther. The old Claps or Craps meme may still live on but he was far more often the former, no matter whom he played. Caps plays a fast-paced game, often going for mechanically intensive champions that require precise play to perform. Caps had a stint in the bot lane for G2, allowing Luka "Perkz" Perković to swap back to mid last Spring. And though his Senna was one of the best in the league, he swapped back in the Summer to continue his reign over mid.
Caps and G2 made it to the Worlds semifinals, dropping just three games to get there (including a tiebreaker with Suning), before falling to the eventual World Champions DAMWON. During the off-season when Perkz decided he wanted to move back to mid, G2 chose to keep Caps over the legacy player, which tells you all you need to know about Caps' strength. The guy is good.
LEC runner-up: Larssen
Emil "Larssen" Larsson had a pop-off year, carrying Rogue to a first place finish in the regular season of the Summer Split. He was, of course, accompanied by other strong players, but his performance in the mid-lane was surprising considering he was in his debut year in the LEC. He had the second best KDA in spring, and by far the best in summer, topping the damage percentage in summer as well. His laning phase was perhaps the strongest in the entire LEC in the summer, ranking first in experience diff and gold at 10 minutes. Though his Worlds run ended with a 1-5 record in the Group Stage, Larssen had an incredible debut year in a tough region, earning him runner up.
Best LPL mid laner: Rookie
He may not have made Worlds, he may not have been named MVP, but Song "Rookie" Eui-jin was once again the best mid laner of the LPL in 2020. With his team falling apart around him, Rookie dragged them through the season to the playoffs to give them multiple chances at securing a Worlds seed. They weren't able to make it in the long run, but not due to any underperformance from Rookie himself. LPL play-by-play caster, Jake "Hysterics" Osypenko, told me:
"His laning phase is just individually the best in the LPL and one of the best in the world... Of the top 10 players that I set up for the end of the split, two of them are just Rookie on Syndra and Orianna." It's been a few years since he won Worlds, but he's still in peak form and you better believe he'll be back again someday to challenge for it again.
LPL runner-up: knight
With Rookie claiming the MVP, Zhuo "knight" Ding comes in as the runner-up. knight was perhaps the most hyped player coming into Worlds thanks to his incredible mechanics in the LPL. There was clip after clip of knight outplaying a 1v3 situation, escaping with his life and some extra gold in his pockets nearly every time. He was a crucial part of Top Esports coming in second in the Spring Split Playoffs and then claiming the title in summer. Unfortunately, despite his domestic dominance, he was unable to solo carry games at Worlds as the narrative indicated he would. He had a strong performance but ultimately fell in the semifinals to Suning Gaming. He remains with the strongest 4/5 of the same Top Esports roster in 2021, however, so get ready for another year of Top at the top and a knight looking for revenge.
» Next on Inven Global Awards: The best AD Carries of 2020 (Saturday, Jan. 23)