After the excitement of 2021’s Mid Season Invitational, it feels good to return back home for some fun domestic play. What better way to kick things off, than to compare the regions’ best player head-to-head? Here, we rank the West’s top five support players, from the LCS and LEC combined.
1. Mihael "Mikyx" Mehle — G2 Esports
2. Norman "Kaiser" Kaiser — MAD Lions
3. Jo "CoreJJ" Yong-in — Team Liquid
Talk all you want about how Mikyx has fallen. Say how embarrassing his play in the Spring semifinals was. Feel free to jeer about his failed Nautilus hooks — Mikyx should not be doubted. He has a long enough track record of success to believe he remains a superstar support. His partnership with Rekkles looked incredibly strong last split, and he remains one of the world’s most exciting playmakers. Even if there’s a dramatic shift in the meta, Mikyx should continue to excel. He has one of the more diverse champion pools among support players, and his exceptional team fighting will always be of value.
Just a month ago I would’ve ranked Kaiser considerably lower. After the show he and his team put on at MSI, however, Kasier has joined Mikyx as one of the West’s elite supports. After the LEC playoffs, Kaiser was a good but deeply overshadowed player. While he was a confident but smart engage-heavy force (leading supports in KDA), MAD's bot lane never drew as much excitement as Humanoid or Elyoya. But at MSI, Kaiser not only actively trained with the likes of BeryL and Ming, but surprisingly held his own.
Despite Team Liquid's LCS finals loss, it’s hard to deny CoreJJ’s spot as not only the best support in NA, but one of the best in the world. Individually he was fantastic, leading in so many statistical categories that it's suffocating. His roaming and ability to create plays all across the map were fundamental to Team Liquid’s success. Although there are some supports in the LEC who might have more potential than him, it’s hard to argue with the experience and high-skill floor CoreJJ possesses.
4. Adrian "Trymbi" Trybus — Rogue
Besides Elyoya, Trymbi is one of the most exciting young players in the West. In just one split he has already come into his own as one of the most impactful and talented Support players. Becoming something of a “First Blood King”, his aggressive stylings have given Rogue a powerful edge for their early games. He also showed tremendous versatility, both adjusting to whatever playstyle Rogue saw fit, while also showing off the largest champion pool of any support player in the west.
5. Philippe "Vulcan" Laflamme — Cloud9
6. Dino "LIMIT" Tot — FC Schalke 04
7. Hu "SwordArt" Shuo-Chieh — Team SoloMid
Unlike Kaiser, the past month has not been kind to Cloud9’s star Support player. All throughout the LCS’s Spring Split, Vulcan was on the rise, at some points neck-and-neck with CoreJJ. While most recognized Team Liquid’s support as better individually, Vulcan seemed far more cohesive within his lineup. Arguably one of his greatest strengths was how seamlessly he coordinated with Perkz, Blaber, and Zven. Now, all of that is a mystery. Not only will he have to adjust to a restructured coaching staff, but he has to completely build bottom lane synergy from scratch, playing with the more inexperienced K1ng. Though none of this is necessarily his fault, it’s hard to see him overtaking any of those ranked ahead of him.
Although LIMIT did not find the same success as the other players mentioned, he is still an exceptional young talent. It’s unfortunate because in many ways he is held back by his teammates. It doesn’t matter if he’s in the running for the best engage support in the LEC — without a team that’s able to follow up on his initiations like Rogue or MAD Lions, his smart play can backfire. This Split will be another opportunity for LIMIT, but without his team as a whole significantly improving, his playstyle won’t be as effective.
It hasn’t been the smoothest transition for TSM’s $6 million man, SwordArt. The former Worlds finalist had a mediocre Spring Split for someone of his caliber. Although his individual play was still fantastic, there was a significant lack of synergy with the rest of the team. This was to be expected considering TSM’s approach to build a team completely from scratch, but even during MSS, many of the problems SwordArt had were still apparent. Even so, it’s still hard to predict failure for a player as successful and talented as him.
8. Zdravets "Hylissang" Iliev Galabov — Fnatic
9. Choi "huhi" Jae-hyun — 100 Thieves
10. Zaqueri "aphromoo" Black — Team Dignitas
Definitely the strangest player on this list, Hylissang is a wild card like no other. One of the region’s best support players had a confusing performance last split. In some ways, he led the way for Fnatic, both to their victory and demise. He played very aggressively and helped Fnatic secure many early leads. More often than not, though, it ended in death for him. He had by far the highest death rate of any Support from any major western player —almost twice the league average. Still, Hylissang has been too good for too long to write him off that quickly. Fnatic even announced that he played part of the season while suffering from COVID-19. The legendary support’s time as a top player might be coming to an end, but he has an entire split to prove that sentiment wrong.
It was a two-horse race for the last spot. It was between huhi and Aphromoo. Though Aphromoo showed off an impressive season for an old veteran, there’s just a lot more to be excited about with huhi. Relatively in the same ballpark of skill as Aphromoo, huhi still has room to grow in his second year as a Support player. FBI is one of the league’s most exciting young players and a top bot player — he and huhi are expected to only get better entering this next split of competition.
Still, aphromoo remains a capable and knowledgeable mentor for Dignitas’ young squad. He’s helped grow Neo into one of the league’s best prospects (just slightly less promising than FBI), and their synergy is some of the best in the league. Even as he approaches thirty, he has enough gas left in the tank to perform as one of the west’s best Supports.
Disclaimer: An earlier version of the article included SK Gaming's Treatz among the supports. Since the player has since roleswapped to jungle, he's been removed from the list and the article has been edited.
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