We're excited to present the second year of the Inven Global Awards (IGA). Voted by the editorial crew of Inven Global, along with some other experienced journalists and analysts, the IGAs celebrate the many strong facets of League of Legends in 2021 — the best teams, players, talent, and stories.
As we head into 2022, our ultimate goal is to recognize greatness. Many fantastic mid laners have achieved greatness in 2021, but who can truly be called the greatest in 2021? Fans can also vote for the player who they think deserves it the most, and the winners will receive the IGA Community Award.
Gwak "Bdd" Bo-seong
From his ability to absolutely dominate in lane to flawless teamfighting, Bdd is a mid laner who is highly regarded by his mid lane peers. However, Bdd’s true value as a mid laner came from his ability to step up his game when stakes were high. 3-0’ing T1 at the LCK Spring semifinals and pushing EDG to game 5 at Worlds semifinals can largely be credited to Bdd’s performance, and he did it in a dominating fashion. For Bdd, 2021 was a year of tremendous growth, while reminding every one of his competitors why his name is to be feared in the process.
Jeong "Chovy" Ji-hoon
One trait that LCK mid laners all have in common is that they’re more proficient at min/maxing their resources and that all stems from having strong fundamentals in the game: the player’s laning phase. Chovy is a mid laner who’s able to utilize his deep knowledge of the game and execute it flawlessly, without missing a single detail. With his ability to CS better than his opponents even in disadvantageous matchups to his ability to create ‘montages’ with every play he makes, there’s no doubt that he’s one of the greats.
Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok
As the greatest League of Legends player in history, Faker was a leader among his rookie teammates this year. Although Faker did not seem as untouchable as he was during his days as the Unkillable Demon King, it was undeniable that he was performing the best he ever has in years. His leadership can be largely credited to T1’s success this year, as they finished 2nd place at the LCK Summer finals and top four at Worlds, falling to DWG KIA in both series.
Lee "Scout" Ye-chan
2021 was a happy ending to Scout’s Cinderella story, as EDG managed to take the upset victory over DWG KIA 3-2. As a mid laner who started out as a sub for Faker in 2015, he’s been a part of EDG since 2016, and despite making appearances at Worlds in previous years, EDG have been in a slump for a very long time.
This year was obviously very different, as the right pieces of the puzzle seemed to have gathered to take it all. They put themselves back on the map with their performance in the Spring, took back the throne in the LPL when they beat FunPlus Phoenix 3-1 in the Summer finals, and successfully completed a grueling tournament run against the best of the best to win it all.
Heo "ShowMaker" Su
ShowMaker’s 2021 season was full of ups and downs. He did become the 2021 LCK Spring champion, but after DWG KIA's devastating loss to Royal Never Give Up at the MSI 2021 finals, he and the team fell into a slump. It was only after when analyst coach Yang “Daeny” Dae-in rejoined the team in the Summer split, that the team looked untouchable again.
However, even when DWG KIA had their weird phase of experimenting with role-swapping, the best performing player by far was ShowMaker. The fact that he's performed so well two years in a row is an impressive feat to boot, but he was literally one game away from making DWG KIA the second team to win back-to-back Worlds. There’s no doubt ShowMaker will go down in LoL esports history as one of the best to ever grace the mid lane.
Honorable mention: Kim "Doinb" Tae-sang
Throughout most of the 2021 season, the 2019 world champions FunPlus Phoenix put on a strong performance. After failing to qualify for Worlds in 2020, they’ve acquired top laner Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon and seemed to have reinvigorated themselves for 2021. Finishing 2nd place in both Spring and Summer, many experts have predicted FPX as one of the tournament favorites.
However, to everyone’s shock, FPX finished their group stage run with a 2-4 record, and was eliminated as the last place team in their group. Although Doinb stumbled in the end, his performance throughout the Spring and Summer split deserves recognition.
More from the Inven Global Awards
Best top laner
Best mid laner
Best bot laner (Dec. 9)
Best support (Dec. 10)
Best rookie (Dec. 11)
Best minor region player (Dec. 12)
Player of the year (Dec. 13)
Best coaching staff (Dec. 14)
Best play-by-play caster (Dec. 15)
Best color caster (Dec. 16)
Best story of the year (Dec. 17)
Biggest controversy of the year (Dec. 18)
Best in-game moment (Dec. 19)
Best content piece or series (Dec. 20)
Off-season winner (Dec. 21)
Awards announcement: Player categories (Dec. 29)
Awards announcement: Caster and community categories (Dec. 30)
Inven Global Awards panelists:
Nick Geracie /// @NickGeracie
Daniel "Quest" Kwon /// @LoLQuestKR
David "Viion" Jang /// @David_Viion
John "OddBall" Popko /// @OddballCreator
Kim "Haao" Byung-ho /// @Inven_Haao
Jang "Irro" Min-young
Carver Fisher /// @Carver_Fisher
Josh Tyler /// @joshtyler
Andre Gonzalez Rodriguez /// @Vulv_
Tom Matthiesen /// @TomMatthiesen
Adel Chouadria /// @AdelChouadria
Yohan Markov /// @Esports_Person
All images via: Riot Games
Striving for perfection to achieve excellence in esports