Being a great bot laner or AD carry in League of Legends draws a lot of attention. As the role is responsible for most of the team’s AD damage, the player needs to scale without dying and deal a lot of damage while avoiding enemies’ traps and schemes.
Certain players played that role much better than the others this year, and today, we’ll have a look at Inven Global Awards’ nominees for the best bot laner this year. Fans can also vote for the player who they think deserves it the most, and the player with the most votes will receive the IGA Community Award.
Seo "deokdam" Dae-gil
After having his debut last year, deokdam had a great year as an AD carry. Although he and Nongshim RedForce didn’t make it to the 2021 LoL World Championship, deokdam’s performance on NS was outstanding, helping the team reach the LCK playoffs in both seasons. In Nongshim RedForce’s games, deokdam was often the key to the team’s wins and he was voted on the 2021 LCK Summer All-Pro team — a boasting argument for his Inven Global Awards nomination.
The biggest strength of deokdam is that he’s an all-around player — his laning, damage dealing, positioning, poking, creating variables, and his fundamentals, in general, are solid. It would have been interesting to see how he’d do in international competitions, but we would have to wait until next year to see that happen.
Chen "GALA" Wei
In 2021 Spring, GALA stepped up as the successor of Jian “Uzi” Zi-hao, almost matching what Uzi did in his days. He was worthy of being called the best ADC of the LPL, and proved it in the Spring Finals by scoring a pentakill and winning the finals MVP.
MSI 2021 was where GALA shined even more. While his teammates weren’t at their best, GALA alone popped off and was the team’s bannerman throughout the tournament. The MSI finals was another showcase for GALA as he led the team to another championship, and another MVP award. GALA continued to display an impressive performance at Worlds as well, and though he was eliminated in quarterfinals by the eventual champions, there can't be a top 5 bot laner list for 2021 without him.
Lee "Gumayusi" Min-hyeong
Although a rookie, Gumayusi is already one of the best bot laners in LoL. The start of 2021 wasn’t that great for him, as he was considered the sub of Park “Teddy” Jin-seong, but with all the rotations T1 were making, Gumayusi racked up a decent number of games.
From mid-Summer on, Gumayusi stepped up as the starting bot laner for T1 and started showing what he’s made of. After finishing the Summer Playoffs in 2nd place, Gumayusi struck Worlds like a meteorite and helped the team reach the semifinals, starting in all games.
Gumayusi was also always full of confidence and never looked like a rookie. His great mechanics make champions like Aphelios shine even more and with an extra pocket pick in Ziggs, he proved that he can play a more supporting role for the team too. Packed with talent, Gumayusi was certainly one of the best ADCs this year.
Park "Ruler" Jae-hyuk
A former world champion, Ruler has always been a great AD carry. In 2021, his performance was always above par, though he showed weaknesses in adapting to the meta multiple times. The fact that Ruler avoids playing certain champions sometimes gives a draft advantage to the opponent as well.
Ruler’s still great when it comes to carrying Gen.G from the bot lane. He does take up a lot of the team’s resources, but most of the time, he makes it worth it. His few shortcomings aside, Ruler was one of the biggest reasons why Gen.G have maintained a near-top position in the LCK rankings for the past two years.
Park "Viper" Do-hyeon
After leaving the LCK, Viper arrived to the LPL like a hailstorm, adapting to the league's playstyle instantly. He had a great domestic year and finally won his first career championship. It didn’t take long for him to win another title as he led EDward Gaming to the world championship.
In his first year in the LPL, Viper swept the awards, taking the Summer Season MVP, rookie of the year, 1st All-Pro team: a truly impressive given the meta wasn’t very ADC-friendly in Summer, yet Viper still found ways to hyper-carry.
A standout Viper performance was game 4 of the LPL finals, where EDG were trailing 8K gold at 16 minutes. In the pinch, Viper’s Aphelios dragged the team up to ultimately win the championship. Spring 2nd place, Summer 1st place, and the World Championship: Viper certainly deserves to be near the top of this list.
Honorable mention: Steven "Hans sama" Liv
Hans Sama had an impressive year domestically, while Rogue stood up as one of the powerhouses in the LEC. Although his journey at Worlds was cut short as they lost to Cloud9 in the tiebreakers, Hans Sama's Miss Fortune performance against FunPlus Phoenix was one to remember.
More from the Inven Global Awards
Best top laner
Best mid laner
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