Despite the pandemic, the 2021 LoL esports scene played its full schedule. Teams and players shined throughout the process, and there were some that stood out among the best. The World Championship crowned EDward Gaming, but there were plenty of other great players that need recognition.
Regardless of their positions, these players led their teams and showed great performances, over and over again throughout the year. Here are Inven Global’s nominees for the Player of the Year. Fans can also vote for the player who they think deserves it the most, and the winners will receive the IGA Community Award.
Kim "Canyon" Geon-bu
Canyon has been a solid player for most of the year. What few struggles he had weren’t for long. When DWG KIA were starved for changes, Canyon even played mid for a few games and held his ground.
Domestically, Canyon won two LCK championships, was voted on the All-LCK team twice (1st in Spring, 2nd in Summer), and even won the regular-season MVP in Spring. He made both international finals and while he lost both there shouldn’t be many who disagree with him being the best jungler in the world, maybe even the best jungler ever.
Lee "Scout" Ye-chan
The mid laner of the world champions always deserves to be in the spotlight. Scout has been solid as EDward Gaming’s mid laner for the past five years. This year, his performance wasn’t as explosive as before, but Scout knew his role well, as he became more of an all-around player. When the situation required Scout to carry, he was always there, leading his team.
Scout’s results throughout the year were fantastic. EDG came in 3rd place in the LPL spring season, won the Summer championship, and won Worlds. To make it even better, Scout was named the MVP of the finals. What other player is more eligible of being the Player of the Year than the Worlds Finals MVP?
Heo "ShowMaker" Su
Since 2020 Summer, ShowMaker has never dipped from being at the top of the LCK. While winning two LCK championships, the All-LCK Pro team’s mid laner spot was always his. In the LCK summer finals, ShowMaker was awarded the finals MVP for his great performance facing Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok. His contributions to the team were always massive, as ShowMaker even filled in as the bot laner of the team when he was needed.
ShowMaker’s only failure this year came in the finals of the MSI and Worlds, but those losses were no fault of his own. ShowMaker may not have won the international titles this year, but he was there when the champions were crowned, and his performance was always the best of the best.
Park "Viper" Do-hyeon
Viper’s ability to carry the team sparkled more than ever this year in EDward Gaming. Through the year, he won the LPL summer championship, was voted on the All-LPL first team twice, won LPL rookie of the year, won the summer season MVP, and won the World Championship.
Game 4 of the 2021 LPL summer finals was a game that showed why Viper was called the best ADC in the world, as his Aphelios tore apart FunPlus Phoenix from an 8K gold deficit. The results Viper collected as the main carry of the team certainly makes him worthy of being a nominee for Player of the Year.
Li "Xiaohu" Yuan-Hao
The decorated mid laner returned this year as a top laner. From a completely different position, Xiaohu played as if he was always a top laner. In 2021, he was named on the LPL first team in both splits and won the second MSI title of his career. At the World Championship, Xiaohu continued to shine and reached the quarterfinals.
There were unique picks for Xiaohu such as Syndra or Orianna, which no other top laner plays. Xiaohu transitioning successfully to the top lane with his mid lane style is a great accomplishment already. Put together with the results he collected this year, Xiaohu was one of the best players in the world.
Honorable mention: Jeong "Chovy" Ji-hoon
The year 2021 was quite difficult for Chovy as Hanwha Life Esports struggled through summer, finishing the season in a devastating 8th place. However, it was Chovy who led the team to the World Championship. Despite the team’s struggles, Chovy’s performance was always the best.
More from the Inven Global Awards
Best top laner
Best mid laner
Best minor region player
Player of the year
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