Mid lane isn’t always the most important role on the team, but the mid laners who are well-known are the star players of their region. Even as far back as Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok’s legendary Worlds runs through League of Legends’ early days, mid laners are often the center of their team.
The mid lane is a versatile and flexible role that allows players to express themselves and play with a level of individuality few roles allow you to have. That gives players all the more reason to give their all in 2022 and leave their mark on League of Legends’ long and storied competitive history, or, in some cases, put themselves back on top.
5. Nicholas “Ablazeolive” Abbott
2021 wasn’t kind to the LCS. Roster woes and washed-up pros are what defined the bottom-tier teams. There wasn’t a lot of hope that a team like CLG, despite having a good lineup on paper, could have a chance at reaching the top. However, one rookie player was able to shine despite the massive disparity between top and bottom teams in the LCS: Ablazeolive.
The most interesting thing about Ablazeolive is that he managed to look good through 2021 despite the rest of Golden Guardians, especially in Summer. His unique affinity for ADCs in mid combined with his strength on melee champions allowed GG to run a variety of team comps around him. Ablazeolive was, and still is, a player worth making the star of the show.
4. Vincent “Vetheo” Berrié
Speaking of strong rookie players, Vetheo was one of the LEC’s most remarkable mid laners from 2021. Coming from the LFL, Vetheo was a question mark at the start of 2021. Talent coming from minor regions can truly go either way, even if they’re near the top of the competition in the region. However, Vetheo almost managed to carry Misfits to Worlds in 2021, and that was during his first year in the LEC.
Vetheo is a traditional mage player through and through, and he stuck to his guns despite rapid meta shifts through 2021’s unstable meta.
Looking at the scoreboard before the fight in the prior clip, Vetheo was down on kills but very far ahead in CS. He’s great at sidelaning, efficiently farming, and showing up to important fights when he’s needed most. Misfits took some hits in the off-season, but Vetheo is good enough to give the uncertain roster a chance at greatness.
3. Yoo “FATE” Su-hyeok
Korea has birthed the World’s best mid laners. Faker, Showmaker, Jeong "Chovy" Ji-hoon, and even 2021 World Champ Lee "Scout" Ye-chan all came from the Korean scene. With Kim "Gori" Tae-woo taking Player of the Split as a rookie in Summer 2021, there’s clearly room for newer mid laners to put their names alongside some of the all-time greats. In 2022, FATE very well could be that player.
A teamfighter through and through, FATE is one of the most humble and soft-spoken players in the region. He truly plays for his team and does whatever he deems necessary to win. In some games, that means hard carrying. In others, that means taking one for the team and sacrificing farm to gain an advantage. With a spot on the new Kwangdong Freecs roster for 2022, FATE is one of the most exciting underdog mid laners going into the next season.
2. Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang
Doinb remained silent on where he’d end up post-FPX for a long while after a disappointing Worlds 2021. All we knew is that FPX’s roster wouldn’t remain the same after not making it past the group stage, and that Doinb was still a damn good mid laner. Worlds may have been disappointing, but he’s still the same player that carried FPX to the World Championship Title in 2019.
He’s aggressive and unpredictable, with a playstyle unlike most other mid laners. Where the majority of world-class mid laners are known for careful and calculated play, Doinb focuses on constantly rotating and forcing fights with his team. He’ll even pick off-meta champions like Kled if he really wants to swing the early game in his team’s favor.
Additionally, Doinb got picked up by LNG, a roster that has one of the scariest topsides in the world with Hu "Ale" Hia-Le in top and Lee "Tarzan" Seung-yong in jungle. Doinb has a score to settle after missing the mark for the past two years, and LNG’s new roster has the skill to help him do it.
1. Zhuo “Knight” Dong
Other than Worlds 2020, Knight hasn’t spent much time in the international spotlight. He’s a player that, for the most part, has always been on mid/top tier teams that just barely missed the international spotlight. However, within the LPL, Knight is revered and feared. Especially since, unlike many of the LPL’s best mid laners, Knight isn’t an import. What makes him so special?
Simply put, Knight 1v5s. Many of the LPL’s most viewed clips of all time are Knight’s outplays, and he’s one of the most hype players to watch in the world. With a new and improved Top Esports roster, Knight has a better chance than ever to win it all. Whether you're a fan of the LPL or not, Knight is worth paying attention to. Don’t be surprised to see him on an international stage in 2022.
Carver is an esports journalist and analyst who specializes in Eastern League of Legends.