The 2022 LCK Spring Split is underway, fresh off the wild hot stove league roster shuffle. And in this rapidly changing LCK, there are players that have proven themselves to be the best in the league — and some even in the world. Here are Inven Global’s rankings of the LCK players for the 2022 Spring Season.
10. Kim “Kiin” Gi-in — Kwangdong Freecs
Kiin has been known to be one of the best top laners in the world for some time now. Although his results may not have been the best, Afreeca Freecs (now Kwangdong Freecs) have been heavily reliant on Kiin’s ability to carry the team in pinches — and many times, Kiin has delivered them from destruction.
This year, Kiin's got whole new teammates and there is talent in the bot lane that Freecs can rely on in Park “Teddy” Jin-seong. In the current bot-centric LCK meta, the addition of Teddy will be a great help to the team and Kiin himself. Freecs’ first week of the split has turned out to be a disaster but their opponents were quite strong.
If Teddy can deliver the performance of his peak, Kiin can be relieved of the pressure of having to carry the team all the time, and less pressure should lead to outstanding performance.
9. Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk — Gen.G
As the only remaining player from last year on Gen.G’s roster, Ruler has been proving why he is one of the best ADCs the game has known. One of his known weaknesses was that he does not play mages even when they are meta, but starting from Gen.G’s first game of the season, Ruler pulled out Ziggs, showing that he does know how to play them after all.
Gen.G are one of the biggest winners of the offseason as they signed big names all around. With a star-studded roster, Ruler will be able to show why his name is always mentioned when discussing the best ADC.
The first week of the league was great for Gen.G, as they took down the defending champions DWG KIA in a spectacle match. If this can continue, Ruler will be stacking up massive numbers to his stats this year.
8. Choi “Doran” Hyeon-joon — Gen.G
Last year, Doran was like an untamed mustang, who was unhinged and aggressive all the time. He was like the Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon of 2019 — a player who has all the mechanics to be a top-tier player, but one who lacks macro. After reuniting with some old teammates on a completely new, different-styled team, it seems that Doran’s macro has improved by a lot.
Despite KT Rolster’s unsatisfying results, Doran’s name always came up when fans discussed who the best top laners in the league are. With better macro and a better team, Doran will rise up to become the best.
There’s a saying among the Korean fans: “With Nuguri gone, Doran is king”. In the first week of the LCK, Doran was stable and consistent as if he’s become a veteran, and now, some fans are saying: “Even if Nuguri’s here, Doran is King”.
7. Gwak “Bdd” Bo-seong — NS RedForce
Bdd has always been known to be a great Azir and Zoe player. Over 25% of his professional games were played on these two champs, and he's starred in countless highlight reels playing them. Although some may belittle Bdd’s capabilities as a mid laner because of this, he has proven that he’s just simply a great mid laner in general.
His performance at Worlds 2021 was one to remember, as Bdd was the biggest reason Gen.G made it to the semifinals. Heading into 2022, Bdd was traded to Nongshim RedForce, who prepared a well-rounded roster. Nongshim RedForce were upset in their first match of the season, but they quickly got back on track to move forward.
On an individual level, there aren’t many players that could match Bdd’s greatness, even after so many years.
6. Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok — T1
The living legend Faker has been falling short of championships lately, but he has never given up. Last year, the GOAT led an (almost) all-rookie team to the semifinals at Worlds and this time around, all of those members are back with more experience.
People said oftentimes that Faker has become a has-been, but the GOAT has bounced back to compete at the highest level every single time, delivering the best performance he could muster. Just prior to the Spring Split, Faker had a 22-game winning streak on Vex in solo queue. In the first week of the LCK, Fredit BRION allowed Vex to go through the ban phase, and Faker made them pay.
Sixth place may seem a bit stingy for the unkillable demon king, but I am one of the people who would be the most excited if Faker proves me wrong.
5. Lee “Gumayusi” Min-hyeong — T1
From the beginning of his professional career, Gumayusi has always been confident in his capabilities. In early 2021, he was a hot prospect rookie, who shared time with Teddy, but from mid-Summer, he stepped up to become the starting bot laner of T1. At Worlds, he played in all games, aiding T1’s top 4 finish.
Gumayusi has gained much more experience now as he's competed against the best in the world. The bot-centric LCK meta is one Gumayusi has been waiting for, and he’s more prepared than anyone else. As he’ll be playing alongside the GOAT and a roster packed with young talent, 2022 will be the year Gumayusi flies up high.
4. Ryu “Keria” Min-seok — T1
“Historic genius monster” is the nickname Korean fans gave Keria at the beginning of his career, and Keria has been living up to the nickname ever since. He’s been voted on the All-LCK first team three times — even in the 2021 LCK Spring Split, where T1 finished fourth.
Keria’s mechanics are near perfect and his champion pool is more of a vast ocean, making Keria immune even to tectonic meta shifts. His playmaking is like a seasoned veteran, yet he’s only 19 years old. The only thing Keria lacks is a championship.
3. Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon — Gen.G
Like Keria, Chovy has never won a major championship, but he’s still considered one of the best players in the world. With great talent, Chovy has been playing at the highest level ever since his debut. His ability to last-hit almost every single minion puts him ahead of his opponent even in disadvantageous matchups, and in teamfights and macro, Chovy seems to see one or two minutes in advance.
In 2022, Chovy is back with a much stronger roster in Gen.G. In previous years, his teammates may have weighed him down, but the new Gen.G players more or less guarantee high performance. Chovy will be surprised over and over again this year because he’ll be winning whether or not he makes super plays — but he will continue to make spectacular highlights as if it's just another ordinary day for Chovy.
2. Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu — DWG KIA
Canyon is rapidly getting close to being called the best jungler ever. Following his championship and finals MVP at Worlds 2021, Canyon won the next two LCK seasons and came in 2nd in the two international competitions in 2022. DWG KIA’s rise began with Canyon and the team struggled when he was underperforming.
From jungle pathing to teamfights and team synergy, Canyon has been playing at top-level since the summer of 2020. He even had a short field trip to mid lane where he proved that he’s not just a great jungler, but a great LoL player in general.
Canyon’s back in 2022 with the same old buddy in the mid lane. He will be more determined than ever to take back the throne.
1. Heo “ShowMaker” Su — DWG KIA
Along with Canyon, ShowMaker is also recognized as one of the best players in the world. As DWG KIA improved to become favorites of any competition they participate in, ShowMaker was the one constant the team could always rely on. Wide isn’t a good enough word to express his champion pool — in 2020, ShowMaker reached Challenger while playing 91 different champions, each playing them only once.
ShowMaker’s synergy with Canyon will be stronger than ever, and he’ll set sail for more championships that he’s thirsty for.