There’s arguably no position more exciting coming into the 2022 Mid-Season Invitational than the mid lane. Not only is the position again the focal point for most top teams, but the stories coming into this tournament are spectacular. You have the return of old legends ready for another bout in their international rivalries, and cocky upstarts eager to carve their name into the conversation of top players.
In the cases of most top teams, the mid laner is the most important factor of their success. The results of these players facing of could determine the results of the entire tournament. Who will win is undetermined, but with some of the greatest players of all time present, it will surely be a great show.
Here are Inven Global's ranking of the best mid laners for the 2022 Mid-Season Invitational.
5. Bay — PSG Talon
Judging by his team’s performance in the PCS, Park "Bay" Jun-byeong rightfully earns his spot in the top five. PSG Talon were easily the best team in the region, and PCS has historically always provided very strong teams for MSI. Bay, however, is one of the biggest question marks of the team. It isn’t that he performed poorly — but he hasn’t brought to the table what someone like Huang "Maple" Yi-Tang has in the past.
While still a serviceable player, if you judge him by all of his previous performances, he simply doesn’t have the same level of talent as the other top mid laners at MSI. He was never that notable while competing in the LCK and LCK CL, and even in the PCS he was challenged by the likes of Chen "M1ssion" Hsiao-Hsien and Chen "Uniboy" Chang-Chu. If there was ever a time for Bay to have a breakout tournament, now would be it.
4. Jojopyun — Evil Geniuses
The idea of any North American rookie doing well at MSI is dubious. Joseph "Jojopyun" Pyun is not only playing his first big international competition — he’s being thrown in the lion’s den. He’s forced to face off against some of the most legendary players in history, with barely any time to get his hands warm. However, the stars might’ve aligned for Jojopyun to do well — if any rookie could overcome this task, it’d be him.
Judging from his excellent record in solo queue and flashy mechanical displays he showed in the LCS, no one can deny he has talent. Yes, he didn’t have the best performance in the regular season, but he always showed confidence and a willingness to be aggressive, notching more than 60 kills throughout the playoffs and becoming the youngest player in history to win the LCS. Judging by his comments, he also appears to be someone that isn’t afraid of any opponent, talking trash against the likes of Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg and all of G2. It’s a hard road ahead, but Jojopyun has the perfect disposition to run it.
3. caPs — G2 Esports
After a disappointing 2021, and a rocky 2022 start with a new lineup, Rasmus "caPs" Winther returned to his old form for the LEC Spring Playoffs. Carry-job after carry-job, the hype around Baby Faker was resurrected. He once again looks like one of the best players in the world. Everything has returned: an impressive champion pool, a fearlessness and mechanical ability to seek out great plays, and a presence in teamfights that can leave even the most experienced of players shaken.
CaPs has proven himself against elite competition before — they don’t scare him. Knowing how confident caPs is in his ability, he is likely one of the few players not completely intimidated by Faker (especially after defeating him at Worlds 2019). The main thing that is worrying for caPs is that his team is too reliant on him for success. In the past — when G2 were defeating top Asian teams — caPs was excellent, but he could also rely on Martin "Wunder" Hansen or Luka "Perkz" Perković to carry at times. His bot lane and top lane cannot be relied on as much — at least from what we’ve seen so far. caPs’ return to form has looked promising, but he'll carry even harder to beat the best at MSI.
2. Xiaohu — Royal Never Give Up
The fact that RNG are even at MSI is proof of why Li "Xiaohu" Yuan-Hao is still one of the best players in the world. With Yan "Wei" Yang-Wei struggling throughout the year, and Chen "Bin" Ze-Bin just providing consistently solid contributions, Xiaohu’s electric performance (leading in kills and KDA throughout the regular season in his position) throughout the year is the main reason RNG was able to defeat Top Esports.
He is arguably the best choice to represent China on the international stage — not even looking at his incredible experience and success there. While someone like Zhuo "knight" Ding can be argued as a better individual player, few players have a stronger understanding of their teammates than Xiaohu.
While he hasn’t done much to make up for RNG’s relatively poor early game, he has been an unreal threat in teamfights and in late game decision-making, single-handedly winning RNG several games. Though his team isn't as talented or polished as T1, the wreckage he has caused to super teams in the past makes him the biggest threat to T1’s supremacy. It’s probably a good idea if T1 bans Vex, too.
1. Faker — T1
While there are plenty of legendary players to choose from in the mid lane, this is once again the great of all’s time to shine. Everything points in Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok's favor as being the best mid laner at this event. He has the talent and is once again showing off this year that he has mechanical ability few can match. He has a rap sheet of international dominance no other player can match, on top of hundreds of domestic wins. And he has a cohesive lineup of top talent that may be the greatest in history.
You could argue that other players had to carry harder than Faker and that he had the luxury of playing with starlets like Lee "Gumayusi" Min-hyeong and Moon "Oner" Hyeon-joon. Though he has enjoyed great team success, he is one of the primary reasons for that. He’s adjusted perfectly to being the wise sage that guides his teammates to success, while still showing off some mechanical brilliance to show he means business. If T1 had any other player than Faker, they would not be as good. He may not outplay opponents with the same brutality as before, but their Nexus will die all the same.
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