The top lane in Europe saw a lot of questions this year. Could promising rookies ascend to the top of their position? Would old legends breathe fresh life into their careers, or would they deteriorate into has-beens? And would talented players forever considered held back by their teams finally find success on new rosters? The answers to those questions are ongoing, but we’ve had half of a year to get closer to the answers. The battle in the top lane looks quite different from the picture at the beginning of the year.
The conversation changed even more with the addition of playoffs and MSI, and no doubt it will continue to shift as the Summer Split progresses. Team dynamics have changed, the meta has been altered, and certain players have simply run out of fuel. While it’s a challenging ranking with no obvious order, some players have small advantages over others.
Here are Inven Global's ranking of the best top laners for the 2022 LEC Summer Split.
5. Finn "Finn" Wiestål — Excel Esports
Finn’s career has been looking up. From being publicly embarrassed for his team’s poor performance to helping Excel reach their first playoffs in the organization’s history, it’s great to see how he has turned things around. Finn has been a solid part of that and has in a way established himself as the gatekeeper to the best top laners in the region.
He hasn’t done anything that makes him stand out in comparison to players such as Broken Blade, Alphari, or Odoamne, but he hasn’t made himself stand out in the way top laners from teams such as Astralis, Team BDS, and SK Gaming have either. He doesn’t have many stand-out games and he isn’t much of a carry threat, but he’s a consistent contributing force still hungry to win. XL got the playoff monkey off their back in Spring — perhaps they can build that into something better for summer.
4. Barney "Alphari" Morris — Team Vitality
In some ways, Alphari is one of the most misunderstood players competing in the LEC. Considering the fact that many expected Alphari and the VIT super team to be a title contender, the roster’s narrow playoffs qualification and fifth-place exit could only be defined as a failure. Alphari himself has been written off as no longer an elite top laner, one that has dramatically fallen off since his days on previous teams.
There are a few points to keep in mind that make Alphari’s ranking as the fourth-best top laner in the region fair (besides the fact that there aren’t that many great top laners in Europe to begin with). While VIT’s 0-3 loss to G2 looked tragic, it doesn’t look nearly as bad knowing it was the start of an unbelievable streak for the "samurai". And even on a disappointing team, Alphari remained near the top of several statistical categories like KDA, kill percentage, and kill share in the regular season and playoffs. Most of his downfall came from playing for a team unsuited for his playstyle. A new jungler more willing to aid him joining the team could make all the difference.
3. Martin "Wunder" Nordahl Hansen — Fnatic
A question on many people’s minds at the start of the year was how good Wunder would be. In 2021, the champion top laner infamous for his love of World of Warcraft was seen as one of the biggest factors for G2 Esports’ lack of success throughout the year. Neither analysts, nor fans were sure how he would perform on another team.
Since joining Fnatic, Wunder has shown himself to once again be a fantastic top laner. He is very effective on power picks such as Gragas and Jayce, and has a very diverse pool of champions. He is just as versatile in his playstyle — capable of playing weakside and strongside.
It’s been a positive past few months for Wunder, but a few questions still remain. Though he is certainly back to a strong level by western standards, will he return to the peak level that we knew him for? Can he maintain this consistent elite level? If the Spring Split is anything to go by, Wunder won’t stop until he returns to form.
2. Andrei "Odoamne" Pascu — Rogue
Let’s ignore for a moment the heartbreak that was Odoamne’s loss to G2 in the LEC finals — a silver sovereign finally appearing to have the chance of winning gold, and having the opportunity snatched away from him yet again. The fact that Odoamne and Rogue made it to the finals in the first place is still a miracle, considering many predicted them to be the worst in the league. Odoamne — despite being a longtime veteran that some have written off — was an enormous part of that.
Though his performance in the LEC Spring Finals was disappointing, Odoamne has overall been a primary factor for Rogue’s success. He’s been instrumental in team fights, is a consistent contributor, and is perhaps the most effective weakside player in the west. And for the most part, it isn’t as though Odoamne is a hopeless playoff choker. In all the other matches the team played in leading up to the finals, Odoamne was a strong threat that was unshaken even with his back against the wall. Considering how long Odoamne has performed well, it’s probably a bad bet to not expect him to be great for summer.
1. Sergen "Broken Blade" Çelik — G2 Esports
Broken Blade finally has a team that complements his talents again, and he has taken full advantage of it. He built a strong case for the best in the region throughout the regular season in spring and this argument has only grown stronger since. While most of the credit for G2’s success in playoffs is Rasmus "caPs" Winther returning to form, the team’s top laner also deserves a lot of kudos for the success. While other mid laner comparable performances during the bracket stage, no top laner could match the strength Broken Blade showed. Odoamne was close, but after the smackdown he received in the LEC Spring Finals, he lost all argument.
While his macro understanding of the game isn’t as refined as someone like Odoamne or Wunder, he’s a mechanical savant that fearlessly executes challenging plays in team fights. He’s also unafraid of champions experimentation — making for a very versatile weapon for G2. If Broken Blade can keep up the form we have seen from him most recently (other than, you know, his series against T1), it will be hard for anyone else to reach the spot of the best top laner in Europe.
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