As the recent pro meta was mostly shaped around the bot lane, top laners were usually left on an ‘island’. With mid-late game team comps being the norm, most teams spent their resources in getting their bot lane ahead of their opponents, while top laners had to essentially survive on their own.
With three whole patches that will change the competitive meta for the upcoming 2022 LoL World Championship, fans can expect many changes to the pro play meta. The change to the Worlds meta will definitely stir things up for top lane champion pool, and only time will tell whether or not which top lane talent will step up to the plate and prove themselves to be the best in the world. Here are Inven Global’s top five top laners at Worlds 2022
5. Chen “Breathe” Chen - Royal Never Give Up
Breathe debuted in the LPL in 2019, and was traded this year to RNG before the start of this year’s Summer split. It was a move that many have initially questioned, due to the fact that this trade came right after RNG’s victory at the Mid-Season Invitational 2022.
In terms of his domestic results, his results have been rather disappointing. In 2022 alone, he finished in 7th place [with BLG] during the Spring split, while finishing 5th in the Summer split on RNG. He’s proven that he’s especially proficient on bruiser, side lane champions like Fiora and Jax in the latter half of the Summer; only time will tell on whether or not he’ll do well in his first international showing.
4. Huang “Wayward” Ren-Xing - TOP Esports
After spending roughly two seasons under Top Esports’ Challenger team, Wayward debuted as the starting top laner for their main team. Leaving a great impression in his debut split in the LPL, he was named outstanding rookie in the 2022 LPL Spring split, and was also included in the LPL 2022 Spring All-Pro 3rd team.
He’s what many would call an all-rounded top laner. Whether it’s getting solo kills in the top lane, absorbing/turning around ganks, side lane macro, or in teamfighting, he knows very well on what his role is within the team comp that TES drafts. Even if his team isn’t playing around the top side, he’s very proficient in creating advantages with the tools he’s been given. However, Worlds 2022 will be his first real test on the international stage, so it’ll be curious to see how well he fares against his international competition.
3. Choi “Zeus” Woo-je - T1
As the starting top laner for arguably the biggest esports team in the world, he was always met with the highest of expectations. Even as a trainee for T1, he was praised for his prowess in the top lane by many insiders in the Korean esports scene. With much training under T1’s wing, Zeus joined T1’s main roster in 2021 as a substitute top laner, and was promoted to the starting top laner position for the 2022 season.
If you pay attention to how he plays, you’d question whether or not he’s actually a rookie. Generally, rookies tend to play either too aggressively, rack up a lot of deaths, or play way too defensively, but his performance in 2022 makes you question whether or not he’s actually a rookie. He played an integral role in leading T1 to their undefeated Spring split victory, and helped lead T1 to a runner-up finish in both MSI 2022 and in the Summer split.
From absorbing enemy ganks and resources in the top lane, his side lane macro, to his teamfighting, Zeus has proven himself to be exceptional at all fronts. It may be Zeus’ first Worlds appearance this year, but based on all the experience he’s garnered over this past year, there’s no doubt he’ll reach higher heights at this year’s Worlds.
2. Choi “Doran” Hyeon-joon - Gen.G
For Doran, 2022 is his redemption year. He and Gen.G finally managed to beat T1 in the Summer split, the team that always stood one step ahead of them. Now, he returns to the international stage after two years, the last time being with DRX in 2020.
He’s a player that many consider to be the perfect team player. There’s never enough credit given to this 22 year old top laner, as his performance is often overshadowed by his teammates. Truth be told, if your teammates are Peanut, Chovy, Ruler and Lehends, almost everyone would get overshadowed. However, this also has to do with the meta being focused around the bot side; paying attention to the details of his plays will definitely help appreciate just how strong of a top laner and a team player he is. Will he finally be able to capture his first international title this year?
1. Bai "369" Jia-Hao - JD Gaming
369 beat his former team to become the LPL Summer split champion this year, and will be heading to Worlds as LPL’s #1 seed. He was even included in the LPL 1st All-Pro team for the 2022 Summer split.
His fans have always memed his in-game tag to be the numbers on a dice, due to his inconsistent performances in the past. This was especially true in the early days of his career. However, he’s worked hard to always roll a ‘9’ on a dice, as the work he put in to become a player that consistently performs led to another championship title under his legacy. As a player who’s domestically achieved so much in just two years, many are expecting his run at Worlds this year to also be a ‘9’.
Striving for perfection to achieve excellence in esports