[Worlds 2022] Teemo alert? — Hot and cold champions of the Play-in stage


With Fnatic, DRX, Evil Geniuses, and Royal Never Give Up advancing to the main event, the play-ins of the 2022 LoL World Championship have ended. There were 46 games played, including tiebreakers, through the play-in stage, and by looking at the champions played in the games, we can gain valuable data about the current meta, and predict how the group stage would go. Also, this could give you a hint on how the Crystal Ball part of your Pick’ems would turn out.





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Most play-ins teams seemed to have decided Aatrox was the best possible pick in the current meta. Aatrox appeared on the draft 45 times — 24 picks and 21 bans. Its win rate was a whopping 70.8%, with 17 wins and 7 losses. Many teams attempted to allow their opponents to play Aatrox and counter him, but it wasn’t very effective.


Some unique counter picks appeared in the games: Teemo and Garen. When Isurus Gaming locked in Teemo against RNG’s Aatrox, the world was shocked. 



Teemo is usually a decent counter against top melee champions with his poison darts and blinding shot, but this didn’t work out well against Aatrox. The cute furry yordle was torn apart in three minutes, and everything went downhill. At the end of the game, the two top champions were four levels apart, thus proving it was a bad choice.


In RNG’s next game, they had to face Istanbul Wildcats who attempted to counter Aatrox with Garen. Just last MSI 2022, IW had picked Garen against RNG, which was alright — but back then, it was against Gangplank. The Garen counter pick also wasn’t able to show much difference in stopping Aatrox as RNG smoothly defeated IW.



The only champion that had a decent win rate against Aatrox was Kennen, which appeared six times and won three games. Aatrox will most likely continue to be strong through the main event as well as in the play-ins.




Sylas was another popular pick in the play-ins. He mostly appeared in the mid lane to face a variety of champions. He was picked in 18 games while being banned out 20 times and had a win rate of 66.7% with a 12-6 record. Overall, Sylas was a solid pick through the play-ins, especially when the opponent had good ultimates to steal.


Usually, the best counters to Sylas are the champions that have good lane control in the early game since Sylas’ ability to clear the wave minions is quite weak. Still, the play-ins teams weren’t able to find a proper counter and ended up banning him in more games than he was played in.




As all League of Legends fans know, being popular during the ban phase doesn’t always guarantee success when picked. This was the case for Kalista during the play-ins. Kalista was the most-banned champion during the play-ins, as she was banned 29 times while being picked only seven times. However, she only won three out of the seven games played.


Kalista’s strength lies in her laning ability in the early-mid game. However, in most of the games she was picked, the teams weren’t able to snowball through the benefits Kalista earned. A notable point is that the comparably weaker teams picked Kalista during the play-in stage, so there was a “bot gap”. It is likely that she would remain popular during the ban phase in the main event.


Maokai and Sejuani


Maokai is one of the hottest rising picks at Worlds 2022. In the 12.18 patch, some of Maokai’s kit was adjusted, which made it a great jungle champion, and it appeared at Worlds. Maokai had 22 picks and 12 bans and won 15 games, and was picked in three different roles: top lane, jungle, and support. Most of its appearances were in the jungle. As it is the most rising pick in the patch, prepare to see more trees in the jungle.

Sejuani is another multi-role champion, which was picked in the top lane and in the jungle during the play-ins. It can also appear as a support, but it hasn’t happened yet during the play-ins. However, unlike Maokai, Sejuani’s results weren’t great. She was picked in 18 games while being banned 15 times, but she only won eight games and ended up with a 44.4% win rate. Despite Sejuani’s low win rate, she’s still a reliable tank champion that has great CC, so we will see her often in the Rift during the main event.


Tahm Kench, Bel’Veth, and…


There were a few more noticeable picks during the play-in stage. Tahm Kench was one of them, which was picked in four games and won all four. Varus also had a 100% win rate. Tristana was 6-1, and Sivir was 4-1. 


On the other hand, Caitlyn and Xayah were picked multiple times, but didn’t win a single game. Champions like Taliyah, Nautilus, and Galio had disappointing results as well. They weren’t able to win even a quarter of the games played.


Meanwhile, there was another champion that shined in its own way — it was Javier "Elyoya" Prades Batalla’s Bel’Veth. Elyoya played Bel’Veth in three games and won two of them. Even in the game they lost, it almost pushed DRX off the edge of a cliff. After seeing what Elyoya could do with Bel’Veth, Evil Geniuses banned her out in all three games of the qualification match. Unfortunately for MAD Lions, these three bans proved effective as EG eliminated them in three games.




By day 2 of the play-in stage at Worlds 2022, there were two pentakills already — one per day. There weren’t any more added in the remaining days, but it was exciting to see the feat being accomplished twice.


The first pentakill was recorded by Elias “Upset” Lipp, playing Kalista in Fnatic’s match against Chiefs Esports Club.



On the very next day, Saigon Buffalo bot laner Nguyễn "Shogun" Văn Huy also picked up a pentakill playing Aphelios. Shogun’s pentakill was against Isurus Gaming.



As the play-ins in Mexico City were wrapped up, the teams and players went on a short break to move to New York City, where the main event will be held. Worlds will resume on Oct. 6, with the clash between NA and EU: Cloud9 vs. Fnatic.

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