With DRX securing the last ticket, the teams for the semifinals at the 2022 LoL World Championship have been set. In the first bracket, the LPL champion, JD Gaming, will face the legendary T1. The other side will be another civil war for LCK champion Gen.G, as they will play the rising DRX.
For two straight years, there are three LCK teams and one LPL team featured in the semifinals. It was EDward Gaming who stood at the top last year, but could the LPL repeat this year? Let’s have a look at the top four teams at Worlds 2022.
As the reigning LPL champion, JDG became the last LPL team standing at Worlds 2022. From the summer split through Worlds, JDG’s style was slow but steady. They often fell behind in the laning phase, but they always somehow managed to find a way up, taking advantage of their opponents’ mistakes.
This showed well in the tiebreakers against DWG KIA. Although JDG fell behind, they knew exactly what they needed to do: trap and kill Aphelios. JDG’s draft was perfect to execute that, and when DWG KIA forgot to protect Aphelios once, they charged in to turn the game around. In the following quarterfinals, JDG showed class and proved the gap between the east (or themselves) and the west, as they swept the three games smoothly.
The semifinals against T1 will be tough, as T1’s early game snowballing is one of the best in the tournament. They will have to find a way to lead the laning phase, or stop T1’s macro through perfect teamfights.
Seo “Kanavi” Jin-hyeok
Kanavi has been in JDG’s jungle since 2019, and since then, he has become the key player of the team. As JDG’s biggest weakness is their laning phase, they need a great jungler that can help out the laners to move forward, and Kanavi has been doing exactly that. With his flawless pathing and critical ganking, Kanavi stands at the vanguard when the team has to play from behind.
Without a doubt, the world’s most decorated League of Legends organization, T1 have reached at least the semifinals in all seven of their Worlds appearances. This time, with three-time world champion Bae “Bengi” Sung-woong holding the key behind the players, T1 and Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok are determined to take their fourth title.
T1 have arguably the strongest laning ability in the tournament. Their biggest strength is their macro, which starts snowballing from the benefits of the team’s strong laners — especially the bot lane. Even when the team trails in kills, T1 are often ahead in global gold through their macro.
On the other hand, T1’s weakness was often their draft — they had quite frequent questionable picks and bans. According to their draft during the group stage through the quarterfinals, their draft seems to have improved.
Not many predicted the matchup between T1 and Royal Never Give Up would be so one-sided. If T1 don’t get carried away from JDG’s late-game tactics, they will have the upper hand.
Lee “Gumayusi” Min-hyeong
Gumayusi is playing in his second consecutive World Championship, and with more experience, he is stronger than ever. Gumayusi currently holds the best KDA at Worlds among players that have played more than five games — he has only died six times in nine games. T1 will rely much on Gumayusi and his laning buddy, Ryu “Keria” Min-seok, to start rolling the snowball.
From the beginning of Worlds 2022, Gen.G were considered one of the favorites. From laning to macro, Gen.G showed dominance from the summer season through groups. Especially Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon, who never falls behind in the laning phase, is a reliable constant in Gen.G’s games. Paired with Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk’s ability to carry the team in the late game, Gen.G stand strong among the remaining teams.
Gen.G’s weak side is the top lane. Choi “Doran” Hyeon-joon has a high ceiling, but his performance is rather inconsistent — this can also mean that when Doran is on his A game, Gen.G is nearly unstoppable.
The quarterfinals against DWG KIA were close, but that doesn’t undervalue Gen.G’s ability in any aspect. The Yuumi pick has been OP all Worlds long, but Gen.G have an answer prepared in Singed. That will be another advantage for Gen.G going into the draft against DRX.
Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk
The meta at Worlds 2022 is bot-lane-centric, and Ruler is one of the best ADCs LoL Esports has seen. Even when playing unfavorable matchups, Ruler often gains priority in lane through his performance. His late-game decision-making is also one of the best — the last teamfight against DWG KIA clearly showed Ruler’s ability and late-game concentration. It has been five years since he hoisted the Summoner’s Cup, and Ruler will be hungry for another.
DRX have been the underdog in their matchups since the LCK regional qualifiers. They made it through the tough matchups against KT Rolster and Liiv SANDBOX to reach Worlds, and at Worlds, DRX overtook RNG, Top Esports, and even the defending champions, EDward Gaming.
The biggest strength DRX have shown through Worlds is the diversity in the champions played, especially in the bot lane. Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu and Cho “BeryL” Geon-hee played so many unique bot duo compositions through Worlds. Especially the Heimerdinger support drew multiple bans in the series against EDG. BeryL is often called “LoL Whiz” among LCK fans — you’ll never know what he has up his sleeve, and this might be what DRX need to get past Gen.G.
Having been the underdog all along, there won’t be too much pressure on DRX’s shoulders. They haven’t been able to win a single game against Gen.G all year, but that was before DRX realized their true powers, and with their momentum built up through Worlds, they might have enough strength to create another upset.
Kim “Zeka” Geon-woo
DRX’s amazing reverse sweep against EDG was a series to go down in LoL Esports history, and this started with the miracle performance by Zeka. Throughout Worlds 2022, Zeka proved that he shouldn’t be given the Sylas pick — he played six games on Sylas and won all six. Just game 5 against EDG alone should be a reason to prevent him from playing Sylas. Not many predicted Zeka would play so well at this tournament, and his opponents have been paying for that. He’ll definitely need to put on his A game against Chovy for a chance to advance to the finals.