2022 was a memorable year for League of Legends fans. There were exciting storylines throughout different regions, the reintroduction of live audiences swung into full force, and the year was capped off by the most exciting World Championship the game has seen. Seeing the passion and dedication of top players is always a treat, and this year was no different.
It was an especially strong year for the game's AD carries. Throughout many different metas, bot laners were at the forefront of their team's strategies. There were many fantastic narratives in 2022 as well for the position — young phenoms had their first opportunity to make a name for themselves, as old legends got additional chances to reshape their legacies. Whether it was single-handedly winning teamfights or trying to sneak down the Nexus, AD carries contributed to some of the most exciting gameplay of the year. The year was also extremely cutthroat, with several players standing out amongst the competition.
Here are Inven Global’s top five AD carries through 2022.
5. Park "Viper" Do-hyeon — EDward Gaming
Although it didn't compare to the stellar success he enjoyed in 2021, Viper had another high-performance year. His lack of tangible results — both individually and with his team — prevent him from surpassing the other AD carries mentioned. He didn't win any big trophies, and instead of winning MVP awards he was stuck with LPL 3rd All-Pro Team honors. However, he still was a high-performing player that contributed to a lot of the success EDG was able to maintain. His laning, teamfighting, and playmaking were all still very strong, and his great decision-making create a case for him being one of the smartest players alive. While a lot of his team was underperforming domestically, he was the highest KDA of any AD carry in the LPL throughout the summer.
4. Kim "Deft" Hyuk-kyu — DRX
Deft winning Worlds 2022 in the fashion he did will go down as one of the greatest narratives in the history of esports. One of the game's best silver sovereigns — by some people's estimation, the greatest AD carry ever — finally winning Worlds in one of his last seasons against his former classmate, Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok. It was the satisfying conclusion fans of competition always dream of, like Jerry West winning the NBA Championship, Lionel Messi grabbing the World Cup, or even Jeong "Chovy" Ji-hoon finally winning the LCK. Deft is one of the greats, and has proved it at every level.
However, there are some caveats — especially regarding his placement for this year. For starters, DRX and Deft performed relatively poorly throughout the entire year. And although he had some great highlights throughout Worlds, it must be acknowledged that he was rarely the main reason for his team's success — a common quality for his bot lane adversaries. A great year, but not nearly strong enough to have him be considered the best AD carry of the year.
3. Lee "Gumayusi" Min-hyeong — T1
No one can deny the talent of Gumayusi, but also, no one can deny that he still has some growing to do. Let's start with the positives: when Gumayusi is on, there's no player like him. He had some of the most impressive individual performances of any player in the world — two pentakills in one year, and a record-setting 219 kills during LCK 2022 Spring. His mechanics are excellent, his playmaking is world-class, and the amount of combos his champion pool lends along with Ryu "Keria" Min-seok is amongst the greatest the game has ever seen.
That's Gumayusi when he's good. Unfortunately, that's not as often as T1 fans would like. Overall, he was the worst-performing player on the roster, and was responsible for a lot of the heartbreaks they had throughout the year. He has the talent to be an all-time great AD carry, but needs to develop the discipline and consistency necessary to get there.
2. Chen "GALA" Wei — Royal Never Give Up
It's still insane to consider GALA's career over the past two years — the shoes he had to fill might as well have belonged to Paul Bunyan. Taking over for Jian "Uzi" Zihao is no easy feat, but GALA has done about as well as you could expect. He's continued to refine his proficiency in teamfights, highlighted by the three pentakills he's earned throughout the year (four, if you count a remake). Though consistency was definitely a problem at some points for him — even when RNG was at their peak this year — he put together enough strong performances when it mattered to be considered one of the best AD carries of the year.
1. Park "Ruler" Jae-hyuk — Gen.G
Ruler has everything. 2022 was simply a masterclass year for him. He hardly ever dropped the ball: a finals run in the spring, a championship in the summer, and a semifinals appearance at Worlds. His performance in LCK 2022 Summer was one of the highest levels of play the game has ever seen from an AD carry — as evidenced by him winning both Regular Season MVP and Player of the Split.
And while most of the other top AD carries have the benefit of constantly being propped up by sages of the support position like Shi "Ming" Sen-Ming and Ryu "Keria" Min-seok, there were no illusions of who was the guiding player in Gen.G's bot lane. There were many great joys throughout this year: T1's undefeated season and DRX's Cinderella-story at Worlds. However, fans would be foolish to overlook the mastery Ruler has shown this year.
All team listed are those the players competed with in 2022.