After a long month of announcing nominees, community voting, and panel discussions, we have arrived at the final mile of the 2021 Inven Global Awards for League of Legends. Today, Inven Global proudly presents the winners of all player categories — from the best competitors in each role to the rookies who broke out big and the players who you should be watching next year.
Most of the categories have two awards: the main Inven Global Award is decided by our crew of panelists. The community award is voted by the fans who engaged with the content and supported those who they think deserved it most.
Without further ado, here are the winners of the "Best player" categories of the Inven Global Awards.
Best top laner: Li "Xiaohu" Yuan-Hao (RNG)
It's rare that a player switches roles and immediately becomes the best at his new one, but that was certainly the case with RNG's Xiaohu. With an MSI title and 1st All-Pro Team accolades under his belt, Xiaohu edged out EDG's Li "Flandre" Xuan-Jun ever so slightly to win the "Best top laner of 2021" award.
Runner up: Flandre (EDG)
3rd place: Khan (DK)
Best top laner: Community award
1. Khan — 35,8% of votes
2. Xiaohu — 24.1%
3. Canna — 17.7%
4. Flandre — 13.3%
5. Rascal — 9%
Best jungler: Kim "Canyon" Geon-bu (DK)
There never really was any competition in the Best jungler category as DWG KIA's Canyon swept it clean. Leaving Zhao "Jiejie" Li-Jie good 10 points behind, Canyon was an undisputed winner — a deserved award, given how at one point, DK's jungler was considered perhaps the best player in the entire world.
Runner up: Jiejie (EDG)
3rd place: Tarzan (LNG)
Best jungler: Community award
1. Canyon — 57.3% of votes
2. Jiejie — 22.7%
3. Tarzan — 12.7%
4. Clid — 5.1%
5. Wei — 2.1%
Best mid laner: Heo "ShowMaker" Su (DK)
Much like in the jungler category, ShowMaker didn't leave much chance for the competition with an astounding 18-point lead ahead of even world champion Lee "Scout" Ye-chan. A linchpin to LCK's best team, ShowMaker was the mid laner to beat for most of the year, even when other players like Scout or Jeong "Chovy" Ji-hoon tried to make it a close race.
Runner up: Scout (EDG)
3rd place: Chovy (HLE)
Best mid laner: Community award
1. Faker — 47.8% of votes
2. ShowMaker — 21.2%
3. Chovy — 19.3%
4. Scout — 9.1%
5. Bdd — 2.6%
Best bot laner: Park "Viper" Do-hyeon (EDG)
It was already hard for Best bot laner candidates to stand toe-to-toe with the outstanding mechanics and game sense of EDG's Viper... and then he won the World Championship too. Completely recovered from his chronic second-place finish on Griffin, Viper's now at the helm of world's best team and deservedly swept the category clean.
Runner up: Gumayusi (T1)
3rd place: GALA (RNG)
Best bot laner: Community award
1. Gumayusi — 46.8% of votes
2. Viper — 35.8%
3. Ruler — 9.7%
4. deokdam — 4%
5. GALA — 3.7%
Best support: Tian "Meiko" Ye (EDG)
It was neck and neck in the support category until the very end, but EDG's Meiko took it over T1's Ryu "Keria" Min-seok at the eleventh hour. While Keria was the talk of the scene for a lot of the year, it's hard to ignore Ming's Worlds and Summer Playoffs gold and Spring bronze — a great 2021 run for EDG's support.
Runner up: Keria (T1)
3rd place: Ming (RNG)
Best support: Community award
1. Keria — 78.5% of votes
2. Meiko — 10%
3. BeryL — 5.7%
4. CoreJJ — 3.7%
5. Ming — 2%
Player of the Year: Heo "ShowMaker" Su (DK)
ShowMaker snagged his second award by being voted in Player of the Year by the Inven Global Awards panelists and almost getting the recognition from the community as well (losing to Viper by literally one vote). Even without international gold, it's been outstanding year for DK's superstar, with two LCK titles and two international grand finals.
Runner up: Viper (EDG)
3rd place: Scout (EDG)
Player of the Year: Community award
Viper — 31.2% of votes
2. ShowMaker — 30.8%
3. Scout — 23.1%
4. Canyon — 10%
5. Xiaohu — 5%
Best rookie: Lee "Gumayusi" Min-hyeong (T1)
T1's young bot laner took both the experts' and community votes to win the IGA for Best rookie of 2021. Coming in to fill the big shoes of Park "Teddy" Jin-seong, Gumayusi more than well and his aggressive, give-zero-damns style helped T1 to a respectable top 4 finish at Worlds — quite the achievement for a team that was in disarray most of the year. And this is only the beginning for the 19-year-old.
Runner up: Oner (T1)
3rd place: Gori (NS)
Best rookie: Community award
Gumayusi — 42% of votes
2. Oner — 33.7%
3. Elyoya — 18.2%
4. Croco — 5.3%
5. Gori — 0.8%
Best minor region player: Lee "Aria" Ga-eul (DFM)
In another nail-biter race both on the panel and between the community, DFM's Aria edged out BYG's Chiu "Doggo" Tzu-Chuan to win the main Inven Global Award (though leaving the community accolades to the Taiwanese). Aria was the driving force behind DFM's historic Worlds group stage qualification and the award is absolutely deserved, though one has to question what would happen if Doggo didn't get the absolute worst luck in his international outings.
Runner up: Doggo (BYG)
3rd place: Maple (PSG)
Best minor region player: Community award
1. Doggo — 44.8% of votes
2. Aria — 42.2%
3. Maple — 7.5%
4. Kaiwing — 2.9%
5. River — 2.6%
Best coaching staff: EDward Gaming
While this is the player categories winners announcement, we can't leave out the coaches that helped all these athletes reach their peaks. For the Best coaching staff award, EDG came out clear winners, even against the highly decorated bench of DWG KIA. With an LPL and Worlds title under their belts, the staff behind head coach Yang "Maokai" Ji-Song outdid themselves.
Runner up: DWG KIA
3rd place: T1
Best minor region player: Community award
1. T1 — 44.8% of votes
2. MAD Lions — 26.3%
3. DWG KIA — 15.6%
4. EDward Gaming — 11.8%
5. Royal Never Give Up — 1.3%
Players to watch and off-season winners
Although not part of the voting cycle of the Inven Global Awards, we wanted to recognize the players with the most potential to do great things in 2022 and the rosters who made the best off-season moves in preparation for the new year.
#1 top laner to watch in 2022: Kiin (Freecs)
#1 jungler to watch in 2022: Tarzan (LNG)
#1 mid laner to watch in 2022: Knight (TES)
#1 bot laner to watch in 2022: Hans Sama (TL)
#1 support to watch in 2022: Keria (T1)
LPL off-season winners: Bilibili Gaming
LCK off-season winners: Gen.G
LEC off-season winners: Team Vitality
LCS off-season winners: Team Liquid
Tune in tomorrow, Dec. 31, for the Caster and Community categories of the Inven Global Awards!
Esports editor and journalist of 10+ years. Lives on black tea and corgi love.