The LCS 2022 season is about to get started with the Lock In, but only half of the teams have their intended starting rosters. As a result, the expected results of the two Lock In groups look very different than most's expectations at the beginning of the year.
Here are Inven Global's Pick'ems for the group stage of the 2022 LCS Lock In.
1: 100 Thieves
5: Golden Guardians
100 Thieves has retained the same roster that won the 2021 LCS Championship aside from adding a top lane substitute and enter the Lock In as not just the favorite of Group A, but the favorite to win the whole tournament. Every other team either has a new roster that is completely present for the Lock In, or a roster without starters, but 100 Thieves locked up their roster early on in the off-season.
Cloud9, despite only having two of their starters, should be able to second place in Group A. C9 Academy AD carry Jesper "Zven" Svenningsen is without a doubt an LCS-caliber player, and support Jonah "Isles" Rosario only narrowly lost the starting LCS position Kim "Winsome" Dong-keon. Darshan "Darshan" Upadhyaya's LCS years are behind him, it seems, but he still has a wealth of experience and should be able to hold his own.
TSM will be playing their entire TSM Academy roster due to visa issues, but the previously built synergy between their mid/jungle duo and the LCS experience of Omran "V1per" Shoura should be enough for them to end Group A in 3rd place. FlyQuest has their entire roster and it's arguably the second-best on paper for the Lock In rosters, but the team may take a bit of time to gel due to new signings and changes, highlighted by the LCS debut of mid laner Loïc "toucouille" Dubois.
Golden Guardians made solid moves this off-season to strengthen their roster, but they will be starting their Academy squad just like TSM. Many familiar faces are on the GGA squad, but they are also without their full roster, and as a result, positional coach Trevor "Stixxay" Hayes is starting in the AD carry position. GGA lost a match earlier this week to (admittedly strong) amateur squad 100 Thieves Next will likely find themselves eliminated in Group A.
1: Team Liquid
2: Evil Geniuses
5: Counter Logic Gaming
Team Liquid has assembled a roster on paper with a gargantuan amount of talent, but unfortunately, a delay in support Jo "CoreJJ" Yong-in's green card acquisition means that the full roster will be unable to play together. Instead, CoreJJ and AD carry Steven "Hans sama" Liv will split time starting with their TL Academy opposites, but either of those rosters should be able to take first place in Group B.
Evil Geniuses has an exciting roster with young talents in AD carry Kyle "Danny" Sakamaki and mid laner Joseph "jojopyun" Joon Pyun, but the latter may have some nerves making his LCS debut, especially against the likes of Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg in EG's first match of the group against TL. Despite this, the known quantities of EG's roster puts EG in an easy position to secure 2nd place in the group behind TL.
Immortals made solid upgrades to their roster with signings of AD carry Jason "WildTurtle" Tran and mid laner Tristan "PowerOfEvil" Schrage while retaining their other three starters, but the roster still possesses inferior firepower to that of TL and EG and therefore, should comfortably slot into the middle of Group B by its end.
Dignitas is coming into LCS 2022 as a team expected to struggle to qualify for the post-season, and that was before it was known that jungler Kim "River" Dong-woo would miss the entire Lock In. The team's known commodities in top laner Aaron "FakeGod" Le and AD carry Toàn "Neo" Trần should be enough to edge out the young roster of Counter Logic Gaming, who, while building for a promising future, will find itself eliminated from the Lock In alongside Golden Guardians.