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LCS 2022 power rankings leading into Lock In

The LCS is back for Lock In 2022, and that marks the return of our power rankings. With the pre-season tournament giving us a first look at each new LCS roster, here’s how they stack up heading into the mega year ahead.

In 2022, Dexerto is proud to present power rankings for League of Legends in the LCS. We will be tracking the performance of all the teams right here, considering their form, how they’ve performed with their strength of schedule, and more every week.

After yet another disappointing World Championship campaign, NA teams have splashed the cash on plenty of imports. However, some have opted to look closer to home to rebuild their sides for the year.

Without further ado, here’s the LCS 2022 power rankings ahead of Lock In.

10. Counter Logic Gaming

A better rebuild that’s for sure

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Tina Jo for Riot Games

CLG made solid off-season moves around rising NA talent, including Jenkins (pictured).

While CLG’s roster on paper should have been a playoffs contender in LCS 2021, it certainly didn’t pan out that way. That’s why the approach of at least testing rookies and second-year players on their roster ⁠— four native NA talents at that too ⁠— is smart. You can import all you want, but CLG have got some great players they can build around for the years to come.

Former Liquid top laner Jenkins and EG jungler Contractz stand out, but both Palafox and Poome have stood their ground in the LCS before. Luger also had a solid showing in his one LCS game during Summer 2021 despite losing. There’s a lot to look forward to for this CLG roster, even if immediate results are hard to fathom.

9. Dignitas

Feeling a bit Blue

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Michal Konkol for Riot Games

Blue had a shocking finish to his LEC campaign in 2021, and will be looking to rebound on Dignitas.

Dignitas have some identity searching to hunt for to start LCS 2022 in the absence of Aphromoo. There’s some cool pickups ⁠— River from PSG Talon is a snag, having proven his worth over the last two years on the PCS side. Biofrost coming back from a year-long break is a great addition to a relatively inexperienced side.

Blue is probably the most confusing pickup of all though, especially when there’s NA mid laners like 5fire still on the table. Blue was below average in the LEC to say the least, and we can say the LCS is a meme, but I’d much rather see Dignitas invest locally than pick up a middling-at-best import to round out their roster. Could be proven wrong though.

8. FlyQuest

Aphromoo’s Kindergarten yet again

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Colin Young-Wolff for Riot Games

Aphromoo, paired again with Johnsun after their 2020 Dignitas stint, should give FlyQuest more stability in 2022.

After speaking to Aphromoo (and Johnsun) before LCS 2022 Lock In, you get a sense that the 29-year-old LCS veteran is used to this position of raising new talent to the summit. Partnered again with Johnsun, there’s an air of hope around this FlyQuest roster that crumbled without a dedicated leader in 2021.

Bringing Kumo up from Academy and toucouille over from EU Masters are solid options. However, you cannot help but think FlyQuest lacks the flair the top six sides have to really make a splash. With time this roster will blossom ⁠— you can have faith in Aphromoo to do that ⁠— but expect a rough start.

7. Immortals

Finding a higher power

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Oshin Tudayan for Riot Games

Immortals could hardly ask for a better mid lane upgrade than PowerOfEvil.

Immortals have made one big upgrade they needed by bringing in PowerOfEvil for Insanity in mid lane. While the latter was solid, Immortals needed the flair of POE ⁠— who should dominate in this control-mage centric, Crown-building meta ⁠— to really take them to the next level.

Not shaking the boat too much has given Immortals a very solid standing for the rest of the year. However, given the level of upgrades other teams have made, it’s hard to see them cracking the top four.

6. Cloud9

A fall from grace

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Oshin Tudayan for Riot Games

There are some question marks over Fudge’s role swap to mid lane, but not as many as the rest of Cloud9’s off-season.

So, how hard did Cloud9 lose the offseason? It’s a question that gets asked of the legendary side every year, and one they always answer with a resounding now. 2022 might be a step too far. In fact, the only seemingly sane move they made in the off-season was keeping Blaber in the jungle.

Coach LS clearly has a plan with his bevy of Korean imports ⁠— although Summit is yet to return to his 2019 highs, and Berserker is untested in a top league. Fudge does have mid lane experience too, albeit in second-tier Oceanic play, and is mechanically gifted. It makes it really hard to predict where Cloud9 stacks up, but the safe bet is middle of the pack.

5. Golden Guardians

The true winners of the off-season

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Did Liquid or Evil Geniuses win the off-season? Neither in my eyes, because that mantle is held by Golden Guardians. Basically anything could have improved on their roster from this time last year, but the Warriors-backed organization has a real dark horse shot at Worlds this year. That’s how high I am on them.

Lost copped a lot of flak on TSM last year, but in reality he was arguably their second-best player behind Spica. Ablazeolive was robbed of Rookie of the Year (reading comprehension people), and with Licorice and Olleh providing plenty of experience to a fresh-faced Pridestalkr in the jungle, this is the well-balanced roster Golden Guardians needed after last year’s calamity.

4. TSM

Another baffling break raises questions

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Tina Jo for Riot Games

Retaining Spica was good for TSM, but their new mid laner has put doubt on whether the squad can succeed.

TSM did make some decent moves in the LCS 2022 off-season, however they raised just as many eyebrows as Cloud9 with the signing of Keaiduo and Shenyi from China’s LDL. While Shenyi had some decent performances, Keaiduo must have really inspired TSM in scouting because on paper it doesn’t seem like a good fit ⁠— language barriers in this squad aside.

Huni, Spica, and Tactical are as good a core you could ask for to build around in North America. They are a solid spine, each one of them proven and ironed-on LCS starters. Slotting in two unproven players around them is good, but was importing the right idea? Under new coach Chawy, only time will tell.

3. Evil Geniuses

All aboard the Danny hype train

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Riot Games

Danny is now Evil Geniuses’ franchise player, and it should pay off.

Evil Geniuses did the one thing they needed to this off-season: keep Danny. With the NA rookie locked in for another year, they have the one piece their rosters for the next five years will likely revolve around. Vulcan is a great support to have by his side, as he is basically IgNar but better.

Inspired was a great snipe by the scouts, and now all eyes will lay on the 17-year-old former Fortnite pro turned LCS fresh-face jojopyun. His stats from Academy 2021 don’t paint the most promising picture, but EG have faith in him ⁠— like they have in Danny ⁠— and it’s a fair gamble to take when the rest of your squad is so strong. Worst case scenario? Just promote Soligo.

2. Team Liquid

Is this the LEC?

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Riot Games

After seven years at TSM, Bjergsen is returning to pro play on Liquid.

I don’t think there’s been a more hype off-season shuffle than Liquid’s this off-season. Snagging Bwipo from Fnatic, Hans sama from Rogue, and bringing Bjergsen out of retirement (and away from TSM) ⁠— the stocks for this team have been through the roof since November. All these signings point towards an aggressive ideology of kill-thirsty LPL-style League, and the LCS needs that.

However, before they’ve even set foot on the Rift, Liquid has hit the stumbling block. CoreJJ’s inability to get a Green Card means for the foreseeable future Academy star Eyla will have to play as the team’s support. It’s not the end of the world, but they’ll be wanting him back to contest that top spot.

1. 100 Thieves

If it ain’t broke…

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100 Thieves

100 Thieves enter the 2022 season as reigning North American champions.

NA’s number-one seed at Worlds 2021 managed to keep all five of their star players, so it’s hard looking past 100 Thieves to build on their successes and lead the LCS yet again in 2022. The side is more than the sum of their parts, and Abbedagge only helped to elevate the squad from great to legendary in 2021.

Bringing up NA’s next great hope Tenacity to play under Ssumday is a great call by PapaSmithy ⁠— although how much gametime is split between the two remains to be seen. Regardless, with top players all across the Rift and that pre-existing synergy, 100 Thieves should dominate LCS 2022.

The LCS 2022 Lock In kicks off on January 14.Advertisement

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The class of 2022: 3 rookies to watch in the LCS this year

Published: 13/Jan/2022 19:00Updated: 14/Jan/2022 9:55by Meg Kay

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Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games



North America has a poor reputation when it comes to developing talent. Here are three up-and-coming LCS rookies who are looking to change that narrative. 

Through a combination of importing talent and the longevity of veteran players, it’s always been considered much more difficult to make it as a rookie player in NA than EU. The lack of regional competition means that many NA amateurs have lacked opportunities to prove themselves in a tournament atmosphere.

Steps were taken by Riot to rectify this in 2021. The LCS Academy system was restructured, and academy and amateur teams would now compete alongside each other in the Proving Grounds tournament. The change offered amateur players the opportunity to play in the same tournaments as LCS organizations and increased the number of eyes on the amateur scene.

While NA’s grassroots circuit is still far from perfect, it’s making steps in the right direction. And we’re now starting to see the fruits of that labor blossom in the LCS, with two players coming into LCS starting spots this year who have made their way up through the amateur ecosystem to the main stage of North America.

Alongside those amateur graduate hopefuls, North America has not given up on its age-old tactic of importing talent. But instead of going for ex-World Champions, the region has looked to the LPL’s developmental league, the LDL, for talent that can potentially be molded into the future stars of the LCS.

Here are our picks for North America’s most exciting rookie prospects for 2022.

Joseph ‘Jojopyun’ Joon Pyun- Mid laner for Evil Geniuses

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Evil Geniuses

At 17, Jojopyun is the youngest player currently competing in the LCS.

If there’s any rookie who’s going to give you the entertainment factor, it’s Jojopyun. Hailing from the Evil Geniuses’ development system, he’s played for the org pretty much since his competitive debut in 2020.

He spent two months in the amateur scene before he was picked up by EG Academy in January 2021. The team’s performance in the academy league was mediocre, failing to find anything above a fourth-place finish throughout the 2021 season.

Jojopyun’s most played in the Summer Split was Lulu, but don’t let that fool you – he’s a bloodthirsty, hard-carry player through and through. His career most-played champions are Sylas and Lucian, and EG Analyst Mike “Beora” Skriloff describes him as “incredibly explosive on the Rift.”

“If you give him an inch, he’ll take a mile,” Beora told Dexerto. “He’s super aggressive and in your face as a player.”

EG’s secret prodigy

It’s been a while since a hyper-aggressive rookie has successfully debuted in North America, especially in the mid lane. There is a real possibility that Jojopyun has a rookie split on the level of European superstar mid laner Rasmus ‘Caps’ Winther.

NA Academy caster Matthew ‘Cubby’ Samuelson described him as a player who “commands a lot of respect” in the NA scene, despite being one of the youngest players in North America at just 17.

“I know mid laners who’ve been more motivated to spam solo queue just because they want to run into Jojopyun and learn something from him,” Cubby said.

Not only is he mechanically gifted and refreshingly aggressive, he’s got the experienced players around him to turn him into more than just a ‘good hands, no brain’ player. Paired up with World Champion top laner Jeong ‘Impact’ Eon and two-time Worlds attendees Kacper ‘Inspired’ Słoma and Philippe ‘Vulcan’ Laflamme, he’s got the experience around him to mold him into something truly special.

EG are no strangers to fostering rookie talent. They’re one of the few LCS orgs to have an established path to pro through amateur investment, and they’ve proven they can handle the rookie talent that comes their way.

EG AD Carry Kyle ‘Danny’ Sakamaki was one of the LCS’s most exciting talents in 2021, and he came up through the same talent development system as Jojopyun. If Evil Geniuses can bring up two consecutive, region-defining talents through their amateur pipeline, then it might just be the kick other orgs in the region need to increase their amateur investment.

Wei ‘Shenyi’ Zi-Jie – Support for TSM

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Shenyi will replace SwordArt on TSM’s starting roster after a disappointing 2021 for the org.

While there are some truly impressive residential talents coming into North America this year, it would be remiss to ignore TSM’s offseason signings when discussing exciting rookies.

North American organizations have been criticized in the past for their reliance on imported talent and the unwillingness to invest in development programs within their own regions. However, the free movement of talent has long been a cornerstone of League esports, and to say that a region should only rely on native players disregards the hard work of numerous imported talents to assimilate to and progress in their adoptive region.

A new tactic for TSM

Until recently, imported players have typically been established veterans in their regions looking to try their competitive luck elsewhere. However, we’re now starting to see a new trend in international player movement- importing rookie players who have not yet played in their region’s tier-one competitive environment.

This is the case for TSM support Wei ‘Shenyi’ Zi-Jie. Pulled from the LPL’s developmental league by TSM alongside mid laner Zhu ‘Keaiduo’ Xiong, he’ll be paired up with AD Carry Edward ‘Tactical’ Ra to form TSM’s bot lane for 2022.

He’s an aggressive support who’s not afraid to make the game-changing engages his team needs on champions like Nautilus and Rakan. He subbed in briefly for FunPlus Phoenix’s LPL team during his time on their academy roster, and performed well against LPL giants Top Esports. He’s definitely no stranger to high-pressure environments.

He and Keaiduo present a unique challenge for TSM. Not only does the org have to help these players develop in their rookie split, they have to integrate two young players whose primary language isn’t English.

TSM’s jungler Mingyi ‘Spica’ Lu speaks Mandarin, but TSM can’t rely on his translation skills alone to help them find success with their LDL rookies. Support in particular is a role that requires a huge amount of coordination with your lane partner and team as a whole, and TSM in 2022 will live and die by how well they are able to facilitate communication between Shenyi and the rest of the team.

And although Shenyi comes to TSM from another region, he will require just as much development as any other rookie. He’s only been competing for a little over a year, and although he has experienced a brief stint on the LPL stage, that ‘experience’ totals out at five games played. To call him anything other than a rookie puts a weight of expectation on his shoulders that he does not deserve to bear.

Visa issues and the continuing global pandemic mean that TSM will be fielding their academy roster for the Lock-In tournament. The org explained via Twitter that the team had not yet been able to practice together, and that Shenyi and Keaiduo were currently still in China and would not make it to LA in time for the start of the Lock-In.

Fans won’t get their first glimpse of Shenyi until the beginning of the Spring split on February 5th. By then, the team will hopefully have had time to work on their synergy; otherwise, the org’s LDL gamble may blow up in their faces.

Milan ‘Tenacity’ Oleksij- Top laner for 100 Thieves

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100 Thieves

Tenacity joins reigning LCS Champions 100 Thieves as they look to defend their title.

Tenacity, much like Jojopyun, is a product of growing investment in North America’s amateur scene. He was picked up by 100 Thieves’ talent growth pipeline in January of 2020 to join their amateur team, 100 Thieves Next.

The 100 Next roster came second in the Challengers Uprising tournament in 2020, losing out to the now-disbanded Anew Esports. Tenacity was promoted to 100T’s academy roster at the start of 2021, and showed consistent performances throughout the 2021 seasons despite failing to win either the Proving Grounds or the Academy Summer playoffs.

Tenacity belongs to the Kim ‘Ssumday’ Chan-ho school of bruiser top laners, favoring champions like Aatrox and Volibear – which is fitting, because he’ll be sharing stage time with Ssumday in his debut split.

Sharing the spotlight

Having players share a starting spot is an unconventional way of running a roster. It’s unclear what the rationale will be behind who plays week by week for 100 Thieves. Tenacity and Ssumday both play similar champions, with Ssumday having slightly more experience on tanks.

In an interview with Dexerto, head coach Chris ‘PapaSmithy’ Smith explained that the team is coming into the LCS with “a really good idea of how we can make a six-man roster work for us”. The strategy has been notoriously tricky to get right, but 100 Thieves clearly feel that they’ve got the formula down for helping Tenacity’s development without hindering Ssumday’s growth.

Cubby describes Tenacity as a “secret weapon” that the roster will bring out when they need a strong carry presence in the top lane. Ssumday is infinitely more flexible of a player due to his years of experience, but Tenacity’s Irelia is known to strike fear into the hearts of players all across the NA solo queue ladder.

In fact, his proficiency on the champion was spotted by LEC caster Marc ‘Caedrel’ Lamont during his time in EU West solo queue for Worlds 2021.

“There is going to be a great amount of joy in 100 Thieves when Tenacity finally gets to hit the stage,” explained Cubby, “because there has been a lot of effort put in by them into developing him as a player and a person.”

Tenacity was part of 100 Thieves’ 2021 Worlds bootcamp in Europe and has been one of the organization’s highest-ranked solo queue players in multiple regions. He requires a fairly specific set of conditions to set him up for success (hence the shared starting spot), but if those conditions can be met, he’s one of the scariest top laners in North America right now.

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