Putting a lens into the 2022 LCS season
The League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) 2022 season was historic, to say the least. A brand-new champion in the form of Evil Geniuses, a terrific resurgence to glory in Cloud9, a bounce-back Summer Split for Counter Logic Gaming, a failed Team Liquid super team, all this and much, much more.
It all helped make the year special, one that kept a now-ten-year league entertaining, competitive, and most of all, made sure to have fans of the LCS coming back for more.
All of this begs to have a lens put on it as it shed to light on some of the many interesting storylines that transpired.
Evil Geniuses take home their first-ever LCS title
At first, upon rejoining the LCS come the 2020 season, the Geniuses laid down their plan to conquest the league. This started off with the first iteration of their first-ever roster which was a rag-tag group of players from various teams that included the likes of notable players such jungler Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen, ADC Bae “Bang” Jun-sik and more that didn’t amount to much.
In 2021, not satisfied with their performance in the previous year, Evil Geniuses looked to give their initial plan a strong revision. This came in the form of bringing in stellar top laner, Jeong “Impact” Eon-young and a whole new bottom lane comprised of ADC Matthew “Deftly” Chen and support Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun. Much to the league’s surprise, this roster performed well over expectations in the 2021 LCS Lock In tournament, giving them something to work off of. Factor in a replacement of Deftly and the addition of Kyle “Danny” Sakamaki, and the Geniuses were in business. However, once again, it didn’t amount to much.
Then in 2022, the organization was looking to make its plan, which was steadily and slowly improving, a full-blown reality. They kept Impact and Danny as strong pillars to build off of and went for absolute haymakers, these came in the form of superstar European jungler and LEC MVP, Kacper “Inspired” Sloma, North American support Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme, and mid-laner Joseph “Jojopyun” Joon Pyun which came to a big surprise to the LCS as a whole due to him not letting his young and amateur nature dictate his play.
The plan Evil Geniuses pondered on for two years finally worked. This was the roster to execute it—win an LCS championship. Soon enough, following an impressive performance in the 2022 LCS Lock In tournament, the Geniuses took home their first-ever trophy following an impressive lower bracket run.
Cloud9 rights its Spring Split wrongs
To start the 2022 LCS season, there was chitter-chatter surrounding the league pertaining to the roster moves made in the offseason. Be it Evil Geniuses’ surprise investment in homegrown talent with Danny and Jojopyun, Team SoloMid’s mish-mash of players, or Team Liquid’s super team, there was something to say about each of them.
Amongst those talks sat Cloud9, who after just recently having found success, namely the 2021 Spring Split that didn’t quite translate, later on, decided to take a completely new approach to its roster. With known analyst and former LCK commentator Nick “LS” De Cesare at the helm, Cloud9 took on a completely new avenue in its roster building.
Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami moved to the mid-lane to replace Luka “Perkz” Perkovic who left the spot vacant, Robert “Blaber” Huang remained in the jungle, and then four new additions came into play, namely top laner Park “Summit” Woo-tae, ADC Kim “Berserker” Min-cheol and a dual-wielding of supports in Jonah “Isles” Rosario and Kim “Winsome” Dong-keon.
Many analysts, pundits, and the like cast their doubt on this seemingly randomly pieced-together group, but Cloud9 kept all of its faith in it… and the faithful were rewarded, initially. During the 2022 Spring Split, Cloud9 took on one of their patented dominant Springs with the added caveat of Summit completely demolishing his opposition, earning himself the illustrious MVP title. However, in return for that dominant Spring, they faced a devastating playoffs as they were completely figured out by eventual finalists, 100 Thieves. It was a put all of the eggs in the Summit basket and win, but they lost, and they lost hard.
After thinking long and hard, the team went on to make some significant changes for the Summer Split that not only were unexpected but ended up proving to be the most fruitful… Cue the re-joining of former mid-laner, Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen and the return of AD Carry now support, Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen. LS, Summit, and the primed supports were gone.
At first, this roster didn’t quite work, they were a solid middle-of-the-pack team that if they leveled up maybe could create an upset or two—not much was expected of them in the 2022 LCS Championship. But come that tournament, all bets were off, they were more than dominant, they were a complete tier above the rest. They earned that title and that highly-coveted first seed at the 2022 World Championship.
Team Liquid, the super team that never was
It’s been a while since a “superteam” was amongst the LCS ranks and for the 2022 season, Team Liquid were hellbent on bringing it back. A roster that forgoes LCS titles and looks ahead into something greater, international play.
To start their roster, they kept two of some of the most important members from last year’s season in jungler Lucas “Santorin” Larsen and multiple-time MVP Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in, and added some top-tier players. This talent came in the form of top laner Gabriel “Bwipo” Rau, who was returning to the top lane after a small stint in the jungle, legendary Western mid-laner Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg who made his return to pro-play after a year-long retirement and a top tier ADC from the LEC, Steven “Hans Sama” Livt, which rounded out a terrifying bottom lane duo on paper.
This roster was all set up for success, at least in theory. You had the greatest mid-lane the LCS has seen, surrounded by some creme de la creme talent that, at any given time, could perform at the top of their role. To boot, to kick off the season, it showed that it worked, the potential was there after they won the 2022 LCS Lock In. But seemingly it just wasn’t meant to be.
Team Liquid, the North American super team, didn’t just completely fail to meet expectations, they completely missed the mark. Following the Lock In tournament, they didn’t make a single finals, and perhaps most important of all, failed to qualify for Worlds.