| Tags: LCS, League of Legends
| Author Rohat Dicle Kılınç
Looking Back to LCS Summer 2022: Who Stood Out, Who Did Not
A brief recap of winners and losers of the LCS Summer 2022 Split as it heads into the playoffs.
This Summer was a high point for LCS in recent years, with more native players finding success in the league and the general level of teams seeming much more competitive. As we leave another regular season behind and go into the Summer Playoffs, it is always lovely to look at how the regular season played out to get a more complete picture of the remaining teams.
Starting the conversation about the teams who impressed everyone is an easy task. In a showing to the surprise of all but maybe the ultimate CLG faithful and beloved LCS caster. Sam ‘Kobe’ Hartman-Kenzler, the young roster of CLG turned it around after the franchise finished the last five splits in the bottom three. Of course, it wasn’t this group of players that all those results belonged to, but they were eight in Spring and many, including me, predicted them to finish near last.
The return to LCS for Niship ‘Dhokla’ Doshi was only part of the puzzle, as we saw significant improvement from the rest of the team as individuals and as a team. Their drafts were creative. They played aggressively (even when it bit them in the wrong places) and did not give up when semi-slumping during the season. There is a reason they are the fan favorites to send to Worlds.
Aside from CLG, many teams had their moments in the spotlight. Despite the expectations of an “MSI hangover,” EG started the season red-hot and finished the season first with a much better overall play on the Rift. 100 Thieves dominated the second half of the split. They went 8-1 and finished the LCS Summer 2022 with the best record in the franchise’s history. And FlyQuest was once again one of the most exciting teams in the league. Even though they finished sixth, they had multiple close games against top teams, and they are the only team with a 2-0 record against 100T.
Award season is approaching
Awards may not be the most meaningful part of the league, even more so when we are about to go into the playoffs, but they are fun to talk about. Plus, it is always nice to recognize players for their performances. Unfortunately, or maybe, fortunately, this year there seems to be a consensus on the majority of these awards.
If you watched the LCS broadcast during the Week 8 Super Week, specifically the C9 vs. EG game, you are probably aware that not many people think Kacper ‘Inspired’ Słoma won’t win the MVP. Sure, he took his foot off the gas towards the end, but his dominant start to the Split was a sight to behold. If he wins, Inspired will be the first and only player selected as both LCS and LEC MVP. The closest competition for him is probably Kim ‘Ssumday’ Chan-ho, the best performing player on the second-best team, and his teammate Kyle ‘Danny’ Sakamaki, who led the league in kills third split in a row.
Rookie of the Year is also locked up tight. As we transitioned to Summer from Split, LCS lost some of its rookies with the roster shifts. But even if it hadn’t happened, it is hard to imagine anyone else challenging EG’s Joseph ‘jojopyun’ Joon Pyun for this award. Honorable mentions for this category are the two young ADCs, Kim ‘Berserker’ Min-cheol and Fatih ‘Luger’ Güven.
The league also saw a lot of improvement. It is always nice to see teams like CLG showing dedication to their young core, as it has become rare to do in NA. As a reward for their commitment, we saw multiple CLG players bouncing back after a very disappointing individual split. For both Juan ‘Contractz’ Garcia and Cristian ‘Palafox’ Palafox, LCS Summer 2022 was a breath of fresh air. Contractz reminded people why there was so much hype around him during his C9 stint, and Palafox finally showed the fans the promised potential from his Academy days.
But it is not all about awards. We do not need to give a trophy just to praise a player. Multiple pros during the season impressed the fans with their play and made the league much more impressive. Loïc ‘toucouille’ Dubois and Gabriël ‘Bwipo’ Rau were much appreciated by fans, both for their play on the Rift and for their personalities out of it.
Not everything is sunshine and roses
As a general rule, there must be some losers when there are winners. The three teams which enjoyed their Summer the least have to be Dignitas, Immortals and Golden Guardians. All three of these teams had rumors about them selling their spots in the off-season, and we will have to wait and see if it happens.
GG’s split was especially tough. They started out 4-5. Sure, no one expected them to win the league outright, but at least people were somewhat excited. But it did not work out. After losing five games in a row, they hastily traded for Kim ‘River’ Dong-woo and promoted Adam ‘LIDER’ Ilyasov. But all these changes did was win them one game, against Dignitas of all teams, and get their GM fired.
The other side of the River trade did not work out well either. Replacing a player like River looked like Dignitas were giving up on the Summer Split, and they probably were. The problem is that they don’t have much to look forward to next year. And that is also true for Immortals. Maybe they can hope for a great leap forward from Shane Kenneth ‘Kenvi’ Espinoza, but other than that, they did not give fans too much to cheer for.
Last but not least, LCS Summer 2022 saw the exit of one of the most beloved players in the scene, Heo ‘Huni’ Seung-hoon. After eight years of success in three major regions, Huni announced his retirement due to recurring wrist issues. Huni left the pro play as a Worlds finalist, an MSI champion, and with trophies in Europe, Korea, and North America.
For more coverage on LCS during the Summer 2022 Playoffs, follow us on ESTNN.