Road to Worlds 2022 Play-In: Prepare for Battle; Make History
Top-class League of Legends action will begin soon!
Going into Worlds 2022, teams from around the world particularly prepare to face the eastern teams from China (League of Legends Pro League - LPL) and Korea (League of Legends Champions Korea - LCK). Fueled by insane game mechanics, timed aggression, and strategies, the LPL and the LCK have formed a duopoly in the esports scene of League of Legends, winning every single World Championship since 2013. However, the tournament also provides teams from minor regions to prove how well they stack up against the best teams internationally.
We have strong minor regions at the battlefront in the Play-in stage. They include the League of Legends Japan League (LJL), Turkish Championship League (TCL), Pacific Championship Series (PCS), Vietnam Championship Series (VCS), and the League of Legends Circuit Oceania (LCO).
Notably, these minor league teams have always been dark horses at Worlds and even the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) tournaments over many years.
Let us look at the teams that are participating in Play-ins:
DRX - LCK
Royal Never Give Up (RNG) - LPL
Saigon Buffalo (SGB) - VCS
Beyond Gaming (BYG) - PCS
Istanbul Wildcats (IW) - TCL
DetonatioN FocusMe (DFM) - LJL
Chiefs Esports Club (CHF) - LCO
DRX’s journey to Worlds 2022 is an interesting one since the team was pushed to its limit in the Summer Split in the LCK. It placed 6th in the standings and made it to playoffs but eventually lost to Liiv Sandbox (LSB) in the quarterfinal. Following this, the team was relegated to the LCK Regional Finals where it had to meet with the teams that constantly defeated it during the Summer. However, a resilient DRX bounced back and won against KT Rolster and LSB to punch its ticket to Worlds.
Notably, the team has ace attack-damage carry (ADC) Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyul, and Worlds 2022 will be an opportune moment to prove that he’s the best in the business. The team’s support player is also a previous Worlds winner.
The roster of DRX is as follows:
Top: Hwang “Kingen” Seong-hoon
Jungle: Hong “Pyosik” Chang-hyeon
Mid: Kim “Zeka” Geon-woo
Bot: Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyul
Support: Cho “BeryL” Geon-hee
Jungle sub: Lee “Juhan” Ju-han
In 2020, the team made it to the main event of Worlds but eventually lost to Damwon Kia (DK) in the quarterfinal matchup. The following year DRX failed to make it to Worlds and realized that a roster change was imminent.
Royal Never Give Up (RNG)
RNG entered the LPL Summer split as the winner of MSI this year after the team defeated T1 in Korea. However, the split was not all smooth sailing for the team as it placed fourth in the regular season and fifth in the 2022 LPL Summer playoffs. As a result, the team had to play its way through the Regional Final against EDward Gaming (EDG) and LNG. RNG was facing a do-or-die situation after it lost against EDG in the Regional Final opener, but clutched it against LNG and punched its way to Worlds 2022.
RNG’s roster for Worlds 2022:
Top: Chen “Breathe” Chen
Jungle: Yan “Wei” Yang-Wei
Mid: Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao.
Bot: Chen “GALA” Wei
Support: Shi “Ming” Sen-Ming
The team is definitely a strong contender for the title this year with superstar players Xiaohu, GALA, and Ming under its belt.
In 2021, at Worlds, RNG lost to EDG in the quarterfinal matchup, and in 2020, the team did not even make it out of their region in the Summer to be a part of Worlds. However, RNG is a common sight in international tournaments. The team was the runner-up of Worlds Season 3 and has had multiple appearances at Worlds since.
Saigon Buffalo (SGB)
The COVID-19 pandemic played spoilsport in the VCS’ chances of appearing at Worlds since 2019 but the Vietnamese teams have made it to Worlds this year. However, Saigon Buffalo, the region’s second seed faced severe VISA issues ahead of the international tournament, throwing a wrench in the plans once again. But luckily, the team managed to secure VISAs at the last minute and are in Mexico City for the Play-in.
Saigon Buffalo is a name that we’ve heard quite a lot in the 2022 season of League of Legends esports. The team won the hearts of many with its run during the MSI this year and also managed to pull off some crazy plays against the best teams. After placing third during the 2022 VCS Summer Season, Saigon Buffalo reached the playoffs and played its way through the upper bracket, only losing to GAM Esports in the grand final. However, as the runner-up of the Summer season, the team earned its place in the Worlds 2022 Play-in stage.
The following are the SGB players for Worlds 2022:
Top: Lâm "Hasmed" Huỳnh Gia Huy
Jungle: Trần "BeanJ" Văn Chính
Mid: Bùi "Froggy" Văn Minh Hải
ADC: Nguyễn "Shogun" Văn Huy
Support: Đinh "Taki" Anh Tài
Jungle sub: Trần "RiBell" Hữu Duy
Mid sub: Nguyễn "Richard" Hoàng Phú
Beyond Gaming (BYG)
Beyond Gaming (BYG) is not a new face in the League of Legends esports scene since the team traveled to Iceland for Worlds 2021, the first international event for the organization. After placing fourth in the Play-in last year, the team made it to the knockout of the opening stage but unfortunately lost to Hanwha Life Esports (HLE). Following this, the team was eliminated from the tournament. This year around, BYG will look to extend its stay at Worlds 2022 and make the Group Stage. The team is currently pooled into Group A alongside the likes of Fnatic, Evil Geniuses, and DFM.
The roster of BYG is as follows:
Top: Liao “Likai” Li-kai
Jungle: Huang “Husha” Zi-wei
Mid: Lu “Minji” Po-weo
ADC: Tsuo “Wako” Wei-yang
Support: Wu “Kino” Hsin-jung
Top sub: Wu “Liang” Liang-Te
The team earned its Worlds 2022 spot after having a comeback in the Summer Split where it came in second.
Istanbul Wildcats (IW)
After winning the grand finals of the TCL Summer Playoffs, Istanbul Wildcats earned its place in Worlds 2022 at the Play-in stage and was the last team to qualify for the tournament. IW has been representing the region tracing back to 2021 and only missed out on Worlds 2021, where Galatasaray Esports out-qualified it. It has qualified for the following international tournaments so far:
The roster of IW for Worlds 2022 is as follows:
Top: Soner “StarScreen” Kaya
Jungle: Hakan “Ferret” Mert Çakmak
Mid: Tolga “Serin” Ölmez
ADC: Anıl “HolyPhoenix” Işık
Support: Berk “Farfetch” Badur
Most people may not expect the TCL representatives to make it out of their group in the Play-in stage but with some international experience and after stomping on its opponents in both TCL Spring and Summer, the Istanbul Wildcats will put up a mighty show.
DetonatioN FocusMe (DFM)
Despite hailing from a minor region like the LJL, DetonatioN FocusMe is one of the teams that could give the other top teams a good run for their money at Worlds 2022. DFM blazed through the 2022 season in the region and won both the Spring and the Summer split. A victory during the Spring granted the team an appearance at MSI 2022 and now after winning Summer Split, the team earned its right to attend Worlds.
Notably, last year at Worlds, DFM finished on top of its Play-in group and made it to the Group Stage. Technically, the biggest competition for DFM in its group this year is Fnatic and Evil Geniuses, and if Fnatic does not field its starting roster, DFM has a high chance of repeating its 2021 Worlds run again.
The members of DFM for Worlds 2022 are:
Top: Shunsuke “Evi” Murase
Jungle: Mun “Steal” Geon-yeong
Mid: Lee “Yaharong” Chan-ju
ADC: Yuta “Yutapon” Sugiura
Support: Lee “Harp” Ji-yoong
ADC sub: Mizuki “Marimo” Inoue
Chiefs Esports Club (CHF)
It is fair to say that Chiefs Esports Club earned its spot at Worlds this year after having a cracking season in 2022. It came awfully close to punching its ticket to the MSI in Korea earlier. But the team had a resonating comeback in the LCO 2022 Split 2 as it had a near-perfect scoreline in the regular season and playoffs, which it won. The team will be looking forward to showing its prominence and prowess on the international stage. With the likes of Fnatic and Evil Geniuses not fielding their starting rosters, CHF will look to make shocking plays and take on other strong teams like DetonatioN FocusMe in its group at the Play-in.
Top: Kim “Topoon” Ji-hoon
Jungler: Park “Arthur” Mi-reu
Mid: James “Tally” Shute
ADC: Quin “Raes” Korebrits
Support: Ryan “Aladoric” Gregory Richardson
The word on the street is that CHF is the strongest ever OCE (Oceania) team to attend Worlds.
The stakes are really high at the Play-in stage this year around. The Eastern mammoths RNG and DRX will be playing for their regional pride and prove that they deserve to be among the best in the main event of the tournament. On the other hand, we have a handful of strong contenders from minor regions who could potentially rain on the parades of the top teams including RNG, DRX, Fnatic, MAD Lions, and Evil Geniuses (EG).
Stay updated with the tournament by heading on to Worlds 2022 Play-in: Teams, Groups, Schedule & More.