The 2022 LCK season is about to begin and the teams are all set. Heading into the season, many fans are wondering who is going to come out on top. The Game Haus has created our Preseason LCK Power Rankings. Keep in mind, these are all on preseason expectations. Some teams will probably outperform their spots, others will probably fall. Hence is the nature of subjective speculative rankings.
10: Hanwha Life Gaming
HLE is in a weird spot after the 2021 season. Deft, Morgan and Chovy all left the team. This means either HLE had to spend for new players, or get a bunch of young talent. They did the ladder. To replace Morgan, they put in their Sub Top Laner DuDu. This is simply put a downgrade for the team. Karis, yoinked from Gen. G Challengers, is a wild card. He could either end up being an amazing Mid Laner or a total flop. Either way though, it’s a downgrade from Chovy. Bot Side is actually okay. SamD was an ADC who played in the LPL for the last 3 years and is pretty solid. While SamD Vsta is nowhere near a top tier Bot Lane, it will probably not be the weak point of the team.
The main hope for this roster is that Willer continues his growth from 2021 and either DuDu, Karis or Vsta show that they deserve a spot in the LCK. If HLE hits on one of the three, they could potentially in 2023 have a core to build around. For now, they are just bottom tier of the LCK Power Rankings.
9: Fredit BRION
- Sw0rd / Morgan
To be honest, there is very little to say about Fredit BRION. They decided to keep 4 of their players in UmTi, Lava, Hena and Delight. The one change is in the Top Lane. Sw0rd, who was on Griffin, is rejoining the LCK. Simply put, no one really knows how strong he will be after a year of not competing. That is why Morgan is his backup incase he bombs. This team is really uninspired and just feels like they are there to exist, not win. Unlike with HLE, there really isn’t much to build around for the future. That being said, the synergy from last year may help them come out to a stronger start than some other teams. Overtime though, this will wear off and Fredit BRION will just be a bottom 3 team at best.
8: Liiv Sandbox
- Dove / Howling
Liiv Sandbox is a great example of solid GMing in the offseason. Liiv is coming off a 7th place finish in the LCK Summer. They had a pretty solid team on paper, but were not able to get it done, so they decided to blow it up. They lost Summit to Cloud9 and got rid of FATE, Prince and Effort.
In return, they had Dove come back to Liiv, but this time roleswapping to Top Lane. They then keep Howling as a backup incase this fails. They also sign Clozer, who was so good he was splitting time with Faker in 2021. Finally, they grab the Bot Lane from Gen G Challengers who won the Challengers League playoffs. So two rookies, one returning player, one top tier Mid Laner and a roleswap. It’s weird, but it’s actually logical moves. If Dove, Envyy or Kael work out, Liiv could be a really solid team in the coming years. For now, they are going to probably be a lower level LCK team. That being said, this team was not designed to win it all. It was designed to find some new players and compete for the title in a year or two.
7: KT Rolester
- Cuzz / GIDEON
- Aiming / Noah
While KT may not end up being the best team in the LCK, this roster is already super fun. The biggest news is that the Faker slayer himself, Aria, has joined from the LJL. Aria has smurfed the LJL in the last two years and proved at MSI and Worlds that he is an elite Mid Laner. The question remains whether he will be able to keep that level of dominance for an entire year. In other news, Aiming has returned from the LPL and rejoined his old team. Aiming performed quite solidly on Bilibili Gaming and along with Life in the Bot Lane should do pretty alright.
The Top Side of the map is just as exciting. Rascal is coming off a great year with Gen G where he made World’s Semifinals. Gen G decided though to redo almost their entire team and Rascal got the kick. While Rascal was a solid enough player, he struggled to break into the Top 3 in almost every stat. Cuzz is another interesting move. He, along with half of the T1 roster, was part of the players that got benched once they settled on a team. Cuzz had some great moments of dominating Jungle play, but also inted some games super hard. If he is able to control that aggression, he could dominate again.
The main issue with KT is not that there is a particular weak point, it is just that the other rosters seem better on paper. Teams that are strong on paper don’t always end up that way though. KT, much like the next entrant, DRX, have a lot of upside potential if some teams above them don’t perform. Could they get Top 3? Probably not. But they could earn that 4th Worlds spot if everything goes right. For now, they are 7th on our LCK Power Rankings.
DRX is a complete and total upgrade over the “team” they were in 2021. They decided to keep both Kingen and Pyosik, which to be fair, were the best players from the team. In terms of new players, Zeka, Deft and BeryL joined the team. Zeka is coming off a solid 2 years in the LPL, most recently on Bilibili Gaming. Deft and BeryL are coming off pretty solid Worlds runs themselves. So why is this team so low?
Really, the main issue is not if these players are capable of winning, but whether they are going to be able to consistently beat the teams above them. Simply put, it feels like the other teams are just more consistent. Take for example BeryL. BeryL had moments in 2020 and 2021 where he looked like one of the best supports in the World. The issue was BeryL also had moments where it looked like he was bribed and did stupid engages. Now this is the price teams are willing to pay for those moments of excellence, Damwon Kia did for two years, but it doesn’t make the team insanely consistent. Pyosik and Kingen are also coming off a bad season. Sure, the team as a whole was awful, but it remains to be proven that they are still able to compete at a higher level.
DRX can make Worlds, don’t be mistaken, but they have a lot more to prove than a lot of other teams in the LCK. If it all works out, DRX could be scary, but if it doesn’t, well, they might fall below 6th.
5: Nongshim RedForce
- Effort / Peter
Nongshim in the offseason lost every single player on their team. In their place, they went shopping. They grabbed 5 players from 5 different teams. Canna from T1, Dread from Afreeca, Bdd from Gen G, Ghost from Damwon Kia and Effort from Liiv Sandbox. And while this roster may be incredibly uninspired with the lack of rookies, it is clear what the goal is, Worlds or bust. And honestly, they stand a solid chance to make that dream a reality.
Canna is a disgustingly good player who has some very clear faults. The hate that he got at Worlds was a little bit overkill. He still is a solid laner, with some amazing team fight presence and flanks. Dread was one of the most pleasant surprises of 2021. After gettting benched back in 2020, he fought his way back to the starting spot and straight up smurfed it. He had the best stats of any Jungler in the Summer Split. It is going to be very exciting to see what he can do with a real Mid and Bot Lane. Bdd proved at Worlds why no one should sleep on him. His Zoe destroyed the hearts of any NA fan and his opponents. Finally, Ghost Effort is going to be a solid Bot Lane. Ghost is a more supportish style ADC with utility picks like Jhin, but that doesn’t mean he is bad. If NS can play around those picks, he could be great. Effort, well, he just needs to play along with that style.
To be frank, picks 7-4 are all very close. NS gets the 5th spot on our LCK Power Rankings solely due to the recent performance of their players. Canna, Dread, Bdd and somewhat Ghost all had amazing 2021s.If they can keep up that momentum, NS is a contender.
4: Kwangdong Freecs (Formerly Afreeca Freecs)
- Teddy / Leo
Afreeca Freecs, wait, that isn’t right. Kwangdong Freecs are a weird roster. In theory, two of the positions are downgrades from last year. Lehends and Dread were outstanding in 2021. Ellim on the other hand was fine and Hoit never played in an LCK game. Even with these two potential downgrades, this version of the Freecs feels stronger. The main reason is due to finally having a real ADC along with a real Mid Laner.
The Freecs started off 2021 with Bang in the ADC position. There was a lot of issues with his play, so in the Summer they got Leo. To be fair to Leo, he played fine, but it was clear that the Bot Lane, especially for having Lehends, was underperforming. Teddy is a clear upgrade. Teddy was one of the best performing ADCs in the LCK last year, even if he did get benched for Gumayusi. Furthermore, Hoit and him played on T1 together. There is probably some synergy already there.
Oh Fly, I don’t even know where to begin. Fly is not a bad Mid Laner. His utility was pretty much unmatched for the limited resources he was given. He was able to have some pop off games, but he was never able to do it to the level needed. As a result, FATE from Liiv Sandbox has come over. FATE should give KF a lot more consistency in the Mid Lane and someone who can actually play the meta instead of Sett. Oh yeah, Kiin has not even been mentioned, but there is no need to. He is the best Top Laner in the World. His play speaks for himself.
The Freecs are weird. A really really weird team. They could flop SUPER hard, but it feels like this roster is exactly what was needed for them to perform well. The Kwangdong Freecs are #4 on our LCK Power Rankings. Hopefully this is the year Kiin gets to return the international stage.
3: Damwon Kia
- Burdol / Hoya
Honestly, there isn’t much to say about Damwon. They have a new Bot Lane yoinked directly from NS that will hopefully allow them to play a more traditional style Bot Lane. Deokdam and Kellin are a perfectly serviceable Bot Lane, but they have a lot to prove in a league with powerhouses like Ruler Lehends, Gumayusi Keria and Deft BeryL. The more interesting conversation is around the Top Lane. Khan had to leave League of Legends due to his impending Military Service. This put DK in a weird spot. Do they ball out and try to get an expensive superstar Top Laner? Or do they try to scout a younger rookie player?
DK went with Burdol, a player who is still kinda a prospect, but also played at Worlds last year. Burdol in his three games had an underwhelming performance to say the least. Gen G, T1 and now DK all have shown interest in Burdol. So there must be something that the public doesn’t see about this player. Burdol is going to make or break DK. Worst comes to worst, they have Hoya as a backup.
Honestly that is the story of DK. Their Bot and Top have a lot to prove. No one is doubting ShowMaker or Canyon, but if DK wants to remain the champion, everyone on the team needs to show up. Until they do, Damwon Kia is #3 on our LCK Power Rankings.
- Keria / Asper
Really not too much to say about T1 as well. They kept everyone, but Canna. Zeus is coming in to be the starter yet again. Zeus had some solid laning stats when he played in the Spring. His GD10 was 53, XPD10 was 70 and CSD10 was 1.3. Where he fell apart was later game stats. His CS feel off hard and his team fighting stats like DPM was underwhelming. If Zeus is able to clean that up, he could be great.
The rest of T1 is still the T1 of last year. Oner is disgustingly good, Faker is Faker and Gumayusi Keria may be the best Bot Lane in the World. The reason T1 are #2 is just the clear gaps in Zeus’s play. T1 is definitely a contender, but for now, it would be wrong to rank them #1 in the LCK Power Rankings.
1: Gen G
Gen G’s roster is freakishly good. Let’s start with the biggest signing. Chovy has finally joined a real team again. Rejoice. Jokes aside, he is finally going to be enabled to carry a game. Peanut, the new Jungler, is not a resource heavy player. This is probably the main reason why Gen G decided to move on from Clid. So Chovy can continue to yoink as many camps as he wants. Doran is also reuniting with Chovy on Gen G. Despite being on a trash KT Rolester team, Doran constantly put up great stats. He is another amazing addition to Gen G. Finally, the Bot Lane is just frankly better than last year. Lehends is one of the best Supports in the World. No disrespect to Life, but Lehends is going to enable Ruler so much more.
Gen G has very little if any room for doubt. Every player here is elite or designed to play with each other. Gen G is the clear favorite to win the LCK, at least as of the offseason. They are definitely however the #1 spot on our LCK Power Rankings.
For more coverage of the LCS and League of Legends offseason, stay tuned to The Game Haus’ League of Legends section.