Five players to watch in LoL Worlds 2022 Play-Ins

Not sure which players to keep an eye on in the Play-In stage of the 2022 League of Legends World Championship? Here’s our handy guide to the tournament’s most exciting talents as the event kicks off in Mexico City on September 29. 

We get it. There are a LOT of regions in competitive League of Legends. 

Keeping up with multiple leagues, across multiple time zones, in multiple languages, is an insurmountable task. But the World Championship is one of the two times a year when every region comes together, and suddenly it pays to have that little bit of extra knowledge about some of League’s less well-known competitors. 

Article continues after ad

The Play-In stage of the World Championship is chock-full of exciting talent that often goes underappreciated. Here’s our guide about the players you should be watching out for heading into the Worlds 2022 Play-Ins. 

Đinh ‘Taki’ Anh Tài, support for Saigon Buffalo

Saigon Buffalo support TakiColin Young-Wolff/Riot Games
Taki’s a two-time Dexerto player to watch at international events this year.

Taki is one of those wonderful supports who have decided that the best way to play this role is to become a secondary jungler. He has achieved a state of quantum superposition where he is somehow able to appear at every single point on the map simultaneously when his team need him most. 

He was one of our players to watch for MSI 2022, and he’s getting a second mention for Worlds. He’s played a jaw-dropping 20 champions throughout the course of the Summer split, favoring Tahm Kench, Renata Glasc, and Nautilus. He has actually shown pretty low priority on the enchanter picks that have dominated the major regions — putting in only one game each on Yuumi, Karma, and Nami. 

Article continues after ad

He and Shogun were one of the most exciting bot lanes at MSI 2022, and they’ll look to repeat that performance here in the Play-Ins. The combination of Taki and mid laner Bùi ‘Froggy’ Văn Minh Hải has the potential to cause some real cross-map disturbances for Saigon Buffalo’s opponents. 

And regardless of how well SGB perform, you can be assured that their gameplay will be a joy to watch. And that is largely Taki’s doing. 

Thiago ‘Tinowns’ Sartori, mid laner for LOUD

LOUD mid laner TinownsCBLoL Official
Don’t let his youthful appearance fool you — Tinowns has been a mainstay of the CBLoL for years, but this will only be his third appearance on the international stage.

This isn’t Tinowns’ first rodeo. He’s been competing professionally since 2013, but he’s only been to two international events in that time — Worlds 2014 and MSI 2021. 

Article continues after ad

In that MSI 2021 run, he was part of a paiN Gaming roster that was a single baron steal away from beating MAD Lions and qualifying for the group stage. And now he’s back on the international stage with a different roster and the same score to settle — but he’ll need to qualify from the play-ins if he wants to exact revenge on MAD Lions.

The two teams were drafted into different Play-In groups, with LOUD getting arguably the better deal. They won’t have to play into representatives from either the LCK or the LPL — their only major region competition will be Evil Geniuses and Fnatic. And while neither of those teams are opponents to turn your nose up at, they’re not exactly a DRX or a Royal Never Give Up.

Article continues after ad

Tinowns has, only slightly unfairly, been labeled as a KDA player throughout his time as a mid laner due to his excellent stats but low overall damage, according to the CBLoL’s english casting team. But he’s been turning that narrative on its head this year. 

He had the highest share of his team’s damage throughout the Split 2 playoffs at 27.2%, and the fourth-highest damage per minute (DPM) of any player in the playoffs at 632, all while maintaining the second-best KDA of the tournament. 

Yuta ‘Yutapon’ Sugiura, bot laner for Detonation FocusMe

Detonation FocusMe bot laner YutaponColin Young-Wolff/Riot Games
Yutapon is a bastion of Japanese League of Legends, and one of the most experienced veterans at Worlds this year by a long shot.

Now if we’re talking veteran pedigree, you’d be hard-pressed to find a player more veteran than Yutapon. When DFM make their Worlds 2022 debut, he will have played for the organization for 3456 days. 

Article continues after ad

The youngest player at Worlds this year is Evil Geniuses’ Joseph ‘Jojopyun’ Joon Pyun — Yutapon has been playing for Detonation FocusMe for almost half the time that Jojopyun has been alive. 

According to LJL English caster Alex ‘Nymaera’ Hapgood, Yutapon’s a player who’s often gone underappreciated because of how much DFM’s stats skew towards the top side. But Nymaera explained that Yutapon is a “great primary carry”, even though top laner Shunsuke ‘Evi’ Murase tends to steal the show. 

Worlds 2022 will mark his seventh international appearance, which makes him one of the most internationally experienced minor region players at the tournament this year. And the importance of that experience cannot be overstated. 

Quin ‘Raes’ Korebrits, bot laner for Chiefs Esports Club

Raes lifting LCO 2022 Split 2 trophy for ChiefsJordan Robbins for The Chiefs
After a brief hop over to North America, Raes is ready to bring the heat for the LCO’s Chiefs Esports Club in the play-in stage this year.

Apologies for having two AD Carries on this list — but if there were any player that deserved the accolade of player to watch, it would be Raes

He had the highest average kills per game of any player in LCO across split 2, averaging 6.4 kills per game. and the second-highest average DPM across split 2 at 683. He played ten different champions across the course of the split, and OCE caster Zack ‘Rusty’ Pye described him as “the heart of the team post 20 minutes”. 

Raes is absolutely the player you want in your corner in a team fight. He’s one of the best team fighting AD Carries in the OCE region, back from North America after a year-long stint with Immortals. And although back-to-back seventh-place finishes in the LCS didn’t exactly leave the most glowing impression of Raes’s abilities, he’s exactly the kind of ADC who could really show up in the Play-Ins if given the space to work his magic. 

Oh, and he had a KDA of 31.5 on Kai’Sa in the Summer. 

Lia ‘Likai’ Li-Kai, top laner for Beyond Gaming

Beyond Gaming top laner LikaiPCS Official broadcast
Likai was unleashed in the PCS playoffs, and he’s ready to bring that aggression to Worlds.

It’s a travesty that Beyond Gaming seem to be known to the international scene as ‘the team that Chiu ‘Doggo’ Tzu-Chuan used to play for’. Doggo was a diamond in the rough for the PCS, but it’s a region that has a wealth of players who deserve appreciation in their own right. 

And Likai is one of them. The top laner for Beyond Gaming, he had the second-most solo kills of the PCS playoffs at 6. He has one direction, and that direction is forward – he will go in, he will solo kill his lane opponent, and if he has to die? So be it. 

He was voted the most improved player of the PCS Summer split, and when his team plays towards the top side he’s capable of some really impressive stuff. With the tendency for teams to play through the bottom lane in the current meta, he’ll be a real player to watch to see if he can disturb the peace in the Play-Ins stage and hit opponents where they’re least expecting it. 

Team fighting isn’t really his style, and he had a low overall kill participation of 59.8% throughout the PCS playoffs – the lowest of any player on his team. But he’ll be one to watch simply because of how exciting he can be, especially in a lane that’s been relegated to safe champs for a large part of the Summer split. 

His most-played champion in the playoffs was Fiora, followed by Aatrox and Camille, after having been relegated to Gnar/Gragas duty in the regular season. We’ve not seen many teams commit to a 1-3-1 or 1-4 split push style of play, but it will be fascinating to see how Beyond Gaming and Likai’s style interacts with the global meta.