Every year, the League of Legends competitive scene sees many new faces enter its many leagues in a hopeful attempt to write out the first chapter of their careers as pro players. Many falter on the first try, but some fiery new stars blaze a trail so bright people can’t help but notice them.
In 2021, there were a handful of players who made Summoner’s Rift their own by stunning fans and analysts alike with their flashy play, fearless pace, and overall impact on their team. The bright lights of the big stage only accentuated their poise and strengths as players and should give them the confidence to continue growing into leaders of the next wave of young guns to hit the scene.
Here are the best League of Legends rookies of 2021.
Before 2021 began, Cloud9 made the big decision to replace veteran top laner Licorice with an 18-year-old rookie named Fudge. The young phenom had just torn up the NA Academy scene and was finally taking the next step in his career by debuting with a star-studded cast of Blaber, Perkz, Zven, and Vulcan. But after talking himself up on social media and trash-talking the competition, it was clear he still needed some experience at the LCS level.
It only took him a few weeks to start showing improvement in his mechanical and macro play, until he broke out as a true star at the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational. From taking down Khan in a 1v1 to pulling off incredible plays against Royal Never Give Up, Fudge grew into an explosive force in the span of a season.
He ended up winning the 2021 LCS Most Improved Player award, after becoming the best top laner in the region. Now, he’ll be helping to lead C9’s new-look roster as they prepare for next year without a handful of talented veterans like Vulcan and Perkz.
When Adam joined Fnatic in the middle of the year, many people were skeptical of how well he’d do with this makeshift, Hail Mary roster change. He was not only replacing one of the most tenured players on the team, but he had to adjust to the LEC style of play in the span of a season. It was going to be a tough road for the rookie.
And although it took a bit for him to shift the pace in which he played, the 19-year-old showed he was a sponge, ready to absorb all the information that he could to improve. In his first split in the league, Adam led all LEC top laners in kills and was in the top three for damage in his role, according to Oracle’s Elixir.
He did have the most deaths in his role as well, but that could be explained due to his over-aggression in certain situations, especially with Fnatic leaning towards a fight-first mentality. Even still, his rapid progression during this one season allowed the team to finally exorcise their demons, take down G2 Esports, and make a miraculous run to the 2021 World Championship.
When you’re a rookie joining the most prestigious and accomplished organization in League history, there will probably be a good amount of pressure to succeed. T1 is a team that needs results and isn’t too kind towards mediocrity, which is why Gumayusi’s first year in the LCK was so impressive.
Not only did the team choose him over their veteran AD carry option with Teddy, but they also doubled down on him for the future this offseason. The 19-year-old did share time with his veteran counterpart throughout the year, but the team eventually trusted him with full starter responsibility by the time the regional finals came around.
Through Worlds 2021, Gumayusi was one of the best AD carries. He kept great composure on the big stage, only dying 14 times and holding the fourth-highest KDA in the event, according to Oracle’s Elixir. He is one of the brightest rising stars on a young, growing T1 roster that will be looking to build upon its newly-formed royal family as their perpetual leader Faker aims for even higher peaks in 2022.
Over the past two years, North America has found a few gems in the rough within its own young ranks of AD carries. First, it was Tactical who quickly rose to become one of the better resident players in the league. Now, it has only taken a season for Evil Geniuses’ marksman Danny to be considered one of the best rising prospects in the LCS.
He only has a single season of experience in the league, but the 17-year-old has already proven he is ready and willing to step up in the big moments for his team, especially in the playoffs. Danny had an unforgettable performance against 100 Thieves, where he clutched out a 2v4 situation to not only win the teamfight, but also force a game five for his team.
He led the LCS in kills this past summer, and his teamfighting was some of the best we’ve seen from a rookie in a long time, eventually leading him to win the LCS Rookie of the Year award. With the help of Peter Dun and the rest of EG’s coaching staff, this phenom could blossom into a name this region remembers for a long while.
After dominating the Ultraliga and European Masters, Rogue’s 2020 academy roster went their separate ways and found homes throughout the LEC. However, the organization made sure to keep fiery support Trymbi and round out their main roster for the following year.
Combined with multiple superstars like Hans sama, Inspired, Larssen, and Odoamne, he found the perfect place to improve and learn, while also staying competitive in one of the best regions in the world. He was a great go-button for Rogue throughout the past year. The 21-year-old excelled on engage champions like Nautilus, Rakan, and Leona, which led to securing the second-highest KDA in his role this past season, according to Oracle’s Elixir.
The biggest challenge, however, will come along with the 2022 Spring Split, when he is forced to adapt to a new bottom lane partner. He’ll need to apply all the skills he gained during his time with Hans and help his younger teammate find their way in a reforged LEC.
The 2022 season will begin for all regions this coming January.