It’s been a scorching summer for competitive League of Legends fans, with the regular season coming down to the wire for multiple teams and their chances at postseason glory. Only the best will stand at the apex of their respective leagues and the battle will begin soon.
In North America and Europe, for example, things are only starting to heat up with the playoffs swinging into action. From superteams looking to cash in on a trophy to crowd favorites calling on the power of fandom and underdog squads looking to make a name for themselves, there are plenty of storylines to watch out for over the rest of the month.
For the opening edition of our players roundtable, Dot Esports sat down with MAD Lions’ heavy MVP candidate Nisqy, Misfits Gaming’s energetic jungler Zanzarah, Team Liquid’s outspoken top laner Bwipo, and CLG newcomer Dhokla, who all gave their thoughts on a handful of questions about this past regular season and beyond.
Which team surprised you the most this season, in a good or bad sense?
Nisqy: ”The team that surprised me the most is Excel, because they looked so good in the beginning and then they’ve been so bad in the last few weeks. I thought they would be, for sure, the number one team going into playoffs, but they just struggled a lot. I thought their bottom lane was like the best in EU for a while, and I feel like they’ve been struggling as well.”
Zanzarah: ”I thought, after the first week, Excel is gonna be the team who’s gonna fight with G2 for the first spot, but their Korea buff disappeared pretty fast. I mean, Vitality didn’t make it, but [Excel] were really close to not making it, so yeah, it was a surprise for me.”
Bwipo: ”None. Sorry to say, I just—nothing comes to mind. I mean, CLG played decently, but I don’t think they’re as good as the record shows. I think CLG is like Team Liquid Light in the sense of, they play really strong early games, and then they either snowball and win or they lose, and I think that’s kind of us. So, in that sense, it’s hard for me to rate CLG highly, because I think they’re similar to us. That’s not to say that they can’t come back and win, you know, [because] any team can come back and win, but that’s my view of their team. And that’s why I’m not too surprised by any team.”
Dhokla: ”I think, honestly, we kind of surprised ourselves. I mean, I had expectations that we would do well, but not this much success, so I’m pleasantly surprised by that. Another team would be FlyQuest, compared to expectations. I think they’re doing better than people give them credit for. I’m not gonna say EG or 100 Thieves, all those ones that are expected to do well, but I think FlyQuest and [CLG] definitely surprised a lot of people.”
Which player from your own region do you think could be given a Most Improved Player award for 2022?
Nisqy: ”It’s really hard to say actually, because I don’t think there was one player that was shining [this season]. I think it has to be Markoon, I guess. I think even though they’ve been struggling a bit in the last few weeks, I think that guy has been really insane this split, and I think he has improved a lot compared to last split.”
Zanzarah: ”I would give it to my teammate, Irrelevant. We were playing the first weeks of Academy with him, and let’s put it like this: not the best. I didn’t think he was ready for the LEC, but I think he proved a lot, especially when I came. He told me what he’s struggling with and I was able to cover him with teamplay, so he started shining much more. He kinda had less responsibility, so he could just focus on himself, getting leads. The tiebreaker game was not the best, but I’m proud because usually rookies, if they have a rough start, they just completely FF. But he was really good in-game, he was communicating, and I think he was the guy who improved at an insane level.”
Bwipo: ”Probably Contractz. I think he deserves it. I mean, his Spring Split was atrocious, so the fact that he played anywhere half decent in summer is already a lot. He actually played pretty well in some games—not to say that he didn’t have his moments where it went wrong. But I think that, over the average, he had a much better split.”
Dhokla: ”I would say myself, relative to how I started this year, or actually how I was relative to my last game in Academy. So, I mean, maybe it’s a bit biased, but I felt like I’ve improved a lot over the course of this year. No bias, but I think it’s gonna be me. I’m gonna have to give it to myself.”
Besides your own team, which other teams do you think would be the best representatives for your region at Worlds 2022?
Nisqy: ”I think G2, for sure. Then after G2, it’s probably between Rogue, Vitality, or Fnatic, depending if Fnatic makes it, but I’d say probably Rogue. Then after Rogue, it’s Vitality or Fnatic. I would say Excel a while ago, but I think they’ve been struggling a lot, and I don’t think Misfits is making it either. So I’d say Rogue, G2, and let’s just say Vitality.”
(Note: This interview took place before the final week of the 2022 LEC Summer Split.)
Zanzarah: ”G2, for sure, then MAD Lions, 100 percent. And then there is a big question [with] who’s gonna be third because there is Rogue and there is Fnatic. I think both teams are really good in terms of how they can play. They can be a top team, but right now, I feel like sometimes they’re lucky and they win the game, and sometimes they are really unlucky and they lose the game. I feel like they don’t even know what is happening.
Basically, I feel like they just don’t have a style. They just learn to play everything, and because of that, they don’t play anything good. One of these teams who can properly do research and properly look into other opponents—especially into their playstyle—will probably go, but it’s hard to say Rogue or Fnatic.”
Bwipo: “EG and 100 Thieves. It’s hard to say anything else. I don’t think CLG will have the juice necessary in order to rise above the challenges that Worlds presents, and that’s it. Even if I say so myself, it’s a bit depressing because it’s hard to put high expectations for NA at Worlds this year I think. But, you gotta send three teams either way, right?”
Dhokla: “I think it’s gonna be EG, and probably 100 Thieves. It really depends. I think EG is almost cemented into going to Worlds. I think they’re just the clear favorite. After that, I think it could really just be C9, TL, or 100 Thieves, but that’s just what playoffs are for, to figure out which one’s the best. Between them and ourselves, I think it could be anyone, depending on the day. Obviously, the perspective is that 100 Thieves and Team Liquid have bigger names, but I like being the underdog ‘cause it’s less pressure on yourself and it feels even better when you perform and prove people wrong.”
Fans can catch Bwipo and Dhokla in action when the 2022 LCS Championship kicks off on Saturday, Aug. 20, while Nisqy and Zanzarah will be taking the stage when the 2022 LEC Summer Split playoffs begin on Friday, Aug. 26.