The League of Legends (LoL) esports Season 2022 kicked off with the beginning of China’s League of Legends Pro League (LPL) Spring Split on Monday (10 January).
The LPL had an up-and-down season last year, with FunPlus Phoenix (FPX) disappointing fans as the former champions left the LoL World Championship early in the Group stage alongside LNG Esports.
However, Royal Never Give Up (RNG) and EDward Gaming (EDG) made it to the quarterfinals, where EDG outlasted RNG 3-2. EDG then defeated Gen.G 3-2 in the semifinals before upsetting tournament favourites DAMWON Gaming KIA 3-2 to become the 2021 LoL World Champions.
Following this victory, EDG announced that they were keeping all players on their roster for Season 2022. But while the champions remain unchanged, the rest of the LPL has seen a major upheaval in a bid to bounce back in the new season.
Read on for the biggest roster changes in the LPL:
After a disappointing showing at Worlds 2021, the 2019 world champions decided to completely overhaul their roster.
In November 2021, FPX parted ways with jungler Gao “Tian” Tian-Liang, top laner Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon, and mid laner Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang.
The next month, Doinb signed with LNG esports while Liu “Crisp” Qing-Song left for Bilibili Gaming.
It was expected that Tian would take a break from the 2022 season due to health concerns but the team’s former jungler signed with Top Esports in December instead. Nuguri, on the other hand, announced that he would take a break in Season 2022.
As a result, only Lin “Lwx” Wei-Xiang remained in FPX, moving as the team’s AD carry in the bot lane. The team filled in its vacant roster spots with players from its Academy team, with Luo “jiang” Bai-Jiang being readied as another AD carry in the bot lane.
In addition, Ping “xiaolaohu” Xiao-hu, who moved from the FPX Academy roster in July last year, will now be the team’s starting top laner. The team also tapped Yang “Beichuan” Ling as one of its main junglers and Fu “Hang” Ming-Hang” as the starting support.
FPX also made sure to sign new talent from other teams. In December, Kim “Gori” Tae-woo from Korean team Nongshim Red Force signed as the new mid laner along with Fu “Hang” Ming-Hang from Chinese team Rare Atom as the new FPX support. Finally, Kim “Clid” Tae-min from Gen.G joined FPX in January as its new star jungler.
As there are multiple players for FPX’s jungle and bot lane roles, the team have yet to announce their complete starting roster.
FPX 2022 Roster:
Ping “xialaohu” Xiao-hu (top lane)
Kim “Clid” Tae-min (Jungler)
Yang “Beichuan” Ling (Jungler)
Kim “Gori” Tae-woo (Mid Lane)
Lin “Lwx” Wei-Xiang (Bot Lane)
Luo “jiang” Bai-Jiang (Bot Lane)
Fu “Hang” Ming-Hang” (Support)
Royal Never Give Up
While FPX switched up most of their team roster, RNG decided to make only a few changes and additions. As a result, Yan “Wei” Yang-Wei, Chen “GALA” Wei, and Shi “Ming” Sen-Ming retain their roles as jungler, bot laner, and support, respectively.
In December, Yuan “Cryin” Cheng-Wei, the former mid laner, left to sign with Ultra Prime. He was then replaced by Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao, who moved to the new role after formerly being the team's top laner.
Chen “Bin” Ze-Bin from Weibo Gaming then signed with RNG to replace Xiaohu in the top lane, and Liu “Bunny” Wen-Kang moved from Royal Club, RNG’s Academy team, to be the team’s substitute support.
RNG 2022 Roster
Chen “Bin” Ze-Bin (Top Lane)
Yan “Wei” Yang-Wei (Jungler)
Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao (Mid Lane)
Chen “GALA” Wei (Bot Lane)
Shi “Ming” Sen-Ming (Support)
Liu “Bunny” Wen-Kang (Substitute Support)
LNG Esports (LNG)
LNG also made very few changes in their roster for 2022. While the team were eliminated in the Group Stage of Worlds 2021, they exceeded expectations by making it through the Play-ins as the top seed with a 4-0 standing.
They then fought tooth and nail for their place in Group D, which ended in a historic four-way tie with Gen.G Esports, MAD Lions, and Team Liquid. However, LNG Esports faced heartbreak in a tiebreaker against MAD Lions, with the Chinese team taking third place in Group D.
After extending the contract of the team’s star top laner, Hu “Ale” Jia-Le, in November, they signed Doinb from FPX to become the team’s new mid laner to replace Xie “icon” Tian-Yu.
The team also decided to sign Zuo “LvMao” Ming-Hao from Chinese team JD Gaming to be another Support player. Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong, Wang “Light” Guang-Yu, and Liao “Iwandy” Ding-Yang all maintain their spots as the team’s starting jungler, bot laner, and support, respectively.
LNG Esports 2022 Roster:
Hu “Ale” Jia-Le (top lane)
Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong (Jungler)
Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang (mid lane)
Wang “Light” Guang-Yu (bot lane)
Liao “Iwandy” Ding-Yang (Support)
Zuo “LvMao” Ming-Hao (Support)
Uzi returns to LPL pro play, signing with Bilibili Gaming alongside former PCS player Doggo
China’s golden boy, Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao, made his grand return to pro play in Season 2022 after over a year away from the competitive scene.
Uzi, one of the most recognizable and well-loved bot laners in the world, has not had the best injury luck among LoL pro players. Over the course of his career, he has accumulated injuries to his arm, shoulders, and legs while also getting diagnosed with Type II Diabetes in 2019.
Being forced to take regular breaks from the game, the GOAT bot laner retired from pro play in June 2020 following advice from medical professionals.
Before his break, Uzi had a successful eight-year career, winning three splits, one Mid-Season Invitational, and a gold medal at the Asian Games.
Uzi, however, continued to play LoL as a streamer over the past year and even launched a LoL: Wild Rift Esports team named Ultra Fantastic Gaming (UFG).
But Uzi couldn't be kept away from the highest level of competition for too long, as he signed with Bilibili Gaming for the 2022 season. Uzi's new team notably finished 7th in the LPL last year and decided to overhaul their roster for 2022, only keeping Wei “Weiwei” Bo-Han as the team’s jungler.
Chiu “Doggo” Tzu-Chuan, the former star bot laner of Beyond Gaming, also joined Bilibili Gaming alongside former FPX support Crisp. The team also added Chen “Breathe” Chen from Team WE as its new top laner and Chu “FoFo” Chun-Lan from Rare Atom Gaming as the mid laner.
With a star-studded roster led by Uzi, many expect Bilibili Gaming to rise through the ranks in Season 2022.
Here's the schedule for the LPL Spring Split:
The Schedule of 2022 #LPL Spring Split is officially out!
Week 1 kicks off with OMG vs TT and capping off the day with a real bang is @FPX_Esports taking on @RNG!
Catch all the action at 10:00 am CET // 1:00 am PST on:
📺: https://t.co/GMiB7vrhh7 pic.twitter.com/Gmn6HwuHTA
— LPL (@lplenglish) December 31, 2021
You can catch all the action at the 2022 LPL Spring Split here.
Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.