Mid lane is one of the most important and versatile roles in League of Legends. The wide variety of viable Champions in the role combined with the amount of influence mid laners have on the game means many of League’s best players flock to this role. And, with how aggressive and early-game focused China tends to be as a region, LPL mid laners have a lot to keep up with. With how diverse mid lane is as a role, the best players are those that have a distinct role on their team and that manage to carry out that role in even the most dire situations.
5: Kim "Gori" Tae-woo — FunPlus Phoenix
There’s an ongoing conversation around whether or not Gori has what it takes to make it as an LPL mid laner in the long-term. With the rest of FPX flying high, Gori has been stuck behind the expectations set by his incredibly strong 2021 performance on Nongshim RedForce back in the LCK. Gori definitely isn’t at the top of his game, but, even during what seems like an adjustment period, Gori has been able to show up when it matters most.
On Game 3 of what was one of the most exciting sets so far, Gori managed to carry a 4v5 teamfight against RNG. With Ping “Xiaolaohu” Xiao-Hu getting picked off in a sidelane before the fight, FPX had no choice but to try and hold their own. Fortunately, Gori created enough space between him and the rest of RNG to poke from afar and find the perfect angle to take advantage of Corki’s ridiculous AoE damage.
Gori’s laning leaves a lot to be desired. He often gets solo-killed early on and takes some unnecessary deaths trying to over-force early rotations. However, his ability to win teamfights and slow games to a halt when at a deficit creates a balanced roster for FPX. With such an aggressive bot lane and a jungler that likes to invade/gank early on, Gori’s slower playstyle allows FPX to be more than just a one-dimensional, all-in team. He has a ways to go before he’s the best mid laner in the LPL, but Gori has a very high ceiling.
4: Kim "Doinb" Tae-sang — LNG Esports
Though FPX hit rock-bottom at Worlds 2021, Doinb has been able to stay relevant and stand out based on his consistently strong individual performance. LNG has given Doinb a new lease on life, one where Doinb can shine despite the current meta not favoring some of his more unorthodox picks.
It’s hard to name a scarier mid/jungle duo than Doinb and Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong. These two are the backbone of LNG, and it’s hard to imagine LNG being a good team without the aggression of these two players. However, Doinb’s aggression and tendency to force fights comes with the downside of him being generally poor at controlling the opposing mid laner.
In a meta filled with control mages and late-game scaling poke Champions, Doinb’s playstyle is actively countered by the best mid picks. He’s good at Viktor and Corki, but those picks don’t enable Doinb’s iconic playstyle. No matter how fed Doinb is on a backline control mage, he won’t be the one starting fights. Doinb’s ranking may change depending on how the meta develops over the course of the year, but there are other mid laners whose playstyle is a better fit for Season 12.
3: Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao — Royal Never Give Up
Xiaohu is well-known as a top laner after his MSI win in 2021, and his unique playstyle made RNG’s topside a dominant force. That said, his unique top lane playstyle came from years of playing mid. His return to the role seems to be a decision that was made in order to replace Yuan “Cryin” Cheng-Wei, RNG’s former mid laner and arguably the 2021 roster’s biggest weak point. Theoretically, moving Xiaohu back to mid lane would alleviate RNG’s main weakness and give them a shot at bringing home a Worlds trophy to go alongside their 2021 MSI win.
In practice, Xiaohu is still an insanely good mid laner. He’s been able to find solo kills in lane, and he’s exceptionally strong when it comes to finding picks and winning small skirmishes. Top or mid, Xiaohu is a player that wins his lane and becomes a sidelane menace. However, Xiaohu’s focus on keeping a single opponent out of the game doesn’t translate well to teamfights.
Xiaohu is at his best when he’s finding small 1v1s and taking players out one at a time. As weird as it sounds considering Xiaohu’s history as a mid laner, he seemed to be a bit stronger in the top lane. He’s certainly still one of the strongest mids in the region, but his tendency to tunnel vision and focus on smaller victories holds him back as a mid laner. Xiaohu wins a lot of battles, but he tends to have a hard time winning the war.
2: Lee "Scout" Ye-chan — EDward Gaming
It’d be impossible to leave the most recent world champ mid laner off this list, and he hasn’t slowed down at all since lifting the trophy. EDG owe much of their success to Scout, and his long history with the org has given him strong synergy with the rest of the team. However, Scout’s playstyle is very different from the other mid laners on this list. Rather than being someone that requires attention from his teammates, Scout is the one giving all the attention to his side lanes.
Scout somehow manages to keep his CS on-par with the opposing laner while simultaneously outrotating them at every turn. Additionally, Scout is an expert at using every tool he has in the perfect way. For instance, the Realm Warp bait that kept Syndra from escaping without putting Scout at risk of getting CC chained and killed immediately.
While he may not be a hard carry like some of the other players on this list, Scout’s strength comes from his ability to do what’s best for his team while keeping the other mid laner from finding a lead. In a region all about aggression, Scout can neutralize even the strongest mid laners and come out with a win for his team.
1: Zhuo "knight" Ding — Top Esports
When it comes to the amount of success and pedigree knight carries despite almost entirely lacking international success, knight might as well be the mid lane Uzi. Win or lose, knight is always performing well. He has a wide Champion pool with a diverse set of playstyles, along with the ability to function well with or without his jungler putting resources into his lane.
While Tryndamere isn’t the most mechanically intensive Champion in League, knight manages to stand above every other mid laner due to just how intelligently he plays teamfights. Rather than trying to focus down the Lee Sin his team could handle, knight immediately focuses on Jayce and Corki in order to shut down Rare Atom’s ability to do damage from a distance. Not only did knight wreak havoc in the backline, his 2v1 guaranteed that the rest of TES could win the fight despite Wang “Zhuo” Xu-Zhuo’s mistimed engage.
knight is a player with very few weaknesses, and one that has years worth of highlight reels showing just how mechanically strong he is. His individual skill level is far above anyone else in the role, and his versatility allows TES’ drafts to have cohesion no matter where resources are going. TES haven’t had the best split so far, but knight looks as strong as ever.
Carver is an esports journalist and analyst who specializes in Eastern League of Legends.