The 2022 LCS Lock In was only a few weeks long, but with the Spring Split kicking off on Saturday, February 5, some players have already changed the public perception of their ability — but not for the better in every case. Let's take a look at which players' competitive stocks rose and which fell following the conclusion of the 2022 LCS Lock In.
UP: Gabriël "Bwipo" Rau — Team Liquid
There was skepticism surrounding Bwipo's return to top lane, and for good reason. Since June 2021, Bwipo had become a jungler for a revived Fnatic squad, and in the 2021 LEC Spring Split before the roleswap, Bwipo had arguably his worst split as a top laner in his career. When Bwipo joined Team Liquid in a bid to return to top lane, it was not out of the question that he would need some time to re-adjust to his original professional role.
Instead, Bwipo took no time to re-adjust to top lane in the 2022 LCS Lock In, putting together the most dominant top lane performance in the entire tournament despite not even playing every game for TL at the event.
Bwipo is unquestionably fully re-adapted to top lane, which is a feather in TL's cap in a season that has thus far rendered Jo "CoreJJ" Yong-in's status as an import nebulous.
DOWN: Thomas "Jenkins" Tran — Counter Logic Gaming
Jenkins' merciless exploitation at the hands of Cloud9 in the quarterfinals was far from an individual failing on the young top laner's part, but it's undeniable that in the early 2022 season, Jenkins has not looked quite as sharp as the player who made his LCS debut in place of Barney "Alphari" Morris last summer for Team Liquid.
It's entirely possible that the changes to Teleport have forced Jenkins to change his self-proclaimed selfless approach to competitive League of Legends, which enabled him to make plays last summer to get the stars on Team Liquid ahead.
It'd be unfair to call Jenkins' 2022 thus far a sophomore slump, but he has yet to match his peak from 2021.
UP: Kim "River" Dong-woo — Dignitas QNTMPAY
No one would have blamed River for having a poor Lock In. His arrival was delayed until the second week of the tournament due to the ongoing global pandemic, and he only had two days of practice with the Dignitas roster to build synergy through a language barrier. Instead, River spearheaded DIG's upset of 100 Thieves in the quarterfinals and was their best player in their 3-1 loss to Team Liquid in the semifinals.
The 2022 LCS jungle pool was already the most stacked role in North America in terms of talent, but River's unusually quick adjustment to a new team and region, in the middle of the tournament no less, puts another name into contention for the best jungler in the league.
DOWN: Brandon Joel "Josedeodo" Villegas — FlyQuest
In 2021, Josedeodo was unable to match his peak performance on Rainbow7 at Worlds 2020. In his second year on FlyQuest, that has yet to change.
As previously stated, the LCS jungle talent pool is robust, and Josedeodo, more often than not, has not managed to measure up. He was far from the only issue on FlyQuest last year, and in 2022, most of his mistakes have looked like a result of being on a different page than his teammates, which is not necessarily a solo failing on his part. Whatever the reason, Josedeodo has yet to match or surpass his career peak since putting on a FlyQuest jersey at the beginning of 2021.
UP: Joseph "jojoypun" Joon Pyun — Evil Geniuses
Despite losing the finals, Evil Geniuses looked like the best team in the 2022 LCS Lock In for the majority of the tournament, and jojopyun living up to the hype in his first LCS matches was a huge part of their success. It has been a long time since a young North American talent was as hyped as jojopyun, but an adjustment period would have been more than acceptable for the 17 year-old mid laner.
Instead, jojoypun hit the ground running and immediately established himself as one of the best mid laners in the LCS. Even in EG's 3-0 loss to TL, jojopyun managed to outlane Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg in all three games.
It was expected that jojopyun would grow into one of the future stars of the LCS, but he's wasted no time in accelerating the pace of bringing that to fruition.
DOWN: Felix "Abbedagge" Braun — 100 Thieves
Abbedagge didn't have the worst tournament last month, but not once in the tournament did he look like the best mid laner in the LCS, something he had accomplished last summer on the way to 100 Thieves' first LCS championship. When you finish a tournament outside the top four, that's going to be a downgrade compared to a 1st place finish.
Abbedagge wasn't the primary factor in 100's loss to DIG, but he was outclassed by Ersin "Blue" Gören and has yet to show his 2021 level of play. There's a good chance that 100 Thieves simply had an off day against DIG, but it'd be a lie to say that Abbedagge's 2022 has started off where his 2021 left off.
UP: Fatih "Luger" Güven — Counter Logic Gaming
Counter Logic Gaming is looking towards the future with a young, relatively undeveloped roster, but in one position, it was proven in the 2022 LCS Lock In that they won't have to wait for excellence. Luger looked LCS ready right out of the gate, and his synergy with support Philippe "Poome" Lavoie-Giguere could form one of the strongest bot lane duos in the LCS. Luger won't singlehandedly carry CLG to a LCS title, but he's a cornerstone of why CLG is once again worth being excited about.
DOWN: Jason "WildTurtle" Tran — Immortals Progressive
It would be completely inaccurate to blame CLG's disastrous 2021 on WildTurtle, but Immortals was the first team to be eliminated from the Lock In at 0-3. No one on Immortals had a good tournament, but WildTurtle played far below his expected level. WildTurtle will understandably need some time to build synergy with a new support player, but with Noh "Arrow" Dong-hyeon waiting in the wings on IMT Academy, Turtle needs to pick up the pace after a rough start to 2022.
UP: Bill "Eyla" Nguyen — Team Liquid
Many players from Academy teams competed in the 2022 LCS Lock In, but no one looked more LCS ready than Eyla. The former OPL MVP slotted in effortlessly for Jo "CoreJJ" Yong-in alongside star AD carry Steven "Hans sama" Liv in the iteration of TL's three lineups that would go on to win them the Lock In.
Don't expect CoreJJ to don a new jersey anytime soon, but if the plan is to have Eyla start until Core gets his green card, TL have a LCS-ready support in Eyla.
DOWN: Mitchell "Destiny" Shaw — Immortals Progressive
It may seem unfair to perceive a lowering in Destiny's stock given the rough start to the season for WildTurtle, but Destiny was far from perfect in IMT's forgettable Lock In, and in context of his career, the isolated games from the Lock In could be cause for greater concern down the line. Destiny was excellent in OPL before joining Origen for the 2020 LEC season, but was a pleasant surprise on Immortals in 2021 after being reunited with former AD carry partner Quin "Raes" Korebrits.
This is to say that while time to develop synergy between Destiny and WildTurtle is understandably needed, Destiny will have to prove that the Lock In was a start on the wrong foot if he wants to avoid being branded as someone who can only play at his best when he is alongside Raes.