Support is, and always will be, an overlooked role. Making your mark on the map with less gold and damage than everyone else in the game isn’t easy, but some support players are truly special. Whether it’s leading the charge with a five-man Leona ult, single-handedly winning lane early with Karma, or keeping the enemy ADC glued to the same spot for eternity with Nautilus, supports often play a major role in creating a path to victory.
This year’s collection of supports at MSI is all about starting fights. While some of them can play Karma or Yuumi if need be, we’re likely to see some aggressive early game champs and big playmaking from all these support players.
5. Kaiwing — PSG Talon
Ling “Kaiwing” Kai Wing made a splash last year at both MSI and Worlds with his dynamic play and unpredictable rotations. If there’s a fight to be had, he’ll be there. Sometimes PSG will pick a fight over early drakes, and sometimes they’ll pick a fight purely to contest a scuttle crab. His overall playstyle is vaguely reminiscent of the kind of aggression we see in the LPL.
Additionally, Kaiwing has adopted Tahm Kench as one of his go-to support champs, alongside Braum. Kaiwing is much better at playing backline than he was last year, and we won’t just see him lock Leona every game. Kaiwing’s more diverse Champ pool this year is reflective of PSG’s growth as a team, and he’ll be a key part of PSG’s attempt to follow up their breakout performance at MSI 2021.
4. Vulcan — Evil Geniuses
Hot off of their back-to-back 3-0 victories against both Team Liquid and 100 Thieves, Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme has rightfully claimed his title as the King of Spring along with a fresh 2022 domestic title. Being on the LCS Playoff winning team in Spring 2020, 2021, and 2022 puts him near the top of NA for three years in a row. Consistently strong play like this makes it hard to deny Vulcan has been at the top of his game for years now.
With Kyle "Danny" Sakamaki being such a young player, Vulcan’s confidence and experience internationally will be a key part of keeping EG together through their first MSI appearance. Playing around Danny’s ability to carry games seems to be EG’s default playstyle. Considering that Vulcan’s main job is getting Danny out of the early game, consistent play from Vulcan will be an essential part of EG breaking the NA (Near Airport) trend of poor international showings.
3. Targamas — G2 Esports
Raphaël “Targamas” Crabbé is the wildcard on this list; you never know what he might pull out. Targamas managed to play 15 unique Champions over the course of the LEC 2022 Spring Split. It felt like more of a flex from Targamas than anything else, and that he was having fun playing on G2 rather than focusing on how to win. But, come playoffs, Targamas got serious.
He focused mainly on playing Renata, Rakan, and Nautilus through Playoffs. Targamas is fully capable of starting fights, sure, but he’s much better on support champions with a more versatile skillset. Champs like Rakan and Renata allow him to play well for counter engage, and his choice of support champs complements G2’s strong late game well. Jankos can handle early game rotations and fights; Targamas is here to command teamfights late game.
2. Ming — Royal NeverGiveUp
Shi “Ming” Chen Ming is a support that rarely misses when it comes to decision-making, drafting, and overall game knowledge. It can be difficult to keep up with a player like Chen "GALA" Wei, who moves a mile a minute when it comes to taking fights in the early game and capitalizing on any opportunity he can find. If anything, Ming is the one reigning GALA in and keeping him from running it down.
Ming plays mostly engage champions, but he has strong Lulu and Thresh if he needs to play something a little more backline-oriented. Regardless of pick, Ming makes sure to rotate religiously, pressuring mid and top lane if need be. He’s everywhere and plays well around jungler Yan “Wei” Yang-Wei to force fights and swing things in RNG’s favor, even in the opening minutes of the game.
1. Keria — T1
Yup. It’s Ryu “Keria” Min-seok. Hard to be surprised by Keria being the best support player in the world considering just how meteoric his performance in this role has been during his time on T1. On a team filled with the absolute best players in the world, Keria still manages to stand out from the rest as a serious MVP contender.
Not only is Keria the best support in the world, but he also looks better mechanically while playing off-role than most pro players that main their roles. And, even in support, Keria picked 16 unique champs this Spring, putting him ahead of even Targamas. Keria isn’t afraid to think outside the box, and his strong mechanics compliment his innovative mindset in the role.
Keria has been biased toward engage champions like most other support players as of late, but the majority of his games early in the Spring Split were on Karma, Lulu, and Thresh, as well as Lux when Lee "Gumayusi" Min-hyeong could get his hands on Caitlyn. Hell, he even ran Zac support this year. Who knows what cursed support tech Keria has brewing behind the scenes?
T1 have a good chance of taking the MSI title this year. They’re heavily favored for a reason, but their victory is anything but assured. However, it’s hard to think of any support that’ll have a better individual performance than Keria. He’s just that good.
The best players at MSI 2022
Carver is an esports journalist and analyst who specializes in Eastern League of Legends.