After an incredibly successful maiden voyage in 2021, Riot decided to reinstate the pre-season Lock-In tournament for the 2022 LCS (League of Legends Championship Series) season. Like last year, the previous season’s summer split winner and runner-up would draft two opposing groups to compete in a round-robin style tournament.
100 Thieves (100T), the winner of the 2021 Summer Split, was chosen to draft Group A, and Team Liquid (TL), the 2021 Summer Split runner-up, was chosen to draft Group B. The selected drafts were as follows:
- 100 Thieves
- Cloud9 (C9)
- Golden Guardians (GG)
- Team Liquid
- Evil Geniuses (EG)
- Counter Logic Gaming (CLG)
Due to COVID-19 and imported players traveling from overseas, VISA issues prevented some teams from playing their complete rosters. TSM, for example, opted to play their Academy team for the Lock-In due to their inability to play their complete roster.
Group Stage Outcomes
After a crazy offseason ripe with major roster changes, two NA “superteams” have emerged: Team Liquid and Evil Geniuses.
Team Liquid released Jensen, Alphari, and Tactical (Mid, Top, and ADC), opting instead to sign on LEC-native and former Fnatic top laner Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau, TSM veteran and mid laner Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg, and LEC-native and former Rogue ADC Steven “Hans sama” Liv.
Evil Geniuses released Contractz and Jiizuke (Jungle and Mid), opting instead to sign LEC-native and former Rogue jungler Kacper “Inspired” Słoma and Cloud9 veteran support Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme. EG has promoted Joseph “Jojopyun” Pyun from their Academy roster to their main roster to fill the empty mid-lane role.
With these two superteams in play, the top spot currently held by 100 Thieves is under serious contention. So it will come as no surprise to reveal just the Group Stage standings for this year’s tournament. After playing every other team once, 100 Thieves (3-1), Cloud9 (3-1), FlyQuest (2-2), and Golden Guardians (2-2) all moved on to the knockout stage from Group A.
On the other hand, Group B hosted the only undefeated team in EG (4-0). EG, TL (3-1), CLG (2-2), and Dignitas (1-3) all moved on to the knockout stage from Group B.
TSM (1-3) was eliminated from Group A, and Immortals (0-4) was eliminated from Group B.
Because the tournament is still underway, only the Quarterfinals of the knockout stage have been played. The semifinals are set to take place on January 28th and 29th. The finals are slotted for January 30th.
The Quarterfinals were organized as follows:
- 100 Thieves (1A) vs. Dignitas (4B)
- Team Liquid (2B) vs. FlyQuest (3A)
- Evil Geniuses (1A) vs. Golden Guardians (4A)
- Cloud9 (2A) vs. Counter Logic Gaming (3B)
Higher seeded teams were slated to play the lower-seeded teams of the opposing group. The first matchup pinned defending 2021 Summer Split Champions against 1-3 Group B 4th seed Dignitas.
In perhaps the most dramatic tournament upset, 100 Thieves went down spectacularly to Dignitas 2-0, taking the Thieves out of contention for the $150,000 cash prize.
As anticipated, NA superteam Team Liquid tore FlyQuest apart, winning the matchup 2-0. NA superteam EG also destroyed their opponent, GG, 2-0. Lastly, Cloud9 and CLG battled it out in a 2-1 series for the final semifinals slot. After a back-to-back series, Cloud9 edged out a narrow victory over CLG to provide Group A representation in the semifinals.
TL will face off against Dignitas on January 28th. In their last matchup, TL handily dismantled Dignitas with a scoreline of 11-4 in the best-of-one Group Stage. EG is set to face off against Cloud9.
Coming from opposite groups, C9 and EG are yet to play with their offseason roster changes. The most likely outcome is a TL vs. EG rematch, one of the Group Stage’s closest matches.
Regardless, only one team can win the $150,000 cash prize, and after Dignitas upset over 100 Thieves, it’s anyone’s game. Outcome aside, the 2022 LCS season is sure to be the most intense year yet, with many teams in contention for the No. 1 spot.