The Summer Split for the League of Legends (LoL) esports scene has been quite a ride, with teams across regions adjusting to the meta shift that 12.10’s durability update brought.
While some Spring flavour-of-the-month champions have remained constant, we also saw a couple of benched ones become priority picks.
Which champions were the most popular in the major LoL esports regions? Let’s take a look at their priority picks and if they will remain in the Worlds 2022 meta:
Gwen's popularity in the Summer Split is no surprise.
She is the most-prioritised top laner in China's LoL Pro League (LPL), with 235 games and a 68.5% pick/ban rate. Her popularity holds up in other regions too.
Gwen ranks second in popularity with 160 games and a 74.8% pick/ban rate in the LoL Champions Korea (LCK), she appeared in 26 games with a 65.4% win rate in the LoL Championship Series (LCS), and was in 28 games with a 64.3% win rate in the LoL European Championship (LEC).
Despite several nerfs, the Hallowed Seamstress is tough.
Matt "Phroxzon" Leung-Harrison, Lead Designer: League Balance Team & Preseason, notably called Gwen an "unintuitive champion".
However, since her nerf in 12.15, Gwen's popularity in the playoffs has waned due to lower win rates.
Pro players have since then started picking other top lane champs like Gnar, Azir, Sylas, Aatrox, and Gangplank.
Gnar's popularity rose in the Spring Split, but he became one of the top selections across all positions in both the LPL and the LCK Summer seasons.
In the LCK, LEC, and LCS, Gnar is the preferred choice for the top lane, with a noteworthy 165 games and 50% win rate in the LCK.
His win rates were pretty low in the LCS and LEC (40% and below) but that didn't stop pros from picking him.
In the LPL, this naughty yordle is the third most-selected top laner with a 51.9% win rate. Gnar's ult has a low cooldown, making opponent combinations simple. Once his ult expires, it's a bit easier to counter him.
This slippery monkey god is one of the easiest top-lane champions and has several ways to break out of a clash.
The durability update was also a godsend for Wukong since it gave him more sustain in teamfights. As a result, he's the top banana (heh) among the jungle champions across all major regions.
Wukong's win rate is 59.1% in the LPL and 45.4% in the LCK. In the west, he's seen more success with a 50% win rate in the LEC and a 56.4% win rate in the LCS.
We anticipate Wukong to be less nimble in the jungle with 12.17 nerfs to his attack speed and movement speed.
The Ruined King isn't a solo queue favourite, but he's a common pro jungle pick.
In the LPL he is in 250 games, but with a relatively low 46.6% win rate, while in the LCK, he fares a bit better with 112 games and a 53.9% win rate.
His passive, Sovereign’s Domination, makes all the difference in highly competitive games, especially if the player has really mastered the champion.
Some regions, like the LEC however, have preferred Trundle over Viego, since his win rate is only at 34% while Trundle's was 56.7% in the region.
Although Azir went mostly unnoticed throughout the Spring Split, he has just returned to the pro meta.
He's the LCK's most selected mid lane champion, appearing in 143 games with a 49.4% win rate. His 41% LPL win rate puts him below Taliyah and Sylas.
In the West, the LEC preferred Sylas and Taliyah over Azir, but his win rate is decent at 50%. However, in the LCS, he's the top mid lane pick, despite having a 50% win rate.
Because of how LCK pros play the champion, Azir fared better in South Korea.
Vision, fog of war navigation, and well-coordinated team moves are important for Azir's teammates to succeed, all things that most LCK teams succeeded at.
Lee "Faker" Sang Hyeok of T1 and Jeong "Chovy" Ji-hoon of Gen.G notably played 10 games each on Azir in the Summer Playoffs.
That said, the Emperor of Sands' nerf in 12.17 before Worlds 2022 may give Taliyah, Vex, Sylas, or Zed a chance to shine.
It’s no surprise Ahri’s still on the list, especially since she’s been such an effective champion after her rework.
And with the durability update also favouring the Nine-Tailed Fox, Ahri’s spot in the mid lane meta was cemented throughout the Summer Split.
In the LPL, Ari played in 239 games and won 61.7% of them; in the LCK, she won 48.6% of her games.
However, while she's still excellent, more pros have developed strategies to counter her.
Ahri will also get a nerf in 12.17. Her base HP will go down by 20, and the duration of her E will get shorter.
This implies Worlds may have more mid lane diversity. Maybe Vex, Viktor, or another not-so-odd-anymore Singed mid?
Need we say more?
We assumed Zeri was done in the pro meta after repeated nerfs dropped her to Tier 5.
But after 12.10 and a few hotfixes, Zeri is back and dominating the Summoner's Rift. She's the top pick for pro bot laners across all four major regions.
Zeri appeared in 273 games in the LPL with a 64.8% win rate and in 181 games in the LCK with a 57.4% win rate.
She's also seen a lot of success in the LEC with a 54.5% win rate across 33 games and in the LCS with a 56.7% win rate across 30 games.
Zeri missed just one match in the LPL Summer Playoffs and was a finals priority.
She was also present in every LCK playoff series, with T1 and Gen.G favouring her in the LCK grand finals.
Zeri's kit is just too powerful.
So, we don't believe her stats need to be tweaked, but the mechanics of her kit need reworks instead.
And although we think the bot lane won't be as important at Worlds, we think she'll continue to be picked by the pros there.
If Zeri isn’t picked, expect Sivir to be the next best champion in the bot lane.
Sivir’s rework has made her OP-tier in solo queue, but she’s only second best in the pro meta.
Before her rework, she was simply non-existent, and the likes of Kallista, Aphelios, and Lucian were more popular.
However, the new Sivir is undeniably good, so she quickly became the LPL and LCK’s favourites, especially in the Summer Playoffs.
The support meta seems to have shifted midway through the Summer Split.
In the regular season, the LPL and LCK’s priority picks were Tahm and Kench, Poppy, and Renata Glasc. All three champions benefited from the durability update.
However, as more people discovered how broken the Sad Mummy was after the durability update, LPL and LCK's priority shifted toward him in the playoffs.
Amumu is a flex pick jungle/support pick, but most pros preferred him to be the support.
He has insane crowd control skills and can tank damage to protect his ADC and the team's back line and deal significant damage in return.
Renata Glasc and Tahm Kench still continued to be a top pick in the LEC despite the meta shift, and Amumu wasn't as popular.
Yuumi has been a staple support pick throughout the whole year, and it looks like she hasn’t gotten enough chin scritches from the pros.
Because of the variety of LCK’s support picks, Yuumi only appeared in 34 games in the LCK but had a whopping 67.6% win rate. In the LPL, however, she was played in 44 games but with a lower 45.5% win rate.
In the West, Yuumi definitely remains one of the favourite supports, with a 72.7% win rate in the LEC and a 57.9% win rate in the LCS.
Yuumi perfectly syncs with Zeri, but if the Magical Cat has been banned or picked by the enemy, most pros opt for Lulu or surprise us with something like the signature Singed-support pick for Son "Lehends" Si-woo from Gen.G.
There are still a few more weeks before Worlds 2022 kicks off. With buffs and nerfs from 12.18, the current meta may soon shift again.
Which champions do you think will reign at Worlds?
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.