There’s always a bit of excitement whenever a new champion comes out in League of Legends (LoL). Sometimes, the devs come up with the craziest skill combinations, and other times, they give them some good lore.
But which of them actually fared well and won in 2022?
Five champions were released this year, and we’re ranking them based on lore, playability, balance, and success on the Summoner’s Rift in both solo queue and professional matches.
Here are our picks for the best champions released this year:
Nilah was meant to carry joy around her, but many things about her remained to be discovered. She reminds us of Disney’s Princess Jasmine, and while there were short stories about her, her lore still seems a bit disjointed from Runeterra.
In-game, she’s consistently in the top 10 ADCs according to op.gg (currently at number 1), but this popularity hasn’t translated to the esports scene, where she’s only been picked 20 times across major regions with a dismal 35% win rate.
Perhaps with the season 2023 changes, we might see more of her in competitive play, especially since she’s been on top of the ADC tier list since the Preseason changes.
LoL developer Riot Games has been big on diversity this year, with K’sante being a good example of their efforts towards that end this year. He is a champion inspired by the culture of South Africa, and we loved how that was infused into K’sante’s lore while also mixing quite seamlessly with the overall LoL universe in Runeterra.
K'sante is also a pretty unique champion because of his weapon, the Ntofo, two blunt weapons that transform into sharp ones, on top of being the first tank released in 2022. But his kit was a mash-up of existing champions, many even naming him "Tank Yasuo."
So far, he sits in a good spot at op.gg, but since he was released when Worlds 2022 was ongoing, we don’t have much info yet on how he’s going to perform in the esports scene. We look forward to seeing how K'sante performs in competitive play next year.
Zeri’s had a roller coaster ride throughout her debut year on LoL. While she was popular throughout Spring and part of Summer across regions, she was generally either problematic or simply useless.
She had one of the lowest debuting win rates at 33% in the first week. But after people understood her kit, the Spark of Zaun was consistently on the nerf list for well over half the year.
Across all regions, she was a recurring favourite among AD carry picks in LoL Esports before all the nerfs because of how her kit is generally overpowered. However, she just wasn’t part of the Worlds 2022 meta, so nobody locked her in.
Riot’s devs will need to find that sweet spot where she has the opportunity to shine on the Summoner’s Rift without overpowering everyone else so that she’s enjoyable to play.
On the other hand, it’s really cool that there was some diversity in the LoL roster. Zeri was Filipino-inspired, and her voice actress, Vanille Velasquez, is also Filipino.
Not much has been fleshed out from her story except for her community-driven passion for fighting for those in need, but we feel like there’s something lacking. For now, she feels like a clumsy, hyperactive, goodie-two-shoes that we still have yet to make space for.
We’re gonna be listing villains high on this list, but that doesn’t have anything to do with preference — sinister characters like Bel'Veth just have so much personality and individuality. Her lore is not just dark, but it’s so evil that the thought of what the Void Empress wants for all of Runeterra can make you shudder.
However, people hoped there would be a cross-game event about the Void but were disappointed when nothing else was revealed after her video.
There’s a lot more to explore about The Void and Bel’Veth’s lore, so Riot may be setting something up in the future instead.
In-game, Bel’veth was too powerful at first — to the point where she’s been auto-banned by players from ranked in her first two months. She was just too fast, and if you allow her to get ahead in the early game, there’s no way that your team would win.
After a few adjustments from the devs and after players have figured out how to counter the Void Empress, her popularity declined through the rest of the year. At Worlds 2022, she was present in 11 games, with a sad 16.7% win rate.
1. Renata Glasc
Topping our list is none other than Renata Glasc. Before she was released, there was a lot of hype around Renata Glasc. The newest support from Zaun even had a separate website for her “perfume company”.
What made her stand out from other female support champions was that she broke away from the usual “support” trope of young, cute or dainty mage girls. Instead, we get a cackling middle-aged villain, who was a strong, smart, and independent girlboss.
She’s also full of personality. Memorable lines like “Alright, let’s go and make my accountant cry” were relatable, with many reminded of bad bosses at work. “This is why all my products are five stars,” feels like Renata was part of the 21st century, where product and service reviews are available everywhere.
There’s also huge potential for her lore in the future, and we’re hoping Riot builds on this at some point, where Renata’s products can force most people to work for her, no matter which side they are on.
Her signature moves, Bailout and Hostile Takeover, initially felt a bit too much. However, after a few tweaks from the devs, both were perfect in executing flanks or turning around team fights without denying the enemy team a chance for a comeback. As a result, her win rate stayed between 50-53% throughout the year, according to op.gg.
In the Esports scene, she seems to be a favourite among supports in regions like the League of Legends European Championship (LEC) and the League of Legends Korea Championship (LCK). At Worlds 2022, she was the second most-picked Support champion with a 61.9% win rate according to Leaguepedia.
Notably, she was a much-contested pick during the Worlds 2022 finals, with two-time World Champion Cho "BeryL" Geon-hee playing two games on Renata and T1 Support Ryu "Keria" Min-seok playing one game on Renata at the Grand Final. If she remains balanced in 2023, we will likely see more of her both in our solo queue games and in esports.
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.