The 2020 season of League of Legends has been one of the most competitive in years, with several players fighting their way up through the ranks and improving immensely.
Despite playing in an online format for most of the year, 2020 has been great for competitive League of Legends. A lot of new players have proved themselves on the biggest stage, with everything culminating at the 2020 World Championship in October. While many veterans have retired during the recent offseason, several players and new storylines are ready to take over in 2021.
Here are some of the most improved players throughout the year, who have all gone through big growth in the 2020 season.
After joining Fnatic for the 2020 season, jungler Oskar “Selfmade” Boderek has gone through impressive improvements under one of the biggest organizations in esports. The biggest worry from fans was if Selfmade could fill the shoes of former jungler Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen, but the Polish jungler has proved all critics wrong.
Everyone knew that Selfmade was a talented individual after his performances on SK Gaming in 2019. The big worry was if the step from SK Gaming to Fnatic would be too big, but Selfmade quickly got used to being in the spotlight on one of the best teams in the LEC. Even though Selfmade and Fnatic didn’t manage to win a LEC trophy in 2020, they qualified for the 2020 World Championship and did very well.
At Worlds, Selfmade was the shining light of Fnatic and one of the big reasons why Fnatic made it to the quarterfinals and almost beat Top Esports. Even at his first international event, Selfmade played with confidence and excelled in the carry jungle meta. His performance at Worlds was clear proof of how much Selfmade has improved throughout the season, while still having plenty of room to grow. The 21-year-old jungler still has a lot of potential to develop further as a player and Fnatic seems like the perfect place for that.
In 2021, Selfmade will have even more responsibility on his shoulders after veteran bot laner Martin “Rekkles” Larsson left the team to play for G2 Esports. Selfmade will now look to be the primary carry of the team and will continue to look for his first domestic trophy.
Even though DAMWON bot laner Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun is now a world champion, he is still an underrated player who stands in the shadow of his star-player teammates. Ghost joined DAMWON at the start of 2020 to replace Shin “Nuclear” Jeong-hyeon and since then the team has skyrocketed in performance.
Ghost and the rest of DAMWON had a solid showing in the 2020 LCK Spring Split, but it wasn’t before summer that the team popped off. After winning the LCK title without much trouble, DAMWON went to Worlds where they secured the Summoner’s Cup as the first Korean team since 2017.
Even though players like mid laner Heo “ShowMaker” Su and jungler Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu are often talked about, Ghost was a big part of DAMWON’s rise in 2020 together with his support partner Cho “BeryL” Geon-hee. After Ghost joined, DAMWON went from a LCK dark horse to the absolute best team in the world. He has provided the team with consistency in the bot lane, which has been needed with talented and aggressive individuals in the solo lanes.
Ghost isn’t the most flashy player on Summoner’s Rift, which is why he often falls under the radar. Instead, he is consistently reliable and his stats also show that. At Worlds, Ghost delivered the highest KDA among bot laners at 7.6. This performance is seemingly continuing, as Ghost is currently performing well in the ongoing KeSPA Cup 2020.
2021 could potentially be the year where Ghost finally gets the recognition he has been working towards because he is certainly one of the most improved players in 2020.
Even an LCS veteran like Lucas “Santorin” Larsen can improve crazy amounts in just one season. The Dane played for FlyQuest in the 2020 season, achieving things that the organization would have never imagined. The great showing in 2020 has now sent Santorin to Team Liquid in 2021, where he will be a part of what looks to be a clear top team in North America.
The 2020 season started out with a successful spring split for Santorin and the rest of FlyQuest. The team reached its first domestic final but lost to a dominating Cloud9 squad. Even with a clear loss in the final, this was the start of FlyQuest’s consistency with Santorin in leading the action on Summoner’s Rift.
In the Summer Split, the Danish jungler once again outperform his competition in the LCS and led FlyQuest to another final. This time, he lost to his former team TSM but the final still granted a seed at Worlds. FlyQuest was headed to its first World Championship but wasn’t expected to do much damage in the group stage. In a group with both Top Esports and DRX, the odds were slim for FlyQuest but they did manage to pick up a few wins.
Even without a trophy in 2020, Santorin is back on top of his career after struggling since he left Team SoloMid in 2015. The Dane has fought his way up through the ranks and is now considered the best jungler North America has to offer. Playing on Liquid next year will hopefully continue Santorin’s growth, which could lead to one or more LCS trophies in the future.
A fairly unknown name at the beginning of the 2020 season is now known and admired among most League of Legends fans. The young top laner from Suning Chen “Bin” Ze-Bin has probably been the biggest shooting star this year and should continue to make a name for himself in upcoming seasons.
Bin joined Suning for the 2020 LPL season, after nine months on the Suning Academy roster. He was an unknown top laner that would quickly show the world that he can compete with the best top laners in the world through his aggressive playstyle and lane kingdom. Bin ended up being a big part of Suning’s third-place finish in the 2020 LPL Summer Split, followed up by the performance of a lifetime at Worlds.
Suning made it against all odds to the Worlds final, where they lost to DAMWON. No one would have expected the team to even make it past the quarterfinals, so for a young top laner like Bin, this was a big success in his first season as a professional player. Bin took the international stage by storm, carrying on champions such as Gangplank and Jax like it was a solo queue game.
Bin had the most kills among top laners at Worlds by far, which speaks to his playstyle and how he likes to be the main carry of his team. Bin also showed great composure for his age and didn’t crash and burn like some would have expected from a young 18-year-old player.
Bin will continue playing for Suning in 2021, so it likely won’t be the last time fans see his name on the big stages.
The 2021 professional League of Legends season kicks off during January, where many new players will enter the stage to compete with the players mentioned above.