Jun 17 2015 - 6:26 am

Know Your Enemy: An Analysis of LCS Teams' Standings by Looking at Their Opponents (EU Edition)

Three weeks have passed since the Summer Split of the EU LCS began, with each team playing two-thirds of the way through their first of the double round robin which constitutes the split.
Dot Esports

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Three weeks have passed since the Summer Split of the EU LCS began, with each team playing two-thirds of the way through their first of the double round robin which constitutes the split.  Though we are only a third of the way into the split, some apparent movers and shakers have elevated themselves above the rest, leaving the heavy bottom of the table scrambling to distance themselves from their peers.  Indeed, earlier today, Riot released this week's power rankings, in which they try to parse through the hype and the standings and see who is clawing their way up.  As we near the halfway point of this last split before worlds, and playoff pictures begin to shape up, it's important to look critically at not only where teams stand, but who they have stood against to determine their actual hopes for playoff success.  This is the first of two articles that will look at the relative successes and failings of each team as they relate to the teams they have beaten and lost to in the standings, rather than their standings in a vacuum.  For this article, I will be focusing on the EU LCS.

How to Read This Data

Immediately below, you will see the standings through week three.  Each team is listed in alphabetical order by full team name (though they are listed by their two- or three-letter tags): as a result, some teams might seem out of order (for instance, "NME" is behind "GV", but "Enemy Esports" is ahead of "Gravity Gaming").  The format presented is [row team] vs. [column team].  If the row team won against the column team, it will show as 1-0; if they lost, it will show as 0-1; and if they have yet to play, it will show as -.

Further on, data for individual teams will be shown in the following format:

Team name: W-L

Win/Loss of Teams Beaten: W-L (adjusted W-L)

Win/Loss of Teams Lost To: W-L (adjusted W-L)

Win/Loss of Teams Unplayed: W-L

"Win/Loss of Teams Beaten/Lost To" looks at the combined win/loss record of all teams the listed team has beaten or lost to.  The adjusted Win/Loss record looks at what the combined records of these teams is if you remove the influence the listed teams' individual wins and losses had on their overall record.  The "Win/Loss of Teams Unplayed" looks at the combined win/loss record of all teams the listed team has yet to play; as such, there is no adjusted record.

EU LCS Standings

We will look at each team individually below, but first, the standings as they are now:

XXX CW EL FNC GMB GIA H2K OG SK ROC UOL
CW XXX 1-0 - 0-1 0-1 - 0-1 1-0 - 0-1
EL 0-1 XXX 0-1 1-0 0-1 0-1 - - - 0-1
FNC - 1-0 XXX 1-0 1-0 - - 1-0 1-0 1-0
GMB 1-0 0-1 0-1 XXX - 0-1 - 1-0 0-1 -
GIA 1-0 1-0 0-1 - XXX - 0-1 1-0 1-0 -
H2K - 1-0 - 1-0 - XXX 0-1 1-0 1-0 1-0
OG 1-0 - - - 1-0 1-0 XXX 1-0 0-1 1-0
SK 0-1 - 0-1 0-1 0-1 0-1 0-1 XXX - -
ROC - - 0-1 1-0 0-1 0-1 1-0 - XXX 0-1
UOL 1-0 1-0 0-1 - - 0-1 0-1 - 1-0 XXX

One thing that strikes me as significant about these standings is that they capture exactly how and why the standings are so divisive right now.  While there is certainly an established "high tier" and "low tier" coming out of this first round robin, we have mostly only seen the low tier teams play each other, with the "best of the worst" being elevated above them, and the top teams taking wins from each low team, elevating them above the rest of the table in the standings, but we have not seen the top teams play against each other in any significant capacity.  As a result, we have a few "top" teams that appear to be crushing the scene, with the top three (Fnatic, Origen, and H2K) being a combined 16-2, alongside a large list of "bottom" teams that appear to be struggling to make anything work.  When we look at individual records, however, we might see some notable patterns emerge from the data.

Standings by Team

Listed are each teams' individual standings, in alphabetical order:

Copenhagen Wolves: 2-4

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Win/Loss of Teams Beaten: 1-11 (1-9)

Win/Loss of Teams Lost To: 14-10 (10-10)

Win/Loss of Teams Unplayed: 13-5

Copenhagen Wolves stands as an example of a team that can look stronger than some of their peers with a weak enough schedule.  The team looks to be fighting off relegation this split despite their average showing last split, with CW AD Carry Aleš "Freeze" Kn?žínek stating in a recent AMA that he would be ecstatic for 7th place and the opportunity to avoid relegations outright.  Currently, Copenhagen Wolves sits at 2-4 despite having a relatively easy schedule, only taking wins off the two teams directly below them in the standings.  What's more unsettling for the Wolves' immediate prospects, however, is that the teams they have lost to sit at the middle of the table, and include Gambit Gaming (2-4), Unicorns of Love (3-3) and Giants (4-2), meaning the completion of the round robin involves them fighting a tough uphill battle against two of the top three teams in Fnatic (6-0) and H2K (5-1), with the last unplayed team being a deceptively strong contender in Team ROCCAT (2-4).  

Prediction for the round robin: 2-7

Elements: 1-5

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Win/Loss of Teams Beaten: 2-4 (2-3)

Win/Loss of Teams Lost To: 20-10 (15-10)

Win/Loss of Teams Unplayed: 7-11

Elements are in for a rough time.  The Worlds contenders of last season had an especially rough spring following the switch to Martin "Rekkles" Larsson, seeing them fail to make playoffs with a 7th place finish.  The offseason saw the return of Erik "Tabzz" van Helvert to the ADC position alongside Elements newcomers Hampus "PromisQ" Abrahamsson, Marcel "Dexter" Feldkamp and Jesper "Jwaow" Strandgren in the support, jungle and top roles, respectively.  The new roster has struggled to find traction, however, and opens the split second to last with a 1-5 record, taking their only win off of Gambit Gaming.  It can be argued, however, that Elements have had the record stacked against them somewhat: the team has already faced four of the current top five, which account for four of their five losses, and has only faced two of the other bottom four teams (taking their lone win off another).  Elements may lose to Origen, but they should see a glimmer of hope against SK, and if they can get their new roster comfortable, a surprise win off ROCCAT can help the team gain further traction.  

Prediction for the round robin: 2-7

Fnatic: 6-0

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Win/Loss of Teams Beaten: 12-24 (12-18)

Win/Loss of Teams Lost To: N/A

Win/Loss of Teams Unplayed: 12-6

Fnatic currently sits at the absolute top of the table as the only defeated team in either LCS league, and they have looked dominating.  Following their surprisingly strong performance at the Mid-Season Invitational, where they took favorites SK Telecom to a fifth game in an action-packed best of 5, Fnatic is the only top team which has maintained its apparent form between splits.  They haven't had a hard time doing it, however: Fnatic has yet to face another top three team in the league, and even without the six losses incurred by Fnatic themselves, the teams they've faced sit at a combined 40% win rate.  Copenhagen Wolves should be a predictable stomp barring any surprises, but Origen and H2k should test Fnatic's undefeated streak for the first time this split.  

Prediction for the round robin: 8-1

Gambit Gaming: 2-4

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Win/Loss of Teams Beaten: 2-10 (2-8)

Win/Loss of Teams Lost To: 14-10 (10-10)

Win/Loss of Teams Unplayed: 12-6

Gambit is a perplexing case study.  The team made a stellar mid-split run in the spring to go from dead last to a fairly strong playoff seeding, ending 4th on the regular split before being upset by Unicorns of Love.  Following their playoff failures, SK Gaming released their superstar AD Carry, Konstantinos "FORG1VEN" Tzortziou-Napoleon, who was picked up by Gambit Gaming immediately thereafter, and neither team has seen their proper form since.  The team has only seen wins against SK Gaming, FORG1VEN's former team, and Copenhagen Wolves, losing two games to "weak" teams in Elements (1-5) and ROCCAT (2-4) in addition to top teams.  Standings-wise, the strength of their remaining schedule is every bit as strong as Fnatic's; unfortunately, Gambit isn't Fnatic, and may struggle accordingly. 

Prediction for the round robin: 2-7

Giants Gaming: 4-2

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Win/Loss of Teams Beaten: 5-19 (5-15)

Win/Loss of Teams Lost To: 11-1 (9-1)

Win/Loss of Teams Unplayed: 10-8

With so many stories of teams folding after spring split successes, it was inevitable that we'd see a positive turnaround as well, and we needn't look further than Giants Gaming.  Following a disastrous premiere split that saw Giants placing dead last in the standings and only avoiding autorelegation through a tiebreaker with MeetYourMakers, Giants added Oskar "G0DFRED" Lundstrom to the support position, and has seen a run of success that has seen them nearly match their entire first split's wins in a third of the time.  Giants has had another strong support for them the start of this split, however: the ease of their schedule.  The four teams Giants have defeated have a combined Win/Loss of 5-19, and sit at a 33% win rate even when you take away the losses Giants handed them.  Adding onto this that Giants have lost convincingly to two of the top three teams and a more stable picture is formed: Giants is a solidly mid-tier team that has been elevated mainly by the collapse of everyone above them.  The team runs out their schedule against H2K (5-1), Unicorns of Love (3-3), and Gambit Gaming (2-4), and each team should force Giants to fight tooth and nail for that win, provided Gambit Gaming gathers their bearings and quits underperforming.  

Prediction for the round robin: 5-4

H2K: 5-1

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Win/Loss of Teams Beaten: 8-22 (8-17)

Win/Loss of Teams Lost To: 5-1 (4-1)

Win/Loss of Teams Unplayed: 12-6

Alongside Fnatic and Origen, H2K comprises the top three teams of the summer split, carrying their momentum forward from a turnaround rookie split which saw the arrival of Raymond "kaSing" Tsang turn them from a second-string team into a contender for a Worlds spot practically overnight.  Of the top three teams, however, H2K has also been aided considerably by their schedule: the team has rolled the weakest teams in the League thus far, with the teams they've beaten sharing a combined 8-22 in the standings, and has lost to the only top team they have faced in Origen.  H2K is still a top 3 team based on the strength of play, but may yet be the weakest of the top 3 teams, which may bear out in their upcoming match against Fnatic (6-0).  Aside from that match, however, H2K may be able to breathe easy, and should otherwise run out the table.  

Prediction for the round robin: 7-2

Origen

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Win/Loss of Teams Beaten: 14-16 (14-11)

Win/Loss of Teams Lost To: 2-4 (1-4)

Win/Loss of Teams Unplayed: 9-9

Only two teams have managed to defeat a top 3 team thus far this split.  The first is Origen, itself a top 3 team, and it's safe to say by this point that Origen is the real deal.  Following a domineering split in the EU Challenger Series that saw the team's auto-promotion, Origen has dispelled the notion that their time in the EUCS softened them by stomping just as hard in the EU LCS, losing their only game in a surprise upset to Team ROCCAT (2-4).  Not only has Origen shown themselves to be a top team, however, they have done so with the toughest schedule of the three, beating every other top 5 team in the league except Fnatic, who they face this week.  Look for Origen to run the table and potentially take the top spot if Fnatic and H2K falter.

Prediction for the round robin: 8-1

SK Gaming: 0-6

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Win/Loss of Teams Beaten: N/A

Win/Loss of Teams Lost To: 24-12 (18-12)

Win/Loss of Teams Unplayed: 6-12

Let's sidebar here for a moment.

What happened to you, SK Gaming?  You were a superstar team with a superstar AD Carry, and now you are neither.  You are currently operating on an opening loss streak to rival your breakaway win streak of spring split, gone from first to last in record time.  Fortunately, the worst of your schedule is more or less over: the remaining three teams you have yet to face will be some of your easiest.  No team you have yet to face has a winning record, and combined, they have a 33% win ratio; if you were to ever start your split with an upset, now would be the time.  Else, you may be facing autorelegation, with not even enough playoff points from spring to earn you a position in the gauntlet; a truly pitiful outcome.  I don't even know what to do with you, SK.  I want you to win at least one game, because even Coast didn't go 0-9, but I don't know if you will, even with the easy close to your schedule.

End sidebar.

Prediction for the round robin: 0-9

Team Roccat: 2-4

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Win/Loss of Teams Beaten: 7-5 (7-3)

Win/Loss of Teams Lost To: 18-6 (15-6)

Win/Loss of Teams Unplayed: 3-15

The struggle is real for Team ROCCAT this split.  Or at least, that's what it would appear at first glance: the team is 2-4 in the standings, tied for 6th with Copenhagen Wolves, a team which is fighting just to avoid another relegation match, and Gambit Gaming, which has been struggling with some serious internal conflicts as a LoL organization.  Fortunately for ROCCAT, the standings may be deceiving in this regard.  Only two teams have managed to take a win from a top 3 team this split: the first was Origen, itself a top 3 team, and the second was ROCCAT, the Origen slayers.  Their losses, meanwhile, come from the other four of the top five teams: Fnatic (6-0), H2K (5-1), Giants (4-2), and Unicorns of Love (3-3).  Due to the difficulty of their schedule, both the teams they've beaten and the teams that have beaten them have had disproportionately high win rates (57% among teams they've beaten; 75% among teams they've lost to).  The happy outcome for ROCCAT is that they finish the round robin with the easiest schedule of all ten teams: the teams they have yet to face consist of Copenhagen Wolves, Elements and SK Gaming, with a combined win rate of just under 17%.  ROCCAT can, and should, run the table and normalize their standings by week 5.

Prediction for the round robin: 5-4

Unicorns of Love: 3-3

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Win/Loss of Teams Beaten: 5-13 (13-10)

Win/Loss of Teams Lost To: 16-2 (13-2)

Win/Loss of Teams Unplayed: 6-12

Unicorns of Love have struggled for more than a split now with their trademark "inconsistency": after going roughly even in spring split, the team had a miracle playoff run, taking the eventual split winners to a close game 5 before finally collapsing, and then just as quickly as the Unicorns came, they went again to a dead-even 50% win rate.  It may be the case, however, that UOL is the most consistent team in the league thus far: to date, they have beaten three bottom-tier teams (Elements, ROCCAT, and Copenhagen Wolves), with a combined record of 5-13, and lost to the top three teams (Fnatic, Origen, and H2K), and only the top three teams.  While this fact excludes them from the upper echelon, it makes a convincing case for Unicorns of Love as the "gatekeeper" team if they can hedge out Giants, a team they have historically outmatched, and run the table against Gambit and SK Gaming, two seriously underperforming teams--a feat they can, and should, accomplish, if they stay true to their records.

Prediction for the round robin: 6-3

Conclusion

The only thing that is certain in a round robin format is that, until the round robin has completed, nothing is truly certain.  Teams may underperform, or overperform, or even just perform inconsistently from week to week.  Upsets happen, as do miracles.  Until such a time comes, though, the standings cannot truly be considered to be "normal".

We have just finished week 3 of the 9-week LCS, with the first full round robin ending halfway between week 5.  When that time comes, if strength of schedule normalizes as expected, we should go from something like this:

1. alt Fnatic (6-0)
2. alt Origen (5-1)
2. alt H2K (5-1)
4. alt Giants Gaming (4-2)
5. alt Unicorns of Love (3-3)
6. alt Team ROCCAT (2-4)
6. alt Gambit Gaming (2-4)
6. alt Copenhagen Wolves (2-4)
9. alt Elements (1-5)
10. alt SK Gaming (0-6)

 

 

To this:

1. (+1) alt Origen (8-1)
1. alt Fnatic (8-1)
3. (-1) alt H2K (7-2)
4. (+1) alt Unicorns of Love (6-3)
5. (-1) alt Giants Gaming (5-4)
5. (+1) alt Team ROCCAT (5-4)
7. (-1) alt Copenhagen Wolves (2-7)
7. (+2) alt Elements (2-7)
7. (-1) alt Gambit Gaming (2-7)
10. alt SK Gaming (0-9)

 

 

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