Boom, Headshot: Ranking the NA LCS ADC's
With over half the spring split already over, teams have started to solidify their place in the league; and while ranking where each team stands may be simple enough, ranking individual players is far more difficult. That however, is the task today as we attempt to establish a ranking of the top ADC players in the NA LCS.
Out of all the roles, ADC is likely the easiest to quantitatively evaluate. They generally bring the least utility to the team, and are focused around maximum damage output. While it’s true that laning and late game positioning are also very valuable qualities to look for in ADC players, this ranking will be primarily focused on their ability to deal as much damage as possible with the resources that they have.
Following that line of thinking, I’d like to introduce a new statistic, damage per gold per minute (DGPM), which is a combination of damage per minute (DPM), and earned gold per minute (EGPM). I believe that this statistic gives an accurate depiction of how effective a player is at dealing damage. However, that isn’t to say that this stat is without any flaws. Teams that are primarily macro/objective focused are more likely to generate gold without doing much damage to champions at all, and will thus have players who have a lower DGPM. In addition to that, DGPM is also dependent on a player’s champion preference. In the current meta, players who play a lot of Corki and Ezreal will theoretically have a higher DGPM due to the amount of poke damage that they do.
Finally, I will only be ranking the players that have at least 9 games played, so apologies to LOD and Ohq, but you didn’t make the cut. With all of that in mind, let’s get right into the rankings.
10. TIP Mash (1.57 DGPM)
Honestly, there’s just not much to say about the former Coast ADC; a player who is consistently relegated, but also finds himself back in the LCS soon after. Even with over 40% of his games on Corki and Ezreal, the two big poke champions that were highlighted in the introduction, Mash is still unable to really output much damage. The saving grace for his DGPM stat is from the low amount of gold that he earns, which surprisingly gives him the 2nd lowest DGPM of all qualified NA LCS ADC’s, not the lowest. In the end though, it is unsurprising that he holds the worst spot in these rankings.
With the lowest DGPM of all qualified NA LCS AD carry players, Stixxay holds the 9th spot in my rankings. First, let’s examine why his number is so low. Firstly, as a team, CLG has continued their superb macro play from last season, and is undoubtedly one of the most objective focused and strategic teams in the league. Their tendency to lane swap and split push though, makes it so that fights do not break out as often. As a result, a lot of towers are taken without much action, thus increasing the EGPM, and decreasing the DPM of everyone on the team. Finally, CLG also makes the decision to put the majority of their resources into Top and Mid, leading to Stixxay receiving the 7th highest gold% of all eligible ADC’s. Honestly, it’s not that Stixxay has been playing poorly, but rather that he fills a limited role on the team as effectively as he can. He just hasn’t been given the opportunity to shine, and while I’d love to rank him higher, his DGPM number is just too low for me.
8. NRG Altec (1.75 DGPM)
This one is painful, because I’ve always enjoyed watching Altec as a player. As a member of Gravity last split, Altec posted the 3rd highest DPM of all ADC’s with 9 games or more, and was consistently the biggest threat on the team.This split however, he has fallen completely on his back, even with 45% of his games coming on Corki and Ezreal. Some might think that the addition of superstar solo laners GBM and Impact might have cut into his gold income too severely, but a look at the statistics tells a different story. Altec is still receivig nearly 26% of his team’s gold, 3rd highest of all ADC’s, while outputting only 25% of his team’s damage, which puts him 8th of all AD carries. Whether it’s a communication problem with his team, or his own personal issues, Altec’s performance has definitely dropped. Combined with his recent self benching from the NRG starting lineup, his chance for redemption isn’t coming anytime soon.
7. FOX Keith (1.82 DGPM)
Keith has not had the best luck this split, as Echo Fox as a team have played less than half their games with their full roster. However, Keith has still posted decent numbers in spite of their absence, and has played 80% of his games on Lucian, Caitlyn, or Kalista, champions that have less skewed damage numbers overall. While I’ll be honest and say that I don’t watch most of the Echo Fox games, it seems that the return of Froggen, which sparked a 4 game win streak, definitely has FOX moving in the right direction. If the team can continue to push their momentum, I can definitely see Keith rising in these rankings soon.
6. DIG Apollo (1.89 DGPM)
Even though his team is near the bottom of the standings, Apollo definitely been a pleasant surprise. Often criticized for playing a “Cop” style of ADC while on TIP last split, Apollo has stepped of this split, and even carried a game or two. With his highest DPM and most played champion both being Lucian, he is definitely taking more risks than last split, and it shows in his performance. Sadly, I believe that this is the highest that Apollo can possibly be ranked as an ADC, and may even fall a spot in the coming weeks. The 5 players above him are definitely a tier above, and Keith is right on his tail. If he continues his current performance though, Apollo might just yet keep his spot.
5. RNG Freeze (1.92 DGPM)
As a disclaimer, I just wanted to say that I rank the next 5 AD carries very closely, and that they are all significantly ahead of the bottom 5. With that being said though, this is a ranking, and one of them has to take the lowest spot. Freeze seems to forever be cursed to play alongside players who are just not of his caliber, and even switching regions and moving halfway across the world can’t seem to save him. Having won only 1 game this split with Renegades, it’s actually amazing that Freeze’s DGPM is as high as it is. In addition, he has yet to play a single game of Corki or Ezreal, instead opting for Lucian, Kalista, and his signature Draven. I believe that Freeze definitely has the potential to be a top 3 ADC in the league, but until he has teammates that can enable him to play at his peak, he will continue to be a shell of what he could be.
4. IMT Wildturtle (1.74 DGPM)
Wildturtle is the primary example of why numbers don’t tell the whole story. Purely based on DGPM alone, Turtle is actually ranked 8th out of all eligible AD carries, but anyone could tell you that that would be a ridiculous ranking for him. However, this might also be an example of when the eye test might not be the most accurate, so let’s break it down. Immortals are far and away the best team in NA right now, and have been just absolutely steamrolling everyone. Their average game time is nearly 3 minutes faster than the second highest team, and they have over a 3k gold difference at 15 minutes. Taking all of that into account, it makes sense why Turtle’s DGPM is so low. The later the games go, the more damage people start doing, so by winning games in less than 30 minutes, Wildturtle not only doesn’t get to do that much damage, he also makes a ton of gold in the process. As a viewer, it has been a joy to see Turtle playing as aggressively as he is, but it can also be said that he hasn’t had to do as much because of the team around him. In a similar situation to Stixxay funnily enough, Wildturtle just hasn’t had to output that much damage. However, I believe that as the split progresses and teams get better and better, Immortals will start facing more challenges, we’ll be able to more clearly see where Wildturtle stands among top NA ADC’s.
3. TL Piglet (2.19 DGPM)
With Team Liquid’s failure to make it to Worlds last split, Piglet seems to be more motivated than ever to put the team on his back. Sporting the 2nd highest DGPM of all NA ADC’s, Piglet has been an absolute monster in the damage dealing department. With Lucian and Caitlyn as his most played champions, he is consistently Liquid’s number one threat, and the main target for enemy teams. However, his 5.4KDA shows his ability to stay out of danger, and his performance has been absolutely key to TL turning around an absolutely horrendous start to the split. One small caveat to Piglet’s high DGPM has been Team Liquid’s average game length of 38 min, nearly 10 minutes longer than that of Immortals. As such, Piglet gets the chance to output damage when he has more items, which has undoubtedly skewed his damage numbers. However, at the end of the day, Piglet is just doing his job, and he’ll keep doing it as well as he can to try and carry Team Liquid.
2. C9 Sneaky (2.10 DGPM)
Even with a lower DGPM than Piglet, Sneaky still takes the 2nd spot on these rankings from Piglet by virtue of Cloud 9’s average game length, and Sneaky’s own versatility. C9 has the 2nd fastest average game time in the league at 31 minutes, and as mentioned previously, game time can have a significant impact on the amount of damage that you can do. Even with nearly 7 less minutes than Piglet, Sneaky still has a very similar DGPM. In addition, Sneaky has played 7 different champions over the course of this split, and has posted good damage numbers on nearly all of them. All this while having to lane with Hai, who’s playing his first split as a support, and thus does not have the greatest mechanics at that position. Regardless, Sneaky remains a top 2 ADC in NA, a spot that he has held for arguably the last 5-6 splits.
Even though his team has had well documented synergy and communication issues, Doublelift has still remained the best performing AD carry in NA. He has the highest DPM by a mile at 715, which is more than 100 over the 2nd place, and also does the highest damage% of all ADC’s. With over 500 DPM on all 7 of the champions that he has played, Doublelift not only brings versatility, but also consistency to the table. And while he still shows some late game positioning errors (getting hit by Janna tornado and Soraka root), he definitely delivers in maximizing the amount of damage that he deals to enemies. I believe that if TSM can get their synergy and shot calling in place, which is a big if, they can become one of the scariest teams in all of North America. Doublelift is certainly doing his part to make that a reality.
Stats from Oracle's Elixir
Pictures from NA lolesports