It's Mag1c: EU Week 3
Here are 22 quick thoughts going into the third week of the EU LCS 2015 Summer Split. All of the statistics referenced below are available on the OraclesElixir.com EU LCS player and team stats pages.
Here are 22 quick thoughts going into the third week of the EU LCS 2015 Summer Split.
- GIANTS Gaming: The question everyone is asking is whether their 3-1 record so far really means anything. Can they sustain their winning pace? Are they contenders to make the playoffs? What's their true face? There are plenty of reasons to doubt them, but consider that they're leading the EU LCS with an average +893 gold differential at 10 minutes, on the back of three First Blood kills in four games. Pair their impressive early games with improved rotational play and minion wave control, and you've got a pretty good recipe for success.
- That said, GIANTS' vision numbers are just average and their games are super bloody (tied with Origen for highest Combined Kills per Minute), and those two things combined mean there's a lot of randomness going on during their games. Randomness can help weaker teams beat stronger teams, and we could argue that it has benefited GIANTS so far this split. But it can also catch up to you if a couple of skirmishes fall the wrong way. I'm not sold on GIANTS yet, even though...
- Werlyb played Jax! It's all I ever wanted. Now I want to see him play… not-Jax. Because it's going to be banned again for always. *single tear* I hear Tryndamere is kind of fun to play?
- Fnatic are really showing off early this split, proving their flexibility. They came on strong at MSI by virtue of reckless aggression (missed opportunity for a Rekkles pun!), but now they're proving that aggression isn't what defines them; it's just a tool they can use when the situation calls for it. Through two weeks, Fnatic has the second-lowest Combined Kills per Minute (CKPM) in the EU LCS, at just 0.72. Compare that to their MSI CKPM of 0.93. Fnatic is fully capable of adjusting their play style anywhere along the scale from See Hero; Kill Hero all the way to See Hero; Run Away; Kill Tower Somewhere Else; Place Lots of Wards; Wait for Ryze and Azir to Scale Up Into Unbeatable Late-Game Monsters. It's a good look for Deilor's squad.
- The Forg1ven experiment is failing so far for Gambit. He has a 1.4 KDA and +1 CSD@10, while sucking up 31.7% of the team's gold, on average, based on the 8th-highest earned gold per minute in the league. The Spring Split MVP has been experimenting with different types of ADC champions while the team attempts to find its groove. Nothing has looked very good, though.
- Don't pin all of Gambit's woes on Forg1ven's shoulders, though. He has the fewest deaths on his team, and he's winning the lane phase (if only barely), with +102 gold at 10 minutes (the only positive GD@10 on the team). Diamondprox is averaging 5 deaths per game, and has the second-lowest average kill participation on the team (61%). Betsy has a 0.8 KDA. How do you fix this team? I don't even know where to start.
- Poor Steve. In his first four games with Roccat he's been camped mercilessly while the fans shout his name just for the meme of it. His performances have left a lot to be desired; he seems to always end up hanging around at the end of a fight to be caught and killed while his surviving team-mates scatter away, having called a retreat and apparently not informed him.
- At 10 minutes, Steve is behind by an average 13 CS and 158 gold. That's pretty unimpressive. But Jwaow's deficits are -15.5 CS and -544 gold, so if last split is any indicator, I imagine Elements is on the lookout for a replacement already. I hear Wickd is doing great things in the Challenger Series qualifiers...
- Speaking of which, this isn't EU LCS, but Wickd's Runaan's Hurricane, Black Cleaver, Frozen Mallet build on Gnar vs. Ex Nihilo produced only 19.4% of his team's damage to champions, at around 410 DPM. How do you build that much offense and contribute such a low portion of team damage? I didn't watch the game; can someone please enlighten me!?
- Back to business: Elements seems unable to adapt their play style to incorporate any early-game aggression. It's not that passive laning is inherently bad, but when it's the only way your team plays, it becomes very easy to exploit that style. The players are part of this failing, but ultimately I question the coaching staff. They're the ones who should be identifying the problem and leading the players into new approaches. Of course, the players need to be willing to follow the coaches' lead, so...
- ...This is pure speculation, but I wonder how much authority the Elements coaching staff actually has to convince Froggen and co. to play differently. Nyph is Head Coach, and he isn't an external hire who can command respect, stand above the team, and say, "You're doing it wrong." He's an ex-teammate, one who apparently flunked out of his Support position last split. (I don't say that to criticize or minimize Nyph; he was a good player for a long time. I'm only saying that's how the players could potentially view him.) If you're Froggen, with one of the greatest Western LoL résumés of all time, do you allow the opinion of someone like Nyph to override your own? Do you actually change your play style when he tells you to, even when your own idea is different? Essentially, can you submit to the authority of Nyph as Coach?
- This is why CLG brought in someone like Blurred Limes to be their Head Coach. He knows how an authority structure should work in sports, and he has the backing of the ownership if any of the players don't like it. It's a structure more teams need to follow, though I suspect some don't recognize the strength of it yet. It requires humility from the players, who for a long time were completely self-directed.
- To continue the thought, self-directed players, or rather player-directed teams, can't cut it any more: without strong, dedicated coaching staff who do a lot more than just give the players suggestions now and then, teams can't keep up competitively. That suggests a shift from a player-focused team structure to something that's built more from the top down, with authority in mind. This is the Korean and Chinese structure, it's the traditional sports structure, and it's the structure that is seeing a lot of Western success lately through teams like Fnatic, TSM, and H2K. I'm not sure how much of the Western pro LoL community has actually bought in to this philosophy, but it's the way things seem to be headed for most teams, and I'm glad.
- Speaking of H2K, Did You Know: Odoamne is averaging 31.5% of H2K's damage to champions. He's got the 4th highest damage share in the EU LCS, and the next Top laner is ranked 19 (Soaz, with 23.2%). Odoamne has pulled this off with an 856 damage per minute (DPM) performance on Gnar and a 723 DPM game on Rumble, with an overall average of 607 DPM. For reference, there are only five ADCs with average DPMs above 550 this split. If Odoamne was an ADC, he would have the second-highest DPM for his position. In case you missed it, he's actually a Top laner. Soak this up. It's ridiculous.
- Part of the reason for Odoamne's high damage share, beyond his own damage output, is that Ryu is only averaging 397 DPM in H2K's mid lane. When he played Kassadin in H2K's loss to Origen, Ryu had an abysmal 265 DPM and 17% kill participation. His highest KP% this split is 59% as LeBlanc vs. Gambit. You have to think H2K will be looking for more activity from Ryu moving forward.
- The Copenhagen Wolves came out of Week 2 with a 1-3 record, and will be looking to fix whatever problems got them there. One of those problems is definitely vision control: CW places the lowest number of wards in the league, at only 2.24 per minute. Their most prolific warder is Unlimited, who places 0.88 WPM, lowest of all EU LCS Supports, while their Jungler, Airwaks, only drops 0.45 WPM, lowest of all EU LCS Junglers. YoungBuck is doing his best, placing 0.56 WPM, which is third-highest for Top laners, but the Support and Jungler should be shouldering the load, and they clearly aren't.
- The Wolves have been a big fan of the early hard-shove Tower trade so far. On average, they are killing their first Tower at 6:48. It isn't working for them, though: they're suffering an average gold deficit of 1,002 at 10 minutes, and they've given up three out of four first Dragons.
- Some more Did You Knows. DYK2: Origen has 3.4 times as many kills as deaths this split.
- DYK3: Origen's 91 total kills are 16 more than the next highest team (GIANTS).
- DYK4: Origen's 27 total deaths are 9 fewer than the next lowest team (H2K).
- DYK5: Origen can be pronounced "Or-i-jen" or "Or-ee-khxkhken".
- Match To Watch this week: Oreekhxkhken vs. Unicorns of Love. Outside of H2K, OG hasn't faced any really strong competition yet. And H2K's loulex played Evelynn in a disengage composition, so that wasn't even a fair fight. (For what it's worth, by 15 minutes loulex had managed one good gank and one bad gank, had attempted one Tower dive and died, and had been dived on once and died. He reached 15 minutes with a 1-2-1 score line.) Just like I'm reserving my judgment on GIANTS, I'm reserving my judgment on Origen. I want to see them overcome some adversity before I jump on the bandwagon.