Tendencies in the first competitive LoL Week in 2016
With all major regions having finished their first week of LCS/LCK/LMS/LPL except for North America, it is obvious that no team has perfectly figured out the best way to play League of Legends yet. However some interesting tendencies already begin to show. This short article is meant to list and explain a few of these tendencies.
It will focus mainly on LCK and EU LCS since the author has yet to watch LPL or LMS games in 2016.
The most obvious observation, when looking at the games is the sheer amount of games that finish before 30 minutes. This has to do with a couple of changes from the preseason. On the one hand towers have become a lot less durable, especially in the early and mid game. On the other hand killing an inhibitor now not only buffs the minions in the lane where the inhibitor has fallen, but on the other lanes as well. That means, once one inhibitor is taken all lanes will start to push towards the base with the broken inhibitor, therefore giving the winning team an even stronger advantage than before.
Of course not all the games have been super close and one sided, for example Jin Air against SKT today has been very close in game 1 and both teams looked like they could win it at some points during the game. However the tendency still points towards faster games in general.
Almost no Comebacks
Because of the more snowball heavy games so far and the shorter game times there have been close to zero comebacks so far. The one exception being probably SKT against CJ, where they were behind early but still managed to win the game. However even in that game SKT finished very fast and additionally it has not really been a comeback from a huge deficit like for example a lost inhibitor.
Additionally in the LCK there has been no game which did not end with a 2-0 victory for one of the teams. This indicates that teams have a very hard time to adapt to their opponents’ strategies, probably due to the lack of practice and experience on the current patch. Teams like KT and Jin Air managed to win multiple games in a row with almost the same strategy and their opponents unable to stop them.
A lot of Marksmen
Last year AD Carry was considered a very weak role. In the offseason it has been buffed a lot and the results are showing this week. Three to four Marksmen per game are basically normal with five or six being possible, too. Marksmen have been played in every role so far except for support. Champions like Graves and Quinn are regularly seen in the Top Lane, while Kindred – if not banned – and again Graves can be played in the jungle. In the mid lane Corki has seen a whole lot of play and of course Marksmen are played still in the regular AD Carry position.
One of the reasons besides the direct buffs to most of these champions are the previously mentioned changes to minions and structures. Now that early pushing has become much more important, Marksmen, who have always been the best at pushing and killing towers, have naturally become more important, too.
Dragon has lost importance
In 2015 the Dragon has been one of the most important objectives in the game. At one time it has been totally worth it to sacrifice a tower in order to obtain a Dragon. Especially the first Dragon has been super important for teams and while that remains a highly valuable objective, the later Dragons are basically not necessary.
That is due to the shorter game time. It has become very unlikely for teams to acquire 5 dragons and get the huge buff that comes with it. Instead it is more important to get early towers and try to snowball the game, leaving Dragon unimportant and sometimes untouched for several minutes.
With Green Wards gone from the shop and Sightstone’s capacity being reduced before upgrading it, the amount of wards in game has dropped significantly. Additionally yellow trinkets can no longer be upgraded into Greater Stealth Totems which means that players who do not build a sightstone cannot place a lot of wards. Furthermore wards from Trinkets last for less time. Hence a lot of players are currently upgrading their warding trinkets into blue trinkets that can place a ward at a long range with the downside of it not being invisible and having only 1 HP.
On the flip side the cost of Pink wards has been reduced which leads to more of them being placed and therefore more normal wards being cleared out.
It is to be expected to see these trends continue in NA today and tomorrow. However these players and coaches had time to watch the other regions and possibly already think of something to either counteract or further exploit these tendencies. It will be very interesting to see whether or not that changes the flow of the games already or if teams need more time to adapt before they can come up with different strategies. It will also be interesting, if Riot already has plans to counteract some of these tendencies and for how long they will prevail, before a patch changes it.