The Two Lane Theory and Why an All Star Team Will Never Work
Faker...Flame…UZI. These are three superstars who have commanded huge resources from their team. In their prime, they have single handedly carried games, and all three of these players are thought to be near the top of their roles. I chose these players for a reason. It is sometimes exciting to think how a team with all three of these players would work out. Contrary to popular belief, the answer would be underwhelming. Assuming a teams goal would be to win worlds, they would not succeed. One might ask, “But Myxo, these are three of the greatest players of all time. You’re an idiot.” Now, hear me out. I am not saying this team would not style on other lower teams purely based on mechanical prowess. However, they would have no shot in hell at winning worlds, or even cracking the top 4. I will explain why teams can realistically only have two real farmed threats, and then use some examples of teams from the past and present that showcase this.
League is an interesting game because it requires so much teamwork. The best teams in the world not only have high mechanical ability, but also a great sense for the game. The perfect example at the moment is the GE Tigers. All of them are top 5 at their positions in the world. Yet, they are also strategically unparalleled. Their mechanical ability gives them the luxury to run almost every team composition. This combination makes them the best team in the world. If we start taking out one of these two strengths, we get an interesting result. If we take out mechanical ability, we are left with Cloud 9. This is a team with world class strategy and shot calling, able to go toe to toe with teams such as Samsung Blue last year. However, their mechanical skills often left them with a deficit that even the best strategy could not help. Now let’s take out the strategy, and we are left with China’s OMG. The best chinese top laner, mid laner, and one of the best ad carries are on a single team. However, their lack of strategy and team synergy make them second to rivals EDG, who, while lacking in mechanical ability, shine in their in game decision making. Obviously I am simplifying things quite a bit, but the point is clear.
Now, part of this strategy is crafting how your team will play. In many instances, a team will have a standout player or two. In this situation is it logical to want to get them ahead so they can snowball the game. If you have Faker on your team, it would be strategically dumb not to commit extra resources to the mid lane. Now, the usual way of getting a lane snowballing is by help of the jungle. The second way is to funnel more farm to them. In the example of SK Telecom, Faker not only has Bengi camping his lane, but is also funneled more farm than any other team member. Both of these techniques to snowball use the finite resources of jungle pressure and farm.
With jungle pressure, it is more realistic for a jungler to gank two adjacent lanes. The reality is that a jungler can not camp three lanes and be as impactful as a jungler that camps two. Summoners Rift is a lengthy map, in that it takes a while to get from top lane to bottom lane. Because of this, the jungler is a lot more efficient if he ganks adjacent lanes than if he ganks top and bottom. This leads to teams prioritizing either their solo lanes (mid and top) or mid and bottom lane. In the case of OMG, Cool and Gogoing have been the main prioritization of jungle pressure. In the case of Samsung White, Pawn and Imp were the main priority. Rarely, in a team who was considered the best in the world at any time, has top and bottom been the two carry lane. In WE, it was Misaya and WeiXiao. In Samsung White, it was Imp and Pawn. In Samsung Blue, it was Dade and Deft. In SK Telecom, it was Faker and Piglet. Even in Moscow 5, it was Alex Ich and Genja (I know it hurts me too). These factors lead to one lane not getting as many ganks.
With farm, only a finite amount of minions have been spawned at any point in the game. Because of this, if facing a worthy opponent, it is almost impossible to have all three lanes equally farmed. When a team rotates, one lane, usually the most fed lane, gets funneled most of that farm. On top of this. if you have more ganks, you can farm easier. A player is just more likely to get funneled farm on rotations if they have been the priority of the jungle pressure.
The way the game of League if designed, one lane is going to have to take the hit. One lane will have less jungle ganks, and because of this, less farm. It is a fact, and one that is backed up with historical data. Because of this, players like Flame, Faker, and UZI would not work. These are three players who have commanded huge amounts of jungle pressure (Helios for Flame and Bengi for Faker) and massive amounts of farm (I mean come on, just look at the any world championship game with UZI in it.) One of these players would have to play a more supportive role.
Now let me strike down some opposition right here with my “But Myxo” segment.
#1 “But Myxo, what about carry junglers and supports!!”
Yes, junglers and supports can carry. That is true. However, they usually carry in other ways. Many times junglers and supports will work as a team to achieve superior vision control. DanDy and Mata are the best example of this. They carried simply through their vision control. Also, a farming jungling style has worked in the past. However, this has not proven to be sustainable yet. Even junglers who used this style in the past (I.E. Meteos, SaintVicious) have changed to a more gank oriented style. One jungling style that has been proven to carry has been a counter jungling style. This has been shown in Diamond and Svenskeren. However, this takes coordination from your team, and also forces them to pick champions that can duel effectively in the early game.
#2 “ But Myxo, what about teams like Samsung White and SK Telecom who had three carry lanes!!!”
Just because a team is the best in the world, and all of their players do well in their games, does not mean all three players are equally prioritized. It was obvious that Looper was not the focus of that team. Because the other lanes were so dominant, it allowed pressure to be taken off of Looper. However, he was still no where the priority of that team. In the case of SK Telecom, the same thing happened. Impact was still no where near the focus of that team. The other lanes outperforming so much just made him look like a third priority. Look throughout all the best teams. No team has had all three lanes carry equally.
#3 “But Myxo, what about OMG!!!”
Ohhhh OMG. The team that inspired this article. Three massive carries onto one team, all commanding jungle pressure and farm. This is the team that will make or break my theory. They have shown to be weaker than EDG, a two threat team. I will use one example shut down the OMG argument. In game one of the recent OMG vs EDG game, OMG brought back San. San is a more supportive style adc who doesn't command the same attention as UZI. In this game, OMG looked the strongest they have looked all season, and won against EDG. In the second game, they put UZI back in, and lost convincingly. Now I believe OMG can be a strong team with UZI, but one of their superstars will have to take a backseat to let their team shine.
The thought of an all star team is every sports fans wet dream, however in reality, limited resources make most all star teams a disappointment. I believe that League is no exception. Throughout history, the best teams in the world have had two carry threats. The interesting thing about League is that it is an ever changing game. Because of this, it is possible that one team may prove me wrong. I can only hope.
If you enjoyed article, please follow my on twitter at @MyxoLoL. I will post more articles in the future! Thank you for reading.