Category Archives: Analysis and Opinion

Top Lane Stars

Earlier today, Fionn tweeted that 2015 will be a Top lane-focused World Championships. I agree: the 5.18 meta seems to be pointing to a lot of Top lane damage dealers, with Top lane champions likely dominating champion selext throughout the tournament.

But I responded with the opinion that of the three tournament “favorites”, SKT, LGD, and EDG, only one team had a true “star” Top laner. I got some justified backlash, so here’s an elaboration on what I meant.

Disclaimer: This is based on general impressions. I’m not an LPL expert, and I didn’t watch every LCK game. So I’m completely open to being criticized/corrected about this. Also, while writing this and thinking harder about it, my opinion may have shifted somewhat. Call me a waffler, but hey, they’re better than pancakes!

What is a Star?

To me, a “star” is a player who heavily drives his team’s success, and who the rest of the team relies on to make their play style effective. That may be a somewhat unique definition of “star”, and my definition may change in a different conversation, but this is what I was thinking of when I posted my tweet.

Here are some teams where I think the Top laner is a “star”: KT Rolster (Ssumday), Fnatic (Huni), H2k (Odoamne), CLG (ZionSpartan), maybe AHQ (Ziv) but I’m not sure.

Are These Players “Stars”?

Let’s look at the three favorites. Who is each team’s star? These are my impressions/opinions of who drives the teams’ success.

Here’s where my opinion has actually shifted a bit since I started thinking more about this: at this point I don’t think any of these teams have “star” Tops if you use my above definition.

EDG’s stars are Pawn and Deft. The other three are great players but the Korean carries drive the team.

SKT’s star is Faker. MaRin is arguably a second star, but my impression is that his split pushing mostly serves a strategic function, not a “make me individually strong” function, which means that MaRin’s split pushing is an enabler of his team’s success, rather than a driver. Good split pushing is accomplished by the team as a whole, not solely by the split pushers.

LGD’s stars are Imp and GODV. You could argue that PYL and Acorn are star-level, especially because of PYL’s strategic/macro control, which is one of LGD’s big strengths. But on an individual level, it’s again the Mid/ADC who I feel do the most individually to make the team win. (This is the evaluation I’m least confident in of the three.) I’m not discussing Flame because he’s a substitute and likely won’t play many games at Worlds, but ai’m open to the idea that on a different team he might be a star.

Originally, in my tweet, I was thinking of Acorn as the most “star”-like of the three. Upon further reflection, I think that was influenced too heavily by the most recent games played, not by a long-term perspective on his play. Right now, I’d call Acorn a supporting star, like the other two: all excellent players in their own right, but not the number one individual drivers of their teams’ success.

Fight Me

Here’s where I think my opinion is most open to criticism:

1. My opinion is based on my own definition of a “star” player, a definition others might not agree with (and one I might not agree with later, either.)

2. I’m too biased towards damage dealers as stars. Possibly true, but I also think YellowStar is a bigger star than Huni, Amazing is as much a star as Niels, and Piccaboo is a bigger star than Nagne or Arrow.

3. I’m too influenced by the Summer tank-Top meta. Probably. I hear MaRin is a great carry but the meta hasn’t called for it lately. We’ll see!


So this is your chance to tell me I’m wrong, that Acorn and MaRin and Koro1 are all huge stars and my definition sucks, or that I have no idea what I’m talking about. I’m happy to learn why and how I’m wrong, so sharpen your pitchforks and brandish your arguments!

Mid Lane Teleport: Strategy and Win Conditions

In professional League of Legends, Teleport has seen occasional use in the Mid lane for years. But towards the end of the 2015 Summer split it gained more and more popularity, becoming a fairly regular feature in the playoffs and Regional tournaments. In this article, we’ll explore the effects of bringing Teleport in the Mid lane by looking at TP Mid’s “win conditions”, including how the early game plays out and what the late game looks like. Through a variety of statistical evidence, we’ll see why TP Mid is much more effective when it is used aggressively in the early game, not defensively, and why it is reliant on mid-game gold leads to produce wins.

Warning: this is a long one. Feel free to skim through for the important bolded sentences, or scroll through to the end of the article for a quick recap of the main findings and arguments!


1. The Recent Rise of TP Mid
2. Strategic Perspectives
3. Play Style
4. The Early Game
5. The Late Game
6. Conclusions

Read at Unikrn →

Results of “Have Your Say”: Viktor

A few weeks ago, I asked the community to fill out a survey about the champion Viktor. The goal was to crowdsource or brainstorm some ideas about why Viktor was such a high priority Mid lane pick, when his win rate in North American and European pro play was so low.

Twenty-one people filled out the survey, with a lot of very detailed and well thought out opinions and perspectives.

My original intention was to supplement this feedback with some statistical exploration, to see whether I could support or counterpoint some of the common ideas. However, I’ve been too busy with other projects to do that properly, so I decided to put these findings out there for people to explore before too much more time passes. Continue reading Results of “Have Your Say”: Viktor