Analyst Challenge – SKT vs Afreeca

Here’s your challenge: look at a brief video clip from a recent game of professional League of Legends and use the available information to recommend one team’s next move.

June 24, 2019 Challenge

Yesterday’s challenge came from game 2 of the 2019 summer week 1 match between SK Telecom T1 and the Afreeca Freecs. The question was: what should the next move be for the blue-side team (SKT)?

The Responses

Here are a few of the responses that came in. Continue reading Analyst Challenge – SKT vs Afreeca

LCS Early-Game Team Stats

Team Liquid have the best early game in North America, hands down.

Their early-game rating (EGR) of 70.7 means that they hit the 15:00 mark their games with an average win probability of 70.7%, the highest EGR among the major regions. That’s a clear improvement over Liquid’s spring regular season mark of 56.3, though with a smaller sample size, of course.

Liquid aren’t earning these leads by farming: their early lane and jungle control has actually been decidedly average. But Liquid are executing as a team and making intentional plays, which is far more valuable than mechanical laning advantages. When you take Liquid’s ~50% control of the early minions and monsters and then add an average of +1.4 kills, +0.3 towers, and +0.7 dragons, you get a team that is firmly in control as it enters the mid game.

Xmithie’s 63% First Blood rate (FB in 5 of 8 games) is definitely worth pointing out here.

Golden Guardians represent an interesting comparison point, since they have some of the highest early lane and jungle control in the league (51.7% for both) but just 54.0 EGR and +360 GD15. They’re giving up early kill deficits and going even on dragons, despite doing well in the lanes and knocking down some early towers. GGS are grabbing dragons later; in fact, they’re tied with Liquid to lead the LCS in overall drake control at 66%. Some extra priority on getting those drakes earlier in the game might be beneficial, though.

Harnessing Shelly: Rift Herald Usage and Timings in LCS, LEC, and LCK

I wrote previously about the effects of turret plating on the professional metagame in League of Legends. It’s been obvious that turret plates have shaped the priorities of pro teams as they try to get their hands on as much of that gold as possible before the plates disappear at 14:00. One of the key ways to pick up that gold is to take the Rift Herald and use it before the 14:00 mark. This has led to increased focus on killing Rift Herald, and especially killing it early.

In 2018 across LCS, LEC, and LCK, Rift Herald was killed in 89% of games. In 2019 to date, Rift Herald is being killed in 98% of games in those leagues, a dramatic increase.

The perceived value of Rift Herald has increased, but exactly how valuable has the early Herald kill become, and how is that playing out in leagues’ and teams’ priority levels?

How valuable is Rift Herald?

A Herald charge onto an outer tower is guaranteed to break two turret plates (worth 160 gold each), and it can lead to even more plates if the accompanying push isn’t well defended by the opposing team. Factor in the time the team gains in taking down the rest of the tower’s health in later pushes, and the Rift Herald’s value seems pretty high.

But you rarely get something for nothing. Objectives are frequently traded for something else cross-map. Anecdotally, the most common trade for Herald is a dragon.

According to the latest early-game rating (EGR) model, 320 gold at 15:00 is worth ~4.0 percentage points of win probability. Comparatively, holding one more dragon at 15:00 is worth ~7.5 points of win% — almost double!

If a team is looking to take the Herald pre-14:00 in trade for a dragon, they need to strongly believe either that a) the Herald is going to generate much more than two plates’ worth of value, or b) the dragon is less valuable than average due to its type and/or the two teams’ compositions and win conditions. Continue reading Harnessing Shelly: Rift Herald Usage and Timings in LCS, LEC, and LCK

The premier source for League of Legends esports data, analytics, and insights