Tag Archives: metagame

Feet on the Mountain, Head in the Clouds: Comprehensive measurement of elemental drake value

Tim Sevenhuysen is the founder of OraclesElixir.com and Head of Esports Data Science for Esports One. He led Shadow.gg from 2017-19 and was Statistical Consultant for Fnatic in 2015.


I’ve investigated the relative value of different elemental drake types in the past, and the topic has continued to fascinate me as LoL has evolved over time, with both direct and indirect changes to the elemental drake buffs. With the development of new, more comprehensive LoL win probability models, which I’ve been building for Esports One, there’s a better toolset than ever for diving deeper into the elemental drake question.

Since Riot recently revealed that the dragon system is getting a big overhaul for 2020, there will never be a better time to share some findings about the current iteration of the system! In future, this will give us a comparison point, so we can conduct similar analysis on the new dragon system and see how much has changed.

The analysis below extends my previous work on the statistical value of elemental drakes. I’ve come away with the following main findings:

  • Mountain drakes are the only drake type to gain in value as more game time passes.
  • Infernal drakes have the most direct value at almost all stages of the game.
  • Cloud drakes start out as the most directly valuable type, but their value falls off more compared to infernals.
  • Ocean drakes have the least overall value, from the very start of the game onwards.

Details and discussion below!
Continue reading Feet on the Mountain, Head in the Clouds: Comprehensive measurement of elemental drake value

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