NA LCS Semi-Final 2 Preview: Team Solo Mid vs. Team Impulse, Head to Head

The largest fan base in the NA LCS belongs to TSM, but Team Impulse, formerly LMQ, has been winning over plenty of fans of their own with their skirmish-heavy, aggressive play style, epitomized by their jungler Rush, the former Korean solo queue star. Now the two teams are set to face off in the second Semifinal of the 2015 Spring playoffs.

There has been plenty of debate about TiP’s chances to dethrone the reigning IEM World Champions, and perhaps surprisingly, TiP is getting a lot of popular support, in some cases even being called the favourites to make it to the NA Finals. In this article we’ll apply some statistics to the TSM/TiP matchup and see who has the advantage role by role, as well as looking at some overall team stats.

These stats don’t tell the whole story, but they draw attention to some interesting facets of the players and teams which we might not otherwise notice. I’ve presented my interpretations based on these numbers, but as always, I encourage everyone to draw their own conclusions!

To see a similar statistical breakdown of the other Semifinal, showcasing Cloud9 vs. Team Liquid, head over to the previous article.

Role Matchups

Top Lane

Marcus “Dyrus” Hill vs. Eon-Young “Impact” Jeong

dyrus vs impactNote: “Earned” gold, used in Earned Gold @ 10, Earned Gold @ 10 Differential, Earned Gold Per Minute, and Gold Share, excludes 475 starting gold and 1.9 inherent gold per minute (starting at 90 seconds).

Dyrus got camped this split by seemingly every opposing Jungler, and it shows very clearly in his stats. His KDA was abysmal, his average kill participation was the lowest in the entire league (outside of Flaresz’ two games as a sub for WinterFox), and his share of team damage is the lowest of any NA Top laner (which can be partly attributed to Bjergsen and WildTurtle doing such high amounts of damage). In absolute numbers, though, Impact did a whopping 52% more damage to champions per minute, on average, so Dyrus’s teammates weren’t just making his damage share look bad.

Impact also outperformed Dyrus in lane: Dyrus did have more average gold at 10 minutes, but he barely had more gold than his Top lane opponents, while Impact had almost 120 more gold than his opponent on average. And let’s not ignore Dyrus’s five First Blood deaths and zero First Blood kill participations.

Dyrus did earn more gold per minute than Impact, and also out-warded him, but despite these small wins and his team’s greater overall success, Dyrus simply didn’t contribute as much, statistically, as Impact this split.

Advantage: Impact


Lucas “Santorin” Larsen vs. Yoonjae “Rush” Leesantorin vs rush

Note: “Earned” gold, used in Earned Gold @ 10, Earned Gold @ 10 Differential, Earned Gold Per Minute, and Gold Share, excludes 475 starting gold and 1.9 inherent gold per minute (starting at 90 seconds).

Santorin vs. Rush has been one of the big talking points leading up to the TSM vs. TiP clash, with many hyping up Rush’s carry-oriented Jungling and big-time playmaking. Over the regular season, though, Santorin doubled Rush’s KDA and had slightly higher kill participation. Rush contributed more damage, unsurprisingly, but his earned gold and gold differential at 10 minutes were far inferior to Santorin’s. The First Blood numbers are very telling, with Rush participating in one more First Blood, but giving up four FB deaths compared to Santorin’s zero.

To top it all off, Santorin’s vision control was definitely superior. Much has been made of Rush’s improvement in team play over the course of the split, but in the last four weeks his warding and ward clear numbers were actually lower than the first half of the split.

Advantage: Santorin

Mid Lane

Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg vs. Xian “XiaoWeiXiao” Yu

bjergsen vs xwx

Note: “Earned” gold, used in Earned Gold @ 10, Earned Gold @ 10 Differential, Earned Gold Per Minute, and Gold Share, excludes 475 starting gold and 1.9 inherent gold per minute (starting at 90 seconds).

It’s hard to argue against Bjergsen as the MVP of the 2015 Spring split. XiaoWeiXiao receives, and deserves, a ton of respect, but his KDA, kill participation, and damage output don’t match Bjergsen’s by a long shot. XWX earns just as well in the first 10 minutes of games, and earns decent leads, but again Bjergsen’s leads make XWX’s look small. The First Blood numbers are a wash, but XWX does contribute more to the vision game than Bjergsen. Bjergsen’s advantages in combat and laning are too big, though.

Advantage: Bjergsen

AD Carry

Jason “WildTurtle” Tran vs. Apollo “Apollo” Price

turtle vs apollo

Note: “Earned” gold, used in Earned Gold @ 10, Earned Gold @ 10 Differential, Earned Gold Per Minute, and Gold Share, excludes 475 starting gold and 1.9 inherent gold per minute (starting at 90 seconds).

The stats start off really strong for Apollo with his impressive KDA, but the advantages quickly begin stacking up WildTurtle’s way with kill participation, damage output, laning, and overall gold earning. WildTurtle’s damage share was somewhat inflated by Dyrus’s low damage output, but it was also deflated by Bjergsen’s insane heights. WildTurtle scores another point for being involved in four First Blood kills.

Apollo holds his own pretty well in this comparison, and deserves a lot of credit for putting out as much damage as he did with only 23.5% of his team’s gold, but TSM’s ADC gets a slight edge.

Advantage: WildTurtle


Jang-Sik “Lustboy” Ham vs. Adrian “Adrian” Ma

lustboy vs adrian

Lustboy has a high KDA, like most of TSM, and his kill participation edges out Adrian’s. The two Supports are very closely matched for vision control. But the First Blood numbers are Lustboy’s real advantage, with six FB participations and no FB deaths.

Adrian has a larger champion pool, having won matches on six different champions during the regular season, and adding two more to the list during the Quarterfinal vs. Gravity. Lustboy, meanwhile, only earned wins on four different champions, but had little incentive to diversify given TSM’s level of success.

With only small differences across the board, it comes down to First Blood success vs. champion pool, and TSM have had an extra week to come up with new strategies and practice new champions, so the advantage there may have shrunk.

Advantage: Lustboy

Team Statistics

tsm vs impulse

Note: Average gold differential @ 10 minutes is based on values rounded to the nearest hundred.

Both teams play similar length games. TSM looks good in team KDA and secures larger gold leads at 10 minutes, earning these leads largely by taking more First Blood kills, on average around 8.2 minutes into the game.

TSM also takes more first towers than TiP, securing these at an average of 12.4 minutes in. Even though Impulse’s control of the first Dragon is better, they still don’t prioritize that objective, taking fewer than half of the first Dragons.

Both teams place and clear wards at almost identical rates.

Combat Advantage: TSM
Early Game Advantage: TSM
Vision Advantage: Too close to call


Both the state of League of Legends and the levels of play of these two teams have changed over the course of the split, so stats based on the regular season aren’t going to tell the complete story. On any given day, either of these teams could definitely win this Semifinal matchup. But drawing on the numbers to paint one perspective for us, we can see that TSM has stacked its advantages across most of the map, sacrificing Dyrus on his lonely Top lane island in order to dominate from the Jungle, Mid, and the duo lane.

But don’t let the long list of “Advantages” in this article weight the odds too heavily: TSM may have advantages, but they aren’t generally very large ones. The players are quite closely matched in every role, with strong arguments in favour of Rush, XiaoWeiXiao, Apollo, and Adrian as legitimate contenders in their roles. The largest gap actually appears to fall between Dyrus and Impact, so that could be a major hinge point in this series.

To pull out a win, Team Impulse will need to draw on some World Champion magic from their star Top laner, and will be looking for the rest of the roster to prove that they are one TSM’s level, and that their fans’ faith in them is well deserved. Let’s eagerly await what is sure to be an explosive best of five.

Prediction: TSM, 3-2

Have your own take on the story told by these statistics? Leave a comment and get the discussion going.

You can also find me on Twitter at @OraclesElixir, where you can ask me to look up specific NA LCS stats, or let me know what you’d like to see added to the database in the future.

Thank you to Daniel “Exorant” Hume for putting together the stats graphics!

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