Step aside, EU mids: there’s a new regional talent pool taking over.
Young North American junglers have been romping their way through the NA LCS so far this split. Contractz and Akaadian have had very impressive starts to their rookie campaigns, and sophomores Moon and Inori are really coming into their own. In fact, these four players hold the first four spots on the jungler KDA rankings, an impressive feat given they’ve been playing against veterans like Reignover, Lira, Chaser, and Svenskeren.
Here are the core stat lines of NA’s young jungle talent. (See the NA LCS player stats page for more.)
Moon is the biggest standout. His 6.5 KDA leads the pack, and he’s also been the most efficient in the early game, generating First Blood 57% of the time with a +166/+275 GD/XPD10.
Akaadian is the only player on this list with a higher First Blood rate or GD10 than Moon, but his below-average XPD10 suggests that he’s been sacrificing his farming efficiency to get there.
Contractz and Inori have been accomplishing less in the early game, but both have put on some big carry performances and have been important components of their teams’ winning records.
Dardoch’s results haven’t been living up to the promise he showed in 2016, but he’s still generating plenty of First Bloods and getting damage out.
Low WPMs are a bit concerning for all of these players. Warding numbers tend to fall by the wayside in a carry jungler meta, since champions like Kha’zix tend not to pick up a Sightstone or Tracker’s Knife. Some of the veterans, like Chaser, Lira, and Svenskeren, are still getting more wards out, though.
The big question hovering over all of these players is how well they’ll survive an eventual meta shift. With Kha’zix, Rengar, and Lee Sin topping the pick/ban lists, aggression and mechanical skill are being rewarded. Those are the attributes most likely to be found in rookies, and it’s showing in their results. If the jungle meta shifts back to more tank play and less snowballing, these younger players will need to prove that they can keep up with the more conservative, control-oriented approach of veterans like Reignover and Chaser.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/lolesports