Analyst Challenge – Trade Play, July 30

The “trade play” challenge gives you a sequence of play where both teams gained some objective or advantage, and asks you to judge which team gained more. An effective response to this challenge needs to consider each team’s win conditions, and the game state at the start and end of the sequence.

July 30, 2019 Challenge

The Responses

Duke, coach of Splyce in the LEC, felt C9 had an opportunity to win the play, but they didn’t execute some of the subtleties of wave management correctly.

WEEXIAO of Diabolus Esports also felt FlyQuest came out ahead, not only due to the power of the infernal drake but also the map state after the sequence.

There was also a great tweet-chain from Command Attack and a long, interesting discussion between pro analyst AlbertPCoh, esports journalist Xing Li, and MTSwisher.

Tim’s Thoughts

There was no clear right or wrong answer to this challenge, but the consensus from the experts landed in pretty much the same place as the poll and my own impressions: FlyQuest came out ahead by a modest margin.

Cloud9 were playing to a win condition by working to power up Licorice’s Kled so that he could win the side lane 1v1 and ramp up as a split pusher, either to take towers or use his tempo to roam and flank for team fights. The general idea of their play made sense from that perspective, and arguably they had little or no chance to successfully contest the infernal drake even if they didn’t invest their jungler and mid laner into making that top lane play. So there’s nothing particularly blameworthy in the call they made–it wasn’t a bad play–aside from there possibly being a superior play available, and the wave management afterwards being imperfect, as others pointed out.

However, an infernal dragon is incredibly valuable, somewhere in the range of increasing a team’s win probability by 8 to 10 percentage points when taken this early in the game, and that’s a bigger boost than one kill’s worth of gold. FlyQuest’s team comp especially gained a lot of benefit from the infernal drake buff, further increasing that value.

Ultimately, FlyQuest ended up winning the game, and the infernal drake did play a factor. More decisive, though, was Pobelter’s huge advantage over Nisqy in the mid lane, which prevented Twisted Fate from having much impact on the game. FlyQuest also made some nice rotations as a team to cover V1per’s weakness in the 1v1, negating the advantage Licorice had built up through his Kled pick and the tower dive play.

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