Analyst Challenge – Risk Tolerance, October 30

October 30, 2019 Challenge

Yesterday I posted an Analyst Challenge based on a moment from game 3 of G2 Esports vs. Damwon Gaming in the World Championships quarterfinals.

Here’s the challenge tweet.


Cody Gerard wrote a thread breaking down the two main options: either using Teleport to create a team fight, or giving up the Rift Herald and focusing on your pushes in mid and bot lanes.

Masuro Garih, former coach with Mad Lions, agreed that G2 should leave Yorick in the bottom lane, and pointed out that after Damwon gets Herald, G2 has tools to defend against Damwon’s Herald activation.

@Thatguybeefcake pointed out an important factor: the Corki Trinity Force power spike on ShowMaker.

Virtually every response came along the same lines: if you’re G2 here, don’t go for a team fight; play safe macro and hit the turrets.

Tim’s Take

I chose this moment for the Analyst Challenge because I agree that it seems like the obvious choice is for G2 to give up the Rift Herald—minimizing risk for a moderate reward—but the choice G2 actually made was to initiate a team fight! That presents a great opportunity to pause and reflect on our own analysis, and try to understand why the team did something we didn’t expect. Sometimes the “mistakes” we see really are mistakes, but other times our analysis might just be off-base, creating a learning opportunity.

Let’s look at the actual video clip to see what G2 did and how it worked out.

Wunder TPed into the river as Mikyx engaged the fight, and Caps was pincering from mid lane. Wunder had a ward available that would have put him in DWG’s back line, but he’s nowhere near tanky enough to opt into that positioning: DWG could have easily turned and blown him up as soon as his TP finished. G2 get the first kill of the fight onto Nuguri as DWG invest their ults and damage into Caps. Perkz ults in and trades himself for Beryl but nearly takes out ShowMaker in the process.

In the end, DWG secure Herald, the fight goes 2-2, and DWG are able to use the Herald in the top lane to take the First Turret bonus. Not great for G2.

Here’s the initial reaction I wrote in my game notes:

G2 went for a fight when they shouldn’t have, went even in the fight, and lost the overall macro sequence.

After a moment, though, I added this:

Coin flip call: could have produced a big team fight win that would have nearly won them the game given the state of their lead at the time.

G2’s call in this moment was a great example of the concept of risk tolerance. Every opportunity comes with a balance of risk vs. reward, and the players have to decide whether the potential reward justifies the perceived level of risk. The reason G2 went for this call, and the reason it wasn’t a flat-out mistake, is that the potential reward was actually very high, and G2 just has a high risk tolerance!

Consider how close Perkz was to killing ShowMaker in this fight. If Caps had stayed alive long enough for one more spell rotation, ShowMaker probably dies (and Caps might even live). But Beryl had a nice Body Slam-Flash to put Caps in a bad spot, and later used his next Body Slam to sacrifice himself for a disengage that prevented G2 from “winning” the ending of the fight in terms of health bars. If this team fight was replayed several times, there is a certain number of them where G2 gets an extra kill, which puts them in position to immediately shove mid lane, gaining even more gold. If that happens, G2 have a complete stranglehold on the game.

Yes, Damwon had stronger item spikes (Trinity Force and Nuguri’s Serrated Dirk compared to G2’s carries having Tear of the Goddess items), but don’t forget that G2 were up 2k gold before the fight, with Perkz in an especially strong position. And also consider that G2’s priority in mid and bot lanes meant that they had prepared the map very nicely for the fight, giving themselves a lot more post-fight options than Damwon.

Overall, there’s certainly a strong argument that G2 would have been better off avoiding the fight, that the risk/reward ratio wasn’t good enough to justify it compared to the guaranteed win of taking First Turret in bot lane and giving up Rift Herald for free. But I don’t think it’s fair to characterize the fight as a complete mistake by G2, and I believe that type of analysis is based largely in the analyst having a different level of risk tolerance than the G2 players.

One thought on “Analyst Challenge – Risk Tolerance, October 30”

  1. Do you think a cost-benefit analysis might be helpful when evaluating such plays? In this scenario for example you could try to gauge the (minimal) additional gold gained if the play had succeeded, i.e. one or two additional kills plus First Turret gold through herald.
    One could then use this value to compute ceteris paribus win probability (@15 or possibly another point in the game) and compare this value to the one we get when using the actually observed values and those one could have expected if G2 had went for the safer play.
    Of course, this analysis hinges upon various assumptions but I would reckon that it can provide a rough evaluation of the (minimal) potential gain from such a risky play which could then be used to determine whether it is worth to take such risks.

    I would be happy to hear other opinions on the feasibility and usefulness of such analyses.

Join the Discussion

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.