Luck and League: Measuring Ideal Season Length in LoL

Angus Lockhart is a consultant at a market research firm in Toronto, Canada, and holds a Masters of Arts in Political Science. He has been playing League of Legends since season 2.


What is the ideal number of games to play in a season? To many fans and analysts, an ideal season has to be long enough that the best teams reliably come out on top, while the weaker teams fall to the bottom of the standings, but not so long that there is no real room for upsets and unpredictability. Based on that definition, sports analytics provide tools for answering that exact question.

The longer a season, the more likely it is that the best teams float to the top. We’d all agree that a four game season is probably too few, but a hundred game season is probably too many. How do we know what is right?

At 18 games, the LCS and LEC have only two more games than the NFL and significantly fewer games than the NBA (82) the NHL (82) and MLB (150). Is that too fed, or is it appropriate given the nature of League of Legends?

Before seeking an answer, we must acknowledge that when it comes to creating a schedule and a season length, many different factors are important: viewership, burnout, skill expression, and more. The focus of this analysis is “skill expression”, meaning the ability of a team to demonstrate its quality with minimal influence from random or uncontrollable factors. But skill expression is naturally not the only consideration, since teams and Riot have an incentive to maximize profit and to limit playing time to prevent burnout. Statistics, however, can’t say much about these other factors, so a broader discussion of the “best” season length must be left to a different context.

The Data

The math behind this analysis comes from Tom Tango’s “True talent replacement level for sports leagues”, via a Neil Paine article on 538. Their previous analysis provides a framework for understanding how much luck contributes to a team’s score after any number of games.

The following analyses use the LCS and LEC records for teams since the beginning of franchising. Continue reading Luck and League: Measuring Ideal Season Length in LoL

Academy Standouts: 2020 Spring Week 2

Academy Standouts highlights the players who performed best in the most recent week of NA Academy play.

Previous Academy Standouts:

If you want to track your favourite team’s Academy performance throughout each split, you can also check out the Academy stats pages, starting with 2020 Spring regular season player stats and team stats.

Breezyyy, Support, 100 Thieves

In games on Lulu and Rakan, Breezyyy put together two strong showings, especially shining on the Rakan as 100 Thieves Academy took down Team Liquid Academy. Strong laning alongside Prismal led to kills and forced opponent Summoner Spells, and Breezyyy’s disengages and peel in team fights were crucial to allowing Prismal to shine as a carry.

Breezyyy Stats, 2020 Spring Week 2

  KDA KP DTH WPM WCPM
W2 15.3 88.5% 13.0% 1.38 0.23
Total 10.0 77.9% 14.6% 1.33 0.20

Breezyyy’s coach, Kelsey Moser, described him to me as “a very positive player with good instincts for the game and an eagerness to learn from the team.” If he keeps learning and shows this level of laning skill and awareness of his role in a team composition, we’ll be seeing Breezyyy on this list more in future weeks.

Damonte, Mid, Dignitas

Another week, another standout showing from Damonte. This time, he did it on Rumble against Yusui’s Viktor and on LeBlanc against Triple’s Lissandra. In signature style, Damonte got out of his lane and affected the map, played aggressively, and drove his team forward. His roaming led to lost CS and a low XP difference number (-401 XPD10 in week 2), but the value he gains and creates elsewhere on the map is worthwhile.

Damonte Stats, 2020 Spring Week 2 Continue reading Academy Standouts: 2020 Spring Week 2

Academy Standouts: 2020 Spring Week 1

The NA Academy league is a place for players to show their potential and earn an opportunity to make it into–or back into–the LCS. Check back each week throughout 2020 as I highlight the Academy players who put up the best performances.

If you want to track your favourite team’s Academy performance throughout each split, you can also check out the Academy stats pages, starting with 2020 Spring regular season player stats and team stats.

Damonte, Mid, Dignitas

Right from the start, Damonte is shouting out loud and clear that he deserves to be in LCS, not Academy. He was assertive, using his laning advantages (+500 GD10 and +307 XPD10!) to control the river, getting himself fed through skirmishes, and working hard (sometimes a little too hard?) to make plays for his team.

Damonte Stats, 2020 Spring Week 1

KDA KP GXD10 DPM/DMG% CSPM
7.0 71.4% +807 720/32.4% 8.1

Together, Damonte and Akaadian look like the strongest mid/jungle duel in Academy by a wide margin, and Damonte seems ready to stomp all over this league, especially if he can overcome the little bit of cockiness that showed up when he started to build his leads.

JayJ, Support, FlyQuest

There’s  no doubt that JayJ wants to see himself back in the LCS, after being replaced in FlyQuest’s main roster by IgNar. Continue reading Academy Standouts: 2020 Spring Week 1

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