The 2019 League Championship Series (LCS) Summer Split only has a few more weeks of regular season remaining. As the League of Legends professional scene inches closer and closer to playoffs and post-season, teams will make their final push higher in the standings. As the split winds down, fans, casters and esports media, like The Dive, are starting to discuss All-Pro awards.
Counter Logic Gaming are a team that may have members that earn a spot in the All-Pro awards. The team currently sits tied with Cloud9 for second place, and only Team Liquid above them. Historically, the top three LCS teams’ players dominate the All-Pro teams. For example, only one player outside the top three teams made an All-Pro team last split (FlyQuest’s Santorin, 3rd team jungler). So CLG’s tie with C9 puts them in a perfect spot. Some members could make their way in. Here are the realistic chances for each CLG player and Coach Weldon to make All-Pro.
This is Ruin’s first split in North America, but not his first split in a major region. He played for Giants Gaming in Europe in 2018. Therefore, he is not eligible for Rookie of the Split (“rookies are players who have previously played less than 3 games in a major region”). CLG have shown a marked improvement in proactivity, coordination and mid-game macro since adding Ruin a few months ago. The organization is having its best split since Summer 2017, but how much of that success is directly from Ruin’s individual contribution?
Ruin is definitely in the top half of LCS Top Laners, statistically. His laning stats are fairly average, but his damage is high and Ruin is tied for the second-most solo kills among top laners. Death share is Ruin’s biggest red flag, accounting for 28 percent of CLG’s deaths (not including his one mid lane game). His proactivity comes at a cost.
CLG’s top laner should not make All-Pro, when compared to the likes of Licorice, Impact, Hauntzer or even V1per. Ruin may get some points in the vote, but he will probably remain a decent amount lower than third-team. He has brought new life to CLG, so another few months to grow in North America may help his odds in 2020.
Prediction: 6th place – behind Impact, Licorice, Broken Blade, Hauntzer, V1per
CLG’s most valuable player currently, Wiggily has really raised his value in his sophomore split. He has been particularly proficient with Sejuani and Trundle, but Wiggily also recently put up a 13 KDA debuting Sylas jungle. CLG’s jungler has come along way since getting subbed in last summer behind Reignover, and the team is benefitting.
Not much stands out for Wiggily statistically. He isn’t starting games insanely ahead in gold, CS or XP. Wiggily doesn’t even have a very high First Blood rate. However, CLG hold some of the higher Baron and Dragon control rates, as well as a solid gold difference at 15 and gold differential per minute. Wiggily brings tempo to CLG, something they have lacked for a couple of years now.
Player of the Game awards is Wiggily’s strongest stat. He has five of them in the nine CLG wins, the highest percentage of individual awards versus team wins in the entire LCS. Crown has four of OpTic’s eight wins. Svenskeren has four out of nine for Cloud9. Out of TL’s 11 wins CoreJJ has five. But, just because Wiggily is CLG’s biggest contributor in their wins, it does not mean he is the best jungler compared to others. The jungler pool in North America is really close right now, with strong cases for Svenskeren, Xmithie, Meteos and Amazing. Wiggily should probably land as 1st Team or 2nd Team based on performance, but veterans Svenskeren and Xmithie will likely gain more votes.
Prediction: 3rd place – behind Svenskeren, Xmithie
LCS mid laners are pretty hard to parse apart. The mid laner on the best teams will always look strong, because so much on Summoner’s Rift centers around mid lane. Mids roam to either lane, they fight for priority for neutral objectives, they invade jungles and they output damage most of the time in teamfights. Nonetheless, some have more pop-off performances that stick in fans’ heads when power ranking the players. Without carrying games, most mids fall by the wayside.
That is pretty much the deal with PowerOfEvil right now. Despite being pivotal to CLG’s second-place ranking, most everyone will peg at least four players ahead of him–Jensen, Nisqy, Bjergsen and Froggen or Crown, or both. Bjergsen had that Azir game versus Golden Guardians. Nisqy carried on Sylas against FlyQuest. Jensen has had four Double Kills and a Quadra Kill and a 6.3 KDA. Crown and Froggen have higher laning statistics, despite being on lower ranked teams.
Meanwhile, PowerOfEvil has opted for more Viktor and Orianna picks than anything else, champions that have quieter laning phases and stand out more in fights. CLG lost the one Leblanc game he was hard carrying. The pocket picks are not necessarily an issue (just look at Froggen’s Anivia or Crown’s Twisted Fate). But when PowerOfEvil plays his comfort champions he does not stand out as much, which hurts his chances for subjective voting like All-Pro.
Prediction: 6th place – behind Bjergsen, Jensen, Nisqy, Froggen, Crown
CLG’s AD carry has been quietly making a case for himself to land within the All-Pro team for Summer Split 2019. Stixxay does not necessarily hard carry most games, but he has not made many major mistakes, a big difference from Spring Split when he was benched for Auto for a few games. In fact, factoring in gold, CS and XP difference at 15 minutes, Stixxay and Biofrost are the second-best bottom lane after Team Liquid.
Stixxay’s champion pool has been great, going five for five on Sivir, while also showcasing strong games on Caitlyn (beating TL) and Sona (beating C9). His Xayah and Ezreal are on par with the rest of the LCS, but Ezreal, in particular, seems to mess with CLG’s style. The lack of early laning presence could be to blame.
All that considered, most analysts would probably label Stixxay as “too safe” to be high in All-Pro. He has a middling KDA with fewer kills and assists than expected for an ADC on the third-place team. Stixxay does the lowest percentage of his team’s damage among ADCs, but his 9.5 CS per minute is second overall only to Crown.
Considering he also averages some of the lowest deaths in the LCS, these are not necessarily bad looks for Stixxay. He simply has not had many flashy moments this split for fans to remember. Doublelift could tank these last few weeks of the split and still win 1st team. 2nd team will be close between Zven and Stixxay, and will be heavily dependent on these last few weeks. Chances are, TSM finish the split a bit stronger and Zven outshines Stixxay in the end.
Prediction: 3rd place – behind Doublelift, Zven
Much of CLG’s improvement this split over last can be attributed to Biofrost. He participates in 72 percent of their kills, along with Wiggily. That is 10 to 20 percent higher than any of CLG’s laners. Biofrost is thriving under the mage support meta, which explains why he was one of the first LCS supports to pick Lux on stage. CLG were also the first team to get Yuumi, and Biofrost showed why she should be pick-or-ban. And while damage per minute is not generally too important of a statistic for supports, Biofrost’s 221 tops all supports and beats five junglers.
Biofrost’s draft flexibility has helped CLG bring power picks into other lanes. When the support is not afraid to pick skill match-ups like Pyke, Thresh and Rakan over Nautilus or Tahm Kench, Stixxay, Wiggily and Ruin are more likely to get the picks they prefer. Biofrost is also a key contributor to CLG’s bottom lane pressure. They have solidified themselves as a consistent, top-of-the-league duo that has not had many laning phase problems. Biofrost’s Zyra game is the only one that comes to mind.
Support is always a difficult role for voting, since they rely so much on the rest of the team to perform. Statistics feel even less useful in judging supports than other roles. That being said, Biofrost passes the eye test within North America. During CLG’s matches, the observer consistently pans to wherever Biofrost is on the map because that is where the action happens. Lux Light Bindings, Rakan Grand Entrances and Yuumi Prowling Projectiles regularly force CLG’s opponents to react, which slowly wins them the game.
Just like Doublelift, CoreJJ could seriously tank these last few weeks and still win 1st team. Smoothie and Zeyzal are the only other supports that could threaten Biofrost for 2nd team, but both have team-wide weaknesses that lower their perceived value. Meanwhile, Biofrost has rarely looked bad this Summer Split, even when CLG loses. He is also the only support to win “Player of the Week” this split.
Prediction: 2nd place – behind CoreJJ
Although CLG does not have a rookie to nominate, they do have Coach Weldon for consideration of Coach of the Split. This award goes to whichever team performs best relative to fans’ expectations. They take into account organizational history, player expectations, how long the roster has been together, etc. Taking these ideas into account, Weldon has a decent case for top three coach this Summer Split.
CLG lost its longest-standing member, Darshan, and replaced him with a new-to-North-America Korean import with little experience in a major region. They also decided to boot camp in Korea between Spring and Summer Split to help incorporate Ruin, while developing more synergy between the rest of the roster. Whatever they did seems to have worked, as CLG did not take very long to look coordinated on the Rift.
Weldon surely seems like the most transparent coach, regularly uploading VOD reviews and his “Weldon Weekly” series. He also comments on the CLG subreddit more frequently than most fans probably expect. CLG’s documentary series Inside CLG features Weldon just as much as the other members of the team.
To top it all off, CLG likely ranks towards the top when evaluating salary efficiency. Travis Gafford uploaded a video in May 2019 ranking LCS organizations by salaries divided by Spring Split wins. CLG ranked seventh with half as many wins as TL and C9. Now CLG is only two wins behind TL, likely boosting their salary efficiency closer to the top of the league. Most of this can be attributed to Weldon’s leadership, but TL’s dominance and C9’s rapid adaptation with younger players (Kumo, Blaber) give them edges in voting. If OpTic surpasses CLG in the standings, Zaboutine could boot Weldon from top three.
Prediction: 3rd place – behind Reapered, Cain