By signing PowerOfEvil, TSM made it clear that they were ready to compete again in 2021. This came after a massive extension for Jensen with TL and the signing of Perkz with Cloud9 to go back to the mid lane. For many, these three will be the top mid laners in the LCS and many are probably wondering, how do they stack up against each other?
Obviously, there is no exact way to do this. That said there are categories and certain statistics that can supplement the argument for each one. This series will try to give the information and come to conclusions based on what is available. With that, here is the first piece in this series on how PowerOfEvil, Jensen and Perks compare to each other in terms of their champions.
[Related: Grading TSM’s Signing of PowerOfEvil]
This section will take a look at each of their champion pools and determine which one has the most diverse and flexible pool. For a champion to be counted they will have needed to be played at least three or more times at either the LCS, LEC or Worlds level.
Note: These statistics are from lol.gamepedia.com.
In his time on Cloud9 and Team Liquid combined, Jensen has played a total of 477 games while also playing 32 champions three or more times. It was surprising to see champions like Karma, Sett, Lux, Talon, Irelia and Veigar below this threshold. Some champions who barely made the cut were Fizz, Jayce, Kassadin and Zed.
When looking at his most played champions Orianna (70), Syndra (46), Cassiopeia (39), Azir (38) and LeBlanc (35) make up about 48% of his total games played. Then adding in his top ten which includes Ryze (29), Viktor (23), Akali (19), Twisted Fate (17) and Zilean (15), it makes up 69% (nice) of his games.
All of this shows that Jensen can play just about every champion in the mid lane. There are those he definitely prefers and falls back on. This is the same with most players but when looking at his most played, almost all of them make up his highest winning percentages as well which will be interesting when looking at some of the other categories further along in this piece.
Perkz has basically only ever played for G2 and for his past two years has mainly played ADC/Bot since Caps had joined the team. That means that his diversity is obviously very high, he has played 37 champions more than three times but he is strictly a mid laner again. So to account for this, champions that were mainly used in the bot lane were taken down to get to 29 champions in his approximately 377 games as a mid laner.
It was surprising to see champions like Lulu, Qiyana, Twisted Fate and Sylas below the threshold. For possibly all of these champions, the main reason he has not played them is that they were likely in the meta while he was playing a different position.
For Perkz’s top five champions played, they are all mid laners and makeup about 41% of his games played in the mid-lane. These champions are Ryze (43), Orianna (30), Azir (29), Leblanc (28) and Syndra (25). Then when adding in the rest of his top ten mid-lane champions, Lucian (25), Cassiopeia (22), Yasuo (17), Corki (16) and Zoe (16), they make up about 67% of his games.
It is interesting but not overly surprising to see that Perkz and Jensen play similar champions. That said, their top ten definitely show small differences. Also, with Perkz’s time in the bot lane, there is always a chance he could bring those champions he learned into the mid lane. It is worth noting that both Perkz and Jensen have one champion in their top ten with an under 50% win percentage but Lucian for Perkz is only one game under. Viktor for Jensen is five games under.
Unlike Perkz and Jensen, PowerOfEvil has played on a new team every year of his career. He also has the least amount of diversity in terms of the number of champions played at 25 in 428 games. The champions who were played less than three games included notably Zilean, Akali, Irelia, Zed, Lucian, Diana, Lissandra, Luc and Xerath. The champions that barely made the cut were Qiyana, Malzahar, Talon, Galio, Taliyah and Zoe.
PowerOfEvil’s top five champions played are Orianna (90), Syndra (65), Azir (34), Viktor (34) and Cassiopeia (25). They make up about 58% of his total games played. Then when adding in the rest of his top ten champions, LeBlanc (23), Ahri (21), Corki (17), Kog’Maw (15) and Varus (10), they make up about 78% of his games plated.
Again, many of the same champions are seen between all three players. The most notable ones missing for PoE are Ryze, Lucian and Twisted Fate but he also played the most Varus, Kog’Maw, Ziggs and Karma games between the three. It is very clear that PowerOfEvil has the least diverse champion pool and leans more on his top picks than the other two.
Now that the champions and their pick diversity have been noted, it is time to look at the style of these specific champions. Admittedly they will be relatively similar but, it is worth looking at the differences and how they could affect matchups.
When looking at Jensen’s champion pool it is clear like the other two that he prefers control mages to possibly the highest degree of the three. That said he has more time on assassins like Akali and Ekko which shows that when he needs to be aggressive he can be. Zilean is also a pretty solid pocket pick for Jensen, one that Perkz has played successfully but not as proficiently as Jensen. Jensen also rarely uses ADC picks like Lucian, Ezreal and Varus when compared not-surprisingly to Perkz but even PoE. This is true of basically all of his champions as he has not used Yasuo, Jayce, Talon or Irelia very much.
Perkz’s style is aggression at all times because that is just the way G2 have played. This easily is seen in his champions as he likes to make big plays or have carry performance in all aspects of the macro and micro parts of the game. This is seen in his preference for Ryze above everyone else and not surprisingly Orianna, Azir and LeBlanc.That said, when considering his long hiatus from the role, these champions stand out even more considering the number of games he still has on them.
Ori and Azir can not only control lane but their teamfight presence is massive. Whereas LeBlanc and Lucian can give him lane dominance and carry pressure at all levels. He is noticeably absent of map changing champions like Galio, Taliyah and Twisted Fate when compared to the rest of his pool, even though he does play a lot of Ryze. Then, when adding all of the ADC champions to his arsenal, Perkz style can continue to prevail as he can use them to bring out a surprising matchup that his opponent is likely not be used to.
As if there was any doubt, control mages, control mages and more control mages are PoE’s style. This is why he has played more Orianna, Syndra, Azir and Viktor than the other two and probably anyone else in the LCS. These are his four champions that he can go to and succeed on in any meta and at any time. That said, he has recently been trying out new things like when he pulled out the Swain or his surprising affinity towards Kog’Maw and Varus.
He enjoys providing consistent damage and rarely plays on or succeeds with champions who like to get in close to the action. While this hurts his diversity, it does show that his style works for him. He is a master of his craft and while many will worry about this, he has proven time and time again that he can make it work.
Ability to Learn and Incorporate Champions Both Meta and Not
This section will take into account games that players have played even one champion, especially if they had a standout performance or completely bombed. Also, it will look at specifically the last two years and see if there are champions that have recently crept up as stable picks for any of the three.
While Jensen definitely has his go-to picks, he is most certainly not afraid to bring out new picks and find success on them. The biggest examples of this in the past two years are Akali and Twisted Fate. He brought these two picks in and played them at an extremely high level after basically never playing them before they were in the meta. Sure this is an important part of being a pro, but not everyone is able to do this. There are plenty of times the meta can drastically change just how dominant a player of his caliber can be.
Two other picks that illustrate his ability to learn and incorporate champions are Anivia and Sett. On Anivia in 2019 he played one really good game and another that was a bit underwhelming but, he still had the confidence to bring it out at Worlds which says a lot. Sett similarly was a champion that he had actually never played in an LCS game and yet, at 2020 Worlds, he went 4/0/13 in a big win for the team. Like everyone, there are examples of Jensen struggling too. This is clear with basically any attack damage type champion like Yasuo, Talon or Ezreal. But, it seems like attack damage or moreso non-ap champions are the only major hurdle for Jensen when it comes to his ability to learn and incorporate champions.
This will be the quickest section in the entire piece. Perkz may be unrivaled when it comes to learning new champions and being able to incorporate them into his regular champion pool. The fact that he was able to go into a completely new lane and play it at the highest level with champions that he had never played at the pro level before is absolutely incredible. Do not forget, in his first year as an ADC, Perkz was able to help his team get to a Worlds Final. Sure they lost when Perkz was not able to get his comfort Kai’Sa or Xayah picks but even getting to that level was absolutely incredible and should be commended. He is currently the kind in this section and there shouldn’t be much of an argument.
Out of all three of these fantastic players, PowerOfEvil is known for having the least diverse pool of champions. He seems to always lean on his power picks. When looking at his past two years specifically this is very true. That said, 2020 started to show that maybe, just maybe, he could become someone who can incorporate new champions. When looking at his two Rumble games, the Swain pick and the Vayne he pulled out at Worlds, PowerOfEvil might be truly coming into his prime. All of these games he absolutely popped off. His Vayne game was very eye-opening as it came right after he pulled out the Swain during the LCS Playoffs. He has seemingly always done well with ADC type picks and maybe that game was enough to get him out of his comfort zone and picking these types of champions more often.
Even when considering these few picks and the recent past, PoE still is behind Jensen and Perkz when it comes to learning and incorporating new champions. His top champions have worked for him in the past but it is possible that on TSM, PowerOfEvil may start branching out more. If he does, it will likely be due to the encouragement of his head coach, Bjergsen, who is known for at least trying almost any potentially viable champion. Doing this would certainly help his cause.
Overall Thoughts for Champions Category
When strictly looking at champions and possibly every aspect of this series, Perkz will likely come out on top. He is arguably the best western League of Legends player of all-time after all. That said, he will be coming back into the role full time with a brand new team, in a new country and will be facing mostly different opposition for the first time in his career. That is a lot of firsts and at least until he is comfortable, he may be vulnerable.
The real battle in almost every aspect of this series will be between PowerOfEvil and Jensen. These two have been going at it for the past few years and until recently, Jensen was winning handily. FlyQuest was truly the time that PowerOfEvil showed up. He was able to not only best Jensen but just about everyone else in the mid lane. When looking at his 2020 stats, courtesy of Oracles Elixir, PowerOfEvil lead in nearly every statistical category, and in some instances was far ahead of everyone else.
Some can argue that this was an outlier when looking at the rest of his career. Truthfully, even TSM fans would be hard-pressed to argue differently. Even with his comfort picks, until recently, PowerOfEvil had worse stats across the board. That said, it is also likely that Jensen has had at least some help by being surrounded by top players nearly every season he has been in the LCS.
To wrap this up, Perkz is the clear favorite in this category. If it were not for the 2020 season, Jensen would also have a very clear advantage over PoE. But, due to his recent success and having a team that truly allowed him to shine, PowerOfEvil has an argument to push him closer to the top than ever before. Make sure to check back next week for part two of this series where it will look deeper into their laning.
“From Our Haus to Yours”