Jungle and mid share tremendous influence over a team’s chances of strategic success. The jungler’s early game impact can lead your team to victory through calculated ganks and pressure. Mid laners serve as a team’s core, flashy playmakers in the middle of the map that can carry the team on their back. Because of their central position, they, along with junglers, can impact every area and lane on Summoner’s Rift. When they team up, they can grab a game by the throat and dictate how it plays out. As a result, the pair’s early-game synergy makes a huge difference, especially in team with a very strong mid-jungle duo. So who are the EU LCS’ mid and jungle BFFs?
Fox hasn't given up a single first blood so far.
EU’s most attached mid-jungle couple are Fox and Gilius from Schalke 04. We determine this by looking at how much time they spend near each other in the early game. Gilius spends 22.8% of his time protecting and ganking with his midlane BFF Fox. Keep in mind this only takes into account games with standard lanes, because jungler pathing and activity in the early game differs when a lane swap comes into play. On the flip side, Roccat’s Betsy and Airwaks spend very little time together (11.4%), followed closely by last year’s OP mid-jungle duo of Perkz and Trick from G2 Esports (11.7%). How does this time spent together actually translate in-game? Let’s look at first bloods as an example. Schalke 04 secured eight first bloods in their 12 games this split, and both Gilius and Fox have 75% participation in their team’s first bloods, showing their synergy in the early game leads to a visible impact. Their synergy also means increased protection for Fox in the early game, as Fox hasn’t coughed up first blood a single time.
Looking at Roccat, however, reveals a different story. Roccat scored only four first-blood kills in their 12 games, and jungler Airwaks has participated in all four, securing three for himself and assisting the other. Midlaner Betsy, however, has 25% first blood participation, with only a single assist to his name. He has been the victim of first blood four times, half of his team’s first-blood deaths and the joint highest in the league, suggesting he gets little protection from his jungler in the early game.
JACKS OF ALL TRADES?
We often hear the expression “jack of all trades, master of none” when it comes to champion picks in League of Legends; if you want to climb in ranked, focus on a specific role and maybe even a single champion to get the best results. The more champions you try to learn, the harder it is to master them and, potentially, the worse you’ll do. Does it work the same way in the LCS? Let’s look at the players with the widest and narrowest champion pools and compare their teams’ standings to find out.
All mid laners in the EU LCS summer split have played at least 5 different champions, while three players have played 7 champions: Febiven (Fnatic, 2nd), PowerOfEvil (Origen, 9th) and Sencux (Splyce, 4th). In fact, these three players have pretty unimpressive records on the champions they have played the most: Febiven’s Azir (4 games, 50% win rate), PowerOfEvil’s Viktor (3 games, 33% win rate) and Sencux’s Viktor (4 games, 50% win rate). Picking many different champions could indicate different things: a strong varied champion pool, a high level of adaptability, or simply a lack of comfort on any one champion, but having a large champion pool doesn’t necessarily lead to a lower win rate. Myth = busted.
THE POPULAR KIDS
Speaking of Viktor, the Machine Herald does take the crown for being the joint-most picked champion in the EU LCS, with 31 picks across the 60 games that have been played so far. Viktor fits into most compositions and seems to be the jack of all trades in the mid lane, and with 15 wins and 16 losses, his win rate is decidedly unspectacular. Most of those wins came from H2K’s Ryu who has played it in 7 out of 12 games, boasting 5 wins and only 2 losses on the champion. That’s a stark contrast to Giants’ Night and Unicorns of Love’s Exileh who are dragging his win rate down; they’ve played 5 games between them on Viktor (Night 3, Exileh 2) and have won… none of them. Perhaps one to avoid in the future, chaps.
While Viktor remains the most picked champion in the league, Ryze is the most banned champion in the EU LCS so far. Ryze was banned in 47 games and picked in only 8, leading to a 91.7% pick and ban rate. He’s followed closely by everyone's favourite hemomancer Vladimir at 38 bans, and an 86.7% pick and ban rate. Unlike Vladimir however, Ryze has a negative win rate (37.5%) which was even lower before week 3’s games. Granted, 3 of Ryze’s losses came while he was under the command of UoL’s Exileh who’s had a very tough introduction to the EU LCS, his team sitting bottom of the standings after three weeks.
EFFICIENCY IS KING
It’s always revealing to look at damage per gold spent. This stat highlights the efficiency of a team’s gold distribution. If a player’s damage per gold spent is very high, that means the team’s distribution of gold to that player is very efficient because the return on their gold investment is high. If you’re funnelling a lot of gold into a player that’s not dealing damage, however, you’re wasting a large portion of your team’s gold.
In this regard, Schalke’s Fox is the king of the mid lane. Fox has the highest DPM of mid laners in the EU LCS at 729, and his damage per gold spent is an impressive 1.904, the outright highest in the league. His team appears to be well aware of this fact, as he has the highest gold share of any mid laner in the league and receives the most gold on his team. Some of that owes to champion picks: Fox’s most picked champion this season is Azir who has the second highest DPM (757) of champions with over five games played, second only to Swain (780).
Coming in second place, somewhat surprisingly, we have Origen’s PowerOfEvil, who’s had a very mixed split thus far. Origen sits in 9th place currently, though the team has been gradually improving following a nightmarish summer start. PowerOfEvil himself had a particularly poor showing in week 1, subbing for xPeke in Origen’s second series that week, but he’s massively improved since. He’s second in the league amongst mid laners in damage share, racking up 32.5% of Origen’s damage and DPM (691) but sits just 5th in gold share amongst mid laners. This makes his statistics arguably more impressive than Fox’s, considering Fox has the highest gold share amongst mid laners. PowerOfEvil demonstrates remarkable efficiency, and his damage per gold spent is outright second in the league at 1.884
Despite mid laners receiving less gold on average than AD carries(23.4% gold share for mid laners vs 25% for ADCs), they deal a lot more damage (28.8% damage share for mids vs 27.4% for ADCs). Their damage per gold spent is higher on average (1.675 for mids vs 1.512 for ADCs) making mid lane by far the most efficient role to pump gold into. That can vary on certain teams, however. Splyce’s mid laner Sencux, for example, deals less damage on average than his team’s ADC Kobbe, which has clearly been recognised considering Kobbe gets considerably more gold and is ultimately far more efficient with it.
We can gain tremendous insight into the performances of EU mid laners from the above stats. We’ve identified the most gold-efficient mids, the EU LCS power couple, and established that “jack of all trades, master of none” doesn’t apply to EU LCS mids. Tune into the EU LCS this Thursday and Friday to see Europe’s terrifying EU mids in action, and don’t miss our other Mid Lane Week goodies!