Minions Have Spawned

a League of Legends analysis blog

Visualizing Rivalries: KT, SKT and SSG on the Rift

I am going to take you on a journey. As Rift Rivals draws near, we will witness different regional styles clashing. Yet the top three teams represetning LCK could not be more contrasting. SSG’s jungle pathing and skirmishes seem to get under SKT’s skin every time. Meanwhile the way KT beats SSG with faster rotations and first bloods also works against SKT but only for one game.

LCK ranking_2JulLCK Standings as of 2 Jul

The KT vs. SKT series speaks volumes about how SKT adapts to each team in ways unexpected. In Spring they fought hard to take it to late game for the win. This time in Summer, SKT decided that late game is their game plan, period.

Opting into late game is a risk. So many things could go wrong. One misstep, one death, one lost Baron, one inhib gone, or one incorrect rotation spells defeat. Every other team would seek to match and try to outdo KT’s aggression early to mid.

Squads from LPL and LMS fighting the LCK region have more than their work cut out for them. This is a short statistical story about KT, SKT and SSG—and what other regions are getting themselves into.

The first 15 minutes

HeatMap_KT15KT Kills and Assists @15 on red and blue side
(Sources of data on this page unless otherwise stated: /
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KT’s kills and assists in the first 15 minutes (blue and red side) are clear. Score ganks top, tower dives then the whole team dives bot beyond the outer tower with teleport.

KT Kills and Assists @15 on blue side only

The way they play is even more obvious when KT are on blue side.

KT vs SKT, LCK Summer 2017 Round 1

A classic KT snowball.

SSG Kills and Assists @15 on red and blue side

Notice how SSG’s heat map differs. Their kills/assists are centered in lane—a nod towards Ambition’s lane-centric ganks.

SSG Kills and Assists @15 on blue side only

On blue side, SSG very starkly focuses on top over others.

SKT Kills and Assists @15 on blue and red side

The sparsest overall map for blue and red side before 15 is of course, SKT’s. There is still a bot side concentration with a big dot in mid which is conditionally based on drafting an early pressure jungler.

SKT Kills and Assists @15 on blue and red side separately

Separating SKT on blue and red side, they are not that different. Kills and assists are tied to objectives and kept within the opponent’s objective zone, a marked difference to KT’s extensions.

Deaths @15

Just as much as K+A before 15 tells us what each team wants to achieve in the early game, deaths show us the other half of the story. They reveal where plays are not clean, and where teams may be vulnerable.

KT deaths@15 on blue side only 

As much as KT on blue side makes plays beyond the river and tower line, they also have accompanying deaths (though lesser in numbers).

SSG deaths@15 on red side only 

For SSG on red side, deaths in top indicates a) CuVee who usually wins his 1v1 matchup gets cleaned up after or b) is getting dove under/beyond tower.

SKT deaths@15 on red side only 

CuVee’s deaths are still considerably less than when SKT play on red side where Huni has been first-blood victim 20% of the time.

SKT deaths@15 on blue side only 

Most contrasting, while SKT’s kills/assists at 15 is scarce, their deaths on blue side speak volumes, outnumbering KT and SSG. Basically they’re dying everywhere across the map: In their own jungle, in the enemy’s jungle, in lane, and getting dove at bot.

SKT blue side WR lower

It further corresponds with their blue side win rate that is lower than red.

Team Playstyles

LCK team averages_1_edit

LCK team averages_2_edit

Take a look at the average numbers of each team. If you didn’t know the LCK ranking, would you have guessed that SKT is number 1?

I wouldn’t. I would have picked KT.

Putting things together, team statistics are better understood. SKT may win championships and sit at the top of the table, but they do not top every chart.

On average KT closes games the fastest, has the highest KDA, lowest deaths and objectives (Towers, Herlad, Baron). As a result their average gold difference at 15 surpasses every other team by miles. They are making all the moves by 15, and transiting kills into objectives into fast closures.

Samsung’s numbers don’t topple any of the columns, but on average they are within the top scorers.

So…how does SKT win, again?

Korean_quote(Photo credit: Inven,


No. They win by perfecting the most basic move in League of Legends and the most difficult one at the same time: CSing and Rotations

Their gold difference at 15 minutes on average is not negative, but out of all the 6 positive teams they are at the middle of the pack at 246g which pales in comparison to KT’s 1333g.

SKT do trail at 15mins, whether it be against a top or bottom team that make early game moves. We saw this at MSI too. By this time they would also be down in kills. Someone, somewhere on SKT would have died to lose out on XP and farm.

Yet despite the deaths and trailing in early gold, on average SKT still manage to be the team with the highest CS per minute, gold per minute and gold differential per minute across short games or hour long ones.

More than anything, this is a reflection of SKT’s rotations. Pay attention to the little things: How many times have you noticed that when SKT perform rotation across lanes, Bang, Faker or Huni/Unatara would arrive to catch the wave at such a perfect time that it does not meet turret range? How many times have you noticed that they stick to their planned lane assignments for a fixed period without any wasteful shuffling in between?

SKT repeat this over, and over and over again throughout the game, adjusting who goes where as needed to get gold out of creeps—with minimal error.

In many ways League of Legends can be stripped down to a 2-step process:
1. Getting the most gold out of given resources (creeps, neutral monsters) and
2. Manipulate them to favour tower-downing until the team reaches the Nexus
Everything else is a bonus.

Four very different teams will be representing LCK in Rift Rivals. Catch it live on LoL eSports.

LCK-LPL-LMS rivalries begin 6 Jul (Thurs).


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This entry was posted on July 2, 2017 by in objective control and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .
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