LCS 2021: Champion Pools and How to Look At Player Damage

League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /
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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 2: — during 2020 LCS Spring Split at the LCS Arena on February 2, 2020 in Los Angeles, California, USA.. (Photo by Tina Jo/Riot Games)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 2: — during 2020 LCS Spring Split at the LCS Arena on February 2, 2020 in Los Angeles, California, USA.. (Photo by Tina Jo/Riot Games) /

We look at how champion picks can impact the damage a player does and see which LCS player does the most damage regardless of champion picks.

So looking at each chart, which plots DPM on the X-axis and EDD on the Y-axis, we can see that players will fall into one of four quadrants.

In the top right, we find the players with high DPM and EDD. These are what I would call “efficient aggressive” players. They tend to play champions that you would expect to do high damage on and tend to play those champions well.

Moving to the top left, we have players with low DPM, but high EDD. These are what I would classify as the “efficient passive” players. These are your weak-side top laners, tank players, or utility players. They’re not on champions that are expected to do high DPM, but they tend to perform admirably on those champions.

In the bottom right, we have high DPM but low EDD, which I would call “inefficient aggressive” players. These champions underperform in terms of damage compared to the aggressive picks they tend to get.

Finally, in the bottom left, we have low DPM and EDD. These are the “inefficient passive” players, who have low damage both because of their champion pool and their weaker level of play.

I don’t tend to make huge judgments between passive and aggressive players, as this is a choice of champion style and what fits with their team comp in each game. Instead, I’d rather focus on the effectiveness of their play.

A player who is more passive but effective should generally be considered a better choice for their role than a player who is aggressive but less efficient. In evaluating these factors, though, we generally want to see as high of efficiency (or high EDD) as possible given a player’s champion pool.

Created by Josh Tyler
Created by Josh Tyler /

Starting in the top lane, we see that the players would fall about where we expect. Licorice is, far and away, the best top laner in terms of damage output and his high EDD of 37.0 (meaning he does, on average, 37.0 more damage per minute than the typical player on the champion he is playing) leads all top laners. After him, we have former TSM top laner Broken Blade as second-best. Ironically, the man who replaced him, Huni, is third in overall DPM but is still above the LCS average in terms of DPM.

Other notable top laners to point out include the still-teamless Solo, who is solidly in that “effective aggressive” category (along with Ssumday and fellow teamless top laner Hauntzer). There is also Impact, who is, unsurprisingly, classified as an “effective passive” player and appears to be the only true weak-side top laner. As someone who has been a bit harsh on him for low damage and kill participation, I should cut him more slack; the low damage is more due to champion pool than ability.

Created by Josh Tyler
Created by Josh Tyler /

Moving on to the jungle, we see that there are two massive outliers at the top of the list: Blaber (who most would expect to see there given he was the Spring Split MVP) and Contractz (who saw only a brief stint in the LCS). The only other jungler who is considered to be an “effective aggressive” jungler is Akaadian, who also only saw limited play. Santorin was the only jungler who fits the classification of “effective passive” jungler in the LCS last year.

While the average for both DPM and EDD in the jungle role was thrown off by those two outliers, it’s curious why Contractz is graded so highly. It’s also curious why a consensus top-tier jungler, Closer, is rated as “ineffective passive,” below junglers like Svenskeren, Spica, Dardoch, and even Wiggily. Closer is supposed to be a top-three jungler in the LCS, so why is he rated so much worse in his damage output compared to the man he replaced, Contractz?

The Contractz piece is the easiest to decipher. During his stint in the LCS, carry junglers were very much in the meta and he took full advantage. In his 15-game stint in the LCS, Contractz played four games of Nidalee and three games of Graves.

Those two champions, making up half of his games, have the two highest expected DPMs by champion in the jungle role. Incredibly, in those seven games, Contractz only had a negative EDD (meaning he did less damage per minute than you would expect from an average player on that champion) twice.  His average EDD on just those two champions was 35.0, but where he really made his mark was on his tank play.

Even though Contractz played tanks like Volibear and Olaf less often (two games on Voli and three on Olaf), he never had a negative EDD and his average EDD on those two champions was 176.2! In short, Contractz was great at carry junglers and also fantastic at tanks, making him an effective jungler, but his preference for those carry junglers made him the most aggressive in the LCS.

Moving on to Closer, the former Golden Guardians jungler played 51 games in the LCS on 13 unique champions. His overall EDD on the year was -39.9, meaning he did, on average, about 40 damage per minute less than the typical jungler on the same champion. If we remove his “one-off” games, where he played a champion one time (perhaps for a situational pick or because he was banned out), his EDD improves slightly to -37.7, so it’s not being thrown off because he did poorly in a few games on unique picks.

Drilling down even more, if we look at only champions on which he had at least five or more games in 2020, we have four champions (Volibear, Jarvan IV, Lee Sin, Graves) and an average EDD of -41.1. So, on his comfort champions, Closer was actually worse in terms of damage compared to the average jungler.

A big reason for that is his play on Graves, where he had an EDD of -96.9. In fact, if we look at his play on the other major “carry” jungler, Nidalee, we see that he had only two games of positive EDD out of 11, and an average EDD of -78.4. That means, in 20% of Closer’s games on carry junglers, he was significantly worse than the average jungler. That’s borne out further by the fact that GGS only won 3 of the 11 games Closer was on carries and he had a 2.46 KDA in those games.

On traditional tanks (Jarvan IV, Volibear, Olaf, Sejuani, and Sett combined for 27 of his 51 games), Closer was better, but not by much (-20.1 EDD). In fact, going champion by champion, I could not find a single one that Closer played multiple times and, on average, outperformed the expected damage. His best EDD was on Jarvan, where he had seven games and an average EDD of -1.5.

In conclusion, Closer is rated so low because he tends to play more tanks than carries and isn’t particularly effective in doing damage on either one. By contrast, Contractz plays more of a carry style in terms of his champion pool and outperforms others on those champions.