LCS 2021: Evaluating the Champion Pool of LCS Players

League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /
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Photos by David Lee/Riot Games.
Photos by David Lee/Riot Games. /

Let’s take a deep dive into the champion pool of the LCS players entering the 2021 season.


All in all, this method of evaluating a player’s champion pool appears to be instructive in terms of how to objectively evaluate a player’s performance. Though I submit that the methodology of evaluating the depth variable (aka the core champion pool) is subject to scrutiny, it still provides a deeper look at a player’s skill level beyond the mere number of champions they are able to play.

It’s quite instructive that four of the 2020 Cloud9 roster are leading their role in terms of overall champion pool size, and that the one who isn’t is Zven who is playing in the least diverse role in League of Legends. C9’s ability to play multiple styles was a hallmark of their dominance of the LCS in 2020, and a big reason many commentators saw them as NA’s best hope against international competition, and the champion pool data backs that up.

On the other hand, we see the TSM team that flamed out at Worlds was among the least solid champion pools. It’s very clear looking at the data that diversity was not their main issue, but rather it was a failure to lock in and refine core and comfort champions that they could play in key situations.

Team Liquid, meanwhile, had quite a low diversity but generally outperformed TSM throughout the year (especially in the second half with Tactical) because they nailed their playstyle. Although all five players had very low core and comfort pools, they were able to succeed because of how adept they were at playing those comfort champions.

Going into next year, I continue to have confidence that Cloud9 will be among the strongest teams in terms of champion pools. Even losing Licorice and Nisqy, they gained Perkz (whose champion pool is only reflective of a half season) and Fudge who are both strong players in terms of their champion pools.

After that, I will be very interested to see if Ablazeolive and Palafox are able to translate their skill and champion pools from the Academy league to the LCS. If they do, both Golden Guardians and FlyQuest could be very intriguing teams to watch.

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At the bottom, though, we unsurprisingly have teams like CLG, Dignitas, and Evil Geniuses. These teams are likely going to struggle, as they have very vanilla, limited champion pools and don’t have any players the team can realistically lean on to absorb draft pressure. These three teams will, instead, likely have an uphill climb to determine their best strategy in 2021.