LCS 2021: Ranking All the Starting LCS Top Laners

Photo by OSHIN VILLA TUDAYAN/Riot Games.
Photo by OSHIN VILLA TUDAYAN/Riot Games. /
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Photo by Paul de Leon/Riot Games.
Photo by Paul de Leon/Riot Games. /

We kick off our preview of the 2021 LCS season by ranking the starting top laners for all ten teams.

The LCS offseason has featured plenty of movement, particularly among the top laners. Some stalwarts have left their long time homes, like Licorice leaving Cloud9, Impact not re-signing with Team Liquid, and Broken Blade departing from TSM. To replace them, teams have taken taken to a multitude of avenues to replace their top laner in the offseason shuffle.

The biggest question that fans have now is, which team won the offseason?

To answer this, we will go position by position to evaluate each team’s starting lineup. We will break down players by a few key statistics I have developed which have an extremely high correlation to individual and team success.

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  • Adjusted KDA (aKDA) – calculated like regular KDA but weighing solo kills higher and assists lower
  • Gold Per Minute (GPM)
  • Estimated Damage Differential (EDD) – the difference between a player’s damage output on a given champion and that of the average player on the same champion
  • Matchup Adjusted Gold Plus Experience Differential at 15 (MAGXD @ 15) – what it sounds like, the gold plus experience differential at 15 minutes, accounting for the lane matchups that a player has faced
  • Champion Pool Strength – measuring a player’s champion pool by the number of unique picks they played last year and the number that they played above average.

10. Mohamed “Revenge” Kaddoura (Immortals)

While it might seem a bit silly to base evaluations off statistics from the amateur scene, even if it is the Academy league, we would expect to see younger players dominate against inferior competition. Unfortunately, that was not the case for Revenge.

In Academy, he posted only a 1.19 aKDA. That is the worst adjusted KDA of all the starting top laners from 2020, and some of his competitors were facing at least LCS competition. So too was his gold per minute, which was the lowest of all ten top laners at only 314.

But if you think that Revenge was held back from posting monster stats due to his champion pool, think again. His EDD in 2020 was -59.5, meaning he did about 60 less damage per minute than the average player would have given his champion pool. No other LCS top laner had an EDD that was worse than -20.

For laning, he was again terrible even when accounting for his lane matchups. A -480.9 MAGXD @ 15 was the worst of the ten starting LCS top laners even considering (again) that he was facing weaker competition.

Speaking of that champion pool, Revenge also had one of the smallest champion pools of all top laners. His 11 unique champions played in 2020 was tied for the fewest of starting top laners and he didn’t have a large comfort champion pool. Of his three most-picked champions (Aatrox, Sett, and Ornn), did not have a winning record on any of them and only had a KDA over 2.00 on one (Ornn).