After the collapse of the LCK teams at the 2018 World Championships, there was a lot of discussion going around between fans and teams alike. Some came to the conclusion that the game was favoring skirmishes, and the LCK teams were just too slow and passive.
2018 now behind us, it is 2019. As always, Riot Games is giving the fans what they want. Non-stop aggression paired with a lot of skirmishing. The recent patches also seem to be going in this direction. Fans gave feedback, saying that the games were faster and more exciting. Given all the rush and excitement, more began to believe that the LCK teams are still playing too slow and passive.
Is this really true? The four major regions (LCK, LPL, LCS, and LEC) have all debuted a new split and are 2-3 weeks in. This begs the question; what will be the different characteristics between the leagues in the 2019 Spring Split? Will the LPL have faster games and higher kill scores? Will LCK continue with their slower games? How will the LCS and LEC compare?
Game timeLEC and LPL's quick game times vs LCS and LCK's long game time
First, we compared a league’s fastest game with its longest game. The results below are based on data up until January 30th of data.
In regards to the LPL, there was some interesting data. The longest 2019 LPL Spring Split game was recorded to be 49 minutes 30 seconds. The fastest was 19 minutes 20 seconds. The opponents couldn’t have surrendered even if they wanted to. With not even a month into the split, LPL has made a 30 minute and 10 second difference between their fastest and longest.
LPL’s average game time was 31 minutes 9 seconds. When talking of the LPL, most people would assume the games are fast and aggressive. The result was a surprise. This is because the LEC’s average was lower than that of the LPL’s. The LEC had an average game time of 29 minutes 42 seconds. Compared to the LPL, the LEC had a 22 minute 49 seconds difference. LEC’s longest game was 41 minutes. Could these results explain why and how Europe and China met at the finals at Worlds 2018?
With both the LEC and LPL in mind, one can say that the LCK and LCS tend to be much, much slower. Fun fact: the LCS had a longer average game time than the LCK. LCK’s average game time was 33 minutes 20 seconds. On the other hand, LCS’s average was 34 minutes 46 seconds. In both the longest and shortest game records, the LCK had games that took longer and finished faster than the LCS. But, this is probably due to the difference in the number of games played so far.
※ 2019 Spring Split Major Region Game Times
- LCK : Longest 57 minutes 26 seconds, shortest 23 minutes 36 seconds, average 33 minutes 20 seconds
- LPL : Longest 49 minutes 30 seconds, shortest 19 minutes 20 seconds, average 31 minutes 9 seconds
- LEC : Longest 41 minutes, shortest 22 minutes 49 seconds, average 29 minutes 42 seconds
- LCS : Longest 40 minutes 6 seconds, shortest 25 minutes 29 seconds, average 34 minutes 46 seconds
Kill pointsLPL vs everyone else
Right now, it seems like the trend is faster games and higher kill scores. At the 2018 Worlds, the meta was set by Europe and China. Fast-paced skirmish games were induced simply because of the fact that the LEC and LPL regions are good at it. For the LCK, people agree they displayed clear weaknesses.
If it wasn’t for the LPL, this established theory could not exist so early on into the season. As expected, the LPL has been implementing their aggressive playstyle in their games. This season, the LPL’s highest recorded kills in a set was 46. When calculating the average kill per set, the LPL was estimated to have 23.7 kills per set. The kills per minute turned out to be 0.76 kills. The highest among all the other major regions. One interesting fact is that LPL also had the game with the lowest kills out of all the major regions. The LPL managed to have a record low 10 kills per set and a record high 46 kills per set.
The LEC and LCS had similar results. The LEC had an average kill score of 20.8 and the LCS had 21.9. Although the LCS has a higher average kill score than the LEC, the LEC has a lower average game time. Hence, the LEC having more kills per minute than that of the LCS.
Though we expected not much change from the LCK, the results said otherwise. the LCK’s average kill score was 20.9. This showed that the LCK had recorded 3 less kills per minute than the LPL. However, the result is not much different when compared to other regions. When comparing the LEC’s results with the LCS’s, they too were similar.
※ 2019 Spring Split Major Region Kill Scores
- LCK : Highest 41 kills, lowest 10 kills, average 20.9 kills, per minute 0.63 kills
- LPL : Highest 46 kills, lowest 10 kills, average 23.7 kills, per minute 0.76 kills
- LEC : Highest 27 kills, lowest 15 kills, average 20.8 kills, per minute 0.7 kills
- LCS : highest 30 kills, lowest 17 kills, average 21.9 kills, per minute 0.63 kills
Not that big of a differenceLCK is finally changing
Looking at the overall results, the LCK does not fight less or play slower compared to other regions. Although the LCK had longer average game times when compared with the LEC and LPL, the LCK’s kill scores were not far off. The kill scores were so close that you had to go down to the 3rd decimal to calculate the minor differences. The only reason the LPL is unparalleled is due to their average kill point per game.
In the 2018 World Championship, the LCK teams collapsed due to their inability to adapt to the meta. Fans and officials criticized the LCK immensely. Because of this, the LCK sought to change. All the top-ranking LCK teams right now have quickly adapted to the fast-paced meta. These teams are not afraid to start fights and seize the initiative to end the game. The fact that these teams are finding success is good for the LCK region.
We can only hope that more teams in Korea will opt to adapt to this playstyle. However, the path both Riot and the fans want the LCK to take is still far away. The more aggressive and fast-moving teams tend to win more. This will likely be true for future international events.