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LoL: Draft of the Week — Team BDS vs. Team Vitality

A review of the statistically best draft from the previous week

Final Draft - Permitted by Riot Game

Published on: 27th January, 2022

Each week, with use of our cutting-edge Machine Learning model, we predict the results of the upcoming games using a combination of Team and, more importantly, Draft statistics. You can find out more about the model, here. From these predictions, we can evaluate which teams won draft the hardest, and more importantly: why. These, are the Drafts of the Week.

Game Information

  • Team BDS (1–2) vs. Team Vitality (0–3)
  • Date: 21st January 2022
  • Patch: 12.1
  • Season: Week 2 of the LEC Spring Split, 2022

Context

Due to some impressive moves during the off-season, Team Vitality were considered a “super-team” coming into the split. However, a poor start to the season left them limping into Week 2 with a 0–3 record. Team BDS, the new kids on the block, had managed to pick up one win against 7th place hopefuls, Team Excel, but had lost their other 2 games.

Draft Summary

Although our models (and the bookies) had it as a fairly tight game, thanks to their strong draft Team Vitality seriously bolstered their chances of taking the win. Their draft increased their win percentage from 57.3% to 74.8%.

Draft Breakdown

Here, we break down some key elements of the draft, evaluating where the strengths & weaknesses lie. Given the complexity of drafting, not everything can be covered — however we’ll try to touch on the top points.

The Bot Matchup

Firstly, the Jinx/Thresh vs. Jhin/Nautilus match-up is heavily favoured on the side of the former. A lot of this comes down to Jhin just being in a poor place right now. In fact, our prediction prior to the season starting was that Jhin would have a 42.4% Win Rate in professional play. The actual number? 40.7%. As well as this, although Jinx vs. Jhin isn’t meant to be a counter for either side, Jinx hard-counters Nautilus whilst Jhin is countered by Thresh. Finally, Jinx is one of the strongest ADCs when ahead and we predicted that Carzzy would manage to take a gold lead in this lane.

Brolaf

Team BDS opened their draft by locking in Xin Zhao, followed by the Gwen & Syndra. This provided the perfect opportunity for Vitality to answer with the Olaf. In fact, our model rated this pick 4.9 out of 5. It’s a great counter into Xin Zhao & Gwen (who cares if they blocks range attacks when you’re designed to always be in melee range!) and can even run down the Syndra by negating her only form of escape (Q>E).

Olaf is also one of the strongest Champions to play when ahead, and given Selfmade is arguably one of the best junglers in the League and is comfortable on the pick and counters most of the top side, it’s bound to!

A final point, Olaf also synergies extremely well with Jinx/Thresh and so combine both these two sections together and you can start to see why this was such a strong draft.

First Rotation Corki

Teams often don’t like to early pick their solo-laners, but in this case it worked extremely for Team Vitality. Corki is in a strong position in the meta, being an S-tier mid laner by our maths. Better yet, it’s really tough to counter — especially when Twisted Fate & Akali had already been banned out. This left very few options for NUCELARINT, who was forced onto the Syndra, a match-up heavily in favour of the Corki after the early game.

Summary

Team Vitality drafted themselves a hard winning bot side, a jungler who perfectly countered the enemy composition and one of the strongest mid laners in the current meta. The only chance Team BDS had was if they were able to snowball the Gwen and have her cause havoc on the sides. Instead, Gangplank is 20CS up at the 10 minute mark and the game is all but over.

Recommendations

Now we have evaluated the draft as it stands, we can also use the power of the model to make suggestions. In this case, we’ll see what alternative options the losing team had to try and stem the bleed of the draft. We’ll only focus on 4/5th picks or lane counters, this is as if we changed the first pick it’s more than likely the opposing team would too have picked differently.

Bot Lane

Team BDS chose to pick-up their bot lane (Jhin/Nautilus) on pick 4 and 5. As mentioned, the lane struggles into Jinx/Thresh and therefore we ask the model for alternatives.

Ziggs/Rakan or Ezreal/Rakan are powerful counters into Jinx/Thresh, negating most of their early game prowess and allowing them to bypass the early-game. This would allow their jungler (Xin Zhao) to focus on snowballing the top side, knowing that bot can handle themselves.

Samira/Lux or Kalista/Lux is the flip-side choice, a strong and aggressive lane that would provide them with opportunities to get ahead. The biggest flaw in this would be that it puts them on a timer, with both duos becoming weak after the mid-game. This would also require jungle attention, as the explosive match-up is bound to become a warzone.

Mid Lane

At this point (3rd pick), not much was known about the enemy composition and Syndra was actually an OK choice. Akali/Twisted Fate were the obvious alternatives but both were banned. A strong meta-pick recommended by the model is the Zoe, given it bullies the Corki in lane and can heavily out-range the Olaf/Thresh engages. A more niche pick-up would be the Tryndamere, as Corki does not have the early-game damage to bully him out of lane and with no hard CC from the Jungler he is free to spin out of any ganks and wait until late.

Hopefully this provided some useful insight into what was an impressive draft by Team Vitality. Subscribe to the mailing list to ensure you get next weeks Draft of the Week first!


Thanks for Reading!

You got to the end of the article! My name is Jack J and I’m a professional Data Scientist applying AI to competitive gaming & esports. I’m the founder of AI & Esports start-up iTero.GG and the analytics site jung.gg. You can follow me on Twitter, join the iTero Discord or drop me an e-mail at jack@itero.gg. See you at the next one.

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