WildTurtle, Sneaky, Piglet. Who was the best AD Carry in the NA LCS this regular season?
We know what the lolesports voters thought, but in my opinion, they got it wrong.
Last week, lolesports.com announced the winners of the LCS Spring split regular season awards. In addition to revealing the top-voted Most Valuable Player, Outstanding Rookie and Best Coach, each league was assigned a first, second, and third “All Pro” team, indicating the best players in each position.
One AD Carry’s place on the All Pro teams stood out like a sore thumb: Team Liquid’s Piglet was somehow relegated to the NA LCS third team, placed behind the Immortals’ WildTurtle on the first team and Cloud9’s Sneaky on the second team. I don’t want to discredit WildTurtle or Sneaky — both played well this regular season, and deserve the praise they’ve received — but while WildTurtle and Sneaky were good, Piglet was great.
To me (and the vast majority of my Twitter followers), Piglet was an easy choice as the best AD Carry of the regular season. Let’s explore how both the numbers and the eye test support that opinion.
|Damage per Minute||618||597||674|
|CS per Minute||8.5||8.3||8.9|
In overall performance stats, Piglet stands out in almost every way. On a team with a modest 10-8 record, Piglet had a 6.3 KDA, nearly as strong as WildTurtle’s 7.0, which was built on a 17-1 record. Piglet pulled off that number by only giving up 15.8 percent of his team’s deaths, third-best among starting NA LCS AD Carries, compared to Sneaky’s and WildTurtle’s pretty poor death shares, which were third-worst and second-worst among NA ADCs. Piglet’s 30 total deaths were actually one fewer than WildTurtle’s 31, in spite of the inferior performance of Piglet’s team.
Looking at damage output, Piglet had the largest damage share of these three players. In fact, only Doublelift and Freeze did more of their team’s damage than Piglet. WildTurtle had a higher DPM, but that is at least partly explained by the fact that the Immortals’ games produced more than 20 percent more kills than Team Liquid’s games, which means that WildTurtle had a lot more opportunities to hit targets. And it’s worth remembering that WildTurtle paid for that damage with his life a lot more often than Piglet did. For Sneaky’s part, his damage output was still strong, but lagged behind the other two. That’s partly because he was involved in fewer of his team’s fights, which we can see from his sub-70 percent kill participation.
Piglet’s gold share was highest of these three players, but don’t mistake the meaning of that statistic: Piglet generated a lot of that gold himself, through kills and assists — he didn’t have all that gold intentionally funneled into him. Piglet’s 8.5 CSPM is noticeably lower than WildTurtle’s, and Piglet only received 28.6 percent of his team’s post-15-minute farm, third-lowest among starting NA ADCs, while WildTurtle took 31.5 percent of his team’s post-15 CS. Sneaky looks pretty good here, too, doing a lot with a little: he took just 27.9 percent of Cloud9’s post-15 farm, sacrificing a lot of farm to Jensen, Balls and Rush, while still managing to have decent damage output.
The TL;DR of these damage and gold stats is that Piglet did high damage with low or medium resources, Sneaky did medium damage with low resources and WildTurtle did high damage with high resources. I know which of those profiles impresses me most.
The two main spheres of influence for AD Carries, if we simplify their role a little, are the laning phase and teamfights. With a few exceptions, objective control and playmaking are everyone else’s domain — the AD Carry’s job is to go even or better in the early game and then blow everybody up when it comes time to fight.
In both laning and team fighting, Piglet has flexed his muscles all split.
Piglet is a menacing laner, and has paired with Matt to serve as the most explosive duo lane in North America. Some ADCs, such as Freeze of the Renegades or FORG1VEN of Europe’s H2K, build their lane phase on control, bullying their opponents with harass and pressure, shoving them in to the tower, and generating farm leads that way.
Piglet is a different breed of laner, built not on control but on killer instinct. We’ve seen Piglet and Matt get the jump in a 2v2 matchup multiple times, punishing positional mistakes by their opponents to produce kills, even without jungler intervention.
That style has borne fruit. In the 12 games Team Liquid played with standard lane matchups (no tower trade before five minutes), Piglet had a +6.9 CSD at 10, second only to Freeze, and averaged +346 gold at 10, highest among NA ADCs by far and much higher than Freeze’s +51. (The second-highest standard-lane GD at 10 belonged to Stixxay, at +203).
Contrast those laning numbers to the modest stats WildTurtle and Sneaky produced: WildTurtle averaged -1.3 CSD at 10 and +91 GD at 10 in standard lanes, and Sneaky averaged -0.6 CSD at 10 and -16 GD at 10. Those numbers aren’t especially inspiring.
No one in North America has looked as comfortable in a 2v2 lane matchups+ as Piglet, and that has been a big part of his value to Team Liquid, allowing Dardoch to freely and unpredictably gank all three lanes.
In teamfights, Piglet’s positioning has been excellent. He always seems to get his damage out without exposing himself to unnecessary danger. Even when teams focus Piglet with their engages, Piglet is often able to wriggle out and turn things around. And Piglet’s teamfight execution has been consistently great throughout the season, even in the first half, when Lourlo looked like he had no clue how to initiate a fight and Matt would sometimes reach too far seeking a big play. No matter how many mistakes his teammates made, Piglet very rarely added mistakes of his own, and that kept a lot of games close when they could have otherwise been blowouts. As the Team Liquid rookies started to get their act together, and especially as Lourlo improved his tank play, Piglet found himself shining even more brightly.
WildTurtle has produced some very impressive skirmishing and team fighting outcomes this split, but his positioning has often been reckless, diving forward into fights to find kills. He’s found success that way, partly because of good timing and execution, but also because of how well his teammates have supported him. In particular, Adrian has played a lot of Janna and Soraka, which lets him directly keep WildTurtle alive with shields and heals while WildTurtle is throwing himself into harm’s way. That’s been an effective plan from the Immortals, but just because it’s been effective doesn’t mean it’s ideal. WildTurtle deserves credit for making big plays happen, but he also deserves some criticism for exposing himself to so much risk. On a different team, without such effective teammates, WildTurtle’s tactics would likely produce fewer successful fights.
Sneaky’s team fight contributions often boil down to good follow-up damage to secure kills off his teammates’ playmaking. In four games on Jhin, who he impressively debuted to the world in a week 5 loss to Immortals, he’s been an effective sniper, landing crucial long-range damage to turn engages into finished kills. Sneaky’s timing and positioning in more traditional team fight setups have been questionable at times, though, as he finds himself too far forward without the right peel or setup from his team, leading to a few too many deaths.
Comparing the three players, Piglet has been less risky and flashy than WildTurtle while still producing big results, and he’s showed better timing and positioning than Sneaky. Overall, that has led to Piglet making far fewer mistakes than either of his counterparts.
WildTurtle and Sneaky both played well in the Spring regular season, but Piglet has shone brighter than his opponents in almost every way.
Perhaps the only thing Piglet hasn’t done better than WildTurtle or Sneaky is demand the audience’s attention. While WildTurtle is throwing caution aside and heaving himself into combat in the most dramatic ways, and Sneaky is attracting eyeballs with the world’s first pro Jhin pick, Piglet is playing at a calm, controlled pace, executing his role cleanly while providing the stable veteran presence his rookie teammates have needed.
Ultimately, Piglet’s snub as third-team ADC doesn’t mean much. Piglet, his teammates, and his fans should be much more focused on their quarterfinal matchup against NRG Esports this weekend. But if you’ve been thinking of Piglet as the long-ago World Champion whose best days are behind him, or the emotionally volatile, inconsistent player who was benched mid-season in Spring 2015 for attitude issues, then it’s time to step back and take another look.
Piglet is not washed up. Piglet is not tilt-prone. Piglet is not a third-team player.
Piglet is the best AD carry in North America.
All statistics cited in this article can be found at OraclesElixir.com.
Tim "Magic" Sevenhuysen runs OraclesElixir.com, the premier source for League of Legends esports statistics. You can find him on Twitter, unless he’s busy giving one of his three sons a shoulder ride.