The struggle with League of Legend analytics has been that LoL at its heart is a team game, and it is different than typical sports because of the snowball factor inherent in these types of games. When looking at sports analytics, Lebron or Kobe could score 50 points any given night, win or lose. This is completely different in LoL, as winning teams, by clearing out base towers, securing objectives, and getting more powerful as the game goes on, naturally get more gold and kills. In fact, the winning side averages over 5 times more KDA, and somewhere between 25% and 35% more GPM when winning vs losing. The full breakdown is in this chart:
So, this winning-bias can often invalidate common analysis of raw KDA and GPM. Instead of a player getting a better kda because they are "performing better", instead they are just getting it because they are winning more. That in combination with the fact that we know this game is a team game, so a player can play "well" in a game, but still lose, made me want to create a winning-bias free model to compare players and see where players underperformed or overperformed over the season.
To properly see which players are overperforming vs underperforming , I took into account a player's win-loss ratio and weighted their kda/gpm/minion kills against a "dummy" player with equal wins and losses. So, for example, if we look at Shiphtur, one of the people seen as out-performing his team. Right now, his KDA ratio is on average 5.56, with a win-loss record of 10-18. So this means that a "standard" mid player with 10 wins and 18 losses would have 10 games with 8.169 KDA (as seen above), and 18 games with 1.787 KDA, leading to a weighted average of: (10*8.169 + 18*1.787)/28= 4.067. When comparing to Shiphtur's actual kda of 5.56, he has an improvement of 30% over his expected KDA of 4.067, which means he is supremely exceeding expectations.
As follows is the breakdown of each stat, KDA, GPM, and Minion Kill per Minute, as following the methodology above. A note, the fluxuation for something like GPM is less because as we saw in the above chart, GPM fluxuates less compared to Minion Kills or KDA, so a 5% above-average rating is very high, compared to KDA where a very-high rating is something like 20-30%.
Thorin will go on here to break down who is overrated vs underrated:
Breakdown by Thorin - Top laners
Nientonsoh's dreadful KDA leaps off the page at you. On a CLG team that is so improved, with all the other four members receiving their share of praise, rightfully, as the season has gone on, Nientonsoh has been highlighted as the weak spot of the line-up. When one considers how drastically below the dummy he is and considers how unlikely names like InnoX and Benny are outperforming him in KDA, it is somewhat telling of his problems at Top lane. It's not as though he's just been off farming like a monster either, as his GPM is fairly underwhelming. Anyone considering him one of the best Top laners in NA is overrating him, as these numbers and our eyes would suggest.
The aforementioned Benny has a very impressive KDA, but his GPM and CSPM are pretty bad. When XDG were at their peak mancloud, Xmithie and BloodWater were all killing it at their roles, I considered Zuna and Benny to be their weak points. Others would mention him as being a good Top laner and had optimism for his future in the team, which this graph would suggest has been shown to be misguided. We see here that despite doing very well in kills, he is struggling in the other areas of the game.
Dyrus' KDA is worth speaking about, as so much of the focus in TSM is Bjergsen and WildTurtle that if this were just a flat KDA graph one could argue his numbers away with the fact he is winning. Since this is weighted and we're looking at how much he is outperforming what would be expected of someone winning so many games, we can see that Dyrus is having a great season all around and is really outperforming what one would expect of him in terms of kill contribution. In a team that wins as much as TSM does, it's hard to be underrated, but I think these numbers suggest that we can rightfully say Dyrus isn't held in high enough regard.
ZionSpartan has been so highly touted thanks to his big games this season, but a look at his overall numbers show that he remains inconsistent, so that he overall is actually doing worse for kills, despite being thought of as a carry in their line-up. This KDA would suggest we should probably reconsider his overall level, not simply look at his great games and ignore the others. Likewise, Quas was so often talked about a potentially one of the best Top laners this season, but his numbers are bad in every respect. This is not a star player, the numbers simply aren't there.
Balls has good numbers everywhere, he is particularly going ham in farm. With that said, he is now frequently listed as the best NA Top laner and often put ahead of Dyrus. In terms of kills, that's simply not the case, according to these graphs. So that aspect of Balls' game is overrated, even if he is having an excellent season all in all. The next best for CSPM is Innox, who has quietly put together a tidy season, from an individual standpoint. The star power of the EU players will always push him out of the spotlight and then the occasional good game from Pobelter sends eyes to the Mid lane of EG, but Innox's numbers tell their own story here and suggests he is likely underrated.
Cruzer is about where you would expect him to be overall, many have pointed to him as a weak spot on Dignitas and the overall trend here says that is on the money. He has outperformed in KDA, but not enough to make him some flawed gem.
Meteos is not overrated as the best Jungler in NA and we didn't need these numbers to know that. What the numbers do tell us though, is just how incredible his performance has been. The guy is a complete stud and rightfully should be considered the star of his team, blowing the expectation for every stat out of the water. Speaking domestically, it's almost impossible to overrate him, he's the best and by a long margin in NA. In fact, his KDA almost skews every other jungler because he is so far above-average. Someone who is overrated though, is TheOddOne. People want to say that every player of TSM is having an amazing season and is one of the best at their role, but OddOne's numbers aren't there overall on this graph and we can see that he is underperforming, in fact, he is the only TSM member who placed significantly under expectations for KDA.
Just as Meteos can't domestically be overrated, NintendudeX can't be underrated in any sense of the word. These are appalling bad numbers, especially when one considers that every other player at the position has at least one stat that they outperform the expected in. Since it's no shock that Nintendude's numbers are so bad, I should mention that is a huge shock how bad Xmithie's KDA is here. After S3 Worlds, a legitimate debate could be had about whether the best Jungler in NA was Meteos or Xmithie, with the decision largely coming down to considerations of which style of play one prefers and hypotheticals of who would fit best into other teams. After this split that debate is long since dead in the water, though I'm not sure people have leveled as much criticism toward's Xmithie as his KDA number here would suggest he should have coming his way.
It's always been the way in team esports titles that the last addition to a team is often overvalued if the team drastically steps up a level in performance. These numbers would suggest that is the case with Dexter, who is actually doing very badly in KDA for a player who everyone would cite as having had such a large impact on his team and creating a winning culture there. Consider the praise for Dexter as we move over to looking at Crumbzz' numbers. Here's a player who hasn't seen a legitimate wealth of praise in a year, yet has put together a very tidy resume of stats here, on a troubled team.
It's difficult to call Snoopeh underrated, since his legion of fans seem to inhabit a bubble in which they all pretend it's still the middle of season two and he's still one of the elite at his position in Europe, but his KDA shows there is an element to his play that has gone undervalued by those who, accurately, consider him a player who is no longer near the top of his position.
The most overrated Mid in NA is Hai, this is something I would have said before and this graph suggests a solid statistical ground from which to say it again. On a team battling to be the best in their region, quite successfully, his KDA is shocking even to a skeptic like me. To be in the negative for all three stats is really eye-opening too. Considering he was lifted into the conversation for best Mid in NA before the season began, with people telling fans not to get ahead of themselves saying Bjergsen would go unchallenged due to Hai's existence, the public must now acknowledge that they have gassed up the C9 man too much.
Shiphtur has been the revelation of the entire LCS NA split and the numbers confirm as much, playing absolutely out of his mind. With his team doing so badly, compared to how well their best matches suggest they could be doing, it's nice to see that the numbers back-up that the buzz around this Mid player isn't just hype based on their wins, he's legitimately performing at an elite level in his region. As long as people want to compare Bjergsen to Faker, then he will be overrated, but in NA these numbers show that he is rightfully entrenched as the king of the Mid lane.
Link is an interesting case, since he gets so much credit from his own team and whenever CLG win, but his KDA is backing up that this is a new and improved Link this split. mancloud has had a nightmare season in terms of where his team began and have finished, but he has persevered and these stats would actually suggest he is probably a little underrated, in as much as his reputation has fallen heavily from the best Mid in NA, post-Worlds, to people not even talking about him in those conversations. In his Grilled interview with me, he mentioned that playing Froggen at an MLG in S2 showed him the importance of focusing on simply farming up and winning through CS, but we can see here that that mentality still lives on in his mind and he continues vacuum up every creep that crosses his path.
scarra and Voyboy are the two star names at Mid who haven't played like stars at all this split and so we can say that their fans overrate them, even if I think the general community has accurately labeled them as hype-only stars. Considering how mad people were at Curse removing Pobelter, claiming it would cost them, his KDA suggests he gets a little overrated after his good games and is struggling to approach carry status on EG. Compared side-by-side with mancloud, we can see that both guys are on terrible teams, in terms of performance, and yet mancloud grinds out decent numbers, while Pobelter's KDA completely drops off a cliff.
Wow at Cop's KDA. For a player who has so often been heavily scrutinised on his teams, with good reason, his KDA is really worth noting and a mental note being made that he is underrated in that element of his game. Consider instead that Doublelift, who is always spoken of highly, is actually a decent margin below where his KDA would be expected to be, yet has still gotten a lot of credit this season in terms of being a carry in CLG. Wizfujin, yellowpete and Zuna don't need too much said about them, I think most would consider them the three worst LCS NA ADCs and the numbers show as much. I will just take a moment to suggest that Zuna's occasionally abrasive persona in fact masks a beautifully calm pacifist, who wouldn't hurt a fly and just wishes to end the division caused by the typical pro mindset that considers those in the server from the other team as "enemies".
WildTurtle quickly gained reputation as an ADC thanks to the success of his tenure in TSM, but his KDA performance here really isn't anything of note. He may still be the best ADC in NA, though the debate with Doublelift is now back and raging at full force, but he's not really performing at any exceptional level that one could look at as underrated in any sense. A man who has gone under the radar is Imaqtpie. He may come off as a goofball who isn't as invested in winning, but after a troubling Dig season he has solid numbers in every single regard here and is firmly placed as Dig's carry player. I think many realise that, but he is likely underrated in terms of never being put near the conversation of who the best ADC in NA is.
Due to playing what is traditionally a carry role, Sneaky has often been thought of as one of the weaker spots on C9, but his KDA tells a different story here. In NA, the man is more than doing his job at ADC, meaning that "WildTurtle could have been the ADC for C9 in LCS" hypothetical gets brought up less often that it otherwise might.
Obviously I'm going to ignore the CSPM for Supports, as the context is likely too wacky and subjective in each case. XDG Support Sheep made a strong case for being the worst at his position in LCS NA. In a meta where Supports are living the dream, running around and killing opponents in team-fights, he's missing so many kills one has to wonder if Zuna has had a discussion with him about the needlessness of killing in the the modern world. I don't think anyone overrates him, it was mainly just people who wanted to support a new player in the LCS and boost his confidence.
Xpecial is still thought of by some as the best Support in NA, but I don't think the entire community gives him enough credit for his impact on TSM and their wins. The man who engages in seemingly all their fights is posting ludicrous numbers in terms of kills from his position. This the meta in which we truly get to see the power of Xpecial and his mechanics in action. Despite being on a team winning all the time, I think Xpecial has managed to be underrated a little. Speaking of mechanics, a move to NA and a period of refocusing seemed to have put Krepo back on the path to showing himself to be a top Support, but he is much further below the KDA line than I think most would have expected, putting him into the overrated category.
Aphromoo has been one of the reasons Xpecial's name is not mentioned as much, as everyone has been looking at the new name dominating at the position. It's true that Aphromoo has performed above expectations from those who saw his last spell at Support in CLG, one year ago, but I think he is now accurately considered one of the top two at his position in NA now, which the numbers confirm. Lemonnation just does his job in C9 and they win, the graphs tells the same upon inspection. He's right where he should be, and despite all C9's wins I don't think anyone considers him an elite Support, except in terms of his strategical thinking and the more brain-focused side of the game.
With NintendudeX spending most of his LCS games looking at a grey screen, and ZionSpartan forgetting his spinach so often, I don't think many bring up Daydreamin's role in Coast's losses. His KDA really is pretty bad here, obviously not Sheep levels of bad, but bad nonetheless. Nobody particularly every speaks of the Support though, so I don't think anything need be said about him being underrated or overrated.
In conversations I've had with MonteCristo, he always tells me that the Support position is very shallow in NA, in terms of the talent pool. Looking at this graph it's easy to see how accurate that analysis is, as it's basically Xpecial and Aphromoo far out in front, Lemonnation performing a workman-like role and then everyone else being different shades of underwhelming.
To pick out a few names to put as the most overrated and underrated seems a worthwhile task, since we can bring them out of merely the context of their role and teams. I think the most overrated have to be Hai, Nientonsoh and TheOddOne. When you consider that they play for the three best teams in NA, their numbers really are lacking in key areas. The most underrated are Cop, Imaqtpie and Crumbzz. All are on teams a tier below the top three, but all have performed well outside of the context of wins or losses, in terms of their statistics. And finally there have been some confirmed opinions, that Zuna is really underperforming, Meteos is still a stud, and Shiphtur needs a new team.
Data collected with help by the onGamers Stats team: Derek 'Kathix' Adams, Steven 'whedgehead' Falgout, Kent 'Traepoint' Frasure, Jake Morales, and James 'PelkaSupaFresh' Pelkey. Design by Ben 'Sarcasmappreciated' Li.