Welcome to the LPL playoffs baby! I think if you had told me before the split that Victory Five and Fun Plus Phoenix would be playing a playoff series and I would favor V5, I probably would have stopped gambling forever. Seriously, what an insane turnaround by this team. It’s not flukey either. They have beat multiple good teams that were playing their favored style, unlike E-star last split. I believe in Victory Five here, let’s break down why and how I’m going to bet on them by going through the lanes and then the team stats.
Top Lane- V5 BiuBiu vs. FPX Gimgoon or Khan
I expect Fun Plus to play Gimgoon in at least the first two matches of this one, so we’re going to focus on how he matches up with BiuBiu. GimGoon actually has the top win rate of any of the players here at 69%, so some might think with him FPX is significantly improved. I’m not so sure. If you dive a little bit deeper, you see that GimGoon got to play in both the games against OMG and Dominus which were near auto-wins at that stage of the season. His win rate has more to do with the size of sample and strength of competition than any truly dominant play by him. The stats show this too. GimGoon averages a -303 GD@10, a -147 XPD@10 and a -5.9 CSD@10 this season (and that includes the cupcake matchups previously discussed). That’s a pretty awful set of stats. For comparison, CLG’s Ruin, largely considered the worst Top laner in the LCS, averages -77, -50, and +1.9 differentials. Top lane isn’t exclusively about the early advantages a player can get, but those are some serious deficits to put yourself into. V5’s BiuBiu, while never the standout star, averages solid advantages in those numbers with +85 GD10, +55XPD10, 0.6 CSD10. I don’t expect either of these teams to win the game through the top lane, but FPX could lose it there. I’m giving the edge to V5.
The Edge: V5
Jungle- FPX Tian vs. V5 WeiWei
I believe Tian is still one of the best junglers in the world, but the meta-game has shifted so far away from FPX’s preferred style of play that he does not look it anymore. I think that has more to do with the decline of the players around him, than any falling off from him. He still gets ahead in XP and CS over his opponents, but because him and Doinb can no longer team up for their signature dive his gold numbers have really suffered. With that said, WeiWei is just a better jungler right now. His +172 GD10, +271 XPD10 and +3.7 CSD10 are just absurd. Perhaps even more impressive is his KDA of 5.9 and Kill Participation of 75.2%. WeiWei’s ability to set up objectives ahead of his opponents fits in perfectly with the current meta-game.
The Edge: V5
Mid Lane- FPX Doinb vs. V5 Mole
Measuring Doinb by the traditional 10 minutes statistics has never really told the story of his worth. He is a unique laner whose true value lies outside of his lane. He will sacrifice cs, xp, and gold in his own lane to try and help his teammates get kills. He has remained uniquely dominant in that way this split with a near 80% kill participation, the highest mark in the league. The question is: Is this the best way to play LoL anymore? The answer seems almost definitely to be no. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the two teams best known for the mid lane ganker, Cloud9 and FPX, are struggling in the current meta-game. Playing with a more traditional control mage and a play-making support has become the optimal way to play, but FPX is holding onto the dream that their preferred style of play will come back. Doinb is still great at his role, but his role may just be irrelevant. His opponent, Mole, is a steady player who has had a few surprise pop-offs this split. His role on V5 is to simply not lose too hard until the team can get into team fights where he excels. He averages small deficits in all the 10 minute statistics, but nothing so egregious that he becomes useless. Still, if given the choice between the player who tries not to lose his team the game and the player who tries to win, I’ll take the winner.
The Edge: FPX
Bot Lane Duo- FPX LWX and Crisp vs. V5 ppgod and Samd or y4
Weirdly, I don’t put much stock into the actual lane matchup here. LWX and Crisp are getting minimal leads on their opponents in lane and ppgod and Samd are averaging minor deficits. There’s a world where FPX gets a big enough lead through their bot side i to snowball the game, but largely I expect this to be farm and wait for team fights kind of lane. It’s there where I would give an edge to V5. Ppgod has been very good on engage-style supports this split and has stood out as a real playmaker. Crisp has done the exact opposite. He has had some real “WTF” moments this split that has had some people questioning if he’s even good enough anymore.
The Edge: Even
When you get into the team stats, it becomes clear that V5 is a team that understands how the game is played right now and FPX does not. First, V5’s GSPD of 2.9% is a respectable number that cements them as a legitimate contender, unlike the pretender numbers of E-star last split. FPX has a GSPD of -2.0%. That is one of the worst numbers of any team in playoffs across regions. It emphasizes what the film on FPX says: this team is winning narrowly and getting shit-stomped in their losses. That usually suggests some regression is coming in the playoffs. Some of the other teams that average near a -2.0% GSPD in the LPL are BilliBilli and OMG, who won 17 and 15 games compared to FPX’s 22. I think FPX is lucky to be in the playoffs.
If you look at Early Game Rating, V5 is again solidly ahead with a 58.6 compared to FPX’s 46.2. A lot of this accounted for in their first tower percentages where V5 is getting 56% of the First Towers and FPX is averaging a terrible 37%. When teams can get the first tower, they set up vision on their opponents side of the map and usually have the advantage at the next objectives on that side of the map. The fact that FPX is getting so few of those in such an objective-heavy meta-game does not bode well for them.
Finally, FPX is just not getting enough Barons this split. I would have to dive deep into film to figure out why this is. I think part of it is that they’re often very behind at this stage of the game in this split. Either way their Baron Rate of 43% just ain’t gonna cut it against V5. V5 actually leads the league in Baron% at 65%. For such a dominant early game team that number really stands out.
The Edge: V5
Victory Five +1.5 Games (-190) 3u
This is my largest position of the split. I am just trusting my process here. If you like FPX, you have to believe they have some other style or level to go to in the playoffs that they have not shown at all this split. There’s no other justification for betting them besides experience. I’m trusting the numbers over experience this time.
Victory Five ML (+115) 2u
See above. There’s no way FPX should be favored here. I have V5 winning this near 65% of the time, +115 implies 46.5%.
V5 3-0 (+625) 0.5u, V5 3-1 (+425) 0.5u
4 and 3 game serieses are just more likely even in close ones like this, so if you like the dogs, get a little taste of these as well.