After a lackluster 0-2 finish to Day 1 of the 2018 Mid-Season Invitational, Team Liquid finds itself in a winless hole to start the tournament. However, despite various question marks surrounding both games for TL, one major constant remained intact throughout the day: Jhin.
For Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, Jhin has become a staple of his champion pool, as the Virtuoso has garnered 27 picks across his career. However, while many of the other AD Carries at MSI opted for picks like Varus, Kog’Maw, and even Ezreal on Day 1, Doublelift was the only player outside of Martin “Rekkles” Larsson to select Jhin. And yet, Doublelift’s preference towards Jhin shouldn’t come as a major surprise to anyone who’s followed the NA LCS this season.
Doublelift’s career efficiency on Jhin is second-to-none. Through 3 seasons, he’s posted a 60% win-rate with a 5.8 KDA on the champion, including a 58.0 KDA and a perfect 5-0 record with Jhin in regional play this season. With these incredible stats in mind, it’s quite reasonable for Team Liquid to put stock in Doublelift’s Jhin, as he’s clearly proven that he’s one of, if not the best Jhin players in all of professional League of Legends this year.
Including the first two games at MSI, Doublelift has selected Jhin a total of 7 times this season. For reference, the other 5 AD Carries at the tournament have only 4 Jhin picks between them. To say Doublelift is comfortable on Jhin would be a massive understatement, as his continued prowess on the champion has been a consistent factor of not only the current season, but his entire career.
If anything, Jhin might just be one of the best options for Doublelift. With a storied track record and a solid statistical foundation, the argument for Doublelift’s Jhin is certainly compelling. However, the argument for his Caitlyn might be even stronger.
If there is one enormous question mark that plagued the first day of the Mid-Season Invitational, it’s the utter disappearance of Caitlyn. The Sheriff of Piltover posted an 80.6% pick/ban presence at the MSI Play-in Stage, but garnered no attention whatsoever on the first day of the Main Event. With 0 picks and 0 bans on Day 1, it’s almost as if the teams at the Group Stage have alienated Caitlyn, keeping her out of the tournament altogether.
After the day’s games were completed, analyst Joshua “Jatt” Leesman took to MSI Tonight to express his concerns for Doublelift’s champion pool saying “I’m not going to completely blame the Jhin. I don’t know where Caitlyn’s gone…but Kog’Maw and Ezreal; If you’re going to carry your team, you need to pick one of these champs”. The utmost truth in this statement lies in Doublelift’s career numbers on Caitlyn, as she might just be his strongest champion of all time.
Throughout his career, Caitlyn is Doubelift’s 4th most played champion, as she’s accounted for 34 picks in his career, allowing for a lifetime win-rate of 53% and a KDA of 3.6. In fact, his single-game bests for KDA, DPM and CS/M on Caitlyn were all obtained this Split.
So far this year, Doublelift’s Caitlyn has been near immaculate, as his efficiency on the champion has proved to be flat-out incredible. His 23.0 KDA over 5 games has him sitting at a perfect 5-0 record this year with a KP of 77.6%. Only Kim “PraY” Jong-in has rivaled Doublelift on Caitlyn, as the Kingzone DragonX AD Carry has a 30.0 KDA, a 78.1% KP, and a 3-0 record while playing the Sheriff this season; barely edging out Doublelift, despite having a smaller sample size.
When you take these statistics at face value, it begs the question: where is Caitlyn? Why have some of the best Caitlyn players in the world, particularly Doublelift, abandoned one of the most reliable champions in all of League of Legends? Although she dominated the Play-in Stage of the tournament, she’s nowhere to be seen at the Main Event.
It’s not like the AD Carries at MSI have no experience on the champion either. Between the six of them, they’ve posted a total of 18 Caitlyn picks throughout the course of the season, leaving the door wide open for her to make an appearance at some point during the Group Stage. Although Caitlyn has nearly evaporated from the ADC meta overnight, it still wouldn’t be shocking to see her picked up by Doublelift or another player at MSI sometime soon.
And while Jhin seems to be the comfort pick of choice for Team Liquid’s AD Carry, it might be time for him to take matters into his own hands and create opportunities for TL to succeed. Those opportunities start with a wider champion pool, and that pool starts with Caitlyn.
Photo Credit: Lolesports, Team Liquid