Winning the MVP award for any split is always a touted accomplishment in North America. And while the award has looked quite diversified over the course of the past few years, with a Bottom laner (Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng”), Support (Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black), and Mid laner (Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg”) all winning the award the previous three splits, don’t expect a top laner or jungler to keep that streak going.
In 2019, the race for the coveted MVP title has been narrowed down to a two-man race with a few contenders from around the league popping up to possibly serve as challengers to the upper echelon of the contest. Still, any realist knows that in a statistical sense, there’s only two players who have made a drastic case for the title.
The aforementioned Doublelift, who won the title last Split, has emerged as the favorite once again this Spring, while Cloud9’s Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi has served as the most serious competitor to Doublelift’s chances of a repeat.
Throughout the course of the split, these two competitors have driven the bus to both the top of the MVP race, as well as the standings, as Team Liquid and Cloud9 have separated themselves from the pack immensely. In a league that has established itself as one where only two teams have consistently vied for the top spot since the very beginning, it’s only appropriate that just two players are seriously competing for the MVP title with just three weeks left to play.
You could argue that a few other players across the board have made things interesting, namely a couple of mid laners in Cloud9’s Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer and TL’s Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen. Or perhaps the steady solidity of the TSM carries in Bjergsen and Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen could give the frontrunners a serious challenge.
But alas, the performances of their TL and C9 bottom laners have served as the major catalysts for the runs that their teams have gone on throughout the entirety of the Spring Split.
Of course, it’s important to realize that plenty of players have made cases for the title of “strongest overall player”, but it’s truly been Doublelift and Sneaky who have stood out as the proprietary performers for the two top teams – and quite honestly, the league as a whole.
Thus far through the split, Sneaky holds a KDA of 7.0, good enough for 4th overall in the LCS, while Doublelift leads all of North America with a mark of 11.5. However, the Cloud9 bottom laner edges out the reigning MVP when it comes to KPG, where Sneaky’s mark of 4.8 barely beats out Doublelift’s of 4.3. Additionally, the massive KDAs that these two sport are supported by the fact that they pretty much never die.
Sneaky, on average, only goes into black and white mode about 1.4 times per game, while Doublelift averages less than 1 death per contest, sitting at 0.8 DPG on the split, the best in the entire LCS.
It’s also important to mention that the two have been putting in work when it comes to damage dealing, as Sneaky and Doublelift sit pretty atop the leaderboard when it comes to DPM, with Sneaky’s mark of 721 leading the LCS, while Doublelift has posted a DPM of 701, good enough for 3rd (but just one point of Zven with a number of 702).
Additionally, the two have carried their teams with those damage numbers, as both players rank in the top 5 when it comes to DMG%. Sneaky sits at 5th in the league at 33.0%, Doublelift is 4th at 33.4%.
However, it isn’t just the teamfighting and skirmishing side of League of Legends where these two longtime North American titans excel – they’ve been massive factors when it comes the overall level of gold generation for their teams. In fact, the gold that both Sneaky and Doublelift are able to produce on a game-by-game basis often allows TL and C9 to get the ball rolling early and keep the momentum in their favor throughout the course of almost any contest.
On average, Sneaky is able to farm at a rate of just about 8.9 CSM, which might rank at the bottom of the ladder for his position, but even still he trails the top spot by just a minion and a half – all the while posting a number that ranks in the top 15 of the entire league for the statistic. Doublelift, however, farms at a rate of 10.5 CSM, which isn’t just the best mark for the bottom lane, it’s the best in the entire league. When it comes to GPM, however, Doublelift and Sneaky are neck and neck. There aren’t exactly 15 spots on the ladder between the two players in the gold category, as only 37 gold per minute is the difference between Sneaky, who holds the second best GPM in the LCS, and Doublelift, who ranks first.
And while it’s easy to compare these two behemoths on a statistical level, it’s the intangibles that they bring to the table for their respective franchises that truly sets them apart from the pack. With those aspects of leadership, tenure, and a veteran presence that not many players can equal, Doublelift and Sneaky are two of the most experienced players in the entire North American scene. They’ve both been in the league since its inception (save Sneaky who joined the LCS a split late in the Summer of 2013) and have rarely ever missed any time at all. They are the perfect examples of leaders in the competitive scene and it’s the drive and fire to win and succeed that puts them at the top.
Of course, they’re both statistical monsters who have completely dominated the LCS, but in my eyes, Sneaky and Doublelift are irreplaceable to any roster. The value of an MVP comes not in what they bring to a team, but what a team would be missing if that player were to be suddenly uprooted from the equation – “you never know what you got ‘til it’s gone” and all that.
Try to imagine the New England Patriots without Tom Brady, or the Los Angeles Angels without Mike Trout. Those teams become unfavorable in an instant. Now what do Team Liquid and Cloud9 look like without Doublelift and Sneaky? The answer: significantly worse.
Photo Credit: Riot Games, League of Legends, Lolesports