2020 Worlds Knockout Preview Pt. 2: Suning v. JDG

Intro

Throughout the duration of the 2020 LPL season, it seemed as if the battle for dominance was between JDG and TOP. And for the most part, it was. But in different spurts across the summer, and specifically towards the end of the split, Suning began to dominate most other teams outside of that top two. In the LPL playoffs, many were wondering how Suning would square off against the number two team, JDG, and if they could take their place among the top teams in the world, but sadly, they weren’t able to play each other due to bracketology. So, after a long wait of a few months, people are finally being given the matchup they were curious about; and it’s looking as exciting as ever.

Overall Matchup

When looking at the statistics themselves, there aren’t huge trends that you can gleam off of their group stage performances. Almost every major stat is close between the two teams, even including things like vision and objective control. Both teams average around one rift herald per game, have about a 1000 gold lead at 15 minutes, have 16 kills per game, 12 deaths per game, and first blood rate that hovers around 50%. Their early games are almost identical, with the only discernible difference being Suning’s heavy dragon attention. They manage to take over one dragon per game more than JDG, and when you look at the fights that they take, a majority of them are around either the dragon, or the baron. JDG instead focuses elsewhere, often in the jungle, and then picks up dragons later.

The similarities that reside within this matchup are also there when you look not just at the stats, but at their individual playstyles. Both teams are well-known for their outstanding mechanical top laners, genius junglers, and facilitating supports. Zoom is argued as the best top laner in the world, but Bin is close behind him. Many think SofM has been the best performing jungler so far at this tournament, and it’s hard to disagree, but going into the tournament, many expected Kanavi to take that spot. The only large variation comes in the bottom lane, where Suning’s huanfeng deals significantly more damage than LokeN, but even then, the gold percentages of the two are really close. huanfeng has just performed slightly better for his team so far.

So what will be the decider? Due to their heavy focuses on the top side, it’s almost certain that the top-jungle duo that can perform better will win. And while it’s difficult to know who will be playing better on the day, it is possible to determine who will have advantages based upon things like champion select. So far, both Suning and JDG have played 23 unique champions in their group stage games. That being said, Suning’s top-jungle have played 10 unique champions together, while JDG’s have played just 8. Also, Kanavi has been favoring weird picks like the Sylas. And while it’s been working well so far, the pick is incredibly easy to punish with a good team, and Suning will most likely not allow for it to flourish. That leaves 7 champions that they’ve shown they can play thus far, which is 3 less than Suning.

Another important factor is their trending performances during groups. Suning, in my opinion, played better and better each game in groups, and didn’t falter much, if at all, in their last two games. Some may say, from the surface, the same could be said about JDG, but I think that’s incorrect. Their win again Damwon Gaming came when the seeding was already determined. Thus, Damwon was playing incredibly loose, aggressive, and not intelligently to say the least. So, that win is much less impressive the more you look at it. They also dropped a game to PSG Talon, where they were simply outplayed on the map from level one. Suning, while losing to TL on the last day, put up much more of a fight, and after that game, put on a clinic against G2. If you glance just at their last performances, I think the clear advantage goes to Suning as well.

Finally, the small difference in dragon control can mean a lot in this meta. That objective ends up determining the game a lot of the time, forcing the opponent into uncomfortable situations the more dragons you have, and putting you in the driver’s seat if you pick up more than one to start the game. Therefore, if Suning can continue to pick up only one more dragon per game than JDG, they’ll have a huge advantage the later the game goes on.

Important Questions

Who wins: Angel or Yagao?

I haven’t discussed the mid lane at all in this analysis, and it’s because not a lot of attention gets shown in that direction. Instead, both mid laners often roam around with the jungler, contesting enemy camps. But that doesn’t mean the matchup doesn’t matter. In fact, the winner of said matchup will be able to aid their top and jungle much more, as they’ll have wave pressure, and thus more power to roam. And in a matchup this top-side-heavy, that can mean the world.

Can “scrim-god” Bin show up?

Coming into worlds 2020, many had a lot of expectations for Suning’s top laner, Bin. The rookie showed up all split as one of the best in the region. But now, the expectations are arguably higher. Rumors of him destroying established tops like Nuguri are flying left and right. And once again, when both teams focus so heavily on that lane, his performance could make all the difference. If he can show off his limitless potential, especially on his carries like Jax, there is little JDG can do to play around it.

What weird stuff will SofM bring out next?

SofM has made his name from weird picks, builds, and strategies. His tank Lee Sin has inspired many to expand upon his builds, and even take Knight’s Vows from time to time. Even in groups, he brought out a phase rush Jarvan; the only Jarvan picked or banned thus far. And it proved incredibly effective. If he can continue to chuck curveballs at his enemy during Bo5s, it’ll give them another significant draft advantage over JDG.

Top lane, or support counter-pick?

Much of this matchup has to do with the top lane, so many may be expecting the counter-picks to go that way, but they can be just as effective in the support role. With both supports being heavy roamer and engagers, a simple counter-pick Blitzcrank can throw the game up in the air. So we’ll have to see where the teams decide to prioritize on the red side; which has struggled a tad so far this tournament.

My Expectation

If it wasn’t clear from the rest of this piece, I am favoring Suning over JDG here, but it’s incredibly close. If both teams perform at their LPL standard, I think JDG will be slightly favored, but so far, Suning is looking like the better team in October. I think the punches will be thrown continuously throughout the series, whether through counter-picks, crafty level ones, or 5v5s over Krugs (thanks SofM), so it could go either way depending on execution. For that reason, I’m going Suning, 3-2 over JDG.

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