After thirty-three matches spanning eleven days, Cloud 9 emerges as champions of the March Madness format VIS Pro: Winter Season Split One. Sixteen teams battled across the Fold, leaving a trail of statistics in their wake. So, like a shambling man of questionable sanity scouring the beach with no more than a metal detector and gumption, I, too, set out to find hidden treasures in the sandy dunes of statistics.
Subsequent articles will dive into the Jungle and Captain positions, but carries are first. Their stats are often easiest to directly translate towards overall team performance; plus, we all know they’re the ones who care the most about the numbers anyways.
The first chart presents the top six carries from the VIS Pro for your consideration.
The stats for the carries of VIS Pro seen earlier in the article are pleasingly predictable, but reveal some interesting nuances to each player’s game. Let’s assess each carry individually.
BestChuckNa (Team SoloMid)
The steady Ed of TSM, Chuck plays exactly how you might imagine someone who YoloQ’d to Vainglorious Gold. Consistent in both CS and GPM numbers, Chuck bridges the gap between the average Vainglorious Carry and the truly transcendent. No doubt he’s the best Chuck in North America, but BestCarryNA? Probably not. To, perhaps, his own personal detriment, Chuck plays with one of the most kills and gold-hungry Junglers in the game. TSM probably feels comfortable funneling up-for-grab kills and CS to either Chuck or VONC, both are capable carries, a flexibility unavailable to many top-level teams. On the other end of the spectrum…
One of the wunderkinds of Vainglory, Zio has impressed in the past with immaculate mechanics and the ability to hard carry his team through entire series; however, critics have consistently pointed to decision making and positioning as areas of weakness. Accordingly, Zio leads the field at 6.5 kills per game, but resides second to last with 3.5 deaths per game. It’s hard to know whether the pressure to hard carry this tournament was self-induced or contextually necessary; TheBlank and SuiJeneris are both quality players, but Zio clearly has more chemistry with his past and future teammates. Absent of Aloh4 for the entire tournament, and bereft of Vains (AKA the Zio Whisperer) for the Ro8, Zio was unable to match the play of the top carries. It would not be surprising to see his stats rise once he settles into the Immortals organization, but until then we will have to be satisfied with a statistically mercurial, rather than magnificent, DNZio.
IraqiZorro (GankStars Sirius)
One of the oldest tenured professional Vainglory players, IraqiZorro had a tumultuous tournament. Unanimously considered one of the top few laners of the nascent Vainglory professional scene, Iraqi’s return to NA may coincide with a descent from the lofty heights he once climbed to. By no means is he a poor player, but several stats stand out. A 12/2/6 shellacking of Level 8 on Ringo as well as a 8/3/1 (in a loss) Baron line gives him 2nd highest kill average; however, his gold generation numbers–even when inflated by the increased Kill Gold–still fall short of the average. In Iraqi’s defense, the averages were skewed by some truly impressive play out of Oldskool and StartingAllOver, but even if he was generally better than the average carry this tournament, he was also generally worse than the best.
MISCHE (Echo Fox)
Runaway winner of the longest average game time by the auspicious amount of 4 minutes and 20 seconds, any analysis of MICHSE’s play should start with that stat. Por exemplum, MICSCHE topped all farmers with an average of 190 CS per game; however, he also averaged 40 less GPM than the next lowest laner. So, what does this tell us about MISCHE? A whole lot of nothing probably; the later into the late game teams go, the less important keeping up a high rate of GPM is. Ergo, until MISCHE plays in some more games and expands his sample size, we won’t be able to get a great read on where he stacks up against the rest of North America’s carries.
This guy plays Vainglory as though destroying the enemy Vain is going to save the world from a zombie apocalypse. Oldskool plays like the hottest girl in school told him a 10 CS per minute average is the only way she’ll go to prom with him. Oldskool plays like (pause for a moment of solemnity and gravitas) our Korean lord and savior, Druid. Third highest in kills, third best in deaths and with zero cares in the world about assists, Oldskool plays to win, not to kill. Only barely edged out by StartingAllOver in GPM, the difference of five gold separating them is less telling than the 58 gold separating Oldskool from the next highest. For the first three games of the grand finals it was unclear who was the better Carry, Oldskool or StartingAllOver; however, with the series on the line, Oldskool pulled out two straight Gwen picks and slapped StartingAllOver down. Starting may be the future, but Oldskool is the present and the present is glorious.
StartingAllOver (Hammers Velocity)
When I was thirteen I was worried about being the best player in my little league and keeping my shoes tied. Need I say more? For those who didn’t know StartingAllOver coming into the VIS Pro, hello, welcome, please pull out your notebook and begin taking notes. This thirteen year old absolutely lit teams up. Highest in GPM and near the top in every other statistical category, Starting assuaged any fears Hammers fans might have had about DNZio leaving the organization. Velocity is in very capable, if small, hands.
That wraps things up for the Carries, a couple things worth noting though. First, one of the main considerations when looking at GPM stats should always be the average game time. Teams who are able to quickly snowball leads will generally have higher GPM rates than teams who methodically move their way towards the nexus, prioritizing certain inevitability over less-certain immediacy. In this way, StartingAllOver, who averaged about 1000 gold and 18 CS less than Oldskool per game, is able to parley an average of one minute and thirty seconds faster game time into a five gold-per-minute lead. C9 was the better team, but they also play a more methodical, less statistically-friendly style.
Second, and piggybacking on the first point, stats can lie. Good stats don’t always equate to wins, and wins don’t necessarily result in impressive stats. Statistical analysis erects signposts pointing in the right direction, but doesn’t provide a full map for success. A player is never simply the sum of his statistics; winning in sports, electronic or athletic, is dependant just as much on the ineffable and unquantifiable as it is the quantifiable. This upcoming season of Vainglory should provide a rich opportunity to analyze both, and find out what mix of ingredients, counted and uncounted, provides the best recipe for success.