Records are a key part of the fabric that makes up the history of any sport. They allow the comparison of exceptional performances, a way to recognize the standout play of athletes from eras that span the decades.
Joe Dimaggio’s 56-game hit streak has stood the test of time. It’s an amazing number, a full 15 games higher than the next best player. It stands as one of the seemingly unbreakable records in sports. But every baseball season, when some player puts together a 20 or 30 game run of hits, we start to wonder. Will we witness history? Is the year someone finally overtakes the Yankee Clipper?
Records help tie the performance of today to the achievements of the past. While the 60 home runs Babe Ruth hit in 1927 are almost so different than 73 home runs hit by Barry Bonds in 2001 that we’re comparing apples to oranges, it’s still a fun comparison to make, and one that helps us remember how we got to where we are today.
In esports, record keeping has largely been an exercise in futility. With little standardization in events and no centralized bureau keeping track of statistics, much of esports history has been lost.
The League Championship Series, the regular League of Legends league that mirrors the top competitions in major professional sports, has changed that with a consistent league format. Each season features regular competition between teams playing a set number of games.
The recent summer split, whose regular season ended last month, was the fourth regular season of the LCS. A number of records fell. Single season marks were tied, or obliterated. Some players hit career milestones, like Peter “DoubleLift” Peng, who tallied his 500th career regular season kill.
We compiled the top single season performances in LCS history for the primary individual performance statistics in League, and compared them to the numbers put up by this split’s class of pros.
The bread and butter of an arena game like League is kills. And in a season of LCS, no player has killed more than Martin “Rekkles” Larrson did during this split. Larsson tied the single-season record of 167 set by Zachary “mandatorycloud” Allan Hoschar last year.
If ever a player deserves a season MVP award, it’s Larsson. In addition to his kill record, he posted just the second double digit KDA ever at 11.26, the second best in history behind William “Meteos” Hartman’s insane 12.66 KDA last Summer.
But the overall theme of this split? Farming.
Supa Hot Crew mid laner Marcin “SELFIE” Wolski obliterated the previous creep score record with an insane 11,328 minions killed, over 600 more than second place finisher Konstantinos “FORG1VEN” Tzortziou. That led to a new record in overall gold farmed, with Wolski pulling in 477,496 over the course of the season. You might think that’s because Supa Hot Crew plays such long matches, and you’d be right. But Wolski’s rate stats were historic, too: his 9.75 CSPM was the best ever.
Wolski was hardly unique this year. Seven of the top 10 marks in CSPM, CS, and Gold were set this split. Five of the top ten GPM numbers were set, with LMQ mid laner Yu “XiaoWeiXiao” Xian leading the pack with 419.77 GPM, a tad behind the all-time record of 422.44 GPM held by Jason “WildTurtle” Tran.
That shows a shift towards a lower kill, more tactical style game this split. Only two players, Larsson and Alliance marksman Erik “TabzZ” van Helvert, broke the top 10 of the all-time kills list. Just one player, Markus “KottenX” Tingvall, ranked in the top ten in deaths.
Those facts make Larsson’s record setting pace all the more impressive.
The overall records show how the historical environment affects the numbers players put up. It’s likely that today’s players are simply better at farming than those of three season ago, but it’s quite possible the current strategic environment in League had a lot to do with it, too. But even that doesn’t prevent certain standout players, like Larsson, from showing they are truly top class. (Click on the section title for a link to our complete stats database for each position.)
The effects of the metagame were most apparent in the top lane (click here for all our stats on top lane records), where the lane swaps and tank champions that plagued the first half of the season prevented top laners from making a big statistical impact.
The leading killer in top was Kevin “Kev1n” Rubiszewski, who scored 90 total. That’s a whopping 20 higher than the second ranked player this split, and nearly 30 more than the rest of the top five. But it wasn’t even close to cracking the top 10 top lane seasons!
Farming statistics, on the other hand, were obliterated this season. That’s hardly a surprise when you consider the tanky champions favored in top for much of this season can barely hinder each other from racking up big creep scores.
Junglers struggled to make an impact this split. They were the only role that put up small farm numbers compared to previous splits, and they didn’t make up the difference by being more active in player combat.
In Spring, William “Meteos” Hartman set the record for most kills from the jungle, with 107. This split the leaders clocked in at 69, outside the top ten overall numbers.
The only jungle record set this split was a dubious one. Markus “KottenX” Tingvall died more times than any other jungler in history, save Joshua “NintendudeX” Atkins, who also went to respawn 115 times last season. But Tingvall managed to back it up with 69 kills and 247 assists, the most from the jungle of each tally.
While Hartman, the superstar of the jungle who holds two of the top three highest kill jungle seasons, didn’t rank in the top five this season, he still managed a 305.94 GPM, tops at the position this split and good for 9th all-time. While this wasn’t close to his best season, Hartman is still king of the jungle.
Adrian “Kerp” Wetekam ranks seventh in mid lane history with 142 kills this split, a mark besting the next highest tally, XiaoWeiXiao’s 114, by double digits.
Interestingly, Alliance mid laner Henrik “Froggen” Hansen, who ranked fourth in mid lane kills this split with 112, had the highest assist total. His 201 assists on the season rank third in history for mid laners. That helped Hansen set the record for KDA for a mid laner with a 7.28 KDA this split. New Dignitas mid laner Danny “Shiphtur” Le was right on his heels however with a 7.23 KDA.
The mid lane was also farm heavy this season. The top seven CSPM numbers in mid were set this season, along with seven of the top ten GPM numbers, including XiaoWeiXiao’s mid lane best 419.77 GPM.
All those kills missing from other lanes ended up with the AD carries. Larsson was the headliner, but three other players joined him in the top 10 for kills in a season by an ADC. Still, the Fnatic man’s season was historic, and the rankings for his role drive home that point.
He was first all-time in kills, gold, and KDA for the marksman role, while also finishing third in GPM, fourth in CSPM, and fifth in CS. While players like Johnny “Altec” Ru, Erik “TabzZ” van Helvert, and Jakub "Creaton" Grzegorzewski also put together solid seasons statistically, no one came close to Fnatic’s juggernaut.
Part of Larsson’s success was likely due to his strong support. Bora “YellOwStaR” Kim had a historic season of his own, as far as supports go.
Kim posted 277.5 GPM, the highest ever for a support player and over 20 GPM above the next ranked player this split. Kim led the league in kills from the support position with 34, tying him for 6th overall at the position. He earned the most gold ever for a support, 309212 gold, breaking his own mark from last split. His 6.73 KDA topped his position by a whopping 2.0, ranking 2nd all-time for support players.
This season we saw a historically good performance by Martin “Rekkles” Larsson. It just might be the best season ever put together by a marksman. But we wouldn’t have known just how great it truly was without the proper context.
That’s why keeping records is so exciting and important. Larsson’s 167 kills may not be the same as Hoschar’s 167 kills in a much different metagame last year. Wolski’s new farming records were made in a very different environment than the ones in which he broke. But the ability to compare them is something we should cherish and one of the things that makes the LCS so great.
Photo via Riot Games