2021 LCS Power Rankings: Bot Lane
With only two Bot Laners remaining on the same team from 2020 (Zven and Tactical) there is a lot of room for growth and surprises from the marksmen in 2021. This next split brings along a lot of new faces, with players coming from Academy and OCE to compete with the established LCS talent. Only three starting Bot Laners are coming in with more than a full year of LCS experience, yet the talent level may be at the highest that it has ever been.
Bot lane is a stat heavy role, and with all of the players starting this split coming from either LCS (6), NA Academy (3), or the OPL (1), the direct comparisons of these statistics can do more justice than in many of the other positions this year. For the Bot Lane, I consider most metrics to be valuable, but in particular I find gold generation and damage output to be the key performance indicators to determine an ADCs success.
With that being said, let’s get in to the final positional power ranking going in to LCS 2021!
S Tier — A Close Race for the Top
1. Tactical — Team Liquid
There are so many incredible young players in the ADC position coming in to 2021, and Tactical is the greatest among them. With the guidance that CoreJJ was able to provide him in basically just one split, Tactical had an incredible LCS Playoffs performance, and probably the best Worlds performance from a North American rookie in the modern history of League. Tactical teamfights well, lanes well, and puts out incredible damage numbers all while rarely making positional mistakes.
Playing primarily high DPS long range marksman, such as Ezreal, Aphelios, and Ashe, Tactical does also mix in more situational picks such as Kalista and Cassiopeia. Despite being a rookie, Tactical has not been shy about making big plays on the large stages, such as this Kalisa play in LCS Summer Playoffs:
Tacticals stat line in Summer of 2020 is incredible (all player statistics in this article have been gathered from https://gol.gg/, unless stated otherwise):
- 1st in CS/Minute (9.9) — tied with Doublelift
- 1st in Gold/Minute (454)
- 1st in Damage % (31.7)
- 1st in GD@15 (441)
- 2nd in First Blood % (33.3)
- 2nd in Damage/Minute (566)
- 3rd in CSD@15 (5)
- 3rd highest KDA (7.1)
- 3rd in Kill Participation % (72.1)
- Spring: 1st in KP% (76.1%), 2nd in CS/M (10), 1st in First Blood % (66.7) (through 3 games in LCS)
Context is important when looking at a stat line, and Tactical is no exception. He had the pleasure of playing on the 1st place team in the regular season as well as laning with the Summer MVP, CoreJJ. However, from top to bottom Tactical performed incredibly last split, with plenty of plays to back up his stature in the top of the standing. TL is easily going to have the strongest overall bot lane going into 2021, with Cloud9, 100T and (potentially) TSM fielding serious competitors for the title.
2. Zven — Cloud9
Another strong member on the Cloud9 Roster, Zven is coming into the split as the most proven ADC in the LCS. With good performances on TSM, to incredible displays on Cloud9, Zven is a consistent marksman to have on your roster. He and Cloud9 had a dominant Spring split (where Zven didn’t die until the 6th game), and despite their eventual collapse, a good Summer Split.
In Summer of 2020, Zven played a lot of weak side, with Cloud9 and team focusing more around Blaber and Licorice as the primary threats on the team. His damage numbers are quite low compared to the field, but he still puts up strong numbers around gold generation and KDA. Looking at his stats from the Summer Split, Zven finished:
- 2nd highest KDA (7.2)
- 3rd in Gold/Minute (447)
- 3rd in GD@15 (294)
- 4th in CSD@15 (3)
- 9th in Damage % (24.3)
- 7th in Damage/Minute (482)
- Spring: 1st in KDA (11.6), GPM (465), CSD@15 (15), and XPD@15 (502)
I have some concerns about Zven playing weakside again in 2021, and I hope that Fudge (someone who has proven that he can do so) will be willing to take that responsibility more often than Licorice did. Simply put, when Zven is not getting involved on the map, Cloud9 is not performing well. Let’s take a look at Cloud9's elimination series verses TSM in Summer Playoffs. Through the 3 games they lost, Zven was barely involved in the kills C9 was able to gather:
Contrast this to game 2 of the same series, where Cloud9 won with Zven participating in all 18 of their 18 kills. For Cloud9 to be successful, Zven needs to be involved. He is their engine, and I cannot wait to see what he and Perkz can do with this C9 team upon their reunion with Mithy.
3. FBI — 100 Thieves
The top 3 ADCs starting in LCS this year could all make a case for the top position, but FBI still some more to prove before he can take the claim of best ADC in LCS. That being said, this guy was an absolute monster in 2020, and in my opinion the 2v2 lane of FBI and Huhi was the best laning bot duo in the league in Summer. FBI and Huhi were really incredible all year, netting many 2v2 kills in lane, such as the following in the TSM vs GG series in Round 1 of the playoffs:
Statistically, FBI was one of the best ADCs in the league in Summer as well, finishing:
- 1st in Damage/Minute (618)
- 1st in CSD@15 (10)
- 2nd in GD@15 (387)
- 2nd in Damage % (30.7)
- 4th in CS/Minute (9.6)
- 4th in Kill Participation % (70.4)
- Spring: 1st in Damage % (31.4)
I hope that 100T really embraces the fact that they have such a strong laning duo in the bot lane as well as in the top lane with Ssumday. Damonte fits perfectly into this lineup as a roam heavy mid laner, and he now has two serious threats on his team to add his extra pressure towards.
FBI is set up perfectly to have a true breakout year and prove that he is the best ADC in the LCS. Overall, I am incredibly excited to see this bot lane matchup against the other best bot lanes in the league.
A Tier — Chasing the Top
4. Johnsun — FlyQuest
Johnsun was one of the highlights out of a very poor performing Dignitas roster. The team surrounding him this year is already looking much better, with Licorice, Josedeodo, Palafox, and Diamond entering the fold. The key difference between 2020 Johnsun and 2021 Johnsun will be that he is now in a veteran role on this FlyQuest roster. Aside from Licorice, no other teammate has any LCS experience. Although he had a good showing at Worlds, Josedeodo is coming from a much weaker region in the LLA, and Palafox/Diamond both looked good in Academy, but that isn’t the same playing field as LCS either.
Johnsun had a few statistics that stood out to me, especially considering how abysmal Dignitas was last split. In Summer, he finished:
- 3rd in CS/Minute (9.7), behind Tactical and Doublelift
- 3rd in Damage % (30.4)
- 2nd in Vision Score/Minute (1.45), behind only Bang
His ability to maintain impressive farming AND damage numbers while losing games is remarkable. He made several big plays throughout the year as well, including catching out the best ADC the LCS has ever seen in one of his first games on the LCS stage.
Will Johnsun be able to take a leadership role? Will he be able to continue his incredible development without the mentorship of Aphromoo in his line up? Only time will tell, but Johnsuns ability to adapt to this new team will be a large factor in if FlyQuest end up a top half, or a bottom half LCS team.
5. Wildturtle — CLG
The longest running member of the LCS is still going strong. Wildturtle has been playing in the LCS since it was created in 2013, and has been a solid performer throughout its entirety. If you are a team looking for a consistent, proven ADC, Wildturtle is the best choice on the market.
Wildturtle had an interesting statline relative to the rest of the league, which showcases his tendency to focus on teamfights and objectives rather than laning and farm. Throughout Summer, he placed:
- 1st in KDA (9.6)
- 1st in Kill Participation % (74.8)
- 1st in First Blood % (50)
- Lowest deaths/game in the league (has to be a first for Turtle)
- 8th in CS/Minute (9.3)
- 8th in CSD@15 (-4)
- 4th in Gold/Minute (427)
Setting the record for lowest deaths per game in LCS Summer is hilarious considering Wildturtles reputation for, well, being wild. There are plenty of highlights of him flashing in too aggressively and throwing games (warning: high rates of nostalgia). However, WildTurtle had some truly incredible games in both Spring and Summer, leading FlyQuest to back to back 2nd place finishes. Despite his long tenure in the LCS, he is clearly still worthy of his starting stop. Also, his aggressive flash plays have only gotten better with time.
B Tier — Best of Academy
6. Lost — TSM
Playing on the 2nd best Academy roster, TSM Academy, Lost was the best ADC in the league in the Summer Split. The New Zealand local came over from OCE in 2017 to join Echo Fox’s Academy team, and is now getting a chance at the big stage after a year on TSM Academy (thanks to the new OCE import rule change).
Lost left an impact on NA Academy in Summer, finding most of his success of Aphelios, Ezreal, and Kalista.
- 1st in KDA (8.5)
- 1st in Gold/Minute (441)
- 1st in GD@15 (518)
- 2nd in CSD@15 (9)
- 2nd in Kill Participation % (70.2)
- 2nd in Damage % (29.2)
- 4th in CS/Minute (9.2)
Statistically, there is no dispute that Lost was the best ADC in Academy last year, and he played incredibly in the playoffs as well.
Lost is going to have the serious benefit of having several strong veteran players surrounding him, with the likes of Huni, PowerOfEvil, and SwordArt filling in the TSM roster. This will give Lost the ability to focus on his own gameplay first, before trying to worry too much about how the team is performing, similar to what Tactical had around him in his first full split. This could be an incredible breakout year for the Academy star, and he may find himself at the top of the LCS ranking in future splits.
7. Deftly — Evil Geniuses
Deftly has been playing competitively since 2015, joining Golden Guardians a few years later for the 2018 season. People may forget that Delfty went to Worlds with Cloud9 in 2019, winning a game vs Hong Kong Attitude. If Lost was the clear best ADC in NA Academy Summer, Deftly was right behind him. Truthfully, I don’t think there is a large skill gap between these two players, but I’d personally rather have Lost on my roster largely because he is 1.5 years younger and seems to have more growth potential than Deftly at this point in his career.
Regardless, Deftly is looking to be a strong choice as a starting ADC this split, after a pretty dominating performance in Academy on a roster than only finished in 6th place. Despite the teams overall performance, Deftly finished the split:
- 1st in Kill Participation % (70.8)
- 1st in Damage/Minute (618)
- 2nd in CS/Minute (9.3)
- 3rd in Damage % (28.8)
Entering the season, Deftly could be viewed as the weakest link on the Evil Geniuses roster. With proven talent such as Impact, Jiizuke, and IgNar, Deftly will need to prove that he is not a liability in order for EG to place in the top half of the standings. Based on his time in Academy, I do believe that Deftly will only be slightly below average as an ADC coming into the split, and will be serviceable for EG as a supporting cast member.
C Tier— Promising Talent
8. Raes — Immortals
Fun fact: Raes first came to competitive by joining ‘Best Players Ocean’, a team I can find almost no information about (sounds like they were pretty good tho). Since then, he has bounced around the OCE, across a few teams, and made an appearance at the 2020 World Championship Play-ins on Legacy Esports.
Raes was, without a doubt, the most talented Bot Laner to play in the OPL last year. He finished with the highest KDA by far (7.1), the highest CS/Minute (10.1!), the highest Damage/Minute (582), and among the top 3 in many other metrics. He also had two pentakills in the latest OPL:
Regardless of his domestic dominance, the OPL is not a particularly competitive region (despite how many top tier ADCs they seem to produce, seriously what’s going on there? First FBI, then Lost and Raes?). Due to that, it is hard to place Raes any higher in the rankings until he proves himself on the more competitive stage. Raes played well in the Play-ins at Worlds, but competing against the top teams in NA is going to be even more of a challenge than SuperMassive and INTZ were. I am looking forward to Raes compete in the LCS, and I hope he is able to retain his cocky playstyle and personality once he arrives in NA.
9. Neo — Dignitas
Neo (formally ‘Asta’) has been in competitive league since 2018 when he played for OpTic Academy. Since then, he has played for Immortals Academy, as well as two Amatuer teams, before joining Dignitas Academy last split. Although talented, Neo shouldn’t be in the same conversation as Lost and Deftly when it comes to discussing the top ADC talent in NA Academy last year. Based upon his status as the last signed member in the LCS going into 2021, I would bet that Dignitas we’re exploring other options until finally settling on Neo.
Neo has a wide champion pool, playing 10 different champions across 18 games in NA Academy Summer, including niche picks such as Ziggs, Wukong, and Syndra. However, he went 1/5 in games picking those champions, so he may be better off sticking to his standard champ pool of Ashe, Ezreal, Aphelios and Kalista.
The last ADC to lane with Aphromoo surprised a lot of people in his first split, and there is a chance that Neo does the same. Someone on the Dignitas lineup will need to step up if the team expects to finish above the bottom of the league, and maybe Neo can be one of the players to light a spark for this team going in to 2021.
D Tier —A battle worn Veteran
10. Stixxay — Golden Guardians
Last year I tweeted that “if anyone takes Stixxay on their starting roster in 2021, they are not seriously trying to win.” Turns out I was correct, since staff from Golden Guardians have actually announced that their goal is not to win this year (which is entirely reasonable given their circumstances). Hunter Leigh, the Head of Esports for the Golden State Warriors, joined Hotline League to talk about the GSW went through significant budget cuts, and how his goal this year is not to build an LCS winning roster, but rather a budget roster aimed at developing talent.
I think Stixxay is okay for this purpose. He probably wasn’t expensive (I can’t imagine more than a few bottom teams bid on him), and you know that you are going to have a relatively stable veteran to place among a team full of true rookies.
Realistically, this is the only situation where Stixxay found his way to a starting LCS roster and I’m not mad about it. I still think there are several unsigned ADC veterans that would have been better (CodySun, Sneaky, Apollo), but who knows, maybe he’ll have a standout year and bring us back to the days of CLG at MSI in 2016.
Stats (Summer 2020):
- Lowest KDA (2.9)
- 9th in Gold/Minute
- 10th in Kill Participation % (58.0)
- 10th in Vision Score/Minute
- 10th in GD@15 (-561)
- 10th in CSD@15 (-8)
*Has yet to be officially announced