Counter Logic Gaming’s First Bloodstreak That Didn’t Matter During Spring Split 2021

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For fourteen games during the Spring Split 2021, Counter Logic Gaming did something quite incredible: they got fourteen consecutive First Bloods. It was a feat that had never been seen before in North America, a streak like no other. Because during this period, the team would only win three games. Doing the easy math, that means they lost eleven times.

Eleven.

First blood is by no means a binding stat for early game and overall team excellence. But that should matter and play a decent role in creating a winning position…right?

First bloods provide the immediate gold bonus but also provide an average experience bonus and map control bonus. Here is the average performance of the teams during the Spring Split when they got their first blood.

DF F H FT Gold Diff @ 10 XP Diff @ 10 Diff Gold @ 15 XP Diff @ 15
Teams that secure FB 62% 51% 57% 585.7555556 319.4666667 698.4222222 340.4

Counter Logic Gaming’s fourteen period stretch was a bit different.

DF F H FT Gold Diff @ 10 XP Diff @ 10 Diff Gold @ 15 XP Diff @ 15
CLG 57% 36% 50% 199.8571429 211.4285714 -416.7142857 -109.5

How did they fumble so badly during this incredible streak?

Here’s a breakdown of the first blood turnout. There are a few things we can glean from this brief stat:

First blood stake FB kills secure Safe FB Helpers
Middle (combined) 8 6 2
High 8 3 5
Jungle (combined) seven 2 5
CDA 4 1 3
Support seven 2 5

There’s a lot of action at the top of the card with Jason”wild turtle“Tran being the only man out of the picture. That’s somewhat understandable given his career trajectory – evolving from “fast carry” to “grizzled veteran”. He was one of two CLG members to average a ten (+185) and fifteen minute (+57) gold lead during the streak and was the only one to do so playing all fourteen games.

The other man who averaged gold at ten (+188.2) and fifteen minutes (+198.2) was Eugene”PobelterPark. The mid lane just so happens to have been involved a ton in first blood. ‘coaches. His counterpart, Alexey “rjs“Zatorski would also be involved at the start of matches.

First blood stake FB kills secure Safe FB Helpers
Poubelter (5) 3 2 1
rjs (9) 5 4 1

Counter Logic Gaming junglers also found themselves embroiled in the first bloody conversation.

First blood stake FB kills secure Safe FB Helpers
Broxa 4 2 2
Griffin 3 0 3

And then there’s top laner Finn.”Finnish” Wiestal. He had a 57% turnout on first blood. Eric from FlyQuest”LicoriceRitchie followed closely with a 43% turnout. And then there’s a steep drop among the top-laners participating in first blood. He also wasn’t necessarily reaping the full reward – only getting three of the eight kills he’s been in.

Finn was an interesting prospect to follow in 2021. At the end of 2020, Rogue left Finn in favor of a more established veteran in the space – although Finn was their best member at the 2020 World Championship. North America with a lot to prove, but more importantly he wanted to prove he was still one of the best European top laners available.

He was involved early on but his withdrawal between ten and fifteen minutes was incredibly concerning. Most notably, while establishing a solid experience lead, his opponent was able to find a way back into the game to develop a pretty nice gold lead.

Gold Dif at 10 XP Diff at 10 K+A Dif at 10 Diff Or at 15 years XP Diff at 15 K+A Dif at 15
Finnish 33.28571429 224.0714286 5 -149.2857143 208.4285714 0

The team as a whole would follow a similar fate.

At ten minutes, the team averaged a +199 gold lead and a 211.42 experience lead while averaging a -8.5 creep score deficit. In five minutes, they suddenly lost 416.7 gold, 109.5 experience points and 9.6 knockback points. The first blood bonus helps explain part of this.

The average time for a CLG first blood was around six to seven minutes into the match. Only twice did CLG get first blood after ten minutes. Eight of their first bloods were obtained before the start of the typical second jungle clearance – seven minutes into the game. While providing a clear advantage, it’s relatively difficult for a team to take full advantage of what the kill offers. CLG would have a first dragon rate of 57% and a terrible first herald rate of 35.7% in fourteen games.

At ten minutes, CLG beat their opponents 17 to 14. Between ten and fifteen minutes, CLG again outscored their opponents but only by a 14 to 13 margin. In their losses, they would average a -768 deficit between the tenth and the fifteenth minute. It was only in three games that they improved their golden difference between minutes ten and fifteen. They didn’t win any of those games.

Can we just blame everyone?

Gold Diff @ 10 XP Diff @ 10 K+A Dif @ 10 Diff Gold @ 15 XP Diff @ 15 K+A Diff @ 15
Broxa -162.125 -78.75 -2 -250.125 -398 1
Finnish 33.28571429 224.0714286 5 -149.2857143 208.4285714 0
Griffin -23.33333333 -70 5 -102.1666667 -223.3333333 1
Pobelter 188.2 -22.4 0 198.2 -169 2
rjs -30.22222222 -141.1111111 3 -225.4444444 -163.7777778 1
Smoothies 36 85.71428571 0 -63.71428571 -46.14285714 -4
wild turtle 185.4285714 75.35714286 2 57.14285714 217 0

Can we just blame everyone else for this?

During his time on the main roster, Griffin left a lot on the table. He put forward the idea that “any substitute can be better suited for this team”. In six games, he averaged a 64% turnout, a 2.7 KDA, a -23 gold deficit at ten minutes, posted a respectable 300 damage per minute and averaged 199 coins. gold earned less than respectable per minute. Despite a good partnership with RJs for some time, we knew that CLG was just waiting for Broxah to arrive.

What was interesting though was how Broxah would behave when he joined the team. Here is a comparison.

Player KDAName computer KS% DTH % FB % GD10 XPD10 CSPM DPM
Broxa 2.9 67.90% 15.40% 18.90% 57% -162.125 -78.75 5.7 259
Griffin 2.7 64.00% 17.30% 18.20% 50% -23.33333333 -70 5.9 300

Broxah was pinned as a player who could help with snowballing issues in the lead. A veteran often applauded for his professionalism and composure was going to help a group of mostly veteran gambling problems. Yeah, that argument really didn’t make much sense in hindsight.

Over the fourteen games, they average the longest average playing time in losses (37 minutes) and the third-fastest game in wins (32 minutes). This makes it seem like the team was letting games slip away from them – which the data shows is true. The problem is that they were losing control of the game sooner than expected. CLG was actually quite impressive to fight from behind. They weren’t bleeding slowly, they were trying to work their way into games.

The team didn’t find their identity in 2021. They didn’t have a single number to play with, they didn’t have the definite person you wanted to take the hit with three seconds to go, down two. This would be fixed temporarily in the second half of the year with a very basic teamfight strategy, “Bronze-zodia”. But the teams hung on.

It’s kind of the amazing thing about the sequence, there was no logic behind how it happened. Counter Logic Gaming was not intentionally doing anything to make this happen – It just happened. Vegas would always give you better odds on Counter Logic Gaming to secure first blood because they couldn’t figure it out either. I only know because I’ve bet on it in eleven out of fourteen matches.

CLG took advantage of mistakes. They took advantage of the mistakes made by the teams against them. Jensen gets out of his seat early. Palafox not respecting Pobelter’s kill pressure. Impact not respecting Finn’s kill pressure. Even in the moments when they were proactive as a team, it didn’t necessarily feel like a team moment. It was the common spring theme – CLG wasn’t winning games, the other team was losing games.

CLG’s 89% first blood rate for the Spring Split will likely stand the test of time. This is the highest in LCS history. However, for the organization, it will only be a nice little treat. It was a small detail in a season marked by confusion, disappointment and despair. It was a season that protected the player’s legacy as management embarrassed themselves at different times. And looking back, it was the perfect snapshot of an organization that was in dire need of its off-season rebuild.


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