The two pro leagues are considered the most competitive in the world, but their defining playstyles could not be more different.
LPL is characterized as an aggressive, bloodthirsty region whose teams aren’t afraid to take fights, even when they’re down in numbers.
In contrast, the LCK has earned a reputation as the most disciplined pro league in the world. Every single move is calculated and patient, and they prioritize objectives over kills.
These two highlights aren’t isolated cases either. A look at the stats for the entire Spring Split shows an eye-opening difference in playstyle between the two regions:
1. Most kills
While the meta in recent years favors skirmishes by forcing teams to confront each other at objectives, it’s still no surprise that the LPL has almost 100 more kills than the LCK. In terms of individual kill leaders, LCK leader Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu’s 196 kills wouldn’t even place top 3 in the LPL.
After Deft, there’s a massive drop off in the LCK, with second-place Park “Teddy” Jin-seong’s 183 kills not even good enough for top 5 in the LPL. Meanwhile, the LPL’s Ding “Puff” Wang, Yuan “Cryin” Cheng-Wei and Zhao “Jiumeng” Jia-Hao all exceed the 200 kill mark.
It’s also worth pointing out that players with the most kills in both leagues are, as expected, bot laners – except Cryin who is a mid laner.
2. Most deaths
Team fighting more often translates to more kills, but also more deaths for the LPL.
Being bloodthirsty has its price. Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok is known for his aggressive style, and he ended up racking up the most deaths in LPL Spring Split 2020.
Camping top lane against Invictus Gaming is clearly a viable strategy.
He also stands out because the rest of the LPL players on this list are supports, who sacrifice their lives so that their bot laners can shine.
In the LCK on the other hand, top is undeniably the most precarious lane, for Sung “Flawless” Yeon-jun is the only jungler in the list. Alongside team mate Jeon “ikssu” Ik-soo, they represent APK Prince twice.
3. Highest KDA
Racking up the most kills doesn’t automatically equate to a high KDA, because the ratio is dependent on the number of deaths too. Nonetheless, LPL’s top three KDA scores still surpass their LCK counterparts.
IG Puff may have gotten the most kills, but due to his team’s audacious play style, his KDA is not even close to making top five.
Only Edward Gaming Wang “Hope” Jie and eStar Cryin of the LPL, and T1 Park “Teddy” Jin-seong and Gen.G Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk of the LCK made it to both the top five most kills and highest KDA rankings.
Compared to other statistics, KDA isn’t dominated by a single role. Both regions have a mix of top, jungle, mid and bot laners – with the exception of supports.
4. Average damage to champions per minute
As the saying goes, KDA is not everything. Invictus Gaming may not have high KDAs, and their top laner may have the most deaths in the league, but they still managed to finish first in the regular season.
iG’s superstar carries TheShy and mid laner Song “Rookie” Eui-jin took third and fourth place respectively. Even if one solo lane gets focused down, the other will step up to help push the team to victory.
TheShy is also the only top laner who made it to the list. Both league’s top damage dealers are bot or mid laners.
Former team mate, Top Esports Yu “JackeyLove” Wen-Bo only played six games in the regular season, yet ranks second in average damage dealt to champions, a testament to his outstanding AD carry abilities.
On the opposite side of the table, fifth place Yoo “FATE” Su-hyeok is Sandbox Gaming’s substitute mid laner who played seven games on champions like LeBlanc, Ryzea and Viktor, and only won one.
5. Shortest game
Even when you compare the average game time of both regions, LPL concludes games a minute faster, so it’s no surprise that the shortest game of the season was a pre-20 minute stomp by FunPlus Phoenix over Victory 5.
V5 did not win a single match this season and finished last, while Sandbox Gaming was one of the bottom two teams in the LCK that had to play through relegation matches to remain in the league.
6. Longest game
FunPlus Phoenix played in both the shortest and longest game of LPL Spring Split 2020.
In the final match of LPL Spring Split 2020, FunPlus Phoenix locked heads with Top Esports. Fighting for seeding, a win for either team would have bumped up their position in the rankings for a better playoff spot.
FPX were initially in control for the first 35 minutes of the game, but one team fight turned the tides for TES, who needed Baron and Elder Dragon in order to end.
7. Game with most kills
LCK’s longest game was also their bloodiest.
In week six, Damwon Gaming were on a four-game losing streak and desperate for a win. Overcoming APK Prince in a final team fight, DWG ended the game with 30 kills to APK’s 21.
LCK’s bloodiest game still cannot compare to LPL’s 58 total kill count within a 38-minute game that ended with an epic backdoor by Su “Southwind” Zhi-Lin and Puff on Tahm Kench and Ezreal.
The three-game series between Invictus Gaming and Rogue Warriors finished with a total kill count of 148.
Even though LPL teams favor a high risk, high reward play style, they’ve also shown that they can execute a highly macro game – when they choose to.
In the LPL Spring semifinals, there were no kills in game one between JD Gaming and FunPlus Phoenix until 33 minutes into the game. Similarly, Invictus Gaming is the only pro team to consistently draft Kalista top for TheShy with a 100% win rate by split pushing.
Aggression vs Control: Who wins?
With the Mid Season Cup starting tomorrow, it will be a chance for fans to see which style is superior.
Our opinion is that if the LPL can win brawls and secure objectives with fearless team fighting, they’ll be able to push for an early victory. But beware, for the LCK can also draft to work the map, and are very good at punishing mistakes. One misstep by an aggressive LPL team could swing all momentum over to the LCK for the win.