Why is LCK the fastest region in LoL while the LCS is slowest?

Christian Vejvad • August 22, 12:35

The LCK is the fastest region out of all four major regions in average game duration in the 2020 Summer Split. 

The overall game time from all regions has been faster in season 10 when compared to previous years. This is due to the meta being faster, and the fact that Riot has added turret platings, elemental drakes, and other things that make teams snowball the game more easily after gaining an advantage.

Korea is the fastest region of the four major regions, with an average game duration of just 31 minutes and 50 seconds. This is 23 seconds faster than the LPL, with the Chinese league being second quickest. While this might not sound like a big difference, it is still a surprise that the LCK is the fastest region. 

In previous years, the LPL has been the fastest, with the LEC right behind it. We don’t have to look any further back than the 2020 spring split to see the LPL as the fastest region, with the LCK more than one minute slower. The LEC and LCS come in at a third and fourth place, respectitvely, both more than one minute behind the LCK and LPL. 

The faster game times in Korea might be caused by a shift in play style, as several teams have started to practice the early game aggression a bit more. DAMWON Gaming in particular has lowered the average game duration of the region by themselves after crushing regional opponents in under 30 minutes on average.

Having a fast average game duration doesn’t necessarily mean that the team is good. In fact, some of the slowest teams in the LCK are doing just fine. T1 is currently sitting as the fourth slowest team in the LCK, with an average game duration of 32 minutes and 31 seconds. 

On the other end we find Hanwha Life Esports, currently the second-fastest team in the league. This is not because they have crushed their opponents, but rather because they themselves are getting crushed. Hanwha Life is sitting at a standing of 1-16, only winning six games throughout the season. 

Why are the LCS and LEC playing slower, and is it bad?

Playing slow is not necessarily a bad thing, even though it might not look as flashy on paper. The LCS especially has been the slowest among the four major regions for several splits, because they tend to play a more controlled style similar to what we traditionally saw in the LCK for many years. 

In fact, some of the top teams in the LCS summer split are also the slowest. Golden Guardians is the slowest team with an average game duration of 35 minutes and 53 seconds, but they still managed to finish fifth in the regular season and beat Team SoloMid 3-0 in the playoffs. 

The first-place LCS team, Team Liquid, is also on the slower end of the league. At the same time, they have played one of the best splits in the teams’ history on paper. Liquid has proven that a controlled style can work just fine, as they tend to play a controlled laning phase and then slowly choke out their opponent with superior macro play.   

The fastest team in the LCS is Cloud9, a team that has been working hard to adopt the more aggressive style seen from some of the international scene’s top teams. Right behind them we have Dignitas, who has not been impressive this split and in many ways is the opposite of Cloud9. Dingitas’ quick average game duration tells us that the team has not been able to prevent teams from snowballing leads against them. 

The LEC on the other hand has usually been found in the middle since the league contains fast-paced teams such as G2 Esports and MAD Lions, but also more controlled teams including Origen and Rogue. For this split, it seems like the slower style has been most successful in Europe. 

The average game duration doesn’t tell us which team is the best, but it might tell us how regions will match against each other at international events such as the upcoming 2020 World Championship. 

Some regions are clearly more experienced in playing through the early game, while other teams will look to get an advantage if they manage to stall out the games. Currently, we should be expecting some bloody games whenever the LPL and LCK teams meet each other, while the NA vs. EU rivalry might be a bit slower paced. 

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