Since 2016, there have been 25 games in the North American League of Legends Championship Series that have seen a team lose despite having destroyed more towers than its opponent. None managed to lose faster (32:51) than 100 Thieves did Sunday night in heartbreaking fashion to FlyQuest.
Similarly, since 2016, there have been only 34 games when a team has lost despite having a multiple-kill advantage. Only one of those games went faster than Sunday's FlyQuest victory: Team Liquid beating Team Impulse on Jan. 32, 2016, while trailing 15-13 in kills.
This is FlyQuest's eighth such comeback, the most in the NA LCS, made even more impressive as the team have only been around since 2017. Counter Logic Gaming has the second-most such comebacks since 2016 with five.
A team winning despite a tower deficit and multiple-kill disadvantage has occurred seven times since 2016. The most recent was in Game 1 of a 2-0 series win for Echo Fox over Phoenix1 on July 28, 2017, in which Echo Fox won by taking the minimum number of towers (5 to 11) and finished with 14 kills to Phoenix1's 19. Again, FlyQuest holds the most such comebacks with three.
This post intended to look at 100 Thieves, frame them as the team to beat heading into the second half of the split, and dissect exactly what makes them such a good team. However, the team's disastrous loss simply sent the standings further into turmoil and left the league with no clear standout. Four teams are tied atop the standings with three more just one game back.
As head-spinning as its loss to FlyQuest was, 100 Thieves is still the team to beat in the NA LCS. The game Sunday night was all but wrapped up until a series of fairly minor mistakes compounded into a situation in which 100 Thieves was forced into a split-second decision. Granted, much of a game of League of Legends is just this, excelling at these high-octane, high-risk decisions. More times than not, this would be 100 Thieves' game to win.
100 Thieves has proven time and again that it is quite good in these high-stress moments. In fact, in games that go beyond the 35-minute mark, 100 Thieves holds the best record in North America (4-0). Team Liquid (2-0) and FlyQuest (1-0) are the only two other teams without a loss. Thirty-five minutes tends to be the point at which games start progressing into the late game stage where carries have all their main items complete, and games are decided almost solely via tactics or a one-sided team fight.
One of the few recipes to success against 100 Thieves seems to be getting top laner Kim "Ssumday" Chan-ho on a champion other than a carry. 100 Thieves is 5-0 when Ssumday has played Aatrox, Jax, Gangplank or Darius. His team is 1-4 in his games on Renekton, Singed and Dr. Mundo.
100 Thieves is also the only team in the league with multiple wins (4-0) when playing the 'funnel strategy,' a play-style in which gold from both the mid-lane and the jungle is put on one player (Cody "Cody Sun" Sun in the case of 100 Thieves) in an effort to get the player ahead of every other player in the game. No other team in the NA LCS has more than one win on the strategy.
Two weeks ago, star jungler William "Meteos" Hartman was traded from 100 Thieves to FlyQuest and was replaced by Andy "AnDa" Hoang. AnDa's performance thus far has been worrying. While 100 Thieves is 2-2 with its new jungler, two of those games have come while the team has been funneling. This means that AnDa moves to a more supportive role and loses all of his normal jungle resources.
The worrying aspect is that 100 Thieves has lost both games in which AnDa jungles as normal without the lost resources. As funneling becomes less viable next week with the advent of patch 8.14, will AnDa be able to excel in his traditional role?