In the “By The Numbers,” we’re going to examine tournament sets by looking at data and analytics, in order to hopefully come across insights we may have otherwise missed. To start out, I chose one of the most exciting sets from EVO 2015. As I’m sure you’ve figured out based on the title of this article, I am of course referring to Laudandus vs. Chudat.
Just kidding. We’re here to talk about Leffen and DruggedFox. Leffen was obviously the favorite, and – spoiler alert – Leffen ended up winning. That’s not why this is an interesting set. The set garnered so much attention because of how damn close it was. People knew that DruggedFox was good, but no one knew he was that good. He may have not sent Leffen to an early loser’s bracket run, but he nearly did, and that was enough to get the melee community talking. Just how close was the set, though? Why don’t we let some numbers do the talking for us? Take a look for yourself:
First, let me give a few explanations and disclaimers. “Stock Diff,” or Stock Differential, refers to how many stocks each player won or lost by. So, a “1” means that you 1-stocked your opponent, and a “-2” means that you got 2-stocked. The Average Stock Time and % are calculated using the time of each death and the percentage the dying player was at, averaged out over each stock. “<35%” is intended to show early kills or gimps, but it ended up not being relevant for this set (I arbitrarily chose 35 as the percentage for a “quick kill”). All of these numbers are calculated without using the last stock of the winning player. So, if Leffen was at 120% when he eliminated DruggedFox’s last stock, that 120% would not get factored into any of the averages. This is because the final surviving stock has too much variance – sometimes a player will come back and immediately finish off his opponent, and sometimes the last stock lasts forever. In the future, I might leave it in if it is integral to telling the story of a specific set, but for now I’ve left it out. It makes the data somewhat incomplete, but it also gets rid of a lot of margin for error. Plus, in that example, who’s to say that Leffen would have gone on to survive to higher than 120%?
Now to take a look at the actual numbers. These averages really highlight how evenly matched the two players were in this set. The first two games were only decided by one stock, with their average stock times within 6 – 8 seconds of each other. Even more interesting is the fact that they each lasted to above 100% on average over those first two games, with Leffen averaging 147% in game 1 while never losing a stock below 130%. Keep in mind that DruggedFox went Sheik in game 1, and that Sheik’s main advantage over Fox is that she can get early kills. Despite Leffen’s remarkable ability to hold on to his stocks to higher percentages, DruggedFox was able to take game 1, causing Leffen to take the set to FD and force a character switch.
It is also pretty striking how similar Leffen’s numbers are from game 1 to game 2, even though he was playing a different matchup on a different stage. If we look at the individual stocks, though, there is an outlier. At the start of their game on FD, DruggedFox was able to eliminate Leffen’s first stock at 60% in only 16 seconds. After that first stock, Leffen went on to average 172.5% and a lifetime of 1:38 between stocks 2 and 3. These two strong lives gave him enough edge to clutch out a tense final stock and lead the set into a third game.
Game 3 stands out from the first two for a few reasons. The most conspicuous difference here is that this is the only game in which a player self-destructed. Forty-eight seconds into the game, while still on his first stock, DruggedFox messed up a ledge-dash and airdodged to his death. This happens to everyone, and DF was at 73% when he died, so it’s not as if he threw his first stock away. The crowd reaction at the time was more of a disappointed “aaaw” than the pained screams usually caused by a fox player dying to a misplaced illusion at 0%. However, if you compare the stock to the rest of DruggedFox’s lives throughout the set, 73% is actually a big deal. Looking at all 10 of his other deaths (he didn’t lose his last stock in game 1, and we aren’t counting the SD), his median death percentage was 118.5. That comes out to over 45% of wasted percentage to work with. Obviously we don’t know if he would have lasted to 118% on that stock, especially since he would be coming from a positional disadvantage as he was on the ledge. He ended up losing the game by 2 stocks, so maybe the SD didn’t end up mattering after all. Still, this SD is one piece of the puzzle, and it definitely contributed to the final outcome.
This was a pretty basic overview of the set, but I believe that taking a quantitative view of any competitive game (be it a sport or an eSport) can be fascinating and helpful when trying to predict or understand future results. We might not have made any groundbreaking discoveries that you wouldn’t have made by just watching the games, but who doesn’t love looking at data and tables? If you’re going to take one thing away from this examination, I think it should be that Leffen survived to a staggering 139% when averaged across the entire set. That’s not something you see every day, especially in the Fox vs. Sheik and Fox vs. Marth matchups.
What did you think of the numbers from this set? Did you notice anything I didn’t cover? What types of data would you like for me to include in future columns? Which sets would you like me to look at next? Drop a comment below or send me a tweet or an email – your feedback is always appreciated!
-The Phantom Hit