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Is Doinb the Bjergsen of LPL: A defense of JingDong's bottom lane

Doinb, the mid laner for JingDong Gaming (Dionne Ng)

JingDong Gaming gain and lose initial leads. They start getting early turrets in side lanes to snowball only to collapse around mid game in major teamfights. As a result, fans have started pointing fingers at side laners, and Kim “Doinb” Taesang, has been called the Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg of the LPL by his ardent supporters. With 41 percent of his team’s damage averaged after the first week, signs point to him being the most valuable player on the team by a significant margin; the rest of them are letting him down.

But as with anything, it’s rarely that simple.

JingDong have several strategic flaws that make it difficult to win their games. For this article, I’ll focus on a very deliberate aspect of their strategy that often results in their AD carries falling behind.

JingDong’s AD carry role represents a sore spot in the minds of most of their fans. In the past half year, JingDong — previously known as QG Reapers — have gone through five candidates for AD carry and four for support, seemingly dissatisfied with all of them.

But it’s not as straightforward as blaming JD’s revolving rookie bot lane door. The team prioritizes resources to Doinb first, their jungler second, top laner third, and finally their AD carry when they do lane assignments. An underfed AD carry makes it easy to fall behind in 5v5s, especially against teams like LGD Gaming and Oh My God that prioritize their ADCs.

JingDong don’t set up their AD carries for success and in fact often hinder them by failing to optimize resource distribution. If they then can’t succeed, it seems foolish to condemn them and elevate Doinb as the “Bjergsen” of his region.

To see how this happens requires a small amount of knowledge of how minion waves work. Specifically speaking, one must understand the difference between a bouncing wave, a stacking wave, and a crashing wave.

A bouncing wave will reset at the next turret and start building the enemy team’s wave to push back against you. Stacking waves rely on focus fire from your minions to kill one of the enemy minions at a time and build up so that there’s a large wave when it hits the next turret, allowing you to maximize your damage against the structure. A crash simply resets so that all your minions die to the turret before meeting the next opposing wave.

When JingDong group to take early turrets before ten minutes, either in lane swaps or groups to the bottom lane, they often deny their AD carry farm. This happens because they will improperly bounce a wave so it doesn’t push back to their AD carry after he backs and returns to lane. Either that, or they will move their jungler to a side lane to support Doinb in a pick over staying near their ADC.

As a result, when JingDong eventually set up for a 1-3-1 where the ADC and support are supposed to push and defend mid while top and mid side lane to create pressure, the ADC is unable to push against whoever the enemy team sends mid. He’s constantly under turret, missing minions, and having to back, allowing the enemy team to force mid.

To illustrate this specifically, I will highlight JingDong’s first game of the split against LGD Gaming. To start off the chain reaction, the new Kassadin is able to bully most AP mid matchups with a Doran’s Ring and a Dark Seal. Doinb forced back LGD’s Yu “Cool” Jiajun.

Doinb’s Kassadin forces Cool’s Orianna back to start the action (lolesports)

At this point, JDG’s bot lane was slightly ahead in creeps, but the team had an advantage they chose to abuse by allowing Kim “Clid” Taemin to invade and deny the enemy’s raptors. LGD’s Lim “Jinoo” Jinwoo used his top side advantage to move mid and help Xie “Eimy” Dan defend the mid push, and they succeeded in punishing Clid.

Mid pressure allows Clid to invade Eimy’s raptors, but Eimy and Jinoo collapsed to take him out. (lolesports)

LGD used the fact that they knew the location of JDG’s mid and jungle for their bottom lane to go aggressive against JDG’s. Because of the advantage of Kalista in all-ins relative to Ashe, JDG had to call their top laner’s Teleport. This immediately set up a disadvantage for JDG should they return to standard lanes because LGD would have a Teleport advantage, making it even harder for JDG’s bottom lane to answer a difficult matchup.

Jinoo created a freezing wave to push against him in an attempt to deny Kabe, giving JDG an initial tempo advantage in the swap (lolesports)

But then LGD made a major mistake. Instead of simply setting the wave to push and crash against Jinoo’s turret, Kan “Kabe” Homan set up the wave to bounce. This made it push slower so that he could potentially catch up to the wave. Instead of correcting the wave, Jinoo decided to let it build against him, hoping to control the wave and deny Kabe or force Kabe to over-extend and set up a top lane gank.

This somewhat greedy move let JingDong get the push advantage top. To avoid playing in the bottom lane and having to deal with Jinoo’s Teleport, JDG’s duo recalled to lane swap. They met top lane early with a tempo lead. When Xu “Barrett” Qiubin stayed bottom to push out the wave before the recall, however, Chen “pyl” Bo also remained to prevent multiple waves from crashing into LGD’s turret. He set the wave to bounce back against JingDong.

LGD stack the bottom minions, allowing them to secure the first brick (lolesports)

As a result, when pyl and Gu “imp” Seungbin returned to lane, they could stack the wave against the bottom lane turret. Kabe immediately started clearing the stacked wave top, which made it harder for JingDong to keep tempo when they pushed the turret. As a result you can see the difference in waves on LGD’s push bottom and JingDong’s push top.

JD couldn’t build up the wave well enough to take the turret on the initial push, so they lost first brick (lolesports)

Despite a man advantage for JingDong, then, LGD got the first turret of the game. But that’s just the start of JingDong’s wave management going horribly wrong. Cool, able to go mid before top, stayed competitive with Doinb by crashing the wave against the opponent turret and denying Doinb minions. Doinb’s individual lead gained from forcing Cool back earlier vanished.

Rather than bouncing the wave on the first turret take, JingDong rushed the push and made the mistake of clearing an additional wave. This sent their last remaining minions to the safety of the second turret where Eimy cleared them to prevent them from reaching LGD’s wave and creating a bounce.

Eimy catches the dregs of JD’s minion wave (lolesports)

This may seem like a very small factor, but if the wave had bounced for JingDong, it would be much easier for whoever JDG sent top after to catch the wave. Instead, they couldn’t reach the wave easily and opened themselves up to ganks. As a result, LGD denied waves from whoever JDG sent top at this point in the game, setting them far behind.

Since JDG give Doinb priority to farm, he went bottom to catch the wave pushing toward JDG’s Tier 2 turret. imp, given similar levels of priority by LGD, went top to catch the wave Eimy prepped for LGD. Kabe went mid to catch the wave Cool pushed out. That left ADC Barrett to wander somewhat aimlessly around top, waiting for imp to push the wave to him.

JingDong’s post lane swap lane assignments (lolesports)

Eventually, it became obvious to LGD that Clid joined Doinb near the bottom side of the map to look for a pick. JingDong like this style of play because, by trading a lot of turrets quickly and early on, they can open up the map. Their assassin picks like Kassadin and Rengar freely looked to pinch side lanes and prevent LGD from pushing out against them. This way, they could make their side lanes very strong for their 1-3-1.

In setting this up, however, their denial of their ADC cost them. By sending Clid bottom, JDG allowed LGD to clear all top side river vision. Barrett couldn’t even think of approaching the wave before it had a chance to hit his turret.

Eimy and pyl denied vision to limit Barrett’s options even more (lolesports)

Barrett couldn’t even get the top wave as it reached his side of the map because LGD decided to re-assign him to the mid lane and Kabe top, letting Kabe have the side lane farm. Barrett spent all that time top without gaining experience or gold, and he headed mid to receive only half a wave that crashed. JingDong’s poor management lost them experience in two separate lanes.

Unfortunately for Barrett, his problems didn’t end there. He had to match LGD’s Orianna, who kept competitive with Doinb’s Kassadin in farm and levels. Hu “Cloud” Zhenwei’s shield could hardly protect Barrett from the force of Orianna’s full combination. Under-farmed and under-leveled, he only dared to approach the wave under turret, which ceded a great deal of JDG’s map pressure. As soon as Clid showed bottom, Cool engaged on Barrett and forced him back, allowing LGD to chip mid lane turret.

Barrett cannot lane easily against Cool (lolesports)

JingDong gave up even more map pressure for no apparent reason when Kabe chose to slow push top wave. JDG tried to deny imp farm, but with Clid on the bottom side and no pressure mid, imp should have had no problem reaching this wave. Instead, however, LGD took free objectives like dragon off the fact that they wouldn’t miss any top side creeps.

When Barrett and imp meet again, Barrett is 30 CS behind (lolesports)

When LGD did finally assign their bottom lane mid on Cool’s back, imp had a 30 creep lead over Barrett at twelve and a half minutes. On his next back, imp got a full item over Barrett. Doinb fans immediately wanted to decry how lacking JDG’s bottom lane players are, but tracing the decision-making and inability to correctly manipulate waves throughout the game, it’s clear it isn’t entirely Barrett’s fault that he’s so underfarmed.

LGD could at this point have assigned imp to any lane but Doinb’s. The team sent Jinoo to match Doinb’s Kassadin because of his AD build, and Cool stayed to hold mid while imp and pyl cleared against Kabe. JingDong could use Doinb’s pressure to get objectives like Rift Herald, but he remained the only player with a strong setup, and Clid, who also has a farm advantage over Eimy, constantly hovered near his lane.

Every time Barrett matched against Cool, he couldn’t push the wave to give JingDong mid control with two full levels behind LGD’s mid laner and a frequently roaming support. As a result, if imp wanted to simply go aggressive and kill JingDong’s top laner, he also had this option. Kabe received no help from Ashe with arrow down and no mid lane control.

Poor lane assignments made it hard for JD to control the mid lane (lolesports)

All of this culminated in the mid lane teamfight at 20 minutes instigated by LGD. An underfed Ashe couldn’t approach the fight. Many ultimates went on LGD’s support, and LGD had no problem taking out JingDong’s tank line and forcing down mid turret.

JingDong’s mistakes culminated in a 20 minute teamfight loss (lolesports)

If you have followed me so far and buy into the idea that Barrett had no real options with how poorly JingDong managed their waves relative to LGD, you may start wondering about alternatives. Surely JingDong should prioritize farm onto their strongest laners in mid and top lane. Surely Clid should look to pressure Doinb’s side of the map, as it will most likely yield the team objectives.

There are a few key things JingDong did wrong.

They lost the bottom trade because Clid showed on the map and put themselves into a position where they had to correct a Teleport advantage. JingDong didn’t bounce the top wave correctly after they took the Tier 1 turret. Following that, they had poor lane assignments with an underfarmed Ashe.

Using mid priority to have Clid invade raptors made sense. Having an advantage on Rengar diminishes LGD’s ability to set up their own 1-3-1. Clid over-stayed his welcome, however, and didn’t get backup from Kassadin when LGD’s top lane collapsed. In addition, except for one catch near bottom side Tier 2 turret, JingDong couldn’t use Clid’s advantages well without strong mid lane control.

Ultimately, this first mistake wasn’t that big of a deal. If Clid showing around mid allowed LGD’s bottom lane to go aggressive, this was Barrett and Cloud’s fault for not respecting Kalista and Braum’s all-in potential. Cloud missed a key skillshot, and this forced out Kabe’s Teleport.

From there, JingDong only got lucky that Kabe’s greed in deciding to freeze let them get a tempo advantage top. They still lost it because Barrett and Cloud didn’t ensure they had crashed their wave before backing, but with this information, a lane swap to negate a Teleport advantage made sense.

Failing the wave bounce off the first turret take proved their biggest mistake. It lead to Barrett wandering aimlessly and losing experience and gold advantages to imp in a major way that impinged teamfights later.

Despite that, JD still could have corrected the problem.

Having Ashe match mid without the benefit of jungle pressure and having Kabe only slow push top made no sense. Though a long lane is more dangerous for a champion like Ashe, Thresh’s lantern makes it more tolerable. Then, Kabe could have better matched Orianna, though JingDong would lose some map control. What’s more, if Kabe was underfarmed, a Gragas can have a larger teamfight impact without gold than an Ashe.

Ultimately, JingDong may have been best off by using a 1-4 setup and having Kabe ult Cool forward to pressure the lane. Kabe should only have gone top to answer imp’s push with Doinb creating pressure bottom. This would also have given JingDong better control of mid lane, Rift Herald, and dragon.

Though I only broke down 15 minutes of one game, poor minion control and lane assignments permeate all of JingDong’s games. They either group bottom early or lane swap, but then don’t seem to understand how to control minion waves enough to get farm on all their lanes. JingDong’s 1-3-1 setups have major flaws, and with this information, it’s hard to condemn a single player on the team.

Maybe, instead of constantly changing their AD carries, JingDong should take a long look at their replays. Find moments where they fail to bounce or crash waves correctly. What openings do they have to give their AD carries more farm?

No, JingDong’s ADCs aren’t their stars, but they aren’t the liabilities the JD fanbase makes them out to be. If JD fix their macro play, they’ll have a lot more of an opportunity to look like a team than a vehicle for Doinb and Bjersen comparisons.

You can follow Kelsey Moser on Twitter @karonmoser.