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Deep Dive Tim Sevenhuysen

The Deep Dive: Playoffs, Round 3

Spotlighting Santorin

FlyQuest’s Santorin finished 3rd in LCS All-Pro voting among junglers, behind Cloud9’s Blaber and the Golden Guardians’ Closer, making his third appearance on the 3rd All Pro team in the last four splits. He’s making an even stronger case for himself in the 2020 Spring playoffs, overpowering Closer head to head and then out-jungling TSM’s much-discussed Dardoch in the following series.

It’s been over 4 years since Santorin spent 2015 as Bjergsen’s partner on TSM, a season where he earned a long-lasting reputation as a passive, herbivorous jungler who rarely ganked and received a decent share of blame for his team’s international failures. Santorin has been battling against that narrative ever since, labouring through the NA Challenger Series and flying back and forth across the Atlantic to play in both the LEC and LCS, questing to prove that he could still compete as a top-tier jungler.

If you were tempted, to call 2020 a season of resurgence for Santorin, then you haven’t been paying close enough attention for the past two years.

Santorin’s Strong Spring

If you still think of Santorin as a passive jungler who always farms and never ganks, let’s start by disabusing you of that notion right off the bat. He earned a very respectable 42% First Blood rate in the Spring regular season (4th among starting junglers) and had a high gold+experience difference at 10 minutes while actually falling behind in farm early, with a -2.3 CSD10.

Santorin Stats, 2020 Spring


KDAKPGXD10CSD10FB%CSPM
Value3.276.1%+133-2.342%4.0
Rank313744

LCS 2020 Spring Regular Season, ranks among starting junglers

In other words, Santorin gave up farm during the early game in order to earn leads through combat! Meanwhile, he also led all starting junglers in kill participation. These are not the stats of a passive, farming jungler.

Santorin has achieved this through a gank-oriented champion pool, with very little scaling or carrying to be seen.

Santorin Champion Pool, 2020 Spring

ChampionGames Played
Trundle7
Lee Sin6
Pantheon5
Rek’Sai4
Jarvan IV4
Zac1
Sejuani1
Olaf1

LCS 2020 Spring Regular Season and Playoffs

There’s no selfishness in this champion pool, or in the way Santorin has played all split. He’s been working very specifically to the benefit of his laners, with strong results.

Santorin’s Steady Climb

Santorin’s play has been moving in this direction consistently over the past two years he’s spent with FlyQuest. His early pathing, especially, has been strong for a long time, with some of the best GXD10s in the league for the past three splits. LCS coaches I’ve spoken to have always rated Santorin’s pathing among the best in the league, alongside players like Svenskeren, Lira, and Xmithie.

Santorin Stats, 2020 Spring


KDAKPGXD10CSD10FB%CSPM
2020 Spring3.276.1%+133-2.342%4.0
2019 Summer4.082.2%+291+3.867%4.9
2019 Spring4.675.0%+478+3.750%5.2
2018 Summer4.073.2%-149-5.630%4.5

LCS 2020 Spring Regular Season, ranks among starting junglers

From a simple view, Santorin’s 2020 performance actually looks like a minor regression, statistically speaking, not a resurgence. His KDA, GXD10, FB%, and CSPM all dropped compared to Summer 2019. But these numbers are actually a sign of the stylistic improvement Santorin has made, leaning more and more towards a carnivorous style and giving up the CS leads he had been used to earning.

By farming less and ganking more, Santorin has played a crucial role in his team’s success. Without Santorin’s ganks, the in-lane mechanical weaknesses of his teammates would have been exploited far more heavily. None of FlyQuest’s laners are very good, putting Santorin at a fairly significant pathing disadvantage, which makes his +133 GXD10 in the regular season even more impressive.

In fact, Santorin’s carnivorous play this season could even be looked at as an intentional response to the weakness of his team’s early mechanical play. When his opponents are frequently winning the lanes, they are likely to be shoving forward and exposing themselves to ganks, and Santorin has capitalized on that tendency.

Takeaways

Santorin has been a smart, effective jungler for a long time. He has been criticized, somewhat justly, for playing too cerebrally and taking too few risks, ganking too little and leaving his laners to fend for themselves. But he has been actively improving on that stylistic shallowness throughout his time with FlyQuest, and has actually been playing the opposite style throughout 2020.

By nature, Santorin is still a relatively conservative, intelligent jungler, rather than an aggressive, mechanical player like Blaber, but that is not a criticism. Svenskeren won the 2019 Summer MVP through intelligent, controlling play, after all, and Xmithie is also in that mould and won four consecutive LCS championships.

In 2020, playing on a FlyQuest team that lacks laning skill, Santorin has played the style his team needs, giving PowerOfEvil and IgNar opportunities to bring their own strengths to bear. As an engine of FlyQuest’s unexpected success this split, Santorin probably should have been the second-team LCS All Pro, and if his team finds any further victories, his contributions will be a key reason why–though he’ll probably continue to fly under the radar.

Read more articles on the Esports One Blog.

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