Update: Xmithie has been traded to Immortals and replaced by Dardoch as of May 12, 2017With rumors swirling around the potential for Counter Logic Gaming and Immortals to trade their Junglers, I could not be more excited for CLG as it means that the team is ready to move forward with a new player. CLG’s Xmithie has been a disaster this split, and the forecast heading into the summer isn’t suggesting any major improvements anytime soon.
It is an understatement to say that this season was abysmal for Xmithie. Despite CLG’s 4th place finish at the Spring Split playoffs, Xmithie still managed to be the worst player to finish the split as jungler in the NA LCS. Taking a look at his statistics, you can immediately understand why the American jungler performed so poorly. Aside from some decent team fighting numbers (fourth best in assist with 268, fifth best in damage per minute, and fifth best in damage percentage with 17 percent), Xmithie was a mess, and most of it stemmed from the early game.
His sense of the game, in general, has really taken a nosedive since his peak from when he helped CLG claim a Spring Split title win in 2016. Now, it’s a miracle to see Xmithie not being caught out in the early game or dying to a counter-gank. Getting Xmithie off his feet this season was a chore for the entire team, and his lack of map presence really became a detriment for CLG. Darshan received a lot of jungle attention in the top lane, and without Xmithie, was punished quite heavily. Huhi, who has relied on Xmithie to get ahead so he snowballs and roams, was confined to the mid lane and unable to affect the rest of the map due to Xmithie's poor disposition.
In terms of his statistics, Xmithie was an average of 234 experience points behind the enemy jungler every game. That’s nearly half an entire level, an issue that often resulted in a huge difference in terms of early map pressure for CLG. For example, when a Level 3 Xmithie goes to gank and gets counter-ganked by the opposing jungler, the experience difference tends to end in an imbalanced trade that spells disaster for CLG.
When looking at his Creep Score Differential (CSD) at 10 minutes, you can see that Xmithie was, on average, usually a camp or two behind the enemy jungler. With jungle experience being so heavily weighted on being able to clear your camps and punishing for time wasted on a failed early gank, it’s no wonder Xmithie was always so far behind. His struggles in the jungle this split snowballed to the point where CLG is the worst early game team in the NA LCS.
Obviously, the failures of the team can not be entirely on placed on Xmithie, but as the jungler, he is the main man responsible for a great deal of CLG’s early game presence. This split, the problem wasn’t with Xmithie being a non-factor for CLG, it was him being a negative factor. When behind, Xmithie would employ a "feast-or-famine" playstyle where he would try to force ganks and fights that could either go really well and bring CLG back into a game or end disastrously and set his team further behind.
However, despite his faults, Xmithie definitely had his strong points. The man knew how to Smite, and that played very well into CLG’s heavy focus on securing objectives. With Xmithie’s help, the team some impressive numbers around both pits (Dragons and Barons). As this was the typical CLG way back into a losing game, if it were not for the team’s ability to force and secure major objectives, this team would have lost many more games this split. Yet a big part of the reason behind why CLG was able to secure so many Dragons and Barons was the types of champions that Xmithie played.
This season saw the rise of a carry jungle meta which brought back some flashy plays reminiscent of the 2016 Spring Split Xmithie, however; the moments of brilliance didn’t last long as he proved to be outclassed by other Junglers. In particular, his Graves was atrocious, having a win percentage of 21 and a KDA of 1.8.
His Kha’Zix performed slightly better, clocking in a KDA of 3.0 but a win percentage of 43. As for other Junglers, he had decent results with Lee Sin and Gragas whom he ended the split with KDAs of 3.1 and 2.9, and win percentages of 50 and 60 respectively. Out of his entire champion pool played this split, the best pick in his arsenal would have to be his Rengar which clocked in a win percentage of 67. Despite his high win rate, Xmithie's KDA on Rengar was abysmal at a 2.2. The ability of Rengar to apply pressure on the map without having to be ahead thanks to the constant threat of his ultimate played out well for CLG. Whenever the rare situation arose where Xmithie managed to gain a lead, it granted him the power to pick off champions key champions and help CLG on the path to victory.
Xmithie's Rengar played a similar role to his 2016 Spring Split Elise and his dreaded Nidalee, but that was a long time ago, and the meta is beginning to shift once again. It’s going away from the Xmithie's comfort picks, and more into the area of champions where he hasn't performed well on like the Graves and the Kha'Zix. The time of Golden Age of CLG and Xmithie is over. It’s time to move on and find a better jungler to bring the team forward.
Image credit: Riot Games via Flickr