Raes, Impact, and the Gold Difference at 15 Minutes
The phrase “money makes the world go round” is inescapable in today’s world and is also true regarding League of Legends at the highest level. While out-farming your opponent rates among the biggest success factors, the accumulation of gold can offer a definite competitive advantage.
Currently, you can win any game of League of Legends with a good team composition, teamwork, macro play, and vision control. However, utilizing gold as a resource will always give you an edge over your opponent. Typically, when it comes to the measure of gold in League matches, most analysts, commentators, and viewers can see and comment on the team-wide gold difference that sits on the scoreboard with other measurable macro metrics such as kills and objectives.
When it comes to gold on a micro level, Gold Difference at 15 minutes (GD@15) is one of the many statistics used to measure the success of a player or team’s win condition. This is exemplified in the two most recent GD@15 record breakers in the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) during this past year — Immortals ADC Raes and EG Top Laner Impact.
How exactly were these two players able to break the bank twice?
How Does it Work?
Gold Difference, as defined by Factor’s Stat Glossary, is the difference between a player's gold earned and their opponent's gold earned. This overall statistic helps visualize how a player is performing or if a team is successful in moving towards their win condition. In League of Legends, you get gold for killing minions, capturing objectives, killing opposing players, as well as passively overtime. Gold Difference at 15 minutes is a measurement used to assess player and team performance at a pivotal point in the game (15 minutes).
Raes of Brilliance
The first time the bank was broken was by Raes, who, with his teammates on Immortals (IMT), was able to defeat Counter Logic Gaming (CLG) in the first week of play in the 2021 LCS Summer Split. The Immortals came into the Summer Split with a 7-11 record and a fresh roster, but this game would prove to be one of the many that would turn them around and into contenders.
IMT were able to beat CLG with a few key strategic choices, which began with drafting a good team composition to include strong early game champions with high snowball probability. The high point of the composition is in the Raes and Destiny bot lane duo, where they were able to secure Jinx and Thresh which allows for a lot of crowd control and damage.
The CLG bot lane, knowing that their comp was built for early-game aggression and veteran success, opted to try and play things tight to the less experienced Immortals bot lane. WildTurtle and Smoothie refused to give Raes and Destiny any respect and walked into the brushes of the river only two minutes into the match ignoring the crucial first wave of minions in the process and checking for Immortals Jungler Xerxe. Thanks to an early ward in that bush, solid initiation from Destiny, good positioning from Raes, and all bot lane summoner spells being used, Raes was able to pick up the First Blood gold extremely early on into the match.
A minute passed, and due to WildTurtle not really learning his lesson, he gets within range of Destiny, and Raes once again sent WildTurtle back to the fountain. Due to these two extremely early kills in the span of three minutes, Raes not only had gold from his two kills but also the free reign to take as many minions as he could. As a result, by the time WildTurtle came back to try and gain some ground in terms of Creep Score (CS), he had a meager 7 CS to Raes’ 21, which is not a deficit you want to have when you are only four minutes in.
Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the map, Xerxe tried to go for a gank top lane to give Revenge a push, but due to it failing thanks to some resolve from Finn, it gave Pobelter and Broxah time to rotate top. The CLG trio managed to kill Revenge, their first of the game. Since Revenge had also used his teleport earlier, the lane priority then shifted more towards the IMT bot lane.
Due to another bot lane push, Raes was able to get three turret plates and maintained his 20+ CS lead for a total of 72 CS before he recalled. While WildTurtle did get to bot lane quicker than Raes due to recalling earlier than him, he wasn’t able to cut into the CS difference all that much before Raes returned.
While Raes returned towards bot lane, Destiny was able to rotate through the jungle and get some solid warding around the Cloud Drake and in the bot-side river. This small rotation gave the bot-side jungle more breathing room, and Xerxe more time to aid the weak-sided top lane. Wildturtle froze the minion wave to try and slow the game down.
As the game progressed, Raes was able to poke down another turret plate and was on his way to get the first turret to fall all game, but WildTurtle’s Ezreal threw everything he had at him, forcing him off from pushing bot lane further. While this pressure point from CLG did stop Immortals from marching through their turret, WildTurtle used his only tool to potentially steal large objectives, and as a result, gave Xerxe the first drake of the game for almost nothing.
By the time the game hit 11 minutes, little had changed. Revenge was getting out of his lane by Finn, Mid and Jungle were even, and the only thing that had changed was that Raes was able to get his first Mythic Item, a Kraken Slayer. That bulling by Finn was working rather well since he was ahead of Revenge by 30 CS and was the only person on CLG with a kill, but he made a small mistake. Due to committing his flash, teleport, and ultimate in an unsuccessful bid to get his second kill, Finn was left alone to farm with few escape options. This is when Immortals opted to go for a lane swap with bot and top lane, and it worked out perfectly.
While Raes was drawing Finn’s attention by farming the top wave, Destiny invaded the CLG jungle with his Oracle Lens and managed to sneak in a ward near Broxah’s blue buff. Moments later, Broxah gets detected by the ward, and the opportunistic Immortals squad threw almost all they had to kick him back to his fountain. Raes did not join in, but that was mainly due to freely farming top lane, and by the time the Immortals crew picked up Rift Herald, he had already taken four out of five plates. Due to Finn recalling, and Revenge and Destiny recalling to fight some bot lane pressure, Raes was able to funnel almost two solo turrets worth of gold into his pockets.
At the 13-minute mark, we saw something rare this early into the game; both carries fighting early. Finn came back to try and stop the push top lane, but he had wandered into a ward that Raes had placed in a bush, which made him an easy target. Raes, not one to skip out on yet another opportunity, opted to dive right at Finn as opposed to trying to zone him off with his range-heavy kit. While Raes was able to riddle Finn with rockets and bullets, he was scorched by some of Finn’s barrels, and in a blaze of glory, they both died.
While it is a bit of a blunder from Raes to die in the fashion he did, he still managed to get the job done, and the same goes for Finn. By the time he respawned, Raes got his second item, a Phantom Dancer, at 13:45, which is not an easy feat when playing on a professional-level game. Shortly after that, Raes rotated down to bot lane and picked up his 10th and final turret plate before the in-game clock struck 15 minutes, breaking the record for GD@15 with 3684. Immortals would run away with the victory in the end.
At this point, Raes had to be feeling good. Raes crushed CLG early in the Summer Split, Immortals looked promising, and overall things were looking up. The second-closest performance was Blabber’s 3118 GD@15 almost a full year ago. At the time, everything was coming up Raes.
Then Impact showed up.
A month after the GD@15 record was smashed by 500 gold by Raes, Impact managed to break it again, by almost 500 gold as well. At the time of the match, a surging Evil Geniuses (EG) were starting to hit their stride late into the Summer Split. This game would be among the six of their last nine games of that split that would net them a third-place regular season finish.
As for Dignitas Quantampay (DIG), they had been struggling throughout the summer;. The roster was able to beat some of the higher-end teams like TSM, but could also lose to a bottom-three team such as Golden Guardians, to whom they actually lost the day before playing EG. While the IMT versus CLG match had the upside of being in an early adjustment period at the start of the split, this game did not have that luxury. EG and DIG had played each other before, and both had taken a game off each other.
(Photo Creds to espat.ai)
This could be seen as early as the draft stage, where DIG and EG both targeted bans toward both lanes early on, as well as some more support-based bans in the second round due to the high-caliber work of Ignar and Aphromoo. Despite the focused bans, both teams had a healthy mix of veteran and young talent that made it hard to cover enough bans to shut out a player completely.
What resulted for EG’s composition was a best-case scenario — Impact on Renekton, Svenskeren on Diana, Jizuke on Ryze, Danny with Kai-sa, and Ignar with a Nautilus. This translated into a comp with plenty of poke, two champions that can front-line, and lots of trademark aggression. The only downside was that, if done incorrectly, EG would’ve been at risk of overcommitting to aggressive plays, and as a result, might have thrown away leads or games if too many mistakes were made.
As for the DIG team composition, it was solid but not well equipped for the composition it was going up against — FakeGod on Volibear, Akaadian on Gwen, Yusui on Irelia, Neo on Ezreal, and Aphromoo on Gragas. On paper, these were solid picks. Lots of melee matchups, sure, but plenty of abilities available to close gaps and make good plays. The only problem was this composition was going into an EG composition that was far better at almost everything DIG’s did. This was evident once the match began.
The match did not start in the way that was expected, since DIG managed to successfully kill Svenskeren not even 40 seconds into the game. Svenskeren died because he was pushed into the enemy jungle and got spotted by an early ward. As a result, the entirety of DIG pounced on him and led him to an early demise. Already, we saw what happens if EG plays too aggressively and DIG coordinates well as a team; it would be punished swiftly.
A minute passed, and we saw something a bit odd, a lane swap from both mid and top lane. This happened a fair amount around this time in the split, due to lane swaps giving the occasional advantage if timed well, but as we saw with Immortals earlier, it doesn’t usually happen until far later into the game. As a result, Impact and FakeGod were dueling mid to start the laning phase, and Yusui and Jizuke are top lane. Despite the lane-swap, it only took a minute before Impact managed to outmaneuver and kill FakeGod, putting him up 10 CS and evening things up in terms of kills for both teams.
Undeterred, FakeGod teleported back to mid-lane to keep pace with Impact, but he teleported right on top of Impact. What was worse for FakeGod is that Jizuke had rotated mid in order to punish, and despite Jizuke walking over a ward, FakeGod appeared to have not seen him, a mistake that nearly cost him to die twice in the span of a minute. Unfortunately for Impact, FakeGod still had his flash and barely made it out alive. Due to all the early game punishes, he was able to get a quick recall off and bought himself an early Pickaxe.
Due to both Jizuke and Impact both recalling, and having teleport, they returned to their originally assigned lanes. However, when Impact arrived top lane, he noticed that Yusui, who was expecting Jizuke, was out of mana. Due to his Renekton being all healed up and ready to go, he made quick work of Yusui. By the time FakeGod caught up to Impact in the lane, Impact had a small lead of 6 CS, and the chaos of the game stopped for a brief moment.
Survival was the only thing FakeGod was able to do in spite of the chaos. Almost right after some skirmishes mid-lane, Svenskeren and Jizuke rotated up to top lane to scare off FakeGod and to give Impact the sole rights to the top tower plates and farm FakeGod’s minions as he watched from a distance. Impact was two levels, 30+ CS ahead of FakeGod, and despite having only a Pickaxe to his name, he continued to crush any ability for FakeGod to farm right in front of his face. FakeGod tried to fight back, but he nearly died again and had to recall to heal his wounds, as Impact fell back and shaved off three plates before he recalled seven minutes into the match.
Since he was crushing the top lane so much, Impact opted to lane-swap to mid to scare off Yusui again, and Jizuke opted to go top lane to try and keep FakeGod contained. Despite FakeGod getting some farm now that Impact was gone, Impact still had double the amount of CS that FakeGod had at this point.
Despite Impact’s massive lead, Akaadian decided to try for his red buff, and even though he spotted Impact nearby, Yusui was nearby, so there was a good chance that they could gang up on him. EG saw this as another opportunity, as Ignar and Svenskeren converged, with the latter killing Akaadian and managing to scare Yusui off so that he wouldn't get fed to Impact. While Impact was not getting fed champions, he was off taking Akaadian’s jungle or anybody else’s that he could find.
Refusing to learn their lesson, DIG tried to dive into Impact again once everyone walked back from the fountain. This time it was worse odds at the start, with Impact and Ignar ready to fight, but Svenskeren and Jizuke were close enough that the fight did not become close. Everyone except for DIG’s bottom lane dies, Impact picked up two more kills and continued to be ahead in CS, but now by 50. You can tell when things are dire when the commentators are using the words ``Let me out of jail” and “There is no escape” to describe the state of DIG’s early game nine minutes in.
(Credit to esports.ai)
Impact walked up to top lane at 11 minutes, and got his fourth turret plate, alongside the first turret gold, while the rest of EG went to bot lane, got the first drake of the game, and grabbed some gold of their own. By 12 minutes, the entirety of EG was able to get 13 turret plates, almost all the outer turret plates, which is nothing short of early game domination. The game slowed down for a brief moment, EG and DIG traded good kills off of ultimate setups, and DIG seemed to have a fighting chance to get back into the game.
That optimism was almost immediately squandered by DIG’s choice to dive Impact in the same spot for a third time, right by their own red buff in their own jungle, after two ultimates were on cooldown. Svenskeren made quick work of Aphromoo, the rest of DIG and EG converged on each other, and since EG was ahead by 7K gold, almost everyone else on DIG died except for Akaadian, who made the smart choice to run, and Danny netted a triple kill in the process. By the time the clock struck 15:00, the game was pretty much over for DIG, and Impact was raking in the gold. Impact had 125 CS, a 4/0/6 KDA, a near 100% kill participation, 4 turret plates, all contributing to a GD@15 of 4121. It was an absolute clinic.
There is plenty to learn from the pros regarding having a good early game or a good individual GD@15 stat. First, draft good comps so that your team can help apply pressure and switch priority to different lanes to help you maintain a lead, something both IMT and EG showcased in their games. Second, learning how to punish your opponent effectively through individual outplays or grouping up early, which can net you easy kills and objectives if done correctly. Last, take into account small advantages you can make and capitalize, including recalling to get items that are good for skirmishing, taking advantage of your opponent’s lack of vision, or playing into priority. These are ways both Impact and Raes succeeded. Take all of these items into account, do them well, and any team can dominate early. While highly unlikely, these two players have shown you really can break the bank twice.