Victory Five Leading the LPL
In August of 2021, Swedish esports organization Ninjas in Pyjamas merged with Chinese company ESV5. That move marked the start of a strong era in NiP history with an overseas merger which will allow the franchise to compete in one of the best League of Legends competitions across the world in the LPL.
“We are taking a massive step towards that goal by entering a new market together with Chinese esports group ESV5 to create NIP Group—a global organization that fields teams in all the major esports titles,” NiP said at the time.
What Next For Victory Five?
It is likely that the LPL will have a team named “Ninjas in Pyjamas” in 2022 but for now, the merged entity will compete as Victory Five in the spring split. The name change to NiP will likely be completed in time for the 2022 LPL Summer Split, which has been delayed due to the regulations set by Riot Games.
NiP has always wanted to be in the conversation around making their way to a Worlds tournament. Now, they have a serious chance to make it all the way, especially considering the strength with which Victory Five have started the new year.
“We came across Victory Five now more than a year ago,” NiP CEO Hicham Chahine said. “Initial meetings were positive and we soon came to realize that both parties’ views on the industry were strongly aligned and that there was serious potential for something much bigger than a League slot transfer. We have been scoping opportunities to enter League of Legends for years now but the fundamentals were seldom there.
“It’s no secret that League is by far the biggest esport globally. Our ambition has always been to become a global brand that helps put esports where it belongs, in regular media channels alongside the few other sports that have hundreds of millions of fans. If there’s one game that’s going to elevate esports to F1 levels of mainstream acceptance, it’s League of Legends.”
How Are Victory Five Doing?
The short answer to that is excellently. They have been on fire right through the spring split to the point they are now leading the standings with a 12-2 record. They have won 25 of 36 maps so far, with a win percentage of 69%, the highest in the LPL this season. Considering Royal Never Give Up and Weibo Gaming are two wins behind with identical 10-4 season records, it is highly likely, from a probability standpoint, that V5 will finish at the top of the spring table, which is testament to NiP’s influx of capital and resources that have aided this team.
Victory Five have made some shrewd acquisitions to their roster ahead of this spring split, which has surely made an impact as this season has progressed. Let us take a quick look at the players that have performed much better than their initial expectations.
One of the major reasons for Victory Five’s incredible start to spring has been the killing proficiency of their bot laner Ying “Photic” Qi-Shen, who has generated incredible returns of 5.17 kills, 1.78 deaths and 6.14 assists at a KDA of 6.36 and a creep score of 288.83 with a CSPM of 9.05. He has the second highest kill average in the LPL this season after Zhao “Elk” Jia-Hao, who has averaged 5.26 kills per map.
Sure, the LPL is a much quicker league, with average duration of games significantly shorter than the LCK, for example. But it is still important to have a mid or bot laner that can create consistency in terms of kill participation rates. That was missing in V5’s season last year, which has now been fixed with aplomb. Photic also has the highest KDA, which is a metric to analyze a player’s efficiency in League of Legends because it also considers death rate.
Over in the middle lane, Song “Rookie” Eui-jin has been quite consistent too. He started his career with the KT Rolster Arrows in 2013 over in Korea, his birth country. He then moved to the LPL in December 2014 with Invictus Gaming. He spent the majority of his career there before making the move to Victory Five ahead of the spring split this year. In December last year, he even changed his residency from Korea to China.
He has had years of experience in the LPL. Nicknamed “Faker Junior”, Rookie even registered 2,500 kills in the LPL in 2021 last year. He was the second player to reach that landmark after Jian “Uzi” Zi-hao. In this spring split, he has managed to produce returns of 4.11 kills, 2.14 deaths and 7.47 assists per map at a KDA of 5.42. These kill participation numbers are crucial to understand why V5 have been so dominant this season.
Between Rookie and Photic, V5 are producing close to 10 kills per map in the mid and bottom lanes. In terms of assists, these two are averaging well over 13 assists per game. Stunning returns, by any measure of comparison. It will continue to be these two players that remain responsible for the success of V5, and for NiP, as this season progresses and Worlds draws closer towards the end of the year.
The jungle has been manned expertly by Hung “Karsa” Hao-Hsuan, who also has a kill participation of over 10 this split. He has managed 3.15 kills, 2.47 deaths and 7.65 assists per map at a KDA of 4.37, while Lee “Rich” Jae-won has done his job in the top lane. It is crucial to have a K/D ratio of over 1 as a top laner in pro League of Legends. Rich has 2.79 kills and 2.39 deaths, which is indicative that he has managed to produce kills and not get killed too often, which is almost always solid in League play.
NiP have armed themselves with a terrific roster, with decades of combined experience, which is extremely rare in a sport like League of Legends because of the lower average age of players. They have offensive firepower across the lanes and have also managed to show their defensive compactness, not moving into team fights unprepared. These are requisites in order to perform and compete at the highest level.
If V5 keep this form and fluency going into the playoffs of spring and subsequently the summer of the LPL, then Worlds could suddenly become conquerable. In terms of business, this is almost perfect for both franchises. It usually takes a few months and even years for change to be visible after a merger or acquisition of this side but V5 are on a mission. And NiP are here to help!