Today we’re looking at the Radiant vs Dire win rate in relation to match duration. It’s speculated that the Dire has an advantage the longer the game goes due to their positional advantage with regards to Roshan, and the stats appear to support this conclusion. Overall Radiant has a small advantage over Dire (I estimate the overall win rate at 50.83%), but this advantage clearly dissipates the longer the game goes on. What’s really interesting is that the Radiant advantage seems huge in games that last less than 30 minutes, particularly those in the Very High bracket.
Here’s another way of looking at what’s going on.
If we accept Roshan as the explanation for Dire’s late game success, what drives the early Radiant advantage? Some explanations that have been thrown around include:
- Radiant side is easier to play due to the way the map is oriented and how we visually process information.
- Radiant has better pulling opportunities.
- Radiant has a safer jungle.
- Radiant has a safer midlane.
- Radiant’s off-lane tower is the less valuable than Dire’s off-lane tower.
- Valve knows about the late-game Dire advantage and gives them a slight handicap during matchmaking.
There’s no clear answer, but I will say that I find 1 and 2 of dubious value. If 1 were the case I would expect the effect to shrink in Very High where players have simply played more games and have had more time to acclimate. Instead, Very High is the bracket where the Radiant advantage is the strongest. As for pull camps, if this were the sole driving factor I would expect the advantage in Normal to be negligible. I’m almost 100% positive the ability to pull in Radiant’s middle like has had virtually no effect on Normal matchmaking.
This also raises the possibility that perhaps Radiant vs Dire have asymmetrically preferred line-ups. Radiant could possibly be more effective with a lineup designed for early game dominance and pushing, whereas Dire would be more effective with a lineup designed for counter-push and stalling, while building around some kind of a late game carry. This is still speculative so don’t yell at your teammates for not going along when you slam down insta-lock Dire Medusa, but it’s a possibility worth considering.
One last curious piece to the puzzle is that this same effect existed in 6.74 and was actually stronger back then.
This is curious because the talk of 6.75 was speculation that the Aegis duration change would weaken Dire’s Roshan advantage. I do not have 6.75 or 6.76 data to look at, but at least in 6.77 Dire appears to be stronger than it was before the change.