The duration test isn’t that heavily requested compared to farm dependency (which is coming), but I needed part of this in preparation for something else. Turns out there are some interesting trends emerging since we last looked in 6.78.
I should mention in advance that I have changed the definition of Short/Mid/Long divisions. Previously they were determined by splitting the sample evenly into 3 parts, and the dividers turned out to be 33:20 and 41:46. To simplify things I’ve changed to using 30:00 and 40:00. They’re close to the 1/3 split, but it’s much easier to remember that short matches are less than 30 minutes and long matches are longer than 40 minutes. It also has the added benefit of being directly comparable to how datDota‘s duration filter works for competitive comparisons.
Anyway, let’s start things off with how the 5 new heroes since 6.78 scored:
Preferring the long end of things we have Earth Spirit and Legion Commander, but I would caution against reading too much into these two.
It’s no secret that Earth Spirit players are largely struggling since the 6.80 nerf, and it’s my suspicion that this might be capable of creating or exaggerating a late skew. Essentially, if a hero has a proclivity for being blown out, then a match that lasts 40 minutes has better than expected odds of not being a blow out.
As for Legion Commander, a lot of players are still very much dedicated to her (not very good) jungle. If you have a passive, farm oriented jungler and the match ends in under 30 minutes, chances are the contest did not resolve in your favor. I think there’s some evidence of this being a general jungler trend, with the junglers that escape from it being those that aim for early objective control (Chen, Enigma, Lycan, and Ursa). If we had a collection of purely laning Legion Commander games, I suspect she would still have a late skew but that the skew would not be nearly as dramatic as this one.
We also have Phoenix with a moderately late skew, which is somewhat surprising to me as I’d expect his minus attack speed oriented strategy to fall off in late game. Perhaps the scaling on Sun Ray keeps him relevant in late game. Alternatively, it could just be that there are a lot of bad Phoenix players in this sample, as this was release week Phoenix, and they might be disproportionately likely to lose games early.
On the short side of things we have Terrorblade. He has a pretty early skew for a carry, but he does fit the pattern of having a lot of free damage directly packed into his kit in Metamorphosis.
Finally we have Ember Spirit who has no discernible skew in either direction. This isn’t terribly surprising. He doesn’t have any of the features you’d expect to see in a short skew hero (support orientation, pushing power, free auto-attack damage), but he also doesn’t have a passive start or dominant item-based late game. Ember Spirit is likely better off aiding his teammates’ preferred match tempo than trying to set his own.
With the new heroes addressed, I want to move on to the top 15 heroes preferring short games because that side of the list has changed dramatically since 6.78.
Push heroes always skew early, but 6.80 has taken it to new extremes. The new and improved Lycan leads the pack, but 6 of the top 7 are pushing heroes. An interesting note is that this push mini-meta has had interesting effects on the push heroes that haven’t recently received changes. Nature’s Prophet and Leshrac have both seen an increased early skew, while former top 15 entry Luna has dropped down to 42nd. One explanation for this is that Nature’s Prophet and Leshrac can support any push strat, whereas Luna might be in direct competition with Lycan, Pugna, or Death Prophet as the centerpiece.
I also want to mention the former top 3 short game heroes in 6.78, Treant Protector, Spirit Breaker, and Huskar. All 3 have seen nerfs since then, and correspondingly their early prowess has diminished.
- Treant Protector: 16.53% -> 9.46%
- Huskar: 14.28% -> 7.37%
- Spirit Breaker: 12.82% -> 2.22%
This appears to be the inverse of the earlier Earth Spirit theory. Being a dominant hero in a patch period seems to exaggerate the heroes short skew.
On that note I’m going to close things with the complete chart. This time I’ve put the Very High and Normal charts side-by-side. One interesting thing about the Normal bracket (est. < 3200 MMR) is that it exhibits a much stronger correlation between a hero’s overall win rate and their short skew despite having longer games on average. So for those of you concerned with digging yourself out of the trench, don’t agonize so much over getting mid. The simple trick is just learning how to make an impact early, and you can reliably do that from a variety of positions.