New MMR Experiment and the Life of the Solo Queue Support

June 26, 2014

A few months ago I mentioned Juice’s MMR experiment where he took a 2900 rated Dota 2 account to 5400 in under 150 games at an 85% win rate.  Now we have another, similar MMR experiment from reddit user kyuronite, that deserves mentioning for a couple reasons.

First, he wrote a description of every game with absurd detail, keeping track of the hero and role he played, the game conditions, his KDA, and a lot of other stuff.  This allows you to see his average KDA decay from over 15:1 in the 2250-2750 range down to a 6:1 at 4250-4500.

But what also makes this experiment noteworthy is that it was mostly done in Captain’s Mode and Captain’s Draft, with the experimenter only taking captain when no one will step up.  This resulted in the experimenter playing support nearly half of the time despite him believing “that [he is] better as a core or carry than a support.”

What support skeptics might point out at this is that he had the lowest win rate as a support at 74% compared to 88.5% for mid.  This on its own is fine.  No one said raising your MMR through support would necessarily be as fast as doing it through mid, just that it’s possible, and this project ought to show that boosting MMR while supporting is certainly possible.  But with that said, let’s consider the attenuating circumstances.

First, the player admits that they are weaker at support than the other role.  Second, they didn’t formally record the win rate of each role in each bracket.  If he played a larger proportion of his support games in the higher brackets, that would lower his support win rate relative to the other roles.  I don’t know whether this is the case.  It’s totally possible to go back and manually calculate it, but I don’t care to.  I just want to remind that in general this effect is important to take into consideration.  Third, these games were played in the two draft modes where captains were at least attempting to create well-formed teams.  This is going to diminish the value of a support relative to All Pick where the mere presence of any support can be the difference between having and not having any lane control, early ganking potential, or even any sort of CC.  That doesn’t mean that you should always instantly pick a support in All Pick, just that there’s value of being able to bust out a complementary pick to whatever dumb lineup the rest of your team locks.  This admittedly can be difficult when people won’t pick before gold loss.

One of the biggest differences between, say, a 3200 and a 4200 player is mere farming ability.  Playing a support admittedly makes it more difficult to exploit this advantage, so if you’re a 4200 player playing at 3200, mid or carry will likely gain you MMR more quickly.  However, if you’re 3200 rated, and you’ve been 3200 rated for a while, then you’re probably farming like a 3200 player and that inherent advantage of playing a farming hero over a support doesn’t exist.  You can improve your economy game to play a better as carry and mid, or you can improve your early game aggression to perform better as a support or offlaner.  Either are viable options, and you’ll be best off being willing to practice both as team compositions allow.


Radiant vs Dire By Duration [Link]

June 25, 2014

Available here.  It includes a new and massive stat dump of Radiant vs Dire win rates over 6 patch periods in both competitive and public play.

1v1 Top 8 and Matchup Chart

June 23, 2014

I spent a couple days last week trying to replicate DotaMax’s VH match list under the new sans-date_max regime, and the good news is that their results appear legitimate.  I was able to create a list of VH (and even High) games that exhibited a proper match duration distribution.  The bad news is that I did it the day after 1v1 matchmaking was released, so I have to filter through yet another set of unwanted match types.  But 1v1 is a unique environment where certain aspects of standard games happen in complete isolation.  Even if you’re disinterested in the mode, it might be worth a look to see if it can tell us anything about standard 5v5 play.

The Radiant Advantage Continues

In previous samples that I’ve looked at, Radiant has always had the net advantage, and that trend continues here.


The two most likely drivers for Radiant advantage in 1v1 are the midlane topography and camera perspective.  It’s important to keep in mind that this is likely only part of the puzzle, as there’s no time frame for 1v1 that enjoys a huge +55% advantage like the Radiant does in 20-30 minute games in 5v5.  In this case, the slow shift towards a Dire advantage as we reach 20 minutes probably indicates that if a Radiant player hasn’t already capitalized on their advantage by that point then it’s slightly more likely that the Dire player is in the stronger position.  I can’t imagine that there is anything comparable to Roshan that would provide the Dire a ‘late’ game advantage.

On a related note, Radiant vs Dire has been a hot topic as of recent, and I’ll have a bit more to say on it in a couple days over at, so keep an eye out for it.

Shadow Fiend is Pretty Popular

It’s not much of a surprise, but Shadow Fiend tops the usage list with 14.36% of the players in the sample using that hero.  In general, 1v1 is a pretty top heavy mode when it comes to hero usage.  The top 3 most played heroes (Shadow Fiend, Invoker, and Pudge) combine to make up 26.36% of the heroes picked; the top 10 (the three from before and add Viper, Sniper, Queen of Pain, Windrunner, Puck, Templar Assassin, and Skywrath Mage) make up 47.70%.  Given that hero usage drops off so rapidly, I’ve decided to focus primarily on the top 25 most-used heroes, as they’re the most likely to have a statistically significant number of matches recorded.


So with the top 25 established, I decided to put a little thing together.  It’s only a proof of concept because the sample size is lacking, but maybe you’ll find it interesting:


And based off it, I bring you…

The Top 8 Heroes of Day 1 VH 1v1


#1: Broodmother

Finally, after years of struggling, Broodmother has a mode to shine in.  She’s put in the top win rate so far at 71% , and it’s no wonder why as she has positive matchups across the board, including absolutely brutal matchup advantages over Invoker and Pudge.  The spider queen only has one negative matchup in the entire list, a 44% against Death Prophet, and even that is mitigated by the fact that I only have nine Broodmother vs Death Prophet matches on record.  Queen of Pain is another tight matchup, and Shadow Shaman, Shadow Fiend, and Kunkka all put up decent fights.

#2: Bane

Coming in at 2nd with a win rate just short of 69%, Bane is the first of the two caster specialists with no real push power in the top 8.  Bane’s big call to fame is having the best recorded matchup against Shadow Fiend, which is nice when he happens to be the most likely matchup you’ll run into.  Bane generally does best against right-click specialists, I assume largely due to Enfeeble, but Templar Assassin and Outworld Destroyer put up tough fights.  Where Bane struggles (or at least dominates less consistently) is against top end pushers.  Broodmother wrecks him, and both Shadow Shaman and Death Prophet are near even (Pugna, for whatever reason, struggles).  Invoker is also a very even matchup, perhaps in part because Forge Spirits bypasses Enfeeble?

#3: Templar Assassin

Templar Assassin has positive matchups almost across the board.  Bane is slightly negative at 46%, and besides that, her three bad matchups are all heroes with ways to strip away her Refraction charges, Broodmother, Viper, and Venomancer.  She also has the best overall win rate against the popularity trinity of Shadow Fiend, Invoker, and Pudge.

#4: Shadow Shaman

Shadow Shaman is the first of the top 8 push specialist trinity.  He’s one of the most consistent hero in the top 8, in that he has no dramatically bad matchups but less dominant matchups than the top 3.  Broodmother and Templar Assassin are the worst, but both are just above 40%.  Shadow Shaman’s best matchup is surprisingly Outworld Devourer.  OD is supposed to dominate 1v1s vs Intelligence heroes, but so far he is struggling against every Int hero in the top 8.

#5: Death Prophet

Pretty similar to Shadow Shaman, but her one downside is she’s only a 50/50 matchup against Shadow Fiend, Invoker, and Pudge.

#6: Viper

Viper is a peculiar case.  Once you move past the dominating duo of Broodmother and Bane he does pretty well, but he doesn’t dominate the bottom half of the 25 most common nearly as consistently as the rest of the top 8.  Outworld Devourer is an even matchup, along with Tinker and Silencer, and of the three only OD has one other matchup against the top 8 that’s better than 40%.  Viper also struggles against Phantom Assassin and Pugna.

#7: Pugna

Of the push specialist trinity, Pugna is the most feast or famine.  One interesting tidbit about the trinity is that they have a bit of a rock-paper-scissors thing going on.  Pugna has a slight advantage against Death Prophet,  Death Prophet has a slight advantage against Shadow Shaman, and Shadow Shaman has a slight advantage against Pugna.  But none of these heroes are extremely popular, so this could all just be noise.

#8: Skywrath Mage

Skywrath is the hero I’m most surprised to see in the top 8, but he does pretty well against most of the 25 and has one of the top win rates against Shadow Fiend and Pudge.  Unfortunately for him, all of his matches against the top 8 are 50:50 for worse, and his win rates against Broodmother, Bane, and Templar Assassin are dreadful.

Other Dark Horses and the Complete Stats

I’m sure some of you are interested in heroes that didn’t make the top 25, so here is the complete stat dump.

1v1CompleteStatsSome lesser played heroes to keep an eye out for

Brewmaster: Narrowly missed the top 25, and has a respectable 58.75% win rate.

Jakiro, Witch Doctor, Warlock, Disruptor: Still small sample sizes, but all 4 supports are putting up +60% win rate so far.

Earth Spirit, Leshrac, Night Stalker, Legion Commander, Enigma: 57-59%, but small samples

Lone Druid, Lina, Lich, Tusk: ~55%

And worst 1v1 hero goes to Spectre, with both the fewest games played in the sample and the worst win rate at 17.5%.

Random Ability Draft: Hero Win Rates

June 11, 2014

As a bit of a curiosity and side project, I put together the hero win rates in Random Ability Draft from my last 6.80 sample back in January.  It may be a bit outdated, but the base hero values didn’t change drastically in 6.81, and the stats come from the period before Divided We Stand’s reign of terror.  While I don’t have much interest in the mode myself, it’s an interesting look into how the basic stat values contribute to a hero’s viability independent of their abilities.

The special caveats here:

  • My RAD match collection is a byproduct of my actual match samples.  As a result it’s fairly small at just under 20,000 games total.  Mitigating this, because the hero selection is randomized, all hero samples are around 2,200 games.
  • The matches are separated into Normal, High, and Very High.  I do not know if they actually correspond to anything.  My best guess is that RAD unranked MMR but then becomes separate.  In any case, I averaged the Win % across all three brackets in an attempt to mitigate sample size issues.
  • I tried to revert the 6.81 changes in my stat charts, but I might have missed some.
  • There might be other errors.  This was new, hectic, and I’m not extremely invested in it.

Oh, and if you’re prone to getting angry about being assigned “bad” heroes in the mode, you might want to look away.


And that’s well and good, but the more interesting question is what makes a hero a good or bad platform in RAD?  Silencer far and away at the top is a relatively easy outlier due to his intelligence steal, but beyond that it gets more complicated.  One intriguing fact you might pick out by the hero shading is that Intelligence heroes tend to do the best overall in RAD.  In terms of average win rates, Intelligence heroes come in at 51.33% with Strength at 49.49% and Agility at 49.01%.

But that’s not good enough because we want to break things down by individual stats.  To approach this, I imported the hero attributes table from dota2wiki, and found the average win rate for the top, middle, and bottom third percentile of each stat group.  Or some Excel facsimile of that.  It’s at least a relatively consistent division for above and below average.  I wouldn’t rely on it for precision, but it gives us a general idea of how influential each stat appears to be on the overall win rate.  And here’s the results:


So for stats, Intelligence actually appears to be the most valuable stat in both base and scaling, but Strength Scaling is close.  This likely explains a good portion of why Intelligence heroes do best overall in the mode.  Having good overall base stats and stat growth are arguably the two strongest predictors for a strong RAD hero.  Movespeed and Base Armor are the next two strongest predictors, and ranged heroes as a whole tend to outperform melee heroes.  What’s somewhat surprising is that short cast points provided no noticeable advantage whatsoever.

But don’t take my word for it.  I made a (rather huge) graphic that includes a percentile ranking for each stat for every hero.  For example, the movespeed for all heroes fall between a minimum of 280 and max of 330.  Heroes with 280 are treated as 0%, 330 is treated as 100%, and 305 is treated as 50%.  Extreme stat outliers are kept separate.  For example, I treat the range in average level 1 avergae autoattack damage is 44 to 69.  But Treant Protector’s damage is 85, which gets treated as 174% so he doesn’t warp the listing for everyone else.  It’s also available in spreadsheet format so you can download your own copy for sorting.