Draft Analysis - East vs West post-6.79
The following is an analytical rundown of Dota 2 in the age of 6.79, with data gathered from competitive matches between the 22nd of October until the 13th of November, a span of 23 days. Hopefully these numbers can help shed some insight on the different directions that the two scenes are taking as well as what's working out, what's worth exploring further and what should be left behind.
1. Most Banned Heroes
Given how the Western scene has taken to running different combinations of lanes since 6.79 it's not much of a surprise to still see Lich on top of the charts, as his power in terms of enabling other laners is massive, while having a great mid game impact through Chain Frost and Frost Armor. Lich is still a popular ban in the East, but not nearly as crucial. Instead the big winner in the East and the only one to really stand out is Elder Titan, who while having received some nerfs in the patch is still a strong hero in both scenes coming in at 56,00% winrate for the West and a massive 68,40% for the Eastern scene.
In third place we have another big winner for both scenes as Pugna has risen to be a highly feared hero, perhaps more justifiably so in the East where he is currently enjoying a 64,00% winrate against the 50,00% he has in the West, indicating a split between a more pushing orientated meta in the East and more varied strategies being applied in the West.
2. Most Picked Heroes
Crystal Maiden, darling of the patch. This really should not surprise anyone, as her Arcane Aura and her strong nukes make her a great laner while Freezing Field can singlehandedly win teamfights. With such popular picks you sometimes see a drop in winrate as teams of various quality regularly get to play the hero, but Maiden has held up decently well, coming in at 57,70% in the East and 49,60% in the West. Similarly Visage holds on with a slightly positive winrate, making two of the three most wanted heroes strong laning supports with good scaling into the mid game and to some extent past that (Maiden slightly tapers off, but the nerfs to Black King Bar and her penchant for Hand of Midas have been bolstering her long term impact).
While our two supports on top aren't feeling the "top pick rot" that badly, it's hitting Clockwerk a bit more, who is hovering just above 45% winrate for both scenes while in close contest with Visage for the 2nd/3rd spot among heropicks. Then again, the offlane isn't exactly producing consistent winners in this patch, with other popular picks such as Timbersaw coming in slightly south of 50% for his combined statistics (doing better in the West with 50,60% winrate), while Weaver while still popular has been tanking, being below 45% for the East and being one of the lowest winrates in the West. The only really strong offlaner who is also a consistent pick is Bounty Hunter, hovering around 62-63% winrate for both scenes, with Nature's Prophet also coming in slightly positive overall, but still dipping just below 50% in the West.
Interestingly, for both scenes nearly half the list consists of heroes which are either pure supports or often played as supports. With the heavy early game focus and the importance of winning lanes as well as with all the buffs to support heroes and their ability to scale, their impact is being felt in terms of what teams are looking for during the picking stage of the game, while bans are still fairly split accross all categories (probably because supports are getting picked up early leading to more banning of core heroes and situational heroes during the second and third ban stages).
3. Most Contested Heroes
The results here aren't exactly surprising given what we've discussed earlier. Lich still stands out as being a lot more popular in the West, while Crystal Maiden is a fair bit higher in the East. Lifestealer is more popular in the West but is still valued in the East, although this might not be entirely justified as we'll win find on another list further down in this article.
Heroes that can be found among the most hotly contested for the Western scene that don't make an appearance for the East include Bounty Hunter, Mirana, Weaver, Venomancer and Puck. All of these heroes are still somewhat popular in the East, with in particular Weaver (61) and Venomancer (65) almost making the cut. Perhaps the Eastern teams should however focus more on Bounty Hunter and Puck, as these two heroes sport fairly high winrates given that they are both somewhat neglected, coming in at 63,30% and 53,90% respectively.
Meanwhile heroes that the East value highly that the West seem to slightly snub include Nature's Prophet, Luna, Chen, Alchemist and Rubick. Of these Alchemist stands out as a hero which is not at all popular right now in the West and for good reason, as his winrate is an abyssmal 37,30%, which stands in stark contrast to the 58,30% of the East. Alchemist however has only seen 17 picks total for the West, so the sample is hardly all that accurate, except to say that it's a hero that sees little indication of rising up any time soon. While the other heroes named are fairly average in terms of picks and bans as well as winrate for the West, the other anomaly is Rubick, who will also be discussed somewhat later on.
4. Highest Win Percentages (>25 & >15 picks)
What wins games then? Well, for the West we're looking at heroes which can jungle and have a strong teamfight presence taking the top two spots as Enigma and Doom make an appearance, neither of which can be found on the Eastern list, as they've barely seen any play at all over there, clocking in at 5 and 8 draft appearances respectively. Meanwhile the astonishing 75% winrate of the Dragon Knight in the East is notably absent for the Western list, having seen a total of 23 appearances in the West and clocking in a fairly weak 40% winrate in his 15 games played, which should be noted is also below the deemed 25 picks minimum that was used to compile the Western list (the Eastern list uses 15 picks minimum due to much smaller number of games, 246 vs. 135).
It should be noted that both the Dragon Knight (16 East), Enigma (28 West) Gyrocopter (15 East and 36 West) only barely qualified for this list. Other heroes that barely made the list are that aren't seeing substantial bans include for the Eastern scene Vengeful Spirit (16), Anti-Mage (19) and Clinkz (15) and for the Western scene Lone Druid (31), Shadow Fiend (31) and Magnus (31). These heroes may be benefitting from being situational picks that fit work well when they do work or may be underutilized picks that have potential of becoming a lot more popular. Interestingly, nearly all of the heroes that fall within this category for the Western scene are strong teamfighting heroes, which is in line with a certain focus on big teamfight ultimates that we've been seeing lately in the West.
On the other side heroes which are consistently picked and manage to retain a high winrate are for the Western scene Visage (116), Mirana (97), Venomancer (83) and Lifestealer (82), while for the Eastern scene these are heroes such as Crystal Maiden (78), Luna (52) and Nature's Prophet (45). Again, the West seems to have more consistent results with aggressive heroes and teamfighters while the East seems to be finding more success with pushing heroes.
5. Lowest Win Percentages (>25 & >15 picks)
And finally, perhaps the most interesting graphic we have to offer you. Which heroes are seeing consistent picks (againt more than 15 picks for the Eastern scene and more than 25 picks for the Western scene to qualify) while in no way meriting this popularity? Before we get into the actual number it should be noted that due to the relative high volume of heroes which are seeing play but aren't working out in the Eastern scene the bar has been raised for the Western scene in order to get a similar total number of heroes listed (7 for the Eastern scene and 8 for the Western). The general smaller variance in winrates here is in line with what we saw for the top winrates, as it seems likely that the larger amount of games for the Western scene has brought results closer to the mean values.
While there's a great deal of disparity in these lists, two heroes stand out as being universally less than great. First among the worst is without a doubt Dark Seer, who with an abyssmal 33% winrate accross both scenes still is picked or banned in almost 29% of Eastern games as well as a massive 40% of Western games. Frankly, guys, it's time to accept that the continuous nerfs to the hero along with the rise of other better options means it's time to retire our pointyheaded purple friend. May we instead suggest more Mirana for the West and more Nature's Prophet for the East? Or perhaps try out that Venomancer offlane as a compromise between the solo mid and support positions we've been seeing out of the hero lately.
The other hero who is doing substantially less well in the East than the West but still appears on both lists is Earthshaker. This may come as a bit of an surprise, as Earthshaker has been receiving quite a few buffs in recent patches, along with having many more unique pulling options in 6.79. He does however lack in terms of pushing power, which may help us understand why he does not fit that well into Eastern lineups, especially if we presume that the Eastern scene hasn't seen as much of a move towards counter-pushing lineups as of yet. Meanwhile he is only barely under the 45% cutoff point for the West, more than likely due to his strong teamfighting ability and his roaming ability. The inability to jungle may be hurting Earthshaker in the West, but again this might be counteracted by better use of the new pulling timings for Fissure.
More surpsing than these two heroes however is finding staples of the opposite metagame on these lists, including Rubick clocking in at 37,50% winrate in the West to the Easts 55,40% and Lich having a downright terrible 33,30% winrate in the East compared to his 54,00% in the West. The East has also seen the final downfall of the Lifestealer at 37,90%, while he still wins more than he loses in the West with 54,90%. Wether this is just because of the certain players great individual skill with the hero or for other reasons, it's not exactly surprisng that the Lifestealer has somewhat consistently felt more at home in the Western metagame during this past year.
Given how much lower the low end seems to be for the Eastern scene, it's noteworthy that Queen of Pain still managed to stand out so starkly at 28,60% winrate for the West. It's not like she's been seeing any success in the East either, clocking in at 33,30% for the 12 times she's been picked, but this really should be a message to the Western teams to give up on the hero. Her nerfs to her laning and snowballing capabilities really have made her a hero which either gets lucky with her runes or is consigned to near irrelevance during the rest of the game. Want a mobile mid game ganker and teamfighter? Try Puck. The hero is criminally underutilized in the East as noted previously and is doing well in the West but is still short of being a highly contested pick.
Thanks to renfree for his help in collecting this data for this article.