Nov 09, 2018 Llarion EU Insights

Welcome back, ladies and gentlesloths! Now that season 7 is firmly in the books and the grand rigging for our first multi-region season is done, I’m back to deliver some more spreadsheets, pie charts and numbers from the 1427 matches that were played during the regular season of S7 for the stats-inclined sloths among you. If you’re interested in the midseason write-ups for each division, you can check them out collectively here.

That being said, this time I will look at the season in general, as the per-division stats have proven that meta picks, creative drafts and the finest cheese comps aren’t limited to any particular division, so you’ll get all the numbers in one post.


Battlegrounds

We’ve seen throughout the entire season that Infernal Shrines is firmly sitting at the top spot for map picks which is the case for the cumulative numbers as well. 312 out of our 1427 matches have been played on this battleground, which is roughly 22% of matches. 

It is also the battleground with the longest average match times, clocking in at 20:14 mins. The average length across all battlegrounds is 18:59 mins, with Sky Temple and Cursed Hollow being the fastest maps on average with 17:20 and 17:21 mins, respectively.

In terms of pick order, first-pick win percentage is 47.8%, meaning that picking this map is slightly more successful, but due to the huge popularity of this battleground and basically no team not practicing here, this number is sufficiently close to 50% to call it balanced. Volskaya Foundry with 56.5% first-pick win rate and Sky Temple with 45.9% are the two extremes in this category. Overall, first-pick won 50.1% of games, so overall winning or losing the coin toss doesn’t set you back at all, which is encouraging to see with an entire season worth of data.

Despite Infernal being traditionally a battleground where teams are okay with giving up the first objective to get an XP lead by pushing aggressively elsewhere, the team that was able to summon the first John Cena of the match ended up winning in 61.9% of cases. Cursed Hollow is the most skewed map in this regard with 78.5% of teams taking first curse winning the game, followed by Dragon Shire with 75.5%, whereas teams that won the first temple phase on Sky Temple only won the match in 36.1% of cases. The average number across all battlegrounds is 65.3% by the way.

The shortest match of the season was a 6:41 min Div 1 Braxis Holdout affair between Memeldor’s Meme Machines and LookingForName, the longest game of the season was played between Div 3 teams Hordlinge and Thunder Clap in 35:56 mins on Tomb of the Spider Queen.


Patches

Before we look at the hero picks and bans, let me quickly recap the major patches that happened throughout the season:

  • Week 4: Chromie/Stukov rework
  • Week 7: Whitemane allowed
  • Week 8: Tyrande rework

The Brightwing/Kerrigan patch that majorly shook up the meta for both Cup and Championship playoffs didn’t really impact the regular season anymore, so I will omit that for now. Most major reworks or changes were focused on supports, therefore we’ll look at the support meta with some additional interest.


Hero bans

The three most-banned heroes across the entire Lounge over the entire season were Genji (751, 92% of those were first-bans), Yrel (639, 88% first-bans) and Diablo (562, 80% first-bans).

Looking at how the patches mentioned above shaped the meta, let’s look at Chromie’s ban rate. Week 1 through week 3, she was the second-highest banned hero after Genji (56.8% ban rate), the rest of the season she sat at 4.7% bans. In the same time frame, roughly the opposite happened to Diablo, who started the first 3 weeks of the season with 24.4% ban rate, which increased to 45% over the remainder of the season, once again second-place behind Genji (50.2%) and ahead of Yrel over that time frame (41.7%). Whitemane’s introduction in week 7 earned her an overall 31.3% ban rate, and Tyrande’s rework lifted her from being virtually unbanned for the first seven weeks of the season to a 10.3% ban rate starting in week 8.


Hero picks

In terms of total hero picks, we once again have the allround main-tank Muradin at the top with 771 games played in addition to his 209 bans, leading to an overall popularity of 68.7%. Following the dwarf in total pick numbers is Deckard Cain with 690 picks and 415 bans, adding up to an overall popularity of 77.4%. Third on the list is Johanna with 662 picks, 238 bans and a resulting popularity of 63.1%.


If we look at heroes in terms of their overall popularity over the entire season, Yrel leads the list with 79.1%, which seems like another good reason to educate the Lounge playerbase on the nature of goats.


A study by Queen Mary University reports that goats try to communicate with people in the same manner as domesticated animals such as dogs and horses. [...] Researchers believe that better understanding of human-goat interaction could offer overall improvement in the animals' welfare.

Researchers also believe that a goat jumping in your vicinity conveys at least 25 armour to you for the next few seconds.


Following the jumpy space goat on the list are Deckard Cain’s 77.4% and Genji’s 76.7%, meaning there were actually matches that Genji wasn’t picked or banned in. That is however due to his lower popularity in the lower divisions, if we look at Genji’s popularity across divisions, we have the following picture:

In the Championship divisions, the annoying cyber ninja is nearly ubiquitous, whereas the lower you go in player skill levels, drafters seem to realize they get more out of other heroes. That being said, Genji is by no means ineffective in the Cup Divisions, as Cup finalist For The MurlocsDarthvy (7 games, 5W-2L) or Div 5 champions Southgate BoizMerteswagger (6 games, 6W-0L) have clearly demonstrated. Div 1 teams have actually picked Genji the least amount of times, but only due to him being banned nearly every game, while Div 3 players got their hands on him the most across the entirety of the season.

Looking more closely at our popularity leader Yrel's divisional pick and ban rates, we see that while she's roughly equally popular across all divisions in terms of picks, her ban rate falls of in the lower divisions a little bit, putting her overall involvement below 70% in Div 5. The fall-off is however much lower compared to Genji's chart above.

Yrel’s talent popularity is, as would be expected, closely adhering to the popular HGC build. Maarad’s insight (98.2% pick popularity), Aegis of Light (66.1%), Divine Steed (59.4%) or Holy Avenger (35.3%) and Ardent Defender (88.2%) are all very dominant in their respective tiers, although I would personally have expected the level 4 Aegis of Light to be even more dominant given its value in coordinated play especially pre-nerf. From level 13 on the picks become a bit more divergent, with the European standard pick of Velen’s Chosen (34.6%) being even overtaken by Aldor Peacekeeper (41.5%) and contested by the E talent Repentance (23.9%) as well. At level 16, even fewer sloths adhere to the HGC standard Templar’s Verdict (24.1%), with the vast majority preferring the increased waveclear from Holy Wrath (69.9%). Seraphim (67.6%) is firmly in control of the 20 talent tier again though. Also, I’d personally like to watch the 9 replays of Yrels actually picking Bubble Hearth in a Lounge game, those seem like they have potential for prime fiesta moments.

The award for the Lounge’s most avid space goat follower goes to OriealWood of Potatoes007, who played her in 10 games over season 7. The Lounge’s most effective Yrel is Cup finalist Kryne of For The Space Goats Murlocs with 9 games (8W-1L) and a 10.7 KDA on the hero over the regular season.

If we part the season in two phases of equal length (Week 1 through 5 and week 6 through 10), the heroes with the biggest jumps in popularity were Maiev (18.5% to 32.6%), Junkrat (14.5% to 22.1%) and Cassia (15.5% to 23.5%) despite not being significantly changed by Blizzard in that time frame.

The biggest losers of the second half of the season are Chromie (47.3% to 3.2% due to her rework as already discussed), Tracer (16.2% to 5.5%) and Malfurion (51.4% to 29.2%).


Looking at tanks specifically, we have a huge gap in terms of games played between the three meta picks over the course of the season, Muradin (771 games), Johanna (662), and Diablo (531), and the next closest contenders Garrosh (293) and ETC (232).

In terms of win rates, Arthas (55.8%) and ETC (55.6%) lead the charts, although an argument could be made to categorize the former as a solo laner, considering that’s what he was regarded as for the majority of the season. Diablo (53.1%) and Johanna (50.6%) both make it over the 50% mark, every other tank is found below. At the very end of the list we find Varian (34.6% over 136 games/106 taunt), Tyrael (39.3% over 56 games), and Garrosh (41%).

The tanks with the biggest popularity gain in the second half of the season were Diablo (+24%), Muradin, and Arthas (both +15%). ETC, despite increasing his already high winrate from 54.8% to 56.6%, lost the most in terms of popularity (-20%).

Also, in case you are missing a notoriously alcoholic panda, can we maybe agree that Chen in fact doesn't need any more nerfs for now? He's officially the only hero who went winless over the course of the entire season (0W-3L), which is why he unfortunately didn't even make the chart.


Focusing on solo laners next, unsurprisingly we find Yrel (490 games), Blaze (445), and Dehaka (416) at the top, followed by Thrall (330), Sonya (308) and Leoric (303).

In terms of win rate, Illidan (7W-4L), Samuro (12W-7L) and the Butcher (5W-3L) were all doing fairly well, but due to the low number of games won’t be regarded in too much detail here. I’ve already mentioned Arthas (55.8%), who is followed by Dehaka (54.1%) and Thrall (53.9%) in terms of win rate. Artanis (43.9%) is the solo laner with the lowest win rate, but both Blaze (46.1%) and Yrel (48.8%) fail to make it past the 50% hurdle as well.

Once again looking at the seasonal trends for solo laners, Thrall (+29%), Malthael (+16%), and Dehaka (+11.3%) register the biggest popularity increases when comparing the first half of the season to the second one. Sonya (-19%) loses in popularity but gains in win rate (51.5% to 56.8%) over the course of the season, whereas Artanis both loses in popularity (-12%) and drastically in win rate (55.6% to 31.3%). The most relevant change in Artanis’ kit came with the July 25th patch towards the start of the season and therefore doesn’t necessarily explain this extreme decline in win rate around the midway point of the season.


Assassins are up next, where Jaina the Frost Mage has dominated the popularity charts all season (583 games), followed by Space Marshal James Eugene Raynor (478) and everyone’s favourite sassy reset Nephalem Li-Ming (435). 

Winning the most games in the assassin department are Kerrigan (58.3% over 48 games), Kael’thas (56.3% over 279 games), Kel’thuzad (55.1% over 78 games) and Cassia (54.9% over 213 games). And yes, you might have feared it, the Fend build, especially the level 7 talent Impale, has a 59.6% win rate over 57 games. Please, fellow sloths, be responsible, friends don’t let friends play Fend Cassia.

Coming in with the worst win rates overall are Lunara (40.2% over 92 games), Hanzo (44.3% over 282 games), Chromie (44.6% over 83 games), and Greymane (44.7% over 349 games).

Since the assassin meta seems to be by far the most diverse between divisions, let’s look at that in a bit more detail.

Assassin/Specialist popularity by division

In terms of overall popularity, Genji wildly dominates across all  divisions, despite some abysmal win rates everywhere but in Div 1. Raynor and Jaina are also highly rated on the popularity ranking, though for them the majority of their popularity comes from their high number of picks. Overall, the popularity chart looks fairly uniform across divisions, with exceptions being Maiev in Div 1, Azmodan in Div 3 and Kael'thas in Div 5.

Jaina has found her place atop every division except Div 1 in terms of games played, yet with wildly varying win rates. The only other constant in terms of picks is Raynor, who exhibits more stable win rates as well. In the Championship divisions, Fenix has found a place among highly picked assassins. 

Some surprising off-meta standouts in terms of win rate are Kel’thuzad in Div 3 (78.6% over 14 games), Cassia in Div 4 (65.2% over 66 games), and Lunara in Div 5 (61.5% over 13 games), who managed to achieve the 3rd highest win rate despite her extremely low overall win rate. Most of these heroes do not have a ton of games played though, so these numbers have to be taken with a grain of salt.


This game also still has a role called Specialists, although luckily that will be gone soon. For now, all you need to know about these 'special' snowflakes is that Azmodan got banned a fair amount (29.6%), presumably thanks to his hero league popularity and ability to annoyingly push waves and Sgt. Hammer achieved a win rate that would put her into the top 3 assassins with 56.7% thanks to her well-balanced self-cleansing hover siege tank build. Neither Abathur (65 games, 49.2% win rate) or Medivh (63 games, 47.6% win rate) managed to have the same impact they had in HGC over the course of the season. I'm contractually obliged to mention Murky (7W-4L) as well as Probius (7W-4L) having a very good season, but the extremely low number of games unfortunately doesn't allow for any more detailed analysis in that regard. I tried, really.


Finally, we’ll have a look at supports, who have undoubtedly been through the most patches, reworks and new hero introductions over the course of the season.

In terms of overall games, I doubt anyone is surprised by Deckard Cain talking himself into the top spot with 690 games played, followed after a very long gap by Malfurion (374), Rehgar (367), Stukov (325), and Alexstrasza (320).

In terms of win rates, Brightwing (61.8% over 34 games), Ana (58.1% over 86 games) and Tyrande (54.2% over 142 games) lead the list of healers, while Lucio (41.9% over 43 games), Stukov (42.8%) and Uther (46.5% over 71 games) weren’t doing so well.

Whitemane’s introduction to Heroes Lounge in Week 7 lead to a 31.3% ban rate over the last four weeks of the season along a total of 136 games played (47.8% win rate). W build turned out to be by far her most popular build with roughly 75% of players picking the W talents at 1 and 4, Scarlet Aegis was picked in 87.5% of games. The most picked hero versus Whitemane was, no surprise, the other top-tier support Deckard Cain, and interestingly enough Whitemane only had a 39.2% win rate vs her Diablo counterpart. The most avid early Whitemane adopters were Team EnCore’s Ryme and Don Our Fedora’s Mango, both with 5 games played on her in the last four weeks of the season. The biggest popularity users in response to Whitemane’s introduction to the Lounge were Malfurion (-49.7%), Rehgar (-39.5%), and Kharazim (-34.9%), although these numbers are stacked with the Tyrande rework that happened a week later.

If we look at that more closely, we have a very similar effect on her pick rate. Before her rework, the high priestess virtually did not exist, being picked in 10 games prior to week 8, shooting up to 132 games in weeks 8, 9, and 10. Her ban rate went from 0.1% before the rework to 11.3%, which is still much lower than it should be in my opinion considering her 53.8% win rate, which puts her just behind Alexstrasza (55.1%) and Deckard (54.2%) over the same period. In terms of overall popularity over the last three weeks of the season, she only came in as the third support behind Deckard (81.6%) and Whitemane (63.3%) with 38.8%, up from 1.2% before the rework. Her resurgence may or may not have lead to a popularity increase for her already extremely popular dwarf partner-in-crime Muradin, who climbed from 66.6% popularity to 72.9%. The duo was played in 40 games over the entire season with a 52.5% win rate. However, her partnership with other tanks such as Johanna (29 games, 69% win rate) and Diablo (25 games, 68% win rate) was significantly more successful. And for the lore-inclined sloths out there, she did have 2 games with Malfurion (1W-1L), however she did significantly better versus him (13W-5L). Her most successful maps were Battlefield of Eternity (68.4% win rate), Towers of Doom (64.7%), and Dragon Shire (63.2%), where apparently the ban on Shadowstalk didn’t hurt her at all.


Unpicked heroes

I really thought that by the end of the season, we could say that every single hero on the roster of 81, obviously excluding Mephisto (even though apparently 3 sloth captains managed to ban him on top of his being banned by Lounge rules) and Mal'ganis, would have been picked or at the very least banned by you sloths out there. Quite unfortunately though, one of the top ranged stealth assassins that's quite obvioiusly first-pick worthy in Hero League didn't make the cut. I hope that next season even Nova will find a place on a competitive team now that we have many more sloths, more than twice as many divisions and twice as many regions in the pool.


And with that, I hope you all had a fantastic season 7, refreshing offseason and are back and motivated to play Heroes the way it's meant to be played in season 8! I hope you enjoyed reading and I'll be able to make some more similar content in the upcoming season. As always, all the credit in the world goes to Falindrith, who is now a sloth among us thanks to the NA expansion, and who made Stats of the Storm, without which none of my analysis would have been possible. More credits to Crow for helping with the amazing banner image! If you have comments, questions or want some more of the data, you can reach me on Discord as Llarion#0127. The usual accompanying chaotic spreadsheet containing some data can be found here. Special shoutouts to AlexTheProG, whose lack of streaming has led me to have enough time to actually write this post. Snail away, run it down mid and enjoy season 8!

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