Why has the radiant advantage disappeared in pro Dota 2 games?

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Pro Dota 2 teams had almost completely even win rates across Radiant and Dire in 2021.

Now that 2021 is over, Dota 2 stat junkies have released their yearly analysis of the pro scene. Statistician supreme Ben “Noxville” Steenhuisen’s end-of-year review unveiled plenty of information about the state of the game. Among several notable statistics, the most interesting may be regarding the radiant advantage in profressional Dota 2. While radiant has usually held a significant advantage, this year was almost completely even between the two sides of Dota 2’s map.

According to the numbers, radiant teams had a 50.88% win rate across all pro-level Dota 2 matches in 2021. Dire has a 49.12% win rate. This is very different from the radiant and dire win rate in public matchmaking. According to Dotabuff, some heroes have up to an 8% higher win rate on the radiant compared to dire. The exact reason for this imbalance is not known, but it’s commonly believed to be a combination of slightly better Roshan control for the radiant side and the natural north-facing camera view.

There are several factors pushing the numbers to where they are. In Dota 2 pro games, teams have a coin flip before the draft. The winner gets to pick between choosing the map side or drafting order. Most teams choose to determine the draft order, so the loser tends to pick radiant by default. If anything, the relatively even win rate is more a reflection of the draft order balance than Dota 2’s radiant advantage.

Why doesn’t radiant advantage exist in pro games?

The relative balance between radiant and dire is mitigated in pro games due to superior team coordination and map knowledge.

Pro teams are more likely to factor their side into the draft. Both teams know which half they will play on before the draft and are able to work around it. While radiant has better Roshan control and arguably better ward spots, dire has a better jungle. It is much easier to stack multiple camps on the dire side, and radiant’s top middle hard camp is in an awkward spot. Pro teams are able to exploit dire’s advantage more than pub teams, which are more likely to stumble into using radiant’s advantages.

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Dotabuff also states that several carry heroes have slightly higher GPM averages on dire. Power farmers including Alchemist, Medusa, and Luna all get more money while on the dire side. Split-pushers such as Anti-Mage, Clinkz, and Morphling have higher GPM on radiant. Pros know about these advantages and consider them in the draft phase, leading to more balanced win rates.

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