Blue side vs Purple: Inside the startling numbers

I recently interviewed CLG.EU's support player Krepo, who brought up the fact that he believes blue side is a decided advantage bottom lane and in picks/bans. Blue side gets first pick and ban, as well as what most pros believe to be the superior side of the map to control. Many people wondered aloud after reading Krepo's beliefs what the actual breakdown was for blue vs purple. I took a sample of 145 competitive games played on LAN at MLG Summer Arena, IGN Face-Off, European Regionals, MLG Raleigh, and the NA Regionals to find out what the discrepancy is between the two sides in terms of overall win percentage and win totals in extended series (more than 2 games played). The numbers may be even more surprising than you'd think, and Riot might want to think about separating first pick and blue side for the Season 2 World Championships.

The advantages of being blue

The following stats and statements must be made knowing that a majority of the games played had the team with the higher seed starting off as blue side. This means that the teams starting blue side were "supposed" to win according to rankings, but the numbers may be a little lopsided even for that.

Krepo: Bot lane has double golems and can help jungle start red buff with 2 people allowing him to transition him well into a quick jungle with early red (minimal difference with blue, insignificant ) but the EXP on lane decides everything. If purple has to help jungle on blue they will lose exp and be forced to either shove lane to equal it or be forced to level slower and be poked off or suffer hard from exp imbalance. In some bot lane combo's, falling behind in exp by being not early on lane/not pushing can lose you the lane entirely. If purple freezes you can always go to your golems to "fake base" and force them to push. In essence: blue bot lane has way more control.

If purple pushes they're WAY easier river ganked than blue. If blue pushes then purple jungle has to commit to entering "enemy jungle" which holds a severely higher risk.

Mid-late baron is easier accessible but that's open for interpretation. Map imbalance resides mostly in bot lane laning phase and exp imbalance. It's also slightly easier to steal wraiths over wall if you're blue side AP MID.

That was Krepo's response to why blue side had an advantage, particularly in terms of bottom lane. Arguments could also be made that top lane is safer for blue side because of no jungle path to enter from behind. Looking back at the map, it's much more likely that a support will have the tribush in bottom lane warded than purple side top will meaning another lane that is potentially "safer". Now let's take a look at those numbers for all of the pro games played in August.

  • In 145 games played the blue team won 86 of them or 59.3%
  • That leaves purple side winning just 59 of 145 possible games for 40.7%
  • 22 series were extended past 2 games (best of 3's or 5's)
  • Of those 22 series purple won the majority of the games only 6 times or 27%
  • In fact, the team that was blue won all 3 games of the series an astounding 10 times.
  • In series where each team won at least 1 game, the deciding game was won by the Blue side 13 out of 17 times or 76.47%

So what do these numbers tell us? Teams are MUCH more likely to win from the blue side particularly in decisive games. The sample size isn't large enough to draw absolute conclusions yet, but it is certainly something to watch for as we move into the World Championships where every team will be evenly matched. Which side a team gets, especially in the group stage could determine who walks away with first place all that prize money. The group stage format is a round robin 1 game playoff where the top two teams from each group advance. It is of my opinion that Riot, at the very least for tournaments, should implement a way for teams to win a "coin toss" where they elect to either have first pick, or which side they want much like in American Football. What are your thoughts RoG'ers, are these stats enough to warrant a change, and if so what should be done about it?

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