Articles:Snowballing in Competitive Play: A look at the data
|Snowballing in Competitive Play: A look at the data|
One of the most controversial elements of League of Legends has been its heavy “snowballing” effect. In many post game interviews, professional players mention that their team won or lost due to snowballing. I wanted to look at the numbers of many different objectives and criteria, and see if these leads truly develop into having an effect on the outcome of the game.
First, we have to establish the criteria in which we are examining the effect of snowballing. We will look at the win rates of these criteria based on data from the NA LCS. There are 3 categories with 7 criteria:
Out of the early game objectives, from looking at the chart on the left, First Blood seems to be the most telling objective: 61% of teams who got First Blood won the game. This is interesting because First Blood gives the least total gold out of these three objectives, a few hundred compared to the thousand or more gold from dragon or towers. However, what I think makes FB so much more telling than the others is that it is rarely traded. Often times people will trade first Dragon for a Top tower, or a Top tower for a Bot tower in 2v1 meta. However, First Blood is often the sign of an outplay. One successful team, Team Vulcun, really pushes for First Blood, as they scored it in 20 out of their 28 games.
In the late game objective category, inhibitors always hold more weight than Barons: The victor takes the first inhibitor in 89% of matches compared to only 81% of first Baron. This is somewhat expected because Inhibitors hold much more strength and are a more prized objective. In NA there have even been 16 games without a Baron takedown by either team. Also, these objectives have surprisingly similar average times, with the First Baron being averaged at 28:32 and the first inhibitor being averaged at 31:05.
The last thing to discuss is the gold advantages: Teams with a gold lead 15 minutes into the game win 66% of their games, whereas teams that have a gold lead at 25 minutes win in 80.4% of games. The fact that 66% of the teams that have a lead at 15 min proceed to win is very interesting: Early game definitely has a significant impact on the game; however, it is not insurmountable, as it has about the same win rate as a First Blood. On the other side, a gold advantage at 25 minutes is extremely significant, about the same win rate as getting first Baron.
Extremely Early Objectives
The next thing we are going to look at is not just if a team got the first objective or not but WHEN they got these objectives, in order to see if there is a correlation between getting extra early objectives and winning. As we can see on the chart, getting early objectives gives a huge increase in win percentage. For example: If you get first blood before the minions touch (2:30 game time), you have a 79% win rate, whereas if teams just get first blood at any time they have a 61 % win rate. The impact of securing objectives very early clearly affects the amount of snowballing that occurs: These objectives are worth more the earlier the game is, as you are able to invest that money into an item advantage to press on your opponent.
The second thing I wanted to look at in this section is the degree of gold advantage. We went over before that if you have a gold advantage at 15 min you have a 66% win rate; however, if you have a gold advantage of 5,000 or more, the win rate is bumped up to 85% of the games. Similarly, we mentioned before that if you have a gold lead at 25 min, you have a 80% win rate; yet, if you have a gold lead of 7,000 or more, you end up with a win % of 97.3%! Even though a 7k gold lead at 25 min seems rare, it was an occurrence in 1/3rd of the games in NA LCS (37 games). This means that even though an NA LCS game lasts around 37 minutes, the outcome of almost 1/3rd of the games is essentially decided by the 25th minute mark.
The last section to look at is a comparison between NA, EU, and Korea. Looking at different regions gives a very interesting perspective. Many people say that Korea is better, and that Korea snowballs harder on leads because they are most efficient with their play. We can now see the evidence of that here: These Korean values are based on OGN Summer, and we can notice that the degree of snowballing in that league is extremely high in comparison to NA. An observation that can be made is that a First Blood in Korea leads to almost the same win rate as the first Baron takedown in NA. Another interesting fact is that in all of NA and EU LCS (224+ games), there has never been a surrender vote before an inhibitor has died. However, in the just 36 games of Korea OGN summer there have been four surrenders before inhibitors were destroyed. Koreans are not just confident in their ability to snowball a lead, but they count on it!