One minor factor wins teams 80% of their matches at League of Legends Worlds
During the League of Legends World Championship hosted in South Korea, a peculiar pattern emerged that has brought forth balance and competitive integrity concerns.
So far, the blue-sided team has won the match 80% of the time, a much-improved rate over last year's 52.5% win rate. The community has given various reasons for this pattern, with only some feeling earned.
Potential reasons for the disparity
While a definitive reason is hard to quantify definitively, the community has voiced various plausible explanations for the concerning trend.
First and foremost, the top seed gets to decide on the selection of the side, with most of them picking blue. While that in itself might be seen as an argument for the blue side's strength, it also stands to reason that higher-ranked seeds are more likely to win the match - skewing the odds away from the desired coinflip percentages.
Trying to remove the disparity bias, the Reddit community found that even filtering out largely imbalanced matchups does not produce more even results in the rate of blue and red-sided victories.
As various users in the thread pointed out, one perceived disadvantage lies in the pick-and-ban phase of this particular meta. Generally speaking, the blue side's pick advantage usually gets negated mainly by the ability of the red side to effectively react and counter-pick to the first choices for blue.
However, in this particular meta, the juggernaut champions such as Xayah, Maokai, Orianna, Rumble, and Rakan are deemed largely without counter but also too numerous to ban out entirely before the blue side gets to pick one of them for a sizeable advantage.
In the past, details like the camera perspective and how it impacts gameplay have also been considered. However, the highest observed win rate disparity was never this significant, with the second-highest blue side advantage sitting at just over 60% during the inaugural World Championship.
A serious reason for concern?
While it is hard to determine how big of an impact each factor has had in the monstrously seeming advantage, various voices from around the community have rung the alarm bells.
Former pro player, turned analyst and co-streamer Marc "Caedrel" Lamont called the issue out on Twitter, commenting: "How f#!king op is blueside? Absolutely cringe blue side 80% win rate." He also pointed out that Weibo Gaming had been forced onto the red side for both of their losses against KT Rolster and G2 Esports, with the deciding match-up against MAD Lions once again giving them the side disadvantage.
According to Twitter account @LPLFanclub, pro player for Top Esports, Yu "JackeyLove" Wen-B also pointed out the problem in the pattern, saying, "It seems like the red side and blue side are not that balanced at Worlds."
Given the relatively fresh meta take due to the world's patch, there is the possibility that teams will find solutions to these imbalances as the competition goes on. Over the last couple of seasons, the side bias had also decreased during the ongoing event. However, at no point had either side hit the 80% threshold after a representative number of games.