In the last few years, whenever teams have been faced with chosing sides in a professional game, Radiant is the side that mostly gets picked, and for good reason. Radiant has had a better win rate as compared to Dire, so the fight was often for first pick or Radiant. But the game of Dota 2 keeps undergoing changes and we are now in a place where the Dire might be the better of the two sides. The graph of win rates for Radiant and Dire in professional games definitely seems to indicate that ever since the turn of the patch (when Dota 2 7.24 was introduced), Dire has had a better track record than Radiant.
Now I know what you’re thinking – it’s not the biggest of margins. No, it isn’t for sure. But looking at trends before, especially from patch 7.07 to patch 7.21, Dire has had a considerably lower win rate as compared to Radiant. To even the odds and and then go past the halfway mark is a big step for the dark side of the map. The question now arises – why is the Dire now better than the Radiant? There are two major probable causes for this: 1) Outpost locations and 2) Ancient camp locations. Let’s take a look at the details of it.
The new Outpost locations clearly favour Dire to have a better approach to Roshan. Earlier, when we still had Shrines in the game, both teams had a Shrine near the Rosh pit. But patch 7.24 got rid of Shrines and added Outposts to the primary jungles of each side. That makes Roshan very easily accessible for the Dire.
The first Roshan attempt is usually after enemy tier 1 towers are down and you have managed to take away some map control. In that case, the closest access points to the pit are the Radiant tier 2 towers in the top and mid lane, the Dire tier 2 tower in the mid lane and the Dire Outpost. As the map shows, the Dire Outpost is considerably closer to the pit than the other three. This allows for a quick entry and sneaky Aegis grab or a way to foil an opposition attempt at getting the Aegis. Of course, the enemy could take control of the Outpost, but it is a lot easier to get back becasue of the location. Also, for a sneaky attempt, the opposition wouldn’t want to control the Outpost in case the plan is revealed. If the game is a stomp, it’s a different story all together. But in a close game, the Outpost will probably be in Dire position for a majority of the time.
Ancient Camp Locations
Somewhere at the start of the last season, the second ancient camp was removed (remember, we used to have two?!). After that, the one camp has gained more value, especially since ancient creeps have thrice the chance of dropping neutral items as compared to other neutral creeps. Both ancient camps are away from the Roshan pit, so for the Radiant, it is in the primary jungle while for the Dire, it is in the secondary or smaller jungle. The Dire ancient camp forms a triangle with two other neutral camps (one large camp and one medium camp), which makes it the optimum place for a carry to farm once he/she is strong enough to take anceints.
An added advantage, although a small one, is that the Dire secret shop is right besides the ancient camp. As soon as a juicy ancient stack is cleared and all the neutral items collected, the hero can just walk a few steps and get that Demon Edge needed for a 20 minute Divine Rapier (no, don’t do that). In comparison, the Radiant ancient camp doesn’t really come too close to any other camps. It is an isolated place, meant for meditation and deep reflection.
The only advantage in terms of neutral camp placements the Radiant does have are the two camps besides the mid lane. Those are perfect for heroes like Templar Assassin, Kunkka and Sniper to farm when the lane is pushed. In comparison, one of the Dire camps is on the high ground while the other one is a bit far out. So in case your team decides to go with a snowballing mid like TA who depends on getting early farm, the Radiant might be a good side to pick.
Granted, these are minor advantages the Dire has over the Radiant. But here’s the thing, Dota 2 is a game in which minor advantages can have major effects. We are seeing a substantial change in the Dire win rate as compared to prevoius patches from the last 3 years, and these are primarily the reasons. More games on the patch 7.24 would bolster these conclusions, but at least for now, it seems like the Dire has put a long injstice behind it. It is time to give yourself to the Dark side!