Primary Role Play Rates and Increasing Your Win Rate in Ranked

  • Roshman
  • March 18, 2015
  • news

When you get into a ranked game champion select, you are probably going to see your chat looking something like this:

  • bigwompom70: MID MID MID
  • hexaliftliftliftliftliftlift: ad
  • papapipbear: sup (as in support, not wussup)
  • generalcommonone: janglez plz
  • [you]: FU I’m MID OR FEED BROS
  • [you]: I’ll top guys, I main top susaN.

The above situation is extremely rare, usually there are going to be multiple players on your team that play the same role as their primary role. Let’s assume that the percentage of players who play each role as their main is equally distributed (20% adc mains, 20% jungle mains, 20% support mains, 20% mid mains, 20% top mains), what would the probability of getting a team with each player having a different primary role?

We use the following formula to calculate the total number of combinations where order does not matter:

Where n is the number of players on the team and r is the number of roles to fill. In this case, we have 5 players filling 5 roles, and so n = 5 and r = 5.

This means that if there is an equal chance that each person plays each role and, on average, 1 in 126 games you will get a team that has summoners who play different primary roles. Obviously this is an extreme example but it illustrates the rarity of the scenario and how valuable it is to be flexible. If the primary roles were actually equally distributed, it wouldn't behoove you to learn another role for the purposes of increasing the probability that you get that role in champion select but our assumption is (spoiler alert) incorrect.

So what is the distribution of primary roles? We analyzed almost 700,000 North American summoners' 2015 Ranked Season stats (so far) to figure that out. We looked at each of the summoner's mix of champions that they played over 10 games with, then we added up all of of those games for each role and assigned them a primary and secondary role based on that. Then simply aggregating the counts and calculating the proportions, we get the following information:

These proportions are just looking at primary role without considering secondary roles:

RANK PRIMARY ROLE PROPORTION
1 JUNGLE 23.73%
2 ADC 23.60%
3 SUPPORT 19.76%
4 MID 17.01%
5 TOP 15.90%

Not really a surprise that JUNGLE and ADC are the most common primary roles and TOP is the least common. We speculate that the TOP is the lowest primary role so far this season because it is the least diverse and most stagnant as there haven't been a lot of changes to items and/or game mechanics to mix things up in a long time. The same could be said for the MID lane but it definitely isn't as stagnant as the TOP lane.

These are the percentages when you include secondary roles and count a person's "specialty" as a combination of primary and secondary roles:

RANK PRIMARY ROLE SECONDARY ROLE PROPORTION
1 JUNGLE TOP 6.58%
2 ADC JUNGLE 6.21%
3 ADC MID 5.11%
4 TOP JUNGLE 5.07%
5 ADC SUPPORT 4.75%
6 JUNGLE ADC 4.65%
7 JUNGLE MID 4.62%
8 SUPPORT *** 4.60%
9 SUPPORT JUNGLE 4.60%
10 JUNGLE SUPPORT 4.50%
11 MID JUNGLE 4.35%
12 ADC TOP 3.84%
13 SUPPORT ADC 3.83%
14 MID ADC 3.75%
15 ADC *** 3.69%
16 SUPPORT MID 3.58%
17 JUNGLE *** 3.39%
18 MID SUPPORT 3.20%
19 SUPPORT TOP 3.15%
20 MID TOP 3.07%
21 TOP *** 2.85%
22 TOP MID 2.70%
23 TOP ADC 2.69%
24 MID *** 2.65%
25 TOP SUPPORT 2.59%

*** Indicates players who have no secondary role, meaning they have not played more than 10 games in a role other than their primary role so far in the 2015 season.

The list looks fairly intuitive, we see there are a lot of combinations with TOP towards the lower part of the list and the top is dominated by role combinations with primary JUNGLE and ADC (the highest percentage of the player base). One interesting thing is that even though TOP is the least played primary role, the most popular combination is JUNGLE primary and TOP secondary. This makes sense because there are a lot of champions that are viable in the jungle that also make good top laners (bruisers and tanks). Another interesting thing is that at #8, we see that SUPPORT with no secondary role is the highest of the combinations that have no secondary role. This is probably due to the nature of the SUPPORT role not having a lot of skills that crossover to other roles. More specifically, SUPPORT requires good vision control and overall macro game knowledge coupled with a low mechanics/no CSing requirement.

So how can we use this information? Well, if our goal is to increase the probability of getting everyone in the ranked ladder to play a role that they are sufficient in, you might want to consider mastering a role that is more rare among summoners (such as the top lane). This is a twofer for you (..love twofers) because not only are you going to help your team out more by filling a role that not a lot of players can play but it also means that more often than not, in lane, you are going to be up against another player who does not main that role.

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