Looking at stats to tell the difference between certain skill levels is difficult for many players. The easy conclusion always seems to be “high skilled players just do x better,” even though the analysis can go much deeper than that.
Low MMR supports do a good job at purchasing Observer Wards. There is no denying that. Disregarding whether or not they actually place them well and use them to their fullest potential, the fact that they purchase them in sufficient amounts is good. It’s a basic element of the game after all.
As important your own vision may be, decimating the enemy’s vision is just as important. Playing a game in total darkness, with next to 0 information outside of tower range is difficult. Vision means information, information can lead to security, and security allows one to take action, such as farming or ganking. Take away the vision, you take away everything that’s needed for farming or ganking in a safe environment. Surely you have experienced how difficult a game of Dota can be, when you have absolutely zero vision on the map.
On average, a 2k MMR player will buy roughly half the amount of Sentries a 5k MMR player would. If we now consider the amount of Observer Wards (8 average per game) purchased, it shows that the amount of Sentries purchased is not sufficient to reliably deal with the enemy’s vision.
The lower the MMR of the support, the more farm they take away from their carries. The GPM that they have is partly the GPM their cores should have. This is not to say that the supports actively try to take away the cores farm. It’s natural for lower rated players on core positions to not farm efficiently, thus leaving farm left for their supports.
That said, supports in lower brackets do play greedier. Often times, supports will hold onto gold to purchase bigger items, instead of purchasing basic necessities for the team. Most of the time, the courier upgrade should have priority over Boots, something low level supports often don’t realize. Delaying an upgrade for another 1-2 minutes can decide the outcome of the other lanes.
There’s a reason why some pro players are famed for playing a “6th-8th position” support. They starve themselves out of necessity for the team, making sure to enable the rest of their team.
Arguments can be made that a poor support will hold the team back and that a Lion for example needs his Blink Dagger to function, and that is very well true, within reason. A Lion can very well go 20 minutes without a Blink, if he’s a solo support. Lower ranked players fail to understand the state of the game and when being starved is a natural thing, or whether it’s due to one’s own inefficiency.
Generally speaking, if there’s only one support, that support will, if the game isn’t a complete stomp, be rather poor and that is okay. Of course, the carries can help with purchasing items for vision, but that needs to be communicated.
Deaths & Gold Fed
Because lower ranked supports tend to be more farmed, the gold they feed upon death increases. Of course, almost every hero feeds more gold in the lower bracket; it’s natural granted the increasing amount of deaths. That said, supports have more responsibility in the lower bracket to not feed away that gold.
Everybody’s familiar with the phrase “space created.” It’s commonly seen as a meme/joke for whenever somebody dies, they created space. That is very well true in many cases, especially the higher skilled the player is. A player dying in the enemy backlines, providing information, drawing back multiple heroes, wasting a lot of the enemies’ time and barely losing any gold–that is how you truly create space. As a player, every death should have a reason behind it, and that reason should not be carelessness.
Dying to place an Observer Ward is less than ideal and should be prevented. Dying, because you were farming is the absolute worst for a support. Sure, that Blink Dagger or that Force Staff is important, but with proper map awareness, a support should be able to minimize the amount of times they die while farming. There are exceptions of course. Say the enemy just picked up their Blink Dagger for Batrider and decided to go for a smoke gank. Then you, as a support, want to be the target of that gank, if there needs to be one. There are also split pushing supports for example, such as Visage or even Shadow Demon, and this would very well fall under the category of space creating. Dying on the opposite side of the map from your team only counts as space creating though, if your team can actually use the time and space you bought.
Looking at the table to the right, it becomes obvious why dying as a support is so much more impactful in the lower brackets than in the upper brackets. Not only do supports die more, they also feed more gold per death.
Using stats to improve
Dota is a complex game, where everybody advances differently and everybody has different weaknesses to work on. While the patterns here may not apply to everybody, they do illustrate general problems that everybody can address–maybe not within themselves, but at least with teammates.
If, as a support, you feel you get a lot of farm, invest it wisely. Purchase defensive items that allow you to be difficult to kill and that can help teammates escape sticky situations. Be aware, that you are still a support, no matter how much farm you have. Don’t neglect warding and vision in general.
If you struggle to have money, put the need of the team first still. As long as you don’t put yourself at risk of dying too easily–walking around without Boots the entire game–it’s perfectly fine to starve yourself to enable your teammates. If you do wish to save up for a key item, communicate it to your teammates, inform them that you would prefer skipping a set of Wards & Sentries for a Force Staff etc. Not only will it keep them on alert, it will likely prevent you from seeing the dreaded “>We need Wards.”
There are many more things we can learn from raw stats about the differences between 2k and 5k players, and even more by looking at individual performances. It’s up to each player though to realize which of these things apply to themselves and where they can and want to improve.