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Raynor's Success Thus Far in HGC 2018

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Hello again, everyone!  Today, I'd like to talk about Raynor, aka Jimmy.  The Renegade Commander was reworked on July 10, 2018, and has so far seen a lot of use in Weeks 4-5 of HGC.  I'd like to take a look at this hero's standing so far in professional play, including some head-to-head matchups and heroes that have paired well with them.  Keep in mind that, as is always true of HGC games, some of this data will be skewed due to the differences in skill between teams.  No hero has yet managed to completely overcome a skill deficit between teams or regions.  I will try to take this into account in my writings.


Hero Pick/Ban and Win Rate - The Raw Data

Here are Raynor's hero stats at a glance:

Raynor's pick/ban rate prior to the rework was completely non-existent (0%).  However, the rework very quickly changed that, spiking him to a 86% popularity rate across North America, Europe, and South Korea combined.  North America used him the most by far, selecting him in 98% of games as either a pick or ban, and South Korea was close behind with 95%.  Europe seems to embrace Jimmy the least of the three regions, with only a 63% pick/ban.  This places Raynor in second place in total popularity out of all of the heroes that I've done these articles for, falling short only of Maiev's 99% and barely edging out Yrel's 84%.


Raynor's Player-Specific Performance

Raynor's win rate was fairly close to dead even, with only North America logging a lower-than-average win rate of 43%.  Unlike Yrel's win rate, Raynor's win rate is somewhat more mixed in terms of individual player performance, as the chart below shows:

Of course, there's one small detail in that chart which might stick out if you look carefully.  HeroesHearth Esports played Raynor on two different players, with both Khalif "Khroen" Hashim and Taylor "Arthelon" Eder having played the hero.  Because of this, HeroesHearth's combined record on Jimmy is 4-1.  The rest of North America combined is 2-7, which means that HeroesHearth is essentially propping up North America's win rate on the hero.

Another element that stands out is his high usage by some of the weaker Korean teams.  Jin Young "Overlord" Lee makes up 3 of Jimmy's losses in the Korean scene.  This stands in stark contrast to Gen.G's 3-1 record on the hero, led by Jae Won "Rich" Lee's 2-1 record, with Jin Woo "Reset" Im making up the final win.  This suggests that Korea's initially "even" looking win rate might be merely a product of who has been prioritizing him as a hero, and that top teams are still able to achieve much better results.

This seems to contrast with Europe's play on the hero.  Method went 1-3 on the hero despite going 4-4 in games overall during those two weeks, and Dignitas only played him enough to log a 1-1 record on Raynor, despite an impressive 6-1 record in their games in that same time frame.  Instead, we owe Europe's success on Raynor to Team Liquid, who rattled off a 3-1 record overall in Weeks 4-5, with 2-1 coming from Dennis "HasuObs" Schneider​​​​​​​.


Raynor's Priority in the Draft

Here's a look at where Raynor is prioritized in the draft:

The addition of the third ban allowed Raynor's early bans to be spread out across both slots, but still led to him being banned out at the start of the draft in 43% of his games.  When combined with early picks, this meant that he was being picked or banned in 76% of his games before the mid-draft ban phase.  This is actually fairly similar to Fenix's 71% in his initial period in the HGC, which makes sense since they fulfill very similar roles by both providing ranged sustained damage.

Amusingly enough, Raynor actually saw greater overall success as a hero when selected later in the draft, with a 65% overall win rate when selected after the mid-draft ban phase.  This is very likely due to the fact that professional players are better at creating compositions to counter Raynor, and so selecting him later in the draft makes it harder to shift gears later on and get those desirable counter-picks.


Head-to-Head: Who Can Beat Raynor?

Here's a table of some of the most popular heroes to be selected against Raynor.  I've also added a new separate column to identify the hero's win rate when Raynor is not present, as suggested by /u/grippgoat!

This new addition to the table allows for a bit better analysis of how heroes are doing against Raynor.  For example, a number of heroes stand out as having significantly worse win rates when Raynor is present on the enemy team, such as Fenix, Deckard Cain, and Blaze.  Blaze is a melee hero with limited tools to deal with Raynor in a team fight, since a skilled Raynor can knock back Blaze's charge.  Of course, if that stun should land, Raynor has limited tools to deal with the resulting dive, so that cuts both ways.  The most amusing among these, however, is Fenix.  If you recall back to the spotlight video in which Fenix was introduced, Raynor was originally shown as one of his counters, a fact which many of us laughed off at the time due to Raynor's generally poor sitting back then.  But it seems that the meme has become more than a dream in professional play after Raynor's rework, as his constant harassment keeps Fenix from reliably regenerating his shields and makes him a much more vulnerable target.

Only a handful of heroes on this list had success against Raynor, and the ones who did aren't terribly surprising.  Hanzo is capable of simply out-ranging Jimmy with his Scatter Arrows, and becomes better at clearing mercenaries and minion waves by the mid-game with the right talent selection, so Raynor starts to fall behind him in the area of macro somewhat.  Dehaka is a strong counter to Raynor due to Raynor's lack of escapes.  One good grab with Dehaka's tongue can drag Raynor into an inescapable situation, making him bait for the enemy team.


Duo-Queue: Who Do You Pair Up With Raynor?

Here's a table of some of the most popular heroes to be selected alongside Raynor:

Unfortunately for Jimmy, it doesn't seem like he plays well with others.  Due to his slightly-below-average win rate, most heroes actually experience greater success without him on their team than they do with him.  A few heroes stand out very clearly in this regard: Johanna went 0-6 while played with Raynor, very likely because using Raynor as the primary damage dealing often results in a composition that is fairly passive and poke-oriented, which will inevitably lose to heroes with greater poke or dive-oriented teams that can reliably get past the front line.  We also see this reflected in the win rates of other heroes on this table, like Thrall and E.T.C., as Raynor lacks the sort of burst to capitalize on their plays.

Because of this, Raynor seems to perform better when he's paired with a mage.  Li-Ming is the only hero on this table with a significantly larger win rate while played alongside Jimmy, but when I looked deeper into the stats, I found the same trend on a majority of mage heroes.  Gul'dan went 3-0 when paired with Raynor, and Jaina won the only game in which she was paired with him, which does seem to imply a positive trend of putting Jimmy together with a mage to maximize the team's damage output in both sustained and burst damage.  Raynor also saw higher levels of success alongside Dehaka (3-1) and Alexstrasza (4-1), though it is hard to gauge how much of that is merely statistical noise and how much of it suggests a strong pairing, since other heroes in similar roles don't perform as well with Raynor.


The Final Word

The rework of James Raynor has led to a significant spike in his popularity, though his win rate fails to make him stand out as other strong heroes have in the past.  His performance is very mixed regionally, with some surprising teams doing better on him and other teams doing poorly.  His high draft priority is likely to decline in the future due to the impending application of his nerfs in the last patch, so it will remain to be seen if Jimmy is going to stick around for the long-term or if this was just a flash in the pan.

Looking for more of my work?  I previously did a piece much like this one, showcasing Yrel's use in the HGC.  That article is located here.  Feel free to let me know your thoughts to this article in the comments section below, or on Twitter at my handle @CriticKitten.  I look forward to your replies!

Hope to see you again next time!
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"This is Jimmy." (Raynor)