Stats. You see them everywhere. The odds a team will win, hero win/lose ratios, head-to-head record, you name it. Stats are a huge source of information not only for fans but also the casters and even the players themselves during team meetings. They might just seem like numbers to the average fan but a lot of hard work goes into them behind the scenes.

And when it comes to Dota 2 stats, one name stands above the rest: Noxville.

An old-school Dota fan from South Africa, Ben “Noxville” Steenhuisen has been playing Dota for years. He started with the original Dota 1 in high school and then university with friends, and as his interest grew, he started following the pro scene too. It was this interest in esports that eventually lead Noxville down the path of competitive stats work.

In 2011 and 2012, Noxville was a South African commentator for Dota and Dota 2 whilst also freelancing as a journalist. It was around TI3 when Noxville found himself dabbling in stats.

Dota 2 match betting at traditional sports bookmakers was growing in popularity at the time, but Noxville felt that the odds assigned to teams weren’t quite right. He turned to stats to give him the upper hand.

He discovered popular stats site, Datdota, and quickly became friends with the creator, Martin Decoud. Noxville soon started lending his talents to Datdota, writing articles for the website and suggesting features to improve its user-friendliness.

Around this time, Noxville also developed a stats-based independent team rating system for Datdota. His work soon caught the attention of tournament organizers, and he quickly found himself in high demand to produce “stat bibles” for casters and analysts to help them prepare for tournaments.

It wasn’t long until Valve caught wind of Noxville, and he was invited to do stats work for TI5 — a dream he never thought would become a reality. Post TI5, he relocated to Germany for a new job — which had the added benefit of easier travel to LAN tournaments.

While providing stats at the Manila Major, Decoud decided to step away from Datdota and gave the domain to Noxville who still manages and updates the site today. 

We asked Noxville about some of the weirder stats he’s researched over the years.

One of the strangest requests he’s researched was when he was working at TI6. He was tasked to find the winrate of an all melee lineup. Now, that might not be such a strange thing today but the meta back then was vastly different.

He also shared that his favorite stat took place at TI6 during a group stage series between Evil Geniuses and Alliance when Alliance Support, Joakim “Akke” Akterhall, somehow managed to finish game two with ZERO last hits and denies. Not a single creep died at Akke’s hand! Alliance still won the game in 19 minutes.

Dota 2, Alliance vs EG Groupstage, Akke 0 last hits
Credit: Dotabuff

Imagine how weird it would be to watch Dota 2, or any sport for that matter, without the numbers. Stats reveal everything that happened in the game, and without them, we would only know half the story.

Next time you’re watching your favorite esport, take a moment to thank the people like Noxville that make stats possible.

READ MORE: Deep Dive: A statistical analysis of the Singapore Major Wild Card teams – by Noxville