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Analyzing Ash's Effect on Pro League

In light of recent Twitter drama surrounding the balancing of Ash, I have decided to look at what makes her controversial.

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Ash is one of the 20 original operators, and has featured in every Pro League season. While Ash is almost always picked in ranked and casual, her pick rate in the professional scene has never been as high. Why? This is what we are analysing today.

Ash is an operator primarily played by entry fraggers, who use her R4-C and 3 speed to devastating effect, most notably Kanto from G2, and recently JoyStiCK from Team Empire. While she is a nuisance for defenders, she is rarely banned. This is due to the abundance of other operators with more utility and/or influence on a round. During Season 8, Lion was a must ban, and either one of the hard-breachers, Blackbeard, or Glaz would likely be the second ban. Thus, Ash was available for 97% of all rounds during last season. Her pick rate was 30%, middle of the pack for attackers.

In the recent controversy it was repeatedly stated Ash is over picked, and this is absolutely the case for ranked gameplay. As you can see in the most recent win-delta chart released by Ubisoft, Ash’s pick rate is an absurd 70%. Also, she has a positive win-delta, meaning when you pick her in ranked, you have a theoretically higher chance of winning that round. Ash is strong in ranked because she can be played alone effectively. A majority of ranked players solo queue, and Ash is an attractive pick because she doesn’t require much team play, and can get her job done on her own.

However, if we compare these stats to the Pro League win delta, we can see Ash is actually detrimental to her team, with a -0.89% win delta. Her pick rate is also significantly lower than in ranked, down 40%. This is due to the popularity of other fragging operators that provide more utility for the roam clear and site push. Ash’s primary role is to get kills, burn Jager’s ADS, and destroy Maestro cameras. If either of these operators are not in play for the defenders, another attacker might be the better choice. Jackal for example, has a comparable gun to Ash, a breaching shotgun for creating new lines of sight, smoke grenades to cover the plant, and the ability to hunt down roamers through his scanner. Ash simply cannot provide that much utility. Zofia and IQ are also comparable ops that have both a higher pick rate and win delta.

In conclusion, Ash is a strong operator for more solo minded players, which leads to her popularity in ranked play. The trust of players in Ash could be misguided however, as even in ranked Ash is behind similar operators like Twitch in win delta. Ash is powerful in the right hands, but other operators that provide more utility are more often than not the better pick.

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