The air is thick with the ample scent of competition. The Dota 2 pro circuit has concluded, and many of you want to get a taste of what it’s like to be a competitor. The bad news is, you won’t gain anything from this (other than bragging rights to people who give a hoot), but this is the closest you’ll get to play like the pros do.
What Goes Around, Comes Around
Before we truly get into the meat of the article, I would like to tell a short story about my endeavors in the Dota 2 ecosystem in the past few months. Many of you may be asking, “what does this have to do with the competitive scene?”, and the answer would be, a lot more than you think. Sometime during late 2015, I calibrated for the first time to around 1.6k MMR. About 2 years later, I was able to steadily climb the MMR ladder all the way to around 4k solo MMR. To some, this is a laughable rank, but to me, and the majority of Dota 2 players out there, this was a dream come true. Rather than spend the next few paragraphs describing the euphoria that came with reaching this goal, we’ll leave it at that.
Today, my Solo MMR is 1,689. It took me months to come to terms with the fact that I’m a 1k player again. How was it that just a few months ago, I saw myself go on an unstoppable climb to the top, only for me to go back to where I started? As an extremely passionate player, this hit my ego a lot harder than it should have, so I picked myself up from the bootstraps and started playing Solo Queue. I expected to get back to my original rank very quickly, having been in this bracket before. So I just blindly grinded out games for ungodly amounts of hours. I played and played but I could not break 2k for the life of me. Now, before you click away from this article, this isn’t a way for me to complain that the “system is broken”. I firmly understand and live by the fact that everyone’s MMR is a true measure of their skill.
“MMR is just a number”
This quote from Dendi has been memed and overused to death. Though, I don’t think many players out there truly understood what Dendi was talking about. If you take a look at my bio on this website, it says that I love to write. This is only half of the story, the full truth is that I mostly like to think. Naturally, both those things coincide with the other, but its important to reinstate that the moments I spent reflecting on myself and my relationship with the game is what built my own opinions and philosophies. With that in mind, the contents of this article are a byproduct of my own experiences and reflections. This piece is one that I have spent many weeks contemplating. The idea of competitive Dota 2 fascinates me, and is a topic that needs to be fruitfully discussed.
For just a moment, put aside your rank, and truly think about the game, like I do. Through Dendi’s infamous 5 words, I would like to take you on a journey that I’ve taken in the last 2 years. It was an experience that made me completely rethink of what it meant to queue for a game, and how I play it. Although I went down in the ladder, I consider myself an infinitely better player, and here’s why.
A Trip Down Memory Lane
Although I haven’t played Dota at the dawn of its lifespan, the internet acts as a time capsule that allows us to relive those first few years of our game. Ask any old-timer, and they will reaffirm that Dota was a completely different game back then. Disregarding balance changes and whatnot, the very idea of playing a game of Dota has evolved drastically. Players queued with a sense of adventure, and curiosity; in the hopes of finding something fun, or over-powered. There was little focus on lane composition, hero synergies, or counter picks, players just picked the hero they liked to play and were content. Although there is a minority in our community that do still play with the wonder of a new-born puppy, most of us simply don’t.
As the years went by, the professional scene has grown, and players have gotten much better. There was a time when being 5k MMR meant playing with the best of the best, whereas hitting 5k these days is nothing more than a laughable achievement by the community. All of a sudden, being high rank really mattered, and pub star turned pros such as Arteezy and Topson led the way. It was almost an inevitable evolution since Dota captures the spirit of competition in such an elegant package. On the one hand, this morphing of our game has some positives, but in terms of the big picture of Dota, it’s very much a net loss.
What Have We Become?
This is a very difficult question to answer, partly because of its breadth, but mostly because of our short history. The easy answer is that the professional scene has gotten really good at abusing the meta, and casual players at home try their best to replicate these strategies for some MMR. This phenomena is not exclusive to Dota, but to every single competitive game. Taking the competitive battling scene of Pokemon as an example, it’s no coincidence that a small rotation of Pokemon are used out of just under a thousand different options. Without getting too sidetracked, at some point in Dota 2’s history, its best players have become an autonomous meta slaving crowd of people trying to stand out.
An interesting thought regarding modern medicine is how drugs and vaccines are in a never-ending race to stay one step ahead of various diseases. We the players are the diseases, trying to constantly find the most broken strategies and abusing them to oblivion. But Dota 2’s balance team (Icefrog) is determined to stay one step ahead, and keep things in check before too much damage is done. It’s a fickle yet amusing thought, to think about the meta in such a binary way. It is of course, much more complicated than that, but this is the gist of how Dota 2 managed to stay alive for many years.
Yuval Noah Harari mentions in his book “A Brief History of Tomorrow” that “This is the best reason to learn history: not in order to predict the future, but to free yourself of the past and imagine alternative destinies.” Human history is a really important reference point, in order to see how we are supposed to move forward. However, both humanity and Dota are cursed with extremely short ones. If the current path that we are taking sends Dota into official “dead game” status, we would want to know about that path, and how we divert it.
Unfortunately, we don’t actually have the correct reference point to compare ourselves. Every year in Dota is incredibly different from the last, motivated by our desire to improve our game and its competitive scene. What followed is this massive boom which turned Dota into a multi-million dollar industry in itself, and bringing esports more and more into the mainstream. At the end of the day, no one really knows or can predict what’s gonna happen tomorrow, not even Valve.
A Subtle Warning
The past few months have had influential figures constantly complaining at the current state of solo queue. These complaints seemed like a minor annoyance to most, but to others, it was a hopeful spark into a conversation that no one wanted to have.
Some of the biggest household names all agree that our reliance and worship of Solo Match Making as an end all be all is taking us on a road of self-destruction. These players have first-hand experience of the “evolution” of Dota 2 mentioned earlier. They understand that the foundation of Dota 2 is a 5 on 5 competitive strategy game. The very essence of “solo” matchmaking contradicts the foundation that Dota 2 was built upon. Personally, as a player of 4 years, I have noticed a massive difference in the experience of a casual 5 man party compared to Solo Queue matchmaking. Again, I would like to reinforce my belief that your MMR is a true measure of your skill.
Skill Is Subjective
Many top tier analysts and pub players have noticed a strange trend among some of the high ranking players. This information is very anecdotal, but should give a good basis of the point that is trying to be made. Taking a very extreme and obvious example, a 7k position 5 support spammer likely has the mid lane ability of a 4k mid spammer, and vice versa. This is a very macro example, but the idea can be broken down to very intricate things, such as warding, stacking, efficient farming, laning, etc. This already poses a small yet overlaying problem, where your rank doesn’t tell the full story. Sure, you have the ability to win an X thousand MMR game, but that’s not really what Dota 2 is about.
However, there is a reason why the wisest minds in Dota such as Nota1l, Kuroky, and Puppey continue to recruit pub stars into their ranks (and continue to win with them). Your solo MMR is a great indicator that you’re great at doing certain things in a game, like make flashy plays, have excellent laning, have great map awareness. It does not reflect your ability to create strategies, draft, problem solve, and to some extent, shot call.
A Dying Breed
Ever since Suma1l was recruited by EG months before winning TI5, teams have seen the value in recruiting these pub star players. A few notable players that were picked up for having high ranks are GH, Topson, Miracle, Arteezy, Abed, Sonneiko, Nisha, and many more. A recurring trait/quality of these players is that they have excellent mechanical ability, and can take over games if given the chance. Teams had no idea if they would have good chemistry with their players, or if they could contribute to their strategic discussions. Credit where credit is due, these players are fantastic, and have every right to be where they are, but their rise in popularity and success have overshadowed the value of a different kind of player.
This is where Dendi’s quote comes into play, where MMR is really just a number. It’s a very useful number, and the number is rarely wrong, but it doesn’t tell the full story. I personally believe that Dendi was on a different wavelength than the rest of us when he mentioned this quote years ago. At that time, Na’Vi was on a downward spiral with Dendi leading the way. He continued to recruit pub star after pub star but never getting them to work out. He’s had first-hand experience in the false sense of ability that comes with having a high rank. If you just watch any high-rank streamer on twitch complain about another player doing something wrong, even though they have similar ranks, what does MMR truly mean at that point?
To wrap this argument up, Solo MMR is a great indicator of mechanical ability, it shows how skilled you are, and how well you can work with different personalities. Solo MMR does not show your ability to draft, create strategies, shot call, and grow with other players. This is a very general statement, but hopefully provides a concise basis for my argument. Before we move on, I’ve tried to classify every Dota player into 3 categories, which will hopefully make the rest of the article more concise.
Rule of Three
The Dota 2 player base can be divided into 3 groups based on this information.
- Casual Players
Play for fun, and don’t really have goals to increase their skill, or become better. They may enjoy playing alternate game modes, and would rather play arcade games than All Pick. This is a very small percentage of the player base, but these players likely don’t really mind that they have low ranks.
- Competitive Solo Q Players
Players that find fulfillment in grinding out hundreds of All Pick games. They have a firm belief that the higher your MMR is, the better you are.
- Competitive Party Q/Tournament Players
Players that try to find a community of like-minded players that are willing to play games with the same group. They usually aim for tournament/league wins over MMR.
Just to preface, it’s completely possible for a player to be in multiple groups in some situations, but the majority tend to be distinct. Based on the last category, it may be a dead giveaway to where this article is going, but try and ask yourself, “in which group do I belong in?”. Odds are, you’re among the Competitive Solo Q player group since that is where the majority of the Dota 2 player base resides. I too would have placed myself in that category just months ago, but as I’ve grown, I’ve lost my sense of accomplishment that came with gaining MMR. I tend to look back to those days with rose-tinted glasses, since everything made sense to me back then, and there wasn’t too much at stake when I pushed the “Find Match” button.
However, this just isn’t the case, since Solo Queue has always been a stressful and unforgiving experience. In my prime 4k days, I relished in the hyper-competitive and ruthless landscape, and I did everything humanly possible to win games. As I’ve played more and more, I’ve put less and less effort to go all out in my games which reflected in my MMR. To some, and myself even, I would just consider my under-performance as “burnout”.
I would then take a break for a few days, then get back on the grind, only to see myself “burnout” even faster. Before I knew it, I would no longer queue up for Solo Ranked games, and would rather play with the large group of friends I’ve amassed over my years playing the game. MMR was no longer my prime achievement, but rather the high that came with playing an actual game of Dota.
The last few weeks of my “Solo Queue” grind, has shown that some games are decided based on the group of players that you are queued with. At the same time, it is completely possible that I could win those games myself, but at the expense of my enjoyment of the game, as well as to a lesser extent, my sanity. That’s not to say that my experiences were toxic, but some games, the 4 other players you queued with, as well as yourself, just do not have any chemistry whatsoever. Without circling around the point too much, one thing led to another, and I found myself looking for a stack of players to compete in smaller tournaments.
The Actual Guide To Entering The Competitive Dota 2 Scene
Hopefully, I’ve given you a good idea of why we ought to put a little less emphasis on Solo MMR, and explore a different route that any player in the world could take, to better themselves as players. At this point in time, it’s extremely unlikely for a tier 2 or 3 player to get noticed by top tier players, and this guide will do little to address this issue. What it will do, is give you an idea of the inner workings of the politics of competitive Dota 2.
In extension, this guide will also, more importantly, provide you with a reference to prepare yourself before you begin your very own journey. Throughout the guide, I will provide you with the tools and references required to hopefully get you a good start.
Step 1: Get a Team!
Duh. This is obviously the first thing anyone should do if they are looking to play competitively. However, this step is as complex, as it is unnecessary, and my advice would be to skip it entirely. Because this step is very self-explanatory, I will do little to address the means to how you actually obtain your own team, because this is something that you should actually put your effort in at a later time. I personally had gone through multiple renditions of a team, and every time it seemed that I had a set of reliable teammates, real-life would come in the way, and changes had to be made once again.
Actual Step 1: Don’t Get A Team!
It’s a well-known fact that the internet is a completely gargantuan place, filled with trillions of units of information, and gives us the ability to make connections all over the world in an instant. You would think that because of this, it would be incredibly easy to connect with different players to form your own team. Unfortunately, this is absolutely not the case, and I would like to tell you a story to explain why this is. Initially, I would search for players on the /r/CompDota2 subreddit, and the for the first few weeks, it was an unparalleled community to connect with other players. Months before I was looking to form a team, I was absent-mindedly browsing the sub, when I came across a tier 3 team advertising their need for an analyst. I reached out, and was able to finally experience the inner workings of a full-fledged team.
Any player that has played competitively in the past, would know that most tier 3 teams are an absolute cluster of disorganization and derogatory memes at every corner. I was initially taken back by the culture that developed when a bunch of young adult males would gather around in the hopes of achieving a common goal, but I kept an open mind and went with the flow. You could tell that these guys wanted to win, and they were trying their hardest, but they were having fun with it. All of the players were either students, or had careers, and treated Dota 2 as a part-time job. They would compete in various online tournaments, and relish in the small prize pools they’d acquire if they ended up winning. Along the way, I would spend hours parsing various opposition’s dotabuff’s, and study replays, in the hopes of giving some form of useful analysis for the team to use. In hindsight, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but I was happy to at least piggyback off these guys while I had the chance, to learn what I could.
It’s Not As Big As We Thought
Some days past, and a player was asked to leave due to his toxic behavior in some games. I joked to him that it was time for him to get back on /r/CompDota2, and his response was one that I didn’t really think much about, but would become really relevant some months down the line for me. He mentioned that /r/CompDota2’s subreddit is filled with the same handful of players looking for teams over and over. It’s a cycle where when a player posts on there about finding a team, he would find one, then he would get kicked for whatever reason, and his first instinct would be to post there once again. My first few weeks using the sub, it was absolutely unparalleled, however, I soon noticed that players I had already played with were reaching out to “try out” for my team just days after leaving. The cycle would continue, and then you’d notice that every week you’d see the same 30 or so guys posting consistently.
The reality was, that the amount of players getting kicked, is much higher than the number of players getting recruited. It may be an obvious thought, however, no one really thinks about team-building like this. We are all under the assumption that there is an unlimited supply of players, and in some rare cases, they would be a special talent. However, this is not the reality of the situation at all. So right off the bat, if you are looking to form a team, do yourself a favor, and don’t do this, not yet anyway. The key is not to look into mainstream and obvious methods, however, with the right connections, the process gets much easier.
Step 2: Get In The Right Circles!
At this point in time, you either have a group of players, or you don’t. It’s completely fine to start your journey at this point, and there aren’t any rules that you are forced to follow. As for this step, I will give you various communities that you could join, in the hopes that you might find the right one for you. Keep in mind, that this is your first step into the underground world of the competitive Dota 2 community, full of players that have the same dreams as you, and some are even just as lost as you too!
This list will not be extensive but should give you a decent starting point to at least find your way to the right community. It may take you a few minutes, or a few weeks, but persistence is key. I found that just by participating with others, the right group of people will eventually find their way to you. In fact, I’ve stumbled upon many Discord communities mostly by accident, making my own experiences made entirely by chance. I will say, that the timing of finding them, was perfect for me. In my earlier days, I was struggling to make my teamwork, and it seemed like it was the end of the road for me. A friend of mine then reached out that he was looking for a standin for an inhouse that he played in. I had not the faintest idea that he played in one, let alone that such things existed anymore!
— ESL Dota2 (@ESLDota2) November 11, 2017
I instantly shifted my focus away from independent tournaments across the internet via Faceit and ESL, and focused more on just playing some quality Dota with people that share your passions. It’s a lesser-known fact that TI winner Suma1l was a destructive force in multiple inhouses before his debut into the professional scene. It’s a great thing for any up and comers to rest easy knowing that others have been on this path before them, and it is a proven one as well. If Suma1l started out just like every one of us, then who’s to say that some of us can’t become the next wonderkid? Granted, Dota 2 had much more emphasis on inhouses back then, since it was extremely easy to keep track of a community of players in a single guild.
Can We Talk About How Awesome Guilds Were For A Moment?
Think of guilds like a Discord server, where a group of selected players were able to interact with one another. The convenience that a guild brought to the table, made organizing a tournament or league incredibly easy. Back then, there were hundreds of self-made communities of players that joined together based on their skill level, interests, or if they were just a group of friends. Fortunately, we have the luxury of using Discord as a suitable replacement, but the guilds feature is sorely missed for all amateur league organizers.
Now that guilds don’t exist anymore, a few dedicated folks in our community have been hard at work creating and maintaining their own massive servers, with the intent on providing a fun and fair battling ground for players to participate in. I’m not going to pretend that I have an idea of how man different servers exist, but I do have access to a few successful and lively ones. Be sure to check them out if you are at all interested in entering the competitive Dota 2 scene yourself.
I’ve put the most obvious one up first, since it’s really accessible for anyone to join. If you’ve been living under a rock, the North American Dota Challengers League (NADCL) is an amateur league in which anyone that is not a pro player can participate in. Joining this server will give you the chance to play with the big dogs in the MMR ladder, and you might even get to play against some well-known figures in the community. NADCL does a good job of making the competition fair for everyone since they provide multiple tiers of leagues for teams to participate in. Even with the league being as new as it is, it has already proven to create success stories. Players like Gunnar, Ryoya, and a few others have been able to compete in various minors in the DPC after winning their respective NADCL tournament. Participating and winning won’t give you a chance to qualify for minors, but it does provide a healthy source of practice for the up and coming pro players of the North American scene, while making a few bucks along the way.
NADCL is one of the only leagues that will give out prize money for winning, however, the barrier of entry is much higher than other leagues. Before the start of any season, teams would have to go through the leagues qualifiers, with absolutely no MMR cap. So if you’re under 5k MMR, then this may not be the league for you. True to it’s name, NADCL only caters to the North American scene, so if you’re not based there, or if you’re not willing to play on NA servers from other parts of the world, then this ain’t it chief.
Although it may be very difficult to enter this league, the quality of the games are excellent. If you are into casting, then NADCL will give you an opportunity to hone your craft. Given that you have casted other games in the past, you will be able to apply to cast for a given season, and with it, a chance to possibly get big. NADCL is a big deal in the amateur scene, so if you by some stroke of luck casted a crazy game, then there’s a good chance that your performance would go viral. This on it’s own gives NADCL an edge to the competition.
Many of you may not know that PPD is the mastermind behind NADCL. He again represents the small group of players that have experienced the evolution of Dota, and he also understands that there is a lot of value in the players that compete in inhouses. A reminder that PPD brought in Suma1l to his EG squad just months before the biggest tournament of the year before going on to win the whole thing. It’s an admirable effort by him to take the reigns himself to try and solve Dota 2’s biggest issues today, and we’d best ride the wave and follow his example, for the good of our game.
Just Git Gud
Now let’s get real for a second. Odds are, you clicked on this article to find your way into the competitive scene if you are a noob. Then NADCL has absolutely no place in this article, right? What NADCL represents is the possibility of such a league existing and thriving. Ask anyone 2 years ago, and the chances of an inhouse league full of high MMR hot-headed and cocky NA players working, and they’d laugh at you. PPD has done well to prove everyone that such a thing is possible, and tapping into the thousands of players competitive itch is a viable strategy. I guarantee that prize money is not the main motivating factor to why players compete in this league, but giving players a chance to prove that they can play on a team while most likely being watched by the pros is what drives them on. If this is the case, then players like this exist across all brackets, even if everyone’s aspirations might be a little different than others. I’m not going to pretend that any of you reading will become the next superstar pro player, but what I can guarantee you is a fighting chance, no matter how good or bad you are.
Reddit Dota 2 League (RD2L) is another fully established league that has been running for quite a while. The league is run with a draft style, eliminating the need to form your own team. Interestingly, the league will allow any player of any skill level provided that you are over 1.5k MMR. Their Discord server is also the most gargantuan I’ve seen, with over 600 users/players currently active. The folks running the server have a keen eye for advertising their server since it is one of the most well-known ones out there. True to it’s name, they will, of course, advertise on various Dota 2 communities on Reddit at the start of each season. Their posts are pinned to the /r/Dota2 subreddit, so almost everyone has probably heard of their league.
One lesser-known fact about them, is that they take donations from their community to hire professional casters to cast some of their games. Last season, they were able to snag Purge (a well-known analyst and professional caster), to cast their Grand Finals, with him most likely making a return next season. The talent will then stream the games on their Twitch account, thereby attracting more and more players from all over the Dota 2 scene.
Now, back to the nitty-gritty. RD2L runs four main season throughout the year, with each season lasting 3 months. These leagues operate under the draft style system (more on that later). In between each season, the server would normally be on downtime, since they would be in the process of going through signups of the subsequent season. However, in-between each season, a mini-league is run with similar rule sets to the latter. Moreover, they organize regular weekend tournaments, so RD2L really has something for everyone.
Now that we’ve discussed and put the spotlight on the more popular inhouses around, let’s talk about some lesser-known, but more bare-bones inhouses. These communities are more casual, but that does not bring down the quality of games they provide. For the sake of symmetry, we’ll be discussing a much tighter nit community consisting of similar elements of the previous 2. So in a certain case where you were not happy with the way things are run on one server, you will have access to more options.
My introduction into the competitive scene was through this community, and it was a rocky road for me, but I always envied it’s other members. Amateur Team Dota League (ATDL) is a server that has a lively and thriving NA and SEA scene, but a very weak EU one. This doesn’t come at fault to the folks running the server, since even I have first-hand experience at the efforts they went through to try and get one started. Unfortunately, it’s not likely that an EU tournament is anywhere on the horizon, but if you are and EU player willing to play on NA/SEA timezones and ping, then this server could be a great home for you.
ATDL runs multiple tournaments and leagues throughout the year, with their main focus going towards a traditional elimination style tournament that spans anywhere between 1 to 3 months, depending on the number of teams that are participating. Similarly to RD2L, they also provide smaller tournaments in-between seasons, that always seem to be extremely well received by the community. I have fond memories of watching their Valentine Tournament months ago, as well as listening to the winner interviews they conducted at its conclusion. The head admin of the server expressed that his efforts are focused towards transitioning the whole league towards something akin to the smaller side tournaments.
At the start of every season, and every game, the admins make sure to keep all its users and fans in know by making Reddit posts, Twitter updates, and Discord announcements. Although it’s a smaller server than the latter 2, it still puts a strong emphasis on the value of marketing and advertising their league. As stated earlier, there are hundreds of players out there that are looking for a team, and some servers are going above and beyond to reach out to them. It’s very hard work, and sometimes it doesn’t pay off. However, if even a few players find their way into the league vie their twitter updates, then these are success stories in themselves.
One of the best things about this server is that it is chock-full of friendly active users, so making connections is incredibly easy. As this was my first ever taste of what competitive dota 2 was like, it very much got the ball rolling for me as well in my journey through the scene. Since all their tournaments are capped off at Ancient 7, players of any skill level below this are welcome, and if you are higher rank, this may not be the best server for you.
Contrary to the other servers on this list, ATDL is the only one that puts a large emphasis on the SEA region. The SEA players are among the largest and most passionate group of dota players in the world, and it’s an awesome thing for them to be represented in this server. Keep in mind that it takes a ton of work to tap into multiple regions, and it’s all thanks to the admins and players overwhelming passion and dedication for their region and game.
This league is my favorite, and was a big inspiration towards writing this article. Breakaway is based in the EU region, and similar to ATDL, you will be able to participate if you account for NA/SEA timezones and ping. Breakaway is a much more laid back server, and has a much more tight nit community of members and tryhards alike. After just playing one season, you will have formed friendships and rivalries that will last your whole competitive run. You will run into many familiar faces, and be a part of an almost second family.
Breakaway’s specialty is running a draft style league. The league adjusts the amounts of tiers in a season depending on how many players join. Typically, a single-tier will consist of about 40 players making up 8 teams. The league starts off with the tier 1 captains drafting players via an auction-style system. Each captain is given about 100 coins on top of any more coins he’s had leftover during the previous season’s auction. At this point, the majority of the high tier players are picked, and the remaining players are drafted for subsequent tiers, and so on and so forth. This system eliminates the headache that comes with forming your own team and provides you with a quick and easy way of playing competitive Dota.
This League acts as a spiritual successor to RD2L, housing some of the latter’s members that aren’t totally satisfied with how the league is run. Breakaway traditionally hosts draft style tournaments, however, they are currently trying out a more traditional league dubbed “The Franchise League”. The Franchise League will provide elements from both draft style and classic league style. At the start of each season, players will be drafted, however, instead of playing a shorter tournament, they will undergo a fully-fledged league that spans an indefinite duration. In certain periods during the league, teams will be able to auction off other players, and buy new ones; just like most traditional sports. In theory, the concept is exciting, so be sure to hop on over to their Discord if you’d like to be a part of Breakaways first-ever Franchise League!
Step 3: Finding Yourself As A Player
This is probably the most important step, and undergoing it is not only necessary for competing in Dota 2, but will also prove to be an invaluable asset in your games. At the start of anyone’s induction into Dota 2, they are encouraged to experiment with different things and truly digest everything the game has to offer. As you play and become more experienced, you will hopefully have established your own playstyle and hero pool. I personally have grown very fond of the offlane position, since many of my favorite professional players happened to be offlaners. Universe, S4, Mind_Control, and more recently, Zai. All these players pulled off the most game-winning plays, since they were set up to do so. Universes $6 million Echo Slam, S4’s $1 million Dream Coil, Mind_Control’s rockhard stability, and Zai’s versatility. These players were what I aspired to emulate.
In my Solo Queue games, this strategy was fantastic, since it’s incredibly easy to have all these players qualities against uncoordinated teams. However, playing against a more coordinate 5 man proved that I just did not have what it took to make this plays, and forced me to experiment with roles once again. Recently, I have decided to polish my position 4 support skills, which reinvigorated my passions for the game. This step is not going to be an essential one, but before you stubbornly stick with what you know, understand that you are playing in a different tier of Dota, and it would be wise for you to evolve with the game, to stay ahead of the curve.
In the future, many of my articles will continue to explore this hidden world of competitive Dota, in the hopes of bringing it to the mainstream. It’s a well-known fact that Dota 2’s competitive scene is in shambles, and it’s important to realize the amateur scenes importance. Many of these competitors may be tomorrows TI winners, and it’s our job to support and guide them to the top. Along the way, things may get political, and rough, but I’d like to restate that this conversation is one that no one want’s to have, but for the good of Dota, we oughta have it
Initially, this article aimed to shed light on what it means to actually compete in the Dota 2 ecosystem, and how to actually go about doing it. Although my main demographic aimed for this article were the players, these leagues still have room for casters, coaches, analysts, and admins. Sure, the main focus is on the players, but no one ever said that competing in Dota 2 meant that you actually had to play. This community feeds off the passion of the player base, and if you are a passionate member of our community, then you will have a place here. I mentioned earlier that even though my MMR went down, that I considered myself an infinitely better player.
I no longer consider myself to be a “Dota 2” player, but rather a player in this game were all playing. Dota 2 has evolved into something so much bigger than just the game itself, and being able to be a part of it and just write about it provides so much more satisfaction than any arbitrary number has ever given me. I no longer play for the number, but I play for the sake of playing the game itself and experiencing everything it has to offer. Along with Dota 2’s evolution, I myself have evolved with it, being able to interact with the world it created. Always remember that although Dota 2’s history is a short one, and even though the future is infinitely mysterious, the fact that you are an active part of it, is a massive testament to your passions, and your drive. It isn’t easy competing in Dota 2, and it isn’t easy to be an active member of its community, but we do it anyway, and we should be proud of what we created, and where it is going.
Special Thanks to:
Matieu: Head Admin for RD2L
Maldoza: Head Admin for ATDL
Sparta: Head Admin for Breakaway