You’ve played your first 100 hours of Dota 2. Now, you finally jump into Ranked mode to put your skills to the test. You’ve completed your first ten placement matches and were placed in…Guardian 1?! That will not do.
Now you want to know how to get your MMR up fast. You know you are good enough to be in the Immortal bracket, but you just don’t understand how to get there. Good news, future esport pro, this will be a short guide on how to get your MMR as high as you can.
What is MMR and How Do I Raise it?
MMR is an acronym for matchmaking rating. It is the number that sorts players into different rating brackets and denotes a player’s skill level. Before you have your first MMR, you’ll need to complete ten placement matches to be placed at your starting rank.
Once you’ve finished your placement matches and received your starting rank, it’s time to get to the grind. You’re MMR is affected only by wins/losses. If you want to check on your current MMR, go to the “stats” option on your Dota profile menu. In order to gain a consistently growing MMR and thus a higher rank, you’ll want to achieve a 51% win rate or higher.
I recommend trying to stick to the ‘best out of three’ routine. This means for every three matches you play, try to win two. It’s not as easy as it sounds, and it will take a lot of practice. In no time, you’ll find yourself moving up from bracket to bracket.
Dota 2 Must Consume You
It will take so much practice that Dota 2 will become your life. Reaching the elusive Immortal bracket is not for the faint of heart. You will need to eat, sleep, and breathe Dota 2. Your friends and family will grow incredibly concerned at the amount of time you spend talking, playing, and thinking about this game.
It may seem excessive, but MMR raises slowly. Since 2020, MMR gain and loss rates have been the same. Solo queue wins will net 30 MMR, and party queue wins net 20 MMR. Losing in either respective will lose the same amount. This is why you have to win more than half of your matches to rise. One win plus one loss equals the same place you started.
To win a majority of your matches, you will have to get good. Really good. The kind of good that takes countless continuous hours of practice and grinding to achieve. This is why you’ll need to focus most of your time learning plays and strategies or putting them to practice.
Play 5 Games a Day
If you don’t have the stomach for twenty-four hours of back-to-back matches, then you need to at least play five matches a day. You should see a small but steady increase in your MMR daily by playing a few ranked games a day and attempting to stick to the ‘best out of three’ method.
This is often far more manageable than using every conscious moment of your life to improve your MMR. It’s still rather time-consuming as Dota 2 matches can last for over an hour, but there is no other way to consistently improve your ranking. When playing many Dota 2 games a day, make sure you have a good gaming setup such as one of the best gaming laptops for Dota 2.
If you intend to go pro in esports, you have to commit like any other professional sport. You may not be utilizing heavy muscle, but your brainpower and reaction time are crucial to victory.
Pick a Set of ‘Mains’
More rigid players call this spam picking. In other MOBAs, it is called picking a main. Mastering a single hero’s skills, item builds, play strategies, and team fight capabilities will take practice. You need to run different builds and try different skill patterns and combos on different enemies until you understand how the hero works. There’s no real number of hours played to determine how well you understand your main hero, so just keep at it until you feel comfortable. If you’re a beginner and want some good recommendation of heros to spam, have a look at our guide of the best Dota 2 heroes for beginners.
Don’t just pick one hero to main. Ranked matches have a banning phase that can easily take your hero out of the game. In a ranked match, you don’t want to learn a new hero for your lane on the fly. A good way to avoid this is to pick a role rather than focusing on a single hero.
By mastering a certain team position, you can pick a set of other heroes well suited to your gameplay. It’s generally recommended to have about three top hero picks. I recommend playing two complementary roles to speed up your recognition of different lane tactics. New players may find it beneficial to play between the support role and middle lane.
Supporting will give you the opportunity to watch your carry and the rest of your team. When you play support, you can learn from their successes and mistakes while maintaining a safer position a little further away from the front line. Switching to play the middle lane will help build up your confidence with last-hitting creeps and trading damage with the enemy laner. It also helps to learn about positioning yourself to prevent being ganked.
Pay Attention to the Meta
Even if you’re new to the game, you might have witnessed conversations about ‘meta’ picks. They aren’t just talking about what’s popular. Meta picks are heroes with stat- or skill-based advantages due to taking advantage of recent patch changes.
Websites like dotabuff.com give players the tools to dig into what heroes are meta picks. While there are specific details about what makes a hero better, the meta is decided on the hero’s pick rate and win rate in each rating bracket. For example, Pudge may have a win rate of 51% in lower tiers, but in the Legend bracket and on, his win rate decreases to 47.21%. What that means for Dota 2 players is that Pudge can be a solid pick until you get to the Archon bracket, where he begins to be outplayed more easily.
Once you’ve determined your lane role, it would be a good idea to check the skill and item builds for the hero in that lane to increase your chances of winning.
Learn From Others
Watch the professional matches. Find professional players who play the same roles as you do. They will play with the expertise of trial and error. Everything from where they position themselves in team fights, skill combos, in game strategy, and item builds will help you learn the best decisions to make with your main heroes.
On the opposite side, if you find yourself having trouble against specific Dota 2 heroes, it’s a good idea to watch how professionals handle taking down that hero. When patches change the meta, buffed heroes can quickly take over the battlefield. You’ll want to see the best methods of handling the new hero changes.
The biggest mistake beginners repeatedly make is not learning from their failures. Be more patient if you constantly die in the first few minutes by rushing a fight with the enemy laner. Dota 2 punishes player mistakes heavily. The longer you spend trying to get back into the lane position, the more gold and experience the enemy will acquire. If the opponent continues to out-level your hero and completes their item build before you get a chance to catch up, you’ve lost the lane.
Start by learning the basics. Don’t concern yourself with constantly initiating fights. When you play carry gather experience and gold from last hitting. Play carefully. You want to minimize your deaths. Every time an opponent defeats your hero, they gain more gold, experience, and time to stay ahead.
Once you’re comfortable with playing through the game phases and keeping pace with the enemy level, you can start to experiment with different engagement strategies. Your play style will constantly need to change and adapt to other players.
Maximize Time Use
Every second counts. Use it well. As already stated, avoid dying as much as possible. The short seconds of the respawn timer give your opponent extra free time to level up and gather gold. Just the same, it takes that time away from you to level your hero and gather gold.
Consider your positioning wisely. If you decide to change lanes, consider where the lane creeps are, hero positions, and key timings such as rune spawning. You need to use your time to gain experience and gold. Sometimes that can be achieved by jumping to another lane and killing an opponent hero with a high bounty. With great reward comes great risk. Remember that you may lose the fight with an enemy hero. Don’t lose out on lane farming for a low chance of bounty gold. You’ll gain more from the experience and the smaller amount of gold guaranteed by creep last hits.
It can also help to learn your item timings. Building complete items before your opponent gives you an advantage. Figure out how fast you can get the gold needed to complete your first item. You can use this speed as a reference for how well you are doing and how well the opponent is doing. If you outpace your opponent and build a complete item before they do, you can assess certain weaknesses in their gameplay and take advantage.
Play with High MMR Players
Surround yourself with a community of successful players. The best way to get good at anything is to learn from those who already are. Even if they are not tutoring you, just playing together can improve your gameplay style. High MMR players have habits and strategies that you can pick up through osmosis. Follow their lead to win games even when you’re not playing with them.
High bracket players also tend to have a greater grasp of community. More often than not, they will offer helpful advice and give you suggestions for your item builds. They also keep up with patch notes, metadata, and professional matches. They will keep you informed about important changes to the game that you can take advantage of. They also like to try out professional esports team plays. This will usually mean you get to learn the play as well.
While Dota 2 is a competitive game, it still has the community sharing of other online games. The best players still want to have fun playing Dota 2, and that means having decent competition. Take advantage of what they have to teach you.
Take a Break After Ranked Losses
Playing ranked matches is exhilarating. Losing ranked matches is incredibly painful. Don’t let a bad loss become the start of a losing streak. Take a break from ranked play. If you don’t want to stop playing, switch to regular matches for a round or two.
The morale loss and aggravation of a loss will impact your next game. It should affect a game that doesn’t lower your MMR. Take some time to play a calmer match and get back into the groove. If you feel especially tilted, take a break from playing the game for a good half hour at the least. Distract yourself from Dota and clear your mind. You’ll want to replay what happened in your head to find a way to get better. It’s a good idea, but you need to make sure that you are looking at it from a fresh perspective.
A clear mind helps you to make changes in your decision patterns. Those changes might just be what you need to do to fix your mistakes. After a loss, walk away from the computer. Hydrate yourself and eat a healthy snack.
Mute Out the Toxicity
MOBAs are famous for player tilting. As one of the oldest and first MOBAs, Dota 2 has a massive dedicated player base. That means players take the game seriously when their teammates make “mistakes”. This often leads to what is called “flaming”. It’s not a fun experience to have.
If you have a bad start in the early game, don’t let your teammates’ toxic word vomit bring your morale down. Focus on the game. There is a mute option that will hide their in-game communications. Use it. Bad starts do not have to mean a lost game. You can make a comeback, but it is harder when you pay attention to harsh negativity. Instead, focus on farming and getting strong enough to make a comeback later in the game.
Go Get ‘Em
Hopefully, this has been enough advice for you to learn how to gain MMR in Dota 2. Just remember that practice is key. Play as much as you can. If you want to get to the coveted Immortal bracket and cement your name as an esports professional, you need to put in the time and effort required to become one. Learn from other professionals. Keep your head level. Play consistently. Don’t let toxic players get to you. If you keep at it, you’ll be an Immortal in no time at all.