28 Sep, 2017

The Ultimate Dota 2 Guide: How To Effectively Increase MMR (Part 1)

Now that we have talked about how to become a better overall player, let’s move on to greater, more serious things in the world of Dota 2. Yes! We are talking about Dota 2’s Ranked Matchmaking and its Matchmaking Rating (MMR). In the following guide, we will feature a few strategies and tactics for you to adopt, which if done effectively, will result in your MMR to skyrocket. However, before we head on over to discuss these in detail, check out the previous guide, if you haven’t already.

Ranked Matchmaking is one of the few game modes that are found within the game. However, this specific mode is one that holds the most weight. This is the game mode, where players come to see where they stand in the entire Dota 2 community.

So if you wish to see how good you are, Ranked Matchmaking is the game mode for you. Below are some of the few disclosed conditions that Valve has revealed which Ranked Matchmaking tries to fulfill.

  • The teams are balanced. (Each team has a 50% chance to win.)
  • The discrepancy in skill between the most and least skilled player in the match is minimized.
  • The highest skill Radiant player should be close to the same skill as the highest skill Dire player.
  • The discrepancy between experience (measured by the number of games played) between the least experienced player and the most experienced player is minimized.
  • Each team contains about the same number of parties.
  • Players’ language preferences contains a common language.
  • Wait times shouldn’t be too long.

With all these conditions in play, you might think that Ranked Matchmaking would be a walk in the park as you would always get good players. But let us be the ones to inform you that you could not have more wrong. Ranked Matchmaking is not like your usual Normal Matchmaking. Here, there is something to lose and that something is very hard to come by if you lose games.

That something is called the Matchmaking Rating or the MMR. This rating is a figure that determines the skill level of a player. It ranges from 1 all the up to 10,000+, with 1 being the worst and 10,000+ being the best. However, there are only a handful of players who, in the history of Dota 2, have reached beyond the 9,000 MMR mark. So, you can imagine just how tough the MMR system is. Below is a table of what we think says about each of the MMR level and its player’s skill:

MMRPlayer Category
1 – 1999Toxic
2000 – 2999Okay
3000 – 3999Average
4000 – 4999Good
5000 – 5999Remarkable
6000 – 8999Amazing
9000 – 10000+Heavenly

That being said, reaching the 4-5K MMR mark is quite a big deal in the world of Dota 2 and those players are considered to be quite good at the game. As a result, for someone like you and I, reaching that mark first should be the goal. But even then, reaching those standards could end up taking years as gaining MMR is quite difficult when one win only affects the rating by just 24.

The MMR system in Dota 2 is divided into two part, Solo MMR and Party MMR. The Solo MMR changes when a players plays ranked matches on his own. While, the Party MMR changes when one plays ranked with at least one other party member. That being said, both MMR segments have different plays as you have to adjust accordingly but we’ll talk more on this later on in the guide. For now, check out the Solo and Party MMR distribution charts below:

Now that you have an idea of what Ranked Matchmaking and its Matchmaking Rating mean to a Dota 2, lets now head on over to how you can improve your game and increase your MMR with ease. So, let’s begin.

Most you might agree with us when we say that Dota 2 is amongst the most complex games of our time as it features one of the biggest in-game rosters of playable characters. But that’s something everyone knows. What we are here for is to understand the defined roles of all of these in-game playable characters.

There are a total of 14 different roles, within the game, which define the play style a hero is expected to conform to, as well as the actions they are meant to perform within a game. Though, with each and every patch that Valve releases, a new Meta surfaces which completely change the roles of some characters, most of the roles still hold their ground.  Check out the list of Roles that are available in Dota 2 below:

  • Carry: Heroes with abilities that scale well later into the game and with items. These are the heroes a team relies on to do most of their damage and they usually end up being the strongest heroes later in the game.
  • Disabler: Heroes with abilities that are good at locking down a single target or multiple heroes on the enemy team.
  • Initiator: Heroes that are good at engaging the enemy and starting team fights.
  • Jungler: Heroes that can farm effectively from neutral creeps inside the jungle early in the game
  • Support: Heroes that focus less on amassing gold and items, and more on using their abilities to gain an advantage for the team.
  • Durable: Heroes that can endure taking a lot of damage.
  • Nuker: = Heroes with abilities that deal a lot of damage in quick bursts or in a single attack, especially in an AoE.
  • Pusher: Heroes that can quickly siege and destroy towers and barracks at all points of the game.
  • Escape: Heroes with the ability to quickly avoid death.
  • Hard Carry: Damage and item reliant carries
  • Semi-Carry: Heroes that are the strongest during the middle of the game, usually because of their ability to gain many kills early giving them an early lead.
  • Ganker: These heroes are good at getting quick hero kills on their own or have good abilities for setting up others to get a quick kill, such as an ability that stuns an enemy for a long time.
  • Roamer: Rather than stay in lanes trying to get gold and experience, these heroes are good at freely moving around the map, trying to get kills in other lanes and trying to get map control.
  • Offlaner: Heroes with abilities that allow them to solo the “suicide lane”

Although the abilities of heroes may suit a variety of purposes and can be used in a variety of ways in different situations, the basis of all these roles stay the same. For instance, heroes like Winter Wyvern and Pugna have abilities that can easily convert them into a Semi-Carry, but the roles they are made to adopt are of a support. Though some might disagree to this but that’s what they are best for.

That being said, not every Dota 2 player is good with each and every one of the roles available in the game. Some are good with Carries, while others are good with supporting or nuking. Even Dota 2 professional teams have designated roles, assigned to each of their players.

As a result, if you wish win ranked matches and get your MMR high, you will have to first see which Role you are best at and then stick to mastering just that. However, when it comes to public matchmaking, there are going to be matches where you’ll be matched with players that would want the role you want to pick. So, for those times, remember communication is key. Let them know beforehand as winning the draft is 50% of the game.

Understand your skill level before you get into the world of Ranked Matchmaking. With a game as complex as Dota 2 where you have hundreds of different ways of playing the game, realize that you cannot be the best at everything. There are a few elements in Dota 2 which take months, if not years, to master. These include your Micro, Macro and APM skills.

  • Micro: These skills relate to how good you are at controlling and managing several different units/items at once. The right thing at the right time
  • Macro: This relates to how good you are at managing your resources and abilities.
  • Actions Per Minute (APM): How quick you are with everything that is available in the game.

Since mastering these skills can be quite difficult, we will advise you not to pick a character that is heavily dependent on them. This includes Meepo, Invoker, Arc Warden, Earth Spirit, Io and Timber. Start off with heroes that are rather easy to play with and then make your way to more, complex heroes.

Keeping the above-mentioned point in mind, we would advise you not to experiment in a ranked game of Dota 2. Practice against bots or in normal matchmaking and see which heroes, do you play the best with and then use only those selected heroes in Ranked Matchmaking.

Furthermore, there are a few professional Dota 2 players that post videos all over the internet, of them playing with heroes with out of the ordinary builds and items. However, what most you do not realize is that those builds don’t always work. Players who make videos about these builds, on average, go through at least four to five losses, before they get to that one match where the build actually works.

As a result, testing out these new builds isn’t always the best thing to do. We understand that it gives you the element of surprise as the enemy team doesn’t expect it, but the chances of that working out in the end is quite uncertain. So, in the end, stick to what you know best and if you do wish to try out new things, then test them out in normal matchmaking or against bots.

Unlike other video games where the in-game characters have a designated role to play within the game. Dota 2 features a list of over a hundred different characters, each as diverse and flexible as the next. The being said, each of these character/heroes have their own strengths and weaknesses which can be easily exploit, if you know how to that is.

Countering picks is one of the hardest feats of Dota 2 which is why, this is something not everyone can do. Even the professional Dota 2 teams have one or two player who manage the draft, while the others just sit back and watch. That being said, due to the advancements in the Dota 2 community, numerous websites have surfaced which aid players in counter the enemy picks.

Here are some of the most popular hero counters in Dota 2:


So, if you don’t already know how to counter the enemy draft. We advise you to give these websites a try and see what happens. So, pick accordingly and see what works and what doesn’t. But don’t stop there, be vocal about it, ask your teammates to do the same. We guarantee that by the end of it all, you’ll win more matches than if you didn’t counter.

Now that you have an idea of how important your hero pick is, in Ranked Matchmaking, there are a few key in-game mechanics that are just as vital as picking the right hero. These mechanics might seem minor at first but when it comes to Ranked Matchmaking, the smallest of things can have the greatest of effects in a game. So, if you wish to get the upper hand in Ranked matches, we would advise you to master the following:

  • Creep Denies

Denying creeps restrict enemy players from gaining experience. Plus, with the current Dota 2 update, players you deny the creep, get a percentage of the experience, in return. As a result, supports can use this mechanic to gain up on lost experience.

  • Last Hits

Getting the killing blow on the enemy creep, grants you a decent amount of gold and experience. This mechanic is the most important one as getting last hits is the most core method for accumulating gold in the game.

  • Runes

There are several different types of runes, and they may be picked up by any hero. Picking up a rune consumes it, granting the hero a special buff for a short period of time.

  • Town Portals

You might think that TP are useful saving you time. However, these 50 Gold items, are much more than that. If used timely, TPs can be used for both, ganking and countering enemy ganks. Plus, with the help of tree, these can be used to get you out of messy situations.

  • Creep Blocking

Heroes can slow down the movement of creeps by getting in front of them. This obstructs the creeps and forces them to move around the hero. If the hero does this at the beginning of a lane and keeps moving forward with the creeps while blocking them, this can make a significant impact on where the two creep lines will fight in lane.

  • Tower/Creep Aggro

A technique beneficial for melee heroes is to draw creep aggro by attempting to attack an enemy hero in lane (right-clicking them) and then immediately moving away and back to your tower. The creeps will follow you until they reprioritize their target and return to attacking your creeps. This will result in a reversal of where your creeps and the enemy creeps are.

  • Harassing

You can control a lane by harassing enemy heroes that are in range of the creeps. With enough harassment, you can deter enemies from being able to get close enough to last-hit. And with dominating lane harassment, you can even push them so far away from the creeps to the point where they aren’t getting experience.

  • Pulling Lanes

Instead of allowing your creeps to continue to move down the lane and ultimately engage the enemy creeps, they can be drawn out of a lane to fight the neutral creeps in a nearby jungle camp instead. If done right, this can give you the early on lane advantage you need, to get the upper hand over your enemies.

  • Stacking Neutrals

Pulling the lane at the right time allows you to stack the neutrals camp. These stacked camps can then be taken out by carries to give them the gold boost they need.


  • Warding / Counter Warding

A consumable item that can be placed on the map providing vision of the area around it. These items provide the team with the vision they need to make planned ganks. Furthermore, this vision grants the team’s carries enough time to safely escape from enemy ganks.

Counter warding or dewarding is the act of killing the enemy’s observer and sentry wards using your own sentry wards. Eliminating an enemy’s ward removes their vision of that area. This gives your team more freedom to move around and gank or farm without being seen.

  • Trees / High Ground

Trees and high ground might now be something beginners think is important. However, players who have been playing Dota 2 for quite some time know exactly how important these two features are. If use correctly, both trees and high ground, provide the player with unparalleled advantage against their enemy which can be used for a number of different way.

For more visual look, here’s how the trees in Dota 2 work:

  • Towers/ Shrines

Apart from being key objectives in the game, these towers can be used for a number of other things which include both offensive and defensive elements. Taking out enemy towers grant the entire team with a sufficient gold boost. This gold boost can come in very handy when the match is at a stalemate.

Furthermore, as towers give both armor and vision, they can be used to counter enemy smoke ganks. Plus, with stealth roamers in the game, towers can be used to spot them out.

  • Roshan

Roshan is the most powerful neutral in the Dota 2 and is considered to a Neutral Boss within the game. As a result, slaying the beast grants the entire team a boost in gold plus a very unique drop. The dropped item is called the Aegis of Immortal which grants the wielder the power to return back from its grave. That being said, this item can only be consumed once.

So, make a habit of these in-game elements and use them as much as you can in Dota 2, especially if you are playing Ranked.

Hero builds is something, the majority of Dota 2 players don’t fail to understand. Most of the players believe that every hero has just the one build which he has to complete as quickly as possible. This is the biggest mistake players make in Dota 2. To win games, players have to adapt to the game and see what works and what doesn’t.

We aren’t saying that the go-to builds don’t work. They do but to win games, one after the other, it’s better to get items by looking at the current status of the game. For instance, if you see the enemy carry has become quite strong, it’s better to get items that keep him out of the battle, long enough for your team to take out the rest of the enemy team.

So if this is the case, it’s better to get items like Eul’s Scepter of Divinity, Heaven’s Halberd and Scythe of Vyse, rather than going for your original build.  Furthermore, like we said in the previous point, concentrate on the enemy picks and see what works. There are some characters in the game that can get easily countered by just a single item.

Here are some of the most obvious item counters in Dota 2:


Let’s take Phantom Assassin for instance. This agility based carries is one the hardest heroes to kill in the due to her evasion ability. However, by building a Monkey King Bar, you can easily get past that. So, understand all of the points mentioned above and maybe you can turn those games where there is no hope into potential victories.

That being said, there is more to come. Stay tuned for the second part of our ultimate Dota 2 guide. Till then comment below and let us know what you want to see in the next part of your guide. Was this guide helpful?


The Ultimate Dota 2 Guide: How To Effectively Increase MMR (Part 1)

Unlike Professional Dota 2 players, Dani is toxic, aggressive and has zero gaming sense. But, his timely puns make up for everything. He has been playing Dota 2 since it was in its early access stage. And when he’s not, he spends his time writing about it. Follow me on Twitter @DaniAlamKhan

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