18 Tips to Get Better at Dota 2 (by 6.3K MMR Player)
18 Tips to Get Better at Dota 2 (by 6.3K MMR Player)
Dota 2 is an extremely unforgiving game. It consists of in-depth mechanics and strategies which even immortal players are still learning each day, however, it’s also a very rewarding game where you’ll still be picking up new skills and strategies every day. Even after 20K hours, I’m still learning tonnes of new things – so I hope you’re ready for this long journey, and the steep learning curve ahead. Just remember to have fun!
Common Dota 2 Myths
You need elite mechanical skills in order to reach immortal rank
You can only climb MMR by picking cores
You’re stuck in the MMR trench because your team sucks
I hate to break it to you, but if you think you’re stuck in your MMR because of these reasons, then you need to realize you’re the problem. Whatever MMR bracket you’re in is the one you deserve to be in.
As a 6.3K MMR player, whenever I play on a smurf account, my win rate is:
70-80% for 5K MMR matches
90% for 4K matches
95% for 3K matches (honestly if it weren’t for griefers, this might be 99%)
Those numbers aren’t to brag. It’s to show you that there’s a huge skill difference between each bracket. And it’s not a linear progression.
Getting from 2-3K is easier than 3-4K, which is easier than 4-5K and so on… The amount of time, dedication and skill required to climb each bracket increases as your MMR gets higher. Once you’re 5K+, all the little details start to matter and you want to perfect every part of the game to climb to 6K.
The Secret to Climbing MMR
I used to think I was stuck in 4K because my mechanical skills weren’t good enough. However, Dota 2 doesn’t require much mechanical skill. Once I realized that, my road to 6K became much easier.
In essence, as long as your mechanical skills aren’t terrible, you can get to 6K just through strategic thinking and decision-making. Yep. You don’t need to do crazy manta dodges, have insane last hitting or micro skills to be able to reach immortal. They certainly help, but aren’t required.
The secret to increasing MMR is knowledge and decision making.
Tips for Beginners to Improve at Dota 2
If you’re new to Dota 2, you’ll want to follow these tips. These tips are aimed at players below 3K MMR. If you’re already above that, you can skip to the “Advanced Tips” section to help you climb to 5-6K.
1. Don’t skip the tutorial
For players new to Dota 2, the temptation to dive straight into the main game can be strong. However, skipping the tutorial is a common mistake that can hinder your understanding of fundamental game mechanics. The tutorial is designed to provide a foundational grasp of how Dota 2 operates, making it an essential first step in your learning journey.
Unlike other games, the tutorial should never be skipped in Dota 2. It teaches you basic mechanics like how to control courier, how to use the shop and how teleport works.
Familiarize yourself with the game’s controls and the user interface, including the minimap, hero abilities, and item slots.
Understand the basics of laning, such as last-hitting, and the importance of towers and barracks.
Get a glimpse of different hero roles and how their abilities function in a game setting.
Learn about buying items, item progression, and the use of couriers.
These concepts should become second nature to you when playing the game.
2. Start by playing bot matches, then progress to unranked
One of the best ways to ease into this game is by starting with bot matches, then progressing to unranked (which is much harder). This approach allows you to grasp the fundamentals in a more relaxed setting.
Bot matches serve as an excellent training ground. They offer a controlled environment where you can experiment with different heroes, items, roles, and strategies without the fear of judgment from teammates. Bots provide a consistent challenge, ideal for understanding basic mechanics like last-hitting, map awareness, and hero abilities.
During bot matches, focus on these skills:
Hero Abilities: Learn the abilities of various heroes and how to use them effectively.
Item Builds: Learn what every item does and find the optimal builds for your hero. You might want to look up a guide for this.
Last-Hitting: Practice your timing to efficiently farm gold.
Map Familiarity: Get to know the layout, including key locations like lanes, jungles, and Roshan’s pit.
Role Experimentation: Try different roles (carry, support, offlane, etc.) to understand their responsibilities and find what you enjoy the most.
There are bot scripts you can download from the workshop to make it more challenging.
Once you can comfortably carry against the bots on hardest difficulty, you can transition to unranked games against other players. Remember, human opponents will be less predictable and more challenging. If you die more than twice to bots, you’ll be relentlessly feeding to humans.
In unranked, expect to lose almost every game when starting out – so just remember to have fun and don’t sweat too much about the result.
3. Watch replays on Dotabuff
Watching top players provides insight into optimal positioning, decision-making, item builds, and hero synergies. Pay attention to the laning phase: notice how pros farm, harass, and control the lane. Observe their movement around the map, especially how often they choose to rotate or engage in fights.
In order to get started, go to Dotabuff -> Heroes -> choose the hero you’d like to learn
Now it will show you the top players in the world for that hero. Grab the match ID and download their replays to see how the pros play this game. You can learn so much by mimicking their playstyle.
4. Understand the different roles: Carry, support, offlaner
In a standard match, there are 5 roles:
Position 1 = safelane carry. The safelane carry’s role is to take safe farm (in the short lane). These heroes are usually weak early game, but once they have items, they start scaling and become monsters in the mid to late game. On these heroes, your priority is getting farm, not ganking.
Position 2 = mid laner. The mid laner requires the most mechanical skill. You’ll need to have extreme last hitting and deny skills, and have a mastery over laning theory. Since the mid laner gets a solo lane to himself, he will have more XP and reach his power spikes much earlier than the rest of the team. For this reason, his role is to gank and enable the rest of the team, although sometimes it’s okay to just farm as the mid laner depending on the situation.
Position 3 = offlaner. The offlaner’s goal is to either shut down the enemy carry or make space for the rest of the team. They take the most dangerous farm, often going deep into enemy lines, sometimes cutting lanes. Once they get their core items like blink dagger, they set up kills around the map and act as a constant threat to the enemy team.
Position 4 = soft support. The soft support’s role is a mixture of laning support, warding and map control, and ganking. Whenever there’s farm that your cores aren’t taking, make sure to take them for yourself. Position 4’s need farm and often have a crucial role in teamfights.
Position 5 = hard support. The hard support is more focused on warding, winning lane, and ensuring that your position 1 has a good game. Your main goal should be to allow the position 1 to farm and help them avoid ganks.
Understanding these roles is the first step towards understanding Dota as whole. Please note, these are just guidelines. Once you understand the rules, you can start breaking them.
5. Watch Beginner Guides on Youtube
Diving into the vast ocean of game mechanics, strategies, and hero specifics can be overwhelming.
One of the most accessible and efficient ways to start your learning journey is by watching beginner guides on YouTube. These guides are designed to break down complex concepts into digestible pieces, making the learning curve less steep.
For a new player, I recommend watching Purge’s beginner series:
Advanced Tips to Gain MMR
Once you’ve passed the beginner phase and ready to play ranked matches, here’s how you can climb the MMR ladder fast:
1. How to get to Ancient: Learn to farm and split push
Seriously, mastering how to split push and farm efficiently is the easiest way to increase MMR. This skill alone can single-handedly take you from herald to ancient.
Pick a core that you’re comfortable with playing
Learn how to farm efficiently
Learn how to itemize correctly
You can literally get to 4K very easily by farming correctly and ignoring your teammates for most the game. If you have a 5-10K net worth lead over the enemy carry, it doesn’t matter how unskilled you are at the game, you’re still going to out-carry them.
Just know that farming isn’t just mindlessly hitting creeps. You have to know which creeps to go for, when to split push and pressure the enemy, when to take safe farm, when to take dangerous farm, when to cut lanes etc. This takes time and experience to learn, however, I can say once you’ve mastered this skill, getting to 4K will be very easy.
2. Mute your teammates
Many players will see that you aren’t contributing to teamfights and get frustrated when they are losing the team fights. Just mute them and move on.
As a 6K player, I’ve come across 2 and 3K players who think they know more than me. The Duning-Kruger effect is real in this game.
You don’t want other toxic players to make you second-guess youself. The second someone complains, just mute them. And mistakes do happen and sometimes you might make a bad decision which costs the team the game. Just learn from it and move on, but don’t engage with the trolls.
3. Understand the laning stage
Laning stage can make or break some games depending on the draft. Sometimes, losing a lane can outright lose the game, and winning a lane can outright win the game. Here are some guides to help you up your laning stage:
4. Map awareness
Constantly check the minimap for enemy movements and potential ganks. Good map awareness can prevent deaths and create opportunities for counter-plays.
Make it a habit each game to identify who on the enemy team are a threat to killing you and keep an eye out for when they go missing. Pub games aren’t nearly as bad as competitive games where the enemies are constantly missing.
5. Pick high impact heroes
If you’re low MMR, try to always play position 1-3, however, sometimes this isn’t always possible. Often times, the whole team wants to play carry.
If you’re forced into a support role, pick a high impact support that can both support and carry the game. Example heroes: Enchantress, Muerta, Witch Doctor, Earthshaker, Sand King, Earth Spirit (difficult), Visage (difficult) and Mirana. Avoid heroes like Chen that relies on the team to carry.
6. Master map control and vision
Control the map by effectively using wards and sentries. Vision not only protects your team but also sets up opportunities to catch enemies off-guard.
7. Watch coaching videos
I have 15K hours in Dota 2, and I’m still learning new things every day. You can’t have enough knowledge for this game.
I recommend watching BSJ videos as he’s one of the best coaches. Here’s a great video to start off with:
Other great coaches are Jenkins, Dubu and if you want to pay, there are even some renowned coaches on Fiverr.
8. Use smoke of deceit
Using Smoke of Deceit effectively in Dota 2 is a strategic decision that can turn the tide of a game. Here are some optimal times to consider using smokes:
Ganking Key Heroes: Use smoke when you want to gank or pick off key enemy heroes, especially those who are farming alone or pushing lanes. Successful smoke ganks often require good knowledge of enemy positions and warding patterns.
Securing Roshan: Before attempting Roshan, a smoke can help you move undetected into the Roshan pit or set up a surprise attack on enemies who might be nearby.
Reclaiming Map Control: If you’ve lost map control and wards are being dewarded, use smoke to move out safely and place or deward without being spotted.
Breaking a Stalemate: When both teams are playing passively and the game is at a standstill, a successful smoke gank can break the deadlock and give your team an advantage.
Initiating Team Fights: Use smoke to initiate a surprise team fight, especially if you have strong initiation heroes like Tidehunter or Earthshaker.
Scouting for Information: Sometimes, it’s beneficial to use smoke to safely get deep wards down or to scout enemy positions and item progressions.
Counter-Smoke: If you suspect the enemy team is smoking, you can use your own smoke to either dodge their gank or counter-initiate.
After Winning a Fight: After winning a team fight, use smoke to catch fleeing enemies or to quickly transition into taking objectives like towers or Roshan.
Forcing a Fight When Stronger: If your team has a significant advantage in terms of items or hero levels, using smoke to force a fight can further extend your lead.
9. Control key strategic points
The key strategic points are: Roshan Pit, runes, high-ground areas, jungle camps, ancient camps, outposts, secret shops, choke points and entry points into lanes.
Depending on the enemy lineup, these strategic points have different values at different points in time. It’s up to you to prioritize which ones to focus on each game and this requires a good understanding of farming patterns and strategy.
Note: These areas change with each patch as well.
10. Getting from 4K to 5K (Ancient to Divine): Learn to counter draft
A 4K players can easily make himself 4.5K to 5K simply by knowing how to draft. Check Dotabuff to see which heroes are a good counter to the ones your opponent are picking. However, there are a few “cheese” heroes that can completely stomp the game given the right draft:
Huskar (if they have a lot of tanks and lack physical damage)
Chaos Knight (if they have no AoE)
Broodmother (if they have nothing to deal with spiders)
Lifestealer (if they’re mostly magic damage)
11. Avoid playing the same heroes
The one common thing I’ve noticed is low MMR players who tend to pick the same heroes over and over again tend to get stuck more often than people who play a diverse pool of heroes.
Dota is far more than just getting good at one hero. It’s a conceptual game – requiring quick decision making skills and understanding the map. If you’re good at that, you can perform well on just about any hero – except maybe Meepo.
So try to diversify your hero pool and focus on the overall game instead of one hero.
12. Tip to win midlane
In my opinion, mid lane is the hardest role in the game because it requires high mechanical skill and a mastery over lane understanding. However, it’s also a role where you can flex over weaker opponents.
By picking the right heroes in mid, you can really magnify the skill gap and outright win the game simply by being the better mid laner. Here’s an advanced guide that shows you how top players win mid lane:
13. Study your own replays
Once you reach 4K, it’s time to start studying your own replays. I don’t think there’s much point in studying replays until you have a good understanding of the game.
When watching replays:
Identify patterns in your play that need improvement, such as positioning, map awareness, or farming efficiency.
Observe missed opportunities or suboptimal choices that might not have been apparent during the game.
Gain insight into your decision-making process during the game.
At the 5K level and under, there are always huge conceptual mistakes players are making in each of their games.
At the 6K level, the frequency of these major conceptual errors decreases notably. However, there is still ample opportunity for improvement, particularly in terms of refining game efficiency. At this stage, the focus shifts from correcting one major issue to fine-tuning multiple smaller aspects of gameplay. It’s about paying attention to numerous minor details, each contributing incrementally to overall performance enhancement.