Either way, we’re here to take you through the basics and the details. If you’re looking to make heads and tails of Dota 2’s ranks, you’re in the right place. Welcome to our guide to Dota 2’s Ranked Matchmaking system!
What is Ranked Matchmaking?
As the name implies, Ranked Matchmaking is all about assigning skill ratings to Dota 2 players. As opposed to unranked modes, Ranked Matchmaking puts players into leagues, which then show up in their profiles in the form of medals. These medals are tied to eight distinct leagues, which are as follows (in ascending order):
Meanwhile, each league is divided into five levels each. These levels appear as stars above a player’s medal, indicating which level they’re currently on. For example, a player in Legend II will have two stars above their medal. Players can check their progress towards the next level in their league via their profiles as well. There will be a percentage-based indicator underneath the medal, which shows how far that player is to the next level. Hitting 100 percent on this counter will cause the percentage to then roll over and award the next level.
In order to progress in leagues, though, players must achieve the fifth rank in their league, then win enough games to break past that level. Once a player crosses this threshold, their medal changes to that of first rank of the next league. Note that players can get demoted, both in levels and leagues. Players that go on long enough losing streaks will see their progress indicator disappear, showing that they may be in danger of falling down the ladder.
What Are the Unique Mechanics of Ranked Matchmaking?
As Ranked Matchmaking is designed to be a more serious and competitive environment, there are a few mechanics that set it apart from unranked games.
The first and most important one is Ranked Roles. Unlike unranked matches which don’t assign roles like Safe Lane and Support, ranked matches enforce strict positions in each game. The matchmaking system itself does this by having players select which roles they’d like to play before queuing for matches. This takes the form of a check box-style selector in the queue window itself.
The system selects between a player’s chosen roles, assigning them one and only one upon the start of the match. Deviating from the assigned role is a reportable offense, and can lead to matchmaking bans or banishment to the low priority queue.
In order to pick specific roles, however, players must possess “tickets” called “Role Queue games”. Players earn Role Queue games by selecting all five positions prior to queuing up, which means that they can be assigned to any role from Safe Lane to Hard Support. Each game played this way awards four Role Queue tickets. Players with no Role Queue tickets are therefore completely forced to select all five roles if they wish to play ranked games.
Ranked Roles is absolutely the best and most stable form of Ranked Matchmaking, as it forces players to adjust their playstyles to conform to the team’s needs. Drafts tend to be more cohesive and balanced due to this as well.
Note: Role Queue is does not apply after a certain MMR threshold in Immortal league. This reduces the overall queue time for players at the top of the ladder.
Ranked Role Performance Matchmaking
Valve understands that not everyone is going to be equally good at all five roles. Some players are more suited to playing core positions, while others are supports for life. To this end, the system takes a player’s individual performances into account when assigning them roles, in order to keep things fair.
For example, a player with more success as a Mid Laner will get matched against others closer to their current rank. Meanwhile, if the system detects that a player isn’t great at playing Soft Support, it will match them against slightly lower-ranked players. Players can check their individual role ratings in the matchmaking queue window, by hovering over the information icon under Role Queue.
Classic Ranked, on the other hand, is just Ranked Matchmaking but with no Role Queue at all. This makes it identical to unranked games, only that a player’s ranking is put on the line.
We do not recommend playing Classic Ranked over Role Queue if you can help it, as games here are very unpredictable. With no role assignments, players can and will pick whatever they please, leading to terribly imbalanced draft compositions.
What is MMR?
The beating heart of the Ranked Matchmaking system is matchmaking rating, or MMR for short. MMR is a numerical value that determines a player’s placement on the ladder, and is more or less a quantification of that player’s overall skill level. MMR is also tied directly to a player’s league, and therefore their corresponding medal.
Unlike medals, however, MMR is completely hidden from the public. It is visible only to the player that owns the rating itself. In addition, Valve obfuscates the algorithm that helps determine the range of MMR in each league, and no one but Valve knows the inner workings of this algorithm. Players can check their MMR through their profiles as well. Check the Stats tab of your profile page in order to locate your MMR.
As of July 2021, players gain and lose MMR in a set fashion. Queuing for Ranked Matchmaking alone puts 30 points of MMR at stake in ranked matches. Queuing up with friends, meanwhile, reduces the ante to 20 points. Unlike in the past, however, individual performances do not affect MMR gains and losses. Only match wins and losses can determine the movement of a player’s MMR.
Player accounts that have not played Ranked Matchmaking before must first complete a series of calibration matches (typically called placement matches in other games), in order to set their initial MMR. The system assigns players a string of ten calibration matches at the start, and they will only receive their initial MMR upon completion of the 10th match in this series.
Given that Ranked Matchmaking requires players to put in 100 hours of unranked play before gaining access to ranked matches, calibration games do not necessarily start from zero MMR. Instead, the system uses a completely hidden, “secondary” MMR value to match players that are also going through calibration games. Thus, it is possible for your eventual “primary” MMR value to be more or less in the same range as your secondary MMR.
Aside from the 100 hours, though, Ranked Matchmaking also requires players to associate a valid mobile phone number to their account. This is one of the few smurfing countermeasures in place to help keep the competitive environment as fair and as equal as possible.
A player’s MMR does not last forever. The Ranked Matchmaking system divides each year into two seasons, each of which lasts around 12 months or more. Once a season ends, the system wipes all existing MMR values, with the exception of the hidden secondary MMR as mentioned before. Players must again participate in calibration games at the start of a new season.
What are the Dota 2 Ranks Leaderboards?
If you are one of the few skilled enough to get into Immortal league, you may also find yourself in the Dota 2 leaderboards. The leaderboards are comprised of the top 5,000 or so players in the four major regions: Europe, North and South America, China, and Southeast Asia.
In order to get your name on the leaderboards, you must fulfill the following requirements:
- A top solo MMR in the region you play in
- 300 lifetime matchmaking games played
- 100 lifetime solo ranked games
- At least 14 solo ranked games in the last 21 days in the same league
There are no global leaderboards, presumably because MMR in different regions are not necessarily equal. Nevertheless, getting on the leaderboards is an amazing achievement, and indicates a player who is seriously good at Dota 2.