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You love the game but losings got you down. You want to win but your teammates suck and the matchmaking system is unfair and broken. You want to level up your rank but the mandated 50% win schedule won’t allow it.
I used to feel the same way and the thought of becoming Ancient seemed impossible, let alone Divine. Then I got to Ancient but no way could I reach Divine. Then I reached Divine 1 last season, the highest MMR achievement I got in years.
In this article, I’m going to share with you tips on how to increase your MMR for fame, clout, and something to brag about.
Some people believe drafting in Dota is at least 50% of the game. If you win the draft, chances are you’ll win the game. Of course, you still have to play well and execute in your game but with a favorable draft, playing well and executing is a lot easier.
Gain that competitive draft advantage by researching what heroes do well in your bracket.
By checking out the Dotabuff hero meta tab you can easily find out what’s strong in your bracket. For example, if you’re a Legend, you can see that Drow Ranger, Lycan, Visage, Clinkz, and Underlord have the highest win rates. You can go down the list to find some heroes you’re good at and try picking those heroes, you might have a good time.
To take that step further, you can look through each hero that does well in your bracket and find their counters. For example, if you look at Drow Ranger’s hero page, you can see that she does the worst against Mars, Sniper, Axe, Centaur Warrunner, and Broodmother. Then if you see your enemy pick Drow Ranger in your game you can counter them.
Team fights are a crucial part of the game. One team fight win after losing five can be the start of an epic come back. One team fight loss can be the start of a tilt that doesn’t stop until you lose. Playing your role in an ideal way can be the difference between winning and losing a team fight.
To understand how to play your role properly let’s look at how the pro players play. One playstyle that seems to be a winning strategy is to counter initiate rather than initiate. You can see this strategy at work during the ESL One Hamburg 2019 finals.
kpii and his team won the tournament and his itemization prioritized tanky items. This allowed him to initiate or get initiated on and survive the initial burst. His team would then follow up while the enemy used all their spells.
This coincides with the rise of Abaddon as a position 3. Abaddon's playstyle revolves around this strategy thanks to his ultimate ability. The enemy has to spend their fighting resources bringing him low only for him to become immune to damage once he's low. After the enemy used all their spells and good position to bring him low, Abaddon's team can jump in and use their spells to counter initiate.
Another important tip is positioning yourself if you’re a spell caster. If your role is to use spells in a fight then you don’t want to be initiated on. As a Rubick or Lion or Oracle, if you get caught then you get blown up and then you’re useless in the fight.
If you watch the pro players play spell-casting heroes, they’re usually out of sight in team fights. They don’t hang around where all the action is happening as they can get caught and blown up. They hang out outside where the action is happening and then wait until their spells are ready to use at an optimal time, and then they enter the fight.
So don’t hang around in the main fight, right-clicking and doing 50 damage and risk getting blown up. Stay positioned on the outskirts of the fight and only enter when your spells are ready. Ideally, wait until you have an optimal opening.
This seems like an obvious tip but it’s relevant. The way I reached Divine was by playing my best heroes over and over again. This can get boring but if your goal is to reach a high MMR, then it can be your best strategy.
I was playing exclusively position 4 as Mirana, Lina, Riki, Clockwerk and rarely picked other heroes. By doing this I was able to maximize my impact in the game and influenced the outcome more than if I were feeding as a hero I wasn’t good at.
It’s frustrating to be on a team with someone who doesn’t know how to play their hero, especially in a ranked game. Don’t be this person, play your best heroes.
When you reach your highest MMR potential, you play in high-level games. In high-level games, the average player is more skilled, more capable, and has more game knowledge than in lower-tier games. As you play in these games, you are more likely to be outplayed and it's through those moments of being outplayed you can really learn where your weaknesses are as a player. KawaiiSocks talks about this in an article he wrote about climbing the MMR leaderboards and what he learned after reaching Immortal.
One of the main ways I leveled up my play style and Dota knowledge was by watching pro games, streams, and player perspectives.
These pro players are the best at the game and if you watch them play, chances are they play the game differently than you. A great thing about Dota is you can see exactly how a player like Miracle- or BSJ plays the game.
One thing I’ve noticed is how the pros play carry and support. Carry players spend a lot of time in the jungle. The carry’s job is to farm and get big, and farming in lane isn’t always the best idea. When I watched pro carrys, they would farm the jungle every chance they got. I started farming the jungle as much as I could when I played carry and my GPM improved. Farming the jungle is safer than farming in lane and you want to spend as much time as possible killing creeps when you’re carrying.
For pro supports one thing I noticed was the way they participate in team fights. As touched on earlier, they aren’t in the middle of the action as its happening. They stay out of range of the fight until their spells are ready or there is a great opening for their spell. For example, as an Earthshaker, they don’t jump in the fight and start right-clicking even though he’s a melee hero. They wait until the enemy groups up on one of their teammates and when they’re all lined up they use Fissure to stun multiple enemies, save their teammate, counter initiate, and stop the gank all at once.
It can be tempting to jump in the fight as its happening but as a support spell-caster, it’s important to exercise patience. You’re no use in a fight if you die or get blown up so wait until there’s a good opening and then strike.
All in all, it comes down to practice and game knowledge if you want to improve your MMR. You gain knowledge by watching pro players and watching tournaments and listening to analysts. You gain practice simply by playing more and trying out different heroes and strategies.
Research and meta-knowledge are also important. If you’re only playing a hero that is extremely low in win rate percentage you can stop the losses by simply picking another hero. By researching what heroes are strong and what their counters are can help you win games by out drafting your enemy.
And remember, your MMR is not a reflection of your worth as a player. How much you enjoy the game is the most important statistic so enjoy it! Keep a positive mental attitude and use the mute function if your teammates are being toxic.