Dota 2 Ranking Guide:
How MMR & Ranks really work
Chapter 1: What is MMR?
How do the MMR system and the ranks work in Dota 2? There are no official statements from Valve nowadays, so I made the work and researched a lot to write this long guide.
There might be still mistakes or things that change over time – I will keep the post updated, comment below if something needs to be corrected! This guide is for Dota 2 beginners.
What is MMR in Dota 2?
Let’s dive into the Dota 2 world of Rankings and the MMR system: What do MMR means, why do we need it at all and why did Valve release it?
MMR stands for Match Making Rating and is one of the most popular features in Dota 2: MMR is a value that defines your skill and differentiates you from other Dota 2 players. MMR starts at “1 MMR” and is open to the end. 😉
While the majority of the Dota 2 community is rated around 1.500 to 5.000 MMR, progamers reached unbelievable statistics near 10.000 MMR. For a long time, Dota 2 only had the MMR value, but brought in the ranks to give the players a stronger reference, self-fulfillment and of course a bigger reason to climb higher on the ladder!
What is ELO in Online Games?
As you may know it’s all going back to ELO or Elo rating system which originally comes from chess.
In Dota 2 the ELO is defined as MMR, a value that shows the performance rate of a player. Valve just gave ELO a new name: MMR. Still, many significant games are using the word ELO such as League of Legends, Origins, etc.
How MMR creates Balanced Dota 2 Matches:
Your MMR will have a huge impact on to your game quality: The goal is to find the suitable skill rank you really have, so that Dota 2 can match you with equal skilled players into a maximum balanced game. That means MMR decides about your teammates and enemies. Example: If your MMR is 3300, then the match finding algorithm of Dota 2 will find a match with players that have MMR near to or a little above 3300 MMR (3000-3300, 3300-3600).
Why Party MMR with Friends can end up in Unfair Matches:
Most of you will have experienced that when you are playing with friends who have a completely different MMR (higher or lower) then the queue time is much higher. The Dota 2 algorithm has to find the right mix for a balanced and suitable game.
However, sometimes the algorithm faces some unexpected unfairness, and it ultimately leads an average of 2000 MMR team players to play with an average 5000 MMR team to reach an equal amount of MMR in total. Sometimes this ends in stomps and unfair games but the matchmaking system is always improving and learning.
Which different MMR values exist in Dota 2?
Many people think MMR is just for ranked, because if they play a ranked match the MMR is displayed and if they play a normal match it’s not showing up. But there are different MMR values that define how Dota 2 is calculating the matchmaking and this applies on any match wether it’s normal or ranked:
Solo & Party MMR:
The split of solo MMR and party MMR has always been a part of Dota 2. Tip: If you play with 4 friends you are able to rank for a fixed Team MMR.
|Game Mode||Visible in Profile?|
|Normal Mode Solo MMR||No|
|Normal Mode Party MMR||No|
|Ranked Mode Solo MMR||Yes|
|Ranked Mode Party MMR||Yes|
|Ranked Mode Team/Clan (5 friends)||Yes|
Support & Core MMR:
In August 2019 Valve released the Dota 2 Core and Support MMR Distribution.
|Game Mode||Visible in Profile?|
|Normal Mode Support MMR||No|
|Normal Mode Core MMR||No|
|Ranked Mode Support MMR||Yes|
|Ranked Mode Core MMR||Yes|
Dota 2 Normal Matches got a hidden MMR:
Dota 2 is counting every match that is no Bot match to calculate your skill level – even any normal match has an MMR, once you start playing ranked, these values are splitted and stand alone for itself. That means your normal MMR and can be different compared to your ranked MMR.
The Solo and Party MMR Distribution:
Since the release of Dota 2, Valve has established the Solo MMR and the party MMR along together. Whenever you play with 1, 2, 3 or 4 friends you automatically create a “party lobby” and in counts for the party MMR. Many people are playing solo, because they say it’s easier to reach a higher MMR in solo mode, since it’s balanced better.
The new Support and Core MMR roles:
Valve is testing the core/support split against the solo/party split. Find the full article about the new Dota 2 MMR roles here
It’s definitely nice, that it’s possible now to pick a role and claim it 100% for yourself. Let’s see which one is better in the long term. 😉
5 Man Clan Team MMR:
This is a great option for clans, beside the normal MMR you can rank your team and compare yourself to other teams and climb the ladder! 😉
Why is Dota 2 using a MMR Rank system?
Almost every game has at least one feature that makes it exciting and persuades the audience towards itself. MMR and Ranks are one of those features that do not let it’s player to shift to another game.
- To see a better progress as a player – Ranks mean something!
- To create a competitive environment for the players of Dota 2.
- To not just have a number, a cool looking rank image is even better. 😉
- The MMR and Ranks system helps Dota 2 players to set an in-game goal.
- MMR and Ranks help the algorithm of Dota 2 to create an unbiased match.
- To create fun, enthusiasm, and interest in the game.
When did Dota 2 release the ranks instead of MMR?
In November 2017, Valve launched a new patch and swapped the MMR concept with Ranks.
It was an epic hit, after the release, only in a few months the current usage rate of Dota 2 increased by 17%.
How is Dota 2 calculating the MMR for new Accounts:
With every new Dota 2 account that is getting created the journey starts: Once upon a time the invisible MMR baseline has been 3000 MMR, but it can change with every meta based on the average MMR of the Dota 2 overall community.
When you start playing Dota 2 you have to play normal matches until you reach Trophy level 50, this is the required level to play ranked matches and to start the calibration games. It takes a quite long time to reach level 50:
You need 100 XP for each level up and you have different possibilities to earn trophies that you get after each match to your Dota 2 Level / Trophy points. That means you have to play 100-160 normal Dota 2 matches before you even come in touch with ranked matchmaking. While this might sound timeconsuming, it’s nothing if it’s your real account. Valve wants us to have only one Dota 2 account and to keep smurfs out of the game and it’s working pretty well.
After reaching Account trophy level 50, you are able to calibrate the ranked MMR trough 10 calibration matches.
How the Dota 2 Algorithmn is working:
When you play your first game, the Dota 2 algorithmn starts working. It analyses your performance based on specific factors like the KDA, XPM and GPM – find more about that below in chapter 5.
That means the real calibration and calculation of the MMR does not start at all with the official calibration games: All of your normal matches since game one are getting counted to calculate your rankings.
And if you think about it, it’s quite smart and meaningful, once Valve is releasing a player into the ranked matches business, they want to make sure that he is in the correct environment. Ranked players take their MMR serious and everyone wants to win, nothing else. If a wrong skilled player is ruining a game, it’s a disaster!
The MMR Algorithm and Calibration is keeping Dota 2 Smurf Accounts away:
In online games and the internet in general, people will always try to find ways to make money online. Some think it’s just genius to play an online game and make money with it: They create smurf accounts and sell them to other players who are interested and also willing to pay the money for a Dota 2 account. Of course Valve is trying to stop that and to ban anyone who is selling a smurf account. The phone number verification is helping a lot but the smurfers will always fin a way to do it.
But what they did then was changing the smurf business a lot:
Valve increased the amount of required Dota 2 account level trophy matches before you can even calibrate. No one wants to play these tons of normal matches over and over again and this is keeping smurf accounts on a quite low level. 😉
How does the Dota 2 Calibration and Recalibration works?
Once you finally reached level 50 with your Dota 2 account level, you are ready to calibrate your ranked MMR. Since 2017, Dota 2 has a seasonal rank, each season lasts 6 months and with the start of a new season the rank has to be calculated again.
Because of that Dota 2 has two ways to calculate MMR:
- Calibration is required for new accounts, this means the MMR Rank is getting calibrated for the very first time. The first MMR that you get is called Calibration MMR and the goal often is to start as high as possible, because increasing the rank later is (at least mentally) harder than before the final calibration.
- Recalibration means that you have calibrated for an MMR Rank before (in a previous season) and now you have to recalibrate to let the system check if your skill level has changed. Your old MMR will be treated as the baseline and the wins and losses you make on top of that will define our new Rank. The Recalibration rank mostly causes only a small Rank change or no change at all.
I wrote a complete article about Dota 2 Calibration and Recalibration Tips & Tricks, check it out for a deep analysis and find out what is possible just through calibration.
How does Dota 2 calculates the different MMR values?
As shown before Dota 2 has multiple MMR values: Normal, Ranked, Team Ranked and sometimes Event matches. The regular normal games do not affect the official MMR of a player, ranked matches do affect the shown MMR. In normal matches, a bad performance does not affect your profile – unless someone reports you. 😉 That’s why this mode is perfect for training of new heroes and tactics or a lower level of concentration.
In ranked mode, you will directly lose your official MMR and it will ultimately devote you.
Drops of water one day make an ocean: One lose does not destroy too much, but a losing streak over a long time can change the MMR extremely and it’s hard to get up again. If you lose ranked matches consecutively, you will find yourself in a lower bracket.
The MMR business is hard, but it’s addictive. 😉 One main factor for changing the Dota 2 MMR Rank is course winning and losing.
How much MMR do you get for a win/lose in Dota 2?
For every win in a ranked match/ranked with roles, you will receive 20-30 MMR (according to your performance in the game). In the past, it has always been 25 MMR, but the value is adapting now, based on the difficulty of the match.
If you lose a ranked match, you will also lose 20-30 MMR. The more you will win, the higher your MMR will get. For further information, you can check our MMR calibration guide.
How uncertainty can create big MMR Jumps:
Uncertainty is another value in Dota 2 to allow great matchmaking. Uncertainty means that there is a higher chance that the given MMR is far away from the real MMR.
In some cases for example, if you have a new account, the uncertainty amount is high and there is a higher possibility that you get matched against players with an extremely different skill level (can be higher or lower). Also if a better player plays on a bad account (which happens if you boost Dota 2 accounts), after a number of games (for example 20), a big uncertainty is growing, because the skill level and the play style do not match anymore. What does that mean in the end for you: Through the uncertainty factor in the Dota 2 matchmaking algorithm, faster rank changes are possible. 😉
How does Dota 2 Ranked Matchmaking works? Everything you need to know:
- The main goal is to create a fair game, which each of the 10 players can enjoy. A great dose of daily Dota! 😉
- Each team has a statistical rate of 50% to win the game.
- The skill gap between the worst and the best player is as low as possible. This interacts with the game search time and the algorithm is finding something in between.
- The highest MMR player of both teams are on an equal level, same applies for the lowers MMR player.
- Each Dota 2 team has the same amount of parties (If one team has a 3-player and 2-player party the other team will have exactly the same party sizes.
- The language settings allow matches with same speaking players, only if players change their server regions and language sections, this system often does not work.
- While searching, the Dota 2 matchmaking seeker is calculating all of these factors and once he is done, the game starts.
Finding out your MMR Trend before beeing Calibrated:
Sometimes external services like Dotabuff can help to determine your current MMR, especially before being calibrated. It does not give you anything, just the plain information in which area of MMR you are currently in. 😉 But it takes a long time to calibrate and it can motivate to know the actual trend. Speaking about Dotabuff values, check the latest matches and if they are listed as VHS (very high skill) your MMR is probably above 3500. But of course, the ingame ranks of the other players often give enough information about the rank that you will get.
Which MMR leads to which Dota 2 Rank?
Why are the Dota 2 Ranks separated into Tiers?
The stars divide a Dota 2 rank even more. This gives you the possibility to climb up inside one tier until you finally reach the next rank. Each Rank in Dota 2 has five stars (depends on the patch) and each star defines your progress in the rank. After getting all stars, the next improvement will be the uprank. Stars cover the difference between the MMR. For example, 3080-3749 MMR, after every 90-100 MMR you will receive one star, At, 3080 Legend 0, 3160 Legend 1 and so on.
Which skill level and playstyle behavior every Dota 2 Rank has?
The Dota 2 rankings are great in describing a player’s skill. Most people do not like to hear that, but the rank fits them and shows their weaknesses and strengthens. Here are the key aspects of the tiers:
Funny Dota 2 Ranks Description:
Because of the high competition, every Dota 2 player is talking about the ranks and many make fun about it. This reddit image describes each Dota 2 rank with funny behaviours:
Herald (0 – 700 MMR):
Herald is a tier for absolute beginners who barely know the basic of Dota 2.
- Focused on learning new features. Learning the game.
- You will see absolute noobs, dying by creeps.
- No sign of wards and dust.
- Hard to control the map.
- Cannot cast more than 2 or 3 spells at a time.
- Do not even know the concept of strategic play.
- No build and item knowledge.
- They often play with a noisy environment.
Guardian (701 – 1540 MMR)
After learning a few basics of Dota 2, a Herald player upgrades to Guardian rank. According to Dota 2 statistics, it is easy to jump from Herald to Guardian
- Beginners are getting better with last hits.
- Trying to learn the importance of gold and XP.
- Memorizing item names and which item is suitable for which hero.
- Pro feelings after upgrading to the next rank.
- Crying like babies when losing.
- Players Disconnecting and quitting.
Crusader (1541 – 2380 MMR)
After Guardian, you get the Crusader rank. The most cheesy and annoying rank in Dota 2.
- Blamers, Throwers, crying babies on its peaks.
- Support players are playing carry or core.
- Crusaders start accepting the importance of vision.
- Know which items to buy for each hero, but always build the same items in every situation.
- Can easily handle the map but are not fast enough.
- Getting better with last hits and know the importance of denying creeps.
Archon (2381 MMR – 3220)
Road to a better Dota 2 experience. Archon Rank gives a massive boost to beginner players. You can also call it the first step to heaven.
- Not picking a hero without any strategy. Going for counter picks.
- Less Trash talk, trying to communicate properly.
- Playing roles according to picks.
- Starting to learn the importance of smoke, gem, and dust.
- Learning the basics of situational items.
- Support also has a vital role in the game, stops stealing creeps from the carry hero.
- Learning new strategies and ganking skills.
Legend (3221 – 4060 MMR)
Ahh, Relief, Legend rank – the initial stage of becoming an expert in Dota 2. You will learn all the advanced strategies and gameplays.
- Camp stacking and lane pulling attempts.
- Better last hitting and denying of creeps.
- Can easily play with different heroes.
- Trying to become an expert on difficult heroes like Shadow Fiend, Invoker, Meepo, etc.
- Teams are ganking together.
- Tri lane gameplay and harassing of the enemy hero.
- Counter warding and helping the mid hero with 1 ward and 2 tangos.
- Blamers and throwers are everywhere.
Ancient (4061- 4900 MMR)
The starting of the toughest track. You will face professional enemies and learn something new in almost every game. Competitive gaming environment will help you in learning instant decisions.
- You can stack multiple camps at the same time.
- Supports put maximum efforts into babysitting the core and carry hero.
- Using difficult heroes as a professional such as Invoker, Meepo, Lone Druid, etc.
- An expert of technical support heroes such as Oracle, Earth Spirit, Elder Titan, etc.
- Can easily play in the most roles.
- Has the ability to adopt a new strategy according to the situation.
- Gives respect to the enemy team, a limited amount of trash talkers.
Divine (4901 – 5500 MMR)
Divine gaming. “Divine rank” – it sounds thrilling. You will experience epic gameplays in this rank.
- Beautiful plays, epic moments with a lot of skill.
- Divine players are able to have a good overview even in chaotic fights.
- Less leavers.
- You will not hear ping or packet loss excuses. If you face lags and package loss, checkout our Dota lag guide. 😉
- Accurate combos and ganks.
- Trust into teammates without blaming.
Immortal (above 5500 MMR)
Immortal is the last tier in the Ranking System of Dota 2, and only experts can stand within this bracket. The most Dota 2 professionals have the Immortal rank. You will find all domestic level and international level players here.
Chapter 4: Dota 2 Rank Distribution
Every player in Dota 2 wants to have a better rank.
But what is good and what is average?
Many players think they are bad with a specific rank but compared to the average skill you have to be better than 50% of all Dota 2 players to be better than average. Let’s check that in detail. 😉
What is the Rank Distribution in Dota 2?
At first it’s let’s look on this graph. What you can see is that the most Dota 2 players are unkranked and anonymous. That’s normal, you have to invest hundreds of hours into Dota 2 before even getting a rank. You have to freaking love that game and its a hardcore game, not a casual game. Many players quit before reaching anything.
Dota 2 Rank Distribution:
What we can see here, that there is a great spreading through the ranks. The majority of the players are between the Guardian and the Archon rank. When reaching the Legend rank in Dota 2 the amount of players is going down and down. As a Divine player, you count to the best 5% of all Dota 2 players. If you have an Immortal rank you belong to the top 1% of all Dota 2 players.
What is the average Rank in Dota 2?
It depends on the current patch and meta, but while taking the data in 2020, the average rank (the absolute middle) is Archon 2 with about 2600 MMR. If you are higher than Archon 2 you are better then 50% of all Dota 2 players and better than average. If you are below Archon 2 you are worse than average, keep it up and train harder! 😉 We all started there it’s just a matter of time and patience, read our Dota 2 guides and increase your skill.
Dota 2 Player Amount of the Continents:
Currently, Europe is the most prominent server of Dota 2 that contains the highest number of players. Due to better ping, many players prefer the European servers. According to the Data set of Dota 2, 40% Dota 2 players prefer Europe, 30% SEA Asia, 20% China and 10% America.
How do the Immortal Ranks work? What do the numbers mean?
There also is a distribution between the Immortal ranks. While these players already belong to the top 1% of Dota, there is a ranking list starting at 1. The best ranked Immortal player has the 1 and it goes up with single unique numbers. The Immortal ranking changes after every 1-10 games.
What are the Factors to rank up and down in Dota 2?
Dota 2 calculates your playstyle and ranks you up and down faster based on this data.
Main Ranking Factors in Dota 2:
- The number one factor that simply will affect your rank the most is winning and losing matches. No matter if you are playing normal/unranked matches or ranked matches your MMR goes up and down between 20-30 MMR for each game. In general that’s it, all of the other factors just let you jump faster or fall down faster. For ranked all of these infos are of course much more important, because you can visually the the MMR and the rank.
- If your in-game stats are better than other players, then you will receive a few more MMR points. For this calculation a lof of data is taken:
- Gold per minute (GPM)
- XP per minute (XPM)
- Kill-Death-Assist ratio (KDA)
- Last hits and denies (CS)
- Item builds, team items, support items
- Damage to heroes, damage to buildings, amount of healing
- Ward vision uptime, how much area is visible for how long
Advanced Guide How to Rank up in Dota 2:
Beside the main factors, this extensive guide will open your eyes and make you ready for the uprank.
Setting goals and exploring personal limits is key to find success in Dota.
How high can you climb? Let’s find out. 😉
View MMR Rankup Guide
How to check your Dota 2 in-game performance?
After the completion of the game, your stat page will appear where you can commend or report an enemy. On that page, click on your hero, it will open the details of the match. Below you will find your average numbers for this hero. If your hero falls in the second counter, then you will receive extra MMR. However, if you fall in the second red counter, then you will receive less MMR than average. Later on, your MMR will ultimately affect the ranking of your medal.
After each game, check your performance and keep track of it to increase your skill! 😉
How fast can you rank up and down in Dota 2?
It’s not about time. The only timing window is the seasonal end. In general, it depends on you and your amount of won and lost games. Taking the average of 140 MMR as what you need for the next star inside a rank, this should be your goal. Remember or write down your MMR and increase it 140 or more to reach the next star.
How to identify ranking up and down in Dota 2?
After every win in a Ranked match, your MMR will increase. Moreover, it will ultimately increase the percentage of the rank. You can see the percentage of your rank below your medal. It will show you how much more percentage you need to achieve the next star or medal. For example, you have a Legend 4 rank, and the percentage of the medal is 96% (new star or rank after 100%). After one win in a ranked match, you will get an upgrade to Legend 5 (the number describes the number of stars).
Note: If you cannot see a percentage, it means you have lost many ranked matches and your MMR is going down. For example, when the minimum MMR for Legend 1 is 3179, and your MMR is 3000.
That’s it, if you have any questions comment below! Good luck and have fun playing guys! 😉