How to Play Ranked in Dota 2

It’s perfectly fine to mess around in casual Dota 2 games, but if you’re yearning for the challenge of a competitive environment, ranked matches are just for you. Ranked games let you ascend a leaderboard all the way to Immortal. However, the game mode is locked until you fulfill some requirements.

If you’re finally taking a brave step and wish to play in ranked games, look no further. We’ll help you understand the prerequisites to help you unlock the mode sooner.

Dota 2 Requirements to Play Ranked

Before we get into the methods, let’s get into the basics first.

Ranked Mode

In Dota 2, ranked games involve players choosing specific roles in a team, such as Carry and Support. While you can’t select roles before playing in Ranked Classic, you can do so in Ranked Roles.

Only three game modes are available in ranked games:

  • Ranked All Pick
  • Captains Mode
  • Random Draft

Players can opt to match with solo queue players only or with parties. The former can result in comparatively fairer games, as no one communicates with each other besides using in-game methods. Matching with parties can be disadvantageous, but it doesn’t guarantee losses.

Anyone who plays ranked games will have a Matchmaking Rating (MMR). This system allows the game to calculate every one’s skill level and only match players whose skills are close to each other.

With these basics in mind, let’s move on to the requirements.

Requirements for Playing Ranked

There are three main requirements to access ranked mode. Without fulfilling them, ranked matches are impossible to play.

  • Link a phone number to your Steam account.

Dota 2 requires players to install Steam, and Steam allows players to link their phone numbers. Since 2017, Valve has made it mandatory for players to connect a unique phone number to their Steam accounts. Failure to do so will result in ineligibility for ranked matches.

The phone numbers must be tied to a SIM card. Unfortunately, Google Voice numbers and those connected to online services aren’t eligible for linking to Steam accounts.

You can also switch your phone number once you link it, but there’s a three-month cooldown for the last number on the account. You can’t reuse the previous number on any Steam account until three months pass.

  • Play the game for at least 100 hours.

It’s crucial to have a decent understanding of Dota 2’s mechanics before meeting seasoned players on the battlefield. It’s why Valve implemented such a requirement for anyone wishing to play ranked matches. Any game mode in unranked matches will count towards the requirement.

By the time you reach 100 hours, you should understand the basics of Dota 2’s game mechanics. Hitting the mark will prompt you to link a phone number to your Steam account.

  • Play 10 calibration matches.

There are no more prerequisites after completing these three. Once you meet them all, queuing up for ranked mode becomes possible.

Calibration matches are mandatory, as the game uses hidden formulas to calculate your MMR. After playing all 10 games, you’ll receive your MMR according to your performance. From there, you’ll finally be able to match with players around your skill level in ranked games.

Requirements for Playing Ranked

There are three main requirements to access ranked mode. Without fulfilling them, ranked matches are impossible to play.

  • Link a phone number to your Steam account.

Dota 2 requires players to install Steam, and Steam allows players to link their phone numbers. Since 2017, Valve has made it mandatory for players to connect a unique phone number to their Steam accounts. Failure to do so will result in ineligibility for ranked matches.

The phone numbers must be tied to a SIM card. Unfortunately, Google Voice numbers and those connected to online services aren’t eligible for linking to Steam accounts.

You can also switch your phone number once you link it, but there’s a three-month cooldown for the last number on the account. You can’t reuse the previous number on any Steam account until three months pass.

  • Play the game for at least 100 hours.

It’s crucial to have a decent understanding of Dota 2’s mechanics before meeting seasoned players on the battlefield. It’s why Valve implemented such a requirement for anyone wishing to play ranked matches. Any game mode in unranked matches will count towards the requirement.

By the time you reach 100 hours, you should understand the basics of Dota 2’s game mechanics. Hitting the mark will prompt you to link a phone number to your Steam account.

  • Play 10 calibration matches.

Calibration matches are mandatory, as the game uses hidden formulas to calculate your MMR. After playing all 10 games, you’ll receive your MMR according to your performance. From there, you’ll finally be able to match with players around your skill level in ranked games.

There are no more prerequisites after completing these three. Once you meet them all, queuing up for ranked mode becomes possible.

Dota 2 How to Play Ranked?

To switch from casual game modes to serious ranked modes, you’ll have to go to the matchmaking screen. From there, you can check the modes you wish to play in. Here’s how:

  1. Launch Dota 2.
  2. Go to the Main menu.
  3. On the right side of the screen, open the Matchmaking menu.
  4. You’ll see “Ranked” between “Practice With Bots” and “Unranked.”
  5. Click on “Ranked” and choose which of the three modes you want to play in.
  6. Click on “Find Match” to queue up.
  7. Wait for a game.

Depending on the region and time of day, it may take a while to find some games. Ranked Classic is the easiest way to find matches, as the majority of players play this mode. Ranked Roles is an option if you’re insistent on picking your role beforehand but finding games this way can take longer. However, enabling Role Queue can speed up waiting times in Ranked Roles.

Can you Play Ranked Without a Phone Number?

The short answer is that you can’t do this due to anti-smurfing measures. Without a unique phone number linked to your Steam account, you still won’t unlock ranked modes even after over 100 hours of gameplay.

Smurfing refers to highly skilled players creating new accounts for various purposes. As new accounts will have lower MMR, they match with newer or less-skilled players, and more often than not, defeat them soundly. Valve doesn’t approve of smurfing, which is why linking a phone number is absolutely necessary.

The reason why you have to wait for three months after removing a number from an account is also to prevent smurfing. Without this limitation, any player could instantly remove a number from their primary account and make a smurf account right away.

As Google Voice and other virtual numbers cost little to no money, Valve doesn’t allow them. Anyone with a Gmail account would be able to create multiple smurf accounts this way.

All in all, the reason for requiring a phone number is to prevent players from smurfing. The majority of the Dota 2 community dislikes smurfing, and Valve always strives to improve the game’s experience.

Is there a Way to Play Ranked Faster?

Unfortunately, just like with phone numbers, there’s no way to speed up the process of unlocking ranked games.

Queuing doesn’t count towards the hours, which can be frustrating if the waiting times are long. The only way is to play Ranked Classic, which is easier to find available games.

There’s a misconception that playing Turbo mode can help speed up the process, but this doesn’t help either. Turbo mode or not, you still have to play the 100 hours in real life.

Additional FAQs

How Is MMR in Dota 2 Calculated?

The exact formula for calculating MMR isn’t public information, though it’s speculated that it has been changed multiple times in the past. So far, there are only two known factors that contribute to your MMR. They are wins and losses.

Naturally, if you win your games, you gain MMR. Losing games will reduce the number instead. How it works precisely is still a mystery today.

What Is MMR in Dota 2?

MMR stands for Matchmaking Rating; a system devised to calculate a player’s skill and assign a number. Players with similar MMR can play against and with each other in ranked matches. However, Valve has never disclosed how calculating MMR works.

All players need to know is that winning increases your MMR and losing decreases points.

Competitive Matches Only

The chances are that if you love ranked mode in Dota 2, you also enjoy keeping up on the competitive scene. If you’re highly skilled at the game, it’s even possible to match up against your favorite players. That is after you unlock the ranked matches and fight your way up there.

What’s your current MMR right now? Do you think the requirements for unlocking ranked games are fair? Let us know in the comments section below.

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