Valve's Dota 2 leaderboards are a nice way of tracking the MMR race between players to reach the top.

Dota 2 Leaderboards: Race to the Top

May 29, 2017

Everybody wants to see their name on a list of notable people, and Dota 2’s playerbase is no exception. Valve provides Dota 2 leaderboards for each region, and updates the lists daily. The top 200 players are displayed along with their MMR, country of origin, and, if applicable, professional team affiliation and sponsor information. It’s not surprising that you’ll usually see a cluster of professional players at the top.

At the time I wrote this, the top ranked players in each region were:

  • NA/SA:  DC.Abed
  • Europe (+CIS):  Secret.MidOne.2GD
  • SE Asia: OG.ana
  • China: iG.V.Paparazi灬

Leaderboard Requirements

In order to appear on your region’s leaderboard, you’ve got to tick a couple boxes.

First, you must be one of the top 200 players, according to MMR, in your region. (Duh.)

If that wasn’t enough of a challenge, you can’t get complacent if you want to hang on to your leaderboard spot– you must have played a minimum of 300 PvP games, 100 solo ranked games, and at least 15 solo ranked games in the last 21 days in the same region. That’s a lot of Dota, but it’s of the many reasons why most of the leaderboard is occupied by professional players.

International and National Leaderboards

Since the leaderboards are based entirely on MMR, it’s worth mentioning the existence of International Ranked, a temporary feature offered during TI that lets players with a Compendium play in a separate queue with the other Dota fans who dropped cash to support the biggest event of the year.  If players completed 40 International Ranked games, they’d have the option to replace their current MMR with the one from International Ranked after TI is over.

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If you take a look at the leaderboards, you’ll notice that MMR averages vary from region to region. A 5k player in North America won’t necessarily have the same skills as a 5k in the EU. In general, EU is seen as a tougher region, in part due to a larger player base.

The possibility of adding National Dota 2 Leaderboards are an idea floating around the Dota-sphere. It’s another way of organizing data, but it would probably be a fun addition to the game. More players would be able to make the leaderboards and countries with relatively small player bases could have epic feuds over who gets the top slot. Doesn’t everyone want to be the best Dota 2 player in Luxembourg?


Many Dota pros have a smurf account. Many high-level players have a smurf account. Typically when you hear ‘smurfing’ you think of an player that deliberately calibrates/buys an account in a lower MMR bracket so they can have an easy win stomping players below their skill level. Unfortunately, at high MMR, queue times can be annoyingly long, especially at certain times of day. Top-level players also get paired with the same (small) pool of people again and again, as like the saying goes “it’s lonely at the top.” High MMR players have a more legitimate reason to maintain a smurf account – it allows them to shorten the wait times to find a match and play with a larger pool of teammates and opponents.

Unfortunately for them, eventually they level up too much on the smurf and it no longer is a smurf:

Its funny how Arteezy’s "smurf" is ranked number 1 on America Leaderboards. from DotA2

MMR Abuse

Bots can be abused to artificially inflate MMR, a practice we covered in an article earlier this month. It’s possible to get to 10k MMR this way, while even the most mechanically skilled pros are thrilled to break 9k. Players who absolutely have to see their name appear on the boards can buy boosting services to have their MMR inflated. Unfortunately, this ‘cheapens’ the leaderboard experience for many, as there are sometimes suspect players in the top slots.

Fishy International Leaderboard Top Player from DotA2

Instead of exclusively offering leaderboards based on MMR, it would be fun if Valve picked a different hero each week and offered a global leaderboard of the best players on that hero. Each week, players across the world could battle it out for the title of #3 Tinker.

There’s a reason why high school yearbooks include “most likely to-s.” People love seeing their name next to some accolade. If Valve added National Dota 2 leaderboards, boards for unusual/strange stats, and cracking down on boosting, they might be one of the few companies in history to ever have a meaningful leaderboard in a multiplayer game.

Dota 2 Leaderboards are updated every day at 22:00 GMT (three PM Pacific).

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Kara has been following professional DotA2 since the TI4 qualifiers. When not watching matches on Twitch, she can be found working (or attempting to find work) as a geologist and enjoying nature.
What do you think?

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