The Battle Cup is a wonderful addition to Dota, offering a chance to play in a real, structured tournament with a team even if you’re just a regular pub pleb.
Over the years, a few in-house leagues have come and gone, including the North America Elite League (NEL), where a lot of NA pros played matches between regularly scheduled tournaments. However, NEL required players to vouch for newcomers, and was limited to upper bracket players only. But these in-house leagues were a great place for players to enjoy Dota in a slightly more competitive environment.
In-house leagues are great, but there’s a lingering question: where can players get a real LAN-qualifier experience with only 1K map awareness?
Valve’s Answer: The Battle Cup
In yet another ingenious way for Valve to make money, the Battle Cup is separate from the Battle Pass. For $0.99 USD, players can purchase tickets to participate in this multi-week tournament. Five tickets are needed for each team, one for each participant, but it doesn’t matter who owns them, as long as your party has five. So for $4.95, you and four of your buddies can pretend to be OG for the season, or however long you manage to avoid elimination.
Battle Cup Tiers
There aren’t a lot of restrictions about who can play in a Battle Cup. Players don’t need to have a calibrated MMR to play, just a profile level 25 or above. Here’s Valve’s explanation of how the tiers work: “Each player has an individual tournament tier, which is set at the start of each season from your MMR. After the tier value is set, player MMR is not used in any way in the Battle Cup.”
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There are currently eight tiers, and each one corresponds to roughly 1K MMR differences. Tier 3, the lowest, is for players in the 0 – 2k MMR range, and Tier 8, the highest, is reserved for 6k+ players.
2017 Battle Cup Finale
This year, teams in Tier 8, the highest ranking, were invited to a specially moderated tournament in June, and the winning team was granted a spot in The International Regional Qualifiers. This year, Starboyz made it through to play in the North America Qualifiers, but came in last place and will not advance to The International.
Battle Cup Schedule
Each region’s Battle Cup is held at a different time. Players cannot participate in more than one Battle Cup per weekend, but can play in other regions in different seasons if they desire.
The Battle Cup schedule is available here, and automatically converts times to your time zone.
None of your friends play Dota? No problem. Valve has solutions. The Party Builder tool matches parties with less than five members with solo players based on language, tier, and ping. Be warned though, you’re stuck with the people you’re matched up with for the duration of the tournament. Teams cannot alter their rosters after the tournament has begun.
Lastly, a notable feature within Battle Cup is the ability to gg out of games. This feature isn’t available in regular pub games, presumably due to the high likelihood of it being abused, but it’s always available in professional matches. In a Battle Cup match, you can take the surrender option after your carry goes 0/14/3 in the first 20 minutes.