Not gaining MMR as fast you would like? We’ve got you covered! A 7K MMR player shares his top tips to climbing the ranks.

MMR to a Dota player is like milk to someone who’s lactose-intolerant – love it or hate it, we just can’t get enough. While some of us are lucky enough to be free from it’s shackles, most Dota fans just love seeing that number go up. Fret not though, I’ve got you covered. I’ve put together a quick guide on our top 10 tips to realistically gain MMR.

The road definitely ahead won’t be easy – but if you follow these steps, you’ll be seeing improvement in no time. (trust me I’m 7k xD)

1. Forget about MMR

TI winner Dendi knows the truth

Before you click away, hear me out on this one. MMR is not really the TRUE goal, is it? Improving at DOTA is the goal. There’s no point being 6k if you play like a 2k.

In fact, MMR is at best, a distraction and at worst a tilting-factor which will impact your mentality. Checking your MMR over and over doesn’t help you, neither does keeping track of how much MMR you lost this week.

Successful people focus on what’s important and what they can control. In this case, it’s how much you improve.

Honestly, winning versus losing doesn’t matter. I’ve won games where I played terribly and lost games where I played great. What you SHOULD focus on is how much impact you had in the game. If you played your role well, and did what you should be doing, that’s a win, no matter if you won the game or not. And don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your K/D/A is evidence of your game impact. A Winter Wyvern can have a massive impact on the game but still go 0/6/15.

Focus on learning your role, mastering the heroes that you are spamming and maximizing your impact each game. Once you improve, the MMR will come. Not the other way around. 

2. Pick One Role (and One Back-Up Role)

Being able to play all roles is nice, but it’s not the best way to climb MMR. I want you to pick one role and focus on getting good at it.

Practicing one position over and over will make you more familiar with the basic requirements of that role. This will lead to you having a higher game-impact from that role, which will win you more games.

Of course, sometimes you don’t get the role you want – so I want you to pick a back up role as well.

Bonus points if you pick a back up role that interacts with your main role. E.g., If you mostly play carry, consider playing offlane in the games where you can’t get carry. Offlaners usually play against the enemy carry, thus, allowing you to learn more about the carry role from an offlaner’s perspective.

3. Stick to 4-5 Heroes for That Role

It’s better to master 5 heroes than to be decent on 20.

Picking a different hero every game might be fun, but it’s not the best way to gain MMR. Really learning a hero and becoming super confident on it can be extremely satisfying. So, pick 5 heroes for your chosen role and write them down.

SPAM THE HEROES YOU CHOSE. Even between the 4-5 heroes you picked, it’s better to stick to one for a few games in a row. For example, if you already played a Phantom Lancer game, pick him a few more times! This will allow you to learn when the hero is strong, and how they fare against different situations/match-ups. 

It’s also worth taking note of what the current meta is. Ideally, your repertoire should have at least 2-3 heroes that are strong right now. You can check out hero win rates on Dotabuff.

4. Play What You Find Fun to gain MMR

Improving at DOTA can take some time, so you might as well enjoy yourself while you’re at it. If playing Spectre and hitting creeps for 20 minutes bores you, don’t do it. Pick a role and a corresponding set of heroes that you have fun playing.

Happy DOTA players win more MMR. Studies have shown that the human brain learns faster when it is experiencing positive emotions. When you are having fun, you literally become more observant and more engaged. This allows you to improve faster. This also has the bonus effect of rubbing off on your teammates, resulting in less grief and argument-based losses.

Esports.gg Contributor Jenkins explains how positivity can impact your MMR

We’ve all queued into that one guy who is more focused on flaming his teammates than actually playing his hero. Don’t be that guy. If you find yourself constantly arguing with your team or feeling upset about DOTA games, it’s time to take a long hard look in the mirror.

There are also ways to ‘trick’ your brain into having fun. Queue with people you like, chat with your team at the start of the game, maybe even engage in some wholesome all-chat banter or offensive tipping. Do whatever puts a smile on your face.

5. Do 10 Push-Ups Before Each Game

push-ups = more mmr

Okay, I know this one sounds a bit silly, and my noodle arms are evidence that I don’t practice what I preach but hear me out!

Your brain and your body are linked. When you exercise your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These make you feel less stressed and more relaxed. So, by doing some exercise before a game, you are setting yourself up for success. You will come into the game feeling more confident, more objective, and sexier. And that’s what we want. That’s a good mentality for winning.

And if you still don’t believe me, just try it. Seriously! 

6. Mute Everyone = Gain MMR quicker

mute everyone = more mmr

The mute function is your best friend. Use it FAST and use it EARLY. You’re here to get better at DOTA not make friends (or enemies). Instantly mute anyone who is toxic, annoying or even the slightest bit distracting. This will allow you to channel more of your focus towards the important stuff.

And I know what some of you are saying. “I don’t need to mute because toxic teammates don’t tilt me, I just find it funny lol”. WRONG. Stop lying to yourself. We’ve all lost games because we’ve let toxic people distract us. Just mute them.

Don’t worry about missing out on crucial communication either, this will just force you to have better map and game awareness. (And let’s face it, that toxic guy wasn’t saying anything important).

7. Don’t Mindlessly Chain Queue Games

Chain-queue = lose MMR

I once had an Ancient player ask me “how many games do I need to play a day to grind to Immortal?”

This is a very common trap that almost everyone falls into at some point. It’s super easy to convince yourself that playing game after game is the best way to improve at DOTA. But it’s not. Practicing the RIGHT way is much more effective then simply practicing A LOT.

You should always take about 5 minutes between each game. Use this time to watch the replay of your last game (even just the laning stage) or just reflect on your last game. Try to find 3 aspects of your play that need improvement.

DO NOT TILT QUEUE. This is a sure-fire way to lose MMR. Do NOT let one bad loss impact your next game. If you lose 3 games in a row – it’s time to take a longer break because something has gone wrong. Maybe you’re sleepy, or subconsciously tilted. Whatever the case, take some time to relax before hitting that “Find Match” button, your MMR will thank you for it.

8. Choose Specific Aspects of your Play to Practice

This is where things get real. When you are improving at any competitive video game, there is lots of fun stuff you can do to improve (e.g., playing lots of DOTA!). But eventually, you will exhaust this method of practice and be left with the not-so-fun stuff. This is that time.

Instead of just spamming pubs, I want you to ACTIVELY work on aspects of your play. This can be done on a game-by-game basis or even on a daily or weekly basis. For example, one day you could focus on map awareness. Every game you play that day, your main focus will be improving your map awareness. Looking at the minimap over and over. Maybe you’re building the wrong items, not moving around the map efficiently and so on.

Don’t just passively improve slowly over time, pick small weaknesses of your play and actively turn them into strengths by focusing on them.

9. Don’t Play Scared

Pubs are not the place for safely winning games. Not if you want to improve. You need to get out there and fail or you will never improve.

You should go for the big plays, push the limits of your hero, go for that solo kill. By playing too aggressively and pushing the limits, it’s easier to recognize which plays were bad and which were good. If you dive for a kill 6 games in a row, by the 7th game you will have a pretty good idea of when it’s a good time to dive. If you play safe for 6 games in a row, you won’t have that same knowledge.

The same concept goes for shot-calling in-game. Make the call to go Rosh. Sure, it will blow up in your face plenty of times. But that’s how you learn. Don’t sit back and let your team dictate the game. Be active, be confident. It’s better to try and fail than to have never tried at all.

10. FOCUS ON YOURSELF

This is by far the most important tip on the list. Pretty much every DOTA player on Earth falls into the trap of blaming their teammates or blaming RNG or blaming anyone but themselves. But if you want to improve you need to spend your mental energy focusing on what’s important, and that’s you.

The only thing that you can control is YOU. How YOU played the game, how YOU reacted to your toxic teammates and so on. Nigma’s GH once said that “In a single game, you should be able to pick out 50 of your own mistakes before you even look at your team”.

That’s the mindset you should strive for if you want to gain MMR. And I’m not saying it’s easy, in fact it’s super hard to rise above it all, DOTA is a triggering game! But try your best to focus solely on yourself and ignore everything else.

Now go gain MMR!

Ultimately, there’s no quick and easy way to cheat the system. If you want to see improvement, you’ll have to work for it. Apply the tips here to your grind, and you should be seeing results. It’s important to remember that these tips only work if you use them consistently, so keep at it!

As much as gaining MMR is rewarding, it shouldn’t be the be-all-end-all. Don’t forget that at the end of the day, Dota 2 is a fun game, and that’s why we all love it so much. Try to find a balance between try-harding and having fun that works for you.

See you lads in Immortal real soon.

Gabe

Gabe "TCGDota" Phillips

| Twitter: @TCGdota | Twitch: tcgdota

TCG is a 7k MMR dota player from Australia. His special skills include staying positive in solo queue and playing the Maracas.