Come find out how the many Dota 2 game modes work to see which is the best fit for you

Dota 2 surprisingly has a lot of different game modes to play. From the classic All Pick to Ability Draft, there's a game mode for most occasions. And if the classic game modes don't scratch your itch, then there's always the Dota 2 Arcade. Regardless, with the current plethora of game modes, some players haven't had the chance to try them all. So here's a quick breakdown of each of the available game modes.

All Pick, the go to Dota 2 game mode

  • The most played and basic game mode.
  • Players draft from the full hero pool.
  • There's 75 seconds to draft your team.
  • Players lose 2 gold/second if they don't pick.

All Pick is the classic Dota 2 game mode, and as straightforward as you can get. This game mode the by far the most popular, and it has no unique modifications. Think of All Pick like the base line, while the other Dota 2 game modes are modified versions of All Pick.

In the All Pick game mode, players have 75 seconds to draft heroes from the full hero pool to form their team. Additionally, if a player hasn't selected a hero, they lose 2 gold per second to incentivize them into picking a hero. So in short:

Ranked Dota

  • Drafting phase included.
  • Teams select 2 Heroes at a time.
  • MMR is on the line.

In the same light, Ranked Dota 2 is played in an All Pick format with one added step. In Ranked Dota 2 has a drafting phase, just like in professional Dota 2. Although it's not as back and forth as Captain's mode drafting, there is a significant strategy to drafting in the Ranked Dota 2 game mode. Teams take turns selecting two heroes over 30 seconds. Then, both heroes are revealed to the other team. Then this process repeats itself until both teams have their drafts.

Typically for most drafts the pick order for ranked is as follows:

Pick number
What role you play

Turbo, the quickplay equivalent

  • All heroes get picked in the same phase.
  • Gold and Experience are doubled.
  • Game goes a lot faster.

Turbo is the Dota 2 equivalent to League of Legend's ARAM. This is a fast-paced Dota 2 game mode that works just like All Pick but the game state is faster. Specifically, both gold and experience gain has been doubled. On top of that, neutral items drop at earlier intervals and Towers are weaker.

The best part is the global shop and speedy couriers. Where you can by any item or component and have it delivered to you speedy. Most of the notable changes are as follows:

  • All experience gain is doubled
  • All creep bounties doubled
  • Bounty rune gold doubled
  • Wisdom rune experience doubled
  • No gold loss on dealth
  • Heroes respawn 25% faster
  • Ancients don't regenerate health
  • Neutral items spawn in half the time
    • Tier 1 at 3:30
    • Tier 2 at 8:30
    • Tier 3 at 13:30
    • Tier 4 at 18:30
    • Tier 5 at 30:00
  • Weaker towers
    • Tier 1 towers have 1350 health and 9 armor
    • Tier 2 towers have 2500 health and 16 armor
    • Tier 3 towers have 2500 health and 16 armor
    • Tier 4 towers have 2600 health and 21 armor
  • Couriers are fast (permanently hasted) with streamlined controls
  • Items can be bought and sold anywhere on the map

Single Draft, Dota 2's punishment game mode

  • No drafting.
  • Each player gets one random hero of each attribute.
  • Dota 2's punishment game mode (Don't play it if you don't have to).

Dota 2's Single Draft is the punishment game mode. This game mode is for masochists or (more likely) those who are being punished for abandoning games. This game mode has no draft phase or a wide selection of heroes. Rather, players have a random selection of four heroes given to them, that they need to pick from. One Strength hero, one Agility hero, one Intelligence hero, and of course, on Universal hero.

This game mode is used as the punishment game mode because this is the most painful game mode in Dota 2. Because essentially both teams random their heroes, playing specific positions or drafting solutions to problem heroes don't exist in Single Draft. Which makes games either stomps or hour-long slug fests. There's no in-between.

Random Draft, Chaos

  • Same drafting phase.
  • The Hero pool for both teams limited to 33 heroes.
  • Also works in Ranked!

Random Draft is a lesser-known game mode within Dota 2. This game mode works like All Pick but with a significantly smaller hero pool. Out of the current 124 Dota 2 heroes, in Random Draft, both teams select from a pool of 33 heroes.

With the significantly lower hero pool, games get a lot more complex when it comes to drafting and coming up with solutions. Uniquely, Random Draft is the only other Dota 2 game mode that contributes to your rank/MMR.

Ability Draft, Dota 2's most confusing game mode

  • Chaos. Pure chaos.
  • Build your own hero with other hero's abilities.
  • Drafting is completely different, with each player taking turns selecting their abilities.

The last non-arcade and active dota 2 game mode is the most chaotic, and that is Ability Draft. This game mode gives players a random hero, and then they draft four abilities from a random pool of abilities. Although not every hero is enabled in Ability Draft, the majority of heroes are so no need to worry.

Once the game starts, each players hero's abilities (and some other heroes) are put into a pool to draft from. Each player has seven seconds to essentially create their own hero with three abilities and one ultimate.

And that's all the current active game modes in Dota 2! Although there have been more in the past like All Random or Least Played, they are relics of the past. However, you can still check out how they worked on the Dota 2 wiki here. Additionally, there's thousands of amazing custom arcade games in the Dota 2 arcade if the official game modes aren't to your liking.

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