A Dota 2 pro became Herald, here’s what happened next

By Kenneth Williams


Mar 11, 2023

Reading time: 2 min

A wild MMR glitch put a pro Dota 2 player into Herald matchmaking, and the results are not surprising. 

Former Dota 2 pro player He “Inflame” Yongzheng has recalibrated his MMR to 10, placing him at the very bottom of Herald matchmaking. This is likely due to a bug, which has since been fixed. However, this strange phenomenon resulted in an 8,000+ MMR player playing against the worst players in his region.

Here’s how his matches went and how much MMR he gained once the bug was fixed.

Inflame is a former Chinese Dota 2 pro who most famously played for LFY in 2017 and 2018. That squad earned third place at The International 20177, winning $2,592,231. Inflame is now a streamer, but he maintains his pedigree as a top-level offlaner. When recalibrating for his stream, some sort of glitch caused his MMR to drop all the way to the floor. 

Dota 2 pro Inflame drops to Herald

Screenshots from his profile show Inflame going from Immortal matchmaking directly to Herald. Unsurprisingly, he began stomping matches with a massive number of kills and very few deaths. In his first six games after the bug, he earned 117 kills with just eight deaths. He streamed the matches live on his Douyo channel, showing stomp after stomp. Smurfing is against the rules of Dota 2, but there’s not really a precedent for this sort of situation.

However, someone at Valve seems to have taken notice of the situation. After 18 games in the trenches, Inflame started queueing into other Immortal-level players while still having just a few hundred MMR. After one loss, he experienced a massive MMR growth spurt up to 7,910, placing him solidly back in Immortal.

That number is lower than his starting MMR, but at least he achieved one of Dota 2’s most difficult feats by finally breaking out of Herald.

What MMR are pro players in Dota 2?

The MMR of pro Dota 2 players varies quite a bit, but they generally start at around 8,500 and scale past 10,000.

The current highest MMR in Dota 2 belongs to Alimzhan “watson” Islambekov, who is the top-ranked player in North America. His exact MMR is not known, but it is confirmed to be over 12,000. His rivals for the position include Souliya “JaCkky” Khoomphetsavong and Danil “gpk” Skutin, who are ranked first on the Southeast Asian and European MMR leaderboards, respectively. All three play for top-tier teams in their respective regions. 

watson highest MMR Dota 2 pro

However, there have historically been pro players with less than half of their MMR. Most famously, Joakim “Akke” Akterhall was ranked around 5,000 MMR when Alliance won The International 2013. Nigma Galaxy captain Kuro “KuroKy” Takhasomi is notably pub-shy, playing relatively few games in matchmaking. He was allegedly not even on the leaderboards when Team Liquid won The International 2017.


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