Dota 2 starts massive smurf ban wave, are you guilty?

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A smurf ban wave has left 90,000 Dota 2 accounts in the dust and Valve isn’t stopping there.

The smurf ban wave was revealed in an official Dota 2 blog post in early September of 2023. Valve claims that more than 90,000 smurf accounts were affected by the wave, with all of them being permanently banned from matchmaking.

In traditional Valve fashion, all of those accounts’ items are now locked to their accounts as well. In addition, Valve is introducing new punishments that could lead to penalties on smurfs’ main accounts as well.

Those affected by this ban may be even more concerned by Valve’s new smurf-detecting techniques. The company claims to be able to connect multiple accounts together to a single user, likely using IP addresses. This was already known, but Valve now says that players’ main accounts can be penalized for smurfing with conduct score reductions and even potential bans.

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How to protect yourself from the Dota 2 smurf ban wave

Smurfing is officially against the rules and Valve has repeatedly stated its intent to ban all alternate accounts through a variety of methods. However, if you still intend to smurf in Dota 2, there are a few things you should keep in mind after this massive ban wave.

First, it’s important to understand how Valve links accounts together. The most obvious technique is using matching IP addresses. Aside from the handful of cases where multiple players honestly use one computer, this is most likely the lynchpin of Valve’s technique. Obfuscating your IP address with a VPN or similar program could confuse the system. While impractical for most, simply playing on a different computer is the only surefire way to cheat the rules.

However, smurfing is now more perilous than ever due to Valve’s new punishments. Playing on alternate accounts can lead to your main account being punished, potentially putting all of your fancy arcanas at risk.

We recommend just sticking to your main account at all times, as it’s the only way to guarantee your safety.