You have the perfect Dota 2 hero pick planned yet they’re inexplicably banned when you go to pick them. We’ve all been in that situation, so why do some Dota 2 heroes randomly get banned in each match?
Dota 2’s ban system is a strange mechanic that’s never fully explained in-game. Players can nominate one ban each, only for a completely different set of characters to get removed from the pool. To add further confusion, the pro scene ban system has a completely different ruleset. Here’s a straightforward explanation of how hero bans work in Dota 2.
In ranked all pick, each player gets a chance to nominate one hero for a ban. Heroes cannot be nominated more than once. Each nomination only has a 50% chance of success, which is rolled individually. This means that all 10 of the nominated bans can get ignored due to chance.
After the nominated bans, the Dota 2 system bans additional heroes until 16 total picks are banned. The criteria for choosing the additional bans is not quite clear, but Valve states that it is tied to the hero’s ban rate at that match’s average MMR. At higher ranks, common ban nominees like Meepo and Broodmother are more likely to get banned. Unranked and turbo mode have no such ban system.
Things work completely differently in the esports world. Dota 2 esports use Captain’s Mode, a game mode that completely overhauls the drafting stage. In Captain’s Mode, hero bans work 100% of the time. Dota 2 teams alternate between banning and picking several times to form their lineups.
Captain’s Mode draft rules give each team two alternating bans before any heroes are picked. For this example, let’s assume radiant has the first pick. Radiant picks the first hero and then dire gets to pick two in a row, commonly called the “combo pick.” Radiant drafts one more hero, which then prompts three more rounds of bans. Dire picks its third hero, then radiant gets its own combo pick before dire picks again. Teams get to ban two more heroes before choosing their final Captain’s Mode hero. In this case, dire gets an advantage by picking its final hero with perfect information.