Is all pick the best way to play Dota? Here are the best modes

By Kenneth Williams


Sep 18, 2021

Reading time: 3 min

Dota 2 matchmaking has a lot more to offer beyond the standard all pick.

Dota 2’s decade-long history is marked by developer attempts to create new and interesting game modes. Some have succeeded while others have failed, but almost all of them are still available to play in custom lobbies. Here are the three best and three worst game modes available in Dota 2.

The best Dota 2 game modes

Ability Draft is easily the most fleshed-out alternative Dota 2 game mode. ability draft assigns each player a random hero but removes all of their abilities. Players then take turns drafting abilities from a shared pool of spells. Ability draft tests Dota 2 knowledge in a very unique way. It’s common for ability draft veterans to dunk on higher-ranked players due to understanding the mode better. Valve seems to agree that ability draft is one of the best Dota 2 game modes and the devs have several special rules and interactions for the format to keep it from becoming a buggy mess.

Reverse draft is one of the rarest Dota 2 game modes, but it really should be played more often. In reverse draft, captains pick heroes for the opposing side. Both sides are guaranteed to wind up with crazy lineups that they would never normally play. Reverse draft is one of the best Dota 2 game modes to play after a day of grinding ranked.

Reverse draft graced the world with the best trash talk moment in Dota 2 history at The International 2013 All-Star Match courtesy of Danil “Dendi” Ishutin. 

Anyone that’s unsatisfied with all pick should give random draft a try. Random draft automatically bans heroes until only 50 remain in the pool. Both teams must assemble lineups from that pool. This can result in strange picks to fill out a draft, but both teams are almost guaranteed to have some jankiness to them. While ability draft tests spell knowledge and reverse draft tests playstyle knowledge, random draft forces players to think about the drafting stage in a unique way.

The worst Dota 2 game modes

1v1 solo mid is a useful tool for getting acquainted with new mid lane matchups but even 1v1’s biggest fans will admit that it doesn’t really replicate a real game of Dota 2. Players have to agree to several rules regarding runes, jungling, items, and more to make 1v1 mid close to fair. The mode used to be featured as a side event for big tournaments as the ultimate dueling ground. Now, 1v1 solo mid’s only purpose is a battleground for toxic teammates looking to prove a point.

There’s a reason that low priority players are forced to play single draft. Otherwise, nobody would play one of the worst Dota 2 alternate game modes. Single draft forces each player to pick from a minuscule selection of one strength hero, one agility hero, and one intelligence hero. If you wind up with Chen, Io, and Meepo as your picks, tough luck.

It’s easy to wind up with an extremely imbalanced team if your squad is selfish. Considering single draft is synonymous with low priority, that’s normally the case.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with turbo mode. Its just a normal Dota 2 match with a much faster pace. The problems come when you stop playing turbo. Playing normal ranked after a turbo session feels like walking through mud. The increased gold and experience gain also encourages less-than-optimal hero picks for the sake of scaling. As the only game mode that can make you worse at the real game, turbo mode ends our list of the worst Dota 2 game modes.