The longest Dota 2 pro game ever cost the sanity of everyone involved.
Though Valve has made significant steps towards limiting game length, Dota 2 matches can still last a ridiculously long time. Recent Dota Pro Circuit seasons have included games lasting well over an hour, and pub matches have now reached well into the four-hour territory. However, pro games are famous for resolving quicker than normal ranked matches. That’s not always the case though, and one match from 2015 reigns supreme as the longest Dota 2 pro match every played.
The longest pro game in Dota 2 was over three hours
The longest game in Dota 2 history was between Cloud9 and ScaryFaceZ. It lasted three hours and 20 minutes, which remains the record for the longest Dota 2 esports match as of 2022.
The match happened on March 20, 2015 as part of the group stage for StarSeries Season 12: Europe and CIS. This Cloud9 lineup coincidentally featured some of the most iconic faces in Dota 2 including Johan “N0tail” Sundstein and Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao. The lineup for ScaryFaceZ was less star-studded, but did include future Virtus.pro star Roman “RAMZES666” Kushnarev.
From the draft, the game was expected to have a quick pace thanks to Chen and Anti-Mage on Cloud9. The star-studded squad took the first barracks at 40 minutes and returned 13 minutes later to finish the job, but a wild team fight ended poorly for C9.
From 53 minutes onward, the game turned into a total slog. Two hours of resets punctuated by the occasional ScaryFaceZ barrack falling or a death on EternaLEnVy. Buybacks, Roshan, Divine Rapiers. None of it made any sense in the jumbled landscape of a three hour match.
SFZ resorted to dropping Gems of True Sight in front of their ancients instead of buying sentries. Envy began carting a Gem and a Heart of Tarrasque in a courier to swap in after popping Black King Bar. Disruptor bought Mask of Madness to make his Rapiers more effective. At 140 minutes, the radiant ancient became exposed. It would stay alive for over an hour.
Dota 2’s longest match broke the Source engine
The absurdity of the longest Dota 2 pro game ever played didn’t just affect the players. Casters Owen “ODPixel” Davies and Kevin “Purge” Godec began playing dramatic music every time Cloud9 poked high ground only to disappointingly stop it when they realized nothing was happening. Their voices became strained, their attention spans shortened. For the only time in Dota 2 casting history, the commentator truly ran out of things to talk about.
Even Dota 2 itself went insane. After a ferocious teamfight in the radiant base, a massive Chen Hand of God particle effect glitched out and stayed on the field. Mikhail “QwisTa” Ilyashenko’s Bristleback began spontaneously combusting for no apparent reason. The Source engine itself began falling apart.
After one last death on EternaLEnVy’s Anti-Mage, ScaryFaceZ finally left the base to run down mid. After one final fight, SFZ clawed past the tier fours and blitzed the dire ancient to finally win the game. ODPixel and Purge broke through their malaise, happy to finally be free of the eternal game. After all that, Cloud9 and ScaryFaceZ saddled up for game two.
With the introduction of tier five neutral items and more meta development, it is very unlikely that this record will ever be broken. Players have simply gotten too creative and too skilled to stalemate each other for over three hours.
But even with all the fancy win conditions new players have come up, there’s always going to be a strategy that grinds it to a halt. The next time you find yourself trapped in base, think about ScaryFaceZ. If you hold out like them, maybe you too can break the very game itself on the way to a victory.