What happens if two people pick the same Dota 2 hero forever?

By Kenneth Williams


Apr 19, 2022

Reading time: 2 min

It sucks when your opponent picks the same hero that you wanted to play, but what if that happened for every single hero in Dota 2?

Dota 2 usually handles people picking the same hero in Ranked All Pick with grace. The hero gets banned, and both players move on to another pick. This is especially common when new builds take over the meta, but it happens with more niche picks all the same. A double pick ban is rare, but what happens if both players just keep picking the same hero over and over again? We have finally found the answer.

To test this, we set up a private lobby using the Ranked All Pick draft rules. Once the initial round of bans were over, the two players picked the same hero over and over again until something weird happened. We originally anticipated the test to take a long time, but it actually resolved quite quickly. 

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The answer is that the pick bans continue for two heroes, then whoever locks in a hero first will have their pick honored. It’s somewhat anticlimactic, but it’s probably for the best. Otherwise, mischievous players could ban out the entire roster and soft lock all 10 players out of the game. Strangely, the chat will send different messages to the players based on who picked first. The second one will see that the hero has been banned while the picker will see nothing.

How many heroes can two people ban by picking them at the same time?

Dota 2 bans a few heroes at the start of each game, but is it possible to ban everyone by pick-banning every phase?

Based on the finding above, no. Assuming that 20 heroes are banned at the start of the pick phase, that leaves 123 remaining choices. Even if all 10 players conspire to pick the same hero, that can only ban 20 additional Dota 2 heroes. It’s possible that Dota 2 treats the two-hero pick ban limit as a “per phase” limit, so it could be as few as six additional bans.

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That leaves two players picking the same hero at the exact same time, which simply isn’t going to happen in a real-life situation. Dota 2 is a little finicky about actions happening on the same tick, such as simultaneous debuffs or even both ancients dying. The player with less ping probably gets the hero. And if both pick a third simultaneous hero at the exact same time with the exact same ping? The servers explode. Probably. We weren’t able to test.