Battle Cups - How Dota is meant to be played

Battle Cups - How Dota is meant to be played

Battle Cups allow casual players to enjoy the coordinated and “pro” gameplay that usually they can only spectate. This is how Dota should be played.

The weekly Battle Cups are one of the coolest features Valve has ever introduced to promote the competitiveness of the game.

Years ago, we assumed that ranked matchmaking would have brought toxic-free games, with teams trying their best to achieve victory - all our predictions failed.

Ranked matchmaking is a solo contest

Ranked games failed to deliver a strategic environment. The party-queue has always been a trivial element, often unbalanced and overshadowed by the solo-queue.

The latter is literally a solo competition in which the strongest players must prove their worth. To reach a better rank they must carry a team that 50% of the times will try to drag them down.

The new ranked seasons have not altered this tendency. Overall, the new system has many pros, and it is indeed a positive addition to the game, but the MMR distribution for most of the community remained the same.

In my opinion, the medals are purely an attempt to reduce the toxicity of the community by partially disguising the numeric MMR.

Battle Cups - Strategy in pubs

Dota has been created and optimized as a team game. Thanks to Battle Cups, even Heralds and Guardians (let’s use the new trench terms) can experience the real Dota, playing in a team with an actual captain and a game strategy to follow.

They thought that pubs were a world monopolized by reports, toxicity, leavers, griefers, and harassment, but finally have been able to see a ray of hope.

Playing with a strategy in mind and an organized team is something that standard pub games will very rarely offer.

Image: Valve

Image: Valve

Many players are waiting

Over the years, many players stopped playing the game due to the problems affecting the matchmaking. That playerbase isn’t lost as most of them are still following the competitive scene.

Battle Cups partially reverted this trend in the past, and I am confident the number of players will grow again once they will be back.

New challenges

Battle Cups are also a way to take a break from the usual MMR grind, and provide new challenges for everyday players.

Even those that never won one continued playing and enjoying the games every week. They tried harder and harder to attain a better placement.

Do you remember the first time your team reached the quarterfinals or the semifinals? How many trained with their stack of friends for the entire Summer and eventually achieved the goal?

Gaben, take our money!

The Battle Cups had an entry fee, but I know many that are even ready to pay a seasonal subscription to have them back. Valve could create seasons based on the new ranked system and give rewards to the teams placed in the top 100.

The rewards aren’t indispensable, but are a nice extra to motivate the players and justify the cost of the ticket:

  • A skin that can be obtained only winning a Battle Cup in that season.

  • Extra unique goodies for the top 100, and something better for the top 10-3.

A monetary reward isn’t necessary, but considering the amount of money Valve is pouring in the Dota Pro Circuit, a $100,000 prize pool for a 6-months long Battle Cup season shouldn’t be an issue.


TI6 and Fall 2016 Battle Cup effigies - Images from Dota 2 Wiki


Not just on Saturday

Not everyone is free or at home on Saturday. We need Battle Cups both on Saturday and on Sunday, to accommodate as many people are possible.

Meet new friends

We all know that the social features in Dota 2 are lacking, but the Battle Cups are a great way to find people that care about the game.

The party finder tool wasn’t perfect, but you could still find nice players that simply wished to meet new friends for a toxic-free weekend of Dota.

One could easily establish long-lasting gaming relationships out of these weekends, as people really get to know each others when playing “competitively” in a tournament.

Image: Valve

Image: Valve


Valve is currently reworking the Battle Pass system, and I have estimated we will have it back prior the Chinese New Year.

Still, I think the Battle Cups should be a separate feature available during all the year. What’s wrong in demanding a nice weekend of Dota 2?

Update: Battle Cups are back!

Beware Dota 2 players, our game isn’t the only one with such issues.

In a recent survey on over one thousand Overwatch players, 69% of them confirmed that the toxicity of the community and the inefficiency of the report system are the main problems in the game.


Header image: Valve


Vincenzo is an esports writer with five years of experience. Former head editor for Natus Vincere, he has produced content for DreamHack, FACEIT, DOTAFire, 2P, and more. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.