Typical mistakes for low MMR players

Climbing MMR can be a real hassle. In the often stressful environment of ranked matchmaking, it is hard to focus on improving your own gameplay, which often leads to the development of bad habits. Here are some of the most common basic mistakes players in lower MMR brackets make and how to fix them.

Map awareness

We need wards!”- probably the most used sentence in all of Dota. Not only is its use highly inflationary, but it also represents a bundle of mistakes almost every low MMR player makes. First of all, let’s be clear, wards are one of the most helpful items in the game if used correctly. But that’s not all there is to it. Besides the fact that ward placement makes a huge difference (having two rune wards at minute 50 will not exactly help), there is a need to actively take advantage of them.
Just having wards out on the map will not cut it. Paying attention to the minimap is absolutely crucial. While laning or farming, start developing the habit of taking a quick look at the minimap every couple of seconds in order to keep up with enemy heroes missing of the map. Do not rely on your teammates to call those things out, they are in no way obliged to call “missing”. With just a bit of map awareness, you can collect that information yourself, so make sure to not blame your teammates if you overlooked an incoming gank.
Even without any wards down, you can deduce a tremendous amount of information from the minimap. With creeps and heroes moving around the map, you will always gain insight on several areas. Learning how to use that information can be vital to your MMR climb, since it helps  with predicting rotations, evaluating your own positioning and finding resources.
Image courtesy of Realms of Fightinge
When you can’t see any enemy heroes on the minimap, you have to prepare for the worst. As long as none of them show up, there is the potential for a five man gank moving towards you and/or your teammates. In that case, make sure to be in a position that is not exposed in any way and can be reached through TP scrolls. If the next tower or shrine is miles away, your team will not have the opportunity to come in and help you.
In turn, when all of the enemy team is showing on the minimap, expand into more exposed areas of the map to farm in order to maximize your gold and experience gain. At the same time, be aware that this security might not last long. Always consider the opponent's mobility when choosing your position. Heroes like Tinker Tinker or Spirit Breaker Spirit Breaker can shrink the safe zones around the map drastically compared to more stationary heroes. 

Camera movement

Using and placing your camera correctly is also a big part of gathering as much information as possible. New players often keep their field of view centered around their hero. This can be problematic, since most of the screen is then filled with an area that you do not need to gather information from, while cutting out areas that you need to check for enemy heroes. 
An example of poor camera placement hiding enemies at the top of the screen
Furthermore, when walking towards an already ongoing fight, inexperienced players tend to keep their camera pointed at their hero. With that, they miss out on crucial information on the current stage of the fight. If you watch the engagement instead of your hero walking there, you can tell which spells have already been used, as well as what the positioning and health/mana of enemies and allies is like. With that, you can plan ahead and be much more efficient with your spell usage once you reach the fight. 

Using time and resources effectively

Dota heavily emphasizes the efficient use of three core resources: gold, experience and time. Wasting any of these three will put you at a disadvantage, while making the most of them paves the way to victory. The most prevalent mistake amongst low MMR players in this context is simply wasting time. 
If played correctly, there is always something to do in Dota. Yet you see players wandering around with seemingly no purpose. As a rule of thumb, try to avoid walking from A to B without doing anything in the meanwhile. Especially supports in lower tiers get caught up in ineffective movement patterns in the early to mid game. While rotating, you can for example stack a camp or even farm it (if you have tools to do so quickly), pull and place a ward or deward.
Another common mistake is letting farm go to waste. In lower tier games, you will commonly experience a ten man standoff in the mid lane, with both teams hugging their respective tower for several minutes in fear of a fight that often will never materialize. In the meantime, resources in both sidelines are left unused. Farming one of these side lanes while being ready to teleport mid in case a fight does break out will help you create a significant farm advantage over the heroes that are just standing there waiting for something to happen.


A mechanic that is rarely used correctly by low MMR players is teleporting. While being one of the cheapest items in the game,  Town Portal Scroll is also one of the most important ones. TPs allow you to react to developments around the map within seconds, in case you are using them correctly.
First of all, always carrying a TP is a must. Having one in your inventory at all times will largely benefit your team, since it puts you in a position to help out teammates in tough spots as well as to rotate for pushes or ganks. With that, the enemy team is limited in their actions, since they have to account for additional heroes coming in when planning their next move.
Image courtesy of Tiny Tyke
Besides not carrying one in the first place, low MMR players also often misuse TPs. Teleporting into a lane with the sole purpose of farming is seldom a good idea. As soon as the enemy spots a teleport to a lane, they have one less hero to worry about in other parts of the map, giving them the freedom to push or start a teamfight. Therefore, one should never TP just to farm, with the only exception of cores teleporting back in after respawning in the laning stage.


Junglers are an essential part of every low MMR game, while there is close to no jungling in competitive or high level Dota. In lower brackets, players decide to jungle because they feel like they can create an advantage for their team, or simply because they do not want to play support. However, this puts their team at a significant disadvantage. 
A big part of that is the hero choice for jungling. While higher level players sometimes choose to jungle heroes such as Chen Chen, who have great impact on the game in the early laning stage, lower skilled players opt for heroes that stay in the jungle for a long time to farm, such as Legion Commander Legion Commander or Wraith King Wraith King. Having one hero sit in the jungle creates a 4 versus 5 scenario for the rest of the team, which will very likely lead to lost lanes around the map. The only way a jungler like that can be successful, is for his team to win despite the man disadvantage.
Image courtesy of dotawallpaper
However, this is where the second part of the mistake comes into play. At low ratings, players also do not know how to play against lineups with a jungler. Compared to other MOBAs, jungling is extremely easy to punish in Dota. With a correctly executed laning stage, a win against a jungler is almost guaranteed. One option is to send a roamer after the jungler frequently. Since the experience of neutral camps is shared in an AoE between all heroes present, just sitting besides a jungler will strip him of 50% of his experience gain, severely hurting his progression and therefore impact on the game.
Another option is to simply pick strong laners. With the resurgence of dual off lanes, this approach has become even easier. A dual off lane can easily pressure the safe lane farmer, who has only one support to work with. With the enemy carry’s farm crippled, your win chances are looking bright already. At the same time, the jungler’s mid and off lane does not receive any help either, while their opponents have an additional support to back them up. 

It’s all about the basics

As you can see, the mentioned mistakes are very general ones. Despite Dota being a game full of complicated mechanics replete with details, basics like that make a huge difference. Taking them to heart is the first step towards raising your MMR. Don’t let what others do in your bracket affect your learning curve, but have an open mind and keep improving! 
AuthorKardinalR Date 2 April 2017, 16:45 Views117241 Comments0
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