How To Win The Mental Game Against Your Opponents
There is a wide variety of things that people talk about when it comes to the technical aspect of Dota 2. Which heroes to play, which items to buy, understanding power spikes and so on. But the other side which is often forgotten is the mental aspect.
Dota 2 is just as much a mental game as it is a technical one – and it’s the primary factor why so many players are stuck in the same skill bracket for years and years, even if they are improving their technical skills over time.
In this guide, we talk about ways in which you can motivate your team and keep them performing to the best of their ability. Simultaneously, you also need to use every tool available to you to make sure the opposite happens for the enemy team. Let’s take a look at how you can accomplish that.
Tips, taunts, sprays and voice lines
Many players don’t realise that Valve has provided you with the tools you need to throw your opponents off their game.
While some of them need to be purchased, others can be attained for free. Using them at the right place and at the right time can make the difference between an enemy team throwing the game or letting them break your team’s morale first. Don’t underestimate their efficacy!
While Dota Plus generally needs a monthly subscription, tips are available to all players. This is an incredibly powerful tool that you should save for the most weak-minded opponents. Usually, this is the carry or mid player on the team.
Tipping them after a successful gank in the early game is the start to that process of mental breakdown. Keep in mind, tipping them constantly over and over again can lose its potency and not have the desirable effect. Save them for when they try to get a solo kill but fail, or lose a 1v1 matchup they thought they would win. And if they ‘rage buyback’ at any point in the game, tipping them will send them into a full-blown spiral of tilt that they’ll probably never get out of.
The same goes for voice lines and sprays. Currently, you can get them by purchasing supporters packs for professional teams in the client. But they burn quite a hole in your pocket and only last for a temporary duration. You do, however, get a handful of voice lines if you’re part of a guild that is platinum tier, and sprays if its gold tier.
Getting platinum tier for your guild actually isn’t as difficult as it seems. Get your guild-mates together and complete a couple of challenges every week, and you’re sure to get there. But remember, just like tips, use your voice lines sparingly and at the right time, so as to not lose their effect.
An added tip is that you can use sprays even after you’re dead, and they’ll appear near the spot where you died. Use them if the enemy team got an unfavourable trade from killing you. They’re quite underrated for what they can do!
Next up, taunts.
While taunts need to be purchased, they’re great at constantly annoying your opponents. Some of them are better than others, but a general tip is to use taunts that invoke the sound of animals. A sure-fire way of breaking your opponent’s mental fortitude!
Lastly, a bonus tip that you’ve probably never heard of before. Open your console and type bind [your key] “say /laugh”, where [your key] is whichever hotkey you wish to set to this. Pressing it will make your hero laugh in the game, and can be heard by all players on the enemy team, even when they don’t see you.
Use it in moments like getting a successful deward or stealing their stacked neutral camps, and see them crumble under pressure!
The 2-loss rule
Breaking your opponent’s mental and causing them to tilt is only half of it. The other part is to make sure you’re not tilted and at the top of your game to pump out victories.
The rule is simple: if you lose two games in a row, don’t play a third. It might be easier said than done, but players will often try to continue grinding game after game in order to recover MMR from losses. It is a foolish mistake.
Playing over a dozen games a day and coming out at relatively the same place where you started will generally be a waste of time. Yes, there are things you can learn by playing, but it can affect your mental game as well. That is why, if you lose two games in a row, stop playing.
You could even take a small break, do a few chores, exercise or eat a snack and then come back after a while to continue playing. But if you decide to stop for the day and come back the next, it can take your mind off of those losses and relieve the pressure of having to gain that MMR back.
Furthermore, make sure you only play when you’re NOT tired, hungry, sleepy, irritated or have other important things to do on your mind. People generally play games to take their mind off things and have a good time. But Dota 2 is different. If you’re serious about the game and want to improve, you want to make sure you’re positive, optimistic, confident and motivated to win. Playing only a handful of games each day instead of grinding for long hours will make a drastic difference and help you consistently improve, bit by bit.
Let go of your ego
The final challenge. The ideal mindset you want to have when playing Dota 2 is to realise that you’re not the most important player in the game, or even the team.
You’re just a cog in a wheel and your purpose is to make sure your team functions like a well-oiled machine. Even if you’re playing the top priority farming position of a carry, you are no more or less important than your teammates to achieve victory and win the match.
The very opposite is observed in the lowest ranks. Players will tilt, rage, feed and complain over the smallest of things. They feel like they’re ‘owed’ a certain privilege from their teammates in the game, whether it’s last hits in the lane, space to farm freely, protection from potential death or even a certain level of respect.
The wise understand that they’re at their current MMR only because they belong there. And their teammates queued with them because they are also at that same skill level. Anything else is a lie.
Once you let go of your ego, even the most annoying things in the game will stop having a negative effect on you.
You won’t be fazed by missed last hits, failed dewards and unwarranted deaths.
Beyond that, letting go off your ego will stop you from tilting when the enemies use taunts, tips and voice lines to try to tilt you. Inculcate this mentality in yourself and you’re unstoppable. It’ll only be a matter of time before you reach your desired rank, and then strive to climb even higher.