How to Unlock Ranked Matches in Dota 2 Easily?

Learn what you need to do to play ranked in Dota 2. We will show you how to start as quickly as possible playing ranked matchmaking in Dota 2!

Updated on Mar 09, 2024
Fact checked by Marc Hammes |
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How to Unlock Ranked Matches in Dota 2 Easily?

We all know that Dota 2 is an incredibly fun game, especially when enjoyed with friends. However, the majority of the player base enjoys Dota as a competitive game where the enjoyment comes from learning and improving every day. This is why ranked matches are the most popular game mode in Dota.

However, before players can jump into ranked games, there are a few requirements that they will have to complete first. Let’s check out how to unlock ranked matches in Dota 2!

Play 100 Hours of Dota

The first and largest requirement that new players will need to complete in order to play ranked matchmaking is to play a total of 100 hours of match time in Dota 2. Match time is calculated differently from the normal "Hours Played" that we all know about, as the game will only count hours when you are actually in a game.

This will make the process longer and will take you lots of time before you are able to play your first ranked game. Realistically, we are looking at around 150 to 200 hours of real time, as queue times and picking phases will not be calculated by the game.

What game modes can I play?

Fortunately, you are allowed to play any Valve official game mode to grind these 100 hours in. The unranked games that you can play include All Pick, Turbo, Ability Draft, Random Draft, and more!


Why should I play All Pick?

However, it is recommended that you stick to playing All Pick matches, as this game mode will be the exact same one that you’ll be playing in an actual ranked match. For the sake of your progression, it is best to get used to the All Pick mode instead of other game modes to learn a few heroes to help prepare you for ranked matchmaking.

In addition, playing unranked matches in All Pick will allow the game to determine your “Hidden MMR,” which will later on be used to determine the skill level you’re in for ranked mode. A player’s Hidden MMR will be calculated based on their stats such as KDA, and the skill groups of the other players in the game.

With Hidden MMR in mind, most players will try their best in unranked games to reach higher Hidden MMRs and boost their chances of playing in high-tier ranked matches and reaching a high matchmaking rating.

Link a Phone Number

Once you have played 100 hours of match time, a second requirement will need to be completed before you can play ranked games.

The second requirement that you’ll need to complete before playing ranked is quite simple: linking a phone number to your Steam account. Every Steam account will need to be linked to one unique phone number in order to be eligible to play ranked.

No phone number can be used for two steam accounts.

How to link a phone number in Dota 2

The process is actually very straightforward for this requirement. After finishing the required number of hours, the ranked section will finally be open. There, you’ll notice a "Manage Steam Phone Number" button. Simply click on it and proceed to follow the steps.


The Steam client will pop up, with simple steps that you’ll need to follow. An SMS confirmation message will be sent to your mobile device after putting in your phone number. Don’t worry, as this is only a one-time confirmation. Once you’ve successfully set it up, Steam won’t ask for any additional confirmation for playing ranked matches in Dota 2.

Why do I need to link my phone number?

Valve has implemented this rule to link a phone number, which most players find to be a hassle. However, this is done to reduce the number of smurf accounts that exist in the game. Though it won’t completely eliminate smurfs from the game, it will at least reduce the amount of high ranked Dota players in lower brackets.

However, most players simply borrow phone numbers from their family members to make a new Steam account as it only requires a one-time confirmation.

Playing 10 Calibration Matches

After completing the two requirements above, you’ll finally be eligible to play ranked games. However, it is important to keep in mind that your first ten matches will be calibration matches, also known as placement matches.

Here are a few things that will be useful to know about these calibration games:

  1. All of your first ten ranked matches will be calibration games. There are no pauses for these matches.
  2. These matches will determine where you stand in the ranking system.
  3. Your rank will be displayed as “Unranked” until you have completed all ten calibration games.
  4. Your hidden MMR, stats, the match’s outcome, and how well you do against many different ranks in the enemy team will all be considered in finding your matchmaking rating.
  5. After the ten matches have been completed, you will be awarded with one of the eight Dota 2 medals.

Why did Valve add so many requirements?

Yes, it may be a hassle to complete all of these steps just to be able to play ranked games, but we think that these requirements help keep the game healthy.

Assist new players in preparing for ranked play

Dota 2 is arguably one of the hardest video games in the world, so it is completely normal for new players to have a hard time learning how to play it. That is why Valve has forced every player to at least play 100 hours of match time, so that these new players will be somewhat ready to play ranked games.

If the required number of hours were reduced, inexperienced new players with no idea how to play the game would invade ranked games and ruin the experience for players.

Reduce smurf and bought accounts

One of Dota 2’s biggest issues that has been occurring for years now is the inevitable case of smurfs and account selling and buying. By forcing new accounts to play 100 hours' worth of matches, smurfs and boosters will have to spend so much time playing normal games before they can hop into ranked mode.


This will discourage smurfs and boosters from making new accounts, as the process just takes too long for it to be worth it. Though there will inevitably be smurfs who still go through this process, these requirements will at least reduce the number significantly.

That’s basically all you need to know to unlock ranked matches! Though we can all agree that these requirements are extremely annoying and waste more time than they should, we still firmly believe that this is the right thing to do to make sure that Dota 2 stays healthy.

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