DotA Game Modes

dota I’m a fan of Warcraft III: Defense of the Ancients (DotA) as I’ve stated recently. The game is a blast and depending on the players, heroes chosen, items acquired, and game settings enabled – the game can be drastically different each time. When hunting for a good game to join on Battle.net, its important to watch out for the various game modes being advertised as these modes change the way the game is played from a strategic standpoint and you don’t want to go into it blind.



I often get lost with the two letter acronyms for the game modes, so here’s a list:

Primary Game Modes

Mode Name Command Input Abbreviated Command Input Description Incompatible With Version Introduced In
Normal Mode None None This is the Default mode. It is automatically selected when no other primary mode is during the first 15 seconds. Players may pick heroes from taverns belonging to their team.
All Pick -allpick -ap Everyone may pick heroes from any tavern. Creeps spawn starting at the 2 minute mark.
All Random -allrandom -ar Every player gets a random hero from any tavern Reverse Mode
Team Random -teamrandom -tr Every player gets a random hero from the taverns belonging to their team Reverse Mode, Death Match
Mode Random -moderandom -mr Randomly picks a mode from All Random, All Pick, Team Random and Normal Mode. Reverse Mode, Death Match. 6.28
Single Draft -singledraft -sd Three different random heroes are offered to each player, one for each Primary Attribute. Each player chooses which of the three heroes they want by typing -pick 1/2/3. 6.50
League Mode -leaguemode -lm All forms of random are disabled. 10 players required. The teams will pick in alternating orders, one team picking one hero, the other team picks two heroes, the first team picks two heroes, the other team picks two heroes, the first team picks their two last heroes, the other team picks their last hero (1-2-2-2-2-1). Each player has 20 seconds to pick a hero, otherwise one is randomed for him/her. The team which has the first pick is random. Can only pick from your side, Sentinel or Scourge, like Normal Mode. All secondary game modes except Shuffle Players, No Swap, No Repick, and Terrain Snow. 6.21
Extended League -extendedleague -xl All forms of random are disabled. 10 players required. Both team leaders (blue for Sentinel, pink for Scourge) may remove up to 4 heroes each from all available ones in the first 20 seconds. Players then pick from the remaining heroes like in League Mode. Creeps spawn starting at the 3 minute mark. All secondary game modes except Shuffle Players, No Swap, No Repick, and Terrain Snow. 6.43
Random Draft -randomdraft -rd Needs an even amount of players on each team to be activated. 22 random heroes are picked from all available ones and placed into 2 taverns (available for both Sentinel and Scourge). The remaining heroes are removed, as well as the rest of the taverns. Players then pick from those two taverns like in League Mode. Mirror Match, Death Match, All Agility, All Intelligence, All Strength, Same Hero, Reverse Mode 6.39
Vote Random -voterandom -vr Three random matchups will be chosen, and each player gets to cast a vote on which of the three matchups they want, using -option 1/2/3. Needs an even amount of players on each team to be activated. Mirror Match, Death Match, All Agility, All Intelligence, All Strength, Same Hero, Reverse Mode 6.35

Secondary Game Modes

Mode Name Command Input Abbreviated Command Input Description Incompatible With Version Introduced In
Death Match -deathmatch -dm If you die, you will have to pick a new hero once you can respawn. If a random primary mode was selected, you will receive a hero according to that random mode. A team loses if it has 44 deaths (you can change this value with -lives # command), or if its ancient is destroyed. All Intelligence, All Agility, All Strength, Reverse Mode, Same Hero, Mirror Match. 6.21
Reverse Mode -reverse -rv The Sentinel’s players pick the Scourge’s team and the Scourge’s players pick the Sentinel’s team. Needs an even amount of players on each team to be activated. Death Match, Same Hero. 6.38
Mirror Match -mirrormatch -mm Requires that both teams have the same number of players. After one minute, each player pair (blue – pink, teal – gray, purple – light blue, yellow – dark green, orange – brown) will have their heroes replaced with either one of the two they had. In the end, each player pair has the same hero, and both teams have the same matchup. Same Hero, Death Match. 6.30
Duplicate Mode -duplicatemode -du The same hero can be picked or randomed by multiple players. 6.33
Shuffle Players -shuffleplayers -sp The teams will be randomly shuffled. This includes which colour you have and which side you are on. Also evens the number of players in both teams if possible. 6.29
Same Hero -samehero -sh All players will have the hero that blue picks. Mirror Match, Reverse Mode, Death Match. 6.33
All Agility -allagility -aa Only Agility heroes will be allowed. All Strength, All Intelligence, Death Match. 6.28
All Intelligence -allintelligence -ai Only Intelligence heroes will be allowed. All Strength, All Agility, Death Match. 6.28
All Strength -allstrength -as Only Strength heroes will be allowed. All Intelligence, All Agility, Death Match. 6.28
Item Drop -itemdrop -id When you die, a random slot in your inventory will drop whatever it holds. You no longer lose money when dying.
Pooling Mode -poolingmode -pm Items will not take on their muted forms when carried by someone other than the original buyer. 6.52
Easy Mode -easymode -em Towers are weaker, experience is gained faster, and you get more periodic gold. Renamed from -shortmode / -sm in v6.33
No Powerups -nopowerups -np No runes will spawn.
Super Creeps -supercreeps -sc Every now and then, a super creep may spawn for each side and follow the creeps in either lane. The weakest super creep is the Siege Golem, a bit stronger is the Scary Fish, and the Ancient Hydra is the strongest one.
Mini Heroes -miniheroes -mi Makes all heroes spawn at half size. Only model size is affected, collision size and Illusion size remain the same. 6.54
Only Mid -onlymid -om No creeps spawn at the top and bottom lane, and towers and buildings in those lanes are invulnerable. Same as -ntnb. 6.42
No Top -notop -nt No creeps spawn at the top (left) lane, and towers there are invulnerable. 6.44
No Mid -nomid -nm No creeps spawn at the middle lane, and towers there are invulnerable. 6.44
No Bottom -nobot -nb No creeps spawn at the bottom (right) lane, and towers there are invulnerable. 6.44
No Swap -noswap -ns Swap commands do not work. 6.44
No Repick -norepick -nr Repick command does not work. 6.48
Terrain Snow -terrainsnow -ts This transforms the current terrain into a snow terrain. This is a very experimental mechanism and is still very much a ‘Work in Progress’ in the visuals department. Added in v6.48 as game command -terrain snow; renamed in v6.48b.
Observer Info -observerinfo -oi Displays additional hero information to observers when their cursor is hovered over heroes. 6.52

Game Commands

  • -repick: Repick Gives you a new hero instead of the one you already have, at a cost. Can only be used once, in the first minute, but not in league mode. Repick costs 150 gold normally, but in -ar and -tr it costs 400 gold.
  • -ma: Matchup Displays which opponent controls which hero.
  • -ms: Move Speed Displays your heroes movement speed.
  • -unstuck: Unstuck Channels for 60 seconds, then moves your hero back to your base.
  • -recreate: Recreate Available for N’aix, Terrorblade, Dragon Knight and Banehallow. Use when close to the fountain if you have lost control of your hero (metamorphosis problem). 200 seconds channeling.
  • -deathon/off: Death Timer Toggles on and off a new death timer to show you your respawn without needing to open the scoreboard.
  • -disablehelp: Disable Help Disable help: Makes Chen’s Test of Faith (teleports you back to base) unable to teleport you.
  • -enablehelp: Enable Help Enable help: If -disablehelp has been activated, -enablehelp will make Chen’s Test of Faith able to teleport you again.
  • -cs: Creep Stats Shows how many creeps you have killed, as well as how many you have denied.
  • -cson: Creep Stat Scoreboard On Shows a scoreboard for creep stats
  • -csoff: Creep Stat Scoreboard Off Hides the scoreboard for creep stats
  • -fleshstr: Flesh Strength Command for Pudge to view how much str has been gained from the ability.
  • -gameinfo: Game Info Displays some information on the different game modes that are used.
  • -hidemsg/unhidemsg: Toggle Hero Death Message Turn on/off the Hero death message spam.
  • -refresh: Refresh Refreshes PA’s blur so that if you were visible you will become transparent again. This does not affect evasion in any way.
  • -showdeny: Show Deny Show denies.
  • -swaphero: Swap Hero Only usable once, and only in the first 90 seconds. Brings up a menu where you can select a teammate whom you would like to change hero with. The player you choose will get a menu where he can either accept or decline your offer.

Updated for v6.43b

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