Learn Dota 2 League Rules and Season Walkthrough

This will serve as both a list of League rules and an explanation of how a standard LD2L season progresses. Feel free to contact the League Admins via Discord if you have any questions or if any rules need clarification.

  1. Signing Up
  2. The Draft
  3. Team Management
  4. Regular Season
  5. Playoffs
  6. Broadcasting and Spectating
  7. Standins and Free Agents
  8. Graduating

Signing Up

  1. Signups for all LD2L divisions and events are handled via the League website using your Steam Account.

  2. Your handle on the League website defaults to your Steam handle, and should be something consistent and recognizable to the League Admins. This can be edited on your profile page if necessary.

  3. The player statement portion of the signup should be used to provide information to potential Captains such as your availability for team practice and preferred positions. Keep in mind you may be drafted to play a position other than your preferred one depending on team needs.

  4. In order to be eligible to participate in the regular LD2L division either as a drafted player or as a standin/free agent you must:

    • Be below 3000 MMR
    • Be vouched on the League website by a previous League participant.
    • Have public matchmaking data exposed on dotabuff/opendota.
  5. In order to be eligible to participate in the LD2L Masters division either as a drafted player or as a standin/free agent you must:

    • Be between 2500 and 4000 MMR
    • Be vouched on the League website by a previous League participant.
    • Have public matchmaking data exposed on dotabuff/opendota.
  6. Players between 2500 and 3000 MMR may sign up for either or both divisions, but may only be drafted to one team (since the divisions are played concurrently). Players who sign up for both divisions will be assigned a division by the Admins according to league needs.

The Draft

  1. Each regular season team will have 6 fixed players consisting of a Captain and 5 drafted players, Masters division teams will have only 5 fixed players. The Captain is responsible for all official communication with the Admins and other Captains.

  2. Captains will be selected at the end of the signup period depending on the number of draft eligible players.

  3. The draft pool will consist of five players per Captain (four for Masters), ensuring everyone in the pool will get drafted.

  4. The draft pool will be determined by signup date on a first-come first-served basis. Remaining signups will compose the Free Agent pool. Players who do not meet the requirements to be draft eligible (outlined above) will not be included in the draft pool.

  5. Draft order will be determined for each round by the average MMR of the partially-drafted teams, lowest to highest. This average is calculated based on the MMRs submitted at signup.

  6. For the purposes of the draft, all players below 1000 MMR will count toward the team average as 1000.

Team Management

  1. Captains should submit a team name to Admins and get it approved before the first week of matches.

  2. Captains must also create a team within the Dota client, and add your players to it. This team should be used for all League matches, and the name of your team on the League website should be edited to match the in-game name.

  3. There are no player trades, swaps, or package deals.

  4. All players, if present, must be given the opportunity to play at least once in each series.

  5. Players should, in general, abide by their Captains' decisions regarding lineups, roles, draft, etc. Captains should, in general, take players' wishes into account when making these decisions. Conflicts should be handled internally where possible. If conflicts cannot be resolved, Admins should be contacted via PM. Discussion of internal team conflicts in public League Discord channels is strongly discouraged.

  6. Disbands, kicking players, and leaving teams are strongly discouraged and may result in being unvouched or losing Captain permissions for future seasons, depending on circumstances. Admins should be consulted regarding any of these actions. Unless a substantial reason is provided to the Admins, the standard penalty for abandoning a team will be a ban for the next LD2L season.

  7. Captains may, if they wish, recruit friends or community members to help coach their team. Coaches may not communicate with team members during the draft or game, but may communicate with team members between games. If a Captain would like a coach but doesn't have anyone they can ask, they should make a request on the League Discord. We have lots of high MMR community members and associates who may be happy to help. The Admins do not, however, promise to provide a Coach for every team.

Regular Season

  1. The regular season consists of seven weeks of match play.

  2. Regular season matches are played in a best-of-2 (bo2) format on Sundays at 5 PM Eastern on the USEast server.

  3. Matches may be played on another server if both Captains agree. If no other agreement is reached, the match should be played on the default server. Alternate server matches must be confirmed to the League Admins by both Captains via Discord.

  4. Matches may be rescheduled if both Captains agree. If no other agreement is reached, the default time is binding. Reschedules must be confirmed to the League Admins by both Captains via Discord.

  5. Rescheduled matches may be completed earlier in the week of a scheduled match, or no later than 30 hours after the default time.

  6. Each won game in a match is worth a point toward playoff seeding. Wins by forfeit or bye count as wins for playoff qualifying purposes.


  1. Pairings will be released on a week-to-week basis via the League website, typically on Mondays unless matches have been delayed.

  2. Parings are determined by a modified Swiss-System. Teams will be paired against teams with a similar record avoiding rematches.

Match Rules

  1. Matches are expected to start on time. If a team does not have enough players at start time, they should request a standin from the available pool.

  2. Teams who opt to wait for a late player or who do not have their standin arranged on time will be given increasing draft penalties for the delayed game:

    Delay Draft Penalty
    5-10 minutes -30 seconds
    10-15 minutes -70 seconds
    15-25 minutes -110 seconds
    25+ minutes forfeit

    Both games of the series are forfeited after a 25 minute delay.

  3. The winner of the in-game coin flip has choice of first pick, second pick, radiant, or dire.

  4. The second game in the series is expected to start within 10 minutes of the conclusion of the first one. After that, draft penalties begin to apply:

    Delay Draft Penalty
    10-15 minutes -30 seconds
    15-20 minutes -70 seconds
    20-30 minutes -110 seconds
    30+ minutes forfeit
  5. The loser of the first game's coin flip has choice of first pick, second pick, radiant, or dire in the second game.

  6. A team may not use more than one standin for each game. If a team only has 3 players present they must forfeit the game or series. Teams in the Masters divsion may use 2 standins in a game with an admins permission.

  7. Players may not pause during the in-game draft. If the captain needs to step away during the draft, they should pass in-game captain to a player who is able to continue drafting. If a pause is still necessary once the draft has reached Strategy Time a reason should be provided to the other team.

  8. Each team is permitted up to ten minutes of pause time (up to 20 total) for technical or connectivity issues. A pause may be initiated at any time outside of an ongoing teamfight, and a succinct explanation of the reason provided in all-chat (regardless of all-chat allowance). BM pauses, tactical pauses, etc. are not permitted and will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

  9. Resuming from a pause is permitted once both teams have acknowledged they are ready to continue. If the team that did not initiate the pause is not ready to continue, their pause time is used for the remaining duration.

  10. If a team does not have pause time remaining, the match should be unpaused at that time. If pause is abused after time has expired to continue delaying the game, an Admin will determine if a forfeit loss is to be awarded. If an Admin is not in the lobby, the game should be played to conclusion (if possible) and will be reviewed afterwards.

  11. If a player disconnects before first blood and cannot reconnect, the game can be remade with a fresh draft replacing the disconnected player. Suspected abuse of this rule will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

  12. All-chat is permitted unless and until a Captain requests no all-chat. No all-chat requests may be made in the lobby, at the start of the match, or at any time during the match. If a non-Captain requests no all-chat, his or her Captain should be asked to confirm.

  13. Bad manners, including but not limited to excessive flaming, harassment, racism, sexism, or other discrimination, are not permitted in or out of game, and punishment will be decided on a case by case basis ranging from individual warnings to being removed (even mid season).

  14. Fake, tactical, or taunting ggs are not permitted. If a Captain calls gg it is binding. If a player inadvertently calls gg the opposing Captain may request an Admin review after the game to determine if it impacted the outcome of the game.

  15. In general players should not engage in arguments over possible rules violations during the game. If there is a suspected rules violation a Captain should say so only once in all-chat (so that it shows up in the replay), and then request a replay review at the end of the game. Continued discussion of rules issues during the game will be considered bad manners. Declaring a potential rules violation is also automatically a request for no all-chat.


  1. The single-elimination playoff bracket will be posted the Monday(ish) after the conclusion of the regular season.

  2. Two way ties for playoff seeding will be settled first by head-to-head record, then by a tiebreaker score based on the team's "strength of schedule" (i.e. their and their opponents' regular season results).

  3. Three or more way ties for playoff seeding will be settled as follows:

    • If a team 2-0ed all other teams in the tie, they are ranked ahead of the rest of the group, and the rest of the group is treated as a new tie.
    • If no team 2-0ed all other teams in the tie, the tie is ranked by tiebreaker score.
  4. More complicated tie situations will be dealt with on a case by case basis.

  5. Playoff matches are played in a best-of-3 (bo3) format on Sundays at 5 PM Eastern on the USEast server.

  6. Reschedule/alternate server/match rules are the same for the playoffs as for the regular season.

  7. Should a third game be necessary, a new coin flip determines who has choice in the third game.

Broadcasting and Spectating

  1. Player experience is more important than broadcasters, streamers, or other observers. Captains are not required to consider caster availability when scheduling.

  2. Spectators, including broadcast slots, are permitted at Captain discretion for friends.

  3. Teammates are always permitted to spectate in game by using a broadcast slot for games they are not playing in.

  4. Teammates and friends may not communicate through any means during a game. If you suspect there is an issue with this, treat it as any other potential match rule violation. Mention it once in all-chat and play the game out, then request a replay review.

  5. "Official" or otherwise Admin-sanctioned spectators are always permitted in broadcast slots unless it causes technical issues.

  6. If an official streamer or broadcaster is assigned to a series, penalties will not be applied if they are late or the reason that a match is delayed. You must, however, wait for them unless instructed otherwise. Contact an Admin if your game is experiencing delays due to official broadcasters.

  7. Streamers, whether playing in the game or in an observer slot, should set a minimum delay of 2 minutes.

  8. All chatting is not permitted by spectators.

Standins and Free Agents

  1. If a player needs to be replaced for a single game or series, their Captain may request a standin. If a player needs to be replaced for the remainder of the season, their Captain may request a free agent.

  2. The initial standin/free agent pool is composed of players who signed up too late to make it into the draft pool and players who signed up requesting standin only status.

  3. Players who sign up and are vouched mid-season may join the standin/free agent pool.

  4. Players who miss three series over the course of the regular season will be considered to have abandoned their team, and a free agent replacement may be assigned.

  5. Drafted players who abandon, quit, or are kicked from their teams may not stand in or become free agents.

  6. Players drafted to other teams in the same division may stand in only if no other replacement is available. Admins must be notified of all cross-team standins.

  7. Players drafted to teams in other divisions may stand in if they do not have a concurrent match and they satisfy the MMR requirements.

  8. A permissible standin is one whose recorded MMR is less than or equal to the MMR the team player was drafted at. If there is reason to believe a standin's MMR has increased substantially from when it was recorded (e.g. their badge has gone up significantly) the Admins may request an updated MMR screenshot and adjust their recorded MMR accordingly.

  9. Teams consist of 6 players in order to reduce reliance on standins. If five of your six players are present for a match, Captains are encouraged to play their five players in both games unless it would create a substantial competitive disadvantage. Admins reserve the right to deny or allow any standin request if deemed appropriate. `