Captain’s Mode in Dota 2 makes for a fun change of pace in your pub queues. After all, competitive esports is an up-and-emerging market, soaring to new heights each year. The prospect of making it big in the scene is big, but the risks are manageable. In any game, there is a requirement for tournament games to have fairness for both teams. When things are fair, the games are exceptional in quality and more fun. Should we run this approach to MOBA games, the results are more or less the same.
Dota 2 employs various game modes to facilitate different kinds of games. One of these is Captain’s Mode, the standard mode for all tournament games. This mode has its roots in the Warcraft mod as a way for competitive games to be played. Now, it is in its most comprehensive state, with its terms and subculture surrounding it. Professional teams are used to this mode, but non-pros are not, how does Captain Mode work in pubs?
Captain’s Mode Ban Phase
The start of Captain’s Mode sees both teams on a hero selection screen with a unique chart on the right. This mode places two opposing captains in a position to draft both picks and bans for the whole game. When a hero is banned, they cannot be picked as a playable hero by the other team and themselves. While they are called bans, pro players consider all of them “picks,” and count them in that order.
Bans are from Pick 1 to 4, Pick 9 to 14, and Pick 19 to 22. Notice that the second banning phase has an extra ban for both teams. There is an emphasis on banning powerful heroes in the first phase, but the second phase hinders additional good picks. It stems from the essence of fairness, as the hero pool is vast, and some key bans might not get picked at all. It should be noted that the original Captain Mode only had 5 bans, but Icefrog increased it to 7 bans per team.
Captain’s Pick Phase
The picks of Captain’s Mode start from Pick 5 to 8, Pick 15 to 18, and Pick 23 and 24. These come after the ban phases, and the essential heroes enter the first phase. Heroes that come with flex potential, heroes playable in multiple roles, often come in the second phase. Last phase picks are picks that solidify the team draft and see surprise picks to throw off the enemy.
Pick phases are different because both teams can have two picks in succession in different phases. For the second team, they can twin-pick in the first phase, and the first team can do so in the second phase. This allows a chance for both teams to pick desired heroes without fear of contest from the other team. When the teams finish their picks, the heroes are laid out for the team to confirm their hero.
Captain’s Mode has two modes of time that teams follow—30 seconds of standard time and 130 seconds of reserve time. Standard time allies to all bans and picks for both teams and doesn’t carry over. Reserved time is a persistent time pool that gives leeway for teams to think, and gradually exhausts over time. When time runs out for a team, no hero is banned in a ban phase, or a random hero is chosen in the pick phase.
We don’t recommend that you queue into Captain’s Mode in your pub games. This takes up a lot of time, and most of the time, the Insta-lock Captain is idealistic. Stick to all picks, or if you’re in a low-priority queue, play single draft, at least it expands your hero pool.