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Playing Dota at 8K MMR

Jaron "monkeys-forever" Clinton has been playing Dota for a long, long time. With around 25,000 hours of Dota and Dota 2 under his belt, he is one of a small group of players to achieve a solo MMR of 8,000. We wanted to ask Jaron some questions about Dota and see what advice he has for the millions of sub-8K MMR plebs like us.

How did you get into Dota?

I started playing DotA when I was about 10 years old. My brother and I brought our computers to a friend's house for an all-night LAN party, and that's where I first discovered the game. I absolutely fell in love with it from the start and the rest is history. Since then I have around 25,000 playing both Dota 1 and Dota 2 combined.

What role do you usually play?

I've always enjoyed core roles the most, mainly mid and offlane, but I honestly just love playing the game.

You've hit 8K MMR several times. What's it like playing in such a high skill bracket?

Games in my bracket are very wishy-washy. There are quite a few well known griefers (who intentionally throw games), so it's just a toss-up on if you get them on your team or not. Overall, I enjoy games when everyone is trying their best. I think people sometimes forget that the game is about having fun, not just winning (I'm guilty of that too at times).

You recently played in the TI7 qualifiers! Tell us what that was like.

Usually TI qualifiers are a lot more strenuous for me than they were this year. Two of our players were busy casting/admining different tournaments until just a week before the qualifiers started. We got as many games and practice in as we could in that time period, but the lack of practice definitely showed in our performance. This was also my first time captaining/drafting for a team, so I had plenty of nerves going into it as well. Overall I think we could have caused more upsets, but we just weren't prepared enough.

Let's just blame the game instead. Who is the most broken hero in Dota?

That is such a tough question, but if I absolutely had to choose one I would say Io. That hero just completely changes the style of the game and how the enemy has to play. A good Io player will never fail to impress me.


What advice do you have for players in the 5-6k range who are looking to continue the climb to your level?

Self-improvement! In the 5-6k range, just being positive goes a long way, such as encouraging your team after someone messed up and just genuinely trying to not tilt. But again I believe getting to 7k+ is mainly about just being able to solo carry or lead your team thoroughly, so it just comes down to watching your own replays of losses and understanding why you lost a game.

The average player is around 2-3k MMR. What advice do you have for them?

The same as before: self-improvement. Watch your own replays, watch streams, think about why a certain play was good or bad, and understand as many situations as possible. Dota is a game that you need to practice a LOT if you want to get incredibly good. I don't believe I have ever heard of a player who is on the top of the leaderboards by just picking up the game for 1,000 hours.

If you genuinely want to improve at Dota, like with anything else, you really have to commit the time to it.