DOTA 2 Rulebook

Last Modified: February 2, 2023

These rules are subject to change at the administrator’s discretion. If rules should change, all captains will be notified accordingly.

The Handbook’s General Rules apply to all CEA games, please read them first!

I. Season Structure

CEA Spring 2023 Season Calendar

Week 0 is a mandatory practice week to prepare for regular season. While matchups will be made available, results will not count towards Regular Season standings

Regular Season:

  • Febuary 4: Week 0  
  • Febuary 11: Week 1
  • Febuary 18: Week 2
  • Febuary 25: Week 3
  • March 4: Week 4
  • March 11: Week 5
  • March 18: Week 6
  • March 25: Week 7
  • April 1: Week 8
  • April 8: OFF (Easter Weekend)
  • April 15: Week 9  
  • April 22: Week 10 (Last week of Ladder)
  • April 29: Week 11 (First week of Playoffs Bracket)
  • May 6: Week 12
  • May 13: OFF (Mother's Day)
  • May 20: Week 13 (Grand Finals)
  • May 27: OFF (U.S. Memorial Day)
  • June 3: Week 14 (Extra Week, no scheduled play)
  • June 10: Week 15 (Extra Week, no scheduled play)
  • June 17: Week 16 (Extra Week, no scheduled play)
  • June 24: Week 17 (Extra Week, no scheduled play)

II. DOTA 2 Overview

Changes from Fall 2022:

In the regular season, games will be a 2-game series (also called a bo2) each week, instead of a bo1. Playoffs will continue to be bo3. We will also be using a new Ladder Format instead of Swiss for the regular season. See the "III. Ladder Format Rules" section.


  1. Player Eligibility: All players participating in Dota 2 competitions must have an active account in good standing linked to the CEA tournament management platform. Only registered team members playing under their own account are allowed to play for a team.
  2. Team Roster Size: A team may start the season with 5-12 participants. Rules for qualifications for rostered members can be found in CEA general rules.
    1. After the beginning of Regular Season play (Week 1 matches), a player rostered on a team may not transfer to another roster within the same company for the same game with out the Game Lead's approval.
      1. The main circumstance permitting a transfer would be a team losing players and falling below the minimum team size.
      2. Companies with multiple teams playing the same game may have players on multiple rosters as outlined in the general rules under “Team Eligibility.” Being a floater is not considered transferring.
    2. After Week 5, removing players from the roster does not free up additional spots.
  3. Registration: The Dota 2 registration fee will be $200 per team.
  4. Game Version: All players must have their game up to date with the latest patch.
  5. Season Format: For Spring 2023 the season format will be 10 weeks of the new Ladder Format (see "Ladder Format Rules" section), followed by playoff brackets.
  6. Bi-Weekly Structure:
    1. Under the new "Ladder Format", every two weeks, a new round of challenges are created on Sunday. Captains should be online that Sunday to respond, designate someone to respond for them, or message the game lead their preferences ahead of time. This results in 2 matchups for each team to be played over the next 2 weeks which will be clearly posted in the Discord server.
    2. The first matchup's default time is the following Saturday at 12 pm Pacific (3pm Eastern).
    3. The second matchup's default time is the second Saturday (one week later) at 12 pm Pacific (3pm Eastern).
    4. Both matches may be rescheduled any time within those 2 weeks, as long as they finish by the second Saturday. If you are rescheduling, it is fine to play the second matchup before the first one.
    5. The next round of challenges will be created the second Sunday.
  7. League Ticket:
    • We have an official league ticket this season! This means matches will show up in the Amateur Tournaments tab in the Dota 2 client as well as in the Dota 2 API that is parsed by sites such as OpenDota and Dotabuff. Teams are encouraged to check official games from other teams, download official replays, and scout their upcoming opponents through the client or third party websites. To make this happen, we will require the following:
      1. All captains will provide their steam IDs to the game lead prior to season start so they can be added to the league ticket.
      2. Instructions for how to use the league ticket when creating custom lobbies are here, please familiarize yourself with them ahead of time:
      3. Each game lobby must be created by someone who has been added to the league ticket. This means for each game, both captains must coordinate to make sure one of them will be available to make the lobby, or notify the game lead at least 24 hours in advance of the steam ID of a representative who will make the lobby, so the game lead can add that player to the league ticket.
      4. Captains should create an in-game team in the Dota client and use the same in-game team in every CEA lobby for the duration of the season. Instructions here:
  8. Day of Match protocol:
    1. Before the match, one team captain or representative from each team will add the other on Steam or Discord.
    2. On match day, teams will each form a party in the client. The Home team captain will create a custom lobby and share the name and password with the Away team captain. The Away team will join that lobby, each bringing their party with them.
    3. Teams should verify lobby settings are correct as per Section III.
    4. The Away team representative will type into chat either "heads" or "tails". The Home team representative will then type "/flip" into the lobby chat, producing a coin flip. The winner of that coin flip will select the server (either US-West or US-East) for the first game in a series. For the remainder of the series (in a best-of-three), the loser of the previous game will select the server (either US-West or US-East).

III. Ladder Format Rules


Every 2 weeks, each team gets 2 matchups, one as a challenger and one as a challengee. The exceptions are that the lowest team on the ladder challenges 2 teams and gets challenged by 0, and the highest team gets challenged by 2 teams and challenges 0.

You may challenge any team up to 4 places on the ladder above yours, with one exception: if the team directly above yours is unchallenged on your turn, your team will auto-challenge them (I will let you know if this happens) instead of having a choice. This is to prevent them getting "left behind".

We will clearly post the first round and second round of matchups in every 2-week period after challenges are completed.


Each matchup is a 2-game series (aka bo2). In every 2-week period, the first round matchup’s default time is on the first Saturday at noon, the second round matchup’s default time is on the second Saturday at noon, but they may be rescheduled any time within the 2-week period and played in any order. All games must be played by end of day Saturday of the second week.

Starting at 10am Sunday after every 2-week period, I will message teams in order from lowest to highest place on the ladder, and ask which team you would like to challenge. If nobody on your team responds in 2 hours, I will auto-challenge the lowest ranked available team, and move on to the next captain. Each team may only be challenged once, so if somebody else challenges that team they are removed from the pool of possible challengees. You can tell me ahead of time if you won’t be available but have a preference on who to challenge, and I will do my best to challenge that preference if they are available.

Example matchups

If nobody from any team responds, these will be the auto-challenge scenarios in a hypothetical 8-team ladder (challengers on the left side, challengees on the right):


point calculation and ladder update

After every 2 week period, the game lead will re-calculate the points and update the ladder standings.

Starting points will be assigned by the game lead after reaching out to the captains. Most likely it will be based on a rough ordering of how good teams are, and assign the lowest team 1000 points, the second team 2000 points, etc. Point transfer is calculated by Losing Team Points/Winning Team Points * 500 _per game_ in the two-game series. Winning team gains that much and losing team loses that much for every game.


Bi-weekly challenges with team captains, matchups, and the spreadsheet containing the current ladder points and bi-weekly point changes will be posted in Discord in the #dota2-announcements channel.

IV. Game Rules

  1. League (Ticket): CEA Championship Series. See League Ticket in II.7
  2. Game Mode: 5v5 Captain’s Mode via Custom Game. Selection Priority will be set to Automatic (Coin Toss).
  3. Game Winner: The winning team is defined as the team that destroys their opponent's Ancient first, or forces their opponents to surrender. There is no time limit.
  4. Series Length: Matches will be two-game series (2 games against the same team) during the regular season. Matches will be a best-of-three(3) for playoffs and elimination rounds.
  5. Restrictions: There are currently no item or hero restrictions.
  6. Home/Away team: Home and Away teams will be assigned weekly through the PlayCEA interface.
    1. During the regular season, the team on the left side of the matchup page is the Home team. The team on the right side is Away. During playoffs, the team with the higher seed (#1 is higher than #2) is the Home team.
    2. Selection Priority Automatic will handle side and pick selections. II.8.4 will handle server selection (US-East or US-West).
  7. Teams: The in-game "team" for each team should be selected.
  8. Bans/Picks: Snake draft format enforced by Captain’s Mode. Only heroes available in Captain’s Mode will be allowed.
  9. Roster: Players are allowed to switch during a set (e.g. in the middle of a Bo3). Opponents are allowed an additional 5 minutes before match start to confer about any changes in strategy.
  10. Spectators/Casters:
    1. Lobby settings for spectators should be set to "Yes" and Spectator Delay should be set to 5 minutes.
    2. In-game spectators from either team are not allowed.
    3. Casters who are not on either team may occupy a Broadcasting slot if both team captains agree to it. Casters must stream with at least a 2 minute delay and captains may request a longer delay.
  11. Scheduling/Forfeits: The first game of each round must begin at the specified time. See [General Rules] in the handbook for rescheduling rules. Rescheduled matches MUST be completed by midnight Saturday PT of the week the 2-week period in which the match was scheduled. Please reach out to the opponents early if you need a reschedule. Scheduling changes must be submitted CEA Discord server ( by the team captain in the #reschedules-and-forefeits channel under the DOTA category if a reschedule is agreed upon by both teams. Forfeits will be reported to the #reschedules-and-forefeits channel under the DOTA category in the CEA Discord server by the team captain.
  12. Replays: There is no need to submit replays as long as the correct league ticket is used. If you forgot to use the league ticket, save the replay (see for instructions) and submit it to the Dota 2 game lead directly. If the league ticket is not used, and a replay is not submitted, both teams will receive a warning (see Warning System, IV.14).
  13. Sportsmanship: Friendly banter is a core part of Dota 2 and contributes to the competitive spirit of CEA. Flaming or trolling, on the other hand, is discouraged. Warnings for communication abuse will be given at the discretion of the game lead (see Warning System, IV.14). If you believe someone on the opposing team has crossed the line, please send screenshot & replay ID as soon as possible to the admin. Here are some guidelines:
    • Chat wheels/hero voice lines are always acceptable
    • BM pauses are never acceptable (see IV.1 for legitimate pause reasons)
    • Hate speech is never acceptable
    • In general, keep it to what you would say to your coworkers if they were on the opposing team
  14. Warning System: All warnings may be given, escalated, or modified at the discretion of the game lead.

        • 1st warning: free
          2nd warning: free
          3rd warning: -70s reserve time on next 2 games
          4th warning: -70s reserve time on next 2 games
          5th warning: disqualification of player (for player behavior) or team from CEA

V. Technical Issues

  1. Stoppage of Play
    1. A player experiencing technical issues on either team may pause at any time to address those issues, or call for a restart of the game prior to Game of Record (see below) being established for significant issues.
    2. The player pausing or requesting a restart must be experiencing one of the following: a hardware malfunction (e.g. mouse, keyboard, screen, audio equipment), physical disruption (e.g. breaking furniture), or game configuration problems (e.g. issues with controls, settings, keybinds).
    3. A team may also pause to allow time for a teammate to reconnect after an unintentional disconnect
    4. Pauses should be limited to problems that can be solved in 1 minute, more time may be provided at opponent’s discretion
    5. They must then declare in all-chat the reason for the pause, or the request for a restart. In the event of a restart, the game should be paused and the Game Lead should be contacted immediately. In the event of pause abuse (use of pausing that affects game outcome without conforming to Stoppage of Play 2), the Game Lead should be contacted after the match.
    6. In the event of a game server crash, the Game Lead will determine next steps.
  2. Game of Record
    1. A game of record ("GOR") refers to a game where all ten players have loaded and which has progressed to a point of meaningful interaction between opposing teams. Prior to this point, if a serious issue has occurred, players should pause the game and contact the Game Lead to assess the situation. Once a game attains GOR status, the game will be considered as "official" from that point onward. After the establishment of GOR, game restarts will be allowed only with a Game Lead approval.
    2. Examples of conditions which establish GOR:
      1. Any attack or ability is landed on creeps, neutral creeps, structures, or on a Hero by an opposing Hero
      2. Line-of-sight is established between players on opposing teams
      3. Setting foot in or establishing vision in opponent’s jungle by either team, which includes either leaving the river or entering brush connected to enemy jungle.
      4. A rune is picked up.

VI. Contact Info

  1. Discord Server:
    • Your Fall 2022 game lead is dzbug#5678 on Discord. Feel free to DM them directly with questions or issues.
  2. Email Contacts:
    1. Game and Rules related:
    2. Business, money, and sponsorship related:
    3. Other: