DOTA 2 Rulebook

Last Modified: January 21, 2024

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 2024 Season Calendar

We will do only 3 weeks of Swiss to sort into strength-based groups, followed by a groups segment that generates seeds for the 8-team single-elimination playoffs. An example season with 10 teams is: three weeks of Swiss with everyone, then 4 teams with the strongest Swiss results go in the upper group and the other 6 teams in the lower group, then we do 3 weeks of Swiss within each of those groups to sort the groups for seeding for the playoffs. In this example, all 4 teams from the upper group make playoffs with seeding determined by the group portion, and only the top 4 of the lower group make playoffs, again with seeding determined by the results from the groups segment.

Swiss (2-game series each week):

  • Feb 24: Pre-Season (mandatory scrim week but does not count towards standings)
  • March 2: Week 1
  • March 9: Week 2
  • March 16: Week 3

Groups (2-game series each week) skill-matched groups created using Swiss results:

  • March 23: Week 4
  • March 30: Week 5
  • April 6: Week 6

Playoffs (bo3 each week, single-elimination):

  • April 13: Week 7 (top 8)
  • April 20: Week 8 (top 4)
  • April 27: Week 9 (Grand Finals and 3rd Place Match)

II. DOTA 2 Overview

  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: 6 weeks of Swiss followed by double-elimination playoffs.
  6. Default Time: 12 pm Pacific Time on Saturdays.
  7. League Ticket:
    • We will 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.

III. Game Rules

  1. League (Ticket): CEA Championship Series. See League Ticket in II.6
  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 Swiss portion. Matches will be a best-of-three(3) for playoffs.
  5. Restrictions: There are currently no item or hero restrictions.
  6. Server: Server must be set to US West or US East. The server for the first game is determined by coin flip: One team types into lobby chat either "heads" or "tails", and then the other team types "/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. In a 2-game series, the other team selects the server for the second game. In a bo3, the server for the third game is decided by coin flip again.
  7. Side and Pick: Selection Priority: Automatic will handle side and pick selections.
    1. For game 1, set Selection Priority: Automatic, and the team that wins the automatic coin toss (say, Team A) chooses their pick/side first, and the other team (say, Team B) chooses second. Make note of who won the coin toss.
    2. For game 2, the team who didn't win the coin toss in game 1 should get priority. Use Selection Priority: Automatic in the lobby for game 2. If Team B wins, easy, Team B chooses first. But if Team A wins again, just ask in the lobby chat which choice team B wants (pick order or side). Then Team A makes their pick in the other choice, and lets Team B make their pick in their preferred choice (pick order or side). For example, let's say Team B chooses "pick order". Then Team A will make their pick in the other choice, "side" (radiant/dire) immediately. After that, Team B gets to choose their preferred "pick order" (first pick or second pick).
    3. For game 3 (if applicable), use Selection Priority: Automatic and whoever wins the coin toss gets first choice again.
  8. Teams: The in-game "team" for each team should be selected.
  9. Bans/Picks: Snake draft format enforced by Captain’s Mode. Only heroes available in Captain’s Mode will be allowed.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Scheduling/Forfeits: The first game of each round must begin at the specified time. See [General Rules] in the handbook for rescheduling rules. Please reach out to your opponents early if you need a reschedule. Scheduling changes must be submitted in the 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.
  13. 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, III.14).
  14. 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
  15. 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

IV. 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.

V. Contact Info

  1. Discord Server:
    • Your Fall 2023 game lead is @dzbug 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: