Dota 2

Ability Draft – A Year in Review 2020

A Year in Review

I normally post one of these yearly recapping the year that is Ability Draft after all the excitement from the Battle Pass and TI is over, this year we are later then normal but It has been a crazy year for AD.

Who am I? Well it is I, RGBKnights the Admin for r/Abilitydraft, builder of tools, keeper of combos, and your guide to the wonder world of Ability Draft. I have made it my personal mission to get as many people playing ability draft as possible. When most people think of Ability Draft they think of perpetual bugs, extreme combinations, or that weird mode no one plays but after thousands of ability draft games over shown me that AD unlocks the next level of Dota2!

Before we dive into the exciting stuff as with every year the basics.

What is Ability Draft (AD)?

Players are given a random hero from Ability-Draft enabled heroes. Each players' abilities are put into a pool. Players take turns selecting abilities from the pool, given mere seconds for each choice. Each player selects three normal abilities and one ultimate.

Who plays AD?

From last year to this we lost the 1% we gained the year before and are sitting about avg active player base of ~70K. Most games are played in the SEA region but they also have on avg the shortest games. For the first time ever we have been able to track down the best AD players in the world in a effort pioneered by HGV-Desolator and championed by Ability Draft Statistics with AD specific mmr and leaderboards!

AD Leaderboard

A Year in Review

It has been a great year for AD! The community had a lot of fun inside and out of game.

Midas Mode Sponsor

We jump back to all most this time last year the AD community spearheaded by yours truly sponsored Midas Mode 2 by picking up SkyChicken in the hero auction and sent u/TheCanadianChicken in a massive inflatable chicken suit to make sure it was picked and recruit some personalities into loving embrace that is AD!

ADCL in House League

2020 kick off with the frist public league for AD in some time. Run by FreshPeaches and Carsense4fun and while limited to a North American division and not with out some issues was a success and a lot of fun to boot! congratulations to the Season 1 champions: carsense4fun, nikzorz, EigenV3ctor, and tricxterlad.

Ability Draft Guide Contest

Over on r/Abilitydraft we held our frist contest for community guide. Congratulations to u/Pajooba whom claimed Community Guide Award! Think you can do better? Drop by and submit a Guide!

New Heroes

While last year was the year of the heroes as when we end the year we only had Earth Spirit, Invoker Lone Druid, and Morphling left out of the pool… I personally thought, as well did others, that these heroes are just too different to be included AD. Boy were we wrong, since last year each of these heroes have been added in unique and interesting ways. The last of which was Invoker who has is so crazy different he got custom abilities just for AD! He is heavily adapted so make sure to read up on him changes for this mode.

More Abilities

While this time last year the number of abilities that would left multiple dozens (~30). Slowly over the year these abilities have been included. Firstly, because Valve was able to fix the hotkey issues that plagued AD for years. Secondly, that fix combined with linking granted abilities to specific abilities meant that flood gates where thrown up to include spells granted by Aghanim's Scepter (under the rule they need to be linked to ultimate abilities to avoid hotkey issues). With this change a bunch of innate hero abilities where moved to skills. Silencer's innate Intelligence Steal and infuse allies with Aghanim's Scepter for example where moved to the abilities. Currently there is only ~20 abilities excluded some of which we are hoping will one day be added…

Major Bug Fixes

Melee vs Range shenanigans has been wangled in with many more small fixes being reported on often with fixes soon to follow. Found a bug in AD, want it fixed? Drop by the discord or subreddit to submit the issue including a match id for triage.

AD Specific Tooltips

The biggest change to AD since 7.00 update! AD was a mess of inside knowledge that limited even the most experienced Dota player's ability to successfully jump into an AD game. Most of inside knowledge has know been made available in the form of AD notes.

AD Notes


You draft a great build but have a sinking realization that your talents are useless. NO MORE! Instead you will get temped with gold for missing abilities. The gold is 150, 250, 500, 750 Based on the talents level.

Chat Suggestions

For a long time we have been able to ping abilities while drafting but this often caused confusion on if the ping was for someone to take it or if you where requested them to leave it for you. There is no longer this confusion as we have pings for both!

Chat Suggestions


This year has been a exciting year for AD tools and stat collection!

High Ground Vision (HGV)

As always everything we do at HGV is open source. We have retired Desolator project as we did not want to create confusion with the results Ability Draft Statistics are producing which are way better then what we at HGV where able to produce.

We are currently work on a few new tools for ability draft players. The frist of which we are calling the Ability Matrix a pairing of abilities with if they work together sourced by the community. Something similar to:

Fiery SoulEssence AuraAftershock
Ball LightningUnknownYesYes
Phase ShiftNoUnknownNo

Thanks to u/TheCanadianChicken & u/Tubssss for the genesis for this tool.


ABPick The ability draft simulator! Shoutout to u/Crye for their wonderful work!

Here are it's features: – Select ultimate skills and populate the corresponding normal skills – Hover over any skill and get instant details about the pick order, win rate, and chance of survival – Get instant insight into the top skills of the draft, ordered by pick order, chance to survive the next pick, and win rate – Follow along with the draft and filter out picked skills – Create a room for friends, everyone can participate with populating picks.

Ability Draft Statistics

Ability Draft Statistics Came into the the picture in late August directly inspired by the work we have done at HGV but looked to correct some critical issues with out stat collection. Shoutout to u/Noxville & u/Bukka for their wonderful work!

Some Highlights: – aggregate hero winrates over the last few patches (last 2 "major" patches and all subpatches) – aggregate ability stats (pick %, win %, avg pick #, 'value') in the last major patch (i.e. 7.27*) – per ability winrate & pickrate distribution by pick # (see how late you can afford to delay your picks!) – ability pairs (winrates, synergy) – player skill tracking (put in your Steam ID to see your rank and position in the skill distribution) – leaderboards (regional and overall) – a prediction game guessing game.

Speical Shoutout

This years shoutout goes to the HarryPotterClan the best AD meme stream on twitch! Park your red men and let them know RGBKnights sent you. If you are a video creator AD streamer I want to hear from you.

The Future

Crystal Ball

As normal I will attempt to guess at what is next for AD. Last year I even got some right!

  • Gold for Talents Increased
  • Add Missing Abilities (Bring on Divided We Stand or Spell Steal!)
  • All Star Match for TI10
  • New Drafting Options

Closing Statement

If this was a race I would say we are on the home stretch now with so little missing and many fixes / features to make AD far more predictable / stable but to where? I believe we are edge of something big. Now has never been time to jump into AD!

Thanks to all that play and enjoy the mode making the AD community so great! Thanks to the developers that support this Mode!


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