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Gear you need to play MOBAs competitively

When you want to make the move from amateur to competitor, here's the gear that'll help get you there.

With the rise of professional eSports, MOBAs have become a wildly popular genre in the gaming community. Games like League of LegendsDota 2, and SMITE are pulling in millions of players from around the world and pitting them against each other in action-packed team matches. Most MOBA players just want to win a few games and have a good time, but there are some players who take things a little more seriously. They want to compete. And if you're one of those players, you might find yourself wondering how you can transition from being an amateur hotshot to a legitimately competitive MOBA gamer.

Of course, doing well competitively in the MOBA world mostly boils down to skill (and practice). But there are a few accessories you can use to streamline your play experience, making you a more efficient (read: better) competitive player. 

The right equipment can make or break your competitive edge, but sometimes finding the right equipment can be tough. Different games have different demands, and there are tons of gear options to choose from. We're here to help you sort through it all and find the best gear for your competitive aspirations.

After trolling through forums, asking some pro players, and consulting the all-knowing Reddit, we've compiled a list of what you'll need on the competitive MOBA scene, along with some suggestions for specific products that will get the job done. Where applicable, we've also picked which products will be best suited to specific games.

To play MOBAs competitively, you will need...

A Responsive Gaming Mouse

When you're shopping around for a gaming mouse, there are a few things you'll want to look for. First and foremost, you want good click response. This is key in any MOBA, but it's especially critical in games like League of Legends that require an excessive amount of clicking.

You'll also want to look for a mouse with programmable buttons in most cases, as this will help you further customize your play experience. And because you'll be playing for long hours, as competitive gamers must, you want a mouse that's well-designed and comfortable for extended periods of time. 

Most players suggested using a mouse that's intended specifically for use in MOBAs or MMOs. The MMO mouse might seem like a strange choice, but lots of players said that the extra shoulder buttons freed up their left hand and made them much less reliant on the keyboard. Look for a mouse that can reach between 3,600 and 6,400 DPI, as this is the ideal range for MOBA play. 

Razer Deathadder Chroma

Great for Heroes of the Storm

This minimal mouse is designed for comfort. It only has two shoulder buttons, but reviewers and owners alike have praised the mouse's incredible responsiveness, maneuverability, and overall comfort even after prolonged use. 

The Deathadder Chroma is great for any MOBA player, but it's particularly well-suited to Heroes of the Storm. HoTS doesn't allow much custom mapping, so extra programmable keys would mostly go to waste. The streamlined layout is perfect for a more streamlined MOBA.

Buy it here.

Logitech G302/G602

Great for League of Legends 

Logitech has a lot of great MOBA accessories that could change your play experience. If you're looking an ultra-responsive, lightweight mouse with minimal buttons, then the G302 Daedalus Prime is for you. (Read our review of it here!)

The Daedalus Prime's incredible click feedback and super fast response make it perfect for a click-heavy game like League of Legends. 

If you want to step it up by adding wireless functionality and 11 programmable buttons, you can upgrade to the G602. It boasts a 250-hour battery life, but it does have a rather low DPI -- 2,500 compared to the G302's 4,000. 

Get the G302 here and the G602 here

Razer Naga/Naga Hex

Great for SMITE

Razer's products (particularly the Naga family) came highly recommended all around. The Naga Hex is a MOBA mouse that features six mechanical thumb buttons and nifty thumbpads in multiple sizes for you to choose from. The standard Naga is geared more towards MMOs, as it has nine programmable buttons on the left side alone. But reviewers say that comfort isn't sacrificed to accommodate them. 

The extra programmable buttons on these two models make them ideal for a SMITE player, as SMITE is a little more dependent on keyboard input than most other MOBAs. Dota 2 players will probably find either one to be a good fit as well.

Buy the Naga here and the Naga Hex here.

Budget Pick: ZhiZhu 5500

If your wallet can't quite support your dreams of competitive play, this mouse is for you. Going for less than $20 on Amazon, this is a great budget mouse for any MOBA. Though it may look a little strange, it is apparently very comfortable to use. It also boasts 7 programmable buttons and a max DPI of 5,000. That's a lot of mouse for a little price tag. 

Get it here

A Mechanical Keyboard or Game Pad

This is pretty much standard for gamers across the board, but a mechanical keyboard is a must-have for any serious or competitive MOBA player. When shopping for a keyboard, you want easy input and quick feedback. For the visually inclined, a customizable light scheme can help highlight important keys or group key functions by color. 

Player recommendations for the best competitive keyboard hit just about every major model that's on the market right now. So we narrowed it down to the few we saw the most.

It is worth noting that many players agreed the keyboard itself wasn't quite as important as smart key mapping. (Unless you're playing Heroes of the Storm, which limits your ability to customize your key bindings.) For ideas on how best to lay out your keyboard to gain a little extra edge in competitive play, check out these links: 

Razer Blackwidow Chroma

Great for any MOBA

One of the most highly recommended keyboards of 2015, the Blackwidow Chroma has everything a competitive SMITE player would need -- from custom mechanical switches to five extra gaming keys (that you can program on the fly). You can fully customize its color scheme to suit your needs, too. 

Buy it here

Corsair K70 RGB

Also great for any MOBA

Another dominant name in the keyboard market right now, the Corsair K70 came highly recommended by lots of players. You get your choice of Cherry MX mechanical switches -- but it's worth noting that the Red switches were preferred by most competitive players for their easy input. You can also customize the lighting on a per-key basis, so you can highlight the most important keys for your play and even organize their functions by color. 

We didn't get a chance to review the K70 RGB, but we did get to review the very similar K65 RGB -- and we loved it! The ability to customize the lighting on each key is great for differentiating between groups of keys that serve different purposes in your MOBA of choice.

Get it here

Logitech G510/710/910

Great for Dota 2 or SMITE

We wanted to pick just one, but we couldn't. And neither could other competitive players. This Logitech keyboard line kept popping up in our research, and which model is best for you ultimately depends on the sort of competitive experience you want to have. All of these keyboards have incredibly fast feedback, though the G910 is marginally faster than other models -- but we can't quite say whether or not the difference is noticeable when you play. All three models also come with programmable "G-keys", which you could bind to abilities or level ups in your MOBA -- the G510 has 18, the G710 has 8, and the G910 has 9. (Those numbers don't make sense to us either... just go with it.)

Both the G510 and the G910 have customizable colors on their backlit keys, while the G710 simply highlights the WASD and arrow keys with a differently colored cap. The G710 is the cheapest of the three, without sacrificing much in the way of function. Despite being a slightly older model, the G510 boasts an attached LCD panel that will show you in-game stats, VoIP data, and more. Some players found this very helpful while others didn't use it as much as they thought they would. 

The G510 and G910 would be great for Dota 2 or SMITE players as those are the two most keyboard-intensive of the most popular MOBAs. The G710 would be a good choice for League and Heroes of the Storm players.

Click here to buy the G510, the G710, or the G910

Razer Orbweaver

Great for SMITE

A good alternative to a full-sized keyboard is a game pad. Most players who opted for this sort of product recommended the Orbweaver. It has 30 programmable keys and an 8-way thumb pad. You can also customize the color scheme.

While this would be a great addition to any MOBA game, we definitely recommend it for SMITE. Because SMITE is so keyboard intensive, lots of players preferred this option to stretching their hands across a full keyboard to reach commands. 

Pick up the Orbweaver here

Budget Pick: Logitech G13

This is another game pad like the Orbweaver. Logitech's G13 only has 25 programmable keys, but the pad is ergonomically designed to be very comfortable. Though it has a much lower price tag than similar products (clocking in at just under $60), it boasts an LCD screen that will display in-game stats, VoIP information, player messages, etc. You can also set it to switch between 5 on-board gaming profiles, so you won't have to pause and re-map before dominating in a different game. 

Buy it here

A Comfortable Headset

Comfort and clear communication are the two biggest things you should be looking for in a headset for competitive play -- or a headset for anything, really. You want something that will allow you to hear your teammates well, respond to them quickly and clearly, and won't get too uncomfortable as you wear it during your long competitive days. So stellar audio quality and ergonomic design are a must.

We almost could have narrowed this list down to a single headset, as one came more highly recommended than any other -- the Kingston HyperX Cloud. But for the sake of diversity, we included a few other popular models as well. 

Because headsets aren't nearly as varied in form and function as gaming mice and keyboards are, we're not going to suggest what games you should use these products for. Any of these headsets will perform beautifully in a MOBA environment.

Kingston HyperX Cloud

Players and reviewers alike have raved about how comfortable and all around awesome this headset is. It's surprisingly lightweight and has a fully pliable microphone attached. The sound quality is fantastic, and even after long periods of wear it stays nice and cozy. I can personally attest to how amazing this headset is, as I own it myself. This accessory is worth every cent of its $95 price tag. 

Buy it here.

Logitech G930 Wireless Headset

This was the second most highly recommended headset and a number one bestselling product on Amazon. The G930 comes with a noise-cancelling mic, three different leather headband attachments, and Dolby 7.1 digital surround sound. It also has three programmable G-keys that you can use to set commands for your voice client. There is another version of this headset that is nearly identical, except it is wired.

Pick it up here

Sennheiser Game One

Similar to the HyperX Cloud, competitive players and reviewers alike raved about the comfort and sound quality of this headset. The noise-cancelling mic will mute automatically when the boom arm is raised, and audio comes through with incredible clarity. Instead of the leather-covered ear cups that we've seen on most headsets, the Game One uses a plushy velour that stays soft and cool -- because everyone hates sweaty ears. Ugh.

Buy it here.

Budget Pick: Creative Fatal1ty

If the other headsets on this list are a bit steep, you can pick up the Fatal1ty for about $21. This headset was a collaboration between Creative and retired eSports legend Johnathan Wendel -- who is widely considered to be the first competitive professional gamer to hit the scene, and one of the best in the world. The Fatal1ty has velvet ear pads, and a wide range of frequency that can handle both shrill noises and deep bass with equal clarity. 

Get it here.

A Professional Gaming Mat

That little rubbery square with your dog's face on it isn't going to cut it in the competitive realm. You need a real gaming mat to keep up with all the demand you'll be putting on your mouse. Although a lot of gaming mice can compensate to a degree for the type of surface you're using it on, the right mat will noticeably improve their performance. A good gaming mat will have plenty of surface area for you to maneuver around, and it will have a no-slip texture that prevents accidental motions and slip-ups. This adds to any MOBA experience, but it's especially important in a MOBA as movement-based as SMITE.

The advantage of a good gaming mat is admittedly slight, but it is nonetheless essential if you want to play competitively. Pros don't let their mice slip all over the desk, do they?

Like the headsets we listed above, any of these mats will serve you faithfully as you break into the world of competitive MOBAs, regardless of your game of choice. 

Turtle Beach Drift

This gaming mat has a microfiber surface and a rubber bottom, so it won't slide around while you're moving your mouse. It comes in four different sizes to suit whatever desk space you have available. The edges of the mat are specially stitched to prevent fraying and make it last longer, no matter how much stress you put on it while you climb the competitive ranks. 

Buy it here.

SteelSeries QcK Gaming Mat

This mat is extra-thick for maximum comfort and to compensate for uneven surfaces. Just like the Turtle Beach mat, it features a no-slip bottom and a fiber surface that's designed for optimal feedback. Players cited a notable difference in the speed and control that they had over their mice. 

Get it here

Glorious XL Gaming Mouse Mat

There are five different size/color combinations available for this mat, one of which is bound to suit your needs. Like the SteelSeries QcK, it's extra thick for more comfort and balance on uneven sentences. And like the Turtle Beach Drift, it features anti-fray edges. 

Buy it here.

Razer Vespula

This gaming pad is about as fancy as any gaming pad can be (short of the extravagant Razer Firefly). It features not one, but two sides. One side has increased glide that will improve your movement speed, while the slightly rougher control surface maximizes precision. Unlike the other mats on this list (and most others on the market), the Vespula has a soft, gel-filled wrist rest for a whole new level of comfort -- your hard-worked wrists will need a place to sit during a long day of competitive play. 

Though we didn't specifically recommend any of the other mats for a single game, this mat would be great for the competitive SMITE player. Because SMITE has a third-person perspective, precise mouse control is a necessity. 

Get it here

Cloud9 uses some of these accessories, and look where they are.

According to the MOBA community, these accessories should be more than enough to get you started in competitive play.

Whether you're into League of Legends, Dota 2, SMITE, or Heroes of the Storm, there's a product on this list that's perfect for you. 

Picking the right one (in accordance with your needs and personal preferences) will help you customize your game experience so that you're playing at the highest level you can. While a lot of your success in your MOBA of choice will boil down to skill, the right gear will go a long way in giving you that extra competitive edge. 

If you've got the gear, but no one to play with, you can head on over to Gamer Launch to find teams and set up scrims. You'll be rising through the ranks in no time. 

Published Dec. 18th 2015
  • David Fisher
    Featured Columnist
    Meanwhile I play alongside 5-6k mmr players in DotA2 with a Microsoft basic keyboard, and a ball tracking serial mouse. :/

Cached - article_comments_article_31843
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