5 Great DotA 2 Arcade games: No quarters necessary

These are 5 of the best and buttonmashiest custom games in DotA 2's Arcade.

One of the best things about DotA 2 is the Arcade: a massive library of custom made modes and matches all there at your fingertips. While the sheer amount of maps makes it hard to play them all, we did the digging to bring you 5 of the standout hits -- from quick and dirty bloody arena brawls to fan-favorite tower defense maps. So limber up those fingers and get your joystick hands ready, because we're headed into the Arcade. 


I have immediate regrets about this whole "Charge!" thing

The classic. The headliner. Overthrow, Valve's own custom mode, is an incredible teamfight-based bloodbath. With variable maps and teams (from going solo to full on five-man squads), it's Battle Royale meets Legend of the Hidden Temple as the Teal Tigers, Blue Roosters, Pink Dragons and more battle it out to be the first team to collect a set number of enemy scalps. The roster is the familiar line-up of DotA 2's normal game mode, letting you select heroes you're comfortable with and focus more on the killing -- and there is a lot of killing going on. Sporting a central battle ring that spits out gold and bonus experience just a short jog from the spawn point, Overthrow makes sure the team fights (and gold) keep coming. If you're anything like me and find yourself wanting to skip to "the good part" of every DotA game (you know, the part with the fighting and fireballs) then Overthrow is the perfect ten to fifteen minute bloodbath to brighten up your day when you're struck with those competitive queue blues. 


Everything is broken. Everything is cool when it's super OP.

If you've ever wondered, "What would a normal game of DotA 2 be like if everything was absolutely insane?", IMBA has the answer. Upon entering, IMBA randomly selects your hero. If it's not one you're into, don't worry -- your six abilities are also randomly selected from a wide pool when the game starts, and again every time you die. Everything does tons of damage, gold flows like the river in the middle of the map, and two teams of five go at it in the hardest hitting super-battle this side of orange jumpsuits and glowing golden anime hair. The mode itself is the classic DotA 2 map complete with Roshan and creeps, so grab your four best friends and charge into the fray - but don't get too cocky. A total skill reroll that takes you from "OP" to "oops" is only ever a death away. 


I'm not sure how many of them it takes to kill one man, but I know how many they're going to use...

Are even the arena custom maps not enough to sate your bloodlust? Is the standard DotA 2 map a little big and lonesome? Have you ever just wanted DotA 2 but...more? Luckily this custom mode featured in the 2015 International All-Star Match felt the same, and doubled down on the classic game mode with twice the number of allies -- and twice as much target practi...err, twice as many enemies. With increased gold and experience and most of the classic roster sticking around (with a few picks excluded from the game mode for balance reasons), 10v10 is familiar enough to pick up and play. But twice the team size means twice the action, and it's more than crazy enough to keep your heart racing and blood pumping when the standard 5v5s have begun to feel a little slow. 

Roshpit Champions

I wasn't listening to the Raid call. What do we do on this Boss again?

For those of us that still feel that old MMO itch sometimes, Roshpit Champions has brought all the comforts of our old home to our new place in DotA 2. A purely PvE experience, Roshpit Champions pits four allied players against all manner of quests, dungeons, and Boss-level bad guys in an RPG-style adventure equipped with outfitting, Need and Greed rolls, "talents" in its Rune system - it even has character Save/Load functionality. This fantastic mode is great for when you (and a few of your friends) look back at the good old days before Roshans and tower pushes - a simpler, softer time, when all you had to do was destroy endless armies of skeletons, elementals, demons, soldiers, and other assorted monsters in a quest to save the world. Just be careful to stay alive, and maybe leave your resident "Leeroy Jenkins" at home -- while there's respawning in Roshpit Champions, a full party wipe is game over. 

Element Tower Defense

"Spooky ghost towers" might not have been the best choice

Sometimes it really does feel better to build than destroy, and Element Tower Defense helps make up for all of those poor, not-really-defenseless towers we've broken down over the years by building them up again - this time equipped with one of six powerful elemental presences. Selecting a single element at the start of the game and getting access to a new one (or the ability to make an already owned element stronger, allowing you to build new and more powerful towers) every five levels; Element Tower Defense takes the traditional Tower Defense mode beloved by many and adds layers of complexity beyond "put something that slows the creeps down up front, and follow it up with cannons". Every wave of monsters has different abilities, elemental strengths, and weaknesses - making smart placement and elemental selections (and the damage types that come with them) necessary skills to get past even the first few waves unharmed. While you get a little leeway with 50 "lives" (the number of times monsters can escape your maze alive before you lose), the difficulty ramps up quickly. Will you be able to blaze the new high score in your playgroup, or will they rock your world? There's only one way to find out, so grab up to five of your friends and pick your joystick color for Element Tower Defense.

While these five DotA 2 Arcade classics all have more than enough gameplay to keep you and your friends busy for some time, we've barely scratched the surface of the Arcade's limitless game selection. So after you and your friends have become hometown heroes on your local machines, be sure to come back and tell us about any of your favorite game modes that we missed (and maybe how you get that Secret Agent Decoder Ring in the prize booth. I mean 5000 tickets? How do you even get that many?).  


Writer, analyst, conqueror of games, vanquisher of Hard Modes. Can lift an entire car tire over his head. Capable of cooking even the most difficult of TV dinners. Drinks coffee from bowls. Known frolicker. Is a professional pretend wizard.

Published Feb. 21st 2016

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