High-level competitive games almost unanimously have the same problem: players use a very narrow range of characters—over and over and over again.

It makes sense. After all, if there are big bucks on the line, why risk it all on a character or class that players have deemed underpowered or less-than-ideal when matched against other popular characters? But in games like DOTA 2, that leads to an occasional feeling of deja vu when top teams clash. Enter Moonduck’s Elimination Mode tournament, which kicks off later this week, on September 17th. It’s gonna force teams to dig deeeeeeep into DOTA 2’s hero selection. Here’s how it works:

“In partnership with Twitch, Moonduck Studios proudly presents Elimination Mode, a new game mode inspired by Captains Draft, in which heroes can only be banned or picked once per series.”

So long, meta.

Elimination Mode’s series will unfold in a best-of-three matches format—except the grand final, which will be best-of-five. Given that the initial pick/ban phase sees both teams choose five heroes and ban an additional five from play, that eliminates 20 before the first game even begins. Two games and you’re down 40. The best-of-five final will be especially constraining, given that the final game could have up to 80 heroes off-limits, leaving around 30 to pick from. It might be a shitshow, a head-scratching trainwreck of bizarre plays. Sounds like fun to me.

Advertisement

The tournament’s team lineup sadly doesn’t include any of DOTA 2’s absolute best, but decently ranked teams like complexity Gaming, Digital Chaos, and Alliance are on the roster. They’ll be competing for a prize pool of $10,000.

I’m really interested to see how it plays out. Serious ranked competition between the best of the best is always brilliant to watch, but freakshow spectacle has its place in sports as well. Ridiculous, weird stuff you just can’t look away from—for better or worse, that’s the kind of thing that sometimes brings in new viewers. If it’s the backbone of a sport, the sport becomes a joke; but in moderation, a little dumb fun never hurt anybody. Also, a little variety is nice from time-to-time. Or a whole fucking Axe-ton of it, as it were.

You’re reading Steamed, Kotaku’s page dedicated to all things in and around Valve’s stupidly popular PC gaming service. Games, culture, community creations, criticism, guides, videos—everything. If you’ve found anything cool/awful on Steam, send us an email to let us know.

Advertisement

To contact the author of this post, write to nathan.grayson@kotaku.com or find him on Twitter @vahn16.