Dota 2

Valve has released a companion app for subscribers to Dota 2's premium monthly subscription service, Dota Plus. The app lets you keep track of match and tournament results, as well as keeping you informed about your favourite players and teams. And then it lets you place wagers on them. 

The Dota Pro Circuit app, available for iOS and Android, will let you make 'predictions' on upcoming matches in the pro circuit, wagering your own shards—the Dota Plus exclusive in-game currency—in the hopes of adding to your pile. All the information you get about teams and players, then, can be used to make your predictions. 

No cash changes hands, unlike in the third party gambling that surrounds the game, though technically those shards are linked to financial investment because the currency (and thus what you can spend it on) is only available if you pay for the Dota Plus subscription. That's $4 a month. That technicality isn't enough to make it gambling, however; at least not to rating organisations like PEGI, which has given it a 3 rating, essentially meaning it's appropriate for all ages. 

The Dota Pro Circuit app feels like the latest in a years-long stream of game systems which have been pushing the debate around gaming systems and how close they come to gambling to the fore, though. 

Probably the most well-known facet of the debate involves loot box systems which encourage players to open in-game Macguffins to obtain digital presents of variable rarity or desirability. Often these are boxes or chests you can earn over time in the game or choose to circumvent that grind using real money. 

Another facet is the third-party gambling and trading scene around games like Valve's CS: GO where players circumvent Valve's systems in order to use in-game cosmetics as a gambling currency. The real money comes in when players make payments via third party sites and then use the steam trade function to hand over their digital goodies. 

Despite the PEGI classification (and I should stress that PEGI do not set the legal definition of gambling, they're merely an enforcer), I'd argue the mechanics of the Dota Pro Circuit app's predictions are a lot closer to real-world gambling than, say, Overwatch's loot boxes. 

You can study the teams, check the odds, place a bet with a cash stand-in, get that thrill when you get a shard windfall—the most significant difference is that it's all taking place within Dota 2. You can't head to the bank with your pile of shards and make a nest egg. It's a new grey area in a debate filled with grey areas.  

The app's available now, and you can check out the full feature list here.

Dota 2

We first got a heads up that Mars, god of war, would be joining Dota 2 back in August of last year. The day has come at last, and Big Red is here and playable right now.

"The warrior deity Mars thrives in the heart of strife, guarded by the bulk of a deadly shield as he skewers enemies with his legendary spear," reads his page on the Dota 2 site. "He revels in facing opponents in an arena ringed with loyal spearmen—who guarantee that no one escapes and that whatever odds he's facing, the god of war can dictate the terms of battle knowing the crowd is forever on his side."

Here's a look at his abilities and ultimate:

Spear of MarsMars can hurl his spear, impaling the first enemy it strikes and even nailing them to any trees or walls they happen to be standing in front of.

God's RebukeThis is a nifty and wide-ranging shield bash, which knocks back and damages foes.

BulwarkMars can block some damage from physical attacks when struck from the front or the sides.

Arena of BloodHis ultimate basically builds a scary stoneghenge around himself, which will block attacks and movement from enemies outside it. Enemies trapped inside will get jabbed by spears from Mars' undead warriors, who spawn around the edge of the arena.

Dota 2

Believe it or not, learning Dota 2 is easy nowadays. I don’t mean easy in the sense that it is straightforward or comprehensible or painless. I mean easy in the sense that it is slightly less angry at you for wanting to know what’s going on. I mean easy in the sense that people like me will tell you that you’ve never had it so good. We had to walk two miles in the Frostivus snow to find a match, and whittle our own Force Staff by hand and no-one had even heard of Purge and his useful video tutorials. 

Dota Auto Chess—a spectacularly popular custom game mode by Drodo Studio—is a return to that initial bafflement. “You can pick dota heros as your chesses,” says the blurb, “and they will automatically fight for you on a 8*8 chessboard.” 

Now, I have 2000+ hours of Dota on my account. I beat my mum at chess when I was in a hospital bed, stuffed with morphine after a life-saving operation. Neither of these skillsets has proven particularly useful in Dota Auto Chess. 

The broad idea behind Dota Auto Chess is closer to deck-building games than to either chess or Dota. The basic pattern of each round is: earn money, choose whether to spend that money on heroes, position those heroes on the board, then let a fight against the heroes of a randomly chosen opponent (from the seven others you’re grouped with) auto-resolve. If you win, you get a bit more gold and maintain your health bar. If you lose, you’ll take a bit of damage. A match lasts as many rounds as it takes for only one player to be left standing. You can keep an eye on how everyone’s doing via a leaderboard on the right hand side of the screen.

Because nothing related to Dota is ever simple, there are a lot of other variables to keep track of along the way. Managing your gold is vital—you want to balance investing in heroes and getting gold through fighting, with keeping some in your pocket to earn interest, spending to level up your donkey (and thus increase the number of heroes (referred to as “chesses”) which you can have on the board), and re-rolling the hero selection.

Each hero is listed with a species and class. If you have multiple heroes from that species or class on the board you can get boosts. The orc species combo gets you a higher maximum HP for each orc, the mage class combo reduces enemy magic resistance.

Plonking down three identical heroes of the same level (with one or two class exceptions) will merge them into a single, more powerful hero.

As well as that interplay there’s a spatial element. Do you bunch your heroes up or spread them out? Do you try to protect a vulnerable unit or shove them to the front as a meat shield? How can you keep important combos in play by keeping the relevant units alive? That’s one part which felt like it was drawing on my actual Dota knowledge. 

Another part which taps into that knowledge is the item system. Some rounds have you facing off against non-player units—the neutral creeps from Dota’s jungles. If you beat them they can drop little treasure chests containing items which the donkey can fetch and put in its little backpack. You can then ask the donkey to deliver the items to a specific unit, thus bestowing its benefits to that unit. Essentially, it’s the courier function the donkey traditionally fulfils in Dota 2. Knowing the types of items which benefit particular heroes in the main game will give you a headstart here. If you don’t know Dota you might not realise you need to deliver the items to specific heroes at all instead of just collecting them in your pack. 

Then there’s the merge-three minigame. Plonking down three identical heroes of the same level (with one or two class exceptions) will merge them into a single, more powerful hero. This has knock-on effects when it comes to which heroes you buy, when you place them on the board, and how it raises or reduces the number of units on the board.

When I booted the game up for the first time it wasn’t even clear where I was, or how I was supposed to chess. The game tips disappeared offscreen before I’d read the first word and the camera was pointing at a rival’s board, meaning I couldn’t see the result of any of my actions. The resulting panic is how I learned that the boards of each of the eight players are presented as physical islands in a 3x3 grid. Panning around you can check in on other players or enjoy the fact that the middle board is missing, replaced by a small version of the Dota map.

Finding my island is how I discovered I needed to interact with my chesses by selecting a donkey and having the donkey do the chess on my behalf. If you’re familiar with Dota, moving your donkey around is probably also when you’ll realise it’s not actually a donkey. Instead it seems to be the hero Io (as per the lore: a multidimensional wisp billed as a Fundamental of the universe) wearing a donkey costume. You can tell it’s Io because it’s making Io’s Ibiza chillout beeping and blooping noises and trailing particle effects across the chessboard.

The existential question of “when is a digital donkey not a digital donkey” is irrelevant to play, but it’s fun to notice how pieces of the main game are repurposed in these custom modes. Again, it’s a way that Dota Auto Chess feels true to an older form of Dota—the Defence of the Ancients which emerged from the Warcraft III fan-made map cauldron, and whose quirks are often the result of units being turned to a new purpose.

I’m absolutely loving it. In each phase there are a manageable number of choices to make. Making a sub-optimal choice doesn’t feel like a total disaster. It taps into the little jolts of pleasure casual games are good at—the satisfaction of merging heroes, auto-fought battles with over-the top effects and the chance to win, a little leaderboard…

Another joy is the lack of toxicity and the lack of pressure. It probably says a lot about the confusing interface that for ages I had no sense of whether the lack of repulsive messages was because the game elicits less rage or whether there’s just no all chat function. A message in Russian during my fourth match points to the former. But, with or without chat, I often feel massive pressure in PvP games. I don’t want to embarrass myself. I don’t want to lose. I particularly don’t want to be the worst on any leaderboard.

We re just having our armies and choices calibrated and recalibrated against each other. And it s this distinction which takes the sting out of the competition without damping the pleasure of winning.

But here, I’m playing a weird once-removed version of PvP. My squad of heroes is mostly pitted against the heroes of a human opponent, but the other person isn’t spectating that match. They’re looking at a different chess board, watching their heroes take on a randomly chosen selection of someone else’s heroes. It might end up being mine, but it might not. Me winning or losing doesn’t affect them directly. We’re just having our armies and choices calibrated and recalibrated against each other. And it’s this distinction which takes the sting out of the competition without damping the pleasure of winning.

But what would a free-to-play game within a free-to-play game be without cosmetic microtransactions? An excellent question, dear reader. Well, you can earn or buy candy—the premium currency and spend it on spins of a slot machine. The rewards from spinning this machine are different couriers. So it’s not pay-to-win, just a different look for your non chess piece character. 

And it’s not pushy either—a real contrast to the Dota client it sits within. While logging in to Dota 2 to access the custom game section, Valve immediately invited me to spend £28 on an outfit for a character I don’t even play. After I refused, it reminded me I can spend £2 to open a seasonal treasure chest. At some point I fully expect the Steam store will stop trading in cash and start accepting the souls of children in exchange for digital hats. But I digress.

The above should give you a sense of both the low barrier for entry (“low” being a relative term and entirely skewed by Dota’s base level of nonsense) and the ridiculously high skill ceiling of Dota Auto Chess. It manages to be similar to and the polar opposite of Artifact’s considered design and overwhelming complexity. 

It’s a joyful, weird, opaque project—a hodgepodge of casual mobile gaming compulsion and PC gaming at its most bloody-mindedly hardcore—spitting personality and spell effects from every angle.

If you want to get into the mod yourself, check out our Dota Auto Chess guide.

Dota 2

Here’s a story you’ve heard before: A mod for a popular strategy game takes the existing ideas of the game and turns them sideways, forming a new kind of game in a new, weird genre without adhering to the usual game design conventions. That’s the story of Dota 2, and that’s also the story of Dota Auto Chess, a recent Dota 2 Custom Game that’s attracting a lot of attention. Auto Chess is worth trying out if you’re interested in strategy games or digital card games, and not just because it’s free. It features mechanics from set collection card games, real time strategies, tower defense, and even from mobile gambling. 

Here’s how to get started while you read this guide: Download Dota 2, then download Auto Chess.

How do I play Dota Auto Chess?

In Dota Auto Chess, you control the composition and placement of a team of heroes on a chess-like board. Each round of Auto Chess sees you buying new heroes and placing them on the board to try to win a fight against either neutral Creeps or one of your seven opponents' teams of heroes. Buy and place is all you do, though: The real-time fights between the heroes are outside your control. That’s the Auto part of Auto Chess. If you win, you move on to the next round and get some gold. If you lose, your courier—your controlling avatar—loses hit points based on how many enemy units are left alive and how strong they are. Then you have 30 seconds to buy new heroes and manage your army before the next round starts in an ever-revolving round robin tournament. The last player standing wins.

When you place heroes on the board, placing more than one of the same kind will upgrade that hero to the next level. The number of total heroes you can have on the board is equal to the level of your courier, and leveling up your courier takes precious gold, so upgrading your heroes lets you get the most out of limited space. Heroes also get bonuses based on how many of that type are on the board. 

Upgrading or getting those type bonuses means you have to collect sets of heroes, and each round you draft heroes from a selection drawn randomly from a common pool with a fixed number of pieces shared among all the players. In effect, this means not every player can share the same strategies, and you have to watch what others are buying so that you know if you’re competing for the same pieces. You might also get items from fighting creeps that help you form a strategy. 

I’ll use the terms early-, mid-, and late-game a lot in this guide. The early game is generally considered to be the first four levels, the mid to be levels five to seven, and the late to be levels eight to ten.

If this all sounds random and surprising and hard to keep up with, that’s because it is—at least at first. So you have to focus on aspects of the game that you can control. 

The Auto Chess economy

Economics are king in Auto Chess, but feature some remarkably unintuitive aspects. The game isn't made any easier by balance updates that come nearly every day of the week, especially when they change which heroes cost what and therefore how many are in the pool.

Each round you’ll get a base gold income. You’ll also get a single extra gold for winning a round. You also get gold for a streak—either winning or losing—that can stack up to three per win or loss in a row. Each round you also get 10 percent interest on your gold stores, rounded down—saving up 50 or more gold at the mid game for late game interest is important. (It’s something you can control!)

Economic strategy, therefore, is to either win or lose for a few games in a row, but never alternate between the two. The poorest players in a game are the ones who alternate between winning and losing each round. Losing on purpose can be good if you’re struggling—it’ll cost you hit points, but it’ll also stack up your losing streak bonus and let you get back in the game before you’re out entirely. I like to just commit to the loss until I get to less than 40 health while focusing on only the most valuable heroes, and then combine those heroes to a mid-game surge and spend big to try to win.

Placing three heroes of the same kind and level on the board will upgrade them into a single, stronger hero of a higher level. Heroes cost an amount based on their power—between one and five—but take the same number of duplicates to upgrade no matter their base cost. So it’s pretty easy to make a one cost hero into a level three. You just need to spend the nine gold to buy nine copies, and there are 45 copies of a one cost hero in the pool, so you’ve got a good chance of finding them in the draft. Meanwhile, it’s expensive to make a four or five cost hero (36 or 45 gold, respectively) into its level three form—not to mention that you’d need to get randomly dealt and then have the gold to buy 90% of the available supply of a five cost hero to level it up.

Your early hero buys might not fit into a larger strategy very well, but don’t be afraid to buy low level pieces you might not use long term because level one heroes can always be sold back for their full value. You’ve got eight reserve hero slots for precisely this reason. You can spend money to refresh your available pool and hunt down the pieces for your combo, but that costs valuable gold and will guarantee your defeat if you do it too much in the early to mid game. Remember that you can lock the pool if you want a piece but can’t afford it until next round—just don’t forget to unlock it.

How do Auto Chess heroes work?

Heroes are like any unit in an RTS or RPG: They have health, mana, damage, armor, and the like. They have an attack speed with its own animations and quirks based on model—these are things very familiar to Dota 2 players and accessible on the game’s wiki. Others are weird and poorly understood or documented at this time, like movement and range. Range is measured in the imprecise way of Dota 2. Suffice to say that each chess space is about 200 range, and most heroes with range can hit two spaces away at 400 range. Dwarf heroes like Sniper have 300 extra range, for a total of 700, so they can hit most of the board from any space. Movement is… less clearly delineated. Some heroes, like assassins, can leap the whole board in a move. Others, like Tiny, plod along one space at a time.

Each hero also has a single ability, which it uses by spending its mana and which it will almost always automatically use as soon as it can. Heroes get mana by dealing or taking damage with their attacks,  so survivable or long-range and high damage heroes generally get to use their powers more often. Higher level heroes have more hit points and do more damage, so they’re also more likely to get to use their abilities.  

Where you place your heroes on the board has a lot to do with this. You have half the 8x8 board to use, that’s 16 spaces for as many as 10 heroes. Putting squishy heroes in the back and tanks in the front is good, but knowing which tank needs to be supported to survive and use its ability versus which tank can just take the hits and go down fighting is key. Putting your tough, upgraded Timbersaw up at the front is good because his ability cooldown is very low, so he’ll take lots of damage and get to use that ability a lot. Tidehunter, on the other hand, needs to take damage to get off his powerful Ravage stun as quickly as possible, but it has a huge cooldown, so he won’t need a lot of mana long term. Keeper of the Light needs to be in corners or at the side of the field because his power is a large line. Compared to the rest of Auto Chess, hero placement is actually fairly intuitive when you’re just getting started—more complicated placement combos and flanking strategies can wait. 

Composing a team isn’t just about upgrading whatever you can buy for cheap, it’s about synergising the abilities of what you do buy and knowing when you diversify out of what you’re already specialized in. Goblin Mechs are strong in the early game, for example, but their effectiveness tapers off against other late game combos. Synergy bonuses from species and class are gained by having more multiple unique units of the same class and race on the battlefield at a time. Three or more Mages, for example, decrease the magic resistance of every enemy unit.

Choosing synergies is tricky, dependent on others’ team compositions, and can be a trap if you’re not wholly committed or if you overspecialize. Three or more warriors are always good, because warriors increase every warrior’s armor by a stacking amount when you’ve got three and six of them, and there are a lot of warriors from every species. Elves are a limited species specialization, on the other hand, and give each other evasion—but only the elves will benefit, so you have to tailor strategy for that. Two undead, meanwhile, is almost always worth it because they debuff every enemy’s armor. Two nagas is invaluable, boosting every hero on your team with extra magic resistance.

Popular strategies for starting players are often Warriors early game into Mages or Assassins late game, going all-in on Knights and Undead using Luna and Abaddon, or the often-dominant Goblin Mech combo that double dips on species and class synergies using the four different Goblin Mech characters. Here’s your real warning, though: Every game of Auto Chess has its own metagame based on picks, and the game itself has a meta based on strategies. Going for the dominant or popular builds can lose you the game when everyone else is going for them too.

All this and items, too

Rounds 1, 2, 3, 5, and every fifth round after that are the creep waves, where you fight a group of neutral enemies instead of an opponent. Killing those enemies can give you valuable items to equip heroes with, and those items can make or break a strategy or win a game. No take-backsies on item equipping, though—once you give a hero an item it’s theirs forever. 

Item management is an advanced tactic, so to start just put them where they’ll do good—mana items on a mage hero, armor items on a warrior. There are also, like in Dota 2, item recipes based on equipping a specific set of items to combine them into a more powerful item. These are obscure and weird to beginners, and some differ significantly from what a Dota 2 veteran might expect. I’d recommend just keeping the recipe list on the Auto Chess wiki open on a second monitor or printing it out for ease of reference. 

At this point, you should get in there and play. Don’t be afraid to try stuff out and win or lose. First start to learn the class and species synergies so you can build teams, then the hero powers, then worry about bigger concerns like watching your opponents or building up a stable of go-to strategies.

Advanced Dota Auto Chess tactics

Once you’ve played your first few games you’ll have space to really start to learn combos. You’ll figure out which heroes you like, which heroes nobody else likes, and how to combine those into a winning team. Here are some key tips moving forward from the basics:

1. Make an early commitment to a simple strategy and go all-in on it. You want to win early games, remember, to get that win streak bonus built up and kill those creeps for items. Commit early, then base your actual, long term strategies around your mid-game hero draws and items. Dota Haven has a good guide on the game phases if you’re struggling with how to build teams for different parts of the game. Likewise, a few lucky items drops can make or break the game for you. If you’ve got lots of lifesteal, build a powerful auto-attack team that really values those items. If you luck into a powerful item recipe, be willing to spend the extra gold required to make the equipped hero into as strong a piece as possible, even if it hurts you economically.

2. Watching your enemies’ moves is hard to do in the 30 seconds you have for strategy, but it’s vital. Knowing what others are buying lets you know what you can buy in order to take advantage of surplus pieces in the pool. A few convenient leveled up heroes because nobody’s buying Knights, for example, can easily win you the game. If you’ve decided to take a few losses to hoard money, spend that time watching enemies’ compositions so you can work against them: You’re going to lose anyways.

3. Placement can really matter when you bait valuable enemy heroes away from optimal positioning of their own. If you know your enemy is deploying a central Tidehunter with its huge area of effect stun, try to put a less valuable unit of your own forward and to one side in order to pull it away from the main body of your force.

4. Balance changes can come fast and furious, often two or three times a week. Check out unit tier lists for a shorthand, but watching the Auto Chess subreddit is one of the best ways to understand what’s going on. For now, know that Crystal Maiden is awful and should almost never be picked. Kunkka is godlike good even if he’s useless for your overall strategy, and should nearly always be picked. Tidehunter is similar, if trickier to use, but also plays into the valuable Naga synergy bonus.

Dota 2

A Dota 2 custom game mode designed by China-based Drodo Studio is taking the Dota 2 world by storm, reaching 100,000 concurrent players earlier today and racking up over 670,000 subscribed users. Dota Auto Chess is a strategic, tactically complex mix of board game and Dota custom map. Play is based around drafting hands of heroes, combining them to upgrade them, and then deploying them correctly to win victories over eight other players in a series of one-on-one matches. The game has become wildly popular, with more concurrent players today than, say, Grand Theft Auto 5 or Football Manager 2019. Like Dota 2, Dota Auto Chess is completely free.

Dota Auto Chess is a weird name for it, I’ll grant. That makes sense since it’s cross-cultural, but the game doesn’t really have that much to do with a match of chess other than an 8x8 board. In truth, it inherits more from tactical board games like Neuroshima Hex or Warcraft 3 mods like Legion TD and Hero Line Wars.

Each round of the game you’re drafted a random hand of heroes you can buy using gold you’ve accumulated. Those heroes are then deployed to the grid and fight automated battles against each other. If you buy three of a specific hero, like Axe the Orc Warrior, you can combine them into a more powerful version of that hero. If you own three of a hero type, you get a bonus to that hero type—three warriors nets you +8 armor, for example. Each hero also has a race, with three of a race getting a bonus—so three Orcs nets you +250 health for all Orcs.

Did I mention that the draft is timed? It’s timed. You have 30 seconds to buy and combine, and you need to watch what enemies are drafting because there are only 20 of each hero available in the whole game. If others pull and buy the pieces of your combo from the pool before you then you're out of luck.

See where this gets complex?  You’re simultaneously trying to beat enemies as cheaply as possible to save gold for later rounds while you build up combos and counter-combo what your enemies are doing. Got enemies with lots of stuns? Well, maybe you should aim for some Nagas and get stun resistance.

It’s a fascinating game, and rounds play so quickly that you can’t help but keep playing more of the game’s mini-tournaments. You don’t have to be great at Dota 2 to win, because the game automatically fights for you using the heroes you’ve deployed. Lose once from a bad hand? Well, just jump into another match and go for it again. Fights against neutral creeps break up the fights with players and net you bonus gold, so the pressure isn’t always completely on.

Here’s a bit of an explainer from Team Secret Operations Director Matthew Bailey: 

You can find Dota Auto Chess here on Steam, or in-game in Dota 2's workshop.

Dota 2

The next Dota 2 major in Chonqing, China might be cancelled by the city's government if Carlo “Kuku” Palad—one of the pro players that Valve condemned last month for using racist insults against Chinese teams—tries to attend, according to Kuku's team TNC Predator.

The Filipino player made the racist taunt in a pub game last month, and TNC Predator announced they would dock half of his winnings from the recent Kuala Lumpur Major, where the team won $60,000 by placing joint 5th, as well as half of his winnings from the upcoming Chongqing Major. The money will be donated to an anti-racism charity (h/t Fox Sports Asia).

However, rumours swirled last week that both Kuku and Andrei "skem" Ong, the other player who used racist taunts, would be banned from competing in the Chongqing Major, which will take place in January. According to TNC Predator, that is not true—in a series of tweets today, the team said Kuku was not banned, but that they had been told the city's government might cancel the tournament if Kuku attends. 

As you can see in the tweets below, TNC Predator claimed tournament organisers also said they could not "guarantee [Kuku's] safety" should he attend.

The team said they were "yet to decide whether we will continue playing in the event", and were "exploring all of our options".

Kuku issued an apology last week, in which he said there was "no excuse" for his actions, and that he hoped for a "second chance to show that I can become a better example" (translation via Fox Sports Asia).

As for skem, he's been removed from compLexity Gaming's active Dota 2 roster, so is unlikely to attend the tournament. The team previously issued him a "formal reprimand, as well as a maximum fine".

Neither Valve nor the tournament organisers have issued an official statement on the matter.

Dota 2

It's not Monday anymore, but Cyber Monday deals haven't disappeared just yet. Amazon is running deals all week long, and some of our favorite deals from other sites are still active, too, in both the US and UK. This is the best time of year to find sales and deals on graphics cards, gaming monitors, mice, keyboards, and more.

There are still savings to be found on monitors, prebuilt PCs, graphics cards, and chairs, especially. Each of those categories below is still filled out with deals. So are most of the others. There aren't as many deals as there were from the height of Black Friday, but the discounts that remain active are still just as good.

Not sure what to buy this Cyber Monday? The first thing is do your homework. Figure out what components you want to upgrade, and do your research to figure out which parts are best for you. (Our hardware buying guides are great for advice on that front.) Once you've figured out your target deals, check how much they're usually sold for using a tool like PCPartPicker or CamelCamelCamel. That way you can tell how much money (if any) you're actually saving.

While we haven't seen too many deals on Nvidia's new RTX graphics cards, we've actually seen some great deals on gaming PCs with RTX graphics. There have also been some great accessory sales, like up to 50 percent off Logitech gear. SSDs are also a hot commodity this year. They make an excellent easy upgrade for your rig, and are a great gift for any PC gamer. (Everyone can use more storage!)

Check back often as the PC Gamer team is working all weekend to find the best deals ahead of Cyber Monday. Stick with us, and you'll be sure to find some great PC gaming hardware on sale.

Here are the best Cyber Monday deals still available:

Cyber Monday gaming PC deals

High-end prebuilt gaming PCs

Mid-range prebuilt gaming PCs

Budget prebuilt gaming PCs

Back to top

Cyber Monday gaming laptop deals 

Mid-range laptops

Entry-level laptops

UK gaming laptop deals 

Back to top

Cyber Monday graphics card deals US

Nvidia RTX 2080 Deals:

AMD RX 570 Deals:

Cyber Monday graphics card deals UK

Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti Deals:

Nvidia RTX 2080 Deals:

Nvidia GTX 1060 Deals:

AMD RX 580 Deals:

AMD RX 570 Deals:

Back to top

Cyber Monday 2018 monitor deals

US deals

UK Cyber Monday monitor deals

Back to top

Cyber Monday SSD and HDD deals

UK Cyber Monday SSD and HDD deals

Back to top

Cyber Monday motherboard deals

AMD motherboard deals

UK Cyber Monday motherboard deals

Back to top

Cyber Monday CPU deals

UK Cyber Monday CPU deals

Back to top

Cyber Monday gaming mouse deals

UK Cyber Monday gaming mouse deals

Cyber Monday gaming keyboard deals

UK Cyber Monday gaming keyboard deals 

Cyber Monday webcam deals

UK deals

Other accessory deals

Back to top

Cyber Monday PC case deals

Back to top

Cyber Monday RAM deals

Back to top

Cyber Monday gaming headset deals

UK Cyber Monday gaming headset deals

Back to top

Cyber Monday speaker deals

Back to top

Cyber Monday gaming router deals

UK Cyber Monday PC gaming router deals

Back to top

Cyber Monday TV deals

UK Cyber Monday TV deals

Back to top

Cyber Monday controller deals

Back to top

Cyber Monday gaming chair deals

US deals

UK deals

Back to top

Cyber Monday PSU deals

Back to top

Cyber Monday fan and CPU cooler deals

UK deals

Back to top

What's the difference between Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

Black Friday began as a day of shopping sales at brick-and-mortar stores, with Cyber Monday later joining it as the day for finding online deals. But as online shopping has risen to stratospheric levels (have you seen how much Amazon is worth lately?), you can expect to see deals both in-store and online starting on Black Friday (and earlier), and continuing through the weekend. 

Some companies and retailers release all of their planned sales on Black Friday, while others divvy them up throughout the weekend, or hold some deals to push live on Cyber Monday. We'll have a team working around the clock combing through thousands of deals—both good and bad—to find sales on our favorite components and deep discounts on other great hardware. We'll let you know if a deal is worth considering, or if it's even a good deal in the first place.

To get the best deals, we recommend checking back often as new deals go live—and as we curate more and more of the best ones we can find. 

Stick with PC Gamer

Our team will be working around the clock through the holiday season scouring the digital store shelves for the best PC gaming deals to be found. Check back often as we track down the best post-Black Friday and pre-Cyber Monday deals, and of course visit us on Cyber Monday itself to see all the best PC gaming deals to be had.

Some online stores give us a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Read our affiliate policy for more info. 

Back to top

Dota 2

The time has come, Black Friday is here, and we're already seeing tons of fantastic Black Friday PC gaming deals on parts, accessories, and games across the US and UK. This is the best time of year to find sales and deals on graphics cards, gaming monitors, mice, keyboards, and more. 

Not sure what to buy this Black Friday? The first thing is do your homework. Figure out what components you want to upgrade, and do your research to figure out which parts are best for you. (Our hardware buying guides are great for advice on that front.) Once you've figured out your target deals, check how much they're usually sold for using a tool like PCPartPicker or CamelCamelCamel. That way you can tell how much money (if any) you're actually saving.

While we haven't seen too many deals on Nvidia's new RTX graphics cards, we've actually seen some great deals on gaming PCs with RTX graphics. There have also been some great accessory sales, like up to 50 percent off Logitech gear. SSDs are also a hot commodity this year. They make an excellent easy upgrade for your rig, and are a great gift for any PC gamer. (Everyone can use more storage!)

Check back often as the PC Gamer team is working around the clock to find and surface the best Black Friday PC gaming deals to be had. Stick with us, and you'll be sure to find some great PC gaming hardware on sale.

Jump to Black Friday PC gaming deals at your favorite retailer:

UK Black Friday PC gaming deals

What we're looking for in gaming PC deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

So far gaming PC deals have included a number of systems with RTX 2070 and 2080 cards at surprisingly good prices. Some even more affordable systems use previous-gen 1080s, 1080 Tis, and 1070s. If you don't need the latest and greatest, those are a good choice.

Expect to see steeper discounts on desktops using AMD's processors from last year—the 1600X, 1700X, and 1800X Ryzen CPUs. For example, this iBUYPOWER PC with an 1800X and an RX 580 already dropped to $799 once. You can definitely find a bargain here with a Ryzen system paired with a 1000-series Nvidia graphics card.

Black Friday gaming PC deals

Jump to UK gaming PC deals

High-end prebuilt gaming PCs

Mid-range prebuilt gaming PCs

Budget prebuilt gaming PCs

UK gaming PC deals

Back to top

Black Friday gaming laptop deals 

Jump to UK gaming laptop deals

US deals

High-end laptops

Mid-range laptops

Entry-level laptops

UK gaming laptop deals 

Australia deals

Back to top

What we're looking for in GPU deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Graphics card prices have finally returned to normal, after the year-long cryptocurrency-induced shortage. Now that manufacturers have plenty of excess stock, you can expect to see some great deals this year.

Nvidia's new RTX 2070, RTX 2080, and 2080 Ti cards bring ray-tracing to mainstream hardware, and we're looking for the best discounts we can find on them, though there won't be anything massive. However, there will almost certainly be great deals on last-gen GTX 10-series cards, like the GTX 1080, GTX 1070 Ti, and GTX 1070.

Black Friday graphics card deals

Jump to UK Black Friday graphics card deals

US deals

UK Black Friday graphics card deals 

Back to top

What we're looking for in monitor deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday 

Vendors typically leverage the holiday shopping season to clear out older inventories. It's rare to see a brand new product go on sale, so we didn't expect there to be any significant discounts on monitors like the Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ or Acer Predator X27, the pair of 4K 144Hz monitors with HDR and G-Sync support (everything but the kitchen sink, in other words). But we were wrong: Acer's model is $300 off on Newegg.

We do expect to see deals on 4K monitors in general, and to some extent, HDR displays as well. We also anticipate deals on monitors supporting AMD's first generation Freesync technology. AMD has been pushing an updated 'Freesync 2 HDR' certification, so vendors will likely look to clear room for newer models.

Black Friday 2018 monitor deals

Jump to UK Black Friday monitor deals

US deals

UK Black Friday monitor deals

Australia deals

Back to top

What we're looking for in SSD deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Solid state drives have been on a steady price decline over the past few years, thanks to lower manufacturing costs and greater competition. This has accelerated in the past few months, leaving SSD prices at an all-time low. Most 500GB SATA drives are less than $100, and 1TB models are typically around $150. Faster M.2 disks are still more expensive than their SATA counterparts, but not by much; 500GB NVMe M.2 drives run for about $150.

This Black Friday, you can expect SSD prices to drop to absurdly-low prices.

Black Friday SSD and HDD deals

Jump to UK Black Friday SSD and HDD deals

UK Black Friday SSD and HDD deals

Back to top

What we're looking for in motherboard deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday 

Z390 boards are already stocked at online retailers but are new, so they won't offer the best deals. Most Z370 boards also have updated BIOSes to accommodate the new 9th gen Cores. If you are thinking on splurging on one of Intel's new CPUs, but need a new motherboard to go with it, you don't need to rush to get the newest one.

As for motherboards with AMD chipsets, there were a few deals last year on motherboards that supported both first gen and second gen Ryzen processors, like the ASUS ROG Strix X370-F, so it seems likely we'll see those deals again. Of course, if you aren't sure what to put on your shopping list when the time comes, you can always take a look at our recommendations for the best gaming motherboards.

Black Friday motherboard deals

Jump to UK Black Friday motherboard deals

AMD motherboard deals

UK Black Friday motherboard deals

Back to top

What we're looking for in CPU deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Intel just launched its 9th-generation "Coffee Lake refresh" Core processors, including the i5-9600K, the i7-9600K, and i9-9900k. Don't expect big deals there. On the plus side, retailers might be more inclined to clear out their existing inventories of 7th-gen (Kaby Lake) and 8th-gen (Coffee Lake) Intel CPUs.

When it comes to AMD, we're looking for steep discounts on first generation Ryzen processors. Something else to consider is that if you're looking for a new CPU, you probably also need a new motherboard. Check the combined total for both parts, as there might be bigger discounts on the motherboard side that can make up for a smaller CPU discount.

Black Friday CPU deals

Jump to UK Black Friday CPU deals

UK Black Friday CPU deals

Back to top

Black Friday gaming mouse deals

Jump to UK Black Friday gaming mouse deals

UK Black Friday gaming mouse deals

Black Friday gaming keyboard deals

Jump to UK Black Friday gaming keyboard deals

UK Black Friday gaming keyboard deals 

Black Friday webcam deals

Other accessory deals

Back to top

What we're looking for in PC case deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

There are so many PC cases out there, you're bound to find one you like on sale. Look out for whole manufacturers like NZXT discounting all their products, or choose from one of the cases we like below.

Black Friday PC case deals

Jump to Black Friday UK PC case deals

UK Black Friday PC case deals

Back to top

What we're looking for in RAM deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

After a long period of high RAM prices, we're looking for Black Friday to bring us some price relief with affordable DDR4.

Black Friday RAM deals

Jump to UK Black Friday RAM deals

UK Black Friday RAM deals

Back to top

What we're looking for in headset deals this Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Last year there were a massive amount of gaming headsets on sale, from low-end models to premium variants. No matter what your budget, this year you can expect to get a gaming headset at a great price. This Black Friday/Cyber Monday, you can expect to see plenty of headsets on sale for around 30-50% off, depending on the manufacturer and original price.

Black Friday gaming headset deals

Jump to UK Black Friday gaming headset deals

UK Black Friday gaming headset deals

Back to top

Computer speakers don't change much from year to year, but there have been a few interesting product launches since the last Black Friday and Cyber Monday. For example, Logitech released its G560 speakers with RGB lighting, which is now our top PC speaker recommendation. Razer also launched its new THX-certified Nommo Pro, which of course has RGB lighting.

Black Friday speaker deals

Back to top

What we're looking for in gaming router deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

This past Amazon Prime Day gives us a good idea of what to expect from this year's Black Friday/Cyber Monday. Linksys, Netgear, Asus, TP-Link, and Synology all had their higher-end routers on sale — typically around 30-50 percent off the original prices.

There haven't been any radical advances in Wi-Fi technology over the past year, so there isn't a specific feature you should be looking for in discounted routers. Mesh systems like the Google Wi-Fi and Netgear Orbi are becoming more and more popular, but recent improvements in that product category are mostly thanks to better software, not new hardware.

Black Friday gaming router deals

Jump to UK Black Friday gaming router deals

UK Black Friday PC gaming router deals

Back to top

What we're looking for in 4K TV deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

There haven't been any radical improvements in 4K TVs since last year, so there aren't any specific products or features you should keep an eye out for. Most smart TVs still run webOS, Roku OS, or Amazon's Fire TV OS. We're looking for the best prices on high-end OLED sets, and to recommend affordable mid-range sets that have great gaming performance thanks to low response times.

Black Friday TV deals

Jump to UK Black Friday TV deals

UK Black Friday TV deals

Back to top

What we're looking for in controller deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

There are few better times to snap up a new controller than Black Friday. Peripherals are popular gifts, and pretty much always go on sale. If you're looking to make a purchase, keep an eye on this section, because we'll update it with the best controller deals as they appear.

Little has changed from last year’s options, and as far as we’re concerned, Sony’s DualShock 4 controller and Microsoft's Xbox One controller are still great choices. The addition of the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller to the mix as a viable option for PC gaming has altered the landscape a bit, but it’s considerably pricier. 

Black Friday controller deals

Jump to UK Black Friday controller deals

UK controller deals

Back to top

What we're looking for in gaming chair deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Gaming chairs often don't get that many decent sales around the holidays, due to their higher prices and quality. However, discounts that most retailers offer around this time will likely work on inventory they carry that's eligible for percentages off, even if there's not a sale on a gaming chair per se. 

Amazon offered a few gaming chairs for Prime Day recently, such as the Respawn 110 Racing Style Leather Gaming Chair for $139.99, down from its original price of $497, among a few other deals, so we're watching for similar deals for Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

Black Friday gaming chair deals

Jump to UK Black Friday gaming chair deals

US deals

Back to top

Black Friday computer desk deals

Black Friday PSU deals

Jump to UK Black Friday PSU deals

UK Black Friday PSU deals

Back to top

What we're looking for in case fan and CPU cooler deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

There haven't been any radical advancements in fan technology or CPU coolers over the past year, so there aren't any specific products you should keep an eye out for. Case fans still pull air in and out of your computer, and CPU coolers still pull heat away from your processor. We're on the hunt for reliable cooling devices with good discounts.

Black Friday fan and CPU cooler deals

Jump to UK Black Friday fan and CPU cooler deals

Black Friday fan and CPU cooler deals 

Back to top

Back to top

When is Cyber Monday 2018?

Cyber Monday is the first Monday following Thanksgiving/Black Friday. This year Cyber Monday 2018 is Monday November 26.

What's the difference between Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

Black Friday began as a day of shopping sales at brick-and-mortar stores, with Cyber Monday later joining it as the day for finding online deals. But as online shopping has risen to stratospheric levels (have you seen how much Amazon is worth lately?), you can expect to see deals both in-store and online starting on Black Friday (and earlier), and continuing through the weekend. 

Some companies and retailers release all of their planned sales on Black Friday, while others divvy them up throughout the weekend, or hold some deals to push live on Cyber Monday. We'll have a team working around the clock combing through thousands of deals—both good and bad—to find sales on our favorite components and deep discounts on other great hardware. We'll let you know if a deal is worth considering, or if it's even a good deal in the first place.

To get the best deals, we recommend checking back often as new deals go live—and as we curate more and more of the best ones we can find. 

Stick with PC Gamer

Our team will be working around the clock through the holiday season scouring the digital store shelves for the best PC gaming deals to be found. Check back often as we track down the best pre-Black Friday deals, and of course visit us on Black Friday and Cyber Monday to see all the best PC gaming deals to be had.

And if you're feeling burnt out on Black Friday, have some fun and blow off some steam by smashing lovely aisles of stocked shelves in Black Friday: The Ultimate Shopping Simulator.

Back to top

Game deals

Back to top

Some online stores give us a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Read our affiliate policy for more info. 

Dota 2

Valve has condemned the "damaging" use of racist insults by Dota 2 pros and warned teams that they need to dish out "strong punishments" to any future offenders.

It follows two incidents of Dota 2 pros using racist taunts against Chinese teams. The first, as noted on ResetEra, involved Filipino player Andrei "skem" Ong. His team compLexity Gaming said they had issued skem with a "formal reprimand, as well as a maximum fine" for the "inappropriate comment", which was made earlier this month.

Following another pro using the same racial taunt a few days later—this time Carlo “Kuku” Palad of TNC Pro Team—Dota 2 was review bombed on Steam, with most of the negative reviews citing the lack of proper punishment for both skem and Kuku. On November 7 and 8 combined, the game received nearly 4,000 negative reviews.

On Friday, Chinese pro player and coach Xu "BurNIng" Zhilei shared an email about the incidents that appeared to be from Valve's Erik Johnson. In the email exchange, translated by Reddit user WhoIsEarthshaker, Johnson said the pro players' comments were "very offensive and inappropriate", and that Valve would step in if a pro player that made racist comments was not punished by their team. It would also be contacting TNC regarding Kuku's comments, he said.

He did not respond directly to BurNing's call for "clear rules" governing punishments for racist launguage. 

Valve did, however, write a post on the Dota 2 blog yesterday in which it said that racist language between pro players "is really damaging to the entire Dota community.

"It pits fans against each other, belittles and demeans entire groups and makes them feel like they are not as important. Going forward, we expect all teams who participate in our tournaments to hold its players accountable, and be prepared to follow up with strong punishments when players represent Dota and its community poorly."

Valve did not clarify what would happen if teams did not dish out "strong punishments" for racist abuse, or say what it thought constituted a strong punishment. It continued:

"We’ve always had an approach of letting the players be themselves, and to express themselves freely. That’s how it’s always been for a long time. However, we also expect pro players to understand that they represent the Dota community regardless of where they are. Words carry a lot of meaning. 

"Some people may not agree or understand why certain words are harmful, but it doesn’t make it any less so to those on the receiving end. The language used by multiple players over the last week has caused many of our fans a lot of pain and is not behavior that we condone."

You can read Valve's full statement here.

Thanks, Eurogamer.

Dota 2

Dota 2’s Kuala Lumpur Major kicked off today, pitting 16 teams from across the world against each other for a million dollar prize pool and, arguably even more important, 15,000 Dota Pro Circuit points. The top 12 teams with the highest points from the Majors will receive direct invites to The International 2019, while the rest of the spots will be decided by the regional qualifiers. 

Today and tomorrow see the teams compete in the group stage, followed by a week of playoffs and the main public event, ending on November 18. Follow the first day of the group stage on PGL’s Twitch stream below.

Things work a bit differently this year, with teams earning points instead of individual players. The new system seems considerably simpler. "Our goal is to introduce a bit more structure to the year, increase team roster flexibility, and improve the spacing and importance of each event," Valve explained in a blog post earlier this year. 

In Minors, like last week’s, there are smaller prize pools and point rewards, but the winner of the Minors also automatically qualifies for the next Major. That team won’t earn point for both competitions, however. They either earn points for the Minor or the Major, whichever is greater. 

First place in Kuala Lumpur will earn the team $350,000 and 4,950 DPC, while the any teams ending up in 13th place or below will earn $10,000 and 75DPC. Four more Majors and Minors will determine the rest of the teams, coming to an end on June 30, 2019. There’s still a long way to go before the International. 

...

Search news
Archive
2019
Apr   Mar   Feb   Jan  
Archives By Year
2019   2018   2017   2016   2015  
2014   2013   2012   2011   2010  
2009   2008   2007   2006   2005  
2004   2003   2002