No matter your experience level, picking and playing a hero in Dota 2 can be a challenge, especially considering a massive available pool of 117 heroes. However, there are some heroes whose mechanics and gameplay are more forgiving for players who are just starting out. We will go over the most important information about the best heroes so that you can contribute to winning the game, even as a beginner.
Table of contents
- DOTA 2 Roles
- Best Support - Ogre Magi
- Best Offlaner - Centaur Warrunner
- Best Сarry – Spectre
- Best Jungler – Enigma
- Best Mid Heroes – Kunkka
- Best Solo – Timbersaw
- Faceless Void
- Wraith King
- GOSU AI Assistant: Why You Should Go for I
DOTA 2 Roles
The combination of heroes’ characteristics, abilities, and items defines what role they can occupy. Even though these defining features may suit different situations, roles are needed to denote the behavior a hero is expected to embody. Here are the roles and positions prescribed to heroes within the game.
Considered one of the most important and challenging roles to play, a carry can be a true powerhouse of the late game. Even though they are relatively weak in the early game, the hero literally “carries” the team into the late game. While every other class of heroes becomes less powerful, a carry has almost infinite damage potential.
The main purpose of support heroes is to protect their allies, while they can earn more gold and experience. Support’s abilities revolve around their utility to the team rather than damage. For example, they possess healing spells for their allies and disabling abilities for enemies.
There should be at least one lane which is occupied by a solo. Solo Mid heroes are normally associated with a higher level of game sense and mechanical skill. Essentially, you need to get the most from your lane without getting killed.
The best heroes for the Solo Offlane role are those with cheap escape mechanisms or great staying power. They act as initiators that should be able to sustain the lanes. An Offlaner comes against the enemy’s carry and their supports. His main purpose is to take the hit from the supports and try to hinder the enemy’s farming – if possible, he’ll do the farming on his own in the meantime.
The second support standing, along with an Offlaner, could be a roamer making the noise in-between lanes. Or two supports can stand in a lane along with the carry to protect him, even more effectively.
For in-depth information on various Dota 2 roles – position description, required qualities, responsibilities, and common heroes – visit this Positions & Roles Guide.
Best Support - Ogre Magi
This is a tough hero that poses a real danger with its high 8 base armor. His enormous health pool allows Ogre Magi to get rid of any hero coming its way during the first minutes of the game. He is mechanically simple and undemanding in terms of money and experience. During the first stages of the game, he will take care of his carry perfectly well.
If you manage to gather some money, any active item will yield two-four times the amount of benefit. This is because of the Multicast ability, which now works on items as well. You can get huge amounts of gold out of creeps with Hand of Midas, cause massive damage over time with Spirit Vessel or turn an enemy unit into a harmless critter in the late game with Scythe of Vyse. There is practically no scenario when Ogre Magi would be a bad pick. Therefore, always keep him in mind, knowing you can rely on this two-headed guy.
If you want to know the key elements for winning games as support, check out this guide for an in-detail rundown, tips, and common errors.
Best Offlaner - Centaur Warrunner
Centaur Warrunner is a classic tank-initiator that has carved a solid niche in the top hero lists since having its ultimate ability reworked. Because of the Retaliate ability and high strength gain per level, Centaur Warrunner can withstand attacks from any carry in the early game. If he spots a weakness in the enemy, he can take the offensive with the help of Double Edge and long-lasting stun through Hoof Stomp. As soon as it is time to fight on a broader scale, the ultimate ability will grant the allies high speed for engaging or disengaging.
Best Сarry – Spectre
Spectre has long been associated with imminent death in the late game, even back in the days of Dota 1. Despite her weaknesses in the first minutes, as experience had shown, Spectre wins the overwhelming majority of games after the 40-60-minute mark.
The Dispersion ability gives her significantly greater durability and deals with impressive damage when equipped with items that provide health, armor, and damage block. With the help of Haunt, Spectre can instantly teleport to any enemy hero on the map even after using the buyback. Therefore, she can find any enemy and attack them without needing to chase them. And a new Shadow Step ability, which is unlocked by the Aghanim's Scepter, allows her to get closer to the target even when Haunt is on the cooldown.
If you want to learn about another popular carry, head over to our Juggernaut guide.
Best Jungler – Enigma
Even though having jungler on the team will currently give a slim chance of winning, Enigma makes a big exception to this rule. Because of the Demonic Conversion ability, he transforms a creep into three fragments of himself. That allows him to farm the jungle efficiently without losing any HP.
Since Enigma is capable of carrying a great deal of experience and gold for purchasing items out of the jungle farm, it allows him to put the game-winning Black hole ability into practice. However, Enigma is still a useful asset, even without the ultimate ability. For example, he can collect items to make him strong support for his team, such as Mekansm with the benefit of Guardian Greaves.
Best Mid Heroes – Kunkka
Kunkka is a reliable and versatile hero that will withstand attacks from the majority of mid heroes. The skill combo is a powerful move early in the game and, by the late game, Kunkka becomes a truly daunting carry. The Tidebringer ability grants increased damage in a large AOE, while Torrent and Ghost Ship provide crowd control. Unlike many other heroes, Kunkka’s gameplay becomes easier as time goes by. The early game relies on casting, whereas in the late game, collecting double Daedalus and making one strike should be enough.
Best Solo – Timbersaw
No matter when you are planning to leave Timbersaw, it will be very challenging to push him out of there. For example, it will take a hefty amount of armor and regeneration granted by the Reactive Armor ability. This resilience will not be good news to any carry or mid that are unlucky enough to come across this crazy goblin. Timbersaw will do better if he has proper positioning early in the early. Therefore, he exceeds best when fighting solo.
Best Solo Mid – Lina
Lina is an effective nuker and strong laner offering damaging capabilities throughout the game. If you need to strengthen your mid lane, Lina is your go-to. She can get rid of most weak players early in the game and do staggering damage with her ultimate, Laguna Blade. Then, for a strong and fast physical attack, the Fiery Soul comes into play in later stages.
Best Solo Off-Lane – Tidehunter
If you no longer want to keep pressing a ton of buttons, choose Tidehunter without hesitation. Against various lineups, he becomes a literally unkillable hero. Kraken Shell thickens his hide to block a portion of attack damage, which allows him to focus on creep farming and not be distracted by supports. Plus, Anchor Smash does not let the enemy carry make last hits by reducing their attack damage. Tidehunter is useful late in the game since he can throttle enemies in a massive area around him, which is possible thanks to the Ravage ability. The hero talents provide +250 damage on level 25, which allows him to easily transition into a carry. For the same reasons, Tidehunter became a usual pick as a mid – as this ensures plenty of experience and items. And this trick works even at The International:
Before we go any further, you might to check out the statistics on leavers in Dota 2 and see what the player base is for each rank.
Tiny has always been an unconventional pick rather than a reliable go-to for most players. But after the 7.22 patch, he received the Aghanim upgrade rework and suddenly became one of the most popular mid picks on TI9. Valve has leveled off his weaknesses, and the hero has now become a decent asset. Tiny is very useful in 5x5 battles as well as in solo combat. He deals with good AOE damage and has a dependable stun.
- Strong early/mid-game carry: Gyrocopter, Sven, Bristleback. Tiny can quickly gain an advantage on the map thanks to its massive burst damage. If your carry also had a strong start and is good in the early game, you might be able to finish the game in 20 minutes, leaving no favorable options for the enemy.
- Heroes capable of buffing serious physical damage. Tiny has a high base AOE damage, so buffs like Empower from Magnus or Bloodlust from Ogre Magi are especially beneficial.
- AOE crowd control. Tiny can deal deadly damage to enemies because of its newly acquired Tree Volley ability. Tiny is equipped with Aghanim's Scepter and properly utilized Chronosphere, Black Hole or Ravage can completely turn a team fight to your benefit.
- Kunkka, Lifestealer, Ember Spirit – any beefy heroes or those with magic resistance are not a good match. Even his burst damage, which is Tiny’s biggest strength, will not suffice.
- Strong support that saves allies: Winter Wyvern, Abbadon. Tiny should be able to easily deal with weak heroes by using its skill combo. If the victim is constantly being saved, there is no reason to use Tiny.
- Heroes that are weak in the early game: Antimage, Terrorblade, Faceless Void. While late-game carries on the enemy side try to farm gold, Tiny can simply destroy their Ancient.
- Heroes or players weaker in lanes: Alchemist, Invoker. Tiny has good physical damage because of the Tree Grab ability. Tiny can easily gain an advantage in the last hits against a weak laner.
- Tree Grab. The ability provides good opportunities for last-hitting in lanes and AOE auto attacks. Tree Grab used to be a buff granted by the Aghanim's Scepter. But now it’s Tiny’s key feature since it became a regular ability.
- Toss. This signature ability allows for launching units and dealing damage where they land. You can toss your initiator into a fight, a weak enemy into a herd of allies or even a weak ally into a herd of enemies (though this is not advised).
- Tree Volley. This is a new ability gained through purchasing the Aghanim's Scepter. If you have a completed Daedalus, you can fully wipe out the enemy team with 1500 AOE critical strikes. Enemy support will come crashing down with 2-3 trees thrown.
- Blink Dagger – the first item after boots. The key in the early game is to have great mobility.
- Echo Sabre – Tiny makes immense attack damage but has a low-speed attack. Echo Sabre's double attack adds more burst damage to its arsenal.
- Aghanim's Scepter – this indispensable item works well as a third inventory slot. The mere sight of it will cast fear in your enemies.
- Daedalus – if absurd attack damage is not enough, it can be topped with high critical strike damage.
- Assault Cuirass/Black King Bar – an item that ensures survival will be an amazing final touch. You can complete Black King Bar earlier if you think you won't make it in the battle.
Recently Gyrocopter, which traditionally used to be a popular choice at big tournaments, has been staying in the shadows. It has returned to TI9 in a new role – a powerful mid hero, which plays equally well in the early and mid-game, courtesy of a skill combo that ensures great damage. It successfully moves to the late game with a strong Aghanim and a powerful AOE attack.
- AOE skill combo and crowd control: Tidehunter, Sand King, Enigma. Gyrocopter deals with great AOE damage at any stage of the game – magical damage in the early game and physical damage in the late game. Gyrocopter is especially useful when utilized with other heroes geared for the 5x5 battle.
- Venomancer, Chen and carry Dazzle – they come in handy when coupled with picks intended for the early game and a quick win.
- Io deserves a special mention. It is Gyrocopter’s best companion, since the days when Alliance won the TI3. And now, TI9 has brought out a new version of this combo – when Io takes up the role of carry, Gyro acts as a mid.
- Heroes resistant to skill combo: Tiny, Ember Spirit, Kunkka. These pals will survive the hit in the early game and then respond to the challenge.
- Strong late carries: Lifestealer and Sven. While Gyro deals with poor single target damage in the late game, this is not the case with these heroes. Plus, they are extremely beefy, so they do not leave any chance for Gyrocopter late in the game.
- Carries that are weak in the early game: Terorblade, Medusa. Gyrocopter will manage them before they get a hold of any items and gold.
- Illusions, summoners, and Meepo – anyone vulnerable to AOE damage is vulnerable to Gyrocopter.
- Rocket Barrage – it allows you to enhance the hero in the early game. The ability makes it possible to launch a succession of rockets at nearby enemy units.
- Homing Missile – it is great for chasing highly movable targets, which makes it a useful asset. Upon impact, the item deals damage and stuns the target.
- Flak Cannon – the biggest trick for late in the game, which attacks every enemy in sight. After the purchase of Divine Rapier, the ability is changed to “Press E to get Rampage”.
- Black King Bar – while it is not necessarily the first item to grab, eventually you’ll need it so that enemies will not be able to burst you down with magical damage.
- Satanic – designed to make Gyrocopter be able to survive longer in the late game. It also provides a slight damage boost.
- Butterfly – the item grants a good combination of evasion and damage amplification. Evasion allows Gyrocopter to go head to head against harder carries.
- Monkey King Bar – this should be used for decent attack damage in case the enemy has Butterfly or natural evasions abilities.
- Aghanim – if players used to go for Eye of Skadi or Manta Style for better stats, this role has now been replaced by Aghanim. Additionally, it increases damage per second.
Sven is the manliest hero in Dota 2, who embodies an insane combination of immense physical AOE damage and mediocre mobility. In terms of hero mechanics, Sven is an easy hero to work with. If farmed, it is a truly frightening enemy to go up against.
Hard crowd control: Tidehunter, Enigma, Magnus. Sven has a great hit but will not chase the enemy successfully. Seek anyone who can keep the enemy still, which will compensate for Sven's low attack and speed of movement.
Heroes with high mobility: Weaver, Storm Spirit, Ember Spirit, Morphling. Quickly moving targets are hard for Sven to handle.
Gyrocopter, Drow Ranger, Tiny – by extension of the previous point, other heroes that do not actively move around but rather stay still and fight.
- Storm Hammer – the ability ensures damage and disables enemy units in a small area around the target.
- Great Cleave – cleave damage is applied to all nearby enemies.
- Warcry – it affects allies and provides them with an attack damage shield, while also increasing their speed of movement.
- God's Strength – increases strength and damage. The effect added by Aghanim's Scepter is an aura, placing the Gods Strength Child buff on allied heroes.
- Blink Dagger – Sven can use some increased mobility. Otherwise, he will make no difference in the outcome of the game.
- Black King Bar – Sven is often the main target for all kinds of disables, so defense against them will provide a necessary advantage.
- Daedalus – this amplifies the attack damage and allows the hero to destroy enemies in just a few hits.
- Assault Cuirass/Satanic – these items supply a good amount of survivability and damage so it will work very well, especially in the latter stages of the game.
- Monkey King Bar – this will allow Sven to counter enemies’ actions powered by evasion items such as Butterfly.
Faceless Void is one of the most popular picks on TI9. The hero is weak, in the early game, but succeeds in his prime task later. He can completely turn around a seemingly lost game by stopping time and eliminating all of the enemies.
Any hero that can survive until the later stages of the game will prove to be useful. This includes active mids like Lina, Kunkka or Tiny, as well as strong support such as Ogre Magi, Crystal Maiden or Bane. If you want to learn more about Bane and what he can do at different stages of the game, visit this guide.
- Shadow Demon, Winter Wyvern, Dazzle – these are supports that can save the victim affected by the Chronosphere.
- Kunkka, Sven, Lifestealer, Axe, Lycan – beefy heroes capable of getting the upper hand early in the early.
Sniper, Drow Ranger or Tinker – otherwise stated the late-game carries. If they get into the Chronosphere, it will leave them with no chance.
- Time Walk – moves to a target location while reversing the damage done in the last 2 seconds.
- Time Dilation – it can trap all nearby enemies, in a time dilation field, while also increasing the cooldown and reducing their movement and attack speed.
- Time Lock – this ability locks an enemy in time while being able to repeat attacks.
- Chronosphere – this sphere allows the hero to trap all units, causing them to stay in place, meaning, freezing them in time while Void himself gets increased movement speed and attacks, defenseless enemies.
- Mask of Madness – it ensures a huge attack speed boost to proc Time Lock.
- Diffusal Blade – a good item to pick up for solid damage increase.
- Butterfly – it increases damage in the Chronosphere and his ability to ignore enemy attacks through additional survivability.
- Monkey King Bar – it grants each attack a better chance to pierce through evasion and deal more damage.
- Black King Bar – this helps Faceless Void avoid being disabled by activating immunity during the Chronosphere.
Axe is a bloodthirsty, dangerous character to come across, known for his potent disables which are capable of getting through magical immunity. Axe's fighting style does not demand great skill from the player but is still highly effective in the game, especially against a beginner player.
There is no such thing as the best pairing with Axe because any hero will be the best fit for him. Commonly played as an initiator, he can be a great help for Enigma, Faceless Void or Invoker to use their skills. Axe can also help Sven, Ursa, or Lifestealer with their attacks by holding enemies in place.
Ursa or Lifestealer – despite the character’s incredible strength, Axe is still vulnerable to heroes capable of eliminating tanks.
Faceless Void, Slark, Antimage – carries that need to be within close range.
- Berserker's Call – enemies are forced to attack Axe, but they can’t use any spells or items. Also, Axe gains bonus armor in the meantime.
- Battle Hunger – this causes an enemy unit to be slowed and take damage over time until the target hero kills someone – a creep or another hero – or the spell ends. Aghanim ensures significant enemy damage reduction.
- Counter Helix – when Axe is being attacked, he can carry out a helix counter attack and cause pure damage to all nearby enemies.
- Culling Blade – after spotting an enemy with a weakness, Axe eliminates units with low health or causes reasonable damage to others.
- Blink Dagger – this allows Axe to initiate and counter-initiate for his team. Therefore, he will always be in the center of the action.
- Crimson Guard – it ensures survivability against physical damage. As a result, becoming extremely tanky. The quality is particularly useful against auto attacks.
- Blade Mail – this is a key item providing many strong benefits: additional armor and the ability to reflect all the damage taken by Axe. In the late game, Axe will be able to solo kill a carry due to the item.
- Heart of Tarrasque – this provides a huge HP pool and good regeneration so that Axe can jump straight back into battle.
- Shiva’s Guard – increases intelligence and armor. It can be used to slow down enemies in a large area.
Two lives are definitely better than one. This is exactly why Wraith King became a common pick in the professional scene and public games. The hero has simple mechanics – it features 1.5 active abilities, which is not too different from Dota 1. Back then, three out of four of his abilities remained passive. Regardless of the unelaborate design, he is a dangerous carry, sometimes acting as an offlane hero.
Wraith King does not depend on any other hero or constant support in lanes. He works well with supports that take on the role of buffers and disablers, such as Ogre Magi or Vengeful Spirit. Also, any carries dealing with physical damage and utilizing Vampiric Aura are great companions to fight beside.
Lifestealer, Sven or Ursa – these are exceptionally unwelcome heroes for Wraith King. Resilient carries with great single-target damage can withstand Wraith King's attack and significantly hurt the hero.
Faceless Void, Enigma or Tidehunter – Wraith King can rise again after the first death return to battle very quickly. Heroes that are fully reliant on their ultimate abilities will have a hard time dealing with Wraith King after he is reborn.
- Wraithfire Blast – he applies to stun and slow searing spectral fire. Wraithfire Blast deals the base damage instantly and the damage over time after the stun.
- Vampiric Aura – it affects allies and restores health based on the damage they deal with when performing attacks on enemy units.
- Mortal Strike – adds a chance to deal critical damage during the attack. No matter how the enemy units are killed, every 2 kills add a skeleton charge, which respawns once when killed. This activates the ability to summon skeletons (as many skeletons stacks as you have), which will attack the closest enemy.
- Reincarnation – this makes resurrection when killed in battle possible. Wraith King slows enemies upon death and revives them with full health and mana.
- Blink Dagger – the item compensates Wraith King’s mobility drawbacks, allowing him to strike and chase more effectively. Upon reincarnation, this gives him a chance to escape.
- Radiance – while not the best at delivering damage, Wraith King's survival skills make him an unlikely target early on. The item makes him a walking hazard catching enemies’ attention.
- Assault Cuirass – this one boosts the damage amount, and that of his teammates and skeletons and grants additional survival capabilities.
- Black King Bar – even the toughest heroes can benefit from spell immunity against disables and mana break.
- Monkey King Bar/Abyssal Blade – the item of your choice will grant more serious damage to the hero.
Seemingly fragile and harmless, Enchantress is practically invincible during a fight with heroes dealing with physical damage. Moreover, when equipped with the right items, she becomes complete walking artillery, which causes enormous pure damage late in the game.
Centaur Warrunner or Axe – Enchantress, should be coupled with a tank-initiator, as she is not a forefront hero. These heroes will keep the enemies’ focus. Considering the moderate strength gain, Enchantress will benefit from support with heals and saves such as Dazzie or Winter Wyvern.
Lion, Lina, Zeus or Tiny – even though Enchantress boasts an untouchable ability against physical damage, she has no protection against magical damage. These heroes can eliminate her in a matter of seconds. Also, keep in mind that physical burst damage is quite dangerous for Enchantress - Sven, Phantom Assasin or Templar Assasin can kill her with a single hit.
Enchantress can take on any hero, as long as she is alive. Unless she is under focus fire or there is no way to attack while staying behind the allies, she can cause a massive amount of damage. It is noteworthy that her pure damage places heavily armored targets like Terrorblade, Dragon Knight, or Timbersaw at risk.
- Untouchable – whenever an enemy starts an attack on Enchantress, she can slow them down. Regardless of whether the attack was executed or not, the slow applies and the debuff lasts long after the attack as well.
- Enchant – this ability slows the enemy and applies a basic dispel. If the enemy is a hero, they are affected by the slow. If it is a creep, she brings them under her control.
- Nature's Attendants – this has the ability to heal Enchantress and any friendly units nearby. The targets are completely randomly chosen.
- Impetus – this adds pure damage to an attack depending on the distance between you and the target.
- Hurricane Pike – this grants an opportunity to keep a safe distance while still being able to strike an attack and to move away from the focus fire.
- Black King Bar – this item will counteract magical damage by casting spell immunity.
- Monkey King Bar – this gives a better chance of hitting the target, as it allows Enchantress to pierce through evasion.
A ridiculous amount of information can seem like too much to handle, which is why having a structure helps. Remember that even the most experienced Dota 2 pros started from the bottom. If you have a basic understanding of the heroes we have mentioned, you just need to commit to the game’s learning curve, and you’ll have a great time.
Obviously, there is room for personal differences, and players' opinions can vary. Leave a comment below and tell us your own favorite heroes. If you have yet to enter your first game, share who you are going to pick first since you can't play all of them at once.
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