Check out our Dota 2 hero guide and read all about dota characters, how many heroes there are and who the best Dota 2 hero is.
Dota 2 Characters
As a game in the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) genre, Dota 2 revolves primarily around unique characters, called “heroes”. Heroes serve as each player’s in-game avatar, and they all have their own set of powerful abilities. Each individual hero is designed to do well in certain ways, though they also have weaknesses to compensate. Moreover, some heroes do well against others, because of how their abilities counter certain heroes.
For the most part, heroes will have four abilities to use—three regular abilities and one “ultimate” ability which can have a huge immediate impact on the game. Proper use of these abilities will mean the difference between winning and losing in Dota 2, so it is vital for players to know what each hero’s abilities do.
Players can choose from a massive pool of different characters, but are limited to controlling just one for the entire duration of a Dota 2 game. With that in mind, it’s clear that choosing the right hero is an extremely important aspect of playing the game. For beginners, though, it’s more important to know a few heroes and the fundamentals of the game before attempting to learn every single character.
How many heroes in Dota 2?
As of June 11th, 2018, there are 115 unique heroes in Dota 2. Almost all of the heroes present in the game were ported from DotA Allstars, the WarCraft III-based predecessor to Dota 2. Only three heroes—namely Monkey King, Pangolier, and Dark Willow, are original Dota 2 creations.
All heroes are divided into three primary attributes: Strength, Agility, and Intelligence. Strength heroes are characterized by their hardy nature, possessing large health pools, strong defensive spells and passive traits, and their ability to stay alive in the heat of battle. Examples of Strength heroes are Sven, Tiny, Centaur Warrunner, and Tidehunter.
Dota 2 Heroes List & Names
|Bristleback||Centaur Warrunner||Chaos Knight||Clockwerk||Doom|
|Dragon Knight||Earth Spirit||Earthshaker||Elder Titan||Huskar|
|Sand King||Slardar||Spirit Breaker||Sven||Tidehunter|
Agility heroes are known for their incredible damage output later in the game, but are weak early on due to their dependence on rather expensive items. These heroes are known as “hard carries”—and their main responsibility is to lift their team to victory through their late game prowess. The agility category includes heroes like Anti-Mage, Phantom Assassin, Sniper, and Morphling.
|Anti-Mage||Arc Warden||Bloodseeker||Bounty Hunter||Broodmother|
|Clinkz||Drow Ranger||Ember Spirit||Faceless Void||Gyrocopter|
|Mirana||Monkey King||Morphling||Naga Siren||Nyx Assassin|
|Pangolier||Phantom Assassin||Phantom Lancer||Razor||Riki|
|Shadow Fiend||Slark||Sniper||Spectre||Templar Assassin|
|Terrorblade||Troll Warlord||Ursa||Vengeful Spirit||Venomancer|
And finally, Intelligence heroes are usually known for being spell-based damage dealers, or for their strong utility and support capabilities. Intelligence heroes are often found staying behind tankier characters, dishing out the pain with their abilities from afar or keeping their teammates alive with healing spells. They are also typically capable of locking enemy heroes down, using stuns and disables. If you fancy being a magician in Dota 2, try out Crystal Maiden, Lion, Witch Doctor, and Lina.
|Ancient Apparition||Bane||Batrider||Chen||Crystal Maiden|
|Dark Seer||Dark Willow||Dazzle||Death Prophet||Disruptor|
|Enchantress||Enigma||Invoker||Jakiro||Keeper of the Light|
|Necrophos||Ogre Magi||Oracle||Outworld Devourer||Puck|
|Pugna||Queen of Pain||Rubick||Shadow Demon||Shadow Shaman|
|Silencer||Skywrath Mage||Storm Spirit||Techies||Tinker|
|Visage||Warlock||Windranger||Winter Wyvern||Witch Doctor|
While certainly not the sole determinant of a hero’s typical play style, their main attribute does contribute to it quite a bit. Keep this in mind when you dive deeper into each category, and you’ll find commonalities between the heroes in those classifications. This can help influence your decision when it comes to finally picking your hero, so be sure to use the three attributes as a guide of sorts.
Dota 2 Hero Classes
Aside from the three main attributes, Valve themselves have taken the liberty to “classify” each hero according to their intended roles or niche in the game. These classifications take the form of “tags”, which can be seen in the Heroes tab in the game client itself. Each tag provides a one-word description of what the hero is capable of, making them a handy way of “learning” a hero at a glance.
The tags laid out by Valve, along with their definitions, are as follows:
Carries are heroes that typically sacrifice early game strength in order to become nigh unstoppable as the game progresses. These heroes usually require a lot of gold and items, and are vulnerable to early/mid game heroes without protection from their teammates. In the laning phase, their job is to stay alive as long as possible while farming gold from creeps via last hitting. As they are able to acquire more items, carries become more dangerous, with some able to take on entire enemy teams on their own.
Supports are the complete opposite of carries, and excel in the early game thanks to their powerful abilities. Support spells tend to be designed around keeping their allies alive in engagements, whether that be through healing, damage mitigation, or disabling enemy heroes in one form or another. Support heroes can also “babysit” carry heroes in the laning phase, protecting them from enemy heroes and enhancing their ability to farm gold.
In pretty much all cases, supports are responsible for providing vision on the map through the placement of Observer Wards, and the purchase of other utility items such as the Animal Courier and Smoke of Deceit. Supports tend to fall off in terms of raw power as the game goes on, though they are able to mitigate this with items.
Nukers are characterized by their high burst or sustained damage output, which come in the form of magic damage from an ability. Several intelligence heroes fall under this class, and have abilities that deal large amounts of magic damage to a single target or an area of effect. Nukers are an essential component of any lineup, thanks to their capacity to immediately remove important heroes from a teamfight or get several heroes low enough for their team’s carry to clean up.
Heroes tagged as disablers are generally blessed with crowd control abilities, which can be either single target or area of effect. Supports are often marked as disablers, with more than a handful of them having long duration stuns or disables that can impede the enemy team’s progress. On the flipside, disablers are usually cursed with low base movement speed, forcing them to purchase mobility items in order to get the jump on enemy heroes.
The term jungler refers to heroes that are able to survive farming the neutral creeps alone, from the start of the game. This is opposed to laning normally, which involves actively being in one of the lanes on the map during the laning phase. Junglers enjoy the advantage of having all the gold and experience from their adventures in the neutral creep camps, which allows them to hit higher levels and farm important items sooner. However, jungling does leave one or more of the lanes (typically top and bottom) more vulnerable, due to the fact that there will be one less hero for the enemy team to worry about in the lanes.
Examples of junglers are Nature’s Prophet, Enigma, Lycan, and Sand King. All of these heroes are able to either keep themselves alive in the jungle, summon units to do the fighting for them in the early game, or simply fight neutral creeps straight up thanks to an ability.
As the name would imply, durable heroes are what most gamers would call “tanks”. These heroes have the ability to soak up large amounts of damage from the enemy team, without quickly succumbing to death as a result. Durable heroes also tend to take up a lot of space in teamfights, imposing their will on enemy heroes such that they can’t go for softer, more valuable targets as easily. Strength heroes generally fall under this category, due to their high base strength and strength gain per level.
Heroes under the Escape tag are referred to as such because of their built-in escape mechanisms, which allow them to easily get away from danger. Usually, these abilities help them avoid damage or negative effects (such as disables), while also allowing them to reposition themselves in an engagement. Examples of these abilities are Anti-Mage’s Blink, Mirana’s Leap, and Clinkz’ Shadow Walk. Clinkz’ ability in particular turns him invisible upon use, which renders him untargetable unless the enemy team has detection on hand.
Pusher heroes are those that have abilities that allow them to quickly take down structures, such as towers and barracks. Taking these objectives early and often helps their team secure map control, which in turn forces the opposing team to play more cautiously and reservedly. Heroes in this class typically sport abilities that either clear creep waves quickly, summon minions that can serve as extra damage on structures, or deal direct damage to buildings.
Initiator heroes are those that have the ability to start teamfights on their own, allowing their team to gain a signficant advantage going into the engagement. Such heroes typically have large area of effect stuns, disables, or simply an ability that deals a high amount of damage to multiple targets. Heroes that can negatively affect the enemy team’s positioning or prevent them from mounting a response to the initiation also fall under this category. Initiators are often best used by players that have sharp game sense and good decision-making, for a botched initiation can easily swing a teamfight in the enemy team’s favor.
Best Dota 2 Hero
Of course, there is no one hero that can truly be called the “best” in Dota 2, due to its ever-evolving metagame and frequent balance patches. There are, however, heroes that are stable and reliable, even in the face of balance changes.
These heroes are built primarily to be “newbie proof”, in the sense that their abilities typically don’t require a lot of mechanical skill, prediction, or game sense in order to use. Heroes like Vengeful Spirit, whose Magic Missile ability is a straightforward, single target stun, come to mind in this regard.
Don’t let their simplicity fool you, though—they are still just as effective as abilities that would otherwise be more difficult to utilize. In fact, heroes with easy-to-use stuns and/or disable effects are frequently found in the metagame, both in public matchmaking and in the professional scene. Just because there isn’t much in the way of difficulty with these heroes doesn’t mean that they aren’t effective or powerful—so don’t overlook these picks, whether you’re a beginner or a hardened veteran.
Beginners, though, should look into learning these heroes first and foremost, since they are the most simple to pick up and play. Heroes like these help ease new players into the game and its many, many mechanics, and avoid inundating novices with too much to think about all at once. Instead, players who pick up these heroes can focus on learning the general ins and outs of Dota 2, such as proper positioning, map control, vision, taking objectives, etc.
In short, don’t worry about which heroes are the “best” or “strongest”. Instead, look at which heroes are solid and dependable despite the prevailing winds in the metagame.
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