Dota 2 features 5v5 hero battles, where killing players, pushing lanes, and killing creeps (the computer-controlled monsters) are paramount. Nearly every hero has four main abilities, be they active or passive; you’ll be able to level each one four times, in the order of your choosing, as you creep closer to the level 25 cap.

Because team synergy is so crucial to victory, you’ll want to pick heroes that complement your teammate’s choices. Knowing your preferred hero’s best roles will make this much easier; when you work better with your team, your chances of winning are that much higher. Here’s the breakdown on the function of each role:

Carry: Carries have a lot riding on their shoulders, as they can make or break a team. If they secure some early kills, or farm up enough gold for high-level items, they’ll dominate the late-game. But if they’re straggling behind, or multiple carries are competing for gold, their potential falls apart.

Disabler: Stuns and silences are the name of the Disabler game. When your opponent can’t move, attack, cast spells, or cry for their mommy, they become sitting ducks for you and your teammates. Having a Disabler on your team is crucial for when you need to shut down an enemy hero quickly, initiate a small skirmish, or get an attacker off your back. 

Durable: These heroes can take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’ – with ample lifesteal, huge health pools, or tons of armor, killing these heroes takes a lot of work. Though they’re by no means invincible, you’ll be dying a lot less frequently if you play smart with a Durable hero. 

Escape: Having an Escape ability means you’ll often avoid getting killed in situations that would mean certain death for other heroes. Using this to your advantage is key – the less you die, the better you’ll do.

Initiator: Initiator heroes get the party started - it’ll be your job to wade into teamfights and redirect the damage that would’ve been aimed at your not-so-stout teammates. Being a good Initiator means knowing when to press the advantage and pounce on an enemy, and when to back off from a fight that you can’t possibly win.

Jungler: Jungling is an alternate means of gaining experience: instead of fighting in one of the three lanes, you’ll take to the forests in between them, killing monster camps for gold and experience. These heroes are very self-sufficient, able to fight for extended periods of time without needing to go back and heal.

Lane Support: As a Lane Support, all of your attention should be focused on taking care of your team’s Carry. The two of you should be inseparable, moving and killing as a unit with offensive and defensive capabilities. When your Carry tops the kill/death charts, you can give yourself a pat on the back for getting him or her there. 

Nuker: The name says it all: these heroes use their spells in succession to blast enemies, draining their health bars in an instant. Though they might feel like glass cannons, Nukers can ensure that they vaporize enemy heroes to dust before they get a chance to come near.

Pusher: These heroes excel at killing creep waves quickly, and/or whittling down towers and buildings before the enemy can react. Because the ultimate goal is destroying the enemy base, Pushers work great for long games. 

Summons: Summoning creatures creates pets that are usually under your control, and will assist you in battle by putting out their own damage or keeping enemies occupied. Once you can use them with minimal effort, you'll be able to use them to their full potential while your hero does its own thing.

Support: Everybody loves having a competent Support on their team – a hero who’ll make life easier for their teammates through healing, map awareness, or both. You won’t be scoring that many kills as a Support, but you will have the satisfaction knowing that you were likely the reason your allies are doing so well.


  • peter-hansen - June 28, 2012 5:08 p.m.

    Whats is up with all the Lol hate people. Its like i am not allowed to play Dota because i also play Lol. Why so bloody competive? ...... Atleast in Lol im allowed to try the game :/ I havent got anything against Dota 2 and would like to try but frankly people are scaring me off since it seems like i have to be a pro from step 1 to avoid hard rage. (sorry for sucky grammar)
  • HipsterRainbowDash - June 30, 2012 2:15 a.m.

    Strange, I had the opposite happen to me.
  • Tinnuwen - August 12, 2014 4:56 a.m.

    I'm going to play DotA soon [Former LoL player, my internet hates Riot for some reason.] but my sister [Ranked League player] knows plenty about DotA and is interested in playing it. I think you might have encountered some Trolls and Toxic players. [League has plenty, but I've only encountered one. Lucky me. They were on the other team so I got to maim them.] One way to avoid rage is to not do rather obvious things [I can assume you know the noob mistakes since you are from another moba]. Admit to being rather new [Everything is a learning experience] and try not to play a carry role right off the bat [Try something more for the mid lane, very good to learn.] Also. You could just see what they are attempting to steer you towards [Like if you are a Strength Hero, you probably shouldn't go bot but rather top or maybe jungle. Or if you are an Agility Hero, avoid going top as much as you can until late game for ganking.] Other than that. You have had some serious bad luck. I really hope it gets better :)
  • Beoftw - June 28, 2012 4:05 p.m.

    This game is NOT for League of Legends players. If you haven't played dota 1, do yourselves a favor and go play that first before you think you can get into a game and rape. LoL is a watered down version of dota 1 with absolutely all the strategic elements of dota taken out of it. This game is a lot harder, and you will work a LOT more for the items you carry in game. After playing wc3's dota since 2006, I did play LoL for a time only to find it to be extremely unbalanced and had very bad annoyances. Any dota 1 vet out there who wants a revamped version of the classic game NEEDS TO PLAY THIS. Aside from a small handful of issues that will most likely be sorted out, this game is the most perfect reinvention of DOTA ever made. Valve is a godsend and everything they touch perfect <3. p.s. If you still think u can play dota 2 after only playing LoL, do the rest of us a favor and stick to getting raped in bot matches please <3 no one wants to carry you.
  • plurality - June 28, 2012 5:35 p.m.

    Wow you sound so ignorant. I play both and do well in both, people like you fuel unneeded hate between the two communities. And high-level LoL play isn't unbalanced. The article doesn't even mention LoL, get over yourself.
  • Beoftw - June 28, 2012 7:20 p.m.

    Look up the word ignorant, and learn what it means. The difference between you and me is, I have also played both and dont lie to myself about the major differences.
  • Rambo 11 - June 29, 2012 12:28 a.m.

    You played LoL for a time, how is that enough to make you an expert. If your complaining about getting destroyed in bot matches you obviously weren't very good or haven't played in a very long time.
  • ryo-ishibashi - June 29, 2012 5:09 a.m.

    Exactly. He probably never played ranked or got stomped hard and claims "no strategy here guys". LoL isn't without its own issues, but to sit there and claim there is no strategy involved just screams of someone who didn't make it past level 10.
  • Beoftw - June 30, 2012 4:49 p.m.

    Look up my account of the same name? I have been a player since beta and have over 800 wins. I played season 1 ranked, and realized it was pointless with the shit community that partakes in that queue. I have since played off and on during season 2. I make my "claims" based on visual obseration. The difference between you and me is, I can see things for how they are and now how i want them to be. I actually LIKE LoL. BUT its playerbase has no business whatsoever playing dota 2 and wasting everyones time.
  • Beoftw - June 30, 2012 4:51 p.m.

    account name:beoftw. I could give a rats ass how good u think I am. The fact of the matter is league of legends caters to 12 year olds that don't want to deal with advanced strategic elements that confuse them. Jesus christ go play an RTS and see what I mean already.
  • Tinnuwen - August 12, 2014 5:02 a.m.

    Well of course it should be a bit easier to play. It is acclaimed to be the "Beginner's MOBA", therefor, you will get some immature players. Once you get into the high elo matches you definitely need some strategy skill built up in order to win most games. Also, what in all of France's cheesy-ness are you suggesting DotA shouldn't be played by LoL players. A) That is a little harsh on those who do want to transit into DotA. B) Why are you suggesting that all League players are bad? You haven't played against a good team then [Or a Jax, a fed Vayne, AP Sona...]. C) Weither or not someone from another MOBA plays is is NONE of your business. You are actually being either a Toxic member of the community [Which you probably should be ashamed of, considering DotA's community is known as one of the most friendliest of all the MOBAs.] or a troll wanting attention from sensitive, butthurt internet surfers.
  • Beoftw - August 12, 2014 2:26 p.m.

    You realize this post is 2 years old right....n league of legends didn't even have a queue leaver system at the time.
  • seanhayden - June 30, 2012 4:06 p.m.

    have u even played solo queue ranked? lol
  • ncurry2 - June 28, 2012 11:24 a.m.

    I'm fairly certain I'll be sticking with LoL but I do miss some of the old DotA champions. But unless they have added some sort of equivalent to AP so that casters can actually scale, fixed all of the potential for permastun, cleaned up all of the orb business, balanced it out so that agility champions aren't crazy op, and done away with denying; I just can't see myself switching over.
  • GR_LucasSullivan - June 28, 2012 11:47 a.m.

    I used to hate denying in the original DotA - but after playing LoL for a long long time, Dota 2's early game feels WAYYYY more exciting. Having each lane in LoL turn into a farmfest that lasts 10 minutes of every game got tiresome; being able to do twice the last-hitting in Dota 2 makes things so much more engaging. But to each their own - I do agree that being able to cast three spells without running out of mana in LoL is quite fun :)
  • gopie - June 28, 2012 1:05 p.m.

    Dude all the characters are free. Why not just give it a try?
  • ncurry2 - June 28, 2012 2:01 p.m.

    I never said I won't give it a try (though it's possible I won't just because I've got so many games I want to play currently.) But I said I don't see myself switching over, unless it's changed substantially from Dota which I don't think it did since their goal has been to make it identical to Dota with better graphics and networking. And I can't stand creep denies. Their design philosophy is probably trying to cater more to the hardcore, I'm sure. But the skill differential between players is magnified to such an extreme level with creep denial that it's just not fun for either player. There is the less skilled player who already has to overcome his handicap of not being as good as who he's laning against and now his income is getting completely blocked, further making it impossible for him to have a chance against his opponent. Then there is the more skilled player who is already likely going to do well based purely on his higher skill and now he gets even more of an advantage by crippling whoever he is laning against, almost guaranteeing that he'll get fed and snowball out of control. Believe it or not, games generally aren't that fun if you are always either completely destroying or getting completely destroyed. You may say that completely destroying is in fact fun. But how many people would rather get a 20 minute win in LoL because their lane dced versus a 60 minute back and forth where your team rallies to pull off an ace and seal the game? You may argue that this is an extreme case but seriously, even the smallest amount of skill differential snowballs so quickly.
  • Beoftw - June 28, 2012 4:16 p.m.

    Denying isn't a bad mechanic. It actually used to be in LoL but was taken out due to too many people complaining. The reason it is not implemented in LoL (anymore) is because they don't want to throw too much on their playing audience. The reason that LoL doesn't include most of the advanced strategic elements that dota had is because their playerbase is aimed at the greater, average populace who only wants to think about 4 spells and getting items. LoL is the call of duty of moba fighters. They want their players having mindless fun that requires no kind of advanced strategy that strays from team fights and back dooring to win. There is no farm penalty to dying in lol, there is no neutralization of game out comes due to leavers, there is no "safe to leave" system, there is no destructible terrain pathing, they give too much leeway and give handycaps to lazy players who cant win on a level playing field (teleport backing, summoner spells, runes). And to top it all off....riots balancing team has absolutely no idea what they are doing. (beta tf, beta shaco, launch xin, season 1 jax, evelyn, item stacking) Whats sad is Valve has done more with dota in a few months than riot has done with LoL in 3 years.
  • ncurry2 - June 28, 2012 7:21 p.m.

    WARNING: WALL OF TEXT BELOW I would argue that denying is a bad mechanic (see my response to Travia220 below). I started playing LoL near the end of August/early September in 2009 during its beta and it most certainly did not have creep denial. So unless they had from the start of closed beta earlier that year until the end of summer, it in fact didn't ever have deny. I'm not going to deny that LoL is far more accessible than Dota or any of its other competitors. That doesn't mean that it "requires no kind of advanced strategy that strays from team fights and back dooring to win." You either never made it to level 30, only ever solo queue, or just don't play ranked. In any case, I just don't see how anyone can say that Dota is rife with strategy but LoL lacks all semblance of any. The overarching gameplay aspects are identical. Many of the mechanics are the same. Champions fill the exact same roles in both. There is most certainly a farm penalty to dying: you miss out on at the very least a minute of last hitting which equates to several hundred gold. I'm not sure I understand what you're talking about with the neutralization of game out comes due to leavers but I'm assuming it means if your team loses with a leaver then it shows up as such. When I played Dota, there was no official stat tracking whatsoever. There were bots that could be run to keep track but they too lacked this feature. And LoL actively punishes leavers with suspensions and bans for leavers and that does a pretty good job. I'd say maybe in my last 20 matches, there was 1 game that someone actually left for good and resulted in a loss. Back in my Dota days, you were lucky to ever have a game finish 5 on 5 because there was no stat tracking so no punishment for leaving games. I have no idea what you mean by the safe to leave system. As far as I'm concerned, if you start a game you had better be sure you can see it to the end so I'm not sure why there should be a safe to leave system. I'll assume "destructible terrain pathing" is a phrase you coined to describe the ability to clear trees and walk through it? That one LoL doesn't have and it's a really cool feature that I do miss (I judge things fairly). I don't remotely understand how summoner spells, runes, and masteries "give too much leeway and give handycaps to lazy players who cant win on a level playing field". It allows players to further differentiate their strategies and play styles. If anything, it's another layer of strategy and depth over Dota. And idk what you have against teleport backing. If everyone can do it and it has a 5 second channel time that is interrupt at the gust of the wind, it only speeds up the game and encourages item building and ganking over endless laning phases. I won't deny that Riot has had some poor balancing decisions in the past but the great thing about them is they actually respond well to player feedback. Out of all of those issues you listed (all of which I unfortunately encountered), the only one remaining is evelyn. Tf and shaco were fixed by holidays of 09 (a few months after launch), Xin was fixed 2 patches after his release (4 weeks tops), jax wasn't a terrible problem but even still was fixed over a year ago, and item stacking hasn't been an issue for a year or so as well. I can't comment on the last sentiment because as I've admitted, I have yet to try Dota 2. But from what I've read about, they strived to keep it as similar to Dota as they could and LoL corrected so many errors that were present in Dota that I will find it hard to go back.
  • Beoftw - June 28, 2012 8 p.m.

    1) denying was in the game up until half way into offical season 1. (see gangplanks old E) 2)I didnt say LoL didn't "require" advanced strategy. I stated it doesnt **HAVE** the same advanced strategic elements that dota offers. Ex. couriers, loss of gold on death, no free ports, terrain, night/day, droppable items, etc. 3)dying and losing no gold only at the cost of time is no penalty. When you die in dota, you lose a percentage of your gold to both the enemy and yourself. There are instances when you cannot get an item because you cannot keep enough gold on you. this makes death a much harsher penalty than simply giving the opponent a gold buff. 4) The "safe to leave" system is a system that nullifies any experience points or item gain at the end of a match due to it being unbalanced. Games will reset queue if ANYONE cannot load into the game (unlike LoL), and it will enable safe to leave if someone leaves the game under a certain time period. And even with a leaver, the heroes are playable and can be micromanaged by anyone on the team. 5) Summoner spells and runes give unfair advantages to those who want to spend their earned points on other heroes instead of player buffs. Summoner spells are not all equally useful (see flash), and the same with runes (crit damage vs crit percent). Not to mention some spells make certain characters have too much an advantage over others due to their combination with their spells. (see flash on fiddle, ignite on swain, flash on ezreal, etc.) In Dota, no such modifiers exist to keep the game at an *even playing field no matter what*, to INSURE balance. 6)teleport backing promotes easy, longer lane sustain with little effort or penalty. there is not nearly the same penalty to exp and backing in leagues as there is in dota, and in dota it takes much, much longer to walk back and forth into lane. So in dota, you have the option to use the gold to buy a 1 use scroll to any tower/base, on a courier to bring you items, or upgrading a courier that already exists. This forces someone on your team to sacrifice items to help the rest rather than everyone getting benefits for free right off the back. This brings in new questions of who and when should sacrifice what and where for the team.

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