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.
All Pick - Select your hero
That's where we come in. This roster rolodex gives you a snapshot of every hero in the game, including their abilities, best roles, and most importantly, how difficult they are to master. If you're unsure of which Radiant or Dire hero will best suit your playstyle, this is the best way to find out. You'll also find a glossary below, to bring you up to speed or refresh your memory on what some of Dota 2's key terms mean. Once you've seen what every hero is capable of, you'll be that much more prepared for what awaits on the fields of battle.
If you're a fan of survivability, heavy hitting, and laughing at your puny opponents while they desperately try to kill you, Strength heroes will be right up your alley. Once you find the sweet spot between offense and defense, your allies will always be happy to see your Strength hero stomp onto the scene.
Rot: A toxic cloud that deals intense damage (35/60/85/110) and slows movement (20%) - harming not only enemy units but Pudge himself.
Flesh Heap: Gives Pudge resistance to magic damage (4%/8%/12%/16%), as well as bonus strength (0.9/1.2/1.5/1.8) that increases each time Pudge kills an enemy Hero or it dies in his vicinity. Flesh Heap is retroactive, meaning it can gain charges before it is skilled, which then become active.
Dismember: CHANNELED - Pudge chows down on an enemy unit, disabling it and dealing damage (75/125/175 (+0.75 strength*) over time. Lasts 3 seconds on Heroes, 6 seconds on creeps.
Roles: Durable, Disabler
Unstable Concoction: Alchemist brews up an unstable concoction that he can throw at an enemy hero, to stun and deal damage. The longer the concoction brews, the more damage it deals and the longer the target is stunned. After 5 seconds, the brew reaches its maximum damage (130/200/270/340) and stun time (1.75/2.5/3.25/4). However, after 7 seconds, the concoction will explode on Alchemist himself if not thrown.
Goblin's Greed: Alchemist gets bonus gold for killing creeps; the bonus stacks if the creeps are killed within a period of time, after which the count is reset. The bonus gold is capped at 26 gold.
Chemical Rage: Alchemist causes his Ogre to enter a chemically induced rage, reducing base attack cooldown and increasing movement speed (30/40/60), HP (300/600/900) and regeneration (15/30/60). Lasts 25 seconds.
Roles: Durable, Disabler, Carry
Battle Hunger: Enrages an enemy unit, causing it to be slowed and take damage over time until it kills another unit or the duration ends. Axe gains 4% movement speed for each unit affected with Battle Hunger.
Counter Helix: When attacked, Axe has a 17% chance to perform a helix counter attack, dealing damage (100/130/160/190) to all nearby enemies.
Culling Blade: Axe spots weakness and strikes, dealing moderate damage (150/250/300) but instantly killing an enemy unit with low (300/450/625) health. When an enemy unit is killed in this way, Axe and nearby allied units gain 25% bonus movement speed.
Roles: Jungler, Disabler, Initiator, Durable
Call of the Wild: Beastmaster calls allies in the form of a watchful Hawk and a powerful Boar. Previous summons are removed upon casting.
Inner Beast: Untaps the inner fury of allies, passively increasing their attack speed (18/26/32/40).
Primal Roar: A deafening roar that deals damage (200/250/300) and stuns (3/3.5/4) the target enemy unit, while opening a path between Beastmaster and his prey. Nearby enemies also take minor damage and have their movement speed and attack rate reduced by 50%.
Roles: Initiator, Disabler, Durable
Drunken Haze: Drenches an enemy unit in alcohol, causing his movement speed to be reduced (14/18/22/26%), and causing his attacks to have a chance (45/55/65/75%) to miss.
Drunken Brawler: Gives a chance (10/15/20/25%) to avoid attacks and to deal critical (2x) damage.
Primal Split: Splits the Brewmaster into elements, forming 3 specialized warriors, adept at survival. If any of them survive until the end of their summoned timer (15/17/19 seconds), the Brewmaster is reborn.
Roles: Initiator, Disabler, Carry, Pusher
Reality Rift: Teleports you, any images you have and the target unit to a random point along the line between the two of you. Gives you bonus attack damage (25/50/75/100) for one attack.
Chaos Strike: Chaos Knight's mojo gives him a 10% chance to deal bonus (1.5x/2x/2.5x/3x) damage.
Phantasm: Summons several copies (1/2/3) of the Chaos Knight from alternate dimensions. The illusions deal full damage, but take double damage.
Roles: Carry, Disabler, Pusher, Durable
Power Cogs: Forms a barrier of energized cogs around Clockwerk, trapping any units that are near. Enemies outside the trap that touch a cog are knocked back, losing health and mana (60/90/120/150). Once a cog has delivered a shock, it will power down. Cogs can be destroyed by enemies in 3 attacks, but Clockwerk can destroy them with just one.
Rocket Flare: Fires a global range flare that explodes over a given area, damaging enemies (80/120/160/200) and providing vision for 10 seconds.
Hookshot: Fires a grappling device rapidly at the target location. If the hook hits a non-neutral enemy unit, Clockwerk launches himself into the target, stunning (1/1.5/2) and dealing damage (100/200/300). Any enemies Clockwerk collides with along the way are subject to damage and stunned. If the hook collides with an allied unit, Clockwerk does not move.
Roles: Initiator, Durable
Scorched Earth: Carpets the nearby earth in flames, damaging enemies (12/16/20/24 per second) while Doom Bringer gains bonus HP regen and 16% increased movement speed.
LVL? Death: Dissipates a piece of an enemy Hero's soul, ministunning and dealing bonus damage (100/150/200/250 [+275 Bonus Damage]) when the enemy's level is a multiple of a specific number (6/5/4/3) or 25.
Doom: Inflicts a curse that lasts for 13 seconds, preventing an enemy Hero from casting spells or using items, while dealing damage over time. Doom also disables most passive abilities.
Roles: Carry, Nuker, Durable