Dota 2
295 ratings
Choosing Your First Hero
By seanyob and 1 collaborators
For a first time player to Dota2, the hero selection process can be quite daunting. With 94 heroes currently to choose from, each of which have their own unique skills and abilities, you can quickly hamstring your ability to learn Dota2 if you choose an overly difficult character.

This guide will help beginners learn the ropes while not being inundated by complicated heroes with a huge assortment of abilities.
For a first time player to Dota2, the hero selection process can be quite daunting. With 94 heroes currently to choose from, each of which have their own unique skills and abilities, you can quickly hamstring your ability to learn Dota2 if you choose an overly difficult character.

This guide will help beginners learn the ropes while not being inundated by complicated heroes with a huge assortment of abilities.

All heroes are initially broken into two, simple categories: melee and ranged attack heroes. Easily put, either a hero is using his fists or weapons in close combat, or attacking from some distance with some sort of weapon or magic. Generally speaking, melee heroes have more health and can withstand incoming attacks, while ranged heroes are weaker but have the advantage of withdrawling from combat easily due to their distance from the battle.

Each of the melee and ranged heroes have their advantages but I would suggest initially trying a ranged hero as melee heroes in early games are generally the first ones attacked.

After you decide upon melee or ranged, the next thing to think about is what role you want (or in some cases need) to play on your team.

Roles Explained
Each hero has at least one role they can fall under, while most heroes have 2-3, some heroes can even have 4 or 5 roles. Below is an explanation as to what these roles mean in Dota2 terms.

Durable (35 total)
The most obvious of all roles, a hero marked with Durable has the ability to last longer in teamfights and often die less. 25 of the 29 strength heroes are marked as Durable while just 5 agility and 5 intelligence heroes are Durable.

Carry (47 total)
A Carry hero has the ability to carry their team to a win and will do so by becoming more useful later in the game if they gain a significant gold advantage. Typically this means that a Carry is fairly weak earlier in the game and get's significantly stronger as the match goes on. While this may be said for all heroes, Carry heroes will consistently get better each level until 25 while other heroes may plateau after level 16.

Disabler (46 total)
A Disabler has a guaranteed disable for one or more of their spells. This typically translates to a stun ability but may be a silence ability as well.

Support (28 total)
Supports can focus less on amassing gold and items and more on using their abilities to gain an advantage for the team. Of all the roles, they are the least popular since a good support may not get a single kill the entire match. Supports will heal their team, give mana via mana boots, provide vision via purchasing wards, and purchase the courier.

Lane Support (12 total)
Helpful during early-game laning by protecting your team's Carry and allowing the Carry to farm. As the least common role, Lane Support's are typically Support's as well with the added ability to provide a further support role.

Initiator (33 total)
initiators do just what their title implies, they initiate fights. 24 of the 33 initiators are also Disablers, giving most of the initiators begin their fights by stunning the enemy.

Nuker (39 total)
A Nuker has the ability to quickly kill enemy heroes using high damage spells with low cooldowns. This typically is from a long-distance attack. Lina's Laguna Blade is a prime example, which can deal a single strike of 950 damage within a 900 area, however it comes at a huge price of 680 mana with a 50 second cooldown at it's highest level.

Jungler (10)
Junglers can roam the jungles of the map, farming neutral camps of creeps for gold and experience. This can be valuable as it allows another hero to gain more experience while in a lane by themselves. Normally two heroes in one lane means that they must split the experience. While any hero can "jungle," Junglers can do so easily, without harm to themselves and without purchasing items. Some heroes like Enchantress can take control of another unit, allowing the second unit to be used as a shield.

Pusher (21 total)
Pushers can quickly siege and destroy towers and barracks at all points of the game. The best tower Pushers are those that can use either multiple attacks or take control of other units to quickly take down a tower.

Escape (24 total)
Heroes with the Escape ability can quickly escape a fight, but also have the ability to jump into a fight many times. Escape specialists mostly due this by turning themselves invisible (Riki, Clinkz, Bounty Hunter) while others can very literally jump out of harms way (Anti-Mage, Mirana, Timbersaw).

Playing as a Support
Playing as a support for your first few games is highly advised. Typically speaking, supports stay out of the line of fire and only engage in team fights later in a match. This allows a newcomer to aid his partner while watching what his lane partner is doing. The newcomer can learn techniques this way.

The supports main purpose is to aid their lane partner and team by providing healing, mana regen, and protection via spells. A support should also start in a top or bottom lane and be with a pusher, disabler, or carry.

LICH – Like nearly all support heroes, Lich has a ranged base attack, throwing bolts of icy magic at the enemy. Where Lich excels as a great support is his ability of ICE ARMOR, which shields himself or his allies for 40 seconds. With a mana cost of just 50 and a cooldown of 5 seconds, Lich can have himself and his lane partner in Ice Armor for very literally an entire match. Ice Armor adds bonus armor and slows enemies movement speed and attack speed.
Lich needs not carry CLARITY due to his unique ability of SACRIFICE, which Lich can eliminate a friendly creep, converting the creep’s hit points into mana. Sacrifice uses 25 mana, but can return over 100 mana, depending on which creep is sacrified.
Unlike many supports who fall off at the end of the match, Lich stays incredibly strong at the end of a match with his ultimate ability, CHAIN FROST. Chain Frost is an orb of frost that can bounce between opponents up to 7 times to enemies within a 575 range. At it’s peak, the orb will do 460 damage. That means if two heroes are standing next to each other when Lich unleashes this ability, it will damage one hero for 1840 damage and the other for 1380. With a scepter, the damage can raise to 550 and extend the range to 850.

KEEPER OF THE LIGHT – To be frank, Keeper is a ♥♥♥♥♥. Like Lich, Keeper will not need to carry any mana with him as his CHAKRA MAGIC ability grants mana, up to 215 at its max. (Note that while the ability grants you 300 mana, it will take 85 to cast the ability.) Combine a self-casting mana ability with ILLUMINATE, and Keeper is not only a great support, but also a very good early-to-mid game harasser. Focusing on these two ability, and by mid-game Keeper can do massive damage to enemies, though he rarely will get many kills.
During late-game fights, Keeper can kick in one of his two ultimate abilities, RECALL. Recall can teleport an allied hero from anywhere on the map to Keeper’s location. The downside is the semi-lengthy delay time, lessening from 5 to 3 seconds according to ability level. A late-game support strategy is to TP back to base, and then have the ability to recall up to 3 heroes back to base, saving them from having to spend extra gold on TPs.

DAZZLE – What Keeper is for restoring mana, Dazzle can heal teammates and also has an amazing saving ability of SHALLOW GRAVE, which saves an ally from death, no matter how low on health for a short period. WEAVE, Dazzle's ultimate, has a double-ability as it gives his allies extra armor, while reducing the armor of enemies within a given radius.

Playing as a Carry
While it’s not highly advised for new players to be a carry, at some point in your Dota2 gameplay life you’ll have to, and want to be a carry.

SNIPER – As a new player, you want to stay out of the way as much as possible, and Sniper grants you the chance to do so. TAKE AIM is a passive ability that gives Sniper a max range of 850, by far the longest range of any hero. (The next longest heroes are Drow Ranger and Lina at 625) Add a second passive ability of HEADSHOT, which gives a 40% of a mini-stun and the SHRAPNEL ability, which will slow the enemy up to 30%, Sniper should be an easy player to not die with, so long as you are on your toes.

DROW RANGER – Drow is a universaly great hero to play. Drow’s ultimate ability is both a huge plus, but also a downer in comparision to other heroes ultimates. MARKMANSHIP adds nothing more than bonus agility. However, the amount she gains can be huge, up to 80, depending on enemy heroes.

Drow’s first ability of FROST ARROWS is an early game ability, which slows enemies. At its peak, Frost Arrows can slow an enemy’s movement speed by 60%. With an ability to silence the enemy for up to 6 seconds, Drow can work well within a team fight as well. Drow will become quickly strong within the match by her natural abilities, so focus on getting items that increase her attack speed. She can easily be doing 200 damage ever .36 seconds later in the game with the right items. Drow is also one of just three radiant heroes to keep her sight range high even at night.

Playing as a Jungler/Durable Hero
For this category I'm combining the Jungler and Durable Hero roles for newcomers. While these two roles are seperate, the specific ability to jungle can allow a new Dota2 player to stay out of team fights early on, helping them to get stronger and last longer in the match. Durable heroes give newcomers the chance to withstand some early attacks due to their abilities and generally higher amount of health points.

URSA – The sheer strength and simple abilities like ENRAGE, which gives Ursa a percent of his health as damage, makes him an easy early game Jungler. Add some lifesteal items to Ursa, and he's nearly unstoppable. Even better, As early as level 6, Ursa can take down Roshan by himself.

ENCHANTRESS – While she may not seem like a Durable Jungler, Enchantress has two abilities that make her very powerful. In the event she is harmed, Enchantress can use NATURE'S ATTENDANTS, encircling her in a cloud of swooping birds, Enchantress is rapidly healed. To jungle, Enchantress can take control of a neutral creep, using the new creep under her control to easily move around the jungle and collect experience and gold.

Playing as an Initator
Initators can be a more daunting experience for new players. Can up in the action as a melee hero can be intimidating, and often leads to rash decisions where you can get stunned and often ganked. However, initators are nearly always durable, and when paired with a good ranged, support hero, an initator should be able to skirt early game deaths.

TIDEHUNTER – Tidehunter is a good “average” starter hero, as he can fill multiple team roles. With that in mind, he might not always be the smartest play, but he’s a safe bet for a new player. With one passive ability and two others that are on the less-impressive end of hero abilities, Tidehunter’s ultimate can be absolutely devasting during team fights.
RAVAGE is a riduclous ability with a huge AoE of 1025. Tidehunter slams the ground, causing tentacles to erupt, damaging all units with the area for up to 450 damage and stunning for up to 2.77 seconds. With this ability, watch for late-game silences as Ravage will be feared during team fights.

SVEN – Sven, like Tidehunter, is one of the “average” heroes in the game. With one passive ability and two others that are non-targeting abilities, Sven is a very easy hero to play. Sven’s first ability that should be upgraded is STORM HAMMER. This is a nice ability because it allows Sven to stun heroes from a short range, then stroll into the fight, getting up and personal while the enemy is still stunned.
WARCRY is a non-targeted ability that grants Sven bonus armor of up to 16 and 12% movement speed for 8 seconds. As a team player, Sven can grant the same bonuses to allied heroes within a 900 radius. At its peak, Warcry uses a small 25 mana and has a short 18 second cooldown. This effectively means Sven can have a bonus of 16 armor for 8 seconds, every 10 seconds.

Playing as an Escape
Escapes act just like they sound, they escape sticky situations. For a new player, this will help you live longer and die far less.

ANTI-MAGE – Anti-Mage is a great Escape player because not only does his BLINK get him out of trouble, it can also be used to gank or initiate. This makes Anti-Mage great at early game getaways, while having the luxary of also being a late-game carry.
To make Anti-Mage equally easy to play, he has two passive abilites. SPELL SHIELD gives up to 50% magical damage resistance. MANA BREAK diminishes a target's mana by as much as 64 per hit.

WINDRUNNER – Unlike most escape artists who go invisible, Windrunner simply runs away quickly. WINDRUN gives Windrunner 50% move speed bonus while slowing enemies by up to 30%. With this escape, Windrunner can escape just about everything, but look out for Sniper's Assassinate.
And even better than most escape artists, Windrunner can play as a normal hero with some strong nuking and stunning abilities.

Playing as a Ganker
Ganking is the absolute last strategy a Dota player should learn. It leaves the hero exposed and alone, often leading to their own death when not executed properly.

NIGHT STALKER – Night Stalker is the quintessential dire hero, in that he performs much better at night than during the day. Not only do his abilities become strengthened, but nearly all of the radiant heroes have a shortened sight range, lessening by more than half, typically decreasing from 1800 to 800.
With a passive ability to gain movement and attack speeds at night, Night Stalker also has two abilities which stun and slow the enemy. Lastly Stalker can force DARKNESS for a limited amount of time, up to 80 seconds at its peak, and costs no mana.

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Oranges in Toasters Dec 6, 2013 @ 2:14pm 
Best escaper=Weaver
madmaven Mar 17, 2013 @ 3:25pm 
tell the guy who insults America to grow up.
Skeleton bones Feb 6, 2013 @ 11:32pm 
@pokadex want a fuckin medal?
Pokadex Jan 27, 2013 @ 5:23pm 
There were 99 Comments, but I added 1
Wrathburn Jan 27, 2013 @ 9:45am 
Awesome. As a new player that really wants to get into Dota but knows absolutely nothing about it, this has really helped me understand some of the terminology used in videos and the basic idea behind certain Heroes' actions.
DDeodoro Jan 24, 2013 @ 6:16pm 
This helm me a lot, Thaks
Colossus Jan 21, 2013 @ 9:31am 
@Fifthranger Yeah, but might also give a lot of satisfaction if you learn early on to shackle, because that is such a strong skill, that is will almost guarantee your team a kill if you are able to. @Guide Very nice guide, will mention this to new players.
skrub :/ Jan 20, 2013 @ 11:29pm 
I agree with Fifthranger.
Seeker Jan 20, 2013 @ 11:34am 
I would stray away from Windrunner and Enchantress if your new to Dota, Windrunner isa great hero (my personal favorite) but she relies on landing Shackleshot... which can be very hard no mattter who plays her. Enchantress requiresa good unit conrtol and knowledge of the jungle. So the that basis I would stay awya for those heros if you're a new player
Judgedreadneo Jan 20, 2013 @ 7:59am 
well ursa is a noob hero by all means takes 0 skill to play riki is also on the noob list along with drow with some support but later on it would be wise to drop these heros since everyone knows what their bringing to the fight and there is a plethora of things which can counter all three