Dota 2
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Frustration Free Beginner's Guide to Dota 2
By Forkball
A guide that hopefully solves typical problems beginners face. This is not a comprehensive beginner's guide, but it will hopefully help you enjoy the game and know what to do. The guide has a step by step walkthrough about what to do in a game, hero suggestions, a Dota 2 lingo dictionary, typical problems beginners face and how to deal with them, and more.
This is a Dota 2 guide for beginners that aims to focus on a lot of problems new players have. As someone who was completely new to Dota 2, I read beginner guides and was still confused. Ancient camp? Pulling? Jungling? ARE THESE WORDS? If you want a 100% comprehensive guide to every little thing about Dota 2, this isn’t it. BUT, it will hopefully help you work out the kinks of your growing pains and help you enjoy this great game.
What’s the point of the game?
The point of the game is to destroy a structure in the enemy team’s base, known as the Ancient.
Your team has to push all the way into their base. Think of it like scoring a touchdown, but with explosions. Pretty simple right? But before you get to wreck their crib, you have to push past defending towers, enemy NPCs, and enemy players.

What do you do? You kill enemy NPCs, heroes, and towers. How you will accomplish this is a whole other story, but let’s just focus on what you will be doing when you play the game.
Heroes are characters controlled by players. The first thing you do in the game is pick yours. Games can be won and lost at the hero pick, so it is crucial to have everyone contributing in a different way. Think of it like a Pokemon team. You wouldn’t have an entire team of just one type, right (don’t worry, there are more Pokemon analogies later). There are literally over a hundred heroes, which is overwhelming at first. Wait, what’s that guy do? What was that spell? DID HE JUST ONE SHOT ME? Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each hero takes time and experience. However, they all share some key features.

Radiant vs. Dire Heroes
Radiant are the good guys and Dire are the bad guys, that’s it. Even if you are technically on the Dire team, you can still pick Radiant heroes and vice versa. No one seems to follow the lore like me, why can I never find a Dota RP group?!

Each hero has three attributes, with one of those attributes being noticeably stronger than the other two. Heroes are broken down into these categories in the character select as well.

Strength: These guys have a lot of health and can recover it very quickly. Most strength heroes can take a lot of damage and dish it out as well. However, many of them are slow and don’t have a lot of mana to cast spells. These guys are good picks if you want to take a lot of damage.

Agility: They can attack very quickly and aren’t as susceptible to physical attacks. Agility heroes are often the backbone of a lot of teams. As a new player, you probably won’t be touching these types of heroes.

Intelligence: These heroes have a lot of mana and can regenerate it quickly, meaning they rely heavily on their spells. Many intelligence heroes are ranged and have low penalties for casting spells, thus are very easy to pick up for new players.

Ranged vs. Melee
Every hero has an “autoattack” which is just a basic attack that requires no mana. These are either close range (melee) or long range (ranged). For new players, it is best to stick with ranged heroes since you will be less likely to put yourself in danger.

Hero Roles
Roles are somewhat nebulous, but Valve has tried to break heroes down into their own categories. Here is a summary of types of heroes you will encounter and die to.

Carry: The backbone of your team. If your Dota team were a Pokemon team, the carry would be a level 100 Mewtwo while the rest of you are Pikachus. These heroes start off weak, but when they level up and buy powerful items, they can absolutely wreck anyone they come across. While all this sounds awesome, carries are not recommended for new players as they require a lot of knowledge and skill when it comes to leveling up quickly and obtaining the right items.

Ganker: Gankers specialize in eliminating specific heroes and catching them off guard. They’re like assassins. They typically do this early in the game, crippling the enemy team’s chance to gain levels and gold. Playing a ganker is also difficult for a new player, as you need to not only know when, where, and who to attack, but also must have the skills to successfully get a kill.

Support: AKA those guys no one picked in your game. Supports are there to selflessly help the team in thankless ways such as buying pivotal items such as wards and couriers, allowing carries to get more money and experience, and sacrificing themselves so their Anti-Mage doesn’t die so he can farm up a 15 minute Manta (you’ll get that joke one day). When starting off, these are the heroes that you will most likely gravitate to, because they are fairly simple to play as, have many active spells, can contribute without a significant gold or level advantage, and no one really gets angry at you if you die. Did you go 3/10 as Crystal Maiden? MVP.

Pusher: These heroes are good at getting rid of enemy creeps (NPCs you attack for gold and experience), which allows your creeps to push into the enemy territory more easily. Many of their spells do extra damage to buildings, and can force the enemy team to take a more defensive position. Some pushers are very newbie friendly and cross over with support.

Durable: AKA tanks. Durable heroes specialize at sitting there and allow themselves to get pummeled on while your teammates clean up. They are normally in the thick of the battle, and are expected to take enough punishment while everyone else gets ready to launch their offensive. The difficulty for these characters range, but there are some good durable heroes for newbies.

Jungler: These heroes can defeat neutral creeps in the jungle(a spacious area on both sides of the map) from the beginning of the game. While you can put any hero in a lane, some have a great advantage by starting the game in the jungle. You need to know the jungle layout and keep track of spawn times, so it is not recommended for new players.

Disabler: These heroes focus on nullifying the enemy by preventing them from contributing to a battle. It’s hard for the enemy carry to crush you in three hits when they can’t move or attack! Many characters have disable abilities, but some are focused around this idea. These characters are good for new players as a disable is useful all the time.
Initiator: These are the people who start team fights, allowing their team to have a strong advantage. These heroes are quite fun to play as, but execution is important. If you don’t initiate properly or in time, you could cost your team the battle or even the game.

There are some minor roles such as lane support, semi-carries, and roamers, but those are really very small sub-aspects to these larger roles.

Every hero has a least four spells. When you level up, you get a single point to put into spells to make them more powerful, or into your stats (save that for later though) Some are active, which you cast manually, and some are passive, which you do not cast and give some sort of buff to your character. The active skills will have the hotkey on the skill. Some heroes also have “autocast” spells, which give some buff to your auto attack and costs mana. You need to press Alt+spell button to keep this automatically on, then press it again to turn it off. If you just press the button once, your next targeted attack will have the autocast buff. Depending on the spell, it may be targeted in a special way:

Unit: You click on the enemy or NPC you want to use the spell on. If you are out of range, your character will automatically mosey on over and cast it when it gets in range. Be careful not to misclick and thus wasting your attack.

Point: You click on either a hero or on the ground to cast it. Be careful when clicking on heroes though, as if they move too far out of range you may miscast it.

Instant: No targeting at all! These spells will automatically cast depending on where your hero is.

Area: Here, you are given a big blue circle that you can place on the ground. Your hero will cast the spell in that area. You should look forward to many embarrassing misses with these types of spells.

A few useful facts about abilities:
1. The number in the lower left corner of the spell is the “mana cost” which means how much mana (that blue bar) you need to cast it. If you don’t have enough, it will be faded out. Some spells don’t have mana costs, but these are rare.
2. Hover over the spell icon for information about the spell. It tells you what type of targeted spell it is, what it does, information about the damage or other effects, and the cooldown in the lower left corner. Sometimes you will see a green circle, around your character. That is the range of the targeted spell. If an enemy is in the circle, you can cast the spell. If not, your character will automatically run up to the enemy until it’s in range.

Ultimate, or “Ult” as the cool people say
This is your best spell. It is on the far right of the spell menu. You can level it up only three times, at levels 6, 11, and 16. If you don’t level it up at that time, you can do it the next level. It depends on the hero, but ultimates typically have long cooldowns and cost a lot of mana. These can be major game changers in battles, and inefficient use of them could spell doom for your team. The coolest ultimate is by far Tidehunter’s Ravage, it has been agreed upon.
This section is always controversial because people have their own opinions on who is best for beginners. Some say “just play who you want” but it is clear that some heroes require more knowledge and specific aspects than others. Playing a difficult hero or a hero that you cannot contribute with may make you disinterested in the game. Here are TEN heroes I recommend when first playing, in no specific order.

Lich: I said in no specific order, but really he’s the best hero. Don’t deny it. He has fast movement speed, a strong attacking spell, a good defensive spell, a mana regeneration spell, and an extremely powerful ultimate in team fights. His spells allow you to not only get in some kills, but also give your team advantages to succeed as well.

Lion: Lion’s ultimate is one of the most powerful single target spells in the game. If you just want to obliterate an enemy’s health bar, he’s your man. He also has a very good stun that can hit multiple heroes, which is always useful even if you are underleveled. His other spells, one which turns an enemy into a helpless frog and another which drains the enemy mana, are all extremely useful no matter what level you may be.

Vengeful Spirit: She excels at making the enemies weaker and her teammates stronger. She has a good single target stun (an attack that immobilizes the enemy), and her other attacks buff your friends and debuff your enemies. Her ult, Swap, switches you with an enemy hero. This is great for chasing enemies or helping your team take down an enemy hero, but it also makes you more likely to get killed. However, this is expected, so no one will really get on to you for your noble sacrifice.

Crystal Maiden: She has a stun, a good AOE damage attack, a mana regen passive that effects everyone, and her ultimate can do a lot of damage. Keep in mind that her ultimate is channeled, which means that she cannot move while it is happening. If you move her or make her cast another spell, it will CANCEL the attack. So just hit R once and sit there.

Shadow Shaman: He can do anything. He can take out a lot of creeps or dish damage to heroes with his shock move, can turn a hero into a chicken so they can’t attack, can hold someone in place for a lengthy time (though he can also not move), and his ultimate is great for team fights or knocking down towers.

Witch Doctor: He has a stun that can hit multiple characters multiple times. It is extremely annoying as you can imagine. He can also heal himself and teammates, do damage over time (good for invisible enemies), and his ultimate (which is channeled like Maiden’s) can hit many enemies for a lot of damage.

Sven: “Wait, isn’t he a carry? And didn’t you say don’t start with carries?” Sven got a massive buff recently, which means he can potentially be a carry, but he is very flexible. He has a stun that hits multiple people which does a lot of damage and AOE stuns are useful ALL THE TIME. He can also not only do a lot of damage, but take it as well. Even if you don’t level him up so much, just throw that stun out to instantly be useful.

Sand King: He has a stun that can hit multiple heroes, he can turn invisible to escape enemies, a passive that lets him do a lot of damage to creeps, which makes it easier to get gold, and his ultimate is incredibly powerful. Please note that the first part of his ult is channeled, so don’t move him until AFTER the shockwaves start coming out.

Tidehunter: HE HAS THE BEST ULTIMATE TAKE THAT ENIGMA. Just get close to everyone, hit R, boom you became a hero. His gush move is also does good damage and slows the enemy drastically.

Ogre Magi: This guy doesn’t require a whole lot of items, and his stun can be absolutely devastating. He is very luck based, but hey, everyone could use a bit of luck.

But I want to play a carry…
Ok fine, if you HAVE to play a carry, try Sniper, Viper, or Drow Ranger. They don’t have too many active skills, and if the other team is bad enough, you can spiral out of control and kill everyone.

Ok you’ve picked your guy. Now…
Items are things you buy for your heroes to make them more powerful. What you make for each hero is typically called a “build.” When your hero spawns, the first thing you need to do is open the shop (on the right, you know, the big gold SHOP button) and buy items.

So what do I build with so and so?
Just build what Valve tells you to build. You can’t get fancy now, just go straight in order and buy them. You can play with interesting builds when you stop going 1-15.

How do I buy things?
You can buy most items anywhere on the map, but they will go to your stash, which you can only retrieve in the base. However, if you are in a shop, you can get the item right in your inventory. There are three types of shops in the game.
Base shops: The shop in your base, pretty self-explanatory. You can get any item here that is not exclusive to the secret shop.
Side shops: In the top and bottom lane, there are shops that any hero can purchase items at. While these shops do not have every items, they do have some useful ones when you are in the lane early in the game. The big ones are boots, magic sticks(they can heal you) , and teleport scrolls.
Secret shops: Each team has a secret shop located in section of the map. However, you can buy items from any secret shop (especially the enemy shop if you want to rub it in their face). You cannot buy items that are exclusive to the secret shop unless your hero is PHYSICALLY IN THE SHOP. Secret shop items have a little “s” logo on them. These shops help you build some of the most powerful items in the game, so the risk is worth the reward. However, if your courier is in the secret shop, you can buy things there if you control him. That way you don’t have to go all the way across the map to get one item.

If you want to buy an item, just drag it into your quick buy box on the right, and then a yellow outline will appear when you have enough money for it. Right click on the item you want to buy (or hotkey it to something) and it will go into your stash. DON’T BUY RECIPES FIRST. They don’t do anything until you have all the other parts.

Important and awesome items:
Courier: SOMEONE ON YOUR TEAM HAS TO BUY THIS AT THE BEGINNING NO EXCEPTION. If you are a support, you have to bite the bullet and get one. This guy carries items from your base to your heroes, so you don’t have to run back and forth. For 220 gold, you can upgrade him to a flying courier, which is faster. He automatically turns into a flying one when you buy it anywhere on the map. You can kill the enemy courier for a lot of gold.

Wards: Probably the most important item in the game. There are two types: “Observer Wards” which grant vision over a large area, and “Sentry Wards” which grant vision over a much smaller area, but can see invisible heroes. Your team will need Observer Wards every match. You can only buy FOUR before they go out of stock (though they will go back in stock after a cooldown), so don’t waste them.

Tango, Salve, Clarity: These are regen items that help heal you or recover your mana. When you first start the game, you always want to have some combination of these. DO NOT JUST BUY BOOTS AND TANGOS OR A BRACER OR SOMETHING. You will need those regen items as you will be so weak in lane. If the enemy is aggressive, takes you down to 20% health, and you have no recovery items because you really wanted those boots, then what?

Teleport Scroll: For only 135 gold, you can warp to any of your towers, or your base by double tapping the key bound to your item slot. Need to warp into a team fight? Need to escape like a coward? Is someone trying to sneak behind you? TP scrolls are useful and games can be won or lost because someone did or did not have them.

Boots: They give you extra movement speed, which sounds dull compared to other items that give you massive damage boosts, but movement is a huge part of the game, so get these early.
The map has so many intricacies that I don’t want to explain them all here (this guide is already too long). The map is broken up into three pathways called lanes. There are top, middle, and bottom lanes. These lanes have creeps (NPCs that both teams have that charge out from their base) and towers (defenses that will kill you if you get to close, DON’T GET CLOSE). You will go in these at the beginning, and repeatedly return to kill creeps or enemy heroes.

The Map: Five Tips
1. Easy Lane: Top is the easy lane for the Dire, and bottom is the easy lane for the Radiant. After you pick your heroes and items, try your best to reserve a spot in this lane. That’s because it’s easier to pull the enemy into a position for them to be caught off guard and slaughtered. Why? Because more than likely the easy lane team will want to fight near their tower, which means the other team can easily be ambushed by someone hiding behind them, or attacked by the tower.
2. River, the tunnel of death: The river is great because it has runes (items that can give you temporary stat buffs) that spawn EVERY TWO MINUTES, but it is also narrow with limited areas for escape. Don’t wander in here aimlessly unless you want to be trapped and maimed.
3. Block… OK NOT THAT MUCH: Sometimes, you might want to block your waves by walking back and forth in front of them, making them bump into you and stop. The point of this is so you fight closer to your tower, which makes it safer. However, if you do it too much, the creeps will be in tower range, which means it will be harder to kill them for extra gold, and they could get in some cheap shots on your tower. You have to find the sweet spot.
4. Jungle, the place where you got killed: Jungles, that big forest area near the easy lanes, are a great place to get ambushed, even your own jungle. Be extra careful when wandering around there, as they are big and mazelike so if you do get jumped, you might not have a good outlet to escape.
5. WARDS SHOULD BE UP AT ALL TIMES: I will take more about it in the item section, but you need to buy an item called “Observer Wards” for 150 gold and put them on these eyeball marks near the river all the time. There are more advanced warding strategies (warding the enemy jungle is a great way to keep an eye on them), but really if you put wards on those eyeballs, that’s good enough for now.
You picked your hero, you bought your items, you got in a lane. The creeps are rushing behind you… now what?

1. The creeps will clash and battle each other. Your job is to gain experience by being near enemy creeps when they die or killing them for extra experience and gold.
2. Stay behind your creeps and try to get the killing blow on enemy creeps. Keep in mind the enemy will be doing this too, and you will be trading pot shots at each other as well.
3. If you are having trouble killing creeps, keep in mind that you still get experience by being near them, and you are given gold every second of the game. There’s no difference between hitting a creep once without killing it and just standing next to it as it dies. The range for this is about the lengthy of your screen, emphasis on “about.” So really only focus on the killing blow, which are known as “last hits.”

Last Hitting: The most important skill in the game. Last hitting is when you give the killing blow to an enemy creep, which gives you bonus experience and gold. No matter what character you play, you need to know how to do this. Obviously if you are a support you won’t need to do it as much as a carry, but you still need money for your items and support items. Last hitting takes a lot of practice and it’s easier to last hit with some compared to others. There are several strategies to last hitting. You can right click on the creep to attack it, move your hero next to a creep low on health if you have autoattack on (it’s on by default), or press A then left click (do this to kill your creeps so the enemy doesn’t get a lot of experience). If you want to practice last hitting, make a bot game, where you are the only hero, go mid, and practice for about ten minutes. Keep trying to top your score. Obviously it takes skill and practice, but the big thing is that you need to always be aware that you should be trying to get last hits, not just helping to kill the creep.

But I’m letting the carry get all the last hits: Ok, sometimes this has to happen, but still try to get last hits when you can. Is there a last hit that the carry absolutely cannot get? Take it.

So do I just stay in this lane forever or…: The beginning of the game AKA early game AKA laning phase revolves around people getting early levels and items before they do something big like attempt to kill enemy heroes or knock down towers. You should at least get to level six so you can have your ultimate before you start bumbling around the map.

When do I push down the tower?: A lot of new players think you need to push down the towers as fast as possible. Before you make a real attempt to take down a tower, ask yourself these questions:
1. Can the enemy catch me off guard and kill me (i.e. coming up behind me or rushing past their tower)?
2. Am I strong enough to do noticeable damage to the tower?
3. Am I really going to do a lot of damage to it, or just push the creeps up to a more favorable position for the enemy?

The reason why people don’t try to destroy towers right away is so they can get enough gold and experience first to be able to take one down. If you push the creeps all the way to their tower, but it’s barely taking any damage, you are giving them a safe area to farm and to possibly kill you.
After you’ve leveled up a bit, and maybe even took down a tower (or lost one), people will start to roam around the map trying to knock down towers in different lanes, trying to kill enemies, or trying to place wards to give vision. This is known as “mid game.” No one really announces when to start doing this, but you will develop a feel for when it’s time to move out of your lane (or when your teammate is screaming at you).

I’m like level 10 now, where do I go?: This depends on what’s happening in your game. Maybe you need to go to another lane to defend or attack a tower. Maybe an enemy is in an open spot where you can kill them. Maybe you need to put more wards down. Maybe you need to stay right next to your tower because the entire enemy team is coming for you. Talk to your team and assess what’s happening.

What else do I need to do in the game?: That’s really it. You talk to your team, strategize, try to defeat enemies and their towers. “Late game” refers to when everyone is at high levels with powerful items. This is when you really need to focus and be careful, as one incident could win or lose the game.

CONGRATS YOU PLAYED DOTA AND KIND OF KNEW WHAT TO DO. A monumental achievement. Now do it again, several thousand times. The rest of the guide will focus on general tips or issues new players have.
Ok, everyone has their own hotkey ideas, and it’s really up to the person. Here is what I use and my reasoning. I’m going to assume you will have your left hand on the WASD keys out of habit as I do, so my hotkeys are really based around that.

Select hero (Space Bar, once to select, twice to center camera): Obviously you need to keep an eye on your hero, and the space bar is very accessible and easy to quickly hit in the heat of the moment.

Call courier (B, once to select, twice to center camera). The B key is also easily reachable with the WASD layout. The courier has his own little hotkey combo that you may need to memorize. I keep that at default, and it’s not too difficult to remember.

Items (DF1234): If you have your hand on WASD, of course the D and F keys are instantly reachable. In reality, you probably won’t have an absurd amount of active items, typically maybe two or three. The D and F keys allow for immediate response instead of accidentally hitting the wrong key.

Spells (QWER): Yes, the default. This was clearly modeled after WASD people, and it works well for us.
1. Communicating with your team: Via text, voice, chat wheel (Y by default to select pre-canned responses), it doesn’t matter, just do it. Communication is extremely important so people don’t waste their time, or build items that have bad synergy (do we need three mekanisms?)

2. Warding: Here we go again. If not you, at least somebody. If nobody, then YOU.

3. Picking someone who fits with the team: Does your team need someone who has a move that can stun the enemy? Pick that hero. Do they need someone to help protect their carry so he can farm? Then pick them. I know you may go into games wanting to play someone, but if you just want to practice, try a bot game first.

4. Knowing your role: Are you Tidehunter, who has a great ultimate for initiating team fights? Were you anywhere near that last team fight? No? Well you should have been. You need to know what your hero should be doing and what is the best way for them to contribute.

5. Knowing where everyone is: Where is the enemy? Where is your team? You obviously can’t know where every enemy is at every second, but over time you will be able to assess it better. If you don’t see the enemy at all, it’s probably not wise to wander around by yourself.
1. Dying: Ok, you will die pretty much every match, it’s a given. But there’s a difference between unavoidable deaths, and deaths caused by silly mistakes. These mistakes could be A) going too far past the creep line into the enemy territory B) going somewhere dangerous when you don’t know where they are C)trying to kill someone and failing terribly D)chasing an enemy that is leading you into a trap etc. It’s better to play conservatively than to give the enemy free gold every three minutes.

2. Spamming spells for last hits or whatever reason: Some heroes can spam their spells easily, but others can’t. If your main harassment spell takes up half your mana, it probably isn’t wise to use it every ten seconds.

3. Nothing: Are you standing around doing nothing? Stop that! You’re wasting time, money, and experience. Go kill creeps, help a teammate, put wards down, anything but just standing around. Make opportunities, don’t wait for them.

4. Making some wacky item: Dota is not as simple as “buy the item with the biggest damage boost.” You should be making items that suit your character. Really, just follow the recommended items Valve tell you to buy. Some heroes kind of make me wonder about their item recommendations, but largely it is effective.

5. Going Rambo: Don’t even try to fight an enemy one on one unless you have some strong advantage. Even if you think you might possibly be in danger if you try to attack someone, don’t do it. Genghis Khan said “only a fool fights a battle he knows he cannot win.” LISTEN TO GENGHIS KHAN.
Dota has a lot of lingo, and players have their own set of short hand phrases. This is immensely confusing at first. This is not 100% comprehensive, but here are some things you will hear.

b: Short for “back” which means “GET BACK RETREAT YOU WILL DIE IF YOU STAY THERE.”
Burst damage: a lot of damage suddenly given out at one time.

BKB: Short for Black King Bar, an item that makes a hero magic immune (which means you can't cast spells on them. There are some exceptions, but they will still take no damage.)

cc: short for "crowd control" which refers to how to disable heroes in team fights. If a hero has good cc, that means they can easily use their abilities to take people out of a fight.

Creep line: Refers to the line of creeps whacking on each other

Creep wave: refers to a batch of creeps that come out of the base

Crow: short for the courier, specifically flying courier. If someone says “recrow” that means they accidentally (or purposefully) changed its route from you.

Deny: refers to killing your own creeps or towers, resulting in the enemy not getting experience or money. You can only do this if your creep or tower is below 10% HP.

Farm: as a noun, refers to how much gold and experience someone has. As a verb, it means to obtain gold and experience.

Fat: refers to a character who is at a high level or has obtained very powerful items

Feed/feeding/fed: refers to heroes dying to each other. If you die multiple times to some hero, that means you are “feeding” that character gold and experience, which results in them being “fed” or “fat.”

Furion: refers to the hero Nature’s Prophet

Gank: refers to killing or attempting to kill an enemy hero by surprise.

Hard carry: refers to carries that perform extremely well once at a sufficient level and with enough items

Jungling: taking down neutral creeps in the jungle

Mega creep: super creeps that appear when barracks have been destroyed

Mek: short for Mekanism, a healing item. If you are a support, you will probably be making this.

Mis/miss/mia: Short for “missing” which means the enemy cannot be seen in their lane and may be coming to another one to attack your teammates.

Naix: refers to the hero Lifestealer.

Nuke: a powerful spell that does a lot of damage

OOM: short for “out of mana” which means they can’t cast spells

Pipe: short for Pipe of Insight, an item that reduces magic damage

POTM: refers to the hero Mirana (Priestess of the Moon)

Pulling: refers to attacking creeps in the jungle, running to the lane, and having your creeps fight the neutral creeps. This causes your creep wave to be distracted, which allows you to be closer to your tower or deny the enemy experience.

Racks/Rax: short for “barracks”

Re: short for “return” which means an enemy previously thought missing has returned to their lane

Rhasta: refers to the hero Shadow Shaman

Rosh: short for Roshan, the powerful enemy creep near the middle of the map. Once killed, he drops an item that can revive a single hero, and everyone gets a lot of gold and experience. It takes the entire team to defeat him, so don’t rush in there by yourself. When people say “we should Rosh” or “they’re Roshing!” that means attacking Roshan.

Silence: a status effect that results in you being unable to cast spells

Sheepstick: refers to the Scythe of Vyse, which turns heroes into a defenseless pig (a sheep in Dota 1). If you play an intelligence hero, you will hopefully make one of these if you can afford it.

ss: Short for “missing” which means the enemy cannot be seen in their lane and may be coming to another one to attack your teammates.

Stacking: a technique where you attack a neutral creep camp when the clock ends with :53, and run away. They will chase you, but since it will turn :00 before they return, another creep camp will spawn in its, but the first creeps will return. This is useful for allowing your carries to farm.

Stun: a move that completely immobilizes the enemy. These are extremely important in every game.

Team fight: a fight where many if not all players on both teams are engaged. If someone says “we have no team fight” that means you don’t have a hero that has spells that excel in these situations.

TP: short for teleport i.e. from a teleport scroll

Truesight: You can see invisible enemies or objects. Towers have this, and some items give you this as well.

Wards/warding: refers to observer wards and placing them on the map
Invisible heroes are a big hassle to early Dota players. They can come out of nowhere at seemingly any time, and even if you do a lot of damage, they can vanish without a trace. Here’s how you can stop invisible enemies.

Truesight items: Items that allow you to see enemies heroes. First is Dust of Appearance(180 gold), or just dust for short. When used, it causes the immediate area to have true sight for a short time. Next is sentry wards (200 gold). Like observer wards, you place them and the area near by has true sight. Last, is Gem of True Sight (850 gold), which automatically gives permanent true sight to the area around the holder. This is the best option for taking down enemy heroes, but keep in mind that when the holder is killed, the item is dropped, which means that the enemy can pick it up (but teammates can as well). You can also destroy the gem by attacking it, which can be useful if you have invisible heroes on your team. You can buy all these items from the base shop (you can use the search bar in the shop to find them quickly).

Silence: If they are silenced, they can’t cast spells and they can’t go invisible. Some heroes have silence abilities and some items have some as well. Keep this in mind if you see someone pick an invisible hero.

Abilities with True Sight: Slardar’s Amplify Damage and Bounty Hunter’s Track allow invisible heroes to be seen as long as you used the move on the hero when they were visible. Zeus’ ultimate also reveals invisible heroes, but only for a very short time.

Stuns/Burst Damage: Many invisible heroes can’t take a lot of punishment, so stunning them, which allows for more time to attack, or having skills that do a lot of quick damage can be ideal for harassing them.
Some heroes are less obvious to counter than others. Be careful around these heroes, but also know that there is a way to stop them.

Riki: The king of invisible heroes. His ultimate can permanently turn him invisible, which means he is seen more often than not. He also has a purple smoke move that can silence you. Simply walk out of the smoke to get rid of the status effect. Read the invisible hero section for how to get rid of him.

Anti-Mage/Queen of Pain: These heroes have a move called blink, which means they can instantly warp to and from a nearby point. This means that they can pop in and out at any time. Using disabling moves like silences and stuns can help keep them in their place.

Hard Carries like Faceless Void, Drow Ranger, Phantom Assassin etc.: When hard carries get powerful enough, they can demolish you in split seconds. The trick is, when you know a hero can spiral out of control quickly, focus a lot of early harassment on them so they are slow to gain experience or gold. Failing that, have some sort of disable that keeps them from participating in fights is useful (Scythe of Vyse is very good against these types of heroes).

Keeper of the Light: He has a move that can demolish creep waves and do a TON of damage to you. However, it is easy to know when its coming and fairly easy to dodge. Keeper also cannot take a lot of damage, so if you catch him off guard, he can’t do much.

Pudge: This guy can pull you to him, and then stun you for a lengthy time his ultimate. Even if you try to escape, he has an AOE slowing move that also does damage. With time, you will know his typical hiding spots. The general rule of the thumb is, if you don’t know where he is, and you are near a place he could be hiding, he probably is there. Surrounding yourself around creeps is also great for making him miss. Pudge doesn’t have a lot of mana and one of his moves hurts himself, so make him waste his mana and health.

Phantom Lancer: He can make illusions, or copies, of himself, which means often you have no idea which is the real one. Having AOE attacks is good for figuring out who is who (the illusions would take more damage), and true sight is useful as he has a move where he turns invisible.
Axe’s Battle Hunger: This move does damage over time (you will have a bull head above you when it’s active). However, you can get rid of it if you get the last hit on something, whether it be a hero, enemy creep, or even denying a friendly creep.

Keeper of the Light’s Illuminate: This is a channeled spell which since a wave of damage hurdling straight ahead of him. The range on this is absurdly long, and it can do massive damage early in the game. However, the move is channeled, which means you can easily tell when he is about to use it, and thus you can dodge it easier.

Silencer’s Curse of the Silent/Last Word: Curse of the Silent saps your health and mana, but can preemptively go away by casting a spell. Silencer will combo this with Last Word, which cause you to take damage and be silence if you cast a spell. If you don’t cast one, you will still take damage, and also be disarmed which means you can’t even auto attack. Heroes with spammable spells are good at avoiding this damage, and making Silencer waste his mana.

Bloodseeker's Rupture: When he cast this on you, you will hear a loud sound and will start spurting blood. If you move, it will do additional damage to you. DON'T MOVE. Press H to make your character completely stop. He may come up to whack on you some, so you might have to retreat a bit given the situation.

Venomancer’s Venomous Gale: Possibly the most devastating level 1 move in the game. It does initial damage, damage over time, and slows you down drastically. If you get caught off guard and he put this on you, you are as good as dead. The trick is to be very cautious around him early in the game. It also cost a ton of mana, so making him waste it would be beneficial as well.

Witch Doctor’s Paralyzing Cask: An annoying stun that can hit you multiple times. It bounces from enemy to enemy, so if you are in lane, try to move away from the creeps when you see it coming.

Dark Seer’s Ion Shell: He will put a purple bubble around a creep, causing anyone near it to take damage. If you can, try to focus on eliminating that creep as quickly as possible. Failing that, just move away from it. Dark Seer doesn’t have a whole lot of mana early on, so try to get him to waste that move.
Dota 2 Wiki ( This is the wiki for Dota 2. Most of the pictures here are stolen from that site. It has information on every hero, item, and game mechanic. It is definitely an invaluable resource.

Official Dota 2 Blog ( Valve’s official blog about Dota 2. It has news, update notes, and of course a link to the cosmetic store.

Dota 2 Alt Tab ( This site has mini guides for each hero. You can pull up this website with the Steam browser to check on how to level up your hero or what items you should focus on.

Play Dota ( A huge Dota 1 resource website. They have a ton of guides, but it may be confusing since all the icons and names are from Dota 1. You can download a Firefox app that makes the icons revert to Dota 2 ones though.

Dota Cinema ( A Youtube channel that has a ton of Dota 2 videos, ranging from basic information, strategies, hero guides, and more.

Purge Gamers ( Another Dota related Youtube channel. This one has a lot of match replays with commentary, so it’s good to see how other people tackle the game.

Cyborgmatt ( After every update, Cyborgmatt does an extensive breakdown on all of the added content. Very cool to see what Valve may have in store in the coming days/weeks.

Pyrion Flax ( Comedy guides about Dota 2. Very funny if not always informative.
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Dann0 Sep 20 @ 3:02pm 
yeah this game is probably the worst n00b friendly game i ever encountered (and I thought Rust was bad, lol). No one wants to help you and everything is hush hush, like low to mid lvl players think theyre gonna be in top 50 of the world so they hoard their tips. If thats how dota 2 continues to be like its gone off my computer. GAME being the operative word; oh yeah and fun
Dann0 Sep 20 @ 2:57pm 
Even today this 4 year old guide seems to be still relevant - new characters and gear but mechanics still same - thanks!
Fr3unen Apr 26 @ 1:15am 
Nice guide! Thanks!
DaIMP Dec 6, 2016 @ 5:17am 
There is just 1 thing that, makes this game the worst to be new in, all the experienced players make a new ACC, therefor you get to play against players with over 1000h play time. This makes it almost not worth trying to get good at.
✔️✪ F1niXeR🔥 Oct 2, 2016 @ 9:43am 
frosty Feb 8, 2016 @ 12:45pm 
+rep Amazing guide, thank you so much for making this, it must've taken a lot of time. Amazing Thank you so much
00-No_Name-00 Feb 2, 2016 @ 2:29pm 
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Nooblet Nels Jul 9, 2015 @ 5:23am 
Awesome Guide. Thank you!!!
Satyricon ︻デ═一 Jun 21, 2015 @ 3:04am is also very helpfull
urmil Jan 19, 2015 @ 12:21am 
absolutely stunning guide. good job man