Dota 2 currently has 124 heroes in its roster, with each hero having their unique abilities, stats, strengths, and weaknesses, and specific roles in the current meta. Therefore, if you are just starting out, or even if you’ve been paying Dota 2 for a while, it can still be quite overwhelming to figure out what hero to pick for a particular lane and position/role. In this post, we’ll try to help orient you a bit by telling you about the different Dota 2 hero categories and roles, and give examples with specific heroes.
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Obviously, a single post is not enough to give you a comprehensive understanding of each hero and hero role in the game, but it will hopefully give you a good overall understanding of the topic that you can build upon as you continue exploring and playing Dota 2.
Table of Contents
Dota 2 Hero Roles
First thing’s first – let’s talk about the main Dota 2 hero positions. It’s generally accepted that there are five of them: hard carry, midlaner, offlaner, offlane roaming support with farm (also known as soft support), and a hard support. The general role of each position is as follows:
- The hard carry (Position 1) is supposed to be a hero with the potential to become very powerful, so they should be allowed to gain as much experience and gold as possible.
- The role of the hard support (Position 5) is to constantly aid the hard carry on their way to becoming overpowered, so the hero for this position should be with dedicated support abilities. The carry and hard support usually go together to the “safe lane” (bottom lane for the Radiant team and top lane for the Dire team).
- The offlaner (Position 2) goes to the opposite side lane (the hard lane) and their job is to hold back the opposing enemy duo of a hard carry and hard support, and to deny them as much experience and gold as possible. The hero picked for this position should be self-reliant and hood at holding their own with the odds are stacked up against them. Oftentimes, the offlaner will play the role of a secondary carry to help the hard carry take out enemy heroes and buildings.
- The roaming soft support (Position 4) aids the offlaner, but also occasionally roams the jungle, killing off neutral creeps for extra experience, and also goes to other lanes to help ambush (“gank”) distracted enemy heroes.
- Finally, the midlaner (Position 3) should also be self-reliant, as he is typically alone in their lane. It’s good for the mid laner to have a good offense, but since they aren’t the main carry, it’s generally better for them to fill the role of an initiator or a disruptor with powerful crowd-control abilities, so that they can enable the hard carry to unleash their high-damage attacks on the enemy team before getting focused. It’s also totally possible for the midlaner and offlaner to switch roles, so that the midlaner is the secondary carry and the offlaner is the disruptor/initiator/enabler.
Now it’s time to talk specifics, but before we move one, remember that most (if not all) heroes in Dota 2 can fill multiple positions and roles, so don’t worry too much about always picking the ideal hero for a given position. It’s much more important to be familiar with the hero’s abilities and play style and to know how to use them well.
Dota 2 Carry Heroes
As mentioned, the role of the carry is to be a damage powerhouse. Playing as a carry means that, by the late game, you should not only be able to defeat most of the enemy heroes in 1v1, but also be able to take on several of them at the same time. Therefore, this role/position requires someone with a very high DPS (damage per second) both in the form of their abilities and their regular attacks. Some examples of such heroes are:
- Phantom Lancer
- Chaos Knight
- Phantom Assassin
Dota 2 Offlane Heroes
Since the offlane hero is often forced into 1v2 situations where they simply need to survive and keep their towers from getting destroyed, it’s good to pick a hero who has a backup plan if things go sideways, but also some strong offense and maybe a crowd control skill for when the roamer comes to ambush the overextended enemy duo. Many heroes can fulfill the role of the offlaner depending on what the team needs and what the enemy team has. Here are some common picks for the offlane:
- Death Prophet
- Centaur Warrunner
- Dark Seer
Dota 2 Support Heroes
The support role is usually quite straightforward, especially if you are the hard support to the main carry hero. You shouldn’t be too concerned with high damage, and instead will need to have healing and buffing abilities. Also having some disruptive/crowd control abilities to set up your carry is a great addition. Finally, it’s also good if the hero is tough enough to serve as a tank, thus taking the heat off the carry, though this isn’t always needed. The examples below can work as both a hard support to the carry as well as a roaming support that switches between helping the lanes and killing creeps in the jungle.
- Witch Doctor
- Crystal Maiden
Dota 2 Mid Heroes
Lastly, the mid lane hero, like the offlaner, should also be able to sustain themselves while alone in the lane. However, since the mid lane allows for more effective farming, it’s beneficial if the midlaner is also a carry, so that they can take full advantage of their access to more gold and experience, and snowball into a DPS monster by the later stages of the match. Here are some popular mid lane heroes.
- Storm Spirit
- Outworld Destroyer
- Void Spirit
- Ember Spirit
- Shadow Fiend
- Arc Warden
- Templar Assassin
- Queen of Pain