What are the best Dota 2 heroes for beginners? There are, at the time of writing, 113 heroes in Dota 2. But choosing the right one, or the right combination of them for your team, can often be the difference between winning and losing or at the very least, between struggling and cruising.
Want to start with the absolute basics? Here's how to play Dota 2.
All of the heroes can play a very specific role and some of them can be played in multiple roles, sometimes within the same game and it is important to understand what these roles are and how they interact with each other. But it is equally as important to realize that a hero’s role should inform how your play them and the items you purchase.
Dota 2 roles
The damage-dealing nucleus of a team, the carry is often viewed as the most important and generally difficult role to play.
The role of the support is to aid and protect the carry in the early game, as well to ensure that the team has enough vision over the map to safely move around without fear of getting ganked.
The early game is all about farming for gold and there’s hordes of it to be prised from the cold, dead hands of the various creeps scattered about the jungle, which makes up most of the space in-between the lanes. Because these creeps respawn at regular intervals and because there is limited farm to be had in the lanes, a team will sometimes pick a jungler who can exclusively farm the jungle creeps.
Each team should have at least one lane which is occupied by a lone hero. If a team has a jungler then they will most likely have two heroes going solo. Because of this, it is difficult to talk about it as one single role so it has been divided up into two sub-roles.
Solo Mid heroes occupy the middle lane. Because the space between the opposing mid towers is fairly short, these heroes don’t need to worry too much about escaping any ganks and will often focus on farming creeps and trading blows.
Solo Off-Lane heroes tend to be the most difficult and frustrating heroes to play. Off-laners usually have a lot of speed and their early-game abilities tend to be escape mechanics such as fast sprints, invulnerability or the ability to teleport over short distances.
Dota 2 Roster
Every time your hero levels up, you will be allowed to select an ability or a ‘hero talent’ to level up as well. Knowing what these abilities do and which ones are most useful can be the key to having a good early game. There are three attributes in Dota 2: strength, agility and intelligence. Each of these govern certain aspects of your hero, such as HP (strength), mana (intelligence) and attack speed (agility). However, a hero’s damage output is determined by their ‘primary attribute’ which differs from hero to hero. If given the choice, this is the attribute you should focus on boosting. This is normally achieved by purchasing items, but which items should you buy? Which abilities should you choose?
It is often easy to start out by picking a support hero and indeed, if it is your first game, we heartily recommend you try a support out first. The reason for this is that it can be difficult to acquire gold in Dota 2 and supports do not rely on lots of gold to be useful. You can also get a feel for the game, whilst assisting other, perhaps more experienced players. It is inadvisable to try jungling until you are more experienced at the game. Jungling can be very difficult as there are no friendly creeps or towers to protect you and you will often find yourself being stalked and killed by stealthy enemy heroes. For this reason, we have suggested only one jungler as being suitable for beginners.
Dota 2 Solo/Carry heroes
Role: Solo/Carry (Ranged)
Primary Attribute: Agility
Launches a ball of shrapnel that showers the targeted area in pellets. Enemies caught within it take damage and are slowed.
Use shrapnel to farm creeps or to discourage enemies from walking into an area. This ability is often taken first since it's useful when you can’t get close enough with your main attack.
extra damage and briefly stop the movements of his enemies.
This is a passive ability which gives you a 40% chance to momentarily stun an enemy. Obviously, the faster you attack,
the more useful this ability becomes.
Extends the attack range of Sniper's rifle.
The more levels you take in this passive ability, the longer the range of Sniper’s main attack will become. At level 2 it will allow you to out-range enemy towers.
This ability has a low cooldown and a huge cast range. Use it to finish off fleeing enemies or to lend aid in a fight when you are too far away to engage with your main attack.
Sniper can be played as a solo or as a core. You can start off by taking Shrapnel to help you farm or, if you’re feeling brave, by getting a level in Headshot. Ultimately, you want to become a glass cannon, so focus on building up your ‘attack speed’ and ‘damage’. Sniper is also killed quite easily, so building items that will help you escape can be quite sensible. Take Assassinate as soon as you can and then use it to finish off fleeing foes.
to create a chain of lightning which bounces to other nearby enemies.
It also upgrades your attack damage and attack speed.
Role: Carry (Melee)
Primary Attribute: Strength
Use this ability to initiate a fight by stunning the most dangerous enemy. It can also be used to help you run away should you start losing a fight.
Cleave makes your attacks have a knock-on effect on other enemies. This is great for pushing lanes or farming the jungle as well as damaging the whole team during large-scale fights.
Sven's Warcry heartens his allies for battle, increasing their movement speed and armor.
By activating this before every fight, you ensure that both yourself and your team have a huge defensive advantage for the first eight seconds.
When fully levelled up, this ability adds a temporary 200% extra to your damage output. This means you can easily kill an enemy in 2 - 3 hits.
Sven can do a lot of damage, and he can hold his own in a fight. Focus on levelling up your Storm Hammer and Warcry during the early game so that you can easily fend off any players who try to disrupt your farm. Once you’ve got a few items it’s time to start bullying the weaker enemy heroes. Throw your Storm Hammer at them and then activate God’s Strength to rip them to shreds. Rinse and repeat.
Black King Bar
Mask of Madness
dealing damage. This will enable you to stay in lane and farm without having to retreat. It can also be activated to increase attack speed.
Heart of Tarrasque
Role: Solo Mid/Carry
Primary Attribute: Agility
Very useful for chasing down enemies; right-click the ability icon to have it auto-cast.
Translation: The bloodier the target, the deadlier the Viper.
This passive ability makes it very risky for enemy heroes to chase you. It will often be the only thing keeping you alive during team fights.
Cast this on an enemy and then blast them down with Poison Attack to immediately remove them from any fight.
Viper is one of the best gankers in the game. Both taking damage from and giving damage to him will slow an enemy, often leaving them with no choice but to stand and fight to the death...usually their death. He is, however, very reliant on farm because he needs certain items to be useful. He also drops off a little in the late game so if you pick him you should focus on pushing towers and winning as quickly as possible. Start off by taking alternating levels in Nether Toxin and Poison Attack. Take Viper Strike at level 6 and you’re ready to gank.
is a must-have if you intend to focus on ganking.
Monkey King Bar
of a nightmare to escape from. It also boosts your attack damage.
Role: Solo Off Lane/Mid
Primary Attribute: Intelligence
Always try to line this up with either another enemy or a tree. Doing this will increase the duration of the shackle, allowing you more time to escape or to finish off your victim.
Try to follow up a Shackle Shot with this ability. Afterwards the enemy is usually quite low on HP and will probably be easy to finish off.
This is basically your means of escape. Because you’ll often be solo in the off lane it is important to take at least one level in Windrun.
Use this on a stunned enemy to kill them quickly or on an enemy tower to chip it down.
Despite being an Intelligence hero, Windranger plays a lot more like an Agility hero in the sense that you will want to build her for attack speed and damage. Take Windrun first so that you have a means of escape and then get a level in Shackleshot so that you have even more potential for escape. After this, level up Powershot and use it to harass enemy heroes and farm the creeps in your lane. Once you get Focus Fire you can start destroying the enemy tower and get into other lanes to help push/gank.
or an ally away from danger.
of spell casters.
Dota 2 support heroes
Role: Support (Melee)
Primary Attribute: Intelligence
The burst damage and stun from Fireblast is a great way to start a fight or to stop a threat in its tracks. Use it to help your carry win fights.
This really slows down an enemy. Use it to stop them from escaping or to harass them during the early game.
If you have enough mana, you should be casting this whenever possible. The attack and movement speed boost it gives will make your team mates un-escapable.
Fully levelled up, Multicast gives you a chance to cast each of your abilities four times. This means that if you’re lucky, you can kill an enemy with one Fireblast.
This can only be gained by purchasing an Aghanim’s Scepter. It works like a standard Fireblast but costs 60% of all your remaining mana, so use it last.
Ogre Magi is a very tough support who has both powerful abilities and the capacity to trade blows with enemy heroes. Help the carry farm in the early game by using your abilities to fend off enemy heroes. When it’s time to start fighting, initiate with your Fireblast before casting Bloodlust on an ally. Then simply bash the enemy to death. You can use Ignite to to slow down any fleeing foes, as well as using it to simply aid in the fight. Level up Multicast whenever you can to make your other abilities more powerful.
Scythe of Vyse
It also gives a large attribute and mana regeneration boost.
Role: Support (Ranged)
Primary Attribute: Intelligence
While fairly weak, this can be useful for finishing off enemies or slowing them down. Try to hit as many of them as possible with it to get the most out of it.
Comparatively, this deals more damage than Crystal Nova and will hold an enemy in place, allowing your carry to finish them off. It can also be used to farm jungle creeps.
This is so useful, especially in the early game when most heroes struggle for mana. It also means your team won’t have to purchase mana regeneration items.
The sheer range and length of this ability can be enough to kill an entire enemy team. Moving or doing anything at all whilst channelling it will cancel it, so position yourself where the enemy can’t stun you.
Crystal Maiden is an extremely versatile support who can comfortably be played as a pure support or as a frontline fighter. Always take Frostbite first as it will enable you to get early ganks on enemy heroes. Take Arcane Aura second to ensure that you can keep using Frostbite whenever you need to. After that, take a level in Crystal Nova and just use it to slow down enemies whilst levelling up Arcane Aura and Frostbite as they are much more useful. Take Freezing Field as soon as possible. It is one of the most powerful abilities in the entire game and most of your strategy will be based around choosing when and where to cast it.
If you are low on HP, simply stay out of the fight until these kick in.
Eul’s Scepter of Divinity
and a little extra movement speed. Use it on yourself or an ally to make them temporarily invulnerable on an enemy to move them.
Black King Bar
your Freezing FIeld. Unfortunately, it is rather expensive and should only be purchased if you’ve managed to farm a lot.
on any enemy who lingers within it for too long. As you can probably imagine, that’s a pretty powerful upgrade.
Role: Jungler (Melee)
Primary Attribute: Strength
Axe taunts nearby enemy units, forcing them to attack him, while he gains bonus armor.
Use this to force enemies to attack you, allowing your allies to freely kill them while you tank the damage.
Enrages an enemy unit, causing it to be slowed and take damage over time until it kills another unit or the duration ends.
This can be used to finish off a fleeing foe, or to kill a particularly tanky jungle creep.
When attacked, Axe performs a helix counter attack, dealing damage to all nearby enemies.
The more enemies there are attacking you, the more often this ability will cast itself. When combined with Berserker’s Call,
it turns you into a swirling mass of death.
Axe spots a weakness and strikes, instantly killing an enemy unit with low health, or dealing moderate damage otherwise. When an enemy hero is killed with Culling Blade, its cooldown is reset.
Use this on any enemy with very low health to quickly finish them off and gain a movement speed bonus.
Jungling is inadvisable for new players, but if you find yourself needing to jungle, Axe is by far the easiest hero to do it with. Always at the heart of the combat, Axe’s Counter Helix gets more useful the more enemies are attacking him. You ideally want to be as aggressive as possible, within reason. Level up Counter Helix to ensure you can quickly kill jungle creeps but take a level in both Berserker’s Call and Battle Hunger. At level 6 take Culling Blade but try to stay in the jungle until you have at least your boots and your Blink Dagger. At this point, use the Blink Dagger to teleport into a group of enemy heroes and then cast Berserker’s Call. Sit back and watch the destruction unfold.
Activate Power Treads and switch them to red in order to gain a boost to your strength.
There is no point picking Axe unless you get this item. Use it to blink into fights and then follow it with Berserker’s Call to force enemies to fight you.
This gives a great armor and damage boost, but its real use comes
when you activate it, causing all physical enemy attacks to be
reflected back onto them. Use it after casting Berserker’s Call.
Vanguard gives you a flat boost to your HP and health regeneration, allowing you to survive your suicidal leaps into the crowds of enemies.
Yet more armor and yet more attack speed will allow you to survive longer and kill quicker. This also provides an aura, granting the same benefits to nearby allies.
Your Turn to Pick
That’s your lot. If you really are new, it’s probably best for you to figure out which hero you want to try your hand at and then play a few bot games against the A.I. When you do decide to finally play with other people, remember that your pick needs to synergise with your team. For example, if the team already has four carry heroes, pick up a support. Similarly, don’t fill your team with weak support heroes and get pulverised in every team fight. But most importantly, remember to have fun, be friendly and cooperate with your teammates. Focus on expanding your repertoire of heroes and you’ll find that Dota 2 becomes an incredibly compelling experience when you can competently play over a hundred different heroes. Trying to out-pick your enemy before the game even begins is a big part of what makes the game so much fun. Good luck!