guy watching dota 2 on monitor
The basics of Dota 2: What you need to know about armor stats

This summer’s metagame was pretty unique. Despite the introduction of Glimmer Cape this year, the gaming community saw a metagame centred on magic and sheer damage with the advent of the Disco Pony, A.K.A. Leshrac.

Now, on the other hand, we have a fresh patch and new meta to contend with. Alchemist has grown in prominence as the meta shifts back to a more physical DPS-based one. That is why here at Dota Game, this page aims to walk you through the mechanics of Armor. Whether a novice or seasoned player, everyone has to learn and relearn the basics of Dota 2’s physical damage feature, especially since the game is often updated with major releases. 

About Armor

Armor in Dota 2 is a stat that decreases (or increases, if negative) the physical damage dealt by abilities and attacks. Every unit can acquire or lose armor. While most start with a modest amount of basic armor, some even with negative armor.

The Agility characteristic of a hero’s armor may be passively enhanced by power levelling, some items, talent, and certain specific abilities. The latter can also briefly enhance or decrease the armor of any unit.

Consider the armor to be an increase in your own effective hit points (HP) rather than a reduction in incoming damage. For example, a hero receives 6% of his current HP in physical damage resistance for every armor piece he wears. So, if you have 100 health and 1 armor, you can take 106 physical damage before you die. You can also take 220 damage before dying if you have 100 health and 20 armor.

Base armor

Base armor is the component of the primary armor that does not alter throughout the game. It consists of a single fixed value set for each unit. A unit’s basic armor can be a negative amount. Since only heroes have agility, all non-hero troops’ head-up displays (HUD) show their base armor.

Main armor

The armor value seen in white numbers near the shield symbol in the HUD is the main armor, which consists of basic armor plus armor supplied by a hero’s agility. The sole method to strengthen a hero’s primary armor is to raise its Agility attribute, which may be obtained by levelling up, purchasing specific items, or using particular skills.

Bonus armor

Bonus armor is the armor amount indicated in green digits with a plus to the left of the white armor number on a unit’s statistics. However, the bonus armor of the afflicted unit is increased whenever an armor providing item or armor enhancing ability has a +Value Armor (e.g. Blade Mail +6 Armor).

Factors to consider when buying armor

Armor is essential but not too much to the point where you spend all of your money buying it. So, here we have listed down some factors to keep you reminded whether the plan of purchasing it is correct or not. 

  1. If it’s just for a casual armor

For tanky heroes with a spare item slot, it is fine to merely buy an inexpensive, casual piece of armor for longevity and sell it later. This idea is a lot better than dying because you scrounge for thirty seconds to make a big-ticket buy.

  1. Keep in mind the ratio rule

If you have more than 1400 health, armor is usually preferable over HP. The only exception is if you are up against an opponent that does a lot of non-physical damage like Silencer. In other words, armor has the best price-to-effect ratio in the middle but the largest impact in the end.

  1. Think about the nuclear option

Ask yourself how much health you will have once your opponents use their magic damage. Considering that you will seldom battle without suffering magical or pure damage, don’t base your armor choices on your maximum HP bar. You become vulnerable to magical or pure-damage nukes if you overspend on armor.

5 best Dota 2 armor heroes

Assert absolute dominance as you watch your enemies struggle to take down your armor. Here we share with you the top 10 Dota 2 armor heroes.

  1. Vengeful Spirit

With her extremely high agility increase, Vengeful Spirit has been broken for quite some time. She’s been pounded by the nerf hammer for a while now, yet she still scales exceptionally well and is one of the tanky heroes as a consequence.

Vengeful Spirit’s Aghanim shard upgrade makes her even tankier, allowing her 2nd talent called Wave of Terror to remove 20% of the armor of anything it strikes.

  1. Undying

Undying, the Almighty Dirge, is a melee hero who can also serve as a tank and perform spells. This transformation boosts his tankiness while also allowing him to inflict a debuff on his opponent that slows and amplifies all future damage.

  1. Centaur

Centaur Warrunner is another hero with a talent that grants him intrinsic tankiness and longevity. His passive called Retaliate enables him to return damage according to his strength attribute plus a specified amount of damage. Hence, this allows him to concentrate on acquiring strength items while also increasing his health pool and damage. Breaking his passive won’t assist you either, since he becomes a tanky frontline and initiator.

  1. Bristleback

With his passive, Bristleback, this hero can mitigate the damage he takes. He, on the other hand, resists damage taken from the back by 40% and 20% when it comes from his sides, and once it exceeds a 210-damage threshold, he launches a Quill Spray at the current level. Bristleback may now be tanky and kill anyone attempting to kill him.

  1. Timber

Timbersaw’s armor originates from his Reactive Armor passive talent. This provides him 28.8 (36 with the talent) armor on max stacks, which is more than any 4700-gold armor item. As he receives 31.2 (39 with the talent) HP regeneration in addition to the armor increase, he can dive the Dota 2 T2 tower quickly, essentially bulldozing the opponent’s carry out of the lane.

dota 2 lane equilibrium banner
Dota 2 basics: Lane equilibrium

Each team’s objectives are simple in Dota 2. All you have to do is destroy the enemy’s Ancient. The only way to do this is to control the creep lane. That’s why top players have to learn how to optimize the lane equilibrium more importantly than knowing how to kill enemy heroes. 

The lane equilibrium refers to the balance struggle between the two sides of the lane. The area where creeps clash is where the wave is. Creeps from both sides have equal strength so the heroes from each others’ side determine the equilibrium. Here’s how you do it:

Basic actions you can do to creeps

The only way to manipulate the lanes in Dota 2 is to attack the enemy creeps. Every strike you land on an enemy tips the balance to pushing the wave. However, pushing the wave further into the enemy’s territory will make you vulnerable to ganks. You will also be vulnerable to the range of the enemy’s tower. 

Draw the wave to your side of the map so you can be protected by the tower. The best way to do this is to simply stop attacking any of the creeps. However, you can gain gold and experience (XP) by simply being near a dying enemy creep but striking the last hit gives you a bonus. 

To prevent the enemy from getting the last hit, you can slay ally creeps by attacking them when their health reaches a certain threshold. This is called ‘deny’ and it can also be done on ally heroes and structures to prevent the enemy from getting gold and XP. You can poke enemies out of range to stop them from denying.

The last basic action you can take to control creeps is used in advanced strategies called ‘pulling’. This is done by attacking the enemy creeps to redirect their attention towards you. However, they will continue to attack the closest eligible target instead of you. Harm the enemy hero to steal their attention away from your ally units.

Expanding on the idea of pulling

Pulling takes skill to execute well because you have to be exactly within targeting range of the creeps you wish to pull. Stepping outside of range will cause them to return to the lanes. You can pull these creeps all the way to your allied towers or to nearby neutral camps. 

Pulling creeps lets you bring them to a safer area where the enemy can’t poke you or have roaming support ganking you from behind. This is a great way to set a trap against the opponents if your roaming support is near you. Draw the creeps to you which can bait the opponent into chasing you, thus opening an opportunity for the support to surround the target. 

Although pulling opens a lot of ideal opportunities, it is also a dangerous strategy. Creeps are dangerous if you let them attack you so you have to pull them from a safe distance without losing their attention. Likewise, this stunt often brings you closer to the enemy’s range, making you susceptible to traps like Pudge’s hookshot.

Wave clearing in lane

Clearing the wave lets you gain so much gold and XP in a short time. However, doing so will make your creeps march further toward the opponent’s defensive structure. There are only two times when it’s best to clear waves. The first is to let your creeps crash into the structure so you can destroy it while the other is to apply pressure into your lane so the enemy can’t abandon your lane. 

Advanced tips to manipulate the lane equilibrium

Lane equilibrium is complicated but it’s the concept that separates a good Dota 2 player from beginners. Here are some tricks that you can try on your next session:

  1. Pull the enemy’s creeps towards your range creeps

Attack the enemy hero and have their creeps chase you towards your ally ranged creeps then move out of range. Doing so will cause the creeps to attack your ranged creeps. Ranged units have higher attack damage but lower health so removing them will make your allies less threatening for the opponent. This is great for slowing down the lane progression and slowly building up your side of the wave. Do this when you plan to attack the enemy structure in the next two minutes.

  1. Pull the enemy creeps towards a nearby camp

You can both weaken the enemy’s creep wave and hasten farming with this strategy. All you have to do is ambush the enemy creeps from behind the first tower and pull them towards the nearest neutral camp. You can predict where they are because their position is parallel to your incoming creep wave.

  1. Pull the enemy creeps all the way to your second tower

A more advanced but helpful tactic is to walk all the way to where the next enemy creep group is going to be then draw them to your second tower. This ensures that there won’t be reinforcements to push your lanes. It won’t tip the equilibrium to the opponent’s side, either, because you are likely to meet your third group of creeps by the time you get there.

  1. Block your creeps with your unit

Creep blocking is one of the oldest tricks in Dota 2’s history as it dates back to DotA Allstars. Essentially, you just have to move ahead of your creeps and use your hero to block their progress. It will take practice because some creeps can move around you. Centaur Warrunner is the best hero to do this with because of his huge hit box. Doing this ensures that the equilibrium is closer to your side of the lane. 

  1. Block creeps with abilities

Another old trick in Dota 2 is using abilities to block creeps but the only one who can do this, for now, is Earthshaker with Fissure, his first ability. Create a large blockade that corners the creeps from the front and have the trees block their path to the side. By the time this ability wears off, the first batch of the opposing side is wiped out and the reinforcements for the ones you blocked are on their way. Using this to block enemy creeps gives you a lot of farm but doing it on your allies means that the enemies have no choice but to charge your turret.

dota 2 marci banner
Dota 2: Get to know Marci

There is no denying that Dota 2 is one of the most popular games in the world. It is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) developed and published by Valve. Dota 2 is usually played between two teams of five players. Each player gets to control a powerful character called ‘hero’ that is equipped with different styles of play and unique abilities. 

There are a total of 121 heroes and one of them is Marci. She is always battle-ready and effortlessly flings friends and foes around the battlefield. What sets her apart from other heroes is that she happily jumps into any brawl. Marci can also unleash a hidden power that is strong enough to make gods reconsider the wisdom of a hostile path.

Even though Marci is admired by many, her origins are not as known. She is a fierce and honest companion but dauntless against enemies. Out of all the heroes in Dota 2, Marci has an inner power that imbues her strikes with might. 

Marci’s abilities 

Just like other heroes in Dota 2, Marci has her own set of skills that can be enhanced as you progress into the game. Some of her abilities are: 


Landing Radius: 275

Landing Distance: 350

Cast Range: 175

Throw Duration: 0.5

Cast Animation: 0.2+1.04

Landing Damage: 70/120/170/220

Stun Duration: 0.9/1.3/2.7/2.1

Marci can easily grab an enemy and throw it effortlessly behind her. This move damages and stuns an enemy’s unit. Enemy units that will fall in the landing area will also be stunned and damaged.  

Even though dispose seems like a melee ability, its cast range can be increased by other cast range bonuses. However, this ability is not affected by range bonuses. 


Landing Radius: 325

Min Leap Distance: 450

Max Leap Distance: 800 

Landing Position Offset: 64

Landing Radius: 325 

Cast Animation: 0.1+0

Cast Range: 800 (Talent 1000)

Landing Damage: 90/160/230/300

Landing Move Speed Slow: 30%/40%/50%/60%

Ally Move Speed Bonus: 35%

Slow Duration: 3

Ally Buff Duration: 5

This ability is more on vector and unit targeting that includes choosing a direction to attract and immediately escape when in danger. Once Marci reaches the unit, she lunges to damage and slows the enemies down in the area. 

Rebound allows Merci to dash towards a target at a speed of 2000. As a matter of fact, she can dash through trees and over impassable terrain. The only downside is that Marci is fully disabled when dashing and leaping. 


Cast Animation: 0+0.54

Cast Range: 700

Ally Search Radius: 700 

Attack Damage Bonus: 20/35/50/65

Lifesteal: 35%/40%/45%/50%

Buff Duration: 6

Marci is a loyal ally that ensures the safety of the whole squad. She charges lifesteal and attack damage to protect herself and the team. When cast on self, this ability searches for the nearest ally within the 700 radii. If there is no ally, Marci gets the buff normally.

This ability only searches for allied heroes including clones, illusions, and creep-heroes but grants regular flat bonus attack damage. 


Cast Animation: 0.2+0.34

Self Move Speed Bonus: 15%

Attacks per Flurry: 3/4/5

Flurry Attack Speed Bonus: 700/975/1325

Flurry Time Window: 1

Flurry Cooldown: 1.75

Pulse Radius: 800

Pulse Damage: 60/130/200

Pulse Move Speed Slow: 30%

Pulse Attack Speed Slow: 60/80/100

Pulse Debuff Duration: 2

Duration: 16 

When Marci taps her hidden power, she gains Fury changes which allow her to deliver a rapid sequence of strikes. What’s great is that her last strike in every Fury combo creates a damaging pulse around the target. This slows down the movement and attack speed of an enemy for 2s.  Keep in mind that Marci is unable to attack for 1.5s between Fury combos. So, plan your moves wisely! 

While this ability is activated, Marci can unleash a maximum attack speed by removing the 700 attack speed cap. The remaining attacks are visible on the buff icon and on top of Marci while the buff and visual effects are visible to everyone. 

When finishing a Flurry combo, Marci releases a pulse around the target on the last attack. The attack then releases pulse damage. Remember that all attacks must be executed within 1 second. If not, the combo fails and the Flurry buff is lost.    

Marci’s gameplay 

Marci is popularly known for being a monstrous carry that can easily jump in and out of fights. Her rebound ability grants her allies added speed once she jumps onto them. This catches the enemies off-guard, especially when used together with her dispose ability. Her ultimate abilities provide Marci and her allies bonus damage and lifesteal to completely decimate enemies who look down on her. 

Among the reasons why Marci is well-loved by Dota 2 players is that she is a highly adaptable fighter. Marci can either be an initiator with a blink dagger or become a carry that can effortlessly destroy enemies. 

Her abilities also help Marci’s squad to destroy towers and escape imminent death when sensed. She is also good at decision-making and does not have an aggressive mindset

Even if she has incredible abilities and strength, you should still be cautious during the battle. To give you a heads up, Marci’s strengths and weaknesses are as follows:

Bad againstGood against Works well with  
Axe EnchantressGrimstroke
Bloodseeker MarsLifestealer
Dark WillowNature’s ProphetLycan
Death ProphetSnapfire
LifestealerTroll Warlord

Recommended items 

To unleash Marci’s full potential, you should go with starter items first. These are tango, quelling blade, and double gauntlets of strength. Tango can regenerate her health. The quelling blade allows Marci to cut trees while the double gauntlets of strength help Marci’s last hitting can even form into a soul ring that feeds on the souls of those who wear it. 

Once you already have the starter items, it is recommended to collect other items as well. Some of these are: 

  • Phase Boots (early game item) 
  • Armlet of Mordiggian (mid-game item) 
  • Eye of Skadi (late game item) 
  • Orchid Malevolence (situational item)

As you play Dota 2 with Marci, remember to always communicate with your teammates as she can be the key to the squad’s victory. What are you waiting for? Choose Marci as your hero and unleash her skills on the battlefield. 

dota 2 neutral items banner
A quick guide to Dota 2’s neutral items

Dota 2 heroes grow stronger with the items that they carry in their inventory. Given the scarcity of gold to get the necessary upgrades, every Dota 2 player has to plan their budget according to which stats are helpful now and how the item is useful later. Getting the right ingredients in order does wonders for scaling from early to late game. 

One set of items was introduced in patch 7.23. These cannot be purchased from the store and each side can only get them at random. They are called ‘neutral items’ and they can only drop at random from neutral creeps that spawn in jungle camps. Neutral items add a new element to Dota 2’s already-complex itemization mechanic. 

On one hand, it’s a free item with stats, passive abilities, or active abilities that are just as impactful as standard builds. On the other hand, there’s a wide variety and you can only get them at random so there’s a chance that the enemy’s loot is better than yours. Here are more details about neutral items so you can be more familiar with them.

Neutral items are distributed to five tiers

The first vital information is that neutral items are distributed into five tiers in Dota 2. Rather than adding a slightly improved version of the previous sets, each one has a completely different selection than the last. Neutral items look like a fancy gilded box with colour-coded handles based on tiers:

  • Tier 1 is grey
  • Tier 2 is green
  • Tier 3 is blue
  • Tier 4 is purple
  • Tier 5 is orange

Tier 1 is the lowest in the hierarchy and it appears in the first 7-minute mark of the game with a 14% drop rate. Every other tier from 2 to 4 appears 10-minutes apart from the previous one and each of them have a 10% drop rate. The drop rate for each tier is increased by triple if the unit killed is an ancient creep.

Although a later tier is generally stronger than the last, many items from each set are still so useful even until the game ends. Notable items in Tier 1 include the Trusty Shovel, Keen Optic, and Pig Pole which can be useful for most heroes throughout the game.

Neutral items drop rules

The only element that can make getting neutral items is its rules about dropping either from neutral creeps or from heroes. One of the most important is that only five neutral items per tier can drop for each team. That’s a total of 25 items if the game goes on long enough, but that doesn’t usually happen. 

Consumable neutral items are mostly retired since patch 7.30 but the rules regarding them still persist and will apply to future additions. That rule states that only one consumable neutral item appears per tier for each side in a match. This ensures that players have more chances to claim permanent items that can serve them until the end of the match.

Neutral items dropping limit

Neutral items only drop if they are slain by a real hero or an illusion/clone of the hero within 750 radius. This discourages split farming using cloning heroes like Phantom Lancer or with an illusion rune. Neutral items also won’t drop if there is an enemy hero within 1200 radius from the killed creep. Enemy illusions don’t count so items can still drop in their presence.

Players are encouraged to let their clones or damage per second (DPS) kill neutral creeps for multi-tasking purposes. That’s because items won’t drop if the killer starts channeling Boots of Travel or Town Portal Scroll. This is a safety feature to prevent having to cancel a valuable teleportation ability just to pick up a neutral item.

Taking over a neutral creep won’t cause a neutral item to drop from the dominated unit even if they die later. They have to belong in the neutral faction to be eligible for dropping a neutral item. This also ensures that heroes like Chen, the Holy Knight, don’t make the enemy team stronger when they kill a creep that he has persuaded. 

Sharing neutral items

Every neutral item can be shared without any limitations. You may have a courier pick it up, drop it on the floor for an ally, or move it directly to a nearby ally. It also comes with a neat feature that lets you teleport it to the team stash using only a right-click menu prompt. Despite the animation, the action is instant so enemies don’t have a chance to steal it. 

Stolen neutral items are also usable and shareable. However, they cannot be stored on the stash even if there are vacant slots. Using the right-click menu will only teleport the stolen item to your team’s fountain. The ability to teleport neutral items is available from anywhere on the map. Depending on the current Dota 2 patch, transferring neutral items to the stash can be disabled by the presence of enemy heroes. 

Neutral items usage

Neutral items won’t take a slot in your inventory so you can continue to use your favourite item build from before patch 7.23 and still gain additional effects. Instead, there is an additional slot for a neutral item which can be seen at the far right of the inventory panel. They can be kept in the backpack, together with other items, or a courier’s inventory slot. 

Every hero can only use one neutral item at a time because of this setup. As stated, some provide stat boosts and passive abilities that don’t need any special conditions. They can just stay at the item slot to stay effective. Neutral items with active abilities can be cast like any item ability in Dota 2. The difference is that there is no default hotkey so you have to set it up. 

top agility heroes banner
Top 10 Agility heroes to master for different roles

Agility heroes can offer most of the damage output for the team. The only issue of achieving that is performing a combo in the right sequence or targeting the correct opponent. As the most technical attribute class in Dota 2, Agility heroes demand a high understanding of the game’s complex mechanics.

Such mechanics include finding the best way to farm gold and XP. They also need you to understand stealth and line of sight to better navigate behind enemy lines or outrun pursuers. This homework takes time to master so dedicate it only to heroes with high potential in the future. Here are ten heroes that are always relevant in every meta.

  1. Nevermore, the Shadow Fiend – Mid Core

Shadow Fiend has dominated the midlane even before Dota 2 was officially released. However, he is not a great pick for synergizing with any team composition so most competitive players opt for a hero with more utility. Shadow Fiend is still a great pick to master for solo queue because piloting him will expose you to the importance of last-hitting and denying creeps. The skills you develop with him will translate well to any Agility heroes in Dota 2.

  1. Slark, the Nightcrawler – Hard Carry 

While Shadow Fiend helps you learn how to farm, Slark can teach you how to assassinate enemy heroes. His entire kit comprises abilities for rendering an enemy helpless for a short time all while stealing their stats and using it against them. Slark’s other abilities include means to escape if he finds himself in a disadvantageous matchup or surrounded. Use him to learn how to engage while using a squishy hero. 

  1. Mirana, the Princess of the Moon – Roaming Support

Mirana can fill any lane thanks to her Starstorm that keeps enemies at bay and her signature Sacred Arrow for long-ranged targets. However, she’s best used as a roaming support thanks to her amazing mobility and ganking potential. Unfortunately, she’s not designed to secure kills so always works with other allied core laners. 

  1. Azwraith, the Phantom Lancer – Hard Carry

Phantom Lancer is a core laner whose abilities work great for pushing the lanes rather than fighting. Controlling him and his illusions can be tricky if you’re not used to piloting multiple units so use them only to secure objectives or escape from enemies. Once you get the hang of it, you can dominate any duels against a target even without support. 

  1. Medusa, the Gorgon – Hard Carry

Medusa has slow mobility but she has abilities that make her survive skirmishes like a Strength hero. These have to be timed correctly and they are depleted easily. It’s better to stay with an ally that can help you disengage. Her best quality is her wide-range abilities such as her Split Shot for pushing the lane and Stone Gaze for controlling the enemies. Just try not to roam in the jungle without vision while using her. 

  1. Shendelzare, the Vengeful Spirit – Roaming Support

Vengeful Spirit is regarded as one of the most effective roamers in the game because her abilities make her nigh impossible to escape from. Most of them involve either stunning the target or making it easy to pursue them. Her ultimate is what defines her the most as it lets her switch between any hero, friend or foe. This is great for either surrounding an enemy or disengaging them from your weaker allies.

  1. Skitskurr, the Weaver – Either of the side lanes, counter pick

Weaver doesn’t have a reliable means to either push or kill his opponents like the others unless they are the type who relies on locking onto targets. He can slip through being cornered thanks to his Shukuchi and Time Lapse. The Swarm combined with Germinate Attack gives him great sustained damage so most players avoid getting too close with no means to capture him. 

  1. Xin, the Ember Spirit – Mid Core

Ember Spirit has one of the most devastating wide-ranged attack combos out of all Agility heroes. He can chain his attacks between snaring targets, hitting them once each while he’s untargetable, and relocating between remnants while causing explosions along the way. The only issue is his low mana pool so you have to perform his combos perfectly if you want to inflict heavy damage on the enemy ranks.

  1. Naga Siren – Early game Support and late game Carry

Naga Siren is a great option for a composition that needs Semi Support to accompany the Hard Carry. Most of her early abilities are offensive but not enough to secure kills too early. They are still better for peeling the enemy Offlaner. However, she can counter the enemy Roaming Support if they are ganked, given her great capabilities in duels. Her ultimate makes her a great Hard Support in mid-game for setting the battlefield in your favour. Take damage-focused items only when it is time to end the match. 

  1. Sun Wukong, the Monkey King – Roaming Support

Monkey King is a talented duelist who can engage any opponent in a 1v1 scenario. You just need to be creative for each kind of opponent because Sun Wukong can use his environment to your advantage. He has high mobility like other Roaming Supports but he is notorious for his ability to perch on trees to gain vision of the surroundings. Sun can also disguise as a tree using Mischief either to ambush an unsuspecting enemy Roamer or escape from a fearsome Offlaner. 

Each hero on this list comes with a few tricks up their sleeves that are dependent on your mastery of the game’s mechanics. Mastering each of them will take time but it’s worth the effort if you want to have safe picks for ranked games. Although, some of them have clear disadvantages in certain matchups. Dota 2 is a strategy game just as much as it is a game of skills so consider learning an alternative pick if your main hero is in a bad situation.

top strength heroes banner
Top 10 strength heroes in Dota 2

When playing Dota 2, long-time and expert players know that it is not ideal to stick only to one type of hero. You certainly are not doing your teammates any favour and others will perceive you as lacking flexibility as a team player. It is important to explore every hero type there is.

When it comes to strength heroes, they are known for having high HP pools. This means that you can make plenty of mistakes while piloting them without drastic consequences. 

Furthermore, strength heroes in Dota 2 are compatible with tank or initiator roles. They charge head-first into combat. Most of the time, they are the last to be left standing. If you want to learn which strength heroes are the best ones, read on to learn all about them.

Huskar, the Sacred Warrior

Huskar is one of the top heroes in the game with a strong dominant presence. Many consider Huskar as a courageous hero, especially because he has the ability to sacrifice a considerable amount of health points just to be able to damage and cripple a target. 

Huskar is said to be unstoppable once he has the items Black King Bar and Butterfly in his inventory. Such items almost assure a win for his team. Huskar also has an incredible range. With this feature of his, he has the farthest range among all strength heroes in Dota 2. 

Purist Thunderwrath, the Omniknight

Omniknight is considered one of the best strength heroes in Dota 2 because of his dependable support skills. Arc Angel, his primary skill, is able to strengthen allies around him, making them almost invulnerable. Such skill of Omniknight gives your team a high chance of victory. 

Other excellent support skills of Omniknight are the Repel and Heal. They are perfect for assuring the safety of your team’s carry. Another skill of Omniknight, Degen aura, makes it almost impossible for enemy heroes to escape your team’s ambushes.

Mangix, the Brewmaster

Brewmaster’s spirits and versatile item build bring great utility and benefits to his team. He can win against most melee heroes with just a pair of Arcane boots and a Blink Dagger. 

Brewmaster can easily cause damage to his opponents and block last hits with Drunken Haze. He can apply a slow and a 70% attack miss chance with just 25 mana. Such debuff makes for a powerful anti-right click carry during the late game.


Phoenix is known for being a flying strength hero. It is a ranged hero with an abundant HP to space. It is also able to fit into many roles. Phoenix can do support, carry, and initiator. 

Phoenix has a superability called Supernova, which synergizes well with most of its other skills. You can use Supernova as much as you want in order to get the most of Phoenix.

Undying, the Almighty Dirge

Dirge is a melee strength hero who is known as a tank. He is also described as a formidable spellcaster. He is able to transfer the enemy’s health to himself or to his allies. Besides this, he also has the capability of summoning zombies that can slow down anything they attack while being immune to spells. 

Staying true to his name, Undying, the Almighty Dirge has reincarnation with a 300-second cooldown. This makes it difficult for him to be removed from the fight.

Balanar, Night Stalker

Night Stalker is known to possess an impressive roaming and ganking power during all stages of the game. He is popular for his ability to manipulate teams’ map visions. 

Due to his ability, Darkness, Night Stalker has a great advantage when playing at night. Besides empowering night vision for his team, he also limits the maximum vision range of the enemies and their wards. 

Be reminded that when Darkness is active, perfectly placed wards are essential in order to cover all the critical spots on the map. 

Slardar the Slithereen Guard

Slardar the Slithereen guard has multiple capabilities that make him a top choice among Dota 2 players. He can chase, physically attack enemies, has an innate bashing ability, and can counter invisible and excessively tough enemy heroes. 

Boost his attack speed to witness him cause profound damage and kill enemies by using items Assault Cuirass and Mjolnir. 

Using the item Dagger of Escape will maximize Slardar’s initiating ability.

Sven the Rogue Knight

Sven is most known for his cleaving attack and Area of Effect (AOE) that most heroes are not able to handle. With his ability, God Strength, it is impossible to stop Sven from eliminating every enemy hero that comes his way. 

Boost Sven’s physical damage by using Buriza Do Kyanon. It will make it easy for him to bring down enemy heroes while having an impressive amount of health points.

To cope with his weaknesses, use items bottle and Battle Fury. You can do this every time you observe that he lacks sufficient mana pool.

N’aix the Lifestealer

N’aix the Lifestealer is described as the nightmare of intelligence heroes. This is because of his skill called Rage that makes him immune to the majority of magic attacks during a certain amount of time. The skill has a minute cooldown time as well, making killing N’aix with spells alone close to impossible.

Raigor Stonehoof the Earthshaker

Most of the time, Raigor Stonehoof the Earthshaker is banned from Dota 2 competitions due to his innate prowess as an initiator. As a strength hero, he has enough level of survivability to initiate a clash and still survive afterwards. 

Each of Raigor’s skills is able to cause AOE damage. This makes him a huge problem among his opponents during late game clashes. At times, all it takes is Raigor alone for an entire team to be swept away.

dota 2 media forms banner
More than a game: Dota 2 in other media

Many people love playing games because it allows them to destress from their usual activities. Before, players only played games to have fun. As technology improved the gaming industry, many people have started to play competitively. This led to the rise of esports where players are considered professionals and make a living out of competitive gaming. 

One of the most popular games that are featured in the esports industry is Defence of the Ancients 2 (Dota 2). This multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game from Valve is known for its impressive gameplay that earned it the reputation of being one of the best games in the industry. 

This game also hosts one of the most prestigious esports tournaments called The International. Aside from showcasing the impressive skills of their players, this tournament is also known for having the biggest prize pool in the entire gaming industry. 

Not only is Dota 2 an esports behemoth but also a cultural fad among gaming enthusiasts. The game is often used as a major inspiration for several spin offs in TV, film, art, and literature. If you are Dota 2 enthusiast, here are several ways you can learn and appreciate the game beyond its competitive sector:


To learn more about the ins and outs of the esports industry, here are a few documentaries that players can watch. This will give players and game fans a better idea about the secrets behind the game and the tournament’s popularity. 

Heroes of the Game 

Heroes of the Game, as seen on ONE Esports YouTube channel, shows Dota 2 players about the situation of the esports industry when the pandemic crashed. Released in 2021, this documentary reminds people of the ONE Esports Singapore Major which was held in early 2021. It also shows players how the esports scene had to prepare for the resumption of the tournaments after going into a long hiatus. 

True Sight 

True Sight is a documentary series produced by Valve. By watching the four episodes of this docu-series, players can learn more about the participating teams and players in the previous Dota 2 tournaments. Aside from their performances in the competitions, they will also have a glimpse of how the players prepare for the events. True Sight is available for viewing on Valve’s YouTube Channel. 

Free to Play 

Players who want to reminisce about the first-ever season of The International tournament held in 2011 should watch this documentary from Valve. By watching this, they can go back to the early days of esports and the days when TI wasn’t a multi-million dollar competition yet. This can be watched on Netflix and Valve’s YouTube channel. 


There is also an animated series that Dota 2 fans can watch on Netflix. Here is a closer look at it. 

Dota: Dragon’s Blood

Dota: Dragon’s Blood is an animated fantasy television series that was based on Valve’s Dota 2. This is set in a fantasy world of magic and mysticism where a character named Davion hunts and kills dragons to make the world a safer place. After an elder dragon merged his soul with Davion, he must work with the moon princess Mirana to stop the demon Terrorblade from killing all the dragons. This was produced by Studio Mir and was animated by Production Reve. This anime series can be watched on Netflix after it premiered in March 2021. 


Players who love to read will also appreciate the comic series that Valve has made. By reading this, players will be taken to the world of Dota 2 where a lot of secrets can be learned. This comic series gives players an idea about the myths and character backstories that aren’t well explained in the game alone. 

Reading these comics will show players how all of the stories are interwoven. With the impressive connections between them, players will be impressed by how carefully the stories are well-thought of. 

These comic books are available on the Dota 2 official website and can be downloaded as PDFs. There are nine comics that are available as of writing. Here’s a closer look at them in chronological order. 

  • Are We Heroes Yet?
  • The Contract
  • The New Neighbours
  • The Summoning
  • The Last Castle
  • The Sundered Moon
  • Tip of the Spear
  • Dark Purpose 
  • A New Journey (Monkey King Comic)

Short films 

Aside from the content that Valve produces, there are also films that are created by Dota 2 fans. Valve also hosts a short film competition where the winners are to be announced during The International finals. The creators of the winning film will bag home $25,000 while the 2nd and 3rd placers will receive $10,000 and $5,000 respectively. 

This proves that The International is not just a showcase of playing skills but also of their players’ creativity. Here are some short films that have caught a lot of attention of players throughout the years. 

Carried Away (2021) 

The latest winner of the competition shares an adorable story about Couriers who try to defend the throne. This shows viewers the struggles and the frustration of seeing their base destroyed as their respawn timer shifts. The animation of this film is highly impressive, making it an entertaining video to watch. 

The second and third place awards in this season went to ‘Haul of the Hoof’ and ‘Blood & Fire’ respectively. 

Path of Vengeance (2019) 

Path of Vengeance is a visually stunning short film that depicts a simple story of revenge and unexpected endings. One of the factors fans loved most about this film is the great usage of lightning and the facial expressions of the animated characters. 

The second placer in this season was ‘The Curse of the Immortal’ while the third spot was claimed by ‘Donkey Spirit’. 

On The Cliff (2018)

This short film created by Keller Max won the recent competition. This film takes a comedic approach to the common struggles of several Dota 2 heroes as a Rubick. With Telekinesis, these heroes are placed on a cliff which is a common struggle in public Dota 2 matches. 

The second and third place awards in this season went to ‘Ursa Minor’ by Alexander Frey and ‘GLHF’ by 4fun and Septimus. These are just some of the media forms that will help players gain a deeper fascination with Dota 2.

ranking explained banner
Dota 2 ranking system explained to beginners

Multiplayer games let you play with strangers online. You can play casually to polish your skills or try something new. What most want to do, however, is to climb the leaderboard on ranked matches. This is where everyone has to bring their best to help the team win no matter what. 

With such a heavy task, you have to rely on your teammate’s cooperation and skills. It’s impossible to meet such demands if you are paired with a toxic playmate. Likewise, your efforts may be brushed aside if you are matched against a player who has a lot more experience than you. 

Thankfully, Valve’s matchmaking algorithm for Dota 2 is not completely random. It measures every player’s individual performance then uses that as a basis to find other players with roughly the same level of skills. It’s not a perfect system as many would point out but it helps lessen the case of unfair balance per match. Here’s a quick rundown of how all of this works.

Introduction to ranks and MMR (matchmaking rating)

Ranking systems appear in all competitive games. The idea is to separate veteran players from the newcomers. However, experience does not correlate with skills so even a long-time fan of the title can still be beaten by a talented newcomer. That’s why a complex system has to be developed rather than relying on account levels or number of matches played.

Every account is measured by matchmaking rating (MMR) as soon as they play their first ranked match. Afterwards, they become relegated to one of eight ranks depending on their performance. Ranks are titles given to players depending on the milestones they have reached. 

Matchmaking in Dota 2 is only limited to the player’s rank. You can only play with players whose account is slightly lower or higher than your own. Creating a custom team with someone from a different rank is possible as long as the gap between you isn’t too big. The acceptable gap size varies every season. Sometimes you can draft with someone from two ranks over but other times you can only team up with someone directly above or below you.

Besides your rank, the MMR is also considered when choosing placements in a match. The MMR is the numbered value based on your win rate and performance as a player. That means that you are likely to be paired with other great players within your rank if you played skillfully in every match. 

Rank tier list

Dota 2 divides its players into 8 ranks. The names of these ranks are inspired by divinity and heroism in fantasy role-playing games. Those names are listed as follows starting with the lowest rank to the highest.

  1. Herald
  2. Guardian 
  3. Crusader
  4. Archon
  5. Legend
  6. Ancient
  7. Divine
  8. Immortal

Each rank is also divided into numbers from 1 to 5. Herald 1 is the lowest and Herald 5 is the highest but both are found in the same tier except with Immortal. Players are measured by MMR once they reach the last tier.

How to begin climbing ranks

New accounts cannot participate in ranked games immediately after being created. As part of Valve’s anti-smurf system, players have to play 100 hours-worth of casual games and pair their mobile number with their Steam account. The hours of games required discourages smurf creators because it’s too much time to invest. Pairing a contact detail, on the other hand, verifies the identity of the account owner.

Once you get to play ranked games, complete 10 ranked matches so the system can give you your starting placement. You can reach as high as Immortal if you won all 10 games and with a high K/D/A rating on each of them.

It’s important to know that you won’t lose your rank if you play poorly. You will stay at the highest tier that you have reached but your MMR can drop. If your MMR is low enough, Dota 2’s matchmaking system will begin pairing you with players from lower tiers or other players with a losing streak. Likewise, you will begin playing against other skilled players if you have a winning streak. Keep in mind that fewer MMR points are rewarded to custom teams so climbing is faster in a solo queue.

Dota 2’s ranking system development history

Valve initially started Dota 2 with only the MMR system. No players are divided into tiers so every matchmade team is chosen based on their most recent performance. It was inspired by the Elo system which was used in zero-sum games like Chess.

They later adopted the rank system that you see now inspired by the one they have implemented on their other popular title, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). This 8-tier system began in November 2017 and it is cemented as a permanent part of the game today. 

Unfortunately, the permanent rank as mentioned above made it enticing to sell high-ranked accounts. Valve responded with the anti-nerf and anti-griefing mechanics that barred new players from playing ranked matches.

The meaning behind every tier

Dota 2’s rank system is only meant to divide players based on skills so they developed a sense of respect for each other based on their tier. They have also developed a rule of thumb that loosely summarizes the population of each rank. Those who were placed between Herald and Archon are assumed to have a limited understanding of the fundamentals. People who are barely reaching Legend have to improve on their cooperation with teammates.

Players between Legend and Divine are assumed to have a full understanding of the game’s mechanics. They just have to master hero or team composition matchups and how to respond to get the best outcome. Dota 2 is a tactical team game with plenty of nuances that can affect every match. Mastery of these elements greatly impacts your chance of winning and, by extension, your rank.