Ten terminologies you need to know before playing Dota 2

Ever since Dota 2’s popularity has grown to monumental heights, many people considered watching professional players play the game as an alternative to spectating sporting events. The excitement that fans get when seeing their favourite pros battle it out is further intensified by having commentators get hyped with narrating what is happening on the battlefield.

Speaking of commentators, these announcers use terms that are familiar to Dota 2 players to give certain situations, techniques, or areas shortened forms or specific words to associate them with. The jargon these broadcasters use may have been taken from other games or have been created by the community itself, so players must familiarize themselves with such words.

If you are new to Dota 2, here are just a few of the terminologies used when talking about the game:


Snowballing refers to a situation where a hero is close to reaching its maximum potential earlier than expected. This means the hero became more powerful than the others on the battlefield and that they are a few steps away from victory.

You can tell a hero has snowballed if their build is filled with the items they need to fulfil their role. Another sign that a hero has snowballed is when they have a better damage output than how much they dealt earlier in the game.


Neutral refers to creeps or monsters that are camped in the areas between the lanes. These creatures are not aligned with any team, which is why they are called neutral. No matter which half of the jungle they are in, they will fight back when they are attacked by a hero.

Unlike ordinary creeps, neutrals are slightly more difficult to kill but they also provide more gold and EXP when they are defeated. They respawn after some time, making farming much easier to do.


The triangle is an area of the map where three groups of neutrals can be seen. This area allows heroes to farm more quickly, especially those who have area of effect abilities that deal damage to every neutral in the triangle at the same time.

There is more than one triangle for each half of the jungle in Dota 2. Also, the exact locations of these triangles have been changed multiple times already.


Gank means to attack an unsuspecting enemy with one or more of your allies without having to start a full-on team fight. Basically, a gank is an ambush. This simply means that you and your teammates conceal your presence when coming near the opponent then. When the time is right, all of you strike.

Ganking is always a possibility no matter where you are on the map or what stage of the game it is. If your hero lacks defense, going solo in one lane is a bad idea.


Buyback refers to the act of spending gold to respawn immediately upon death. The buyback’s cooldown timer is fixed at 480 seconds. However, the cost of buying back scales with time, meaning the longer the game gets drawn out, the more expensive it is to immediately respawn.

Also, once the buyback is used, the player’s next death will have an extended timer.

Players are encouraged to buyback when they have the option to do it. An immediate resurrection delays any advantage the opponent may get and retain momentum on your side.

Depending on your role, there is a timing for when to use your buyback. For example, supports are advised to buyback immediately. On the other hand, cores need to save their buybacks for when they get stronger.


Roshan is the strongest neutral creep in Dota 2. He is camped in his special pit in the northwestern part of the river and spawns right when the game starts. Even at a full build, no single hero can match him in terms of power. This is why it usually requires an entire team to take him down.

Once Roshan has been successfully defeated, he drops the Aegis of the Immortal, among other things. Aegis of the Immortal enables the user to be revived with full HP and mana at the location where they died five seconds ago.


Dive refers to the act of pursuing an enemy hero even when that hero is within the range of their tower. Obviously, diving is a risky move to do in Dota 2 or any other MOBA. It is usually done when the opponent is dying or they’re the only one left in the enemy team after a skirmish.

Sometimes, diving can also be applied to dying towers themselves. Remember that securing a lane is always an important step in winning.


A juke refers to a hero’s use of obstacles that obscure vision so that the opponent cannot see where they are going. Juking means being able to disrupt the opponent’s plays. It can also mean serving as an elusive bait who will divert the attention from teammates who have other plans or need to escape.

A good player knows how to juke properly. Esports commentators and spectators find it entertaining if someone knows how to confound their opponents by juking.


Backdoor is just like diving but this is done with the intention of going all the way to the enemy’s base. This tactic is difficult to pull off in Dota 2 because of the game’s built-in backdoor protection wherein towers take reduced damage from heroes when no creeps are nearby.

The backdoor protection encourages players to destroy the front towers first. Additionally, backdoors and split pushes cannot be done sneakily since towers have true sight.


Deny refers to the act of destroying a friendly structure or killing an allied unit. This action is only seen in Dota 2 and is done to deprive the enemy of gold and EXP.

In MOBAs like Dota 2, gold and EXP are earned by being the last to hit a dying creep, hero, or tower. By denying, this last hit can no longer be done. Denying heroes can be done by teammates or self-inflicted abilities. Towers can be denied if their HP is below 10%.

Specific words used for Dota 2 are useful for fans and pros to understand each other right away. The words in this list only form a small part of the vast glossary of Dota 2 terminologies that players have to learn.
If you are new to the Dota 2 community, don’t be intimidated by the words more experienced players use as you will eventually get what they mean and use those words yourself in the future.