What you need to know about DOTA 2 dispels and status effects

Team fights are inevitable in DOTA 2. It is a way to secure lanes and establish better map control without further risks. Ambushes are also an effective tactic in the laning phase, reducing pressure on the carry when it comes to shoving minion waves. Both team fights and ambushes have one thing in common: the presence of initiators who will race to see who will land their crowd control abilities first before everybody else shows up.

Crowd control abilities come in many forms: there are those that stun opponents from moving, those that slow them down, or those that disable them from using their abilities, among others. Being struck with a crowd control ability may be annoying but it’s not the end of the world—DOTA 2 has heroes that possess the dispel feature, something that will get you back in the game even after being unable to fully control your hero for a while.

What is a dispel and how does it work?

Dispel is an ability several DOTA 2 heroes and items possess that enables heroes to get rid of certain effects that affect their movement or stats. These effects can either be positive (called buffs) or negative (called debuffs). 

If a hero or item uses a dispel on themselves and/or their allies, only the debuffs are removed. If the dispel is used on opponents, the buffs are removed and whatever debuffs they have will remain. There are three types of dispels:

  • Basic dispels remove movement speed reduction effects as well as silencing effects where a hero is unable to use their abilities but can still move and attack normally.
  • Strong dispels can do what basic dispels do and more. These kinds of dispels can remove stuns and grant immunity from opponents’ repositioning abilities. Strong dispels can only be applied to yourself and your allies.
  • Death is the ultimate type of dispel. Dying removes all effects inflicted on a hero, regardless of whether it is a buff or debuff.

Here are some examples of abilities with dispel:

  • Sven’s Storm Hammer has a basic dispel which activates before inflicting damage to a target and stunning surrounding enemies.
  • Enchantress’ Enchant slows down allies but a basic dispel is applied afterwards.
  • Legion Commander’s Press the Attack grants a strong dispel on allies in addition to a boosted attack speed and HP regeneration.
  • Tidehunter’s Kraken Shell gives him a strong dispel once the damage he takes crosses a certain threshold.

Spell immunity

Spell immunity is considered by many players as a form of dispel but it is actually a status effect, much like stuns and slows, as it prevents delayed effects and damage from enemy abilities from activating or inflicting. What makes spell immunity comparable to dispels is that it prevents additional effects from happening in the first place.

Spell immunity is not absolute. There are abilities in DOTA 2 that defy spell immunity. It will be indicated at the description of the ability so read each one carefully.

Here are some examples of abilities which include spell immunity:

  • Lifestealer’s Rage grants him spell immunity to himself in addition to a movement speed boost.
  • Lion’s Mana Drain must be channelled in order to activate, but when it does, it grants him spell immunity while absorbing mana from opponents.
  • Juggernaut’s Omnislash grants him spell immunity, among other things, while unleashing multiple attacks on surrounding enemy units.
  • Huskar’s Life Break renders him immune to spells while leaping towards his target.


Cyclone is a status effect that lifts affected units into the air, spins them around, and disables them from moving and using their abilities. Cyclone can also be considered as a stun but units that are cycloned are invulnerable to attacks. There are only two heroes (Brewmaster and Invoker) and three items (Eul’s Sceptre of Divinity, Windwaker, and Stormcrafter) that can conjure cyclones.


Invulnerability is a status effect where a hero becomes immune to attack damage and other effects. There are no abilities that solely grant invulnerability—it is presented as an additional effect instead.

Here are some examples of abilities that can render a hero invulnerable:

  • Lifestealer’s Infest makes him invulnerable while possessing an enemy creep or neutral creep.
  • Faceless Void’s Time Walk makes him invulnerable while the ability is in effect.
  • Riki’s Tricks of the Trade makes him invulnerable while attacking enemies from behind.
  • Phantom Lancer’s Doppelganger makes him invulnerable while he disappears to conjure illusions and clones of himself.

Just like spell immunity, invulnerability is not absolute as there are heroes that ignore this effect and inflict some debuffs onto heroes instead of just dealing damage. Make sure to study each  hero’s abilities to know which one can pierce through invulnerability.


Auras are like an area of effect ability with the conjurer at its centre and moves alongside the one who cast it. Aura abilities can either buff allies or debuff enemies with effects lasting for a short while after leaving the aura. Generally, auras cannot be dispelled and some of them might have special conditions to be met before activation. Make sure to read aura descriptions carefully so you can utilise them easily.

Here are some examples of aura abilities:

  • Crystal Maiden’s Arcane Aura grants mana regeneration for herself and allies inside the aura she conjures.
  • Visage’s Gravekeeper’s Cloak blocks damage to himself once per layer of cloak.
  • Necrophos’ Heartstopper Aura whittles down the HP of opponents within the area of effect and provides healing to Necrophos for each enemy hero he kills.
  • Windranger’s Windrun casts an aura that slows enemies down while providing a movement speed boost for herself.

Most support heroes in DOTA 2 use dispels to negate debuffs and counter it with debuffs of their own or use other abilities that are beneficial to allies. If you are a support player in this game, it will do you some good if you try to study each hero’s abilities well and time your spells so you can help your teammates better.