When I played League of Legends I never found a Champion I wanted to use. The weekly rotation of Champions never gave enough time to learn a single character, yet the rotation let me try each Champion. This past summer I decided to try DOTA 2. I haven’t stopped playing since.
My time with League of Legends simplified the learning curve for other MOBAs like DOTA 2, yet something about the roster of Heroes made sense to me. And while I still miserably lose matches even today, I know most characters – and my best and worst. Both as an exercise to recognize my strengths and an admittance of my failures with certain Heroes, I’ve compiled a list of successful Heroes and Heroes I should always avoid.
Good Ahead, Choose Them
I don’t remember how I decided to play Earthshaker, but his full arsenal of stuns and low item dependence helped me setup kills for my team. Once I acquire a Blink Dagger and warp into the middle of teams to dunk my Echo Slam, I watch as my team clean up the remaining health of enemy Heroes. Earthshaker’s usefulness somewhat drops off in longer matches, but my friends never complain when I select my favourite Hero.
When I lust for blood and want to cut down opponents in a few hacks, I usually select Sven. Most DOTA 2 ‘Carries’ rely heavily on items to consistently output damage. Sven doesn’t. He needs items to help win fights, but his God’s Strength ability throws him into a red-rage to channel deadly amounts of damage. If my team ever finds themselves down early, they know that I just need a little time to bulk up to deal unstoppable damage.
When I first moved from League of Legends to DOTA 2, I chose Undying. I wanted to play a Hero who could survive fights, push lanes and tally the occasional kill. Undying’s durability and Tombstone ability to spawn a small army of zombies, setup more kills than expected. People often underestimate his Strength stealing Decay ability, and opponents often find themselves dying much quicker because of the decrease overall health. I won’t play Undying as often as I used to, but when I do, I expect a successful lane.
I play Death Prophet for the same reasons as Undying. Her durability makes up for any misplays and she pushes towers better than almost any Hero. When I first started playing DOTA 2, she was the ranged character I could rely on. Death Prophet becomes almost an irrelevant as the game enters the later stages, but she carries the most positive win record of any Hero I play.
With enough games, Dazzle should become my most successful Hero in terms of wins and losses. When you combine the healing of Shadow Wave, Urn of Shadows, Mekansm and Arcane Boots, Dazzle becomes a walking fountain. Dazzle keeps teams alive in the middle of fights, and with his ultimate, the Weave ability, the armor drops makes kills even easier.
Phantom Lancer, and the dozens of clones he makes, lets him push towers at ridiculous paces if left unattended. Not until the end of matches can he secure some kills. Considering my natural tendencies to jump in any engagements, Phantom Lancer fails to output proper damage for team fights. With around 10 games played as Phantom Lancer, very few, if any, were won because of me.
Of all the Heroes I played, Anti Mage provides the least return. He can’t survive early fights, depends on items for damage and performs best as a counter pick. Even with early gold and an enemy team full of intelligence characters, his lack of health and lack of team support makes him a selfish character. Anti Mage’s mana drain on hit annoys players, yet still an Anti Mage pick is never a good one.
I love to play Tiny and throw unwilling teammates into fights they just escaped from. They may die, but won’t die without bringing someone down with them. But that’s where the fun stops. Tiny’s molasses slow attack speed and means he needs something like a Hyperstone before he becomes viable. And before the Hyperstone, all Tiny players should prioritize an Aghanim’s Sceptre. Getting to a point where Tiny poses a threat in fights requires more work than I want to put in.
Something about Chaos Knight makes zero sense to me. I have played close to 10 games as Chaos Knight and lost every time. Whenever I face off against a Chaos Knight he manages to bring down my team all on his own. I can’t replicate that. His stun makes Heroes useless, pulls in enemies and creates multiple devastating clones, yet that doesn’t matter. Like Phantom Lancer and Anti Mage, I avoid Chaos Knight at all costs.
My last pick came down to Faceless Void and Spectre. While both characters depend on great items and need 30 minutes to finally become strong Heroes, I don’t understand what to do with Spectre. His ultimate ability summons clones beside each enemy Hero on the map, yet I never feel confident enough to teleport to one of the clones for a one-on-one fight. For a game where teamwork means never travelling alone, I don’t understand the point of a Hero meant for solo engagements.
To learn the game is to play each Hero and learn their skills. So when you find yourself against any Hero, you know of their strengths, weaknesses and functions of their abilities. I may never play Anti Mage or Phantom Lancer ever again, but when I do face them, I know exactly how they operate.