The best Dota 2 heroes for beginners | PCGamesN

The best Dota 2 heroes for beginners

Dota 2 is a difficult game to get into. Immediate questions like, “Who are all these heroes?”, “Which one is best?”, and “Why am I dying so much?” will pop up at the start of your first game and often continue well into your 50th. Let’s try to ease some of that pain. Here you’ll find our recommendations for the best Dota 2 heroes for noobs, beginners, or the otherwise experience-impaired.

Dota gets a shoutout in our list of the best PC games to play right now.

Why do you need this? There are well over 100 heroes in Dota 2 and new ones are added semi-regularly. Even the simplest take a lot of skill to control, while the more complicated will demand hundreds of hours before mastery is achieved. While they’re worth the time, trying to do so while still getting to grips with items, ganks, wards, and being insulted in Russian won’t be efficient or fun.

Speaking of, we won’t be covering the building blocks of the game here. Valve do a decent job of that in the tutorial, which we’ll be assuming you’ve played. However, here’s a quick run down of the basics.

What are Dota 2 heroes?

Heroes are characters with their own combination of unique skills and attributes, each of which can be moulded and shaped by items. Over the course of the game, a hero will gain experience which can then be used to level up, increasing their effectiveness. Depending on how a hero performs, their item builds and who else is on their team, a hero can fulfil a specific role.

What are roles in Dota 2?

Roles help define a specific method of playing any given hero. Every hero has at least one primary role, which helps a player achieve the maximum potential with that hero. However, it’s not uncommon for heroes to be able to fulfil multiple roles, and even change their roles throughout the course of the game.

To kill enemy creeps, heroes and eventually blow up the enemy Ancient, your team will need a mixture of roles. Here’s a rundown: 

Carry: The heavyweights of Dota 2, the carry heroes spend the majority of the game gathering gold to obtain key items that will turbo-boost their power. Relatively weak in the early game, they become the most powerful heroes if the game lasts for long enough.

Supports: These heroes don’t need gold to be effective, letting their carries maximise their gold income. They are also responsible for buying utility items such as the delivery courier vision-granting wards.

Nukers: Capable of dealing high burst damage, these heroes are deadly on the battlefield from very early levels. They excel at killing enemies in the early game to snowball their own power and disrupt the opposing team’s plans. Generally plays in the mid-lane to begin with and should be ganking early and often from that position.

Pushers: Heroes with AoE abilities for killing creeps quickly and/or ones that are capable of doing large amounts of damage to towers. Their job is to knock down all the buildings in quick succession to grab an early gold lead for their team, and pressure the enemy back into their own base.

Junglers: Favouring the jungle as opposed to the more traditional lanes, these heroes can go toe to toe with the neutral creeps located there in order to earn gold and experience, while freeing up the three lanes for the rest of their team. Survivability is usually their defining trait as they spend a lot of time being wailed on by golems and satyrs.

Solo: Similarly, heroes with great survival options are the best choice for soloing a lane. Their primary job is to stay alive while getting lots of experience. Gold is only a secondary priority, as they’ll usually be up against more than one hero in their lane, making it risky to farm safely. It’s a fairly miserable way to spend the early game, but can lead to great boons later on.

Initiators: The dictators of team fights, initiators can make or break a game with their huge area of effect abilities. They’re also good at catching and containing enemy stragglers, so their carry can close in and get the kill. Their two calling cards are lots of disables and a desperate need for the Blink Dagger item.

Obviously, there’s more roles here than there are available slots on a standard five-man team, so multi-tasking is important. The way this is summarised is by farming priority - who is it most valuable to give gold, experience or both to? They’re the “one position” and normally the carry. This filters down to five, generally the extra-poor supports who throw an ultimate than valiantly die for their team before stocking up on some more wards. As with everything in Dota, this can change throughout the game.

With our categories defined, let’s get on to the recommendations. It’s worth noting that this is a mixture of personal preference and community-sourced advice. As with the vast majority of games, it’s most important that you’re having fun - if few or none of these take your fancy, feel free to stab that random button and take whatever you’re landed with for a whirl. Just remember, we tried to help.

The best thing to do, and applicable to any hero: use the in-game hero guides. By the time you’re good enough that following them to the letter isn’t ideal, you’ll have a better grasp on how to play. Until then they’ll simplify buying items, keep you on top of your best abilities and let you focus on killing the bad guys. If you’re a fast reader, or look them up beforehand on Steam, they’ll even give some advice on how to play.

Best carry heroes

Carries are the spectacle of every team. They rely on the perfect execution of last hitting creeps (letting them build powerful items) to become a force to be reckoned with. The longer the game lasts, the more dependent your team will become on your stacked inventory and strong abilities to win the game. It’s intimidating to have that much weight on your shoulders, but every role is challenging. These heroes will generally have abilities that allow them to survive early and ones that increase their damage late.


Juggernaut is a katana wielding warrior who has a varied and versatile ability set, making him interesting to play as a carry. His main tool for scaling into the late-game is the passive Blade Dance ability that gives him a chance to crit on attacks, while Blade Fury gives him immunity to enemy spells and Healing Ward makes him harder to kill.

Blade Fury is a spinning attack that deals constant damage to enemies around Juggernaut for a fixed period. It also makes him magic immune, a vital tool for not getting stunned, nuked and taken down. By using Blade Fury in conjunction with a Teleport Scroll, you can escape almost any situation so long as you have the HP to survive basic attacks.

Healing Ward is game breaking if it gets ignored by the enemy team. Creating a movable totem that regenerates you and your team’s HP in a big AoE, it’s effective all the way into the late game due to using percentage rather than fixed values.

His ultimate ability, Omnislash, is dependent on clever use to be powerful. Once activated, Juggernaut will quickly attack targets within range multiple times. If used on an enemy hero while they’re alone, this does extreme damage and generally guarantees a kill in the early- and mid-game. Its effectiveness decreases when there are more units to hit because of the random nature. Usefully, he’s completely immune during the animation.


A classic right-click-to-win hero, Lycan is a wolf-man of the highest calibre. Able to summon two big dogs to his side with a scaling set of abilities and turn into one himself, if you like watching enemies fall over he’s a good pick.

Howl is a globally effective buff for all allied heroes and other player-controlled units that grants them bonus attack damage for a up to thirty seconds. Obviously useful when engaging targets yourself, it’s also a good way to learn map awareness by keeping an eye out for allies engaging and activating it appropriately.

Lycan and his wolves also receive damage and attack speed buffs from his Feral Impulse aura. This is one of several abilities that makes Lycan a very effective jungler along with his ability to carry. With two wolves he is a miniature army of his own in the mid game.

Meanwhile, his ultimate Shapeshift ability transforms him into a super-fast, immune to slows, crit-fiend. Becoming one of the fastest things in the game and unable to be stopped, this is great for hunting down enemies or escaping in a pinch. Should be prepped before use due to a short cast time that leaves him vulnerable for a couple of seconds - though it cannot be interrupted.

You’ll notice all of these abilities are good at buffing one thing: basic attacks, hence his right-click nature. You don’t have to worry about complicated ability usage here, it’s all on your positioning, fight-taking, item building and gold gathering.


Similarly attack-focused, Sniper has more targeted abilities but the biggest boon of all - he’s a ranged hero. While Dota at the higher levels is generally balanced between melee and ranged characters due to relative power levels, when you’re just starting out being able to engage without putting yourself in danger is highly useful.

Sniper, as you may have realised from his name, is the very best at this. His Take Aim ability increases his already massive attack range over the course of the game, eventually allowing him to take on towers without reprisal. This is great for staying safe, but means positioning with him is an even more complex dance than usual.

Headshot is another passive, this time giving him a chance to deal a little extra damage and stop heroes dead in their tracks for a tiny window. It’s a great harassing tool. Combined with Shrapnel, his activated AoE that deals damage over an area and slows anyone trapped inside, Sniper can keep shooting at targets who step out of position for a long time.

His ultimate, Assassinate, is a single long-cast time shot that deals extreme damage at huge range to one target. Useful for picking off low-health heroes or starting a fight with a bang, you’ll love it for letting you kill without getting involved and your team will be happy you can clean up their messes. Try not to steal too many kills with it, mind.

Best support heroes

Every team needs a good support, a sacrificial lamb to protect the more important heroes and their wallets. Their abilities don’t necessarily have to all be heals, but should be effective without powerful, expensive items. This leaves heroes playing the support role in a position to buy important items that benefit the whole team.

Crystal Maiden

Crystal Maiden is a frosty sorceress who can command ice to damage and slow her foes. Beloved for her ability to root her enemies and give continuous mana regeneration to her team from the global Brilliance Aura, it’s difficult to go wrong with a Crystal Maiden pick.

Crystal Nova is a relatively big area of effect spell that damages and slows any enemy unlucky enough to be caught within it. It has has the added effect of slowing their attack speed, making scary enemy right-clickers a little less, well, scary. 

Frostbite on the other hand is a single target root. It freezes the target in place, preventing them from moving or attacking, while also dealing damage over time. Not even teleports will save heroes from its icy grasp.

Her ultimate is a challenge to get right. Freezing Field is a huge AoE around her that does massive damage for a long period, but must be channelled and is cancelled if interrupted. It also slows all enemies trapped within. It can turn fights, create easy rampage-kills and even slow advancing enemies - you just have to nail the positioning for a big payoff.


Omniknight is a holy human paladin, sworn to protect the weak and smite evil. He’s hard to kill, and can extend that strength to his entire team. What you might call a traditional support, he has healing and protection abilities that directly buff his allies. 

The Purification spell allows him to heal his allies quite regularly, and also damages enemies if they’re near the target. This is good for killing creep waves but also means heavy damage to enemy melee heroes surrounding your allies and nets you a nice two-for-one effect if used at the right times.

His Repel ability is the most interesting one in his repertoire, making either yourself, an ally or even an enemy magic immune. Casting this with precise timing can save your allies life in situations where you can anticipate huge damage. Sneakier uses can prevent enemies receiving heals at a critical moment, but make sure nobody on your team was planning to throw out a disable at that point.

If that wasn’t enough, his Guardian Angel ultimate makes all nearby allies immune to physical damage for a short time. His Degen Aura slows enemy movement speeds meaning they can’t escape this invulnerable deathball. It’s not quite as overpowered as it may sound, since Magic and spell damage play such a huge part in how Dota fights go down, but it is a deadly battle-turner and very effective against certain attack-focused heroes.


An undead necromancer with little respect for his creep-friends, Lich is capable of putting out some heavy damage. While his actual support abilities are fairly weak, his utility to a team cannot be underestimated.

This mostly comes from Sacrifice, which allows him to kill a friendly creep, turning it into mana for him and experience for any team-mates nearby. That might not sound like a big deal, but along with meaning he can stay in lane for as long as his health pool lasts, it means Lich is denying experience to his opponents automatically and granting it to allies instead. That’s a huge swing early in the game.

On top of that he has a Frost Blast nuke, a small AoE around a designated target which does reasonable damage and slows. It doesn’t have great killing potential but will allow more deadly allies to close. Meanwhile you can keep them healthy with the Ice Armor ability, granting (surprise) additional armour and a slow effect to any attackers.

His ultimate, Chain Frost, is a team-fight all-star. A high damage nuke that then bounces to a nearby target, if cast on two heroes that can’t quickly move apart it will ricochet between them doing incredible work on their health-bar. Nicely for new players it’s generally effective no matter where it’s thrown out, but good timing will help a lot.

Best junglers

Some heroes don’t like to lane during the early game, instead taking to the jungle where the neutral creeps dwell. Junglers can take advantage of this as long as they can fight the creeps there effectively and efficiently. Some heroes have natural lifesteal to offset the damage they will take, other heroes spawn minions to tank the damage and some just take control of the neutral creeps all together.

The most important thing for jungling is knowing a route between camps, picking the right starting items and abilities, then using your positioning near lanes effectively for ganks. It’s a role that varies wildly in effectiveness between patches, so sometimes it may not be a viable option but equally you could be your team’s all-star.


If fancy magic isn’t your style, then maybe our good friend Axe might be more suitable. An orc who likes his trusty weapon so much, he named himself after it. In the jungle, Counter Helix is key to your success. It causes you to spin around, flailing your big axe whenever you’re attacked, but has a small chance to proc. With four neutral creeps on you at once, it’s still a big damage boost.

Berserker’s Call is an AoE taunt that’s useful in the late-game for keeping enemy attacks off your squishier friends, but also gives bonus armour for surviving against a jungle camp or wave of creeps. Use it sparingly as Axe’s mana is at a premium throughout the game and it’s rare that he’ll get many items that improve it.

Battle Hunger is another drain on that, but a worthy one. It puts a long-lasting and damaging debuff on a target that also slows their movement speed while buffing Axe’s. The catch is that it disappears as soon as that enemy kills a unit. A great ability for learning proper timing, it’s deadly by itself on an opponent caught on the retreat.

His ultimate, Culling Blade, will instantly kill an enemy unit if their health is below a certain threshold. Once you cast it successfully, you will be treated to one of the most satisfying animations Dota 2 has to offer, as you split your enemy right down the middle. Successful one-shots also grant you and all nearby teammates a huge buff to attack and movement speed.


The biggest zombie on the battlefield, Lifestealer aka N’aix is a self-healing, damage-machine with his own in-built immunity to magic and everything else he needs to survive and thrive. Plus a complex, tactical ultimate that can be upgraded to new heights.

Perhaps Lifestealer’s most important abilities are Feast and Open Wounds. The former is a passive that heals him for a percentage of his total HP with every attack, while damaging enemies for a percentage of theirs. The latter slows a target and causes half of all damage dealt to them to lifesteal. It’s a one-two punch that keeps Lifestealer alive and quickly drops enemies, no matter their tankiness.

Meanwhile Rage is his tool for being useful in the late game, and why he is viable in the carry role, even coming out of the jungle. It makes him completely immune to Magic - both magic damage and any spells - for a short duration and gives him an attack speed boost. Relentless is the word you’re looking for.

His ultimate is … well it’s just weird, really. Infest allows you to implant yourself into any non-hero enemy or any ally, then explode out for damage at any time. Opponents can’t detect you during this and you’ll be healed for the health value of whatever you burst out of if it’s an enemy, killing it in the process. You can also control their movements, letting you use their abilities and set up imaginative and surprising ganks. It’s a tool for experimentation that will teach you the incredible flexibility of Dota.


Bear-man extraordinaire, Ursa is without a doubt the best right-clicker in the business. Three of his skills are based purely around doing so, to the point where it’s technically possible if not competitively plausible for him to solo big bad Roshan at level 1.

The central pillar of this is Fury Swipes, a passive ability that causes successive attacks to deal ever more damage the more often you get to hit the same target. Against opponents who don’t run away - like jungle creeps and the lovely Aegis-holder himself - it’s a quick death-dealer and gives him the quick clear needed to jungle effectively. Equally, any lifesteal he has from items gets to trigger off this damage, meaning he can sustain combat for a long time.

Overpower combos with this very effectively, maximising his attack speed for a few hits, letting him build up stacks and damage quickly. This also makes any additional effects on his attacks even more effective, along with scaling very well with any additional damage he manages to pick up. This can even come from his ultimate, a four second combat steroid called Enrage which decreases the amount of damage he takes by 80% while multiplying his Fury Swipes bonus. This is key to taking Roshan a little more effectively solo, but also in team-fights.

Earthshock ties it all together. It’s an AoE damage and slow around him that makes enemies unable to escape as well as providing a little more multi-target clear for jungling. It’s your opener for ganking and a vital tool for doing what Ursa’s all about - killing unsuspecting heroes. If that’s your bag, grab a Shadow Blade or Blink Dagger early and go to town.

Best nukers

The assassins of Dota 2, these guys can burn through an enemy’s health in a few horrific, often firey seconds. If you like big numbers and are obsessed with your kill/death ratio, these are the heroes for you. Remember that nukers are fantastic early and mid game, but bow down to their farmed carry brethren when the late game arrives. The best thing you can do is repeatedly kill or disrupt an enemy carry, or failing that, vapourise those squishy supports.


A floating pyromaniac who decided to light her own hair on fire. Fire also comes from her: hands. Legs. Mouth. Pretty much everywhere, causing enemies - heroes and creeps alike - to melt at an extraordinary pace.

Lina’s all about the combo. Hitting her Light Strike Array AoE stun into the Dragon Slave line-nuke is the key, but has challenges. Both spells have cast times and the delay period on LSA is significant, requiring some prediction of enemy movement. If you can nail it in the early game, chances are somebody’s falling over.

She scales late with the help of her passive, Fiery Soul, which increases her move and attack speed with every spell cast. With the right items it makes her an absolute force, but mana-greedy for constant casts. Her ult’s no help, Laguna Blade being one of the more expensive spells in the game - with good reason, given its power to one-shot targets on anything approaching low health.

Lina is the quintessential nuker, and often quite strong in the meta. She’s one to perfect in the mid-lane.

Bounty Hunter

An aptly named hero for his role, Bounty Hunter excels at dispatching his enemies while making a tidy profit from doing so. He has a kit designed to frustrate and kill. Invisibility is a huge advantage when it comes to ganking successfully, and Shadow Walk does just that. Positioning is everything, making sure you don’t cloak in your opponent’s vision so they don’t know you’re coming.

The passive Jinada means your first attack on an unsuspecting enemy hero is huge damage. Follow it up with the mini-stunning Shuriken Toss and they’re as good as dead in the early and mid game.

His ultimate, Track, is why he manages to provide value beyond this. Not only does it give you vision of the enemy hero, regardless of invisibility, it also increases movement speed of you and your allies. The main draw is the bonus gold your team receives for killing enemies affected by Track. It’s the snowballiest ability in the game, with kills between levels 6 and 10 being ludicrously effective. It even lets you get back into otherwise lost games with smart pick-offs.

Just remember: Track first, stab second.


He, er, isn’t a lion. He is actually but a man, thankfully with some of the more powerful spells in the game. Big damage and disables are Lion’s calling card, with an ultimate that has even higher single target damage potential than Lina’s Laguna Blade. Finger of Death not only has the best ability name in Dota, but can break four-figure damage in a single-cast, not even counting for the small AoE provided by an Aghanim’s Scepter. Beaten only in cool pick-off factor by his Heroes of Newerth counter-part who gets to do it with a single pistol shot to the head, Finger is the best way to kill people there is.

It’s supported by a suite of abilities that stop enemies moving and drop their HP almost as fast. Earth Spike is a line-AoE stun that does decent damage and stops an opponent doing anything for what will feel like an eternity. While your own right-clicks are unlikely to be inflicting a lot of pain, any allies nearby can take full advantage. Plus, poor positioning by opponents and a wider-than-it-looks hitbox means you can hit multiple enemies with one cast and it feels. so. good.

Hex doesn’t have that potential, or the damage, but does disable a single target for much longer. Transforming an enemy into a harmless critter, they can do nothing but slowly hop away. Timing these two disables to get the maximum amount of time your target has no options is key and massively frustrating for them. Remember you can kick this off just before your allies arrive to help out as even at level 1 it’s more than three and a half seconds of vulnerability.

Mana Drain holds all this together. Usable offensively to take the mana of an enemy hero, more commonly you’ll target a ranged creep to refill your own pool passively. It lets you use more abilities, more often without spending gold on mana-rejuvenation items. Like using a lot of spells and being basically useless once targets have Black King Bars? Lion’s the sadly-not-lion for you.

Best Initiators

The kings and queens of team fights, these heroes dictate when and where teams clash; usually with a repertoire of huge area of effect abilities. These range from dealing massive damage, having long stun durations or providing position manipulation. It can be quite intimidating to be an initiator, because sometimes it leaves your team’s success resting solely on you and your reactions. When everything goes right however, nothing else will give you the same grin.


A huge fish beast from the depths of the sea, Tidehunter is one of the most effective initiators due to his signature massive AoE stun ultimate. Ravage has started and ended many a teamfight all by itself, incapacitating entire teams for almost three seconds with a wave of tentacles - more than enough time for your friends to drop their own devastating combos. Blink Dagger is a must have item when playing a Tidehunter.

Kraken Shell makes him tough, giving him a flat damage reduction and the ability to shrug off debuffs. It’s effectively a free Stout Shield at worst, even with just one point in it, making him hard to kill all game long. 

That immunity means he’s naturally slow, so Gush is a fantastic skill for catching up to fleeing prey while also dealing decent damage, and applying an armour reduction to take them down quickly afterwards. Meanwhile Anchor Smash is a cheap and spammable small AoE, which also reduces enemy damage when it hits. Enemies cornered by Tidehunter very rarely get to use all their assets.


Warlock uses demonic forces to do his bidding: punishing his enemies, or helping his allies. If you prefer to not be in the thick of things - unlike our fishy friend Tidehunter - Warlock is your devil-worshiping man. Most of his abilities have a huge area of effect range, which makes him ideal for team fights.

Again it’s the ultimate that actually operates as the intiation tool. Chaotic Offering summons a massive golem from the sky, also stunning everyone in a wide radius. Even if Warlock is killed after casting his ultimate, he can still control his golem and continue to contribute from the grave. It’s popular to get an Aghanim’s Scepter, which gives you two golems for double the trouble.

Fatal Bonds causes 25% of all damage to be shared to other units under its effects. This essentially buffs the damage of any spell so long as damage against all targets is useful. Upheaval is risky due to it being a channeled ability, but if ignored slows enemies in a huge area, increasing over time and rendering them helpless.

Shadow Word serves dual-purpose as a heal or damage over time, depending on if the target is friendly or otherwise. Overall, Warlock is a highly useful support to have around who still gets to cause a little chaos.

Naga Siren

The sea queen is another ultimate initiator, but this time it, Song of the Siren, doesn’t do any damage. In fact, it leaves opponents completely invulnerable. However, they’re also stunned for the entire seven second duration while they remain in a massive AoE around Naga, letting her and her team escape or engage at their leisure. It’s more than long enough to TP out while the ability to cancel it early means any long-casting-time spells can be set up.

A secondary way to do this on single heroes is Ensnare, which locks a single target in place for a few seconds. It doesn’t prevent attacks or spellcasts that aren’t movement-based, but against many heroes taking away the movement is enough to either escape or prevent them from doing so.

It’s also a good setup for Naga’s other abilities. Mirror Image summons three illusions that deal a fraction of her damage, but more than enough if they’re all attacking the same target. They’re very easy to kill early on and don’t have much impact, but later can easily count for a hero by themselves.

They’ll also echo casts of Naga’s last ability, Rip Tide, a small AoE around herself that deals decent damage and lowers the armour of anything it hits. That scales in a very friendly way with the illusions but in general just means quick deaths. Remember that all this can be easily put together on an enemy team via Song of the Siren. As you improve, learning to micro the illusions to kill jungle camps, split push and generally be a skill god will be a good thing to do, but in the early stages it’s fine to just press Q and right-click opponents down.

Best Pushers

The main objective of Dota 2 isn’t to score an impressive number of kills, but to instead destroy your enemy’s base. To get there you will need to destroy a multitude of towers, which are tough adversaries in the early game. Pushers rise to this challenge, which abilities that deal extensive damage to buildings, or summon minions to soak up the incoming damage. Some team compositions feature many pusher heroes, designed to destroy the enemy base before the opposing team can buff up their carry.


Leshrac is a blue glowing centaur, who has an affinity for constant pulsating damage. His tower demolishing ability comes in the form of Diabolic Edict which, when maxed out, can very nearly destroy a tower in a single cast. The important thing to note is that Diabolic Edict is spread randomly to nearby foes, so you want to make sure the tower is the only valid target to inflict maximum damage.

Split Earth is an AoE stun with a fairly long cast-time, similar to Lina’s Light Strike Array. It does impressive damage and stuns for a decent period, letting you set up further spell-casts or get in a few important right clicks. His ultimate, Pulse Nova, is perfect for this, doing constant damage around him while draining his mana, togglable at any point.

His final spell, Lightning Storm, deals damage to a target then jumps to another nearby enemy. Again, it does reasonable damage and slows, letting you set up for an easier Split Earth. Alternatively it’s excellent for clearing creep waves in tandem with Pulse Nova, giving ol’ Lesh further pushing power.

Keeper of the Light

No, it’s not Gandalf - but he’s still an adorable old man riding a horse. Keeper of the Light is fantastic at wiping out creep waves without mercy, thanks to Illuminate. The longer you channel the spell, the more damage it does once it’s unleashed. At level four, it can be channeled for five seconds, dealing 500 damage to anything in its huge range. This is enough to wipe out creep waves in one blast. It’s no toe-tap against any heroes who foolishly stumble in the way either.

Chakra Magic allows Keeper of the Light to keep casting Illuminate all match long without having to conserve his mana, restoring a chunk of precious magic-juice to any target with each cast. That really can’t be underestimated, particularly since it also reduces the cooldown of the next spell used, and makes Keeper of the Light an uber-friendly lane ally. Mana Leak forces opposing heroes to stand still or lose their mana pool, draining a portion with every step they take with it on them. They’re also stunned if it goes to zero. Good Illuminate targets.

His ult is a self buff that allows him to move from the place Illuminate is being cast, as well as giving him a pair of abilities. One blasts an area, evacuating it of enemies and blinding them. The other teleports an ally from anywhere on the map to KOTL’s location after a moment, an exceedingly powerful effect if used at the right time. While there’s a lot of depth to KOTL, you’re unlikely to go wrong in early days just killing wave after wave of enemy creeps until their Ancient falls over.


The robo-man is a mana-hungry, all-spells monster. He can put out an obscene amount of damage to any number of targets with his main three abilities, spread across a nuke, un-targeted damage for heroes only and a hyper-deadly AoE. Laser will burst targets down with ease, dealing decent damage and causing any heroes hit to miss attacks for a few seconds as they’re blinded by the glorious light.

Heat-Seeking Missile does better damage at a super-long range, but can’t be targeted, simply hitting the two nearest heroes to Tinker when it’s used. That’s a double-edged sword, making it less useful in team fights but able to hit enemies in the fog of war for harassment damage or a killing blow.

Meanwhile March of the Machines is every lane creep’s nightmare and a bullet hell fan’s wet dream. Spawning a huge wave of detonating robots that explode on and damage any enemies they impact, it has obvious utility of pushing a lane but is also lethal to any heroes who find themselves stuck inside without the skills to dodge.

However, what makes Tinker a true threat is his ultimate, Rearm, and clever item use. Rearm refreshes the cooldown of all your spells and items, with a few exceptions. It has no cooldown and a short channel time, so as long as you have the mana to support it, you can spam spells and activated items for days. This includes Boots of Travel, enabling the sweetest style of play in the game - teleport to a lane, hit all your buttons, use rearm, hit all your buttons again, then teleport back to base to regenerate. Then do it to another lane, and another, then participate in a gank, then back to a lane. It’s hectic and has a massive skill ceiling as far as ability management and timing goes, but even a new player will be able to have a fun and effective time bouncing around the map taking names, towers and gold.

Best solo heroes

An intimidating role for beginners, but a useful one to master. The art of soloing is simple: don’t die. You’re not in it for the dosh or kills, unless you can guarantee your safety. Because you’re alone, you will benefit from getting solo experience, instead of sharing it with a laning partner. Denying can be a useful tactic to slow the experience game of your enemies, and further increase your level advantage. Heroes who can get out of sticky situations, or farm and harass from a distance, are perfect here. A pair of wards to watch for ganks and lane opponents making aggressive movements are a very good spend of your first gold.


Windranger is a mischievous archer who can manipulate the air. She’s a popular pick for solo play thanks to her Windrun ability that lets her get out of “oh shit” moments. Not only does it give you a 50% increase in movement speed, but it slows nearby enemies and also gives you 100% physical damage evasion.

Powershot will let you harass enemy heroes and kill creeps from a distance. If you can do both in one shot, you’re awesome. It does pretty good damage, particularly fully charged, but takes a few seconds to get there so requires some expert prediction and timing. Shackle Shot is equally difficult to master, but one of the best disables in the game. The trick is to make sure there is either an enemy unit or tree behind your target, so that the shackle will latch. If you’re good, you can shackle two enemy heroes together for up to 3.75 seconds of stun. If that doesn’t get them dead, well, you’ve got bigger issues.

Her ultimate, Focus Fire, is effectively a channeled nuke for a single target. It increases Windranger’s attack speed by 500 against any creep, hero or tower. Good for taking out a key structure solo or blowing up a shackled bad guy, it combos rather naturally with anything that adds special effects to attacks. If you can find the cash to pick them up, they’ll do you well.

Dark Seer

Dark Seer is a small purple being, versatile in empowering his allies and messing up enemy positioning. His Surge ability is akin to the previously mentioned Windrun, in that it gives him maximum movement speed for a brief amount of time. This makes him a slippery hero to catch when your enemies try to gank you. 

Ion Shell enables him to harass his enemies and also farm safely, placing a bristling shell on a enemy or allied unit that damages other enemy units around it. It lasts for a respectable twenty seconds, and you can have two up at the same time thanks to its nine second cooldown. The damage isn’t something that can be ignored either, destroying heroes who get into melee range.

Get a Soul Ring, and you can sit well out of range of your enemies while still obtaining farm to advance your hero. Vacuum and his ultimate, Wall of Replica, are a monstrous combo in a team fight. Vacuum pulls enemies together from a large radius, whereas Wall of Replica makes an illusionary wall that creates copies of any enemy hero that passes through it. These illusions do incredible damage and can turn team fights by themselves.

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. The Dota 2 bots are actually better than a lot of pub players, but because it’s a bot game your team is less likely to get annoyed at you for not doing so hot. That means you get the best of both worlds; a challenge without the risk of annoying your team mates. Then, once you feel comfortable with whoever you’ve gone for, head into a game, bearing in mind that even if you go for ‘All Pick’, it might not be the best idea to just make a bee-line for whoever your favoured hero is. Your pick needs to match your team, otherwise you’re going to ruin whatever synergy is being built.

Have you found a character that fits you best in Dota 2? Let us know below, whether it's one of our suggestions or your own. New players, we're especially interested to hear how you're getting on and if we helped, or how we could!

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refundhere avatarJamesIV4 avatarSwaggyP avatarNick Wilson avatarDog Pants avatarOrbitFortyEight avatar+7
fransheska.linner Avatar
9 Months ago

Lina is brilliant

SwaggyP Avatar
11 Months ago

Bristleback doe. He is such an easy solo offlane hero to play, all you do is sap experience, go up for a last hit once in a while, turn your back when they auto attack you.

Nick Wilson Avatar
11 Months ago

I do like a good bristle.

Dog Pants Avatar
11 Months ago

I've found that there's a huge element of personal taste in which heroes people find easy to play. Which is brilliant - I don't know two people who have the same favourite character. My first ever pick was Batrider, mainly because he was a goblin with goggles on. I was crap with him then and I'm crap with him now. I've noticed Sniper and Bloodseeker are popular with new players in my gaming circles, and I certainly have a relatively easy time when I play them.

OrbitFortyEight Avatar
11 Months ago

How do you know which hero is which role? I've worked some out for myself but the vast quantity of choice makes me nervous to try a new char.

Dog Pants Avatar
11 Months ago

The filters at the top of the selection will let you select characters recommended for each of the above (and a few more). An alternative, and very rough but simple, rule of thumb is that Strength heroes tend to be melee carries, Agility heroes tend to be ranged carries and gankers, and Intelligence heroes tend to be nukers and support.

saesido Avatar
7 Months ago

I have been playing LOL and i am starting playing Dota 2!While I was playing LOL I was playing with players like Garen, Akali, Shako, Darius and others, what should i get now???????

super_sentinel Avatar
5 Months ago

It depends on ur playstyle. If u like to play tanks like darius, garen then u should play Axe (he is a combination of darius and garen). His q taunts people (it is basically a shorter range atopprehend), his w gives him ms and damage people (decisive strike) ,his e deals aoe damage to people (a passive darius's q and garen's e). Finally his ult Culling Blade is a combination of darius and garen ultimate, it deals magic damage and reset on kills (it also instantly kill people below 500 hp) and gives ms upon successfully finished an enemy.

mamay Avatar
2 Months ago

Juggernaut is a killer hero in dota

Chaz Avatar
1 Week ago

I'm used to PCGN bumping older articles with updates, but has anything changed with this one?

Edit: Also Naga is one of the more technically demanding heroes in the game with an ultimate on a long cooldown that can entirely ruin a team fight for her own team. She's not that difficult if you're proficient at MOBAs but far from a beginner's hero.

Tim Edwards Avatar
1 Week ago

Ben wrote about 12 pages worth of new stuff for this - the old piece was about a year out of date.

misalmanas Avatar
4 Hours ago

Riki is the best in solo!

refundhere Avatar
1 Year ago

i think you can find much better heroes for each roles, those one kinda already useless or hard to play, best idea is to watch some streams on twitch or WePlay, or ask for help to decide whats better there through chat

JamesIV4 Avatar
11 Months ago

I started out with Drow Ranger a couple months ago, I guess I was lucky to pick her. She's a lot of fun. Never have been great at Dota, but playing the AI is a good time.