Dota 2 Positions and Roles Explained
Table of Contents
Dota 2 is a team game where the forces of Light and Dark compete. Five people play for each side. Their goal is to destroy the Throne of the Ancients of the opponent. As there is only one game map, it is not difficult to study its features. It is conventionally divided into two parts: Radiant and Dire. The border is the river, but it is not an obstacle. There are boosting runes on both sides of the map, which the midliners are fighting for.
There is a certain role assigned to each and every member of the team. There are clear positions in Dota 2 for all the characters. The game will be successful if each player performs their task. Each character has specific skills, which are necessary for overall victory. The only way to come to a positive result is by working together, so every player is important and necessary.
Unfortunately, not every team member understands their mission, preferring to increase MMR Ranking in Dota 2, by playing as individuals. This approach is not welcomed by the rest of the team, and if it is misused, some players may file a report.
How to Choose a Role and Position in Dota 2: Explained
After logging in, participants are asked to choose Dota 2 roles. There are five roles in total and they are responsible for specific functions on the team. You can tick only one role if you are sure of your choice. Or you can check several options at once — in this case, you get the soonest-available vacant role in the forming team.
Experienced games know how many heroes there are in Dota 2 and which one is appropriate for a particular lane. Those who hesitate, or are equally proficient in more than one position, rely on chance and play according to the dropped role.
It is possible to distribute all responsibilities in advance by playing with friends. It is enough to invite them by marking them in the list of friends and then agree on the distribution of roles. This is what well-coordinated groups that know the weaknesses and strengths of each player do.
If a beginner wants to make an appropriate choice of Dota 2 lanes and roles, it is highly recommended first to explore particular features of each of them. Let us take a closer look at all positions and roles one by one.
Lanes and Characters
Dota 2 is a rather complex game. Its distinctive feature is that despite the presence of one map, each new game is completely different to the previous one. This is for various factors, including:
- team composition;
- the chosen character, role, and lane;
- communication between all team members;
- the strategy and skills of each participant;
- the experience and coherence of the game of the opponents.
Since the game has four classes of 31 characters each, giving a total of 124 heroes, the gameplay always varies. This is the beauty and advantage of Dota 2 — it never gets boring.
Each character has its own attributes, namely a set of characteristics, skills, effects from the abilities, and other parameters. Therefore, there are big differences between the characters, and their advantages and disadvantages form a certain role in the game. It is important that each player understands their role and fulfills it to the best of their ability. Furthermore, it is also important that they are aware of the roles on the enemy side.
Dota Lanes Strategy
There are three lanes on each side for Dota 2 positions:
- The upper line — also known as Top, runs from the left side of the map in the upward direction;
- Centerline — or Middle, extends in the middle of the map, between the other two;
- The lower line — also called Bot, runs along the bottom right side of the map.
Also, the lines are differentiated by complexity: the longer side is considered to be easier because the creeps can be closer to their Tower, which is advantageous when the hero retreats. The forces of Light, for example, have it at the bottom, and the forces of Darkness on the opposite side, at the top.
The hard one is shorter than the easy one, and the Tower is farther away, so it is difficult to retreat.
Jungle is another location that should be considered when developing a strategy. Although the forest does not count towards any lines, it can be used effectively for farming. There are some game characters that do this as productively as possible. You can get a number of benefits from the Woodsman’s work:
- Forester accumulates a large amount of gold and experience, becoming on par with solo laners;
- the forest territory is difficult to control simultaneously with the lane, so the character can make sudden raids against the enemy.
However, you should take into account the fact that the absence of one character on the lane will weaken the relevant direction, so it is important to calculate the power balance to avoid draining the lane at the very beginning of the game. Experienced gamers recommend such characters as Chen, Lycan, or Ursa as Woodsman.
It is important to understand how the right balance of power affects the overall outcome of the game. The point is that the lane can be lost or won. If a team fails on all three lanes, then losing is almost inevitable. There are several ways to win a lane:
- Finishing off creeps. This is the easiest and most common method to gain experience and gold. You can kill your own creeps as well as enemy creeps, without letting your opponents do it. In this case, you will increase the capital and stats, as well as reduce the chance of the enemy getting them. It is noteworthy that even weaker characters that cause low damage in attacking the enemy are quite capable of dealing with creeps. So sometimes, as a result, such characters can win the lane.
- Attack Zoning. If you continually launch active attacks on enemies and force them to retreat in a hurry, they won’t have time for creeps and consequently will not get vital gold and experience. By throwing the enemy back a long distance, you gain an advantage and can earn money by finishing off creeps without leaving anything to the opponent.
- Killing enemy characters. This is the most difficult way, requiring a certain skill and dominance in some skills. Of course, you can earn more money and experience from killed enemies but not everyone is able to perform such tasks. The advantage is that after being killed, the opponent loses time to return to the line from the starting point, as well as some of their accumulated reserves.
In some cases, players resort to such extreme measures as interference with the enemy farm. The idea is to distract the enemy with your attacks, even if it’s to your disadvantage, but not to let them farm from creeps. As long as the distraction works, your allies have more successful fights and build up their strength.
Dota 2 Roles 1–5
As we mentioned earlier, at the start players choose their role from five possible ones. There are five position heroes for this purpose:
- Soft Support
- Hard Support.
The gameplay begins on the lanes. However, after the laning phase ends, the characters, having accumulated the right amount of power, begin to use it to the maximum in the right place and at the right time. Let us explore each position in detail.
Pos 5 Heroes: Hard Support
Also called Babysitter, as they are continuously taking care of the other players, and especially Carry. Hard Support is a role with complete dedication but it also involves the ability to plan every move made and the actions of allies. Since the position is the strongest at the beginning of the game, it is important to act quickly but sensibly and skillfully.
Hard Support does not depend on farming or items and often has only one or two of the most basic necessities. They finish off creeps only if the other members of the team cannot. At the same time, they put all of their resources to the good of the team and can sacrifice themself to save Carry.
Tasks include the following:
- continuous attack on Offlaners and Soft Supports to weaken their position;
- using Ward and deward to give a good view of the map to the whole team;
- caring for Carry;
- buying the right items benefiting others in a reasonable and timely manner;
- keeping track of the situation on other lines.
Hard Support may have to die more often than others but it doesn’t prevent effectiveness. Hard Support is the strongest at the beginning of the game, while the other characters are just starting to gain strength. At the same time, they get weaker in the middle and at the end of the match. This should be taken into account during the game and it is recommended to be as productive as possible at the beginning of the game.
Hard Support is a sacrificial role but it is one of the most important roles in the team. Not every player can do without items, leave creeps to other allies, and still have enough resources to buy support. A lot of people like killing, blood, attacks, and aggression, so Hard Support is not the most popular position. It is suitable for those who:
- don’t like farming and enjoy chasing enemies;
- prefer the power of spells to gold and items;
- can develop strategies and train other characters;
- want to start immediately with strong skills;
- want to be a savior and selflessly take the brunt.
If you decide to test yourself in this role, we recommend choosing heroes such as Io, Leshrac, Bane, Shadow Demon, Rubick, Crystal Maiden, or Venomancer.
Pos 4 Heroes: Soft Support
The role of Soft Support is one of the most diverse and interesting. This is due to the fact that the character can move around all three lines, and even enter the Forest to pull away creeps. The main job of the roaming Support is to distract the enemy Carry from the allied Offlaner at the initial stage so that the latter can farm freely without being disturbed. At the same time, if everything is working on the line, they can go to the aid of other team members.
Soft Support can be more than just a support. They can also attack, be a Jungler, farmer, and help Hard Support during wards, as sometimes they cannot cover the entire map. However, unlike their hard “colleague”, they are not that attached to the lane and are not required to sacrifice as much.
The main tasks of Soft Support include:
- knowing the map well and instantly going to the rescue;
- playing against the Midlaner for the power runes;
- helping with wards, defensive and protective items;
- annoying the opponent’s Carry.
Despite the fact that this role does not involve active farming, it is possible to gradually accumulate resources and put them to good use. Soft Support is suitable for those who:
- know the whole map thoroughly and how to move quickly within it;
- are not obsessed with farming, and enjoy diversity in the game;
- love to initiate kills, support the initiated ones and provoke new battles;
- do not aim to join the first ranks of the attackers, but love to be a part of them at the same time;
- try to keep their distance from opponents who are too strong;
- are always ready to lend a helping hand.
If you want to play as Soft Support, look out for such characters as Chen, Keeper of the Light, Nyx Assassin, Enchantress, Enigma, and Lina. If you want to try yourself as a Woodsman, you should coordinate with the rest of the team, so as not to get a report.
Pos 3 Heroes: Offlaner
This role initiates fights and takes an active part in them. They are tanks with good health and damage, who can farm, buy auras, and use them for the whole team. In some cases, the Offlaner can work for themself, gathering resources and scaring enemies. Their job is the hardest, as they stand on a hard line against light-line players.
An important task is also to interfere with opponents’ farming as much as possible — it is extremely important to obstruct them in the process since the light line is mostly focused on farming. In addition, the Offlaner should always clearly understand the condition of the team in order to strengthen it at the right moment or activate combat actions.
They are supported by Soft Support, but often the latter has little work to do on the line due to the strength of Offlaner. They are the backbone of the team, its heart and brain, that rarely take their time away from the main activity to farm the woods.
Offlaner’s main activities include:
- jumping into battle in the first phase of the game to ensure their team’s successful offensive after the enemy has used most of their resources on the Offlaner;
- becoming a wall of defense if the rest of the team is weakened and retreats. Soft Support should help with this;
- knowing everything about the team: strengths, weaknesses, the balance of power, priorities, and needs;
- preventing the Carries from farming, using aggressive strategies;
- taking part in battles among the first rows.
It is important to focus not only on fighting but also on surviving. When playing against a light line, this ability is very important so as not to lose the lane. The Offlaner role is suitable for players who:
- can find a balance between aggression and defense, using both sides rationally;
- like the role of the tank, going ahead and killing enemies;
- can afford to be a casualty in the early stages in order to divert the attention of the attacking enemy, giving allies the opportunity to take the offensive;
- know how to choose characters correctly and are not selfish in terms of accumulating resources;
- like to farm little by little to buy the right items and spells;
- keep track of overall team spirit, attack readiness, and character health and strength.
This position is fun to play but you should be very responsible for the chosen role. Heroes such as Beastmaster, Dark Seer, Tidehunter, Clockwerk, Bounty Hunter, and Windranger are suitable for it. And if a farming strategy is selected, then it can be Weaver, Nature’s Prophet, Clinkz, or Lone Druid.
Pos 2 Heroes: Midlaner
The middle lane player gets a lot of opportunities and takes advantage of them at the first chance they get. Since they play one-on-one with their opponent, they enjoy a lot of advantages and, at the same time, take more responsibility for their actions. Midlaner is often a so-called half-Carry but reaches their peak power much earlier and needs fewer resources to do so.
The most responsible moments in the game are at the beginning and middle. Right at the start, it’s a good idea to use the last hit to build up power faster than the opponent standing in front of you. If that doesn’t happen, don’t aggravate the situation, it’s better to call a Soft Support if he’s not too busy, and attack the enemy together.
Midlaner’s performance depends a lot on Soft Support, the choice of character, experience, skills, and ability to react quickly to the situation. It is better to have good visibility of your side of the river and thus, not to spare resources on wards. At the same time, if the enemy’s wards are spotted, you should not give them the advantage. Appoint a sentry, and the gold will be caught up in the woods or farm creeps later.
Having built up muscle quickly, Midlaner can be a Carry in many ways. The advantage is that from level 6 they are able to go ganking on the other lanes as well, having a significant power advantage.
A good Midlaner knows all the tasks clearly. They are:
- taking the initiative in-lane, preventing the enemy from farming;
- collecting the maximum amount of resources and experience to speed up the timing of items;
- claiming an advantage on other lines once enough power is gained;
- being highly active at peak strength, depending on the character’s skills;
- choosing the right moment to attack, and not rushing into unreasonable fights;
- knowing the weaknesses of opponents, and their timings, and taking advantage of this knowledge.
Although the role of a well-powered Midlaner is similar to that of a Carry, it is not a good idea to focus on that while ignoring line-holding or assisting in other areas. Players who choose this position prefer to:
- get into fights when it is appropriate and not too risky;
- develop their own strategy, imposing it on their opponents;
- farm quickly and upgrade levels;
- be one of the strongest heroes throughout the game;
- maximize activity without downtime, and have a short recovery time.
The role of Midlaner requires special attention when selecting a character. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to the skills and other features of the character. The following characters are relevant for this position: Puck, Queen of Pain, Batrider, Templar Assassin, Brewmaster, and Magnus.
Pos 1 Heroes: Carry
This is the last position on our list but the first position in the game. Carry is the core of the team, its backbone, and the main force. Once they get to the initial rounds at “minimum”, they have the highest priority for farming, carefully accumulating resources. Once peak strength is obtained, Carry becomes the strongest member of the team and is relied upon to finish the game with a victory.
Carry takes a position on the light lane, which is reserved for farming. Carry is constantly protected by Hard Support who provides support to the number 1 until fully recovered. It can be said that the entire team works the first part of the game to get the Carry “fattened up” and to gain combat capacity. Providing Carry with everything needed, you can count on an unkillable hero, who will crush enemies and towers.
At the same time, Carry must understand the responsibility, actively farm, and avoid early battles. Tactics should be cautious in the beginning and very aggressive at the end of the match. The range of tasks for this position includes:
- the ability to choose the right character according to the available arsenal of the team;
- maximum survivability with Hard Support and presence close to the Tower;
- continuous active farming; the ability to perform the last hit;
- helping support at the right moment if their skills allow it;
- at the stage of formation, only engaging in guaranteed battles without the risk of death;
- saving resources, which is possible with a minimum number of deaths.
Beginning in the second half of the round, Carry gradually gains strength and can get into fights. It is important that the player understands and correctly estimates the risks while helping the team to the extent possible. Focusing too much on one Carry can cause you to lose a lot more, so balance is important. This role is a good choice for you if you:
- like to be the decisive character in the game and the strongest member of the team;
- are not in a hurry to enter into battle but know how to patiently wait for your time;
- know how to farm effectively without fear of pressure and enemies in your way;
- know how to wait for the right moment and show your advantage;
- love to grow stats and levels, and know how to use their features;
- understand the timings and keep track of opponents’ performance.
The first half of the game is dedicated to supporting the Carry, and the second half requires Carry to be the main driving force with the proper distribution of forces. Consider the following characters for this demanding role: Luna, Phantom Lancer, Anti-Mage, Lifestealer, and some others.
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