A Guide to the Five Different Dota 2 Roles

There are five different Dota 2 roles that every player in the game can try to master, and should definitely give a certain amount of time trying to learn.

Within each different Dota 2 role is an intricate set of things required of you to do. The higher you are up in the ranks, the more is required of you in your particular role. Or else, you won’t have as  much impact on the game and your team is most likely to lose. But, we’re not going to go there just yet.

For newbies, it can be quite daunting trying to follow Dota 2 and not know what the different Dota 2 roles here.

That’s where we come in.

Below is a guide formulated just for newcomers to help them get a grip on gameplay and a couple of basic terms, as well as the five different Dota 2 roles so that they can gain a fundamental understanding of how the game is played and how they can enjoy it.

So, without further delay, let’s delve into the different types of Dota 2 roles.

The Position 1 – Hard Carry

Dota 2 Roles

Spectre is one of the hardest carries in Dota 2, requiring a lot of farm but also making a lot of impact on he comes online. (DeviantArt)

The most farm-intensive position in Dota 2 and arguably, the role for people who like to right-click a LOT.

Hard carries are slow to start but build their stats and abilities repertoire over progression of the game. These heroes generally operate in the safe lane and require a lot of space or support to help them reach their potential. The hard carry heroes and their variant semi carry aka ganker are the largest contributors to the team. They play an indispensable role in clinching team fights. The name for this position is derived from the anecdote “carrying the team to victory”.

Apart from being the bedrock for the team the hard carry heroes get the highest farming priority which essentially means they have to farm as much as possible as quickly as possible. Early in the game the strategy should be to farm farm and farm and only engage in fights when it’s absolutely unavoidable.

To excel in this role, a Dota 2 players needs to have excellent mechanical skills, the ability to read the map and make decisions accordingly, in particular, in how to farm the most gold as fast as possible while also avoiding gankers.

The top hard carry heroes include: Anti-Mage, Faceless Void, Phantom Assassin, Gyrocopter, and Spectre.

The Position 2 – The Midlaner

Dota 2 Roles

A high-risk, high-reward kind of role, the mid laner is a role where fewer and fewer players specialize in as you move up the ranks. (Mwingine / DeviantArt)

The midlaner is arguably the flashiest and most sought-after role in Dota 2, the latter especially in lower ranks where players try to emulate the flashy plays that they see from their favourite professional Dota 2 players.

In-game, the midlaner is primary responsible for two things — winning his lane and making enough space for the rest of the team. Later on, the midlaner can transition into a carry role to help his team deal more damage in teamfights. However, it is not unusual for midlaners to pick up teamfight-oriented items to help augment their team’s capabilities and strengths as a five-man lineup.

Unlike the hard carries, the midlaners usually make rotations past the laning stage and often lead the rest of the team as they roam the map and secure kills or objectives while making space for the hard carry.

The midlaners are usually given the second-highest farming priority on the team. However, in rare cases, some teams play their hard carries in the middle lane. A good example is Amer ‘Miracle-‘ Al-Barkawi of Team Liquid. Instead of making space for the rest of the team, it’s the other way around for Team Liquid. Because of this, Lasse Aukusti ‘MATUMBAMAN‘ Urpalainen, often plays in the safe lane instead. Although, it’s not unusual for both players to switch lanes. Still, the farm priority remains the same and the team usually plays around Miracle- most of the time.

The top midlaner heroes include: Lina, Invoker, Tinker, Arc Warden, and Meepo.

The Position 3 – The Offlaner

Dota 2 Roles

Of all the Dota 2 roles, the offlane is arguably the hardest role to play and master. (MochileroArt / DeviantArt)

Sometimes also known as the “suicide role”, the job of the offlaner is to survive in the offlane and take the brunt of the enemy’s assault while making sure that he does not feed them a lot of kills. The goal of the offlaner is not necessary to take over the lane, or even win it, but to at least break even. A good offlane hero is someone who doesn’t need a lot of levels to make an impact, but has the ability to either escape or tank up enemy damage so as to avoid feeding a lot of deaths early in the game. It also helps if the hero can fall back into the jungle and farm fast, so as not to fall behind too much.

The offlaner usually receives the third-highest farm priority and often plays either as a carry or as a utility support, depending on the needs of the team.

An offlaner’s job is the hard one. Depending on the meta, the offlaner might have to face off against 2 opponents in the lane alone, or sometimes 3. This is why it’s incredibly important for offlaners to be self-sustaining. Their goal is not necessarily to win their lanes, but merely to survive and hold it far as long as possible.

The top offlane heroes include: Sand King, Beastmaster, and Axe.

The Position 4 – Roaming Support

Dota 2 Roles

The role of the roaming support is to make as much space and create as much chaos on the map as possible. (Nestorn316 / DeviantArt)

Sometimes referred to as the “jungler”, but in the current Dota 2 meta, the jungle is no longer a reliable method of farming except, maybe, for one or two heroes such as Enigma and Venomancer, but even then, laning is still very much preferred.

Either way, the goal of the roaming support is to provide help whenever needed and make sure that his team wins the lanes that they need to win.

The roaming supports are known for making a lot of flashy plays all throughout the game, especially in professional matches. However, playing the role is not easy. Because they don’t receive a lot of farm priority, a roaming support must be able to make the most of what they have. Even so, in the hands of the right players, roaming supports can and have made game-winning players in the biggest Dota 2 tournaments in the past.

The top roaming support heroes include: Rubick, Earth Spirit, and Earthshaker.

The Position 5 – Hard Support

Dota 2 Roles

Of the five Dota 2 roles, the hard support usually attracts the oldest of players. (iloveBaya / DeviantArt)

The least mechanically-intensive role in Dota 2, the hard support is responsible for buying Observer Wards and Sentry Wards, as well as making sure that the rest of the team knows where they are and knows where the enemies are. It’s also not unusual for hard supports to sacrifice themselves and take ganks so as to foil an enemy’s attempt to secure more objectives.

As far as Dota 2 roles are concerned, captains usually prefer to play the hard support. This is because the role allows them to focus more on directing their team instead of their own individual play. It’s important for a good hard support player to have a good understanding of the game, as well as the ability to read the map well.

It’s not unusual for the hard support to finish games with nothing but Boots of Speed, as well as a couple of starter items like a Magic Wand, even in their wins.

The top hard support heroes include: Shadow Demon, Lich, and Crystal Maiden.

Which of these Dota 2 roles do you prefer to play? Are you a multi-faceted player who plays a lot of roles? Or do you prefer to stick to one or two? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.

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