Being a game with very intricate mechanics and unique interactions, Dota 2 is more complicated than other MOBAs, but allows for further in-game permutations, such as item builds and team hero compositions. In this guide, we’ll be covering all the important information about Dota 2 heroes, and we’ll also mention some of the most popular ones currently.

What Are the Dota 2 Heroes?

Dota 2 heroes are in-game characters, divided into 3 main categories – Strength, Agility, and Intelligence, with unique abilities that players control in order to defeat the enemy team in a 5 versus 5 match.

It must be said that each hero has all three attributes (as we’ll be calling them from now on) that scale as they level up, but can have only one primary attribute. All heroes receive +1 main attack damage for each main attribute point.

The main attribute defines the hero’s play style, scaling, and build path in most cases (off-meta builds are also a thing).

  • Strength heroes are usually the tankiest because HP scales with strength (each point of strength gives +20 HP and +0.1 health regeneration).
  • Agility heroes are the primary damage dealers in a team. They receive +0.167 armor and +1 attack speed for each agility point.
  • Intelligence heroes rely on ability usage to make an impact on the game and can be played in gank, support, and pusher roles. Each point in intelligence gives the hero +12 mana and +0.05 mana regeneration.

For an esports game, this is already a lot of complexity, but there’s even more. Let’s talk about hero roles!

Dota 2 Hero Roles

There are 9 roles that describe every hero, so each hero can fulfill multiple primary roles, creating a lot of versatility when it comes to team compositions. Heroes aren’t strictly carries or nukers, for instance.


Carry heroes are typically weak in the early game and require assistance throughout the mid-game (unless sufficiently ‘fed’ by the enemy team). However, it is their job to ‘carry’ the team to victory by demolishing the enemy team with their overwhelming damage. Still, in balanced conditions, they need to be careful because they generally don’t have a lot of defensive attributes.

Example Heroes: Night Stalker, Morphling, Outworld Destroyer


These heroes primarily support the team with their abilities by harassing the enemy or protecting friendly heroes. They are usually played ‘in a lane’ with another hero. Supports focus less on gathering gold and getting items quickly because they need to be a constant threat in the match by protecting their carries, which are the main damage dealers of the teams.

Example Heroes: Marci, Vengeful Spirit, Keeper of the Light


The job of a nuker hero is to quickly and decisively turn the tides of the battle when possible. They can cause massive damage in a short amount of time due to their abilities. On top of that, these heroes generally have low cooldowns on their spells and, when paired with the fact that most of their abilities cause Area-of-Effect (AoE) damage, nukers are a crucial source of damage for any team.

Example Heroes: Earth Spirit, Ember Spirit, Storm Spirit


Disabler heroes focus on crowd control and, as their name suggests, disables. These include silences, knockups, stuns, and other disabling abilities. Usually, disablers are also supports because their spells aren’t improved by items. Still, they are an invaluable asset since they can successfully shut down an attack by the enemy team.

Example Heroes: Earthshaker, Riki, Rubick


Junglers are heroes who are highly efficient at scaling by farming jungle creeps. On top of that, having a jungler leads to a team having two solo lanes whose heroes will gain experience and gold quicker. The job of a jungler is also to create pressure in the enemy side lanes by initiating an occasional gank, often with the help of a disabler or support.

Example Heroes: Lycan, Bloodseeker, Chen


Durable heroes (more commonly known as tanks) are heroes whose sole purpose is to disrupt the enemy attack by soaking up most of the damage. This is usually done by ‘forcing’ the enemy team to react to your threats which are commonly AoE spells, summons, or by simply engaging the enemy first. Tank heroes often also fulfill the role of initiator.

Example Heroes: Tidehunter, Ursa, Ogre Magi


Escape heroes are most often played in the ‘suicide’ or short-lane because they have escape mechanisms that make them difficult targets for the enemy team. This sort of agility (not to be confused with the attribute called agility) also gives them unparalleled versatility in teamfights because they can reposition themselves quickly.

Example Heroes: Io, Faceless Void, Batrider


Pushers are all about sieging and destroying the enemy team’s structures such as towers and barracks. Teams require strong map control if they are to win the mid-to-late game, and this is usually accomplished with pushers. Their spells include damaging enemy towers, summoning friendly units, fortifying allied creeps and units, and doing AoE damage.

Example Heroes: Chaos Knight, Broodmother, Enigma


The primary task of initiator heroes is to start teamfights by jumping into the enemy team, surprise attacking them, or disabling them in many ways. It’s worth noting that most initiator heroes rely on the Force Staff and/or Blink Dagger items for acquiring a better position before initiating a teamfight. They are crucial for winning the late game and, ultimately, the match.

Example Heroes: Magnus, Nyx Assassin, Dark Seer

The most popular Dota 2 heroes are often defined by the current meta. We often see highly popular heroes played in esports tournaments as well, and there are even surprise hero picks by esports teams in these tournaments.

Ultimately, the ‘most popular hero list’ is not a definitive list and can change on a regular basis. As of now, these are the 10 most popular Dota 2 heroes (based on information from DotaBuff):

PopularityHeroPick RateTypeRole
1stPudge26.87%StrengthNuker, Disabler, Durable, Initiator
2ndSniper20.85%AgilityCarry, Nuker
3rdJuggernaut20.41%AgilityCarry, Escape, Pusher
4thLion18.78%IntelligenceSupport, Nuker, Disabler, Initiator
5thWitch Doctor17.71%IntelligenceSupport, Nuker, Disabler
6thShadow Fiend17.58%AgilityCarry, Nuker
7thZeus17.24%IntelligenceCarry, Nuker
8thPhantom Assasin17.22%AgilityCarry, Escape
9thFaceless Void16.97%AgilityCarry, Disabler, Durable, Escape, Initiator
10thInvoker15.89%IntelligenceCarry, Nuker, Disabler, Escape, Pusher

Dota 2 New Heroes

Valve has been slowly releasing new Dota 2 heroes with an average of two per year. However, there has only been one new hero in 2022 – Primal Beast, released in February.

Also, since Dota 2 is based on the original Defense of the Ancients Allstars game (called DotA Allstars for short), all of the heroes from Allstars are in Dota 2. However, there are currently 11 heroes that can only be found in Dota 2. These are:

  • Primal Beast (released 23.02.2022)
  • Marci (released 28.10.2021)
  • Dawnbreaker (released 09.04.2021)
  • Hoodwink (17.12.2020)
  • Snapfire (26.11.2019)
  • Void Spirit (26.11.2019)
  • Mars (05.03.2019)
  • Grimstroke (24.08.2018)
  • Dark Willow (31.10.2017)
  • Pangolier (31.10.2017)
  • Monkey King (12.12.2016)

There have also been rumours about five heroes that seem to be in the works, but Valve has not confirmed anything yet.

How To Unlock Dota 2 Heroes

You might be surprised to learn this, but all Dota 2 heroes are available to use for free! You’ll have to finish playing the tutorial but overall, the only things that cost money in the game are skins and battle passes. Also, it’s worth noting that Dota 2’s tutorial is incredibly well-designed, especially compared to other MOBAs.

Dota 2 Betting

Dota 2 betting is among the most exciting forms of esports betting out there, predominantly due to the game’s complexity and incredible esports matches. Numerous teams from various esports countries all try to play to the best of their ability so they can qualify for The International; Dota 2’s biggest esports event of the year.

If you’re interested in Dota 2 betting, it’s best to start with watching a few live streams, on top of learning about the game and the teams.

Is It Possible to Bet on Hero Selection in Tournaments?

While it may be entirely possible that an esports betting site may offer this opportunity, we have not found an instance of it. It’s probably very difficult to optimise the odds considering there are more than 100 heroes in the game.


With all its pros and cons, there’s no doubt that Dota 2 is one of the greatest esports games ever made. The heroes in Dota can be played in a variety of ways and, even though it might be more complicated than others MOBAs, it’s an excellent source of entertainment and fun.

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Dota 2 Heroes FAQs

Currently, the 3 most popular Dota 2 heroes are Pudge, Sniper, and Juggernaut with 26.87%, 20.85%, and 20.41% pick rates, respectively.

There are currently 123 heroes in Dota 2, with a rumoured 5 new heroes that are supposed to be released in the following year.

The newest Dota 2 hero is Primal Beast, released on the 23rd of February 2022.

All Dota 2 heroes are completely free and unlocked for all players, so there’s no need to do anything to get them (apart from finishing the tutorial).

No, you cannot place bets on hero selection in tournaments.

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