Dota 2’s metagame is notorious for shifting and changing courses on a dime, given the flexible nature of hero roles and the huge impact items have on the game. These days especially, diverse tournament metas are to be expected with only a handful of heroes going unpicked.
At the highest levels of play, games can be won or lost even before the creeps spawn. Having a good hero composition can spell the difference between a struggle to breach high ground and a team with heroes that complement each other and form a well-oiled machine.
This tier list—based on the current competitive metagame—outlines which heroes are picked most often by professional teams and those that stand out in terms of win percentages. Note that this list will not include every single hero, mainly because there are simply too many in Dota to count. Instead, we’ll break the list down to roughly 40 of the most popular and effective heroes.
A month of relatively lower-profile and shorter tournaments, coupled with no patch changes, has caused teams to introduce more heroes into their rotation. Targeted nerfs from 7.27d are starting to see their effect on flavor of the month heroes like Doom, while heroes like Phoenix and Tiny continue to defy expectations and maintain their status as stable first picks and bans
- Faceless Void
- Void Spirit
Tier one belongs to heroes who make an appearance in almost every drafting stage, whether it’s for their role flexibility, the versatility to fit any draft, or a unique skill set that no other hero can replicate.
Several heroes in the top-tier scale well into the late game but are able to provide a significant contribution in teamfights and objectives. The game has slowed down considerably thanks to the 7.27 change that prevents Outposts from switching hands until a tier-two tower drops.
Faceless Void is becoming the de facto carry choice for most pro teams and is more prevalent than ever this month. Void provides one of the best teamfight ultimates a hard carry can offer. It goes fantastically with the more teamfight-focused meta Dota 2 has been trending towards.. He’s still one of the hardest carries in the game, and Chronosphere means that often-prized slipperiness for heroes like Anti-Mage don’t mean much
The hero’s versatility with item builds allows him to contribute no matter the phase of the game. Mask of Madness, Hand of Midas, Diffusal Blade, or even a Sange and Yasha rush all serve vastly different playstyles, and are all equally valid depending on in-game circumstances. Even when opting for a greedier item, the hero’s valuable contribution from early Chronospheres allows his team to pump in damage safely from afar with heroes like Phoenix and Snapfire.
Players are also opting to pick up the Time Walk talents and Backtrack on Faceless Void, rendering him nigh unkillable when paired with a status resistance build. It also pairs very well with a late-game Aghanim’s, whether bought from the shop or blessed by Roshan. Gaining the ability to Time Lock on command turns him into a terrifying crowd controller on a 4.25-second cooldown. Void can then save his precious ultimate for when he needs to pick off an important enemy at will.
Surprisingly, Phoenix has become one of the top picks of the meta. The hero received a significant early-game nerf in its Fire Spirits cost, which was slightly compensated with an extra hit point on his level one Supernova. The hero was never the strongest laner anyway but has always provided one of the strongest teamfight presences in the game, even as a gold-starved support.
With laning becoming less important, the Fire Spirits nerf has been deemed inconsequential to the hero’s strength in early and mid-game teamfights. Sun Ray is both a potent heal and damaging ability, with its percentage scaling and level 20 talent that allows it to be used during Supernova making it relevant throughout all stages of the game.
Void Spirit is still a monster in lane, thanks to his numerous AOE nukes that make pushing waves and punishing opponents a cinch. When played mid, he often rushes Aghanim’s Scepter, which provides two charges of Resonant Pulse for additional burst damage and crowd control. Another popular build has seen him being built more as an annoying initiator and space creator playing from the offlane.
The hero’s two escape spells make him ultra slippery and good magic damage on all of his skills makes him a potent killing core in a sidelane duo. His Aether Remnant is seeing expanded usage as a temporary ward and chokepoint holder, rather than just as a stun and nuke.
Against all odds and tons of nerfs to Tiny’s Toss, the hero has once again become the hot pick of the meta. A hero that can comfortably play the mid or support role, Tiny’s high burst damage with Avalanche and Toss, coupled with his inherent tankiness as a bulky strength support supplemented with Grow’s armor increase, makes for a fearsome hero no matter how much farm he has.
The hero’s Tree Grab changes have come a long way to making him viable once again. While permanent Tree Grab before 7.27b made him a niche carry pick, the movement speed decrease along with several number nerfs made him a far less effective ganker. The ideal damage combo consisted of him throwing the tree anyway, so permanence wasn’t a very attractive prospect. As a support, the hero can eliminate squishy targets with just a Blink Dagger. As a core, the hero’s high base damage allows him to scale with items like Echo Sabre, Crystalys, and even Aghanim’s Scepter. He’s not the best hero in the lane, but he still possesses a unique threat with Toss backs to the tower or an awaiting ally, making him a superb all-rounder.
It’s official: Bloodseeker is the real deal. Since Team Secret first destroyed OG with the unconventional offlaner in the last week of August, the hero has flourished in his new role. His Thirst passive makes every aggressive action, even on the opposite side of the map, a potential threat, and his high damage Bloodrite nuke is potent well into the later game thanks to its added Silence utility.
Related: Is offlane Bloodseeker a trend or fad?
It’s a great indication of a hero’s overloaded skill set when he can buy pretty much whatever he wants and still play an important role in the game. The hero is generally played as a tanky bruiser, with items like Guardian Greaves, Veil of Discord, and Blademail. Some teams have experimented playing him in an initiation role, using Eul’s Scepter of Divinity to virtually guarantee a successful Bloodrite cast to kick off any fight, and Aghanim’s Scepter to provide an extra charge of Rupture control.
Magnus has surged back into the meta as a strong flex pick. He’s capable of taking the midlane, rarely losing due to his innate cleave skill. In a lower priority role, Skewer can function as a decent escape and a strong, if unwieldy enemy repositioning tool. A BKB-piercing ultimate in Reverse Polarity is always in demand.
Besides, no matter how many nerfs hit Empower, it’s one of the strongest farming steroids in the game for a melee, last pick carry like Troll Warlord and Phantom Assassin. It mitigates the risk of picking heroes so dependent on pace and being ahead, allowing them to forgo a Battlefury in favor of fighting items, letting them pose a threat much earlier in the game.
A slower meta has helped bring Doom back into the fold. The hero’s one point increase in armor, while a classic meme, has actually helped improve his laning. Buffs to Devour gold has helped to rapidly increase his net worth accruing speed, allowing the hero to enter the mid game with an almost-guaranteed item advantage even if he loses the lane.
He’s even being played mid, a rather new role for the hero, in addition to his usual spots in the offlane as a core or support. Doom’s powerful ultimate has always been well-established as one of the most potent spells in Dota 2 and a buff to a few key pieces of his kit has turned him into a terror. After 7.27d’s nerf to Devour health regeneration, the hero has seen his primary role switched to mid, where he’s subjected to less harassment and continues to benefit from expedited levels.
Snapfire is now a top-tier pick thanks to her newly discovered niche in the mid lane. She has two nukes that make it trivial to push out waves, and her Aghanim’s Scepter upgrade Gobble Up is a hard-hitting, long-range initiation tool that can literally hit your opponents from more than a screen away.
Related: Why are Dota 2 pros going mid Snapfire now?
She continues to be monstrous later on in the game, as her level 20 and 25 talents provide an alternate path for her to be a physical damage dealer.
As a support, she retains some potency due to her utility. Scatterblast slows movement and attack speed, Snapfire Cookie stuns, Lil’ Shredder reduces armor for both units and builds, and Mortimer’s Kisses still deals a ton of damage. She’s a superb all-rounder, and her novel flexibility in roles propels her to tier one.
- Drow Ranger
- Storm Spirit
- Vengeful Spirit
- Elder Titan
- Nature’s Prophet
Tier two represents stable picks in the meta that don’t merit instant bans or anything so extreme. Some of the heroes in this tier are ones you can safely pick without giving away too much of your gameplan.
Spectre represents the best of the rest of the carries. If not for Faceless Void’s immense versatility, Spectre’s global teamfight ultimate and incredible scaling would have seen him leap into tier one.
After nerfs to Necronomicon and Drums of Endurance, as well as the short-lived Meteor Hammer fad, Blademail has now become the crowning farming item for Spectre. While it’s always been a viable pickup for her, the reworked Blademail’s passive and active work on creeps, functioning as a pseudo-Radiance costing just 2050 gold. The item’s components, especially the Chainmail, are great to have in the lane, and the additional armor also helps you to tank stacks of neutrals and ancients without going into the red. To top it all off, it synergizes nicely with your Dispersion, causing all enemies that attack you to have 42 percent and a flat 20 damage reflected back to them passively.
Players are now following up with right-click items, such as Yasha into Manta Style or Diffusal Blade. The extra illusions deal pure Desolate damage, a devastating counter to fragile enemies he can easily jump into with Haunt, and even works on Roshan, making Spectre a decent Rosh threat.
Drow Ranger has skyrocketed in the tier list for carries. For a hero that has been one-dimensional most of her life, Multishot makes her an artillery cannon in teamfights and ganks, and she remains an ever-present ranged damage threat. Since the skill scales off her attack range, Dragon Lance has become a core first item on her, and a Grove Bow drop or Vengeful Spirit support allows her Multishot to cover an absurd area.
With Heaven’s Halberd becoming one of the most popular items in the game, Drow now has ways to get around the long disarm. Drow’s ultimate, Marksmanship, pierces the innate evasion the item provides, and if she is hit by the active, Multishot still can be casted to deal tons of physical damage.
Lifestealer is becoming a more common sight thanks to the multitudes of tanky offlaners that inhabit the offlane. He’s incredibly sustainable in lane thanks to Feast, which scales off his opponent’s health. It’s less effective at tearing off huge chunks of health, but having attack speed tied to it makes him a faster-farming carry with raw damage item pickups like Armlet of Mordiggian and Desolator becoming the default build rather than the previously in-vogue Radiance.
Players are also now using Infest in far more creative ways, treating it like a pseudo-heal and save by popping in and out of ailing allies. Lifestealer bombs with initiators remain effective, and his Rage that comes with magic immunity will rarely go out of fashion.
Storm Spirit’s prowess in the late-game was never in doubt, thanks to his near unlimited initiation range and damage potential with his level-25 talent Static Remnant talent. It was his comparatively weak laning stage when compared to heroes like Queen of Pain that saw him phased out for more reliable mid laners.
With more passive and melee mids like Doom, Magnus, and Void Spirit in style, Storm now has a better time in the early game. Pros are now opting for an Orchid Malevolence as their first big item instead of Bloodstone, with some players even preferring to forgo Power Treads, allowing them to set the tempo early on. It helps that Orchid is at its cheapest iteration in years due to the changes made in the 7.27 patch. Paired with heroes like Spectre, it allows Storm to freely pick and choose who to blitz and silence before they can even react.
Vengeful Spirit has become a top-tier five thanks to her reliable and effective kit. Everything about her skills screams reliable: a single-target stun, an AoE armor reduction effect that also provides vision to scout enemies and wards, an offensive aura, and a point-and-click initiation or save. Group them together and you have one of the best position fives in the game.
The hero makes up for her lack of babysitting skills with a potent mid-game. Ranged heroes like Drow Ranger and Metamorphosed Terrorblade benefit greatly from her Vengeance Aura and their squishier tendencies can be compensated with Venge’s Netherswap. Even without the bonus attack range, which carry hero would say no to more damage? To cap it all off, she’s effective even in death, spawning an illusion that continues to provide her grudge-bearing aura.
Clockwerk has long been regarded as one of the weakest offlane heroes for a long time, with his entire skill kit being too feast or famine to reliably pull off even at the highest level. Yet the hero has found new life as a hard support.
Rocket Flare remains one of the most powerful vision-givers in the game. It has a global cast range, lingers for a long time, and is a supreme intelligence-gatherer for key objectives like Roshan. Players also use it as a split-pushing tool, but the vision it gives is its most powerful aspect.
The hero’s suicidal tendencies by using Hookshot directly into enemies is less impactful with a reduced role in the game. Clockwerk still remains a capable roamer from role five and is actually pretty decent in lane with his bulk. Plus, Clockwerk always remains an annoyance against support heroes, especially those that can’t afford a Force Staff.
- Phantom Assassin
- Ember Spirit
- Earth Spirit
- Death Prophet
The heroes in tier three have proven to be effective over a limited number of games. They serve as good options for teams looking to diversify their drafts in an effort to become less predictable—or as niche picks to counter certain popular heroes.
Phantom Assassin is the gambler’s choice for a carry, and remains the queen of physical burst. Hit the Coup de Grace jackpot, and watch your enemies’ heads roll. Don’t, and you’ll find yourself deep in an engagement with little to protect you.
If you need damage, go for Phantom Assassin and pick up a Desolator. It’s not rocket science, but standing her ground is what proves to be most difficult. Her Blur evasion has become less effective thanks to Monkey King Bar’s popularity, and she remains as susceptible as ever to magical burst until she gets Black King Bar.
She still has incredible upside, and picking up a hero like Magnus to accelerate her farm alleviates some of her riskiness.
The meta is seeing two different Elder Titans. When played as a four, the hero retains much of his conventional playstyle, using stacks and Astral Spirit to be a dominant force in lane, before becoming a more orthodox support with long-range initiation and scouting.
The importance of his Astral Spirit is taken up a notch when played as a three, however. Teams opting for this style go for Phase, Drums, and an Aghahim’s Scepter, which grants him magic immunity duration based on the amount of heroes he hits. He becomes a monstrous teamfighting core in the mid game, often deleting heroes in a couple of hits thanks to his insane Natural Order aura.
Elder Titan has likely benefited from the 7.27d change that removed Vladimir’s Offering armor aura. Once an ubiquitous pick for offlaners, it’s become less prominent due to its lowered all-around effectiveness, thus making a boxer ET even more terrifying in regulating a mid-game tempo.
Pro teams seem split between the two styles as of now. Teams like Secret and OG have tasked their offlaners to play Elder Titan, while Nigma have continued to play closer to the chest in the four role.
Whenever Battlefury gets better, expect Anti-Mage to benefit. A cheaper cost helps the hero to begin accelerating even earlier and aforementioned Outpost changes further aid arguably the best split-pusher in the game. He’s still a great gotcha pick but remains rarely useful outside of that.
Morphling is a great one-vs-one laner, especially in mid, and is an extremely hard carry that doesn’t care too much about physical damage. Since Waveform is also his escape spell, using it aggressively can spell a quick death. The hero does require a team to commit to his early well-being, however, either by picking him into a good matchup or protecting his lane, since he can be severely punished during his first few levels and doesn’t actually farm well until he amasses a legion of Wraith Bands and Power Treads.
Riki is being experimented with as a mid laner, especially by OG’s Topson. He’s not seen much practical success, but he’s solid in theory. His innately high base health regen and armor means he can trade rather effectively even without Backstab, and he has decent starting damage and attack animation. Once he reaches level six, it becomes impossible to stay in the lane against him due to Backstab working on denies.
He’s a pretty good ganker that only requires Diffusal Blade to pick off targets, and his later talents like Blink Strike cast range allows him to be incredibly slippery. His incapability to push out waves and scale into the later stages means that he has no backup plan if he isn’t getting assassination bounties, meaning that he’s a one-trick that can look phenomenal or easily fall flat when things go awry.
This is not an end-all list of heroes to pick. As mentioned, the flexibility of roles and laning in Dota 2 means that even the most unorthodox picks and strategies can work at times. And with the huge variety of heroes available to play, there’s almost always a way to fit that one hero into your composition.