For Part 1, click here.
Dota 2 is a massive game. Very few people will ever learn everything there is to know about it. Perhaps its most impressive aspect is the number of varied, interesting heroes you can play as. There are 110 heroes to choose from (as of patch 6.85), and the way the game has balanced each of them to serve a specific role within a team is one of the most astonishing things about playing it. One of the reasons people play Dota 2 for thousands of hours is because it never gets old, and the fact that no human being will ever see every possible five-versus-five team lineup is a big part of this.
It’s a testament to the design of the game there isn’t a “bad” hero in the game. On or against the right team, any hero can feel powerful or fun to play. But some heroes are better than others. We’ve ranked every Dota 2 hero in order, from worst to best. We’ve used a patented formula which calculates the quality of every hero using factors such as aesthetic, range of utility, abilities that make you say “wow,” cleverness, and the ever-accurate “fun factor.” This list was compiled after using these and other metrics to create a rubric by which to judge every hero, then shuttling names around on a Google document. If you have questions or concerns about the nature of this important scientific document, please let us know in the comments below.
Part 3 will follow next week.
Suriel Vazquez is a freelance writer who cut himself with an X-ACTO knife during an art class and had to manually tear all of his construction paper for the rest of the year. He’s written for Paste, GamesBeat, Vice, Playboy, and several others. You follow him on Twitter.
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83. Death Prophet: In her 6.81-2 heyday, Death Prophet was a force to be reckoned with. Her ghost army ate away towers and enemy heroes alike with ease, shredding them to bits within seconds. She was a spooky ghost lady who lived up to her fearsome name, frightening even professional players into banning her before any other hero. She's been tamed in recent patches, but she's not quite obsolete yet—towers still melt around her, just not as often. She also moves ridiculously fast with the right skillset, and buying a Eul's scepter to make sure you're invincible as your ghosts decimate the enemy always feels like you're on the verge of breaking the game.
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82. Warlock: Warlock is one of those "conundrum" heroes: he has one of the highest, most consistent win rates in regular matchmaking games, but he's all but forgotten in the competitive scene, despite not being as easily dealt with as, say, heroes who rely on being invisible all the time. It's a shame, too, because summoning a giant demon in the middle of three or four enemies—colloquially known as "dropping the rock"—is the stuff great moments are made of. He can also bind enemies' fate together, so that when one takes the damage, the others do as well. There's a cruel fun in watching someone run away while their friend is about to die, knowing that you'll end up killing both of them anyway.
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81. Sven : I want to like Sven a lot more than I do. He throws his giant electric fist at people, which as it turns out is a great way to start a fight on your terms. He can hit multiple enemies at once with his giant sword, and his ultimate ability is to turn red, a color which grants him massive bonus damage. But most of the time, he needs too many items to be useful, and while he's one of the strongest heroes to rely on later in the game, it's usually a tough crawl to get there.
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80. Disruptor: Glimpse is one of the best abilities in the game. In a game about being in the right place at the right time, it guarantees that an enemy will make it, on time, to the whooping you promised you'd serve them. It also synergizes well with the rest of his abilities, which including an electric cage, and an electric floor to hurt them, which are admittedly not as good as teleporting an enemy back to where they used to be to deliver a beating.
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79. Venomancer: Venomancer is a more interesting version of Viper, finding more creative and efficient ways of annoy the living hell out of people. He can spawn slimy little monsters whose attacks slow you, and throw lots of poison your way, making sure that if you don't die to one kind of poison, you'll succumb to another. His monsters are also just strong enough that it's hard work killing them early in the game, when he's at his most powerful. Screw Venomancer.
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78. Treant Protector: None of Treant Protector's abilities outshine the fact that you're playing as a giant, sentient tree. It feels nice to heal allies, make them invisible and bind enemies to the earth, sure. But when you're playing as him, it's really to hear some of his great voice work and lines, such as "is it weird that I drink with my feet?" The funny thing is, in the grand scheme of a game like Dota 2, it really isn't. We'll accept you for who you are, Mr. Tree.
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77. Lifestealer: Lifestealer does as his name implies: he steals life. Every monstrous slap of his saps health, and he can turn an enemy into a fountain of life, giving health to everyone who hits them. But that's not what makes Lifestealer great. Recent patches have given the hero an ironic twist; the most fun you'll have as the Lifestealer comes from granting it, by controlling the monsters that normally stand around parts of the map, doing nothing but taking damage from heroes who need gold from them. There's nothing quite like running up to the enemy's base with a 2000 health rock monster ten minutes into the game and seeing them scurry away.
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76. Leshrac: Leshrac was the king of patch 6.84. He'd gone mostly unnoticed for most of Dota 2's competitive history, save for some salient picks here and there. But in 6.84, he was everywhere, dealing out damage in a diverse number of ways and staying relevant throughout the entire course of a match (not something most other heroes can claim). He's fallen in this latest patch after getting some balancing slaps on the wrist, but he's still formidable, and he can still begin radiating brightly (and deal damage) at the drop of a hat, so he's got that going for him.
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75. Crystal Maiden: Crystal Maiden makes a match more fun for the rest of her team; her Arcane Aura makes sure everyone always has the mana to cast their spells with impunity. It synergizes well with any lineup, which ensures that no one hates having a Crystal Maiden on their team. But, she does suffer from being one of the easiest heroes in the game to kill, due to her low health pool and lack of mobility.
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74. Nature's Prophet: Nature's Prophet inspires some strong opinions. When you're doing poorly, you'll inspire your teammates to let the other team know how useless you are. You're not fighting the enemy, you're not teleporting to the enemy's side of the map to chip away at their base while everyone else is fighting. When you're doing well, the enemy team will let you know how awful the hero is, since they can never seem to catch you. They'll call you a rat. And if you're a Nature's Prophet player, this is a point of pride.