dota 2, talents, bulba, draft, heroes

Three of the most insane talents in DotA

Talent Trees have been the best addition to DotA

The addition of Talent Trees came with the Reborn patch along with a breath of fresh air into hero composition. Allowing for in-game adjustments to core aspects of your hero within each game. Simultaneously removing stat upgrades that were only useful on a handful of heroes. Talent Trees have also pushed the creativity of DotA players to new levels due to the nature of some of the upgrades.

Early, a few heroes became basically broken thanks to their talent trees. Most memorably was Lina’s first talent tree that allowed her a respawn timer reduction. A small oversight on a hero that can easily justify a Bloodstone to further reduce her time off the map. This would spell the end for respawn talents. All of which were patched out a couple months later. Talents have seen a lot of touch-ups since, but a few remain extremely impactful. Not just Puck’s ridiculous Level 25 talent of +420 Gold/Min.

puck, dota 2, gpm, talents

Puck being blessed by IceFrog

Crazy Coconuts and a Scorched Earth campaign

Witch Doctor’s talent choice at level 15 is between +90 Damage and +2 Paralyzing Cask Bounces. Too bad carry Witch Doctor isn’t a thing. But, support Witch Doctor is boosted with another 2 seconds of lockdown and damage. On the surface this may not seem so powerful. A level 4 Paralyzing Cask already bounces 8 times. Though adding another 2 bounces adds another second of stun in a teamfight. The value of this cannot be underestimated. Coupled with Maledict, a Death Ward, or both can provide devastating damage from a support.

Another hero who’s teamfight presence benefits from a Level 15 Talent is Doom. Scorched Earth is already a powerful ability:

doom, scorched earth, dota 2

(Dotabuff)

So let’s add another 15 Damage and Heal per second to that. Doom has largely fallen out of the meta as an offlaner and support. But, this talent turns him into a very tanky frontliner in any teamfight. Think about it in terms of HP alone. With this talent Scorched earth does 640 magic damage over 16 seconds before reductions. in a 600 range area. While also healing Doom for the same amount. If you were to catch two heroes in a gank for seven seconds; that’s an HP swing of 1155 in favor of your team. In the early-mid game this is incredibly annoying to fight into before even taking into account his ultimate.

How much regen is too much regen

The answer is a Timbersaw with max Reactive Armor stacks at Level 15. Because this is when he gains a passive +14 Health Regen. If you haven’t played against this yet, pray you never do. A Timbersaw with no items and max stacks of Reactive Armor at this point would have a cool 46 HP regen/second. Add in another 21 HP regen with a Bloodstone and you have a real problem chaining all over the place. Physical damage becomes almost useless with all Timbersaw’s armor and regen. You would need a ton of magic damage burst just to make a Timbersaw think about leaving a fight.

DotA has always been a game about talent. With MMR dividing up players into skill brackets. A pro scene rich with extremely skilled players who are always pushing the game’s limits. Talent Trees just provide a in-game nuance that further ensures no two DotA games are the same.

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witch doctor, dota 2, support

Making the case for Supporting in pubs

Supporting in DotA 2 pubs is not the most glamorous way to play, but it can be extremely effective when climbing MMR and enjoying the game.

We have all had games that start with fights over who buys the courier. Then someone caves and drops one in the Fountain, allowing it to sit there until First Blood. Meanwhile, the other mid already has a bottle, your offlaner is hiding in the trees waiting for the Shrine to be up, and your safe kaner keeps dying to get to the Side Shop.

Overall, it’s a pretty abysmal start to any game. This all stems from a vast majority of players wanting to pick core heroes and just trying to carry games. DotA is a team game, though it sometimes doesn’t feel that way. Playing the support role can give you a tangible leg up on a team that chooses not to draft at least one.

Supporting in pubs has incredibly high impact

There is so much going on during any given game. Every role is complex, coming with unique wrinkles in movement, play-style, farm pattern, item timings and teamfight participation. The list goes on. As a support, you have to be aware of all of this while also deciding how to best utilize your role. It becomes both an extremely challenging and rewarding task. Just buying wards and having vision down on the map can teach you something new each game. A well-executed early smoke can boost morale.

support, dota 2, crystal maiden, pudge, sven, drow ranger, faceless void

While these things seem trivial from an individual perspective, they can make or break a game. For example, pushing high-ground without any wards is the easiest way to throw away a lead. When playing against a team who is warding ganks becomes so much harder without counter-wards or smokes. The main knock against supporting is it’s “just not as fun”. Agree to disagree there. Nothing is more fun than winning games.

Supports that feel like Cores

The current meta is also allowing for a lot of heroes to be played in the 4 position while still having the ability to get kills. Heroes like Spirit Breaker and Earthshaker have insane win-rates. Both heroes are also a dream to play as a support due to their lack of early item dependence. Spirit Breaker can be anywhere on the map at any time thanks to his Charge of Darkness. Earthshaker can sit in trees and provide initiation from a distance while staying off the map. Both of these heroes benefit from early rotations, becoming a serious issue for the other team after 2-3 items have been farmed up, all the while boosting the performance of their kills by dominating lanes with early kills or pressure. While these heroes can be played as offlaners, they thrive as aggressive supports.

Currently, Witch Doctor is a traditional support hero that can have a significant impact on a game. If you were to craft the dream support toolkit it would probably end up pretty close to Witch Doctor, as he has a stun, heal and huge damage potential, not to mention one of the coolest Aghanim’s Scepter upgrades in the game.

dota 2, witch doctor, aghs

(Dotabuff)

Overall, Witch Doctor’s ultimate is a very powerful teamfight ability. Most important is that it deals physical damage and carries a true strike mechanic, making it a great counter to heroes with high evasion like Phantom Assassin. Every so often you’ll start channeling your Death Ward and the enemy will pop a Black King Bar charge while they take 150 damage per second anyway. One of the more satisfying feelings out there.

Playing support may not be the most glamorous thing to do in DotA 2. But its impact on games is hard to argue. Having a good support in a game can make even the closest loss enjoyable. Supporting is also so different than the other roles that you learn much more about the game, making for a better experience for your whole team.


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The Frog’s sense of Humour

This is so wrong. (Courtesy of dev.dota2.com)

Every Hero in Dota 2 is usually known through a single title, which is either their name or a description of the Hero. This came as a bit unusual for us older players, as back in DotA 1, every character would have both their name and description shown in-game. As in, Traxex the Drow Ranger, Shendelzare Silkwood the Vengeful Spirit, Viper the Netherdrake, etc.

Occasionally, some would show special names instead of their originals, and that was mostly a way for our buddy Icefrog to troll us, or even to give credit to certain players for their gameplay with a specific Hero.

Here’s some of those: (Well it’s actually most of them)

-Anti-mage: BurNing. I think it was love at first sight. They’ve killed so many innocent creatures for their bounties together. (original name: Magina)

-Axe: Mogul Khant Touch This. Obvious joke (OK, joke ATTEMPT) with his original name, Mogul Khan.

-Mirana: Jumong. A legendary Korean archer. I believe there’s been a TV series about this guy.

-Shadow Fiend: YaphetS. ‘Nough said. (Original name: Nevermore)

-Puck: Kupu-Kupu. Means “butterfly” in Indonesian and Malay.

-Razor: Gilette. Yeah…

-Vengeful Spirit: 820. A retired Chinese pro player, arguably the best Shendelzare player ever.

-Zeus: Merlini. ‘Nough said!!

-Kunkka: Captain Obvious. Doh.

-Witch Doctor: Moose. Taken from LD.Moose and his video about Witch Doctor (original name: Vol’jin)

-Riki: Riki Martin. I kid you not. (Original name was actually Rikimaru)

-Sniper: Vasilij Zajcev. The well-known Soviet Union hero and sniper during World War 2.

-Necrophos: A Phoe Gyi. In Myanmar/Burmese, this means An Old Man, or so the legends say.

-Faceless Void: Gorzerk. A guy that used to make some tools for DotA, and was using Void as his profile picture. (Original name: Darkterror)

-Dragon Knight: Trogdor. A mini game where you control a dragon, stepping on innocent villagers while avoiding the city guard. Or something.

-Lifestealer: Gollum. Yup. (Original name: N’aix)

-Clinkz: Clinkz Eastwood. Clint Eastwood. Flint Beastwood.

-Enchantress: Bambi. Freaking. Bambi. (Original name: Aiushtha)

-Keeper of the Light: Gandalf. Well, I wouldn’t have been able to resist, either. (Original name: Ezalor)

-Chen: Jackie Chen. Fair enough.

-Spectre: qwerty- . Ready for some feels? -Qwerty was a player who had become famous for a specific Spectre instance, this one here:

He died quite young, in December 5th, 2010. After that, Icefrog gave his nickname to Spectre. People still call him King of Dispersion and the such.

-Ursa: Fuzzy Wuzzy. Because of all the free hugs. (Original name: Ulfsaar)

-Spirit Breaker: Roadrunner. Beep-beep. (Original name: Barathrum)

-Invoker: Kal-El. Besides him being as powerful as Superman, it sounds similar with his original name, Kael (from Warcraft 3’s Kael).

-Shadow Demon: Giblet. This one’s a bit of a mystery. Rumours say it’s because SD’s original model was a gnoll, which resembled Overlord’s Giblet. . . somewhat. . . maybe.

-Nyx Assassin: A’noob Arak. Original name Anub’arak (Warcraft 3).

-Io: Santelmo and Weird Ball. The former is a fireball-like mythological creature, and the latter is self-explanatory.

-Meepo: MeePwn. MeePwn was a Meepo player known for his Meepo plays with Meepo. I believe he still Meepos around sometimes.

SPECIAL MENTION: Sven was actually named Arnold Schwarzenegger for one patch.