Dota 2’s competitive meta can change at the drop of a hat. Professional players bring out fresh ideas and new schemes all the time, leading to an ever-evolving roster of heroes that seemingly change day-to-day.
In this Dota 2 hero tier list, heroes are roughly arranged in three tiers to signify their importance in the pro scene. About forty heroes are represented, though Dota 2’s balanced nature means that many more heroes are viable.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of the good heroes—they’re ranked by their popularity in the pro scene, where execution matters as much as the draft.
The conclusion of the Arlington Major has given us yet more insights into the meta. Ranged offlaners that can carry in a pinch continue to be popular, as well as melee initiators that pair well with them. Healing position fives have also seen a massive uptick in picks, likely due to the increasing difficulty of safelane cores staying in lane.
- Winter Wyvern
Tier one heroes appear in almost every draft, whether it’s banned or picked. Their strength can come from their flexibility, allowing teams to easily slot them into lanes as they see fit, or overpowering might that no other hero can quite reproduce—or counter.
Puck has surged back into the meta as the premier midlaner. The hero didn’t receive any changes for two straight patches, but circumstantial nerfs to Black King Bar and other mid heroes catapulted the perennial pick back into contention.
The hero fell out of favor when its Aghanim’s Scepter was changed from its Dream Coil upgrades to instead boost Waning Rift. But pros have realized that the hero remains just as potent in lane with two nukes in Waning Rift and Illusory Orb, and is still extremely elusive.
Plus, the Faerie Dragon is one of the few mid laners who don’t buy BKB, instead relying on Orb and Phase Shift to float around the battlefield like the Pucker it is. This gives it room to opt for more damage items, like Witch Blade and Kaya, shifting to utility only when needed.
Later on at level 25, most Pucks opt for the Dream Coil piercing spell immunity talent, which is now no longer tied to an item. With BKB cooldown as long as it is now, you can practically catch an enemy offguard at any time — and just once can spell death with Puck’s high damage spells.
Viper has become a top-tier pick due to his inbuilt Break mechanic—one of two heroes that can do so without buying any items—and his ability to dominate lanes against most match-ups.
He’s a great counter against several powerful core picks this meta like Bristleback and Spectre, which makes him a good draft opener to deny possible picks for your opponents. His lack of teamfight control is made up for by his laning prowess, decent tankiness, and mid-game damage, with initiation often covered by a melee four like Marci or Tiny.
The hero can dole out surprising amounts of damage, and becomes a respectable sieging machine later in the game with an Aghanim’s Shard upgrade that allows Poison Attack to be used on buildings.
After a long time dominating the position one charts as one of the game’s best hard carries, nuking Tiny is coming back as a mid or soft support.
With nerfs over the past few patches generally targeting Tree Grab, Avalanche and Toss remain just as potent as ever. What’s more, Avalanche’s seemingly small buff in 7.31 that changed each instance to stun for 0.3 seconds instead of 0.2 have made it virtually impossible for heroes to dodge the spell. Most importantly, it stops Pucks from using Phase Shift, making him a premier counter to one of the meta’s strongest heroes.
Mid Tinys are increasingly going for Aghanim’s Scepter to flesh out their build. A buff to Tree Volley, which now reduces movement speed and attack speed, makes the spell much easier to land consistently.
Like Viper, Razor’s surprising late-game potential and laning prowess, plus the prevalence of melee supports, have turned him into one of the game’s premier position threes.
Instead of needing the offlaner to provide auras, utility, or crowd control, Razor’s lightning-fast speed turns him into a pseudo-initiator and frontliner. Often armed with just a Black King Bar, Razor can immediately rush into fights and Static Link physical damage dealers, rendering the opposing core nearly useless in a fight. When you add Refresher Orb to that, the hero can spend 12 magic immune seconds running about and doling out tons of physical spell damage.
Razor’s farming speed with Eye of the Storm is also high, which makes him more of a flexible pick than Viper. It’s not uncommon to see Razor shift to safe or even midlanes, where his Plasma Field can prove to be a powerful harass and creep securing skill.
Winter Wyvern has become an incredibly flexible hero in the draft. Though most often played as a support, she can easily be moved mid to take advantage of her incredible Aghanim’s Scepter and damage-over-time potential.
In lane, she’s one of the best harrassers due to her long-range Arctic Burn. Just tagging heroes with it once can easily burn off chunks of opponents’ health, allowing her core—or herself—to farm in peace. She’s also an incredible teamfight presence thanks to Winter’s Curse, which can often curb initations from the opposing team, and healing spell Cold Embrace.
She’s also deceptively hard to kill, since Arctic Burn gives her bonus night vision and gives her flying movement. All in all, Wyvern is a teamfight monster that’s flexible in the draft—and thus has fantastic utility as a pick.
Timbersaw is stepping in as one of the stronger position threes, capable of flexing to two. He’s difficult to push out of the lane against most of the popular carries right now, and benefits heavily from solo experience — allowing ganking supports like Marci and Tiny to roam early on.
He rewards his teams with some of the highest burst damage one can get from a offlaner, though lacks a bit of crowd control. In some sense, he’s in the same profile of heroes as Razor and Viper—difficult to kill, can take over a game by themselves, and can output damage from up close or far away.
The changes to Healing Salve sharing in 7.31d has propelled several healing supports into the spotlight, but none has had as dramatic a rise as Dazzle.
Dazzle received a plethora of buffs and reworks over 7.31 and 7.31d, and the changes have finally propelled the Shadow Preist into stardom. His spells, in essence, haven’t changed much—Shadow Wave and Shallow Grave are still two of the best defensive spells in the whole game. While Bad Juju still sounds like a confusing spell, the little bursts of healing and damage it does adds up over time.
The true winner here is his Shard-upgraded Posion Touch, which now hexes opponents for two seconds. It’s an unexpected source of crowd control from a hero who has generally little offensive potential, and can be potent follow-up lockdown from a hero who likes following behind his allies anyway.
Some teams have even elected to pick the support as a cheeky damage dealer. His Shadow Wave, combined with illusion heroes like Phantom Lancer or summons like Nature’s Prophet’s Treants, can be a potent tool against certain matchups.
Chen’s most powerful attribute is his ability to stack auras from the jungle. Gone are the days of flashy four-Centaur Conqueror stomps, here are the days when you pick up four creeps to stand at a suitable distance behind your core hero.
The neutral creep changes in 7.31 have finally caught up with the hero, who now has a bevy of smaller neturals that he loves to take—such as the Centaur Courser’s 15 percent magic resistance aura, the Hill Troll Priest Heal Amplication Aura, and the classic Alpha Wolf. With a cheap Aghanim’s Shard, he gains access to powerful Ancients—instead of needing to spend gold on a Scepter.
- Faceless Void
- Death Prophet
- Templar Assassin
Tier two heroes are safe and stable picks that don’t usually warrant instant bans or picks. While not as oppressive as the heroes in tier one, they can equally strong in a match that favors their skillset.
Of the heroes here, several of them are threatening to close in on tier one status. Bloodseeker is the rare breed of melee hard carries that can move to the offlane, with mostly standardized starting items (Phase Boots, Maelstrom, Black King Bar) that focus on efficiency. He’s self-sufficient in lane and can seriously carry games, but being melee limits popular melee support pairings—although good drafts and teams can work around it.
Marci has rapidly shot up the rankings as one of Dota 2’s best aggressive supports. She’s always ready to jump into the fray, and her ability to pull enemies out of position reliably with Dispose can be a serious threat to any enemy trying to hold a unified line.
- Storm Spirit
- Lone Druid
- Night Stalker
- Chaos Knight
- Monkey King
- Keeper of the Light
The heroes in tier three appear here and there, but are popular enough to be recognized as powerful additions to a team’s draft. They can be cheesy last picks that are impossible to deal with, mesh perfectly with a player or team’s play style, or serve as niche counters to some popular heroes.
Surprisingly, Storm Spirit has surged back into the meta as a powerful midlaner. Though the Null Talisman nerfs hit the hero hard, teams have realized that Raijin’s sheer mobility and damage are difficult to replace. Picked 21 times through the Arlington Major, Storm won 15 games—good for a 71 percent win rate. If the patch doesn’t come before the qualifiers, expect Storm to become a comfort pick for many teams.
Visage and Lone Druid belong in the same class of summons heroes that encourage deathballing. Visage is slightly more flexible, with teams often opting to put him in positions one to three, while Lone Druid is mostly seen mid or safelane. Visage’s non-reliance on items means that he can go for popular aura items like Wraith Pact and Assault Cuirass, while Lone Druid’s powerful sieging potential is amplified with items like Desolator.
Regardless, both are powerful pocket picks that certain teams love, while others ignore—Lone Druid is a favorite for Team Liquid, OG, and PSG.LGD, while teams like Entity and Tundra Esports love Visage.