Dota 2

[Guide] Basics of team composition and strategy


Some of you may remember this guide about team composition and drafting I posted exactly 3 years ago on r/Dota2. In fact, it was my very first reddit post and I created a reddit account specifically for that.

Today, I thought I'd revisit the guide and update it. I wanted to focus more on picking a hero in pubs and understanding what your team needs rather than 'drafting' for amateur leagues or battle cups.

Roles and team composition

The most basic categorization for heroes is Cores and Supports. Cores generally have higher farm priority since their impact is maximized later in the game by farming gold and experience.

Supports generally have lower farm priority since they are strong early in the game and comparatively don't need much farm or items.

There are usually 3 cores in a team (one in each lane) and 2 supports (one in each side lane). Cores also have an additional subcategory of carries that have the highest farm priority.

Core Support
/ /
Carry 3. Off laner 4. Soft support 5. Hard support
1. Safe laner 2. Mid laner

The number indicates priority of farm (1 being the highest, 5 being the lowest). This is also why roles may be referred to as position 1 or position 3 etc.

If you want to know which heroes fit into which roles, refer to this post that contains custom hero grids. The first grid is designed for new players to teach you which heroes are generally supports or cores.


It is generally a good idea for the two main cores of a team to synergize with each other.

  1. Farm priority: Although position 1 is usually safe lane and position 2 is usually mid lane, these two heroes can switch their farm priorities based on which one needs more farm to come online later and which one needs less farm so they can fight earlier to make space.
  2. Damage type: Since these two heroes will generally have the highest damage output in a game, it is good if one has a magical damage build and the other has physical damage build. This makes it difficult for the enemy to counter them easily.
Read more:  New mechanic and new items.

Off lane

The off laner can be quite versatile in the function they provide in a game. They usually lane with the position 4 or soft support hero. Therefore, it is a good idea for the two to synergize with each other.

  1. Frontline: It is a general misconception that it is the off laner who always has to be the tanky frontline who can soak damage from the enemies. Certain offlane heroes cannot provide this so it is advisable for the soft support to perform that role.
  2. Harass: The job of these two heroes is also to try and minimize the farm of the enemy safe lane carry. That is why one ranged and one melee hero is often a good idea in the off lane.
  3. Disable: The off laner usually has a disabling spell that they can initiate with. However, it is preferable to synergize with the position 4, so that one has a long-cooldown high-impact disable and the other has a short-cooldown low-impact disable.


Similarly, supports also need to synergize with each other.

  1. Farm priority: As mentioned previously, the hard support or position 5 is sacrificial and buys wards, sentries, dusts, smokes and other consumable items. The soft support or position 4 is greedy and buys items that maximize their abilities or allows them to be mobile.
  2. Aggression: One defensive support with healing/saving spells and items like Glimmer Cape, Force Staff etc. and one offensive support with stuns/initiation and items like Blink Dagger, Rod of Atos etc. can prove to be a great combo.
Read more:  My idea to even out the dire winrate

Playstyle and strategy

Strategy counters

Chart for strategy counters

Chart for strategy counters

  • Split push: Heroes that can be very mobile on the map, push out creepwaves and have good building damage are considered split push heroes. They are good against teamfight/deathball lineups that usually stick together.
  • Teamfight/deathball: Heroes that have good teamfight spells, AOE nukes and plenty of low-cooldown catch/control spells are good for this strategy. They are good against ganking heroes who try to catch out isolated heroes.
  • Ganking/map control: Heroes that are mobile, have high damage output and may also have the ability to go invisible are good at ganking. They counter split push heroes since they generally play alone in a risky area of the map.

General rules

  • Pick cores who can flash farm so they can get online faster.
  • Pick heroes with tower damage. Heroes with direct damage, specific heroes that have siege damage or heroes that ignore tower armour such as Jakiro, Pugna and Leshrac.
  • Pick as many disables as possible. Also, besides stuns, have good chase potential or 'catch'.
  • Pick at least one hero that is good at killing Roshan since it is crucial for high ground siege.
  • Take advantage of the current meta and pick the strongest combos.
  • Pick flex heroes to allow adjusting to strong lane matchups for your team.
  • Try not to get last-pick cheesed with heroes like Arc Warden, Broodmother, Huskar, Meepo and Tinker. Heroes that are usually good against them are Ancient Apparition, Anti Mage, Elder Titan, Earthshaker, Phantom Lancer and Winter Wyvern.
Read more:  Something different about hero‘s name between Chinese and English II


This guide can also be found on Steam:


Thanks for reading! Is there anything you think I missed? Any improvements you suggest?

If you think this guide could be useful, please suggest it to new players who post here on the subreddit asking for help!


Similar Guides

More about Dota 2

Post: "[Guide] Basics of team composition and strategy" specifically for the game Dota 2. Other useful information about this game:

Top 7 NEW Games of February 2021

Looking for something new to play on PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox, or Nintendo Switch in February 2021? Here are the notable video game releases.

Top 20 NEW Open World Games of 2021

2021 will bring us tons of open world games for PC, PS5, Xbox Series X, PS4, Switch, and beyond. Here's what we're looking forward to.

You Might Also Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *