I just wrote this as a comment in r/learndota2 and think it would be nice as a thread
While it changes alongside the meta, there are several things needed by certain roles to do their job, thus why people hate off-meta picks, not because people tell them so, but because they doubt if the hero is able to do what other "actual" hero for the pos can do or at least the common things they can do.
Pos 1 : Arguably the simplest concept of all, since the most important thing they need is the ability to farm and to scale. What makes some hero a pos 1 is either the ability to scale much better than any other hero (spectre, riki current patch, faceless void, phantom assassin, naga sire, terrorblade, phantom lancer) this usually revolves around having an abusable passive, which is usually a proc based passive so it benefits from attack speed, and at the late game, attack speed becomes a core component to them, because they have the much needed stats and items to do so. OR the ability to farm better than most other heroes. This ability to farm feels like a waste if made a support, thus giving them the carry role so they can fastly outfarm the enemy. Such heroes are Alchemist, Arc Warden, Naga Siren, Terrorblade, Meepo (he's dead this patch but he fills the scenario quite nicely), Anti-mage). Other key component of a carry is usually being an agility hero, while there are a few exception, such as sven, lifestealer, alchemist, most carry heroes revolve around having big attack speed so they can dish out their either good passives procs (faceless void, pa, phantom lancer) or naturally high damage (sven, terrorblade). This is also why there are almost no pos 1 from the intelligence class since their stats give them mana, while agi gives aspd AND armor and str gives hp which ofc will give more power during late game.
Pos 2 : There are multiple kinds of midlaner, and here I will try to cover some of them. The first type is the classic space-maker midlaner, this type is currently in meta, and the preferrable style of playing midlane. For knowing these kinds of hero, they usually have innate mobility and multiple amount of disables. These innate mobilities can come from natural high movement speed (Invoker thx to wex, gyrocopter), or mobility spells (spirit brothers, puck, qop, pango), or even on some special cases, items (BoT for tinker, blink dagger for puck, etc.). While the disables can come from their own kit (qw invoker arsenal, death prophet silence) or items (orchid, eul, atos) and usually these disables have a strong synergy with their offensive spells, such as atos to skywrath mage, orchid to storm spirit and qop, etc. The second type is a pushing mid. This type of midlaners force enemy midlaners to not rotate, as if they do, their tower will usually be gone the moment they're back. Such heroes are Death prophet, Dragon knight, Exort Invoker, Nature Prophet, Broodmother, arc warden, Alchemist, meepo etc. These kinds of heroes usually have innate abilities that allow them to hit tower very hard (Exorcism on death prophet, elder dragon form on dragon knight, alacrity on invoker, magnetic field and double on arc warden, alch ult (i forgot what its called), meepo and his clones) or have multiple summons that allow them to also hit the tower very hard (broodmother, nature prophet). The third type is a farming midlaner. While this is really off-meta this patch, it can still be pulled off in a right situation. Also, these kinds of midlaners are usually also a pushing type, since they also like to sit in lane, and keep shoving the wave, making the enemy midlaner feels bad when rotating. These midlaners tend to take time to come active, and usually regarded as a slower midlaner, but if they're given time, they can be a total beast. Such heroes are arc warden, exort invoker, medusa, alchemist, gyrocopter. So in conclusion a midlaner needs at least 1 of these abilities, which is high moblity and disable, or high tower pushing power.
Pos 3 : Although I'm not a pos 3 player myself, I notice a common trend for most pos 3 which is, the ability to stay in lane for a prolonged time. While pos 3 are made as a 3 because by theory they can function with little item, as a core, this defeats the point of some heroes such as nature prophet, or timbersaw, who needs items to come online. However, they have a natural sustain in lane, or in some cases, escape during a fishy situation. They also have the ability to farm dead lanes, without putting themselves in much danger since they can get out easily. This can come from natural tankiness (centaur warrunner, timbersaw, axe, bristleback, underlord, dragon knight, tidehunter) or heals and sustains (necrophos, dazzle, death prophet) or escape (pango, timbersaw, qop, puck, nature prophet) also one of the most common things expected from a pos 3 is their ability to initiate fights, or at least disrupt the fight with their big skills and/or getting the attention of the team to hit them first (because they're tanky so they don't mind). However please note that as a pos 3, you shouldn't be taking farm instead of making farm for your pos 1, as it's the job of pos 1 to farm and not you, so don't pick heroes like spectre or wraith king pos 3 just because they're "tanky", but they need farm, and would like to jungle safely instead of taking the dangerous farm
Pos 4 : While pos 4 always evolves time to time, the most common thing expected from a pos 4 is their ability to gank early on to the game. Most pos 4 is able to gank at level 2-3 (earth spirit, earth shaker, clockwerk, tiny) or even since level 1 (pudge, clockwerk, or tiny in some situation). However, there are also a kind of pos 4 that is more specialized in destroying the lane for enemy carries, given how strong they're during the laning phase and poses a huge kill threat, such as treant protector, techies with blast off, mirana, pudge (yea I know people hate this hero, but come on give him a chance, a good pudge is an absolute monster altho it's as rare as a raw steak). Also as stated from above, a pos 4 needs a few items to do his work unlike a pos 5, or at least they need level, thus they're a greedier support, giving them the 4th priority in farming after the pos 5. So some heroes that doesn't have strong ganking power, and also don't need item to do their work wouldn't be efficient in the pos 4 role, such as undying or crystal maiden.
Pos 5 : Pos 5 is a very interesting role, since their main game is usually the laning stage, which is the first ~10 minutes of the game. A common job for this role is about winning the lane for your carry, so they will have a good farm, and can proceed to mid game happily. In order to do so, there are certain abilities they need, such as high damage nukes (crystal maiden, oracle, shadow demon), naturally tanky at early game (ogre magi, treant protector, jakiro), high base damage (treant protector, jakiro), strong disables that makes trading with them very hard (jakiro, lion, shadow demon), or even to take it to the extreme, the ability to 1v2 during early game (undying, jakiro, ogre, shadow demon). Also they tend to fall during the late game, due to how their nukes are usually rigid in damage so they don't scale.
So by this I wanna describe on why a pos 5 can't be pos 1, like by logic if a hero is strong early on, they should be even stronger with farm right? However this isn't the case for dota. And there's also a reason why a midlaner is a space-maker, it all revolves around giving our carry time to farm, and the carry will demolish the game later on.
Plz note that this is just some shower thought, and I would appreciate if someone can point if there's some mistakes here and there.
- questions regarding supporting.
- What to do as a carry on this hard situation?
- What to as a item dependent carry on this situation?
More about Dota 2Post: "How to determine what it takes for a hero to be in a certain role" specifically for the game Dota 2. Other useful information about this game:
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