The Dota 2 hero tier list (July 2017)
Dota 2’s metagame is notorious for shifting and changing courses on a dime, given the flexible nature of hero roles and the huge impact items have on the game. These days especially, diverse tournament metas are to be expected, with only a handful of heroes going unpicked.
At the highest levels of play, games can be won or lost even before the creeps spawn. Having a good hero composition can spell the difference between a struggle to breach high ground and a team with heroes that complement each other and form a well-oiled machine.
This tier list—based on the current competitive metagame—outlines which heroes are currently picked most often by professional teams, and those that stand out in terms of win percentages. Note that this list will not include every single hero, mainly because there are simply too many in Dota to count. Instead, we will break the list down to roughly 40 of the most popular and most effective heroes.
- Crystal Maiden
- Night Stalker
- Legion Commander
- Nyx Assassin
- Sand King
Earthshaker immediately jumps out in the first tier. He's one of the most potent roamers in the current dual roaming meta—especially when combined with “mana battery” heroes such as Crystal Maiden. Also, as shown by EG’s Syed Sumail Hassan, mid Earthshaker is actually viable.
Night Stalker and Nyx Assassin provide great ganking potential for just about any lineup, allowing teams to create level and gold advantages early and often. Legion Commander has infinite scaling and the ability to isolate supports from teamfights thanks to Duel, which ties in quite nicely with Night Stalker and Nyx, who are good at enabling core heroes to get early pickoffs.
The rest of the heroes in this tier are pretty much what you’d expect: reliable, tried, and tested picks with good damage output and teamfight control. Lina, Rubick, Sand King, and Clockwerk in particular come to mind in this regard.
An honorable mention for this list is Pudge, who, despite being a high-risk choice, can break games open almost on his own thanks to the forced repositioning that Meat Hook offers. His incredibly high pick rate is deceptive, however. Pudge is naturally the most popular hero in the game due to his extremely fun playstyle and high reward design.
- Witch Doctor
- Dark Seer
- Shadow Shaman
- Earth Spirit
- Troll Warlord
Tier two represents stable picks in the meta that don’t really merit instant bans or anything so extreme. Some of the heroes in this tier are ones you can safely pick without giving away too much of your gameplan.
Lifestealer has a staggering 83 percent winrate over 24 games at the TI7 qualifiers. The recent buff to Heaven’s Halberd making the debuff non-dispellable has made it much easier for the hero to go toe-to-toe with carries geared toward the deep late game.
Shadow Shaman also stands out thanks to the many buffs he’s received since early this year. The change to root mechanics brought about by Patch 7.00 also means that support item Rod of Atos is now a much more effective purchase, giving Rhasta even more ways to immobilize key targets. Same goes for Jakiro, who uses Rod of Atos to keep targets standing in Macropyre for longer periods.
We couldn’t possibly go through this tier list without mentioning Bristleback, who has been terrorizing games since the Manila Masters just several weeks ago. The recent nerfs to his strength gain and the bonus damage granted by Warpath have certainly hurt him, but his passive forces teams to draft Silver Edge carriers, at the very least.
- Dragon Knight
- Drow Ranger
- Treant Protector
- Nature’s Prophet
- Outworld Devourer
- Storm Spirit
- Shadow Fiend
- Vengeful Spirit
- Ember Spirit
The heroes in tier three have proven to be effective over a limited number of games. They serve as good options for teams looking to diversify their drafts in an effort to become less predictable, or as niche picks to counter certain popular heroes.
Of particular note here is Beastmaster, who boasts a 90 percent winrate across 10 games at the TI7 regional qualifiers. Having the ability to scout with Call of the Wild has been his thing ever since he debuted back in the original Dota, and it helps tremendously as an early warning system against the roaming strategies of today.
Slardar is also very reliable, being flexible enough to stick in the “greedy” four position support instead of taking up space in the offlane. Despite nerfs to the stun duration on Slithereen Crush, he's still a good general choice.
Nature’s Prophet’s ability to teleport to any point on the map lends itself very well to the roaming meta. The additional damage and positional control he brings to the table whenever ganks happen can mean the difference between an easy kill and the target getting away. He is also a natural Bloodthorn carrier, which helps against Halberd carriers in turn by disabling evasion.
This is not an end-all list of heroes to pick. As mentioned, the flexibility of roles and laning in Dota 2 means that even the most unorthodox picks and strategies can work at times. And with the huge variety of heroes available to play, there’s almost always a way to fit that one hero into your composition.
Hero usage statistics courtesy of Dotabuff.