The complete guide for Dota 2 esports scene

Dota 2, also known as Defence of the Ancients, is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA), developed and published by the Valve Corporation. It is a standalone game, based of the modded DotA, which was a part of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos.

Essentially, the game consists of two teams of five players in each, fighting across the map, with the sole objective of destroying the enemy team’s Ancient. Similarly to other MOBA games, such as League of Legends, the map is structured with three lanes, separated by a jungle in between, as shown below.

Unlike League of Legends however, the positions occupied by each player has quite generic names, known as Position 1-5. A description of these positions is shown below.

Breakdown of Major Positions

Position 1 (Hard Carry) – Position 1 receives the highest farm priority on a team. This position is most often found in a tri-lane in competitive games, with two allied heroes nearby to support and ensure the 1 position player’s early game farm. Due to the frequency of tri-lanes, heroes in this position tend to be more gold dependent than level dependent. Position 1 is almost exclusively filled by hard carry heroes, with the rare exception being very aggressive pushing strategies. This player’s position is to survive the early game while securing as much farm as possible, and then to make smart decisions in the late game to survive and dominate engagements, as their team’s success frequently depends on the 1 staying alive and controlling the flow of the game.


Position 2 (Solo Laner) – Position 2 is one of the more versatile positions in terms of role played for the team, but the laning setup is the most static: solo mid. Heroes in this position tend to be equally gold and level dependent, and are chosen for their mobility, ability to excel in 1v1 situations, as well as their ability to strongly impact other lanes through ganking or quick scaling into the mid-game. This player’s primary role is to outlane the opposing team’s solo mid, giving their team an advantage in the mid game through mobile ganking and rune control, or through early solo farm to produce a strong mid-game hero. Heroes at this position tend to be strong and relevant throughout the entire duration of the game.

Position 3 (Off Laner or Suicide Solo) – Position 3 is played in two primary ways. The first, commonly referred to as the suicide solo, is to go solo in the hard lane against an enemy’s defensive trilane. As the name indicates, going up 1 versus 3 in the hard lane is a tough proposition, so the primary focus in this situation is simply to survive and absorb experience and farm when possible. Not dying is one of the primary roles of this position in the early game, and heroes in this role tend to be more level dependent than gold dependent (generally only remaining in the lane until their ultimate or a certain level is acquired, at which point they transition into more of a roaming ganker or initiator). Heroes in this role almost without exception have a strong set of escape or tank abilities, allowing them to survive the tough environment in which they’re placed (though some exceptions such as Lone Druid and Nature’s Prophet can instead use their summoned creeps and jungling capabilities to farm well despite being in a tough situation).


The second, commonly referred to as a farming offlane, is to go solo in the safe lane against the opposing team’s hard lane solo while an aggressive tri-lane is employed. In this situation, the heroes played tend to fit the role of semi-carry and benefit from good farm, and the position 3 role becomes much more similar to the position 2 role (in fact, when aggressive tri-lanes are used, it’s not uncommon for a team’s position 2 player to take over the offlane farming position while the position 3 player takes over the solo mid role).


Position 4 (Jungler) – Position 4 is generally played either directly in the tri-lane, or nearby in the jungle, poking their head into lane occasionally to provide ganks. This role is also generally in charge of pulling jungle creeps when possible to help maintain lane control in the safe lane for the carry. These heroes tend to gain a bit more farm than their position 5 support counterparts, and generally will build towards mid-game support items (Drums, Mekansm, Pipe) while the position 5 support tends to spend their little bit of gold on consumables such as wards and pooled regeneration items. Players in position 4 generally have more of a hand in early game kills (either in their own lane or mid) than any other role, and frequently are the key heroes involved in putting early pressure on enemy towers.


Position 5 (Hard Support) – Position 5, as indicated by the number, is the least farm-dependent role on the team. Heroes in this role are largely item and level independent, and it’s not uncommon to see a position 5 hero with only boots and a few branches 3-4 levels behind other heroes well into the game. Not to be underestimated, the position 5 player is often the backbone of their team, pooling their resources by buying consumables for the carries to use and maintaining map control through warding and counterwarding. In addition, the position 4 and 5 heroes have the strongest impact out of all roles in the early phase of the game. On top of spending their gold on team-wide consumables, position 5 heroes are also invaluable for protecting the position 1 player in the early phases of the game when the 1 position is vulnerable and are frequently relied on for key disables to begin ganks or save teammates.

Gameplay and Objectives

The general gameplay of Dota 2 is quite easy fundamentally, but there are several important objectives that dictate the outcome of a match. A team’s macro is significant, as it delves into how well a team can rotate to major objectives, while a player’s micro is how well they can manage lanes, their mechanical ability on a hero and so on. The major objectives are described below.


Towers – Towers are the main line of defense for both teams, attacking any non-neutral enemy that gets within their range. Both factions have all three lanes guarded by three towers each. Additionally, each faction’s Ancient have two towers as well, resulting in a total of 11 towers per faction. Towers come in 4 different tiers:


Tier 1 towers, located at the end of each lane.
Tier 2 towers, located halfway through each lane.
Tier 3 towers, located on top of the 3 ramps at each base.
Tier 4 towers, located in pairs in front of each Ancient.


Tier 1 towers are invulnerable during the preparation phase, until the battle begins. Each Tier 2 and tier 3 tower is invulnerable until the lower tier tower preceding it in its lane is destroyed. The two tier 4 towers are invulnerable until any of the tier 3 towers have been destroyed. Barracks do not have to be destroyed to make tier 4 towers vulnerable. Both of the tier 4 towers must be destroyed in order to remove the Ancient’s invulnerability.


Barracks – Barracks (commonly shortened to Rax) are buildings, defended by their tier 3 towers, that are responsible for keeping lane creeps as powerful as their counterparts. There are two Barracks for each lane per faction – one for melee creeps (called Melee Barracks or Melee Rax), and one for ranged creeps (called Ranged Barracks or Ranged Rax). The ranged barracks are always located to the left of the melee barracks on each lane and both factions.


Barracks are invulnerable until the tier 3 tower guarding them is destroyed. The loss of barracks does not stop lane creeps from spawning. However, destroying Barracks grants the destroying team super creeps in that lane, corresponding to which one was destroyed, which are more powerful and grant less bounties than regular creeps. Super melee creeps spawn when the melee barracks get destroyed, while super ranged creeps spawn when the ranged barracks are destroyed. When all 6 Barracks of a team are destroyed, mega creeps start spawning on every lane for the enemy, even more powerful than super creeps.


Ancients – Ancients are massive structures found inside each faction’s base and are the main objective. In order to win, the enemy team’s Ancient must be destroyed, while the own one must be kept alive. Ancients are guarded by their two tier 4 towers. The Ancients are invulnerable until both of their tier 4 towers are destroyed.


Neutral Camps – Neutral creeps are a type of creep that are not controlled by any player. They are aligned to neither of the teams, and offer an alternative source of gold and experience. Neutral creeps appear in small camps scattered in the jungle on both sides of the map. They come with different power levels and most of them have unique abilities. Roshan, who sits in his den at the river, is also considered a neutral creep. Neutral creeps get more valuable gold and experience wise, as their bounties increase as the game goes on, similar to how lane creeps get stronger. Every 7 minutes and 30 seconds, all neutral creeps (including Roshan) have their gold and experience bounties increased by 2% of their base bounties.


Roshan – Roshan is a unique creep that spawns near the middle of the map. He also counts as an ancient creep and also has its own unique category. In addition to providing a large experience and gold bounty when killed, Roshan also drops the Aegis of the Immortal, a powerful ability that grants reincarnation. The second time he is killed in a single game (and every time thereafter), a Cheese also drops from Roshan, which can interrupt a user’s channelling spells. The third time he is killed in a single game (and every time thereafter), a Refresher Shard also drops from Roshan, which refreshes the items in a user’s inventory. Roshan’s power also increases as time passes.

Dota 2 in Esports - The big teams

Overall, several strong teams are able to contest the biggest majors available in the competitive Dota 2 scene. As a result, teams like Team Secret of Europe often face stern competition from big competitors such as Evil Geniuses, Virtus Pro, PSG.LGD, Vici Gaming and Team Liquid.

Dota 2 Esports Tournaments

Dota 2 has several major championships, varying yearly. For the 2018/19 season, 5 majors were/are available for teams to compete for, each with a $1,000,000 prize pool. These majors are: The Kuala Lumpur Major, The Chonqing Major, DreamLeague Season 11, MDL Disneyland Paris Major and EPICENTER Major.



  • G2 Esports
  • Astralis
  • Team Liquid
  • Team OG
  • Fnatic
  • Cloud 9

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