Dota 2 Basics: A Beginner’s Guide 2020

Dota II

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15 July 2020

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If you’re just starting out with Dota 2 and are in a search for some beginner’s gameplay tips: here’s a list of tips and tricks you should know before even starting to play. If you’re already playing, but are having trouble climbing your way up the division, this Dota 2 guide will help you discover what you’re potentially doing wrong. 

Dota 2 Basic Tips: How to Play

If you have experience in playing another MOBA game, you already know the basics of Dota 2. In the same manner, it’s all about gaining experience and gold, killing the enemy, choosing a hero and building it, all with a common goal of taking the enemy down and winning the game. 

However, choosing the right role, hero and strategy can be overwhelming. If you’ve seen pros doing something, and it doesn’t work for you, it might be because you don’t really understand why they are doing it. So here is a basic Dota 2 Guide to help you better understand how to play and why. 

Tip 1:  Learn Where to Ward

Warding is something inexperienced players tend to neglect and focus on items instead. This is one of the most common beginner mistakes. With the map being covered in fog, you have to be able to see enemies coming and predict their next moves.

The key to warding in Dota 2 is placing them to crucial spots, not following your preferences only. Some spots simply give you a better reach than others, and thanks to the ward preview you will be able to better understand where would that be. Equally important, you have to know when to ward certain locations. That means understanding your team’s needs in a specific situation. For example, if your carry is farming in the bottom lane, it would be good to place two wards at your jungle, one deep down and the other one near the enemy tower. 

Tip 2: Learn All About Items and Item Builds

Having more than 150 available items in the shop seems like a great thing, but what if you can have them all and then have to choose the right one? Not only that, but the map balance can be significantly changed when a hero buys a certain item. Unlike LoL, in Dota, you can buy any item for any hero. The trick to that is they don’t always fully work on all heroes. That means the items are designed to work better with certain heroes, and this decision-making ability is what makes a good player. Most heroes get an enhance in power and strength from the right items, while others are extremely weak without any extra equipment. For example, if you’re playing with Luna, Butterfly is a great item for her damage carry role. However, if you are playing a support hero, you won’t benefit from buying items like Butterfly or Monkey King. 

The same goes for enemy items. Learning about the enemy is especially important and goes for both the enemy heroes’ traits and their items. In order to see the enemy’s item inventory, you gave to have map vision. To exemplify, if a key initiator gets an item like a blink dagger, they will try to avoid the opponent’s vision to be able to surprise them. 

When it comes to item build, you want to have it planned out. When the early game finishes, there is a wide choice of items to choose from. At this point, you can use hero build guides

Tip 3: Understand the Importance of Runes

Runes, the special boosts that spawn on the map, are often an underestimated part of the game. If you’re a new Dota 2 player, don’t make this mistake, even if you see others doing it. There are two kinds of runes: Powerup and Bounty Runes. What you should do is check both on a regular level since Powerup Runes should be picked up within 2 minutes, while Bounty Runes expire in 5 minutes. 

Wondering what do you get from runes? Bounty runes provide you with some additional gold for both you and all of your allies. They can be found in jungles. Power up runes will give your hero powerful effects or buffs that are different every time and only last for a short period of time.

Tip 4: Know When to Gank

In theory, you can gank with any hero at any given moment. The key is choosing good timing and do it only when necessary. In the early phase, you gank to push the opponent back. Of course, you want to gain an advantage early and gain as much gold and experience as possible, but you want to be careful. 

If you gank at the wrong moment, you will end up wasting your time and with zero kills. In the later phases of the game, ganks are strategic and require more heroes to cooperate and use their resources. Overall, when deciding whether you should gank or not, you should:

  • Watch for opportunities in lanes
  • Carry a teleport and TP for defending your allies
  • Know what your power spikes are
  • Know if your hero is ganking material

Moreover, there are some heroes that are naturally better at ganking than others since they have a more adequate toolkit. For example, Pudge is a hero with great ganking tools but has no carry potential, so farming and staying mid is not a good idea with this hero. 

Some other popular gankers include Bounty Hunter, Night Stalker, Batrider, Riki and Clockwerk. Most of these belong to roamers, supports with no fixed purpose. 

Tip 5: Feel the Moment for a Fight

We’ve already highlighted the importance of timing ganks, and the same goes for team fights. The difference between the two is ganking only requires several team members to participate, while team fights require most of the players to take part and last longer. Even though killing enemy heroes is a step towards a victory, you should evaluate whether it’s worth the risk. Some situations when you want to initiate a team fight are when the majority of enemy team is low on health or are grouped perfectly for an AoE attack. 

After you’ve decided you want to go for a team fight, make sure to  follow these 5 steps: 

  • Gain vision
  • Initiation capability
  • Counter-Initiation
  • Fighting and Kiting
  • Dispersion

Just like other game aspects, certain heroes are better in team fights than others. Some of the best team fighters in Dota 2 include Omniknight, Underlord, Faceless Void, Dark Willow, and Death Prophet. 

Tip 6: Don’t Only Play Supports

When you’re a Dota 2 beginner, supports seem like the best hero choice for several reasons: they need low amounts of gold but still have the strengths and agility to make useful team fighters. they aren’t exactly the team’s condition to win or lose in the late game. 

The problem with support heroes is they are extremely squishy and can be difficult to play because they require a high mechanical skill level. 

Hope this guide answered some of the questions you had about how to play Dota 2 better. Good luck in competitive play!

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