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Top 10 Dota 2 heroes by popularity

Dota 2 heroes are not locked behind a paywall (Image via MikeAzevedo)
Dota 2 heroes are not locked behind a paywall (Image via MikeAzevedo)
Sambit Pal
ANALYST

With over 120 heroes, Dota 2 features possibly the most colorful and varied MOBA rogues gallery.

The best thing about it is that there is no paywall barring the heroes. Dota 2 locks some heroes on new accounts based on complexity, but the entire roster is unlocked soon.

As a competitive game, Dota 2’s meta shifts wildly in almost every new patch. Likewise, many heroes fall in and out of popular favor. But a select few heroes never seem to wane in popularity.

No matter what the meta play dictates, these heroes have always been community favorites.


Dota 2 heroes with the highest pick rates

1) Pudge

Pudge gains extra HP through Flesh Heap (Image via Valve)
Pudge gains extra HP through Flesh Heap (Image via Valve)

According to Dotabuff statistics, Pudge has been picked in roughly 35% of all Dota 2 games ever. If a player plays three matches back to back, he is bound to find at least one Pudge on average. The grotesque butcher is iconic both in appearance and abilities.

A good Pudge makes the fog of war itself a terrifying aspect. However, it is likely that his high Dota 2 pick rate is not solely due to the utility of an immunity-piercing disable or even the relevance of late-game STR scaling. It is because of how satisfying his skillshot is.

Few things in Dota 2 can match the dopamine surge of landing a long Meat Hook (Q).


2) Phantom Assassin

Phantom Assassin has the best Dota 2 critical strike ability (Imae via Valve)
Phantom Assassin has the best Dota 2 critical strike ability (Imae via Valve)

Mortred, the Phantom Assassin, is often the newbie’s baby steps into the carry role. In lower brackets, where people tend to react late, it is very easy to slow an unwary target and blink on to them with the Q-W combo.

The beginner-friendly nature does not mean Phantom Assassin is weak. She is, in fact, one of the highest sources of raw physical damage in Dota 2. What can possibly downplay the absolute power fantasy that is a dagger crit 1HKO?


3) Invoker

Ques gives Invoker extra HP regen (Image via Valve)
Ques gives Invoker extra HP regen (Image via Valve)

Invoker has a total of 114 spells other than his “reagents” of Quas, Wex, and Exort. Let alone Dota 2, there is perhaps no other hero in the MOBA genre who can boast such a large arsenal of different spells.

Invoker can be played in any role and bring some solution to nearly every situation. Naturally, such a complex hero takes months to master, if not more.

Yet somehow, such a complex hero has the fourth-highest Dota 2 pick rate of all time, next to beginner heroes like Sniper and Phantom Assassin. It is perhaps because of the sheer amount of spectacle that a late-game Invoker can bring into a teamfight that draws players to learn him.


4) Sniper

Sniper has the highest range of all Dota 2 heroes (Image via Valve)
Sniper has the highest range of all Dota 2 heroes (Image via Valve)

The most iconic hero of the Dota 2 keen folk, Sniper is known for three things. First is his highly long range, with which he can proc Headshot across the river.

Second comes the instant attack animation and zero projectile travel time, making the last hit easier for new players. Last but not least is his obnoxious keen folk sneer as he snipes targets across the map with Assassinate.


5) Lion

Finger of Death gets more damage the more heroes it hits (Image via Valve)
Finger of Death gets more damage the more heroes it hits (Image via Valve)

Lion is one of the oldest Dota 2 supports and also the most picked. With a stunning semi-nuke (Q) and Mana Drain (E), Lion can harass in-lane and get his mana back quickly.

Add to that a damage-stacking Finger of Death (R), and Lion meshes exceptionally well into a gank-heavy playstyle to nuke his opponents to hell and back and back to hell and back.

His most important tool, though, is Hex (W), an insta-cast disable particularly useful against escape heroes. Since this is the only hex spell in Dota 2 other than Shadow Shaman’s, Lion also sees lots of action in pro games.


6) Juggernaut

Omnislash makes Juggernaut untargetable for its duration (Image via Valve)
Omnislash makes Juggernaut untargetable for its duration (Image via Valve)

Juggernaut was the poster boy on the cover art of the 2021 WePlay AniMajor, perhaps because he has the most Anime-like elements to him out of all Dota 2 heroes.

Juggernaut is traditionally played as a hard carry. With an innate spell immunity method and critical chance, he can always be a comfort pick when drafting leaves a player scratching his head.


7) Faceless Void

Faceless Void has an excellent survivability spell in Time Walk (Image via Valve)
Faceless Void has an excellent survivability spell in Time Walk (Image via Valve)

Theoretically, Faceless Void can win against any other Dota 2 carry 1v1. In practice, that does not come to pass because most carries farm faster.

For the Dota 2 community, FV is a gift that keeps giving. A good Chronosphere makes quick work of the opponents, while a lousy one makes for an equally spectacular fail clip.


8) Axe

Axe's Counter Helix deals pure damage (Image via Valve)
Axe's Counter Helix deals pure damage (Image via Valve)

Mogul Khan the Axe is one of Dota 2’s most iconic skirmishers. His kit allows him to zone melee heroes out entirely with some level advantage.

With a low-cooldown BKB-piercing AoE disable in Berserker’s Call (Q), few initiators in Dota 2 can match Axe’s ability to keep the game momentum alive. Culling Blade (R) is the ultimate chop of deletion that does not care for Shallow Grave or False Promise.


9) Windranger

Windranger's Shard upgrade makes Power Shot infinite in range (Image via Valve)
Windranger's Shard upgrade makes Power Shot infinite in range (Image via Valve)

A mobility spell for engaging and escaping, a long-range nuke, and a skillshot that can stun upwards of 3.5 seconds, Windranger has it all.

She would likely be the hero of choice for players who transfer from LoL to Dota 2. She is flexible enough to play in any position, but also she is mediocre at everything as a tradeoff.


10) Slark

Slark steals other Dota 2 heroes' stats (Image via Valve)
Slark steals other Dota 2 heroes' stats (Image via Valve)

Slark’s forte is being slippery, arguably more so than other escape heroes like Weaver. His support-bullying kit is made for a back-and-forth dance. With a multi-purpose leap and latch and a way to pre-emptively dispel any debuffs, Slark can easily weave in and out of fights.

When the going gets tough, Slark can basically go invulnerable with Shadow Dance (R) and right-click, all the while stealing stats from his target. He is among the only carries in Dota 2 that can scale well by just constantly clashing with some net worth and level advantage.

Edited by Ravi Iyer
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