Video Game / Dota 2

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Dota 2 is Valve's remake of the insanely popular Warcraft III mod Defense of the Ancients: All-Stars. Valve had hired Icefrog (one of the game's original developers) and have been working on a commercial sequel/remake of a sort. It was recreated on the Source engine with all-new graphics and UI. It was released in July 2013 after a lengthy closed beta.

Dota 2 is widely known for its extremely punishing gameplay that is not fit for newbies. The game codifies several MOBA tropes (as it IS a remake of the game that invented the genre), although Dota 2 itself isn't a MOBA (it's an ARTS), and has attempted to recreate the intricacies and facets of Defense of the Ancients as much as it can.

Recent updates about Dota 2 can be seen here. For information on professional teams and their members, look under the multiplayer online battle arena folder in Professional Gaming.


Dota 2 provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Acronym and Abbreviation Overload: The crossover with the narrator from The Stanley Parable invokes this during one of this "game has started" lines.
    Stanley Parable Narrator: GL, HF, L 2 P, VD, MP3, OBGYN, 3DPDB1D9G
  • Aerith and Bob: Most heroes have fancy names that you will never see in real life, except for Sven, Lina, Magnus, Chen, Ember Spirit (Xin), Gyrocopter (Aurel) and Invoker (whose 'true name of power' is Carl).
  • Affably Evil: The tone of the game means that most of the heroes that can reasonably be described as "evil" often end up as this.
  • Always Accurate Attack: No matter how fast you move, you can't dodge auto-attacks and unit-targeted projectiles with moving alone, you need evasion or abilities that can disjoint the projectile. And even then, certain in-game effects make attacks unable to be evaded (with two of the most notable belonging to the items Bloodthorn and Monkey King Bar).
  • Ambition Is Evil: Both Mirana and Luna are driven by their ambitions to be the most favored servant of Selemene, resulting Mirana being a very haughty and stuck-up woman, and Luna still being a violent, Ax-Crazy woman and both of them, if not fighting for the same cause (forced), prefer to rip each other's throats.
  • Announcer Chatter: You can buy different announcers from the ingame store, including a pirate, Dr. Kleiner, GLaDOS and Rucks.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The description for the item Proof of Courage.
    In the Red Mist army, cowards were made to cut their hair in shame. Axe has known neither fear, nor shame. Nor a barber.
  • The Artifact:
    • The original DotA mod had two factions of heroes to choose from, plus a neutral side, and normally defaults to allowing the Sentinel (Radiant) and Scourge (Dire) to only pick from their hero pools and the neutrals. Completely open picking became ubiquitous in later versions, however, so the formerly neutral pool has been integrated into the Sentinel and Scourge sides. Thus there are True Neutral characters like Sand King on the Dire, and mercenaries like Bounty Hunter on the Radiant. With the release of Dota 2 Reborn, heroes are no longer affiliated with the Radiant nor the Dire, and are currently only sorted by their primary attribute.
    • The ability granted by Aghanim's Scepter is called Ultimate Upgrade, which harks back to the days when it only upgraded ultimates, even if today Scepter upgrades have been diversified to: general hero improvements (Tiny, Meepo, Night Stalker, Wraith King, Drow Ranger, Gyrocopter), upgrades for non-ultimates (Tinker, Chen, Lone Druid, Bristleback, Magnus, Tidehunter, Undying, Pudge, Sand King, Earthshaker, Oracle, Storm Spirit, Mirana and Winter Wyvern), brand new skills (Ogre Magi, Treant Protector, Alchemist, Lifestealer, Morphling, Nyx Assassin and Tusk) or any combinations of the four (Shadow Fiend, Keeper of the Light, Earth Spirit).
  • Artificial Brilliance: Zigzagged by the AI, which combine superhuman reflexes and perfect coordination (particularly when stunlocking a human player) with absolutely braindead game sense, tactics and strategy.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • Just like that Pudge in your pub games, the bots on your side play like idiots, while the enemy bots move and gank together seamlessly. Your bots are more likely to feed the enemy countless kills and making the game impossible for the player to come back from. Bloodseeker bot on the enemy team? Finds you perfectly when you're alone and forces you to TP out. Bloodseeker bot on your team? Runs in 1v5, uses ultimate on one person and gets beaten to death. You can go 30-2 or something with Storm Spirit and the team score at the end of the game will still be like half the enemy's because your bot allies all have 20+ deaths. It's basically impossible to play any hero that doesn't have carry potential because no matter how big of an early game advantage you give your team they'll never be able to carry you unless they're playing one of the rigged heroes like Viper or Bloodseeker (at which point the enemy bots fall apart and will throw themselves at them to die).
    • One of the more frequent examples of this is their tendency to respond to a human initiation by running away. You and your team are approaching a tower. There are three enemies behind it. You have your big ultimate up. You know you can blink in, ult, kill at least two of them, and the tower. Everyone is full health. You blink in. You land a perfect ult. You can win this fight. Your team has run away because there's an enemy siege creep. You get stunlocked. The fourth and fifth enemies teleport in. With your last breath you curse your bot allies as they betray you and leave you to die. And then they run in anyway and get massacred themselves trying to fight 4v5.
    • The game allows you command friendly bots to a degree by pinging the map. Sounds good on paper, but in practice, it tends to just confuse them more as they often interpret the ping as "stand here and do nothing". Even if the ping is on Roshan or the enemy team.
    • For any given hero, bots will always stick to the same skill and item build, and play in the same role every game (no exceptions):
      • Bot supposedly know that they should not send two carries into the same lane, which doesn't stop them from sending, say, Drow Ranger and Sven to the safe lane and Witch Doctor and Lion to the hard lane... because they consider Sven a support. Indeed, if you play Sven, Windranger, Necrophos, Dark Seer, Pugna,... in a bot match you'll be treated as a support and will have to battle with your other bot for last hits. Of course it doesn't stop the supposedly 'support' Sven bot from building carry items.
      • Mekansm is considered to be an item that should only be built once or at most twice by a team. If a bot team ends up with Lion, Windranger, Death Prophet, Dazzle and Jakiro, expect to see 5 Mekansms in the same team - and built by heroes on whom Mekansm isn't a good item at all.
      • Since they have only received token attention for years, bot roles and builds are often horribly outdated. For instance, supports like Lion, Witch Doctor, Skywrath Mage, Bane and Oracle are often sent to the mid lane; Tiny considers himself a Strength nuker, doesn't build Aghanim's Scepter and rushes Scythe of Vyse; Bounty Hunter is treated as a carry and builds items like Desolator and Black King Bar; Witch Doctor and Warlock still build Aghanim's Scepter even if a player-controlled Alchemist has given them one; Bristleback having no idea of how his Scepter upgrade works and will never use Viscous Nasal Goo again if Alchemist gives him Scepter; Bloodseeker always goes mid even if something like Shadow Fiend or Zeus is in the same team; Windranger considers herself a hard position 5 support; and so on.
    • Bots are prone to becoming stuck on the pathable cliff north of the rune spot. They go up there to ward but they don't come back down; even if you try to use something like a Force Staff to move them down they'll just walk straight back up. This particular instance was fixed in the Spring Cleaning update.
    • The bots' idea of 'supporting' involves buying wards, but not actually planting the wards themselves. The designated support bot is very diligent and will buy nearly all wards that are in stock, but only ever knows to ward the two rune spots, and most of the wards will then proceed to sit unused in that bot's inventory for the rest of the game, which is especially annoying if you need some wards for yourselves only to find that the bots have 8+ in their inventory without placing them.
    • Bots have no idea how the Necronomicon item works. They build it on the completely inappropriate heroes (Bane or Dazzle), never upgrades the Necronomicon over level 1, and when the hero dies, they'll just send the Necronomicon units back to the fountain. On the flip side, bots don't seem to realize that the Necronomicon Warrior damages them if they kill it, leading to situations where a low-health bot kills itself on the Warrior.
    • Sand King bot has gained a certain amount of infamy for occasionally getting stuck in trees with Burrowstrike and staying there for the rest of the game (or until a path is cleared through the trees).
    • Witch Doctor has a tendency to repeatedly toggle Voodoo Restoration on and off repeatedly, wasting most of his mana in the process.
    • Bots will almost always insist on maintaining a channeling spell for the full duration, even when doing so would make them easy targets for the opposing team's disables.
    • When bots have their entire team together, they tend to become a bit... overconfident. It's not uncommon for a bot team to dive several towers for one kill and then reason that the safest escape route is under the towers they were just diving (and predictably getting killed for it). This also makes it almost insultingly easy to get a Total Party Kill by luring them into a minefield laid by Techies or just throwing a Chain Frost at them as Lich, or simply being Sven. This reached hilarious new heights when the bots were updated to contest the initial rune spawn, which means having all five of them in one place. It's all too easy for a player to throw a spell in their general direction and then bait the entire bot team into the Tier 3 tower, with predictably messy results that more than compensate for giving up the rune.
    • Certain abilities in the game, such as Bane's Fiend's Grip, can disable enemies through spell immunity. Bots don't seem to realize this.
    • When attempting to escape, bots will prioritize disabling the opponent over booking it out of there. As a result, scenarios ensue where, for instance, a Chaos Knight bot with only a sliver of health will stop, turn around, and throw a Chaos Bolt at the nearest pursuing enemy... which buys enough time for the other three to catch up and finish him off, whereas he would probably have gotten away if he simply kept running. Made even more glaring by the fact that bots treat all disables the same, meaning that Tidehunter is more likely to waste Ravage running away from a gank than he is to use it to initiate a teamfight.
    • Bots caught out solo seem to get caught in a run/fight paradox half the time and neither properly escape nor trade hits with you until it's too late.
    • Bots don't seem to be able to dodge Kunkka's Ghostship - he's guaranteed a 4 man boat if he's on the opposing team.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Downplayed with Mirana, averted with Abaddon. Mirana's lines emphasis her privilege and demeans her enemies as whelps and curs, while Abaddon emphasis more on the nobility and devotion to the font of Avernus with only slight references to any entitlement. Mirana, however, isn't outright evil, just more of a haughty high class princess that looks down on anyone who dares trespass her domain and Selemene's.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Pyrion Flax, a popular YouTube Dota 2 satirist, managed to get his very own announcer pack added to the game and is now a frequent analyst at international tournaments.
  • Ascended Fanfic: It's a stand-alone remake to a Warcraft III mod. Many of the characters are Warcraft III characters or units with the Serial Numbers Filed Off.
  • Ascended Glitch: Several quirks of the Warcraft III engine were intentionally replicated, and several quirks of the early beta have been left intact as well:
    • Though integral to the game for years, "denying" allied creeps (killing them to deny the enemy the cash and experience reward) was originally an unintended feature. Similarly, being body-blocked by your own creeps was an artifact from Warcraft III, but was kept in because clever players figured out they could continually get in the way of their own creeps, inhibiting their movement and making the line of skirmish closer to their own tower.
    • Creep stacking is a method where a player draws the aggression of neutral creeps to make another stack of them spawn in the same camp at the minute mark, when all empty camps will respawn. Though originally a glitch, this is such an integral part of DotA that removing it was unthinkable.
    • Although since removed, Valve at one point stated that the technique known as "fountain hooking" would be left in the game. Fountain hooking refers to aggressively teleporting or dragging an enemy into their opponent's fountain, where the high damage will likely assure an Instant Kill. While it's most well known with Pudge and Chen, it was possible with a small handful of other heroes as well, such as second-runners, Magnus and Io, who, on one hand, are even harder to pull it off with, but on the other, are potentially capable of grabbing multiple people and returning to the fight afterwards respectively.
  • Ascended Meme: From the "rare" responses of Techiesnote : Who said we couldn't count to three, huh?
    • Zeus has been compared to Mario for having a mustache and a similar body shape. Come TI5, Zeus's Heavenly Jump taunt makes him jump Mario style, complete with a coin popping out of nowhere.
    • The Faceless Rex was originally a joke in Valve's blog about the Faceless Void remodel. People liked the idea so much that one enterprising modeler created a Faceless Rex courier, and Valve decided to include it in the game.
    • Outworld Devourer has often been called various names, as a joke about how he has been renamed many times. Valve made a nod to it in the Reborn beta.
    • Many joke patch notes are coming from community's memes. Such as Dark Seer's infamous nerf to Vacuum every patch, the "happy little tree" and Earthshaker's dunk from 6.87 patch, and Puck's Illusory Orb speed from 6.88 patch.
    • The Nether Lord's Regalia Set, also known as the BZZ set, became infamous among the community for being an extremely common drop in older versions, to the point that fans would start joking about the prospect of a golden BZZ set dropping. After TI6, 25 lucky players received a Golden Nether Lord's Regalia Set from the Trust of the Benefactor.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Sometimes the Aghanim's Scepter upgrade sounds so awesome to make people forget that it is an item that costs 4200 gold and gives subpar stats for its price. The truth is that, 'awesomeness' aside, there are only a handful of heroes on which Scepter is a must-buy item, and its usefulness runs the gamut all the way from absolute core to late-game luxury (which should be gotten at some point but there are more important items)note  to situational or straight-up impractical (most right-click carries note  can't dedicate a whole slot for an item with weak stats even if the upgrade is good, while in some cases the upgrade only sounds awesome on paper but is weak in practice) to almost useless and, on occasion, even detrimental (looking at you, Outworld Devourer). Alchemist can defy this trope due to his ability to quickly farm Scepters and give them to his teammates without consuming a slot, which especially helps slot-starved carries like Sven, Luna or Storm Spirit, and poor supports who can't afford Scepter like Lich or Lion.
    • Dagon 5 is the single most expensive item in the game and deals immense damage, but it's simply not efficient to spend a whopping 7720 gold on an item of limited value as the game progresses. As a result most Dagon buyers usually stop at Dagon 1 to 3, with the exception of Tinker, who can abuse it with Rearm, or players who're completely stomping the enemy team and have far too much gold to spend as a result.
    • Divine Rapier. 6,200 gold, +330 Attack Damagenote ... but if you die, it drops to the ground and an enemy can pick it up and use it against you. When your team is ahead, building a Divine Rapier is most of the time synonymous with throwing the game. It's all fun and games to troll the enemy team with your 'carry' Crystal Maiden until they focus you down and nick it, then make an amazing comeback and spend the next 20 minutes hanging around your fountain looking for easy kills. Who's laughing now? It's not you, your mouth's full of toilet water - and that could just be from your own team...
  • Baleful Polymorph: Lion, Rhasta, and the item Scythe of Vyse can turn an enemy hero into frogs, chickens and pigs, respectively. Cosmetic items for Lion and Rhasta change their Hex animals.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: The more humanoid, attractive females are all on the side of Radiant. Dire gets the more non-humanoid ones, ambiguous-looking (Mortred) or Evil Is Sexy ones (Akasha). Though the Radiant itself isn't 100% good mostly and also has its share of non-humanoid ones (eg: Slithice).
  • Beginner's Luck: Beginner's Luck in Dota is much attributed to how new players think. Dendi, a living legend since the original Dota, mention this in his interview
    Dendi: I can better think about what they (competitive players) will do and predict where they are going. Pub players, on the other hand, always end up just doing some #Yolo move and I’m like: “Where are you going? What are you doing?
  • Big "NO!": Every single hero has a chance to let one out when killed or when their team loses. Except for Io and Phoenix.
  • Boisterous Weakling: In ranked pub games you are going to encounter a lot of players that never stop blaming their teammates and calling them noobs, while proclaiming themselves pros who firmly believe that the rank they got is unjust and they are held back by their teammates "I'm stuck at 3k because my team always sucks, I'm AT LEAST 9k", and if they get good teammates they'll 'return' to their 'real' MMR in no time, even if their KDA is 0-32-2 (or something to that effect) and you're trying hard to carry their arse. Many of them eventually buy accounts or hire MMR boosters, and they feed, and they lose, and then they stop playing ranked because "this game fucking sucks, I can never find good teammates".
  • Bond One-Liner: Every single hero (including The Voiceless ones such as Io and Phoenix through their screeches) gives out a snark, comment or even an Evil Laugh whenever they successfully kill an opposing hero.
  • Boring but Practical:
    • Black King Bar gives awful stats for an item that costs 3975 gold (10 Strength and 24 attack damage can be purchased much more cheaply), and all its active ability does is turn you spell immune for a few seconds. Sure, 1k+ damage crits, stat items, and effects like bash and attack modifiers are so appealing because they look flashy, scale well with carry abilities and they make your hero so much better, but without the Boring King Bar the enemy team can and will make you useless by chain-disabling, kiting, silencing, disarming,... you to oblivion. If you're a carry player, you need to get used to building BKB as a first or second item in 90% of your games.
    • Wards. Perhaps the least flashy items in the game, all they do is grant vision over an area and have to be replaced periodically. However, vision is extremely important for making good tactical decisions and knowing which fights to pick, and catching a glimpse of an incoming gank squad often spells the difference between life and death. There is a reason why entire guides have been written about how to place and remove wards, and in higher level games, you'll rarely see them in stock in the shop for more than a minute.
    • The humble Iron Branch is extremely cheap and gives very low stats, but it's also the most cost-efficient stat item in the game (compare an Ultimate Orb, which gives 10 times the bonuses for 420 times the cost). As a result, it's the best way to give heroes more stats in the early game for a low cost, and most heroes (except for bottle-rushing mids) will spend their leftover starting gold on Iron Branches until they run out of slots. Some new players often think that the Iron Branch is useless and their money should be saved for bigger items... without realising that the exceptional advantage granted by the cheap stats will help them win fights and snowball the game in their favour.
  • Brains: Evil; Brawn: Good: The most evil and outright Jerkassish ones in general tend towards being Intelligence ones such as Lion, Invoker, Zeus, Shadow Demon, and Oracle while the majority of the truly "heroic" figures are strength heroes such as Sven, Omniknight, Abaddon, Magnus, and Elder Titan.
  • Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": Quite a few characters, mostly with Sniper and the archers; Sniper refers to arrows as "feather bullets" and Windranger refers to Sniper's bullets in turn as "tiny featherless arrows"
  • Calling Your Attacks: Most Heroes (some of them more than others) often either say the name, effect of, or a slang term for their spells during/immediately after casting them, especially for spells that are used specifically against enemies, so long as they don't just outright taunt the other guy (or make an Incredibly Lame Pun at them) instead.
    • Earthshaker is a fairly notable one.
    "Fissure!"
    "Enchant!"
    "SLAMMIN'!" / "ECHO SLAM!" or "CHAOS DUNK!"
    • Tusk will say some variation on Walrus PUNCH! ("x Punch!") accompanied by large red text reading "Walrus Punch!" next to his target every time it's used on a hero. On a creep, he'll say something like "Disappointing punch!" or "Moderately painful punch!" accompanied by small blue text reading "Penguin Punch!" next to it.
    • Doom, upon casting his ultimate "Doom", will almost always say something along the lines of "YOU'RE DOOMED!"
    • Skywrath Mage often says the exact name of his abilities upon using them.
    • Surprisingly not used for the loveably hammy Storm Spirit, despite saying something literally every time he uses his no-cooldown ultimate. Same thing goes for his other low-cooldown abilities.
    • Rubick can do this, since he potentially has access to just about every single spell in the game, and it could possibly be taken Up to Eleven depending both on the speed of any given person playing Rubick, and how extensively Valve has recorded/will record additional lines for his stolen spells in the future (as it is already fairly extensive).
  • Captain Ersatz: Due to certain heroes from the original mod being named directly after Blizzard-trademarked characters or races, some heroes had to be renamed.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: Every character has unique appearances, abilities, backstories, and extensive responses to certain events. All of them are fill in very different niches in gameplay and team composition, to the point where several heroes' schtick cannot be replicated by another.
  • Color-Coded Wizardry: Most hero's abilities are colored in a single color, usually the same one as the background of their abilities.
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • Split-pushing, or "Rat Doto", involves forcing the enemy team to one location on the map, and then going to the opposite end to destroy their towers and barracks unchallenged. Many heroes (particularly Pushers) such as Nature's Prophet and Broodmother are notable for this. The best counter would simply be to Gank the Split-pushing hero, and repeat as necessary, taking advantage of them being separated from their team to gain gold.
    • The "4-Protect-1" strategy relies on your hard carry so much, other members of the team is likely just fight to drawn out games for their carry to farm. Or throw their bodies to protect the carry in a teamfight. The result is a super-farmed carry and 4 poor but dedicated teammates, and said carry can pwn the opponent's team by himself.
  • Combination Attack: Many heroes work extremely well in concert with each other.
    • Magnus can potentially suck the entire enemy team into a single compact area in front of him and disable all of them with Reverse Polarity before Sven walks up and uses his high damage and Cleave to dice them all up in seconds while using Storm Hammer a smaller area-of-effect stun to give them more time to beat on their victims and Magnus' Empower gives both of them more damage and Cleave. Throw Tiny into the mix, who already has great Ao E nukes/disables, gets an insane amount of cleave from his Scepter upgrade, and has tons of base damage for Empower to improve, and no combination of heroes could stand any chance against them, provided Magnus starts it off with a good RP, and the other two follow up well (all of them likely with blink daggers).
      • Sven and Crystal Maiden compliments each other, which is also the basis of their apparent shipping. Aside the fact that both have skills that keep the enemies at place (Storm Hammer-Frostbite-Crystal Nova) so both can wail on the stunned/frozen enemy (moreso if Sven has activated God's Strength), Sven's mana-hungry problem is migitated with Rylai's Arcane Aura, which increases his mana regeneration (and Rylai being a support hero means that she is also likely to buy Arcane Boots to fill up Mana) so he can throw more Storm Hammers. Whereas Rylai's squishy armor and cumbersome movement speed is also mitigated with Sven activating his Warcry, which increases his and allies' armor and movement speed. With Sven's area stun, Rylai can also have an easier time to set her Freezing Field up.
      • In terms of setting up Freezing Field, however, Tidehunter does the job better as his ultimate, Ravage, is an AOE skill that stuns everyone in the area, which is perfect for team fights. Tidehunter can also help keeping Rylai's enemies in place by using Gush. However, they don't mitigate each others' flaws as much.
      • And hilariously enough, Rylai's sister, Lina, is considered a very compatible partner with Sven. Lina has an area stun (Light Strike Array) that deals a good deal of damage and stun, but there's one problem, she must aim at a ground and she has delay in cast time, thus her stun can be easily missed. Enter Sven and his targetted stun, Storm Hammer, which stuns not only an area, but also aims directly to a target unit/hero instead of a ground area and stuns for two seconds, enough for Lina to set up her stun, which can cause great chain stun that can be fatal for team fights if it caught many heroes, and has the potential to turn the lane they're in into a murder lane, which is bolstered with how Sven and Lina have good DPS via normal attacks. Yet another thing the sisters can argue about.
      • If Magnus's stun is not enough, Ember Spirit could be a very effective replacement, his Sleight of Fist lets him deal massive damage to groups with Cleave, Magnus's Empower being worth more than a Battle Fury and boosting attack damage on top of that, can potentially result in a One-Hit Polykill as all those overlapping cleaves can easily shred through entire teams.
    • Ursa has effectively nigh-infinite potential damage due to being able to do more damage every attack using Fury Swipes, and almost always successfully uses this to kill Roshan at an early stage of the game. However, he will usually not last long enough without lifesteal effects. Enter Wraith King and his Vampiric Aura which grants all nearby allies lifesteal.
    • Huskar has an ability that deals 35% (technically 26.25% because of most heroes' 25% magic resistance) of the opponent's current health in damage, if you buy Aghanim's Scepter on him the damage is upgraded to 65% (technically 48.75%). Enter Necrophos who has an ability that can deal damage to a target based on how much health it is missing (up to around 1-1 damage for each point of health missing). Targets of this combination tend to die.
      • Huskar's damage is also complemented by Witch Doctor's Maledict, which deals bonus damage every four seconds based on the HP an opponent has lost since the Maledict was cast. If Witch Doctor casts Maledict on a hero with 1500 HP, and Huskar deals 750 damage with Life Break, the Maledict will deal up to 900 bonus damage over time, allowing Huskar to secure the kill even if the target flees. Additionally, both Huskar and Witch Doctor can heal, allowing them to shrug off any damage caused by the opponent during the gank.
      • The dreaded combo that can pwn any strong teams if used effectively is Huskar with Dazzle or Oracle. The latter two can grant Huskar nigh-immortality with their skills (Shallow Grave and False Promise, to be exact); turning Huskar into the so-called "Raid Boss" that will destroy team by himself and tank everything the opponents throw with ease. If the enemy team is only composed by magic-based heroes, than it's likely a "ggwp" by 30+ minutes mark.
    • Tiny's ultimate makes him bigger and stronger for each level put into it, but with the tradeoff that each one reduces his attack speed permanently. Enter Wisp and its Overcharge ability that gives Tiny just enough attack speed to effectively ignore the attack speed loss.
      • Tiny and Centaur Warrunner is another popular combo: Centaur's melee-ranged stun and nuke are guaranteed to land when Tiny throws him on top of the target, and can then be followed up by Tiny's own stun.
    • A little different, but Luna and Night Stalker work fairly well together, as the two of them are among the very limited number of heroes who have a long sight range during the night, both of them have ultimates that turn the day into night and Luna's can even extend nighttimenote , and all of Night Stalker's abilities work better during the night.
    • Phoenix's ultimate Supernova, involves changing into an immobile egg for 6 seconds which deals massive damage per second in a very large AoE, and will stun and give Phoenix back full life, mana, and refreshed cooldowns on its other spells, but only if it manages to last that long. The other team can only deal with it by either destroying it with a few auto-attacks (only up to a total of 11 on its last level) which kills Phoenix in the process, or just running away from it. Enter Treant Protector's and Faceless Void's ultimates Overgrowth and Chronosphere, which disable any enemy movement or attacks in a large area.
    • While not done terribly often in serious games for a reason, it's still possible to stack up multiple heroes who have global ultimates that can be used simultaneously. A lineup of this will likely consist of Zeus, Nature's Prophet, Silencer (with the Scepter upgrade), Spectre, and likely Ancient Apparition (Invoker's Sun Strike could also do, along with a couple other hero's abilities). Results may vary, but hilarity will likely ensue, in one way or another.
      • Heroes will global abilities also benefit greatly when they have Bloodseeker in their team. If an enemy is wounded pretty badly, Bloodseeker's Thirst will always reveal their location, enabling these heroes to properly set up their global abilities to ruin the day of the wounded enemy, especially the skill-shot ones, such as Suntrike.
    • Techies has Suicide Squad, Attack! which deals so much damage (650 composite damage!) that it can one hit kill most enemy heroes in a single explosion at level 1, often resulting in a first blood for Techies. Which is cool, awesome and scary until you realize that Techies has the SLOWEST movement speed of 270, just 10 less than Crystal Maiden, and the ability is activated at point blank range, meaning that he will pretty much never move close enough to get a first blood on his own unless he manages to take someone by complete surprise. Cue Tiny, who can use Toss to throw Techies right on top of some poor victim.
    • Silencer has an ability to globally silence an enemy spells, while Omniknight has one that nullifies physical damage, which becomes global with Aghanim's scepter. Using both at once leaves very few, if any countermeasures beyond "Mass diffusal blade and black king bar", which is prohibitively expensive at best and a stopgap measure in any case.
    • Ironically, Nature's Prophet and Timbersaw can work well together. Timbersaw requires a tree so that he can quickly move around with Timber Chain and/or deal pure damage with Whirling Death and hopefully catch fleeing enemies or escape them, which becomes difficult in open areas or places where Timbersaw has already cut down most of the useful trees. Nature's Prophet is capable of spawning trees anywhere and around an enemy. With Sprout, Nature's Prophet can either help Timbersaw catch and kill his prey or help him escape from enemies, which is easily done with Teleportation.
    • Witch Doctor and Faceless Void can be a powerful combo if done right. Witch Doctor has the powerful Death Ward, which has the potential to wipe out an entire enemy team in its duration (especially so if he has Aghanim's Scepter), especially early game. However, Witch Doctor has to channel Death Ward for the duration, Death Ward has a limited range, and it can easily be interrupted. Meanwhile, Faceless Void has the powerful Chronosphere that traps everything within it, but Void himself won't do much damage until lategame unless he gets a great start, so he has to rely on his team to do well with Chronosphere early game. These two ultimates become extremely powerful if used together, for Chronosphere can hold the enemies in place while Death Ward relentlessly damages them while they can't do anything about it. This combo was considered so overpowered that developers made Death Ward unable to shoot inside Chronosphere.
      • While the above is a classic combo, Chronosphere also works well with Phoenix's Supernova. Supernova is a heavily damaging ult, but is vulnerable to auto attacks. Chronosphere prevents melee enemies from attacking the sun, while holding them in place for Supernova to inflict maximum magical damage, and will disable the enemy heroes for even longer at the end of Chronosphere's duration.
  • Complete Immortality: Four characters (Keeper of the Light, Enigma, Chaos Knight, and Wisp) are "Fundamentals": beings from the beginning of reality that are ageless and impossible to truly kill. The Radiant and the Dire are also Fundamentals, ones that were cast out by the others for constantly feuding.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard:
    • The AI does not play fair with mana. This means that the Sven you got down to single-digit mana not two seconds ago can suddenly turn around and throw a Storm Hammer at your face even if he doesn't have the means to get the mana needed. That being said, the AI is subtle about cheating, as it's generally not noticeable unless you're playing a hero with some form of Mana Drain and are checking the bots' mana pools, and even then only some of the time.
    • The aptly named "Unfair" bots gain XP and gold 25% faster than human players.
    • Zigzagged with the AI's handling of illusions. If the real hero is present along with an illusion(s) of itself, bots will immediately single out the real one even if they had no logical way of telling (for instance, if the hero just used Manta Style). On the other hand, if the real hero isn't present, Artificial Stupidity takes over as they wail on the illusion as if it were the real thing.
    • Bots have been known to "speed-hack" when being pursued by a player, making themselves just fast enough that the player can't catch up. However, they at least try to be sneaky about it, in that they generally won't try to pull this on the player if the movement speed difference is large enough to be noticeable.
    • If you play Pudge, Mirana or Invoker, try hitting your Meat Hook, Sacred Arrow or Sun Strike on a bot that is not stunned, rooted or slowed. Hint: it is harder to hit these skills on bots than on real players. Even if you shoot an arrow from fog that is visible only for the last second, they'll dodge it - they're that good. Even if you use Sun Strike from the fountain (where there's no way for them to register the spell), the bots still know to stop dead on their track right in front of the AoE till it pops and then continue on, or to skirt a perfect circle around the AoE as if trying to troll you.
  • Computers Are Fast:
    • Whenever you try to blink into the enemy heroes and initiate on them, they will immediately counter your attempt with an insane reaction time that even the most skilled players will envy. For example, when you blink in with Axe to use Berserker's Call, Lion will instantly turn you into a frog and cue chain stuns after chain stuns from the other bots until you die pointlessly. Dragon Knight and the aforementioned Lion are particularly blatant offenders, as their disables have zero cast time; if they feel like stunning you, there's nothing you can do about it.
    • If you are both invisible and carrying an aura like Radiance or Assault Cuirass, good luck; the bots will ALWAYS pop dust immediately, with 0ms delay in usage. Most people can't notice AC that fast, if at all.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Potentially played straight. When a player abandons a game, the gold-per-second they earn is split between their teammates, and so is the gold their hero possesses. Certain heroes who rely on items to carry benefit massively from this (for example Faceless Void, Phantom Assassin and Phantom Lancer), especially if three or four teammates abandon, and can within a few minutes acquire powerful late-game items, allowing them to effectively take on entire teams solo, where otherwise they could only do so after an hour of farming.
  • Continuity Reboot: The original DotA never had much of a story past minor hero and items descriptions, and for the most of it used lore already established in Warcraft as a base. With the remake being developed by Valve, they couldn't obviously use anything relating to Blizzard products. This gave them the chance to completely clean the slate and create their own fantasy world, giving all the heroes completely new backstories, though still using the original DotA heroes as a base.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Takes place in a bright and colorful world... which is currently engulfed in a seemingly endless war between the titular Ancients. On top of that, nearly every single hero is either straight up evil or has some tragic event in their backstory. Even the out-of-game lore is very much darker than the game's appearance would suggest.
  • Critical Encumbrance Failure: As of patch 6.78, flying couriers will fly 30% slower if they're carrying an empty bottle, in an effort to punish "bottle crowing" for mid-lane heroes. Which makes no sense since the donkey will fly faster once the bottle is filled with water, which makes it heavier...
  • Critical Existence Failure: Heroes fight as they still do when they are at full health, and Huskar actually gets stronger when he loses health. The only things that gets affected are the limping or weakened animations of certain heroes that play when they reach low hit points.
  • Crossover: Among the announcers you can pick are Dr. Kleiner, Rucks, General Fletcher, GLaDOS, the Narrator, Rick and Morty, Mr. Handy, and Adam Jensen.
  • Crutch Character: Certain support heroes like Earth Spirit and Chen. They are especially powerful early game when enemy heroes haven't yet acquired many items, but their lack of scaling means that they'll fall off rapidly late game when the enemy can catch up.
  • Cycle of Hurting: Comboing disables for extended periods of time is so common that there is an item, Black King Bar, with the purpose of avoiding this.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory: Developers' Foresight. If you come from Defense of the Ancients: All-Stars, you can enable an option to use the old Warcraft III hotkeys; if you come from League of Legends, you can enable instacast, bind your TP Scroll item slot to D and your Blink Dagger item slot to F (both common hotkey bindings for LOL's Teleport and Flash), and place the minimap on the right side.
    • The 6.85 patch introduced one: prior to this patch, Healing Salve, Enchanted Mango, and Clarity were used by clicking the item (or pressing the hotkey) and then clicking on the hero you wanted to use it on, or double-tapping the hotkey to use it on yourself, Warcraft 3 style. After the patch, hitting the hotkey automatically uses the item on yourself LOL style, while using it on an ally requires you to hold down the Ctrl key before hitting the hotkey. Cue players accidentally using Salves on themselves at full health instead of the almost-dead hero standing next to them. That particular change was reverted about two weeks after the patch's release, probably because of this.
  • Day Old Legend: Applies to most of the items that can be crafted, especially those that cost at least 1,000 gold to obtain. Apparently, the Shadow Blade was used by a former king, and the Silver Edge that the Shadow Blade can be crafted into was used to assassinate a corrupt king, only for the kingdom to descend into civil war. This makes even less sense if multiple heroes in a game get a Shadow Blade or Silver Edge of their own.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: Many heroes have area-of-effect spells that don't do very much damage to single targets at all, or have auras that don't do a lot by themselves. The difference comes when you stack those spells and auras with those of the other four players on your team, which can quickly grind down even the hardest carries in the game under the right situation. That makes tactics very important to players.
    • The only way for creeps to get anything done.
  • Death-or-Glory Attack: The right time to build Divine Rapier is when your team is behind, outcarried and with hope fading that you can make a comeback. Buying a Rapier is basically a massive gamble that throws all the cards up into the air to land where they will. If you can win that one vital fight where they're not expecting you to wield 330 extra damage, it might just be enough to turn things around. A heroic victory snatched from the jaws of defeat. Either that or they beat you up, put your head down to toilet for a few flushes, steal it, and then stomp you... but hey, that was going to happen anyway, right?
  • Death Ray: The Dagon's active ability Energy Burst, which fires a beam that deals instant magical damage to the target.
  • Dem Bones: The Dire has quite a few undead heroes.
  • Developers' Foresight: Valve had every voice actor do a line for purchasing an Aghanim's Scepter, even heroes whose ulti couldn't be upgraded. Loads of heroes have had ultimate upgrades added since the lines were recorded.
  • Dynamic Entry: Blink Dagger and Force Staff, two mobility items often built by heroes with short-ranged abilities to get into position easier. Also, Anti-Mage and Queen of Pain's Blink skill; Faceless Void's Time Walk; Sand King's Burrowstrike; etc.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: As the Trope Codifier of the ARTS genre, it has retained many features which others of its kind do not have, most of them Ascended Glitches or quirks of the old Warcraft III engine, like denying, free heroes, creep pulling, stacking, complicated interactions between spell immunity and certain abilities,...
  • Earn Your Fun: Getting into Dota 2 in a nutshell, perhaps of the Trial-and-Error Gameplay variety. The developers have tried to alleviate some of this by introducing a tutorial mode, but it's a long and steep learning curve no matter how the game is played.
    • Dota 2 is extremely complex, and calling the game 'unwelcome' would be an understatement. Simply learning the names or the existence of all heroes and items is important, perhaps even required, and can take a long time. Then there's learning how/when to use any of those things, how they all mesh together, and then actually putting it into practice and getting good at any of it (even one hero can take a while), all the while probably going through a lot of face-crushingly horrible games (saying nothing of learning what the current metagame is at any given point in time): bot games are bad and lower brackets are filled with smurfs, toxic players and smurfing toxic players who will not spare any opportunity to curse you to Hell for the smallest mistake. Put all of that together, and you've got yourself one game with one gigantic skill curve on your hands. However, once you can start directly contributing to your team winning games, you can finally find out why Dota 2 is widely regarded as one of the most fun & rewarding games on the planet.
    • And some says that the true reward of playing Dota is to be able to "watch the game". Dota 2's professional matches are highly entertaining, with high-skilled plays, absurd teamfights, funny moments, and many little things that can only be appreciated by understanding the game itself.
  • Emote Animation: Not exactly an "animation" per se, but typing "lol" or "lmao" or some variant thereof in chat will actually prompt your hero to laugh. Similarly, typing "ty", "thanks", or using the "> Thanks!" chat wheel command prompts a "thank you" line from your hero.
  • Enemy Eats Your Lunch: 'Creepjacking', where you raid the enemy jungle or ancients and steal the stacks created by their supports before their carries can farm them. Can also happen when you gank the enemy team when they are trying to take Roshan.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Most heroes never called by their name in-game, not even in any voice lines either because it is obscure, have the names removed for copyright reasons or have the misfortunate timing of being Dummied Out in their responses. It is easier to list the heroes that downplay (the hero is known by their title but occasionally their names are mentioned in one of the in-game voice lines)note  or avert this trope (the hero is called directly by their name most of the time)note .
  • Evil Laugh: Very prominent. Almost every hero has a response of this sort to killing an enemy hero. Oddly, in this game it doesn't produce any Narm feelings, because whoever just scored a kill will usually feel like a badass, so if you get the laugh response it just makes the experience better.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Many of the abilities with less imaginative names end up being this. Silencer's ultimate, Global Silence, is literally silences all enemy heroes on the map, Anti-mage and Queen of Pain's Blink instantly move them from one position to another, etc.
  • Excuse Plot: Literally invoked in some of the supplemental material. The Heroes are mostly seeking their own personal power rather than being strongly for the Radiant or Dire, with the exception of Arc Warden who is actively trying to end the war.
  • Fake Difficulty: The aptly-named Unfair bots: if on the enemy team, they have a bonus to XP and money gain compared to the human players; if on your team, they play like idiots and will throw themselves at the enemy to die.
  • Famous Last Words: Expect any given hero (who can speak) to get in a few choice words before dying (and then respawning). Though they'll just as often go for a simple Big "NO!" instead.
  • Five-Man Band: The common team roles can be viewed as such.
    • Big Good: The Ancient (the main objective of the game).
    • The Hero: Either the main carry or the mid laner (the most powerful hero in the game, receives the most spotlight and the easiest to get rampages, highlights and so on).
    • The Big Guy: The offlaner (has to solo a lane against 2-3 enemy heroes, and usually requires inherent tankiness or escapes).
    • The Smart Guy: The semi-support (farms support items which would be unwise to be built on a carry or mid).
    • The Chick: The hard support (does the essential but often uncelebrated job of buying wards, dust and smoke, and has little to no money to buy items for themselves). Can overlap with The Smart Guy, as they effectively perform counter-intelligence duty with dewarding.
    • Team Pet: The courier (used to deliver items but useless in a fight).
  • Fixed Damage Attack: Pure Damage, which ignores armor and magic resistance. Many sources of it also ignore Magic Immunity.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: Between Kunkka the Admiral and Tidehunter of all people.
    Kunkka: "Ah, Tidehunter, you cared enough to hate me. You can't buy that sort of love!"
    "Ah, Tidehunter, you were my better half."
    "I never tire of hearing my name on your lips."
    "There went my soul mate."
    • All but one of Tidehunter's "Killing a specific enemy" responses (and then some) are about Kunkka, and Tide will say any of them quite often even if Kunkka is not in the same game.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Heroes can range wildly from mere Badass Normals with little supernatural abilities (Axe and Juggernaut) to ancient and powerful sorcerers (Invoker, Lich, Rubick,...) and massive towering colossi (Magnus, Treant Protector, Tiny...) to even Physical Gods (Elder Titan, Ancient Apparition, the four Fundamentals,...). However, in-game their power levels are all roughly the same.
    • In Dota, Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors does not apply. For example, Crystal Maiden can freeze the already frozen Lich, in order to do damage to him with Frostbite. Winter Wyvern can then save Lich... by also freezing him over to heal him, at which point Ancient Apparition can... you guess it, freeze Lich, to stop him from healing. As shown here.
  • Gender Flip: Tresdin the Legion Commander. In DotA he was a male, horse-riding, mustached, racist to non-humans, commander of a legion. In Dota 2 he has become a woman with somewhat darker skin who fights on foot. The racism is toned down, but she is still somewhat aggressive towards non-humans, especially demons after Stonehall.
    • Additionally, Auroth the Winter Wyvern also has a gender flip as she shares the same voice actor as Tresdin.
  • Genre Shift: The various holiday events all deviate from the standard 5v5 Ancient-destroying gameplay.
    • Both the 2012 and 2013 Diretide events are Capture the Flag competitions that segues into a 10-on-1 fight against a buffed Roshan.
    • The 2012 Greeviling event was a race between both teams to kill as many Greevils as possible in a set time limit.
    • The 2013 Wraith Night event was a 5-man Tower Defense game where five heroes defeat waves of monsters and heroes for 13 rounds.
    • The 2014 New Bloom event pit the team against the Year Beast. Slay it and you can get loots for cosmetic item crafting. The most damaging players got a VERY rare Jadehoof courier.
    • And with the Custom Games, Dota 2 is back to it's Warcraft III mod days that you can create a new game inside a game.
  • Geo Effects: High ground has two advantages in this game: units cannot see higher ground (except with flying vision), and any ranged attacks from low ground targeting a unit on high ground has a chance to miss.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Most of the circumstances in which Divine Rapier is actually seen as a good idea to buy are when your team is so far behind that defeat is almost inevitable, but the absurd damage a Rapier gives might let you win a last stand.
  • Hunter of His Own Kind: Meta-wise, some heroes are very good at countering other heroes like them, or in special cases, themselves.
    • Lifestealer is a tanky, high health hero whose Percent Damage Attack passive added to all his attacks makes him deadly to other tanky high-health heroes.
    • Pugna is a squishy, mana-intensive Glass Cannon with a Counter Spell ward that causes other squishy, mana-intensive Glass Cannon heroes to kill themselves.
    • Bounty Hunter is a invisbility-based hero who can reveal and quickly kill other heroes that rely on invisibility.
    • Terrorblade is a high base damage physical Glass Cannon who can summon an Enemy Without, which works best on other high base damage physical Glass Cannon heroes.
    • Silencer is a spellcaster hero with abilities that shut down enemy spellcasters.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Some heroes like Tiny, Lich and Razor have voicesets full of them.
    • There are too many Incredibly Lame ones to count (although, impressively, it almost never diminishes the overall experience):
    Lich (casting Ice Armor): What's a little frost among friends?
    Faceless Void: In the land of time, the no-eyed man is king.
    Chaos Knight: Armageddon out of here.note 
    Outworld Devourer: Good news travels slowly. Bad news has wings.
    • The blog update for Bristleback says:
    Better watch your back, because Bristleback is back! (kill me).
  • Homing Boulders: It's possible for autoattacks and spells to change direction in midair and fly across the map if the targeted hero teleports away or moves away very quickly. This is especially ridiculous with some characters, like Sniper, whose bullets can spin right around in midair to chase their target, or Tiny, whose Toss throws a nearby unit to a target enemy, even if the Toss trajectory makes no sense and bends around in the air. It also gets absolutely ridiculous with skills such as Huskar's Life Breaknote , where Huskar actually changes direction mid-air if his target blinks away, even if the target blinks behind Huskar.
    • Literally for the Mud Golem's Boulder Toss
    • Taken Up to Eleven with Io, whose ultimate is a global teleport. However, it doesn't disjoint projectiles, so if a ranged hero throws an autoattack that doesn't connect before Io teleports, the attack could potentially fly all the way across the map, giving the Io player a nasty surprise.
    • Also taken Up to Eleven with the 6.87 item Hurricane Pike, which gives a hero four shots against one target with no maximum attack range. Cue heroes dying to cross-map Impetus shots from Enchantress.
  • Immunity Disability: It's usually a good thing to cast Magic Immunity on yourself in the middle of battle to prevent the enemy from stunning you - but this also prevents your allies from casting healing spells on you.
    • This can also come into play with Song of the Siren; it does not disable (and give invulnerability to) Magic Immune enemies, which can result in a lone enemy who is immune getting caught 1v5.
  • Impressive Pyrotechnics: The Ancients' explosions.
  • Instant 180 Degree Turn: Averted. "Turn time", or the half-second pause that a hero takes to turn to another direction of running, is an important gameplay mechanic to get used to and one of the balancing factors for melee vs. ranged heroes to ensure that the latter can't just kite the former with complete impunity. One of Batrider's skills actually increases the turn time of whoever he uses it on. Good luck kiting at all.
  • Instant-Win Condition: Aside from an Ancient exploding, when a team Know When to Fold 'Em, typing "gg" or using the 'Good game' chat wheel command in a private lobby will automatically end the game within 10 seconds if no players change their mind and cancel before it happens.
  • Ironic Hell: Getting into Low Priority used to be a slap in the wrist; you're matched with people like you and you just need to play a number of games to get out of it. Now, not only you're forced to play Single Draft mode (which severely limits your ero options), you have to win in order for the game to count. To call it Teeth-Clenched Teamwork would be an understatement.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Certain characters have specific, mocking lines when killing other heroes. Some even have dedicated taunt animations that can be executed on command if you own the item in your backpack. Axe even has an in-game ability for this too - he magically taunts his enemies and forces them attack him so they cannot attack his (usually easier to kill) allies, and placing the enemies in position to be hit with his other ability, Counter Helix.
  • Item Caddy: Carries are this in general, especially hard carries. Except for a few fairly item-independent ones (like Wraith King), an average carry needs at least a moderate to huge amount of farm to be able to fight effectively, contrasting with the supports who need very little money. On the flip side, however, carries scale much better with items than supports: for example, Crystal Maiden might only need a pair of Tranquil Boots while Medusa needs a minimum of 2 big items to be effective; on the other hand, a 6-slotted Crystal Maiden, although strong, is still very team-dependent, while a 6-slotted Medusa is absolutely impossible to fight against.
  • Just Trying to Help: Some heroes that affect allied units with their abilities (most notably Pudge, Faceless Void and Naga Siren) can cause this if not used right.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: Fountain Camping in a nutshell; essentially when the opponent is winning heavily against a losing team that has no chance of coming back, instead of destroying the Barracks and Ancients to finish them off (and subsequently put them out of their misery) the winning sides chooses to humiliate them by killing them right after they spawn in their fountain, shrugging off the damage from the Fountains built to prevent this and artificially lengthen the game up to an hour without end. Valve decided to discourage such practices by putting the fountain area on high ground, preventing enemies from gaining vision and giving their attacks a chance to miss - although that doesn't stop players from trying.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Stories abound where one team dominated the whole game, who then proceeded to Trash Talk and utterly humiliate the losing side, only to make one critical mistake which allowed the other team to turn the table and win the game.
  • Legacy Character: Due to copyright reasons (like belonging to Blizzard-exclusive races like Tauren or Pandaren) some characters had to be replaced. They are still easy to recognize.
  • Lighter and Softer: Than other ARTS in the genre. Lighthearted dialogue is far more common (with some of the most horrific and evil monstrosities sometimes joining in as well), the world is a bright and colorful place, and many of the skill effects that happen are not very bloody or violent.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: On the whole inverted: casters are generally stronger in the early and mid game before becoming outgunned by warriors in the late game.
    • Since the damage output for casters comes mostly from their burst-damage nukes, they tend to be powerful early game when enemy heroes have few items; but because nuke damage generally scales very badly with items (only 1% more damage per 16 points of Intelligence) they fall short later when enemies become able to shrug their nukes (and their weak auto-attacks) off.
    • Compare to physical damage dealers, who rely on right-click auto-attacks enhanced with passive abilities: their damage early on is weak, but scales very well and becomes stronger and stronger as they acquire more and more items, and in the late game they become major nexuses of power.
    • This trope is sometimes played straight: some Intelligence heroes (notably Necrophos, Outworld Devourer and Storm Spirit) are carries that start off barely stronger than an Anti-Mage but have abilities that allow them to remain very strong in the late game, and on the opposite end of the spectrum there's Axe, a Strength hero who starts off as a lane dominator and bully during the early and mid game but becomes little more than a walking disable when the game goes late.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Being an ARTS, this is expected.
  • Mage Killer: Anti-Mage, Nyx Assassin, Silencer, and Pugna.
  • Magikarp Power: Hard carries like Medusa or Anti-Mage start the game very weak, spend most of their early- and mid-game farming incessantly and watching out for ganks, but are the strongest heroes late game, able to 1v5 whole teams by themselves if properly farmed.
  • More Than Mind Control: According to the first (of very few) Dota comics, non-heroes exposed to Direstone or Radiant ore quickly become warped by it and turned into creeps. This is ultimately reversible, though not without extreme effort.
  • Money Multiplier: Hand of Midas, Maelstrom, Battle Fury and Radiance. They are often not particularly effective in combat compared to other similarly priced items, but they can massively boost the farming speed of their owners.
  • Monster Allies: Chen and Enchantress can turn neutral creeps into their loyal followers. The Helm of the Dominator extends this capability to everyone with its active Dominate.
  • Ms. Fanservice: While some humanoid heroines ARE attractive, they're not overly sexualized to the point of fanservice. With the exception of someone like Queen of Pain, but that can be excused considering she is a succubus.
  • Mythology Gag: If you look closely at the icon for item recipes, the icon in the middle is the symbol of the Combine from Half-Life 2.
    • Stealth Pun: ...Because you use recipes to COMBINE items.
  • No Experience Points for Medic: You only get assist credit if you damage the slain enemy. This is why certain melee supports (like Omniknight - most of whose spells protect his allies or slow enemies, or Treant Protector - whose ultimate stops enemies from moving or attacking but does 0 damage) tend to not have great scores since they lack easy damage spells to pick assists up. However, simply being near a dying enemy nets you gold and experience.
    • The Spring Cleaning update defies this: placing a buff on an ally that kills an enemy or a debuff on an enemy that dies will also grant you an assist.
  • Non-Action Guy: The two Ancients (the Radiant and the Dire) manifest as defenceless buildings that must rely on towers and heroes to protect.
  • Noodle Incident: Tons in the character bios.
  • No Sell: One of the biggest mechanics of the game's meta-strategy is that some heroes are complete hard counters to others (such as Omniknight's Repel being able to completely nullify most disabling abilities in the game), while some items act as hard counters to specific hero abilities (such as Diffusal Blade making Omniknight almost useless), so choosing the correct lineup or item build against the other team can result in this. Again, rewarding good decision making: turn the tide of the battles even when you are behind, if you are smarter than your foes.
    • Magic Immunity (provided by things like Repel, Enrage, and Black King Bar) is a No Sell for Magic damage and most disables, making BKB a very commonly purchased item.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: Low Priority queue is supposed to be used to punish players who either troll other people or they constantly abandon games that are going on right now. Unfortunately, players still chose to troll other player by either griefing, or trash talking other and after number of games, they got out of it without consequences. So Valve gradually makes the Low Priority punishment harsher and harsher from requiring into a set number of games played, disabling co-op bots counting as a match, to requiring a set number of wins in order to get out of such queue.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Liberally used for both Roshan's Leitmotif and Dire's victory theme.
  • Our Dwarves Are Different: While not outright stated, the Keen (Sniper, Tinker, Clockwerk, Gyrocopter, and the smaller half of Alchemist) share similarities with Dwarves. Most are incredibly smart and sport facial hair, and all are very small in stature.
  • Perfect-Play A.I.: When playing with/against bots, they will most often perform perfect chain stuns/disables, on the level of pro players.
    • Necrophos is a particularly nasty example for the AI's ability to calculate the kill threshold for Reaper's Scythe. As soon as your health drops below that amount, he will Scythe you, and you will die.
    • Windranger bot also has a knack for pulling off bizarre and improbable Shackleshots with a consistency that would make most players jealous.
  • Pet the Dog: No matter how bad or narcissistic they are, whenever you heal a hero, they are genuinely grateful for your help. The sole exception to this is Troll Warlord who will threaten the helper even if they healed him.
  • Power Creep: This is often a large factor in what determines the meta in competitive gaming. Heroes that don't get nerfs in certain patches (or even actually get buffs) can find themselves retired from the meta simply because a buff elsewhere created a better option in another hero. Icefrog tried to change this in every patch, and finally on the International 2016, most of all heroes are played in the tournament.
  • Power Trio:
  • Quad Damage: Runes. Picking up a non-bounty rune grants the hero a powerful effect for a short time. The ones that fit best are Haste (maximum movement speed), Arcane (reduced mana costs and cooldowns on spells), and Double Damage (guess).
  • Race Against the Clock: If both teams go all-in on a push into the enemy base, it usually turns into this. Known as a "base race" in the community.
    • Fighting against some heroes also turns into this. For example, you basically can't win against a Medusa, Arc Warden, Terrorblade, or Phantom Lancer (and maybe Anti-Mage) with 45 minutes worth of farm under their belt. Heck, even Techies qualifies; you can't win against a Techies after 45 or so minutes, prepare to fight for hours as you repeatedly run into minefields in the enemy base. And, of course, savvy players will tend to pair Techies with one of the aforementioned heroes that require a metric ton of farm...
  • Race Lift: Tresdin the Legion Commander. Originally a white man in DotA, they are now a darker-skinned woman. Doesn't mean she lost all of the racism towards non-humans or any of the bravado.
  • Random Drops: Incorporated using a system similar to Team Fortress 2, in that only cosmetic items drop.
  • Randomized Damage Attack: Chaos Knight has Chaos Bolt, which inflicts a random but inversely-related amount of damage and stun. Upgrading the spell increases both the maximum and minimum values of both the damage and stun, but there's still a big difference between a 275 damage skill that stuns for 2 seconds, and one that does 100 and stuns for 4. Chen's Test of Faith is similar, but without the stun.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Respectively:
  • Reduced Mana Cost: Picking up an Arcane rune reduces all mana costs by 40% for 50 seconds.
  • Revenue-Enhancing Devices: Even if the game is completely play-for-free from the get-go, and you play as every hero from the start, the online store still manages to have a ridiculous amount of purchasable-with-real-money content. With the exception of tournament tickets (which allow you to spectate international tournaments from in-game) though, all of these store items are only cosmetic in nature, a vast number of them can be obtained through Random Drop as above (with even some only being available through drop and not through the store), and none of the availability of the game itself is locked away. An exception to the tournament ticket rule goes to the annual "The International" tournament held by Valve. You can watch the in-game matches for free, and Valve makes money by selling "See it live" tickets and (for the 2013 tourney) the Compendium which is $10 for at least $35 worth of content and a promise for more as more Compendiums are bought.
  • Rivals Team Up: Anybody can be teamed up with anybody else even if the lore says that two characters hate one another's guts. Sometimes when this happens the two rivals will have mean things to say to one another, but will still work together.
  • Running Gag: Frostivus, ostensibly the Christmas equivalent celebrated in-universe, getting cancelled due to some unforeseen disaster.
    Frostivus 2013 Day 1: Nothing can possibly go wrong.
    Frostivus 2013 Day 2: BY DECREE OF THE ONLY KING THAT MATTERS - FROSTIVUS IS CANCELLED
    • All heroes have a taunt voice-set, but all of them will be about "It's in the bag!". Also each heroes have a quote to curse about the "Shitty/Crummy Wizard!". Some heroes can say it straight, some gets Sophisticated as Hell about them.
  • Ryu and Ken: As in the Original Dota, players could only pick Sentinel or Scourge (renamed Radiant and Dire for Dota 2) heroes when on that side, alot of them were largely equal to each other, such as Lina and Lion, Sven and Magnus, Omniknight and Abaddon, and others. Divergent Character Evolution has completely changed most of these heroes (Magnus and Sven don't even fall into any of the same roles anymore).
  • Schizo Tech: Several of the Keen (ie, the Gnome analogues) have incredibly advanced technology, Tinker even having lasers, rockets, and automonous robots. They exist alongside and are routinely beaten by people using arrows and swords. However, Gryocopter's backstory mentions finding an "incomplete schematic for a Gyrocopter, the world’s first manned, non-magical flying device". So, while technology, with the help of magic, is incredibly advanced, pure technology is mostly inept.
  • Ship Tease: When Crystal Maiden gets her Announcer Pack, her 'Specific hero' quips include on herself, Lina, some ice users (just Tusk, Drow and Lich, she didn't quip against Ancient Apparition and Winter Wyvern)... and Sven. Also if the game goes idle enough, she starts wondering where Sven is.
  • Shout-Out: Just as with the original, with the sheer number of assets in the game, most anything is a reference to something else:
  • Sinister Surveillance: A particularly vital concept in the game is warding to gain vision of key areas, and denying enemy vision of key areas. And with 6.87 update, the Scan team ability that can be used to scour an area of enemy heroes.
  • Skill Gate Characters: Because the game is balanced around competitive play, quite a few heroes are inherently imbalanced in the lower brackets, where people do not communicate and coordinate with each other, like to pick a lineup with 4 or 5 carries, are too greedy to bother with TP scrolls, wards and detection, do not look at the minimap for missing enemy heroes, do not know how to rotate when a lane is lost or when the enemy has an AFK jungler, do not know how to adjust their build or focus down a dangerous Glass Cannon, panic when getting ganked or in a big teamfight with a lot of spells, or give up and start feeding couriers when the smallest thing goes wrong. Whether they are actually Skill Gates or not also depends on the version, since there's nothing that prevents them from being buffed or becoming suitable to the meta so that pros would pick them.note  In general, however, the following heroes are usually considered to be particularly effective to stomp noobs (without taking into account their viability in pro games, which fluctuates often) by punishing common mistakes made by new players:
    • Riki, Clinkz and Slark: Snowballing solo gankers with good scaling that prey on lone heroes out of position (very common in low-level games) and can turn invisible (or always builds Shadow Blade), which is synonymous with invincibility in a bracket where detection doesn't exist except in the form of a Gem of True Sight that is only bought when they have accumulated more than 20 kills, at which point it is likely to fall into the Riki or Clinkz's hands as soon as they see the Gem carrier. Contrast higher-level games, where Sentry Wards and Dust of Appearance are applied liberally from minute 1 if any hero with invisibility is on the enemy team.
    • Bloodseeker, Viper and Drow Ranger are snowballing solo gankers/carries that make it impossible for their target to run away except with a Town Portal Scroll, which low-level players don't bother to carry but are ubiquitous in higher-level play. In addition, no one knows how Rupture works and still runs away in panic when affected by it, or bothers to check if their HP has fallen below 25% when there's a Bloodseeker on the enemy team; Viper is a very powerful harasser, lane dominator and 1v1 manfighter in the early and mid game; while Drow Ranger frequently builds Shadow Blade in low-level pubs.
    • Omniknight is a support hero with very strong buffs that can be rendered useless by a Diffusal Blade. Given that it's a reasonably cheap item with respectable stats, higher level players tend to start building one as soon as they can when they see Omniknight on the enemy team, but lower-level players usually don't know how to adjust their item builds to fit the situation, and only build Diffusal Blade when playing Riki, Spectre or Phantom Lancer.
    • Sniper is a Long-Range Fighter that can't manfight anyone at close range, but your carry is too afraid of him to try and get close (especially when being constantly hit by Headshots), no one has a Blink Dagger, and bad players are more likely to blow their skills on whatever enemy hero that they want to instead of trying to focus down the squishy Sniper first. Bonus points for being a very frequent Shadow Blade buyer in low-level games.
    • Axe is a beefy lane dominator whose trade-mark pubstomping tactic is to go into the enemy safelane and kill all of the enemy's creep waves with Counter Helix before they reach the outer tower, making it impossible for the enemy safelaners to stay in lane. While this makes him exceptionally vulnerable to ganks, low-level players generally lack the coordination to pull it off and only know to flame the safelaners for feeding and/or getting no farm; and despite this the safelaners (who are usually two melee carries in low-level pubs) still think it's better to get massacred in the lane instead of leaving to jungle or roam.
    • Pudge and Spirit Breaker are snowballing solo gankers who are terrifying if they get going, but are easily foiled by wards - which are, of course, nonexistent in pub games (and any wards that are planted tend to not do anything since low-level players rarely check the minimap but are all too eager to spam 'We need wards!' after feeding no matter how bad their positioning were or how many wards are on the map) but are almost always picked up as soon as the support can afford them at higher levels.
    • Ursa is a Mighty Glacier with no mobility who can solo Roshan early in the game and deal insane damage at short range, allowing him to terrorize noobs who do not practise good kiting and positioning - which reduce Ursa to an oversized clay pigeon - and who think that Force Staff should only be built on Bloodseeker. Additionally, anyone with an ounce of savvy will keep a close eye on the Roshan pit to score easy kills and Aegis snatches on Ursa if he tries to take Roshan.
    • Zeus can dominate the mid lane and snowball with gank gold due to his massive magical damage output, but also gets shut down very hard by the Boring but Practical items Infused Raindrops, Black King Bar, Hood of Defiance, and Pipe of Insight. Needless to say, pubbers tend to skip these items because of the "boring" part of the equation. And good luck trying to convince your teammates to gank the mid lane - you'll be ignored at best and flamed at worst.
    • Necrophos is normally a situational carry hero, but can get away with being a support in low-level pubs. This is because smart players tend to dogpile Necrophos to stop him from healing the enemy team and wearing down their team's health, but lower-level players tend to ignore him and get massacred as a result.
    • Lich, a good lane dominator, who can simply use his ultimate Chain Frost to score a wipe against a bad, uncoordinated team who does not know to react to it by splitting from each other. Against good players, however, Chain Frost is less of an automatic death sentence and more of a combo spell, because good players can simply move away from each other, or into a creep wave and let them eat the bounces.
  • Soul Eating: Shadow Fiend take souls to power his attack through Necromastery and release an unholy surge of energy through Requiem of Souls.
    "So, you're curious where I come from? There's one easy way to find out for yourself."
  • Standard Status Effects: Poison damage, paralysis, stuns, sleeps, slows, and silences are invaluable in teamfights. Several heroes (Venomancer, Viper, Silencer, Bane, Lich, and Spirit Breaker, to name a few) are themed entirely around a specific status effect.
  • Status-Buff Dispel:
    • The Diffusal Blade's active ability and the neutral Satyr Banisher's abilities both named Purge, which purge most negative buffs from allies and positive buffs from enemies in addition to slowing them.
    • Shadow Demon's Demonic Purge is a variation of the above, being useable only on enemies but also deals damage and able to remove certain buffs that the normal Purge can't.
    • Brewmaster Storm's Purge, too.
  • Stop Poking Me!: In addition to unique lines being stated from clicking on your hero repeatedly ("rare" responses), they'll also get irritated from you trying to cast an ability on cooldown or without enough mana for it repeatedly, or from the game's pause lasting too long.
  • Summon Magic: Certain heroes have the ability to summon minions that range from expendable (Broodmother's spiderlings) to very valuable (Visage's familiars). The Necronomicon allows all heroes to do this with its active ability Demonic Summoning.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Characters regularly banter with each other. Heroes will comment on loads of events, including buying a specific item, calling misses, killing certain other heroes, meeting certain allied heroes, getting a cosmetic item at the end of a game, and getting banned during the ban/pick process in Captain's Mode. Taken to ludicrous extremes with Storm Spirit, who takes this up to Lull Destruction. And while it is entirely possible for a hero to be Killed Mid-Sentence, that just prompts their Famous Last Words instead.
  • Taunt Button: Purchasable taunts are available for certain heroes. While the earlier ones force you to stand still, later ones can be used while moving or teleporting and have a chance to trigger automatically under certain circumstances.
  • Team Spirit: Teamwork and Communication trumps nearly everything else, a properly co-ordinated team will usually beat one with a higher APM because while their enemies trip over each other and blame each other for any mistakes, they'll be comboing their abilities, and keeping each other updated on possible enemy gank attempts.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: On the other hand, many players will end of being abrasive jackasses to each other, and the better of these still manage to be team players to some degree. The worst of them however...
    • Played with many of the heroes that don't like each other, from Anti-Mage being supported by a mage or Templar Assassin (assassin to the Hidden Temple) getting heals from Omniknight (disciple of the Omniscience). And also prominently on the followers of Selemene, Mirana and Luna. On the outside, they look like getting along formally and respectfully when in the same team... But the respect felt forced and their true colors are more revealed when they're on the opposing side: They'd rather have the other one dead so they can be the sole top servant of Selemene.
  • Touched by Vorlons: Several characters have abilities conferred by beings greater than themselves.
  • Tutorial Failure: Valve's recommended items are infamous for being outdated and sometimes plainly and obviously bad as a result of having been left to completely rot over the years; for example Lion/Visage/Disruptor/Death Prophet/Meepo Mekansm, Bounty Hunter Desolator, Razor Vanguard, Bane Necronomicon, Faceless Void Mask of Madness, Zeus Aghanim's Scepter,... Their recommended roles are barely better, in that they received a large update in 2015, but even after that update they were still slightly out-of-date, and they haven't received any attention since then.
  • Unexplained Accent: A good majority of the heroes have definitive accents despite being from different regions in-world.
    • Anti-Mage, Invoker, and seemingly Axe speak with light English accents. Pudge speaks with a more thick urban English accent, as does Bristleback.
    • Mirana speaks with a light Greek accent.
    • Meepo's accent sounds somewhat like a typical Brooklyn accent.
    • Luna has a very thick Irish accent.
    • Death Prophet has a very thick French accent, while Phantom Assassin has a more subtle one, perhaps French-Canadian.
    • Slark has what sounds like an Australian accent.
    • Through her echoing voice, Medusa sounds like she has a high class English accent, or an older American accent, like one from the 1940's -1950's.
    • Chaos Knight has a deep voice, but he appears to have a German accent.
    • Dazzle has a Mali accent.
    • Magnus has an Ethiopian accent.
    • Witch Doctor has a Jamaican accent.
    • Bloodseeker has a Mexican accent to go with his 'Sacrificial Tribal' Theme.
    • Shadow Shaman has an Indian or Iranian accent.
    • Sven and Tusk have Nordic accents. Sven sounds more like your typical Viking where Tusk sounds more like a modern Norwegian.
    • Brewmaster and Juggernaut have Japanese accents.
    • Lone Druid has a Scottish accent.
    • Skywrath Mage sounds Middle Eastern.
    • Lycan seems to have a Polish accent.
  • Updated Re-release: The game is more or less a direct clone of the original Defense Of The Ancients All Stars map from Warcraft III, but has a new engine, brand new graphics and a modern interface. Several characters work differently because of the new engine, as the old Warcraft III engine put restrictions on certain spells. Rubick can steal transformation skills (most notably Elder Dragon Form and Shapeshift), and Luna's Moon Glaives work differently.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: There are a rather significant amount of humanoid male heroes that do not wear shirts.
  • What the Hell, Player?: Attempt repeatedly to use an ability when it's on cooldown or you don't have enough mana, and your hero will sound more and more agitated/annoyed with your rapid clicking. Troll Warlord especially hates it when you do that.
    • Heroes with a built-in Blink will also call you out when you buy them a Blink Dagger.
    • Riki, a character whose defining characteristic is being invisible nearly constantly throughout the game, either sounds very confused or gives a snark reply about redundancy when he picks up an invisibility rune.
  • A Wizard Did It: The accepted canon behind any bugs encountered within the game is that a particularly shitty wizard is mucking around with the battlefield.
  • World of Badass: This is an ARTS, so of course.
  • World of Ham: Every hero, even the most subdued (but not The Speechless), will mock enemies they kill and laugh when they score multi-kills. Also, many heroes will utter a hammy line when using a skill.
    • Generally speaking, heroes can be divided into three categories: Large Hams, Cold Hams, and Wisp. This should speak volumes about the titular Ancients' standards for recruitment.
  • World of Pun
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: The Demon Edge, a sword with a hilt made from Direstone and a blade of Radiant Ore.

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