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Video Game / Defense of the Ancients
aka: Defense Of The Ancients All Stars

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A fangame so big it gave birth to a whole new genre.

Defense of the Ancients: Allstars (abbreviated to DotA or just Dota) is a user map for Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Based on the earlier Defense of the Ancients user map for Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos which itself was based on the earlier Aeon of Strife user map for Starcraft, DotA's current popularity has given WC3: TFT a longer shelf life than intended (with DotA: Allstars, as it was previously called, acquiring sponsorship from Blizzard Entertainment itself as a Spotlight Map in the Hall of Fame).

DotA is, in a nutshell, a team game where you choose a Hero Unit with unique abilities, kill creeps and heroes for gold and buy items with gold to make your hero even more powerful, and attempt to destroy a central building in the opposing team's base (the titular "Ancient" which you are defending), while they do the same to you.


Of course, once gameplay starts, it's rather more complicated than that. There are lots of heroes, each one with their own roster of abilities, strengths, weaknesses and applicable tactics. You don't get to control anything but your hero. No base, no resourcing, no research, nothing. So you'd better learn to make the most of him/her/it. There are lots of items, each one offering a different advantage and requiring a different combination of other items to create. The game is such Serious Business that players are basically expected to follow the most efficient methods, and people who won't play nice are encouraged to quit, since their teammates would rather play one short than with someone selfish or incompetent. As it's a team game, it is about strong interactive between players; a lone wolf is, if anything, more likely to help the opposition by providing them with lots of free kills and experience.


The mod popularized a new genre: dota-likes, also called "MOBA", Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, by League of Legends players and "ARTS" (Action Real Time Strategy) by Heroes of Newerth players. (Someone missed a bet by not calling them Dotaclones; but then, Riot Games invented the "MOBA" title largely to avoid having to refer to DotA.) For a free mod, it has spawned an awful lot of "legitimate" gaming attention: those two games and Gas Powered Game's Demigod were the first wave of imitators, with the second wave consisting of Heroes of the Storm by Blizzard Entertainment. Dota 2 is an official Video Game Remake, published by Valve Software and still developed by IceFrog, developer of DotA Allstars. Both of the game's versions were produced concurrently with each other and maintained a near-perfect parity until support for the Warcraft III custom map was dropped, so the game would no longer have to be bound to its engine's limitations.

It also has a song about it.

Visit the DotA website HERE.

This series contains examples of:

  • Aerith and Bob: The super creeps that spawn in -sc mode: Ancient Hydra, Siege Golem, and Scary Fish.
  • Alliterative Name: A few things:
    • Ancient Apparition
    • Mask of Madness
  • Announcer Chatter: From "First Blood!" all the way to "Holy shit!" and including Pudge's "AHH... Fresh meat!".
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Atropos the Bane Elemental is "an elemental force personifying the nightmares and fear of the world".
  • The Artifact/Gameplay and Story Segregation: The Sentinel/Radiant and Scourge/Dire factions. Everyone plays modes like All Pick and Captains' Mode, where "Dire heroes" can play for Radiant and vice versa.
  • Ascended Glitch: Pudge's Grappling-Hook Gun can be curved due to a bug in the ancient code. Everyone knows it, and being able to "curve hook" properly is now regarded as essential to playing him well. (There are more, but less known.)
    • The entire game floats on ascended glitches. Alternating attack clicks and movement clicks at the right time so you can shoot while moving? It's called kiting, it's skill, if you use Dwarven Sniper or Drow Ranger you're expected to learn it, and its latter successor League of Legends went as far as making it the bread-and-butter mechanic of all ranged champions and even designed Vayne, Sivir and Kalista specifically around this mechanic. Luring a jungle monster away from its spawn point at the correct moment so another copy of it spawns and you can kill both with area effect abilities? That's skill. Using the invulnerability granted by the extremely brief transformation time of attack style toggling skills to dodge stuns and projectiles? It's possible. In fact, the whole concept of minion denying to prevent your enemies from gaining experience and gold started out as a bug. If you play the game as it appears to be, you're a noob.
  • Ascended Meme: The Priestess of the Moon's Arrow skill was, for some reason, referred to by many Filipino players as "Jumong" (after a Korean period drama which aired sometime in 2009-2010). Several versions later, the hero's name would sometimes be replaced with "Jumong".
  • Attack Reflector: The Spectre and the Centaur Warchief both have some ability to do this with spells. The 'Blademail' item gives an opportunity for the wearer to fully reflect all damage back to all attackers for several seconds.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Divine Rapier. +300 damage (insane), but drops on death and can be used by enemies if they pick it up. If you buy one of these, guess who the entire enemy team is going to target first?
    • It's like a "Kick Me" sign that adds 300 damage!
    • On the flip side, if your team is losing hard, this item is all you can count on. Go big or go home.
    • The really, really hard all-DPS zero mobility carries like Troll Warlord. Amazing DPS, but nothing's going to let you just walk up to them and bash their brains out.
  • Back from the Dead: The Aegis of the Immortal item and King Ostarion's Reincarnation (IT IS CUSTOMARY TO QUOTE ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER WHENEVER YOU DIE) skill allow for penalty-less revival.
    • All heroes that get killed will eventually get revived automatically, but the process takes time that increases with level and players lose out on gold-making opportunities while dead. Death Isn't Cheap.
    • Especially since you can buy your way out of the revival process... by spending outrageous amounts of gold.
  • Back Stab: Part of Riki's shtick.
    • Not to mention Gondar and Anub'arak's Windwalk and Vendetta, respectively; the latter is a Limit Break version of the former. Unlike Riki's passive, though, the bonus damage isn't relative to where you strike your enemy from.
  • Back Story: Every hero has one of varying length.
  • Beam Spam: Luna Moonfang's Eclipse, which originally hit you with up to 12 Death Rays at once. This was such a massive Game-Breaker - like, the "Oh shoot, the other team got Luna; we're going to lose" sort of Game-Breaker - that it's since been nerfed by: having the beams fire sequentially instead of all at the same time; requiring an extra item to get off the full number of shots; putting a cap on how many Lucent Beams a single target can take; and ceasing the firing sequence when Luna gets killed.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Ulfsaar the Ursa Warrior? Definitely. Syllabear the Lone Druid and his bear? Well... Maybe. He got better in the 6.60s.
  • Beta Test Baddie: Harbinger the Obsidian Destroyer, according to his tooltip story.
  • Bigger Is Better: Tiny the Stone Giant's Limit Break, although the new strength cuts his attack speed. Also Roshan, every time he respawns.
  • Blood Bath: By bathing in blood, Strygwyr the Bloodseeker can heal his wounds, including ones which would otherwise prove fatal.
  • Body Horror: As of 6.72, Naix can infest his own teammates and if you switch while he's inside you he can turn you inside out like alien spawn (for better context he's a zombie).
    • Though it becomes hilarious when you infest an illusion of yourself.
    • Also applies to Broodmother but it's spiders instead (not that that's any better).
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Sven the Rogueknight, based on his skill descriptions, such as "Sven is here to pump you up!" or "Sven gets pumped up!"
    • That's because he's based off Sven-Ole Thorsen. (and even funnier is that some of the time, Sven's name changes to Arnold Schwarzenegger - Thorsen HAS collaborated with him for a long time, starting with Commando.)
  • Boring, but Practical: Disabling and support heroes. Like it or not, almost no all-DPS team will be successful, and these fellows are vital to success.
    • The cheap stat boosting items like Bracers are another example.
    • Wards. You may want that shiny new weapon, but if you don't spend some money on wards, you're likely going to be ambushed a few times.
  • Bonus Boss: The fountain. It will shred any team that doesn't go in geared for it; fortunately, its destruction is unnecessary.
  • Boom, Headshot!: One of Sniper's passive skills. It doesn't turn foes he kills into chunky salsa though. A properly-timed Assassinate, on the other hand...
  • Boss in Mook Clothing/Giant Mook: The Mega Creeps.
  • Bounty Hunter: Gondar, the, well... take a wild guess.
  • Cannibalism Superpower: Lucifer with his Devour. Only works on creeps, though.
  • Carry a Big Stick: A Tiny with Aghanim's Scepter can pick up a tree to use as a War Club.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Much of Huskar and Icarus's schtick; Avernus's death coil.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: AI versions often have them getting experience and gold faster than their human counterparts if the mode isn't set to disable it. And don't let me start on the move speed...
    • Although the experience and gold can be disabled, they're much better at getting last hits (the ones that count for the bonus gold) than most humans. What's really an issue is how they seem to cheat percentages — especially when using Phantom Lancer and Ogre Magi.
  • Computers Are Fast: The Invoker is a unique hero that uses three types of orbs in different combinations to "invoke" up to 10 different spells, with a wide variety of effects. In human hands, the Invoker is only powerful if the user knows which orb combos invoke which spells and can change the orb pattern and invoke the spell quickly. In AI hands, orbs are changed and spells invoked in the blink of an eye, allowing an AI Invoker to instantly invoke just the right spell to kill the enemy or escape. If an AI Invoker is on your side, you'll probably be frustrated with it taking all the kills. If an AI Invoker is on the opposing team, run.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Played with Meepo. His ultimate allows him to split into up to 4 copies of himself, which have their own attacks and skills. The downside, however, is that if one of them dies, they all die.
  • Courier: In animal form.
  • Critical Hit: The Critical Strike skill, and the Crystalys and Buriza-do Kyanon items, which give whoever equips them the Critical Strike skill. And if that's not enough for you, Phantom Assassin's Coup de Grace has you covered.
  • Crosshair Aware: These appear on the Sniper's unlucky victim whenever he uses Assassinate; it's only visible to the Sniper's allies, though. A variation on this is used to warn targets of Barathrum's Charge of Darkness.
    • The target is warned by the fact that they have this little tiny status effect with a gun on it that says something like "You are about to die" (It doesn't really say that but it should!)
  • Deal with the Devil: A few Scourge heroes, in their backstories, made pacts with the Lich King for some benefit or another.
  • Dem Bones: King Leoric/Ostarion, Lich, Ethreain, Pugna, and Clinkz belong to the Boss/Hero variety. The little skeleton warriors summoned by the neutral Dark Troll Warlord creeps are of the mook variety.
  • Desperation Attack/Death or Glory Attack: Sacred Warrior's Life Break and Soul Keeper's Sunder.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Various characters have hard-to-use skills that reward those who bother to put in the time to master them. Invoker is the best example.
    • Invoker especially. He has access to ten ultimates, formed through different combinations of three lower, passive abilities. These near Game-Breaker mechanics are generally seen as a reward for mastering what is often called the most difficult character in the game.
  • Dynamic Entry: Various heroes have moves that allow them to move from place to place while dealing damage to enemies, such as Morphling's Waveform or Sand King's Burrowstrike. Initiator heroes with a Blink Dagger also exist to do this, teleporting into the enemy formation and using a spell to start team fights off with their side in a better position.
    • The Storm Spirit's Ball Lightning deserves special mention, since the only limit on its range is your mana capacity and it deals more damage the farther you've traveled.
  • Elemental Powers: Most of them seem to possess at least one or more elements but the rules of Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors don't apply.
    • The Invoker is a good example.
    • The Orb of Venom is a recipe to form the Eye of Skadi, an ice-based item with Cold Attack and a frozen projectile.
  • Entitled Bastard: This is a MOBA. You can expect to see a lot of people who demand that you buy wards or give them potions, then won't tell you where to place the wards. You can also expect a lot of people to complain at you for not doing everything in your power to save them, while willingly throwing you under the bus when the time comes to save you.
  • Entropy and Chaos Magic: One of the characters uses a chaos damage spell.
  • Epic Flail: Rigwarl, the Bristleback.
  • Evil Twin: Terrorblade is Magina's twin brother in their background stories.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin
  • Excuse Plot
  • Extreme Omnivore: The Tango allows the bearer to consume trees for health gain.
  • Finishing Move: Some moves like Axe's Culling Blade and Necrolyte's Reaper's Scythe are most effective when the enemy is running low on health. Using them may cause accusations of Kill Stealing though.
    • Axe's Culling Blade is especially notable, as it is the only attack that can break through Shallow Grave. To elaborate, Shallow Grave prevents the unit or hero it's cast on from dying, no matter how much damage s/he takes. However, Culling Blade dispels the effect before doing damage. It also goes through Lord of Avernus' Ultimate and kills him instead of adding health.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: Invoker's passives, Exort Quas Wex.
  • Fog of Doom: Slark the Nightcrawler turns into this and chases you.
    • Fog of War also counts as Fog of Doom in a different sense: it doesn't chase you, but it can conceal enemies preparing to disable you, and even if you know they're there, you can't click on them, so your options are limited. Using this to your advantage when escaping death is known as 'juking'.
  • Four Is Death: 4x Multicast, courtesy of Ogre Magi.
  • Full-Boar Action: Rigwarl is a Pig Man with spikes.
  • Game Mod
  • Genre-Busting: It's like a multiplayer RPG was shoved into an RTS game. More or less.
    • DotA's genre is so hard to define that, even when this game invented it, people can't agree on what to call it, the term "MOBA" (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) is arguably the most popular term, but veteran Dota players hate the term because of drama, other attempts are ARTS (action real time strategy), RTSRPG (real time strategy role playing game), and the list goes on, this is the reason most players simply use Dota as both the game and genre name.
  • Glass Cannon: Most of the Agility heroes, though some of the higher-tier ones have escape mechanisms to let them get away — if they can use it before getting stunned and nuked. Some of the nuke-heavy intelligence heroes are this as well, such as Lina and Boush.
  • Gravity Sucks: Enigma's Black Hole, Dark Seer's Vacuum.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Tiny's Toss skill. Some trolling Tiny users will use their own allied heroes to do this, intentionally putting them in harm's way (though this can be a viable strategy, as well - throw a partner at the enemy so that their AOE-based stun spell can hit them before they can run).
  • Ground Pound: Many of the area-damage spells in the game involve this.
  • Guide Dang It!: There are a lot of game mechanics that the mod itself doesn't tell you outright (such as damage types of spells, interactions with spell immunity, creep spawning mechanics, or even things like the existence of the Secret Shop or even what certain items do), and it doesn't come packaged with a tutorial. You pretty much have to consult an online guide or learn from experience. The remake solves most of these problems by being much more generous with tooltips and a lot more info being readily accessible in-game.
  • Healing Factor: All heroes to a modest degree and depending on items, but primarily Huskar and Alchemist.
  • Hero Secret Service: While initiators and tanks fit the traditional "bullet-taking", gankers go about it more proactively by hunting down and killing enemy heroes before they can threaten the carry/ies.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Initiator and tank heroes are supposed to draw fire and usually die so that their squishier teammates can mop up the enemies afterward.
  • Hope Spot: Many, many times a player will have run his low-health hero almost to safety when an enemy pulls out a last-minute spell that gets the kill. Sniper's and Zeus's ultimates are the most reliable to use for this, as they have the range to get the kill while keeping their casters safe.
    • A popular mainstay of DotA videos are kills using perfectly aimed global or otherwise long range skills. PotM's Arrow, Clockwerk's Rocket and Invoker's Sun Strike are common examples.
    • Spectre can pull it off with a Haunt as well, especially if they're fast enough to replace the illusion with the original.
  • Human Popsicle: The temporary result of being a victim of the Crystal Maiden's Frostbite or Jakiro's Ice Path.
    • More recently, the Ancient Apparition's Cold Feet and Frozen Mark; and Winter Wyvern's Cold Embrace (though it heals while you're frozen).
  • An Ice Person: Rylai the Crystal Maiden for the Radiant, Ethreain the Lich, Auroth the Winter Wyvern, and Kaldr the Ancient Apparition for the Dire.
  • Implacable Man: Anyone with a way to gain spell immunity can look like this for a short while, since disabling spells don't work on it — except for some Ultimate spells, but the heroes with those don't show up in every roster. It helps to have enough HP and armor so that those on the receiving end can't simply use physical DPS for a kill.
    • Juggernaut, while using his Blade Fury. His name fits.
  • Instant-Win Condition: Ancient Fortress destroyed? Game over, no matter how many enemy heroes you and/or your team shredded.
  • Item Crafting: 55 recipes and growing.
  • Joke Character: Some (nerfed) heroes are arguably this...
  • Lethal Joke Character: ...or this.
    • Meepo the Geomancer deserves special mention here. A fragile little kobold. His Ultimate creates a permanent, weaker clone of him (that can't use items besides boots), three at maximum level, that are even EASIER to kill than the original. Oh, and if one dies, they all die. The 'Lethal' part is that having a total of four little kobolds equals 4x the hurt, and possibly 4x the experience. Of course, it takes insanely good micro to play him well...
      • His only escape ability 'Poof' allowed Meepo to teleport only towards one of his clones, and only as a sidenote it dealt a negligible amount of damage in both areas of departure and arrival. It was quickly realized, that teleporting towards a clone standing right next to you (or even to yourself, the game engine considering it being a valid target), Geomancer dealt both instances of that to all enemies in a decent Area of Effect, turning it into a genuine weapon. When multiplied four-fold - once with each clone - this summed up to an amount of damage that, coincidentally, the game's most powerful single-targeted Ultimate ability dealt, and only when boosted with the specific performance-increasing artifact to boot. 'Poofing' was very rapidly nerfed, but still remains a staple in the Meepo's gameplay and one of the strongest damage bursts in the entire game and its eventual descendant.
    • Another one in the form of Kael the Invoker. He's the ONLY hero who lacks the attribute bonus all heroes have — a fact that, coupled with his status as an INT hero, means his HP is shit. Unlike most heroes, all he can learn are 'reagents', which give him hp regen, movement speed and/or damage, as opposed to nukes like most int heroes do. However, his ultimate lets him invoke up to 10 spells (no more than 2 at a time), based on the current combination of his three reagents. Of course, the player needs good memory of the 10 possible invokes and their combinations to use him at all, though. Definitely not one for newbies.
    • The Sniper gets a special mention here as well. Since he's small and starts with low health, slow movement speed, low damage, no escapes, no disables, low attack speed, this Hero seems quite pathetic... until he levels up, gets good items and starts killing everything in sight.
    • Rubick the Grand Magus' main gimmick is that he steals spells, and this is entirely reliant on what the enemies cast. Otherwise, he is effectively the only hero that has an incomplete skill set, and he is immensely squishy and has subpar intelligence growth for an intelligence hero. However, he is effectively one of the only heroes that can make enemies counterpick themselves (especially prevalent with Bounty Hunter and Enigma), and can be an absolute horror if the player knows what spells to steal and when.
  • Level Grinding: The start of every match involves this. For some heroes, specifically the low-tier, highly item-dependent hard carries, this becomes Forced Level-Grinding.
  • Light Is Not Good: Radiance, whose glow damages most enemies near its owner. This item has recently been buffed to allow for the DPS to be turned off at will: before that change, a clever enemy would be warned of the user's presence if he started taking damage before he could see the user, especially with its very conspicuous cosmetic effect on the damaged enemies.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Chaos Knight (between his Reality Rift and having the second highest base movespeed), Lycanthrope (in his Shapeshifted Super Mode) and Slithereen Guard (with Sprint active) are the ones who fit conceptually. Dark Seer's Surge can also give its target maximum movement speed for a short duration.
  • Limit Break: The skills first accessible only at Level 6 and improved at Levels 11 and 16 (a.k.a. Ultimates), with the exception of the Invoker's. Of course, many of them are simply much stronger versions of more common skills or spells, whether it be in more damage, briefer cooldown, smaller mana cost, larger area of effect, etc. A few examples of this subtype:
    • Blink Strike or Phantom Strike —> Spiritbreaker's Nether Strike
    • Entangling Roots (the passive skill of Syllabear's Spirit Bear) —> Treant Protector's Overgrowth
    • Impale —> Tidehunter's Ravage
    • Critical Strike —> Phantom Assassin's Coup de Grace
    • Dagon —> Slayers' Laguna Blade and Demon Witch's Finger of Death
    • Mirror Image —> Chaos Knight's Phantasm
    • Refresher Orb —> Tinker's Rearm
    • Fiery Soul —> Bristleback's Enrage
    • Aegis of the Immortal —> Wraith King's Reincarnate
    • Shadow Strike —> Viper's Viper Strike
    • Wind Walk —> Nerubian Assassin's Vendetta or Stealth Assassin's Permanent Invisibility or Slark's Shadow Dance
    • Smoke of Deceit —> Mirana's Moonlight Shadow
    • Silence —> Silencer's Global Silence or Doom's Doom
    • Corruption —> Slardar's Amplify Damage
    • Vacuum or Hoof Stomp and Slithereen Crushnote  —> Magnataurs's Reverse Polarity and Enigma's Black Hole
    • Inverted with Shadow Shaman's Shackles and Pudge's Dismember despite the latter being an ultimate and the former being a normal ability, shackles lasts 2 seconds longer and has over double the range.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Inverted with most of the Strength (warriors) and Intelligence (wizards) heroes. The latter usually have spells that do fixed amounts of damage, meaning they do a lot of hurt early on, but later in the game the physical damage Strength heroes dish out is a lot more than that 300 damage early on.
    • One of the main criticism made to the game is that it's becoming carry-centered, the best tactic is arguably turtling (choosing two instead of one carry, sometimes even three and defending for almost an hour until the carries are fully equipped and the casters are useless), the main developer realized this and most of the latest updates are focused on balancing the game to discourage people from playing a carries+stunners team.
  • Loophole Abuse: "Deny". See Ascended Glitch above.
  • Loud of War: Many of the spells in the game involve screams and roars (either to damage the enemy with soundwaves, scare the crap out of him, or pump up one's teammates).
  • Mad Bomber: Squee (no, not that Squee), Spleen, and Spoon — the Goblin Techies.
  • Mad Scientist: Lesale Deathbringer the Venomancer before his mutation.
    • Razzil Darkbrew the Alchemist, as implied by his backstory.
  • Mage Killer: Magina the Anti-Mage. Honorable mention goes to Oblivion's Nether Ward.
  • Me's a Crowd: Any hero capable of generating illusory copies — especially the Phantom Lancer (whose copies can copy themselves). The Manta Style item allows any other hero to have this ability as well.
  • Mooks: The game is very particular with them; one wave every 30 seconds spawns in each lane. One wave of Treants, Druid of the Talons, and Glaive Throwers for the Sentinel; Ghouls, Necromancers, and Meat Wagons respectively, for the Scourge.
  • Munchkin: Some of this map's mechanics (particularly mathcraft) are appealing to these types of players.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: A few, with Batrider's Sticky Napalm being nerfed to work with Radiance only under very specific conditions being the latest.
    • Another one is that Blink Daggernote  cannot be used by Pudgenote  or Vengeful Spirit,note  to prevent them from trapping other players in unreachable spots.
  • Oh, Crap!: "(Enemy carry) just bought back into the game!", particularly on a barely succeeding push.
    • "[Enemy player] has just bought Divine Rapier!", especially when the fight seems to already be a Foregone Conclusion beforehand.
  • One-Man Army: Downplayed. It all comes down to player skills.
  • Overrated and Underleveled: Various heroes are described in their stories as ancient things that should have become nigh-godlike with their age, but for balance everyone starts at Level One.
  • The Phoenix: Icarus.
  • Phrase Catcher: Some characters, when they run into Viper, will shout, "Holy shit, it's Viper!" Even Viper himself isn't immune to this, sometimes saying "Holy shit, it's me" when he spawns.
    • Whenever a hero buys Aghanim's Scepter, they might say, "Ah, scepter."
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: The Stealth Assassin has one of the smallest character models, but can easily be devastating.
    • Same for the Sniper. See Lethal Joke Character above.
    • Tiny. His size reflects his name early on, but doesn't later.
  • Plant Person: Furion and Rooftrellen. As each have the Green Thumb, they can make plants grow to be used for their advantage. Furion can even make trees into additional creeps!
  • Power Nullifier: The various ways of Silencing opponents, disabling their spellcasting ability. Used right, they can turn a fight around.
    • There are even a few skills that prevent enemies from attacking!
  • Practical Taunt: Mogul Khan has this as one of his spells. While buffing himself up with tons of extra armor, he taunts his enemies magically such that all nearby enemies are forced to attack him, preventing them from attacking anyone else for a few seconds. Combined with his Counter Helix, he can easily wipe out batches of creeps with this.
  • Rain of Arrows: The Windrunner's Focus Fire, Medusa's Split Shot, and Clinkz's Strafe skills.
  • Revenge: Vengeful Spirit, as her name implies.
  • Sadistic Choice: Strygwyr's playstyle; it's even lampshaded in his Flavor Text. He has one skill that gives him a significant damage boost, and another that increases his movement speed and gives him a visual of an enemy with low health. This allows him to kill enemy heroes with just his base attack. Should his enemy be capable of outrunning him, however, he has another ace up his sleeve: his ultimate skill, Rupture, damages the enemy as they move, leaving the enemy to choose whether to try and withstand his basic attacks, or to attempt to escape while still taking damage from Rupture.
  • Serious Business: This is a MOBA. Selfish players need not apply.
  • Shock and Awe: For starters: Razor, Zeus, and Raijin. Also heroes carrying Maelstrom or Mjollnir.
  • Shockwave Stomp: Many characters have spells that deal damage or stun enemies over an area by smashing the ground really hard.
  • Shout-Out: Lots and lots. One example is the Sentinel Hero Lina, the Slayer.
  • Sincerest Form of Flattery: The makers of League of Legends went so far as to list why they think their game is different from (read: better than) this one.
  • Skill Gate Characters: Gondar the Bounty Hunter and Rikimaru the Stealth Assassin both rely completely on their invisibility to be effective. Gondar's Wind Walk grants him no bonus movement speed, and if he's detected, it can't save him unlike other windwalks, while Rikimaru's is the reason he's more than just a decent semicarry with a silence. In lower-level play efficient invisibility detection is completely unheard of. Moving just slightly up in general skill level (particularly when playing against compulsive Wards users) renders these heroes both nearly useless.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: The description for Pandaren Brewmaster's ultimate skill:
    Level 1: Split into three mighty pandas.
    Level 2 (or Level 1 with Aghanim's Scepter): Split into three even mightier pandas.
    Level 3 (or Level 2 with Scepter): Split into three really freaking mighty pandas.
    Level 3 with Scepter: Split into three omgwtf mighty pandas.
  • Spam Attack: The Ursa Warrior's Overpower skill (maximum attack speed for up to six attacks), the Windrunner's Focus Fire skill (maximum attack speed on a single target for a significant period of time or until the target is destroyed; this can even be casted on towers).
  • Spectacular Spinning: Axe's Counter Helix and Juggernaut's Blade Fury.
  • Speed, Smarts and Strength: The characters are grouped based on one of the three stats they're focusing on: Strength, Intelligence or Agility.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The Goblin Techies's arsenal is composed of landmines of various effects, and an explosive suicide attack. An old strategy for the Techies is spamming many (if not all) Remote Mine in a lane, so you can catch a fleeing/passing-by hero in the explosion. It has been recorded to work on entire parties (yes, 13 mines exploding on your face HURT). Later strategies involve placing mines in places where enemies walk not expecting anything to happen, like near neutral creeps, or in front of Roshan, etc.
  • Squishy Wizard: The INT heroes, of course. Plus, their nukes become less effective (with the exception of a few skills) as the game goes on.
  • Steampunk: Gyrocopter, Tinker, and Clockwerk.
  • Stone Wall: Some tanks, like Centaur Warchief or Treant Protector. Their weak attacks, however, mean that enemies don't really have the incentive to wipe them out first, at least if the enemy survives their disabling skills, and thus defeating the purpose of their existence.
  • Stop Poking Me!: Several heroes in DotA 2 seem to lose their patience if you keep telling them to do something they can't do or aren't ready for.
  • Super Mode: Several ultimate spells, such as the Dragon Knight's Elder Dragon Form, the Lycanthrope's Shapeshift, Keeper of the Light's Spirit Form, or the Alchemist's Chemical Rage.
  • Suspiciously Small Army
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: You're supposed to be doing this, as with the first. It's particularly visible in the Attract Mode video: A successful gank often involves the attackers coming out of seemingly nowhere, putting the target down fast, then disappearing before reinforcements can arrive.
  • Summon Magic: A few heroes have spells to summon minions. The Necronomicon item allows other heroes to do this too.
  • Take That!: In DotA, there is an item called "Guinsoo's Scythe of Vyse", after Steve "Guinsoo" Feak, who used to manage DotA All-Stars (he created many heroes, as well as Roshan). Then Guinsoo moved with Ryze and Tryndamere to Riot Games and became League of Legends's lead developer, LOL got a "Guinsoo's Rageblade", and DOTA 2 got the "Scythe of Vyse".
  • Teleport Spam: The Juggernaut's rendition of Omnislash acts this way. Furion has a Teleport skill, but its animation is too time-consuming for him to spam this ability.
    • Tinker after he gets Boots of Travel.
  • Testosterone Poisoning: This Skeleton King guide. (Warning: NSFW by a long shot!)
  • Time Stands Still: Faceless Void's ultimate, Chronosphere. Within the area of effect anyway.
    • And for everyone but himself and whatever minions he may have picked up (the latter applies only if he has an Aghanim's Scepter; otherwise, a poorly-executed Chronosphere may leave his allies even more vulnerable to unaffected enemies).
    • Night Stalker's Ultimate, it changes the time of day to midnight and stops the clock for a set duration.
  • The Power of Friendship: Hero synergy is a big factor in deciding whether your team wins or loses. Also, if the players on your team starts bitching and blaming each other rather than co-operating... well...
  • Total Party Kill: A farmed carry is supposed to be able to single-handedly wipe the enemy team. Of course, if the enemy is packing disables then it will (usually) fail.
  • Trope Codifier: While AOS and several other maps of the type preceded it, DOTA is the most well-known of the maptype and the one by which newer entries into the ring are judged.
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: Heroes actually disjoint attacks when transforming, leading to this trope. Of course, transformations take less than a second to do, so it's rarely used, unless someone does it intentionally to dodge a stun.
  • True Sight: All towers and Sentry Wards. There is also the item Gem of True Sight, which, unlike most items, drops upon death for balance reasons.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: If you aren't good at killing creeps and staying alive in the beginning of the game your hero will be very weak later on. Especially brutal with the agility heroes, who need to farm expensive items to be effective.
  • Video Game Remake: Valve's DoTA 2 is this rather than a sequel, being the original mod ported to a new engine with new lawyer-friendly artwork and animations, as well as an overarching original backstory for the characters that removes any link to their original IPs.
  • Violation of Common Sense: Denying. "Denying" a creep is Team Killing an allied Mook whom the enemy is about to kill. Players get a gold bonus every time they kill anything; denying is solely for the purpose of preventing this and halving the XP the opponent gains. And yet, the disparity eventually becomes apparent as the level gap increases between a player skilled at denying and a less dexterous opponent.
    • The concept of last-hitting (which denying effects). Why do you only gain gold if your hero deals the finishing blow? Then again, this mechanic is inherent in Warcraft III, so it's not DotA's fault, but still.
  • Wave-Motion Gun/Kamehame Hadoken: Keeper of the Light's Illuminate spell. It takes several seconds of charging, but does a lot of damage over a huge area. (Not too hard to dodge, but you still have to disengage from battle, and after a while the EXP differential will add up.)
  • When Trees Attack: Rooftrellen (a hero with one of the best strength ratings in the game). Furion can also make creeps out of trees.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: Tinker's backstory in Dota 2 was changed to something like this: He and a few other scientists went to a Violet Plateau and did a number of experiments, but one opened up a portal and monsters from another realm came out. Only one Tinker survived, using only his wits and weaponry. Sound familiar?
  • Wings Do Nothing: Terrorblade, Balanar, Lucifer and Akasha.
  • World of Pun: Technically found in Warcraft but in Defense of the Ancients the hero responses are heard constantly. Nearly every hero with a voice says some sort of pun. Nearly every response by the Pandaren Brewmaster is a pun.
  • Wreathed in Flames: Lina Inverse.
  • You Will Not Evade Me: Most notable with Pudge, who has a hook that can reel the enemy to him, and Clockwerk Goblin, who has a hook that can reel himself to the enemy.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: One of Dirge the Undying's abilities.

Alternative Title(s): Defense Of The Ancients All Stars