Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Dota 2

Go To

Dota 2 is Valve's remake of the insanely popular Warcraft III custom map Defense of the Ancients. 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 known for its relatively high barrier of entry due to its deep, complex, and challenging gameplay on both the mechanical and strategic levels. The game codifies several Multiplayer Online Battle Arena tropes (as it IS a remake of the game that invented the genre) and has attempted to recreate the intricacies and facets of Defense of the Ancients as much as it can.

A Card Battle Game Spin-Off titled Artifact released on November 28, 2018 on Steam, with Android, and iOS ports planned for sometime in 2019, but it appears to have been put on an indefinite hiatus.


Another spin-off, Dota Underlords, based on the popular "Dota Auto Chess" custom game, was initially released into closed beta as a Battle pass reward for Dota 2 on June 15, 2019, with the game entering Steam early access with an Open Beta on the 20th. An Android and iOS port was also released a few hours earlier on the same day.

An adult animated series for Netflix called DOTA: Dragon's Blood was announced in 2021. Its teaser trailer can be watched here.

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:

  • Absurdly High Level Cap: Level 30 is the highest possible level a hero can reach in a game. Due to the very steep XP requirements for levels over 25 (it takes almost as much XP to level from 25 to 30 compared to from 1 to 25), even a mid hero who is doing well and diligently stealing Tomes of Knowledge from his supports would have a hard time reaching level 30 before the 50 minute mark, before which most games would have already ended. If you do manage to reach this point, however, you get all your talents, not just the ones you chose on the way up.
  • Absurdly High-Stakes Game: An unintentional example with the Double Down MMR option available to owners of the International 2017 Battle Pass. Activating this option at the beginning of a ranked match is supposed to double the MMR gain/loss of the match if you win or lose. However, a bug caused anyone who doubled down and lost to be brought down all the way to 1 MMR instead. Now that is painful.
  • 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, L2P, VD, MP3, OBGYN, 3DPDB1D9G
  • Adaptation Name Change: Since the game turned from a Warcraft III custom map to a standalone game published by Valve, many proper names were replaced, either for simplicity or because they were named after things in Warcraft or other Blizzard Entertainment gamesnote . The various buildings used to have their own names, but are now simply referred to by their role (Radiant's/Dire's Ancientnote , Towernote  and Building).
  • Aerith and Bob: Most heroes and other characters in the game have fancy names that you will never see in real life, except for Sven, Lina, Magnus, Chen, Ember Spirit (Xin), Gyrocopter (Aurel), Snapfire (Beatrix), Invoker (whose 'true name of power' is Carl) and Roshan.
  • 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, evasion can be mitigated by accuracy (provided by Solar Crest and Monkey King Bar) or entirely nullified by True Strike (like Bloodthorn); and there are some spells that cannot be disjointed and can only be avoided by turning invulnerable or spell immune when the projectile hits.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Both Mirana and Luna are driven by their ambitions to be the most favored servant of Selemene. Given that Mirana's very haughty and stuck-up and Luna is violent and Ax-Crazy, the two of them would be at each other's throats if they weren't forced to fight for the same cause.
  • Announcer Chatter: You can buy different announcers from the ingame store, including a Pirate, Dr. Kleiner, GLaDOS, and Rucks.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Prior to being removed, Bloodstone deny ability require that you target the ground to prevent players from accidentally using it to kill themselves at the wrong time.
    • Wards have a 1-second cooldown to prevent accidentally planting another ward in the same spot. Furthermore, you cannot plant it close to the fountain to prevent them from accidentally planting them at the start of the game when they want to give the ward to another player.
    • Vengeful Spirit's Netherswap can be used twice in one succession. To prevent accidentally re-swapping to the same position again, a brief cooldown is added which momentarily prevents the player from using it again.
    • Like Vengeful Spirit's Netherswap, Io's Tether has a brief cooldown to prevent players from accidentally disconnecting themselves from an allied unit/hero right after using it.
  • Anti-Magic:
    • Each Infused Raindrop charge will be automatically consumed to block 120 magic damage from damage instances over 50 damage.
    • The cheap Cloak provides a 15% magic resistance bonus to the wearer. It can be upgraded either into a Glimmer Cape (which can be used to turn an ally invisible and grant them a significant 45% magic resistance bonus) or a Hood of Defiance, which can further be upgraded into a Pipe of Insight (which can create a temporary barrier that blocks magical damage taken by friendly units and buildings) or an Eternal Shroud (which can absorb magical damage and convert it to mana).
    • Spell immunity (most commonly provided by Black King Bar) prevents most spells from affecting the affected unit.
    • Silences (notably Orchid Malevolence and its upgraded form Bloodthorn) prevents the target from casting active abilities for their duration.
    • A Linken's Sphere blocks most spells targeted on the wearer or an ally once every 13 seconds.
  • Anti-Rage Quitting: If you abandon a match outside of a practice lobby (either by deliberately doing so or by being disconnected/AFK for too long), your account will be assessed with an abandon. One single abandon does nothing by itself, but if you abandon 2 matches within a span of 20 matches, enjoy your stay in Low Priority queue. To make things even worse, in order to for you to get out of the Low Priority queue, you are required to win the game.
  • Anti-Regeneration: Spirit Vessel reduces the effectiveness of regeneration and healing on the target by 60% if used on an enemy, making it a good counter to healing heroes (particularly those without a dispel) or those that build Satanic.
  • Anti-Structure: Since buildings are immune to the vast majority of abilities and have to be relatively slowly worn down with right-click attacks, in general abilities that can either damage buildings directly (like Dragon Scale and Meteor Hammer), summon minions (like Book of the Dead), turn jungle creeps and siege creeps into your minions (like Helm of the Dominator) or reduce armor (like Desolator and Assault Cuirass) count as this, allowing enemy structures to be brought down much faster.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Only one creep can be dominated at a time by a hero who buys Helm of the Dominator or Helm of the Overlord. The limit can be increased to 2 by having both in one's inventory at the same time, although the value of doing so is another matter.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: Pure Damage, which ignores armor and magic resistance. Many sources of it also ignore Magic Immunity.
  • 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: Not to be confused with the card game.
    • 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. However, in practice the standard mode was All Pick, not Normal (which was only activated if the host somehow forgot to choose the game mode, and usually caused the other players to immediately quit the game), 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 many heroes might gain brand new skills or have their non-ultimate skills upgraded when buying Scepter.
    • The Town Portal Scroll originated from Warcraft III, and retained its name and function into DotA even if there aren't any towns (though the base is kind of one).
  • 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 Chaos Knight (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. Sometimes they might also stand just outside the AoE of a Shrine currently used by a human player.
    • 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. Sometimes, the bots might even have the brilliant idea to send three heroes to a side lane and two to the other (leaving the mid lane empty), or even four heroes to the same lane.
      • 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 any carry items, never uses Tree Grab (an active ability which replaced the old passive Craggy Exterior) and rushes Scythe of Vyse; Viper never uses Nethertoxin (which was converted from a passive to an active ability); Bounty Hunter (a roaming support) 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 has 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; Drow Ranger tries to build Ring of Aquila even after the item was removed from the shop; 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 necessarily 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 certain designated 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.
    • On the topic of wards, bots aren't quite aware that Sentry Wards exist, and by extension don't grasp the concept of de-warding. This can get somewhat ridiculous when a bot uses their entire supply of Observer Wards on a hill guarded by a player's Sentry Ward, seemingly oblivious to said wards lasting about half a minute each before being destroyed.
    • 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 dilemma 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.
    • Bots don't know how to prioritise which items to put in the inventory and which to stuff in the backpack, and can often be seen putting a crucial item like Blink Dagger in the backpack to make room for a lowly Iron Branch. This even extends to the Aegis of the Immortal, which can't be placed in the backpack, resulting in a bot standing there staring at it followed by the easiest Aegis snatch of all time.
  • 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.
    • Since neutral creep camps check if there are any units within the camp (instead of checking if the creeps of the camp are dead) to determine whether the camp spawns or not, it is possible to stack neutrals by drawing the existing creeps out of the camp at a minute mark, or to prevent a camp from respawning by standing within it or putting a ward inside it. Though originally glitches, creep stacking and blocking are such an integral part of DotA that removing them 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 "selecting" 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 patchnote , the "happy little tree," and Puck's Illusory Orb speed from 6.88 patchnote . The change to Earthshaker's Aghanim's Scepter upgrade is a case of a minor meme having a major impact on gameplay.note 
    • 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, making it one of the most rare & valuable items in the game.
  • Attack Reflector: Blade Mail causes any damage inflicted to the user to be taken by the source of the damage as well when activated, and Lotus Orb forces any enemy that uses a targeted ability on the target to be hit by said ability as well. In both cases, both sides are equally affected by the damage or the ability. Anti-Mage's Counterspell and Mirror Shield have a stronger version of the latter effect, which only benefits Anti-Mage or the Mirror Shield's carrier but also blocks the targeted ability in addition to reflecting it.
  • 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 like any other item 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 can't dedicate a whole slot for an item with weak stats unless if the upgrade itself improves right-click power, while in some cases the upgrade only sounds awesome on paper but is weak in practice) to almost useless and, on occasion, even detrimental (although IceFrog tries to rework the useless upgrades to make them better, this usually takes time and useless upgrades undeniably continue to persist). 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. You can consume the Scepter, granting its upgrade without taking up an item slot, but doing so requires you to purchase a 1800 gold recipe on top of the 4200 you already sank into the Scepter, and the upgrade may or may not be worth the gold you could've spent on better items (even worse, you actually lose the stats from the item, and only keep the upgrade effect - admittedly, an empty slot at this stage of the game can be pretty valuable in and of itself, but still...). Roshan also has a chance to drop a consumable Scepter, but you'll have to kill him at least three times to get one, and even then it's a 50% chance unless you go for round 4, at which point most games are pretty much over.
    • Dagon 5 is the single most expensive item in the game and deals a massive 800 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, in pro games most heroes never build Dagon at all, and even those that can use Dagon well only build one when their team really needs burst magical damage, usually opting to prioritize utility items.
    • Divine Rapier. 6200 gold, +350 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?
    • The Boots of Travel item basically gives you an unlimited supply of Town Portal Scrolls on a shorter cooldown, and can also teleport to creeps; once upgraded, you can even teleport to allied heroes. And that's all it really does. While it sounds great on paper, it's horribly overpriced for the effect (the recipe is worth the same as forty Town Portal Scrolls and you need to buy a second if you want to target heroes), meaning that you're better off just getting regular TP Scrolls and spending your money on items that actually give stats or other effects. As such, Boots of Travel are only picked up in the late game, where gold is more plentiful, towers start falling, and the stats from the other boot types become less relevant, or by heroes that can actually take advantage of unlimited teleportations (like Tinker, Arc Warden, and Ember Spirit). That said, being able to TP to creeps instead of just the closest friendly structure can be really helpful (especially to get to a fight quickly to help out), and they also give you a much higher move speed than other bootsnote ; being able to simply outrun a pursuer who has no "catch up" ability can be valuable in itself.
    • Bloodstone can give by far the most mana regeneration of any item in the game if you build enough charges on it, enough for even the most mana-hungry heroes to never run dry. However, charges are only built by killing enemy heroes and partially lost upon dying, so unless you're stomping the enemy to begin with, it's not likely to actually give you infinite mana. Additionally, Bloodstone offers no real bonuses aside from the mana supply, so most heroes starving for mana will usually go for Eul's Scepter of Divinity and/or Scythe of Vyse, which offer less potential mana regeneration but make up for it with useful abilities.
    • The Tier 5 neutral items are some of the most powerful items in the game with several of them being fully capable of turning the game around depending on which items are dropped. However, since they're dropped really late in the game (at least 60 minutes where most matches on average ends 20-30 earlier than that), it isn't feasible at all to build a strategy around them.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Heroes affected by Hex are turned into an animal (a pig by Scythe of Vyse, a frog by Lion or Prince's Knife, a chicken by Shadow Shaman, a fish by Lion when equipped with the Fin King's Charm Immortal item, a sheep by Shadow Shaman with the Lamb to the Slaughter Immortal item) that cannot do anything but moving at minimum movement speed.
  • 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.
  • Big "YES!": By contrast, they shout one out upon victory. Again, except for Io and Phoenix.
  • Bladder of Steel: If you are not ready to sit for at least 40 minutes non-stop on the computer, then don't press the Find Match button. Matches that last for under 20 minutes are almost non-existent, and the record length for a match is 4 hours. Need a bathroom break? Tough luck, in a pub game nobody will wait for you; even if your hero is dead you still need to pay attention to stuff like scans, fortification, controlling minions or buying back. And if you need to go AFK for an extended period (around 5 minutes or more), then be prepared to look at the defeat screen and receive four reports from angry 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 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/whatever-ing 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. At least it has a cool visual effect.
    • 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.
    • Tangos and Healing Salves aren't especially flashy or abnormal, but are a necessity for almost all lanes due to early harassment. In most cases, if you don't buy neither Tangos nor Salves, you can and will be bullied out of lane (unless if you are a bottle-rushing mid), granting an enormous advantage to your lane opponent.
    • Clarities are simple, cheap, and a must-have starting item for any spellcasting hero; when your effectiveness depends almost entirely on your mana pool, being able to top up without returning to base means you can be that much better at helping your team out. The Enchanted Mango gives less mana than a Clarity, but it gives a burst of mana rather than restoring it over time, allowing you to squeeze out one more spell on the fly, making it essential for heroes with powerful spells and low mana pools (like Sven and Wraith King) even well into the mid-game.
    • 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.
    • Force Staff has a simple ability which only pushes a single unit. While it is one of the least flashy items in the game, the importance of good positioning in Dota grants Force Staff enormous utility from escaping, chasing, getting into position, saving a teammate, to even pushing a single enemy hero into the middle of your team and letting him get picked off, or into something like Techies' mine stack. Unless if (s)he needs an important core item first or has to transition into a semi-carry, it's never a bad idea for a support to build a Force Staff.
    • The Town Portal Scroll, a cheap 50 gold consumable item that simply lets you teleport to an allied building after channeling for a few seconds. It's worth much more than its weight in gold by minimizing your downtime when heading back to base for healing, letting you respond more quickly to enemy dives or pushes, and getting out of a bad situation. As such, you'll almost never see a hero leaving home without one or two.
    • Boots of Speed simply increase the wearer's movement speed. Given how important mobility is in this game, they're a core item for every single hero (barring maybe Broodmother). In a similar vein is the Wind Lace, which gives roughly half the movement speed of Boots of Speed for about half the cost and are invaluable for supports, who spend much of their early game roaming the map and often can't afford early Boots. Wind Lace also builds into a number of useful support items, giving supports even more incentive to grab one early on.
      • An upgrade to Boots of Speed is Boots of Travel, which are initially the inverse of this trope due to their cost and limited benefits (unlimited TP's, when scrolls are cheaper and often just as good). One element of them, however, definitely counts - they give the fastest permanent movespeed in the game note . Simply being able to run really quickly can be incredibly useful, from arriving a few seconds earlier to a fight and making a bigger difference, to chasing down an enemy, or escaping from one. They also are a legitimate replacement for scrolls late in the game, when most towers are down, giving you much fewer targets for TP'ing to with a scrollnote . The BoT allows you to target friendly creeps, giving you a much larger potential range of targets (the second upgrade to them allows you to target friendly heroes as well).
    • Glimmer Cape is a simple item whose ability briefly grants invisibility to a single target, and provides a bit of spell resistance both passively and when activated. It's nothing particularly special, but it is the cheapest escape item in the game, making it a staple for support heroes to get themselves or an ally out of a sticky situation. It also, when activated, gives the highest magic resistance in the game outside of immunity (45%), which means that even if you or your teammate is revealed by truesight, you/they still might survive due to any magic damage being cut almost in half.
  • 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. Back when the game's heroes were still classified as either Radiant or Dire, the Radiant had more Strength Heroes, while the Dire had more Intelligence ones, further playing into this.
  • Breakable Power-Up: A Clarity, Healing Salve, the healing from the Bottle, Urn of Shadows or Spirit Vessel, a Regeneration rune or the Aegis expiration heal will instantly be cancelled, and Blink Dagger, its upgrades and Fallen Sky will be put on a 3-second cooldown, if the recipient takes damage from an enemy hero or Roshan.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Averted by items buyable from the store for real money, as all of them are purely cosmetic (and sometimes inverted, for example, by Mirana's Crescent Bow which changes her Sacred Arrow from an unscrupulous grey to a bright blue that makes it easier to spot and dodge).
  • Brick Joke: The original trailer ended on the shopkeeper asking "What does a hero truly need? That is for you to decide." In 7.00, "What a hero truly needs" was added as Flavor Text to the Town Portal Scroll.
  • "Bringer of War" Music: Used with Mars' ultimate ability, Arena of Blood, which summons a ring of spears that serve as an arena for Mars and any entrapped enemies. Whenever the ability is active, a snippet of Holst's "Mars" would play to remind players to fight or die or die when he's on you. Even Mars hums to the song whenever move clicked or he kills an enemy while the ability is active.
  • The Bus Came Back: The Poor Man's Shield, Iron Talon, and Ring of Aquila items were all removed from the game at different points. Patch 7.23 brought them back as items that can drop from neutral creeps.
  • 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.
    • 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).
    • Invoker, being a Vancian Mage, has flowery eponymous names for all ten of his invoked abilities - and referential ones for Chaos Meteor.
    "Gaster's Mandate of Impetuous Strife!" (Alacrity)
    "Culween's Most Cunning Fabrications!" (Forge Spirit)
    "Tarak's Descent of Fire!"/"Gallaron's Abyssal Carnesphere!" (Chaos Meteor)
  • 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 from Hit Points: Items such as Soul Ring and Armlet of Mordiggian grant boons to the hero at the cost of HP. Soul Ring damages the user but grants them bonus mana (which can go over their normal mana pool, but goes away after a short duration), while Armlet can be toggled to give extra damage, strength, and armor while constantly draining HP.
  • 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 heroes' 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 draw 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, which doesn't matter too much since said carry can demolish the opponent's team by himself.
  • Combination Attack: Many heroes work extremely well in concert with each other. Learning synergies between heroes and exploiting them is a major factor in high-level play, where the competition begins even before the actual game as teams attempt to predict the opponent's strategies based on the heroes they pick and aiming to ban key heroes in that strategy.
  • Combo Breaker: Strong dispels, such as Abaddon's Aphotic Shield and Borrowed Time and Tidehunter's Kraken Shell, are capable of removing almost every debuff in the game, up to and including most stuns. This makes them invaluable for interrupting enemy chain stuns, giving the recipient a chance to fight back or escape. This is also word-for-word the name of the Aeon Disk's passive ability, which applies a strong dispel on the carrier and makes them immune to damage, at the cost of making them unable to deal damage; it is especially valuable on squishy supports that are prone to getting instagibbed at the beginning of a fight, or initiators who really need to get their important ultimate out without much concern for damage.
  • 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.
  • Conlang: Ozkavosh, a rudimentary language used by demons, which is spoken in-game by Doom, Shadow Demon, Shadow Fiend, and Terrorblade. Legion Commander will also speak the language while wielding the Blades of Voth Domosh Arcana item (which itself was made by a demon and is heavily implied to be possessing/corrupting Legion Commander when she wields it).
  • 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.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity:
    • Some abilities are stronger when used on creeps than when used on heroes (Frostbite lasts 10 seconds on creeps opposed to 3 seconds maximum on heroes; Enchant takes control of creeps and illusions but only slows heroes,...) and some others outright don't work on heroes at all (for example Devour, Holy Persuasion or Hand of Midas). The strongest neutral creeps are flagged as "Ancients", making them immune to all abilities that don't work on heroes (with a few exceptions), as well as numerous others. Certain powerful summoned units, like Lone Druid's Spirit Bear and Warlock's Golem, are likewise flagged as "creep-heroes", which causes certain abilities to treat them as heroes and giving unique interactions with other abilities.
    • Certain powerful illusions (such as the ones spawned by Vengeful Spirit and Chaos Knight's abilities) are flagged as "Strong Illusions", which makes them unable to be instantly killed by abilities (such as Life Drain and Hex) that otherwise destroy illusions on cast.
  • Cooldown Manipulation: Comes in two main flavours:
    • Refresher Orb completely refreshes the cooldowns of all your spells and items (except that of other Refresher Orbs), but is a very expensive item and has a long cooldown itself. Refresher Shard, an item dropped by Roshan from his third death onwards, works similarly but can only be used once and can't stack with other Refresher Shards in the same inventory slot. Ex Machina, a tier 5 neutral item, has a shorter cooldown but only works on item active abilities except Refresher Orb. Tinker's Rearm has no cooldown, but requires channelling (unlike the aforementioned items, which work instantly) and cannot reset the cooldowns of a few select items, while Phoenix's Supernova, if pulled off successfully, will reset the cooldown of all of Phoenix's non-ultimate abilities.
    • Quickening Charm, Spell Prism and Octarine Core reduce the cooldown of all your spells and items by 13%, 18% and 25% (respectively), certain heroes have similar X% Cooldown Reduction talents, Arcane Blink temporarily reduces all cooldowns by 25% when used, and the Arcane rune gives you 30% cooldown reduction on top of that. All of these bonuses stack additively with each other (except Octarine Core, which stacks multiplicatively with everything else), and only apply to spells that are cast while they are active.
  • 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:
  • 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.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The game does at least try to match you with players of roughly equal skill,note  but you often end up in games where one of the teams gets absolutely slaughtered. There are a lot of factors that make creating even teams difficult-to-impossible to do consistently, especially in the lower or unranked brackets:
    • Some players may be deadly with some heroes (carries), but not so good with others (supports), and are unable to help the team as well, especially if their favorite gets banned.
    • Even if both teams have a player who is still learning, if one of them ends up being protected by their teammates or paired against an aggressive, experienced killer, the balance can quickly get thrown off.
    • No amount of balancing will ever fully take away the fact that some heroes are just plain going to match poorly against some opponents, or synergize very well with some teammates. A balanced team that works well together has an advantage over one that isn't balanced, with abilities that keep causing problems or interfering with each other.
    • "Smurf" accounts (no, not that one). A smurf in Dota is a really good player who plays on an account whose MMR is far lower than their true skill, allowing them to go up against poorly-experienced players. While there are a few decent reasons for this (all professional players have smurf accounts in order to test new strategies and practice, without being scrutinized by fans or spied on by future opponents), a lot of them are there because they don't want an even playing field, and are just there to stomp on newbies who aren't really able to fight back yet.
  • 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.
  • Damage-Increasing Debuff:
    • Blight Stone, Orb of Corrosion, Desolator, Orb of Destruction and Stygian Desolator cause the wielder's attacks to reduce the target's armor, causing them to take more physical damage; Medallion of Courage and Solar Crest reduce the armor of the user (as well as the target when used on an enemy); and Assault Cuirass carries an aura that reduces the armor of all enemies nearby. Certain heroes, like Slardar and Tidehunter, also have abilities to reduce enemy armor.
    • On the magical side of things, Veil of Discord reduces enemies' magic resistance when used; Grove Bow reduces the magic resistance of attacked enemies; Ceremonial Robe reduces nearby enemies' magic resistance; Ghost Scepter and Ethereal Blade turn the target ethereal, immune to physical damage but much weaker to magic damage.
    • Orchid Malevolence and Bloodthorn have a unique take on the usual damage amplification effects. Instead of simply increasing damage dealt by a percentage, their debuff records the amount of damage dealt to its victim, and then further damages them for a percentage of that at the end of its duration.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!:
    • Developers' Foresight has that covered. If you come from Defense of the Ancients, you can enable an option to use the old Warcraft III hotkeys; if you come from League of Legends, you can enable Instacast (LOL's Smartcast), 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. After the patch, hitting the hotkey automatically uses the item on yourself, 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.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Some creepy-looking heroes, such as Abaddon and Clinkz, are almost purely heroic, and others such as Sand King or Spectre are closer to neutral than evil.
  • 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.
  • 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 without an upgrade. Loads of heroes have had ultimate upgrades added since the lines were recorded, and by 7.20, all heroes have received an upgrade.
    • The shop's search function has a surprising amount of foresight put into it, allowing you to search items using commonly used abbreviations in addition to the item name. For instance, "bf" brings up Battle Fury and Butterfly, "hot" gets Heart of Tarrasque and Helm of the Dominator ("hotd"), "sy" and "sny" both return Sange and Yasha, and "ags" can be used to search up Aghanim's Scepter. It even takes into account certain nicknames, such as "GG branch" for Iron Branch, "sheepstick" for Scythe of Vyse, and spelling Mekansm as "mechanism".
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Radiance has the single most grueling build-up of any item in the game even though it's nowhere near the most expensive, forcing you to save for a 3800-gold Sacred Relic and a recipe that does nothing on its own while most other items can be built in bite-sized pieces that at least give you stats. Furthermore, the item's nature means you need to get it as soon as possible for the item to be worth its cost, forcing you to hoard for the entire early game and basically avoid fights and ganks as much as possible. However, if you manage to save up quickly, you get an extremely powerful Money Multiplier that lets you push like there's no tomorrow while also letting you seriously mess up enemy teams in early teamfights.
  • Dump Stat: Of the three attributes, Agility is generally the least valuable. While Strength gives health to survive more damage and Intelligence grants mana to cast more spells, Agility only gives armor and attack speed in such meager amounts that it's usually more efficient to just invest in items that directly grant those stats (unless you're playing an Agility hero, of course).
  • Dynamic Entry: Heroes with short-ranged abilities or position-dependent abilities and low mobility often build a Blink Dagger and/or Force Staff to get into position easier.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Over 100 heroes are included in the roster, and the vast majority of them have various issues and interesting backstories. The ones that don't tend to be supernatural beings or Eldritch Abominations.
  • 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, to say nothing of learning what the current metagame is at any given point in time and dealing with G.I.F.T. Put all of that together, and you've got yourself a 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.
  • Energy Absorption: When activated, Eternal Shroud creates a shield that absorbs up to 400 magical damage and converts it to mana.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Most heroes are never called by their name in-game, not even in any voice lines either because it is obscure, the names have changed for copyright reasons or have the misfortunate timing of being unused in their responses. It is easier to list the heroes that downplay this (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.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Both Ancients are Evil.
  • Evolving Weapon: The Dagon recipe can be purchased up to 5 times in order to increase the item's power.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Many of the abilities with less imaginative names end up being this. For instance, Silencer's ultimate, Global Silence, simply silences every enemy on the map (and the game sound), and Nature's Prophet's Teleportation ability... lets him teleport.
  • 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.
  • Experience Booster: Creeps transmuted by Hand of Midas grant increased experience in addition to gold.
  • 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.
  • Fantastic Flora: Observer Wards and Sentry Wards are half-sentient magical plants that are covered in eyes, allowing the former to see the surrounding area and the latter to detect invisible enemies in their range (you still need something to provide vision in that area, which is why it's extremely common to place one of each).
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: The three elements which Invoker uses to create spells.
  • Flaming Meteor:
    • Invoker's Chaos Meteor deal damage-over-time when a foe touches the meteor. The distance of the meteor and the damage is based on his current power of Wex and Exort, respectively. It takes time for the meteor to land and move, so synergy with his other skills is necessary for maximum damage.
    • The Meteor Hammer summons a meteor burning with blue flames after a few seconds which can stun and deal damage-over-time to units and buildings.
  • 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.
  • Friendly Fireproof: The standard in the game is that AoE abilities which are exclusively beneficial only affect friendly units, and AoE abilities which are exclusively harmful only affect enemy units (AoE abilities that are neither might affect either only friendly units like Ancient Apparition's old Chilling Touch, only enemy units like Winter Wyvern's Winter's Curse, or both like Brewmaster Storm's Dispel Magic). Faceless Void's ultimate Chronosphere is notable for averting this trope, stunning both friendly and enemy units caught in it (except Void himself and units under his control) - a necessity to avoid the spell being much too overwhelming, though spells and ranged attacks from outside the sphere still work.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Heroes can range wildly from mere Badass Normals with little supernatural abilities (Axe and Bristleback) 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.
    • 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. Kind of justified as these are magical effects, not strictly "cold".
    • No flying allowed: Wings Do Nothing (compared to normal legs) except if there's an active ability that explicitly allows a hero to fly. That is why winged heroes like Viper and Jakiro can get stuck on cliffs despite flying constantly.
  • 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. 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, 2013 and 2020 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 and 2017 Dark Moon events were 5-man Tower Defense games where five heroes defeat waves of monsters and heroes for 13/15 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.
    • The Siltbreaker multiplayer campaign in the International 2017 is an action role-playing game where teams of four players engage in a mission to complete objectives.
  • 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 item 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, especially on heroes like Gyrocopter or Ember Spirit.
  • Golden Super Mode: Black King Bar's active ability gives the user a glowing golden Battle Aura while active. All it actually does is make the user immune to magic, but that's enough to turn a carry into a nigh-unstoppable One-Man Army.
  • Gold Makes Everything Shiny: Some cosmetic items (mostly Immortal-quality items from the Battle Passes) have a rare variant that give them a shiny golden coat.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: Neither side is really good, both factions fighting for their own interests.
  • Guide Dang It!: In older versions of the game, you pretty much had to remember what spells do what kind of damage, whether certain dispels work on certain effects, and which abilities ignore Spell Immunity, because the spell descriptions don't always tell you. Thankfully, the game now tells you all of this and straightened out some of the more oblique interactions, though knowing the information by heart definitely still helps.
  • Healing Potion: Drinking a Healing Salve provides a hero with rapid HP regeneration for 10 seconds.
  • Healing Spring: The fountains, located beyond each Ancient, automatically and rapidly replenishes the HP and mana of nearby heroes.
  • 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.
    • Tidehunter is a durable area-disabling teamfight initiator whose ability to shrug off crowd control lets him shut down other durable area-disabling teamfight initiators.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Silencer is a spellcaster hero with abilities that shut down enemy spellcasters.
    • Storm Spirit is a hero with a great escape and lots of burst damage who excels at hunting down and killing heroes with great escapes and burst.
  • 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. 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 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 pop BKB in the middle of battle to prevent the enemy from stunning you - but this also prevents your allies from casting certain healing spells on you. This can also come into play with Song of the Siren; it does not disable (and give invulnerability to) spell immune enemies, which can result in a lone enemy having to fight Naga Siren's team 1v5 while his teammates are sleeping.
  • 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 Death" Radius:
    • Towers deal tremendous damage to heroes early in the game, making them a safe haven for heroes on their side during the laning phase; as a result, tower-diving is never a good idea unless you have a good plan. However, their damage is static while heroes scale over the course of a game, and their lack of health regeneration means they will get worn down over time; as the game goes late, you'll be more focused on protecting your towers from enemies.
    • The fountains on each side are capable of attacking, and can kill even well-farmed enemy heroes in seconds, in order to discourage spawn-camping. Of course, certain heroes can withstand fountain fire if well-farmed enough, and if you're being fountain-camped by one of these heroes, you've probably lost anyway.
    • Some ultimate abilities, such as Crystal Maiden or Luna, cause massive damage to anyone within range of them.
  • 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 on 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 are you forced to play Single Draft mode (which severely limits your hero 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 respawn 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.
  • Kill Steal: Many players build a Dagon for the sole purpose of stealing kills, though it's debatable whether it's worth to spend 2720 gold (or more) on an item which only makes your score look better...
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Averted and played straight, depending on the circumstances of the game. If one of the players has left, whether through lagging out, extended AFK, or deliberately leaving the game, anyone else from either side can then leave the game with no penalty (the game text announces when this has happened). If no player has left, however, there is no vote system, surrender option, or anything else you can do to end a match early, aside from sitting in your base to let the other team fight through and kill your Ancient that much quicker. You just have to keep playing, letting the 43-7 team keep killing you at will.
  • 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.
  • Life Drain: Represented by lifesteal (most commonly provided by Possessed Mask, Morbid Mask and its upgrades), which heals the hero for a percentage of their right-click attack damage, and spell lifesteal (from Voodoo Mask and its upgrades), which does the same for spell damage.
  • Light Is Not Good: Despite the use of light and bright colours compared to the Dire, both ancients are equally evil and the only thing that the Radiant is 'good' at is environmental friendliness, if the status of Radiant trees compared to Dire trees is anything to go by.
  • Limited Loadout: You are limited to six primary item slots, plus three more items which you can carry in the backpack (which will provide no benefits and need six seconds to become active when moved from the backpack to the inventory). However, there is also the neutral item slot, though the effectiveness of this is heavily dependent not only on what drops for your team, but what is not kept by a teammate. And then there are three specific items you can buy that either don't take up a slot, or can be upgraded to do so at the cost of a small downgrade. First there is Aghanim's Shard, which has its own slot right from the start. Second, there is the Aghanim's Blessing, which upgrades the Aghanim's Sceptre to no longer use a slot, but you lose the stats the Sceptre gave and you only retain the ability upgrade (admittedly, the stats aren't so great anyway, especially during the endgame which is when most people are getting the Blessing to free up a slot for a more useful item). Finally, the Moon Shard starts as a standard item, granting attack speed, which can be "consumed" to no longer use a slot, making its effect permanent but cutting the attack speed bonus by half.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: On the whole inverted, sometimes to the extreme of logarithmic wizards, quadratic warriors: Many magic-heavy heroes are most powerful in the early and mid game, before becoming heavily outgunned by physical fighters in the late game.
    • Heroes who deal most of their damage through spells tend to be powerful early on when enemy heroes have few items and limited hitpoints; however because the damage of most spells is not greatly increased by items, as the game goes later enemies become more able to shrug off the incoming magical damage. Meanwhile, heroes which either do not have significant offensive spells, or whose offensive spells are tied to enhancing their physical attacks, tend to be fairly weak early on but then gain significant strength later in the game (as physical attack damage is greatly increased by items).
    • The instances in which this trope is played straight are in heroes who combine magical and physical damage together (like Outworld Destroyer), can use their magic for defense and mobility as much as offense (like Storm Spirit); or in heroes who on paper appear to be big strong warriors (like Sven or Ursa) but in practice are susceptible to enemies dodging around outside their attack range, or who focus their strength on their durability (like Axe or Centaur) and don't bring much to a late-game fight other than being bait or a punching bag. (Although granted, sometimes being a big distraction is exactly what a team needs...)
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Being an ARTS, this is expected.
  • Loot Boxes: Treasure chests either give you a random item or set (or more if you get lucky) when opened. A single standard item will be guaranteed to appear when a treasure is opened, but items in higher rarities only have a very small chance to be unboxed. Something with an Extremely or Ultra Rare drop rate (less than 5%) can easily fetch more than 100 dollars on the community market.
  • 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 or opportunities to kill steal teammates, but are the strongest heroes late game, able to 1v5 whole teams by themselves if properly farmed.
  • Make Some Noise: Silence is a Standard Status Effect which prevents the use of active skills while also disabling any active channeling abilities. It does not, however, disrupt passive effects or any non-channeling skills that are already active. Several heroes have access to Silence in various forms. A rarer status effect, Mute, has a similar effect in that it disables the use of items.
  • Make My Monster Grow: The Giant's Ring increases the wielder's model size by 60%, in addition to allowing them to move through terrain and dealing damage to nearby enemies.
  • Mana Burn: Diffusal Blade causes the wielder's attacks to burn mana from the target and deal damage based on the burnt mana, and several heroes have abilities (like Anti-Mage's Mana Break, Invoker's EMP, Nyx Assassin's Mana Burn and so on) which can remove an enemy's mana.
  • Mana Potion: Drinking Clarity grants 3.2 mana regeneration to the target for 50 seconds.
  • 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 is the most straight example of this trope in the game: an item with relatively weak stats whose active ability simply kills a creep, granting more XP and gold than if the creep was killed normally. It is almost always built early in a game to increase a hero's gold and/or XP income, and its only utility in a fight is the ability to instantly kill a creep minion of Chen, Enchantress or another hero that builds Helm of the Dominator.
    • Philosopher's Stone provides the wielder with a flat 70 bonus to their GPM, at the cost of some attack power. It's usually carried by supports who don't need the physical damage, but can really use the extra income.
    • Some other items (namely Battle Fury, Maelstrom and Radiance) can also quickly bolster the owner's income, but they do this by helping the hero clear creeps faster instead of directly providing bonus gold like Hand of Midas.
  • 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 and don't provide much fanservice other than being attractive in general. With the exception of someone like Queen of Pain, but that can be excused considering she is a succubus.
  • Mythology Gag: Two of the neutral drop items added in 7.23, The Leveller and Arcane Ring, were items removed from the original DotA mod. Another drop item is the Stygian Desolator (a bigger version of Desolator), which was the name of the regular Desolator from the original mod.
  • Nerf: DOTA has an interesting philosophy towards nerfing: If a hero is overpowered, unless it's a true Game-Breaker don't nerf the OP ability, nerf something else. This results in heroes that seem overpowered, but who also have rather severe weaknesses to go with the strength.
  • Night-Vision Goggles: Vampire Fangs and Moon Shard provide a hero with additional night vision; Seer Stone does this to both day and night vision.
  • No Experience Points for Medic: Previously, you only got 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 2014 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 the protection of heroes and towers.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The so-called 'Secret Shop' is a secret to no one. In fact, it is one of the first things a new player has to learn when starting Dota, otherwise you're missing out on at least 70% of the items you'll have to get accustomed to building.
  • Noodle Incident: Tons in the character bios.
  • No-Sell: Spell immunity (provided by things like Enrage, Minotaur Horn and Black King Bar) prevents most abilities from affecting the target unit, making BKB a very commonly purchased item.
  • Not the Intended Use: When it comes to game mechanics, this trope is averted - if you can do it, then it's a feature, including denying, suicide, creep pulling, stacking and orb walking, among others (except if the unintended use turns out to be a Game-Breaker). Played straight with reports: as can be seen on the report screen, reporting and Low Priority are supposed to be a punishment for toxic players, flamers, spammers, ragers, griefers, trolls, intentional feeders, AFK'ers and game ruiners (as well as quitters, who do not need to be reported). In practice, however, people will report others for literally any reason (most often to blame a teammate or enemy for a loss), and the game does not distinguish between a legit report and a rage report - both are equally effective when it comes to sending people to Low Priority. Expect to make frequent visits to LPQ even if you behave well if you do the following things:
    • Play Techies or a Rat Doto hero. Win? Receive five reports from salty enemies for 'picking broken hero'. Lose? Receive four reports from angry teammates for 'trolling and forcing team to play 4v5'.
    • Be a famous streamer. People will report you for kicks. You will be in LPQ all the time, and no one will bat an eye.
    • Pick an 'out-of-meta' hero or go for an unorthodox build. If you lose, teammates will blame you for costing the game, and you will be reported.
  • Obvious Rule Patch:
    • Originally in Diretide, the game will not end unless the team gets more candies than the other team before they work together to defeat Roshan. This unfortunately opens to an easy exploit with Pudge where with the other team's compliance, Pudge would repeatedly kill the other player to gain Strength stacks from Flesh Heap before getting enough stacks to one-shot Roshan using an Ethereal Blade to cheat their way of the records. Soon after this exploit is known, Valve issued a patch where the game will end regardless of whether the team's candy counts are the same or not.
    • 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.
    • One of the changelogs for 7.07 is that a team can now only own 1 animal courier, and couriers are automatically upgraded after 3 minutes. Unfortunately, griefers quickly found that you can simply buy a courier, drop the item instead of deploying the courier, and then deny it, leaving their team courier-less for the entire game. This was eventually patched out by making couriers automatically deploy on purchase, and for additional fool-proofing, making the item unsellable and indestructible if purchased outside the fountain.
    • One of the rules added during The International is that players are not allowed to swap heroes pregame. This resulted in one case when during a pro game Fly (a support player) accidentally chose Clinkz instead of his intended hero Phoenix, forcing him to switch roles with his carry teammate. Immediately after the game ended, Valve issued a patch by adding a confirmation whether or not you want to pick that hero after the drafting stage ends.
  • 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, even better than 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.
  • Piñata Enemy:
    • The Book of the Dead summons give a tremendous bounty when killed, and the Warrior's Last Will often isn't enough to discourage enemies from getting it. Micromanagement is important to avoid feeding them to the other team.
    • Units controlled by Helm of the Dominator or Helm of the Overlord have their gold bounty set to 150 gold.
    • Visage's familiars give a nice gold bonus if you kill them (with their ability to become invulnerable, the trick is actually doing so)
    • Zeus' Nimbus Cloud upgrade. It's quite damaging to anything in range, but if your attack range is larger than the cloud's (and there's no fight going on otherwise), the bounty often makes it worthwhile.
  • Play Every Day:
    • The Battle Pass' Daily Hero Challenge gives you 22 hours to win a game with a randomly selected hero and grants a reward of 100 Battle Points for doing so.
    • The Frostivus 2019 mini-Battle Pass event grants you a bonus 1250 Frostivus Points when you win your first game in a day, in addition to the 200 or 100 normally granted by winning a game.
  • 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 Nullifier: Represented by various kinds of disables: stun (disables everything, usually have short durations), sleep (similar to stuns, but targets can be woken up prematurely), banish (similar to stuns but also turns the target invulnerable), hex (slows movement, disables active, item abilities and right-clicks), silence (disables active abilities), disarm and ethereal (disable right-click attacks), break (disables passive abilities), mute (disables item abilities), root (disables movement), leash (disables movement outside of a specific area, including with abilities), taunt (forces units to attack a specific target instead of doing anything else), and fear (forces the target to run towards a specific point and prevents them from doing anything else).
  • Practical Taunt: Taunt is an actual status effect, which forces afflicted targets to do nothing other than attacking the caster during its duration (specifically, it forces the equivalent of a right-click attack, and you can't do anything else for the duration - no spells, abilities, item use, etc. Passive effects like critical strike or life drain still work.). In effect, most of the time it works the same as a stun, since heroes with Taunt generally want people to attack them (and usually build Blade Mail specifically to pair with it).
  • Public Domain Artifact: Mjölnir (or rather Mjollnir, as it's spelt in the game) shows up as an item that you can build. Sun Wukong's Ruyi Jingu Bang also showed up as a purchasable item long before the Monkey King himself was added as a hero.
  • Quad Damage: Picking up a Power 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:
    • Neutral items drop at set times, in set tiers. Each tier has a pool of 10, and only 4 of those will drop. Which ones drop can make a significant difference (for example, if the Philosopher's Stone drops, it's extra income is really big for your support, who doesn't get a lot of creep kills, but won't really be affected by the damage decrease).
    • Cosmetic items occasionally "drop" for you after playing a game, similar to Team Fortress 2.
  • 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.
  • Random Number God: Randoming heroes, which gives you a random hero from the pool of bonus heroes that day. If a regular player of, say, Dragon Knight or Ember Spirit, gets lucky and randoms one of these heroes, the bonus Mango can easily help them stomp mid and by extension snowball out of control. On the other hand, if the randomed hero ends up unfamiliar, hard to play (like Earth Spirit or Io), easily counterable (like Meepo) or not fitting with what your team has picked (the 4th hard carry, the 3rd non-scaling support or the 2nd jungler), good luck - you'll be in for a very hard game. A random can single-handedly decide the result of a game completely by luck.
  • Rare Candy: Consuming a Tome of Knowledge instantly grants an experience boost to the user, usually enough to gain a level.
  • Rare Random Drop:
    • Most treasure chests (except for the earliest ones) come with a drop list, categorised into rarity tiers. A single standard item will be guarateed to appear when a treasure is opened, but items in higher rarities only have a very small chance to be unboxed. Something with an Extremely or Ultra Rare drop rate (less than 5%) can easily fetch more than 100 dollars on the community market.
    • While Rylai's Battle Blessing and the Dark Moon Reward wheel will almost always grant a common item set, courier, announcer or treasure, a player that is exceptionally lucky, spins a lot of times (by spending money) or sold his soul to the Devil might be rewarded with an Arcana from the former or a super rare Dark Moon Baby Roshan from the latter.
    • A notorious example is the 2016 version of the Trust of the Benefactor treasure, given to owners of the International Battle Pass. Its list of possible drops include valuable items like Immortal treasures, Arcana items, golden Immortals, promotional, China- or Korea-exclusive and other limited edition items from the early days of the game (most of which cost hundreds of dollars each on the Market or are not marketable at all),... as well as any random hero set (any set, including many almost worthless 'trash' sets that look barely different from the base model). Cue many people expecting Immortals, Arcanas and other cool items from the three copies of the treasure... only to receive three trash sets that worth less than half a dollar on the Market. Some even bought more treasures on the Market from savvy players exploiting this trope and most of the time they received nothing but more trash sets. After all, it's no surprise when the total copies of treasures number in the millions and the total copies of rare items that can be unboxed by the community number in the hundreds. Valve addressed this in the 2017 version by removing the random hero sets from the treasure, meaning that at worst you'll get an Immortal treasure.
    • Slark's Riptide Rumble, a pachinko-like minigame in the International 2017 Battle Pass, where most players tend to win from 500 to 4000 Battle Points per week except for the 10 luckiest ones, who will get a Sunken Relic, an item that lasts until The International 2018 and creates a watery Aegis of Champions effect underneath the hero, or can be pawned on the Market for around $2000.
  • Real Money Trade: There exists a substantial market of accounts with high (4k+) MMR, as well as "professional" boosters that will boost your MMR in exchange for money, allowing bad players to spend money and get an MMR far higher than they deserve. Usually this is followed by a losing streak as the boosted account user, hopelessly outskilled by opponents in a bracket in which they do not belong, proceeds to feed and become a useless burden that ruins games for people unlucky enough to be their teammate (as well as a free 25 MMR for their opponents).
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Respectively:
  • Reduced Mana Cost: Picking up an Arcane rune reduces all mana costs by 30% for 50 seconds. Carrying Fairy's Trinket or Kaya reduces all of them by 5% and 12% (respectively).
  • 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 Major and 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/Battle Pass 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:
    • A lot of heroes have some variant of "here's X in your eye" as a response, usually when attacking or casting a spell.
      Brewmaster (casting Cinder Brew): Here's beer in your eye!
      Crystal Maiden (attacking): Here's ice in your eye!
      Viper (attacking): Here's poison in your eye!
    • Frostivus, ostensibly the Christmas equivalent celebrated in-universe, getting cancelled due to some unforeseen disaster.
      Frostivus 2013 Day 1: Nothing can possibly go wrong.
    • 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 Allstars, players could only pick Sentinel or Scourge (renamed Radiant and Dire for Dota 2) heroes when on that side, a lot 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.
  • See the Invisible:
    • Sentry Wards, towers, Book of the Dead Warriors and the Ancient provide True Sight in a large area around themselves.
    • Popping Dust of Appearance will inflict a debuff on nearby heroes (but not wards) which will prevent them from going invisible and causes them to be slowed by 20% when they would have done so.
    • Carrying a Gem of True Sight grants the constant ability to see invisible units and wards to any allied vision within 900 range of the carrier. However, the Gem is a risky investment in that it will be dropped if the carrier dies, and there is an obvious, if not blatant, identifier on any hero carrying it - expect to be the immediate target of the entire other team, who want to keep their invisibility-dependent heroes (Bounty Hunter, Riki, Techies, anyone with an invisibility item, etc.) effective.
    • Some heroes, most notably Bounty Hunter and Slardar, have abilities which can reveal invisible foes.
  • Sexy Dimorphism: Slark, Slardar, and Slithice (Naga Siren) all belong to the same species, the Slithereen. The former two are male, and both have Scary Teeth and a monstrous facial structure. The Naga Siren, meanwhile, has the upper body of a beautiful woman (complete with Non-Mammal Mammaries, and Non-Mammalian Hair with certain cosmetic items) and a human-like face.
  • 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. On meeting either Juggernaut or Templar Assassin, Monkey King will hint that the two used to be an item together.
  • Shout-Out: Just as with the original, with the sheer number of assets in the game, most anything is a reference to something else:
    • A red headed spellcaster named 'Lina the Slayer' with the skill Dragon Slave, and an ultimate named Laguna Blade?
    • Tinker borrows a lot of Dr. Isaac Kleiner's lines from Half-Life. It helps that he's voiced by the same actor. Same for a lot of others.
    • 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. Because you use recipes to COMBINE items.
    • An item for Tidehunter that replaces his fish is named "Squiddles".
    • Many of the AI bots are named after characters of Arrested Development. Additionally, Gob and Lindsay's chicken impressions made it into the game as taunts for Skywrath Mage and Vengeful Spirit respectively.
    • Sniper shares some of his lines with another sniper and his rifle sounds like the AWP from Counter-Strike. And Pudge, of all things, shares his voice.
    • Lich and Pugna are obviously better known as the Heavy Weapons Guy, the former even citing some of the lines.
    • Sand King gives us: "You were expecting... Sandy Claws?"
    • Nature's Prophet speaks for the trees.
    • Upon using his laser skill, Tinker will gleefully declare that he "blinded you, with science!"
    • Meepo also gets his share of recycled voice lines, this time from the Scout.
    • Axe's denied phrase ("YOU GET NOTHING! GOOD DAY, SIR!") is based on Willy Wonka's infamous meltdown scene from the 1971 movie Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.
    • When Earthshaker manages to hit 3 or more heroes with his ultimate, Echo Slam, he shouts "Chaos Dunk!"
    • Pudge's attacks, design and exclamation of "fresh meat!" might feel familiar to Blizzard fans. There's also the line "GET OVER HERE!" when he grabs an enemy hero with Meat Hook.
    • Omniknight: You chose poorly.
    • Timbersaw: "I'm not a lumberjack, and no, I'm not okay. I thank you!"
    • The items Sange and Yasha, Black King Bar, and Monkey King Bar are all from the Phantasy Star series.
    • The Monkey King Bar also refers to the weapon of Sun Wukong from Journey to the West, both in its name, and its inability to miss. The Monkey King himself is also set to appear as a playable hero.
    • The Heart of Tarrasque item's name and concept was clearly inspired by a famous Dungeons & Dragons monster named Tarrasque that, until 4th edition changed it, could literally regenerate from any short of death short of using a reality-warping spell to keep it down.
    • Bounty Hunter bears some resemblance to an older group of rat-man ninjas with shuriken, and Chaos Knight's backstory, colour scheme, armour, and steed appear to draw on some other Chaos Knights. Gyrocopter and Sniper draw on the aesthetic of a certain other group of Schizo Tech-wielding dwarfs, as well.
    • Upon killing Roshan in the Diretide event, he sinks into a pit of lava while giving a thumbs-up.
    • Beating the newly resurrected Wraith King shows the words YOU DEFEATED.
    • Juggernaut's Ultimate ability Omnislash is named after one of the Limit Breaks from Final Fantasy 7.
    • Way, way too many in the heroes' voice lines. It's easier to just consult the individual heroes' pages on the wiki for details, because listing them would take up a very large portion of the page.
    • The 6.86 patch allows the Iron Branch to be consumed to plant "a happy little tree". And yes, that's the wording used in the actual item description.
    • The item Octarine Core is named after a fictional color in Discworld, likely as a tribute to the late Terry Pratchett. The color is described as a "resembling a fluorescent greenish-yellow purple", and fittingly enough, the visual effect of Octarine Core's Spell Lifesteal is colored purple and fluorescent green.
  • Single-Use Shield:
    • The Infused Raindrop is a five-use shield. If the hero takes more than 50 magical damage in a single instance and the Raindrop is off cooldown, one of its charges will be consumed to block 120 damage. Each Raindrop has 5 charges, and cannot stack with other Raindrops in the same inventory slot.
    • Linken's Sphere provides a shield that blocks a single targeted spell which can be transferred to an ally. Once the shield is used, you'll need to wait a while for it to return.
    • If a hero carrying Phoenix Ash is reduced below 1 HP, the item would immediately be consumed to heal them to half HP and refresh the cooldown of all non-ultimate skills.
  • Sinister Surveillance:
    • A particularly vital concept in the game is warding to gain vision of key areas, and denying enemy vision of key areas.
    • Patch 6.87 added the Scan team ability, which can be used to detect enemy heroes (or the lack thereof) in a designated area.
  • 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 are snowballing solo gankers with good scaling that prey on lone heroes out of position (in other words, everyone 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. However, as soon as you reach the bracket where people actually know how to use Dust of Appearance and Sentry Wards to counter invisible heroes, said heroes will have to play much more carefully in order to snowball, instead of just mindlessly going around killing everyone and simply turning invisible to escape when threatened.
    • 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, where no one seems to have the good sense to get up in Drow's face and neuter her damage output.
    • Healing heroes in general (except for Chen, Enchantress and Oracle, whose skill floor is too high for most pubbers). In low-level games, people are too uncoordinated to Shoot the Medic First, preferring to hit whichever enemy hero they feel like, giving the healer free rein to keep his team alive (and, in case of Necrophos, wear down the enemy team as well). Healers are also able to mitigate the damage done by out-of-position heroes that get ganked, or by a rich but Too Dumb to Live carry that considers himself invincible and jumps to solo the entire enemy team (which is a very common reason of comebacks in the lower brackets). In addition, Omniknight (one of the most, if not the most, prominent examples in this category) is also countered by a Nullifier, which can remove his ultimate but is built by no one in the lower brackets.
    • AFK junglers (Legion Commander and Lifestealer are the most popular heroes for this, though others do exist). In high-level games it forces the team to play 4v5 during the laning stage, places the entire burden of warding on a starved support, while the jungler himself farms slower than in the lane and is vulnerable to ganks from enemy roaming supports. But all of this is rendered moot in low-level games: playing 4v5 in the laning stage isn't a big problem since everyone is super passive, neither is the lack of a support (the enemy 'supports' are too busy leeching XP and stealing last hits from cores instead of doing the duty of a proper support like warding, roaming and disrupting the enemy jungler). In addition to that, low-level players miss last hits all the time so the jungler actually ends up the richest of the heroes, despite the relatively low bounty of neutrals, and since they don't know how to close games, games always go late and the team with the greedier draft would win most of the time.
    • 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. When it comes to Force Staff, a counter to Ursa and a very useful item in general, bad players usually think it 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.
    • 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 run 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.
  • Stat Sticks: Heroes can hold up to 6 items in their inventory in any combination, even if it makes no logical sense (the only exception is boots). These items (except consumables) sit in the inventory and provide their bonus stats and special abilities from there, even if the heroes are never actually seen using the items themselves.
  • Status-Buff Dispel: Anything that has 'dispel' or 'purge' in its name is able to remove most buffs from the target hero.
  • 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.
  • Stuck Items:
    • In the original DotA and earlier versions of Dota 2, certain heroes like Ogre Magi and Meepo cannot drop Aghanim's Scepter due to the way it interacts with their abilities.
    • Divine Rapier becomes undroppable except by death, once it is picked up by an enemy hero after its original owner dies.
    • Aegis of the Immortal cannot be dropped at all, and can only be got rid of when the carrier dies (thus using the Aegis's ability) or the duration of the Aegis expires. It also cannot be put in the backpack.
  • 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.
  • Super Speed:
    • The Haste rune is one of six Power Runes that completely maxes out the hero's movement speed for 22 seconds.
    • Several items and heroes have abilities that greatly boost their or an ally's movement speed, like Swift Blink.
    • At level 10, couriers gain the Speed Burst ability, which temporarily grants them 50% bonus movement speed. This can help get items quicker or give them an escape from enemy pursuers.
  • 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. And while it is entirely possible for a hero to be Killed Mid-Sentence, that just prompts their 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. Knowing how to properly treat a childish, crybaby or raging teammate or tilt an enemy player and cause their team to bicker among themselves can do a long way towards improving your MMR.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Played with in regards to 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.
  • Teleportation with Drawbacks:
    • Town Portal scrolls can teleport heroes to any allied structure. However, this requires them to channel for several seconds (which becomes longer if other allies have also recently teleported to the same structure) and being stunned while channeling cancels the teleportation, using up the scroll and leaving any other one may have in their inventory on cooldown. Boots of Travel are similar, except they also allow the user to teleport to allied creeps (and heroes once upgraded), and aren't consumed when used.
    • The Blink Dagger lets any hero instantly teleport a short distance. Taking damage from enemies briefly disables it, making it much more useful for jumping onto enemies than to escape from them.
    • Io can use Relocate to teleport to any point on the map, and bring an ally with it if they're connected by Io's Tether. This requires Io to channel for a few seconds, and after a delay, Io is warped back to its original location (the ally also comes along with it if they're still tethered).
  • Temporary Online Content: Collector's Cache and Prestige items are only obtainable when a Battle Pass is active (the former by unboxing a chest that is only sold during this time, the latter by levelling the Battle Pass to a certain level). They cannot be traded between players, making it absolutely impossible to obtain them once the Battle Pass has expired.
  • Three-Stat System: Strength, which determines max health, HP regeneration, and magic resistance; Agility, which determines armor, movement speed, and attack speed; and Intelligence, which determines mana, mana regeneration and nuke damage.
  • Thunder Hammer: Maelstrom is a hammer that gives your attacks a Chain Lightning effect. It can be upgraded to Mjollnir, which has the same effect and can also place a lightning shield around an ally.
  • 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. Since 7.00, this trope has been downplayed after Valve decided to update the recommended items and integrate a popular items section into it, which includes the items commonly built by high-level players... although those have since also fallen into disrepair (not to mention that the items high-level players buy is not necessarily what lower-level players trying to learn how to play should buy). Fortunately, you can also use player-made hero guides complete with skill builds, recommended talents, and some useful tips, with the best ones receiving updates regularly.
  • 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 and Dark Willow have Scottish accents.
    • Skywrath Mage sounds Middle Eastern.
    • Lycan seems to have a Polish accent.
    • Pangolier has a French accent, and sprinkles French phrases into his voice lines.
    • Hoodwink speaks in a New Zealandic accent.
  • Unwanted Assistance: Certain abilities, such as Outworld Devourer's Astral Imprisonment, Bloodseeker's Bloodrage, and Bane's Nightmare, can be cast on both enemies and allies, and as a result can screw allies over if used badly. The scoreboard has a "disable help" function that prevents allies from using these abilities on you, intended to prevent this (and griefing).
  • Video Game Remake: Before support for the old map was dropped, there used to be a near-perfect parity between each version of Dota 2 and the original Defense of the Ancients: All-Stars map from Warcraft III, with the majority of differences being graphic, interface or quality-of-life improvements. 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 snarky reply about redundancy when he picks up an invisibility runenote .
  • 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: Just try finding a hero whose voice responses don't include a number of puns. No, Io and Phoenix don't count.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: The Demon Edge, a sword with a hilt made from Direstone and a blade of Radiant Ore.


Video Example(s):


Dota 2 - The International

In a match between Evil Geniuses and Alliance during Day 3 of the Group Stage of The International 6, Evil Geniuses is appearing to be close at achieving victory as they are destroying Alliance's ancient, only for the latter team to turn the tables and wipe out Evil Geniuses completely.

This turnaround play causes David "LD" Gorman, one of the official casters of the match, to drop the F-bomb in amazement.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / PrecisionFStrike

Media sources:

Main / PrecisionFStrike