|This article or section may need to be rewritten entirely to comply with Dota 2 Wiki's quality standards.
You can help. The discussion page may contain suggestions.
Reason given: none given
The heroes in Dota 2 may be defined by the roles that they are suited to play as a combination of their attributes, skills, and items, and the ways these shape the game, both temporal and lasting. The effect heroes have on combat and the advancement of the game fall into a select number of roles based on certain factors. Although the abilities of heroes may suit a variety of purposes and can be used in a variety of ways in different situations. Roles define what playstyle a hero is expected to conform to, and by extension, what actions they are meant to perform within a game.
The attributes of heroes -their essential statistics and their basic attack ability- and their skills (spells) and the effects caused by their skills -such as dealt damage- produce different effects in combat and dictate different tactics that have to be used to achieve the greatest output from their actions. As strategic combat between two teams with heroes with different abilities that amass power and utility with successful battle is the central contest of Dota 2, players should be sure to have their heroes take the correct role in battle and position for the scenario, which decides which heroes may come under the effect of their attacks and which attacks they are in range of and the overall progression of combat; which determine one subset of the roles heroes may be said to fall under.
Even more importantly, heroes should keep in mind how their build affects their hero and what effect it will play in combat and the outcome of the game. Since different heroes advance very differently, care must be taken to ensure that the appropriate heroes are leveled for the situation and valid for their potential role in combat and the build up of the allied team.
 Main Roles
The economic roles that are an outcome of the differing increases in power and economy of different heroes from leveling, and the prioritisation of the leveling of certain heroes due to these differing increases, are the primary roles that determine what heroes should try to aim for (in leveling) in the broader picture of the game.
 Lane Support
"Helpful in the early-game laning in protecting your team's carry."
Lane Supports or Babysitters are Heroes who help their team's Carry control the lane in the early stages of the game. They are able to either repel enemies from your team's carry or to allow the carry to continually stay in the lane using abilities that replenish either health or mana. Common traits of Lane Supports are long-ranged right-click attacks and abilities that are highly useful from level 1 and up. They should always lane with the team's Hard Carry, as aside from supporting them; their lack of dependence on gold and levels means said Carry can take all the farm for themselves without running the risk of soloing a lane.
"Will become more useful later in the game if they gain a significant gold advantage."
Carries are the heroes that can obtain the greatest power and utility. (It is so derived from the act of "carrying" a team; that is, to bear the responsibility for ultimate victory.) They tend to be those who become extremely powerful later in the game as compared to other heroes once they amass enough levels and items. They are the ones expected to have the highest number of kills at the conclusion of the game and tend to be those that directly tackle the structures and the Ancient upon the team becoming powerful enough. Carries typically lack early game power, but they scale well by late game; thus, the items they carry are an essential part of their build.
Although they are the major nexuses of power late game, their weakness in the early game must be made up for by other, more early-blooming heroes to ensure that they are not killed, and even survive, to gain enough gold and experience to become effective, in direct confrontation with enemy carries.
Some carries with long cooldowns on their ultimates, such as Naga Siren, Luna and Outworld Devourer require constant team support all throughout the game as unlike carries such as Phantom Assassin or Lifestealer they are not suited to tackling many enemies in succession and rely heavily on their ultimate for damage/survivability. For example, Phantom Assassin attacks with blistering speed and kills any assailants almost instantly, as her ultimate is a passive and thus active for her at all times; and Lifestealer's abilities give him huge survivability even without his ultimate. However, with their ultimate on cooldown, heroes such as Luna and Naga are at much more risk of being killed.
Carries typically are relegated to a side lane early on with one or more Support/Babysit heroes to babysit them until they collect the necessary items to farm independently.
"Has a guaranteed disable for one or more of their spells."
Disablers are Heroes whose abilities are more focused to reliable crowd control, whether by single target or by area. Though fundamentally Support, they can act as Initiator in a gank when the number of enemy Heroes to be killed is few in number - a true Initiator's cooldowns are best saved for a large confrontation.
Gankers are Heroes with abilities that deliver long duration crowd control or immense damage early in the game. Their goal is to give the team an early game advantage during laning phase by killing enemy heroes in their proper lanes. Many Gankers become Semi-Carries if they are successful in their efforts, owing to a large gold and level advantage; but because their abilities do not scale they will usually suffer in late game (hence the need for a Hard Carry).
Nukers are Heroes with one or multiple area-of-effect or burst damage spells that give a DPS advantage in team fights or against creep waves. Nukers with lower mana cost spells like Death Prophet excel at pushing the creep line with their spells while heroes with expensive or high cool-down area-of-effect spells like Crystal Maiden's ultimate use their nukes for team fighting exclusively.
"Good at starting a teamfight."
Initiators are heroes who can safely and advantageously start a team fight. These heroes typically have strong area of effect damage or disable or some skill to affect the positioning of the enemy team. Although it is common for an Initiator to be a Durable hero, this is not always the case; fragile heroes such as Enigma and Vengeful Spirit are adept at initiation.
"Can farm effectively from neutral creeps inside the jungle early in the game."
Junglers are heroes that can jungle neutrals at the start of the game, rather than lane. This allows for there to be two solo lanes, which in turn allows two allies to benefit from solo farm instead of one. Junglers typically have skills that allow them to convert neutral creeps, summon minions, or sustain themselves through damage; and the ability to Jungle is found in Heroes of all classes.
Although having two solo lanes and a Jungler produces a significant gold and experience advantage, it increases exposure to enemy ganks.
"Can quickly siege and destroy towers and barracks"
Pushers are heroes who focus on bringing down towers quickly, thereby acquiring map control. If they succeed, they often shut down the enemy carry by forcing them away from farming. They typically have skills that fortify allied creep waves, summon minions, or deal massive amounts of damage to enemy towers.
"Can focus on moving around the map instead of farming creeps early in the game."
Their main focus is gaining as much map control early in the game by warding and studying location of missing Heroes. They are also responsible for creep pulling, creep stacking (for the purpose of helping a fellow Jungler or to be the source of farm) and most crucially shutting down enemy Junglers.
"Has the ability to last longer in teamfights."
Durable heroes (or "Tanks") are heroes who have the potential to sustain large amount of incoming damage from the enemy. They tend to have large amounts of HP, HP regeneration, armor, or magic resistance. They often have abilities to mitigate damage, avoid damage completely, or disable assailants. Strength heroes almost invariably perform this role because of their primary attribute, Strength, also grants HP.
Despite the fact most Durable heroes in DOTA 2 cannot literally force enemies to attack targets (only Axe, Legion Commander, and Auroth may do this), they effectively play the role of absorbing most enemy damage output in a teamfight. This is accomplished by:
- Outputting an AoE effect which severely maligns the enemy, so that the enemy must kill the durable first; for example Undying's Flesh Golem which increases all damage to hostile units in its radius.
- Being the first one to engage the enemy in a teamfight. The enemy will respond by unloading abilities and items on the durable because a) the enemy cannot see the durable's allies and is tricked to believe the durable is alone for easy kill b) the enemy cannot reach the durable's allies because they are too far away c) the enemy is inexperienced and prematurely attacks the first hostile target in sight. The result is that the durable will probably survive because of his high durability; when the allies charge in, most of the enemy's skills are on cooldown and the battle becomes much more favorable. This tactic will not always work against seasoned opponents, however.
- Using an ability to force enemies to attack the Durable rather than his allies. The only example of this currently in-game is Axe.
- Being the only target that can be readily attacked; a strategy that works best when the Durable's allies are ranged heroes.
In summary, a durable in DOTA 2 is a durable hero with high survivability who often initiates a team battle and is able to manipulate the enemy to damage the durable instead of the allies.
 Other Roles
Escape heroes are heroes equipped with one or more escape mechanisms which allow them (or sometimes their allies) to avoid damage and abilities while retreating or repositioning themselves during a teamfight or gank. Escape heroes are particularly suited to soloing the "suicide lane" or short lane, as they can turn situations where death is inevitable into a temporary delay in farm. Escape mechanisms include movement speed buffs, invisibility, teleportation (such as Blinking), and evasion.
Semi-Carries are heroes with strong early or middle game power that drop off later in the game, usually due to some deficiency in the hero. (For example, Juggernaut is a poor choice for a Carry because he is a melee hero that lacks both a reliable means to disable a target and a means to escape.) The Semi-Carry, although long recognized in the community, is not a role recognised by Valve, likely because of the highly ambiguity of the role.
Early on, the Semi-Carries typically take the lead in asserting map control to allow the Carry to farm. A Semi-Carry will often take the middle lane, allowing him access to both side lanes. A team typically has one or two Semi-Carries, depending on the laning strategy. If there is a Jungler, expect to see a Semi-Carry solo in the long lane (bottom for Radiant and top for Dire).
By the end of the middle game period, Semi-Carries transition on into a more supportive role. This is not to say that they play Support, this is simply the point where their damage and capabilities are outstripped by "hard" Carries.
"Can focus less on amassing gold and items, and more on using their abilities to gain an advantage for the team."
Supports are heroes whose purpose is to keep their allies alive and give them opportunities to earn more gold and experience. Supports will usually come with skills, such as healing spells or skills that disable enemies; and generally have low damage output (but often with a powerful-yet-situational nuke). Like Semi-Carries, Supports are not dependent on items (with some exceptions), and thus, most of their gold will be spent on items for the benefit of the team such as Animal Courier, Observer Ward, Sentry Ward, and Smoke of Deceit.
Supports are typically paired with the team's Carry at the start of a game. This is because the Carry tends to be the weakest and most gold-hungry member of the team early on. A Support should always forfeit kills to the team's Carry, only performing a kill if none of his allies are able to do it.