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The best Dota 2 heroes for beginners – support edition

Dota 2
rhasta true crow skin

Image credit: Valve Corporation

Last week, we looked at some of the best beginner Dota 2 heroes, but none of them were viable as supports (except maybe WK). Well, today we look at supports!

Lately, Dota 2 has a lot going on with the Battle Pass, the coronavirus, and the uncertainty surrounding its biggest event The International. It has also been some time since the last patch which came back in early May. No matter the patch, though, today we’re looking at some of the best support heroes for beginners. These heroes are also overall good picks in almost any bracket, making them a solid learning ground as each of them has their strengths and weaknesses. But first, let’s answer a question.

Why play support?

Are you tired of long queues and the endless waiting associated with ranked matchmaking? Then play support. It’s the most requested role and will remain so until the end of time. There’s a couple of undeniable facts in our world and one of those is that Dota 2 players always want to play carry or at least a core position.

Be different – play support, and make all the difference for your team. You won’t have to worry about last hits and gold, so your attention will be entirely focused on keeping your teammates alive and making their game easier.

The common laning scenarios

There are actually only two main ones. You either win the lane or you lose it, but let’s get into more details.

Winning
– If you’re winning the lane, your job will be to prevent enemy neutral pulls.
Losing
– If you’re losing the lane, you’ll be the one doing the neutral pulls.

Basically, whoever’s losing the lane will try to pull neutrals as a way to get XP, gold and restore the lane equilibrium. More often than not, you’ll be losing the lane and that won’t be because you’re bad or anything. It’s just you’re playing support and your team will expect you to pick first.

This will allow your opponents to counter you and unless your teammate is playing something like Ursa against a melee hero, you’ll be pressured. What I’m trying to say here is: pull neutral creeps whenever possible in order to deny XP and try to punish the enemy when they overstep. Pulling is important, OK? It’ll also give you some sweet sweet XP and gold which you can use to get items since half the wards are already free.

The heroes

So, which support to pick? There are plenty of good options, actually:

Dazzle

dazzle darkclaw emissary

Image credit: Valve Corporation

Dazzle was good before his rework and he’s even better now. At Level 1, you’d usually pick his Q (Poison Touch) which will force the enemy to retreat. This allows you to easily harass them in the early game. His Shallow Grave can save your teammates from certain death, except when there’s an Axe on the enemy team. Feel free to ask your off-laner to pick him if possible.

Next up is his Shadow Wave which can inflict massive amounts of damage in the right situation (like an enemy stuck between your lane creeps). In any other case, it’s a handy heal. Finally, there’s Dazzle’s ultimate which, despite, being a passive, brings a lot to the table. Every time you cast a spell, nearby enemies get their armor lowered, which synergizes great with physical damage heroes like Phantom Assassin, Juggernaut, Ursa, and others. As you can see, Dazzle has a good mix of offense and defense, his base stats and stat gain are both solid, so you can rarely make a mistake by picking him, even against Axe.

Psst: if you somehow end up with a lot of money, get a Necronomicon and use it non-stop to push the lanes. The cooldown reduction provided by your ultimate will allow you to make the most of it.

Lich

lich rime lord skin

Image credit: Valve Corporation

Lich is the kind of guy who presses a single skill five times and kills you. Sounds great, right? His Q (Frost Blast) is what you ALWAYS pick on Level 1. Please don’t be one of these people who pick Frost Shield first. Just compare the two abilities:

  • Frost Blast – mana 115 – damage 125 – cooldown 7
  • Frost Shield – mana 100 – damage 120 (done in 6 pulses so it takes time) – cooldown 30

You can cast Frost Blast four times before Frost Shield comes out of cooldown. FOUR TIMES. That’s a lot of damage. It’s usually a good idea to stack some Mangos at level one, spam your Q and auto-attack them. This will annoy the hell out of your opponent and even kill them if your carry isn’t passive.

Frost Shield is actually a really good spell (just not great at Level 1), so you should level it up next. It has excellent synergy with heroes like Ursa or Juggernaut as it will allow them to go for the kill. Lich’s Sinister Gaze is actually insane if you have Aghanim’s Scepter. Should you go for it as the first item? Probably not, but it’s a viable pick in the late game when you can mass hypnotize the enemy team. Finally, there’s Chain Frost, which deals a lot of pain during a crowded team fight. Your opponents need to either disengage or take massive damage.

Much like Dazzle, Lich combines offense and defense, but he’s able to inflict a lot more damage.

Witch Doctor

witch doctor foreteller's oath

Image credit: Valve Corporation

If you’re a fan of homeopathy then look no further than Witch Doctor. We’re not sure he’s an actual doctor though. Zharvakko (that’s his name btw) is a pretty chill guy when he’s not throwing casks/coconuts and trying to kill you.

His Q (Paralyzing Cask) needs more enemies in order to be effective. The stun will bounce multiple times based on the level, so if you catch two enemy heroes at max level, and they’ll be out of the game for 4 seconds each. His Voodoo Restoration heals nearby units for a set amount per second. It’s actually a very solid pick early on if there’s no chance to get a kill on the lane. At a rate of 8 mana for 16 health per second on Level 1, you can safely heal your carry.

His Malediction is probably the scariest ability, dealing damage per second and additional bursts every 4 seconds. Once you apply it, dish out as much damage as you can as the bursts deal damage based on the recently lost health. His ultimate, Death Ward, is one of the highest DPS spells in the game. It lasts for a total of 6 seconds, hitting around 5 attacks per second. Each attack deals 85 damage at Level 1. You can do the math, it’s a lot of damage, but Death Ward can easily be canceled by a stun or a silence. More often than not, you’ll apply Malediction, Cask, and ultimate. Your opponent will either run or interrupt you. In most cases, you’ll still be able to inflict massive damage.

WD is best utilized against more than one enemy hero, so his Cask can take full effect. Getting Glimmer Cape is a good idea as it can hide you from sight while you channel your ultimate. Voodoo Restoration can even be viable in the late game if you get to the 1.2% max health regen talent.

Shadow Shaman

shadow shaman dancer of the spiteful eye

Image credit: Valve Corporation

Shadow Shaman has less attack range than the other heroes we’ve mentioned but he hits much harder. With 71-78 base damage, you can easily out-deny a lot of heroes on the lane.

At Level 1, you always get his Q (Ether Shock). It’s a good spell to harras and at that early stage, you don’t have to worry about pushing the lane as it hits only one target. It deals 140 damage for 100 mana which means you can cast it no less than three times. Pair that up with your auto-attacks and there are only a few heroes who can sustain such damage.

Next up you should go for his Shackles, which disable both Rhasta and his opponent for 2.75 seconds at Level 1. If by any chance you have Ursa as your laning partner, each use of Shackles is a potential kill. Hex is his W and also disables a unit for up to 3.5 seconds at max level. In a team fight, you’d usually Hex one target and shackle another, effectively disabling two people at the cost of one.

His ultimate is where it gets good. Mass Serpent Ward places ten wards that attack nearby enemies (you can also control the wards yourself). At Level 6, it’s often a good idea to simply use your ultimate and take the enemy Tier 1 tower. That’s easy to do with a couple more levels in your Q, which will push the lane.

Compared to the rest of the supports, Rhasta has the most push potential with his spells. His disables are the only way he can save an ally and sometimes those might not be enough. Be careful against foes with Hard Dispel like Legion Commander or Abbadon.

This concludes our list of beginner-friendly supports. Go out and try them and don’t forget to pull camps when you’re losing the lane.

Stay tuned for more Dota 2 guides and make sure to check out EarlyGame for more news and videos. Also, take a look at our YouTube channel and tell us what you want to see more of!

Tasho Tashev

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