Dota 2 Teams & Players: Team Makeup & Roster Positions

Dota 2 is one of the titles that has been around for a while. Dota 2 has had some of the largest prize pools in all of eSports’ history. As illustrated in our article about the players with the highest earnings in all of eSports, this game is loaded with monetary value. In fact, many of the best Dota 2 players have become millionaires!

And it’s crazy to think that this will only get bigger. Esports are being recognized for their business potential and so more companies and brands are investing in it.

However, not every team can just hop right in and start generating revenue. The rookies don’t get the biggest slice of the cake just for joining; you have to perform well. Like many other games that are team-focused, cooperation and synchronization are the engines to drive a team to success. Teammates rely on each other.

We’ve covered the roles and positions of games like Call of Duty and CS:GO, but Dota 2 is much more similar to League of Legends than it is to either of those shooters. But, more importantly, this glossary might be helpful to read first. Good to go? Let’s learn!

Players per Team Team Objective
1 Hard Carry
1 Solo Mid
1 Offlaner
2 Support
Farm, advance through lanes, and destroy the enemy Ancient inside their stronghold.

Hard Carry

Hard Carry (gyrocopter)

Credit: gamepedia.com

This position is arguably the most important of them all. Do well at it and there’s a very good chance that the team will win. Do poorly at it and the team gets to watch defeat come speeding at them like a truck. It’s not easy. A player must be knowledgeable in farming, items, timings, matchups, and team fights. That’s a bit much for the plate of a greener player.

Carry players tend to be easy targets for harassment. They tend to get an earful of vented frustration. Usually, insisting on playing the role at the beginning of the game is a good predictor of tilt from teammates. This can be avoided if the Carry exercises the necessary traits.

They’ve got to be patient. Players should keep from fighting when possible, just as a general rule. Farm so the team doesn’t fall behind, and never jump into a fight where there is nothing else to be focused. A Carry is the arguably the integral player on the team. The team is going to work together to get them as powerful as possible as quickly as possible.

Throughout that process, a Carry needs to buy the right items. They’ve time to build themselves into killing machines. But, the team expects the player to know when to fight and when to farm. A Carry is like a bodybuilder trying to bulk: they eat (farm) twice as much as they lift (fight).

Example heroes include: Slark, Gyrocopter, and Spectre.

Solo Mid (Ganker/Semi-Carry)

Solo Mid (magnus)

Credit: pcgamer.com

This second position is not much easier than the first. Players for this position like to pick heroes for their mobility, as well as their strength in fights. A Solo Mid plays the long game. They have to outlane the opposing team’s Solo Mid. They have to gain rune control and solo farm from early on in the match.

Ganking is imperative. A Solo Mid has to be mobile enough to help teammates in ganks without sacrificing their lane. Blocking waves of creeps and harassing the opponent are also big responsibilities of this position. Teammates trust the Solo Mid to win the lane. Once the lane is won, then the Solo Mid gets more involved with the team.

Make plays, kill enemy heroes, score objectives, and create space for others to farm. No doubt, many players will say that this position has a variety of jobs. In all cases, though, pushing the lane is the number one duty. Exerting pressure across the map is the ideal impact of a Solo Mid.

Example heroes include: Shadow Fiend, Ember Spirit, and Magnus.

Offlaner

Offlaner (windrunner)

Credit: gamepedia.com

In a way, the Offlaner is like the virtuous, neglected hero. They are mostly left alone by the Supports who intensely help the Carry and Solo Mid early on in the match. The Offlaner is the lone wolf for the earlier parts of the match. Solitary performance in a team-based game – the player in this position has to be (at least, mentally) more durable than the rest.

It’s taxing to be an Offlaner early on. Growth and development doesn’t happen without the help of a teammate, so this position is conducive to losing hope. An Offlaner might be killed over and over again or forced out of a lane. That feeling of “I’m useless to my team, we’re going to lose because of me” is why not many players enjoy this position.

Nevertheless, the good Offlaner knows his or her duty. They have to help the team that doesn’t help them. Creating chaos to sabotage the Carry of the opposing team is a primary objective. Harass them without dying, that way the Supports are lured to assist their Carry and the Offlaner’s teammates can thrive.

All of that annoying and impeding only really needs to be done in the early part of the match. As it progresses, the Offlaner will get their turn to farm. It’s crucial that they buy items for initiation and sustainability. An Offlaner serves as the initiator and tank of the team. The Offlaner should get and hold the aggro and focus of the other team for as long as possible. The Offlaner must have the courage and conviction to die for their teammates and for victory.

Example heroes include: Timbersaw, Clockwerk, and Windrunner.

Support (Roaming/Jungler)

Support (eltder titan)

Credit: gamepedia.com

This position requires a very apt player because they have to anticipate enemy movements and counter them. If the enemy team is going to put pressure on the Solo Mid, the Roamer has to communicate that and move to help. This Support is tactical. Predicting the opposing team’s strategy is the key to success.

In order to do that, it’s helpful to have great map awareness. Like a hunter who learns the terrain of the forest they hunt in, the Roamer should know every single inch of the map by heart. This position is based on creating space for cores and controlling runes. A power rune spawns. The Roamer should be there and identify it, even if they can’t pick it up themselves. They could save a teammate’s life or help the Roamer take an enemy’s.

The Jungler aspect of this position comes from the job of pulling jungle creeps. Of course, it also comes from the time this player spends in the jungle. A Roamer should have the initiative to gank whenever possible. Putting pressure on the safe lane can, if pushed shrewdly, gain a huge advantage for the team. Early on, this Support will be one of the main heroes to put pressure on enemy towers.

Example heroes include: Nyx Assassin, Elder Titan, and Lina.

Support (Babysitter)

Support (rubick)

Credit: pcgamer.com

Which role do team captains typically play? This fifth position. It’s less intense in terms of farming and mechanics, so the player is able to strategize. Macro elements are vital to this role. They are the guiding figures of the team and naturally do the most communication. This position is important for solidarity and cohesion. In other words, this Support links everything together so that everyone is ultimately working toward the same goal.

Reading the game is a top skill necessary for this position. So is the ability to call the shots in impactful situations. Of course, communication has to be excellent. The Babysitter should make sure that everyone knows what everyone else is doing. Furthermore, they should make sure that everyone knows what everyone is trying to achieve together. Organize.

Towards the beginning of the match, the Babysitter stays with the Carry. They pull creeps and facilitate progress on the safe lane. Solo experience for the Carry has priority, so a player in this position has to have good judgment in deciding when to get involved. Keeping the Carry alive should be valued greater than getting them solo experience.

Other responsibilities of this role are just as important, but certain players might give them less priority than others. For starters, this Support buys consumables for the Carry to use. They also work to hold map control via warding and counter-warding.

Example heroes include: Venomancer, Rubick, and Dazzle.

As the matches played in eSports have high variety, so do the team compositions. Depending on the situation, a single player might take up multiple roles. There are more frequently rotations set up by teams in the professional scene, yet nothing is official. Dota 2 is a game that doesn’t have established positions and roles. What you saw on this list were positions and roles that were devised by players to maximize efficiency and make everyone’s contribution somewhat even. That’s a big characteristic of eSports that distinguishes it from traditional sports.

Interested in learning more? Lineups is here to help. If you’d like an introduction to eSports, you can find that here. Want to see the biggest events in eSports history? How about the best players of all time? You can find all these and more right here on Lineups.

  
I'm a Creative Writing-Psychology double major at Butler University, Class of 2021. My closest friends are the leaders of Butler's eSports Team, so I've become very interested in the subject and I'm excited to get involved in it myself. A lover of video games and writing, working with Lineups is the perfect opportunity for me to coalesce these two passions of mine and gain experience writing professionally.

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