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How to Play Dota 2 Support- Main Support Heroes
Supports are generally very important key members to any team in any game, may it be DOTA 2, League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth, to games like Battlefield or any team game out there. A supporting role usually consists of healing(to fps games, supports not only heal but they also replenish the team’s supply.) In DOTA 2, however, supports not only heal but they also provide what we call as “crowd control” and “nuking” spells. These spells are very important and are keys to victory. It does not necessary mean that the more “crowd control” and more “nukes” you have in your team the higher chances you have in winning, you also need physical dps from carries in the late game.
In this hub, we will focus in the Main Support Heroes that are used in DOTA 2 games, may it be a pub game, ranked game, or a competitive MLG game.
Strength Support Heroes
Strength heroes have been known to have stuns and tanky skills. They also have a good strength gain that can help them survive teamfights. Primarily used as initiating heroes, they can be a formidable support heroes as well.
Earthshaker provides the biggest array of stuns you can ever have in a hero. His nukes are very good, especially his ultimate(echo slam) which, if used properly can win teamfights. He’s kind of easy to use, providing that you know how to use your fissure and echo slam correctly. He gets used occasionally in competitive games before and until now he has been consistent. He peaked off as a good support since there are much better supports out there. But if you want a good support nuker/stunner, Earthshaker is the hero for you.
Sven is usually used a carry. Occasionally, he gets used as a support because of his amazing AOE first skill stun. He can also be considered as a Physical damage nuker with his ultimate (God Strength) which doubles his physical damage. Not the best support to grab for your team, but he can help out later on as he can transition from a support role to a carry role. Pretty easy to use since you just stun and press your 3rd skill and you have done your job. If you can use your ultimate and have a few swings at the enemy team, that’s a great bonus.
Omniknight is one of the good lane supports to have in your team. His wide array of buffs and 1st skill(Purification) heal that damages enemies while healing your teammate is a good harassing and tide- turning tool in the heat battle. He also has an amazing ultimate(Guardian Angel) that pretty much grants immunity to all Physical damage. His lack of crowd control spell(only having an attack speed slow and movement slow, his third skill passive which is Degen Aura) makes this hero to be picked less in higher competitive matches. But having him around for your team can help turn the tide of battle. He is one of the easier support to use, I suggest starting with this hero when you’re new in the supporting role.
Wisp is a good lane support to have in your team. Wisp has however, skills that are quite mediocre and ever since his tether can no longer stun, Wisp had became a weaker support hero. He has an amazing ganking tool however, with his ultimate(Relocate) that can bring Wisp and an allied hero to any place of the map for a period of time. This ultimate can turn the tide of battle, considering that the enemy team does not know that you and your tethered ally are coming. Although Wisp has weak spells now, he is still a good hero to have in a ganking line-up. He does not have a huge learning curve (he centers on map awareness and positioning when tethering) but I recommend practice as his ultimate can be a double edged sword.
Tidehunter is a tanky support providing his 3rd skill(Krakken Shell) that gives him a defensive state. He has good quality of nukes, that grants slow/nuke(gush) and attack damage decrease/nuke(Anchor Smash), also another game changing ultimate(Ravage). He is an amazing support that could initiate fairly well and truly, an ultimate like his can change the tide of battle completely. I guess we should change his name from Tidehunter to Tideturner, get it? Anyway, having him around is always good because he provides so much to your team. You can give this hero to new people (noobs) to DOTA as long as they know how to go in the middle of the enemy team and press their ultimate.
Sand King might not be highlighted in the picture above, because Valve, but he is still a support hero that you definitely have to pick for your team. He has a good skill set that has a stun/nuke,(Burrow Strike) invisibility dps AOE skill,(Sandstorm) passive AOE nuke(Caustic Finale)(when you hit a hero or creep, when that unit dies, it explodes dealing magic damage to enemy units around it) and a massive DPS nuking ultimate that also gives out a decent slow.(Epicenter) His great skill set is what he has been known for. He can initiate or turn the tide of battle easily, not to mention that his ganking capability is quite good. Before 1st skill stun had higher range, but now it requires the player to get to almost melee range. It’s still pretty good, considering the skill damage and cooldown in itself. He is not hard to use, you just have to be patient with your ultimate and initiate like a BAWS.
Treant Protector was pretty strong as a support a couple of patches ago. Now, he became quite weak but that doesn’t mean that his potential and ability to support is sundered. He can still support quite well in a duo-lane or in a tri-lane. His 1st skill(Nature’s Guise) is a strong ganking tool. Whenever the target or you are near a tree, the target becomes invisible for a duration. His 2nd skill(Leech seed) is not a really good skill, but when used right it can devastate and sustain anyone for a period of time. When you target an enemy unit with this skill, the unit becomes slowed and gradually loses health. As the target loses health, it heals you and an ally along the way. His 3rd skill(Living armor) is the reason why he’s such a strong support. Living armor can be casted anywhere around the map, and when casted to a unit(including towers) it gives that unit health regen and damage block. It was really strong a couple of patches ago, now it became a bit weak, but it’s still good to have against pushing line ups. His ultimate(Overgrowth) is a strong AOE disable especially when it comes to initiating. The AOE is not that big, but it’s good enough to catch three people when they’re too close to each other. Overall, having Treant’s early huge physical damage(Having the highest attack damage at level 1) he can do well in both laning phase and teamfight phase. Not to mention his low skill curve, meaning almost anyone can play him just as good.
Agility Support Heroes
Agility heroes are not mainly used as supports; rather they are mainly used as carries. Providing their stat gain is Agility which gives them a lot of physical dps, and most of their skills are centered in dealing physical dps, their primary role is usually as carries. But there are two heroes in the agility side of things, are used as supports.
Vengeful, also known as VS for those who don’t know, is a support that has a nuke and stun(1st skill- Magic Missile) and has an armor reduction skill(2nd skill- Scream of terror). Not to mention her 3rd skill passive aura(Vengeful Aura) that gives additional damage to your teammates in a radius, including vengeful herself. Her ultimate, however, is not the best ultimate you can ask for a support. Yeah, it can help ganking a whole lot easier, but usually, it’s priced with your life. Her ultimate swaps you with your target(may it be your enemy or ally). It’s very dangerous because it gets you out of position and usually in teamfights it gets you killed. If you nether swap the right hero however, it can possibly help change the tide of battle. A good support hero and does not require much practice to use. Having a high ranged hero (600) gives you a good advantage against your enemies.
Venomancer is probably has the most magical dps and slow spell casting hero. He can push very effectively too. Venomous gale(1st skill) is a good ganking tool because it has one of the most slow in the game. His plague wards are very good for pushing too. His 2nd skill passive(Poison sting) is not the best passive to have but it does its job in providing magical dps to your enemy. His ultimate, however, is the probably one of the biggest nukes, even though it’s dps. His ultimate, when leveled up to max and with aghanim’s scepter, can deal up to 1000 magical damage over a period of time. Having a huge radius(almost your entire screen) can make sure that the entire team gets poisoned by this poison nova. This hero gets used a lot in competitive matches because of his pushing and nuking capabilities. He’s pretty easy to use(just use your ultimate and run away, hit a couple enemies along the way so you can poison them even more.) and having him around is always good as his ultimate is a game breaking one.
Intelligence Support Heroes
This is where most Intelligence heroes shine, the role of support. Since they have such a huge mana pool and skills that keep their mana always up and ready for a skill or two, they can always stay in lane and harass the enemy or go around, ganking other lanes. The sad thing about Intelligence support heroes is that they are quite squishy compared to the strength supports, but in the end, it’s the Intelligence heroes that you want to be supporting you throughout the game. Their wide array of crowd control and nukes, plus their huge mana pools make them great support heroes.
Personally, one of my favorite supports and a lot of pro gamers like her too. She gives a lot to her team, a nuke with a slow(Crystal Nova), a stun(Frostbite), passive mana regen(which is always good for any hero) and a quite devastating ultimate when casted correctly. Not to mention that she can harass pretty well by level 2 because of her skill set. Her ability to jungle gives more space to the carry and other supports in your team. Overall she’s one of the top supports out there and she is one that you need for any team line-up.
Used to be named Windrunner but now changed to Windranger, because Valve. She is occasionally used as an offlaner but her skill set makes her an effective support as well. If you can land her 1st skill(Shackle Shot) and give out the 2nd skill fully charged nuke(Power shot) then she can give a devastating blow to any hero. Her 3rd skill(Windrun) let’s her dodge any physical damage, so consider her quite durable. Her ultimate however, is where she falls off. Yeah, the granted attack speed but less damage is pretty good when pushing down towers, but in teamfights, you would rather have a reliable nuke. But any split pushing is pretty good. Having her as a support can give you a lot of killing potential and so forth. When you have her in your team consider that she gets to different places like the wind.
Zeus is usually used as a mid hero; because his skill set is centered on nuking, not really crowd control. He needs to get fast levels for him to be effective, but a hero that has a huge mana pool and nukes can be an amazing support too. He can harass well, considering that he has the proper mana. The problem with him though, having no crowd control whatsoever, and having no escape mechanism, he’s easily taken down by most heroes. He can deal huge amounts of damage however, given the right positioning. I don’t fully agree with him as a support hero, as the mid provides him the things he need, but him as a support hero can give your lane an advantage because lighting strikes hard.
Lina is an underrated support that has much potential. Her huge mana pool early on means lots of harassment, and crowd control. Problem is, she needs a set up. She shines best in a tri-lane scenario. Find a set up stun and see Lina take down the target’s life like hot knife over butter. Her 1st skill(Dragon Slave) is a reliable AOE nuke that deals a decent amount of magical damage. Her 2nd skill(Light Strike Array) is AOE stun and nuke that can catch two or three heroes within its vicinity. She can set up a lot of things and she can contribute a lot to your team. Her third skill passive(Fiery soul), is quite underrated, but I think it’s good for any support hero to have. Additional attack speed and movement speed, means a lot of dps coming out and easier positioning. Her ultimate(Laguna Blade) is a very strong nuke and because of its low cooldown, it makes her a force to be reckoned with. She requires a lot of practice especially in a dual lane scenario, as she needs to land her stun and nuke well. Overall, if you can use her properly, she can blaze your way to victory.
Shadow Shaman is probably one of the oldest support heroes I have used and one of the older heroes in DOTA. A hero that was frequently used in the mid lane before has now been transferred to a role of support. Why move him from mid to support you ask? A lot of mid heroes can take him down, plus a nuke, a hex and ensnare are good crowd control skills. Why not give him the support role? He can offer a lot in a dual lane and more in a tri lane. His ultimate(Mass Serpent Ward) is one of the greatest summons in the game. It helps a lot in pushing as well as teamfights. Quite easy to use and very reliable as a support. He’s finding his way into competitive matches because of that.
Primarily a jungle hero, she can support as well. Well that’s what she does, stay in the jungle for a while, get a neutral creep, level up, gank with the neutral creep she has. Her skill set is good for a support hero and a neutral creep is a great addition. Having her 1st skill passive(Untouchable) makes her durable against physical dps during teamfights. Her ultimate(Impetus) is a strong ranged nuke, whenever the enemy goes further away from you the bigger the damage of your ultimate. 3rd skill(Nature’s Attendants) is a good healing spell, that’s ideal for teamfights where you get burst down easily. Since it’s a heal per second, it’s more of a non-cancellable salve than a burst heal. She requires a lot of practice, especially when jungling, as rotations get quite confusing, but a good Enchantress can get your team a lot of advantage early on.
Personally, I think that Chen does the same thing as Enchantress does, but better. Chen can convert neutral creeps into his own personal army and he can send an ally back to base whenever a friendly ally gets into a heated situation. He has a worldwide heal ultimate (Hand of God) which can turn teamfights around and save a dying ally from death itself. He has a nuke which is in the same slot as his send back ally to base spell(Test of faith) however this nuke is not reliable as it is randomly generated damage. Overall, he can have an army of neutral creeps and he can burst worldwide heal. Like Enchantress, he requires a lot of practice for him to be good to any team, but a good Chen can turn things around with the help of God.
Silencer is a hero that makes your enemy waste his/her mana or wastes his/her life. Like his name states, he centers on silencing an enemy. Silence is a state where you or the casted target cannot cast any skills, and in the game of DOTA skills are very important. He has magical dps that requires the enemy to cast a spell or get damage if he/she doesn’t. Glaives of wisdom damages an enemy depending on how much intelligence Silencer has and it takes away intelligence from the enemy if the enemy dies. His ultimate(Global Silence) is pretty strong and a tide turner if you know how to time it right. Yes, you do not just cast it directly. Good players know how to keep the important spells for later when a Silencer is in the battlefield. Having silenced the enemy team is good though, since you can cast skills while the enemy couldn’t. That’s a pretty big advantage. He doesn’t require much practice but timing his skills right is quite important so get some practice with him before using him in a big fight.
Disruptor is a support that truly shines in trilanes and in ganking. His 2nd skill(glimpse) is a broken ability considering the range and how much it does and what it does is that it places back an enemy back to a place where he/she was four seconds ago. This helps set up a potential gank and helps set up a combo of yours. His 3rd skill(Kinetic field) creates a circular wall that enemies can’t pass through, but your allies can. His ultimate which is pretty much Doom AOE. It silences any enemy in a circular AOE(almost as big as your Kinetic field) and giving magical DPS along it’s duration, the damage increases overtime. Disruptor can’t do much in a dual lane scenario, as he lacks a proper nuke, only his mediocre 1st skill(thunder strike) as his nuke and you don’t even want to max this out since glimpse’s range is much more important. Disruptor requires a lot of practice to get used with his spells, but a good Disruptor can disrupt any team in an instant.
Keeper of the Light
Keeper of the light(KOTL for short) does much in the laning phase, but after that, he becomes a weak support hero. His ability to harass and give mana early on is very essential to any lane and this is where he shines, in the game’s early game. Later on, in the mid game-late game, KOTL gets killed easily as he lacks the proper disables or escaping mechanism to do anything. Yes he has an ultimate that increases his mobility and a 1st skill that does so much magical damage, but having no disables gives him a disadvantage against other supports out there. KOTL is very good however at a push line up or a line up that requires a fast snowball during the early game. If you can finish the game before the thirty minute mark, you have used KOTL’s efficiency well. He does not require much practice, just make sure you harass well and give mana to the right people and one of those right people is you.
Skywrath Mage for me is one of the stronger supports out there. Quite a few would disagree with me, but he is still considerably a good support hero than he is a mid hero. He has a nuke(Arcane bolt) that can deal quite a ton of damage early on and it scales until late game. So that’s pretty good when a support hero has a skill that can scale until late game. He has a slow,(Concussive Shot) although not the most reliable slow, as it can slow the wrong target, its slow percentage is still pretty good. His silence(Ancient Seal) is always good because of its long duration and its damage amplification ; this is good especially when against someone like weaver or storm spirit. His ultimate(Mystic Flare) is one of the strongest nukes in the game. It’s very good when you catch one hero with it as it deals a huge amount of damage. It’s still good if you catch three or two people in it. It has a low cooldown, plus with Aghanim’s the cooldown is down to zero. So the idea is use it every time you can as it grants you a huge killing potential in lane or ganking anyone that is, problem is the mana(800 mana on highest level). Does not require much practice just remember to disable your opponent before using your ulti.
Bane is another support that centers on ganking. His 2nd skill(Brain sap) is one of the biggest damaging nukes that is not an ultimate. It’s like life steal, instead it gets the life steal from nuke damage. His 1st skill(Enfeeble) is very good against in lane carries, you can spam this skill to ruin their last hitting and you can use this skill to stop their damage potential during teamfights. 3rd skill(Nightmare) is a good disable when used right. I usually don’t take this early on, but it’s pretty good to have when setting up. His ultimate(Fiend’s grip) is a channeled ability that disables one hero during the entire channel duration. It also deals magical dps to that unit. It can be cancelled however by stuns, so be careful when using it. Bane is a good lane partner to have because of his wide array of skills that could give you killing potential as well as defensive potential in lane. He does not require much practice, except when using your ultimate, it requires a bit of patience and positioning as it can get cancelled easily.
Lich is one of the better lane supports, he can harass well with his 1st skill(Frost blast) and sustain his mana with his 3rd skill(Sacrifice). Personally I think that Lich is one the better supports out there because his nukes are reliable in teamfights. He might not have a stun but he can slow as well as have a skill that scales well to the late game. These two skills are his 2nd skill(Ice armor) and Ultimate(Frost chain). His 2nd skill is very useful when given to a tank or an initiator as it gives the target more armor(which means more resistance to physical dps) and an AOE slow. His ultimate is a good nuke in teamfights because it bounces around the enemy team(creeps and heroes a like) it also gives a movement slow. One thing to keep in mind is that even if the bounce stops, it doesn’t mean that your ultimate did not do its job. If the enemy team somehow splits and stops the bounce, it places the enemy team in an awkward situation as they are away from their teammates and this opens up the possibility of taking the enemy team down one by one. Lich is one of those support heroes that does not require practice, just be aware when to use Frost chain for maximum damage output.
Lion is another support that has massive nuke potential and has good crowd control spell. His 1st skill(Earth Spike) is a good harassing tool paired with his 3rd skill(Mana Drain) it can be very deadly in lane. Not only you’re dealing a damage and stun, but you’re stealing away an enemies’ mana and that’s very important in the game. 2nd skill(Hex) is a strong crowd control spell especially when used against carries. It basically places them in a position where they can’t do anything for a period of time, and that in and out of itself a very good skill to have. His ultimate(Finger of Death) is one of the strongest nukes in the game. Same as Lina’s Laguna Blade, Finger of Death deals a ton amount of damage in a single target. This is very devastating especially when used against carries or to any heroes out there. Lion requires less practice than Lina as his skills are point target, which means that you just have to click a target and it’s done, the skill is out to that target that you choose. I suggest Lion for any new supports out there.
Witch Doctor for me is quite a mediocre support. Also known as the “Walking Fountain” Witch Doctor is one of the supports that can do a lot of things in teamfights as well as in lane. Being mediocre for me, it doesn’t mean that he’s not strong. His wide array of flexible skills, healing, magical dps, stun and physical nuke damage overtime is really good for any team line up. His 1st skill(Paralyzing cask) is not a good nuke but it’s a good chasing skill, especially when against two or more enemies. This can also do a lot in teamfights, as a bouncing stun can never be intercepted and this can help cancel channeled abilities when timed right. 2nd skill(Voodoo restoration) does the same thing the fountain does, it heals anything around Witch doctor. This helps well with pushes and sustainability in lane. 3rd skill(Maledict) is not to be underestimated as magical nuke. It can give more damage output than what most people can expect, being skill overtime, it can deal tons of amounts of damage within the target. His ultimate(Death Ward) is a channeled ability that does the same thing that the fountain does when enemy units get too close. It deals physical damage to enemies near it, this is a good skill since magic immunity cannot stop the damage output it deals. One of the easier supports to have around, Witch doctor can patch your team up whenever your team needs him.
Necrophos, (formally known as Necrolyte) being primarily a mid hero can be a support hero as well. Not a very strong support but he has nukes and heals that could help you out in lane. His 1st skill(Death pulse) is deadly to your enemies and useful to your allies. His primary nuke ability, this damages enemy units and heals friendly units for a certain amount, good for pushes and harassment in lane. 2nd skill(Heartstopper Aura) is personally, a pretty good skill to have. HP removal in a huge radius especially when left unchecked will deal a huge amount of damage over time. It’s like a free harass without the use of mana. 3rd skill(Sadist) a strong sustain skill in lane, can help you harass a bit more than you can. His ultimate(Reaper’s Scythe) is a good nuke for anyone having a certain health threshold, primarily used to secure kills, this ultimate is good also for stunning a single target for a period of time. I don’t think that Necrophos is a good support to have, but he can support pretty well given the right usage.
Warlock is a good teamfight support as he has utility skills that can turn around any teamfights quite easily. 1st skill(Fatal bonds) can deal a huge amount of damage to the enemy team when used right. It can harass well too. The idea is that any damage that an enemy unit takes, a percentage of that damage will be damaged to any units around the area too. This is great teamfight skill as it can’t be easily intercepted nor can it be stopped as it is HP removal. 2nd skill(Shadow word) Is a good healing skill to have. This skill can heal/damage over time, but I’d rather use it for healing than for damaging, as it can help out most of your allies to initiate or deal damage to the enemy team. 3rd skill(Upheaval) is one of the best AOE slows in the game. In an AOE Warlock casts a spell that slows enemy units overtime. The slow gets stronger the longer the ability is channeled. A good skill to synergize with your ultimate. Warlock’s ultimate(Chaotic offering) stuns in an AOE for a second and summons a huge golem(The golem, like any summoned units is controllable by the player) , that has damage over time in an AOE(same as radiance) and a good attack damage combined with flaming fists. Warlock is one of the easier supports to have and he can turn around teamfights quite easily because of his skill set.
Pugna is another mid-lane hero that can be a usable support. His 1st skill (Nether blast) is an AOE nuke that deals damage to any enemy units in the AOE, this includes towers, and however towers only take half the nuke damage. Very good for pushing or shoving lanes and his huge mana pool makes this skill spammable. His 2nd skill(Decrepify) is a good single target slow and a good single target magic damage amplifier. It increases any magic damage to the target. A good skill that helps you scale late game and used with any nukes, this helps your team well. His 3rd skill(Nether ward) damages any enemy heroes that casts a spell. This is a good skill for teamfights considering that you don’t have any silences in your team cause that lessens Nether ward’s damage output. Hiding the ward well is key to any Pugna player. His ultimate(Life Drain) is a good single target spell that change any duel to Pugna’s advantage. Taking life away and making it yours is a very good skill, think of it as a continuous life steal. Combined with decrepify, it can deal huge amounts of damage. Pugna is a good support because of his mana pool and ability to set up kills. He needs quite practice to get used to, since he relies heavily in combo-ing an enemy.
Dazzle is one of the strong growing supports out in DOTA 2. His utility spells make him a strong lane support. Not the best in nukes or ganking, Dazzle relies heavily on making a certain hero survive and helps with his utility spells in teamfight. Dazzle’s 1st skill(Poison touch) is not the best disable, but it is still good in disabling enemies. It slows the enemy for a long duration of ten seconds, not only that, but it is quite spammable, because of its low mana cost and Dazzle’s huge mana pool. Dazzle’s 2nd skill(Shallow grave) is the reason why Dazzle is a strong support. Shallow grave grants immunity to one allied target, the target can receive normal damage like he/she could, but the spell lets the target to stay in one health, until the spell duration has ended. This makes a teamfight go in your direction, especially when your carry gets this buff. Dazzle’s 3rd skill(Shadow wave) is a skill that heals allies and damages enemy units. The same as Omniknight’s purification, shadow wave heals a certain amount of allied units and damages a certain amount of enemy units. This makes it a good teamfight spell, also a unit under the spell Shallow grave can still be healed, and therefore, it increases that unit’s survivability by a considerable amount. Weaver’s ultimate(Weave) is a strong teamfight spell that amplifies your team damage while negates the enemy team’s damage. The spell, in a huge AOE, does: 1st decreases any enemy’s armor, 2nd increases any ally’s armor by certain duration. This spell can amplify your physical damage by huge amounts and can negate incoming physical damage from the enemy team. This can also stop pushes because it amplifies the damage the tower does. Dazzle requires a lot of practice in getting used to, especially his 2nd skill. Good Dazzle players know when and how to use his spells well as it can weave their team to victory.
Leshrac is one of the supports that had been consistent throughout Dota 2 competitive matches. His reliable pushing skills open up easy wins and snowballing tactics. Leshrac is one of the strongest tri-laner because of his 1st skill stun(Split earth) and two varieties of nukes, one purely magical his 3rd skill (Lightning storm) which is also a good AOE nuke if it bounces right, and his 2nd skill(Diabolic Edict), a composite damage nuke that damages enemy units, including towers. This skill is very strong early on, especially when having a team of consisted on pushing. His ultimate(Pulse Nova) is a very strong magical AOE dps skill. Imagine radiance and then raise the damage of radiance by a hundred. Overtime, that will deal a thousand in just mere seconds, considering that he has the proper mana for it. Leshrac is very good in tri-lane scenarios and pushing scenarios, having him in your team will torment the enemy team for the rest of the match.
Another support hero that’s good in tri lanes is Ancient Apparition. He used to be a weak support hero, but now, he was able to make his way into competitive gaming and into pub games. His three skills are kind of weak, but they are quite good given the right lanes and scenarios. His 1st skill(Cold feet) is not a reliable disable, but it is still a disable and dps nuke. The idea is, you cast a spell on the enemy target, the enemy target takes magical dps for the duration and if the target stays near enough to AA, then the target will be stunned for a duration. Sad thing is, that the range of how close the target should be is pretty short, so it makes it an unreliable disable, unless you have another stun or slow in your lane. His 2nd skill(Ice vortex) is a good scouting skill because of its long casting range, everything else is an add on. AA puts down a vortex of ice that slows and decreases magic resistance to any enemy unit that passes through it. It’s strong to have when you have a lot of nukes in your team. His 3rd skill(Chilling touch) is a buff that decreases your team’s attack speed but increases your damage output by placing magical damage to every right-click you do to the enemy. It’s not that strong early on because attack speed is already low in the early games, but later on, the extra magical damage plus your carries attack speed synergizes pretty well. These skills are not the reason why, AA is a good support hero, the reason why AA is a good support hero is because of his Ultimate(Ice Blast). Ice blast is a global skill that increases the range of the AOE the longer it travels. When it reaches its destination, enemy units will take magical damage overtime and it disables any health regen, any healing items. (You can use healing items but they won’t work under the Frosbite) If an enemy hero gets low enough, the hero dies instantly. This is a very good skill in teamfights and since you can cast it anywhere, it is one of the best ultimates in any support hero. AA requires a lot of practice with his ultimate and skill so be ready to practice him a lot if you’re planning on using him with your team.
Shadow Demon is a strong set up support hero that relies heavily on the team or the lane match up. Shadow demon is usually placed with someone like Mirana or Lina because he can set up kills easily. His 1st skill(Disruption) is a disable that disrupts targets, then after that illusions of the target appears, alongside the target. This skill helps set up stuns(Like Mirana’s sacred arrow or Lina’s Light strike array) His 2nd skill (Soul Catcher) is a good damage amplifying spell, that can help setup kills and such. His 3rd skill(Shadow poison and Release) is him nuking skills. In a line Shadow demons casts a poison and any enemy unit that gets hit by hit gets a stack(up to a cap). Then(Either by using his sub-ability Release or waiting after the duration) the unit gets damaged depending on how much stacks it took. His ultimate(Demonic Purge) is a single target nuke that slows and removes any positive buffs from the target. It can help your team set up kills and it can help you solo kill some heroes as well. Shadow Demon is a good partner to have in lane because of him set of skills that can help your damage and his damage as well. He does require some practice, but he is quite easy to get used to.
Visage, personally, is the strongest support hero in DOTA 2 right now. In the olden times of DOTA, Visage assumed the carry role because he can deal one of the highest damage(both magical and physical damage) in the game. His weakest points is his pre-level 6, but even then he is still a good lane partner and a better tri-laner. His 1st skill(Grave chill) is a strong single target slow and a good attack speed slow that can help set up kills or stuns in a duo-lane or in a tri-lane. His 2nd skill(Soul Assumption) is one of the strongest nukes(that’s not an ultimate) if used correctly. The idea is that in huge AOE, Visage gathers any damage around him, giving the player charges(at a cap) that will be the damage output of Soul Assumption. Basically, this skill can gather tons amounts of damage in a teamfight that can help put down any enemy easily. Plus its low cooldown for a huge nuke damage makes you a huge damage potential in your team. His 3rd skill passive(Gravekeeper’s cloak) is probably one of the strongest support passives in the game. The skill gives you a layer of defense against both physical and magical damage. This makes him a very durable carry during teamfights as it requires an amount of nukes and right-clicks to take him down. His ultimate(Summon familiars) summon two bats(three bats with aghanim’s) and these bats last until they are killed or re-summoned making them the longest summon in the game. These familiars can help set up ganks all over the map because they have stone form that when timed correctly can stun two or three heroes. They also provide huge physical dps that usually can take down one or two heroes and can help pushing down towers. Visage is one of the best but like one best, he requires the most practice in all support heroes listed. But a great Visage player can put the enemy team into their graves.
One of my favorite supports and one of the strongest supports out there. Rubick breaks games when players least expect it. His 1st skill(telekinesis) is one of my favorite disables in the game. It lifts the target up to the air for quite sometime, then you can land the target to an area you want it to land. If it collides with any enemy unit, that unit is stunned for a short duration. Keep in mind that lifted units can still be damaged, so cast your spells and right click that son of a gun. His 2nd skill(Fade bolt) is a good nuke as well as a good damage reduction spell. It’s like chain lightning, in where the bolt bounces to each enemy unit decreasing their damage. Each bounce however deals less damage. His 3rd skill passive(Null Field) is pretty weak and underrated, but it is still a strong spell. I don’t max this first, but I occasionally grab it against a heavy magic team. His ultimate(Spell Steal) is one of the strongest ultimates in the game. You want an ultimate from the enemy team? Wait for your target to cast the spell you wanted then you can steal that right after. Remember that you can still ultimates like Chronosphere or Ravage. With your ultimate having such a low cooldown, you can steal two to three spells in a teamfight. Rubick requires some practice, but he is one of the game breaking supports you can have in your team.
Notable Support Heroes
In the game of DOTA, almost any hero can support as the META is constantly changing. I’ve seen my own shares of bizarre supports that people experiment with, like Juggernaut, sometimes this gamble pays off, sometimes it don’t. But here are different Notable support heroes that you should put in your line up!
If you have never been exposed to competitive matches before, you will possibly be shocked of Abaddon support. He is one of the growing supports as of late and that is because of his aggressive skill set that can help initiate and tank incoming damage. His 1st skill(Mystic coil) can be used as a heal to a teammate or a nuke to an enemy unit. This skill however uses both Abaddon’s health and mana making him exposed to damage. Amazing fact, you can use Mystic Coil to deny yourself. His 2nd skill(Aphotic shield) is Abaddon’s bread and butter as a support. This skill makes your lane more aggressive because this shield can help increase your damage output while negating the enemy’s. When Aphotic shield is casted to any allied unit, the shield will take the damage to that unit until a certain threshold, when the shield takes enough damage, the shield explodes and damages any enemy unit in an AOE. This helps trades in your lanes much easier. His 3rd skill(Curse of Avernus) is a passive that buffs Abaddon’s normal right clicks into slow and damage amplifying right clicks. The debuff is applied to any unit that Abaddon hits. His ultimate(Borrowed time) is one of the best defensive ultimate in the game. When Abaddon reaches a certain health threshold, it automatically activates his ultimate, in which any damage to Abaddon is converted to his health. So imagine Lion’s 700 damage ulti, it could heal Abaddon by 700 when his ultimate is on. That is hands down one of the best initiating ultimate in the game. It will force the enemy team to make dire decisions whether to take you down or not.
People in SEA servers tend to use Mirana as a hybrid of support and carry. It was because of her long range Sacred arrow and Starstorm combo. This nuke is enough to put any hero down to a lethal state. Mirana can roam efficiently and grant kills almost anywhere in the map.
Primarily used as a carry, Naga Siren had her share as a supporting role. Her ensnare is a very reliable disable and her nuke Riptide can deal a lot of damage. Not to mention her Illusions are very useful in pushing and scouting. Her ultimate is hands down the best set up skill in the game. Its huge range can help you set up your team and devastate the entire enemy team.
Spirit Breaker was one of the harder heroes to lane, so he was placed as a support in competitive matches. In pubs however, where 2-1-2 lanes are standard, he gets placed in any side lane. Spirit breaker can be a good roaming support because of his charge and his not-so-reliable nuke. But ever since his charge got buff (there’s a 100% chance of bash on the hero you charge on the first contact) He can set up kills almost anywhere in the map, considering that he has the support to deal enough amount of damage. Plus his ultimate his a very good disable to have.
All of the heroes here are good supports. There are many other supports out there that you could try experimenting with, for example, Juggernaut support is not that bad. Try out and experiment new heroes and feel comfortable with each one of them. Sorry I don’t have pictures for each hero, since it’s a big hassle, but I’ll try to place them along the way.
Next up: In depth support guide that talks about warding, positioning and more!