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I'd like to say to start that this guide is by no means the end-all-be-all picks and who-what-all to do guide. In general, picking heros that work well together will overwhelm a hero "rating," and outplaying your opponents generally leads to victory more often than outpicking them. This guide assumes evenly skilled high level teams who understand the mechanics of all heros and how to play with and against them. Obviously if you build Death Prophet without her ult, she'll be hot garbage and your team probably won't do well. At the same time, if you don't stun Spiritbreaker out of his charges and Nether Strikes, he can effectively gank your whole team to death and carry hard. The fact remains that some heroes have higher potential than others. Bane ganks harder than Syllabear. Viper lanes a little better than Drow (but Drow is a better carry). Stealth Assassin has a cloud and Lanaya doesn't. Does that mean that you can't run a team around setting up Lanaya's Melds using Tiny's Toss and do well? Absolutely not, but a Necrolyte team is going to give you a run for your money anyway.

So the tiers listed here are a guide to the individual strength/viability of each hero, as well as a guide to the most common heroes you see in competition. Don't use it as a guide to what heroes to pick, but rather as a guide to what you expect to be picked, and work to counter it from there.

Drafting a lineup

Choosing picks for lane control
Choosing a solo is quite often the most difficult decision a team can face. Here's a short list of qualities you want in a solo (+), and qualities you don't want (-).
+Long attack range
+Escape Mechanism (blink, disables, windwalk, slows)
+Good attack animation and projectile
+High base damage
+Spammable Nuke/Burst Damage
+Gets Runes via bottle
-Low HP
-Bad last hitting/denying
-Easy to Gank
-Melee (though it is common to solo melee heroes mid if you expect a weaker opponent)

A jungle hero is a hero that can stay in the jungle indefinately via summons, lifesteal, self-heal or other methods. Having a jungle allows you to have two solos and gives your team more experience and gold overall and is recommended. Common jungles include Enigma, Chen and Enchantress, and many melee heroes can jungle well after they reach a certain level or get certain items thanks to quelling blade.

Support Dual Lane
You'll need to have at least one hero designated to support your team by laying wards in key places for vision. Good support characters are generally characters that rely mostly on just one or two cheap items (or preferably none), because they'll be buying wards at least every six minutes which adds up to a big dent in their gold. Common support heroes include Warlock, Crystal Maiden, and Lion, and often lane with the team's carry to keep him safe with their heals and stuns.

Aggressive Dual Lane
Aggressive dual lanes are two heroes that team well together and are able to control a lane and deny the opponents farm and experience. There are many combinations of partners that work well together, but I'll list a few common formulas.
Targeted Stunner + Followup Disable
Choosing a character with a long range, targeted stun allows a character with an AoE disable, slow, or close range stun/slow to follow up with 100% accuracy, and potentially land a lot of damage. Good targeted stunners include Earthshaker, Rhasta, Sand King, and Skeleton King. Followups can include Lina Inverse, Tiny and Leshrac, or melee stomps/stuns like Dragon Knight, Ursa, Slithereen Guard and Centaur.
Slower + Chaser
Since slows generally last longer than stuns, they're often used to set up melee range DPS abilities like the ones used by Juggernaut and Clockwork Goblin. THD + Clockwork is becoming more common in league play.
Burst Damage + Damage Amplification
Damage amplifiers like Pugna's Decrepify and Witch Doctor's Maledict can be used alongside high burst damage to net early kills.

One of the ugliest things to do into DotA is to split your heroes into Solo-Solo-Trilane. You lose gobs of EXP in a trilane, but gain the ability to dominate that lane to an absurd extent from level one and deny huge amounts of experience and gold to the unlucky two laned against you. Drow, for instance, while fairly average in all respects, is great in a Tri-lane because of her AoE silence and no-cooldown slow orb.

A roamer is an interesting selection that assigns one character to roam all lanes and constantly gank the enemy heroes, disrupting their ability to control lanes and farm early game. The most common roamer to my knowledge is Venomancer. Again, this position gives your team an extra solo, so it can be very worthwhile, however a poorly played roamer falls quickly behind on EXP and gold. A good roamer can often counter a jungle hero simply by KSing their creep and harassing them so their HP falls too low to continue in the jungle; for instance, if Venomancer Gale storms an Enigma and all of his eidelons at level one or two, Enigma won't be able to fight back effectively, and his Eidelons will die to the creep, forcing him to wait on a clarity and wasting jungle spawns.

Generic Positions
An initiator's job is to initiate team battles with an AoE stun before the opponents can disable him, allowing your team follow-up stuns and nukes. Common initiators include Enigma, Leviathan, Earthshaker etc., and extend to weird ones like Naga Siren, and even a few characters that just have long range single target stuns that force a battle and allow you to gain advantage like PotM and Clockwork.

Support is a very broad term generally assigned to healers and stunners that do relatively low damage during the team fight. Common items include Mekanism/Arcane Ring early game, and Guinsoo's late game.

Wards/Map Control
In competition, its always good to designate a non-item and non-level dependant hero to place wards. Wards save lives. Three heroes provide very good map vision without placing wards, and they are Beastmaster, Treant Protector, and Nerubian Weaver, Weaver being more prevalent in earlier versions as scarabs not nearly as good as Watchers were. Heroes like Goblin Techies and Templar Assassin can also provide very useful vision support, and Heroes like KotL, Zues, and PotM can use their skills to spot-scout the area.

Physical DPS Carry
There are quite a few characters in the game that can 2-3 shot a 1.5k hero with enough farm. This style of carry generally requires the most farm and is the weakest early game. Common picks include Bloodseeker, Troll Warlord, N'aix and Slardar, but many characters can DPS carry effectively enough to fill this role.

Semi-Tank Carry
This style of carry revolves around a hero with powerful abilities, who can handle several heroes at once without relying on +damage items, so they simply rush a bloodstone or heart to survive long periods of time. Common picks include Necrolyte, Krobulus and Enchantress.

Pusher Carry
This style of carry revolves around a hero who can destroy creep and towers quickly and safely. Rhasta (w/ Agh's + Refresher), Broodmother (with level 4 spiderlings lol) and Krobulus (ult) are common examples of this type of carry.

Stacking Strategy
One of the most common strategies is to stack several heroes that are good at one thing or another. Prevalent teams include AoE stacking (Enig/Sand King/Liche etc), heals stacking (Necrolyte/Undying/Omni/Warlock/Visage is an extremely strong lineup), massing summons/pushers (Chen/Brood/Warlock/Rhasta etc), and massing good gankers (Bane, PotM etc). There are a few others kicking around, like the older but still popular Globals strategy (Zues/Furion/Spectre).

Combo Teams/Overkill
There are a lot of teams that look balanced but completely lack synergy, for instance, getting Lesh/PotM/Leviathan/Axe/Puck looks like a team of fat solid heroes, but when you compare to a Liche/DarkSeer/Treant/Witchdoctor/Nevermore team, you see stronger lanes/solos, better map control, stronger team fights (Treant Ult/Liche Ult/Darkseer Vacuum combo can five down by itself, strengthened by Witchdoc/Nevermore), which still ganks well, rices great and pushes great. Its important to not just pick "good" heroes, but to organize your team to compliment its strengths and reduce its weaknesses. Five maximized heroes can always beat five good picks that work poorly together.

Rounding out the Roster
Oftentimes you'll find that your strategy only needs three heroes to function effectively. How do you figure out who best to fill the remaining slots with, without going through all the taverns and ruling out heroes one at a time?

The most important thing to do at this stage is to figure out exactly what you're missing in your lineup and what is hurting you the most. This often takes several games. Major categories to examine are Map Control, Rune Control and Ganking, AoE damage/burst damage/physical damage, disables, Lane Control. Other categories include anti-summon (Diffusal/Hand of Midas carrier), weakness to burst damage (all your heros are squishy, Axe/Abbadon are good adds), invis counters, and of course counterpicks on prediction.

When in doubt, grab PotM.

Tiered Hero List

S Tier - Imbalanced
Nerubian Assassin
Death Prophet
Tauren Cheiftain

A Tier - Common First Picks and Bans
Bane Elemental
Priestess of the Moon
Crystal Maiden
Shadow Shaman

B Tier - Strong Heroes, very common
Clockwork Goblin
Sand King
Dragon Knight
Treant Protector
Phantom Lancer
Keeper of the Light

C Tier - Common Picks
Storm Spirit
Sacred Warrior
Pandaran Brewmaster
Twin-Headed Dragon
Drow Ranger
Skeleton King
Queen of Pain
Lina Inverse

D1 Tier - Situational/Occasional Picks
Ursa Warrior
Troll Warlord
Lightning Revenant
Vengeful Spirit
Luna Moonfang
Anti Mage
Stealth Assassin
Witch Doctor

D2 Tier - Strategy-Specific Picks
Dark Seer
Nerubian Weaver
Naga Siren
Goblin Techies
Shadow Priest
Bounty Hunter

E Tier - Hard to Win With/Easily Countered
Phantom Assassin
Obsidian Destroyer
Goblin Techies

F Tier - Fail Tier
Chaos Knight
Dwarven Sniper
Templar Assassin

S Tier heros are considered to be imbalanced. If you don't know already, Necrolyte, Krobulus and Enchant are high-damage/healing/bloodstone carries; after bloodstone, they are difficult to kill, and after heart they are almost completely unstoppable. Nerubian Assassin's gank and early game lane control with mana burn allow him to shut down almost any strategy. Earthshaker with blink is easily the best initiator, has huge burst damage and great stuns and can trap heros for the duration of his fissure, making him a great ganker. Tauren Cheif's is similar to ES but doesn't need the dagger, and ... well everything he does is IMBA. Undying is considered the least threatening of the "imbalanced" heroes, but his support includes a damaging and slowing tombstone, one of the most powerful non-ultimate nukes in the game, an AoE strength drain that self-heals, and an ult that self-heals, slows and amplifies damage... the dude is really disgusting support and damn near impossible to kill.

A-Tier heroes are top league picks and bans, generally semi-carries which are difficult to counter.

B-Tier heroes are good all-arounders which are distinct and powerful enough to warrant consistent pick, but do not win games on their own. As a general rule, if you take 5 B-tier heros and play them against 5 A-Tier heros, the A-Tiers will win.

C-Tier heroes are commonly picked, but tend to either have drawbacks/weaknesses or just aren't as good or as versatile as their better counterparts. Other reasons for being bumped to the C-tier are being unable to find a role in common lineups, prevelance of heros that can counter them, bad earlygame/lategame, etc.

D-Tier heros are rarely used unless its for specific strats or they just fit particularly well into a situation. D2 heroes are generally bad, but fit into particular roles or combos. For instance, Dark Seer + an AoE Stun + Liche can vacuum into a devastating chainfrost, so he's good on an AoE team, but in most other lineups he blows. Specter + Furion + Zues can run a global gank team, has no lane control and basically just needs to rice all game.

E-Tier heroes pretty much suck and need to rice all game to be useful. Often times they don't fulfill a team roll and just have DPS going for them, or are just easy to counter.

F-Tier heros are garbage and generally get owned by one stun. Sorry guys.


In-Game Picks and Bans
Picks and bans are a battle of information and you should always optimize your picks so that you get the heroes you need for your strategy. Teams like heals/globals/pusher are fragile in the current metagame and a single counterpick or ban can dismantle them.

We'll do bans first, but you should always have a strong idea of what your team is going for so that you can ban appropriately.

First/Second Ban
If you're running a commonly played strat, its important not to ban one of the heroes that counter it on the first or second ban. A generic ban, like Earthshaker, is standard and gives the opponent no idea that you don't want him knocking out all your Spiderlings and summons with one ult, because you might just not want to play against Earthshaker today.

Third Ban
By the third ban you should know a little about their team. What traits do their first 2-3 bans share? Lane Control? AoE? Initiators? Pushers? Healers? Strong Defense? What heroes do their bans give problems to? Its likely these bans imply part of their strategy, but its hard to guess a five-man lineup from two bans. If you don't have enough information, either take another neutral ban, or ban a hero you feel would be difficult for your team to counter.

Fourth Ban
Hopefully by now you have enough information to put an arrow through their strategy from the getgo. For instance, if an opponent banned QoP, Mirana, and Morphling, they're likely to just run around ganking you and hate blinkers. If your opponent banned Pit Lord, ES and Techies, they hate defensive heroes and are probably going to run something that needs to win fast. I'd ban Necrolyte, the crux of an overheals strategy. Remember, the more holes you can poke in their strategy early the better.

Picks alternate between scourge and sentinel a 1a-2b-2a-2b-2a-1b manner, making six picks in total. I'll go through them in threes for each side (A and B)

Side A - 1 Pick
Side A has the significant advantage of being allowed to choose the most imbalanced hero remaining in the pool. If they can outplay the opponents with that pick, they can win off of one pick. If after the ban, however, there is no super-appetizing hero (Krob, Necro and ES are the main three that are so problematic, they need to be banned or FP'd), you have your lineup prepared, right? Pick the most common pick in that lineup - you won't give away your strategy, and you'll lower the chance of your opponent randomly stealing your picks. If you're holding to get a good read on your opponent, an initiator is almost always a safe bet. Don't pick your carry (unless they are very likely to pick it), don't pick your jungler/roamer, and don't pick a hero that blows your strategy.

Side A - 4-5 Pick
This pick is going to sharply reduce your options on your final pick. In this pick if you want a particular position filled by a particular hero, you should pick that hero. Heroes that are very good at their positions but difficult to counter with a late pick are great here; some examples might be Enigma (jungle), Admiral, PotM, Visage. These heroes leave you a lot of versatility in your final picks as well, in case your original lineup won't hack it.

Side A - 8-9 Pick
Your last two heroes. Your opponent has picked 4 and banned four, and their last pick is likely their carry. There is little prediction her. At this point you need to stop and think about all of your choices and what the opponent is planning. Here's a short checklist:
-Are your lanes intact? Who are your solos, dual lanes and jungles? What lanes will they be facing, and can they win them? Who is your support?
-Can you counter their team with just a few picks?
-If you need one, who is your carry?
-Can your team win team battles?

You can also take other considerations, like if your team has several characters that require 5000+gold in core items, then you should look to pick supports and inexpensive heroes. What your team needs at this point depends to a very high degree on what you've already picked, so look to complete a roster that has good synergy before you go picking an off-the-wall counter that ruins your lanes. This is where confidence in your team comes in. If someone needs to get stunned or people need to TP in to counter a strat and you can't rely on your players, the first place you'll see it is in your picks.

Team B - Baiting
I'd take a minute to point out that if you are confident that you can counter a particular Top 5 pick, you can leave it in, and then you get two picks to get your lineup together. Another common strat is to leave a lot of powerful heroes in the pool; if only Undy, Nerub and Tauren are banned, then they can take Necrolyte because you get ES/Krob for free.

Picks 2-3
Team B can be a bit more aggressive with their picks because you have more information and get to pick last. Again, if you want to run a particular five, pick the popular picks first and try not to give anything away until your 6-7 pick. Remember, you have three picks left and they have four; if you think you know what they're up to, its often best to leave them to dig themselves into a hole, and then pull out your surprise Medusa or whatever. Generally, in this pick I'll grab my mid solo if they've picked theirs already, or grab a good combo for a dual lane.

Picks 6-7
At this point you want to grab the roles in your lineup that are open to adjustment. Suit your support to the lanes you're going to face. Don't run squishies against burst damage; Grab Sand King or Alchemist instead. Don't pick your carry lest ye be countered by 2 picks. If you feel the need to switch up your whole strategy, now is the time to discuss it with your team and do it; you only have one hero left. Again, run through the checklist:
-Are your lanes intact? Who are your solos, dual lanes and jungles? What lanes will they be facing, and can they win them? Who is your support?
-Can you counter their team with just a few picks?
-If you need one, who is your carry?
-Can your team win team battles?

Pick 10
At this point your last pick should be pretty much decided, or narrowed down to 2-3 heroes. Oftentimes its your carry.

Misc guide
Author: BigTechno
Map Vers.: 6.61c

Captains Mode Picks-and-Bans Guide

Captains Mode Picks-and-Bans Guide

Date Posted: 08/07/09
Last Comment:09/08/2009
Total Votes: 0
Current Rating: 0.00
Views: 18057

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