Dota 2 is a competitive game with a one of most toxic, woops, I mean demanding and experienced community. With now around 3000 hours into the game I realise how hard it can be for a new player to get started.

Below are a few principles that you can follow to get started and to get better at Dota 2. My advice is probably going to be unpopular and different from many guides online.

How To Queue In Dota 2

First part of the game is to actually queue for games. Here I would advise you to only queue for unranked games. But what types of game should you queue for? 1st unpopular advise is that you should choose Random Draft.

Random draft will force you to choose a random hero that you might not have picked before. As you spend time to experience new heroes, not only will you you enjoy the game more but you will also be able to become familiar with every hero’s ability.

The other thing to learn is, 1. what do you find easy and 2. what do you find hard when playing the hero. The reason is because if you find something hard with the hero, this means it is a possible disadvantage that you can exploit in a match where the opponent is using that hero.

How To Pick A Hero In Dota 2

After spending around 100 hours at least in the game you should now have experienced all the heroes. 100 hours is a lot for a typical game but not much for Dota 2. You can start to specialize. I would suggest that you have at least 3 different heroes as your go-to heroes to play. Ideally, a hero which can offlane, another which is a support and one which is carry.

Unpopular advice number 2 may be here, playing support is not actually easier than playing carry. Everyone has a preference, if you want to play carry then you should just start practicing that.

How To Play During Laning Phase In Dota 2 As A Support (Bottom or Top)

The advice here will vary based on the role type that you are playing and that is why I have kept a section for each. If you are a support your priorities will as follows:

  1. Allow your carry to get as much farm as possible
  2. Allow your carry to get as much experience as possible
  3. Deny as much farm as possible for the opposing side
  4. Deny as much experience as possible for the opposing side
  5. Provide as much vision as possible for your cores to make sure they are not surprised by ganks.

There are many things that you can do in order to do the above:

  1. Don’t hit creeps, your core is likely maintaining creep equilibrium(explained below)
  2. Learn timings to pull creep away from lane (check Youtube)
  3. If you have skills that can lower the HP for the opposing side use them
  4. Always keep salves, tangoes and clarities for your carry.

How To Play During Laning Phase In Dota 2 As A Core (Bottom or Top)

I would not advise you to play mid when starting Dota 2 because usually the mid core role is also known as a playmaker. You will need to develop enough game sense to play this particular role.

If you are playing Core in the Bottom lane or the Top lane then you need to make sure of the following:

  1. Maintain creep equilibrium – This means that you should make sure that the creeps are always near your tower but never within the attack range of the tower. This is because if you are closer to your tower it easier for you to escape any gank attempts and closer to help when someone teleports to help you.
  2. Learn to last hit and to deny creeps. This will take time and practice but this is an important part of laning and farming.
  3. Learn the strengths and weakness of your hero. Not only practice but also read guides on for every hero that you play.

How To Play Mid In Dota 2

You will need to both know your hero and your opponent’s hero inside and out in order to win middle lane. For example, if you are a Shadow Fiend laning against a melee hero you are at a big advantage. There are several matchups like this in Dota 2 that you can read about in or experience as you play more.

In case you are against a bad matchup and are struggling to win the lane, don’t feel bad it can happen even the best. But this means that you need to have a backup plan. I often see players failing to adapt to the situation and continuing to fail the lane.

This is where know your hero comes into play. Here are a few things that you can try if you are losing the lane:

  1. Get a bottle. When you have a bottle and click on a rune, your bottle will fill up. Although bounty runes only fill up half of the bottle.
  2. Know the rune timings, of course check the patches because this changes all the time now. First rune is at 2 minutes, second at 4 minutes and every 2 minutes. You also have bounty runes every 3rd minute The first 2 runes appear on both sides of the river. They are mana runes that you can use to replenish your mana, this means you can use spells to harass your opponent and go for those runes. At minute six if you are lucky you could get a Double Damage Rune which can allow you to change the tide in mid or if you get a Haste Rune you can use that to gank an adjacent lane
  3. Once you hit a certain timing for your hero, let’s say level 6 on Nyx Assassin for example you can start to gank other lanes and to make plays.

How to play Early Game in Dota 2

You need to be clear about your objectives in early game. Usually it is winning your laning phase but you always need to reassess your situation.

For example is your carry getting farm and experience? Do we have enough vision on the map? Is a particular lane “feeding” that requires your help? Always asks these questions to maximise your impact in the game. Dota 2 cannot be won on your own, it’s a team game.

Usually it is a good idea to secure or defend towers. Why you might ask?

Why Is It So Good To Secure Towers In Dota 2?

Well when a tower is destroyed the map opens for you to gank your opponent. For example the middle lane is a every good example. When you destroy the tower mid you can more easily enter the enemy territory to get kills or to ward to predict the movement of the enemy.

The bottom and top towers should be defending to provide more security for your carry to farm (or destroyed to remove that security for the enemy team). What security you might ask? Well:

  1. firstly the tower gives vision.
  2. Secondly the tower now gives armor, regen and it is easy to farm under
  3. Your teammates can teleport to the tower if you(carry) are getting ganked for example.

How To Play Middle Game In Dota 2

Middle game is all about timings. Have you hit a particular talent or ability timing that makes your hero particularly strong? Or have you hit a particular timing for your items like Ethereal blade for Morphling.

You should make sure that you know the timings for heroes that your teammates are also using. You will develop an intuition for that as you play different heroes because just reading Liquipedia is too boring and nobody does that let’s be frank.

A tip here is to not stop your vision game. Make sure to remember to ward and deward.

How To Play Late Game In Dota 2

One thing to realise here is that mistakes in Late Game are way more costly than mistakes at any other stage in the game. Getting killed alone by the team for example if you are a Tidehunter might mean that the opposing team now has a window of opportunity to push towers and provoke a fight with your team. Or worse, losing a teamfight might mean that the other team has an opportunity to push and take racks.

You should always keep an eye on buyback. To know whether to keep money for buyback or to buy a key item is always going to be based on experience and hard to guide around.

There are many decisions to make in the late game and the hardest part is to make the decisions as a team. Hopefully you have developed a bond with your team mates at this of the game and a sense of how they play. You usually will.

Bonus: How To Deal With Toxic Players

Try to party with friends as much as possible. If you don’t have them yet try to join communities, local groups on Facebook or other people. You might be surprised at the number of current players who would like to coach you.

Thankfully, Dota 2 has a mute feature where you can mute both the voice, text and pings from other Toxic players. You can open the Window by clicking on the Hamburger icon top left of the screen. An additional advice is that you can press F9 to unpause should there be someone who likes to pause and talk nonsense. Personally I mute everyone (own team and enemy team) at the start of every game and put a playlist of music.

This is the best way that I have found that has helped me enjoy the game for a long, because you need to realise that at the end of the day you are playing Dota 2 to enjoy yourself.

Note: There is so much more that I want to add to this guide but I feel I have already written too much. Depending on the views on this guide I will consider writing a bit more. Let me know if these basic principles help you.