A guide to Dota 2’s hero talent trees

Esports Asia News
[hkes_show_google_ad] Dota 2 is a complex game that takes years of practice to fully master. In the recent 7.00 update, Valve dramatically changed many aspects of the game, including the map and HUD among others. But one of the biggest changes was the addition of hero talent trees that will affect the way that you’ll go about building your hero. At Levels 10, 15, 20 and 25, players can choose one of two talents that offer special bonuses to either the hero’s stats or abilities. These talents can be as simple as providing a health or damage increase or something a bit more complex, like applying a slow on every attack or increasing the potency of certain abilities. What’s important to note is that choosing one talent will lock you out of the other talent for the rest of the game. While there are multiple instances where one talent will outclasses the other, for most heroes, choosing talents is a calculated process that should be determined by your role, the enemy’s composition and your build among others.

Your Role and Talents

While talents vary from hero to hero, the first thing to consider when choosing talents is identifying your role on the team. While there are a number of different roles in Dota 2, they can broadly be categorized as either core or support heroes. Core heroes usually have talents that emphasize their damage output or survivability, forgoing talents that increase their utility. Beyond attack speed, which is extremely useful for all core heroes, talents should be chosen depending on the team’s needs. If you need to sit in the mid lane and tank damage, focusing on evasion and health talents is the way to go. If you are playing a hero capable of high burst damage, focusing on attack power and improving starting stats is a must. Talents are more varied for supports, as ones that increase farm, movement speed and survivability are quite common. Due to the variety of talents in support hero talent trees, there are usually multiple different build routes depending on your role. Supports who are nukers will benefit more from damage increasing talents, while Position 5 supports will benefit greatly from gold increases as they can afford more wards without the assistance of a carry. And regardless of what role you play on the team, survivability talents can always help bolster a hero with low health and mobility to ensure that they are not knocked down quickly in a fight.

Your Item Build and Talents

Choosing a talent also goes hand in hand with buying items, as many talents synergize well or are rendered useless if certain items are picked up. Talents can be built around items or vice-versa, creating combinations that push heroes to new heights. Maximizing the effect of your talents and items is integral to the game, which is why items should be carefully managed to prevent too much overlap. For instance, movement speed talents will be wasted if chosen alongside an item that grants bonus movement speed, like Eul’s Scepter, and the two effects do not combine well. Conversely, picking up a Dragon Lance for a hero who has a talent that increases attack range allows for the two bonuses to stack on top of each other, creating a hero who has far greater range than is normally possible. As Lone Druid illustrates, the combination of attack range talents and Dragon Lance can turn a hero into a deadly sniper that is tough to put down.

The Length of the Game

Another consideration that will help you determine which talents to pick will depend on just how long you think your game will last. As much as that +10 Intelligence talent will benefit you in the short term, a longer match will turn it into a small bonus that does not translate well into late game capabilities. Likewise, if you’re team is snowballing its way to a quick victory, then picking a talent that increases your gold per minute over a damage talent is a complete waste. On the other hand, if your team is built around the late game and wants to spend the first half of the game farming, then that gold talent is much more useful, allowing you to secure key items earlier than previously possible. In general, pick talents that allow for a power boost if you expect to finish a match quickly, while focusing on talents that improve your utility and offer long-term rewards for matches that are going to last more than 40 minutes.

The Enemy’s Composition

While there are plenty of talents that help enhance a hero’s survivability, those talents can go to waste depending on what heroes the enemy team is fielding. As an example, let’s consider magic resistance. Magic resistance is a good talent to pick when faced with a team composed of spell casters, as there are only a few items that provide passive resistance. But when faced with a team that is composed of the likes of Sven or Juggernaut, magic resistance is useless, resulting in a wasted slot if that talent is chosen. Beyond survivability, Templar Assassin provides a good example of two talents that are best picked against two different compositions. Her Level 25 talents offer either +3 Refraction instances or a -30s Respawn Time reduction. While the additional Refraction is a useful tool for survivability, it is rendered moot if the enemy team is able to engage in fights for a sustained period of time or is able to lock down Templar Assassin easily. In these cases, it is best to pick the Respawn Time Reduction, allowing Templar Assassin to get back into the fight that much quicker. Keeping all of these factors in mind, let’s take a look at the Talent Trees for three different heroes to see what their talents can bring to the field.


Attacks Apply 30% MS and AS Slow25+35 Ice Armor Structure Armor
+120 Gold/Min20+150 Damage
-3s Frost Blast Cooldown15+125 Cast Range
+15 Movement Speed10+125 Health
As a hero who is great in the early game, Lich’s talents provide small bonuses at lower levels before transitioning into bonuses that allow the hero to remain more viable as the game drags on. Lich has no escape capabilities and has little health and armor to back him up, making the Level 10 talent choices equally viable depending on your personal preference. The Level 15 talents are similarly difficult to choose between, as the reduced cooldown on Frost Blast emphasizes Lich’s role as a nuker, while the increased cast range allows him to better position himself in fights so that he does not die quickly. The gold increase will allow Lich to still regain a sizable amount of gold heading into the late game, as he will be unable to farm as effectively at this stage. 150 extra damage, however, is a talent that is extremely tempting to not pass up, as Lich excels precisely because he is capable of nuking down enemies quickly. If a Lich somehow reaches Level 25, the 30% movement speed and attack speed outclasses talent the additional Ice Armor talent by a wide margin. It is not a unique attack modifier, stacks on top of all of Lich’s spells, and pierces spell immunity. Considering the lengths a Lich has to go through to get to Level 25, the 30% slow is a fitting reward for reaching it.

Earth Spirit

+300 Rolling Boulder Damage25-45s Respawn Time
+300 Health20+15% Spell Amplification
+90 Gold/Min15+15% Magic Resistance
+4 Armor10+10 Intelligence
The popular support hero doesn’t have the flashiest talents, and only one of them affects his abilities. What they do provide, however, is flexibility as they allow Earth Spirit players to build a hero that best suits their style. Most of that flexibility is present in the Level 10, 15 and 20 talents, and it is unlikely that an Earth Spirit player will gain enough farm to utilize either of his Level 25 talents. Starting at Level 10, players may opt for bonus armor to increase Earth Spirit’s survivability, a talent which syncs well with his +300 Health talent at Level 20. Considering Earth Spirit is frequently targeted in fights, being able to stay alive a a little bit longer is a must for players who expect to be in the thick of things. On the other hand, the +10 Intelligence talent will allow him deal more damage right out of the gate and let him use his abilities without running out of mana. In conjunction with the Level 20 Spell Amplification talent, and Earth Spirit will not only be able to disable heroes, but hit them hard as well. Earth Spirit’s Level 15 talents are interesting because Earth Spirit is a hero that does not rely on items or magic resistance in most games. Picking up the gold increase will allow Earth Spirit to splurge on items beyond an Urn of Shadows and Magic Wand, while increased magic resistance is always a solid choice no matter what hero you play as. Earth Spirit’s talents may not dramatically change the hero, but they are interesting choices with no clear winner in each tier.

Lone Druid

-10s Savage Roar Cooldown25+1.5s Entangling Claws Duration
-40s Respawn Time20+12 Spirit Bear Armor
+30 Spirit Bear Damage15 +55 Damage
+175 Attack Range10+250 Health
Lone Druid’s talents dramatically change what was a hero that previously relied on his Spirit Bear to do damage into one that turns the druid into a viable hero by himself. A common build for Lone Druid involves picking the attack range increase at Level 10, the damage increase at Level 15, and the Respawn Time reduction at Level 20. The attack range bonus coupled with a Dragon Lance grants Lone Druid great range for fights, with the increased damage becoming a must have talent choice as a result. Reducing the Respawn Time at Level 20 is an incredibly strong talent that should not be passed up, as there are few other heroes who have a talent with that large of a reduction that are not Level 25. While it is still possible to run a build that focuses on the Spirit Bear, it is barely relevant, as players like OG’s N0tail have greatly popularized the druid-centric build. Choosing these talents provides a great advantage, and it is unlikely that a bear focused build will be used as widely as before barring a nerf. [hkes_show_google_ad]

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