In competitive Heroes of Newerth, a lot of the strategy for every match occurs before a single attack- during the hero choosing stage. Though this isn't frequent in mid level games and almost completely absent at low levels, knowing what roles your current team lacks and molding your roster to fit that can make you a more valuable team member without improving anything but your knowledge.
One of the major mistakes made by newer players is not understanding what they're supposed to do throughout the game. They don't know what to do in lane, they don't buy items geared toward a certain role, and they don't understand what they should do during teamfights. All of this adds up to a lot of received rage and often a loss, even if the player didn't really do too terribly at whatever role he tried to fill. This guide's goal is to attempt to reveal to newer players what your job should be, depending on your chosen hero.
Keep in mind, however, that virtually every hero can play multiple roles effectively and that based on what your team and the opposing team has chosen, there are often multiple very different ways to play a hero that would all be considered "correct."
But before you can deviate and experiment effectively with heroes, you must be able to play them in its standard fashion that most teammates will expect of you. In this guide, I've taken the time to designate the role that every hero in HoN customarily plays, in my experience.
Nearly half of all heroes in HoN are referred to as carry heroes, but what does this actually mean? For the most part, these heroes are relatively weak at the beginning of the game. They require a lot of experience and gold in order to buy items that will allow them to "carry" your team on their back; they deal relatively more damage and have more power the further the game progresses. Because of this reason, carries need hero kills and near-constant creep farming to be effective. Intelligent play dictates that carries deserve every kill they can get, especially early game, and good teammates will provide their carries with every opportunity to do so. The ways in which heroes carry does differ significantly, however, and how you intend to carry should determine what types of items you buy with your hard earned income. In early and mid-game it's not at all rare for a carry to miss a teamfight in order to continue farming creeps. If a game goes late, it hinges on the teams' carries. Thus, players playing these tend to be the best players on a given team, though having good supporting teammates is what allow carries to carry. An opposing team always has to have the mindset of "keeping the enemy carry down." That means limiting his farm, killing him whenever possible, and ensuring that he won't control the game in its later stages.
DPS Carries: :chro:
(Swiftblade, Chronos, Magebane, Madman, Predator, The Dark Lady, Scout, Night Hound, War Beast, Blood Hunter, Gladiator)
These heroes are built for raw damage. They tend to have lower life but later into the game often have the ability to kill weaker heroes in three or four hits. Because of this threat, they are very susceptible to being focused and chain stunned into the ground. Thus, a Shrunken Head is a common purchase for many of these heroes unless you can rely on your team to have spells to protect you, either with stuns of their own or protective magic. The premier first item for most of these DPS carries, however, is a Runed Axe. It increases your farming speed enormously and allows you to farm the next item, and the next. A few also have innate Magic Immunity spells. Beyond that, DPS items are the goal. Many of them.
(Zephyr, Defiler, Soul Reaper, Sand Wraith, Armadon, Maliken, Wildsoul)
These heroes put out decent damage over time by being hard as hell to kill. This is either due to massive lifesteal, healing abilities, spells which negate damage, or simply having a huge amount of health and regeneration through their items. Sometimes the Tank Carry's goal is for the enemy team to focus him, thus soaking up massive amounts of damage. Other times you don't want to be focused because you're not quite tanky enough and need to survive to deal your damage. Either way, you build the same: for durability. Common items for these heroes include Shaman's Headdress, Helm of the Black Legion, Sacrificial Stone, and Behemoth's Heart. Heroes who don't seem to ever die can also consider Mock of Brilliance.
Ranged Carries: :fors:
(Corrupted Disciple, Puppet Master, Soulstealer, Forsaken Archer, Arachna, Moon Queen, Valkyrie, Flint Beastwood)
Ranged carries are similar to DPS carries in concept, but fulfill that role in a very different manner. Because of their range, they are able to hit from afar and put out damage while staying of reach of enemies. This aids them significantly as Ranged Carries have a solid lane presence early in the game and are more easily able to harass instead of being harassed. If the opposing team tries to focus them, simply stepping back to safety of a tower or allies can alleviate the threat. These heroes are also very common solo mid lane heroes due to the experience and gold advantage they gain as a carry from such a scenario. Itemwise, they build much the same as a DPS carry, with the exception that Geometer's Bane replaces Runed Axe. Because they don't need to be in the middle of the fight, it's not uncommon for Ranged Carries to choose not to get a Shrunken Head, but if stuns and disables are a problem it's not an unwise pick up.
(Pestilence, Hammerstorm, Pebbles, Gauntlet, Balphagore, Wretched Hag, Doctor Repulsor)
These heroes do not have the innate scaling of agility heroes, and thus need to capitalize on a level/item advantage before extreme late game hits, where they will be outmatched. In order to reinforce a strong mid-game presence, heroes without an innate blink will often pick up a Portal Key to maximize their AoE capacity. They often start out ganking heavily in early-mid game, but as a match progresses they'll turn into heroes with the potential to semi-carry due to abilities or common item pickups. Frequent purchases for the STR in this group are the aforementioned Portal Key, Abyssal Skull, and Daemonic Breastplate. For the INT heroes: Nullstone, Stormspirit, Hellflower, and Sheepstick all add DPS while allowing the user to gank more frequently due to high mana regeneration.
Support heroes are the unsung ones in HoN. They rarely if ever get credit for doing their job well, but the difference between a support hero who fulfills his role correctly and one who doesn't is game changing. Your task as a support hero is to sacrifice everything possible in order to aid your teammates and win the game. This means buying the courier and warding both at the very beginning of a game and throughout the rest of the game, letting teammates get last hits instead of you, stacking neutral creeps for your carry, and risking your neck or even dying to save a teammate. Support heroes tend to benefit less from items than others, and so they will not and do not need to earn much gold during the course of the game. Because of this, they don't need hero kills and it's good play to deliberately let a teammate, hopefully a carry, get the finishing blow. Their spells are generally spammable but many of them also have ultimates that can completely turn a teamfight around. Throughout the game, these heroes are almost always going to be the ones buying wards, crowd control, healing, and other support items.
(Demented Shaman, Hellbringer, Plague Rider, Vindicator, Voodoo Jester, Glacius, Nymphora, Slither)
A babysitter's role is to allow their lane partner, usually a carry, to farm creep kills effectively. Controlling and winning a lane can be done in different ways: keeping enemy heroes at bay through constant auto-attacking known as harassing, healing themselves and their lane partner, or utilizing offensive spells that are able to be cast frequently. The end result is the same: their lane partner gets every last hit that he possibly can and has a huge advantage because of it throughout the game. Meanwhile, the babysitter's creep score is mostly denies and he's done a lot of damage to enemy heroes without actually killing anyone.
(Accursed, Jeraziah, Keeper of the Forest)
Melee babysitters lack the auto-attack harassment ability of their ranged counterparts, but instead have even stronger defensive capabilities. As such, they tend to be paired in a lane with a ranged hero who is otherwise fragile but needs to farm creep kills. They can put out decent damage in only limited situations, and so are usually picked with the intent to satisfy those conditions.
Utility heroes are the ones with the ability to near instantly decide fights. They capitalize on this by only picking fights that they can win, and thus require both good map awareness and the ability to quickly and intuitively judge whether a fight will go well for their team. They thus take advantage of the opposition's mistakes and do so decisively. This is true of them throughout the game, and because of it they tend to lane against enemy carry heroes, hoping to set them back and give their team an edge.
(Tempest, Behemoth, Magmus, Legionnaire, Kraken, Engineer, Moraxus)
If there was a definition of "Recommended Item", it would give the example of getting a Portal Key on initiators. This is because initiators have one or two Area of Effect abilities that can absolutely devastate an entire opposing team- but only if placed well. When enemy heroes become too clustered as they try to push or when chasing after your fleeing ally, you start the fight by blinking in and wreaking havoc. Having a team that's prepared and well equipped to following up your initiation is key, though. It does almost no good to disable the entire other team if you're the only one there and can't kill anyone. A single well placed spell by an initiator can instantly win a losing teamfight, but more important is the fact that an initiator gets to pick which fights to start and both where and when to start them.
(Pharaoh, Deadwood, Electrician, Tundra, Devourer, Andromeda, Bubbles, Ophelia)
A ganker's role is to spontaneously assist all across the map, thereby slowing the opposing team's ability to earn money. If enemy heroes are not wary or get a bit too greedy in their farming, well played gankers punish them. For some heroes, this assistance can start immediately at level 1, which is known as "Roaming." Gankers have spells that capitalize on a numerical or positional advantage by locking up or slowing a single enemy hero and, with the help of nearby allies, killing that hero before sufficient help can arrive. Because they offer such singular focus, a ganker's usefulness in teamfights tends to be lower than average and thus in order to be a worthwhile selection they need to make their mark on the game early and often. Gankers often serve as a stand-in initiator, but generally don't have the Area of Effect spell power to give their team as dramatic of a swing in teamfights. It's also worthwhile to note that the vast majority of these gankers do best in a solo middle lane, due to their ability to rune control and exploit a level advantage.
(Pollywog Priest, Succubus, Pandamonium, Witch Slayer, Rampage)
Disablers make fights uneven. These heroes are capable of taking more than half of an opposing team out of a conflict while their allies dismantle the others. However, disablers tend to be squishy or have to stay in place while channeling a spell. That susceptibility makes both Shrunken Head and Nullstone common item choices for them, as it will usually allow the full duration and effects of their spells to be gotten off during every fight. To get the jump on enemies, Portal Key is also relatively frequent. You have many options in teamfights, you can choose to disable an enemy carry, an enemy disabler, or maybe just that healer that will keep the carry alive. These heroes require a large amount of quick judgment and reflexive play, but a well played disabler can easily win games for his team.
Nukers: (Image Limit Reached)
(Pyromancer, Thunderbringer, Blacksmith, Torturer, Fayde, Bombardier)
These heroes subscribe to the theory that the best defense is a good offense. Their spells are almost entirely geared to dealing direct damage to enemies and because of this they give their lane instant-kill potential. Most Nukers thus sometimes function as babysitters due to the threat of their spells, but most of the time wind up as a solo or in a double stun lane in order to prevent a carry from being able to farm. During early and mid game a Nuker can also serve as an effective ganker due to their ability to simply melt targets. However, because spells deal static damage throughout the game after reaching max level, their usefulness tapers off as a game enters the mid and then later stages. Their job in teamfights is to eliminate an enemy before giving him a chance to do anything, often singularly targeting an enemy carry hero.
That's all for now... I hope I've helped. Please feel free to post critiques or disagreements. If the consensus is dissent, I have no problem making modifications to improve the quality of this. Thanks.
Last edited by Decency; 12-02-2010 at 02:29 PM.
(To be continued... this section is not done and so probably isn't worth reading.)
Last edited by Decency; 02-21-2011 at 08:45 PM.
Great read, nice description of hero subroles.
However, most heroes are very versatile. Voodoo Jester can either go heal, or go
effective gankstyle with Cask and Cursed Ground.
Accursed can either go full support or hard dps.
Also some carries can initiate (Pestilence with portkey/Soulstealer with portkey/Engineer with portkey)
I dont know if Predator qualifies as a dps carry or tank carry, from the
written description id say tank carry.
Again, great read and it should help everybody to gain insights to hero roles.
Yeah, there's definitely a lot of wiggle room and I had trouble with a few of these, but a bunch are pretty clear cut and you'll still see average 1500-1600 players using a terrible item build and not fulfilling their role.
This must be useful seeing as I'm consulting it right now for a post of my own, lol.
I didn't use a pusher category because the heroes which can do so are very diverse. Ophelia is, of course, both.
Updated with: Engineer, Fayde, Flint Beastwood, Bubbles, Doctor Repulsor, Gladiator, Rampage, Tundra, Balphagore, and Gauntlet.
I would definitely add a pushing section considering that is in itself a metagame strat.
I am very happy you didnt break it into semi-carry, hard carry, carry, etc because that just stirs a shitstorm in the forums
Some things to note:
NH with purge is a ganker as well as carry
Hammer is more of a stun/intiator than carry.
Gladiator also makes a great ganker due to 3 pseudo-disables/disables
Warbeast is a pusher/carry
Nymph is a ganker/babysitter as is VJ
Ophelia is a pusher
Fade is a ganker more than a nuker but fits both.
All in all a brilliant start.
Since this is a recurring issue let me try to justify my lack of a Pusher category by looking at some heroes that can be effective pushers:
Ophelia, Defiler, Torturer, Pollywog Priest, Balphagore, Engineer, Tempest, Flint, Soulstealer, Nymphora, Wildsoul, Demented Shaman, Pebbles, etc.
Besides being able to push, what do they have in common? Virtually nothing. Not item builds, not typical laning partners, and some don't even focus on leveling their pushing skills early on.
I've spent a lot of time with friends orchestrating ridiculous pushing strategies; they're still viable and are a lot of fun. Unless you're running such a strategy, though, the pushing attributes of these heroes go relatively unnoticed. Yeah, you might get a couple of towers earlier than normal or be able to surprise the opposition with a quick Kongor: that's about it. It's absolutely a nice perk to those heroes- but it's not what defines them, and that is what this guide is for. And, let's be honest, if you're planning a pushing strategy, you don't need to consult this guide.
Also slither is a babysitter, and i dont see much point getting warbeast if your not going push strat.
Updated at a user's request with Bombardier ( = Ganker) and Moraxus ( = Initiator)
Hammerstorm was moved to Ganker. People are more and more going Striders and choosing him for his great Stun/Galvanize over his DPS ability. In either build, Portal Key is common, so it won't really matter much. It just needs to be emphasized that he does have DPS capabilities, unlike most other gankers, but that should be fairly obvious from his ultimate and Cleave.
Slither was moved to Ranged Babysitter. He's more frequently picked up in that capacity than as a solo ganker, nowadays, though I owe that to the frequency of tri-lanes and the added usefulness of his toxic wards (to cancel Striders).
Warbeast is a decent DPS carry if left unattended. This isn't a tier list, so he's where he belongs.
Panda is unique in that he's essentially an anti-carry; he's only useful into later stages of the game because of his ability to take people completely out of a fight. He does scale well, which is where his late-game power comes from, but his damage is mostly his spells rather than his auto-attacks, so I'm going to leave him where he is as a disabler.
Any other concerns, keep them coming and I'll try to justify my rationale.
Pebbles fits much better in the Ganker category. A lot of heroes in the Ganker / Initiator section can take both roles, but some of them only take one.
It would be best to have a third section for Ganker / Initiators.
I'd sing you a song, but
I'm just a little hoarse.
Nevermind, See next post.
Also, moved Rampage to disablers and Bombardier to nukers.
Last edited by Decency; 12-02-2010 at 05:34 AM.
add tort to tanky carries. He kinda works the same as sr. Lategame tort carries thorugh having loads of survivability and manaregen to keep ulti up etc.
@ Nomes - I think the new "Scaling Gankers" section makes a lot of sense. These are the sort-of semi carries that start the game out by ganking and then buy items to become DPS'ers. Pebbles belongs there, and so do the others. These guys frequently pick up Abyssal Skull, Daemonic Breastplate, etc.
@ Fenrixx - He does, but not many people play him that way any more. Not many people play him at all, to be honest, which makes classifying him difficult. Because he has 4 flat damage spells I'm okay leaving him as a nuker, and because it's a pretty big challenge to play Torturer as a carry right now against good players.
Balphagore doesn't belong in scaling gankers; Balphagore isn't a ganker in the first place.
Deadwood certainly doesn't scale, and I'd say Pharaoh belongs in that category.
I'd sing you a song, but
I'm just a little hoarse.
Hmm I agree, the scaling ganker term doesn't fit at all. I still think those heroes all have a very similar role, however, I just don't know what to call the collection.
Pharaoh is borderline in there but we see him usually go more tankish than DPS with HotBL/SotM. If he has legitimate DPS, it's usually from Puzzlebox.
Runed Axe is core on Deadwood so he's obviously in the right place. =D I agree here, he's more of a ganker, I guess he tends to DPS more in pubs when played well because of the huge amount of kills he can rack up quickly. Moved him.
Balphagore is pretty unique, I don't know what to do with him. He's sort of a secondary initiator, but also a tank, and has pushing capabilities. I had him as a Tank Carry before but I don't really think that fits either because any real carry will rip him apart. What would you suggest?
Carry KotF solo mid best KotF IMO
Screw his babysitter ways - he doesn't do it well enough anyway.
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