DotA 2: Ability Draft

25 Apr

It has been about three months since Ability Draft has landed in DotA2. Ability draft is as follows:

  • Each player is assigned a random hero (there are some heroes that are excluded due to how unique their vanilla skills interact with each other/or simply perhaps the programming to allow their skills to function in this mode isn’t justifiable).
  • All the abilities of the randomly assigned heroes are pooled together along with I think three other hero’s abilities.
  • Players take it in turns to pick an ability from the pool. The queue reverses when it gets to the end. This means players that were first and last to pick in the “first wave” get the chance to choose two abilities in succession. This has obvious benefits which I’ll point out later.
  • You are still restricted by the 3 normal ability and 1 ultimate ability format. But other than that, you have complete freedom (as long as no one else has chosen the desired ability)

Here are some aspects of the mode I would like to highlight:

As I have mentioned above, being the last and first to pick during the first wave of choosing is beneficial. It allows you to pick two abilities that have strong synergy with each other. For example; choosing Outworld Destroyer’s Arcane Orb with Essence Aura. Arcane Orb is a large burden without Essence Aura. Therefore if you wish to use Arcane Orb, being able to pick a combination of abilities in quick succession is very helpful.

In some abilities that are dependant on another, you can effectively hold the other ability hostage until you are read to pick it. I’ll explain with an example:



Luna’s ultimate Eclipse’s damage is dependant on the rank at which you have levelled Lucent beam. If you hero uses Eclipse without having the ability Lucent Beam, your ultimate will do absolutely no damage. The only affect would be turning day into night for a short period. Therefore, if you want the combination of those skills, you should choose Lucent Beam first. This means, no other player will pick up Eclipse because it will be completely useless for them. And if they do select it, they have a dud ultimate and you’re free to pick a different ultimate (Lucent Beam by itself is a sweet early game single target nuke anyway). Just hope the ignorant player is on the other team. You can do this with other comboing skills, it’s just this one is the most apparent. That said, you yourself should never Eclipse when someone has Lucent Beam. You may think you’re denying them a strong ultimate, but all you’re doing is possessing a dysfunctional Ultimate whilst they have a different ultimate that very much functions.




blink dagger

Melee heroes need a form of gap closing or ranged attack. Gap closing is your ability to cross a distance to engage your target. If the enemy sees you waddling towards them, they will react and disable you/nuke you. A gap closer allows you to attack them on your grounds. Alternatively, ranged ability allow you to be useful even when you’re not meleeing. Like in the normal game with Ursa, Shadow Blade or Blink Dagger will remedy this problem some-what (even Push Stick). Bear in mind that Shadow Blade simply makes you invisible and you still have to waddle up to the enemy. If the enemy owns anti-invisibility, you’re basically waddling up to them very quickly and visibly. Without gap closers or ranged abilities, you’re a burden. You can be a strong carry without a gap closer, it’s just unlikely.




Greevil’s Greed (Alchemist’s passive) is a wasted skill choice unless you are guaranteed last hits during the laning phase or posses flash-farming abilities (economic AoE abilities).



Divided We Stand (Meepo’s Ultimate) is most potent on a ranged hero. But really it works well on any hero [b]as long as the player has chosen good abilities and knows how to use the Ultimate[/b]. Otherwise it won’t end well.


Pure support builds rely on competent teams. I don’t recommend build a pure support if you are queuing solo. If you want to support, choose something with the ability to gank.


Most effective way to build your hero depends on if they’re melee or ranged. Ranged heroes have an easier job of going potential carry. A lot of melee carry passives become OP when on a ranged hero. As a Ranged carry, I would pack some form of nuke amongst your carry passives. This lets you have a strong early game to secure the gold and experience to become a wrecking ball late game. As melee, you may as well stack nuke abilities or at least go uber tank. If you want to carry as a melee, get a gap closer.



Golem (Warlock’s Ultimate) is a reliable pick up. Summons a huge minion that does a lot of damage with every swing. It does a large AoE superior magic stun. It works with any role. As a Carry it offers a stun that allows you to attack the enemy. If you’re packing a slow or armour reduction as a Modifier, you’ll allow Golem to do more damage. As a ganker it’s a stun and a nice extra bit of damage. As a support it’s a stun and a nice bit of damage. It can soft-initiate a team fight and push lanes. It’s beneficial for all. People underestimate this Ultimate.


I hope this has been helpful. It is perhaps three months too late to be very topical, but I like to think of it as three months of understand the game mode properly. In this game mode, what seems to be the “meta” is selecting abilities that deal a tonne of damage whilst owning a passive that will allow you to carry. You can get some really OP combinations, but the chances of acquiring them is low. The Nuke & Carry builds are the most reliable. Besides, at the end of the day, the game mode also comes down to which team is better.

See you next time for when I review some combinations I have played.



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