Hard Support is definitely the most underrated role in DOTA 2 and despite how it looks, it is one of the most complex roles in the game.
DOTA 2 's constantly evolving meta with regular updates manages to keep the game fresh and exciting for the players. Owing to these same meta changes and updates, various heroes often find themselves receiving unjustified buffs or nerfs.
Having said that, the hard support role is no different. Hard support or position 5 is an extremely crucial role when it comes to planning and securing the outcome of fights as well as the entire game. Additionally, the heroes that suit the hard support role are usually capable of either contributing heavily in team fights or even protecting their allies.
Top 5 Hard Supports in DOTA 2
#5 - Lion
One of the most versatile heroes for the support role, Lion can be played both as roaming support or as hard support. Lion's arsenal allows him to catch enemies off-guard while also protect his allies from unpredicted ganks.
Earth Spike is one of the strongest disabling abilities in DOTA 2 that allows Lion to have a massive impact during team fights. Additionally, Hex is an exceptionally strong ability to gain an upper hand over the opponent laner. Mana Drain allows Lion to continuously restore his own Mana pool while emptying the enemies'. Mana Drain can be combined with Lion's Talent Tree to even restore Mana to his allies.
On top of everything, Lion's Finger of Death ability allows the hero to burst a specific enemy hero with a single button. The ability also gains charges based on the number of heroes who died after being affected by the Finger of Death. Each charge increases the damage output of the ability, allowing Lion to deal massive bursts of damage in the late game as well.
#4 - Ancient Apparition
Although Ancient Apparition lacks an instant disable, the hero is one of the best hard supports in update 7.29d. The added damage on Ice Vortex with Aghanim's Shard even allows the hero to farm lane creeps without ever showing himself to the enemy.
Kaldr's Cold Feet ability allows the hero to place a "frozen hex" on an enemy unit. The ability deals damage over time while also stunning the enemy if they fail to move a certain distance from the point at which the hex was placed on them. Ancient Apparition can also combine this ability with Ice Vortex and Chilling Touch to deal additional magic damage as well as slow the affected enemy.
Ancient Apparition's ultimate, Ice Blast is arguably the strongest team fight ability in DOTA 2. All enemies affected by Ice Blast are subjected to being frostbitten. Whenever a frostbitten unit's health drops below a certain percentage, the unit shatters, dying instantly. Given that Ice Blast is an AOE ability, players can catch all five enemies in a single cast if aligned properly.
#3 - Grimstroke
Featuring a silence, a stun, and a slow in his arsenal, Grimstroke is one of the most utility-heavy supports in DOTA 2. On top of boasting powerful combinations with various heroes, Grimstroke features an ultimate ability that makes him a strong combination with any hero who features unit-target abilities.
Stroke of Fate is an excellent farming ability that allows Grimstroke to farm without getting close to the creeps. Additionally, it also allows the hero to maintain a safe distance from team fights to avoid getting caught. Phantom's Embrace is an extremely strong silence that prevents the affected enemy from casting any of their abilities until the phantom is either killed or completes the rend duration.
Ink Swell is an extremely powerful initiating spell while also scaring away enemies from a target ally. However, Soulbind is definitely the strongest ability in Grimstroke's arsenal as it ties two enemies together. On top of that, every unit-target ability being cast on either one of the affected enemies will also affect the other unit caught in Soulbind.
#2 - Warlock
One of the strongest laning supports in DOTA 2, Warlock grants a guaranteed disable which pierces through magic immunity. This factor, combined with Warlock's entire arsenal of abilities makes him an extremely strong hard support in update 7.29d.
Warlock's Fatal Bonds binds several enemy units present in a fixed vicinity. Enemies that are linked by Fatal Bonds take damage when any of the affected units take damage. Additionally, Shadow Word allows Warlock to either heal his allies or deal over-time damage to enemies. Upheaval is a very powerful slowing ability that allows Warlock to prevent his enemies from escaping team fights.
Chaotic Offering allows Warlock to call a golem at a specific location, stunning every enemy caught in the radius even if they are immune to magic. On top of that, Warlock can control the spawned golem to attack enemies and deal massive damage to them.
#1 - Oracle
One of the strongest supports in DOTA 2 irrespective of the meta, Oracle features extremely strong dispells to save their allies in adverse situations. Additionally, the hero can also disrupt enemies while dealing massive bursts of magic damage.
Oracle's Fortune's End ability allows the hero to either purge off debuffs from an ally or roots an enemy hero while also purging off any active buffs. Fate's Edict places a disarm on the target while also making them immune to magic damage for the duration. This ability can be combined with Purifying Flames to heal Oracle's allies in the middle of a fight.
Additionally, players can also combine Purifying Flames with Fortune's End to deal damage to enemies while purging off the health regeneration.
False Promise is undoubtedly the strongest saving ability in DOTA 2. Oracle delays the death of an ally by placing them under the effect of False Promise. The affected hero cannot die until the end of False Promise. Additionally, all health regeneration that the hero receives during the course of the ability is not only delayed but also doubled at the end.
General Tips for Hard Supports
The hard support role usually means protecting the carry hero during the early and mid-game stages in DOTA 2. However, hard supports have a lot to contribute in each game of DOTA 2. From placing aggressive and defensive wards based on the in-game situation to keeping the team properly positioned and well oriented, hard supports have a lot to do in every game.
Having said that, here are a few general tips on how to execute the hard support role better in DOTA 2:
- Place wards to gain information of the enemy team's movements
- Stay close to the carry hero and ensure their safety
- Call out ganks to secure an advantage for your team
- Communicate with your team to use Smoke of Deceits; and
- Call out shots to ensure that your team is securing objectives whenever they can.