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Hard Support Tier List | Dota 2 7.35c

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Hello friends, and welcome to a position five tier list. We’re going to talk about the best hard hard supports in the game right now, in my opinion, of course. This is going to lean more into the professional scene.

Introduction to the Tier List

I’ve been doing a good amount of casting lately, more so than watching your games or playing my own games, so my insights into the pubs are a little less than usual. This will reflect the professional scene, and if you see a hero that has a good win rate in pubs and you’re like, “I win with this,” that’s why you may not see them so up there because the pro scene is different from the pub scene.

Spotlight on Chen

I’m going to knock Chen out of the way real quick, just because even if I tell you he’s the best hard support in the game, which he is, you’re not going to play him if you’re not interested in it. He’s just a hero you have to play to really make use of, and if you can, you’re going to find that you have a very strong laning stage into early momentum with the auras.

Then, you might say, “Oh well, do you drop off when your creeps are easily killed?” Kind of, but you can also use them to just rat things like troll creeps, hide them in the jungle, pop them out of a bot lane or something when everything’s going on top, have him just shove in the lane and just take buildings because he’s super fast. He opens up Roshan really early, so great hero right now, pretty much 100% picked or banned by Pros as long as they have a Chen player.

So, even though he’s really good, you know, even the pros aren’t just going to force it out of nothing. If you guys want to learn Chen, he will work in your pubs, just a little bit different than what you’ll see at the professional level, but it could still be effective.

Learning Chen and Crystal Maiden Strategies

Next up is Crystal Maiden. In the past, she would go QW by level two for the most spell damage and aggressive potential, which you can still do if you think you need it. But a lot of the pros right now are going QE or WE, so Q first if you have to secure the range creeps and you just want to generally harass. W first if you want to really specifically work on one hero and potentially kill him.

The E at level two is to sustain that spell spam because it is now, instead of a six times self multiplier, a seven times self multiplier, so it helps you get the spells out without having to use a bunch of mangoes that maybe other people on your team need. Then, at level three, you do go 1-1-1, max W after that, because it is your best spell in terms of being active, and that’s what the pros like. And I think it would work really well in your pubs.

Crystal Maiden’s Shard and Its Impact

I highly recommend you buy the Shard pretty quickly, faster than the pros will buy it, because Crystal clone is really good. You can essentially walk into a creep wave, use Crystal clone, stack a camp, stand next to it, and Crystal clone. You will just hit frostbite on all the creeps and farm all of them. You might have to throw in a few more auto-attacks, spells, stuff like that, but it just massively speeds up your farm and helps you push out waves, which is often lacking in pub games.

So, really good, and then really good for these mobile heroes like Puck, Primal Beast. They try to charge in, they get hit by the Crystal clone, hit him with the second frostbite, hit your ult, just like very good that way. So, she’s really powerful, especially against some of these off-laners that are very scary if they get off to a good start.

Many of the pros are responding with a Crystal Maiden pick to do a lot of damage to them and try to kill them off in those early levels when they’re still weak, such as a Timbersaw. Get him killed so that he can’t hit that insane snowball potential. I’m also going to throw Mirana into the S tier.

Mirana’s Adaptation to Hard Support

Mirana is quite applicable to pubs, with QEQ being the preferred skill build for hard support roles, adding W at level four. This timing aligns with an increased likelihood of roaming. The QEQ setup ensures significant laning presence, distinguishing her role from that of a position four Mirana, who might leverage the arrow more effectively.

Despite the familiarity of her gameplay, Mirana remains impactful through her skillful arrow shots and strategic use of invisibility. The current meta, rich in setup stuns from heroes like Dragon Knight and Shadow Demon, amplifies her ganking potential across various lanes. Although her ult’s invisibility-driven gank strategy might be underutilized in pub matches, successful arrow hits can decisively swing games in your favor.

Shifting Dynamics in Support Tier Lists

The discussion on tier positioning is fluid, with S tier being particularly contentious due to the potential for moving heroes based on evolving game dynamics. For now, we’ll pivot to the A tier, which becomes relevant when top-tier picks are off the table.

Techies stand out in this tier, boasting a formidable laning phase with its long-range capabilities and versatile skill set. The hero’s Q has been optimized for harassment, setting the stage for lethal combinations post-level two with skills like blast off and blood grenade. This capability makes Techies a formidable pick against or alongside dominant heroes, offering solid blind pick potential and synergizing well across numerous matchups.

Utility and Strategy in Support Heroes

The magic resistance reduction offers not just damage potential but also significant utility. By strategically placing mines around the map, Techies can alert the team to smoked enemies without direct vision, thanks to triggered mine explosions. This capability adds immense value to the team, enhancing map control and awareness.

Lion’s Adjustments and Role

Lion has experienced nerfs, particularly to his Shard upgrade, making it a non-mandatory purchase every game. Players now have the flexibility to opt for other items before considering the Shard, depending on the game’s demands. Despite these changes, Lion retains his core functionalities: two forms of crowd control, the annoyance of Mana Drain in the laning phase, and the ability to transfer mana to allies. His ultimate remains a powerful tool for early pick-offs, helping to accelerate the team’s momentum. These abilities ensure Lion’s continued relevance in the meta, unaffected significantly by the recent nerfs.

Undying’s Rise in Popularity

Undying has been gaining traction, especially within the South American and Eastern European scenes, as a potent counter to strength-based melee offlaners. His presence can severely disrupt the enemy’s laning strategy while securing the safe lane for his own team.

Although the Undying pick had waned due to the prominence of other heroes, recent nerfs to contenders like Lion, Vengeful Spirit, and Nature’s Prophet have paved the way for his resurgence. However, this comeback is somewhat regional and stylistic, with the effectiveness of Undying in pub games being somewhat conditional.

Unlike heroes like Techies and Lion, who can be blindly picked early for their versatile value, selecting Undying early can inadvertently influence the enemy’s draft away from strength-based melee offlaners, thereby limiting his impact.

Undying’s Niche in the Meta

Currently, the prevalence of ranged offlaners is low, yet the meta in pub games doesn’t always align with professional trends, leading to unconventional picks like offlane Weaver, which can unexpectedly counter heroes like Undying. This flexibility in pub games sometimes undermines Undying’s effectiveness, suggesting a potential tier downgrade in such contexts. However, should the enemy team opt for a strength-based offlaner and Undying becomes available in the second phase of picks, he can significantly impact the game’s outcome.

Shadow Demon and Batrider in Support Roles

Shadow Demon and Batrider, though often seen as better suited for the position four role, can effectively fulfill the duties of a position five. Their abilities lend themselves well to both offensive setups and defensive maneuvers, making them versatile choices regardless of their designated position.

Shadow Demon’s Disruption, for example, serves as an excellent setup for allies or a means to disrupt enemy tactics, while also providing utility through illusion generation and Shadow Poison for stacking camps. This makes him particularly valuable in a meta where carries like Sven and Luna, along with flash farming mid and offlane heroes, benefit greatly from stacked camps.

Despite a potentially weaker laning phase compared to other heroes, Shadow Demon’s mid to late-game contributions, especially in disrupting key enemy strategies and enhancing farm efficiency for carries, solidify his place as a formidable support choice.

Shadow Demon’s Versatility Against Carries

Shadow Demon proves to be exceptionally versatile against both BKB-reliant carries like Sven and Lifestealer and illusion-based heroes such as Luna, Terrorblade, and Morphling. Utilizing his ultimate, which pierces BKB, he can significantly slow and make these formidable carries vulnerable, allowing for strategic kiting.

Disruption offers tactical advantages, enabling you to protect allies or hinder opponents, further enhancing his kite-and-control capabilities. This adaptability makes Shadow Demon a potent force in team compositions, albeit with a slightly higher complexity in execution within pub games due to the cooperative nature required to maximize Disruption’s potential.

Handling Batrider in Varied Game Dynamics

Batrider maintains his classic gameplay mechanics, balanced through periodic buffs and nerfs. His abilities to displace enemies with Flamebreak, chase down opponents with Firefly, and control neutral camps demonstrate his enduring strength in lane control and early aggression.

However, translating this early-game dominance into a broader game advantage in pub settings can be challenging. This is because Batrider players may adopt a more solitary approach post-laning, focusing on farming enemy jungles or securing their own stacks to achieve quick Blink Dagger timings.

While this strategy aligns with accelerating Batrider’s impact through itemization, it demands a nuanced understanding and coordination within the team, which might not always be present in pub games.

Bat Rider’s Jungle Transition Strategy

Bat Rider’s shift to the jungle is a crucial phase, aiming for a quick Blink Dagger to enhance his impact. However, this transition can sometimes lead to vulnerabilities in the lane, where teammates might struggle in a 1v2 scenario. This delicate balance between farming for key items and maintaining lane presence is a common challenge.

If Bat Rider’s slightly greedier playstyle isn’t executed well, it diminishes his potential value, making it tempting to opt for a different support hero. The effectiveness of Bat Rider, therefore, hinges on both the player’s skill in maximizing farm efficiency without compromising lane support and the team’s ability to adapt to this strategic approach.

Utilizing Bat Rider’s Lasso Against BKB Carries

Bat Rider excels in controlling key targets, particularly BKB-reliant carries like Sven. His ability to initiate with Lasso, even against heroes under BKB, disrupts enemy positioning and significantly reduces their impact during crucial team fights. This strategic utility underscores Bat Rider’s role in dictating the pace of engagements, making him a formidable presence on the battlefield. The challenge lies in timing and positioning, as well as the coordination with teammates to maximize the disruption caused by his Lasso. This aspect of Bat Rider’s gameplay showcases the nuanced balance between aggressive play and strategic foresight, essential for turning the tide of battles in favor of his team.

Terrorblade’s Viability as Support

Terrorblade, traditionally seen as a carry, has shown potential in the support role, particularly in position four, though some may argue he fits well as a position five too. Despite skepticism due to its unconventional nature, Terrorblade can excel in the laning phase with his abilities, such as Reflection and Metamorphosis, providing strong kill potential from level two.

This potency, however, may hinge on having synergistic carry heroes that offer stuns or slows, as Terrorblade alone lacks these utilities. Sunder offers strategic saves, while his ability to spam illusions can be leveraged for vision and lane pushing.

The novelty of playing Terrorblade in a support role has not fully caught on in all professional circles, but where it has, it often serves as a flexible draft pick. This flexibility can be particularly valuable in professional play, where Terrorblade can be a counter or complement to certain draft strategies, making him an intriguing option for those willing to experiment.

Considering Terrorblade in Current Meta

While not every team is ready to adopt Terrorblade as a support, his effectiveness in the role has been noted, especially when used as a flex pick in professional drafts. This adaptability allows teams to keep their options open, deciding between running Terrorblade as either a carry or a support based on the evolving draft. His performance in either position offers a testament to his versatility and the strategic depth he brings to a team.

For those looking to experiment with Terrorblade in a support role, this patch may offer the best opportunity for exploration. Despite the potential for success, the approach requires a degree of courage and willingness to diverge from traditional roles, making it a choice for the more adventurous players.

Adjustments to Vengeful Spirit’s Early Game

Vengeful Spirit has seen significant changes, most notably to her Wave of Terror, which decreased in damage from 85 to 60. This reduction affects her ability to secure ranged creeps, diminishing her early game presence.

Impact on Professional and Pub Play

The nerf impacts her utility in professional games where every creep score is crucial, but she remains a potent choice in pub matches, where the precision of last-hitting is less critical.

Vengeful Spirit’s Strategic Value

Despite the nerfs, Vengeful Spirit retains her core strengths: swap utility, scouting capabilities, negative armor application, and damage amplification through her aura. These attributes ensure her continued relevance in specific strategies, particularly those focusing on negative armor.

Vengeful Spirit’s Continued Viability

Despite nerfs, Vengeful Spirit‘s comprehensive toolkit remains compelling for play. Her capacity to manipulate battles with her swap, coupled with her Wave of Terror for vision and debuff, ensures she remains a valuable asset in team compositions focused on negative armor and strategic engagements.

Grimstroke’s Position in the Meta

Grimstroke’s popularity has waned slightly from the peak of the Shiva’s Guard meta, where his synergy with front-line initiators significantly amplified his impact. While still effective with heroes that naturally build into Shiva’s and similar aggressive items, the shift in meta and the rise of heroes who counter his playstyle, such as Shadow Demon and Lifestealer, have made him a more situational pick.

Adapting to Changing Dynamics

The effectiveness of Grimstroke hinges on the presence of compatible heroes that enhance his abilities, particularly Ink Swell. As the meta evolves, so does the relevance of Grimstroke, making him a tactical choice in drafts that favor his synergies. His potential fluctuates with changes in popular hero picks and item trends, underscoring the importance of adaptability in drafting strategies.

Gyrocopter’s Flexibility in Drafts

Gyrocopter stands out for his versatility in both support and carry roles, making him a strategic pick in drafts. Particularly in pubs, opting for Gyrocopter early can hint at a support role, leveraging his strong laning phase. His skill set, including Rocket Barrage and Homing Missile, offers substantial harass and kill potential, while his ultimate adds significant damage and tactical utility. The ability to delay purchasing Aghanim’s Shard for core items further enhances his adaptability. In professional play, Gyrocopter is valued for his ability to counter picks like Enigma, using Flat Cannon to clear Eidolons efficiently.

Pugna’s Niche in Current Meta

Pugna’s popularity has waned due to the rise of counters like Shadow Demon and the increased prevalence of Revenant’s Brooch, which complicates his defensive capabilities. While still effective in synergistic lineups, particularly with heroes like Storm Spirit that benefit from his life and mana sustain, Pugna faces challenges in asserting his presence against newer item dynamics.

His utility in tempo-driven strategies remains, but the necessity for compatible hero pairings and the additional counters introduced in the meta demand careful consideration in drafting him for pub play.

Phoenix’s Role in the Current Meta

Phoenix has seen a resurgence, possibly due to the prevalence of tanky, strength-based heroes in the current meta, making its percentage-based damage increasingly effective. The synergy between Phoenix and Mars remains a potent combination, with the “egg” protected by Mars’ Arena, showcasing its strength in team compositions. While the coordination for egg protection might be less in pub games, Phoenix’s Fire Spirits prove to be even more effective due to its relative rarity in these matches, often catching opponents off guard with the attack speed slow.

Enchantress’s Adaptability and Current State

Enchantress continues to excel as a lane dominator, akin to a ranged Undying, with her ability to secure lanes effectively. However, the nerf to Mage Slayer, previously a core item in her build, has impacted her usual item progression. Despite this, her capability to push the lane and maintain a tempo-based game remains undiminished. In pubs, Enchantress offers significant scaling potential, and her ability to adapt to various item builds makes her a viable support choice. While Nature’s nerfs have been felt, her fundamental strengths in lane control and mid-game presence continue to make her a formidable pick for those looking to impact the early to mid stages of the game.

Nature’s Prophet’s Adjustments and Impact

Nature’s Prophet’s effectiveness has been notably affected by the cooldown increase on his teleportation ability and the reduction in base damage and Sprout damage. This change significantly impacts his global presence, especially at higher levels of play where frequent teleportation is crucial. Despite these nerfs, Nature’s Prophet remains unparalleled in early global pressure. While he has fallen out of favor in the meta, skilled players can still leverage his unique capabilities to exert influence across the map in both professional and pub games. Success with Nature’s Prophet now demands a more nuanced understanding of his playstyle, distinguishing skilled players from the rest.

IO’s Specific Role in Current Team Compositions

IO’s presence in the draft is highly conditional, thriving in specific team compositions and suffering in others. This has led to a decreased frequency of IO picks in both professional play and pub games, where coordination is often lacking. Despite the challenges, when properly integrated with the right heroes, IO demonstrates formidable strength, suggesting potential underutilization. For players interested in exploring IO, especially in coordinated team environments like party games, there lies an opportunity to harness this hero’s unique strengths, though success typically requires effective communication and a strategic approach to hero pairing.

Enigma’s Strategic Flexibility

Enigma emerges as a versatile choice in the draft, favored by some teams while overlooked by others. Primarily seen in the offlane or as a hard support, Enigma’s ability to generate Eidolons provides not only a means for effective lane harassment but also for denying own creeps, thereby securing a lane advantage.

This tactic shifts the balance of power in the early game, potentially leading to kills or significant damage with the aid of Malefice and Eidolon attacks. However, in pub games, the transition of support Enigmas into a more jungle-focused role post-early game can lead to challenges, mirroring the difficulties faced by heroes like Batrider in balancing aggressive early play with a need for farm.

Considering Enigma in Late-Game Pub Scenarios

Enigma holds a unique position in pub games due to the game-changing potential of Black Hole in the late game. This ability alone makes Enigma a worthy consideration for support roles in games that tend to extend into later stages, where a well-placed Black Hole can decisively swing team fights. While the hero requires a nuanced approach to maximize early-game impact without compromising team stability, the late-game potential offers a compelling argument for Enigma’s inclusion in various team compositions.

Bane’s Niche and Comparative Analysis

Bane has seen experimental play, possibly seeking to capitalize on the utility of BKB-piercing abilities like Fiend’s Grip, similar to the strategic applications of Shadow Demon and Batrider. However, Bane’s reliance on channeling for Fiend’s Grip, coupled with his immobility during its execution, presents limitations compared to the more versatile control offered by other heroes. This comparison highlights the considerations teams must weigh when selecting heroes for their lineup, especially in roles requiring the management of enemy BKBs.

Bane and Batrider’s Control Mechanics

Bane and Batrider offer unique control mechanisms, with Batrider’s Lasso maintaining its grip even if he is stunned, contrasting with Bane’s Fiend’s Grip, which ceases upon the caster’s interruption. While both heroes have counters such as Shadow Demon and Vengeful Spirit, Batrider and Bane are adept at isolating targets. Bane, despite being effective, hasn’t shown the same level of impact as Batrider in disrupting key opponents, making him a less favorable option currently.

Shadow Shaman’s Role and Limitations

Shadow Shaman shares similarities with Bane in terms of control through channeling abilities but lacks BKB-piercing capabilities. This limitation, alongside the channeling vulnerability, currently diminishes his effectiveness in roles where uninterrupted control is crucial. Despite this, Shadow Shaman’s utility in lockdown and push strategies keeps him as a conditional pick.

Experimenting with Leshrac as Support

Leshrac offers a different dynamic as a support, emphasizing tempo with Diabolic Edict for objective-taking and team fights. The spell’s potential, especially when combined with items like Arcane Boots and Mekansm, caters to a team-oriented playstyle. However, this approach demands early game coordination, often missing in pub games. As a result, adapting Leshrac’s build to include more mana regeneration and farming capabilities might be necessary, albeit at the cost of diminishing his unique strengths compared to other heroes better suited for the support role without such constraints.

Pub Performance vs. Professional Play

Many heroes in the C and D tiers exhibit strong win rates in pub games, which might raise questions about their low placement on tier lists. Heroes like Abaddon, Warlock, Witch Doctor, Venomancer, and Treant Protector perform well in less coordinated environments typical of pub matches. However, their effectiveness diminishes at the professional level, where drafting strategies and team coordination render these heroes less viable. The most commonly seen heroes in professional matches tend to come from the higher tiers, with C and D tier heroes more likely to appear in the initial phases of qualifiers rather than in higher-stakes matches.

Understanding Tier Placement and Drafting Dynamics

The distinction between pub game viability and professional play readiness highlights the importance of understanding drafting dynamics and the role of hero coordination in competitive settings. While C and D tier heroes might shine in pub games, their presence becomes less pronounced as the competitive level increases. This discrepancy underscores the nuanced approach required in professional drafting, emphasizing strategic compatibility over individual hero win rates.

Resources for Improving Gameplay

For players interested in deepening their understanding of specific heroes, including those in lower tiers, guides and build examples are available. These resources can provide valuable insights into optimizing gameplay across different tiers, offering strategies tailored to enhancing performance both in pub games and in the evolving landscape of professional play.

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