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What are the playstyles of the different roles?

I've just started to play Dota 2, and I'm still struggling to understand the terms used in game.
I think I can make a good guess at what is an initiator(a hero that starts a fight), but what are the characteristics of an initiator?

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marked as duplicate by StrixVaria, Drake, Kotsu, Sorean, Fluttershy May 2 '12 at 17:09

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See also here for a general definition: gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/43173/… –  Philipp May 2 '12 at 12:01
    
@Philipp thanks for the link –  Kappei May 2 '12 at 12:02

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You are right, an initiator is someone who starts a fight in the team.

Generally, the abilities that allow them to take this role would be stuns and crowd control abilities, and also abilities, that mess with the opposing teams positioning.

Some good examples of initiating heroes/abilities would be:

  • Earthshaker - Fissure: Block the opposing team from running away, or potentially split melee heroes.
  • Tidehunter - Ravage: Stuns a very large area.
  • Puck - Dream Coil: Mini stun + damage for a decent radius, heroes that attempt to run are damaged and stunned again.
  • Warlock - Chaotic Offering: Stuns everyone near the summoned demon, who does damage to anyone standing near it while it's alive.
  • Venomancer - Poison Nova: High damage DoT and slow to all nearby units. 1200 damage at level three (without Aghanim's Scepter).
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So could Tiny, with Avalanche, be considered a viable initiator, or are there other characteristics I should look for outside stuns? –  Kappei May 2 '12 at 8:56
    
tiny can be ofc. but instead of stunning many opponents tiny should focus 1 support to kill him instantly forcing a 5v4 teamfight. –  Wandang May 2 '12 at 9:01
    
on another sidenote. initiator often do not require much farm/items (for example dagger) and tend to die after they jumped in and did their spells. tiny should not die often because he scales well into the lategame while Earthshaker or tide do not. –  Wandang May 2 '12 at 9:03
    
Yes he could, his avalanche hits for a decent area so it can stun quite a few heroes. I didn't post a full list of all the initiators. It's also quite common for initiators to purchase a Blink Dagger, which can greatly enhance the ability to start a fight. There's a full list of initiators here dota2wiki.com/wiki/Category:Initiators –  Dracs May 2 '12 at 9:07

An initiator is someone who can force a fight to happen and give your team a significant advantage while doing so. The key here is that when an initiator starts a teamfight properly, the other team shouldn't have the opportunity to simply run away, usually because of long stuns. This gives your team an opening to close the distance and follow up on the initiation.

The three most common initiators right now in high tier play are Tidehunter, Sand King, and Earthshaker- in that order. All three have significant AoE stun and AoE damage and with a Blink Dagger (or more and more frequently even without one) can give your team an opening or change a fight in seconds.

Other less commonly used or less capable initiators are Enigma, Puck, Vengeful Spirit, Tiny, Faceless Void, Stormspirit, Axe, Sven, Slardar, Warlock, and Clockwerk. Many of these are better as gankers because they specialize in killing a single target rather than dealing AoE, but will transition into initiators later in the game because of their ability to separate a key opponent and with a coordinated team eliminate him before any spells can be cast.

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