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Discussing the roles of a Tank in DotA

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Forum » Theory Crafting » Discussing the roles of a Tank in DotA 13 posts - page 1 of 2
Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep by Unscathed » November 7, 2014 4:06pm | Report
In DotA, roles are diverse and each has its own usage. There are the (pre-memory)

Now i would like to ask about the actual role of Tank. In DotA, tanks are called as Durables in the in-game roles.

In many games, Tanks are roles that adept at absorbing/receiving damage for the party. To do this efficiently, Tanks requires stats that softens the damage taken to the Tank. These stats can be raw HP, increasing health to soak more damage. There are also armor, which reduces damage taken from physical damage. And lastly, there is magoc resistance, which is quite self-explanatory. Armor and resistance can be increased according to the condition, but HP is always a good indrease.

Most tanks has abilitirs to drive the attacking enemies to attack the tank instead. This directs the damage of the weaker party member to the Tank, preventing damage to be taken. This is what most heroes in DotA lacks, which is a huge downfall to the usage of Tanks. Tanks in DotA requires themselves to barge in the frontlines, hoping the enemy to focus them.

In DotA, the lack of utilities in the role of Tanks makes them underwhelming. However, the term Tank is often used as heroes who can soak up many damage, which is more of an adjective word.

Now, to the point of the roles of Tanks.

The number of Tanks in DotA is not low, in fact quite a lot. Some extremely tanky heroes are:

Dragon Knight- His abilities grants him a lot of armor which makes him naturally powerful against physical damages.

Huskar- He is naturally tanky and his ability grants him powerful magic resistance

Although low, there are heroes that has the abilty to direct enemy attacks to themselves.

Axe- Directing enemy attacks to himself, and has a side effect to increase armor to the very high level to nullifies the damage. When attacked, he has a chance to perform a helix that damages the units nearby.

Legion Commander- Adept at 1v1 battles, she is able to direct only one target, but to a long duration. Late game, she could fight the main carry to prevent them attacking her allies, or to focus them down easily.

There are also heroes whose tankiness is often used as an adjective.

Viper & Razor- They are basically the meaning of a Tanky Carry. They have strong tank capablities, but often used as a way to survive but not soaking damage directly.

So the actual roles of Tanks in the game is quite debatable. There are heroes who adept at soaking damages directly for the allies, but often times heroes that have powerful tank capabilities used it only to survive, but does not contribute to allied survival. Even though so, many heroes used their tankiness to barge in and fight in the frontlines to survive. This includes Huskar and Dragon Knight. So from this short work of texts, it could be said that the roles of tanks in DotA are:
  • As a means to simply survive
  • As a means to fight in the frontlines savely
  • As a means to soak damage for the allies (a little lackluster)

So post your thoughts in the comment sections below.
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Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep by Sanvitch » November 7, 2014 4:29pm | Report
I mean, I'd argue that the reason there are relatively limited true tanks in DOTA is because they lack the means to really make the opponent force on them in team-fights, which is the entire point of them. I mean, why if given the choice would you focus on the bulky guy who probably isn't dealing massive damage (Due to being a Tank rather than a straight DPSer) But I would say the role is still true for certain Heroes, namely the ones who force attention due to either being jump initiators (Like Centaur Warrunner or Dragon Knight with a Blink Dagger, and thus are in first, and thus either force aggro onto themselves, or force the enemy to run) or they are Heroes who can't be ignored through a teamfight because the add so much over the course of a team-fight that they can't be ignored ((Like Necrophos who between Mek, and Death Pulse can easily give 500+ extra health to people over a teamfight, or Bristleback who if ignored will eventually inflict massive DPS with Warpath and Quill Spary).

Simply running into the enemy without a better form of iniation, tank or no, will simply let you get focused and killed to quick. Because the enemy has both plenty of time to react, and thus make a decision, and can get superior positioning, and thus have a higher likelyhood of winning a team-fight, tank or no. And as such being a pure tank just falls to work for those heroes, and they instead have to rely on other things to make them useful.

However, if you do have a line-up that looks more like it's going to be initiated on, rather than forcing initiations itself, then these forms of tanks are ore viable, but the issue remains as to how you need to force the aggro onto you instead of on your squishy squishy supports.

So I'd actual argue that just because a Hero in DOTA can be classed as Durable, it does not mean they can be a traditional tank - It simply means they aren't squishy.

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Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep by Blubbles » November 7, 2014 4:36pm | Report
They are called "durables" becuase they are exactly that. There is no true "Tank" someone who absorbs all the damage, just heroes who can take alot of damage.
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Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep by Timminatorr » November 7, 2014 4:40pm | Report
I wouldnt say tank is a role. Its more of an attribute of the hero. You can play a game without a tanky hero, you cant without any carry potential or any support. The enemy team doesnt have a consistent stream of damage that someone needs to absorb, you can evade the opponents damage or even prevent them from using it at all.

Tank is more of a specific hero quality like being good at chasing or being elusive in fights like weaver/tinker/slark.

I would say roles in dota at its bare bones are: carry, support, initiator. With ofcourse a lot of overlapping and different hero qualities like tankyness.


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Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep by Nubtrain » November 7, 2014 6:12pm | Report
Yup what Timminator said, ever heard someone say that's a tanky or beefy hero? That just means tank heroes can take more damage than other heroes. The only hero who is remotely close to being a "tank role" of your description is Axe.

There's also a reason why a lot of players prefer calling cores and supports position 1-5. Gives a good idea of who has farm priority since most heroes are very diverse in playstyle (i.e: [[Wraith King, Windranger, Mirana, Leshrac)


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Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep by Xyrus » November 7, 2014 7:27pm | Report
Timminatorr wrote:

Tank is more of a specific hero quality like being good at chasing or being elusive in fights like weaver/tinker/slark.

This ^

Ultimately, it's arguable how you build a Hero or use them, and no one Hero can "Tank" for his Team in the true sense of the word - taking Damage in their place. Heroes like Axe and Legion Commander can certainly direct a lot of attention onto themselves, but that's due to them being good at locking down Heroes.

Hell, there isn't even a clear "Initiator" Role. Is there only one Hero who can start a fight? no...any Hero can setup a fight just by running in and not scaring the other Team away from the fight (a.k.a. YOLO Crystal Maiden Initiation 8{3 ), given the right circumstances, any Hero can take an opportunity by performing an aggressive action and cause a subsequent Teamfight. Large Ultimates like Ravage may be favourable Initiation tools, but so can a simple Nuke, like Void or Overwhelming Odds. (don't beleive me? just imagine using Overwhelming Odds when a Meepo, Riki, Enigma, et al are Pushing your Tower while clumped Initiation eva! <}3 )

The closest thing DOTA has to a Tank are those Heroes that exceed in annoying the enemy if left unfocused, but not being the ideal target for stuns and Nukes due to how much time and resources it can take to bring them down, e.g. Bristleback, Tidehunter, Axe, etc. They suit being Aggressive and getting into people's faces, but they can also be played other ways as well, e.g. Tidehunter and Legion Commander can be good Initiators.


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Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep by Metabee » November 7, 2014 8:41pm | Report
I get your point Unscathed, and it'd be more interesting to have more tanks instead of Axe and Legion Commander.

I'd really like to point out some guys though:

Abaddon fits the role since he could take indirect damage for you, heal you and protect you. Even his Aghanim's Scepter upgrade lets you soak the AoE damage for your team. His problem is that now everyone knows his tricks and stays forgotten in teamfights.

Phoenix plays very fun mind games: You could initiate in some place with Supernova and your team in beside; it's horrible to force you think this fast in either attacking the sun or swallowing the damage and the big stun. With proper positioning, he could fit the role, and he even lowers enemies' attack speed.

Tusk is beefy and could make some plays with the Snowball 4 second protection time: invulnerability.

Indeed, there are many skills and "Durable" heroes in the game, but lacks the true "redirecting damage" other than Berserker's Call.


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Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep by Sando » November 8, 2014 4:18am | Report
Abaddon can literally tank for his team with a Scepter...

I don't think DOTA really encourages tanks in the same way as the classic trio of Tank/Healer/DPS, however, having at least some durability on the team is often desirable. Especially in pubs you can end up with situations where:

1) The squishy agi carry doesn't want to go in first
2) The squishy supports don't want to go in first
3) Your counter-initiating Sand King or Enigma doesn't necessarily want to go in first
4) Your less than beefy offlaner is wary of approaching

This can make it really difficult to do what you need to do in a teamfight - maybe somebody is going to die in order to win the fight, but it's nobody's role to be the first one over the top. Durable heroes can be quite useful here, same with being the primary chaser in a tower dive or something.

While tanking is not a complete role per say - being the most "exposed" hero and being able to absorb damage is important. Quite often some heroes from either side will be behind the main line and desperate to cast in case they die - it's often the easy option to throw out your abilities at the only hero in range.

I'd say in DOTA it's quite important for heroes in the tank/durable role to maintain some kind of threat as well as damage soaking - e.g. Abaddon with a Skull Basher is pretty hard to ignore.
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Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep by rasro » November 8, 2014 4:51am | Report
I think there are a few reason why tank/durable role is exist : survive, protect allies espeically a carry,who is quite weak in early game, go in first place if your other allies will die instantly if damaged a lot. But i didn't say you can't play any game without they. They are not as important as carry or support. So they just a hero that can take more damage from enemy than other heroes.


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Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep by MuoiKhoang » November 8, 2014 6:35am | Report
Most people misunderstand the term tank, I feel.
A tank is very important. Try to play a team of 5 ranged, squishy heroes and you know the feel when their tide hunter managed to blink right next to you while you are distracted by the other 4. A team NEED at least one hero who can stand between his teammates and the other team, while being able to take a lot of damage in case they initiate.
Let say you got a team of Invoker, Drow Ranger, Sand King, Riki and Silencer (I know, bad team, but hey, it's pub). There is no front line for this team. There is no hero on this team that can really lead a charge through the jungle because they will get insta-gib if somebody jump on them with a Black King Bar. Drow and invoker kinda want to stay back to do damage, SK and Silencer stay even further back to counter-initiate. Then does that mean Riki will be your front line with his pathetic HP? However, if, say you replace SK with Sven , a natural tanky hero and can itemize to be even tankier, you are more confident when fighting.


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