While waiting for the new data to gain significance and the latest mini-patch to have a calculable effect on the meta, we decided to do something fun: look at the Dota 2 hard disables and arrange them in a tier list. This post is definitely going to be subjective and we are not claiming otherwise, so feel free to share your opinions as well. Without further ado, let’s get started!
We once called Sinister Gaze the worst disable in the game, but with the release of Void Spirit and his Aether Remnant, there are two Hypnosis effects in the game. Both of them are terrible in their own way, yet there are common weaknesses as well. For example, both these disables are dispellable with any dispel, meaning you can Lotus Orb a teammate from them.
They also have pretty underwhelming duration to cooldown ratio, with 2 seconds of pull on Remnant and 2.3 on Sinister Gaze. To be fair, the latter can be upgraded in a multitude of ways, but it is very weak out of the box.
There are some neat details worth discussing when it comes to these “worst” disables. For example, Sinister Gaze is a 0-cast point spell, making it ideal when dealing with initiating heroes, as long as the player themself is fast enough. It also turns the enemy, making defensive Force Staff usage problematic. Situationally, it can be very helpful against heroes like Bristleback and Mars as well and given the recent manacost decrease, perhaps even the worst disable is actually quite decent.
Low value single target stuns, weak AoE stuns and situational stuns belong to this category. They are your typical lane ganking and skirmish stuns that get progressively worse, unless improved by either talents or Aghanim’s.
The best example of it is Magic Missile from Vengeful Spirit. It is 1.7 seconds of stun on a 9 second cooldown out of the box and the only reason it wins over Sinister Gaze and Aether Remnant is because it is not channeling and considerably more reliable. You press a button - you get a decent stun. Wraithfire Blast is also here for the same exact reason.
Hard to execute stuns that leave too much room for counterplay like Cold Feet, Homing Missile and Cursed Crown are also here. All three can be improved and the Cursed Crown upgrade is especially annoying to deal with, but as is, they are rarely a nuisance, especially once the enemy gets dispel.
Even seemingly decent Split Earth is also here: it just takes way too much setup to work and is at its best when used as a follow up and even then it is only 2 seconds of stun.
This category is very similar to the previous one, but with much better values. Slithereen Crush gets upgraded to Hoof Stomp with 2.5 seconds of AoE stun. Magic Missile turns into Dragon Tail, which lasts twice as long. Cursed Crown becomes Ink Swell: both easier to execute and harder to counterplay, while providing similar duration. Split Earth becomes Light Strike Array.
These stuns can win teamfights on their own. A well-placed Impale or Earth Spike can save a teammate and allow for a comeback in an engagement, while something like Rolling Boulder from Earth Spirit has a ridiculous uptime and extra mobility slapped on top for good measure.
Lion’s and Shadow Shaman’s Hexes also belong in this category for one simple reason: they are 0-cast point spells with good duration. We also discussed previously how Hexes are often superior to Stuns when dealing with self-dispeling heroes.
Stuns that require some team effort or godly execution, but have some unprecedented stats are also here: Windranger’s Shackleshot and Mirana’s Sacred Arrow can win engagements as follow-ups or even as opening crowd control.
Bane’s Fiend’s Grip, Pudge’s Dismember, Tusk’s Walrus Punch and Spirit Breaker’s Nether Strike are here as well, as the first examples of Spell Immunity-piercing crowd control. The reason they are not higher is simple: the former is channeling and while the damage and the mana drain are nice, it still leaves tons of room for counterplay, unless Bane heavily invests into Spell Immunity of his own. Same logic applies to Pudge.
Tusk’s Walrus Punch is mostly an interrupt — the duration on it is really low. The combination of low duration and sometimes problematic execution also places Nether Strike in this category.
Finally, there are big AoE Fear effects, such as Terrorize from Dark Willow and Shadow Fiend’s Requiem of Souls. They are great and have an enormous teamfight potential, making them borderline A-Tier. However there are two big problems these disables share: they clearly telegraph themselves and Fear is dispellable with any dispel, allowing room for counterplay in many situations, easiest of which is using Lotus Orb on a priority teammate.
This category is reserved for some of the best crowd control in the game or for disables that have extra uses and effects on top. Returning to Tusk, it is understandable if you will find our Snowball in A-Tier placement questionable, but it is what we are going to do. It is just too good of a save, while being a C-Tier stun on top of it.
Somewhat similar logic applies to Nyx Assassin’s Spiked Carapace. It can be used as a pretty strong save when the enemy has a lot of AoE, but it is also one of the best catch mechanics in the game when dealing with long-range barrage of damage.
This category also includes things like Lasso, Duel and Primal Roar: very strong BKB-piercing single target disables. Annoying to play against things like Rolling Thunder, which can seem downright overpowered in certain areas of the map are also here.
We also want to highlight Fissure in this category: while the stun itself is pretty underwhelming and a B-tier at best, the actual, physical obstacle is oftentimes game-breaking. Well-placed Fissure can change the course of a fight with ease.
Finally, big teamfight-changing ultimates should be mentioned as well: Kunkka’s Ghostship and Tidehunter’s Ravage might not be BKB-piercing stuns, but the latter literally covers the whole screen, while the former has one of the strongest side-effects in the game that can make squishy supports feel like tanks. Warlock's Chaotic Offering should similarly be considered for this Tier, as a BKB-piercing interrupt.
Winter Wyvern’s Winter’s Curse and Puck’s Dream Coil are at the very border of A and S-Tier, but the former lacks the team follow-up potential, while the latter requires Aghanim’s Scepter to become S-Tier, which goes against our out-of-the-box policy for this Tier List.
This is the most boring category of them all, as pretty much everyone knows what’s going to appear in S-Tier. BKB-piercing, long duration, AoE disables that can turn around ridiculous amounts of Net Worth deficit are all S-Tier. In no particular order, S-Tier is Faceless Void’s Chronosphere, Enigma’s Black Hole and Reverse Polarity from Magnus. Each of them actually has its strengths and weaknesses, making it impossible to order them.
For example, Chronosphere has the longest duration, but it disables allies as well, making it a risky crowd control and oftentimes limiting the potential DPS. Reverse Polarity is easy to execute and has good duration, but the stun is dispellable with strong dispel and in certain matchups, e.g. Legion Commander, the whole effect can be nullified pretty quickly.
Enigma’s Black hole can be interrupted, which is it’s biggest weakness, but since it is channeling, it also pulls in new arrivals, allowing for extra targets disabled, if they are not cautious enough. It also works wonders against heroes with Self-Dispel, such as Ursa, Slark, Abaddon, Troll Warlord and Tidehunter, who often have no problem getting out of stuns, BKB-piercing or otherwise.
The last Tier is going to be controversial and is going to raise many eyebrows, but there are valid reasons for it. There is a disable in the game that can’t be dispelled, doesn’t require channeling, is AoE and BKB-piercing and has 3.2 seconds of duration on an 11-second cooldown. It is Axe’s Berserker’s Call and it is our pick for the best disable in the game.
Unlike the S-Tier beasts, Berserker’s Call doesn’t require commitment and doesn’t punish whiffs as hard. It can be used multiple times in a fight without the need for Refresher and as such isn’t as powerless against enemies who hold buybacks.
Taunt effects also can’t be dispelled and this can lead to some considerable damage output, especially on Axe with Blade Mail. It is also forcing direction on the enemy, potentially ruining Force Staff saves and coming in handy against certain heroes.
There are two weaknesses the ability has: the 0.4 cast point, compared to 0.3-0.35 on S-Tier abilities and 300 AoE, compared to 410 and 420 on Magnus and Enigma respectively. We feel like the lower cooldown and lower commitment more than make up for that, however we will fully understand if you disagree with us in the comment section below.
What is your favorite disable in the game and what advice would you give on using it?