Define Carry, Ganker, and Tank

Discussion in 'DotA Chat' started by Kiry0, Feb 3, 2011.

  1. Kiry0

    Kiry0 Member

    I have seen threads on worst and best carries and I am confused about who is categorized where. I would have assumed that a carry was a massive dps agil hero, a ganker is an invis/fast moving hero/anyone with a blink stick, and a tank was a massive HP str hero. But with reading threads about how AA can carry and how BH is a ganker not a carry I am wondering what defines these categories.

    I am a nub to these forums I know so take it easy, I hate breaking the 50 post unsaid rule but I really am trying to hone my skills from the average pubber to maybe getting into comp games.

    PS Not looking for a list of which heros go where just a reasonable definition so that I can figure it out myself.

  2. Otaia

    Otaia Well-Known Member

    A carry is generally defined as any hero that has high lategame (or mid-late these days) potential with the right items. This definition isn't limited to agi heroes, and not all agi heroes are carries. Carry potential usually comes from skills that add a lot of survivability, AoE damage, or disables.

    Gondar is not a carry because he has nothing that really makes him shine lategame other than a 17+3.0 agi growth. He's fragile, he has no skills that boost his survivability or damage other than a crit/maim on a 6 second cooldown and a really crappy nuke, and he doesn't really have the ability to farm lategame items unless his team already has the upper hand in kills. In a big lategame teamfight, Gondar is unlikely to be the one dominating and getting all the kills (in a somewhat organized game, at least).

    Faceless Void, on the other hand, is a carry. Although he's just about as fragile (not counting skills) and his damage is about the same, his skills are much more powerful lategame. He has a blink/slow, 25% evasion, 25% bash, and a huge AoE disable that gives him enough time to take out multiple units once he's farmed enough.

    There are quite a few non-agi carries as well. Even though Necrolyte doesn't do much physical damage, he has an incredibly powerful AoE nuke/heal on a 5 sec cd, but he can't really spam it until he has items for mana, and enough tanking ability to use it more than twice in a teamfight.

    The roles aren't set in stone; there's a lot of overlap and you don't have to assume every hero is only good at doing one thing. Any hero can also be a semi-carry if they scale well into lategame. For example, Windrunner has a great skillset that can be useful throughout the game and has carry potential, but is generally outclassed by true carries (once they have their items).
  3. MalTheAwesome

    MalTheAwesome Well-Known Member

    Here's how I define them. Gankers are people who have the nukes or disables to suddenly pop out and kill someone. For instance, although pudge has high hp and a magic damage reducing passive, he's not tank. He can't stand physical damage enough, and why build him to recieve damage when he can keep carries from farming enough to deal it? Pudge can take a hit very well, but once he gets enough kills, so anyone who plays him knows he's a ganker/support.

    I'm gonna name a role you forgot about, support. Supporters are people who keep the carry healthy and alive and don't require many items. They usually have some sort of disable that allows the heavy damage dealing carry to destroy the enemy hero for exp and gold. For instance, vs. Although some play vs as a carry, all of her dps skills and her nuke all benefit allies more than her. Vs even has swap, which has the potential to kill her in order to kill an enemy of greater importance.

    Tanks are heroes who stay in the enemy's face and give them trouble, forcing them to focus the tank. Tide is a good example, as, with his kraken shell, he can sustain a lot of physical damage(I tower dive with him and suffer only a smidgen of health loss, let's put it that way) and his disables make him feared. His ultimate is just plain annoying.

    Carries are a wide category, but usually divide into 3 groups. Semi carries are gankers who have some dps ability or something that benefits from items and allows them to really be dangerous late game. Mirana and Lanaya come to mind, as they gank and have enough dps to carry late game. However, they don't carry anywhere near as well as true carries.

    Mid game carries are carries who also gank, but they carry better than semi carries and need more farm to be useful. Sf and storm fit into this category, as they need a few cores, but are very nice gankers. Meepo fits into this category as well. Basically, these are hard carries who need skill to play well.

    Late game carries are, imo, usually boring. They are pure right clickers who farm all day then do boring team fights. Usually they have a means of mobility or get blink dagger, and from there they have a combo somewhere along the lines of, "mobility, self buff, right click, trololwinlol". Examples of this are Troll Warlord and Sven. Troll being a farm all day then pwn carry, Sven being a farm and try to gank when needed, go through a few team fights, and pwn late game carry. Yes, I'm biased.

    Also, there are hybrids. For instance, you can play Panda as a ganker, initiator, tank, and a carry. This is because all of his skills are versatile like that, he does need some farm though, so he can't be a pure support. His ult allows him an escape mek and ganking tool that allows him to carry very well, tank damage then survive, and ganker extremely nicely.

    Hope this wall of text helps. ^_^
  4. seberdays

    seberdays Well-Known Member

    sven is not a ganker?
  5. fireblaze762

    fireblaze762 Well-Known Member

    Hard Carries are generally heroes who can utilise farm extremely effectively, with each item increasing their potential by a lot. They are very powerful mid-lategame. They will spend the whole time farming, and generally more gold intensive than level intensive.Examples include Void, Mort, Spec, Dusa, Drow

    Semi carries are generally heroes who can utilise both farm and levels effectively, who generally peak at around a certain level and with a certain item (e.g bkb). Each additional item makes them stronger, but does not increase their potential as much as a hard carry. They will often gank a fair bit midgame, but still scale effectively into lategame. Examples include SF, Storm

    Ganker carry: These are generally heroes who are given farm at the very beggining of the game so they can be set to rape face midgame. They often do not have particularly strong lategame, but if they can a minor amount of gold/levels they are extremely powerful midgame and are reasonably powerful lategame. They are generally level intensive, often aiming for a fast level 6 OR they are extremely powerful trilaners.
    Examples include Bat, visage, puck, lion
  6. Varuka

    Varuka Well-Known Member

    Most heroes can be played in more than one role. On the forums people generally refer to heroes by their most common role. It's totally possible to play a support Mortred, by leveling dagger early, putting 1 point in blink, and then maxing blur and stats.. for items grab Janggo, RoB, mek, etc.

    As such, when referring to specific games, hero roles are different from the generic ones. The last game I played had a carry Venge, for example (usually venge is played as a roaming ganker / support... this one went 15/3, IIRC), and a support Slithice.

    This is also part of the reason why people disagree so much with the terminology. In different regions / levels of play, heroes can be used vastly differently.. Storm Spirit (Raijin Thunderkeg), for example, is played as any of: carry, ganker, or support, depending on the skill of the player, the region, and the level of play.

    I've carried pubs with AA / Chen, and I've ended up playing support SF.. that doesn't make AA as a hero a carry, or SF a support hero. That said, most heroes have a few roles they can fit in best, though.
  7. Raul222

    Raul222 Well-Known Member

    So if you dont like to read wall of text
    Support heroes are heroes like cm , venge , lich , heroes that can do their job without needing items, usually they have disables or skills that buff their team ( lich-armor, venge auras).
    Tanks and carrys on the other hand are very tricky. There are some "natural tanks" like tide, axe and normal carrys like never,sniper ,but there are also tank-carrys like medusa , razor , necro, alche . Heroes that left alone are quit squishy but with the right items and with skills they are unkillable and can dish out huge dmg and as such they can carry the team.
    Also good carrys have some skills that lets them farm easy, alche has spray , dusa has her snake , never razes , and so on. Heroes like void magina are rarely used just because they lack that, even tho they are beasts in late game.

    Edit : damn it wall of text again
  8. Kiido

    Kiido Well-Known Member

    I have said this many times: there is no such thing as a tank in the game of DotA.

    The idea of a tank probably originated from online RPGs like WoW, where you get a beefy character (who's not good for very much else other than being the thickest guy around) to stand right up in the front of the battle, and then proceeding to soak up the NPCs' attacks (since they are programmed to aggro the first guy within range). Such a tank fulfills a very specific niche - he most often has inadequate damage, lack of good support skills, but his usefulness comes from the fact that he can take a bullet for his team, absorbing the NPC's attacks for them, while the softer damage-dealer characters take it down.

    DotA, obviously, is not a player-vs-monsters game. You can make the beefiest, toughest haro around, but nobody is gonna aim him for two good reasons. One, he's the hardest hero in his team to kill. And two, he poses the least threat.

    Just think about it this way. Would you want to aim the 3k HP Centaur, with a skill that hurts you when you attack him, and who also has 100 DPS?
    Would you rather get at that frail little 948 HP Mortred, who deals 600 DPS?

    It's a very logical choice: nobody is gonna aim a "tank" just because he has the biggest damage-taking capability. In fact, that would be totally counter-productive, devoting yourselves to the weakest member of the enemy that incidentally also takes the longest to bring down.

    So it would seem that the team's "tank" would be the hero that not only poses a significant threat, but also isn't the toughest guy around. However, we still need to make one more distinction: and I'll introduce the concept of threat-over-time.

    To give another example, we'll take Centaur again. The poster-boy of the "tank" role, who is ironically one of the worst tanks around, as I've already explained. Anyway, to get on point, I'm sure we can all agree that Centaur poses a threat on the battlefield, quite a decent one. His stomp deals nuke damage and a massively long stun in an AoE, while Double Edge is a fearsome single-target nuke.

    These properties of Centaur pose a threat, no doubt. But they don't pose threat-over-time. This is a very crucial difference. While Centaur can blink in, do his stomp-D.E combo, he is virtually useless after that. You almost cannot stop him from doing his spells, not only because they are instantly cast, but also since a decent Centaur will have his blink. Coupled with his return and shit-ton of HP, Centaur is probably the least-priority target on the battlefield.

    Nobody will bother to aim him, and he has therefore completely failed in his supposed role as a "tank".

    And now, the opposition to such a hero: the DPSer. The DPS hero poses a threat, likewise, but with one big difference: this threat is a function of time. DPS is dealt over time, the implication of which is that if you eliminate the DPS hero early in the fight, you mitigate the threat that he/she poses, in juxtaposition to the caster hero, who'll most likely get off their nuke/disable whether or not you choose to send your attacks their way.

    So whatever you might have heard pretty much goes out the window. "Centaur is a tank", "Axe is a tank", "buying a radiance makes you a tank", all these are good examples of fallacious reasoning.

    The role of "tank" has never existed in the game of DotA. People are smart, they won't stubbornly focus the biggest, buffest guy on the enemy team (well, most of them that is). It all boils down to the concept of threat-over-time.

    Any threat that is time-sensitive can be reduced, by reducing the time the hero has in which to deal it. People will concentrate their fire on the biggest source of threat-over-time, because it is the only logical choice, the one that promises them the greatest chance of winning.

    tl;dr: Tanks don't exist. Refer to wall of text for further details.
  9. Kiido

    Kiido Well-Known Member

    Fuck double-post
  10. Denki

    Denki Banned

    ^ Yeah bro we get it you said it many times. Many times, it was, that you already double-posted a wall of text.
  11. BenchBreaker

    BenchBreaker Well-Known Member

    wall of text do not apply in pubs, where ppl will focus the first/biggest hero they see

    hence tanks are a valid and often important role in pubs, hence the frequent enquirers about "who are the best tanks"
  12. C.cL-CaLL_Me

    C.cL-CaLL_Me Well-Known Member

    ^tiny with lvl 3 ulti?
  13. Maya

    Maya Well-Known Member


    First of all, I've never supported the term 'tank' in the RPG games in first place. Tank implies a huge indestructible machine that wrecks havoc.

    That is not the case in RPG games. Tanks in RPG and "tanks" in DotA are quite different. Now that we are clear about this :D

    Never forget the psychological factor in the game. When a huge flashy hero suddenly blinks next to you and casts an imba skill that stuns for ten minutes or halves your hit points, your first reaction would probably be to disable or nuke him immediately. The secondary role of initiators ("tanks") is to soak up the barrage of magic because they are pretty much useless afterwards anyway. Here's where the "tanking" thing comes up.

    After the tank appears, naturally you would take some time, however minute, to evaluate the situation. The heroes you are talking about often come together with a huge, flashy model, with huge, flashy spells, that obscure the environment. Basically, they create a mess for their team to follow up. In the mess, searching around for a hero to target takes a bit longer than usual, and you need a lot of experience to overcome the instinct of "hitting on meat", i.e. the closest thing to you that poses a threat.

    Now when you think about the element of surprise and the disadvantage of having no knowledge or expectation of the enemy team positioning, plus the weakened state of your own team immediately after the "tank has fired all the cannons", DotA's tanks justify their term much more, don't they?
  14. Kiido

    Kiido Well-Known Member

    ^ You're right there, a strong psychological element does come into play.

    The typical mentally-deficient pub thinks to himself "OMG that 100 DPS Centaur is burning me for 30 HP A SECOND with his radiance I MUST AIM HIM and tear myself to shreds from return even though there is a Drow dishing out 500 DPS!!!!!1".

    Of course against more experienced foes, this is less likely to happen. With experience comes a better understanding of the heroes, and they will most likely have a subconscious gauge of each heroes impact on the battlefield, and won't simply aim the biggest guy who gets in their face.
  15. fireblaze762

    fireblaze762 Well-Known Member

    Generally 'tanks' are Agi/Int heroes with reasonable hp, and great passives or highly spammable, damaging skills.
    Strength heroes (bar alch ofc) are generally terrible tanks due to their slow farming abiliy, Lowish armour and lack of powerful passives while still maintaining threats.

    Buying tank items is generally very easy, while increasing threat level is generally much harder. For example, think about an necrolyte with Mek, and then think about a cent with crystalis. Necro is a much superior tank.

    'Tanks' are generally strongest when they have powerful aoe 'DoT' skills that slowly inflict i high rate of damage. Basically a hero who has high damage without actually needing to explictly attack, is generally the best 'tank'. Give them some Vg/hood and they will be not only a prime target, but also difficult to kill.

    A prime example is necrolyte. He has lowish Hp/armour, but is a massive threat if not dealt with.
    Every second he deals 1% damage to everyone opponent
    Every 5 seconds he heals his team by 135 hp, or rouphly 27hp regen (if he has mana)
    Every 5 seconds he deals 275 damage, or rouphly 55 DPS

    If battle lasts long he will be able to get off a good Reapers scythe, which can deal a significant amount of damage.

    With such skills, without even attacking, he needs to be killed quickly (unless he is oom), and buying tank items like vg/hood/mek makes him an ideal tank.
  16. 1. get big kill streak
    2. noobs focus you to try and end it for profit
    3. counter-profit.

    that´s the only way to tank.
  17. Kiido

    Kiido Well-Known Member

    @ fireblaze762:

    Picking out DoT skills as the defining factor of a tank is fallacious. DPS is simply another form of damage, dealt over time. Hell, even arc lightning is damage over time (2.25 second intervals, rather than the usual one second intervals).

    There is conceptually no difference between a radiance burn, a heartstopper aura, and a Mortred's physical attacks.

    They are all damage-dealing skills, they are all time-sensitive, and they all deal damage directly proportional to how long the hero is on the field, making a hero that possesses any of the above a prime target, regardless.

    With that in mind, the only factor that separates one form of threat-over-time from another is the overall battlefield impact. Sure, the radiance burn affects everyone, catching their collective attention. But if the enemy were to look at it rationally (not always the case, though), what do you think is more dangerous to them?

    A radiance, dealing a total of 150 damage every second, split over 5 heroes?

    Or a Mortred that's dealing 1k crits, attacking thrice every second, and who has the potential to completely remove one of your teammates in slightly over a second, as opposed to a measly burn of 30 HP/sec from radi?

    Granted, psychology plays a role. The radiance burn is visually blatant. The Tidehunter that blinks into your midst is an immediate threat, which brings on your emotional responses, calling for immediate action. But against calm, experienced enemies, this attention-whoring tank strategy loses it's effectiveness.
  18. fireblaze762

    fireblaze762 Well-Known Member

    DoT does not explicitly refer to actual 'DoT' skills like Poison nova, but more than a hero can consistently deal damage, over a long period of time, preferably without even attacking and dealing it in an aoe.

    Its basically saying that heroes like centaur, who's damage is limited to Stomp+double edge combo, is fairly weak tank as opponents wont attack it as it poses no threat over a long period of time.
    On the other hand, a necrolyte or dusa may not have an immediate effect, but if not dealt with quickly you will sustain a lot of damage, and their team mates will be much harder to kill.

    On a hero like mortred, you dont want to tank, and you really wont tank, although its likely you will get focus fired when you dont have Bkb active.
    Mortred excels when the oppponents are attacking one of your other heroes, and she blinks in and quickly destroys a support hero using her blinkstrike. Mort works best when she is unnoticed, hence the idea of 'phantom assasin'. Playing her as an actual 'tank' (vang+blur gives alot of survival) works decently, although she becomes minimalish threat and will be relagated to more of a ganker using dagger. If you dont agree, watch the showmatch with ZSMJ playing tank PA, and see how useless he was lategame.

    Many heroes are high threats, its just the problem of whether they can remain high threats while only buying tank items, or whether they have enough mana and low enough cooldown skills to warrant them surviving longer and finally whether they need to be in the middle of the fight, as that will result in them taking many aoe nukes.
    On a hero like lich, theres minimal point in tanking him up, since he probably already FA'ed his team, and if he gets off chainfrost, his Job is done and his only use will be frost novaing every 6 seconds. While a hero like zeus, who continuosly nukes would be a prime target, doing significant damage over a long time, but he is limited to mana, and in general tanking him up isn't as good as just positioning yourself correctly.

    Finally: If a hero tanks damage, its highly likely that they will also get stunned. Hence, they often wont be able to actually attack and thus since tanks dont get bkb, its generally better if you can deal damage without attacking, E.g Alch with radi+acid spray.
  19. Dejaime

    Dejaime Well-Known Member

  20. Leadblast

    Leadblast Banned

    I would define tank as a hero that has lots of EHP. A hero that has either a lot of HP, armor, HP regen or a really good combination of those factors. That's all there is to it, really. You can't say that tank is a hero who forces the opposition to focus him, because there's only 1 hero in Dota capable of that (Axe), but the others can still tank to a degree.

    A carry is a hero which has the potential to kill the entire enemy team, or at least a considerable part of it, either by physical DPS, items, spells or combination of those. Though if I may say, "carry" is sort of a non-sensical term for the context. I would rather call them "destroyers" because that's their job - to destroy the enemy team.

    Ganker is sort of like carry but with less killing potential. Generally gankers should have some sort of disable. You just can't kill without disables.

    yes, my definitions are somewhat ill.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2011