ZTC – Hero Classifier

Zie’s Three Classification system (ZTC) is what I call my expansive way to distinguish and classify how a Hero will be played while playing pubs. It refers to not only the Roles undertaken that game, but also what the hero will often be capable of, and where the hero ends up.


In about 2012, the 1-5 system was heavily popularized, and is now common place to hear about. I find this system to be primarily catered for professional Dota and Captain games, but starts to fall out of relevance for your standard -All Pick pub. It seems to be originally to talk about Farm Priority, and then was (somewhat questionably) extended into Roles. My system is specifically catered for Dota 2 players playing pubs, which makes the majority of how we play Dota.

The Foundations

A hero can’t be a ‘Carry Hero’, nor can a hero be a ‘Support Hero’. In ZTC, a hero like Faceless Void is an Agility Hero who is primarily played as a Carry. A role simply refers to how a player has chosen to play that hero in that given game, and thus is not a innate part of the hero, but a choice. For example if you play a Solo Mid Ogre-Magi, you aren’t a Support that game, and thus aren’t referred to as one. While some might call a hero by the role they’re predominantly played as, its important to note that every game, you end up choosing a Role, a Lane, and what Characteristics to emphasize.

Each hero can be played in 3 different Roles, and has a variety of Hero Characteristics and Laning Options.

The Roles

There are 3 roles: Carry, Semi-Carry and Support. Every game, you play a hero in one of these 3 roles. Sometimes you start out in one role, but end up transitioning into another due to changing/unexpected circumstances.


When playing as a Carry, you require farm and will primarily focus on being a late game damage source from your team. Your damage output will scale into the late game, and your damage source will be primarily right clicking. Other roles have a tendency to give space for you to become farmed, in order for you to become a potent right clicker.


When playing as a Semi-Carry, you will be one of your team’s farmers, but you will not be the primary farmer. Your aim is to take some farm from the map, and use it as quickly as you can to create space, make plays, and achieve minor objectives (towers, rosh, etc). There are two types of Semi-Carries, Physical and Magical, and Semi Carries as a whole often control the flow and tempo of a game.

A Physical Semi-Carry, which is how Templar Assassin is often played, can often keep up with a Carry’s damage if they perform well enough in the early-to-mid game, and as the name implies, output Physical Damage (Mainly Right-Clicking). Physical Semi-Carries have the added bonus that the team can fall back on them better if the Carry(s) aren’t doing well.

A Magical Semi-Carry, which is how Queen of Pain is often played, will ultimately not be able to keep up with a Carry if they do their job right. Instead, they focus on increasing their Utility, and increase their Magic/Pure damage output. It’s basically any Semi-Carry who isn’t increasing their Right Clicks. Where as a Physical SC will favor items such as Desolator and Manta Style as their 2/3/4th items. A Magical SC will instead favor items such as Mechanism, Necronomicon and Scythe of Vyse.

Semi-Carries should help out Supports and Carries. They are the middle ground, and can pick up the slack if the carry is having problems. Likewise, if the Supports are having problems, they can pick up the slack there as well.


When playing as a Support, you focus on doing the most you can, without taking much farm from the map. You obviously help the team by buying items such as Wards and Courier, but you also need to try and be as effective as you can within the first 15 minutes of the game. Including doing your best to protect the Carry(s), and paying close attention to enemy movement and progression. Most the time you can make early game plays to net your team an early advantage, sometimes before the Semi-Carry(s) even have a chance to. You generally will emphasis in assisting your team-mates with the little gold you have.

The Hero Characteristics

Each hero also has  multiple characteristics, which highlight their ability to do certain things. Characteristics can reflect skills and common item pickups, while Heroes can also choose to emphasize one or two Characteristic through Item Selection. A Magnus who builds Blink Dagger, is emphasizing his Initiation characteristic. There are 10 Hero Characteristics:

An Initiator is able to start team fights with an advantage. Such as Magnus.

A Tank is very durable, and can withstand damage. This includes both heroes who are tanky by nature, and heroes who are built tanky. Such as Death Prophet who is commonly built tanky.

A Ganker is able to start small skirmishes with an advantage, often aiming to quickly dispose of an enemy. Such as Venomancer with Venomous Gale.

An Assister assists their team-mates in achieving their desired tasks. Such as Omniknight with Repel.

A Restricter heavily changes the movement of enemy players, often forcing/making them to choose/consider alternate routes. Such as Clockwerk with Power Cogs.

A Pest is able to create situations where the enemy has to temporarily change their short-term objectives or be disadvantaged. Such as Pugna with Nether Ward.

A Pusher is able to quickly taking down towers with increased Tower DPS (note: not creep waves). Such as Leshrac with Diabolic Edict.

A Defender is able to easily slow down enemy pushes, allowing you to defend for longer. Such as Windranger with Powershot.

A Nuker is able to quickly reduce enemies’ health. Such as Magnus with Shockwave.

A Controller is able to control enemies’ actions by stunning, slowing, silencing, etc them. Such as Naga Siren with Ensnare.

The Laning Options

Each hero can also be laned in a variety of ways, and is where the Hero will be located during the Laning Phase of the game. The Laning Option is closely tied to Role of that Hero for that game. People tend to Solo Safe-Lane with any hero, so isn’t listed; Dual Mid is too rare in pubs to include. There are 6 Options in total:

A Hero who primarily earns gold and experience by killing Neutral Creeps. Such as Chen.

Solo Mid
A hero who will go to the Middle Lane alone. Such as Puck.

A hero who will solo the Offlane (Danger Lane). Such as Dark Seer.

Sidelane Farmer
A hero who will farm one of the Sidelanes, but will not be alone.Such as Anti-Mage.

Sidelane Duo
A hero who will be in a Sidelane, farm varies, sometimes taking as little as 2% to focus the farm on the Sidelane Farmer. Such as Venomancer.

Trilane Support
A Trilane Support will help a Sidelane Farmer farm, and there will be 2 of them. The 2 heroes in this option often have a high tendency to roam, often ganking other lanes. Sometimes only one of the heroes will roam. Such as Crystal Maiden.

ZTC Hero List

A full hero list is located here. It contains all relevant information for all the Heroes, with their current ZTC classifications.

One thought on “ZTC – Hero Classifier

  1. Pingback: The King of Wraiths Has Arrived! | ziedota

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