It’s been a while since we’ve seen a Dota 2 special event, but the temporary “Dark Moon” wave survival game has the community buzzing. Choose five heroes from a small pool and take on hordes of increasingly powerful foes to see how long you can last on the custom map. You may have already seen clips of players defeating the final Invoker boss round, but trust me, conquering the “Dark Moon” mode is incredibly tough so you’re going to need to get your tactics spot on to have even a hope of winning.
The best heroes for Dark Moon
Clearly, the heroes chosen by Valve to participate in this event are there for a reason and all just about viable. But that’s not to say some aren’t better than others. Underlord has got to a stand out and should probably be in every line up: Atrophy Aura’s damage reduction gives your entire team more survivability, while Firestorm and Pit of Malice provide excellent area-of-effect control throughout the game. Dark Seer has got to be another rock-solid choice. His Iron shell allows your team to pull through the early rounds effectively, and his Wall of Replica works on enemy creeps, giving you an army to fight back with during the toughest rounds. Techies is another good choice in the majority of games, since his ability to defend towers is nearly unmatched.
Get your composition right
If you all pick agility carries then don’t expect to get far, but you are going to need plenty of damage late on in the game so make sure you’ve got a few. In order to complete all fifteen rounds you’re going to need a well balanced line-up, which means a mix of control, tankiness, spread damage, single target damage, and all the rest. For example you have one carry to deal with mobs, like Ember Spirit, and one carry to take out single targets, like Phantom Assassin, and then pick defensive heroes around them you’ll set yourself up to go far.
Itemise for this mode
Getting the balance right between greediness and late game optimisation is tough. If you pick up lots of small items you’re going to struggle later on, but doing better in the early rounds and keeping more towers alive will earn you more gold. Your carries should build straight into their biggest items – which means Battle Furies, Maelstroms and the like – whilst your other heroes buy supporting aura items like Vlads and Crimson Guard to get them comfortably through the earlier rounds, before picking up damage items of their own later on. Remember that Salves and Clarities work through creep damage so every hero should carry them for the earlier rounds at least, and Magic Wands are surprisingly useful.
Don’t group up too early
If you’re having to five man during the early rounds then your line-up is probably not well balanced and you’re going to lose towers and gold, since you get rewarded at the end of each round for keeping towers alive. Heroes like Underlord, Dark Seer, Techies and some others should largely be able to defend towers by themselves, early on at least, so there’s no need to give them up by rushing around as a big group from the start. If you use the shrines efficiently and take the correct skills–for instance, levelling up Blur on Phantom Assassin before Blink Strike–then you’ll find the early rounds much easier and build up your items faster.
What do you think of the Dark Moon event? Let us know on Twitter!