If you have been playing or watching Dota 2 for quite some time, you may have heard of the term “nuke” or “nuker” but did not understand what it means.
To put it simply, a nuker is a hero that can deal a high amount of damage to a target unit or area in just a matter of seconds. The hero’s primary mode of damage comes from its spells. This is in contrast with other heroes, including the best carry heroes, whose high burst damage is based on sustained normal attacks or critical damage.
This guide discusses the heroes who can lay claim to the title of the best nuker in Dota 2, so that those who want to see opponents annihilated in a short duration of time can select which hero to draft.
For Novice Players
One of the easiest heroes to use and master, Lion is considered by many as one of the best support heroes in Dota 2.
He has the ability to nuke enemies down with his ultimate Finger of Death. The spell becomes even more powerful every time the Demon Witch kills an enemy hero with it.
Lion’s other skills are also extremely potent. His first skill Earth Spike can deal damage of up to 260 and can disable opponents because of its long-duration stun. He has another disable in his arsenal with Hex, which silences, mutes, and disarms the target unit.
Now, to be the best nuker in Dota 2, you have to be adept in mana management. This is because casting a single spell or combinations of spells require a significant amount of mana. Lion has a Mana Drain skill that allows him to steal mana from any unit that has a mana pool, including enemy heroes, enemy ranged creep, and neutral creeps.
Tiny is not just one of the best mid heroes in Dota 2, he is also quite flexible in that you can place him in any position, and he can still do well. One of the most reasons he is a highly contested hero is that he has the ability to nuke down opponents with ease.
He has the best one-two combo of spells in the game. His Ava-Toss (Avalanche and Toss) combo can dole out up to 1,095 worth of damage if the spells are casted in quick succession. If you purchase items that can reduce the target’s magic resistance, such as Veil of Discord or Ethereal Blade, the damage output becomes even much higher.
During the early stages of the game, Tiny as a nuker can burst down any opposing hero — even cores – quickly. But in the late game, as the enemy cores continue to build their magic defense, Tiny can still nuke down the supports or rely on his normal attack to deal significant damage.
Regarded as the best nuker in Dota 2 by a lot of players and experts, Zeus relies on his spells to control the game.
He is very annoying to lane against because he dishes out high magical damage with spells that have very low cooldowns. For instance, Arc Lightning can potentially deal up to 2,550 damage to 15 units at a cooldown of 1.6 seconds. Lightning Bolt, on the other hand, delivers up to 350 damage, a mini-stun, and true sight and has a cooldown of six seconds. Couple these spells with his passive Static Field, Zeus is nuke personified.
In addition, his ultimate Thundergod’s Wrath heavily damages every opposing hero, no matter where it is on the map. The spell also provides vision of the enemies. For this reason, Zeus can give your team map information to survive potential ganks from the opponents or start ganks of your own.
To realize his full potential as a nuker, buy him Aghanim’s Scepter to give him an extra spell, Nimbus, Octarine Core to reduce the cooldown of all spells, and Refresher Orb to allow him to cast his ultimate twice.
For Experienced Players
A list of the best nukers in Dota 2 is incomplete if Invoker is not mentioned. He has a total of 14 abilities, of which two are available at a time, depending on the reagents or orbs that are invoked.
Mastering how to use Invoker takes a lot of time and effort on his user’s part. That is because there is a wide variety of spell combinations that he can cast offensively and defensively. The combos that many players favor are Tornado into EMP then Cold Snap and Tornado into Chaos Meteor then Defeaning Blast.
What makes him a scary nuker in Dota 2 is that he can snowball quickly if opponents cannot contain him in the early game. And if his farm has been limited by the enemy team, he can go to the jungle and cast Forge Spirit to tank damages for him. Also, he can kill opponents with a sliver of HP left anywhere on the map with a well-timed Sun Strike.
Skywrath Mage is a true magic killer, having the ability to kill an enemy core that has no teammates around him — as long as he and his allies can hold that particular hero to a single spot.
Dragonus is best used as a roamer, although some players have placed him in the mid-lane. Keep in mind that his most ideal position is as support, because he is quite squishy and can be easily nuked or burst down himself. In addition, you have to be adept on knowing where to place him during team fights to make sure he can offer maximum damage to opponents.
What makes him a strong nuker is that with the right timing of his spells and proper itemization, he can cause thousands of damage. His ultimate Mystic Flare deals a total of up to 1,600 damage — and that is without Aghanim’s Scepter. In addition, his third skill Ancient Seal not only silences the target unit, but also reduces its magic resistance.
Skywrath’s spells also has relatively low cooldown. This means that he can be actively nuking down enemies around the map, as long as he has enough mana and he or his teammates have sufficient lockdown.
Whenever a new patch gets released, one thing is for sure: Tinker is always a fixture in drafts. He is either picked because of his ability to nuke down opponents or banned because he is annoying to match up against.
Like Invoker, he is quite complex to learn how to use and requires great mechanical skills. But once you are able to master him, you certainly have a beast in the mid lane.
On top of the immense magic damage output his Laser and Heat-Seeking Missile spells deal, he can also cast Defense Matrix that increases his survivability. This way, he can continue nuking down multiple opponents, thanks to Rearm, which resets the cooldown of his spells.
Tinker also has a new skill, Keen Conveyance. The spell allows him to teleport to almost anywhere on the map, giving him the ability to quickly transport to the fountain for regen then right back to the lane or team fights.
Also, if he needs catching up on farm, he can do so thanks to Keen Conveyance and Rearm. That he need to reach level 6 first before he can take advantage of this is a major reason he misses the cut in the list of best junglers in Dota 2.
Now that you know which heroes have a case for the title of the best nuker in Dota 2, there are still some things that you have to learn in order to maximize using such a hero.
To start, mana management is key to make sure you can burst down opponents. Thus, it is important to use the spells wisely, especially during the early game. It also helps to learn how to level up fast to level up your abilities quickly and to have a significant amount of mana pool.
Furthermore, because of your potential to change the tides of the match with your high magic damage, the enemy will definitely try to limit your farm. Thus, you should know how to last hit in Dota 2 to be efficient in gaining experience and gold.