Chen is Dota 2’s best support hero right now, N0tail proves

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OG scraped by Nigma in the qualifiers to The International 2021 thanks to two surprise Chen picks by captain Johan “N0tail” Sundstein.

After a tumultuous victory over, OG was set to face Team Nigma in the semifinals of the upper bracket. Thanks to an excellent performance at the AniMajor, Nigma was the favorite to earn Europe’s final The International 10 slot. In their classic style, OG leaned on a forgotten hero to catch their opponents off-guard.


The casting bench immediately balked at N0tail’s last-pick Chen. Former Alliance coach and TI5 champion Peter “ppd” Dager even called Chen “the worst hero in Dota.” 

N0tail proved ppd wrong with a series of incredible saves and extremely stacked jungle camps. OG’s heroes looked unkillable thanks to N0tail’s jungle creep auras and clutch Hand of God timing. OG opted for another Chen in game three, where N0tail continued to perform on the least-played hero of patch 7.29. He stacked a combined 29 camps and healed over 21,000 health in OG’s triumph over Nigma.

How to play Chen like N0tail in TI10 qualifiers

In older versions of Dota 2, Chen was known for two things, powerful early push and excellent gank potential. The modern Chen build used by N0tail leans away from those two strengths and turns him into the hardest possible support, built around healing and stacking jungle camps. 

For your starting build, pick up a Headdress and a set of Tangos for regen. This leaves enough gold for a sentry ward, which will be very important. Smart opponents will immediately block the big camp near the lane. The first few waves will consist of trading with the enemy soft support and setting up jungle camps for later. Stacking up the small camp is a good idea as hard support Chen.

During the laning phase, take whatever creeps you can get. In the mid and late game, a handful of creeps become extremely important to seek out.

  • Centaur Conqueror – Hoof Stomp is a strong area-of-effect stun and its large health pool can tank a lot of tower hits.
  • Satyr Tormenter – Unholy Aura regenerates life for your lane partner and Shockwave hits hard in the early game.
  • Satyr Banisher – A well-timed Purge from the fragile Banisher can save your carry from a devastating debuff.
  • Dark Troll Summoner – Ensnare is the only ranged neutral creep stun and are great to chain-stun.
  • Giant Wolf – Packleader’s Aura grants 30% bonus attack damage. Tag it on your carry to help them farm.

Chen is the perfect hero for stacking early game auras. Once you have the Headdress, save for a Ring of Basilius to give your creeps and teammates more mana. Aim to have a Mekansm complete before 15 minutes, followed by defensive items like Force Staff and Holy Locket. Skipping boots is a crucial part of this build. You want to have your aura stack online as soon as possible.

While Chen can still show up to bolster pushes, the hero’s best mid-game trait is his stacking. By maneuvering multiple jungle creeps and Chen himself, a skilled player can stack five camps at one time. Even just two or three giant camps can turn a gold-starved carry into a threat.