Dota 2 is a constantly evolving game, so it’s fun to look back on how different the game used to be.
Dota 2’s heroes have been refined over more than a decade of balance. As the world’s first MOBA, Icefrog and the gang were making up the rules as they went along. Dozens of abilities have been replaced or reworked along the way. Considering how wacky some modern heroes are, it should be no surprise that some old Dota 2 abilities were equally strange. These are our picks for the strangest hero abilities in Dota 2 history.
Rampages are named after Troll’s first ult
Rampages are always fun to see, but where does the term actually come from? Troll Warlord’s ultimate has gone through several reworks over the years, but the original Rampage is still iconic. The ability granted 120 attack speed and 9% movement speed for a brief period of time. That may not seem like much, but it was enough for most early Trolls to wipe the enemy team off the map. This ability inspired the phrase Rampage before it was replaced with Battle Trance in 6.60.
Rampage was quietly added back into Dota 2 in version 7.29. As of 7.30, his Aghanim’s Shard allows Troll Warlord to cast a global buff granting attack speed or status resistance depending on his stance. It’s very different from the original Rampage, but Battle Trance is already a modernized version of that classic spell.
Doom players needed quick math skills
Dota 2 has a ton of design space for abilities to take advantage of, but it’s still not entirely clear what Icefrog was trying to do with LVL? Death. This is the only ability in history to deal varying amounts of damage depending on the opponent’s level. It was eventually removed in 6.86 and replaced with Infernal Blade, much to the appreciation of Doom players who struggle with math.
When casting LVL? Death, Doom dealt damage and a ministun to the target. If the victim’s experience level was a multiple of a certain number, LVL? Death dealt an additional 20% of the enemy max health. It was almost impossible to adjust builds to keep LVL? Death at optimal damage. Its replacement Infernal Blade gets a similar level-based damage bonus from Doom’s 7.28 Aghanim’s Shard.
Storm Bolt on Chen?
Several early Dota 2 heroes had abilities that were later removed or granted to other heroes. Chen is the most extreme example of this. The mounted missionary first released as a weird brawling hero complete with Sven’s stun Storm Bolt and Mirana’s Starfall. He also had Wraith King’s original Mortal Strike and Nyx Assassin’s Spiked Carapace, making him an amalgamation of several different Dota 2 heroes.
Chen might have gotten the most ability reworks of any hero in Dota 2 history, but his current incarnation as a jungle creep general is too interesting to change further. Unlike the two crazy abilities above, there’s no easy way to put them back onto the hero. The only way to replicate the original Chen experience is to get lucky in the Ability Draft game mode and build it yourself.