Using The Armor Shred Strategy in Dota 2

In Dota 2, what’s known as the armor shred strategy is simply a tactic that involves picking heroes that... Radu M. | 30. April 2024

In Dota 2, what’s known as the armor shred strategy is simply a tactic that involves picking heroes that can decrease the armor of their opponents, as well as items that can further decrease that armor to the point where your team is essentially fighting against heroes whose effective HP against physical damage is less than 50% of what it would normally be.

Imagine starting a team fight with the entire enemy team on 50% HP. Wouldn’t that fight be easier to win than one in which the opponent has full HP? Of course it would be. So here’s how you can play the armor shred strategy in Dota 2 for maximum effectiveness.

Heroes to Pick

The first thing you need to do is pick the right heroes. These are some of the most important:




Slardar’s ultimate lowers armor by 10 / 15 / 20 for 18s and you can cast it every 5s for just 25 mana. This ability is phenomenal because 10 armor is essentially 60% HP, which is added on top of the regular HP when the target takes physical damage, making it far more survivable.

If you’re fighting a hero with 1000 HP and 10 armor, that hero essentially has 1600 HP because each point of armor offers around 6% HP. So another way of looking at Slardar’s ultimate is as a very powerful nuke. You use it on an enemy and even though they’re still at full HP, they have lost an enormous amount of HP instantly.

When Slardar is level 12 and the enemy has 2000 HP and 15 armor, Corrosive Haze deals more than 1800 damage invisibly.

Vengeful Spirit

Vengeful Spirit can lower enemy HP using her Wave of Terror. At level 4, this ability decreases armor by 6. However, at level 15 you can greatly increase its effectiveness by picking its associated talent, which gives it an additional 5 armor decrease. That’s a total of 11 armor decrease and you can use the ability in a way that affects more than one hero because it’s an AoE spell.

Vengeful Spirit is an excellent pick also because she decreases enemy damage by 25% while increasing her team’s damage by 25%. If you choose to also buy Vladmir’s Offering, the bonus damage goes above 40%. In a situation in which the two teams attack each other mostly with basic attacks, the numbers will be heavily in your favor even when you’re behind in gold.

Templar Assassin

templar assassin


Templar Assassin has an ability called Meld, which decreases armor by 8 for 12 seconds and can be further improved at level 20 to make it decrease armor by 11.

On top of that, TA is a great pick because she deals loads of physical damage from an early level. She also tends to build a Desolator, which further decreases armor by 6. When you combine this item with the rest of her abilities and with additional abilities that can lower armor, enemies can quickly lose 25 – 30 armor, which essentially leaves them with 0 or even negative armor in team fights.

Instead of struggling to kill targets, they just melt after a few hits and can no longer afford to stand their ground. Even agility heroes with lots of armor suffer a lot against TA because a simple application of Meld with a Desolator leads to an armor loss of 14.

Heroes to Ban

When you want to make sure that your opponent won’t have a lot of armor, you should try to get rid of the heroes whose armor is naturally high or who have abilities that greatly boost the armor of their entire team. In some cases, you will want to ban heroes with physical immunity or some other kind of ability that makes them hard to target. Another category of heroes worth banning are those that make their allies hard to kill. Examples include:

Dragon Knight

Dragon Knight has lots of HP and 13 bonus armor from his Dragon Blood. Because of this, you do not want to fight against this hero when relying on physical damage to win the game. Of course, if the enemy team has already picked him, you could still go for your armor shred strategy and it will severely lower his effective HP.

But ideally, you want to combine your ability to lower armor with a matchup that allows you to kill enemies with physical damage as quickly as possible.


Sven and his allies can gain 15 bonus armor for 10s thanks to his Warcry, which can be used every 20s. Sven also gains 6 armor passively. This makes him one of the worst heroes to play against when using the armor shred strategy because he can essentially negate everything you’re trying to do with the use of just one ability. And it’s not even his ultimate!

Dark Willow

Dark Willow can become untargetable for long durations and make life difficult for you when attempting a quick hero assassination.


Muerta’s ultimate makes her immune to physical damage for 6 – 8s, so you do not want to play against this hero when your entire strategy revolves around lowering enemy armor and dealing lots of physical damage. You risk getting killed before you have any impact.




Necrophos can use Ghost Shroud to make himself immune to physical damage for almost 5s. This ability has a 16s cooldown, so it’s a bad idea to let Necro in the pool. Plus he can heal himself and also his allies significantly, which further complicates things.


Dazzle can keep allies alive for 5s and guarantee their survival in almost all circumstances, so you don’t want to play against him. He can also increase their armor using Bad Juju, which is another reason to ban this hero.


Oracle keeps his allies alive and heals them substantially in team fights. His ultimate, False Promise, can delay an ally’s death by 7 – 10s. However, if that hero gets healed during that time, he will often survive.


Omniknight excels at keeping allies protected not just against physical but also magical damage. Few things are more frustrating than having loads of attack damage and facing a hero that can make his entire team immune to it for 5 – 7s. Not to mention his Purification, which heals targets for 300 HP instantly.


Riki is very slippery. He can disappear for several seconds, make himself invisible, and cause you to miss 75% of your attack using Smoke Screen. Because of these reasons, he is very difficult to play against.

Phantom Assassin

Phantom Assassin is difficult to find on the map and she is also difficult to hit because of her Blur, which gives her lots of invisibility time and 50% evasion.


Slark is another slippery target. He moves and heals very quickly if you lose track of him, and can get away using his ultimate. You do not want to play against this hero when relying on physical damage and armor-shredding abilities.

Header: Valve