What's a good minion to start with? Preferably a tank or pusher class.
I played DotA for a long time. I was pretty good with Axe, Rigwarl, Nevermore, Mordred, Furion, and Omni. It's been years since I played the game, though, so I could use some direction as to what minions I might be good with and what item builds are best for them.
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Hm, im not super familiar with Dota, so I can't really give you any comparisons, but i can describe a few characters that I've played/seen.
Warwick: Probably needs some nerfing (Friend went 22/2/8 (kills/deaths/assists) last night) he's a tank for the most part, but he has a ton of burst, and unless someone stacks armor/stam or they're another tank unit, he can pretty much gank anyone.
Katarina: Personal favorite atm, she's a rogue burst. All her abilities are free (will probably get nerfed) she has a bouncing blade ability for aoe, a teleport that does a ton of damage when you use it (Shunpo, can also be used ton teammates which won't do damage then, but nice to escape). Her ult sucks, and she has a passive that makes her hit faster if she hits the same target, and if you use it, her aoe does equal damage on every bounce, puts a 40% healing debuff, and if you shunpo you get a ton of dodge for like 5 seconds.
Ashe: She's mostly a support archer, has a nice slowing ability, a nice aoe that applies a slow, she gets bonus money on kills, and her ult is a long stun which goes well with Katarina (Have ashe stun, then Kat can shunpo in and pop her ult, about the only time it's useful.)
Unfortuntely those are the only 3 Champions I'm personally familiar with.
If you're in the beta, I'd maybe suggest playing some practice games, create a room with a password and throw some bots in there and do like 3v3 or 4v4 and just try out some different Champions and familiarize yourself with their abilities then join some games.
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Played around with Tristana too, trying to play characters i don't see often, because the problem i was running into is that my teammates are picking the champions i play most often.
She's pretty good, but squishy early on, and she has mana issues, but once you get a rod and some Kage's, her abilties hit pretty ridiculously hard (Her ultimate end-game can take out like 60% of someone's life and it throws 'em back like 1000 yards and all creeps near the target).
Towards the end, with Tristina you could rocket jump into a champion, use her dot, then once the champ focuses you, pop her ult and you can usually take someone out. Her ult is also nice for escaping.
Also if you're in the beta, in the Profile window go into the Champions page, and under "Find" you can type characteristics like "Farmer", "Tank", and "Pusher" and you'll get all Champions with that label. Most champions will have between like 5-8 labels.
Example, Ashe is labeled as "Stun, Farmer, Assassin, Ranged, Slow, Carry"
easier to play (no mastery though...) : ashe the frost acher (a carry with a blind shot alike PotM' arrow), annie the dark child (pure mage for starter). Most tank requies more skills, like the sad mummy have a hook-like spell. Alistar have a knockback (which you want to knock poeple into your team in some case and aways in others), Singed have a toss to your back, Rammus have a power ball so not recommend for starters.
Ashe is a really good starter. Ranged is easier to lane with, and Ashe is good at pushing and ganking.
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I found Malphite to be a fun and easy tank to learn. He jungles really well and is a great initiator. From stacking armor/hp he can be deadly and hard to take down.
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Tarric The GemKnight is a mix of sven and omni, he has a heal/ and armoraura thats also an aoe and a stun the stun time is based on distance is ult is an aoe heal/ damage modifier that burns you mana over time that you can activate and deactivate. Item build are easy until you more confortable with the game you can use the recomended item build.
you have a bit on dota flavor on some champions but they are mostly unique
I'm not sure what the heck these people are talking about...
Best tank/pusher is Alistar. <- Period.
Alistar's passive is doing more damage to turrets, he has the highest natural armor
Most of these people are listing carries and assassin types, which aren't what you asked for (although both can push if they get enough money and items).
Also a new champion that pushes and defends very well is Heirmdinger or whatever he's called. His turrets can often beat the game's turrets when supported by minnions.