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Everything you need to know about DotA!

May 27, 2020 by Bleapo
Comments: 1    |    Views: 2745    |   



Introduction

Hello everyone! I am Bleapo and this is my 13.000 words guide on DotA 2. This guide covers pretty much everything you should know about the game. There is a lot to read and if you prefer to watch a video instead, I've narrated everything in the video below!


I spent a lot of time watching and playing with Herald, Guardian, Crusader and Archon players to find out what they were doing wrong and how they could improve, which is why I wrote this guide so that they'd have something to look at if they had some questions/didn't understand a certain concept. I'm not particularly good at the game (peak 4k mmr), but I understand the concepts and strategies well.

You can also find me on Twitch - come and say hello! :)

Drafting, hero matchups and the meta

Drafting a good, cohesive team is the first step to winning a game of Dota 2, if your draft doesn’t synergise it’ll most likely not work. From what I’ve seen of low mmr games, drafts are made on a pick by pick basis, meaning that rather than looking for a cohesive unit, heroes are picked to counter what was picked before them. As an example, a Viper may be picked to counter a Bristleback, despite looking at the bigger picture wherein it isn’t really a good game for it overall. Teams could be left without a hard carry or frontliner which will do more damage to them than any Bristleback could.

Dota 2 isn’t two dimensional: It isn’t simply A counters B, picking counters is of course very important, but it has to work with the rest of your team in mind.

What can be done to improve from this? Well, first off, consider the entire state of the draft rather than the most recent pick - does the Bristleback really to be specifically countered or can you play around it? The next thing to consider the tempo of the game. How will this game play out over the 25, 30, 45, 60 minutes? It doesn’t matter if you're a Timbersaw having a strong early game because you’re up against a Dragon Knight in lane, if 30 minutes later you’re struggling to do much in fights because they have Black King Bars, a Spirit Vessel and a carry that’s too big for you to handle, even if you counter it in theory.

A while ago, I played a game as Phantom Lancer, the enemy team had a Leshrac, so with the logic of A beats B it should’ve been a hard game for me, but instead of that I ended up being super farmed very early so when I had my extremely early Diffusal Blade and the Leshrac came to gank me I ended up killing him instead.

Stepping away from what I would call “cookie cutter” drafts is one of the next things you should do. I call them “cookie cutter” as when you look at one on the draft screen they just look like the most generic drafts you could imagine, Lion 5, Pudge 4, Centaur Warrunner 3, Sniper 2, and Phantom Assassin 1. I feel like a lot of the lower ranked games I’ve watched end up having drafts remarkably similar to the one described, which is likely because the players don’t know the hero matchups so just end up playing whatever feels safe, not whatever is good.

If you want to outdraft the enemy team, shifting away from the safe, but generic and average heroes is how you’ll do it. You do this by knowing the meta and hero matchups which are covered next.

The meta and hero matchups both go hand in hand - It’s good to know how heroes matchup against each other at each stage of the game. Sometimes, a hero perceived as bad can still be extremely good in a specific game; a hero could also be seen as being good in that specific game but could just end up being too weak and losing you the game instead.

As you go down the ladder, the meta matters less and less, but it is good to know what is strong at the moment and what you should avoid. Right now, the hero with the lowest win rate according to Dotabuff in the divine / immortal bracket is Outworld Devourer, being picked in 4.8% of games with a 43.21% win rate. Now taking this knowledge into our draft, we know that Outworld Devourer is not a great hero at the moment, and you might avoid picking it to counter certain heroes and instead opt to pick something else which does the same job but better. It’s important to know that we are also not writing off this hero; if it's truly a good game for it, go ahead and pick it.

It’s even better to know what’s good at the moment, so let’s do a similar thing and see what the highest win rate is, while remembering that sometimes a hero has a high win rate not because it's good in general, but because it's good specifically in that game. An example of this is Arc Warden with a win rate of 53.88%, but only a paltry 1.25% pick rate. The hero with a good pick rate of 8.27% and a win rate of 60.78% is Lycan, so you know that if you need to pick a strong carry that can push and fight very early, you should pick Lycan 99% of the time; it does not mean however that Lycan should be picked every game, and is not a instant win.

Conversely, as you probably know, Pudge has a very high pick rate and is the overall most picked hero in Dota 2, but that doesn’t mean it's good, just that it's a hero people find fun. Comparing pick rate to win rate, if the win rate is near 50%, and the hero is being picked 20% of the time, it’s probably fairly strong. Ember Spirit currently has a 49.57% winrate with a massive 23.84% pick rate - this shows how versatile Ember Spirit is, as he can easily fit into 23% of games, being a solid pick if you are unsure on what you want to play.

What you can now do is start to look further into the data to find out what sort of Dota is being played. Are the games fast paced, or are they relatively slow, and being won by a hard carry instead of a collective early push? I don’t want to make this too complicated, so I’ll only put the necessary information for this bit (I could talk about how the state of the game is affected by changes to gold and xp mechanics but it isn’t really needed). It’s established that Lycan is very good right now, so let's look at heroes that synergise with him and see whether they are also strong. Beastmaster has an even higher pick rate of 13.17% and a win rate of 56.73%, and synergises very well with Lycan, being another pushing hero that buffs friendly units with the passive Inner Beast aura and items such as Vladmir’s Offering and Helm of the Dominator. Chen, Enigma, Pugna and Lone Druid are also doing very well in this patch, so it would be pretty fair to conclude from the data that pushing and ending the game quickly is one of the best ways to win a game of Dota 2 at the moment.

Take this knowledge into your drafts - if it's a fast meta as it is at the moment, pick around forcing fights and pushing early. If it’s a slower meta, picking 4 protect 1 strategies may be a more effective way to play Dota. It isn’t hard to find out what is super strong at the moment, and is important when drafting a winning team.

The Laning Phase

After the draft you go into the game, starting with the laning phase. There is no set time for the laning phase, as it’s set on what your and the enemy team’s draft is. If it's a quick pushing team like covered before, you might see heroes grouping up and taking objectives at around 10 minutes or before that. Sometimes you might find that you’ll still be in lane farming at 15 minutes, it's flexible.

Supporting in the safelane (Hard Support)

When laning as a support there are a few things which you’ll want to consider:

  1. Harassing the enemies out of the lane.
  2. The lane equilibrium, pushing and pulling.
  3. Ganking and rotating.
  4. When do you want to leave and group up as 4 or 5.

1. Harassing the enemies

When harassing the enemy, you’ll want to try and be efficient with your resources - specifically, your health and mana pools, and your regen for both. You should use your health and mana to effectively trade with the enemy core and support, hopefully being able to do maximum damage with minimum resources, getting your opponents low enough so that with the help of your carry you can successfully kill them. This means you’ll want to get the most out of your consumable items that you take to lane ( Tangos and Enchanted Mangos). If you are being aggressive in lane you will want to ship out Healing Salves and Enchanted Mangos so you can continue to harass and win the lane for your carry.

You should be able to attack the opposing heroes while you are hidden in the trees and the first attack will not aggro the creep wave, you can then move to the side and then do it again, as if you attack again immediately you will be in vision and creeps will aggro to you. This is one of the best ways to harass in lane as you’ll minimise the chance that you’ll disturb the lane equilibrium for your carry. What you don’t want to do when trying to harass the opposition in lane is to splash the wave with your aoe spells and mess up the lane equilibrium for your carry.

2. The lane equilibrium, pulling and pushing

The lane equilibrium, simply put, is where the two waves meet. Having the waves as near to your tower as it can be without entering its aggro range is key, as your opponents will have to move closer to get farm and XP, meaning that it is unsafe for them as they are further from the protection of their tower so you can harass them more often and have more kill potential in the lane. It’s also safer for your carry as the opposing heroes would have to dive your tower if they want to get kills. You can control the lane equilibrium by ‘pulling’ the creeps.

Pulling is when you aggro the neutral creeps to your lane creeps, having them fight and kill each other. If uninterrupted, this will deny gold and XP from the enemy team, as well as potentially resetting the lane equilibrium. The lane support can also then last hit the neutral creeps, getting themselves XP and gold which will give them an advantage over the opposing supports. When pulling, try to make sure the neutral creeps attack you, as this increases the aggro range and makes it more likely that your lane creeps will aggro to them.

When pulling the small camp (the weakest neutral creeps) you will want to have stacked them or pull it through to the hard camp (the normal neutral creeps to the right of the camp), as pictured below:



If you didn’t stack, you can instead pull through as shown:



If you don’t pull through or stack the camp when pulling, you will end up inadvertently unbalancing the equilibrium, because the small camp is not strong enough to kill your entire wave. The one or two remaining creeps will end up returning to the lane, combining with the nextwave and pushing it.

You can also pull by cutting down a tree near the hard camp, then aggroing the neutral creeps through to your wave from there.



Here are the same diagrams but for dire:




On Dire, you can also fell this tree and pull the creeps from near your tower:



There are times when you will want to actively push the lane, of course - when you have killed or forced the enemies out of the lane, for instance, or if your wave is stacked up, so that you can use that wave to as much of an advantage as possible and put pressure on the tower.

Ganking and rotating

Once your carry can sustain in lane by themself, you can start to rotate elsewhere to place wards and gank enemy heroes. The best time to rotate to gank and ward are:

  • once you’ve either killed or forced the enemies out of lane
  • or when the lane equilibrium is as good for the carry as it can be, so that the chances of them dying while you’re away are minimal

Make sure you communicate what you are doing so that the rest of your team can play accordingly. It’s important not to leave your carry high and dry when rotating to other lanes. Try to be as quick as possible when rotating so that you are efficient with your time, also so that you don’t end up wasting time you could be using to win the lane or stacking camps. When ganking mid, try to use Smoke of Deceit when it’s in stock so that you can evade enemy vision - not alerting their midlaner gives you the best chance of getting a kill.

When do you want to leave the lane and group up?

You will find that you will naturally get to the point where you are spending little to no time with your carry in lane after rotating for ganks and placing down wards on the map. Most of the time you’ll end up grouping up as 4 and pushing the offlane or midlane, as it is generally your team's job to make space for your carry, forcing rotations from the enemy team to other lanes. This gives your carry space to farm their lane freely and to push it in, giving them the best chance to play to their hero’s potential.

Supporting in the offlane (Soft Support)

When supporting in the offlane, you’ll find that you are a more aggressive version of what you would do in the safelane. You will be trading more often, trying to shut down the opposing teams carry. You’ll also end up rotating a lot earlier as your offlaner is most likely playing a hero that can live in the lane by themselves, giving you the ability to place down wards and gank without having to worry as much about your lane partner.

Most position 4s are innately good at fighting, with classic examples being Tusk, Mirana and Earth Spirit, heroes with the ability to disable enemy heroes and do a relatively high amount of damage very early on. Position 4s tend to be snowbally - a Pudge or Tusk who has been getting kills is a hell of a lot more effective than one doing poorly.

Offlane

When playing offlane, there are a few things you’ll need to be doing:

  • Disrupting the enemy carry’s farm.
  • Trying not to die.
  • Making space for your carry.

1. Disrupting the enemy carry’s farm

Your ultimate goal as the offlaner is to disrupt the enemy carry’s farm as much as you can, as the quicker they get online, the harder the game becomes for you and your team.

A lot of the time you end up becoming an immovable object of sorts, forcing the enemy team to commit as many resources as they can to remove you temporarily. If you can kill the enemy support, forcing the core to play safe and miss last hits, or even better kill or almost kill the carry, meaning they’re out of the lane waiting for regen to be delivered, or waiting to respawn because they’re dead.

Sometimes not killing them ends up being better as they spend a lot longer walking to base to regen than they end up doing while waiting to respawn.

2. Trying not to die

Trying not to die sounds pretty simple at face value, but as an offlaner you need to know the limits on both your, and the enemy’s heroes. If you over commit for a kill and then end up dying instead, you can really mess things up. For example, if you’re playing Pangolier and you’re up against a Juggernaut, if you use Swashbuckle aggressively you can end up just getting run down with Blade Fury without any way to escape since Swashbuckle is on cooldown.

It matters less if you die trading lives with either the carry, support, or hopefully both, though, as in most cases, it’ll hurt the carry more than it hurts you.

If you are struggling to lane, you can retreat to the jungle, hopefully having enough levels and items to take camps and then return to the lane when it's under your tower. You can also try to creep skip, where you position yourself between the enemy tier 1 and tier 2 tower, farm the wave then get out before the support and carry decide to try and kill you. Moreover, you can pull the enemy creep aggro from the same spot all the way through the jungle, across the river and then under/next to your tower, securing a wave for yourself and changing lane equilibrium to your advantage.

You might also use a Smoke of Deceit and position yourself between the enemy tier 2 and tier 3 tower, attacking the wave to break the Smoke of Deceit and then run around until the next wave spawns, you can then teleport to your tier 1 and wait for their wave to push since you would have stacked it up. If you’re undisturbed, you can bring that stacked wave to the nearest neutral camp and farm the whole lot, however only a few heroes can do this early ( Bristleback, Batrider) and some require levels and items to do so.

Call for help if available, no one wants to silently give the enemy carry get free farm. If your other lanes are going well you may be able to receive some help from your midlaner or hard support.

3. Making space for your carry

If the lane has gone well, you can start to try and push it in, putting pressure on the safe lane tier 1 and making it harder for the enemy carry to farm. You can also rotate middle or to the safelane and try to gank, push the lane and/or take the tier 1 tower.

If you pressure the map and force rotations to where you are, as long as you get an objective or a kill in return for dying, it ends up almost always worth it as you are freeing up the map for your carry to farm or to push in their own lane whilst no one's there.

Midlane

Midlane is probably the most skill based role and there is a lot to consider when playing it:

  • The matchup
  • Trading regen
  • The ranged creep and pulling creep aggro
  • Runes
  • Making the most efficient plays that you can

1. The matchup

Although hero matchups have been heavily covered, the midlane is where it is most important. Since midlane tends to be 1v1 with the occasional gank, you need every advantage you can get, so if you can, it’s helpful to get last pick so you can try to predict and counter what you’ll come up against, assuming that your counterpart also has last pick.

Knowing how to play around the skillset of the enemy hero and what to do in a bad matchup will come naturally with practice as you progress as a midlaner.

2. Trading regen

You will hear many players say that midlane is all about trading regen - what this means is that you basically want to trade with them to force them out of lane and always have regen on hand so you can continue to farm and fight in the lane, hopefully possessing more regen than that of your opponent.

A lot of low ranked mid players seem to neglect right clicking the enemy whenever possible, you should be trying to chip them down forcing them to use their regen for relatively little effort, just remember there is no cooldown on right clicking, it’s the cheapest damage you can output. When you’re going to try and kill the enemy mid laner, send out a Healing Salve beforehand, rather than after so that you’re prepared if you don’t get the kill and have to back up, or that you get the kill and can push in the tower without the threat of getting finished off by a rotating support.

3. The ranged creep and pulling creep aggro

Making sure the opponent doesn’t deny the ranged creep is very important, as if it’s denied you lose out on 50% of the XP from it. The ranged creep is the most important creep in the wave as it secures you level 2 from the first wave and gives the most XP by far. To secure the ranged creep and deny your own, you can pull aggro on the creep wave by attacking the opposing player then walking back away from the lane. The creeps should then change aggro then follow you for a few seconds and then reset back to hitting your wave, but repositioned to where they are hitting your ranged creep, which you can then deny a lot quicker and a lot easier than you normally could.

This also makes it so that the melee creeps are in a less dangerous position, as they are now further away from the enemy midlaner and if they want to deny them they will have to walk further forward. When doing this trick, the opposing ranged creep will oftentimes be surrounded by your melee creeps which you will need to secure with whichever cheap damage spell your hero has in its kit. For example, a Lina could use Dragon Slave to quickly and safely get the ranged creep.

You can also prepare the ranged creep. Preparing the ranged creep is when you do damage to the ranged creep to where the enemy cannot deny it, and if they try to it will go into last hit range. If you are playing a hero like Kunkka, where you will end up regularly splashing the wave when harassing the opposing midlaner, it's important that the ranged creep is prepared so you will get the last hit if you end up cleaving the wave with Tidebringer. If you can pull this off successfully, you’ll find that you will outlevel the enemy mid laner without even having to kill them.

4. Runes

Many midlaners end up purchasing a Bottle. The use of Bottle is to produce a solid amount of reusable health and mana regen that you can use at any time, along with storing the power runes in (double damage, regeneration, arcane, haste, illusion), which when picked up also refills the Bottle to full. When used correctly, these can give you a massive advantage when in lane, or going to gank a sidelane. Unless you really need the regen, it’s recommended to hold on to the rune so you can use it when most effective. When you want to collect a power rune, make sure to push out your lane so that you don’t miss any xp and put pressure onto the opposing midlaner, as they will have to last hit under tower and will be unable to contest you collecting the power rune.

When rotating to collect the rune, communicate to your team that you could gank a sidelane. Getting a haste, double damage or arcane can give a massive boost to your heroes ability to get kills, whether dishing out large sums of damage from right clicks, low cooldown spell spam, or just running down whoever you find. If you have pushed out the wave before you leave to collect the rune, you should be able to successfully gank a sidelane, making space for your carry or disrupting the enemy carry’s farm, and then return to lane without missing much, if any, xp and gold from the wave.

5. Making the most efficient plays you can

As discussed, the midlane is one of the most skill based role in Dota 2, and as such it’s important that every play you make is as efficient as possible. Once most midlaners get a few levels, they usually can nuke out the wave with relative ease, with last hits being hard to contest as the creeps are usually going from 100% to 0% health.

Once you’ve done this you can go and farm the nearest neutral creep camp, then return to lane and repeat the process. Try to nuke out the wave so that you’ll be able to get all the farm with time spare so you can then walk to and stack the neutral camp, which you can then farm either immediately, or go back into the lane and push it in further. In doing this, you are maximising your farming potential instead of just nuking the wave and waiting inactively for the next one, which I see a lot of a lot of low mmr players do. Doing this you could be effectively doubling your GPM.

Try to learn how your hero peaks in power at each point in the game. A hero such as Kunkka hits his first peak at level 6 when he gains his ultimate, Ghostship, and is able to catch and burst down almost any hero in the game by himself.

If you know when your hero is strong, you can play efficiently and effectively, getting kills and maximising your farm.

If you end up in a tough lane, it's extremely important to know how to catch up. If you’re playing a hero who can quickly farm camps, get your supports to stack as many camps as they can. Also, call for ganks if you think you can get a kill on the enemy midlaner as this should end up resetting the state of the game, putting you back on level. You can also gank the sidelanes and try to push them in so that you can get gold from taking objectives.

To sum this point up, you just need to think about what you are doing with your time. Why are you standing middle right now? What are you achieving? Could you be getting more farm or objectives elsewhere? I’ll talk about this more later as it’s relevant after the laning stage as well.

I feel that a lot of players really struggle because they lose direction, just take 5 seconds to stop and think about what you’re actually achieving at that moment in time.

Safelane

When playing safelane, there’s a couple things to keep in mind:

  • Controlling the wave
  • Hitting levels
  • Accelerating in farm
  • Knowing when to fight and when to farm

1. Controlling the wave

When playing safelane carry, being able to control the wave is one of, if not the most important thing(s) you need to be able to do. Keeping the wave in a safe position where it's easy to farm is key, as if the wave pushes up the lane it becomes harder to farm as you have to go further away from the safety of your tower, making it easier for the enemy offlaner to run you down.

Although you cannot auto-attack your own creeps from full health, you can once they go below half health, meaning that if your lane starts to push because you’ve ended up having one more creep in your wave compared to the enemy one, you can aggressively deny your own creeps as long as they are below half health to keep the lane is a safe and stable place to farm.

If you are struggling to get the wave is a safe place to farm, get your support to pull, which will hopefully reset the lane equilibrium, making it easier for you to farm. Getting your support to pull when necessary also gives you some amount of solo XP, which leads on to the next point.

2. Hitting levels

It’s important to accelerate as the carry, and one of the ways you do this is by getting levels. This sounds pretty simple but there’s more than just what it says on paper. If you sit in lane, with your support for the duration of the laning phase, you will both end up with the exact same level, as the XP has been split between you both for that period of time.

Let's take a carry such as Anti-Mage as an example. Anti-Mage can farm at an incredibly fast pace once he gets levels in Blink; at max level it has a cooldown of six seconds. Thus, if you’re behind on levels, you will end up farming slower as blink will be on cooldown for longer. Basically, the levels you get from the lane have a much higher value on you, the carry, than it does on your support. What you can do is to have your support run out of XP range when you’re last hitting under tower, as a lot of the time the wave will be double, or even tripled, and as talked about on the midlane section the ranged creeps give a large amount of XP so make sure to have as much of that for yourself.

Also if you find that you are comfortably winning the lane, tell your support to rotate elsewhere as if they stay in the lane they might just be sitting idle if the enemy offlaner has retreated to the jungle, taking XP you need by doing quite literally nothing. Your support can get XP and gold when pulling the lane and buy the Tome of Knowledge at 10 minutes to make up for the deficit, so don’t feel bad about forcing them away at times since it will end up making your hero stronger overall, giving you a better chance to win the game.

3. Accelerating in farm

This one is pretty obvious, but some players don’t know how to truly accelerate their farm. Accelerating your farm as the carry is all about farming patterns and smart movements, the less time you spend walking around is more time spent farming your items. Think about what you’re going to do next, you’ve just farmed the wave what now? Once you’re at the point where you have levels and some basic items (upgraded boots, stat items etc) you should be able to push out the wave then farm the nearest hard camp, then return to the lane.

This process can easily be repeated to maximize your farm without any real effort or thought. Have your support go and stack camps so that the time you spend farming neutrals is worth more, but do remember that lane creeps are worth a lot more than neutral creeps, so always prioritize farming those first, then go hit neutrals once the wave is pushed all the way out.

4. Accelerating in farm

Knowing when to stop farming and starting fighting, whether that’s 5-manning or just killing the heroes you’re laning against is important. You may end up fruitlessly chasing the offlaner for a few minutes, missing out on vital XP and gold from the wave. You will find out as you play them how each offlaner works, how to play against them, and how you can successfully kill them. Do they have a spell they use to escape, or do they have a large health pool and a stun they can use to disengage?

As a general rule, don’t chase to the ends of the earth to get a kill, if you miss out on two waves in the process while you chase the enemy hero into the jungle, you haven’t actually gained anything.

The best process to get kills in lane is to let your support do the majority of the work, chipping down the offlaner or enemy support. You can then walk up and finish them off, staying near the wave meaning you’ll get the maximum amount of gold and xp possible. It really depends on the hero you are playing when deciding to start grouping up with the rest of your team - A Lycan will want to group up a lot quicker than an Anti-Mage, but if there’s a fight that is easily accessible in which you believe you can get one or more kills without disrupting your farm, it’s usually a good idea to join in, then go back to farming the lane and neutrals until it happens again.

Bounty Runes

Bounty runes start with an initial value of 40 gold per person, which totals 200 gold for your team. Every 5 minutes they gain an extra 10 gold in value per person.

So at 10 minutes they are now worth 60 gold per person, totaling 300 gold for your team per rune collected. Getting bounty runes is especially important for supports as it is one of their main sources of gold, it could be the difference between getting Boots of Speed soon or not.

When supporting, prioritize getting the runes when you can, if you get all 4 runes at the 5th minute, you are giving your team a total of 1000 gold, 200 gold individually. As the midlaner, it can be worth rotating to fight over one of the bounty as you can get kills and then regen back up to full with the bottle charges you’ll receive from picking up the bounty rune.

After the Laning Phase

Now the laning stage is over, what do you do now? In this section, I will talk about:

  1. The map
  2. Warding
  3. Neutral Camps
  4. Micromanagement
  5. Roshan
  6. Smoke ganking
  7. Going highground
  8. Buyback
  9. Itemisation


1. The Map

The map is filled with objectives you can take, those being the towers, outposts, barracks and the ancient. When you take a tower, you negate the enemy influence over that area since they can no longer TP to that tower.

Some towers are worth more than others in terms of map control, for example the offlane tower is worth the least, while the mid tower is worth the most. Taking towers opens up the map for your team, making invading the enemy jungle easier.



For example, if you lose the mid tower on radiant, a significant amount of space is opened up on the map, giving the dire more opportunities to invade both the main jungle and the triangle.

If you look at the image above, up to the red line is where the dire should be able to push up to if they take the radiant tier 1 in the midlane. When that tower is taken, you lose the vision which is helping to safeguard the jungle, the towers are also a major deterrent as some players will be wary to dive for kills if they think they will take too much damage from it.

Now let's look at the map again, but for if the offlane towers are taken.



You can hopefully see how much less the map opens up if you take the offlane towers compared to the midlane. Taking the middle tier 1 gives you access to both jungles, while destroying the offlane tower only gives partial access to the triangle part of the jungle, with radiant acquiring the opportunity to take the dire ancient camp, and the dire to some of the neutral camps in the triangle, some being riskier to take than others.



Taking the safelane tier 1 opens the map up as shown above, it can vary if you have control of the outpost or not. Without the outpost you only gain the hard and small camp, but also have the opportunity to gank the main jungle.

If you take the outpost you can force more engagements in the jungle, as well as taking the tier 2 tower much easier. Since the outposts give vision as well as a location you can teleport to, it is recommended to try and take it after destroying the tier 1, as it's likely you and the rest of your team are there, making it hard for the enemy team to stop you especially if you’ve just beaten them in a team fight over the tier 1 tower.

Try to time your pushes with when the outposts give XP, which is every 10 minutes. You don’t get double the XP for controlling both, but you do deny it from the other team.

Each time the outpost gives XP, it is calculated as the following: 200n - 50

*n being if it’s the first, second, third etc time it is giving xp, not the ingame time.

Eg. the first time it gives XP it will give 200 x 1 - 50 = 150 XP

The barracks are split into 2, one for the melee creeps and one for the ranged creeps, with a pair being in each lane for each team. You cannot take the barracks until you’ve taken the tier 3 in front of it.

Taking a barracks turns your regular creeps into super creeps in that lane, melee barracks are much more valuable than ranged but in return they are much tougher to take. When going highground, always try to take the melee barracks first since they are more valuable and have more health and armour, as well as regenerating 5 health per second.

Think of it this way, if you take the ranged barracks you are buffing the siege creep which appears every 5 minutes, and the ranged creep, which you only get another of at the 40 minute mark, while the taking the melee barracks buffs the all of the melee creeps, assuming you take it at 30 minutes, thats 5 super melee creeps you’ll have pushing in that lane at all times until the enemy teams equalizes and takes your barracks in return. Also, imagine pushing highground and you successfully take the ranged barracks, then start to take melee one but the enemy team is almost fully respawned, you’ll most likely end up having to back up, leaving the melee barracks on half health or so, slowing regenerating back up to full.

If a building is denied, the gold bounty is split 50/50 between both teams, making it important to try and deny towers when they go in range, which is when they are under 10% health. Do not deny barracks unless they are about to be destroyed as they are worth more still standing at 10%, rather than letting your opponents have a lane that will always push into you.

Once you’ve taken all of the enemy barracks, you will get mega creeps in every lane, which are much stronger than regular and super creeps, as well as give a much smaller gold and xp bounty.

2. Warding

When deciding where to place wards, there are multiple factors you should consider:
  • Where does it give vision?
  • Is the vision this ward gives actually valuable?
  • Does the enemy team know I’ve placed this ward, if so where is their vision?

When warding you have to think about where the ward is giving vision and the reason for placing it there. You place a ward in the midlane near the start of the game to give vision of possible enemy ganks and to see where the power rune is, that is the use of that particular ward.

I feel like a lot of the time low mmr players just ward for the sake of doing so, not fully understanding the impact of the ward, other than it giving vision in the area. Although they understand that is the basic purpose for warding, the reasons for doing so are more advanced than just what it is on paper.

Here’s a great example, a Witch Doctor is warding the radiant triangle, there are three main spots you can ward:

You can ward the cliff nearest the offlane tier 1, giving vision around the secret shop and can replace the vision from the tier 1 if it gets destroyed.



You can ward by the stairs, giving vision into the river which can spot ganks from there.



You can ward on the cliff nearest your tier 2 tower in the midlane.



Now each of these spots have their own advantages and disadvantages, the cliffs giving the most vision since they are the highest point in that area, but are the most obvious and common ward spots in the game, making them an easy target to be dewarded. The ward spot by the stairs gives less vision, but can spot rotations from the river, making it much safer for your cores to farm the triangle.

The laning stage has ended not too long ago, and his middle tier 1 has been taken, where would be the best place to ward? Well, as we haven’t stipulated that the tier 1 in the offlane has been taken so we can say it's still there providing vision and stopping some rotations from that direction, meaning warding the cliff nearest the secret shop is not the most valuable spot for your precious ward.

The cliff nearest the tier 2 middle is too deep to give any valuable vision, giving information you would already know from the vision provided by your wave. So we can successfully deduce that warding the stairs to spot rotations is the most valuable place, especially since knowing what we learnt from taking towers and the map control you lose when a tower is destroyed, that the dire now have access to the triangle and may look to gank there.

If you are going to ward an area which you believe the enemy team has previously pushed into, make sure to place down Sentry Wards as it's likely that they have warded wherever they went to. Use the Sentry Wards first, so that if they have an observer and sentry down they will not see you place your own Observer Ward. Also try to not ward just where you’ve dewarded as it's likely the enemy support will walk back over there, stick down a sentry and will find your sentry and observer.

If the enemy team has the ability to go invisible, place down Sentry Wards with every Observer Ward, as well as placing them down in lane and always have one on hand so you can place it down if a teamfight occurs or for pushing towers. Make sure you have true sight up where your core’s want to farm so that they can’t get caught out so easily.

Knowing when to ward aggressively and when to ward defensively is key, as if you ward aggressively deep in the enemy triangle, then proceed to never go in there again because your team is now behind, the ward won’t be as useful as it could be if it was placed elsewhere.

For example, the Witch Doctor wants to place some aggressive wards the enemy jungle, he has a few options:



He could ward the cliff, giving vision of enemy movements around the middle tier 1, showing heroes entering the jungle from there, and giving vision of the neutral camp. He could also ward slightly deeper, placing a ward near the stairs, giving similar vision, showing rotations from the tier 2 middle and the camp on the low ground.



He could also ward by the stairs above the outpost, on the highest point. If you place it lower down it will be in range of the outpost which gives truesight and will be a free deward for the dire. This ward will spot rotations from the enemy heroes farming the jungle, as well as being really useful for when you want to push the tier 2 as you can spot heroes waiting on the highground.

You can place a ward near the stairs below the outpost, which will spot the rotations from heroes moving across the jungle to the top lane and vice versa.

Finally you can ward above the stairs which connect the jungle and the river, giving greater vision of the jungle as a whole, this spot is fairly common so it may get dewarded quite fast.

These wards all do a similar job, all with their own advantages, just remember when you’re warding to mix it up, try not to ward the exact same place twice, as you’ll just be asking to be dewarded. If you’re pushing top, place a ward above the outpost, if you want to make plays midlane, place one on the cliff or by the stairs.

When aggressively warding, make sure to place down a sentry first, so that you can remove the enemy teams defensive vision. If you find that they do have vision down, place your observer elsewhere so that they will be left guessing when they remove your sentry. It’s also recommended that you use a Smoke of Deceit when trying to aggressively ward if none of the enemy heroes are showing on the map, as you could end up walking up the stairs into the enemy team, who will then promptly kill you.

If you smoke, you will get forewarning if someone is nearby as it will break, even if you don’t see the enemy. So, if you go to ward and your smoke breaks, you have more time to try and get out of danger. If the enemy doesn’t have vision of you at the time, you may end up being able to successfully ward and get out without them even realizing you’re there.

3. Neutral Camps

There are 4 types of neutral camps, the small camp, medium camp, hard camp, and the ancient camp. Roshan is also a neutral creep with his own camp but will not be included in this for simplicity's sake and will be talked about in different section.

The small camp is the weakest camp, located behind each outpost near the top and bottom lanes. It spawns a variety of weak creeps which you can farm early on and use to pull the lane, as discussed earlier. On average, you will get 66 gold and 103 XP from farming the small camp, so do not prioritise farming this camp, only do so if it's in your path. This camp’s best use by far is to pull the lane.

The medium camps are spread across the map, shown in this image from the dota 2 gamepedia:



Medium camps, along with the hard camps are your bread and butter of farming the jungle. Being relatively easy to farm, providing 80 gold and 135 XP on average, if you’ve been forced into the jungle early on these are the camps you will be looking to take.

The hard camps are spread across the map, shown in this image from the dota 2 gamepedia:



The hard camps, as I said above are a staple of what you will farm while in the jungle. Being harder to farm, as mentioned in the name, the hard camp will provide a larger bounty for farming it, giving 101 gold and 162 XP on average. The hard camp may have similar creeps to the medium camp, but will be more numerous. For example, there may be three centaurs in the camp, one large creep and two small creeps, rather than just one large and one small.

The Ancient camps are located here on the map, shown in this image from dota 2 gamepedia:



The ancient camp is the hardest camp to farm, but provides the most gold and XP, 173 gold and 261 XP on average. Ancients are the most valuable camp to stack and farm. If you’re playing a hero such as Templar Assassin, you can take the ancient camp very early on, giving you a huge boost to your networth and level. If a hero like Templar Assassin is on your team, make sure to stack the ancients, as they can abuse the fact that they can take ancients extremely early and snowball from there.

The ancient camp is the camp most comparable value wise to farming the wave. As said earlier, the wave is worth 158 gold (at 0:00 - 5:00, with each creep gaining 1 gold value every 7:30 minutes) and 240 XP. The creep wave is also a lot easier to farm than any of the neutral camps, as you don’t have to worry about tanking damage from the creeps, as that is the job for your own lane creeps.

So from this we can gather that you should always prioritize farming the lane creeps first, as they are worth a lot more and are a lot easier to farm. Pushing lanes also gives you vision further up the map and will eventually force the enemy team to rotate so that they don’t lose towers to creeps. Just be careful if you push up far from safety to farm them that you will be showing on the map and the opposing team may decide to come gank you.

As we know that farming the jungle is not as valuable as farming the lane, you’ll need to make it worth your time, spending as little time as possible getting the maximum amount of farm you can. This is where farming patterns are important, knowing how to effectively and efficiently move around the jungle, wasting as little time as you can. The longer you walk for, the less you’re farming.

When you kill a neutral creep, there is a chance that it will drop an item after the 7th minute, dropping up to 4 for each team from each tier. These items are always useful to have as they fill their own slot in your inventory, meaning you won’t have to swap out one of your own items if your inventory is full. At 17 minutes the next tier of items will be droppable, with the next ones being available at 27, 37 then 60 minutes at each tier. These items go from being a nice free pickup, to significantly affecting the outcome of the game each time the tier goes up.

Ancient creeps are three times more likely to drop neutral items. When the next tier of neutral items are introduced into the game, look to farm up some neutrals so that you can find the items that could give you a big advantage in the next fight.

4. Micromanagement

Some heroes that you’ll play will require some form of micromanagement, this could be in the form of illusions such as Naga Siren, or could be clones or creep units such as Lone Druid, Meepo and Arc Warden. For every unit you control you can press tab to select the next one in the line. You can also set control groups so that you can select multiple units at once, you do this by selecting all of the units you want in the group then pressing CTRL + (hotkey you want to assign it to).

For example, if you’re playing Naga Siren and you use you Mirror Image it is more efficient to split up the illusions to farm multiple camps at once, you can press tab to control the next illusion then A-Click to where you want it to go, since you’ve A-clicked it will auto attack all enemy units nearby. At first you’ll have to send a few illusions to each camp but once they get stronger you can have 1 illusion farming a camp each. If you want to control all of your illusions you can press the hotkey for your set control group, selecting all of them at once.

To make your micromanagement as easy as possible, you can set multiple control groups, as well as setting a key to select your hero only so that you spend less time looking across the map for the units you want to control.

5. Roshan

Roshan is one of the most valuable objectives on the map, being contested between both teams. Killing Roshan will give you the Aegis of the Immortal, which allows you to respawn after death, consuming the item.

When you kill Roshan for a second time he will also drop a Cheese, a consumable which restores a major amount of mana and health on use. The third time, along with the Aegis and Cheese you will also receive an Aghanim's blessing, a consumable aghs, or a refresher shard, a one time use refresher orb. On the 4th Roshan, and everytime after that, you will receive all 4 of these items every time.

Taking Roshan without having vision up on the map is risky, as your hero's vision is blocked significantly while inside Roshan’s pit, meaning you will be at risk of being ganked while inside the pit, especially if you’re playing against heroes such as Earthshaker or Axe who can do serious damage to grouped up enemies. Make sure you have wards set up around the pit, with observers placed in the jungles and sentries placed outside of the pit so you can spot invisible heroes who may come to snatch the Aegis away from your team.

You will usually want to take it once you’ve won a fight or got a pick off, so that it’s harder for the enemy team to contest as their big teamfight spells will most likely be on cooldown, as well as that they’ll be missing heroes if you successfully got kills. If you’ve won a fight you can go down a lane and try to force buybacks from the enemy team, then backup and take Roshan.

6. Smoke Ganking

When you look to smoke gank, it's recommended that you set up with aggressive wards, giving you vision into the enemy jungle so that you can find and kill the best target possible. Make sure you place down a sentry where you are looking to use your smoke, since you don’t want the enemy team to see that you have used a smoke, as they will be able to react and avoid your gank.

Try to pick out a specific target, preferably the carry or midlaner. What you don’t want is to end up with your smoke popping on the position 5 who is worth very little, or the offlaner that is probably very hard to kill. You may look to smoke gank if the enemy team has used some of their big teamfight spells such as Chronosphere or Ravage, so that it is harder for the enemy team to react to as they will big missing big spells that can turn the fight and will end up taking a fight which will be massively unfavourable or sacking off whoever has been caught.

Smoke is also popped by towers if you walk to just outside of their attack range, so make sure you avoid the towers and giving away your potentially winning smoke gank.

7. Going highground

Before you go up highground, you’ll usually want to look for a pickoff to give yourself as much of an advantage that you can. Trying to take highground ends up being hard for a number of reasons.

First of all, you probably only have limited vision which is given to you by the wave, which usually ends up being nuked out once it gets to the tower. Try to stick down an Observer Ward while unseen, you can use a Smoke of Deceit to achieve this fairly easily.

The next problem that occurs is that your team can end up being clumped up, making you susceptible to spells like Black Hole, Chronosphere and Echo Slam. To avoid this, you’ll need to communicate with your team and have a designated hero hit the buildings while the rest of the team spreads out, you may take the buildings slower but you’ll end up avoiding game losing fights.

You may want to take Roshan before going highground so that your core can commit to getting the buildings without worrying about being controlled, blown up, and throwing away their life.

You can also try to splitpush the highground if you have a hero like Nature’s Prophet or Beastmaster. While the enemies are focused on the main force of your team, your Nature’s Prophet could be sneakily taking the barracks elsewhere.

When you’re defending highground, don’t position yourself too far up, as you’ll negate the fact that you are much harder to catch when standing behind the barracks, as the enemy heroes will have to dive the tier 3’s and possibly into the tier 4’s to get kills.

If you have AOE wave clear such as Shrapnel or Firestorm, place that down in front of the tower so that you will safely kill the wave, without putting yourself in danger. Also make sure to place sentries in the gaps between the tier 3’s so that you can remove enemy vision in your base. Once a single hero walks too far forward you can look to catch and kill them, hopefully before the rest of their team can react.

If you’ve got big teamfight spells you want to use like Echo Slam you can use a smoke in your fountain so that they won’t see you walk up into blink range until it's too late.

8. Buyback

When it gets later into the game, it is important to save for buyback. Buyback cost is calculated as the following:

100 + Networth / 13

Saving for buyback means you will always be able to defend your buildings, but know that if you die after using buyback, your respawn timer will be increased by 25 seconds.

Once you use buyback, you are unable to use it again for 8 minutes, so try to be as effective with it as possible. In the mid game, it is sometimes worth it to use your buyback to re-enter fights if you can teleport right to it and have the capacity to turn and win it for your team.

For example, having spells like Ghostship ready to use which can do massive damage and turn the fight for your team. You also not only win the fight for your team but also can help with following up by taking objectives. Although it is good to use your buyback occasionally like this, don’t do it haphazardly as you could end up throwing away a lot of your gold.

9. Itemization

It's very important to itemize correctly. If you buy the wrong items, you can very easily lose the game. Look at the enemy team, what does their team do well, what does it struggle against? If they do lots of magic damage you can get a Pipe of Insight or a Black King Bar, and if they have inbuilt lifesteal or high regeneration you can build a Spirit Vessel.

Item builds should be fluid, you can follow a guide so that you get the gist of what you want to build, core items for most heroes stay the same most games, but after you’ve got your Radiance or Blink Dagger which might be required on your hero, then what?

Itemizing well will take time, as you play you’ll learn what heroes are countered by what items and what items you should avoid in certain games. For example, if you’re playing Kunkka and the enemy team’s main way to initiate fights is to just walk in, you may consider buying an Aghanim’s Scepter earlier than you normally would.

Think about what makes the enemy team strong, then consider what you can do to nullify that. If you genuinely can’t think of what to build, ask around and find out what your teammates think is good, sometimes you may forget certain items exist, it happens. You can give them some options when asking. What would be better here, Force Staff or Glimmer Cape? You can continue to follow the guide you’re using, as it wouldn’t be far off on what you should get, you should just know that there is probably a better item you can get other than the next one on the list.

If you’re struggling on what guide to use, I would recommend using ImmortalFaith’s guides as I think they do the best reflecting the current best builds and are updated regularly. He is a professional coach, currently on Vikin.gg and clearly knows his stuff.

Bad things that you probably do

This part will cover most things that you should not be doing throughout the game. I feel like there’s a few things which low bracket players could be doing better which will massively improve their game.

1. Idling

The first thing which comes to mind is idling. It seems to me a lot of players struggle with direction after the laning stage, since what you should be doing isn’t telegraphed by the game. Sometimes, I'll see the midlaner just standing mid, or worse, the majority of the team doing the 1k stand off, where both teams just posture by the river, wasting their time and achieving nothing. It might also be the hard support who doesn’t know when to leave the lane, just standing idly by, watching the carry farm.

First of all, if you think you’re achieving nothing, take five seconds to actually stop and think about what you’re doing. Is standing with your carry accomplishing anything, and is there something else you could be doing? A lot of the time, you may just be on auto-pilot just going from place to place, on the surface looking like you’re achieving a lot but you could actually be doing a lot better.

If you’re a support and you feel like you’re just standing around with your carry, ask them whether you're needed there or not, they might want stacks or wards placed elsewhere on the map and you could be using your time more productively.

You can also look to take objectives, ask if your team is ready to take a tower or go for a smoke gank. As the support, you are much more dependent on your cores to make plays, so if you think you’re idling and waiting for your team to come online, just stack and ward and be productive with your time.

If you’re playing a core role and you think you’re idling or on auto-pilot, once again take a couple seconds to assess the game. Are you ahead or behind? Does your team have the ability to force winnable fights? When does your hero peak, and when do their heroes peak? Idling as a core is a lot worse than idling as a support.

When you’re playing support there’s only so much you can do, because as said above, you are dependent on your cores to make plays on the map. When you’re a core and your idling, you’re wasting your farming potential, which will slow down your item timing and you may hit your peak slower than you could have, you may end up missing your peak entirely, putting the game in jeopardy.

Communicate with your team, see how they are farming, as well as checking the enemies items so that you won’t end up being surprised when you take the fight and it turns out the axe has a blink and catches your backline. Make your time useful. Can you take a fight instead of farming the jungle for the tenth time? Instead of running into another bad fight, are you close to getting a big item such as Black King Bar or Manta Style which could win it for you next time? Auto-piloting doesn’t always mean that you’re just AFK farming, it can also be where you just keep running into poor fight after poor fight, it goes both ways.

2. Poor camera work

I would say this applies to a lot of people in the lower mmr brackets. Have you ever watched one of your replays back? You might notice that your camera is centered on your hero at almost all times. You might think what's wrong with that at first but think of it this way, the more your hero covers your screen, the less information you are seeing about the enemy team and their movements.

If your camera is centered on your hero, you will have less time to spot enemy movement on your screen. You might not see the Wraith King with Blink Dagger walking into range, about to mess you up.

When walking the lane or jungle, you don’t need to be watching your hero make their way across the map. You can use this time to check enemy items, see if you can spot their supports placing wards or rotating across the map. This links back to idling, there’s things you can do with your time that are more productive than just staring at your hero move along the lane or jungle, in this case its itching enemy items, seeing if you can spot rotations, looking for enemy heroes who are out of position that you can go to kill.

3. Not buying quelling blade

I have no idea why but I can swear down that I always see melee cores that never buy Quelling Blade. There is no situation ever where you don’t buy a Quelling Blade, even if you’re playing a high base damage hero.

A lot of the high base damage heroes actually have high variance on their damage, Chaos Knight is a classic example of this having 51 - 81 damage. It’s worth getting a Quelling Blade, as it will add 18 damage to your attacks when hitting creeps, making it when you hit 51 damage rolls hurt a lot less.

Quelling Blade just makes it easier to get last hits and makes you farm faster, it’s an investment of 150 gold, which will pay for itself one hundred times over. If you get every last hit in the first wave, it would’ve already paid for itself.

4. Magic wand before boots and other poor item choices

Another thing I see often is that low mmr supports finishing Magic Wand before getting Boots of Speed. As a support, you’re spending an extra 250 gold to upgrade your stick, which only provides +3 all stats and 10 more potential charges.

Unless you’re getting kill after kill in lane, 250 gold is hard to come by as a support. It can be better spent on Boots of Speed, which will be much more useful, giving you the move speed to get in and out of ganks, which may be vital for successfully killing the enemy midlaner or getting away from the opposition offlaner.

Another thing I see is, especially on Lion, is upgraded boots, or even Boots of Speed into Aghanim’s scepter. The amount of time it takes for a Lion to farm 4.2k gold takes way too long, the hero has no way to farm other than using stun every 12 seconds, which will not kill a wave unless it has already taken a decent amount of damage already.

Rushing an Aghanim’s Scepter also doesn’t help Lion overcome his weaknesses which is his lack of mobility and that he has no built in saves. For the exact same price of Aghanim’s Scepter, you can purchase both a Glimmer Cape and Force Staff to fix those problems and help your allies win with a lot more impact than an AOE Finger of Death with a shorter cooldown could ever do.

When building upgraded boots, the part that you will almost always want to build first is the Boots of Speed. I see a lot of people getting Ring of Regen and Wind Lace for their Tranquil Boots before getting Boots of Speed. For just gold efficiency alone for double the cost of Wind Lace, you gain over double the amount of movespeed, +20 for 250 gold compared to +45 for 500, and as discussed before, you can do a lot more with boots than you will with Wind Lace and Ring of Regen.

If you’re going to buy Ring of Regen because you’ve just got the money and you’re low on health, just ship out a Healing Salve instead and save the extra 115 gold for your Boots of Speed.

5. Not valuing instant regen in lane

I think that supports and cores alike at low mmr don’t value instant regen as much as they should. It’s not as bad as it was, but I still see people stick around in lane with 150 health instead of shipping out a Healing Salve, this is especially bad in midlane as you are essentially sacking off your own lane and giving the opposing midlaner a free game, sitting around with low health not being able to contest the farm but sticking around because you feel like you’re still doing something while in fact you’re just wasting your time.

I also see supports sit around with low health or mana, unable to harass in lane, but still sapping XP from the core. There’s two things you can do, get a Healing Salve and Enchanted Mangos sent out, or get killed by the enemy tower, if you haven’t taken damage from an enemy hero in 20 seconds and you get killed by tower the gold is split by everyone on the enemy team, and you’ll probably far enough away that they also won’t get any XP.

Don’t buy Clarity when in lane, since it regenerates your mana slowly and it's probable that it will get canceled, it isn’t worth the cost. Buy Enchanted Mangos instead which give instant mana regen and a little bit of passive health regen, you can pop them when you need the mana and benefit from the slight increase in health regen you receive while they are in your inventory.

6. Not tread swapping and other stat inefficiencies

If you can swap Power Treads effectively, you will save yourself a lot of mana over the course of a fight. Treads give 10 stats to whatever attribute it is set on. 10 strength is equal to 200 maximum health and 1 health regen per second, 10 agility is worth 1.6 armour and 10 attack speed, 10 intelligence is worth 120 max mana and 0.5 mana regeneration.

When you want to cast a spell, treadswap to intelligence beforehand, giving you 120 max mana, then swap back to your primary attribute. Since it changes max mana, not current you will be left with more mana than if you didn’t tread swap. If you’re being ganked, you can swap to strength treads to give yourself an extra 200 health.

Another thing you can do is to backpack your strength stat items when using a Healing Salve to lower your max health points, you then put your stat items back into your inventory giving you more effective healing overall as when you swap your items back in your HP percentage stays at 100% but that 100% is worth a lot more than it was before. Say if you want to heal to 1000, you remove 10 strength, putting your max HP to 800, you heal all the way to 800 and swap your items back in, you will now be at 1000 health.

7. Forcing fights, over committing, and diving towers

Forcing bad fights is a staple of low mmr games. I’ve seen carry’s dive towers with no concern of being rotated on, trying to get kills on a support, getting rotated on, then dying under the tower many times.

If you spot the enemy team trying to force fights, think tactically, do you have spells ready to go? Have just got a big item sent out? Does your team have teleports ready? Don’t just try and fight because you think you’ve got nothing better to do, if you force a bad fight and lose, you could end up completely messing up the tempo of the game, putting your team on the backfoot. When fighting by towers, remember that they give out armour and regeneration to all friendly heroes in an AOE, making them slightly harder to kill.

You may also be forcing fights in places where it becomes hard to take objectives, it doesn’t matter if you can win 3 fights in a row if you then can't follow it up with getting any objectives.

8. Not having true sight/reveal

A lot of the time, low mmr players forget about true sight and Dust of Appearance, when playing against heroes who can go invisible it is vital that you have some form of true sight so that you can actually attack and kill the invisible target, otherwise you’re letting them go scot-free.

Always carry around a Dust of Appearance on supports, and if you have an open inventory slot do so as well on your cores. If you’re the initiation for your team and you’re trying to go on a hero who can go invisible you have to be carrying dust or have a Gem of True Sight or they might just be able to walk away.

If you don’t, you will almost never get anything out of your ganks as the enemy will be able to just disengage.

9. Following guides too well

I see guides often being followed to a T. Use guides as what they are, a guide. Sometimes skilling a spell earlier may be better, or that one of the “core” items that you’ve been recommended isn’t good in this game.

If you are unsure on what to build, have a look at a couple guides and come to a consensus, you could also have a look on dotabuff, which has multiple builds available to look at. You can always do a general assessment of the game, do you need magic damage to clear illusions, or do you need some single target burst? You can then cater your build from there.

10. Looking for blame elsewhere

One thing a lot of people do, good or bad, is to look for blame elsewhere, playing the blame game before looking back at themselves. When the game is over, win or loss, look at what you could’ve done better, there’s always something.

You have to give yourself the best chance to win, and if you can do that without having to fully rely on your teammates even better. I’m sure that at times you can blame someone else and be correct, but Dota is 5 versus 5, and most of the time the blame cannot solely be on one person.

If you just blame everyone else while not assessing how well you played, you will never improve. When your teammates can be extremely inconsistent, relying on yourself to win is important, if you know that your teammates are going to be bad, don’t continue to expect top tier plays from them. If you can get yourself to play as good as you possibly can, you’ll only need your teammates to do the basics.

There’s probably more

There’s probably more I could mention here, but I would be getting into specifics, rather than the general sort of guide which I aim this to be. There is probably something that anyone, good or bad could be doing better, somethings big, somethings small, it’s always worth looking back at what you could do better.

Final Comments

Well, that about covers everything in general in Dota 2. I really hope that you’ll find this massive indigestible mess of a guide useful, I did not expect for this to hit around 13,000 words, 37 pages.

It was simply going to be something quick and useful for everyone but ended up quickly turning into something much more than that. I still plan to make a general guide that is hopefully a lot shorter than this one, and that will be a digestible read.

Thanks to the lads in the Pyrion Flax Sub Shack (dota-for-new-goons). I spent a good amount of time both playing in and watching their games to see what mistakes occur in low mmr brackets (lower than mine anyway lmao).

In particular, thanks to Eriyoldinok who spent his free time helping me to grammatically fix and proofread this guide.

Good luck in your future games
Bleapo.

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