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21 Votes

[Full/Dense] Goo´s Guide To Drafting And General Lineup Strategy

January 24, 2015 by TheGooGaming
Comments: 9    |    Views: 107024    |   


Hello and welcome to my all-about-drafting-and-lineups-guide. If you havent already read it in the title my name is Goo, I have written several guides here on before, best known for my latest guide to Mid, see here. Anyway, I dont think I have the luck or the will to best that guide, since I am not as passionate for anything in Dota 2 that isnt the Mid Lane, but I will do my best I assure you.

So again, welcome, lets walk through this together before I drive myself crazy, shall we?

Lore: Who am I? My name is Goo, I like to see myself as one of the "old dogs" of DotA. As of 2015 represents my 9th year as a DotA player, and my 9th year as a mid player. I left the competitive scene 5 years ago, played Mid for team 1uP and team De'aN in DotA 1 and more recently team Bryyo, with which I sticked with until DotA 2, although not as a formal competitive team. Since then I've spent my time as a coach, and have written some guides here in Dotafire in the past, mentality oriented guide for certain heroes, which I will probably continue doing in the near future after this guide.

So, you may be coming into this guide because you want to know how to strategy up, how to draft properly in captains more. I say maybe because you could also know very well what you are doing and wanted to check if this guide had any helpful advice, or alternatively, as I always say, you read guides merely for sport (you know who you are, lurkers).

Also I want to do my shout out to /r/learndota2 right now instead of in the end note like last time, because the amount of proper feedback and appreciation for my work in the past has been a big motivator for writing these relatively big guides. DiMeNsIoNsDOTA if you wanted a drafting guide be my guest.

I will cover pretty much anything you need to know on how to draft, hero roles and positions in different lineups, the common mistakes on drafting heroes and how to play the captains mode drafting to your maximum advantage. So take a seat in your drafter chair, take a sip and scan up this guide.

Lets get going!

1. Heroes

So first off, Heroes. Yes, its all about heroes, and what they can do, and what they represent for your team and the opposing team.

Now pay attention because I will sum it up quickly to you with an easy-to-understand, but badly-representing analogy. The hero pool is going to be your deck of cards, the picks are your hand, and your strategy is the bet. Also, there is no fold, but there is for sure a raise, and you decide if you are going all in, or playing carefully. And maintaining a good, ambiguous draft is the equivalent of a poker face.

The heroes are fit into specific roles, ones more than others, ones are more flexible, and that is what you want to use to keep your draft unpredictable, and when picking obvious tells, for example, picking death prophet and expecting faceless void to not get banned, you just need to know when to pick, or alternatively, punish them for banning that faceless void. Bait those bans!

The following sections are about hero roles and how you can use them for your advantage in drafting and strategy crafting.

1.1. Carries

Core time! Straight to carries. You may or may not know what a carry is (I dont judge you), but if you are in this guide already you probably know what they do and what they stand for.

The main carry of a team is also known as the position 1, meaning that he has the most priority of farm, so he gets gold, you get hats. I tend to divide my carries into two big groups, and said groups into smaller ones. So they are:

Trusty Carries:

Most obviously, carries that you can trust work with gold, they are hard to counter with farm (of course if they dont have direct counters, and they shouldnt if you drafted properly). When the trusty carry takes the wheel he just stomps over the match. However, in the boulevard of broken dreams that is the dota 2 meta, these are always changing, and maybe some freaking 7.63 makes Treant Protector the hardest of carries, I dont even know, sometimes ridiculous changes happen (rip Tinker ancient farming).

Some trusty carries I tend to stick to: Viper, Anti-Mage (depending on the opposing picks), position 1 Ember Spirit, Kunkka for sure, Meepo, snowballed Phantom Assassin, a fed Pudge (this is no joke, they will eat your soul), Sven and Wraith King if given enough farm, Ursa under the right conditions, Spectre, Templar Assassin and Medusa. All these are pretty straight forward and tend to not fall over if you do your job (listen, all carries have a breaking poing, Templar Assassin wont out carry Medusa down minute 60).

Situational, the carries of gimmickry:

The drafting of these carries tends to either rely on a really easy-to-break-lineup, or on a strategy that has a lot of counter-holes to it. For example, running Chaos Knight as your position 1 nowadays (remember, meta changes, never forget ti7 chaos knight 120% pick/ban rate). But will pay off if you can actually perform it efficiently.

Examples of these tight rope carries are Alchemist, Clinkz, Dragon Knight, Drow Ranger, Gyrocopter, Huskar, Juggernaut, Legion Commander, Lifestealer, Lycan, Luna, Morphling, Naga Siren, Necrophos, outworld devourer, Razor, Shadow Fiend, Terrorblade, Slark, Storm Spirit, Tinker, Vengeful Spirit, Weaver, Windranger.

These carries will get very powerful, if you let them. But even if you really mess everything up, from the drafting to the game itself, you can sometimes get back from some of these, when they start falling off, for instance outworld devourer starts going down from minute 40 and on. But if you dont stop them, and everything goes accord to their plan, you will be spooked by the position 1 razor 6 slotted at 35 minutes.

In general lines, the position 1 carry is usually picked as a third or fourth pick. Unless some of the following variables kick in.

-You gave it away with an earlier pick.
-They already figure it out with your bans.
-It is very popular in the current meta.

If you happen to lose the draft, you can still adjust, as for example they have a harder carry than yours, and have ways of making his/her farm success, you cannot do a carry race (both teams baby sit and wait and see which carries wins the late game), you gotta move, get your team some Diffusal Blades and gank their Medusa until you consider they no longer hold late game hostage.

Also drafting your carry as a first pick is a bad idea, unless you got it figured and know what picks they are going to waste to try counterpick.

1.2. Midders

This is a fragment of my guide to the Midlane.

The midlane is the heart of DotA, it is not only the shortest lane, but the lane that leads to your throne. Mid means duel, means a face-off between the two sides represented by their midders, its like their number 10 in football, it's like the queen in chess, the vocalist in a band. 1v1, Mid only, mid or feed, ez mid, push mid, please commend tinker.

Unless it's a duo mid, I will get into that later.

Whoever goes mid is bound to the hero they are playing. The way you play mid depends on two things: One, your play style, aggressive, passive, thoughtful, bully, etc. Two, the nature of your hero. This is dictated by:

-Farm and Exp Use
-Farm and Exp Hunger
-Early to Mid Game Potential
-Level Dependence
-Core Item Dependence

Your midlane can vary a lot depending on the hero and the personal play style of the mid player, but here are some basic guidelines.

The mid hero controls the center of the map, this gives him/her substantial game flexibility, and really high impact early game, as a single solid rotation from mid to a side lane can go a long way, and decide how early game is going to play along. If they won mid, midders are the players with the most farm in the early and mid game. Only the midder can farm a Min 15 Orchid Malevolence, or a Min 10 Dagon without skipping items, level 6 at 4:10, they have a lot of advantage over everyone else, except the other mid, and there is where the tension builds up.

I want to state right now that even if some heroes have an easy time ganking side lanes, it's not necessarily part of their responsibility, and if needed, side lane heroes have to gank mid aswell.

The mid hero is also a big space creator if played as such, giving the team's position 1 more room and time to farm, securing the late game to some point.

1.3. Offlaners

So, does your team needs a soul to put against three people and attempt survival? Do you like playing like a restrained Rambo? Then the offlane is for you. Some consider the offlane to benefit said hero (the offlaner), as he can gain solo exp and so, a fast level 6 to assist teamfights; but, people fail to remember that the opposing team is getting freefarm that lane, and so are you on the other sidelane (providing both teams are running trilanes). So it becomes a contest, of who can kill the offlaner the most times and farm at the same time. This is key to the success of a Trilane, and it is important that you draft the heroes accordingly.

Taking the role of the offlaner will make you the pinata of the opposing team, their punching bag, so be sure that you can take the hits.

The offlane hero is usually picked up as a third or fourth pick, same as the carries. This way you leave the enemy team with little space to pick up trilane components that can easily kill said offlaner.

For example, Jakiro to counter an offlane Puck, Bane to counter an offlane Clockwerk, Mirana to counter an offlane Tidehunter, and so on.

There are plenty of different, proper offlane heroes, with utilities and roles, need:

-Semicarry-Durable? Take Bristleback
-Durable-Initiator? Take Tidehunter
-Escape-Initiator? Take Puck
-Escape-Carry? Take Weaver
-Disabler-Durable? Take Clockwerk
-Durable-Damage Output? Take Timbersaw
-Disabler-Initiator? Take Batrider
- Faceless Void? Take Faceless Void

Of course these are just a few examples, there are tons of options out there.

If you dont know offlane mechanics or principles, you are going to need a separate guide for that, but I can make you a nice little summary:

-Dont Die
-Get at least some Exp
-Try last hitting but dont die for it
-Once you get level 6, move around the map a lot and put that level advantage to good use.
-Some initiators can also take advantage of the ancients, by consistently stacking them for their carry or themselves.

Also, you do not have to play back from the very beginning, give it a minute and measure how far you can go and what are your danger zones, otherwise you will be missing the chance of farm with no real threat.

1.4. Semicarries

Semicarries are the best thing ever, dont be deceived by the prefix Semi; they will fully wreck. If you dont understand the concept of a semicarry I will break it down for you.

Carry Needs X Farm to be X Relevant.
Hard Carry Needs Y Farm to be Y Relevant.
Semi Carry Needs Z Farm to be Z Relevant.

Well that didnt explain a thing did it¦ let me try again. The carries need a certain amount of items to come only and be relevant to the match and have kill potential, etc. The Semicarries need less farm, and have less of this relevance, however, early game, this little amount of gold is kill. For example, your anti-mage[[ is still halfway farmed a [[battle fury, and he cant do anything with that thing. However your sven with just a Mask of Madness and a bracer will do more than a lot with that amount of gold in say, an early tower push or defense.

The Semicarries have certainly carry potential, but their skillset, item pickups and gold dynamism is restricted to the early and mid game (Not always, see transitioning semicarry section).

Anyway, your Semicarries are the lesser carry of the match, if you dont go for duo supports you can have two Semicarries on a team, one with a little more gold hunger than the other. For instance (assuming you ran duo lanes and solo mid):

Position 1: Your carry is Anti-Mage for example.
Position 2: Your mid is Pudge.
Position 3: Semi carry Vengeful Spirit
Position 4: Semi carry Silencer
Position 5: Omniknight, whatever.

So here Vengeful Spirit is going to hard lane along with Silencer right? But who is getting the last hit focus and who is getting the harass focus. Well, you can literally just pick whatever you want, you want to have armor reduction? Then put venge on the position 4 and let silencer get the farm, Vengeful Spirit grabs a Medallion of Courage and Silencer can focus on whatever he wants, Rod of Atos, aghanims scepter, whatever, he can get creative. Silencer is going to end up carrying more towards the end of the mid game, as he slowly gets Glaives of Wisdom stacks.

If you want to go for a more explosive action and earlier carrying with Vengeful Spirit, let her take position 3, she can farm something like an early Crystalys, a Yasha, or whatever more carry oriented item, and Silencer can go for a Force Staff, and a later aghanims scepter.

Makes sense? Some other honorable mentions for this are, Venomancer, abbadon, Mirana, and many others.

Semicarries can be picked at any order in the draft, as a first pick or as a fifth pick, as you see fit and as long as it doesnt give away your strategy.

1.4.1. Transitioning Semicarries

Transitioning Semicarries is a pretty self-explanatory term, but I will add some depth so this is a proper guide, hmmhm?

If you read the last section you should have pretty clear what a semi carry is, the difference between a semi carry and a transitioning semi carry is really specific, and only happens under some circumstances. First, you need a hero that is capable of semi carrying (see the other examples, Vengeful Spirit, Sven, Wraith King, Venomancer, etc). Then you need to get a main, position 1 carry to adapt to a later game item build, with one core fat rush item, this can be a Radiance for Spectre, Anti-Mages Battle Fury, that kind of thing.

This works best on a trilane by the way. Basically you need to get a farmless-offlaner, so someone that is not going to need to semicarry later on, for instace Tidehunter, and you would want to stay away from a Faceless Void offlane, if that were the case you would have a gold dependent offlane later on (midgame) a farming position 1 and a transitioning semi carry, and this is without counting your mid, the farming space on the map just rans out, and unless the enemies lineup is puny and irrelevant, its not going to work.

So, stick with that farm-independent offlaner, run the trilane with the position 1, the position 5, and a transitioning semi carry. The position 5 should focus on pulling and stacking, apart from warding, and utilizing any left time to harass. The transitioning semi carrys point early game is to make their position 1 get that early core item I talked about a minute ago. The items that transitioning semi carry should be buying are those that are good late and midgame, but have components that help out the laning stage. For example, grabbing Orb of Venom, Bracers that will become drums of endurance later on, Gloves of Haste for early fights (of course if you are a right click oriented semi carry) and harassing if you are ranged, that you can turn into Power Treads if you dont have them, or into something like Hand of Midas, to keep it with position 1 carries, or a Maelstrom even if you think you need one. Same goes with Blades of Attack, you can purchase them off the sideshop and make yourself more scary for the laning stage, and you can turn those into Crystalys or whatever you want.

Your carry got that sweet 13 minute battlefury? Now go mad, you are the carry now, he/she can go farm the jungle or whatever they want, now the priority of the position 5 is to turn you into a demigod (after warding). Whoever you were laning against is going to be thinking there was a riot on your teams farming priorities, and it will be very confusing when that Vengeful Spirit you saw supporting a second ago now has a Crystalys and a Hand of Midas instead of Power Treads. Now they dont know who to focus, if they go for the position 1, you can totally trade that off with towers, killing their unfocused carry, or countergank them if they go to deep. If they try to jack your farm, no problem, you are going to need the same items now than in 10 minutes, you arent the position 1, meanwhile he is getting thirty Manta Styles and a Divine Rapier. Its a win-win.

But Goo this is either broken or a lie! Yes, there is a downside to it. The first hole in the strategy is that if they run a counter-aggressive trilane, you are screwed, you can try to do some rotations and attempt approaching from a different angle, but you are going to be fighting out of your comfort zone, and they are all fine and dandy with what they had planned and drafted. Second flaw is this strat is that they run a duo lane, a strong one that is hard to harass without trading hits, without risking your life, becomes very hard for the transitioning semi carry to get anything and just becomes a starved support and the position 1 is going to struggle to try and get that core item.

No Lineup is perfect.

1.5. Supports

The Supports, unless you are one of those weird people with a Crystal Maiden flair, you probably find playing the support role rather boring. It is a key part of any lineup though (supports, not boredom).

So, the support role is all about preventing everything from crumbling down, as your fellow mates are only focused on getting gold rolling, tend to forget that those guys 10 meters across want you dead. Thats when you come in. I am talking about the position 4 support, not the hard support (see next section). The main difference is that the position 4 heroes look like supports, not like broke supports, they still have a tiny bit of dignity left, still enough to but a force staff or a mekansm though.

The position 4 hero is taken with any order in the draft, just as Semicarries, the order you see fit.

Position 4 supports rock, they are the playmakers in trilanes, the right hand of the carry during the early and mid game and the nasty leftover hero in the late game that always causes some trouble to the opponents. Heroes like Enigma, Earthshaker, Venomancer, Rubick, Visage, and others, fit in this category, just so you kinda know what you are dealing with.

Generally the gap between a semi carry and a position 4 support is that semi carries tend to rely more on physical damage from right clicks, and positions 4 supports go with spells, slows and disables. However, there are some heroes that can be ran as position 4 and still be sick, powerful nukers and be relevant for quite longer than what you would expect, examples are Shadow Demon, Skywrath Mage, Pugna, ogremagi (he will spook you with 6x multicasts, ding ding ding win the lotto), and a handful more.

1.5.1. Hard Supports

Oh¦ hard supports. I honestly dont know why you like playing these heroes, but I really appreciate that you do. Like Pyrion Flax once said, is like playing the catcher in baseball, we all need that catcher, but nobody wants to play that position. I guess you guys get the same satisfaction from plucking an enemy ward out as carries get from amassing gold, and mids from killing hard supports. Whoops. Its just the cicle of life. Must be a maternal instinct thing I guess.

So yes, the hard supports are not always these broke, brown boots wearing, slow walking, ward planting, bounty rune stealers. They will trade their life for you more times that you notice, and if your wisp Force Staffed you out of a forming chronosphere and got themselves in because of that, you dont have to think: Oh, do I really want to waste mana on hooking them out? Meh¦ YES! SAVE YOUR SUPPORTS.

If you are playing the hard support the best you can do is not die every 10 seconds. As you have probably noticed, the higher number of position you are, the less time you are relevant to the game, meaning that the position 5 heroes are relevant for no more than 15 minutes some times, and that is the reason its hard to play these heroes. But of course all these is just reference material, and doesnt happen like so every time, sometimes sick Freezing Fields get triple kills 30 minutes in if they dont have Black King Bars yet, and that stuff happens.

I am no one to talk about how you should play a proper position 5 support, as I said with offlaners, you are going to have to find a more in-depth guide for that specific topic, I am sure you will find some good material. But then again, I will sum it up quickly for you:

-Ward and Deward (this is a common cause, anyone in your team with a considerable gold advantage should help out buying a set of wards, sure, they drop it from stash and you place them down, but its a way of re-investing your economy and making the best out of 150 gold, and fast. For example, a hard support will never find 150 gold just lying around, and farming a large camp takes them ages, so you wasting 150 gold and dropping from stash helps out your hard support with the gold part, and he/she helps you out with the not-leaving-your-lane-to-place-the-wards part).

-Using spells to the max (Bang! You are going to turn around that gank, hide in the trees and wait for the perfect moment to stun, and then run away or you are going to get killed, most of the time you can pop a spell to slow pursuers hoping your teammates will turn around and fight, but even if they do, you should not be the nearest hero to the enemies, as you are as mighty as paper napkin. So, do drop the stun and run away, of course unless they have like 20 hp and you, as a hard support, are able to commit to the kill.

-Not wasting your gold on luxury (As you see the carries try to use the smallest amount of time to get the most amount of gold, you have to use the smallest amount of gold to last the longest amount of time, so only get whatever is completely necessary. The only true core item a hard support needs is a pair or brown boots, the rest is situational, your type of boots, if you buy more stats or keep the gold for wards, if you invest 200 gold on a Magic Stick. Sure, supports are meant to be taking care of carries, but as a carry you cannot expect them to draw a Clarity out of their wizard hat every time.

For further information check out a proper hard support guide.

Moving on...

1.5.2. Roaming Supports

The concept of roaming supports became insanely popular for a bit and now it is back gathering dust. It basically means a trilane, but a trilane in which the pair of supports are just roaming trying to find someone out of position and exploit their mistake, or straight out initiating early skirmishes. There is a certain elite group of supports capable of doing this, pretty selected, but you can still mix and match with them.

Shadow Demon, Mirana, Skywrath Mage (with a couple of levels), Ogre Magi, Bounty Hunter (with a couple of levels aswell), Bane, Earth Spirit in some lineups, Earthshaker if your team has proper follow up (even if Earthshaker is more of of a support-eater rather than a carry ganker), Jakiro across solid damage per second, Kunkka (aw yea new X Marks the Spot), Lion, Nyx Assassin (but he is better at controlling enemies rather than stopping them if they get out of control zone), Sand King, Tusk can roam decently too and very situationally Witch Doctor.

Rarely the roaming supports go on solo, thats why you hear the term roaming duo more often, meaning that there is a pair of lurkers around the map that will deward and ward constantly and punish anyone out of position, especially stacking, pulling or warding supports.

The main strength of a roaming duo comes in setup and main spells, meaning that there is one spell that if you get caught in, you are probably dead, the rest is just follow up. The more significative setup spells are Disruption, Torrent, Sacred Arrow, to say a few.

Two of my favourites roaming duos are: Mirana and Shadow Demon (pretty old and well known, but its still an awesome combo except that both heroes are ranged and none are attributed strength) and Ogre Magi along Vengeful Spirit (this one is a bit more efficient, I will tell you why in a second).

Mirana and Shadow Demon are a roaming support than runs on gasoline, this means that they use more spells and more mana. The compatibility kicks in with the synergy their spells have. If you are caught and disruption is used, and you are for example, out warding in the river, you are most likely dead; the follow up will be soul catcher, for extra magic damage, and Mirana will time a full 5 second arrow in sync with the ending of Disruption effect, so they are hitting the arrow at a still target, and now have 5 seconds to cast as many stacks of Shadow Poison as possible, Starstorm is very likely to hit you twice, all that on top of soul catcher, and right clicks. The issue with this is that is totally predicable when drafted, and it requires a bit of skill from Miranas side, to land that arrow and time it well. Of course that by the time you get it its going to be a bit late, but the counter to this duo is the Force Staff, the trick is to Force Staff yourself into fog of war or uphill right when you see the casting animation of disruption (yes Force Staff is 0.21 secs faster than Disruption, unless you have to turn around, for that add your turnrate to the equation), its a small window, but if you get to do it you are not going to get hit by an arrow, unless they get really lucky. Also, if you get Disruption and the stun on you, and you didnt die from it, you can Force Staff across terrain to save yourself, just note that Shadow Demon tends to buy force staff too, and Mirana can leap.

The Vengeful Spirit and Ogre Magi roaming duo is solid alternative, as summing their spell sets we are left with 2 reliable stuns, a massive, ranged slow, an extra damage aura, armor reduction, a movement and attack speed buff, and if needed, Nether Swap. The most powerful here in this kit is not the massive lockdown capability, but the right click potential, if you give our buddy Ogre Magi an Orb of Venom he will chase you down the whole jungle will smacking your head with his club, with Vengeance Aura. And the best part is that they dont need their almost surgical preparations to setup their kill, but can take part of any fight at any point, and be relevant and succeed. These are my go to duo roamers.

You can get creative and figure out more synergies yourself.

1.6. Hero Utilities

The speficic hero utilities refer to those heroes with capabilities for certain tasks. This can be disablers, gankers, escapes, initiators, lane supports, junglers, pushers, and many more. These specific utilities are on top of usual hero positions, dont be confused by that, there are position 1 initiators like Faceless Void, and position 5 initiators like a position 5 Sand King for instance. And that goes for utilities too, you can have way more than one, for example Kunkka is a mid hero, that is also an initiator, an aoe disable and a nuker; on top of that, a carry focused on right click damage, see all the variation?

So you can get creative with all this, after you are familiarized with the heroes, spells and items, you can start doing wonky drafting with the less-known capabilities of heroes.

The next sections are about the most important utilities to keep in mind, and also the ones with more heroes that can take said roles into account.

1.6.1. Initiators

Alright, their mid tower is kinda low, shouldnt we push as five and take it down before they deny it? Blink, Wooooosh, Bzzzzt, Bam! You got initiated on by Magnus.

Initiators is all about kicking the opposing team crotch when they arent looking, or worse, when they know its coming and its too late. There an initiators on any position, most of the time, if I am running a strategy around teamfights I go for a powerful carry and two transitioning semi carries on a trilane, along with the initiator on the offlane, and any mid that fits against the opposing picks. Along those lines you can go for a a very impromptu draft, and ban what you need.

An initiator usually needs just a Blink Dagger (not always, but most of the time) and a small level gain. Everything depends on the teams configuration, for example, if I am playing Tinker for my team I want my initiator to be ready when I get boots of travel rolling, that way we are going to be running two big threats roughly at the same time, and this grants some easy tower takedowns. For this reason I tend to run Tidehunter as an initiator when playing Tinker Mid. Because he can solo lane, and that is an amazing advantage against a trilane with Tinker on the Mid, you can play a passive mid lane and let those semi carries gank their farming mid, and you can go along them and gank their trilane too, as with Tidehunter offlaning rotations are rarely needed.

The alternative for offlane initiators without semi carries on the other sidelane is pretty big, you can get a Puck to offlane and play the initiator, Magnus aswell, hell, even batrider if their lineup is about an only carry ( Refresher Orb Batrider is nuts against a team with one carry).

Anyway, get those initiators. I usually pick my initiator second or fourth pick, leaving the third pick to the position 1 carry. And ban a single hero that can mess up my initiator, counter initiators, strong laners, Rubick, all the above?. If I am running Tinker and Tidehunter my go-to ban is Mirana, I dont want Moonlight Shadow to be a tool of counter initiation or as a pickoff for myself, also, arrows are easy to land to a channeling Tinker (rip in peperoni tonker, first ban mirana 100% matches team Bryyo; no I am not kidding I despise that hero, also Bounty Hunter, pls die bounty).

If you dont have a proper initiator dont worry, tell the player with the most significant spell on the team to get a mobility item or some invisibility, and they will do a ghetto initiator, Sven with a Blink Dagger, Tiny with a Blink Dagger or a Shadow Blade, Wraith King, even windranger, figure it out.

1.6.2. Junglers

Yep, Jungler. Said of people who tend to jungle. Im not here to teach you how to jungle, but its applications in the drafting and strategy front.

So the big thing about the jungler is¦ erm, well, they have some benefits, not really amazing if you contrast it with their drawbacks, but then again, DotA is a game about situational play. On a vaccum, its a role in which the jungler gets uncontested gold and exp, but in an actual match you will find this will never happen (unless you have some really clueless opponents).

Its all about the positions, if you can run a really strong duo lane, and the enemy team is running something like a defensive trilane, then you could jungle, also, remember than the vast mayority of heroes that are able to jungle actually do better on regular laning; exceptions to this are mainly Enigma (he is extremely efficient jungler if done properly), maybe Doom if you are going for a transitioning carry doom taking Hand of Midas and double Devouring large camps (Chinese dota remember ti1).

Another good point of the jungle role is that you dont have a direct counter in your lane, this means that in drafting stage, if you pick a jungler they have to either draft a swift mid that is going to have to leave mid to go kill you in your jungle, or draft a solid roaming duo of supports.

Imagine if you run an offlaner, a farming mid, a semi carry duo lane safe lane and a jungler, and when they see it the counter you by drafting a pushy aggressive trilane with something like a carry Mirana, Visage and Bane, or maybe a carry Vengeful Spirit across Ogre Magi and Omniknight, and throw that against your semi carries that will lose their lane to number advantage and stronger synergy, and you will get your jungle ravaged until you have no other option than joining that losing duo lane. When you realize it, they were missing and killed your mid. Do you see why those 10 minute ggs happen?

Do draft yourself a jungler if you need it, but keep these in mind.

-Be sure the opposing mid isnt something really ganky and snowballer, so dont draft yourself a jungling Enigma if they are getting a Queen of Pain or Pudge mid.
- Chen is arguably bad this patch, but if you have a bully mid, and a farming opposing mid, you can rotate out of the jungle with a bunch of creeps and gank their mid with just Chen and your mids movement.
-Icefrog why did you nerf batriders jungling? :(
-Try not to draft a farming mid and a jungler, for two reasons. The first and most important is because that lineup is going to be really weak for at least the first 7 minutes of the match, and if the other team knows it, they will exploit it. Second, sometimes farming mids tend to Bottlecrow and stack some jungle camps for offtime jungling. (If you run a duo mid and a jungler you just went full wrong).

In drafting phase, you can get that jungler up as a first or second pick usually, but always be sure you have banned out any problematic heroes such as those mentioned for swift mids.

1.6.3. Gankers

Apart from the powerful roaming duo of supports, Gankers can also take the mid lane. These heroes are great at killing at early game, and if they succeed at it, also mid game; and do not underestimate gankers. Sometimes you will see some ganking mid appear in a draft and call that it wont be effective since you will have strong lanes and good warding. Wrong. Some really good mid players will find the window and will break your lanes with ease if you let them. The responsibility to stop it, or at least mitigate it as much as possible falls into your midders hands. And if they are getting wiped around by that ganking mid too, then you may be in a really bad position.

My absolute go-to hero to go for a ganking mid focalized strategy is Pudge, personally I am a pretty consistent Pudge player, and he is really rewarding if given some advantage, due to his passive. With him, if I am facing another ganking mid, tend to request and take part of a support smoke gank to mid lane, if I am facing a farming mid I can take him down myself, by just bullying him for the first couple of minutes and trading regen with them. Proceed to Bottle up and keep constant pressure on mid, while when finding an opportunity, taking down sidelanes. Ganking an offlaner is straight forward, unless its something like a Tidehunter with more than two points in Kraken Shell may take some more commitment to take down. If we are running an aggressive trilane, then always go there, your supports can gank their offlaner, its far more important for you to get in that 6 hero party (assuming its aggressive trilane versus defensive trilane) you have to make them remember why just running a defensive trilane doesnt make it an automatically bulletproof lineup.

From there is all about snowballing and keep the show rolling, kill anyone trying to farm, push their lanes back, take towers, etc. Its psycho warfare. Best analogy I could come up with:

Running a ganker focused lineup against a main position 1 carry is like making the us army play your game of hiding in the trees, where the tanks dont fit. They have to get down, put their shiny boots on the mud and cut down trees so they can go through the dense woods. Meanwhile you are half naked and on the prowl; ready to stab them in the back of the neck with a tribal fork, thats the gankers. And if you keep it like so, and not giving them time, you will be on a constant tactical advantage, guerilla warfare.

Careful with dying, you usually go on big sprees, and that is a lot of gold.

2. Lane Layouts

Finally I get to talk about layouts, yay! So we get into the uncharted territory of laning, and how you lay them out, right?

First thing you have to keep in mind all the time is that there is no specific structure to it, it is just how you feel they should go, but most layouts have been already tried before and people have baptized them some cool names, such as aggressive trilane. And I will go over these in a minute, on the next few sections.

If you have no clue of what I am talking about, lane layouts is a term that refers on how you send your heroes to the lanes, top, mid and bottom. For a sake of radiant/dire ease, I will refer to them as easy/mid/hard lanes alright?

Not much left to say here, lets jump onto the next sections.

2.1. The Vanilla 2-1-2

This is your typical laning lineup, the one we all know, the classic duo lanes. Position 1 and 5 on the easy lane. Position 3 and 4 on the hard lane, and the mid as position 2. The farm priorities are subject to change according to the match and the heroes in question, for example if your mid is a farming mid, or if you are running 4 semi carries.

There are certainly some boundaries in this structure, but you can still get some creativity off. Most of the time you dont want to run 2-1-2 if the enemy team is running trilanes, because 2 heroes cant kill an offlaner, and 2 heroes lose to three heroes, especially if they take aggressive roles.

Do 2-1-2 against jungler lineups, this means that they dont have proper lanes, and 2 heroes will easily take advantage of it, add the midder to the mix and you get a won match.

Do 2-1-2 against push heavy lineups, especially those with one hardcore push hero, like death prophet. 2 heroes is enough to put a stop to it, or at least give the rest of the team enough time to come in with rotations. If you run a trilanes lineup against push heavy heroes, they will most of the time go on and take your hard lane tower in the blink of an eye, for only your offlaner, a really underfarmed hero is there to defend it, it is not his responsibility to take on pushes by him/herself.

Another usually forgotten feature of duo laning is that it is a lane much easier to intervene for early ganks. If their mid decided to go gank any of your duo lanes, you can easily call two teleports to that lane and it will be fast rotations, the main reason is because of the town portal scroll overlapping delay (when many heroes teleport to the same tower at the same time and the last hero gets a really long channeling time). When two heroes are already there in the action zone, adding backup is faster. So you get 4 heroes in a matter of 3.5 seconds max, and your duo lane buddies can create that time with stuns, or tree juking (tier 1 easy lane towers have some really big juking paths with them, see below).

To drafting issues, in order to successfully pick a duo lane lineup hero composition you have to make it look like you are picking a trilane lineup, so pick something like Faceless Void and bluff a carry, make it look like you are running trilanes and from there you can ban what you really want, once they waste picks on heroes to counter an offlane Faceless Void, when you are running him position 1. A very confusing hero to keep in mind for these is ursa. Pick a duo lane like if you were to run a defensive trilane, for instance, a position 5 Earthshaker and a Faceless Void on the safelane, then pick a combo like Venomancer and Ursa for the hard lane, people will assume you are running offlane void and a toxic Venomancer defensive trilane with ursa as a position 1; and what you are going for is the nasty safelane duo Ursa and Venomancer, two transitioning semi carries on the safe lane that can take kills with ease, especially on solo offlaners, and have the ability to contest an aggressive trilane with some mid rotations.

Remember, all this is situational and you can get creative with drafts by yourself too.

2.2. Trilanes

Trilanes. If you dont play much with parties this might look like a suicide concept. It takes a well communicated team and lots of practice to make trilanes succeed instead of leeching exp. Trilanes come in two kinds, the aggressive and the defensive trilanes. The defensive trilanes take place in your teams safe lane, and the aggressive trilane in the hard lane.

The next two sections are dedicated to each of these two. The main purpose of a trilane is to either escort your position 1 into safe farm, or to have number advantage in a lane you expect to be contested.

The main and most noticeable effect of a trilane is that they leave a hero alone on the other sidelane, the offlaner. And this can have some drawbacks, that I have already mentioned along the guide (weak tower defense, free farm for the opposing carry, plenty of space for the opposing team, a mostly un-gankable structure, etc).

The biggest and most common mistake of a trilane is playing it like if it were a duo lane, passively, waiting for enemy retaliation. No, the point of having three heroes in the same lane makes it for some big advantage on early fights, farming, overall laning, harass, etc; never stand back on a trilane (unless, of course, you are the farming carry there). If you keep playing passive you are not pushing a trilanes advantage to the max, and being a weight for your carry, as you are leeching their exp and doing nothing with it, and you are getting almost no gold, so be efficient.

Running a trilane is not always mandatory, but is often the best response strategy you can run against an opposing trilane, being on equal terms and attempting to best them at their game, or you could go with a higher risk-higher reward strategy, something like aggressive trilanes, duo midding, etc.

The carry in a trilane is protected the majority of the time, and should get every last hit possible, unless the enemy offlaner is running really gimmicky tricks like boulder smashing creeps into the trees for example. Said carry is usually one that can really push early gold to an advantage, and has trouble farming without a trilanes protection. And the support components of a trilane tend to have powerful kits, manpower and early item independence. An uber example of a carry with such traits is Ember Spirit, that if not sent down the mid lane, being the carry component of a trilane is your best bet, even if we are talking about an aggressive trilane, he has a solid spell growth, especially if we are talking about Flame Guard, and with this protected farm he can get a really early Battle Fury, farm up faster and take good part of fights. Of course he isnt the only one, it is just for sake of example.

Anyway, into the specific structures we go.

2.2.1. Defensive Or Classic Trilanes

If you see these on your regular all pick unranked pubs you are playing with tryhards. The defensive trilane, often just called a trilane is that lineup that puts three heroes, one carry and two supports on the easy lane. The objective is to secure as much free farm for the position 1 carry as possible, this can be achieved by zoning out any lane opponents by harassing or by small constant exposure to ganks.

Trilanes are usually dissolved faster than regular duo lanes, as the supports want to use their levels to help out other lanes and drop potential ganks after they notice there is no further point on keep harassing the poor offlaner that has zero farm at that point, with that, the supports can break out of the structure and get some faster exp, and so does the carry. Though be careful with this, sometimes the offlaners have really good early kill potential and your carry may be not ready to be left alone, and they can get enough space up for say, a midder to gank your carry, that you left alone.

The painless way of dissolving a trilane consists of multiple movements and rotations from your team. First you have to check on your mid, if he is a farming mid hero, you may want to look to your offlaner, anyway, you need someone with early manpower. Then be sure they have enough farm secured, or to put it on more simple wording, that they won their lane. Now stack and pull the easy lane, call the midder or the offlaner for rotation, and wait back. Killing the offlaner with four heroes should be easy unless you have two left hands. Now as four, take down the tier 1 tower, if they decide to defend it they are going to need either really good initiation or a trade up, that usually doesnt pay off for them, as you got a kill out of it too. Taking down said tower is going to change some things, your position 1 should now flash farm that same lane and the jungle simultaneously, the pair of supports should now dedicate to rotate as a duo and gank, or take down towers in the same way they did with the last tower push. By this time its usually 7 minutes into the game, your cores have level 8 and your supports 5 or 6. Your 0:00 wards are expiring and you should have a crow already if you dont, note for the supports.

Keep in mind that there are some offlane heroes that have some rather special capabilities, stacking the ancients from range, pulling from your jungle, blocking the creepwave in the trees, etc. Examples are earth spirit, beastmaster, clockwork and windranger; they pull off weird tricks with their tree lines most of the time.

Their creep pulling can lead into some bad episodes, this can be predicted if you have your defense well warded, but it comes down to if they have a good ganking mid hero, and/or transitioning semi carries, if they come in its because your mid/offlaner isnt doing a great job and they have enough time and space to go help their offlaner out, and with this they will end your trilane, and sometimes your tower if you dont do something to stop them.

The heroes you draft for a defensive trilane can be anything you want. However, you want to stay away from really farmy-supports, like Sven. And you want supports that work best without that farm, like Silencer (he is also great at zoning out, it can be really frustrating laning against this). If you want to play more defensively on your trilane, for any reason, usually because you see that they are going to run something like a 2-1-2 and your trilane is up against two instead of one hero, what you do is pick a transitioning semi carry to act as part of your duo lane, and the third member to be a hard support, and focus most exclusively on stacking and pulling, apart from warding, by maintaining this pulled lane you can keep short two heroes farm. As you cant zone two heroes off like if they were a single offlaner, you have to do it indirectly by pulling your creeps.

You can also play your defensive trilane as an aggressive one, by consistently pushing the creepwaves up to their tier 1 tower, by doing this you are calling for enemy rotations, as they think you are destroying their offlaner, when all you are doing is bait rotations and heroes to tower dive. If you plan on doing this I recommend drafting heroes that are focused on nuke damage, or high physical output, armor reduction, etc; Pugna, Vengeful Spirit, etc. Ogre Magi is also good at doing this because of his early tankyness and high damage and slow ranged spell, Ignite. Stay away from heroes that are good at zoning like Silencer and Venomancer for this sort of push strategy, as they fail at committing to kills and will get killed quite easily under a tower.

2.2.2. Aggresive Trilanes

Also refered to as an Agg Tri, is a lineup that consists of running a trilane on your teams hard lane, and your solo hero on the safelane. Running Aggressive Trilanes is a bit easier on the radiant side (I will tell you why in a minute).

The main focus of an aggressive trilane is not to secure farm, but to sabotage the enemies lineup.

You will never see two aggressive trilanes on the same match, as if you are not setting your aggressive trilane against wherever their carry is, you are missing the point. Aggressive trilanes usually feature two really strong support heroes, any of the previous examples will do, and you can add Witch Doctor, Visage and Lion; and a carry that isnt really farm dependent, because remember, you are setting three heroes against a lane that can be pulled, so be sure to have that camp blocked 100% of the time and pull across with one of their camps.

Also, best case scenario you want your mid hero to be a farming focused mid, as your trilane isnt really going to get up much farm, as its focus is fighting and preventing the opponents space.

Concepts to keep in mind. The hard lane is a narrow lane, meaning that once you cross the river you are into enemy territory, and more much gank route are open for them to stop you and mess your lineups organization. This is not only the river, but also their jungle. Keep some wards up and your eyes open.

On drafting, there are various notes to keep in mind. First, you want them to think you are going to run a regular, defensive trilane, if they figure out your plan they will rotate off and go for duo lanes or a duo mid even, avoiding trilaning against your agg tri, which is a most of the time, lost cause. So dont give away your evil plans.

Remember, when running your aggressive trilane against their defensive trilane, they have tactical advantage.

This advantage has to be broken into by out-drafting them. Some points to have in your favour are:

As with 6 heroes in a single lane, the two offlaners are going to be facing each other. The best you can do is get a powerful, carry-like offlaner, for example Weaver. Or even if you are feeling greedy, run a escape carry solo, like Slark. Gets a fast level 6 and can do a lot with it. Dont run something like Bristleback or Tidehunter, you dont need great durable heroes to solo a lane against one hero and on your safelane. On mid, try to get a farming mid, as most heroes on an aggressive trilane will end up under leveled and sometimes under farmed too, balance up the odds with a farming mid. However, dont make the mistake of running that against a powerful ganking mid, they will feast on your midder and then go focus your agg tri.

Make sure they pick a really greedy late game carry, jack their farm and end the game during mid game, they have no fallback plan. Your Vengeful Spirit and your Dragon Knight will destroy that Spectre with a 25 minute Radiance. Thanks agg tri!

The key to properly drafting an aggressive trilane lineup isnt on your picks, but on your bans. Usually the heroes that take part of an agg tri are also famous defensive trilane components, so its not easily given away, but you want to make sure those problematic heroes, as always, are out of the game (yes I am looking at you, Mirana).

2.3. Jungler Lineups

Your jungler is most of the time a drawback to your strategy, as he represents a rather weak point of lanes and hero lineups. However, there are various heroes that can make the best out of the jungle, making those drawbacks worth it sometimes. From the top of my head I call it Enigma, best jungler ever; other solid junglers are Doom, if ran in a proper environment, and natures prophet (if you are running the ramp up, see below).

Never run a jungler against a ganking mid, or an aggressive trilane, if just doesnt work, there are too many ways that could go wrong. Do get a jungler if you need it to find farm with no space, and if you are building towards a specific core item, better. For instance, running that Doom in the jungle and letting him get a min 7 Blink Dagger while still having a position 1 on the safelane and get decent farm, without taking all the space; makes sense right?

So there is that. After banning that pesky ganking mid and some aggressive trilane components, pick your jungler, you can take him at any point in your draft, I usually do it as a fourth pick though ( Doom fourth pick is the most oh-****-we-are-done draft if you pull it off, after they thought your fourth pick was going to be a second support).

2.4. Quad Lanes

What the hell? Four heroes, thats a bit much, dont you think? No no, the quad lanes are not about running a lane with four heroes as if it were a trilane, it is just a pressure point strategy. It starts as a variation of a trilane or aggressive trilane, adding the mid or offlaner.

The big thing of a quad is to make the opposing team really feel helpless, as you are totally nullifying their main lane. Same concept as of an aggressive trilane, but way more risky and way more rewarding, you have to measure yourself if you think you can pull this off without losing momentum, as you are throwing 4 heroes together for an objective.

You want to perform this only if you have a mid that is available from early on, so leave out farmers, maybe outworld devourer and Phantom Assassin could work even if they are farmers, but works best with stuff like Pudge, Clockwerk mid, Queen of Pain, etc. What you do is, first, call supports mid and kill the opposing mid, this should give you enough time, if they had the advantage, go ahead and kill them twice or more times, if in this process supports from their safe lane come in and help him, you are already leaving their carry alone, and he should be your next objective for ganks. If they dont rotate, go ahead and with your midder, move up to their safe lane, and stay there, be as aggressive as you can, its like summoning a constant 4 man gank, and try to divide them into smaller groups you can take down without losing teammates, etc.

After harvesting any kills you come across take down the tower and move on with your strategy, as if you stay as a quad for too long you are losing exp per second and missing out a lot of last hits. Very greedy team move, but very effective if done correctly.

In this patch, I love doing quad movements with Tinker. With a max nuking spell build (building him as QWQWQWQWR) you will be as scary as you can be as a member of a quad, and you can take down anyone you come across by yourself, get a fast Blink Dagger with it, and go refill mana with your Boots of Travel. Also refilling other people´s Bottles or sharing charges.

A great item for quads is Urn of Shadows, if you have any support that could go for an urn there is going to get a lot of charges if they contest the tower, and if they dont, then you could sell it or use it later on. Its damage over time, big heal to sustain your allies and some stats for the support.

2.5. Old School Strategies

This next sections feature some of the old classic DotA most broken strategies, if you managed to pull these off you would win 10/10, but their risk-reward threshold is beyond insanity. Also most of these dont have steps back; if you swing and miss you are done.

Most of you wont even bother trying any of these (because you are big ugly babies), but I assure you, if you manage to pop any of these in say a team ranked matchmaking game, successfully, you will see the potential of risky play.

Also the drafts for them are unpredictable, the only chance they have to figure any of these out is by already knowing the full strategy draft, and after this guide, more people will, so ssshhh.

Let us go with the first one up.

2.5.1. King Of Pain

This strategy was left behind from the multiple nerfs to level 1 Roshan and to lone druid altogether, but still, kind of brought back with all the insane buffs to Queen of Pain. So here it is:

The king of pain strategy has some core heroes to it, Lone Druid and Queen of Pain. Some other good heroes with them are natures prophet, Luna, Vengeful Spirit, Wraith King and Ursa.

Consists of a level 1 Roshan (that has to be done preferably before the 0:12 mark). Action in which you better smoke in, buy at least three healing salves and a pair of observer wards, you know, regular level 1 Rosh stuff. Everything is all good. Lone druid spawns a spirit bear, and queen of pain skills blink on level 1, both of these are key for success. When Rosh is going really low, which is usually around 0:00 or -0:05 max, all heroes must move back to their lanes and body block their lane creeps. Except for two heroes, the best two early supports you can get, and they go and block the mid lane for queen of pain. With this you have lone druid on the offlane, blocking the creeps, two supports blocking mid and the carry blocking the safe lane. The spirit bear is still tanking rosh and queen of pain takes the last hit on Rosh, and the whole exp bounty (again, this was nerfed as of 6.83). Which gives her roughly 1150 gold, provided she didnt buy any starting items (you can get boots of speed as a starting item but thats it), and with that gold she gets a full bottle, and five and a half levels worth of experience. This means one point on shadow strike, the first one on blink (now always max 1300 range), and three points on scream of pain, which is 225 magical damage on a 7 second cooldown, against puny level 1 opponents. With this, the supports move up to the unsuspecting opposing mid (that sometimes is even rotating towards Rosh, biggest of mistakes), then, first blood is drawn off the opposing mid, with the help of the supports, and queen of pain gets the exp (and the last hit if possible too). That gold is saved, and she gets level 6. If they are running a trilane, go towards them, if its a 2-1-2 just gank whatever lane is closer to you at that point, the supports can come too if something goes wrong, but Akasha can do it by herself too no problem. Ult their carry always, nuke the supports and get snowballing, if by minute 3 you have 5 or more kills, skip power treads and get straight orchid malevolence, if you get orchid under the 10 minute mark, usually a GG is called.

I remember when team Warlords (a Chinese LAN focused team) back in the day, ran this strategy with the full lineup (Queen of Pain, Lone Druid, Furion, Vengeful spirit and Luna, with double summons from the trees and double aura of damage) and did it flawlessly, resulting on a 11-0 Akasha on the 7 minute mark and a 16 minute GG call. It was ridiculous, then everyone was trying to copy them. They called it the Akasha Bear strat back in the day, until western DotA renamed it to king of pain.

Requires surgeon precision from everyone, but its just a massive stomp if not prevented. Also, if you are into roleplaying, this is as good as a Queen of Pain role play gets.

This is a King of Pain strat dotabuff match I did some time ago with team Bryyo on a Pub.

2.5.2. Piggy Back Supports

The Piggy Back is a usually forgotten strat that features double initiators and a 2-1-2 structure. It is a very gold hungry, carry powered lineup. There is no true position 1, as there are three core heroes, and two supports. The core heroes are usually transitioning semi carries, or maybe one carry, semi item independent, like ursa for example, that scale into later game with gold, but dont need it to go online as a whole. And the two supports are big focused initiators that will also take care of the warding and support pickups like a mekansm for example.

People usually consider having one semi-supporty hero as the only support, or just have two supports with no really hard support in the team, but actually can work even if it is really risky.

Its called a piggy back because usually one of the initiators is looked at as the position 5, and is required to upgrade the courier, keep the map warded, etc; delaying their core items.

Take a look at this draft for piggy back strat for instance:

Bans Silencer, Anti-Mage, Rubick, Faceless Void and a wildcard ban (this can be a player focused, situational, strategy stopper ban, etc). As you can see, it bans mostly hard carries with a lot of impact, and supports that can turn around fights, you want the enemy team to fight against the numbers, and be an easy team to win teamfights against.

Picks Vengeful Spirit, Ursa, Ember Spirit, Sand King and Earthshaker, being Earthshaker their pseudo position 5. Ran as a support for ursa on the safe lane, Vengeful Spirit and sand king take on the hard lane, as they have the range for it, and its as easy as having at least one stun per lane. Ember Spirit is a hero that can focus himself on farming heavy items or helping out with ganks early on aswell, so he is a flexible midder for piggy back, another example is razor, built as a later carry or as a lane interrupter, bully like midder.

With that they just try to fight their own little war on each lane, and win them separately, if one is in trouble, its just left behind and the team focuses on taking down the opposing carry. This is the most important thing, piggy back focuses on two important things, one is winning every teamfight (and forcing them to happen too, with pushes, Roshan contesting, etc) and the second one is keeping the opposing carry shut down all the time, this way your team, composed almost fully by semi carries can actually be relevant, as they take down supports with ease, but have trouble with the most farmed enemies.

So, give this one a shot. It is not as specific or broken as King of Pain, but certainly works, this will win you any match at low end pub games, and if you do it properly, high skill games aswell. Its all about the drafting.

2.5.3. Main Pudge Fetch

The Pudge fetch is the worst (in the sense that is a dirty) strategy out there; if they run this against you and they succeed you will cry all day. Its similar to the King of Pain, as it features a game breaking midder, but in this strat you dont have to run a level 1 Rosh, or have pinpoint specific heroes, just Pudge and anything that helps him out.

First of all, you need to ban these: Mirana most of the time, Riki in case for scouting, and Bounty Hunter. Invisibility is the big killer for a Pudge Fetch Strategy. Try to bait with your hero picks for them to run a farming mid, this is the biggest advantage you can get, after that, draft a support, anything you want or think you will need as a first pick, followed by an offlaner for second pick. Third pick should be a semi carry, and fourth pick your main position 1 carry. Pudge Fetch is most effectively played along a trilane, and if your team runs a defensive trilane as well as the other team you are up in the best case scenario. Wait for them, give them some time to sink in your picks, and try and figure out what you were going to do with them. Then, as fifth pick, take Pudge.

Works better on radiant, as get the very last pick. They cannot get anything to counter you, in early, mid or late game. Pudge has to be a true threat during the whole game and all of its stages.

If their mid doesnt have a solid way of escape, gank them at level 1 with supports and Smoke of Deceit, let Pudge get the last hit (a great way of baiting up these ganks is the new 0:00 bounty rune). From there help him get every hook off, every kill, every rune. Also, playing the support here is really important, as dewarding for Pudges rotations is more than important, its vital.

As Pudge you want to make the opposing mid and their position 1 lives as miserable as possible. Trashtalk is optional. But kill them every two minutes if you can, your supports should adjust for this, and really rub it in.

Do you see how that Anti-Mage in pubs really stomps? You see how in the pro scene they play it much better and efficiently? Alright, its the same deal, but with Pudge.

Our beloved/overrated friend Dendi has shown everyone that the Pudge fetch is viable, running it a few times in Ti3 and once in WEC, getting euls scepter of divinity and playing the roles of ganker, initiator, carry and main disabler all at once. See the video below.

The one big drawback is that you actually have to be a good Pudge Player. This is the Dotabuff info from three matches I had not so long ago in team ranked matchmaking, and I am playing Pudge. I am Powerhouse, you can see my little goo picture there as well, you can read the section on personal pick and bans where I talk about renaming and pubs.

2.5.4. Ramp Up Strat

The ramp up is just a most elegant term for a rat DotA focused strategy. Ramp up features more than one lane pusher hero (lane pusher doesnt mean tower pusher, so forget Lycan and Death Prophet). The main objective of a ramp up strategy is not to take towers down as a regular pusher would do, but to keep the lane creeps pushed up as much as possible, to narrow up the enemy teams farm space, and then use all that farming space up. Take over their side of the map.

For this you need a flash farmer, and a solid pusher (aoe damage and whatnot, that can also use all that gold for something). Best hero ever, Tinker, which is all of the above. Though adding a second carry-like hero to the mix works best, as the map is pretty big anyway. Another good hero for this is Legion Commander, she can sustain herself, has solid aoe damage and pushing capability with it, and to top it off, she has a pretty long disable with duel that can be used to keep disabled any enemy hero that went out of their place and wait for your teams follow up. Other heroes good at doing this are Tiny with Blink Dagger and aghanims scepter, this way he can push pretty fast and blink around their jungle to take the farm up quickly; of course natures prophet building Maelstrom, etc, for faster pushing. Whatever you come up with works just as well.

If you can manage to take down all tier 1s and 2s. And leave them trapped in their bases uphill you are doing it right, if they want to farm they have to come down, where you have everything warded and a lot heroes with Blink Daggers and take them down before anything relevant comes up.

The breaking point of this strategy is hard gankers; any anti-pushing hero, hard carries with disables or that tend to buy bashers, big ranged stuns and anything that provides vision, invisible heroes, summons, etc.

2.6. Level 1 Roshan

Why did they nerf this? It was pretty well balanced in the sense of risk/reward to me¦
Anyway, if its not obvious by the title, I am talking about level 1 Rosh lineups.

Basically, level 1 Rosh consists of killing the mighty and most neutral Roshan when your team is still at level 1, the vast majority of times before the 0:00 horn and creep spawn. Its around 200 gold for every hero, a full level worth of experience if done as 5 members, and if solo-ed 5 and a half levels (see King of Pain). The hero who gets the last hit on Roshan also gets around the same bounty as achieving first blood, and on top of this, the aegis of immortality is dropped.

Well, those are the rewards; what are the risks?

First, more than risks, you have to invest in with some specific heroes, adept at taking down Rosh early on, anything like that, and heroes that help out as well. For instance, Wraith Kings vampiric aura, Vengeful Spirits Vengeance Aura, Io the guardian wisp, Tusks Frozen Sigil, etc.

Then on top of those, rather predictable draft components, you have to purchase a smoke of deceit at the start of the game, for the extra movement speed and sneaking through enemy observer wards, also, extra healing salves are mandatory very often on level 1 Rosh lineups, among other things, like fast warding and dewarding from your side, etc.

If you get caught out during level 1 Rosh it can go your way or the complete opposite. If they go in as five and you are roughly low of hp you can take one, two or more deaths, that is feeding first blood too. If a curious support warding decides to hide in the Rosh pit waiting for the bounty rune and you are there, well, he just 5 man ganked himself, but still, he gave away your plan and reinforcements are on their way.

3. Captain´s Mode & How To Draft Effectively

As you all know, captains mode is the proper gamemode for playing DotA, it is the standard competitive gamemode, the fairest one and also, the one with more depth and complexity to it, as you need to know how and when to pick and ban the heroes.

Captains Mode is like a card game between the captains of the teams (from now on I will refer to them as the Drafters), as I said before, game knowledge isnt the only point in your favor here, it takes much more than just that.

Tricking your opponent into picking and banning certain heroes, creating a misleading or ambiguous draft, successfully drafting the heroes you wanted in the first place for your strategy, without giving it away too early and give them the possibility of countering or exploiting your flaws.

But first things first, you need to know the order of picks and bans in the captains mode format to be able to use them to the max, and I will explain how in this guide. See the next sections.

3.1. Drafting Order

There is a specific drafting order for the captains mode format if you didnt know. Its pretty easy to memorize once you give it a couple of scans. Here you go:


Memorize it, print it, make a cheat sheet, whatever. You need to know this when you draft, or you are going to end up banning a hero you wanted to pick, or worse, pick something you wanted to ban (like Mirana, ew.)
Simple. For once a short section.

3.1.1. First Round Of Bans

First thing you do when you go into the draft is ban. Radiant bans a hero, then dire, then radiant again, then finally dire; resulting in 4 banned heroes before the first pick. Ok, here you put one Meta ban and once personal ban from yourself.

The first ban should be for something really strong the current patch, so you can get rid of Juggernaut for instance, as of 6.83. Or whatever you feel like removing that is hard to take down if they get it picked. Of course unless you want to play Juggernaut, in that case just ban something that makes them forget Juggernaut is strong that patch, so ban something like Silencer or Doom, and they will, in response, ban a hero that usually gets messed up if silenced. And then pick up your Juggernaut. This wont work if the opposing team really knows what they are going for.

For standard strategies I like having Dire drafting order, why? Because they get the second and last ban in the first pair, so you arent banning blind, but have some reference. Your second ban should be a personal ban, something you, or your teammates, are really bad against, for me is Mirana and Bounty Hunter, they just put a dead stop to my play style, I need to know where my enemies are, not let them know where I am, and 5 second stun is straight out ********, remove that damn hero.

3.1.2. First Pick

If you are playing Radiant side you get to be the first to pick a hero. This does not mean an advantage of any kind, unless you plan on playing juggernaut or some other 100% pick/ban hero.

Getting the first pick would mean that you can get countered more easily. So most of the time you just want to go safe and take a support as the first pick, a support you want to have on your side, and not theirs, so if you really like your crystal maiden, pick her as a first pick.

I like using Radiant side drafting for those weird lineups or strategies that you really don't want to give away at all, because they never have the double pick dire has, but instead always one pick at the time. Dire is better for structured, predictable but sturdy strategies.

3.1.3. Double Pick

After the first pick, Dire team gets to pick two heroes in a row. This can be, again, a good thing and a bad thing. If you want to run something-io combo, use the double pick, same goes for duo mid lineups. Or really common hero matches, like roaming duos.

Be careful with this though; dont abuse the double pick like if you would have the victory assured for some two hero combo. Some combos arent really as solid as you think, and will get just easily countered and taken down. My advice is to use the double pick to the max, but do not present your whole strategy around it, so avoid those tiny and io duo mids on the double pick, its rather easy to counter if you see it coming, try to pick io and some other carry that works nicely with io in the double pick, and then leave tiny for something like a fifth pick.

To summarize, dont go crazy on your double picks.

3.1.4. Second Round Of Bans

After the double pick comes the radiant second pick, and after that, the second round of bans. The second round of bans is usually focused on banning semi carries and carries. As the first two picks are focused around supports and sometimes offlaners, the picks in the middle are for the carry heroes, most of the time.

Why? Well just by discarding options, first picks for taking the best supports, and last picks for taking a shocking midder, reserves the picks on the middle for whatever is left, in this case the carries.

It goes down to the two heroes you want there, and to contrast which one is more susceptible to counterpicks, the hero that has the most possible counters in the pool is chosen for a fourth pick, the other one left for third pick, the third pick is also the position 4 most of the time.

Please keep in mind all these information is just for standard drafting concept, and with your team you can do as you feel the most comfortable, see for example professional Chinese teams draft in what seems to be a random order, they are actually playing it out as they want it to play out, they know their heroes and they know their drafting.

3.1.5. Picks & Response Picks

Also known as the third and fourth picks, the third pick is usually the hero you dont mind giving away or getting stolen, this can be a carry if you dont have any specific carry on your strategy, so whatever they ban or pick, you just go with the flow.

The fourth pick is, literally, like the fifth pick, but earlier (um¦), let me develop on that. Its like your surprise pick, but a surprise pick that you dont want to lose or leave until the end, so if you planned on running a mid brewmaster for example, and they didnt see it coming, dont leave it for fifth pick, but take it as a fourth, and let the fifth one be a more sketchy hero, something you want to pull out of the top hat, like a spooky visage and turn around what they thought was a defensive trilane into an aggressive one. It flips them over. Leaving fourth picks to be fifth picks is already risking them getting banned or stolen.

Third picks are really vanilla, there is no crazy mind games for them; sorry to disappoint you. Pick your Anti-Mage for third pick if I may.

3.1.6. Last Bans

This is when you figure out their strategy by looking at their four other heroes and realize, oh ****; its a Pudge Fetch. Ban that Pudge. This is the last resort ban.

If its your turn to do your last ban and you think there is not much you can ban right then, that everything is already laid out and you do some generic last ban, they you are probably missing out on something. Either that or you are facing a mediocre team (or one that hasnt read this guide, tee hee).

So, try to really kill their draft with this last ban, if you dont then you may be in trouble, or worse, in equal terms.

3.1.7. Fifth Picks

And suddenly, the draft broke. Fifth picks can be the most draft and gamebreaking of all. They can also be just warm and boring, depends on your playstyle and your teams will. If you manage to win a draft by out-banning them and getting the picks you wanted in the first place, and on top of that, get a gnarly fifth pick, then you are probably going to win the game, unless something really unfortunate happens.

The fifth pick also represents the hero with the highest risk-reward ratio, meaning that if drafted in an environment that mitigates the risks, the reward breaks their strategy. For example, last picking a Riki when they have no hero that could provide true sight, getting Techies against a team that was trying to focus with squishy intelligence nukers, etc.

Imagine you have the very last pick, this would mean you are on radiant side if you dont remember. And you pick something like an Ember Spirit for the mid lane as a fourth pick, when they see that, they ban something like a strong position 4 for example, something like a Silencer if its not banned already. Your turn to ban, seeing this, you want to bait them off to a bad pick, so with that ban you can predict two possibilities, they are going a farm heavy lineup, or a teamfight focused strategy, you can brainlessly read this with their 4 other picks, so you ban a farming mid, Razor for example, big bully they could have ran against ember to jack his farm. They see your ban and deviate towards another farming mid, as they are missing a good carry, they go for a greedy Phantom Assassin mid, they think its all good because Ember Spirit is going to be passively farming mid. Looking at their fifth pick you wonder. Bam! Its a Tusk fifth pick for your team, and sending him mid, decomposing your lineup into an aggressive trilane featuring Ember Spirit, and the offlane hero you didnt draft can work across with a semicarry, as they are soloing the easy lane, not the hard lane. With an aggressive trilane you take over their farming space, while Tusk feasts on phantom assassin.

Its all about quick thinking and turning around. Remember there is no going back after the fifth pick.

3.2. Tells

A tell is something you can see and predict from their picks and bans for future reference. These tells tell you what their strategy is, provided they gave away any tells and you actually noticed. In low level pubbing it is very possible that both teams dont mind it much and give away they strategy, and even then it is an even match. In maybe higher skill games some tells can slip through and it is up to the other team to use them or not. In pro games if you see a tell you hesitate as it might be a ban baiter, and gets harder as your opponents get smarter.

So, what are some tells you have to keep in mind, that way you dont make them and know when you see them?

First off dont pick core heroes early on. Sure, farming space is dictated by support, but matches are dictated by carries, and if you give away your match strategy by first picking a hard carry, they already know you are then going to need proper supports, a ganking midder to create space for that hard carry, and so on; and they will ban those and counter pick around those. Also, this is not exclusive for core heroes; if you pick Pudge as a first pick you just gave away your plan. Dont be that obvious, unless you want to.

Do not pick roaming duos components one after the other, you are giving away the lack of flexibility of your strategy by not giving them time to think after every pick you do, same thing I told you in the Dire Double Pick section. Also, same goes with trilanes, pick the components with a hero in the middle so they lose track of what you were doing, sounds dumb, but works most of the time. There are situations where you will have to pick those in quick succession, to avoid getting banned out, etc, but as I said, that just the lack of flexibility in your strategy. A way to pick heroes together and go away with it is by using heroes with multiple capabilities.

Heroes with multiple capabilities are the best thing ever when it comes to drafting, you can first pick something like silencer and they have zero idea about your lineup, it could be a mid silencer, a trilane, an aggressive trilane, a support silencer, it could be piggy back strat, its a masked pick.

Tells can also come from bans. Ban Rubick? They are going big ults. Ban Anti-Mage? They are going intelligence carries; of course no drafter will be this obvious, it is just for the sake of example.

And yes, there are proper intelligence carries, like Tinker for instance.

3.3. Counterpicks

If your opponent drafted poorly and you have the opportunity to counterpick them, do it; but do it properly. It is not like your all pick pub pick Meepo counterpick Lich or Earthshaker, is much more complex than that.

You are going to want to take counterpicks that have another role than just countering that hero, you want heroes that have an easy time to that hero you want to be counterpicked not to straight focus that hero down. So for example, a Zeus pick, you can go Pudge, as Zeus is going mid, you are going to give them a hard time, and from there, Zeus has no escape spells, so Pudge is going to have an easy time killing him, and from there, build up meat heap, go around ganking, easy life.

That goes for more, second hard counterpicking. If you want to go straight out get omniknight to counter their physical damage carry, go ahead, its their fault if they didnt ban him out.

If you want to go deeper, you can let off a sneaky counterpick by getting a hero that grabs certain items. If you need to draft something with Hex, to keep that Brewmaster disabled, you dont have to draft something like Lion or Shadow Shaman, with Hex in their kit, that just too obvious, if not already banned by them. Go and take a hero that usually buys hex, and just kick it up from situational to core pickup, for example Tinker, Natures Prophet, Skywrath Mage, Necrophos, etc. Simple as that.

To avoid hero counterpicks (heroes that counter your heroes), try again with heroes with multiple capabilities, as I said before, these are the best thing in drafting. However, these wont counter item counterpicks, any hero can deviate a little bit from their items and get Diffusal Blade to purge out your Guardian Angel; and you will panic.

3.4. Steals

Personally, I think stealing is a mediocre method/resource of drafting strategy; I wouldnt do it unless its a really specific occasion. In a nutshell, stealing is using one of your picks as a pseudo ban, picking the hero they needed for their lineup.

Sometimes they think they have a perfect lineup figured out and their drafting is going to be flawless as their had picks and bans all figured, but you use one of your picks as a steal, and really knock over their world. Happened to me several times, even not so long ago. They needed a mid hero and we had banned Mirana (and they know what that means, that means I am going Tinker; well, they know how I play, (that is kind of a drawback I will go over in the next section) so instead of picking their planned farming mid, they steal Tinker, and that makes my drafting turn around in a second. I ended up rolling with Pudge to, at the very least, counter Tinker on mid; that is a Pudge fifth pick by the way.

If you get a hero stolen is means a couple of things, first, that your draft is predictable, second, that they know you, as a player, or they have played against you some time in the past. Always, and I mean always, every single draft, have a backup plan. In a game with 5 bans and where stealing is possible you cannot not have a backup strategy.

If you get stolen do not panic, but just recalculate the possibilities, how are you going to make them suffer that steal pick? Act as normal, draft slowly but surely, they are going to start re-thinking if that steal was worth it in the first place.

If you want to do a steal, do it the same way, be confident on it, make sure you are actually stealing that hero because you want to break their lineup, not because you have gotten your ego kicked by that hero before; that just cheap stealing for ones fear. See ti4 finals third game (If I recall correctly) Vici after getting rolled over by Weaver they decided to steal it, and Newbee was expecting it, and they had it all figured out, still rolled them over with a derivation of the same strategy. They had it measured, proper drafting from them.

Stealing a predictable, but relevant fifth pick can be quite decisive by the way.

3.5. Personal Picks & Bans

This section has a lot to do with steal picks as well as the first round of bans. Its about personal hero playstyle. This can be not only yours but your opponents and it is just as key from any of the two perspectives.

If you get your favorite hero banned or stolen is not that big of a deal, you sure have more heroes to play, right? Most of the time is not relevant to the drafting. But if you have a really good signature hero, and they know it, expect it be something like a second or even first ban.

This problem happens to position 1 carries and mid players the most, as they tend to be the ones to take on the match, but it mainly depends on the situation. They can also ban the teams most signature hero.

The biggest problem comes in when they know you strongest heroes among all genres, for instance, they know you play a really strong Vengeful Spirit, and have solid winrate with her in most drafted games, so they know what to expect, and they reserve they bans for heroes they consider more important or fitting, but build around what they expect from you. This is attributed to high level or pro teams with some neighborhood fame if I may. Oh hey its goo yay, lets first pick mirana woohoo. No. nonono. Thats why setting private profile and changing your name can help sometimes in captains mode pubbing. Hence my countless amount of different names.

See the section of the Main Pudge Fetch, the dotabuff screen captures I am named "Powerhouse", really you can name yourself whatever you come up with.

4. Failing Drafts

There are only two components for success, one is knowledge, and the other is experience. Hopefully this guide helps out partially with the first one, but the second one is a lot different. They are always bound one to the other.

Experience is achieved by practice, and a big part of practice is failure. Do not worry, failing your draft is not the end of the world, its just the picking part of DotA, what matters the most is the game itself, and this is how you fix a losing draft.

If you get out-drafted, of course, you are going to be running up hill, but still, every game of DotA starts with the same amount of heroes and gold per team, and with all the items out there you can give the best out the situation. Its on your end to out-play them. Getting out-drafted does not mean they are a better team, just that their drafter is a knowledgeable player, probably more experienced, most likely read this guide, etc.

Never look into a match as an early gg, go get dagons and blademails and you will see how everything works out.

Same goes for playing against what you think are better players, the odds are the same until the gold advantage tells otherwise.

Next sections are about some common ways to fail your draft.

4.1. Common Mistakes

To kick it off, the most common mistake that appears on players new to the concept of drafting, on captains mode format of course, is that they are only familiarized with all pick and similar gamemodes/formats.

Captains Mode is not a slower version of all pick, even if the people in the chat are saying PICK ME VOID PLS, you have to roll with logic (careful on pubs, if you think it is the perfect Leshrac game and you draft that, and nobody knows how to play Leshrac you are going down feed town), but dont go all crazy on it, play at a similar level as your opponent, just better, exploit their mistakes even if they do not know they are doing them. And that brings us to the second point.

Self-Awareness, look at your players, now look at them, now look back at your players; you think they can actually win a game of DotA against them? If your immediate reply is a yes, then you must be a great drafter, if your reply was a no, then there is one of two problems happening; you either consider your fellow battle-buddies inferior to your drafter master race, or, you just consider yourself better because you know your playstyle. When drafting you have to know who your players are, and what heroes they like playing, and what heroes are big no-nos if they go against they playstyle.

For example, on my team we have a specific member, we are going to call him yolo for now, that has trouble with playing like a support, even if it is his main role, he just plays the yolo way. So if I draft him something like Keeper of the Light I know that he is going to buy a Dagon, three armlets and two Crystalys; Keeper of the Light just doesnt fit for yolo. But if I draft him Ogre Magi or Vengeful Spirit, and he gets a Mask of Madness and a Daedalus on them, is not that big of a problem, see? Know how you have to turn your enemies force and turn it against them? Well, you have to redirect your teammates force too, do not underestimate them.

If you want to know about common mistakes in drafting specifically, take a look at the following sections.

4.1.1. Centralized Strategy

There are two kinds of centralized strategies. There are matches centralized around a strategy, and strategies centralized around playstyles, both are detrimental to your success, and will really cut short your possibilities of a comeback or a counter played match.

Centralizing a strategy means taking out the variables against you, but at the same time reducing considerably your strategys flexibility. So already having an unbeatable 5 hero lineup means that one small change on their heroes or item pickups and you are done.

For instance, a very teamfight centralized strategy. Enigma, Sand King, Naga Siren, Dazzle and Viper. The idea is that you start Song of the Siren disabling their heroes, with all that time, Enigma positions himself and Sand King synchronizes the Epicenter channeling with the end of Song of the Siren, when the song ends, Enigma instantly Black Holes and Sand King goes in and does the hard work, Viper adds damage output and Dazzle is a leftover support, with weave just in case. Sounds amazing on paper. But once you go ingame, you realize that heroes are not always pushing as the whole team, that they can buy black king bars, that they could have ward coverage, that they have a ganking mid that keeps viper on the line and kills enigma in the jungle, etc. There are variables, and you have to keep them in mind at all times.

Its all about balance, you want a strong teamfight, but not so strong that you crumble with the possibility of split pushing. Or if you want a late game hard carry oriented strategy, but fail horribly when they take two towers down, etc. There is a fine line between bravery and stupidity; this means running two hard carries is greedy, but running four is straight out dumb. This goes for any roles, you do not need five pushers, you do not need five carries, you do not need five supports or five initiators; it wont make your pushing/carrying/supporting/teamfights stronger, but instead weaken your overall strategy, as you are missing on roles, capabilities or abilities.

4.1.2. Overall Poor Strategy Layout & Thinking

This comes hand to hand with the last sections subject. Sometimes is lack of game sense, sometimes is just being short sighted. Poor strategy layouts come up when the opposing team has already figured out your strategy, and you have no way or space to switch it up at that point, so you run this really impromptu cheap strat that there is no way you are going to win, and even worse, you think you will.

So, how do you avoid this? Learn from your mistakes! Is that simple, look back at drafts and see, wow, I should not have gone ramp up strat when there is two flash farmers on the other team, or, damn, that level 1 Rosh with Shadow Fiend and Venomancer really didnt work, eh?

Work on your options, even when playing regular matches or even when you arent playing DotA start thinking of a lineup, include bans. And when you are done imagine thats the opposing team, and draft against it as good as possible.

Second thing with this, just play the game, live the game, breathe the game. Immerse yourself in dota for a while and get some game sense and knowledge would you? Knowing the little numbers and what pops linkens will help you in the long run, playing pubs or drafting for a team match. Sometimes is great telling your teammates something they didnt know, like that Dust of Appearance costs 5 mana so that courriers cannot use it, and that Manta Styles active ability has different effects depending if you are a ranged or melee hero; in for all-knowing, guide-making demigods with 12 000 match making rank level dota. That is a fact.

5. Successful Drafting

There are plenty of things you can do to consider your draft successful, also known as winning the draft. And many of these have nothing to do with what you pick and ban, but also if you managed to predict what is their strategy all about. Sometimes it is obvious, and when that happens is just a matter of direct out-drafting; but when its not there will be matches in which you are not going to have enough picks left to counter them by the time you had it figured out, that means they did a really good job at not giving away their strategy. So they succeeded.

Another big thing to try and have a successful draft is heroes, there are always stronger heroes in some patches; and I am not talking about counterpicking, I am talking about heroes that are just more flexible, have better numbers for certain spells, etc. If you are both running offlane initiators, and yours is Tidehunter and you notice they had to go for Centaur Warrunner because they had no other option, that is being a step forward, and that is how you out-draft to certain extent. Also, it is not stealing, but predicting and utilizing that information to modify your strategy to counter theirs, even before the draft is done.

Then winning and losing drafts can be broken down to every hero. Like you see those reddit threads where they analyze drafts hero by hero and say this counters that, this team has more pushing power, this has more farming speed, these heroes could pick up these things, etc. But this analysis is always done after the match, and during the drafting is not humanly possible to think about every single variable, but you have to keep in mind just the most important ones. Also the clock is ticking.

5.1. Synergy

Synergy has little to do with drafting, but it is still a big hero-wise consideration you have to keep in mind. So, what I am talking about?

Hero, and item synergy means that those heros kits or items go well together, they synergize together. Pretty obvious synergy can sometimes go down to two heroes, and many times, there is no proper counter to it except playing carefully or better than the opponents. I am not talking about Faceless Void, Witch Doctor, Skywrath Mage, Razor, Death Prophet, lineup. I am talking about picking something like a cleaving carry, Sven, like Ember Spirit, and a aoe stun initiator, take Magnus or Earthshaker. As simple as a stun and cleave damage is synergy.

If you cant pull off really good synergy combos then, at the very least, dont pick heroes that counter each other in your team, try to avoid overlapping (this means picking heroes that do similar things), etc. For example, do not have Beastmaster and Troll Warlord on the same team, you are having two heroes that stun a single target and that give attack speed to the team, and you could have different hero there, that does something different; unless that is what you are looking for.

Personally, when I draft, I try to avoid late game synergy (this doesnt mean I dont want it, just that I dont need it) and try to go full on early game/laning stage synergy. Having strong lanes are the first step to having the advantage, so instead of going for a Magnus plus Ember Spirit late game combo, I prefer taking a Viper, Venomancer and Silencer trilane, that is by no means losing their lane to anything, even some aggressive trilanes (meh, maybe up against an agg tri venomancer could suffer but thats it).

Also remember what I said about centralizing your strategy, you dont want synergy to become a disadvantage.

5.2. Prolonging The Game

It is exactly what it sounds like; it is making the game longer, never ending. Why would you want this? Well, sometimes when you break into ultra late game and semi-carries and supports are six slotted you can out carry their strategys orientation. So if they run a full on baby sit lineup with a really hard carry and they start winning the game you have to options, you either end the game before the 25 minute mark, or you delay it to the 80 minute mark.

25 minutes in your supports have only some support items like a Force Staff, Mekansm and a Rod of Atos at max. And their carry has one or two big items and that is it. Still, with some manpower and semi-carries you can push them in (if they are lacking teamfight and supports that is) and end the game early, before their hard carry really comes online.

If its too late and their carry is already killing you off effortlessly, try to keep your side of the map under control and farm like a Faceless Void. At 25 minutes your Enigma had a Blink Dagger and a Black King Bar, he isnt really a threat to them anymore, but if Enigma gets a hex stick, a Shiva's Guard, a Refresher Orb and a pair of Boots of Travel, and all your teams supports do the same, and your semi carries as well, you might have a chance, as you all had similar farming priorities and didnt play a babysitter early on you might be able to take them out with your better distributed farm.

6. Update-able sectionerino

Nothing here, yet.

I will add anything that was missing in the guide here, if I remember or if it is pointed out.

Yay for foresight!

7. End Note

Well, for now that is it for my guide on drafting and strategy, for now at least. I will be certainly adding much more content, as for now I really feel there is subjects missing.

Anyway, thanks a lot for reading the whole thing if you did; please do add comments down there if you want me to add something in particular or if you want to point out any mistakes and such.

This guide was finished as of 15/01/15. Sorry if there are any grammatical or spelling mistakes in the guide, English not is native languaregino jajaj.

I want to use this opportunity to give out some shout-outs, just like in my last guide: Thanks spooky terrorblade arcana man, Mindset_ for adding my last guide to the new player resources of /r/learndota2. Gimme a tinker arcana flair pls.

Shout out to the cystic fibrosis stream again, go check it out if you dont know what it is (you cant miss it, there is only one cystic fibrosis dota 2 stream).

Hey mom! Hey sando, how you doin. Also hey to all those veterans and to the handsome moderators if I may. You dont have to +1 this guide, but if you liked it make sure you do, it helps my ego a lot, thanks.

Good luck and have fun. And as always, dont let me get buried by techies guides¦

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