7 Votes

How to Play the Trilane

November 22, 2012 by NinjaMovesPro
Comments: 0    |    Views: 47284    |   

Opening Words

3-1-1 laning is used in most of the DotA games today because it gives your team greater chance of winning. You can have 2 solo heroes that can be stable on their lanes receiving most farm and levels in less time and you can have a lane composed of 3 heroes ensuring a lane dominated, your trilane. 2 supports in a lane assure a safe lane for a carry making him farm all the gold he wants. 2-1-2 lane won't be successful against trilane because 2 heroes definitely won't win against a trilane and their other 2 heroes couldn't kill a solo hero. So though I'm fed up of 3-1-1 lane type, I have to admit that this is the most effective strategy offering several advantages.

So, in order to win, you have to beat the opponent's trilane. But how? What must be done to dominate your opponents at trilane? This mini-guide will teach you how...

★ Lesson 1: Trilane's Do's and Don'ts


These are the common things you should and you shouldn't do in your trilane to have greater opportunity to win, not only your trilane, but the entire game.


Have nukes and disables
Without these, your trilane will obviously fail. The amount of disables and nukes are preferably more than 1. You need to hold your opponents long enough and you have to kill them fast enough.

Have regeneration items
Trilane definitely would consist of non-stop harassments and battles. You will need to regenerate your hp and mana in order to be more stable at your lane and avoid going trips back and forth. Leaving your lane for a while means free time for the opponents to farm and to dominate the remaining heroes.

Buy other important items
Other important items, like magic stick, add to your lane advantage.

Aim for low hp heroes
Low hp heroes are easy to kill and most of the time they have the best disables and nukes in the lane, so taking them out as soon as possible is a wise decision.

Maximize skills
Use your skills with perfect execution and proper timing. Communicate with your allies and know who should be first to act and who's next.

Have combo
Your heroes shouldn't be composed of random heroes and just lane them up on the trilane. You should think of how they would complement their skills. Here are some of the best trilane combos that can serve as models to you.

Cheap Shots
Harass opponents. Try to position yourself so that you can be safe while doing cheap shots on your opponents. When they have low hp, you'd have quicker time to kill them once you execute your combo.

Kill as quick as possible
Time is gold. Yup, even in trilane. When you're able to kill a hero as quick as possible it's down now to 2v3. You can choose to kill another one or retreat if it's too dangerous to proceed.

Consider allies' position
Before initiating know where your allies are. If they are too far away, you'll just waste your mana and worst you can even die because of that.


Picking heroes that don't complement each other
It's best to have heroes that complement each other because it's easier to kill and there won't be much hassle in battles.

Too many melee heroes
Melee heroes are prone to harassments and are weak at harassments. You wouldn't want to give opponents a free farming lane so you should often limit your trilane heroes on 1 melee hero. There are cases where you can have 2 but it's not advisable to have all the heroes at the trilane melee.

Not warding
Observer wards are essential in trilane. It can either be used defensively or for attacks.

Aiming for tanks
You don't have enough damage to kill tanks in one combo early game. There are other heroes you can finish in few blows. Aiming for tanks will get you in trouble most of the time. He will make your skills useless and he will just run away laughing at you while his allies punish you for your wrong decision.

Playing too passive
Your opponents will have a free farming lane when you do this. You should limit their items and levels as few and low as you can.

Being too aggressive
Playing too aggressive, on the other hand, causes you to die giving more gold for the opponents. What you should do is balance your plays. Know the best time to execute your combo and wait for this opportunity. Try to bait your opponents too for them to commit errors.

Not considering opponents combo
Not only your team has deadly combo, your opponents have too. You should know what the things they can execute are. This is easy because you already know the skills of every hero in DotA.

Wasting Mana
Don't use your skills on creeps just for the sake of farming, especially if you're using a low mana hero. Reserve your mana for your combo. Stun and other disables are also best used in killing not in harassing. Use nukes to harass.

Creep pulling a lot
I wondered why most Asian teams I watched dont pull neutral creeps. Instead, they keep on harassing and trying to kill opponents on their lanes. I realized that it is more important to do that because you can help your team mate have more farms by harassing your opponents. You can also save allies anytime. Nonetheless, you can prevent your tower from receiving cheap shots.

★ Lesson 2: Dominating the Trilane


Pick Excellent Heroes for Trilane

    You should consider the heroes first. One must always remember that when faced with equally skilled players, hero picks are very critical. Without the right amount of killing abilities, you can be owned by anyone in tri-lane. If slightly inferior in your tri-lane you can make some adjustments in order to win, but having a total hero pick mismatch, it is quite impossible to control that lane. So, what are the things to consider in picking the heroes at trilane?
Disabling Skills
    The most important thing is having heroes that can stun, slow, sleep, net, or other skills that can hold a hero to one place. 1st reason is that you need your prey to stay on one place to make it easier for your skills to land on him as well as your normal attacks. 2nd, chasing the hero just to kill him is not advisable because towers are too painful to tank at early levels. 3rd, chasing your target means free shot other enemy heroes making you die first.
    High burst damage skills are the next important thing in trilane. Powerful nukes make it easy to get rid of a hero at the trilane quickly. Instead of having a troll warlord to do normal attacks on a stunned hero, have a morphling instead to finish him with your wave form. Without powerful nukes, the disabled opponent can have his counter attack on you, right after the stun duration. You may be the one to die because of not having a powerful nuke.
Range heroes
    They are important in a trilane to do cheap shots to opponents and deny creeps from them. I recommend having 2 range heroes in every lane have creep kills and harassing advantage.

Heroes' Combo
    You should consider if the 3 heroes can complement one another. Most heroes have best allies. You should know who they are and pick them. Don't just pick heroes without considering their chemistry. An example would be Undying. If he lanes with stunners, chances are the heroes would escape right after the stun duration. On the other hand, slower heroes like rylai and veno, are better lane mates with Undying because his zombies need more time to deal damage.

Know and Buy Key Items

In trilane situations some items give a lot of advantages over the opposing team. These items are highly recommended to make your trilane successful.

Ring of Basilius
    One hero should buy this to give his lane mates mana regen and armor. With constant mana regen, you can execute your combo often giving you have more chance of winning the trilane. Mana regen, the reason why you wont have several trips to fountain, will make your opponents have a hard farm time at your lane. Extra armor is critical here because opponents will be doing normal attacks on you after casting their spells. Extra damage makes you deny more creeps and the carry farm better.
Magic Stick or Magic Wand
    Trilane heroes, having several spells to cast, are somehow countered by magic stick. Your opponents would make constant fights spamming their spells on you or your allies. You can earn more charge and use it when they are after you. Most of the time, you'll survive if you use this wisely. +3 to all int, str and agi is also helpful in early levels in terms of mana and hp.
Observer Wards
    To have more advantage in trilane, heroes will appear behind you for trapping purposes. To prevent this from happening, observer wards are the key. You'll have more chance in winning if you happen to see them before they trap you because you can cast your spells on them before they can click you. Observer wards offer defense and offense at the same time.
Boots of Speed
    To have more assurance of not letting an enemy escape, you got to have boots. Boots grant move speed that can chase your opponents easily, especially if they don't have boots yet. If they have, the more you need to have boots for you not to cry for letting him escape with only 1 hp remaining.

Know The Best Target
In a trilane, you must not engage in a fight without conceptualizing the outcome. You should consider the advantages and disadvantages of the opposing trilane. If you want to win, take advantage of their disadvantages.

Type of Heroes that shouldn't be your first target:

Tanks - Heroes with high HP and armor take time to be knocked out. If you focus on him, his allies will surely do everything to also damage you. Once your target survived, your spells would already be in cool down state. He will, then, have the chance to use his skills and finish you.

Jumpers - These are heroes that have escaping abilities like POTM, Morphling, QOP, Puck. You don't want to target them because once they escape your plan to kill that hero, he can now regenerate and attack back.

Weakest - Heroes that will deal the least damage among the 3 heroes shouldn't be your prey. Weakest hero wont damage you that much if you try to kill his mates.

Type of Heroes that should be your first target

Softies - These are the heroes with low hp. You can disable a softy and kill him in no time. To do this, you should have a proper strategy of backstabbing them. Good players of low hp heroes wont show himself because he knows what will happen to his cotton candy hero. Sentry wards are needed to destroy their observer wards to make them less careful.

AOE stunners - This should also be your top pick because they can disrupt your plan in one spell and let them do counter attacks which is very fatal.

Bleeding heroes - They may be high HP heroes, but if they are bleeding, take this opportunity and kill them using your combo.

★ Lesson 3: Some of the Best Trilane Hero Combos

Crystal Maiden

Most people lost their games because of losing the trilane. Trilane is very crucial. Losing a trilane results 3 heroes have level and gold disadvantage which would lead to losing the game if the opponents continue their plan of non-stop harassment. What are the needed items and skills in trilane to be able to win it? I expect you to analyze carefully the examples I'm going to give you. These are DotA Trilane heroes having winning combo and chemistry to ensure wins in your games.

SvenVengeful SpiritVisage

In DotA 6.69c, Visage is one of the best hero at trilane because of its powerful nuke, slow and its average hp making him not an easy prey. His instant damage spell called soul assumption increases its damage as heroes inflict damage on opponent heroes within 1378 AOE of Visage. It has only 4 seconds cool down and its maximum charge capacity becomes larger as the skill level increases. So, why sven and venge? You need someone to disable your opponents to be able for visage to have its full potential because soul assumption needs time to reach its maximum charge. Sven has 3 roles-disabling, inflicting damage and tanking. Opponents are not AI's. They want to dominate the trilane too, so when you start the fight, they would fight back. Sven should disable one enemy to disallow him to cast any spell on you and venge is there to back sven up with their perfect disables. Visage can now have his soul assumption fully charge to finish the target. Sven having high HP, have the choice whether to attack other opponents who are already outnumbered and have skills in cool down, or to retreat if he his HP is not negotiable. Wise opponents would target venge because of his low hp but most of the time 2 heroes is not enough to kill venge. Other intelligent opponents would target visage to stop him from casting his killer blow. If this happens, let sven chase the target. Surely, the target would have very low hp and would be running back through his tower. Sven should chase that target not only to kill him, but to refrain him from doing damage to visage which was disabled be his allied heroes. Visage after getting disabled should cast his soul assumption to the target if it is still close but if not, he should cast it on other opponents, preferably with low hp, and since the soul assumption's charge has 6 seconds expiration time. He can run back a bit for sven and venge to have their skills ready and to earn another maximum soul assumption charge, which has only 4 seconds cool down.

Once visage reaches level 6, he is now a lot stronger and I recommend opponents to ask for help from other lanes. Visage players that can control several units perfectly would win the trilane in every encounters. He have 2 summons do have great attack damage and has 2 seconds stun each, making it a total of 4 seconds stun. Being with sven and venge, there is no way you can escape a stun of around 8 seconds. Opponents of visage would need AOE stunners to give some help reducing damages taken by their allies. All you have to do is play passively against this trilane combo for engaging in fights means making visage happy.

Counters: This hero combo is quite unstoppable at trilane, but can be countered by having a solo hero against them. It is because a solo hero reduces visage's potential. Visage needs action! But, here you are farming and playing safe. Priestess of the Moon, Wind runner, and Puck are some of the heroes that can face them alone. Before visage can have maximum soul assumption damage, the opponent is already gone.

AlchemistCrystal MaidenSlayer

Alchemist is one deadly hero in trilane. He has a stun with a potential of 4 seconds duration dealing 300 damage. This is possible if he was able to maximize his charging time and fires up the stun to his target successfully. This skill is called 'Unstable Concoction'. Apparently, best skills are not easy to execute. There are requirements. Skills like shadow raze, soul assumption, elune's arrow are not so easy to use because of its strong potential by nature. Unstable concoction is one of these best skills I have mentioned. You need to run and chase your opponents to maximize the stun duration and damage of this skill. Thus, a perfect lane mate would be Rylai. She has slowing and disabling ability to make it easier for Alchemist to land his Unstable Concoction on his target. Lina is there for additional disable and spam. Since the stun duration of Alchemist's disable is quite long, lina can land her stun and spam to aid Alchemist for the kill. Alchemist is quite a tank, perfect for the difficult nature of being in a trilane. Acid spray is one pain in the butt skill too in trilane. It has a wide AOE and would make everyone bleeding if they stayed longer within its range. This is another skill that would make opponents play passively.

Once alchemist reaches level 6, it's more difficult to lane against him. Alchemist can cast chemical rage and ignore most of your cheap shots. He would rush like a bull into opponents charging his stun. Opponent can only play so passively because there would be one sure dead hero among them if they would try to fight back because of acid spray and rylai and lina's disabling ability.

Counters: Trilaning against this line up is also a very difficult job. If they have a lane advantage like sentinel's bottom lane and scourge's top lane, Alchemist has a long runway to chase you. I suggest face them in their weak lane. If you have the lane advantage, Alchemist can't charge towards you most of the time because of your tower is nearby. Though he may be a tank, he can't tank towers at early levels. He would wait for level 6 to be brave enough to challenge a lane fight. However, it is still difficult to play aggressive against this line up. Choose a safe lane to farm more because you will need armor reduction item for Alchemist's late game potential. If this line up lanes at the safe lane, I suggest placing a solo puck against them. First reason is puck's escape mechanism. Though slowed, puck can use orb to escape. 2nd reason is phase shift. Puck can dodge this sick skill by simply pressing f. You just wasted alchemist's effort on charging his skill. Again, puck here is meant for gaining levels and farm. One of the cons of laning a solo lane here is that Alchemist can use his gold hacking skill to farm his core items quickly giving much problem for his enemies. Though at late game, I recommend heroes like necrolyte, harbringer, slardar and ursa warrior to kill this imbalanced tank, at lane it is hard to win against this line hero lineup.

Vengeful SpiritKunkkaEarthshaker

I recommend this trilane hero line up because of its versatility. It is offensive yet defensive. Kunkka's bread and butter at early game is his torrent and splash. These are both aoe nukes that are painful for the opponents. Splash is quite easier than torrent. Torrent is easy to evade but once it lands on the opponents, they are in big trouble. Torrent offers damage, disable and slow. That is why venge is here to assure a perfect torrent. Earthshaker is there for additional disable as well as hindering the opponents to act at once, making it easier for kunkka to finish the victim quicker. Another function of earthshaker is to fissure a close pair of heroes to maximize the AOE of the torrent. Venge would have the final stun in this case to assure kills. Playing defensive is easy because of earthshaker. Once the opponents try to use their combo on a farming Kunkka, Earthshaker would disrupt that combo and disable 2 or 3 heroes. If this happens, venge can act and choose a prey to be stunned. Kunkka can move now and can cast torrent to kill his killers.

Once Kunkka reaches level 6, it's titanic time. Venge can initiate anytime because of safety provided by Earthshaker. With Earthshaker's AOE stun, there's a high possibility that Kunkka's Ghost ship will hit all of them. Kunkka will now hit them with splash and I don't think the supports can survive this combo. The tank would be the only one they need to add extra effort. This is one sick trilane combo but if not executed properly like ES wasting mana for harassing, this is not that easy to execute.

Counters: First of all you need wards. If an earthshaker is successful at blocking your escape route because of being blinded by fog, your team will have no choice but to fight back. Running back means giving venge and kunkka good chance to finish one of you. 2nd, I suggest a range carry like potm, kardel, windrunner to be the carry farming against this lane. Supports may be range or melee but they shouldn't be reached by venge's magic missile. The strategy here is not to be too aggressive because an earthshaker will disable all of you. If Kunkka and friends grew impatient and try killing your range carry, back him up to make the combo fail. Now it's time for you to attack. Target venge because she has the fastest skill cool down and he has the lowest HP. Another good counter against this line up is silencer's curse of the silent. Make kunkka or es waste his mana by cursing him. In this case, you will not fear their deadly combo anymore.

MorphlingCrystal MaidenWitch Doctor

Morphling's waveform makes him a good hero for trilane. He can damage opponents with his waveform and hit them from behind for extra damage. Crystal Maiden and Vol'jin make it safe for morphling to wave through the opponents. They can harass the opponents because of their range normal attacks. Crystal maiden's slow can make morphling and vol'jin do more normal attacks on the target. Once morphling wave in, bite and vol'jin's chain stun can stop opponents from focus firing on morphling. Their range normal attacks also make morphling not alone to hit the target. This makes it easier to kill the opponent. Morphling can retreat back safely because of its 3rd skill(morph). He can activate strength morph to add hp if needed. Rylai's one great contribution for the team is his mana which is much needed by morph and vol'jin. Vol'jin can heal morph after entering the fight to kill an opponent. Having a 3-range-hero line up on a lane also allows the team to gain more level and creeps kill advantages. They can deny a lot of creeps to make their opponents have slow farm.

Counters: Most of the combo I stated before this one are good counters for this. This is not a very strong lane though it has advantages. Morph is not a melee but with his range, he is still risking his life farming in trilane. He has a poor mana making him cast only 1 wave form in early levels. Make him use this and go for the kill. Perfect execution of stunner line up can stop this combo. Morphling has no disabling ability so if you focus fire on his team mate he has nothing to do but to inflict damage. Generally, this trilane cannot stop your disabling combo. Use Kunkka's X mark for morphling's escape mechanisms.

★ Lesson 4:

What is Turtling?

    The term turtle is widely used in Strategy games. It is also a popular term in DotA 2 scene. It is referred to as simply focusing on making a hero get all the levels and items he need before that hero joins the battlefield. Turtle is the term used because the pace of that play style is slow.

Why do we need to Turtle?
  • Teams would usually turtle when they cannot win team fights early game.
  • Turtling is also used for playing safe. It is one of the safest strategies in DotA 2 because the turtling hero can be a turning point for a lost early game at times.
  • It is also good to turtle if you have a team mate who farms fast. Take advantage of this to give you an easier win.

What are the types of Turtling?
  • Massive Nukers team mates - Defense oriented. It is simple defending opponents early push to make your carry hero have more time farming.
  • Ganker Team mates - It is executed by ganking the opponents constantly making them busy for their survival making your carry hero farm more gold.
  • Baby Sitter team mates - the entire team are focused on giving the carry safe lanes to farm. Supports and other heroes would always protect the carry hero from gankers.
  • Hybrid - it is the combination of the aforementioned types of turtling.

What are the things to remember in using this strategy?
  • The 4 heroes who aren't turtling should have skills that would make them win team fights early until mid game.
  • Be sure to have sufficient disables and nukes to help your carry survive and even give him kills early game.
  • The turtling hero should farm his items as fast as possible so the team would stop taking risky 4v5 battles anymore.
  • Be sure that the hero picked to be turtling could beat the opponent's late game heroes too.

Turtle Line Up Example:

Puck and Tinker would go solo lanes and the other 3 would be on trilane. Early game, Earthshaker and Crystal Maiden can harass opponents to give Mercurial a safe farming lane.

Once gankers come for Mercurial's head, Puck should be ready to teleport and coil making the enemies the one to die.

Tinker can babysit Mercurial continuously by teleporting back and forth to his lane and spam missile to the enemy heroes on Mercurial's lane.

Clashes can easily be dominated by those 4 heroes early game with their painful nukes, puck's silence and their AOE skills that hurt a lot early game. Spectre can join clashes after the opponents used their skills already or simply give them killer blows for extra gold.

Closing Words

Professional DotA 2 Replays are everywhere. There are a lot of websites giving you these but copying their play styles won't give you any chance of beating them. To understand the game thoroughly and to have original game styles are the factors that will make you have a successful team.

~ NMP & iGk.Jakku

Quick Comment () View Comments

You need to log in before commenting.

Similar Guides
Featured Heroes

Quick Comment () View Comments

You need to log in before commenting.