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3 Votes

How To Win Midlane

September 24, 2020 by WarBoy
Comments: 1    |    Views: 12029    |   

Minute Zero

What’s the first thing you should do as the creep waves meet?

Check your opponent’s inventory and stats!

In fact, throughout the entire game, you need to make it a habit to regularly check on your opponents inventory and stats, and make a mental note about how farmed they are.

Make note of their armor & attack damage, maybe even hover over their stats to see how fast they can auto attack, and check out their physical damage resistance. Compare it to your own and ask yourself, "Can I come out on top in attack trades against them?".

Now, you don't need to pull out your TI-84 graphing calculator and contact your mathematics professor to figure out the exact formulas of who is coming out on top. Just get a general idea - a quick look of their stats is more than enough, and puts you on the path to be a top tier player.

Lets take a look at two heroes - QoP Of Pain & Sniper - and see who would come out on top in a trade.

Queen of Pain has 4 armor, 700 HP worth of regen, and 240 Mana worth of regen. She also deals 59 auto attack damage.

Sniper has 3 armor, 200 HP worth of regen, and 0 Mana worth of regen. He deals 51 auto attack damage.

Unless this Sniper is blessed by RNGesus, he will 9 times out of 10 lose the attack trade against this Queen of Pain.

Who comes out on top of a trade varies from game to game, and you can guarentee victory by matching, or even outdoing, the enemies regen. Look at their regen items. If they have a Healing Salve, you need one too!

If your opponent is a caster and they have no Enchanted Mangoes, you should trade with them. If they spam their spells, they will run out of mana before affording a Bottle. When they have no mana, they are just an oversized creep.

Buy Ironwood branch as a starting item, even if you don't build it into a Magic Wand. Use it in combination with a Tango. It gives you double the Tango regen and allows you to eat a Tango without leaving the creeps.

In the beginning of the game, always say "Hey, can I have 1 Tango please?" and odds are, you will be given two. Just a nifty little psychological trick I picked up.


A common mistake made by lower MMR mid players, is they tend to just run straight down lane, in full vision of the opposition, and place their ward in an easily identifiable spot. This is essentially giving the enemy free gold and experience, because once they deward you, they can claim the ward bounty.

Not only that, but you are denying yourself precious vision to scout out potential ganks, or harass/last hit/pull aggro while the enemy hero is on the high ground!

Sometimes, I am able to get away with warding the enemies side of the river, because I play fast mobile mid heroes such as Skywrath Mage or Pugna, and I am the first one to reach the river without fear of being spotted by the enemy, although I cannot recommend that to every player. Instead, make use of these warding practices to increase your odds of winning your mid-lane.

I personally believe Dire has great advantages when it comes to placing middle lane wards, and I say so because you have the opportunity to hide behind trees from both sides of the tower, enabling you to place your wards unseen by your enemies. For the right side, position yourself behind this cluster of trees and place the ward as far as you can.

For the opposite side, walk around the trees, not through the middle tower - but around the trees, and place the ward from behind this cluster as shown in the picture.

As I said before, Dire has the advantage when it comes to mid warding, (and I believe that is because it is easier to gank Dire’s middle lane, but that’s another topic altogether,) because there is only one tree cluster to place a hidden ward from. If you’re gonna ward as the Radiant mid-laner, you will use this one right here:

If for some reason you’re compelled to place it on the opposite side, make your approach through the Radiant ancient creeps.

Harass Harass Harass

Say that 3 times fast and it sounds like her ***! ;)

Hit the enemy hero. It’s free harass!

If you are against heroes who have reliable nukes to last hit, like Zeus, Broodmother or Storm Spirit and you notice they have enough skill to use mana for last hits, when they come up to last hit with their spells, you should attack them rather than go for the denies!

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

A lot of low ranked mid players seem to neglect right clicking the enemy whenever possible, you should always be trying to chip them down, forcing them to use their regen for relatively little effort, just remember there is no cooldown on right clicking, it’s the cheapest damage you can output.

When you’re going to try and kill the enemy mid laner, send out a Healing Salve beforehand, rather than after so that you’re prepared if you don’t get the kill and have to back up, or that you get the kill and can push in the tower without the threat of getting finished off by a rotating support.

Use your spells! If you're a midlane Skywrath Mage, or Queen of Pain, or Zeus, there is no point in sitting at 100% mana! It is better to whittle the enemy down, rather then trying to 100 - to - 0 them. Remember to ferry out multiple Clarity and Enchanted Mangoes.

The most common mistake I see in low MMR games is that people are reluctant to use their spells unless it results in a kill. Use your spells to harass!

Set up the kill as a 1-2 punch. If getting level 6 represents kill threat on the enemy, you should buy a Healing Salve and start trading with them at level 3. Don’t wait until 6 and hope to 100-0 them. The kill attempt is more likely to work if they are at half health and you are at full.

If you’re stronger, get aggressive! Right click them. Chew through their regen. Delay their next level. If you’re weaker, use creep aggro as a creep nears last hit HP so you can last hit further away from your enemy.

Creep Aggro

This video fully explains creep and tower aggro:

To be succinct, get near the enemy creeps, right click on an enemy hero, then walk backwards and A click on a friendly creep. Enemy creeps will follow you for 2.3 seconds after you right click on a friendly creep. This is called drawing creep aggro.

The function of this action is to make it easier to deny your range creep, make yourself safer from enemy auto attacks (as he will draw his own creep aggro if he tries to right click you), and reset your lane equilibrium.

When attacking enemy heroes under their tower - Right click the enemy hero more than 500 range from the tower. This gives you 3 seconds to hit the enemy hero as long as the creep the tower is attacking survives. Don’t forget that you can use glyph of fortification to keep creeps alive during a dive.

Lane Equilibrium

In the mid-lane, there are 3 positions of equilibrium that dictates who has the advantage.

You define where the lane equilibrium is by where the creeps are standing to fight each other.

The three positions are marked by X's, and are known as follows:
  • Dire Advantage
  • Neutral Equilibrium
  • Radiant Advantage
You want to have the equilibrium set so you have the advantage. What does the advantage give you?

By having your creeps standing on the high ground fighting enemy creeps on the stairs/low ground, you and your creeps will gain a 30% evasion to ranged auto attacks. This is known as uphill miss chance.

Thus you will be able to trade attacks more aggressively with the enemy, and make last hitting 30% harder for your enemy, forcing him to draw aggro or use spells to secure last hits.

Making sure that your opponent doesn’t deny the ranged creep, and you last hit it, is vital - it's the most important creep in the wave as it secures you level 2 from the first wave and gives the most XP/Gold by far.

To secure the ranged creep and deny your own, you can pull aggro on the creep wave by attacking the opposing player then walking back away from the lane. This will likely draw your melee creeps to attack the enemy's ranged creep, so be ready to secure the last hit on it.

Making sure that your opponent doesn’t deny the ranged creep, and you last hit it, is vital - it's the most important creep in the wave as it secures you level 2 from the first wave and gives the most XP/Gold by far.

To secure the ranged creep and deny your own, you can pull aggro on the creep wave by attacking the opposing player then walking back away from the lane. This will likely draw your melee creeps to attack the enemy's ranged creep, so be ready to secure the last hit on it.

You can also prepare the ranged creep, which is when you do damage to the ranged creep to where the enemy cannot deny it, and if they try to it will go into last hit range.

If you are playing a hero like Kunkka, where you will end up regularly splashing the wave when harassing the opposing midlaner, it's important that the ranged creep is prepared so you will get the last hit if you end up cleaving the wave with Tidebringer. If you can pull this off successfully, you’ll find that you will outlevel the enemy mid laner without even having to kill them.

When in doubt, drop a spell to secure that ranged creep last hit. The XP + Gold is worth it!

Minute 4 - The First Power Rune

Many midlaners end up purchasing a Bottle, and bottles can be refilled by any rune!

The use of Bottle is to produce a solid amount of reusable health and mana regen that you can use at any time, along with storing the power runes in (double damage, regeneration, arcane, haste, illusion), which when picked up also refills the Bottle to full.

When used correctly, these can give you a massive advantage when in lane, or going to gank a sidelane. Unless you really need the regen, it’s recommended to hold on to the rune so you can use it when most effective. When you want to collect a power rune, make sure to push out your lane so that you don’t miss any XP and put pressure onto the opposing midlaner, as they will have to last hit under tower and will be unable to contest you collecting the power rune.

I usually shove the lane at 3:45 - 3:55 which forces the enemy mid-laner to choose between last hitting / defending their tower, or contesting the rune.

When rotating to collect the rune, communicate to your team that you could gank a sidelane. Getting a haste, double damage or arcane can give a massive boost to your heroes ability to get kills, whether dishing out large sums of damage from right clicks, low cooldown spell spam, or just running down whoever you find.

If you have pushed out the wave before you leave to collect the rune, you should be able to successfully gank a sidelane, making space for your carry or disrupting the enemy carry’s farm, and then return to lane without missing much, if any, XP and gold from the wave.

Another high IQ MMR tactic I learned was to have one of your supports on the side lanes make their way to one of the power runes, while you move to the other, essentially guaranteeing the enemy does not get the rune.

When To Gank Or Go For Kills

Take note of your hero's power spikes - most tend to spike at levels 3, 6, and 7.

Tell your team that you will have kill potential when you hit level 6. Encourage them to buy and use regen so they are ready to fight when you are about to hit 6.

Low MMR players love fighting for no reason. Give them a reason to fight!

You often don’t need supports to gank your lane if you can solo kill the enemy mid hero. When going for the solo kill on your enemy mid-laner, take heed of the following:

The safest time to dive is when the enemy supports are dead.

The second best time is when the enemy supports are busy fighting in other lanes.

Coordinate with your team to keep the enemy supports busy - be it by hijacking creep waves, being aggressive against their carries, or damaging their tower.

Either way, make sure to start roaming the map looking for kills once you hit your power spikes. As a midlaner, you will hit your power spikes way before the enemy side lane heroes do. It is your duty to gank destroy the enemy weaklings!

Another basic yet often overlooked concept is tracking enemy teleports.

Let's say your team is slightly behind and the enemy team just killed your carry in a team fight at Mid Lane. When he respawns the enemies back off. You look at the mini-map and see that the enemy Carry is now pushing the wave at their t1 tower top. She was just mid a few seconds ago, so you know for sure that she TPd there. You see two enemy heroes walk bot under a ward and shout to your team "go fight, no Medusa". Your team runs at the enemy in bot-lane and takes a good fight 5v4, all because you know it is physically impossible for Medusa to join the fight.

When you use your TP, you commit yourself to one part of the map, the only way "out" is to walk. So knowing that an enemy TPd somewhere is very valuable information, because it tells you that if you take a fight on the other side of the map, they will be unable to join.

If you are playing a mobile mid laner, such as Ember Spirit, Queen of Pain or Skywrath Mage, walk to your destination for your gank, then Teleport back to mid. (Or even walk back to mid if there isn't an immediate threat to deal with or kill to secure.)

TPs are best used when the enemy are diving your team - requiring a swift response, or if the enemy is near your tower, and you can teleport whilst concealed by the trees, and secure the kill.

Minute 5 - Bountys and First Catapult Spawn

Every 5 minutes, a catapult spawns. They deal siege damage, which is a 300% amplification against structures. Basically, they melt towers. You should aim to push the wave to the enemy tower every 5 minutes, and hell, even glyph to give the catapult a few extra shots. People rarely use glyph in low MMR anyways, so use that to your advantage!

At around 4:30, after you secured the power rune and successfully ganked, take some sippy sips from that vodka flask Bottle to get yourself topped off, then make your way to your friendly bounty rune and pick it up, which will fill your bottle back to full again.

Once the catapult spawns at 5:00, kill the enemy creep wave whilst harassing the enemy hero, and protect your siege creep to let it tear down the tower as much as possible.

General Advice & Conclusion

General Advice

  • The first night is the most common time for a gank on mid. Add an observer ward to your quick buy or sticky it so you can buy the 3:30 observer and plant it before the first night.

  • If the enemy supports are missing and you feel afraid, do not sit in the lane where they can see you. Sit in the trees next to your tower so they do not have vision on you. Watch the map so you know when it is safe to leave those trees.

  • You need to have a good reason to TP to a side lane that isn’t getting dived. If they have a lane ward, you will get scouted and they can just disengage. This is even more true if you are crushing the mid lane. By leaving, you give your opponent breathing room to recover.

  • Do not wander around the map with low health or mana. You need to keep yourself topped off so you can join fights, survive ganks and farm effectively.

  • Finally, a good tactic to amass gold is to use spells to last hit the main creep wave, then go to the side jungle camps and farm those, go back to lane, farm, and repeat. No need to sit at tower and wait for the next creep wave. Dont take neutral camps over the lane creeps though - 2 lane creeps is the equivalent to one neutral mid/large camp!

  • Be friendly. Anytime I had a friendly team, the games were usually played at a higher level. People willing to put in ideas, all grouping or splitting the map. Plus, it just makes the game more fun to play. We all like Dota guys, just be cool.

  • Don’t ask yourself if you are toxic, ask if you are enjoyable to play with.

  • Communicate with a mic if you can. If you are typing, you cannot be doing things. Plus, it's easy to miss something that has been typed or pinged.

  • Say things ahead of time instead of complaining after the fact.

  • Do not auto attack creeps. First, it pushes the lane. Second, you are leaving last hitting to chance.Both aren't good. Try to get the killing blow on creeps. While waiting for the time to last hit, harass the enemy hero.

  • 25% of games are free wins, all you have to do is not royally screw up. 50% of games your performance will greatly impact the outcome of the game. The last 25% of games are just unwinnable, no matter how many pro plays you pull off. As Captain Picard once said, "You can do all the right things and still lose. That's not a weakness, that is life."

  • Narrow your hero pool - In DotA it is better to be a master of 1 rather than a jack of all trades. I have 1 hero I always win with, 2 heroes I'm very good at, and 3 heroes I am good with - all for the mid lane. (I know heroes for other roles too of course, but I am a position 2 main.)

  • Stop tilting, limiting yourself and blaming it on things that don't matter.

  • Sometimes it's better to focus on farming / pushing the tower while your team dives in a pointless fight and ends up feeding. Ignore their flames.

As discussed, the midlane is one of the most skill based roles in Dota 2, and as such it’s important that every play you make is as efficient as possible.

If you learned from & enjoyed this guide, are a passionate player who enjoys being competative, and want to join a community of like-minded individuals, join my DotA 2 Guild called "As Balla As Possible".

You can find our guild by searching the tag ( ABAP' ). Yes, there is an apostrophe. You must use the apostrophe!

If you're a competative person and you'd like to play some DotA with me, send me a friend request! My Steam Friend Code is : 1103875423

If you are looking for personalized coaching, I have a friend who is ranked top 200 Immortal of his region, and he currently has a few slots open for new students. If you feel you can benefit form this, then please comment on this guide and I will reach out to you!

Match ID's:
  • 5598846455 -- Skywrath Mage Mid

  • 55595981419 -- Sniper Mid (This one is a loss, but I feel this replay perfectly demonstates key concepts from my guide, and I just had insane efficiency, 24~ minute skadi bro. We rollin.)

  • 55574702606 -- Sniper Mid

  • 55554576514 -- Queen of Pain Mid

  • 55554645167 -- Sniper Mid

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