Common Mid Match-ups
According to me learning Match-ups and how to play against specific heroes is really important in winning the mid lane, so here are some match-ups and how to play them.
Invoker is one of the most common mid in my mmr bracket (and probably all brackets as well). I would say the key to this match up is better creep block. Practice your creep blocks well or ask a support to block while you take the bounty rune.
If you get a good block, stay close to the creeps when you are about to last hit. This gives quite some advantage in those crucial first waves last hits. If you are able to gain a lot of souls, you can destroy this match-up very easily (assuming you did not get ganked). Invoker has very low base armor and your right clicks really hurt.
What you should watch out is Cold Snap
. Do NOT try to fight him while you are cold snapped (unless he is 1 hp). It is impossible to raze so don't even try. Try to walk away from him since the closer you are the more procs he is more likely to get. However when his Cold Snap
is on cooldown, you can be far more aggressive or even try to get a kill.
Watch out for enemy rotations. This match-up is also very dependent on support ganks. Try to call for ganks if you can't get souls due to a bad first few waves.
is a must at some point of the game. If you have Shadow Blade
, don't hesitate to bring dust to hunt him. He has very low armor and you can burst him fast.
If the Invoker
does not get a Shiva's Guard
, you can go for 1 pure DPS item and might even 3-5 shot him in the late game.
Queen of Pain
This is one of the most scary match-ups along with Lina
. When she hits level 3, she can just Blink behind you and dagger and there's almost no way you can fight. Consider getting extra tangoes to counter her dagger spam.
Her base damage and attack animation is so much better than yours so against a good QoP you might not get any cs without raze. To get cs you have to try some creep aggro tricks (search youtube for some tutorials on it). You have to be patient in this match up because as you go to higher levels it becomes much more manageable. If possible try to convince your support to tp in when she blinks behind you and try to turn the fight.
What your goal in this match up is to get to higher level such as lvl 5 and just double raze the creep wave whenever possible. QoP
has a bit of trouble when you just shove your creepwaves in. Try to get runes but you should be careful in doing so since without creeps you are vulnerable to QoP
Getting a long raze on QoP to keep her hp less than comfortable to blink on you is also a good choice.
Ganking a QoP
is hard so maybe it's better to just let your supports do something else in the game. Beware of enemy support ganks since you are very easy to gank especially with QoP
This match-up is more QoP dominated and there is not much you can do. A good QoP will not let you get more than 1 raze on her. However if the QoP screws up the first few waves and you get a massive amount of souls, she cannot blink in to you as you can just outdps and right click her down.
does not proc on Shadow Strike
below lvl 3 (most QoP
don't get more than 2 levels). If they do get it, you can backpack or drop the Infused Raindrop
to preserve charges.
If you get an Infused Raindrop
, remember that every
As the game progresses a QoP
generally does not force you to get specific items so your item choices are much less fixed.
used to be the arch rival of SF in the old days of DOTA1. In case he goes for the march build, it is unlikely that any of you will kill each other without ganks. In this case just be careful not to dive march when going for kills. Most times you will just find yourself trading farm.
If he goes for the nuke build, keep in mind that without kills, he will fall very far behind in farm. You can play similar like against QoP
- Get long razes, shove creep waves and control rune with your superior aoe nuke skill.
Hold your high ground and keep your hp high. Don't be afraid to bring salves
. If he tries to get close to you, try to get a triple raze. He would most likely die first if you landed all 3. Remember not to aggro creeps when you are lasered since you would take damage unnecessarily. Tinker
has low armor but getting right clicks off with laser
can be tricky.
This match-up is also very dependent on support rotations. Beware of enemy ganks.
As the game progresses, BKB
is almost a must. MKB
is a good choice also but remember that MKB
can (almost) never replace a BKB
. Convince your teammates to get Lotus Orb
if the Tinker goes for a hex
. A situational item that might be worth mentioning is an Eul's Scepter
. I have never tried it so I can't really tell how effective. Basically it's to cancel his rearm
relies on spamming to lane. Starting or rushing magic wand
is always a good idea. You should always be aware of his burst potential and try not to be on too low of hp. Runes and ganks can be the deciding factor in this match-up otherwise you are just going to trade farms since it is quite risky to go for a solo kill unless he is out of mana.
Rune is important to both of you since both of you require mana to lane. Ask for team to secure rune if possible. A Zeus
without mana is far more useless than an SF
without mana though.
Identifying his skill build can also help. The 3 main Zeus
builds at level 5 are 221 (2Q, 2W, 1E), 131 and 230.
221 builds have balance in harass and farming but is quite unlikely to kill you solo.
131 builds are weaker in farming but stronger in harass and kill potential so playing more passive may be the better choice.
230 builds are more likely to solo kill you if you ever misplay. The burst damage is quite a lot along with the higher farming potential.
In all of the cases sending salves
can be a good choice if you cannot acquire runes.
As the game progresses you may consider a Hood
although I rarely get those as it is quite an investment. Try to get a teammate to get pipe
is alright but I sometimes manage without it. If you manage to catch the Zeus
, you can burst him with right clicks if he skips veil
since his armor is not the best.
Sometimes regarded as the counter of Shadow Fiend in the mid lane, I wouldn't say TA
is that hard to lane against. The key to this matchup is to dodge psiblades while wearing down the refraction charges. After depleting his defensive charges, it is usually a good idea to land a raze. Play against a TA
similar to how you would lane against a melee hero.
Another thing you can do is to use creeps to your advantage. If the TA
decides to right click you and aggro the creeps, in most of the cases you should just stand your ground and fight. Creeps melt her refraction charges allowing you to get razes off. She is only tanky when she has her refraction, otherwise she's almost as paper as you are. Getting successful support rotations also depend on this so always play around her Refraction cooldown.
As you get to a higher level, it is safer to just double raze the creep wave and control the runes. TA
has some trouble clearing creep waves without her own creep tanking for her. At night time you might even sneak a kill as she is tanking the creep wave, you double raze just as you come into vision (provided they have no wards).
In the midgame TA
can be a problem when they have a lot of lockdowns. 1 stun + TA
followups can instakill you. It is important that you should be more passive until their stuns are used or she has gone on someone else. If you have a Silver Edge
, remember that there is a weird interaction against BKB
. If you hit before BKB
was used, the debuff remains. Many times I got my hit before TA
used her BKB
and she jumps on me, using it after she jumps. The 50% damage reduction will not allow her to manfight you so just stand your ground and right click her down. Otherwise Hurricane Pike
can allow you to disengage when she solo jumps you.
At some point you will want to get armor items. If you are behind in the game, a Solar Crest
might even be worth getting. Otherwise go for the luxury armor items.
I sometimes see Lina
as a Shadow Fiend counterpart. Flash farm spells, DPS skills and glass cannon. However in a pure 1v1 mid, I consider it 1 of the most hardest matchups as the ball is on her court. Her mana pool allows her to spam a lot during the first few waves. Always get a Salve
to survive the first few levels.
If she goes for 201 build, there is almost no way you can trade efficiently. I would suggest avoiding her nuke to be a big priority even losing last hits is alright according to me. Her superior range allows her to get quick and strong harass on you. After her nerfs it is much more possible to lane compared to before.
Check on her mana frequently. Getting stunned is probably 80% death confirmed for you unless she is out of mana. Most times she will get a level 6 first so checking her mana if she has her full combo is important. Get Infused Raindrop
as soon as possible and try to be efficient with it.
What you want to do is try to get supports to gank your lane. Lina
is as squishy as you are and she is also low on armor. Beware on her turning around the gank as she can dish out a lot of damage in an instant. Similar to most other disadvantageous matchups, you just want to double raze the creep, try to control the rune and avoid her.
After laning stage Lina
will usually get her Bloodstone
then Shadow Blade
. It's a huge matter on who gets the jump since you are both glass cannons and can shred each other in matter of seconds. Asking a support stunner to stick with you is a good idea to turn her ganks around especially if you are behind. A BKB
is always nice during teamfights but it won't save you from her Shadow Blade
ganks. However if she is fully stacked (Daedalus MKB territory), never underestimate her right click dps.
Solo kills are unlikely to happen in this matchup as long as you do not underestimate his damage output. You might be able to get a solo kill if you force him to use his spell in less optimal ways or baiting him. Try to build up a lot of souls that he will be tempted to phase shift
your right clicks. If he does so quickly get a raze to keep pressure on him. You should have an advantage in rune control since you push faster than him.
What you should watch out for are enemy supports' rotation. Puck
can followup a stun easily to burst you. Meanwhile, if your supports are rotating in, try to force his Orb
. Try denying your ranged creep, they would be tempted to nuke the ranged creep. Try to only raze when you are certain the raze would land such as when he has no spells or when he is stunned. Otherwise your right click can be sufficient damage to force his Phase Shift
do not usually threaten you solo as the game progresses. It only gets dangerous because he can quickly followup his allies' initiation. Usually I do not feel forced to get specific items when against a Puck
but a BKB
is always nice. Killing him will require allied lockdowns or Orchid
usually goes for Eul's
against silences so stuns are still more reliable)
This matchup is your matchup to lose (assuming you didn't get ganked). If you do things right, you can even force him out of the lane. Always deplete his flame guard
. Unless his shield is level 1 or you have a level advantage in Raze
vs Flame Guard
, you will require 2 razes to destroy his shield. Based on my experience, do not get greedy and start with your close raze. I usually am winning the lane, I went for a kill and got close to him so I can get all 3 razes. He blocks my first raze with the shield and he just stays close to you preventing you to get medium raze on him to remove his shield. Your creeps will die to the burn while you are manfighting him so his creeps will eventually help him. I would suggest to always start with the medium raze so you will always have the close raze in case he goes for the kill. Also watch out for his level 6, but you can always dominate the lane hard that he gets his level 6 relatively late.
He has quite low armor so when you build up your soul, his Poor Man's Shield
will not allow him to tank any hits contrast to before you get your souls your right clicks may only deal 15-20 damage to him which is probably not worth trying at all.
Identify his build as the game progresses. Magic build Ember Spirit
poses quite a threat to you as he hits higher levels. Going Orchid
is usually not the way to go since they frequently go Eul's
. Physical based Ember Spirit
on the other hand only wants to build damage. Getting silence forces him to get Manta Style
which is not very ideal to his goal. Either builds, hitting him with Silver Edge
can nullify his damage burst a lot.
At least an even creep block is required. If your block is significantly worse, Storm
can just walk up your hill and zone you out with his almost 6 armor. Trading hits in early levels is not encouraged. Just build your souls and you can dominate this match up. It is unlikely that he will get a solo kill on you pre-level 6 but you might take one if he is careless. Get razes on him as you reach level 3. Try to control the runes too in which you should come ahead with your nuke.
This matchup is not as hard as it used to be since the remnant
mana cost nerf but getting Magic Wand
early is still nice because he will still spam it. Watch out for his level 6, as he nears level 6 you want to keep an eye on his mana. Keeping him low on hp also prevents him from going on you. If he does go on you, becareful on trying to raze, good Storm
players usually expect you to try for it and will dodge instantly with their ult. You can try to right click them and more likely you would outlast his mana pool (don't forget your magic wand) then go for the raze. He has to use that ult anyway since he can't manfight you without it (assuming you did not get stomped).
Since there's a lot of different matchups, it takes a lot of writing to list every single one of them. I am planning to add more. I may never add unusual heroes since I lack the experience to understand the matchup. Feel free to explain some matchups in the comments and I can add them to the guide with your permission and give credits to you. Meanwhile here are some general guidelines.
In disadvantageous matchups, pushing out lane is almost always the best option. Send your own ward if your team is slow to purchase them. If you find yourself unable to go to lane without dying, consider going jungle and get clarities
to sustain your raze spam. Offer a support to leech xp from mid. Infused Raindrops
also gives mana regen which is not bad and allows you to survive in some situations.
In advantageous matchups, remember your kill conditions and do not overextend. The fastest way to lose a lead is dying to enemy mid. Deny every creep, get every last hit, harass them and go to jungle after pushing out waves if the enemy is playing super safe. With maximum souls, you deal a ton of damage, you can even opt to go up the enemy hill if their supports are not effective gankers or are preoccupied with other things.
I am not really a fan of solely
last hitting creeps with raze (without hitting enemy hero) during the first few waves except for ranged creeps. Always prioritise ranged creep since they give a lot of xp. Sometimes a matchup can be much easier if you have level advantage(s) from denying ranged creeps. Try to be conservative with your mana in general. Since the raze 75 -> 90 manacost nerf, the need to lasthit with raze in the early waves are very punishing. A safe guideline would be only raze to last hit if you have sufficient mana to double raze (remember it is a guideline, many exceptions apply such as to last hit multiple creeps).
These section serves to give you some idea on how to fully maximize your hero but requires skill and involves risk of failing to pull off.
Triple Raze on Non-moving target
There is 1 point where all raze can hit. It is the 450 range away from your hero. So imagine the situation where your allied Pudge
is dismembering a tanky target in the midgame. You get to 1 point and quickly triple raze without any extra repositioning, quickly dishing ~900 magic damage.
I am not very familiar with how the mechanics of AOE spells hitting, but I assume with the 24 collision size of heroes means the margin of error for this trick is 24 units from 450 range. I could be wrong so feel free to check this out.
I have not mastered this trick but it's worth mentioning.
Requiem Timing Tricks
Everyone is very familiar with Eul's
Requiem trick but not everyone is landing it consistently. Practice with it since 2.8k magic burst may be the difference between a lost or a won teamfight.
Of course it is not limited on Eul's
only. Practice with Aegis
, OD Astral Imprisonment
, SD Disruption
(which has same timing as Eul's
), WK Reincarnation
and many others.
Hurricane Pike Precast
You are defending your high ground, you see a Slardar
, very suspiciously sprinting in your general direction. Click Hurricane Pike
on him, he blinks in and you push him back resulting in him completely missing the stun and you bursting him with Sprint
damage amplification and your high damage. Siege is over without their initiator and you successfully defended your base. If you have Orchid/Bloodthorn
, those are far safer options considering the enemy does not have BKBs
Of course this is the most ideal situation, but if the Slardar
blinks behind you, then you have just been pushed to the low ground which may result in your instant death. However based on my experience this very rarely happens, so feel free to weigh the risk/reward yourself.
Some example of heroes you can do this against would be Slardar, Earthshaker, Magnus, Sand King
(lower success rate, depending on whether he clicked your hero or ground). Basically relatively small aoe stun heroes.
This is probably the riskiest trick compared to others above. Basically under normal situation, you use BKB
as soon as you enter the fight. However, you can be slightly more greedy if your enemy does not have instant disable. Wait for that VS
stun projectile to fly towards you then use BKB
. This means, that VS
has no stun that could have been used otherwise on someone else on your team.
It can definitely backfire, once I was right clicking an Earthshaker
, so he was walking towards me and I only want to use my BKB
once I was in range of his Echo
. Suddenly enemy Windranger
blinked beside me and shackled. Echo followed, I died and my friends went "xDxDxD passive bkb lul".