Dota 2
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How to Support in Dota - A Book by Sephiroth_VG
By Seph
In-depth guide to Support Role and things you need to know to be a better player! Learn how to destroy your opponents by totally outplaying them. You will find all the information to get yourself to 5K MMR just by supporting!
 
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Chapter 1: Intro!
Who am I?
I'm a 23 year old Engineering student from Ireland with more then 10 years experience in DotA! So you can say I have tried at least a few ahem things in DotA. I started playing because I loved strategy games and DotA was what my friends used to play!

I was also a really early Dota 2 Beta tester and also played extensively in BattleNet, Garena, Dotalicious Etc

Over my life I've played DotA for over 10,000 hours. I've also played alot of In-house leagues, scrims and Semi Pro Tournaments! My peak MMR was 6.2K and Ive learnt a lot about how to really play the game on the top level with and vs pro players. I also used to cast quite a lot and have even won some weekly ones like SECS, TECS etc

Why am I writing this Book?
Looking at the games these days made me realize how most of the Dota players do not really enjoy playing support and seem to have forgotten really important elements of the game. Most players only play support when they are forced to. I really wish to change this perception and show people what being a support really is so I've put a lot of Love and Effort into writing this book to help you guys be fabulous at DotA. I wanted to leave something for the DotA community as my legacy and improve everyone level of play without having to grind. I feel like a lot of toxicity in DotA comes from the fact that the Support role is so belittled and frowned upon

Why be the support player??! Its annoying to buy support items all game!
While it is the toughest role to play after the '2' Mid Role it is still vastly unappreciated even though It is the most important role in the game. Tough is not the same as Important

There are only a few Pro Support players like Chuan, LanM, Kuroky and Aui who are really appreciated by the community. Honestly, its the support ('4' and '5') players which make the game and set the pace of it. Most support players have a lot of problems in trying to get gold or do much in the game but it is not that hard once you learn how to be efficient and be a good player.

Who can Benifit from reading my Book?
Its aimed towards players of all skill levels! Even new comers who find DotA really hard to understand and who are forced to support because their friends do not trust them with playing anything else. I will teach you not only how to enjoy Supporting but I will also give you enough knowledge to make you be a better player then your friends!

So my guide is beneficial to almost everyone who wants to improve and win games! Specially If you are tired of losing game after game and seem to be stuck in the a trench then this guide is most definitely for you because it will give you the skills and knowledge needed to jump ahead of the curve!

I obviously cannot explain all spells and every single small mechanic about heroes here because this is already going to be a Book and if i expand on anymore things I wont be able to really give you the information to start improving from Day 1. However it doesnt mean that you cannot ask me in the comments if you dont understand something because I want to do my best to answer everything I can.

While reading through my book you might think 'Oh I know this already!' But I want you to stop and THINK for a moment about why the average MMR is only around 3000 or even less? The answer is pretty obvious to me and It is because theres a difference in knowing something and actually applying it. A way to understand it is that for every job you are usually asked for experiance first even if you have a Graduate degree because a Degree is just knowledge and not application skills! I want to provide a package where not only I will give you information I will also give you all the tidbits you need to make that knowledge work for you. So be sure to watch every video as I might explain something not written down.

Another thing I need you to understand is that even though DotA is a TEAM Game you cannot keep thinking that you are losing because of your team. The common thing in every game you play is actually YOU. Now it doesn't mean you should start blaming yourself because doing only that will get you no where so instead you have to look at yourself and understand where you went wrong and find things which you could have done better. Maybe that pull/stack you missed caused you to lose gold and give enemies too much or maybe that failed gank where the enemy core got away and you died....thinking and working on these mistakes is the Key to unlocking your mind and actually allow yourself to improve. Patience is something else u'll need a lot of ....We have a proverb which says that Oceans are made Drop by Drop and your Effort, Hard Work and right mindset are the rain drops which you need to be amazing at something!
Chapter 2: What are Supports and Why should you Pick one?
A big part of winning any Dota game depends on the heros you pick and HOW you combo them up. There are a ton of heros you can pick from and something which is good in one game isint really good in another.

So what makes a hero a support?
A Support hero is one who basically can do the most with the least amount of items (Gold), and experience. They usually are heroes whose abilities who grant disables instead of farming potential (which a good carry hero needs).

Different skill levels think of different heroes as supports. The reason for that is because more skilled people can use their skill to compensate for the lack of disables because they use something other than just disables to do the job of a support.

Why should you pick a hero which cannot really farm ?
Now you might also ask why pick a support in the first place if you can do more with farming ?
Well there are a couple of reason why.

The first and biggest reason is that in DotA you cannot buy cost effective disables for example if you buy a Hex which costs 5600 gold and is equal to a Lions level 3 hex which he has by around 10 minutes. To put that into perspective it will take a hero around 12 Minutes to farm after reaching 500 Gold/Minute during which he can only farm and do nothing else. Also the carry heroes need to make items which allows them to farm faster in order to be effective as on their own they are pretty weak as well.

Some Comparisons to help you understand about Items vs Abilities
-Abyssal Blade is a 2 Second Stun Costing 6750 or 13 Minutes of constant prime farm which a Lion has on Level 3 with more range and multiple target capability. This makes Lion far superior
-Orchid Malevolence is a 5 Second Silence costing 4075 or 8 Minutes of prime farm which is equal to a Skywraths Level 3 Ancient Seal.


The 2nd reason is if your opponents have those disables earlier (by actually picking Support heroes) they can and WILL give you a much harder time and most likely win against you but as anything else its a two way street. So if the game goes to 50-60 Minutes the more Damage lineup will most likely win unless your Disables are superior and have better execution.

I hope this explanation helps you in understanding why you cannot have 5 heroes suited to farm on your team without having a high chance of losing and would stop you from being THAT guy who last picks a Core hero because now you understand the importance of Abilities. It also helps you to understand why you shouldnt let 5 carry lineups farm as much as they want to because you will not win late game against them.


Highlighted Heroes are considered Support by Volvo

Some Heroes not highlighted are Because they need more skill to pull off than normal
Sand King, GabeN doesnt want to play support
Kunkka,
Earth Spirit,
Tuskar,
Bounty Hunter and
Nyx Assassin.

I also wanted to list just some ups and downs of being a support.

Pros and Cons of being the support player!
Pros:
  • Getting to play a wide variety of heroes from all 3 classes (Strength-Agility-Intelligence).
  • You get to destroy your enemies in the first 10 minutes and decide most of the game.
  • Learn to lead and communicate. (Good for a real life job)
  • You control the game and dominate your enemies with your spells. Say no to being a lazy right clicker

Cons:
  • It can be difficult if the enemies are playing very aggressively but there is no other feeling like destroying tryhards.
  • You don't get to buy too many items for yourself until you master your role.
  • Some players can be really mean and take your support for granted.
  • Warding against Invisible heroes can be a real pain in the ♥♥♥ but it is really necessary.
  • Not for the lazy lads who just want to right click creeps and heroes all day
Chapter 3: What to pick?! Lineups and Comboes!
As the game starts you should wait for information from your allies. You ideally want to have the 2nd pick in deciding which hero you need; unless you have a game plan already i.e If you are playing Push lineup then you pick supports which help in pushing or to control enemies if they try to jump your team.

Some things you have to think about before picking are mostly-
  • Picks for the Offlane
  • The hero your carry wants to take
  • The hero your other support player/jungler wants to pick
  • If the game has to be played defensive or aggressive (matters a lot if enemies have hyper aggression and you arent comfortable with fights)
  • Balance between supports (More on that later in the chapter)

Generally what you want to pressure the most is the Mid hero and the Offlane one but never forget the over all lineup your team will have. Picking supports in combo with your carry hero is a nearly a must so you can shut down the offlaner.

Balance between supports mean that you pick heroes which compliment each other. For example Sky with Lion is really good as the disables have stuns, hex and silence with nuke. Another example is Witch Doctor and Dazzle so you have heal and stun if you need to be aggressive or something like Witch Doctor and Visage if you want to get some killing done on the lane. You can also run a heavy zoner combo like Silencer / Sky where either can farm with pulls and transition into a pretty damaging ganker if you already have enough stuns coming in from someplace else.

One more thing to keep in mind is your over all draft and the enemies as well. Depending on your opponents lineup you can choose to either punish them if they pick greedy (Early-Mid Game Farm dependant heroes) by playing super aggressive OR by out greeding them. You can also do really tactical bait picks like Necro Ancient just to attract enemies there if they have Greedy lineups which allows you to win a lot of early fights if you have a proper lineup!

Below are some mini-guides on some of my favorite supports with Ingame skill build which you can subscribe to use in game.

Reading through them will help you understand which hero is strong against which offlaner/mid/carry.
(P.S You shouldn't worry about counter picking the enemy supports unless you are going aggressive or the support is a high impact combo hero like Earth Shaker, Enigma Insta pick Silencer / Vengeful Spirit to counter Engima, Sand King, Barathrum Play Jakiro with max Ice path, Undying Play Ancient or a nuke to zone him etc)

Also read [Appendix 4: Stun or no Stun] found at the end of the guide before proceeding further to gain deeper understanding about how strong a certain disable is and why a stun isint always the be all and end all of disables
Chapter 3.1: Skywrath Mage

One of my top 3 picks in any game as a support. They tried and tried again to nerf him but if you master this guy you can do so many amazing things relatively easily. People who see me playing him wonder if I am playing Carry or Mid Skywrath.


So what are the strong points of Skywrath?
  • Most annoying Its in the Bag line - Nerfed- Y U DO THIS ICEFRAUD T.T
  • High damage nuke combined with long attack range and decent right click damage
  • Instant cast silence to cancel spells mid animation and frustrate enemies
  • High starting MS (325) so you can kite and easily trade hits in the positive against offlaners

As you can see Skywrath is strong from the get go. He is super annoying to offlane against and works wonders against heroes like QoP, Void, Morphling, Timber, Earth Spirit etc as they cant get away when silenced. Hes amazing at ganking as he deals a lot of damage early but his weak point is that he has no stun or hex to hard disable enemies. Another weak point is his armour which makes him unsuitable against heroes like Slark who sneak unto him and can burst him down. Positioning can counter that to a great extent but it takes a lot of practice to get good at.

Comboes nicely with High Magical damage lineups and long stunners like Void, Clockwork, Magnus etc as it allows him to do insane amount of DPS with his Ultimate.

Takes a huge smelly Bird po op on Storm. So gank Storm early and as much as possible with Sky!

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=288489319
Chapter 3.2: Lion


My 2nd goto supporting hero. An absolute beast of a support and rightly named as he really is a Lion in the sense that its a leading hero because of his gank capabilities. The insanely long duration disables which are available from early game makes him a nightmare to play against which good right click and short attack animation and decent turn rate makes life a living hell for the enemy offlaner.

Lion got a slight damage buff last patch which makes him really good at harassing the enemy offlane with just right clicks. You can follow that up with Earth Spike to make life a already miserable offlaner cry. The Mana Drain is also amazing as heroes cant do anything when they have no mana. One of the most feared supports because of instant hex blink initiation mid game and mana drain coupled with Finger of Death gives him nearly unmatched sustainability and puts him in a class of his own. One of the strongest Gankers in the game as he can disable for over 3.5 seconds on Level 2 alone.

His independence from high levels makes him THE ideal dedicated early game jungle stacker as well ( sounds counter intuitive but its a really valid strategy )

His weak points are his low stat gain so you need to be a little carefull about where you step but it can be mediated easily by a Point Booster after the Blink.

Comboes best with: The King needs no real allies! But obviously nukers help.

Weak against: Vision and Blinkers early game and bad positioning from the player because of being a bit flimsy. AFK laning as his potential is with ganking and being active on the map instead of farming pulls.

Strong against: Nearly anything. The 2 disable combo is strong, right clicking is more than decent.

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=415948184
Chapter 3.3: Silencer


My third option when supporting. Usually its my first option against 7K MMR people because Silencer or Mr. STFU is a greedy support hero while offering amazing team fight control. He gives up ganking early game for a insanely strong Mid and Late game. 6K+ people like to pick high snowball potential heroes and they rely on ganking and team fighting a lot to win. Silencer however shuts down the team fight and also shuts down 1 enemy by disabling him. He can create insane amounts of pressure all over the map and during pushes.



Positioning on Silencer is really really important and shouldn't be taken lightly. A lot of enemies would try to burst you down first so it is your job to stay safe.

A common mistake every other support player does is that they try to make Midas and Aghs on silencer like hes a Core hero; but a 4-5 Position Silencer is not one and its foolish to try and build him like that. You take the potential for a great hero away for literally an ult which uses your first skill on enemies at the same time ( Sounds stupid dunnit? )

The way I play him that I heavily zone the offlaner early with my W and getting kills on the offlaner by outplaying. If thats not possible then I roam and pressure the enemy offlaner. You can also farm pulls if you have lesser cores then enemies and you will need a bit more OOMPH come 10 minutes. Mid game its all about fighting around your Global ult and gaining as much INT as possible from enemies.

Shadow Blade allows you to play even more aggressive and do a lot more DPS while buying time for your allies to kill your enemies if the enemies turn the aggro onto you. In some instances Glimmer Cape can be fine but SB boosts your already high Agi gain and increases your DPS quite a bit.

DO NOT try to play it like Slahsers way because you are NOT A CARRY.

Also his ult should only be used when you are team fighting or being aggressive. Using it to save a dying ally is a waste unless said ally is a core, without BB, and whose death will result in you losing your throne.

Best VS: Big Ult heavy lineups where enemies rely on them to win team fights. And Storm pickers.....because ♥♥♥♥ Storm.

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=416072497
Chapter 3.4: Disruptor

Another really good pick! Very Effective against a WIDE varity of heroes like QoP, Pheonix, Mirana, and basically any other hero. The ultimate gives huge control over the team fights and enemies will think twice before team fighting while you still have it! The combo is Glimpse into Kinetic Field into Ultimate if there is not enough right click. Is really damn good against enemies who push towers because they cannot back down once they are out of position! Pulling enemies who carelessly try to push your tower only to back off because you had more backup is the best feeling in the world, Specially damn usefull against Tier 3 tower pushes! Getting just 1 point in Thunder Call gives a lot of early lane zone and makes you super annoying.

Another combo to reliabilty glimpse someone is to use Thunder Strike and glimpse the enemy on the 3rd Strike and he will end up where you put the thunderstrike on him.

Obviously his weak points are that he offers no hard disables and the Silence has to be used wisely

Comboes Nicely with: Heroes with disables, burst and heroes who provide vision for long range glimpses!

Bad VS: Heroes who can pick you off first i.e Heroes who can focus you down first in a team fight. But apart from that the glimpse and kinetic field does more then enough to save you.

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=288504647
Chapter 3.5: Rubick


A very versatile support hero. I consider him a weaker Lion/Silencer in the sense that he has a disable and can steal ultimate's to control team fights. Most people already have a good idea on how to play Rubick. Its basically no different then playing a Lion however you cannot spam your spells as much as Lion and need Boots asap to start ganking.

Positioning is much more important and harder then any other hero as you need to be always close enough to steal ultimates while far away enough so that you dont get picked off early as Rubick is really squishy.

In the current face rush High Physical DPS Meta Rubick isint really the number 1 choice but some people still love playing him!

Best vs: Clockwork, Dark Seer and Puck offlanes. Can also be amazing vs Timbersaw if you have quick reactions to cancel his chain

Weak vs: QoP, or anything else he cant trade against.

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=416086304
Chapter 3.6: Abaddon
Abaddon

Abaddon is a hero of extremes. Hes either amazing at defense or amazing at offense . You can pick him whenever you either need to really baby sit someone against stun locks or go crazy dives with someone like Bristleback, Weaver or Pudge! He baby sits to the max and combined with an Allied hero like visage punishes enemy aggression.

Use your shield to purge off enemy stuns and slows and save everyone you want to. Keeping a teleport can also enable you to save your other lanes if they are getting dived and ganked.

Hes super effective as a mobile fountain for your team by building auras and helping you to sustain pushes for a long time because no one can really burst down your cores or you for that matter.

I was No.13 on the Best Abaddons list on Dotabuff when I was playing this.

Comboes Nicely With: Squishy Carries (Luna, Shadow Friend, Weaver etc), Aggressive Offlaners (Bristle, Weaver etc) and makes Support Morphling, Gyro and Beast masters completely useless

Bad VS: Bane (Sleep is very effective vs Abbadon unless enemies are really good and switch sleep off), Earth Spirit, Skywrath (If he silences you), AA (Because he renders your Heals useless) Etc!

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=416099396
Chapter 3.7: Witch Doctor
Witch Doctor

The Doctor is in[hydra-media.cursecdn.com]

Witch Doctor is one of the most amazing heroes in DotA. Not only does he have a Multiple target stun but he also has amazing defensive capability with his heal while doing a lot of DPS with his Ultimate which kicks even more ♥♥♥ after the Aghs upgrade! On top of all this the Cask is amazing to farm jungle camps with as well so Gold is not a problem as well.

Theres two ways you can play WD either Defensive or Aggressive. For Defense you max his heal as secondary skill while for being aggressive you level up Maledict (No more then 2 points are necessary) for extra damage if there's no real need for Defense. Defense however is nearly always better then Aggression because you can save a lot of allies with the heal while Malediction isint strong enough until you hit level 6 and then maybe you get a good cask bounce with ult off.

WD is also a really easy counter to Aggressive trilanes as the stun is multi target and the heal is good enough to keep everyone alive. It also counters Axe offlane which a lot of players seem to struggle with. The heal coupled with the stun makes it very hard for Axe to easily kill anyone and Cask is really amazing vs Enemies who tend to dive a lot.

Typical Item build would be Mana boots on WD followed by a bracer and then going for Aghs. However you should never be AFK on that hero as he can do a lot even on his own.

His weak points are his low HP and lack of escape because of normal MS

Comboes Nicely With: Anything

Bad VS: Night Stalker, Earth Shaker, Slark

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=469117775
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=469122423

Chapter 4: You as a player!
A big part of playing and winning at DotA is how YOU as a team work together. I really wanted to do a section on this and talk about somethings which come to my mind just to help your overall game first!

Toxicity
Every other game you will see people flaming and Q_Q'ing about this or that, but what they do not realize is that it not only makes other players play even worse it also distracts them from thinking and doing anything good. They are more unlikely to help you gank or team fight if they are getting flamed. Now alot of players will never really be nice to each other because the runneth deep in DotA players but it helps a lot if you are at least civil or just straight up mute them if you cannot be bothered trying to convince them to not be a negative nancy. If you are prone to raging what helps is that you type out your rage..and instead of sending it you can just delete it which really helps in calming down. Remember what i said before? That DotA is a team game--United you stand, Divided you fall!

Frustration
Learn to manage it. You need a attitude which allows you to look forward instead of beating yourself over and over in a game.You made a mistake and died? Its ok for now ..so keep playing. Another team mate is playing bad and dying? Doesnt matter...keep playing. Keep your focus on the game and by keeping yourself busy with plans etc you can honestly focus a lot more then if you get frustrated or hung up over your mistakes. It doesnt mean that you shouldnt care about anything though...because the time for caring is after the game when you can watch the replay and exactly what you did wrong at what time and then work on it.
TL;DR Leave your frustration until after the match. Give your 100% to the game.

Communicating
Not communicating or bad communication (flaming) results in in-efficient and/or failed ganks or just plain nothing happening on the map. The more you die the bigger advantage the enemy has over you. So communicating with your allies is a big part of having a GG and there's no excuse for not doing it. Preferably you should use your mic but pinging to get your allies attention and then telling them that you have a spell ready suffices if you are playing with some decent players. For those players who are just starting out I recommend that you should chat to your allies who you are ganking with while also giving a ping or two to make sure that they are ready and know what will happen!

On another note things like "who stuns first? Then who follows up?" Should ideally be decided before hand among the supports and the carry or you can ping on your stun being ready indicating that you want to go first.

YOLO
Avoid this as much as you can unless you are sure you can get the kill off AND get out of there safely. Never in any situation should you dive enemies without having your allies with you and nearby. Playing safe ensures that you dont feed the enemy team levels and gold. You would be surprised at how much gold you earn if you just play smart and not die in team fights. This however does not mean you should not help your team, In team fights sometimes the supports gets sacrificed so its ok. But IT DOES NOT MEAN that you have a license to feed (Aim for no more then 6-7 deaths on average). Play smart and never leave your allies unless they cannot really be saved.

Still don't believe what caring about this stuff can accomplish? I bet watching this[www.twitch.tv] will change your mind a bit! ( I've lost count the amount of similar games I've had since that one!)

Also....Never forget to keep a
on you at ALL TIMES after the first 6-7 Minutes of the game and dont forget to use them in a smart way! i.e Dont port immediately to a lane after re-spawning and always try to save the tp to port to a lane where enemies are diving the tower!

Be Imaginative
Meaning that you should always be looking for what you can use to yours advantage. I played a couple of games on smurfs with my friends who are 4K and i was suprised at how unimaginative the players are with their mindsets. Look for things like....any sort of stun/movement constrictive spell as Sky wrath with which you can even combo your Ultimate (played 3 games in a row where my allied Sky never realized that he can combo his Ultimate with my Chains), Slark pounce into omni heal, Nyx vs slark pounce and omni Heal. Another combo is Rubick lift into Clockwork cogs to just extend the stun duration and burn mana etc. Theres nearly always a combo you can form in game so opening your mind and thinking critically will help improve your game ten fold. However you also need to learn to communicate and stop being shy. If you run into a guy much higher MMR than you then you shouldnt be afraid to ask him about forming a combo to maximize your effectiveness in the game!

If you are higher skilled then you need to learn to look for patterns. For example 6k-7k Storm spammers are ALWAYS pushing out the lane because they use their Remanent to farm. Thats a pattern you can use to your advantage to gank them early on. Most then tend to fall back into their jungle and if you go gank / ward there too they will become totally useless for atleast the first 30 minutes of the game which just might be what your team needs to win.

To think critically you need to focus and you cannot focus on the game if you are focusing on flaming, being salty and whining about team mates.
Chapter 5: Your Job as a Support!
I am sure that if you have played the game you already have some preconceived notions about what Supporting is but to learn and improve at a rapid rate I need you to throw everything you used to know about 'Supporting' outside the window and pay close attention because it is essential that you have the right mindset to develop the skills you need to reach the apex.

For most people supporting means that you buy the courier and wards and then just try to pull the wave but doesn't that sound utterly and absolutely boring? It totally is and its one of the biggest reasons that everyone hates to play support because that's all they know about it!

So why do I enjoy supporting? Its because I know I am going to have fun destroying my enemies with my strategy and planning. Its because I know I will be the Chess master controlling everything.

Once you open your mind to what a support really is there is no way that you cant see its Beauty

A real support is in charge of the whole game. Everyone seems to have forgotten that DotA has its roots in a strategy game and is still one. The MOBA label seems to have taken it even further away from its strategic roots and most people now think of the game as an RPG rather then its real genre. So more or less Strategy is a forgotten aspect by new and old players alike by this point but once you realize that it is still there it becomes painfully obvious that its THIS realization which makes players like Puppey and PPD so amazing. It is also the reason you might enjoy DotA more then LoL as the heritage of this game is from WarCraft 3 which is one of the best strategy games in history.

To do strategy you ideally need time to think and look around which makes Support the ideal role for it in DotA. Not only do you have the disables on your team but also the time to plan which makes it so effective. I call strategy Macro of the supporting role while micro is obviously a lot of other things which you got to do, but don't forget that they both go hand in hand.

Buying a courier and Wards is a must for a support. However pooling 2 tangos as a solo support can leave you a little weak so ask the other jungler/support/carry to pool just 1 to the Mid hero so he gets a total of 2.

I thought long and hard about how to explain supporting and I think the best way is to start by listing Skills which you need to develop then talking in length about them.

The Skills which we need to develop are:
  • Laning Skills
  • Ganking Skills
  • Leading Skills
  • Information Gathering Skills or Warding
  • Controlling Skills
  • Time Managment
  • Team-Fighting and Positioning


I am gonna start you lads off with some basic Do's and Dont's of a Support player which will help point out mistakes most players make while supporting

DO
  • Buy Courier and Wards-Always
  • Gank for first blood
  • Pull Creeps to deny enemy offlaner XP, Gold and then kill him when hes out of position
  • Upgrade the courier at minute 3 so that your team can use it
  • Smoke gank as soon as you can More on this later
  • Carry a with you after 5-6 Minutes to port and save your Ally when they are getting ganked
  • Deny creeps IF you are baby sitting your carry so he/she can focus on just getting gold
  • Keep track of the time and TRY to secure runes! As a early DD or a haste picked up by a ganking Mid Hero can be devastating to you and your lanes!
  • Remember to stack Camps for your team to kill later.


DO NOT
  • Stay idle in lane and leech XP from your carry Unless your carry is against someone he cannot lane and needs to have a baby sitter/zoner -even then you should try to stack and pull every now and then to manage the lane to get XP and Gold for courier and wards
  • Try to steal farm from your Carry Unless you have fallen way behind and its necessary to get a little bit of gold to ward or upgrade the courier
  • Single pull- It will push the lane and give a lot of XP to the enemy offlaner The only time it is acceptable is when the enemy offlaner has left the lane and you need to create a big push to take the tower with the siege creep spawn
  • Pull excessively and leave your carry all alone against an enemy he cannot handle on his own!
  • Pull on the 1st minute mark unless the lane has been pushed hard
  • Harass enemies in Creep Range There is a whole chapter on how you should be doing it
  • Skimp on wards.
  • Try to kill steal excessively early game. You can get 1 or 2 but leave the rest for the cores.
Chapter 6: Itemization Skills
Items are wee tricky little things to understand. Most lads just think of them in Gold and Name but there really is a lot more to them then meets the eye

Basically Items are only as good as the time they are bought in. Best progression is from Cheap -> Expensive because cheaper items help you snowball faster and do more. The weak point of cheap items though is that they usually dont stay amazing all game long because they lose their value. For example a bracer you picked up early game falls short of a Point booster which you can get later on. It is more evident in carry items but I hope your getting what I mean and understand why it is foolish to try and buy an Aghanims Scepter straight away.

The Skill to deciding items on your own comes with time and experience which I honestly cannot really totally transfer. But what i CAN do is give you a guideline you can follow until you honestly reach around 5K MMR.

So I am splitting items up by Game Time and Ill talk about what should have by what time etc etc

  • Early Game (Lasting from Beginning until 15 Minutes)
  • Mid Game (Lasts from 15 to approximately 35 minutes)
  • Late Game (From Mid game to until end of the game)

Each section will deal with specific items but the most important part is the early game as that's when the cheapest items are the most effective.

An excuse I hear from a lot of lads is that they blame their lack of items on Early game even though the game is at 40 Minute mark which is a totally bad thing. At 40 minutes you can easily have 2 or even 3 core items as a support even if you did not have a good early game so there's no excuse to not having any items whatsoever!
Chapter 6.1: Itemization - Early Game [ NEEDS Some pics ]
Its astonishing that even in the age of Twitch streams and freely available pro replays most players still dont have how to buy good starting items. They end up getting really wonky stuff which is in efficient. For example getting Mantle of Intelligence over GG Branches or Null talisman over Boots etc. If you recall the analogy I gave earlier about Gold being really important to a Support then the same thing applies here. Your Early Items are THE most important items you will buy in the whole game as they will be what makes or breaks your lane.


Starting Items

So what should an ideal starting be on a support?

Typical Load out of an Experienced Support with Courier and Wards.

Now you may ask why not more Clarities or pure stats like Mantle of Intelligence or Circlet. Well the reason for that is that as a support you dont really need anything like that. The Mantle gives no HP boost while the Circlet costs too much. Your job early is to mostly get kills and having extra 10-20 Mana or HP doesnt matter that much in this case. The GG Branches offer the best possible way of spending your gold if you dont want a smoke early on as they also build into a Wand which is a pretty important item for supports. So no gold should goto waste.

A variation if you have two supports is this:

This enables you to gank better at early levels and play much more aggressive which will help you and your allies a lot during early game.

The other support ends up buying the courier and both sets of wards in this instance and you can upgrade the courier later on so the poorer support can get his boots faster!

A Third variation used in the top tier CM is to have Sentry, Courier, Tangoes, Clarity on one support while the other Support can start off with Boots, Tangoes and Clarity to Roam. This leaves the offlaner to buy both Wards but it all makes total sense because the roaming support will easily help the offlaner recoup the cost of buying the wards.

Starting items should include atleast
  • 1xCourier[dota2.gamepedia.com]
  • 1xTangoes[dota2.gamepedia.com]
  • 1x Observers[dota2.gamepedia.com]
  • 1xClarity[dota2.gamepedia.com](2x Ideally)
  • 1xDust of Appearance[dota2.gamepedia.com] If you think you have enough DPS to kill an invisible offlaner right off, Else Buy
  • 1xSentry Wards[dota2.gamepedia.com] Against Heroes like Brood, Riki etc (Dont forget to share a sentry with the Mid hero so he doesnt get ganked by BH/Riki)

After the starting items are done you should buy (In order of Importance*)

Brown Boots are your priority here as they are essential for you to gank. Buying a TP right after isint always a priority but it is a requirement against Aggressive heroes who like to gank early.

Smoke is a really important buy because it is your bread and butter item for ganking early. Use it for ganking in Day Time while during Night you can get away with not using it if you know how to use Fog of War (FOW). Use the smokes smartly i.e Don't waste them on ganks where you know you wont get any kills otherwise you waste time and gold.

Smokes can also be used defensively to clutch dodge projectiles if you are far away from the enemy. Things you can dodge with Smoke include: Auto attacks, Zeus Ult, Specter Ult ( The haunts wont be able to attack you if they cant see you ), Enemy Fountain Hits, Ethereal Blade Projectile, Blood Seeker's Blood sense (provided you arent low enough to that you fall into its Invisible unit detection), Tinker Rockets etc.

Try your VERY BEST to not give away kills early as Early game gold matters the most to the enemy heroes. The reason it matters so much is that the gold you give them early can be used to buy farming items which result into a snowball effect.

Even though giving early kills early is not ideal it doesnt mean that you should be afraid to trade. Trading means that you give up your own life so your team can get 2 kills.

Now whats a good trade you may ask?
A good trade is something which results in net positive gain(Gold Gained> Gold Lost) for your team. They way you can decide if you should trade is when you are against a lineup with more carry potential hero while you dont have enough to go toe to toe late! In a situation like that its totally okay if you die just so that you Mid laner or carry gets a kill so he can snowball. In those instances its not even bad if you die just as long as you take their Core down with you. However it doesnt mean that you turn into a Suicidal Support because that will result in net loss. The reason is that the core is farming in between deaths much better then you do (as a support) so feeding wont help. Gold however is only as good as the player using it. We've all seen players who cannot kill anyone even with 5 slots on them and thats a downside to this whole trading. Its easy to judge though if someone is playing well once you have played some DotA!

7 Minute Ward Refresh
The wards you buy at start of the game run out at minute 7. Now thats a problem the way you will use them is covered in the warding section (Chapter 8.1) of the Book which is dedicated to warding.
Chapter 6.2: Itemization - Mid Game
10-15 Mins is all the time you usually get for early game, by this time the enemy carry usually has hit level 6-8 as well as the Mid and they are starting to gank and be aggressive or retreating to finish big items! By 15-16 mins most cores have their first item done and fights are starting to happen. So what do you have to do in terms of items?

The biggest chunk of your gold will be spent on wards as your team needs to start moving too while you counter their vision. For a proper warding guide please goto Chapter 8.1 which deals with nearly ALL aspects of warding.

By 10 mins you can have 4 Observer wards on the map, utilizing them smartly will help you and your team to avoid ganks, do gank or just plain old farm! Another important thing to do is always buy sentries at around 8-10 mins and plant one on the middle lane if the enemy team has a invisibility ganker like Clinkz or Nyx but in the case of playing vs Bounty Hunter or Riki you have to put sentries from minute 4 as Bounties love to gank at night.

Itemization in Mid Game

This is the least you should always have before 10 Minutes on any support

From this we can start working on what we actually want next. First off we would want to upgrade our boots to something Fancier like

Once you are done with that you have to consider what kindof hero are you playing and what you actually need ?

  • Blink Dagger[dota2.gamepedia.com] If you are a ganking support like a Lion, Earth Shaker, Tuskar, Pudge etc then you need this as it helps in initiating with your disables.

  • Mekanism[dota2.gamepedia.com] If you are pushing with your team going for a helps out a lot in team fights by burst healing allies during team fights or to sustain pushes

  • Force Staff [dota2.gamepedia.com] If your ally is getting focused down and you need to save people from burst. Making either can really turn the game by saving your ally and wasting your opponents initial burst

  • Glimmer Cape[dota2.gamepedia.com] One of the most OP items against over aggressors. The low CD, Low Cost and Magic resistance makes it one of the most valued items in the current 6.84 meta. Makes the enemy pay for this in its worth in Gold and then some. Another plus is that the longer the game goes the more slots become constricted so Invisibility is a really good thing to have Late Game because people cannot always carry Dusts, Wards etc and gems can drop.

  • Euls Scepter[dota2.gamepedia.com] Heroes with hard to land disables / stuns can benefit the most from Euls. It is invaluable because it makes unreliable stuns reliable while also providing some protection to yourself from burst.

  • Solar Crest[dota2.gamepedia.com] Mean pushers like Dazzle, Visage, Venge or Alchemist can really benefit from a Solar Crest; which is a new item. It seems to be really strong vs right clickers and to buff your diving carries like Slark, Huskar etc.

  • Ghost Scepter[dota2.gamepedia.com] When the right click from a invisibility hero is just too strong and Euls/Force wont be enough to save you all alone.

  • Hand of Midas[dota2.gamepedia.com] Special Case: Ancient Apparition is the only hero which seriously benefits from a Midas because his ultimate is better the further away he is from the fight and helps in leveling up while giving extra gold because he needs to get an Aghs as soon as he can.

  • Ultimate Orb[dota2.gamepedia.com] is a highly situational item to pick up in Mid game because there are times you need a really strong late game item which costs a lot. It gives you some stats which are nice to have but thats about it.
Chapter 6.3: Itemization - Late Game
Late game items or Luxury Items can honestly differ a lot depending on how the game is progressing and what your team actually needs and they cost a lot.

By this point you should have made at least 1 item from Mid Game and now you are looking towards trying to close the game. I'm here to help you understand and decide for yourself which is the best item to make on your hero to help you win the game. Aghanims Scepter is not the be all end all honestly even though in some cases it can be really strong.

Late Game Item Progression

  • Aghanims Scepter[dota2.gamepedia.com] or simply Aghs Is one of the most well known items because it improves your ultimate. But thats not the only thing it does. It also provides some much needed stats to weak heroes like Lion or Witch Doctor which they desperately need against carries to survive. No wonder it is a huge crowd favorite but sometimes we need to look at other options too particularly if the Aghs upgrade is not strong on your hero.

  • Scythe of Vyse[dota2.gamepedia.com] or Hex or Sheepstick (it has many names) is a really strong alternate to Aghs which in some situations can just win you the game. It can be tough to use but against it is the KEY to shutting down initiators like Magnus, Earth Shaker, Tide etc as they can instantly get hexed if they blink into range. However be carefull to not reveal that you are going Hex otherwise enemies might rush Black King Bars or Linkins Sphere to counter it.

  • Black King Bar[dota2.gamepedia.com] or BKB is a really strong item which grants you magic immunity rendering you immune to AOE stuns or counter initiations. It can also be used aggressively in combo with Blink so you can really go in with confidence to get your initiation off without dying.

  • Guardian Greaves [dota2.gamepedia.com] is a upgrade of Mekanism and Arcane Boots which can be made inplace of Aghs on some specific heroes like Undying and MAYBE Dazzle so its highly situational.

  • Refresher Orb[dota2.gamepedia.com] or simply Refresher is another situational item. It sounds amazing by promising you refreshed Items/Abilities but sometimes its just over kill and not really as useful because your mana pool is not big enough. A alternative to Refresher is

  • Veil Of Discord[dota2.gamepedia.com] or Veil in short. 30% Extra Magic damage from all sources isint a joke to be taken lightly at all. Its a must have item on Sand King instead of Aghs as the damage output is the same over all but it also increases damage dealt by your team mate! So how cool is that ?

  • Rod of Atos[dota2.gamepedia.com] or Atos as everyone calls it is an Item with a really short cooldown but a really kick ♥♥♥ slow. It is one of the few items which can be made in Mid Game and dont lose value late game because the low CD slow helps to counter escape mechanisms as well as make Linkins Sphere useless because of its Low CD and high Cast range. Must have Mid Game item on Skywrath support, Pudge, Silencer and the like! Sometimes its even stronger then Hex if you have tanky heroes because they usually lack stuns but Atos allows them to keep picking off enemies 1 by 1.

  • Linkins Sphere[dota2.gamepedia.com] or Linkins as its called is a pretty expensive item which completely negates 1 targetted spell on either yourself or an ally of your choice. There are other options which are better but sometimes vs really skilled enemies you might need this. Thats the reason you rare see it in pro games because its expensive and isint as amazing as most of the other items on the list.

  • Lotus Orb[dota2.gamepedia.com] One of them new fangled items. It has the ability to return cast targetted spells back on the caster while the Lotus Orb buff is active. To be honest right now its used as more of a joke then anything else. The cost is only 4000 Gold so it can be considered a early Late game item but I think the reason we dont see more of it is because players do not really understand it properly yet.

  • Boots of Travel[dota2.gamepedia.com] or BoT as they are called is the very last ultimate late game item to have. Every hero makes it once has 6 slots to replace his boots. You can also keep your boots Brown early so you have a easier time upgrading to BoT's later. They are really versatile in countering split push and save you quite a lot of gold over time.
Chapter 7: Laning Skills
Sooo.. Laning as a support. Means what your objectives are on the lane basically. Its a bit hard for me to separate Laning Skills from Control Skills as the are so closely related to one another because you need to know where you can apply what you are learning.

In the end I decided that Laning Skills will cover quite a lot but about Mechanics and knowledge of things around you and how they work. These are pretty important as you cannot be effective at controlling the game if you dont know the rules of the game. In [Chapter 9 Controlling Skills] I will teach you how to apply your skills and actually control your enemy with your knowledge.


You need to know about a lot of things but a couple of main things are
  • The Lane Creeps
  • The Jungle Creeps
  • The Towers
  • Terrain and Juking
  • Understanding Heroes
Chapter 7.1: Laning Skills - Learn about Creeps
Lane Creep's
These are the units which walk along the corridors. They are a huge part of the game so learning everything about them is absolutely necessary if you want to be a good player!

Mechanics
There are 3 kinds of lane creeps which start spawning* from the 0:00 mark from all 3 lanes. These are called Creep Waves or simply Wave
*Except the Siege Creep which starts spawning from 3:00 onwards

The kinds are


Melee Creeps: 550 HP - 2 Armour - 325 MS


Ranged Creeps: 300 HP - 0 Armour - 325 MS


Siege Creeps: 550 HP - 0 (Fortified* Armour) - 325 MS
*Refer to Armour vs Attack table to understand more about this

Until 7.30 Safe-lane creeps start with 406 MS (lasts for 15 seconds) while the corresponding hard lane creeps spawn with 243 MS (lasts for 15 seconds). This information is important for later

There are also irregular spawns for creeps which are:
Extra Melee Creep: 17:30, 34:00, 50:30
Extra Ranged Creep: 45:30
Extra Siege: 48:30 (Repeats every seventh wave or 3 minutes post 48:30)

Creep Meeting Points
Creeps travel along all lanes and meet at certain points if they are undisturbed(Not Blocked).


Bottom Lane (Note the 500 range Circle showing Aggro Range)


Top Lane Creep meet point


Mid Lane Creep meet point

Knowing where the creeps meet gives you a lot of options and tricks to do. We will go over them in the next chapter because for now we need to learn somethings about last hitting first.

Predicting Enemy Creep Wave Position
A must know technique for everyone in DotA. Theres a way you can know exactly where the enemy creep wave is on the map! The trick is to look at your own creep wave and in your head think where it corresponds to the other line. For example your creep wave is just passing your Tier 2 Tower so its safe to assume that the enemy creep wave IS passing their Tier 2 Tower as well.
Chapter 7.1.1: How to Last Hit and Deny Creeps
You guys already know that Gold and XP is essential in DotA no matter which role you are playing. Seems like a basic mechanic doesn't it ? But you would be surprised how many players are actually very in efficient at it. You can also argue that learning to be perfect at last hitting is something only the Carry or the Mid player needs to learn that argument has no feet. Why? because as a Support every little bit of Gold matters. You have the lowest farm priority in the game which in turn means that your last hitting skills should be best or at-least 95% reliable even under the tower.

Gold is earned by farming (last hitting) enemy creeps; be they lane or jungle. As you do not need really need to know anything apart from right clicking to last hit jungle creeps we can move on to learning how Last hit and farm the Lane Creeps under tower as it is the place where most players really seem to struggle.

So the rules to Last hit under tower which you need to Memorize are:
  • The Ranged Creep: Usually dies if you hit it ONCE before the tower does 2 hits on it and THEN last hit it. So it takes 2 hits from a hero and 2 from tower!

  • The Melee Creep: Hitting it once before the tower hits it FIVE times will enable you to pick up the last hit.

    If the creep is not full HP you have wait until it is closest to 250 HP. Afterwards you have to calculate if your damage will bring the creep to 190-200 HP with 1 attack. If it can be brought that low you should wait until tower hits it 2 times before you pick up the last hit, and if it cannot be made that low then you have to attack it once before waiting for the tower to hit it twice and then last hitting it

    I imagine in Code it would look something like this:
    Melee Creep 250 HP
    IF 1 Attack=200 HP THEN SEQUENCE
    2 Tower Hits + 1 Attack
    IF 1 Attack /= 200 HP THEN SEQUENCE
    1 Attack + 2 Tower Hits + 1 Attack

  • The Siege Creep: Its 50/50 mostly. Hitting it ONCE before the tower hits it THREE times and then attacking it can be enough to net you the last hit, but as the tower damage is not fixed a high damage roll from the tower can kill it in 3 hits

First Wave i show you how to predict 250 HP while compensating for even Creeps and 2nd wave I stop my attacks on purpose to show common mistakes

Now these rules apply for only less then 70 Hero damage and Full HP creeps so you need to take that into consideration when trying to secure gold from Creeps.

If you are farming a wave normally and dont care about pushing it out then you should always hit the creep which your creeps arent hitting so you can damage it waiting for your creeps to bring the creep they are focusing low enough to last hit. Thats how you farm lanes efficiently in after Early game

Denying Creeps
Everyone in DotA knows that you can start damaging Allied creeps once they fall below 50% HP. If you last hit your own creep you actually deny it unlike in LoL. Denying a creep halves the XP it gives and also reduces the range from which the enemy can gain that XP. So always try your best to deny creeps and leave your carry to focus on getting last hits and managing the lane if you have to baby sit your carry. Dealing with the creeps is the carrys job and you should never be just sitting on the lane if you can do something else.


If you are under 4k MMR I would like to give you guys a big tip. Stop dancing while on lane i.e spamming move commands here and there without any purpose. Not only is it super annoying it does next to nothing while distracting you from focusing on last hitting or thinking about the game
Chapter 7.1.2: Aggro Mechanics
What is Aggro?
Aggro means creep/tower attack focus. You can 'take aggro' when you try to attack an enemy hero when he is near his creeps after which stop attacking other creeps and start attacking you instead.

All creeps and towers have an aggro range of 500 Units. For supports its important to visualize this and harass the enemy offlaner out of creep aggro range because we do not want to upset the Lane Equilibrium and take damage which you can avoid.

A small trick most people dont know is that you can Attack click an enemy hero on ANOTHER LANE and the creeps will still Aggro you.


Switching Aggro
Yep! You can switch Aggro in Dota. To 'switch' Aggro off of you from say a Tower or a Creep all you have to do is 'A' Click an allied creep which is more than half HP. If you do this against creeps the creeps will lose aggro from you and if you do it to a tower the tower starts attacking the Unit you A clicked on provided that its in tower range otherwise the tower will keep hitting you. Keep in mind that you cannot Switch Aggro from Roshan as he automatically attacks the unit closest to him when his current attack target moves out of range.

Chapter 7.2: Laning Skills - Jungle Creeps
Jungle eh? The Wild Unknown!

There are 4 categories of Jungle Camps in DotA 2. You have Small Camp, Medium Camp, Hard Camp, and Ancient Camp most of which have their unique set of spawns.

Jungle Creeps are also called neutral creeps as they arent allied to any side and will attack both Dire and Radiant. Below is list of what camp can spawn which creeps. A special Neutral is Roshan which gives 'Aegis of the Immortal' upon its death which grants an extra life to the hero carrying it.

Roshan: 1 in Whole Map

Spawns as soon as you enter the game. On Death respawns randomly between 8-11 Minutes. More about this special camp later in the guide

Ancient Camp: 1 for each team

Camps Marked on map with their stacking range ( You will learn about stacking later )
  • Dragon Camp *(The small dragons are not magic immune)*
  • Large Golem Camp
  • Thunderhide Camp

Hard Camps: 2 in each Jungle

  • Centaur Camp
  • Large Satyr Camp
  • Hellbear Smasher of Fortune
  • Wildwing Camp
  • Troll Camp

Medium Camp: 2 in each Jungle

  • Centaur Camp (Common with the Hard Camp)
  • Wolf Camp
  • Satyr Camp
  • Ogre Camp
  • Golem Camp

Small Camp: 1 in each Jungle-Speed Denotes how fast they Die

  • Kobold Camp (Fast)
  • Hill Troll Camp (Slow)
  • Hill Troll and Kobold Camp (Medium)
  • Vhoul Assassin Camp (Slow)
  • Ghost Camp (Slow)
  • Harpy Camp (Medium)

If you have played Dota you will know which camp is which.

The most important camp for support is the small camp so you need to memorize how fast which spawn camp dies.

One special camp to remember about is the Ghost Camp spawn on the Small Camp which can kill a creep wave by it's self. So use that information when needed.
Chapter 7.3: Laning Skills - How to earn Gold and XP
Everyone have a of lot problems earning enough gold when they are still learning DotA (<5K MMR) which discourages a lot of players from playing the support role. Gold for a support comes in from Ganking and Pulling but sometime things do not go your way and you cannot gank enemy heroes or pull. In those situations you need to learn how to make Gold and XP for your self and not be a burden on your team because time is a really precious commodity.

My first advice is that Prevention is better then Cure. So if you see you are up against a hero which you cannot really zone, you have to start with sentries or get them as soon as possible to deward the pull camp to earn your gold and deny him EXP / Gold. Heroes like QoP come to mind where you lack enough skill to gank them properly. Once you learn how to gank though there are really few heroes who cannot be ganked even if you have weak tools to do it

But in a scenario where you cannot gank the offlaner and you have nothing to deward most players tend to get confused and just totally lose focus. What you have to remember though is that there are more then 1 lane on the map and you can totally go to pressure or gank enemy safe lane or Mid. If you are unlucky and even that avenue is closed you can always stack a camp for your Mid or Carry hero to farm as a last resort. It might not seem much but as long as you are not dying and doing something to increase your teams value you are doing fine!

Stacking also helps you get XP boosts when your Core comes to farm it and alternatively you can also sit on the lane and farm it a little to catch up when your carry/mid goes into jungle post 10 minutes. Your last hitting should be good enough that you dont miss any last hits and you should always keep a TP on you while not wasting your mana to farm the wave so you can use it in a fight.
Chapter 7.3.1: Laning Skills - Stacking
Stacking Camps:

So you thought I wouldnt include a guide on how to stack camps? Well I'm here to prove you wrong.

What is Stacking and Why do I need to stack?
Stacking means pulling neutral creeps from their spawn at certain times before the minute mark to make space for a 'respawn'. The game checks for creeps in their base at every x:00 and if it doesn't find any in a specific range it spawns a new camp. This is called stacking. Stacking makes extra gold for your team as the neutrals dont respawn if the camps are already occupied. Every minute your side of the Map spawns an average of atleast 580 gold most of which goes unused and stacking is the only way to increase and preserve it. It also accelerates farm of your core hero if you stack early game because he can pick up his core items faster or recover from a bad/difficult lane.

How do I stack?


Image pulled from somewhere on Reddit

This image alone provides you nearly all the info you need. Just aggro the corresponding camp at the time mentioned on the map and you can easily stack every camp

Advantages and Disadvantages:

Advantages
  • Extra Gold and XP boosts

Disadvantages
  • Camps can be taken by enemies too So be sure to farm them.
  • Costs Time

When should you stack?
Basically whenever you have time in between trying to gank or baby sitting if your carry isint in immediate danger. But also remember that you should have heroes who are able to take stacks as well otherwise its just gold for the enemies. Sometimes when you have a dominating high skilled mid player its really good if you stack the hard camp for him (Safelane hard camp on radiant, Inner hard camp for Dire). The reason you want to stack the safelane hardcamp on Radiant is because the Mid Laner will most likely be farming the 2 Safelane camps while farming his lane.
Chapter 7.3.3.1: Efficiency Tricks
Chapter 7.3.2: Lane Aspect - Pulling into Jungle
Pulling Guide
So what is pulling? Pulling refers to the act of Aggroing a Small camp and pulling it into your Safe lane so that the creeps attack the Jungle creeps and follow them into the jungle instead of going stright onto the lane.

So when should you pull?
Its a pretty tough question for most new supports. You want to think about pulling after the 1:00 wave and never before. Early on your carry does not have the capability to zone the offlaner or last hit under tower. If you don't zone the offlaner from the first wave he can try to deny his creeps and make the wave push in his favor which just upsets your carry's farm. Also if you pull too early you might not be able to link it because the offlaner will not be afraid of you and will try to contest. You also shouldnt pull when your wave is about to go into the enemy tower as then the enemys wave will get pushed into yours and upset the whole balance of the lane.

There are three sorts of pulls you can do in DotA. You can either
A) Stack the small creep camp and then pulling the wave (Stack Pulling)
B) Pull the wave into the small camp and then Link it up to the Medium Camp above and even to the Hard camp later (Chain Pulling)
C) Pull the wave from Tier 2 into the Hard camp from Mid or Safe Lane(really advanced and not recommended as it can be really damaging to your team)


How to pull?
Quite a lot of players miss their pulls. They complicate it by trying to remember various times and things but I use a simple cue marker to know when my pull will be successful.

You can Aggro the small camp at any time when your wave is between the two lines

Radiant Pulling

How does Chain pulling work? :O Seems hard!
While it does look harder it really is not. It gives you more XP and enables you to pull every minute without having to stack the camp. There is a really simple rule and trick to doing the chain. First you pull the camp without stacking it then you eat through this

tree in the middle. Now you wait until 1 of the small neutral creeps has died (dont worry about getting that lasthit- You will start getting it eventually with practice) and the 2nd one is down to half HP, as soon as that happens you should already be in position to attack the medium camp on top of the small one and pull them towards the creeps killing off the small camp. Now sometimes the small camp creeps wont die fast enough so some hits or even using your nuke to kill them fast works and ensures that the creeps link. You can then link to the hard camp like in the video on the radiant side to earn even more gold and XP.

Dire Pulling Techniques

Some players are afraid of getting attacked by the neutrals but you don't have to be, you can tank 2-3 hits from them just so to ensure that it aggros your creep wave towards the medium camp. Now you can be patient and get last hits and deny your own creeps easily and make sure that the whole wave is dead. If you have another support helping you out with this you can even pull the hard camp to the medium one (theres quite a few vids about it on YouTube already)

By this time you surely have enough gold to upgrade the courier. If you ganked successfully then you would have enough gold to even buy yourself boots by minute 5! You can keep repeating this if you have literally nothing better to do until you get your mana boots mana boots, but as a supporter you should be spending your time wisely and ganking on your own/pressuring another lane so your carry gets to farm jungle and lane at the same time.

Special Support Heros
There are a couple of support heroes which can jungle quite well.
Heroes specially deserving mention are
, , , ,
Which after getting a few levels can clear out hard camps on their own to farm up.

BEWARE:

There are some heros which are deadly to supports if they catch them out in the side lane. Be extra careful if your enemy is playing heroes like:


These heroes can heavily punish you for being away from your lane. But you can use reverse psychology from time to time and have your carry on stand by
Chapter 7.4: Laning Skills - Lane Equilibrium
Lane Equilibrium means that you can make the lane not go past a specific point ( close to your tower ). Its technique which is easy to learn but hard to master. It will seem so small once you learn it but very few people really know and understand how to use it.

The Lane equilibrium is something crucial for you to understand and implement in your game play as letting creeps meet in their natural meeting point is not ideal. It makes it much easier for the offlaner to get XP and Gold which is something you want to avoid at all costs. What can go wrong?

  • Enemy Offlaner can easily get EXP
  • Enemy Offlaner can get farm
  • Your carry is far away from his tower and open to ganks from the side and front
  • Your safe area (tower) is far away from you
  • Level advantaged offlaners can easily start killing you or your carry
  • Enemy Offlaner can easily escape back to his tower

The list shows how important it is to learn to control the creep wave because the consequences can be dire.

Ideally you want the creep waves to meet as close to your tower as possible but not close enough for the tower to hit creeps because that would cause it to push really hard.

So how do we pull the wave back closer to our tower ?
It is quite simple and can be done by combining many ways

  • Start blocking the creep wave as it walks to the lane.
  • Start attacking Allied Creeps as soon as they are Half HP and only Last Hit the enemy creeps.
  • Second Way is pulling your creep wave into the Jungle so you can deny it.
  • A third but really hard way is to have the ranged creep from your first wave go ahead first so it dies. This pushes the wave onto you as the Ranged creep does more damage to Melee Creeps but takes a lot of damage and dies fast because of its 0 Armor.

Now lets take a took at how to block the wave by watching the following video.

Simple Block
Chapter 7.5: Laning Skills - Zoning the Offlaner
Your main job on Lane as a support is to zone the offlaner to secure farm for your carry.

Zoning basically means that you keep the offlaner out of XP range and prevent him from getting any gold

So how do you do your job? You keep damaging the offlaner to lower his HP to a point where you can either kill him or make him too afraid to come near the creeps anymore. Obviously he will use his regeneration items like Tangos / Salve to heal his HP back up but the quicker you can burn those out while staying healthy yourself the faster you can zone him!

Remember the Creep Aggro trick we learnt about earlier? That comes into play here and you need to utilize it.

A Short video detailing how to do it


Another Example of How to Zone the Offlaner:
How a high skill support harasses outside the Aggro Range and frustrates the offlaner into making mistakes. Also note how he is kiting the enemy and not letting him come close enough to attack him

Rules to remember while doing this:
  • Trade efficiently - Dont let the offlane damage you more then you damage him
  • Practice turning - Learning to harass the offlaner from range is an art and requires a lot of practice!

One thing to be really careful about is noticing if the enemy offlaner is pulling creeps to him while you are trying to harass as you can see Universe do it here:
Chapter 7.6: Stopping the Offlaner from pulling. [Needs work]
The Radiant offlaner can actually pull the wave into the hard camp as well. If you see that the enemy offlaner knows this trick then you have to always be positioned really well to stop the offlaner from pulling because it will force the lane in his favor.

All you have to do to stop him is either be in place before the offlaner pulls OR you can right click the enemy hero to draw the creep aggression on yourself and thus denying him the pull by pulling the creeps with you to the lane.

Putting a lane ward also gives the benefit of giving early warning against ganks AND telling you if the enemy offlaner is going to pull!

Another thing you should be doing is denying pulls to the offlaners who actually like to do them. When you are going away from the lane you can attack it at a certain time to pull the creeps from their camp opposite to where the enemy might try to pull. [Refrence mvp vs cdec game 1 ti5 < 5min in]

[put video or gif]
Chapter 7.7: Laning Skills - Terrain, Fog and Juking
Terrain
The Terrain in Dota is divided into 3 Places which are Lanes, Jungle and the River as you might already know. It is also divided into low and high ground which is the significance I want to talk about.

The Low Ground (LG) and High Ground (HG) advantages are just too extreme to not learn and keep in mind about. You cannot see on High ground from Low Ground and attacking from Low ground to High ground gives your opponent 25% evasion

A lot of ganks/jukes can be easily done if you learn to keep it in mind but to do them you need to learn about Fog first.

Fog of War or simply Fog
Everyone who has looked at games what Fog of war is so theres not much to explain except that some heroes have special vision at night time! To find out about them go on over to this Wiki page[dota2.gamepedia.com] where you can know everything about it. Pay close attention to the hero list as knowing which hero has reduced or extended vision is a really important mechanic when you play with or against said hero in game. You can manipulate fog to Juke!

Juking
Juking refers to hiding out of vision of enemy while running away from him. You can lose your pursuers if you know how to juke properly and you can honestly juke all over the map!

I found a really amazingly well made guide made by Gurkensalat from reddit so I am posting it here for you guys to take a look at and remember. It is really detailed and honestly teaches you all you know about the map.

The areas you want to know most about are the safe lanes so study them and commit them to memory

Click here for the Guide[www.dropbox.com]Couldnt link from MediaFire so had to be put on Dropbox

Trees which bind the lane also block vision and thus can also be used to juke.

Juking with uphill vision:

Hiding in the Fog
If u've played any RTS before you probably know how vision works. In Dota just like any other RTS you cannot see around corners unless you have a special kindof vision called 'Flying Vision' which is provided by certain spells. This is used to juke, hide or to gank. It is important that you visualize this in the game and learn how it works. Its surprising that we tend to not pay attention to small things in our life and the Fog is actually a victim of that too. For example how many of you remember the steps in your house or apartment which you might be living in for years? Or if you are a girl do you know how many bottles you have in your bathroom? Probably not as we tend to zone out a lot of little things around us : )

So you need to revisit the fog and take a moment to look around in nearly all the places where you go. Like the the jungle besides the safe lanes are the most important to look around and memorize for use later. You not only look in the open spaces but also the trees which bind the lane because they block vision and can also be used to juke. You can also use the fact that if you cannot see the enemy directly with your vision the enemy cannot either unless he either has a ward or insanely good instincts. You will need this when you want to gank so you can stay hidden and get close to the enemy before they can. Notice the little cooks and crannies you can hide in besides your lane because those are the spots you can use to get behind your enemy

Some spots you can use to hide on Radiant:








Spots on the Dire Side





You can make a path here
Chapter 7.8: Understanding Heroes, Damages and Status Effects
To make good decisions you also need to know everything about the unit called 'Hero'. It is the only unit which can equip 'Items'. Their right click attack damage is called 'Hero Damage'. Their Armor is unimaginatively called 'Hero Armor' which takes less damage from all damage types except Hero and Chaos damage.

So why do we need to know about Armor that much ?
Well the answer to that it tells you what sort of tactics you have to apply against the enemy. For example Doom is an offlaner with high base hp and Low armor which means I simply cannot kill him easily unless I damage him a lot first. Magic damage goes though Armor and is only reduced by 'Magic Resistance' which is 25% base for 99% of the Hero units (Can be improved by items or abilities just like Armor) which means a hero with Low HP but high starting Armor is weak to nuking supports like Lich.

Heroes also have different Base Movement Speeds which you can work with meaning if you pick a support hero with high base MS you can get extra harass onto the enemy offlaner while taking no damage in return because you can always move away before he gets close to you. The more MS you have the easier it is but its perfectly doable even if you have same MS. However you are at a disadvantage if the enemy offlaner is faster then you!

Click here for a table detailing the starting Armors, HP's, and MS of ALL Heroes[dota2.gamepedia.com]

When you buy items you often buy some stats or Attributes while some items directly give you HP, Armor or Mana pool. So per

  • +1 Strength you get +19 HP, 0.03 HP/s Regen
  • +1 Agility you get +1 attack speed, 0.14 Armor (7 agility for 1 Armor)
  • +1 Intelligence +13 Mana Pool, 0.04 Mana/s Regen

In addition to this if you have items with your primary attribute on you they also give you 1 attack damage / attribute. A small titbit to remember is that Illusions improve with Attributes and not pure HP or attack items.

Theres over all 3 Main Damage types in Dota called
  • Physical Damage (Reduced by Armor)
  • Magical Damage (Reduced by Magic Resistance)
  • Pure Damage (Never gets reduced)

Hero, Normal (Melee Creeps), Siege (Catapults), Pierce (Ranged Creeps), and Chaos (Warlock Golems) are all damage types which come under Physical Damage

Break Mechanic
You might already know that some heroes in DotA have passive abilities which make them really strong like Phantoms Assassins Blur, Bristlebacks Bristleback, Linas Fiery Soul, Ursas Swipes etc. These abilities used to be disabled by the status 'Hex' but since the last major patch it is no longer the case. Now a seperate status Effect called 'Break' disables them.

Break disables passive abilities of heros but not of items so you have to keep that in Mind. Ultimate Passives dont get disabled as an exception. Things which apply the Break status on an enemy hero are Silver Edge, Shadow Demons Demonic Purge after Aghs upgrade, and Doom's Doom.

Mute Mechanic
Another mechanic introduced in the Last patch. Its the opposite of Break because instead of Abilities it disables Items. Hex can apply Mute (Cant use items), Silence (Cant use spells) and Disarm (Cant Attack). It is also applied by some other spells like Disruptors Static Storm after Aghs Upgrade, Doom's Doom, Enigmas Black Hole and Legion Commanders Duel with Aghs upgrade.

Core Calculation
One last thing you need to understand about Heroes which you cannot learn anywhere is called 'Core Calculation' which is a number denoting Carry Potential of a Hero. It is a concept I came up with and I range it from 0-1 meaning 0 is not a core while 1 means it can do what a Carry can do. This value differs for Heroes somewhat because of Player Skill but otherwise is a pretty good way to estimate if you can win Late game or not.

For example an Antimage is 1, Shadow Fiend is 1, Leshrac is 1, Blood Seeker is 0.75, Slark is 0.75-1, Carry Earth Shaker is 0.5 etc

This is knowledge you have to get by playing and experiencing the game as it can change. But if you get good at estimating it you can really easily formulate a plan of attack. It not only helps you in picking but also decides your play style as sometimes you need to be hyper aggressive against a team with more Core value then yours so you can snowball to win the game. If you feel like you really need some values hit me up in the comment section and ask me! I'll be more than happy to tell you my values.
Chapter 7.8.1: Kill Bounties
Anytime a hero dies to anyone except a Neutral Creep he gives Gold and Exp to the enemy team. You might already have an idea of how the gold is distributed per steak or what not. The forumula is freaking rocket science but all you gotta know is that killing the Godlike guy gives you around 1000 gold so go gank that guy if theres someone like that in the Enemy team.

The lesson here though is in deciding how important someone with steak is. Just a killing spree can be worth 2 minutes of early game farm to a Jungler/Midder so if you are playing support and are really far ahead you should be extra careful to not not die as it is kindof counter productive. Thats one of the reason over aggression is bad because even if you are killing the enemies you feed that gold back eventually.
Chapter 7.9: Buildings
So...You need to know all about buildings because the is after all about destroying the throne which is a building as well.

All buildings in DotA have HP and Fortified Armor while being unmovable. Fortified armor takes less damage from Creeps, more from Siege Creeps, and just half from heroes. Damage taken is also reduced by the armor value too.

There are a couple of Kinds of Buildings in Dota. The important ones are
  • Towers
  • Barracks
  • Ancient
  • Fountain

Backdoor Protection
All Buildings have a property called Backdoor Protection (except the Tier 1 Towers) which is a really important property to learn about.

Backdoor protection is a passive which turns on when theres no creeps in 800 radius around it and makes the tower take reduced damage while regening the lost health at around 90HP/S. What does that mean? It means that you CAN destroy a backdoor protection tower if you do enough DPS but it is really inefficient and takes too long. There is a 15 second delay between backdoor protection coming On once the last creep in 800 radius has died.

This behavior is consistent for Tier 2 towers while Tier 3 towers and base buildings behave differently i.e If one tier 3 tower loses Backdoor protection all Tier 3 towers + Base Buildings lose it. While Backdoor protection for T2 tower is turned off for only that particular tower and the other Tier 2's will still have it provided there are no creeps or corpses nearby.

Magic Immunity
All Buildings have magic immunty except from certain spells like:
  • Techies[dota2.gamepedia.com]Land Mine
  • Tiny's[dota2.gamepedia.com]Toss,
  • Pugna[dota2.gamepedia.com]Nether Blast,
  • Leshrac[dota2.gamepedia.com]Diabolic Edict
  • Death Prophets[dota2.gamepedia.com]Exorcism
  • Jakiro's[dota2.gamepedia.com] Liquid Fire
  • Razor's[dota2.gamepedia.com] Eye of the Storm(Aghs)

Glyph
Its a spell usable once every 5 Minutes by anyone on the team. It makes all structues take no damage for 5 Seconds and it used to stop pushes or save towers. Glyph gets refreshed every time one of your Tier 1 towers fall so be sure to use it right before your tower is being destroyed to buy some time.
Chapter 7.9.1: Towers

Radiant and Dire Tower Models

So what exactly are towers?
They are buildings which guard lanes against creeps.

Each lane is Guarded by 3 towers while the Ancient is guarded by 2 . The towers are divided by Tiers which denote which one they are so if someone says
Tier 1 Tower they mean the outermost tower of the lane
Tier 2's Mean the middle towers
Tier 3's mean the one guarding the Barracks
Tier 4's are the ones guarding your Ancient

Best way to teach you about towers is list the things you need to know about them!
  • Tier 1 towers do not have any Backdoor Protection while every other tower does.
  • They attack heroes first, protect themselves 2nd, and attack creeps third while wards are last. What it means that if you attack a tower while your creep dies the tower will ignore creeps and start attacking you. So its wise to stop attacking for a moment until towers Aggros onto another creep or if the tower starts hitting you; you can just switch Aggro from yourself onto another creep.
  • Tier 1 Tower is the weakest while the Tier 4 are the strongest.
  • If you last hit a tower you get 150-250 Unreliable Gold and a small amount of XP.
  • Towers can be denied like Creeps if they are less then 10% HP. So Tier 1 is deniable at 130 (Because it has 1300 HP), Tier 2-4 @ 160 HP (Total 1600 HP)
  • Towers have True Sight range of 900 while its total sight is 1800 in day time and 800 at night time.
  • All towers have a attack range of 700
  • Tower deal siege Damage which does 75% of the damage stated to Heroes, 100% to Creeps and 150% to Siege Creep

Another important thing you need to learn about towers are their attack ranges and knowing visually where they are. A lot of people complain that the towers are biased towards them buts its just Ignorance nothing more. Learning to recognize these
Chapter 7.9.1.1: Radiant Tower Ranges
Images picked up from PCGamer because they are amazing at explaining tower ranges!

The Lines denote the Range of the Tower and the Circled objects on the ground give you an easy way to have a visual cue of the tower range while being in-game. So commit these to memory. The most important ones are the Tier 1 towers as you will be working with those while you are at your weakest.

Mid Tier 1


Bottom Tier 1


Top Tier 1


Top Tier 2


Mid Tier 2


Bottom Tier 2


Bottom Tier 3


Mid Tier 3


Top Tier 3


Tier 4 Tower Top Side


Tier 4 Tower Mid Side


Tier 4 Tower Bottom Side
Chapter 7.9.1.2: Dire Tower Ranges
Images picked up from PCGamer because they are amazing at explaining it!

Mid Tier 1


Bottom Tier 1


Top Tier 1


Top Tier 2


Mid Tier 2


Bottom Tier 2


Bottom Tier 3


Mid Tier 3


Top Tier 3


Tier 4 Tower Top Side


Tier 4 Tower Mid Side


Tier 4 Tower Bottom Side
Chapter 7.9.2: Barracks

Radiant and Dire Barracks

There are 3 Barracks for each fraction and they are of 2 Kinds Melee and Ranged.
Each lane has 1 set of Barracks or Raxes as they are also called. The Melee barracks are always on the left while the Ranged ones are on the right for both sides.

One would assume that destroying a Building called barracks for a lane would make that lane stop spawning Lane creeps but thats not what happens. What happens is that if you destroy the barracks of a particular lane your creeps for that lane become stronger while opponents lane keep spawning normal creeps. The act of destroying a lane of Rax is called ''Megaing'' that side and it always a big moment in a game. Destroying all 3 sides results in Super Mega creeps which are even more powerful then Mega Creeps. Bear in mind that you cannot destroy a lanes raxes until you have taken that lanes Tier 3 tower.

Melee barracks have 1500 HP and 15 Armor while Ranged Raxes have 1200 HP and 10 armor. They give a combined bounty of both buildings is 500 while there is also a small bonus of 100-150 gold for last hitting it.

It would make sense for you to take the ranged raxes first but you have to remember that each lane spawns 4 Melee creeps and only 1 Ranged one so its better to always try and focus down the Melee rax first if you do not have enough time. Another problem is that the Melee raxes have HP regen of 5 HP/second which makes it a bit harder to destroy it while the Ranged has no regen. They also do not have true sight unlike the towers and Ancient and reduced sight of only 900 at day and 600 at night so its wise to put down a Observer and sentry to get vision if your T3 tower has been taken but your barracks are still intact.

So taking Raxes is one of the objectives of the game but the main Objective is taking the throne.
Chapter 7.9.3: Ancient or Throne

Radiant and Dire Thrones

Thats the Objective of the Game to take down your enemy's throne. The game is not about killing heroes but it is actually about who destroys his enemy's base first. U'd be suprised at how many players focus on just killing enemies and farming instead of actually having their sights set on the Throne and making plans about destroying it.

You cannot damage the throne until you have destroyed your enemys Tier 4 towers. Sounds easy but never underestimate the punch the Tier4's pack. The ancient its self however cannot attack.

It has 4250 HP, 15 Armor regens 3 HP/s as well. It also has true sight while having 1800/1800 vision range to give you ample coverage of enemies trying to kill it.
Chapter 7.10: How to lane 2v1
Laning Dual lane against Solo Offlaner or 2 v 1
The most oft seen lane as one guy usually wants to pick jungler.

So what do you want here?
  • Keep the lane as close as possible to your tower
  • Zone out the enemy offlaner as much as possible
  • Give as much XP to your carry and dont afk leech exp from the side
  • Repeatedly kill the offlaner
  • Play Proactive- Meaning you should be ganking and punishing the enemy for having a trilane or jungler ( case in point vs Bloodseeker getting free farm and winning nearly every game )

You will encounter many difference scenarios here like:
A) Able to Zone out the offlaner totally and killing him
B) Somewhat zone out the offlaner
C) Cannot zone out the Offlaner

Now lets focus on the individual scenarios

Scenario A) If you practiced your zoning and harassing from earlier sections you can easily create this situation for yourself and it is the best one! If the offlaner leaves the lane you are free to
  • pull once or twice gain a huge early support gold advantage which you can use to gank.
  • single pull the wave to push it if your carry is able to take the tower fast.
  • go into the jungle and stack hard camp every minute for your carry to farm later and snowball.

Scenario B) Sometimes your enemy picks an offlaner whom you cannot really zone out. In this situation your number 1 priority depends on weather or not the offlaner can kill your carry if you leave the lane to stack or anything else. If the offlaner cannot kill your carry you should go and stack the hard camp occasionally but your main focus should be to make sure that the offlaner gets as little gold as possible but you shouldn't forget to gank. You also have to see if you can kill the offlaner if you gank him and if possible you should do it as your main priority.

Scenario C) This is the worst case scenario for you where you cannot zone the enemy offlaner out. Its something which shouldn't happen in a 2v1 lane and usually means that you need to practice a bit more. But not all hope is lost as there's a couple of tricks you can use though. If you have experience against a certain offlane hero with a hero you have right now then you can actually gain an advantage by buying 2 sets of tangoes in the beginning and skipping the 2x GG branches. It allows you to have not just a real advantage but also a psychological advantage against the offlaner. If your carry is managing the lane properly you can always trade with the offlaner and keep him zoned out. However he carefull to go for the runes every time as he will try to get them as well. This is a lose-lose situation but you can do something more by playing reactive if they have aggressive heroes, putting pressure Mid if you have an aggressive hero or pressuring their safe lane if possible.

How to Punish Trilanes/ Jungle
Fairly simple. You have to play reactionary as well vs trilanes. They will certainly dive the tower sooner of later and you should be ready with a TP to turn that fight around. As for the jungler you can gank him too with your teammate. Like if your Mid is going for the rune top you can smoke with him to get the rune and then run into the jungle to kill. You should make some stacks in your own jungle too so that your Mid doesnt fall behind in terms of NetWorth. If you dont punish them though you end up with things like BloodCyka cykaing all over you post 15 mins as he has more farm then your supports.
Chapter 7.10: 2v2 or 3v3 etc
Multiple Offlaners vs Safe Lane
A tactic used to shut down your carrys farm. You see it happening quite often in Pro games when they employ Undying + 1 to ruin the safe lane for the enemy team.

Something you should learn to get good at is to break down the lane before it happens and hurts you. You have to learn to realize how many problems you are going to have and how to remedy them.

If the lane is particularly nasty (meaning you will die a lot and your carry wont get any farm), have a weak offlaner who just relies on XP and you dont have a jungler then its time to dodge the lane or switch it up. Its tolerable if you have a Jungler or gankers who can take pressure off the lane

Otherwise if you have decent heroes then its time to go 3v3 or 3v2
Chapter 7.11: Roshan
Nothing Explains Roshan better then his Wikipedia Page[dota2.gamepedia.com] so head on over there to know all about him.

There are a couple of things not mentioned there and one of them is that Enigma can take Roshan down Solo with just a medallion making him one of the only Semi Supports capable of doing it. The other heroes capable of doing it all alone are:

  • Ursa- Can kill with some levels and Vladimirs Offering
  • Shadow Fiend - With Level 9 and Helm of Dominator
  • Templar Assassin - As soon as she has Desolator
  • Huskar - with Just Armlet of Mordiggian if the player is good otherwise usually Armlet + Helm
  • Drow Ranger - Post level 6 with Life steal and any other small damage item
  • Juggernaut - with Mask of Madness and Yasha

Otherwise stay on your toes if you see enemies having Vengeful Spirit or some hero making Medallion as its easy to take Roshan with them i.e By Reducing Roshan's Armor you can kill it easily. You do not want the enemy getting the Aegis because once they do they will most likely play very Aggressive and take down some towers. Specially early game when you arent strong and having to defend all the time really crunches on your teams Gold Income. So always keep an eye out on enemy inventories and heroes and be ready.

There are 2 support heroes which do amazingly well in a Roshan Pit fight. Those two are Earth Spirit and Phoenix. Both have really good zoning spells with a lot of damage which induces panic in the enemy team and can be used to really easily win a Roshan fight.

While killing Roshan you should be aware of Heroes like Ancient Apparition and Clockwork as they both have spells which give them vision in the Roshan pit really frequently. Invoker's sun strike can also give vision but thats not used that often.
Chapter 8: Information Gathering Skills - Warding
Every King needs a Spy master. Unfortunately for you, we dont have a Varys but what we do have are his little birds which in DotA are called Wards.

A typical mistake most players make is that they just choose some basic ward spots and keep warding there nearly all game and don't really take the needs of the team and game in consideration. They also get constantly dewarded because the enemies deward the common spots as well which makes their warding really in efficient

This chapter will teach you nearly all the ward spots on the Map and give you innate knowledge of Warding which help you realize the importance of warding in strategic places during all phases of the game. It seems like a daunting task at first to remember all of them but some practice in a private lobby and some grinding will be enough to make it feel EZ!

Warding depends upon your allies and the lineup you are against as well as what the game requires

Lets start with an overview of nearly all the wards people place in DotA 2

Over View of the Ward Spots!


Legend

Red - Rune wards

Yellow - Ubercliffs

Pink - Lane/aggressive/defensive/ wards

Green - Jungle wards

Blue - Push wards

White - Very situational

Pink lines - Blocks the pointed neutral camp from spawning

So now that you have studied the places ....lets move onto actually using these along with minor details!

What do you want out of warding?
Warding can be used to either strike at enemies in their own safe zones or to keep your own side of the River safe from careless hunts. It also helps your team in farming efficiently because they have extra warning of enemy movements which can be utilized to just avoid fights or ambush them instead. Also try to think creatively for example if you have a TA on your team whose farming ancients why not put a ward into Radiant jungle if you are Dire so TA can farm enemy jungle camps in between stacks while your jungle is free to be farmed by your own carry?

So wards in short aren't only used for JUST vision ..they are there to create value for your team and pay their worth many times over!
Chapter 8.1: Warding- Early Game
Warding early game compasses the first set of wards you get and the refresh you do at around minute 7. I decided to split up this section into further sub sections which deal with not just warding for beginners and advanced people but also explains how to exactly ward and deward both pull camps so you have all the knowledge you need to work through a good early game.

In a Normal game you give one ward to the offlaner and keep one for yourself. Now that one single ward becomes the most important ward in the game as it will decide if your lanes will be ruined by a ganker or not.
Chapter 8.1.1: Warding Early Game - Basic
For beginners (<3K MMR) the warding should be defensive until you learn more and get comfortable with what you need to do and actually be a good support player.

We are gonna start off with Radiant and move onto Dire afterwards.

Radiant First Ward


You get 1 Ward to play with at the start of the game because the 2nd ward has to be provided to the Off-laner so he can block the enemy pull.

Theres a couple of ways you can use that ward and it all depends on what you want to get out of it.

Soo....without further ado! Heres a list of wards you can use as well as their benefits and why and when.

Safe Lane Defensive / Rune Combo Ward

This ward is needed against heroes who want to contest your pulls and can solo kill you (Think Timbersaw, Clockwork, Earth Spirit, Magnus etc) It shows you his movement into your area so you can safely back off or kill him if you can also gives you vision over the rune bottom which you can control for your mid hero

Mid High Ground Ward

The ward you need against heroes who like to Camp your mid severely like Earth Shaker or against enemy safe lane trilanes who want to gank Mid a lot. Enemies like to gank mid a lot if your offlaner is weak and doesnt threaten the carry on his own. Its also a good 7 refresh spot

Mid Extra Defense

This a pretty old school Mid defensive ward. The Mid High Ground ward is superior as it gives better vision over the enemy Mid area but depending on the situation this can be better like VS Mirana and Pudge


Dire First Ward

Dire unfortunately ..or fortunately doesn't have that much room to play around with so there are only 2 ward spots worth mentioning

Top Rune ward

Pretty standard- Gives top rune vision. However be careful that the enemies dont see you planting it else they might deward it because you are on Lower ground compared to the Radiant. Also helps vs Radiant roamers

Bottom Rune Ward + Camp

A pretty clever rune ward you can use against enemy safe lane tri-lanes. It not only gives vision over the bottom rune it also blocks the hard camp next to it so the enemies cant stack or chain pull there!

Extra Notes
  • Keep an eye out for Ganking enemy hero who will try to ward behind your Mid laner who likes to farm jungle camps in between lane so that they can gank him. If it happens once its a high possibility that theres a ward.
Chapter 8.1.2: Warding Early Game - Advanced
So we finally got to some yummy stuff. Advanced warding is for players who have really good map awareness and they know when and how to move to react to enemies moving on the map. These wards are for warning rather then just plain vision but I think this is how wards are actually supposed to be used. Not only are the wards here used for warning they are also used aggressively to help kill and outplay the enemies with superior and focused vision

But first you can learn some advanced tactics to ward:

Radiant Wards:


Radiant/Dire Destroy the Offlaner Ward: AKA BEST WARD IN THE WHOLE GAME


Radiant Aggressive Mid Ward:

Most useful if planted at 4 Minute (Night Time). Warding here not only keeps your Mid laner safe from ganks but it also gives vision for you to easily gank mid whenever you feel like it. Though you have to be discreet. A good trick is to go forward Mid, feint a gank but instead in one swift motion you put down the ward (Be mindful of your turning as that might give it away). Shift queue is the best way to make sure that they dont notice.

Aggressive Trilane Wards:

Tower Diving Ward: Works well if you have heroes who can tower dive like Barathrum, Undying, Pudge etc and when you need vision to single out enemies


Alternate Spot: Works well if you have a nuking trilane which can catch out supports on the side and just kill them off instantly. Blocks no camps so they wont suspect it there.

However if your enemies have a Jungler and you want to roam him then you need wards like these. However be careful while using these as the jungler might just start pressuring your safe lane or go into your jungle! So it might be worth it to just block the medium camp next to the hard camp as most junglers want to farm that and it increases the distance they have to travel which also wastes their time if they want to stack a camp.

Roaming Jungle Ward 1


Roaming Jungle Ward 2


Dire Side


Dire's REK the offlane Ward

Can be placed on either side. Becarefull that you dont get too close to the tower Vision and get spotted planting it!

Dires REK the Mid Laner Ward

Put this guy down from high ground onto the Mid lane to completely Dominate the Mid Laner as you have nearly total vision over the Mid Lane. It is also extremely hard to deward and can also be used as a refresh spot if you want to pressure Mid.
Chapter 8.1.3: Playing around the Pull camps - Radiant
In these 2 sections I wanted to teach you the science of Dewarding the Pull camps. However while you are learning to deward it you can also learn to Ward it

Images courtesy of Badjay from Imgur

Dewarding the Radiant Pull Camp!

All Sentries with their ranges (approximate camp boundaries)

There are notes along with each image, so pay attention to the bottom of the pictures to catch them.
Notice how the sentry wards "box" in the observer wards. Anything within the red box, blocks the camp, anything out does not block the camp.


Hidden Sentry

This sentry MUST be placed to the right of the white tree. This sentry is only pretty much good for taking out the hidden observer that can block the camp without using a tango or a culling blade. Other than that, this sentry's sight range is pretty useless as one can see.

Hidden Sentry placement tips

The white tree is your friend here, just spam click to the right of the tree until your sentry gets in.

South Sentry

Decent sentry that will catch most of the average player's blocking attempts.

South Sentry placement tips

Here I cut down the trees so one can see clearly, but try to place your sentry to the south of the imaginary red line. A good landmark is the white bush, if you place it on top of that or left or right of it, the sentry has good coverage of the south side of the camp without blocking it.

West Sentry

This sentry is good for getting rid of the magic bush observer ward.

Western Sentry placement tips

The log is your friend here, the opening of the log is a good landmark for the placement of the sentry. The orange flower patch is also your friend, directly on top of them works. The yellow flower patch can be used as the imaginary line of the box of your camp. If you place a sentry to the right of the imaginary line

Northwest Sentry

This sentry is extremely good for finding out how the hell your hard camp and medium camp were both blocked but there is not an observer in the magic bush. This sentry will catch the observer that watches the bottom river rune and blocks the hard camp as well as the magic bush ward. Unfortunately you may have to place the sentry in the eastern or southern side to catch what is blocking your medium camp.

Northwestern Sentry placement tips

The red patch of flowers will be your landmark. Make sure to keep right of ALL the red flowers or you may end up blocking the hard camp. Pay close attention because they're pretty small.

North of Red Tree Sentry

This sentry is only good for dewarding the observer ward that watches bottom rune and catching the hidden observer in the trees

North of Red Tree Sentry placement tips

Just make sure to be north of the red tree, any more south and you may not catch the common observer ward that is placed to watch over bottom river rune and ganks.

East Sentry

This sentry can grant vision of the hidden observer in the trees and any observers that are placed east in order to cover ganking attempts.

Eastern Sentry placement tips

If you place it on the rock you should be good to go. Anywhere directly south or north of that rock without moving left will not block the camp. The imaginary line created by the rock is your friend here.

North Sentry

This sentry is pretty good as well as the easiest to place without blocking the camp, just make sure to be north of the treeline and you are set. It will catch most of the average blocker's attempts to place an observer right in the middle of your camp and it catches both hidden observers that are in the trees.

Make sure to place this ward exactly where I am at, for it has potential block the other medium camp.
Chapter 8.1.4: Playing around the Pull Camps- Dire
Dewarding and Warding the Dire Pull Camp!

Western Sentry

These two sentries here are all you will need to deward dire pull camp. For this spot watch for that really faint single bone. It is hard to see in the image, but it's pretty much the only one there, if you find it, place on top of or directly to the left for good dewarding coverage of hard and medium camps.

The ribs(I assume they are ribs) make a good landmark. You could place directly on top of the ribs, but if you do, you will not get 100% coverage of the dire pull camp and it is the worst coverage to give up, as the spots you're giving up are the ones people can put wards in.

I put in APPROXIMATE camp boundaries for your convenience of both the hard and medium camp.

For this one I decided not to be super indepth, but if you see those land marks you will be good to go. Practice this one, this western ward is much better than the hidden sentry ward people often use.


Eastern Sentry

This one can be a bit tough to place, but TRY TRY TRY to put it as right as possible so you do not block the camp. There is not much space to put in really.

Not much to say about this sentry, it's your standard sentry to deward the medium pull camp. Pretty much grants 90+% coverage all on its own. BUT the coverage it skimps out on is the southwest torch of the stairs in the picture. People OFTEN put wards to the left of that torch. AND it does not give vision of the hidden western observer people can put in as well. BEWARE


Torch Observer

This is one of the standard blocking points people use. Good vision of the river to prevent ganks and some vision into the spot north of the hard camp. Best ward in terms of vision, but often used.

Eastern Observer

This ward is a jerk to place. It takes really calm clicking to place and you have to move by pixels to make sure it gets placed right otherwise it will not block. I've had games where I placed a ward here and it did not block. BE CAREFUL IN PLACING THIS WARD. It is risky as you have to be on the stairs or even go around to place, where you will be on low ground and not see around you. A very dangerous and finicky ward.

Eastern Observer Placement tips

As you can see here, even the slightest misclick can cost you your block by mere pixels.


NorthEastern Observer

This ward gives decent vision and is semi aggressive as you can see behind the tier 1 tower. You can also use it to laugh at people as they try to go to pull and see nothing

NorthEastern Observer Placement Tips

Pretty much the only tip is the shiny spot. Try to place the ward leftish to be more sure of blocking, or at least left of the line in the shiny spot.

NorthEastern Observer More Tips

Just a zoomed up picture of the shiny spot.

NorthWestern Observer

This observer good vision overall to see into ganks on your offlaner as well as vision behind the tower.

NorthWestern Observer Placement Tips

Here you have the super faint x and the crack to guide you. Place north of x and left of crack for maximum vision, but don't stray too far as you may end up not blocking at all! As you can see here, it is a fine line between blocking and not blocking

Hidden Eastern Observer: Important

Try to spam click as close to the right tree as possible, or else you may not block! But if you pull it off, they'll have to waste a tango or use a quelling blade to get to this ward.

Hidden Eastern Observer tips

As you can see, there is a very fine line to blocking in this area put the pay off is huge! Try to be as right most as possible when placing this ward!

Hidden Western Observer

This is another hidden spot, where people will have to chop down trees or waste a tango before dewarding you.

Hidden Western Observer Tips

Again you want to click as left as possible to place your observer into blocking range, as there is a fine line to blocking. Weird how dire has a lot of this fine line to blocking crap?
Chapter 8.1.5: 7 Refresh Radiant [EMPTY]
Wards can be bought again at 7 Minutes. So its usually between Minute 7-9 that the enemies will replant wards. Now these refresh wards are very important to be planted properly as you can honestly extend your lead really far if you have one or try to hold if things are going badly.
Chapter 8.1.6: 7 Refresh Dire [EMPTY]
You can also use the 6 minute refresh ward to salvage a lane where the offlaner is pulling a lot or if you are vs a dual lane so that you have an easier time and the offlaner doesnt snowball out of control.
Chapter 8.2: Warding Mid Game [Write about Aggressive Mid Game Warding]
The 7 Refresh can easily last you until the Mid game phase. Now its time to decide if you have to be aggressive to make space or be defensive to thwart your enemies aggressive. The more skilled warder will usually win the Mid game for his team just because of his wards and the valuable information they provide.

There are a couple of ways you can ward during the Mid Game Phase of the game.

Castle Formation: Defensive
One thing i personally like to do in a game is to castle (referring to the Chess move). I sacrifice some map vision in order to secure the easy lane with a ward so that my carry can farm, secure the rune and entrance to my jungle with a ward and also to secure mid with one more ward (Remember- Sentry ward is essential mid and in lane vs invis ganker heros). This ensures that your carry can still have space to farm while being really safe. Remember: The earlier your enemy tries to 5 man the harder they will fail. If you can stop them in their tracks while your carry keeps farming it will be a huge advantage in your teams favour.


My Castle formation on the Minimap, notice that the sentry on the middle lane doesnt show up as there are creeps over it.


MidLane Sentry Placement + High Ground Ward

Lance Formation: Aggressive
Chapter 8.3: Warding Late Game [EMPTY]
Chapter 8.4: Warding against Invisibility Heroes (WRITE ABOUT TECHIES)
WRITE ABOUT TECHIES IN THIS SECTION


Another thing i notice alot in games is that they do not really know how to play vs heroes like these;

, , ,

Or against Heroes with

So I am gonna dedicate a whole chapter to this. I hope you guys know how to ward and play against these heroes to shut them down before they snow ball!!

General Overview

While it is quite difficult and taxing to play against these heroes it is not that hard (but still taxing!) once you have some practice! Primarily there's two methods you can counter them. One is if you have traditional supports like Rubick, Lina etc and you have to do wards, the other way is a little bit different and works quite well (Easy way out!-More on that later). One more thing to keep in mind is that you have to constantly carry if you are going to push towers as they will most certainly try to defend them by ganking you and preventing that as a support is your utmost priority.


Supporting against Bounty Hunter:


I've lost track the amount of times that I have seen supports leave Bounty alone on the offlane. It is something you absolutely must not do. As a support you should buy at Level 1 and try to gank him if you have enough nukes and stuns on level 1 to kill him, else dont forget to buy and ward the lane so that Bounty Hunter cannot harass your carry or get a lot of XP. Your goal here early game is to delay his Ultimate as long as possible so that he cannot gank and get track kills for his team.

As soon as he hits Level 6 and and gets his ultimate you should ward middle lane with a sentry as I've shown in the warding section of the guide so that he cannot gank there as well. The less gold he gets the harder is it for him to be useful for his team. The castle formation works well against him but you have to be extra careful in the jungle and ideally carry a Dust at all times. Just using dusts a couple of times against him and killing him will make him be afraid of trying to initiate or gank and on the other hand if he still keeps trying to gank you can kill him off and feed on him!

Supporting against Rikimaru:


Riki is another carry hero which tends to try and snowball. You do not have to get dust or wards for him early game but it is pretty taxing later on your gold bank. You always have to have a dust and also have to ward lanes and jungle to counter him. Another thing one of your supports should rush is a to help guys who are being ganked by RIki with his Smoke Bomb. Another item which is somewhat less usefull against Riki is . You can also ward choke points against him. Rushing a Force staff on a support enables you to save on sentry wards just a bit!

Supporting against Clinkz:


Same Principle as Rikimaru, But here you have to really do choke point warding to stop him from ganking. The item you REALLY need against a Clinkz is a . Get it as fast as possible on your support heroes so that Clinkz cannot solo kill them easily!
Keep in mind though that Clinkz is a true carry hero which can farm and split push as well if he doesnt want to gank. In that case you should really focus on getting a Ghost Scepter soon!

Supporting against Weaver


He is nearly the same as any Clinkz or Rikimaru. However the big difference is that Weaver tends to split push a lot more then Clinkz or Riki. You can use this to your advantage and go smoke gank him with your allies. Always carry dusts on 2 heroes if you do not have enough disables to nuke him down. Also carrying Sentry wards can be an alternative as well! During early game if the weaver is being aggressive having sentry wards on lane is a MUST to force him to play defensive. Also be careful that he doesn't catch you out in jungle if he has had some levels already!

Some Key Choke Points where you can ward depending on the situation of the your towers!
Warding these spots help prevent ganks! These are a must in ever game. You obviously don't have to plant sentries if enemy has no heros with Shadow Blade and Invis heros

Radiant
  • Mid Lane Anti-Invis gank wards


  • Rune or Protecting against Jungle Roaming (Jungle Entry)


  • Top Rune/ Flanking Protection


  • Jungle Roaming Protection


  • After T2's are down on mid you can use this spot near the Ancients (Flanking ward can be used as well and is sometimes better)


  • Flanking protection if you are Defending Tier 2 Towers (Can even be placed a bit lower)

Dire
  • Dire Jungle Entry Wards (Most useful if your Tier 1 towers have been taken)


  • Alternate Sentry Placement for the ward above


  • Dire Top Rune Jungle Entry Point


  • Dire Mid T1 Anti-Gank Ward (Also gives some flank protection)


  • Dire Anti-Roam/ Jungle Protection ward.


Easy Way Out!

O-ooh! All that warding is too complicated!


An easy way out while playing VS Invisibility based heroes is to either pick a tanky Support like
or
And Carry a once you Hit Level 6 and push early. It will not only help in pushing much easier and applying a lot of pressure on the enemy team, but it will also enable you to save some gold and buy less sentry wards and no Dusts. However when carrying a Gem you have to play a little bit more careful as you cannot be the one who initiates because its a big loss if you die and drop your gem. Alternatively you can also have heros with escape mechanisms like Mirana or Windrunner carry the gem for your team!
Chapter 8.5: Panic Mode (Work in Progress)
AKA HALP EVERYTHING IS GOING WRONG AKA WE ARE GETTING DEWARDED AND AKA ENEMY 5 MAN 2 STRONK FF GGWP AKA I ♥♥♥♥ED UP

Alot of players panic and forget to ward when things have gone horribly wrong for their team. I cannot stress how important wards are to remedy this situation, if your map is without vision you are venerable to ganks from everywhere and it leads to you getting pushed into your base and then pounded and choked.

To come back from a situation like this you must read and understand the full warding guide I linked to earlier as it is paramount in learning wards which are unorthodox and hard to deward. Many choke points I showed can be warded as they are not really dewarded that easily. The Visin from such ward is limited (Beggars cant be choosers ^.^) but it doesnt matter as even that little bit of information is important for your team to be able to get some farm and hopefully win a team fight or two.

One thing of importance here is that you shouldnt risk anything at this stage. You have to wait at your base sometimes because the enemy is lurking and look for an opportunity. The Limited vision\Choke Point wards will give you an idea of where the enemy is and how many of them there are, and you can use this knowledge to avoid their ganks but also in pulling off your own ganks on enemies who are alone.

Enemy is pushing hard on my Base towers! What should I do?

Simply....Wait and Play safe. If you did smart picks then you would have atleast one or two AoE nukes which can be used to kill the enemy creep wave and stay safe. Then you wait behind your tower and near your barracks for the enemy to make a mistake ! Someone will try to often dive you and/or be out of position and you can capitalize on this mistake to kill that hero off and then engage the other enemy heroes. Having Tanky heroes to initiate on the enemy is a good idea as well to try and stop them from pushing. Always make sure that you do not get picked off alone trying to defend a side as it can cost you a tower or even get the rest of your team killed because the support has most of the disables which your team really need to win fights.

Countering early 5 Man Dota

Another thing a lot of players with trouble with! Its pretty easy to punish and counter early enemy 5 man. If they are 5 manning you should have good wards setup, this will enable your carry to split push and farm while you hold off enemies at your towers. Eventually they will have to go back to defend their towers, in which case you can have your carry port in and go to kill the enemy heroes who remain there without their team!

Sounds easy eh? It is indeed as easy and simple as that!
Just make sure your carry doesn't end up dying because no one told him that the enemy is actually going to defend! :D
Chapter 9: Controlling Skills
Chapter 9.1: Controlling Early Game [EMPTY]
OUTLINE PLAN FOR EARLY GAME

First off it doesnt hurt to know what your objects are as soon as you start the game

  • Make sure your carry gets as much farm as possible.
  • Make sure he doesn't get ganked.
  • Make sure that your Safe Lane and Mid Lane win.
  • Save your other ally or the Offlaner from getting killed- Not always do-able or cost efficient
  • Harass the Enemy offlaner so he gets no EXP and Gold
  • Earn your own gold

In addition to this you have to stop the Radiant offlaner from Pulling which is covered in another section later on in the chapter.
Chapter 9.1.1: Cliffing
Sooo..lets talk a little bit about Cliffing as a support

Well, What is cliffing you ask? It refers to pushing your enemy onto a mountain from where he can gets trapped can mostly only Teleport out. Its a pretty huge trick you can use to drastically change the game from even before the horn sounds.

Sounds awesome dunnit ? It totally is!
So how does one go about doing this 'Cliffing' thing?

First you need to have picked some specific support heroes which are:

,

Once you have picked a hero from the Axis of Evil you can get to learning how to cliff. There are other heroes like Magnus, Clockwork, Earth Shaker who can do the same but are either insanely hard to do it with (Earth Shaker) or not a support (Magus, Clock) thus a little bit out of scope of the Book. However if you want to learn how to do it you can ask and I might make videos demonstrating how you can do it

Cliffing with Rubick

Cliffing with Earth Spirit
Chapter 9.1.2: First Bounty Runes and Courier Sniping
Deciding which rune to go for


Denying the Runes
Chapter 9.1.3: Rune Control
Controlling Runes in DotA is actually something small but which has a tremendous impact on the game because not only does it protect your safe lane but also makes sure that your Mid laner has a much easier time on the lane.

The times you should control runes are
  • When your Mid laner is at a disadvantage- It helps him alot to not keep playing into a huge disadvantage because the moment he makes a mis step and dies to a advantaged enemy the lane just becomes infinitely harder for him to win (Remember- Dota is a team game and if anything bad happens to your team mates it effects you too)
  • When the offlaner wants to gank mid because you are zoning him out.

An errent Haste or Double Damage can not only result in yours but your cores death as well. So why not just spend 15 seconds to prevent that? Its always a worthwhile investment. If you are good you can also stack AND manage the rune at the same time!

How to Stack and Get to the rune on time!
PUT VIDEO HERE
Stack medium camp- on dire
on radiant you can stack both hard and medium camp..with hatchet.without hatchet you can stack hard camp
Chapter 9.1.4: Stacking [EMPTY]
STACKING AS A TACTIC TO MASS GOLD ON MID LANE
Chapter 9.2: Controlling Mid Game [EMPTY]
This is the also the stage where keeping a Teleport scroll is very important in the game. The TP can be used to punish a tower dive or straight up TP out of sticky situations (be carefull of enemy stuns though ). You also need to keep ganking WITH your team mates to make space of your carry / mid hero to farm up. Also remember to always defend towers WITH your team mates, never try to be a rambo and go and try to deny a tower as it opens you up to ganks and your death can result in the enemies pushing more and taking another tower! In mid/late game situations it can even cost you a set of raxes so always play safe and play smart.

Just because you are a support doesnt mean you cant get any farm! Theres always the jungle to go farm during downtime so never forgot to earn gold whenever you can. You can also utilize lanes where there are no allies however be ready to port to your allies rescue if they get ganked or do not step out too much as you might be the one who gets ganked!

If you guys are winning hard you can still use the castle to secure your map. Some people would like to plant a ward or two in the enemy jungle which you can do if you and your team feels like its a good idea.
Chapter 9.3: Controlling Late Game [EMPTY]
Chapter 9.3: Lane Divisions
1-1-3 (Safelane Trilane)

2-1-2 (Dual Safe and Offlane)

1-1-1-2 (Roamer/Jungler)
Chapter 10: Fighting Skills (OVERHAUL NEEDED)
So now that you have learnt to Gank you also need to learn about positioning!

Having little items, Low HP pool, and the disables means that your positioning will make or break the game. You cannot be too aggressive because then you will die fast and hurt your team and you cannot be too defensive because then the enemies might always get away and trade better then your team.

This is really something which you can only fine tune with expericene but it doesnt mean that I wont give you quite a few really strong pointers about how to start off and whats the right way!






Team Fights
I've already mentioned how you can snow ball your team through warding so I want to touch on the subject of what YOU can do as a support in a team fight. Many support players end up using their disables and then dying but that is a common mistake. In DotA you are not supposed to die, as it gives a huge XP and gold advantage to the enemy. Instead, try to think about what you can do to help your team as much as you can. Select a target enemy hero you want to focus on and tell your allies that. Learn to identify the threat in your enemy's team and focus on getting your objective! i.e Killing all enemies without dying and then taking the Raxes and eventually the throne. Also try to work together with your team mates in killing enemy heroes, try to focus on the enemy supports or carry down.

Sometimes its hard to ignore your impulses and unleash your spells at the enemy tank, but trust me...you will do much better in the game if you learn to control that impulse and stay focused. Try to use your spells to help out your carry or to keep your carry safe by using your disables on key heroes. For exp, enemy team has doom? Focus him down before he can doom any of your team mates! Enemy team has PA, SF as carry? Focus them down first as they are carries and are quite weak. Decide and discuss with your team mates and communicate everything! It can only be positive!

However in all this mayhem your positioning is key, being aware of how much HP and Mana your allies have left is a key part to winning a fight and staying alive to benefit from it to the max. Knowing when to back off and stop fighting is another big part of the game. You might not get it on the first 20 times but eventually you will start to see a pattern and recognize it to improve your skills at playing DotA. Staying with your team mates and actually keeping in mind what spells they have left and WHERE they are is the best way to team fight, you also have to keep an eye on enemies and move back incase they try to come for you!

[Update]
Also Never try to go in first as it will result in your death unless your allies are in position already! Wait for your enemies to go out of position to engage and catch them out and try to always let someone else initiate with a stun or a nuke!

Engagements and Skirmishes
Another mistake a lot of DotA players make is that if they land a stun or something on an enemy they tend to dive to secure the kill. While sometimes it is okay to do that but more often then not they do not pay attention to where the enemy is and what allies he has close by!

What usually ends up happening is that one team ends up blowing their stuns etc on one of the enemy hero and THEN they are caught out from the back or sides by his allies! It ends up being a loss for your team as you do not have any stuns left (Unless you are way stronger and have a ton of DPS-In which case, its a mistake from the enemy to do that). You have to learn to cut your losses and engage only when it is suitable. Getting caught out and dying while the enemy is pushing your Tier 3 Towers is really bad and can often result in the loss of Barracks.

Another common mistake I see is that players try to defend towers alone and try to deny them. The thing is that if you die during that the enemy will have a even bigger advantage and they can keep pushing to get even the next tower, and you will not be alive to help your team defend anymore. So the next you see enemies pushing for a tower and you are all alone there, ask your team if they want to port and to defend it and to just back off if they don't want to defend it! Losing a tower doesn't really matter unless it is the Tier 3. You can also trade towers if your enemy is focusing one, but keep in mind to do smart trades ! (Like a T2 for a T1- Enemy raxes for your T3 etc). Sometimes you can even port back before the enemy can take your tower and defend!

In the end I have to repeat something which i said earlier in the guide:
United you stand-Divided you Fall


If enough people request me to add a chapter on positioning examples and mistakes I would be glad to do it!
Chapter 10.1: TP Decisions! And how to do them
2 Kinds of TP's

Hidden ones
Full frontal ones

Both have their advantages

Hidden is always safer

How to manipulate TP timing to make it same

How to know if enemy is TPing from Sound
Chapter 10.2: Positioning
Chapter 10.3: Decision Making
Killing:
Mid > Carry > Offlaner > Supports

Escape Mechanism means focus on should be weaker heroes first.
Chapter 11: Ganking Skills
Chapter 11.1: Ganking early Game [Overhaul it]
So the laning is going well and you are doing your job, however it is NOT ENOUGH! Another thing which is ESSENTIAL for a support to learn is ganking. It is THE most essential part of playing as a support in DotA. Most players do not really gank and thus make the game harder to win for themselves. It puts a lot of pressure on your allies if the enemy supports start to gank while you sit in the lane to pull creeps and do nothing else! So always gank as soon as you can, its critical! Remember the Smoke we bought on Level 1? We need to utilize it now. The best way is to gank the Easy lane on First level and then after link pulling once and getting your 2nd spell you can smoke up and head towards the middle lane for a rotation!

Ganking early game can be done on any lane but its preferred if you gank the mid or the safe lane! Safe lane is the easiest one to on Level 1 and you generally do not even need a smoke to pull it off.

Things to keep in mind while ganking is that you should preferably gank with your other support or carry as you by yourself are usually not strong enough to do it. Waiting for your team mates and communicating helps in setting up ganks. For Example an enemy carry is farming alone on its lane and you want to go gank him, you should in this case ask your offlane hero or anyone else with nukes and disables to come along with you to gank! Never under any circumstance should you dive solo into the enemy heros/tower unless you are really sure you can get the kill on a worthy enemy (Like the carry or the Mid Hero)

Utilizing Fog of War is a big Part of Ganking and learning to exploit it doesnt really take that long!
Things like porting behind towers, porting on the Tier 2 Tower and staying hidden in the fog of war as you stalk your prey is an essential part of a successful gank as you utilize the element of suprise.

To learn fog of war all you have to do is pay attention while you are moving around the map. What you see is what the enemies would see when they are in your shoes! Memorizing and getting used to it is a must for efficient juking and ganking.

UPDATE: Best place to gank for first blood is either the Safe Lane or maybe Mid if you have enough nuke/haste/DD/slows!

One thing to bear in mind is to not leave your lane for too long. Roaming and ganking has its advantages but you need to farm your EXP and $$$ by pulling and/or leeching some exp from the lane!


I think the best way to learn ganking is with examples. So I am going to show you some ganks explain the logic and reasoning behind them. Hopefully you can understand and utilize tactics like that in your own games!

One more thing which a lot of support do wrong is that they tend to keep ganking too much and leave the safe lane all alone. Most of the times enemies are not dumb and they realize that you are making that mistake and THEN they start ganking your carry instead. To remedy this either put a lane ward to see the enemy tower (so you can see the ports coming in or enemies setting up for a gank) or dont over do your ganks!
Chapter 11.1.1: Ganking Examples!
Level 1 Gank through Fog of War (Easy)

One of the easiest form of ganks to pull of. At level one simply approach from the side.
Stun gets charged up and thrown followed up by Earth Spirit's Stun and then Ember Spirit's Bolas to lock down while right clicking the enemy all the time!

Notice how Alchemist and Earth Spirit are both in Fog and invisible to bounty

Out goes the Stun and Dust. Surrounded on all sides as well!


No chances of running away. Efficient and Simple!



Level 1 Gank (Advanced)

Enemy offlaner was a bounty and can be pretty tricky to catch unawares! So again we have to outplay your enemy. I made alchemist stay off vision and i pulled the Easy camp knowing that Bounty Hunter WILL show up nearby to try and take XP or get some creeps. I made use of that knowledge to bait him into revealing himself.


Setting the Trap! Bounty has no idea whats gonna happen to him!


"Look ma! I caught a Rat!" Alch now approaching from the Fog of War.


Hammer Drops!


Pop goes the weasel! Chased and right clicked down


Smoke Ganking Mid from Offlane (Advanced)

To pull off a successful gank you have to out think and anticipate the enemys movement ahead of time!

Its 3:55 Game time. Means the 4 minute rune is about to spawn

Knowing that the rune will soon spawn i could guess that Zeus will start moving towards either top or bottom. So I told visage to come back into fog and smoke with me so we can go gank middle! We proceeded to go there and on the way i noticed that the rune spawned bottom and that Zeus is already moving towards there


Zeus Moving towards bottom- Through the Minimap I also saw the rune spawn on bottom which led me to make my 2nd decision!


Quickly moving towards highground so I utilize fog of war and not be revealed! As you can see Zeus goes right past me......

And...


BAM! Suprise! Theres Dendi with Whirling Axes and Visage with Soul Assumption nuke to finish him off


You cant run from a well executed Smoke Gank Zeus!



Early/Mid Game Gank without Smoke

Pretty Straight forward Gank utilizing fog of war!

Enemy CK was trying to push tower hoping to take it down fast and wasn't expecting any gank.


Charging Stun from Fog helps to keep me undetected until it is too late for CK to get away


Dropping the Hammer on his head! Hes in trouble now!


Out goes Visages Soul Assumption and Bird stuns while Alchemist and the tower provide whack CK like a pinata


Great Successs....CK Dies!
Chapter 11.2: Ganking Mid Game [EMPTY]
Chapter 11.3: Ganking Mid Game [EMPTY]
Chapter 12: Time Managing Skills [EMPTY]
MANAGING TIME BETWEEN RUNE GANKING AND LANE AND PULLING
HOW TO DECIDE WHAT TO DO??!?!?!?
Chapter 13: Communication
Playing the Support role puts you in a really Unique and Valuable position in the game. Leading your team is an aspect of playing DotA which most players fail to recognize and so its not utilized very much if at all!

You do not really have to worry about contesting Last hits or trying to defeat the enemy hero in front of you during the game. This allows you to take a look around in the map and see what the enemy is doing, you can tell if the enemy supports are missing from the map and actually warn your team mates of incoming ganks. You can also keep track of what items the enemy is building. As a good support player you are expected to be ganking a lot and it puts you in a leadership role by default as YOU are the one making things happen!

Keep utilizing this momentum to setup ganks on enemy split pushers and to counter gank roaming enemy heroes with your team. Setting up enemy heroes for your allies to kill is another thing you can do. Eventually you will also learn to recognize when you need your carry as well to gank with you and team fight. So you will get experience in playing other roles as well while you play yours!

It will surely feel hard at first and you might be insecure, but by trying you gain valuable experience! You have to keep playing and trying to work with your team to learn the game and all its match ups. Eventually you will have enough map awareness that you will be able to sense enemy ganks and out play your opponents pretty easily.

So keep at it and don't be afraid of taking the lead while not being toxic.
Chapter 14: Manipulation Skills [EMPTY]
Manipulating BAT and spell animations

Manipulating Communications
Chapter 15: Mechanics - The little Tricks
Bottle Crowing

Porting Mid to Refill Bottle

Body Blocking

Securing Runes

Orb Effect Stacking

Self Denying
Bane, Pudge, Abbadon,

Denying Allies

Losing Tower Aggro

Putting items down to get more regen
Because most healing is a fixed number. When you have strength treads your health pool is larger, so the fixed amount of healing will do less. Same with mana. So drop mana boots if your ally is about to use his mana boots

Tread Switching
If you're not used to it, start out with switching to AGI if you use salves/tangos/bottle, because you will regen more % of your max health/mana this way. If you switch back to STR/INT you will have gained more than you "should" have.
Already used to treadswitching for regen? Good, take it further.
Casting a spell -> INT
Attacking -> Main attribute
Getting attacked -> STR
Out of harms way but want to regen HP/Mana -> AGI
Combine this with item dropping (-> drop youre force staff before using manaboots for example) and you will have way more mana in general.

Stun Duration- To not stack stuns

Positioning Courier Slightly Out of Base

Regening with Ring from side shop and selling it

Diffusal vs Omni and Abbysal Blade, Hex, anything else

Instant Hex

Bouncing Shuriken from Range
[Appendix 1] Role 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ? Whats that?
1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 are something players have assigned to positions you play basically. These numbers not only denote the Role but also the Gold Priority (1 being the Highest and 5 being the Lowest). For exp

Number 1 Represents the Carry role, a carry is supposed to farm up and win the game for you by providing
Damage Per Second (or DPS)
Number 2 Stands for the Mid Role, Hes supposed to get Fast levels (7-8) so he can pressure enemies and then also farm a little bit with his superior spells. He can also snowball pretty hard by ganks.
Number 3 Stands for the Offlaner, all he has to do is stay alive and get his levels. Usually gankers or heavy tanks like Clockwork and Timber are assigned this role as they are hard to kill and effective with just some farm but depend on leveling up!
Number 4 Stand for the Jungler / Ganker Support. This is the support who will ideally rush a Mekanism, Dagger or Force staff
Number 5 Stands for the dedicated support who is supposed to be buying the wards and support items for the team. He is also usually the lane support hero. His job is to basically help the ganker gank and the carry to farm and manage the lane while only farming so that he does not get in the way of any other hero while keeping his team safe.

However the lines between 4 and 5 roles are quite blurry and can often criss cross. For exp a Lion can both be 4 and 5 position at the same time because he can farm up quite well when compared to some other traditional supports and provide adequate lane support as well.

But it sounds unfair to play the 5th role!?
What should ideally happen is that the team shows some team spirit and in the start 5th role should support and buy wards etc until the 4th role hero has his critical item like Blink Dagger or Mekanism. Afterwards the 4th role should buy some wards and allow the 5th position guy to farm and save up for a force staff of a ghost scepter to save his ♥♥♥ during a team fight or gank, else the 5th position hero will just be a liability and wont really be able to really help his team!
[Appendix 2] Autoattack On vs Off
A lot of players like to debate weather auto-attack On is good or not. Well as a Support you don't have to worry much about it because Auto attack on is never good for a support to have turned On. So please go into your settings and turn Auto Attack Off whenever you are playing support. However be careful to keep Auto Attack after spell cast On else some ultimate's like Witches Doctors wont start attacking enemies unless you select the ward and issue an attack order.
[Appendix 3] Boots first vs Courier Upgrade
The Animal Courier becomes upgrade-able to Flying courier at 3:00 Game time and costs just a measly 220 Gold.

Sometimes you are able to get some kills early so you have enough Gold to upgrade it straight away at 3 Minutes. Other times when you are less fortunate you have to get gold somewhere else like Pulling or delaying your boots to upgrade the courier first.

The way to decide if you have to delay your boots is to see how the game is progressing- If your Mid hero is having a hard time then you have to upgrade it as fast as possible so he can Bottle Crow(See Mechanics Section to know what it is and how to do it) and survive on the Lane.

However if you see that the Mid hero is not in dire need of a flying courier and you can get your boots first then by all means upgrade the courier at 4-5 Minutes. However you have to practice to earn gold as both items are very important to have as early as possible.
[Appendix 4] Stuns or No Stuns that is the Question!
An oft asked question is: Is it important to have a stun on support?

The answer to that is "Yes" most of the time. Most of the time people pick Cores which have no disables which makes it really hard to kill anyone.

Picking a support without a reliable stun is OK as long as the other support or laner has any killing ability which you can combine your abilities up to kill.

For example with PA as my lane partner I would pick a disabling or nuking support to land kills onto the enemy offlaner as she has a slow.

A good support combo can also consist of two slows like Tide + Crystal Maiden, CM's Crystal Nova to slow down a fleeing enemy followed up by tide gush and right clicks is a potent gank combo, after some levels CM has a good stunning ability while Tide has Ravage which is an excellent team fight ultimate!

One more thing people ignore is picking high magic damage heroes against squishy AGI Based carries like PA, Luna, Void, Troll and Juggernaut etc. Heroes like Lina, Lion and Skywrath are exceptionally good at shutting them down early in a team fight which usually means a Team Fight won.

Another aspect of support heroes is that it is important to have a Silence on your team as well to control picks like QoP, Storm etc so picking both kinds of supports can be nice and depends on preference. Keep in mind though that you can do the same with a Lion as you can do with a Skywrath so there is no excuse to not gank

Over all there are quite a few types of disables which you have to work with:
Listed in order of power (My Opinion)-Strongest to Weakest
  • 1. Stuns
  • 2. Hex
  • 3. Silence
  • 4. Slows
  • 5. Mana Burn
  • 6. Burst

Learning which sort of disable you need to win a game takes time, patience and is also a lot about finding your play style.
[Appendix 5] Item Timings and Understanding Items
I've always wanted to talk about items so I can help people understand itemization and make smart decisions which are do-able instead of going for that rush Aghs on Silencer Support.

Every hero in high skill has an Item timing (Aka when certain heroes get certain items) i.e Storm at 6K gets a 12-15 Min Orchid or 18 Min Blood stone after which he is free to build into whatever else he likes to (That 18 min BS can translate into a 24 Minute or less Orchid)

Basically the way I see it most items in DotA have a Time span where they are at their strongest and afterwards they start losing their effectiveness because enemies build BKBs, Euls, Glimmers etc. Explaining the right timings will be pretty hard because they differ alot bit in lower skill levels.

What you can understand though that items regardless of cost can be placed into certain effective time frames. For example Orchid Costs around 4075 gold but loses most of its power post 30-35 minutes. Same is for Desolator which costs 3500 but is inferior to a Assault Cuirass (5250) gold so you have to build it in early game on the heroes which do well with it.

A good generalization is that items costing less then 4000 tend to fall off Late game but items where you have to invest more keep their value as they are the strongest items you can buy.

This is a pretty important concept in DotA to remember and understand that's why I wrote the whole section on Itemization to give you the roots to start building a deeper understanding of the game.

You also should not trust the ingame guides you find from various authors specially the ones Calling themselves 'Standard 6.xx Lane' etc etc which seem to be really popular. The author kindof sold out in favour of views and thus his builds and everything else are pretty inefficient and sometimes outright wrong. Some authors on the other hand like Balto's PA guide are legit and can be trusted but honestly there are no real support authors who do ingame guides. You are ofcourse free to ask me to make hero specific skill builds and I will tell you what the really skilled 6K+ people are making instead of feeding you ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥t.
Chapter 16: Ending and Shoutouts!
First i would like to thank You for reading this guide. It has taken years of experience and hard work to learn all i have tried to pass onto you. I hope that you can see that I spent quite a lot of sleepless nights writing this for you guys and that I've put my heart and soul into writing it with all the love I had for community. Seeing the final result and being encouraged by my friends makes me happy to have written this!

Special thanks to my friends like Lizzard_bl (Best Meepo in the World- <3 you mate), Magoma, ChaQ, Fari, and YarinTheSlayer who pushed me, guided me, challanged me, and helped me improve my skills in DotA and be the player I am today. One more person who I wanna thank from the bottom of my heart unfortunately cannot be named yet, but you know who you are and I just wanna say that I wouldnt be alive if it wasnt for you.

Last but not least shout outs to my friends like Shaka, Kartoos, Mama, VG_Hero, HTP-Gamer, and others who gave me my best childhood memories of playing DotA with them. Nothing will be ever forgotten and you are sorely missed VG_Hero (I hope your soul rests in peace forever)!

Also thanks to Valve and IceFrog for making DotA 2 ( I wish I knew him personally ^^ )

And last but not least I would like to apologize to anyone with whom I've been harsh or rude. I'm not really that kind-of person and I hope that we can be friends someday if you just give me another chance.

Thanks for reading and if you guys are interested I will be more then happy to write guides on General Play, Carry Techniques, Off lane Techniques and many other less known aspects of DotA!

If you have any questions regarding supporting, carrying or anything else, feel free to email me at sephdoto@gmail.com or send me a PM on my Twitch Channel[www.twitch.tv] . I can also be found on twitter at @Sephiroth_VG and on Youtube
P.S love replying and talking to people so I would be more then happy to answer everything!

Cheers Lads!

Please do not plagiarize my guide without my permission!
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67 Comments
Wiseman Sep 21, 2016 @ 4:40am 
Nice information. I don't want to complain about the long guide that you have made. But I am typically a person who are lazy to read. Moreover if that is too long like what you wrote. But overall Thanks for wrote this guide.. :D
The Guy with The Hat Apr 1, 2016 @ 10:33pm 
-1 not long enough Kappa
IceWizard Mar 21, 2016 @ 10:33am 
+rep
kawaii chibi Jan 23, 2016 @ 3:29pm 
this is so advanced and precise.I would lv more of this if u will :*
yUM iz back ! Oct 31, 2015 @ 6:23am 
thnx for this really helping and amazing advance support guide...i read in the comments that your making a guide for carry..pls finish it i would happy to read it :) :D
ΔXΞL Sep 9, 2015 @ 6:38pm 
really amazing guide. : D appreciated, even though i don't understand half of what you are saying.
TheRageMage Mar 26, 2015 @ 11:15am 
Ok, Thanks!
Seph  [author] Mar 25, 2015 @ 10:22pm 
A little bit......but nothing significant.. You still ward as required and where required! The rosh mega ward is pretty nice as a 2nd refresh ward instead of lane ward as radiant. But apart from that I dont see much differences.
TheRageMage Mar 25, 2015 @ 8:09pm 
has the map change affected the ward placement at all?
IOCVLATOR Oct 19, 2014 @ 7:15am 
This has helped me a lot, thank you.