DaveDota Blog #2: Team composition and laning

Posted by DaveDota (8 posts) -

Hello everyone and welcome for another installment of the davedota blog. Today we shall be thinking about a few important concepts in dota: team composition and laning. So let's begin.

So what makes for a successful team composition?

This is a difficult question to give a direct answer to, the simple fact is any composition can be successful if executed well but some compositions will always have an edge over others thus increasing the likelihood you will win. It is important to remember all of what i am about to say is tailored towards lower skilled players, though the general ideas are applicable to all levels of play.

In general, a team needs a mix of the following factors

  • · Crowd control (cc) - ability to lock down multiple heros. Good example : Tidehunter, magnus, jakiro
  • · DPS (deeps) - self explanatory, ability to damage. Usually carries in lategame, semi carries mid. For example antimage, phantom lancer (late) life stealer, Chaos Knight (mid)
  • · Burst - ability to damage fast Usually solomids. Queen of pain, Zeus etc
  • · push - ability to push creeps and towers down fast. Natures Prophet, Tinker, Keeper of the light
  • · anti push - ability to defend against the above, some pushers also function for anti push. Jakiro, Kotl, Tinker all function well.

Most pro teams will have a mix of heros who can contribute at minimum a little to each of those factors. You could have all the push in the world, but if you can't win a team fight when the moment comes, you won't break the base and thus haven't gained anything from your team make up.

Going all in one any one of these is usually a bad idea. A team of 5 carries will lose before they come relevant, a team of 5 nukers will dominate early game but struggle to break the base as the enemy heroes gradually catch up. Let's consider a good balance and how these separate traits synergize with each other.

Synergy is how heros function when they act together. A great example of a hero who can set up a for a bunch of other abilities is magnus. Magnus' ultimate ability, reverse polarity (RP) bunch enemy heros together within a circle of influence, stuns them, and deals some damage. If you have any sort of area of effect damage or stun to follow through with (Sven's storm bolt, nyx stun, lion stun, lion stun and nukes will all hit multiple targets with no effort at all) you can destroy a team fight with ease. This will buy your carry time to get farm, you will have the chance to get objectives (Roshan, towers) which will give the entire team gold. Picking heros that work well together is clearly advantageous and must always be considered. But the game doesn't begin in the mid game where these team fights start happening, you have to get there first. You have to survive the laning stage.

Effective laning for Dummies

The laning phase is quite often where games are lost and won. A successful lane will gain gold and experience which will propel them into the midgame. For the purpose of this discussion I’m going to assume the standard pub 2/1/2 set up, and ignore middle lane (as that is a case that needs to be treated on it’s own).

The cliffs of how to setup a good lane are as follow

  • · Has at least one ranged hero, with which to harass the enemy with right clicks
  • · Has one hero who can benefit from the gold available there and most importantly can safely take it
  • · Has stuns. Stuns are good.
  • · You begin with a decent amount of regen. 6 x tangos and 1 x pot is usually sufficient.

On this lane one hero would try to farm the creeps while the other would protect them. Below are some helpful tips on how to behave on the lane

Farming players

  • · DO only take the last hit on a creep, This means your blow is the killing one. Spamming auto attacks only pushes the lane.
  • · DO play safely, and don’t try to make any big plays. Just sit and farm. Playmaker attempts often fail and at best waste time, at worst feed kills
  • · DO NOT treat your supporter like he is your own personal slave. This will just lead to a breakdown in morale
  • · DO use the side shop, when you can access it without passing creeps. Most of the items you want can be found and built there! Take a moment to familiarise yourself with the inventory. http://www.dota2wiki.com/wiki/Side_Lane_Shop
  • · If you have a ring of Basilius, turn it off! It will still grant it’s benefits to heros, but won’t to creeps. A turned on ring will push a lane and make it difficult to farm safely.
  • · DO use time effectively. Always be farming when appropriate. Time is money, and you want lots of it.

And now some advice for the supporting player

  • · DO NOT spam your spells on creeps. You achieve nothing except pushing the lane
  • · DO try to play as a ranged hero. This allows you to harass the enemy with right clicks. Just don’t do it when you are close to the creep wave as this will draw aggro (cause them to attack you)
  • · DO Be helpful in ganks. If you see mid moving up to try and get a kill, set yourself up so you can easily land that stun of yours.
  • · DO Buy wards and make sure the team has a courier. Wards save lives and every team needs a courier.
  • · DO be watchful of your mana supply. Spamming spells is a waste, make sure you have enough mana for when you really are going to need it
  • · DO take inventory of your position. If your lane is safe, don’t just sit around

More on lane combinations

Back to how heroes synergise. This isn’t just for teamfights, a good lane will have some degree of synergy to it. For example some common lanes at the moment:

1. Phantom Lancer (farmer) and keeper of the light (supporter). Phantom lancer harasses with spirit lance, KoTL harasses with illuminate (try only to hit the heroes). With chakra magic this is sustainable infinitely and will likely force the enemy off the lane leaving phantom lancer to farm in peace.

2. Juggernaut (farmer) and either Chrystal maiden/venomancer (supporter). Gimmick lane. CM locks an enemy in place, or veno gets a slow using gail forcing a hero to take a full spin to the face. Usually results in kills.

3. Chaos Knight (farmer) and basically anyone with a stun. Lina,Lion, Shadow Shaman all work well. It is unlikely anyone can survive a full chaos bolt + support stun + reality rift if needed combination.

4. Luna (farmer) + basically any support. A lane me and my team like to run on occasion is luna with a support nyx assassin. Luna being ranged allows her to farm safely, and nyx can leach experience. If the enemy tries to gank you they will fail. You have 3 stuns available to you at level two and a lot of burst + amped right clicks from lunas passive.

All these lanes have the ability to score kills, yet at higher levels they very rarely do. This is because what you want is the threat of violence to hover over your opponent, forcing them to consider their moves carefully.

These picks also fit into the larger synergy of the team. They all have lock down and damage, crucial for winning team fights. When picking your hero always be considering what your team has and what your team needs. To advance as a dota player you always have to be mindful of how the separate heroes function together. Heroes with the ability to lockdown more than one hero at once are particularly good for team fighting, these heroes range from standard supports (jakiro, well aimed lina stuns) to the “big” teamfight ultimates: Enigmas blackhole, tidehunters ravage and magnus’s reverse polarity.

This leads nicely onto my next topic for another blog. Teamfighting, farming and ganking. Thanks for reading!

#1 Posted by Moztacular (525 posts) -

Good stuff!

#2 Posted by triple07 (1240 posts) -

Nice blog. Good to spread good tips for new players.

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