How to close out games and identify/create win conditions as an offlaner
There’s a lot of games where you as an Offlane may feel powerless because your cores couldn’t grip the advantages you created during the midgame well, however, there are actually a lot of things you can do as an Offlane to lead your team to victory. Remember, Dota is a team game, every role matters. Things like a carry solo-carrying the whole team only happens if there’s a huge disparity in skills, such as a carry smurfing in a lower MMR game, or a 9k player playing carry in a 7k average game.
Below is advice regarding how to approach a game and create win conditions in my experience as an Offlane player, however, these advice may work well for all other roles as well.
Recognizing the strength of your team.
- Besides the obvious no buyback core on the enemy team, there are a ton of other win conditions that are not so obvious to identify.
- Technically, a win condition is a very strong timing. An example would be if your carry has a Butterfly and the enemy has no true strike and you slowly siege the highground without committing too hard. Once you have confirmed that you can safely siege with minimal risk, don't jump the enemy and just play it slow. Let them come to you.
- Remember, in Dota 2, there is such thing as a defender’s advantage. The defending side always has the advantage, whether it may be terrain, towers, or just being closer to their own fountain for regen and buyback backups. Hence, if you have a way to siege safely, you can nullify the defender’s advantage. An offlaner’s job in these cases is simply to position yourself well. Stand in a position that could threaten their cores and their initiators if you are an initiator, or simply stand right in front of your team if you are a damage sponge like an Underlord or Bristleback.
- If you have a lead, it's very detrimental for the enemy to jump on your team if you and your team are positioned correctly. The worst thing that could happen if you are a Support or Offlane player is to have your cores randomly jump the enemy.
- Of course, the next thing you have to do is reposition yourself closer to help them at the cost of compromising your own position. So, unless you are very confident you can burst the target from 100-0 with the jump, don't do it. And even if you can, there's a chance they have buybacks. And you just put your entire team out of position. OG abused this strategy to win TI championships – force fights, die, buyback and fight with more numbers, take an objective afterwards.
- If your team is currently weak, or your team had unfortunately missed your power spikes and are now playing lategame against some lategame monster like Spectre or Medusa somehow where teamfights are almost hopeless to win, go for split pushes. Force the enemies to constantly split up to cover the pushes. Go for smokes and pick off lone targets when they split up to defend your splitpushes. As the offlaner, you very often will have to be the guy that splitpushes. Grab a Boots of Travel if you can.
- Remember, in Dota, every hero has their own power spike, but at the same time almost every hero has their hard limits. Spectre might be a monster with 6 items, but 6 items are the furthest she can go because Dota only has 6 item slots.
Versatile offlaners are always valued in a team. Here, Pangolier bought various items to deal with different heroes. Spirit Vessel for the Spectre (and potentially Puck's Dagger), Euls for Puck and Nature's Prophet, Abyssal to fit his own kit of Swashbuckle, Travels to deal with Nature's Prophet and Gem for the Mirana's Moonlight Shadow.
Spend as little time showing on the map as possible.
- Boots of Travels or any way to cover long distances in a short period of time are essential as an Offlaner in the late game. It minimizes the time you are spent showing on lanes. You should always only play 2 lanes in most cases, but when you have BOTs, you can play a little bit greedier but with added risk.
- Keep track of how many enemy heroes are missing. If they are all missing, only play 2 lanes. When the enemy shows, you can come out of hiding in the trees and shove out a wave, so you have little to no risk of dying.
- Always walk and never tp. Move in the general direction of where you think an encounter might happen. Shove out the wave before you do this. The movement speed itself from the BOTs will allow you to play much faster and split up the enemy that way.
- Once you bait a TP because you are constantly shoving a lane, you can TP back to your team and smoke and catch. But in some cases, you can't actually / need to do that because you need to be in a position to break smokes or initiate/counter-initiate.
A good NP player has the ability to shove sidelanes repeatedly and turn Dota into a game of patience. You force at least 1 or even 2 heroes to have to constantly care about their sidelane or risk having one of their lanes ratted away. When you see a hero (without Travels) defending your push, you can then signal your team to immediately start a 5v4 fight as you can teleport there immediately.
- The idea of the BOTs is to play faster than the enemy to gain that extra step ahead. Shoving lanes causes a lane disparity where the opponents will have to be constantly committing at least a hero or two to answer to, and this gives your team opening windows to smoke up and catch the remaining heroes who aren’t defending the pushes. Dota is a number’s game, you have an infinitely higher chance to win a teamfight by fighting with more heroes against less. Shoving lanes help you create this scenario.
- Sometimes, especially if you are behind, it's not necessary to focus on shoving lanes and you need to be more proactive in looking for kills or covering your other cores. Or at least withhold information from the enemy team. It's very spooky if the Offlaner doesn't show. Will the Offlaner be hunting? Ready to cut waves? Camping behind their cores? All this lack of information will limit the options for your opponents.
Be at the right time and place to force movements from the enemy team.
- PICKOFF TIME. Smokes are your best friends at this point. You don’t have to smoke everyone in your team, just the right heroes with disables/burst to get the job done.
- Leaving your pos1/2 out of the smoke and allowing them to connect to you is better and less obvious. Just be wary of how many enemies are showing. If the enemy pos1/2 is not showing, chances are the enemy is smoked as well.
- If you suspect the enemy is smoked, stand on a highground and be in a position to break smokes. But if for some reason there are no smokes, Let your supports shove out the lanes but if they can't, do it yourself and do it as fast as possible.
- Always minimize the time spent showing on the map. Play near the heroes on your team with catch/burst and posture yourself and your team as aggressive as possible without going too far. Your pos4/5 should set up some aggressive wards for this play to work with minimal risk. This is because you have to have an escape plan and reset once you see a response.
As you can see here, the Tidehunter, instead of helping to push the tower or clear waves, decides to hide. Radiant probably knows the Tide is hiding too, but they will either have to give up the tower for free or risk a fight where Tide will land a perfect Ravage. If the Tide decides to show, Radiant can potentially start a fight by having Lion disable the Tide while Ursa and Tusk jump on the Monkey King.
- The aim is to force a reaction or cooldowns from the enemy team. Killing the enemy core is the best case scenario though. Once you and your team jump an enemy core (without committing too hard) the enemy team will respond and your team or supports can immediately take over another area with the information that the enemies tp-ed to help the core you went on.
- The areas you should aim to occupy if you are on Radiant is the Dire Jungle. And as for Dire, that area would be the Radiant triangle. Those areas are closest to Roshan.
- However, sometimes your team’s draft is not suited to killing Rosh before the enemy comes. In that case, just use the Roshan as bait and fight there, most likely you will have vision advantage and the enemy supports have to deal with it somehow and you can punish the enemy for trying to retake their own area.
How to use Aegis
- Aegis = securing area and catching time because even with aegis, there's a chance something could go wrong and you still lose the fight.
- Forcing buybacks is a win condition at this point.
- In most cases, if your team's timings are not significantly stronger than the enemy's timings, there's a very huge risk that you will lose key teamfights trying to force objectives with Aegis.
- It's totally okay to use the aegis to farm if you are not confident to highground without too many casualties. Posture your aegis player in front and take over key late game areas and choke the enemy until you feel you are strong enough. In this sense, Aegis is basically 5 minutes of safer farm time, as well as denying your enemy the Aegis advantage.
- Once your team takes over an area, if you have BOTs, you can walk and shove out lanes and TP to your team.
- The way the enemy has to play if you have aegis is to split push and play sidelanes. By copying what they are doing with calculated risks, you can slowly build up a lead.
- The enemy will also have to potentially leave the Aegis carrier alone unless your other teammates show themselves on the other side of the map without a Boots of Travel, because jumping on an Aegis carrier is dumb because your team will likely rush over to back up your Aegis carrier and start a teamfight 5v5, with key enemy spells on cooldown because they committed it on the Aegis carrier.
- Always go for the hero that gives your team the most trouble. It might not always be the highest networth hero.
- A random Shadow Shaman hex or Oracle ult could end the teamfight in an instant. The priority in the late game is No Buybacks > Stuns/Saves > Enemy Cores. > Everyone else.
- Assuming close to equal lead for both teams, it is very unlikely you can burst the enemy cores unless they are severely out of position, especially if they are playing something like a Wraith King or a Troll Warlord (with BKB) or simply a carry with Aegis.
- No matter how much networth the enemy cores have, if they already committed BKBs or Abyssal Blades and their supports with disables are dead, there is no way they are killing anyone without being kited to death.
Some universal Dota laws for every Dota player
- Especially in lower MMR games, people are not playing for objectives. They are playing for kills and farm shiny items. I get that it may be fine and cool for you to get beyond godlikes and rampages, but if you are aiming to improve, you should switch your concept of the game from kills to objectives.
- You should be playing for objectives. For example, you gank the safelane carry because you want to take his tower, then take over his jungle.
- You gank the midlane because you want to both establish an advantage for your midlaner so that he can continue pressuring the enemy midlane harder and outfarm, outlane and even take the middle tower. You take their middle tower because you can then invade both sides of the enemy jungle and take over their farm.
- You take Roshan because you want Aegis to take objectives safely, and force the enemies to play reactively out of fear of the Aegis. Have you noticed that your team has to play at least 5 minutes safely when the enemy gets an Aegis? This 5 minute is basically 5 minutes of cheat time for the team with Aegis to get objectives, snatch enemy farm and even force highground with minimal casualties.
In short, Dota is all about objectives. Kills are just ways for you to get those objectives faster.
TL;DR: Force reactions from the enemy team to take objectives (Roshan/aegis/key areas) and get BOTs to play faster to split the enemy up to force reactions better and safer by minimizing the time spent shown on the map.
Guide created by our coaches at Gamejitsu. https://gamejitsu.gg
Kazami is a 7K MMR coach, playing Offlane and Carry in SEA.
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