Advanced timings

Introduction

To be completely honest with you there is just not that much undiscovered knowledge about midlane. All agro tricks are known even to  every 5k+ player and what was innovative 4 years ago became standard in modern dota. There is however one aspect that even the best of pro players overlook. This aspect is efficiency and advanced timings. If you ask any pro player what he does in order to prepare to the most important events he will most likely say “pubbing, scrimming”. However if you are aiming to truly become the best at playing this game you need to spend some time in a private lobby figuring out the smallest of details that will give you an edge over your opponent. When do you bottlecrow? When to leave midlane to stack hard camp/ancients? In this small guide I’ll try to answer these questions.

You can surely achieve a spectacular gamesense by playing thousands of pubs. But is gamesense as reliable as numbers?

A compilation of timings that you should know when playing middle lane

This is the spot I used as a starting point to my experiments on radiant:

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This is the spot I used as a starting point to my experiments on dire:

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Hero: Shadow fiend, movement speed: 305 without boots, 350 with boots

 1 ) Bottlecrow

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This is the spot I used for the bottlecrow experiments on radiant. Speed boost was always used after taking the empty bottle.  I started measuring time at the moment I moved courier from the fountain. If you want to know the time it takes to bottlecrow if you already have courier on the radiant midlane just reduce the time given by 16 seconds because that’s how long it takes for the courier to get from the fountain to t1 mid tower. (21s for walking courier)

 

How long does it take to bottlecrow? (Radiant, walking courier) 1min 12s

How long does it take to bottlecrow? (Radiant, no speed boost) 56 s

How long does it take to bottlecrow? (Radiant, with speed boost) 48 s

Conclusions:

On average it takes about 1 minute to bottlecrow on Radiant. This means that it’s efficient to bottlecrow if there is more than one minute to the next rune: e.g. 4:50-5:00, 6:50-7:00 etc.

 untitled421This is the spot I used for the bottlecrow experiments on dire. Speed boost was always used after taking the empty bottle. I started measuring time at the moment I moved courier from the fountain. If you want to know the time it takes to bottlecrow if you already have courier on the dire midlane just reduce the time given by 19 seconds because that’s how long it takes for the courier to get from the fountain to t1 mid tower. (24s for walking courier)

How long does it take to bottlecrow? (Dire, walking courier) 1 min 20s

How long does it take to bottlecrow? (Dire, no speed boost) 1 min 4 s

How long does it take to bottlecrow? (Dire, with speed boost) 56 s

Conclusions:

This was by far the most surprising result of my tests. It turns out that for some odd reason bottlecrowing on dire takes way longer (~8s) than it does on radiant.Take that into account and bottlecrow when the timer shows ~1:10 min to the next rune, e.g. 4:40-4:50, 6:40-6:50 etc.

2) Runecontrol

How long does it take to walk from midlane to top rune? (Radiant, no boots) 9 s

How long does it take to walk from midlane to top rune? (Radiant, with boots) 7 s

How long does it take to walk from midlane to bot rune? (Radiant, no boots) 14 s

How long does it take to walk from midlane to bot rune? (Radiant, with boots) 12 s

 

How long does it take to walk from midlane to top rune? (Dire, no boots) 9s

How long does it take to walk from midlane to top rune? (Dire, with boots) 7s

How long does it take to walk from midlane to bot rune? (Dire, no boots) 13s

How long does it take to walk from midlane to bot rune? (Dire, with boots) 11s

Conclusions:

Both sides have similar timings when it comes to runes but it’s worth noting that in Dota 2: reborn on the Radiant side your hero prefers to take the river path which from my experiments is just as fast as the safer route going through the cliff above your jungle.

3) Stacking hard camp

How long does it take to walk from midlane to radiant hard camp? (No boots) 12 s

How long does it take to walk from midlane to radiant hard camp? (With boots) 10 s

How long does it take to walk from midlane to dire hard camp? (No boots) 12 s

How long does it take to walk from midlane to dire hard camp? (With boots) 10s

Conclusions:

For radiant it’s best to attack neutrals around XX:55 mark and run top or to the right. The latest you can leave the lane and still get a stack is:

XX:43 without boots, XX:45 with boots

For dire it’s best to attack neutrals around XX:54 mark and run to the south. The latest you can leave the lane and still get a stack is:

XX:42 without boots, XX:44 with boots

4) Stacking ancients

How long does it take to walk from midlane to radiant ancients? (No boots) 7s

How long does it take to walk from midlane to radiant ancients? (With boots) 6s

How long does it take to walk from midlane to dire ancients? (No boots) 13s

How long does it take to walk from midlane to dire ancients? (With boots) 11s

Conclusions:

Once again radiant have advantage over dire: stacking ancients for them is really easy as the path to the camp is significantly shorter. This should especially come in handy when playing ancients clearing heroes like TA mid.

For radiant it’s best to attack neutrals around XX:54 mark and run to the right. The latest you can leave the lane and still get a stack is:

XX:47 without boots, XX:48 with boots

For dire it’s best to attack neutrals around XX:54 mark and run to the left. The latest you can leave the lane and still get a stack is:

XX:41 without boots, XX:43 with boots

5) Roshan

How long does it take to walk from radiant midlane to Roshan? (No boots) 15s

How long does it take to walk from radiant midlane to Roshan? (With boots) 12s

How long does it take to walk from dire midlane to Roshan? (No boots) 15s

How long does it take to walk from dire midlane to Roshan? (With boots) 12s

Conclusions:

Once again, there’s no difference in the time that it takes for your hero to get to the rosh pit. After the map rework in 6.85 it takes just a little bit longer for Radiant to get to rosh by tping into their tier 1 mid tower. As taking Roshan before all heroes have boots happens very rarely it’s important to only memorize the 12s that it takes to get to Rosh from both sides.

1v1 mid – a tale of lost potential

As the day of releasing DotA 2:Reborn approaches I decided to write a short article about Valve’s long forgotten child: 1v1 mid matchmaking. I hope it (and hopefully the discussion that arises) gives a signal to Valve that out growing community would love to have a place to practice 1v1 mid and that the current system is not working as intended.

1. What went wrong?

As a mid player myself (some of you may know me from my advanced solo mid guide which I’m currently updating) I was really excited when Valve announced 1v1 mid matchmaking. “Finally a place to practice 1v1s with enemies of equal skill without having to use the guild system or going through random crowded channels and asking people to play me” – was my first thought. Unfortunately my excitement lasted only for a short while… which is until I tried playing it. Currently the concept of 1v1 mid is broken. In average player’s mind the point of the game is not to get better, but to win. At all cost. As obvious as it may sound people will play to win if you make it the primary objective of the gamemode. This includes using all kinds of “dirty” picks: be it broodmother or bane with maxed Enfeeble. What is the solution? First of all we have to force change in people’s approach to this mode. Playing to win is fine. Having “easy mode” heroes that completely ruin the purpose of 1v1s is not. Solution a) Limit hero pool to only heroes that are commonly played mid. This solution is the most restrictive as it will prevent people from being able to experiment with e.g. rubick mid – on the other hand it will create the best possible conditions for players that want to learn something that they can later use in a pub game. In my opinion it may encourage people that are not experienced with midlane heroes to queue this mode and practice without ruining a game for 4 other players. Solution b) Create a list of possible matchups that may be a subject to change every major update. Selecting matchup could be done in “reverse draft” manner where every player crosses matchups out until players are left with just one that they will play. Solution c) Let people pick any hero they want/hero from the “mid list” but after game ends the match is restarted with heroes swapped.

2. “Winning the match” criteria are not optimal. 

Everyone that has ever practiced 1v1 mid knows that it’s in fact the first 5 minutes when all the action happens. Creepblock, positioning, aggro tricks, lasthit timing – they all lose their meaning after both heroes are 7+ level and just spam out the wave with their nukes. It’s also the first few minutes where you can learn the most and when you can do the biggest mistakes. What does it have to do with the discussion about improving 1v1 mode? I think the gameplay should be way shorter as well as more outplay-oriented than it is now. My suggested solution is that – if there are no kills -the game should end automatically after 10 or max 15 mins and player with the highest cs+denies wins.

3. Lack of people playing this mode.

In my opinion this fact can be undoubtedly linked to problems that I mentioned earlier in this article. Who would like to requeue after being matched up against OD as storm spirit or against razor as invoker? Not many people I know. I’ve already addressed this issue though so let’s move on: The second major flaw about current 1v1 mid is that there’s no reward for playing it. If you can’t learn the matchup you’d like and have to wait 5 or more minutes just to get matched against another griefer then what’s the point of playing it? That’s right, there’s none. Players love getting rewarded for their efforts in-game. Just look at countless people buying chests to get one courier they’ve dreamt of, players grinding rankeds for 14 hours a day to get to 4/5/6/7k, people playing special events to have a cool badge in their profile. Why can’t we have it for 1v1 mid? Valve, please give us 1v1 mmr, W/L stats on the profile, achievements based on number of 1v1s won, 1v1 trophies, 1v1 leagues – any of these will do. If you look at how many people started playing only ranked after it got implemented the percentage would look something like 70-30. Players enjoy comparing themselves with others so giving them such an option in 1v1 mid would certainly boost its playerbase immensely. To sum up: current 1v1 mode is broken and easily abused so it serves no educational purpose. It’s pretty typical for Valve to create features and drop the support for them but I hope this time they will prove us all wrong. That’s it for today, as I said in the introduction by writing this short rant I just wanted to send a signal to Valve that a feature that is not working properly is almost equal to feature that does not exist. Thank you for reading and… discuss!🙂

ChaQ’s new ultimate guide to advanced middle lane solo.

Table of contents:

  1. Introduction

  2. All you need to know about the creepblock

  3. When the action begins: the openings

  4. It’s all about the aggro

  5. Controlling highground (New!)

  6. Lasthitting under the tower (New!)

  7. Dodging smokeganks

  8. Runecontrol and controlling the courier

  9. To gank or not to gank?

  10. Mana management (New!)

  11. The importance of mid tier 1 tower. Tower mechanics (New!)

  12. Doublewaving, what is it and when to use it

  13. Hard matchups and how to deal with them

  14. Picking the right hero in ranked -allpick (New!)

  15. All the little things you can learn to become a better mid player

  16. Practice – how to and why to

  17. Ending word and shoutouts

Chapter 1. The introduction

 1.1 Shoutout to the community

Never in my life have I thought that what started as such a simple idea would blow up after publishing it. My guide got translated to over 15 languages (unfortunately some people copied it without my consent, shoutout to ppl that are fair and asked me on my email first).  I had over 700 thousands unique visitors from all around the world and even pro players messaging me with words of appreciation. Thank you so much for continous support, all the questions you asked me on email and reddit and sorry that I didn’t answer all of them. But enough bragging, let’s get into the interesting part: the guide itself.

1.2 The most basic question: who are you?

I’m a 22 years old swedish language student from Poland with 10 years of experience in DotA. I started playing encouraged by my friends and went a long way through many W3 platforms:

battle.net ->garena -> Iccup -> RGC – > dotalicious – > DotA 2

I got into Dota 2 beta really early – winning it as one of the first from the PlayDota lottery.

As a player with thousands of hours spent in pubs I decided to try playing in a more competitive environment, I went through several inhouse leagues and finally decided to join a team. As polish teams are extremely unstable I went through a couple of them, mostly playing 1 position.

Around 1-2 years ago I became really interested in the “2” – mid role. I started picking only mid heroes in pubs and tried to find every hint and trick possible that would make me play better.

One day I came across EternalEnvy’s stream and him practicing mid with Arteezy. For someone like me it was a gold mine – they talked about every small aspect of fighting for lasthits, positioning and creep control. As Arteezy joined Kaipi and I could watch him in competitive matches and start analysing his moves from the player’s POV. I was surprised how little – as it turned out – I knew about playing mid. As fanboyish as it may sound his mindgames and mechanical skills were far superior to any other player I knew. Special shoutout to him as watching him play helped me create this guide a ton.

After watching this VOD and analysing it I decided to start practicing in similar fashion. I played 1v1s with my friend (HRTS) for several hours a day for over a month. We shared everything we’ve learned with each other and only later, after I got to know Bulba it turned out that I pretty much replicated what Arteezy and Bulba did after one of the internationals (TI3 I think): trying to break down 1v1s by playing them in absurd numbers.

This guide is an attempt to systematically sort and share this knowledge with you – the players.

 1.3 What competitive experience do you have?

After becoming mid pubstomp player and playing as a somewhat decent level standin I thought that it may be a good idea to find a really high skill team that would let me develop competitively.

An opportunity came faster than I thought – one of my best polish friends [that I met and added after a pub game] turned out to be a friend with one of the best polish players – sasu. As he was forming a new team I was suggested to him as a promising player and so I became a mid for QWERT1234 – probably the only polish team known to an average European player back then. And this is where the somewhat sad [for me] part begins – a top 1-2 page pub mid player without any particular high level competitive experience turns out to be a rather mediocre mid for a serious, semi professional DotA.

As you might have guessed I was underperforming – overwhelmed by the skill level gap jump, and soon my rather short journey into playing versus some really good teams ended with a big disappointment. To this day though I’m happy with this experience as playing against some best midders out there has taught me a lot.

Ironically enough, encouraged by this adventure I started practicing even harder to reach level of decisionmaking and skill acceptable at the very highest levels of competitive play. As of today I neither play nor plan to play on any serious team – nowadays I’m only playing pubs somewhere in the 5-6k skill bracket as well as coaching players.

I decided that my guide needed a major update due to changing metagame and because I learned a lot about laning during these  2 years.

1.4 Why are you writing this guide?

As I’m not planning to join a team in the nearest future and I don’t really care about my competition getting to know all the tactics presented in this guide, I decided that sharing this knowledge with everyone is the best option. Some people may actually hate me for making presented tricks public, but hey – that’s how the skill progress in DotA world is made: “elite” knowledge becomes well-known so you have to come up with something new! I’m also an author of a really old “Never more learn 2 farm noob” lasthitting guide and every positive comment under it made me really happy that  a lot of players felt the joy of discovering new things when reading it. I guess I just enjoy making people play better by sharing some tips and letting everyone test them in real games.

1.5 Who is this guide aimed for?

Well, definitely not for beginners. When I started writing this guide I decided that it’s mostly going to cover the most advanced and only-known-to-few tactics. If you have troubles lasthitting or don’t know what runes do – this probably isn’t the most suitable guide for you, however I believe even 1k mmr players may learn a thing or two that will improve their performance on the midlane.

Disclaimer:

The guide itself is just an educational material. That means that you have to conciously practice techinques and strategies included in order to increase your skill level significantly. My guide should be just a beginning in your quest to get better; it’s what you do with the knowledge obtained that matters!

1.6 Mandatory “pros and cons of being a mid player” section:

Pros:

  • You get to play some [in my opinion] most interesting heroes with high skill ceiling.
  • You can do all sorts of “big plays” with your high level and gold advantage
  •  Playing 1v1 is really fun and there’s no better feeling than killing a good mid player solo
  • You don’t depend on your team that much, practicing mid in pubs is way easier than e.g. support

Cons:

  • Mid requires a lot of multitasking: using courier constantly, checking for enemy ganks, controlling the lane equilibrium, harassing, lasthitting and finally controlling runes
  • The responsibility of  ganking, reacting and dictating the gamepace relies on you
  • As you own the most powerful hero early-midgame, you can also do the biggest mistakes
  • If you lose your mid solo, the enemy player gets a huge advantage that often wins them the game
  • This position requires a lot of practice and experience, the skill gap between competitively experienced mid player and regular pub midder is mindblowing

As I said in the introduction – I’m not going to go into details about what playing mid means generally or about what heroes should/shouldn’t go mid and why. I want to break down playing mid layer by layer and talk in a great detail about every one of them separately.

Chapter 2. All you need to know about the creepblock

What I want to start the main part of my guide with is probably one of the most overlooked things in playing solo mid. As basic as it may sound, it’s the infamous creep block. Professional and more advanced players know the importance of a good creepblock, especially in a melee vs ranged matchup.

2.1 Perfect creepblock example pic:

[leftclickclick to enlarge the picture]

perfectblock25

Notice how none of the enemy creeps can see you and how all of your creeps are on the highground.  That means the opponent will not be able to know your positioning and  you are free to harass him.

2.2 Things that perfect creeblock lets you do:

  • Harassing from the highground (enemy can’t trade hits effectively with 25% uphill miss chance)
  •  Controlling the lane and creep balance way easier, makes enemy miss lasthits
  •  Enemy can’t see you and your positioning
  •  If he gets too close you can use one of your spammable spells

2.3 Correct reaction to enemy’s perfect block

Yes, it happens even to the best players  so there’s nothing to be ashamed of. The solution to this is really simple – come close to the creeps as soon as the enemy shows up from fog and A-click him, then run back a little. You should end up with at least some of the creeps down in the river, where you can lasthit them without miss chance. If your enemy plays really passively and is not harassing you, you probably won’t be able to see him for a long time. In that case you can  simply A-click enemy on a different lane. Optimally you want to lure enemy creeps into attacking your ranged creep, so the wave starts pushing towards your tower.

2.4 Abusing the perfect block

Take a look at this picture:ranged vision
 What I want you to remember from this screenshot is that ranged creeps give a really small circle of vision to the enemy every time they attack. If you memorize this circle and remember to never stand near your ranged creep when you get a better block you will make your opponent “play in the dark”.

2.5 How do I achieve the perfect creepblock?

There are a few little positioning tricks that will make your way better than average midder’s that doesn’t know them.

THE RADIANT

So-called RTZ block, you have to stand exactly at this spot where your heroes circle touches edges of stones on the ground in front and to the left of you:

rtzblock2

rtzblock1

As soon as the timer hits the 0:00 mark, you should start walking forward. If you do this properly, you’ll notice how all of the creeps walked to your right instead of one walking around the tower. What this does is basically letting you start creepblocking faster, without waiting for that one creep to join the others:

rtzblock3

THE DIRE

There is no particular trick on the dire side but to maximize the efficiency of your block you should stand around here on the steps, as all of the creeps will spawn just above you:

direblock

What’s the best command to creepblock? Move or Stop-spam?

To be honest, what works the best for me and a lot of pro players is the combination of both. In this video you can see comparison between players: some of them like to hold their hero hotkey to keep the camera centered, Dendi uses screen panning, and Arteezy just clicks the hero hotkey every few seconds to move the camera.

2.6 Letting ranged creep go first – when to do this and why shouldn’t you always use it.

I’ve noticed what a lot of mid-level players love to do is letting the ranged creep go first, then blocking the entire wave of melee creeps. Through testing this by myself I’ve noticed that most of the time this does more harm than good and here’s why:

  • You expose yourself to harass! If the enemy sees that you have 1 creep less[that does the most damage] he will simply start attacking you and he won’t receive quite as much damage from creeps that he normally would
  • You can end up “doublewaved” – I’ll talk about this a little bit later
  • You lose that orientation point in lasthitting. Usually you want to time your lasthit to land just after mage’s attack. By losing that option you make it somewhat easier for the enemy to deny.

There are several occasions on which blocking without the ranged creep is desirable!

  • When you know you have way more damage on the first attack and you are sure you can get the deny (eg. Kunkka with tidebringer)
  • When you are against a really low damage hero (eg. Sf, Quas Invoker)
  • When your creepblock is way better and you just let the ranged creep go first in the last seconds of the block
  • When your enemy is really hard to lane against straight up and you’ll feel more comfortable lasthitting under the tower

2.7 Practice

Remember that creepblocking is really easy to practice in singleplayer. To practice simply make a new lobby, set cheats to “on” and take one of the slots. When the game starts pick QoP, set mode to –wtf and take your starting position. To start the game simply use the –startgame command. After un/successfully blocking your creeps simply blink back with your cooldownless spell and start over. Repeat until you feel satisfied with your creepblock consistency.

Chapter 3: When the action begins: the openings

After creepblocking it’s time for something I call openings. For me it’s one of the most important stages during your laning. The first few attacks, moves and decisions show so much about player skill that sometimes I can already predict how easy or hard the game against him will be. The morale aspect of that  should also never go unnoticed – getting the first deny + lasthit combo may work very demoralizing for some players and make you feel so much better about chances of beating your opponent.

3.1 Before the horn

Before the game starts every good midlaner should make a quick “mindlist” that includes answering questions such as:

  1. Can I get ganked and by what heroes?
  2. What do I want to achieve on the midlane? Should I aim to kill the opponent or just farm?
  3. Can my courier get sniped? Do they have a Bounty Hunter or Nature’s Prophet?

Just these 3 questions will help youget yourself into the game and never be surprised by what happens.

3.2 There are basically 3 situations that may happen after the creepblock, as shown on the graph:

Image

To understand this graph and overall reactions after every kind of creepblock I made a video showing some of the world’s best pucks! [+me]

Why this hero and why only one hero? In my oppinion it’s like every dream of mid player put together: you have the silence, stun, you are mobile, have decent lasthit damage and it’s hard to gank you. Also your first skill gives flying vision over the area and serves as a free blink dagger. In other words: the possibilites it gives and the skillcap it has are far higher than for most of the heroes. About the second part of the question, I wanted to make personal style of players to be comparable and it’s hard to do if they play different heroes.

PS If you want to see the lasthit score, look at the top left, not bottom right. The creepscores on the right appear to be bugged.

Chapter 4. It’s all about the aggro

“What’s that title about?” – you may ask. My answer is: if you learn and master the rules of creeps aggro your skill on the mid will skyrocket. To be honest, after analyzing Arteezy’s play I honestly think this is one of the reasons he’s such a dominant player. Not even commonly known “mid-gods” like Dendi or Ferrari use these tricks as well as him if they use them at all. Please remember that all these little strats require a ton of practice to be mastered.

Now let’s read a couple of facts that will prove extremely useful later:

  • Creeps will aggro anyone trying to attack allied hero in a 500 radius. That means if you attack a hero while 501 units away from the nearest creep, the creep will not attack you.
  • Creeps have aggro cooldown of 2 seconds. I’ll describe how to abuse that later in this chapter.
  • It doesn’t matter where the enemy hero you are attacking is. As long as you are in 500 radius to the closest enemy creep you might as well A-click hero on a different lane and you still will draw aggro.

Now, as you know the very basics let’s move on to the really advanced things: in a good players’ hands aggro is an extremely powerful laning tool that can be used in many different ways:

4.1 Aggro tricks – securing lasthits

Let’s take a situation like this: Image

You are more or less as far from the enemy creep as your opponent. If your projectile speeds and timings are similar – the factor that decides who gets the lasthit will be your damage. And guess what, the damage on every single hero is randomised before every attack. As a good player you don’t want to rely on luck, you want to use some sort of strategy to have the upper hand in this little game. This is where creep aggro knowledge comes into play. By A-clicking the enemy hero as the creep is getting low and instantly backing off, you drag the creep very close to you without exposing yourself to harass. Let’s say the creep was 500 distance from both of the players. After using this trick, it’s 200 units away from you and 800! from the enemy. Amazing isn’t it?

Remember that this trick will not work if enemy creeps do not have vision of your hero. You can also use this trick if you get a perfect creepblock but first you will need to put the knowledge from point 2.4 into use: before you rightclick the enemy hero to pull the aggro simply walk into the small vision circle around your ranged creep. This will guarantee that the enemy can see you and you will be able to pull this trick off.

Notice the circle around my hero, it’s drawn at a 500 range. Currently you can use this command only at private lobbies with cheats on, but if you practice with your friends make sure to turn it on to get used to it later! The best thing you can do when using this strat is to position yourself before A-clicking enemy so that only one creep gets drawn towards you. This will make you push less than when pulling all the creeps.

Take a look at this video: Arteezy has memorised the 500 radius circle so every time he rightclicks the enemy, he pulls only the single creep that he wants to move towards him:

As you get more and more advanced in doing that trick, you will discover that the uses of this tactic are only limited by your creativity. On this picture you can see a fight for 2 lasthits:

Image

Most of the players would just accept the fact that you can’t do 2 attacks at once – so you can only get 1 lasthit or 1 deny. But with aggro tricks knowledge you can have both. Simply repeat the regular A-click + back off but instead of lasthitting your creep, deny the enemy one first. As you can see – it’s currently being attacked by the ranged creep, so if you attack at the perfect timing, you should be able to get both the deny and the lasthit to leave your enemy wondering what the hell just happened. This kind of awareness comes with time and experience but if you practice enough, soon you will surprise even yourself.

4.2 Aggro tricks – messing up lasthits

The above tactic can be also used to mess up enemy lasthits in a simple way:Image

As you can see on this picture, there’s one green creep getting attacked by most of the enemy creeps. When the creeps need about 2 attacks to get lasthitted, you have to get most of the creeps in your aggro range then A-click the enemy hero. Obviously creeps will immediately switch their target to you and iIf you did this correctly, opponent will perform the attack leaving you a free deny. Remember that this time you want to get as many creeps as you can in your 500 range circle!

4.3 Aggro tricks – attacking enemy without drawing  creep aggro.

This legendary ability, mastered by the chosen few does indeed exist and in fact it’s not as hard to pull off as some people may think. Perhaps you’ve even done it before but you might have not noticed it. If you’ve ever wondered how some of the players attack enemies without being attacked by their creeps – this section is for you. To start off, this works the best against melee/low ranged heroes. Here’s a little video that may help you understand the concept:

As you have probably noticed, despite being in the 500 range aggro zone, I’m not getting attacked by any of the creeps. The magic behind this is amazingly simple: you have to attack the hero outside of the 500 aggro range, then without issuing any other command run to him and attack. What happens is that after you attack, the creeps want to attack you but can’t as you are not in their aggro range. Your attack command triggers 2 second cooldown on their target so as you run to the creeps you have 2 seconds of free attacks on your enemy when you won’t get damaged by the wave. The number of attacks depends mostly on your levels and attributes – for most int heroes it’s 1, sometimes 2 attacks before the creeps start attackign you again.

This mechanic can be used as one of the “openings”: as you approach the first enemy creepwave you can A-click your opponent from 500 range to the creeps and do one or two attacks. He won’t be able to trade hits effectively as he will most likely trigger creeps aggro himself.

Chapter 5. Controling highground (New!)

This chapter will cover all the things you need to know in order to control the positioning of creepwave. This is a very overlooked topic in our community:  I think that players do not seem to understand the importance of having your creepwave in a favorable position.

5.1 Controlling the first creepwave.

Just as the laning starts you need to ask yourself a question: do I want to get level 2 faster than my enemy and make him farm under the tower? Am I rushing bottle so I can afford pushing the wave? If you answered “no” to both these questions you most likely want to keep the lane static and not push one way or another. You should just focus on getting as much cs as possible while harassing the opponent if he gets out of position.

5.2 Blocking only the first wave: a common misconception

As the title states: it’s a common misconception that midlaners should only block the first wave. Every time both creepwaves  die you need to go back to tier 1 tower and start blocking. By doing that you will ensure you have superior positioning, you are less likely to get ganked and your opponent has to play scared because every time he goes for a lasthit he will be vulnerable to your supports’ rotations.

5.3 Pushing the creepwave to get the rune – the intentional pull into tower range

The concept of pushing the lane before runespawn is definitely widely known. Although not everyone knows you can do it using tower! If you see enemy has a huge wave incoming, you can aggro the creeps as many times as it takes to get them in your tower range. This trick will make it easier for you to get the creep equilibrium back but also requires you to feel confident lasthitting under the tower.

5.4 Tanking the creepwave to control the highground

Sometimes you want to maintain the enemy creep advantage by tanking the creepwave. Here’s a clip illustrating this technique:

In this case Queen of Pain tanks the damage to keep her highground advantage over SF. This means that if he moves closer for a lasthit she can blink behind him and kill or harass him.

Chapter 6. Lasthitting under the tower (New!)

Another overlooked thing in playing mid is that in order to not “outplay yourself” you really need to know how to lasthit confidently. There are a few rules that will make it far easier for you to do it but all in all it comes down to practice and getting comfortable with timings and the animation of your hero.

6.1 General rules of lasthitting under the tower

T1 Damage: 110

Ranged creep 300 hp, 0 armor, 0% reduction damage.

  • Your damage > 80:tower, tower, you
  • Your damage < 80:you, tower, tower, you (can also be T,you,T,you)

Melee creep 550hp, 2 armor, 10.7% damage reduction

  • Your damage > 67-70:tower x5, you
  • Your damage < 67:you, tower x5, you (can be for example: T, you, T,T,T,T,you)All credit for that info goes to reddit user /u/Jkaos92.

In a nutshell all you have to remember is that if your hero dmg is lower than 67 then you need to attack the melee creep once then wait for 4 tower hits then lasthit it.

6.2 Lasthitting under tower using spells

The rule of thumb here is that almost every spell that is level 2 will let you lasthit ranged creep after tower hits it one more time. This includes:

Shockwave, Illusory Orb, Scream of Pain etc.

Usually spells that do 140-150 damage will also let you lasthit full hp melee creeps easily.

6.2 Getting creep into tower range only for a second

This technique gives you a lot more time to judge whether you need to attack the creep one more time or leave it as it is. All you have to do is drag a creep into tower range then move out of it. Tower’s attack projectile flies pretty slowly so you’ll heave a plenty of time to do your calculations.

Remember that this is just an example video. Don’t try tanking 4 creeps with a level 1 or 2 hero without a stout shield.

Chapter 7. Dodging smokeganks

If you have ever played any higher level DotA, you’ve probably met the biggest nightmare of every mid player: smokeganks. They make you feel in constant danger and you can’t focus on the laning as much. What methods can you use when roaming supports appear during the draft and you know you’ll have to deal with them?

7.1 “Stop the rotation” method

If you want to win mid with an easily gankable hero and you know enemy can make your life a nightmare: get an aggresive trilane against them. This forces them to either stay on the lane and fight back or get detected fairly easily because your allies will call miss as soon as the supports are gone. Remember that as the game starts, before you see most of the enemy heroes on the map – you are not safe, and shouldn’t take any risky moves as they can be just flanking you.

7.2 Colors method

This method works mostly in pubs, where supports aren’t missing from the map as much as they do in more competitive games.

It simply relies on you memorizing the color of player/players that can gank you easily.

colors method

In this game I’ve chosen crystal maiden as the biggest gank threat. If orange dot is missing from the map and enemy carry is not farming under the tower because of CM pulling, I have to play really defensively.

7.3 Scorescreen and enemy carry position method

This method relies on you checking the scorescreen constantly and seeing if enemy supports are gaining any levels. If you feel they may gank you at level 1 and are still level 1 when they should have already done pull or two, you should really be expecting gank soon. Another way to check the position of enemy supports is watching if their carry is farming under the tower: if he is – supports are currenlty pulling, if he’s not then it’s time to start worrying. This method is unfortunately not 100% reliable as they may smoke immidiately after doing the pull and by the time you see enemy creeps back on their safelane you’ll already be dead.

It’s also really important to have a path which you are going to take depending on where the enemy support will come from.

Chapter 8. Runecontrol and controlling the courier

Whether you like it or not – runes and randomness that comes with them often wins or loses games. Controlling who gets the rune is an important factor in how good of a mid player you are. You probably know the basic “start pushing 10-15 seconds before rune spawn” rule so I’m not even going to go into details about it. What I want to talk about instead is what you should do if the enemy secures the rune and what are the ablities that every rune gives.

8.1 Bounty runes at level 1 – should you give up your block to get them?

Short answer: yes, if you know you are not in danger of dying when picking them up. Generally you just have to judge which team has better level 1 teamfight composition.

Heroes that you have to look out for:

  • Undying – Decay
  • Mirana – Arrow from fog
  • Ancient Apparition – Chilling Touch
  • Earthshaker – Fissure
  • Spiritbreaker – Charge of darkness, very tanky
  • Tuskar – Snowball

8.2 Bottle crowing, controlling the courier

The answer to [almost] every problem on the mid: bottle crow. Nerfed in the last DotA version, but still viable if you are melee hero with a spammable nuke.

Some bottlecrow tips:

  1. The only significant change that the bottlecrow nerf brought is that you shouldn’t ever use courier’s speed buff as it flies to you from base. Wait until you put your empty bottle in it, then feel free to use it.
  2. If you feel like enemy offlaner or supports are going to get your rune, already fly your courier somewhere into the trees near middle lane and if it indeed is what happens, bottle crow instead of wasting time checking the rune.
  3. You should be especially careful if your opposing team has a Nature’s Prophet or Bounty Hunter. They love sniping couriers and the gold you give them is almost like a free tower.
  4. Use item hotkeys in the shop! This makes shopping way faster and can save your courier. If you forgot about it and the enemy Qop is about to jump on it, quickly click shop hotkey then “courier upgrade” hotkey – for me it’s N and 8. If you’re lucky you will trade 220 gold for a kill on an overextending opponent.
  5. You have to have a courier hotkey and all his possible actions binded too. Toggling between your hero and courier and checking if your bottle is already refilled or if surge is available saves a lot of time and sometimes even your life.

8.3 Rune usage

  • Haste: If you sense an opportunity, you can gank enemy safelane with this rune or you can just nuke your mid opponent and make him unable to come close to creeps because of the death threat. Earlygame most useful used 10 seconds before the next rune in order to secure it.
  • Double damage: The “mid autowin” rune. If you get it you should push your advantage to the max: zone out the enemy, deny all of his creeps and get all the lasthits.
  • Invisibility: Before level 6-7 it’s not that useful as  you’re not going to gank anyways and ganking supports usually have sentries. Remember that you can use bottle once after activating it without breaking the invisibility buff.
  • Illusion: Players usually activate the rune, A-click illusions into the enemy and watch them die after dealing 15 damage. This rune actually has more uses than any other: you can stack 2 neutral camps/ancients at once, scout and deny the next rune, bodyblock to kill or send the illusions to his highground to zone him out. Illu rune can also tank Rosh if you issue the “move” command and then click on Roshan.
  • Regeneration: Be really aggresive, get rid of all the mana then use it. One very common mistake is overextending to spend all mana then dying in a humilating way. Don’t do that. Please.
  • Bounty rune: Even though after 2 minutes of keeping it in the bottle you will get about 2 gold and a few xp points more I suggest you use it right away. If you get ganked and need to bottle up inbetween enemy attacks you may find yourself surprised that you need to activate the bounty first.

8.4 Wrong rune usage

A really common mistake that 80% of students that I coached do is using runes right away. If you have level 5/6 and you get a really good ganking rune then using it to heal up is a huge waste. Try going back to fountain, use it as you tp to the enemy safelane then return mid after a successfull gank. Here’s a short movie to illustrate what I mean:

After bottling the rune I got hit by stun + lightening of leshrac. I could have activated the rune then used all bottle charges to stay on the lane but what I did instead was get back to base then use invis to gank the sidelane.

Chapter 9. To gank or not to gank?

That is the question. You probably often ask yourself in pubs “should I listen to my teammate? He’s feeding and saying he cant do anything on his lane but I’m just level 3…”

The answer is no. Never listen to offlaners crying about how hard their lane is, if they tell you to come gank before you’re even level 5/6 it means they have no idea about this game.

9.1 It is way  easier to list when it is advised to leave your lane and gank than the other way around:

  • When you are not level 6 but get a rune like haste and see that enemy is low-hped and won’t be able to back in time
  • When you’re level 6 or higher and you see enemies diving your team under the tower. Always carry tp scroll past 6 level in came something like this happens! TP into double or triple kill means a lot at early stages of the game.
  • When you see a fight somewhere near your lane and you’re sure you will get some gold or exp from kills/save your ally
  • when your supports dewarded the enemy so you are sure nobody will see you coming

9.2 Why is looking at the clock so important?

It takes wards 7 minutes to expire. Ganking enemies earlier simply means relying they don’t have any wards which in fact is gambling. If you gamble and lose – you waste a lot of time, experience and gold what your opponent is going to capitalize on. In the worst case scenario enemy trilane seeing you coming with rune will set up an ambush and even kill you. Usually using a tp to get to the lane you want to gank is an even better idea.

If you got your lvl 6, ganked successfully and still havent used your ulti, go back to base and regain mana then use smoke and come back to gank the enemy carry again.

9.3 Balancing ganking and farming

Rotating too much is by far the most common mistake 3-4k mmr players do. Every time you want to gank you have to ask yourself: what am I getting and what am I losing in return? If we assume that every creepwave is ~150-200 gold then spending 2 minutes on the other lane may cost you up to 800 gold. Meanwhile you are also sharing experience with your allies while your opponent is freefarming and getting solo xp. It takes a while to figure out when you should farm and when you should gank: going with the rule of “sum of the gains and losses” and watching your own replays is the fastest way to learn it.

Chapter 10. Mana management (New!)

Mana management is an extremely important aspect of playing midlane that I only discovered after playing competetive DotA for a while.

10.1 Why is having mana so important?

If you stay on the lane with low a series of consequences is going to rain down on you:

  • You are unable to solokill the opposite midlaner even if you get a good rune
  • Some heroes like Puck or Magnus get really vulnerable to ganks if they dont have the mana to use their escape ability.

But the most important by far is:

  • You are not a threat to the enemy on two other lanes. If you play against good players or a good team – they will notice it and they will abuse it. This means that they will attempt risky kills and dives under tower that they wouldn’t have otherwise. With 100 mana even if you tp you won’t be able to do anything more than rightclick them.

10.2 How do I preserve mana?

  • Do not nuke waves for no reason. You should either harass the enemy with them while getting ~2 cs each time or just rely on your autoattack to get every lasthit.
  • Do not attempt a solokill unless you are absolutely sure you are going to get it or at least force a rotation. You’re going to waste all of your mana and become a liability to your team.

10.3 What if I run out of mana?

Mana management is a bit like managing your water level during sport competitions. What pros say is that the moment you feel thirsty is the moment you are already dehydrated. DotA works surprisingly similarly when it comes to mana. If you run out of mana it’s already too late. You should have brought a clarity or bottlecrowed: clarity is only 50 gold and it regains a ton of mana for what it costs, dont be afraid to ferry it casually together with your boots or a tp.

Chapter 11. The importance of mid tier 1 tower. Tower mechanics. (New!)

Guess what… another aspect of playing mid that needs people to be more aware of.

11.1 Why is mid tower so important?

  • It controls the access to your jungle – if you lose it you effectively leave a huge chunk of the map open to the enemy
  • You become way more susceptible to ganks – your team has nothing to tp to in case of opponent’s aggresion, the aspect of vision/truesight plays a big role as well
  • Tier 1 mid tower plays a big role in controlling the roshan area
  • Getting the enemy tier 1 tower gives you such a huge advantage that it’s really to counterpush the enemy mid tower in the next 5-10 mins

11.2 My little study on the topic

I have analysed exactly 100 of my games to find out what the winrate of the team that gets tier 1 mid tower first is. The results showed a clear winner: teams that get the t1 mid tower before their opponent had 61% winrate!

I do realise that the sample may be pretty small but such a big advantage may not go unnoticed.

11.3 How to abuse the facts that you’ve learned about mid T1?

  • Never gank when you’re up against a hero that can push your tower really quickly: Shadowfiend, lvl 6 Death Prophet, Leshrac, Beastmaster – they will outpush the lane with their nuke then take the tower before you are able to react
  • If you really want to gank – ask one of your teammates to stay mid and keep creeps off the tower

Exactly the same logic applies when your opponent rotates on one of the other lanes to gank – the moment you see him run towards your safelane start pushing to deal as much damage to the tower as possible.

11.4 “The tower chipping technique”

If you watch a lot of pro DotA you may notice how they always manage to juggle the tower aggro in order to keep attacking the tower and never get attacked back by it. On the midlane every small detail matters so getting 2 or 3 bonus attacks every now and then may have huge consequences in the future.

As you may notice in the short clip above I stop attacking the tower just about the ranged being attacked by the tower is about to die. As soon as the tower switches to the next creep you are free to attack it again. Tower will always focus on the melee creeps that are currently attacking the tower over you and it will never switch aggro from a creep to a hero unless you attack the enemy hero in 500 range. That means that you only have to stop attacking when the tower is about to switch target from one creep to another.

11.5 Movement under the tower

A common mistake middleskill players are doing is leaving the opponent to freely farm under his tower. If you use the knowledge I provided you with you can do some amazing things right in front of the enemy tower. Remember that as long as you dont rightclick your opponent while being less than 500 units away from tower it will never switch aggro to you. It should look like this:

Chapter 12. Doublewaving, what is it and when to use it

Doublewaving is a strategy designed to make laning against melee, low ranged and heroes that want to be aggresive early way easier. It may also prove extremely useful if getting level 2 before the enemy gives you a significant advantage.

Example: Puck vs TA

Normally Puck is considered to be severely countered by Templar Assassin. By using this trick though you may gain enough advantage early to snowball and even win the lane. Getting level 2 when TA is lvl 1 you are able to dive under the tower without risking to be hit and you can avoid any harass easily.

So what exactly is this strategy and how do I use it?

To “doublewave” someone means to accumulate a lot of creeps that start pushing him towards his tower. Meanwhile you are free to harass with all the aggro tricks you’ve learned (yes they work on towers too) and deny his creeps as he tanks them under the tower. Here’s a video of me performing this strategy against my friend:

There are few things you have to remember when trying to do it:

  • never let enemy get 2 ranged creeps, actually the first creep that you kill should be his ranged creep – you stop the pushing and you can harass the enemy easier
  • you DO want to focus more on attacking the enemy hero than on lasthitting on the first wave. That way you start pushing ijust in the right timing.
  • use your spells! Using spells like static remnant/illusory orb/scream of pain deals damage to creeps comparable with 4-5 autoattacks
  • dont push too fast! If you kill the first enemy creepwave before your second wave arrives you will just give the enemy a lot of lasthits for free and your plan will be ruined

There are a few things you can do to prevent getting doublewaved:

  • Pull the enemy creeps into your tower range
  • Autoattack the enemy creeps/use your nuke
  • Try killing the ranged creep first

Chapter 13. Hard matchups and how to deal with them

There are some heroes that make you want to quit DotA after laning against them. Remember though that every hero in this game is beatable. “OD walks into a bar. There was no counter.”? Not anymore!

13.1 Playing as a melee hero against ranged, very disadvantageous matchups like DK/ember vs viper

This is another common question I get: What do I do if I get into an extremely disadvantageous matchup like Viper vs Ember?
First thing you need to remember is: do not die. Dying means you won’t be able to come to this lane anymore without dying again. There are a few advanced techniques you can use to get a few more cs from an unwinable lane.

13.1.1 From tower to tower

One way to make sure your opponent is unable to zone you out of experience is to give the creepwave some momentum so it jumps from one tower to another. This should be performed with a very specific timing as if you nuke the creepwave too early the enemy tower will kill all creeps by the time your second wave reaches midlane and you will end up with creeps in the same spot as when you started. Try practicing this strategy in a private lobby before you get into a real game.
To do this try to push the wave really hard approximately 10 seconds after the creeps have met in the middle of the river. The desired outcome is your opponent farming the second wave under his tower and then you farming the next one under yours.

13.1.2 Aggro, aggro, aggro

This strategy uses the trick that you’ve already learned in the Chapter 4. Rightclick your hero while being less than 500 units away from the enemy creeps. In this case you don’t want to do it just once. You want to keep using it as many times as it requires creeps to spread really widely all across the midlane. The opponent won’t be able to both cs and harass you that easily.

13.2 Playing against Templar Assassin

As you just read, there are strategies to make Templar Assassin a beatable hero. One of the most impressive performances I’ve ever seen was Arteezy’s Puck beating TA with treant’s armor. Luckily I have a ticket for that tournament, so here’s a video for you!

Arteezy uses every trick possible to outlane his opponent. His lasthitting under the tower is also flawless this game. Despite not getting any runes he outcses TA severely and even gets a kill with some help of a jungling DS. This video proves what an amazing impact hard work and dedication have on your play.

13.3 Playing against obsidian destroyer outworld demolisher Outworld devourer

This hero used to be the ultimate antimidder. Unless you played Razor, Kunkka or Lone Druid there just was not much you could do after he hit level 3. As of 6.84 this hero should win most of the matchups against int heroes but some of them that can stay away from astral imprisonment can do OK (such as Queen of Pain, Leshrac or Lina). You should not focus on playing aggresively against an OD. What you’re looking for is getting as much CS as possible, leeching experience, rune control as well as stacking woods to get back into the game. After you  hit level 6, go gank and contribute to the team’s current situation. Maxing the nuke that will let you grab few extra lasthits against him is strongly advised.

PS If everything else fails, there’s always good old “gank him you’ll be fine”.

13.4 Playing against a batrider

Batrider’s sticky napalm is one of the most annoying skills in the game. It makes you turn forever, easy to harass and zone out. I’m probably not going to say anything particularly new here but getting a stick and backing off every time you get 3-4 stacks is a must. One of the biggest flaws on batrider’s laning is his projectile speed. Good bat will get 100% of his lasthits, but as napalm obviously doesn’t work on his own creeps you should be able to farm a bit too. If you don’t die to him by getting caught will already be a big win for your team. Heroes that are pretty decent against a bat are OD, Puck, Queen of Pain and… Zeus !

Chapter 14. Picking the right hero in ranked -all pick.

I get a lot of questions regarding the topic of raising your mmr. In my opinion to raise your mmr reliably you can’t just pick the same hero every game and expect it to work (with a few exceptions of overpowered meta heroes of course). Personally I like to wait for the 4th or last pick when selecting my hero. I do that not only to counter the enemy mid but also to see what my team composition still lacks. So…

What should you keep in mind before selecting a hero?

14.1 Question one: what does my team need?

If your team consists of 3 agility heroes picking another carry would obviously be really questionable. If your team already has so much physical damage – the most optimal heroes will be either boosting their damage (Magnus, Beastmaster) or providing them with reliable disables to give them more time to attack the enemy (QW Invoker, Puck, Brewmaster, Warlock, Magnus, Beastmaster)

14.2 Question two: can i counter the enemy lineup with just one pick?

Examples:

  1. Lack of instant disables – > pick mobile heroes: Queen of Pain, Storm, Puck, Tinker
  2. A lot of mana intensive heroes -> pick Pugna or Nyx
  3. Lack of outpush abilities -> Leshrac, QE Invoker with necronomicon, Beastmaster, Dragon Knight, Death Prophet, Mekansm SF

14.3 Question three: does my team need more damage/a carry?

If you answered “yes” pick heroes that farm fast and scale well into the lategame:
Shadowfiend, Templar Assassin, Storm Spirit, Ember, Kunkka

14.4 Question four: Does my team need more outpush against enemy deathball?

Pick heroes with outpush abilities:
Magnus, Lina, Puck, Tinker, Zeus

14.5 Question five: Does my team have map control heroes?

(heroes that outpush lanes a lot/gank: Nature’s Prophet, Antimage, Nyx, Clockwerk). In that case I like to get mid hero that can easily get a lot of solo pickoffs

Examples: Storm, Lina, Euls + max E Invoker, Queen of Pain

14.6 Question six: Am I really confident in my skills and want to carry the game alone?

If so you can just pick one of the “meta heroes” while counterpicking the enemy mid. Usually these heroes are capable of getting a lot of pickoffs while farming quickly. These are the heroes that are used by 6k+ players that want to raise in MMR/don’t want to rely on their team to win.

Examples of counterpicks to common mid heroes in the 6.84 meta:

  • Leshrac -> Lina, Pugna, Huskar
  • Lina -> Templar Assassin, Puck (if you’re good at it)
  • Queen of Pain -> Windrunner, Lina, Storm Spirit (if you win laning stage)
  • Shadowfiend -> Leshrac, Lina, Queen of Pain, Templar Assassin
  • Storm Spirit -> Shadowfiend, Lina, Queen of Pain, Windrunner, Leshrac
  • Templar Assassin -> Viper, Ember Spirit, Windrunner

As you can see there’s much more to picking your hero than just looking at what the opposite midlaner has chosen. Counterpicking is indeed generally advised but you should always look at the broader picture and ask yourself whether the hero you are about to pick is going to work with your team’s lineup and against 4 other enemy heroes. There’s still a lot of DotA to be played after the laning stage is over!

Chapter 15. All the little things you can learn to become a better mid player

This chapter is devoted to all the things that are too inisgnificant to deserve their own chapter. Together though, they give you a ton of knowledge that often proves really useful in-game.

15.1 The unwritten rule of every 1v1 matchup

Always go for a lasthit over deny. It’s always more important for you to have items rather than prevent your enemies from getting them. More gold – more opportunities.

15.2 Mouse precision matters. A lot.

Clicking heroes in complicated teamfights, precisely selecting which creep to lasthit and which to deny, checking things on minimap quickly – all of that requires a lot of mouse precision. I noticed that after practicing my mouse skills I am a lot more confident during every match.

To get your “clicking skills” to another level I suggest minigames like this one:

http://games.jlbn.net/playgame.php?getgame=3295&width=1680&height=949

You should be able to get over 50k+ points before you can say that your mouse precision is OK. 100k+ means you are really good and with 200k+ you will never have to worry about your mouse precision again.

15.3 The damage of combined level 6/7 spells

For some people this may seem completely redundant but I’ve seen some pro players checking enemy’s hp before going for a kill. After all it’s always better to know something than not to.

Remember that this is a pure spell damage output calculation . You’ll almost always be able to add 1-4 autoattacks to the combo what will deal somewhere between 50-200 additional damage.

  • QoP lvl 6: 432 dmg, lvl 7: 488 dmg (no shadowstrike)
  • Puck lvl 6: 285 dmg (+75), lvl7: 338 dmg (+75) [75 is the coil break damage]
  • Zeus lvl 6:  439 dmg, lvl 7: 495 dmg (no passive included [40-120dmg])
  • Magnus lvl 6: 312 dmg, lvl 7: 368 dmg
  • Tinker (laser rocket build,no rearm) lvl 6: 428 dmg, lvl 7: 508 dmg

15.4 Dodging Qop’s shadowstrike procs with phase shift/euls

When I died to something I should have been able to avoid I decided to learn how to dodge each one of the shadowstrikes ticks. One of the methods is to count to three and phaseshift every time you are about to get hit, but this metod is not realiable at all. How I do this is by memorising shadowstrike’s status icon, where each tick occurs on the timer then phaseshifting just as it’s about to hit you. Here’s a picture with green lines showing when to use phaseshift to dodge every damage instance :

ssdodge

15.5 Dodging sniper’s assassinate with phase shift/euls/blink etc.

Same as above, this method uses status icon to determine when to blink or use you item that will dodge enemy’s spell projectile. Works every time, regardless of how far from the sniper you are:

sniper dodge

Sniper stops channeling when the assassinate status is just a few pixels to the left from the centre.  Use your spell or euls at that exact moment to dodge the flying bullet.

15.6 TPing out from puck’s coil without taking damage

Sometimes you know you won’t survive puck’s ult orb silence + autoattacks combo, especially if you break the coil. Tping out breaks the coil even in your fountain so that’s not a viable option. Or maybe it is? If you wait for puck’s coil to go past 1/2 of the status bar, you are free to tp back to base and you won’t receive any additional damage! That’s because puck’s ultimate lasts for 6 seconds and tp channels for 3 seconds.

qopcoil111

15.7 Positioning your courier closer to the mid lane

In DotA every second matters a lot. Sometimes the smallest things can win or lose the game. Things like getting your bottle 0,5s faster. I remember dying to pudge just because my bottle was a quarter of second too late to get delivered. You can prevent this kind of situation by positioning your courier as far as possible, but still in the shop’s range. Here’s how it looks like:

RADIANT:

dota 2015-07-14 18-17-32-70

DIRE:

dota 2015-07-14 18-24-27-89

15.8 Camera hotkeys

Camera hotkeys are a great way to make checking for rune way easier. If you don’t know what that is – it’s basically binding certain camera position somewhere on the map to a single hotkey, in this case: runespot. In DotA 2 console allows you to bind them once and forever.

To set runespot camera hotkeys paste following commands in your console:

bind “X” “dota_camera_set_lookatpos -2287 1817”
bind “Y” “dota_camera_set_lookatpos 2960 -2353”

Obviously you can change the X and Y hotkeys to any other key you want.

15.9 Random useful facts

DotA is an incredibly complex game and there mechanics that even DotA veterans are surprised to discover.

I prepared a short list of random facts that may prove useful when you play the mid solo role:

  1. You need two or more levels in exort to take off Templar Assassin’s refraction charges with icewall. Orb of venom will not trigger refraction charges.
  2. If someone stands exactly 450 units from your hero, you can hit him with all three Shadowfiend’s razes
  3. If you have troubles with detecting when kunkka fakes his torrent – buy a stick. Whenever you gain a charge – you know it’s coming.
  4. Tinker’s laser miss buff is applied after a short interval. You can dodge it [but not the damage] by using skill like phaseshift or bane’s sleep immidiately after getting hit.
  5. Storm spirit’s overload can be triggered when your projectile is already mid-air. Abuse this to get easy firstbloods.
  6. You can use salves and bottle while under effect of pudge’s level 1-3 rot.

Chapter 16. Practice – how to and why to

People who play support say that the 4 and 5 positions require the most practice. People who play offlane and carry say the exact same thing. And to your surprise every mid player believes his position is the hardest and needs the most experience. So how, what and with who do I practice?

16.1 How to practice mid

Host a lobby with your practicepartner, set it to: cheats on, only mid and start the game. Depending on what you want to practice you can set your match to:

  • bottle crow on, runes off: allows you to bottlecrow, this training is usually focused on farming spells usage as you can them a lot and it’s difficult to kill the enemy
  • runes on, bottle crow off: makes you practice runecontrol but sometimes is luck dependant
  • runes on, bottle crow on: balances the luck factor

– if you want to, you can add additional 220 gold at 3:00 with -gold 220 command to pretend your support has upgraded the courier

– some people like to practice with “pooled” tango, to get one or two of them  use -createhero lich, then wait for the bot to buy items. After he does you can “pool yourself” tangoes”

– type -startgame when you are both ready to waste less time on waiting for the creeps to spawn. This feature still seems to be somewhat bugged because if you do this later than -0:30 it will spawn two creepwaves.

16.2 Some of the most common/interesting matchups to practice:

  1. Puck vs QoP
  2. Puck vs Bat
  3. Puck vs Storm
  4. Puck vs Magnus
  5. Puck vs Windrunner
  6. Qop vs Magnus
  7. QoP vs Storm
  8. Qop vs Bat
  9. QoP vs Windrunner
  10. TA vs QoP
  11. Storm vs Sf
  12. Storm vs Windranger

16.3 Things you get from practicing mid

  • You can master all the aggro tricks I presented you with in this guide
  • You get better at timing your lasthits and “feeling” the hero
  • Your bottlecrow and rune control gets way smoother
  • You learn about some mindgames that come with practice
  • You can learn your mistakes if your practice partner is better than you

16.4 Where do I find players to practice with?

If none of your friends likes to do it, then it’s time to find a new friends🙂 Try searching popular chat channels like “purgegamers”, “merlini”, “reddit” or “Na’Vi”. If you still haven’t found anyone then try this guild: http://steamcommunity.com/groups/1v1Dota2Guild

If you ask the admin, he will add you to the guild inside the client and there you will find a plenty of players looking for practicepartners. Other good places to search for decent players are are ixdl-Open/Invite channels respective to your continent and big forums like joindota.com

17. The ending word and shoutouts

On the first place shoutout to You for reading this guide, every comment also means a lot to me, thanks!🙂 Even though writing this took me some time, seeing the final result I don’t regret any second spent on it.

Secondly, shoutout to my first reader and reviewer, HRTS. Thanks for supporting me at late hours when writing this, all the deep conversations and uncountable practice sessions done together.

Special thanks to Arteezy for providing “research material” and EternalEnvy for infecting me with his passion to detail and optimisation.

Thanks to all of my students that I coached, you guys really helped me realise a lot of things about laning.

Last but not least shoutout to Icefrog and Valve for creating and developing DotA 2.

Thanks for reading !

If you have any questions regarding mid, feel free to email me at ChaQDotA@gmail.com

Cheers!

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I recently decided I’d like to start streaming but my current 8 YO PC and slow internet connection will not let me do that. If you want to make it happen please consider supporting my “road to streaming”, every donation is greatly appreciated!

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~Coaching news~

As I mentioned before after publishing my guide to solo mid I got a ton of emails from all around the world and there was one question asked in almost every one of them:

Do you do coaching? Can I 1v1 you? Can I add you for you to tell me what mistakes I make in my laning?

Getting mails like this every day made me think that if there’s demand then maybe I should consider giving it a try. By now i have coached over 100 people from all around the world.

My coaching session includes:

Your replay of choice analysis – laning, gameflow, biggest mistakes
learning to get the most of the matchups in which you should dominate your opponent
1v1s and deep analysis of your laning – solo mid or 1v1 off/safelane
Watching you play as a coach, giving you live feedback on your decisionmaking.

I felt like 1 hour is not enough to analyse the biggest flaws in the play of my students so I offer 1,5h coaching sessions for 20$ each.

In case you are interested  send me an email at ChaQDotA@gmail.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ChaQ’s guide to Puck!

Hi. I’m back! After getting a ton of positive feedback 

both from regular and pro players about my mid guide I decided to write a guide on my favourite hero – Puck! As in my previous guide I will focus on some of the most sophisticated and rarely discussed aspects of playing this hero on a really high level, enjoy!

 

 

Table of contents:

1. Introduction

2. Puck’s abilities & stats

3. Skillbuilds

4. Itemchoice

5. Laning – where the fun begins

6. Matchups

6. Gameflow

7. Initiating and “the art of not dying”

8. Farming, farming patterns & some efficiency tips

9. Gameflow

10. What to (not) pick Puck against

11.Tricks!

12. Ending word and coaching news!

 

 

Chapter 1. Introduction

Puck is an incredibly elusive intelligence  initiator. Despite terrible starting strength and hp gain it’s one of the hardest heroes to gank/kill. The reason why I love Puck so much is that it has such an amazingly high skill cap and outplay potential. It also benefits from highly developed mechanics a lot.

Pros:

  • Rewards skill
  • Extremely mobile
  • Wins most of the mid matchups
  • Huge “big plays” potential

Cons:

  • You need some practice to be good with this hero
  • Does not forgive mistakes
  • You need really fast reflexes to play it well
  • Easy to feed with when played by a low skilled player
  • Hardcountered by some heroes

Chapter 2. Puck’s abilities & stats

  • Damage: 47 – 58
  • Casting Animation: 0.1 / 0.51
  • Armor: 2.08
  • Base Attack Time: 1.7
  • Movespeed: 295
  • Missile Speed: 900
  • Attack Range: 550
  • Sight Range: 1800 / 800
  • All of Puck’s spells’ type is magical

2.1 Illusory orb

Illusory_Orb_icon

Puck launches a magic orb that floats in a straight path, damaging enemy units along the way. At any point, Puck may teleport to the orb’s location using Ethereal Jaunt.

Cast Range: 3000 Travel Range: 1800 Radius: 225 Damage: 70/140/210/280 Cooldown: 12 Manacost: 150

Important notes:

  1. Gives flying vision in a large aoe around the orb. Example here.
  2. Travels for 3 seconds with constant speed of 600
  3. Shifting into orb dodges projectiles! Example here.

2.2 Waning rift

Waning_Rift_icon

Puck releases a burst of faerie dust that deals damage and silences enemy units nearby.

Radius: 400 Silence Duration: 0.75/1.5/2.25/3.0 Damage: 70/140/210/280 Cooldown: 16 Manacost: 100/110/120/130

2.3 Phase shift

Phase_Shift_icon

Puck briefly shifts into another dimension where it is immune from harm.

Duration: 0.75/1.5/2.25/3.25 Manacost: 0 Cooldown: 6

Important notes:

  1. Puck can cancel Phase Shift at any time with any action.
  2. Puck will not receive assist gold or Urn of Shadows charges while phase shifted.

2.4 Dream coil

Dream_Coil_icon

Creates a coil of volatile magic that latches onto enemy Heroes, stunning them for .5 seconds and damaging them. If the enemy hero stretches the coil by moving too far away, it snaps, deals damage again and stuns.

Radius: 375 Coil Range: 750 Coil Duration: 6 (8*) Initial Stun Duration: 0.5 Initial Damage: 100/150/200 Coil Break Stun Duration: 1.5/2.25/3 Coil Break Damage: 100/150/200 (200/250/300*)

*Shows values improved by Aghanim’s Scepter

Important notes:

  1. Any movement ability used to escape Dream Coil, including blinking or using a town portal scroll, will trigger the damage and stun, though the hero will still continue to their destination. Certain abilities, such as Storm Spirit’s Ball Lightning and Morphling’s Waveform, grant invulnerability during cast and will break Dream Coil with no effect.
  2. If a hero becomes magic immune after being linked by Dream Coil, the visual effect will still be present but the ability will not do anything if the immunity is active upon breaking the link.
  3. The initial stun and damage can be blocked by Linken’s Sphere, but the target will still be affected by the coil itself.

 

Chapter 3. Skillbuilds

Skillbuilds are often a very controversial issue. Sometimes people have one, favourite skillbuild and stick to it regardless of what the situation is. The best players know that the key to success is often the ability to adapt. Here are three basic skillbuilds I use:

3.1 The “Max orb” skillbuild

Definitely the most common and classic skillbuild that gives you the best runecontrol. It maxes Orb early, getting only one point in silence and phase shift at levels 2 and 4.  Why am I not the biggest fan of this build? In my opinion it’s extremely passive as it focuses on getting as much cs as possible while sacrificing your solokill capabilities. Go for it when your objective in the game is to get a fast blink dagger without too much risk. Extremely useful in the “hard matchups”: Obsidian Destroyer, Templar Assassin etc.

  1. Illusory Orb
  2. Phase shift
  3. Illusory Orb
  4. Waning rift
  5. Illusory Orb
  6. Dream Coil
  7. Illusory Orb

Max silence then Phase Shift, ult when possible.

3.2 The “hybrid” skillbuild

My favourite skillbuild, it’s meant for ganking and being aggresive instead of passively farming. Two levels in silence at level 6 mean that you can get solo kills on most of the mid heroes way easier, usually makes tp-counterinitiations more successful as well. Go for it if you feel like you’re outplaying your opponent and you can easily kill him at level 6.

  1. Illusory Orb
  2. Phase shift
  3. Illusory Orb
  4. Waning rift
  5. Waning rift
  6. Dream Coil
  7. Illusory Orb

From here, depending on what you need more – get Orb for faster farming and better rune control or Waning Rift if you need it for ganking/solokilling.

3.3 The “Max silence” build

An extremely situational build that is useful only in specific scenarios. Some people use it to lane against batrider (you don’t need to waste your orb to farm, so you can always escape even with 5+ napalm stacks). Generally not recommended as your Waning Rift is way harder to hit than the Orb.

  1. Illusory Orb
  2. Phase shift
  3. Waning rift
  4. Waning rift
  5. Waning rift
  6. Dream Coil
  7. Waning rift

Chapter 4. Itemchoice

4.1 Starting items.

I’ve noticed that many players build awful and ineffective items on Puck. This hero is not about getting strength through bracers and +hp items. Puck is all about avoiding getting hit. Through hundreds of games, both pubs and scrims I have discovered the most effective item combination to go for. Let’s start from the beginning: generally there are 3 starting items builds i use.

a) The “regular” build

This is the most basic itembuild you’ll be using in the standard matchups. It gives you decent damage, stats and a lot of regen. If your opponents decides to rush bottle you can punish him by trading hits and zoning him out from the lane.

itemsregular123123123

Especially recommended against:

indeks Windranger_hero_thumbnail64px-Presence_of_the_Dark_Lord_icon avatar_b781ad21fb2e_64

b) The “High damage” build

maxdmg1111

The point of this build is to win midlane by outlasthitting your enemy. You start with 3 branches, a circlet, mantle and a tango. You should shift-click “Null Talisman” in the shop to add it to your quickbuy and ferry it as soon as possible. If you get one or two creeps from the first wave you will end up with a ridiculous amount of damage as soon as your courier delivers the talisman recipe. Remember that you are very vulnerable to early harass so don’t try this against heroes with spammable ranged nukes.

Especially recommended against:

f4492fcf153e6673931ec7045512909cf60010bb_medium  mirandanightshade   Magnus_hero_thumbnailnight_stalker_lg_hero_thumbnail

c) The anti-spammer build

startingharass1231231

The main difference in this build and the previous ones is that you spend 200 gold on a magic stick to get a lot of regen from your enemy spamming spells that he uses to farm.

Especially recommended against:

avatar_a496968d151d_64 dasadasdasd indeks222 Skywrath_Mage

d) Build when getting pooled

build

This is basically the “b” build but you don’t have to buy any regen or feerry yourself a null recipe. It’s really greedy as you start off with 50 gold only so make sure you don’t lose too much hp before you get enough gold for a bottle.

4.2 Core items:

Magic_Wand_iconBottle_iconPower_Treads_iconBlink_Dagger_iconScythe_of_Vyse_iconShiva's_Guard_icon

Why treads, not phase?!!?!! – you may ask

The answer is simple: puck does not need any more damage and the +ms boost. You already have dagger and Orb to get into the right position and really high base damage and int gain. What puck lacks is attack speed and survability/flexibility that only treads can give you. Phase are in my opinion only legit if you’re offlaning and need the damage boost to solokill/outcs or zone out the enemy hero.

Remember that the itembuild should be adapted to your position in the game and to who you are playing against. Getting boots of travel against a splitpushing furion or a 5man lineup may often be the best idea.

Why shiva’s not skadi or orchid?

If you get that late into the game that you already have all the listed items above, you are looking for something that will let you change the outcome of teamclashes. In my opinion Shiva is one of the most overlooked items when it comes to clutchiness. It effectively reduces enemy team’s DPS outcome by a ton, gives you that much needed armor and synergises perfectly with all of your AOE skills. Sometimes, when you are facing a lot of physical damage carries it’s worth getting before hex. Moreover by getting shiva lategame you can farm the entire creepwave in 2 seconds just by using orb+rift and Shiva’s active.

4.3 Situational items:

Dagon_icon Get dagon if you are dominating the game and you feel like extra nuking power will let you snowball into victory. Especially recommended against squishy supports with powerful abilities (Rhasta, Ancient Aparition etc).

Eul's_Scepter_of_Divinity_icon Eul’s is my go-to item if I see heroes like Skywrath Mage or Silencer. It’s basically a poor man’s BKB with some nice bonuses like increased mana regen and movement speed.

Force_Staff_icon Forcestaff adds some extra mobility and lets you save your allies, also if you use it on the enemy hero after casting Dream Coil it may stun them and apply additional damage.

Orchid_Malevolence_icon This is the most cost-efficient DPS item for int heroes. If you need extra killing power and really useful active, go for it after acquiring blink dagger.

Linken's_Sphere_icon Sometimes there is this one hero that keeps hating on you and spamming annoying spells that make you die. After the linken’s remake and it getting active ability that can be used on allies it’s even more worthy of its price!

Refresher_Orb_icon Double silence, double hex, double coil? Why not!

Aghanim's_Scepter_icon

Aghanim’s scepter after 6.82 update switched from the worst item on Puck to a really viable option. The fact that it stuns for so long and goes through bkb is amazing, I strongly reccomend to get it against BKB antimage and other BKB heroes that want to be as mobile as possible in the teamfight

My usual item progression:

Null_Talisman_iconBottle_iconMagic_Wand_iconPower_Treads_iconBlink_Dagger_icon Shiva's_Guard_icon or Scythe_of_Vyse_icon or Orchid_Malevolence_icon

My item progression when I’m dominating:

Null_Talisman_iconBottle_iconMagic_Wand_iconPower_Treads_iconDagon_1_icon Blink_Dagger_iconDagon_iconEthereal_Blade_iconScythe_of_Vyse_icon

My item progression when I’m behind:

Bottle_iconMagic_Stick_icon  Boots_of_Speed_icon Blink_Dagger_icon Scythe_of_Vyse_iconBoots_of_Travel_icon

Chapter 5. Laning – where the fun begins

With abilities that let you be extremely aggresive as well as extremely defensive, very high base attack damage, smooth attack animation as well as phaseshift to dodge any stuns and targeted spells there’s no doubt that Puck is one of the strongest laners in the game. With a bit of practice and getting used to certain positioning mistakes people often do you will get firstblood in most of your pub matches.

5.1 Using orb

Orb is a wonderful, spammable spell that makes even daggerless Puck extremely mobile and hard to kill. What often goes unnoticed is the huge 500 AOE flying vision “tunnel” that it brings every time you cast it. Use it to scout super early woods-Ursa Roshans, scout runes, scout ganks. Other than that it’s really good as a lasthitting tool. If you are about to miss a CS, use the orb instantly and grab your gold.

Usage of that spell in laning is actually really difficult as it leaves you very vulnerable for ganks and heroes that want to close distance on you (like Ember or Pudge). Remember to always have enough mana to cast 1 orb in the laning stage. Puck with no orb is a dead Puck.

5.2 Using Waning Rift

Even if you went with the max orb build, 0,5s of silence is often enough to bring confusion and nervousness in the enemy player. Let’s say you are fighting Tinker on a really low hp. If you orb and jaunt right above him it’s obvious that he will laser you and from then win the exchange. What you want to do is wait for him to start casting his laser and cancel the animation as late as possible. He will have to target his cursor on you again and guess what, you have phase shift that completely stop his animation as well. What seems like 0.1 s of time bought often proves enough to kill instead of getting killed.

5.3 Using phaseshift

Orb and waning rift are both great spells but it’s phaseshift and the way you use it that makes a good Puck player… a good Puck player.

Phaseshift can be used in several ways:

  • To dodge spells
  • To dodge ranged attacks
  • To cancel enemy creeps’ aggro – in other words to stop them from attacking you.

The proper way of dodging ranged attacks is to wait for the very last second before they hit you. That way you can dodge even 2 autoattacks against heroes with really fast attack speed.

Dangers of using phaseshift:

Using phaseshift against certain heroes – just like Illusory Orb – makes you very vulnerable. If you are playing against Queen of Pain or X-torrent kunkka sometimes it’s better to just tank their autoattacks than to waste Phaseshift on one of them and get killed with their combo.

 

As there’s not much to talk about other than that you should just practice using it there’s one thing people almost never remember when playing Puck:

 You should never fear diving. If you are Puck the towers actually almost don’t exist for you: you have 2 ways of dodging their attacks. As you will see in the 5.5 part of my guide, Phase shift is a spell that makes stupidly aggresive plays actually work.

 

5.4 Using bottle/salve

Puck is an excellent hero for trading hits. Even though Puck’s armor and hp pools are not high you are able to always trade more efficiently with a smart usage of phaseshift and Illusory orb. What often goes overlooked is that Puck with bottle or salve has effectively 100+ hp more. In a scenario where you and level 2 invoker are trading hits – even if it seems like you are going to lose the exchange – if you use the salve/bottle then phaseshift instantly you gain 40-50 more hp. If you dodge the next incoming attack with jaunting into orb you gain even more making it 80-100 bonus hp. This mechanic also comes in handy in a situation where you dove a tower really hard and without healing up you wont be able to live.

5.5 Going for a kill

a) before level 6

Without anything to hold the enemy in place you need to rely on your orb hitting as well as him making a positional mistake. Really good players will do that really rarely but that happens even in 5-6k brackets.

Here’s an example vid of me controlling my creepwave to end up on my highground. I noticed that he was staying too far and orbed onto his highground. Invoker with level 1-3 is probably the easiest target for this maneuver as he simply can’t do much in this situation, especially if he doesn’t see it coming (as seen here). The smartest thing to do for him is probably to just run back and regen behind the tower but he made another two mistakes: trying to trade hits with full hp Puck as well as thinking he’s safe under his own tower. As I mentioned above, Puck is a hero that doesn’t care about towers. You just go.

b) after level 6

This is where things get a lot easier. If your enemy is below ~80% hp points and it’s not a super tanky strength hero there’s a huge chance that you just might be able to solokill him. My way of doing it is to pretend to farm normally without showing any intentions of being aggresive then orb, coil instantly to ensure the orb hit, then jaunt and waning rift. There’s not much most of the heroes can do against that other than watch you autoattack them to death. Execution of this combo looks like this.

Remember that some games you are just not meant to kill the opposing midder. You have to be aware that getting your dagger ASAP and making action happen somewhere else is always a viable option.

6. Matchups

I decided to break down and describe some of the more popular matchups so that you know what to look out for when playing them. “Chances of winning” is an approximation based on two equally skilled players playing the matchup. Numbers show how big of a chance Puck has to kill and/or outcs the enemy assuming that none of the heroes has received any help from the supports.


 

80px-Pudge

Pudge

Chances of winning: 80-20

I love picking Puck against Pudge. If he goes stout shield he will not have enough damage to compete for lasthits. If he doesn’t – you just keep autoattacking him whenever he comes closer. Finally when he goes for that one lasthit and he’s below 50% hp you can freely dive him with orb and phaseshift prepared to dodge his hook.

Things to avoid: Standing in the river without vision on his highground will make you unable to react to him hooking you and will most likely mean you’ll die.

What to do if you get hooked: do not spam phaseshift, spam Waning Rift to prevent him from ultying you, then use Orb in the direction you want to escape and just then phase shift. As phaseshift is about to run out use ethreal jaunt to get away.


 

80px-Pugna Pugna

Chances of winning: 70-30

Pugna is one of the worst laners against puck. Puck dodges every ethreal blast without any problem and has way higher kill potential at level 6.  It’s the later stages of the game (if Pugna gets mek and lvl 4 ward) when Puck really struggles against this hero. Remember than one phaseshift is enough to break Pugna’s life drain channeling.


 

80px-Ember_Spirit Ember Spirit

Chances of winning: 70-30

Description: Ember has pretty bad starting damage compared to puck and generally struggles against any hero with high range and good attack projectile which Puck has. The only way you can lose this matchup is if ember gets his level 3 and surprises you with running at you with his level 2 flame shield and chains. For this reason it may be even better (if you see no enemy heroes that can gank you) to skip phaseshift until level 4. That means that if he runs at you – your combined waning rift and illusory orb will do enough damage to completely dispell his shield (210 damage total vs 200 shield reduction).


 

80px-Shadow_Fiend Shadow Fiend

Chances of winning: 70-30

Shadow Fiend really struggles against Puck. If you don’t fail at lasthitting and denying first 2-3 waves you can basically start forcing hit exchanges with him or even kill him if you manage to jump at his highground. Dodging razes if practiced enough becomes really easy as well.


 

80px-Kunkka Kunkka

Chances of winning: 65-35

The reason Puck shines against this hero is because it is able to deny Kunkka’s biggest laning advantage: the ability to harass the enemy with tidebringer every few seconds. Dodging it is really easy against inexperienced players who will most likely use it every time is up giving you a lot of time to react to his big glowing…sword. Against people who know what they are doing it becomes a little more tricky. What you need to do is wait for your creeps get low enough to know that he’s going to try to lasthit them. As he comes for the lasthit simply press the phaseshift hotkey. If he wastes his tidebringer on harassing you without getting lasthits then it should be pretty easy for you to deny a lot of his gold with your high base damage.

If the enemy Kunkka is getting on your nerves with faking torrent animation get a magic stick! As long as he is in your vision during casting it you will know when it’s really coming.


 

80px-Magnus Magnus

Chances of winning: 65-35

Magnus resembles kunkka with the playstyle you should take. Outlasthitting, harassing when possible and dodging shockwaves that are meant to hit creeps on low hp. If you hit level 6 solokilling him is quite easy when he’s below 70% hp. Remember to start your killing combo with orb->silence or silence ->orb. If you jsut coil him from 1000 range he is just going to tank the coil break damage and skewer away.


 

80px-Tinker Tinker

Chances of winning: 60-40

Tinker is a great laner but not-so-great when up against a skilled Puck. Your biggest advantage in this matchup is that Laser’s animation is pretty long and therefore- when used together with some clever highground usage and Waning Rift- it’s easy to mess with Tinker’s ability to cast it. Diving tinker before level 6 is generally not recommended unless you can land your silence and prevent getting lasered.


 

80px-Invoker Invoker

Chances of winning: 60-40

 It’s one of my favourite matchups. Your role is to win it before he gets his levels up. You can’t outlasthit level 5 invoker with ring of basilius and summonned forge spirit. You should play ultra aggresive when he’s level 1 and 2. Getting level 2 before him (so you start just running at him with your attacks and phase shift) is extremely important so don’t be afraid to use orb to push the lane a bit. If he goes QW you shouldn’t even bother harassing him and just focus solely on outlasthitting your opponent.


 

80px-Queen_of_Pain Queen of Pain

Chances of winning: 50-50

Puck is often considered a hardcounter to QoP. Puck forces a BKB rush because Waning Rift and Dream Coil really mess with her ability to be mobile and unpredictable. Although in my opinion a really good QoP player can easily win the lane against Puck. Baiting phase shift with autoattacks then blinking on you with shadowstrike and scream of pain can get you killed in no time.

Remember that your initial creepblock pays a really huge role in this matchup.


 

80px-Storm_Spirit Storm Spirit

Chances of winning:  50-50

It’s one of these matchups that get decided by who gets level 6 first. Don’t bother using phaseshift for normal autoattacks, it’s the ones with overload that hurt Puck the most. Remember that if you dodge an overloaded autoattack Storm will not lose his overload charge and can still attack you using it.


 

80px-Nyx_Assassin Nyx Assassin

Chances of winning: 50-50

If played correctly Puck should simply outcs nyx by having way higher base damage although if you make a mistake and don’t dodge spiked carapace reflect damage from the orb you might easily get into trouble. Mana burn is annoying as hell and takes a huge chunk from your already low hp pool. When nyx hits 6 you should already have a sentry placed mid.


 

80px-WindrangerWindrunner

Chances of winning:  35-65

Windranger is actually one of the best laners against Puck. Her damage is on par with yours but her projectile speed and attack animations are just waaay faster so lasthitting against her is often really difficult. Due to windrun you can’t really expect to trade hits efficiently and her powershot animation is hard to predict as she can cancel it early or wait with it for the full duration. You have to be careful about positioning as well as she can shackle you to your own lane creep and that’s almost impossible to dodge with phaseshift.


 

80px-Batrider Batrider

Chances of winning: 30-70

This matchup is a really difficult one regardless of the hero you’re playing. Batrider with his sticky napalm is just utterly annoying to play against. Your best bet after recent bat laning nerfs is just to outlasthit him, to never get more than 3 or 4 napalm stacks (you can dodge getting hit by napalm by timing phaseshift perfectly) and by being really careful with how you use your orb. Good bat will use the opportunity to kill you if you waste your orb and have no haste rune rune to run away.


80px-Viper

Viper

Chances of winning: 25-75

Viper is a really hard counter to Puck. If he levels his corrosive skin to level 2 or 3 you’ll get a ton of damage every time you try to farm with orb. Once again this hero is the weakest against you at levels 1 and 2 so if you ever find a chance to jump on his highground you should definitely go for it.


80px-Templar_Assassin

Templar Assassin

Chances of winning: 20-80

For this one let me quote my own guide, precisely “how to doublewave”.

Normally Puck is considered to be severely countered by Templar Assassin. By using this trick though you may gain enough advantage early to snowball and even win the lane. Getting level 2 when TA is lvl 1 you are able to dive under the tower without risking to be hit and you can avoid any harass easily.

So what exactly is this strategy and how do I use it?

To “doublewave” someone means to accumulate a lot of creeps that start pushing him towards his tower. Meanwhile you are free to harass with all the aggro tricks you’ve learned (yes they work on towers too) and deny his creeps as he tanks them under the tower. Here’s a video of me performing this strategy against my friend:

Using this you can get quite a big advantage that will make you not lose the lane completely. Really good Puck players can go even with TA until she hits level 5 or 7.


80px-Outworld_Devourer

Outworld Devourer

Chances of winning:  1-99

This hero, alongside with Doom is the doom of every Puck player. You just can’t do much on this lane. No mana to use spells, no damage to lasthit, no mana pool to gank. My best advice past lvl 3 is to stay as far as possible in the xp range while getting occasional lasthit with your Orb. You can also stack jungle and check runes blindly. At level 6 try ganking other lanes or simply ask the team to gank OD and you’ll be fine!

 


 

Chapter 7. Initiating and “the art of not dying”

As I said in the introduction, Puck is the hero that regardless of really low starting hp pool and armor is extremely hard to kill. Therefore it is likely that enemies will waste a lot of spells on you in teamfights just to count on your mistake and to ensure you don’t get your crowd controlling spells off.

7.1 Phaseshift usage in teamfights/when getting chased

So… how to not die with puck?

Let’s take a look at Phase shift’s duration depending on the level:

  • level 1: 0.75
  • level 2: 1.5
  • level 3: 2.25
  • level 4: 3.25

What I want you to remember is that in order to be able to blink away safely you should never use phaseshift before the cooldown counter on your blink dagger shows 1 second for lvl 2 phaseshift, 2 seconds for lvl 3 phaseshift and 3 seconds for level 4 phaseshift. Just try running away while looking at the blink cooldown counter, if you can’t make it then until then then you wouldn’t have made it anyways. Of course this only applies when you want to run away from a very heated situation.

Additionally it’s really important to rememer about using bottle or salve before phaseshifting. Nothing (except AA ultimate buff) can stop you from regenerating hp and mana when phaseshifted. If you use bottle then phaseshift, bottle heal will resume as soon as the ice blast negative buff wears off.

 

7.2 Euls+phaseshift usage

Click here to see a short clip from a real game in which i fully utilise Puck’s survivability potential. In the beginning I get silenced by Skywrath and meteor-blasted by Invoker. I used Eul’s to dispell the silence as soon as possible then started spamming phaseshift hotkey to avoid getting hit by kunkka and icewall. Notice that after I phaseshifted I blink straight into direction my hero was facing before the phaseshift. This makes it possible for me to blink instantly, without waiting for my hero to turn. Puck’s turnrate is extremely low so it’s crucial to remember about that in heavy teamfights or when you’re getting focused. If you blink in a straight line it’s possible to blink away from almost any AOE spell, even Storm’s static remnant casted under you!

Cool fact: If you orb then phaseshift there’s literally no way for the enemy to stop you from jumping into orb. Even chronosphere doesn’t disable this subability.

7.3 How to initiate?

As you already know, Puck is an initiator. Knowing how to initiate to wreck the most havoc in the enemy lineup is crucial if you ever want to have success with this hero.

1. Stay in the trees!

This piece of advice is actually really appropriate here. Enemy heroes should not have vision of you before you initiate. If they do – they can do a lot of things to mess your initiation up: from spreading out, casting a long ranged spell on you, spraying an AOE damage over time spell to make your blink be on cooldown constantly to advanced tactics like prehexing your hero so when you blink in you will be hexed instantly. Lategame where one clash can win you the game don’t be afraid to use smoke to stay out of enemy’s vision.

2. Learn to prioritise supports

Always make a mental note about who you need to focus in every teamfight. Don’t try to silence or coil a BKB hardcarry. Try to do it on his supports who won’t be able to do anything before your team marches in with all the spells and physical DPS. If there’s one crucial hero with bkb like luna or gyrocopter try using hex on them before they bkb. In most cases a farmed carry means nothing if his supports die instantly. If i catch two lonely supports I don’t hesitate to use all my spells on them. (Example here)

3. Learn the combo

My usual teamfight initiation combo is silence – > coil -> orb -> phaseshift->jaunt out of battle but you should never be afraid to change it. As you can see on the example here as I was tping into the battle I saw leshrac charging stun on me. I shift-queued phaseshift so that it wouldn’t hit me and used my combo on as many heroes as I could.

If you don’t get focused after blinking in and using Silence Orb Coil – there’s no reason to use phaseshift. Wait for your enemies to switch target to you then make them waste time on searching for a new target as you Phase Shift and blink away. The confusion Puck brings into the teamfight is really underappreciated!

If you are chasing someone then there’s also “catching up” combo which basically uses blink-> Coil first then Orb to catch up and Waning Rift to silence and damage the enemy hero.

Chapter 8. Farming, farming patterns & some efficiency tips

Farming is an important aspect for pretty much every single midlane hero. As the game progresses Puck’s damage falls off and it’s items that really decide the strength of your hero.

There are a few facts about farming with Puck that will make your play more efficient:

1. Creeps get a +10 hp upgrade every 7:30 min. That means that you can farm a wave using just maxed Waning Rift and Illusory orb until 15:00. Creeps that spawn after 15:00 will have 570 hp what means that you need one autoattack on each melee creep before you nuke in order to kill them.

2. Always autoattack creeps before you nuke them. If you do this the other way around – half of the creeps will get lasthitted by your allied creeps.

3. To be mana and time efficient in the jungle attack the neutrals until they are 280 hp then use the orb so that it hits creeps in the nearby camp. Example here.

4. Puck is a hero that is extremely hard to gank if the enemy doesn’t have an instant disable. If enemy teams’ composition allows you to do so you should farm in places that would normally be extremely dangerous to farm for any other hero.

8.1 Example farming pattern:

There is no enemy tier 1 so i can safely farm creeps with no vision of the enemy team. (Yes I know there’s no enemy team)

farming

Farming small then big camp in the jungle is way more efficient than just waiting for the next creepwave.

dota 2014-08-18 16-45-09-88

I cleared the small camp by orbing into the centaurs and damaging them in the process. By performing this farming pattern you force enemy rotations to defend the top tower, farm their jungle and spread the map so your team has more places to farm. Additionally if you have items that allow you to solokill anyone you can wait for the enemy defensive rotation and kill them, they most likely won’t have wards on the top lane.

dota 2014-08-18 16-45-23-92

8.2 Some efficiency tips

  •  Always bottle up and use wand on agility treads. For a hero with really low hp pool like Puck it really does make a difference.
  • If you are leaving the fountain area use the orb and blink to get to the midlane faster. It looks like this.
  • The level 2 orb only build I mentioned has one more advantage over the max orb build: if you use the orb then your tier 1tower hits the ranged creeps once you will always be able to lasthit it. Level 3 and 4 orb will get that creep killed by the tower.

Chapter 9. Gameflow

9.1 Early game

Your objectives: Puck’s biggest objective is to dominate the midlane and get blink dagger as soon as possible. Good blink dagger timing when rushed is 9-11 min, and 13-14 min if you buy treads first.

Remember to always! get a tp scroll when you are level 6 and above. Puck is one of the best counterinitiators if your enemies overextend and dive a tower.

Expected items at the 10 minute mark:

Null_Talisman_iconBottle_iconMagic_Stick_iconPower_Treads_iconTown_Portal_Scroll_icon + ~1k gold for blink dagger

9.2 Midgame

Your objectives: Find pickoffs, participate in teamfights and control supports with your silence. Farm your core items.

Expected items at the 30 minute mark:

Power_Treads_iconBottle_iconMagic_Wand_iconBlink_Dagger_iconScythe_of_Vyse_icon or Dagon_icon or Shiva's_Guard_icon

9.3 Lategame

Your objectives: Find pickoffs, always participate in teamfights and the most important at this stage: don’t get killed without buyback.

Expected items at the 45+ minute mark:

Boots_of_Travel_iconBlink_Dagger_icon plus at least 2 of the following luxury items:                                        Dagon_iconShiva's_Guard_iconScythe_of_Vyse_iconEthereal_Blade_iconOrchid_Malevolence_iconRefresher_Orb_icon

 

 Chapter 10. What to (not) pick Puck against

This chapter will help you decide whether you should pick Puck in that particular match you are about to play.

Heroes puck shines against:

1. Heavy casters with low hp pool:

  • Lina
  • Leshrac
  • Lich
  • Shadow Demon
  • Batrider
  • Lion
  • Rubick
  • Wisp
  • Keeper of the light
  • Crystal maiden

2. Squishy carries:

  • Luna
  • Weaver
  • Mirana
  • Terrorblade
  • Sniper
  • Ember

3. Heroes that get screwed up by Phaseshift/Dream Coil:

  • Lycan
  • Dark seer
  • Spiritbreaker
  • Pudge

Heroes Puck sucks against:

Heavy disablers:

  • Doom
  • Outworld Devourer
  • Faceless Void
  • Disruptor
  • Skywrath Mage
  • Bloodseeker
  • Legion Commander

Heroes that get bkb and you don’t do anything to them aka “Super-tanky unkillable heroes”:

  • Templar Assassin
  • Sven
  • Tiny
  • Slark
  • Bristleback
  • Dragon Knight
  • Viper

 

Chapter 11. Tricks!

Playing Puck is so fun not only because you can outlane your opponent in a really humilating fashion. There are also some neat flashy tricks that – if performed correctly-  will show your opponents that you really know what your hero is capable of doing.

11.1 Orb buyback trick

This famous maneuver popularised by Arteezy looks great when followed by a triple or ultra kill but can also become a complete disaster if you die instantly after jumping back to the orb. Never attempt it unless you are 100% sure that it will make you score an additional kill or two. If you dieback like that you will embarass yourself really bad.

Execution itself is pretty simple: use orb just as you are about to die then spam “Buyback” button and instantly use ethereal jaunt subability to get back into action.

It should something like this.

11.2 Chen bottle refill trick

First performed by Dendi and Puppey on one of the Internationals this trick is pretty useful if you want to get back to full health without going back to base.

Execution: Ask your Chen to send you back. Observe the buff icon on the status bar. When it gets close to 80-90% use your orb. Start spamming bottle hotkey and as your orb starts flashing red come back to it using Ethereal Jaunt ability. When you go back to lane you cna use the bottle on your ally or yourself to maximise the heal as you will carry the fountain buff that refills your bottle for a few more seconds.
It should look like this:

11.3 Quick dagger – orb jump trick

This trick allows you to quickly snipe a hero with one of your spells or items without the risk of getting out of position. It’s also really useful against instant silences or stuns that may prevent you from picking up a rune.

Execution: use orb in completely other direction than the one you are  going to blink. Dagger in and kill the enemy/pick up rune. Instantly jump back into orb. You’re safe!

It should look like this. Or this. 

11.4 Stacking camps using orb

This little trick is particularly useful if you need to catch up from a completely disastrous midlane or you want to sacrifice your own farm to stack some camps for your allied batrider/tinker etc.

Radiant:

You will stack the big camp if you stand somewhere between these two trees (indicated by the yellow line) and use orb in the direction of the camp (indicated by the green line) at XX:50.

radiantstack

Standing in place shown in the picture above results in you being about 1800 units away from it. Creep aggro range equals 2000 so you should wait 3 seconds after throwing your orb so that creeps start following you and leave the spawnbox. If you just throw the orb and run away you risk that Puck will be out of 2000 circle when the orb hits and creeps won’t move at all.radiantstack1ipol

 

Dire:

direstack1

The most optimal and precise spot is marked by the mushrooms growing on the ground (yellow circle)

direstack2

Use orb in camp’s direction at XX:50 standing on the “mushroom spot”. The orb will hit neutrals at XX:53. You can stack up to 4-5 times using this method but after 3 stacks try throwing orb a little bit earlier.

direstack3

12. Ending word and coaching news

That’s it! Thank you for reading!

First of all I would like to thank everyone who read my mid guide and found it useful. The amount of positive feedback – be it by emails, tweets or adding me on Steam was just overwhelming. Never in my life have I thought that writing it would make me as recognizable and liked by the community as it did.

As you might have noticed it took me a really long time to finish my next guide and I don’t have a good excuse for that. When I don’t feel like doing something (in this case writing a guide) I’m just not doing it because forcing yourself to do it will never produce any good results. I actually started writing this (and one more, yet unpublished guide) about 6 months ago but never felt like finishing it. I guess i just needed my energy and inspiration to be back and now I’m happy with the result of my work.

~Coaching news~

As I mentioned before after publishing my guide to solo mid I got a ton of emails from all around the world and there was one question asked in almost every one of them:

Do you do coaching? Can I 1v1 you? Can I add you for you to tell me what mistakes I make in my laning?

Getting mails like this every day made me think that if there’s demand then maybe I should consider giving it a try.

After a lot of preparations (remember that if I decide to do something then I do it to the best of my ability), some trial coaching sessions and hours of thinking of the format and things to improve I decided that I’m ready to offer you my laning coaching.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For the price of 29.50$ for a 90 min session you will get:

  •  Your replay of choice analysis – laning, gameflow, biggest mistakes
  • A buch of unpublished 1v1 tips compiled in a handy doc that I have prepared for my students
  • learning to get the most of the matchups in which you should dominate your opponent
  • 1v1s and deep analysis of your laning – solo mid or 1v1 off/safelane

In case you are interested – don’t add me on Steam – just write me an email at ChaQDotA@gmail.com so we can set the date and preferred voice communication program to use during the session.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Yet again, thanks so much to our awesome DotA 2 community, have fun with Puck and see you!

Puck out!

Hotkeys – how to select & optimise them.

After writing my “Advanced solo mid guide” I’ve received a lot of questions about hotkeys. People wanted to know how to choose them, which settings are the best and what hotkeys I use myself. To answer all of them, here’s a short guide to choosing your hotkeys:

As I said previously, I’m a big fan of optimising and making your play more efficient. But how can you be efficient when you keep missclicking spells and items or not hitting hotkeys that are too spread out? Yes, you can’t.

I’ll state this clear: i will NOT tell you what hotkeys you should use, if you feel comfortable with legacy hotkeys where spells have their own hotkeys scattered all over the keyboard, go for it. I WILL tell you though some general rules you could follow, and how I discovered my ideal combination.

To start off, there are 4 most common hotkey settings:

1. QWER
2. ASDF
3. ZXCV
4. Legacy

As you can see you can manually select your favorite hotkey setting from the list in DotA 2 options:
Image

If you’re not a DotA veteran, I strongly suggest using the 1, 2 or 3 combination. Legacy hotkeys are for people that are so used to hotkeys from W3 DotA that it would be simply too hard for them to convert to any of above combinations.

Now, to the more advanced things:
Most of the people set their hotkeys to their hero spells and inventory, and that’s it.

In my opinion, if you want to play better and waste less time, you SHOULD have hotkeys for:

1. Quickbuy – allows you to buy an item that you “shift queued” instantly. Insanely useful when waiting for important items like bottle.
2. Purchase sticky – In your settings you can select one item that can be bought after pressing this hotkey. The most useful one is probably tp scroll.
3. Control groups – at least 3
4. Courier, all courier commands – tick “mirror hero hotkeys” in your settings
5. “Missing” – message to allies, really useful in pubs
6. Binded camera position hotkeys (rune spots)
7. Scoreboard – for constantly checking enemy levels
8. Shop – no further explanation needed
9. Show names/hero icons on minimap (default alt)
10. Commands: stop, hold position, move
11. Glyph

Other general hotkey rules:

  1. Have hotkey for EVERY inventory slot. As you progress in skill as a player you’ll notice that situations where you have 6 active items in your inventory are really common and not having one of them binded proves to be a serious disadvantage.
  2. Avoid using alt or ctrl+hotkey for inventory hotkeys, this makes things really hard when trying to play heroes like tinker effectively.
  3. Start putting items into the same slot every game. That way you’ll never have to look at your inventory before casting a tp scroll or magic wand. For me TP is always at G and wand at E.
  4. Do not put items that require extremely fast reaction on slots that are somehow harder to access and/or require you to change position of your hard before using. Example: blink dagger is way more effective on “Q” than on “Space”.
  5. If you think you have all your hotkeys mastered and there’s nothing you can improve on – turn on “Shop always uses hotkeys” setting on. Memorizing all the shop hotkeys brings your mechanics to a next level, allowing you to do flashy plays like upgrading the courier with 2 button as someone dives to kill it.
  6. Do NOT be afraid of changing your hotkeys to something more efficient. For example I’ve always had my hero on “1” and courier on “2”. Then, when i decided to play meepo my control groups could only start from “3”. That made me missmicro a lot by accidentally selecting the courier. I decided to change the hotkey to ” ` “, it took me well over 3 weeks of missclicking and never getting my items delivered but when I learned it, it helped my play immensely. Think of it as of performing a somersault. If you fall on the ground first time doing it, it doesnt mean you shouldn’t do this at all. It’s just a matter of practice.

When changing hotkeys you know you’re gonna fail a lot, but what matters is the final result – you playing faster and more effectively.

For those unfamiliar with camera binding, the commands are:

Top Rune

// Top Rune

bind “F4” “dota_camera_set_lookatpos -2287 1817”

Bottom Rune

// Bot Rune

bind “F5” “dota_camera_set_lookatpos 2990 -2400″

This site may change ” <- this symbol to ″<- this and the command won’t work. Make sure you change your quotation marks back to normal before you put these commands into console.

What hotkeys do I use?

I started playing DotA quite a few years ago so I used to use legacy hotkeys. I weren’t really comfortable with them on some of the heroes so I installed “W3 keys” – a program that would allow you to change your hotkeys to any custom combination. I’m not entirely sure why, but I’ve chosen ZXCV and I’m happy with them.

My hotkeys:

Spells: ZXCV, D and F for additional spells. Autocast modifier: Alt+spell hotkey

Inventory: Q, W, E, G, Space, Mouse4

Quickbuy: F1

Purchase sticky: F2

Take items from stash: F3

Enemy missing: F4

Runespot top: F5

Runespot bot: F6

Select courier: `  [courier actions set to use ZXCVDF too]

Select hero: 1

Control groups: 2, 3, 4, 5

Scoreboard: 6

Shop: N

Commands: Attack move – A, Move – R, Hold position – U, Stop – S

Glyph: L

That’s it for today. I hope my post answered at least some of your questions : )

I would also like to thank everyone commenting and reading my guide to solo mid. The amount of positive feedback I received – both from pro and casual players is overwhelming.

Thanks!

ChaQ’s ultimate guide to advanced solo mid

ChaQ’s ultimate guide to advanced middle lane solo.

Table of contents:

  1. The introduction

  2. All you need to know about the creepblock

  3. When the action begins: the openings

  4. It’s all about the aggro

  5. Dodging smokeganks

  6. Runecontrol

  7. To gank or not to gank?

  8. Doublewaving, what is it and when to use it

  9. Hard matchups and how to deal with them

  10. All the little things you can learn to become a better mid player

  11. Practice – how to and why to

  12. Ending word and shoutouts

Chapter 1. The introduction

1.1 The most basic question: who are you?

I’m a 20 years old student from Poland with 7 years experience in DotA. I started playing encouraged by my friends and went a long way through many W3 platforms:

battle.net ->garena -> Iccup -> RGC – > dotalicious – > DotA 2

I got into Dota 2 beta really early – winning it as one of the first from playdota lottery.

As a player with thousands of hours spent in pubs I decided to try playing in more competitive environment, I went through several inhouse leagues and finally decided to join a team. As polish teams are extremely unstable I went through a couple of them, mostly playing 1 position.

Around 1-2 years ago I became really interested in the “2” – mid role. I started picking only mid heroes in pubs and tried to find every hint and trick possible that would make me play better.

One day I came across EternalEnvy’s stream and him practicing mid with Arteezy. For someone like me it was a gold mine – they talked about every small aspect of fighting for lasthits, positioning and creep control. As Arteezy joined Kaipi and I could watch him in competitive matches and start analysing his moves from the player’s POV. I was surprised how little – as it turned out – I knew about playing mid. As fanboyish as it may sound his mindgames and mechanical skills were far superior to any other player I knew. Special shoutout to him as watching him play helped me create this guide a ton.

 1.2 What competitive experience do you have?

After becoming mid pubstomp player and playing as a somewhat decent level standin I thought that it may be a good idea to find a really highskilll team that would let me develop competitively.

An opportunity came faster than I thought – one of my best polish friends [that I met and added after a pub game] turned out to be a friend with one of the best polish players – sasu. As he was forming a new team I was suggested to him as a really good player and so I became a mid for QWERT1234 – probably the only polish team known to an average European player. And this is where the somewhat sad [for me] part begins – a top 1-2 page pub mid player without any particular high level competitive experience turns out to be a rather mediocre mid for a serious, semi professional DotA.

As you might have guessed I was underperforming – overwhelmed by the skill level gap jump, and soon my rather short journey into playing versus some really good teams ended with a big disappointment. To this day though I’m happy with this experience as playing against some best midders out there has taught me a lot.

Ironically enough, encouraged by this adventure I started practicing even harder to reach level of decisionmaking and skill acceptable at the very highest levels of competitive play. As of today my skill and experience level are nowhere near where they were several months ago but due to unstability of polish DotA scene and my mood variating from very eager to bored of playing competitive DotA I’m currently teamless, playing IXDL-Invite most of the time.

1.3 Why are you writing this guide?

As I’m not planning to join a team in the nearest future and I don’t really care about my enemies getting to know all the tactics presented in this guide, I decided that sharing this knowledge with everyone is the best option. Some people may actually hate me for making presented tricks public, but hey – that’s how the skill progress in DotA world is made: “elite” knowledge becomes well-known so you have to come up with something new! I’m also an author of this lasthitting guide and every positive comment under it made me really happy that someone felt the joy of DotA-discovery reading it. I guess I just enjoy making people play better by sharing some tips and letting everyone test them in real games.

1.4 Who is this guide aimed to?

Well, definitely not absolute beginners. When I started writing this guide I decided that it’s mostly going to cover the advanced and only-known-to-few tactics. If you have troubles lasthitting or don’t know what heroes can go mid – this probably isn’t the most suitable guide for you.

1.5 Mandatory “pros and cons of being a mid player” section:

Pros:

  • You get to play some [in my opinion] most interesting DotA heroes like Invoker, Puck or QoP
  • You can do all sorts of “big plays” with your high level and gold advantage
  •  Playing 1v1 is really fun and there’s no better feeling than killing a good mid player solo
  • You don’t depend on your team that much, practicing mid in pubs is way easier than e.g. offlane

Cons:

  • Mid requires a lot of multitasking: using courier constantly, checking for enemy ganks, controlling the lane equilibrium, harassing, lasthitting and finally controlling the runes
  • The responsibility of  ganking, reacting and dictating the gamepace relies on you
  • As you own the most powerful hero early-midgame, you can also do the biggest mistakes
  • If you lose your mid solo, the enemy player gets a huge advantage that often wins the game
  • This position requires a lot of practice and experience, the skill gap between competitively experienced mid player and regular pub midder is mindblowing

As I said in the introduction – I’m not going to go into details about what playing mid means generally or about what heroes should/shouldn’t go mid and why. I want to break down playing mid layer by layer and talk in a great detail about every one of them separately.

Chapter 2. All you need to know about the creepblock

What I want to start the main part of my guide with is probably one of the most overlooked things in playing solo mid. As basic as it may sound, it’s the infamous creep block. Professional and more advanced players know the importance of a good creepblock, especially in a melee vs ranged matchup.

2.1 Perfect creepblock example pic:

[leftclickclick to enlarge the picture]

perfectblock25

Notice how none of the enemy creeps can see you and how all of your creeps are on the highground.  That means the opponent will not be able to know your positioning and  you are free to harass him.

2.2 Things that perfect creeblock lets you do:

  • Harassing from the highground (enemy can’t trade hits effectively with 25% uphill miss chance)
  •  Controlling the lane and creep balance way easier, makes enemy miss lasthits
  •  Enemy can’t see you and your positioning
  •  If he gets too close you can use one of your spammable spells

2.3 How do I achieve the perfect creepblock?

There are some little positioning tricks that will make your way better than average midder’s that doesn’t know them.

THE RADIANT

So-called RTZ block, you have to stand exactly at this spot where your heroes circle touches edges of stones on the ground in front and to the left of you:

rtzblock2

rtzblock1

As soon as the timer hits the 0:00 mark, you should start walking forward. If you do this properly, you’ll notice how all of the creeps walked to your right instead of one walking around the tower. What this does is basically letting you start creepblocking faster, without waiting for that one creep to join the others:

rtzblock3

THE DIRE

There is no particular trick on the dire side but to maximize the efficiency of your block you should stand around here on the steps, as all of the creeps will spawn just above you:

direblock

What’s the best command to creepblock? Move or Stop-spam?

To be honest, what works the best for me and a lot of pro players is the combination of both. In this video you can see comparison between players: some of them like to hold their hero hotkey to keep the camera centered, Dendi uses screen panning, and Arteezy just clicks the hero hotkey every few seconds to move the camera.

2.4 Letting ranged creep go first – when to do this and why shouldn’t you always use it.

I’ve noticed what a lot of mid-level players love to do is letting the ranged creep go first, then blocking the entire wave of melee creeps. Through testing this by myself I’ve noticed that most of the time this does more harm than good and here’s why:

  • You expose yourself to harass! If the enemy sees that you have 1 creep less[that does the most damage] he will simply start attacking you and he won’t receive quite as much damage from creeps that he normally would
  • You can end up “doublewaved” – I’ll talk about this a little bit later
  • You lose that orientation point in lasthitting. Usually you want to time your lasthit to land just after mage’s attack. By losing that option you make it somewhat easier for the nemy to deny.

There are several occasions on which blocking without the ranged creep is desirable!

  • When you know you have way more damage on the first attack and you are sure you can get the deny (eg. Kunkka with tidebringer)
  • When you are against a really low damage hero (eg. Sf, Quas Invoker)
  • When your creepblock is way better and you just let the ranged creep go first in the last seconds of the block
  • When your enemy is really hard to lane against straight up and you’ll feel more comfortable lasthitting under the tower

2.5 Practice

Remember that creepblocking is really easy to practice in singleplayer. To practice simply make a new lobby, set cheats to “on” and take one of the slots. When the game starts pick QoP, set mode to –wtf and take your starting position. To start the game simply use the –startgame command. After un/successfully blocking your creeps simply blink back with your cooldownless spell and start over. Repeat until you feel satisfied with your consistency.

Chapter 3: When the action begins: the openings

After creepblocking it’s time for something I call openings. For me it’s one of the most important stages during your laning. The first few attacks, moves and decisions show so much about player skill that sometimes I can already predict how easy or hard the game against him will be. The morale aspect of that  should also never go unnoticed – getting the first deny + lasthit combo may work very demoralizing for some players like Idra and make you feel so much better about beating your opponent.

3.1 There are basically 3 situations that may happen after the creepblock, as shown on the graph:

Image

To understand this graph and overall reactions after every kind of creepblock I made a video showing some of the world’s best pucks! [+me]

Why this hero and why only one hero? In my oppinion it’s like every dream of mid player put together: you have the silence, stun, you are mobile, have decent lasthit damage and it’s hard to gank you. Also your first skill gives flying vision over the area and serves as a free blink dagger. In other words: the possibilites it gives and the skillcap it has are far higher than for most of the heroes. About the second part of the question, I wanted to make personal style of players to be comparable and it’s hard to do if they play different heroes.

PS If you want to see the lasthit score, look at the top left, not bottom right. The creepscores on the right appear to be bugged.

Chapter 4. It’s all about the aggro

“What’s that title about?” – you may ask. My answer is: if you learn and master the rules of creeps aggro your skill on the mid will skyrocket. To be honest, after analyzing Arteezy’s play I honestly think this is one of the reasons he’s such a dominant player. Not even commonly known “mid-gods” like Dendi or Ferrari use these tricks as well as him if they use them at all.

Now let’s read a couple of facts that will prove extremely useful later:

  • Creeps will aggro anyone trying to attack allied hero in a 500 radius. That means if you attack a hero while 501 units away from the nearest creep, the creep will not attack you.
  • Creeps have aggro cooldown of 2 seconds. I’ll describe how to abuse that later in this chapter.
  • It doesn’t matter where the enemy hero you are attacking is. As long as you are in 500 radius to the closest enemy creep you might as well A-click hero on a different lane and you still will draw aggro.

Now, as you know the very basics let’s move on to the really advanced things: in a good players’ hands aggro is an extremely powerful laning tool that can be used in many different ways:

4.1 Aggro tricks – securing lasthits

Let’s take a situation like this: Image

You are more or less as far from the enemy creep as your opponent. If your projectile speeds and timings are similar – the factor that decides who gets the lasthit will be your damage. And guess what, the damage on every single hero is randomised before every attack. As a good player you don’t want to rely on luck, you want to use some sort of strategy to have the upper hand in this little game. This is where creep aggro knowledge comes into play. By A-clicking the enemy hero as the creep is getting low and instantly backing off, you drag the creep very close to you without exposing yourself to harass. Let’s say the creep was 500 distance from both of the players. After using this trick, it’s 200 units away from you and 800! from the enemy. Amazing isn’t it?

Notice the circle around my hero, it’s drawn at a 500 range. Currently you can use this command only at private lobbies with cheats on, but if you practice with your friends make sure to turn it on to get used to it later! The best thing you can do when using this strat is to position yourself before A-clicking enemy so that only one creep gets drawn towards you. This will make you push less slower than when pulling all the creeps.

Take a look at this video: Arteezy has memorised the 500 radius circle so every time he rightclicks the enemy, he pulls only the single creep that he wants to move towards him:

As you get more and more advanced in doing that trick, you will discover that the uses of this tactic are only limited by your creativity. On this picture you can see a fight for 2 lasthits:

Image

Most of the players would just accept the fact that you can’t do 2 attacks at once – so you can only get 1 lasthit or 1 deny. But with aggro tricks knowledge you can have both. Simply repeat the regular A-click + back off but instead of lasthitting your creep, deny the enemy one first. As you can see – it’s currently being attacked by the ranged creep, so if you attack at the perfect timing, you should be able to get both the deny and the lasthit to leave your enemy wondering what the hell just happened. This kind of awareness comes with time and experience but if you practice enough, soon you will surprise even yourself.

4.2 Aggro tricks – messing up lasthits

The above tactic can be also used to mess up enemy lasthits in a simple way:Image

As you can see on this picture, there’s one green creep getting attacked by most of the enemy creeps. When the creeps need about 2 attacks to get lasthitted, you have to get most of the creeps in your aggro range then A-click the enemy hero. Obviously creeps will immediately switch their target to you and iIf you did this correctly, opponent will perform the attack leaving you a free deny. Remember that this time you want to get as many creeps as you can in your 500 range circle!

4.3 Aggro tricks – solution to the failed creeblock

Yes, it happens even to the best players  so there’s nothing to be ashamed of. The solution to this is really simple – come close to the creeps as soon as the enemy shows up from fog and A-click him, then run back a little. You should end up with at least some of the creeps down in the river, where you can lasthit them without miss chance. If your enemy plays really passively and is not harassing you, you probably won’t be able to see him for a long time. In that case you can use your creep aggro knowledge and simply A-click enemy on a different lane. Optimally you want to lure enemy creeps into attacking your ranged creep, so the wave starts pushing towards your tower.

4.4 Aggro tricks – attacking enemy without drawing  creep aggro.

This legendary ability, mastered by the chosen few does indeed exist and in fact it’s not as hard to pull off as some people may think. Perhaps you’ve even done it before but you might have not noticed it. If you’ve ever wondered how some of the players attack enemies without being attacked by their creeps – this section is for you. To start off, this works the best against melee/low ranged heroes. Here’s a little video that may help you understand the concept:

As you have probably noticed, despite being in the 500 range aggro zone, I’m not getting attacked by any of the creeps. The magic behind this is amazingly simple: you have to attack the hero outside of the 500 aggro range, then without issuing any other command run to him and attack. What happens is that after you attack, the creeps want to attack you but can’t as you are not in their aggro range. Your attack command triggers 2 second cooldown on their target so as you run to the creeps you have 2 seconds of free attacks on your enemy when you won’t get damaged by the wave. The number of attacks depends mostly on your levels and attribute – for most int heroes it’s 1, sometimes 2 attacks before the creeps start attackign you again.

This mechanic can be used as one of the “openings”: as you approach the first enemy creepwave you can A-click your opponent from 500 range to the creeps and do one or two attacks. He won’t be able to trade hits effectively as he will most likely trigger creeps aggro himself.

Chapter 5. Dodging smokeganks

If you have ever played any higher level DotA, you’ve probably met the biggest nightmare of every mid player: smokeganks. They make you feel in constant danger and you can’t focus on the laning as much. What methods can you use when roaming supports appear during the draft and you know you’ll have to deal with them?

5.1 “Stop the rotation” method

If you want to win mid with an easily gankable hero and you know enemy can make your life a nightmare: get an aggresive trilane against them. This forces them to either stay on the lane and fight back or get detected fairly easily because your allies will call miss as soon as the supports are gone. Remember that as the game starts, before you see most of the enemy heroes on the map – you are not safe, and shouldn’t take any risky moves as they can be just flanking you.

5.2 Colors method

This method works mostly in pubs, where supports aren’t missing from the map as much as they do in more competitive games.

It simply relies on you memorizing the color of player/players that can gank you easily.

colors method

In this game I’ve chosen crystal maiden as the biggest gank threat. If orange dot is missing from the map and enemy carry is not farming under the tower because of CM pulling, I have to play really defensively.

5.3 Scorescreen and enemy carry position method

This method relies on you checking the scorescreen constantly and seeing if enemy supports are gaining any levels. If you feel they may gank you at level 1 and are still level 1 when they should have already done pull or two, you should really be expecting gank soon. Another way to check the position of enemy supports is watching if their carry is farming under the tower: if he is – supports are currenlty pulling, if he’s not then it’s time to start worrying. This method is unfortunately not 100% reliable as they may smoke immidiately after doing the pull and by the time you see enemy creeps back on their safelane you’ll already be dead.

5.4 Observer + sentry method

This one depends on your supports to set observer and sentry ward on a spot from which the gank usually comes. You won’t be able to see the gank coming on the minimap though. You have to constantly be checking that spot with your camera because smoke hides enemy heroes from appearing on the minimap even if you have truesight vision over them and that obviously makes it so hard to detect.

This method does not work anymore as of 6.81 patch.

Chapter 6. Runecontrol

Whether you like it or not – runes and randomness that comes with them often wins or loses games. Controlling who gets the rune is an important factor in how good mid playeryou are. You probably know the basic “start pushing 10-15 seconds before rune spawn” rule so I’m not even going to go into details about it. What I want to talk about instead is what you should do if the enemy secures the rune and what are the ablities that every rune gives.

6.1 Bottle crowing, controlling the courier

The answer to [almost] every problem on the mid: bottle crow. Nerfed in the last DotA version, but still more than viable if the opponent has such a damn luck  to runes or you simply are a melee hero with spammable nuke.

Some bottlecrow tips:

  1. The only significant change that the bottlecrow nerf brought is that you shouldn’t ever use courier’s speed buff as it flies to you from base. Wait until you put your empty bottle in it, then feel free to click this big, tempting button.
  2. If you feel like enemy offlaner or supports are going to get your rune, already fly your courier somewhere into the trees near middle lane and if it indeed is what happens, bottle crow instead of wasting time checking the rune.
  3. You should be especially careful if your opposing team has a Nature’s Prophet or Bounty Hunter. They love sniping couriers and the gold you give them is almost like free tower.
  4. Use item hotkeys in the shop! This makes shopping way faster and can save your courier. If you forgot about it and the enemy Qop is about to jump on it, quickly click shop hotkey then “courier upgrade” hotkey – for me it’s N and 8. If you’re lucky you will trade 220 gold for a kill on an overextending opponent.
  5. You have to have a courier hotkey and all his possible actions binded too. Spamming it and checking if your bottle is already refilled or if surge is available saves a lot of time and sometimes even your life.

6.2 Rune usage

  • Haste: If you sense an opportunity, you can gank enemy safelane with this rune or you can just nuke your mid opponent and make him unable to come close to creeps because of the death threat. Earlygame most useful used 10 seconds before the next rune in order to secure it.
  • Double damage: The “mid autowin” rune. If you get it you should push your advantage to the max: zone out the enemy, deny all of his creeps and get all the lasthits.
  • Invisibility: Before level 6-7 it’s not that useful as  you’re not going to gank anyways and ganking supports usually have sentries. Remember that you can use bottle once after activating it without breaking the invisibility buff.
  • Illusion: Players usually activate the rune, A-click illusions into the enemy and watch them die after dealing 15 damage. This rune actually has more uses than any other: you can stack 2 neutral camps/ancients at once, scout and deny the next rune, bodyblock to kill or send the illusions to his highground to zone him out.
  • Regenaration: Be really aggresive, get rid of all the mana then use it. One very common mistake is overextending to spend all mana then dying in a humilating way. Don’t do that. Please.

Chapter 7. To gank or not to gank?

That is the question. You probably often ask yourself in pubs “should I listen to my teammate? He’s feeding and saying he cant do anything on his lane but I’m just level 3…”

The answer is NO. Never listen to offlaners crying about how hard their lane is, if they tell you to come gank before you’re even level 5/6 it means they have no idea about this game.

7.1 It really is easier to list when it is advised to leave your lane and gank than the other way around:

  • When you are not level 6 but get a rune like haste and see that enemy is low-hped and won’t be able to back in time
  • When you’re level 6 or higher and you see enemies diving your team under the tower. Always carry tp scroll past 6 level in came something like this happens! TP into double or triple kill means a lot at early stages of the game.
  • When you see a fight somewhere near your lane and you’re sure you will get some gold or exp from kills/save your ally
  • when your supports dewarded the enemy so you are sure nobody will see you coming

7.2 Why is level 6 so important?

Mid players usually get their level 6-7 just before the night falls and first wards run out. Ganking enemies earlier simply means relying they don’t have any wards what in fact is gambling. If you gamble and lose – you waste a lot of time, experience and gold what your opponent is going to capitalize on. In the worst case scenario enemy trilane seeing you coming with rune will set up an ambush and even kill you.

If you got your 6, ganked successfully and still havent used your ulti, go back to base and regain mana then use smoke and come back to gank enemy carry again.

Chapter 8. Doublewaving, what is it and when to use it

Doublewaving is a strategy designed to make laning against melee, low ranged and heroes that want to be aggresive early way easier. It may also prove extremely useful if getting level 2 before the enemy gives you a significant advantage.

Example: Puck vs TA

Normally Puck is considered to be severely countered by Templar Assassin. By using this trick though you may gain enough advantage early to snowball and even win the lane. Getting level 2 when TA is lvl 1 you are able to dive under the tower without risking to be hit and you can avoid any harass easily.

So what exactly is this strategy and how do I use it?

To “doublewave” someone means to accumulate a lot of creeps that start pushing him towards his tower. Meanwhile you are free to harass with all the aggro tricks you’ve learned (yes they work on towers too) and deny his creeps as he tanks them under the tower. Here’s a video of me performing this strategy against my friend:

There are few things you have to remember when trying to do it:

  • never let enemy get 2 ranged creeps, actually the first creep that you kill should be his ranged creep – you stop the pushing and you can harass the enemy easier
  • you DO want to focus more on attacking the enemy hero than on lasthitting on the first wave. That way you start pushing ijust in the right timing.
  • use your spells! Using spells like static remnant/illusory orb/scream of pain deals damage to creeps comparable with 4-5 autoattacks
  • dont push too fast! If you kill the first enemy creepwave before your second wave arrives you will just give the enemy a lot of lasthits for free and your plan will be ruined

9. Hard matchups and how to deal with them

There are some heroes that make you want to quit DotA after laning against them. Remember though that every hero in this game is beatable. “OD walks into a bar. There was no counter.”? Not anymore!

9.1 Playing against Templar Assassin

As you just read, there are strategies to make Templar Assassin a beatable hero. One of the most impressive performances I’ve ever seen was Arteezy’s Puck beating TA with treant’s armor. Luckily I have a ticket for that tournament, so here’s a video for you!

Arteezy uses every trick possible to outlane his opponent. His lasthitting under the tower is also flawless this game. Despite not getting any runes he outcses TA severely and even gets a kill with some help of a jungling DS. This video proves what an amazing impact hard work and dedication have on your play.

9.2 Playing against obsidian destroyer outworld demolisher Outworld devourer

This hero is the ultimate antimidder. Unless you play Razor, Kunkka or Lone Druid there’s just not much you can do after he hits level 3. You should not focus on getting farm against an OD. What you’re looking for is experience and rune control. After you miraculously hit level 6, go gank and contribute to the team’s current situation. Maxing the nuke that will let you grab few extra lasthits against him is strongly advised.

PS If everything else fails, there’s always good old “gank him you’ll be fine”.

9.3 Playing against a batrider

Batrider’s sticky napalm is one of the most annoying skills in the game. It makes you turn forever, easy to harass and zone out. I’m probably not going to say anything particularly new here but getting a stick and backing off every time you get 3-4 stacks is a must. One of the biggest flaws on batrider’s laning is his projectile speed. Good bat will get 100% of his lasthits, but as napalm obviously doesn’t work on his own creeps you should be able to farm a bit too. If you don’t die to him by getting caught will already be a big win for your team. Heroes that are pretty decent against a bat are OD, Puck, Queen of Pain and… Zeus !

10. All the little things you can learn to become a better mid player

This chapter is devoted to all the things that are too inisgnificant to deserve their own chapter. Together though, they give you a ton of knowledge that often proves really useful.

10.1 The damage of combined level 6/7 spells

For some people this may seem completely redundant but I’ve seen some pro players checking enemy’s hp before going for a kill. After all it’s always better to know something than not to.

Remember that this is a pure spell damage output calculation . You’ll almost always be able to add 1-4 autoattacks to the combo what will deal somewhere between 50-200 additional damage.

  • QoP lvl 6: 432 dmg, lvl 7: 488 dmg (no shadowstrike)
  • Puck lvl 6: 285 dmg (+75), lvl7: 338 dmg (+75) [75 is the coil break damage]
  • Zeus lvl 6:  439 dmg, lvl 7: 495 dmg (no passive included [40-120dmg])
  • Magnus lvl 6: 312 dmg, lvl 7: 368 dmg
  • Tinker (laser rocket build,no rearm) lvl 6: 428 dmg, lvl 7: 508 dmg

10.2 Dodging Qop’s shadowstrike procs with phase shift/euls

When I died to something I should have been able to avoid I decided to learn how to dodge each one of the shadowstrikes ticks. One of the methods is to count to three and phaseshift every time you are about to get hit, but this metod is not realiable at all. How I do this is by memorising shadowstrike’s status icon, where each tick occurs on the timer then phaseshifting just as it’s about to hit you. Here’s a picture with green lines showing when to use phaseshift to dodge every damage instance :

ssdodge

10.3 Dodging sniper’s assassinate with phase shift/euls/blink etc.

Same as above, this method uses status icon to determine when to blink or use you item that will dodge enemy’s spell projectile. Works every time, regardless of how far from the sniper you are:

sniper dodge

Sniper stops channeling when the assassinate status is just a few pixels to the left from the centre.  Use your spell or euls at that exact moment to dodge the flying bullet.

10.4 TPing out from puck’s coil without taking damage

Sometimes you know you won’t survive puck’s ult orb silence + autoattacks combo, especially if you break the coil. Tping out breaks the coil even in your fountain so that’s not a viable option. Or maybe it is? If you wait for puck’s coil to go past 1/2 of the status bar, you are free to tp back to base and you won’t receive any additional damage! That’s because puck’s ultimate lasts for 6 seconds and tp channels for 3 seconds.

qopcoil111

10.5 Positioning your courier closer to the mid lane

In DotA every second matters a lot. Sometimes the smallest things can win or lose the game. Things like getting your bottle 0,5s faster. I remember dying to pudge just because my bottle was a quarter of second too late to get delivered. You can prevent this kind of situation by positioning your courier as far as possible, but still in the shop’s range. Here’s how it looks like:

RADIANT

courier radiant

DIRE

courier dire

IMPORTANT NOTE!

Positioning your courier like this is definitely not recommended if opposing team has a furion. Sometimes they just tp to your fountain hoping that you do that. Dont put your courier out of the fountain zone against Nature’s Prophet!

10.6 Camera hotkeys

Camera hotkeys are a great way to make checking for rune way easier. If you don’t know what that is – it’s basically binding certain camera position somewhere on the map to a single hotkey, in this case: runespot. In DotA 2 console allows you to bind them once and forever.

To set runespot camera hotkeys paste following commands in your console:

// Top Rune

bind “F4” “dota_camera_set_lookatpos -2287 1817”

// Bot Rune

bind “F5” “dota_camera_set_lookatpos 2990 -2400”

Make sure your quotes “” are written correctly cause this site may sometimes change them and your hotkeys won’t work!

10.7 Random useful facts

DotA is an incredibly complex game and there mechanics that even DotA veterans are surprised to discover.

I prepared a short list of random facts that may prove useful when you play the mid solo role:

  1. Windrunner’s powershot only needs to be channeled to 70% for it to deal full damage (0.7s)
  2. You need two or more levels in exort to take off Templar Assassin’s refraction charges with icewall. Orb of venom will not trigger refraction charges.
  3. If someone stands exactly 450 units from your hero, you can hit him with all three Shadowfiend’s razes
  4. If you have troubles with detecting when kunkka fakes his torrent – buy a stick. Whenever you gain a charge – you know it’s coming.
  5. Tinker’s laser miss buff is applied after a short interval. You can dodge it [but not the damage] by using skill like phaseshift or bane’s sleep immidiately after getting hit.
  6. Storm spirit’s overload can be triggered when your projectile is already mid-air. Abuse this to get easy firstbloods.
  7. You can use salves and bottle while under effect of pudge’s level 1-3 rot.

11. Practice – how to and why to

People who play support say that the 4 and 5 positions require the most practice. People who play offlane and carry say the exact same thing. And to your surprise every mid player believes his position is the hardest and needs the most experience. So how, what and with whom do I practice?

11.1 How to practice mid

Host a lobby with your practicepartner, set it to: cheats on, only mid and start the game. Depending on what you want to practice you can set your match to:

  • bottle crow on, runes off: allows you to bottlecrow, this training is usually focused on farming spells usage as you can them a lot and it’s difficult to kill the enemy
  • runes on, bottle crow off: makes you practice runecontrol but sometimes is luck dependant
  • runes on, bottle crow on: balances the luck factor

– if you want to, you can add additional 220 gold with -gold 220 command to pretend your support has upgraded the courier

– some people like to practice with “pooled” tango and a salve: use -gold 190 to start with +damage items

– type -startgame when you are both ready to waste less time on waiting for the creeps to spawn

11.2 Some of the most common/interesting matchups:

  1. Puck vs QoP
  2. Puck vs Bat
  3. Puck vs Storm
  4. Puck vs Magnus
  5. Puck vs Windrunner
  6. Qop vs Magnus
  7. QoP vs Storm
  8. Qop vs Bat
  9. QoP vs Windrunner
  10. TA vs QoP

11.3 Things you get from practicing mid

  • You can master all the aggro tricks I presented you with in this guide
  • You get better at timing your lasthits and “feeling” the hero
  • Your bottlecrow and rune control gets way smoother
  • You learn about some mindgames that come with practice
  • You can learn your mistakes if your practicepartner is better than you

11.4 Where do I find players to practice with?

If none of your friends like to do it, then it’s time to find a new friends🙂 Try searching popular chat channels like “purgegamers”, “merlini”, “reddit” or “Na’Vi”. If you still haven’t found anyone then try this guild: http://steamcommunity.com/groups/1v1Dota2Guild

If you ask the admin, he will add you to the guild inside the client and there you will find a plenty of players looking for practicepartners. Other good places to search for decent players are are ixdl-Open/Invite channels respective to your continent and big forums like joindota.com

12. The ending word and shoutouts

On the first place shoutout to You for reading this guide, every comment also means a lot to me, thanks!🙂 Even though writing this took me some time, seeing the final result I don’t regret any second spent on it.

Secondly, shoutout to my first reader and reviewer, HRTS. Thanks for supporting me at late hours when writing this, all the deep conversations and uncountable practice sessions done together.

Special thanks to Arteezy for providing “research material”😀 and EternalEnvy for infecting me with this passion to detail and optimisation.

Shoutout to current team QWERT: sasu, Mu7trak, Hypetrak, Vex, SCT,  and other friends from the polish scene: Felstyle, GASIOR,  POzioma, Pietrax.

Sincere thanks to people I practiced mid with: P2W, Breakerr, LaDuelo, hysterial, Grasz, C-yanker, Sephiroth_vg, Pandzior, EmptyJar, Skay and ryze.

Last but not least shoutout to my old friends from Playdota Inhouse days, all the IXDL community, Icefrog and Valve.

Thanks for reading !

If you have any questions regarding mid, feel free to email me at ChaQDotA@gmail.com

Cheers!

 

~Coaching news~

As I mentioned before after publishing my guide to solo mid I got a ton of emails from all around the world and there was one question asked in almost every one of them:

Do you do coaching? Can I 1v1 you? Can I add you for you to tell me what mistakes I make in my laning?

Getting mails like this every day made me think that if there’s demand then maybe I should consider giving it a try.

After a lot of preparations (remember that if I decide to do something then I do it to the best of my ability), some trial coaching sessions and hours of thinking of the format and things to improve I decided that I’m ready to offer you my laning coaching.

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For the price of 19.50$ for a 90 min session you will get:

Your replay of choice analysis – laning, gameflow, biggest mistakes
A buch of unpublished 1v1 tips compiled in a handy doc that I have prepared for my students
learning to get the most of the matchups in which you should dominate your opponent
1v1s and deep analysis of your laning – solo mid or 1v1 off/safelane

In case you are interested – don’t add me on Steam – just write me an email at ChaQDotA@gmail.com so we can set the date and preferred voice communication programme to use during the session.

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