View Full Version : Lane Control and the Early Game
12-08-2009, 02:52 PM
I'm going to be using this post as a sort of message board/change log. The post below this one is about a paragraph short of being too long, and I don't want to have to push sections down every time I need to add something. Because then I would need to drop a paragraph to the second post, and another to the third, and another to the fourth, and yet another to the fifth.
Feedback is definitely welcome on a topic as extensive as this one. So, if you can think of anything I missed that would fit in a laning guide feel free to post a reply.
December 8 - Posted guide
December 9-12 - fixed various typos and added a small section on animation cancelling
December 20 - Added a section on juking
January 1 - Extended juking section and cleaned up a couple parts that didn't flow.
January 17 - Removed the section on Taunting Creeps since we can't do that any more.
Greetings, and welcome to my first "advanced strategy" guide. I've written a few guides for specific heroes, and decided I wanted to try my hand at writing on a more general topic. The obvious choice for a first gameplay guide would be the first game phase, laning.
I write this guide for anyone looking to improve their early game, or possibly to confirm what they already know. It's written for anyone and everyone, and I've tried to make it as newbie-accessible as possible. Anyone who has been playing for a good length of time should know most of what I put down here, but there are a few tricks even advanced players might not know.
It's assumed in the guide that your enemies will be of mid-range skill. Most of the assumptions on what your enemies will be doing, for example, assume their skill lies somewhere between getting the hang of things and ready to move onto inhouses/scrims. A newbie or DotA legend will be doing things so different from my assumptions that I will only be able to wonder what's going on in their heads.
Quick question for you. Which would you rather have on your team: an amazing late gamer, such as The Dark Lady, or a hero able to completely shut down an enemies early game with lane control, such as the Plague Rider?
TRICK QUESTION! You need a little of both if you want to succeed both early and late. However, if you picked the hard carry, you've obviously never seen how lane control can END an enemy carry before they get their first Soulscream Ring. (If they got one before they went to their lane, then they deserve to lose anyway.)
So, where to begin?
12-08-2009, 02:53 PM
With your host - Padawanabee
What is Lane Control?
Choosing a lane
Not getting focused
Building Lane Control
With Spells and Abilities
Killing Enemy Heroes
Coordinating with teammates
Ganking and Roaming
When to Gank
Who to Gank
What is Lane Control?
Lane control: any actions taken while in your lane that will give your team an advantage in gold and experience. This means making sure your team obtains the farm they need while denying the same to your enemies. You can only directly control the lane you're currently in, but weakening a Sand Wraith through harassment will benefit your team for the entire game.
Each hero will choose a lane at the beginning of the game. This is a convention based on common sense. Experience is split between all allied heroes within 1000 range, so if you are spending your time with two other heroes in a lane none of you will be getting the experience you need to do well. While you can roam between lanes for ganks as needed, you will want to move on after the gank is done so that your teammates can "farm". Farming is when a hero kills creeps without any opposition from the enemy team, and it is one of the best ways for a late gamer to get strong in a hurry.
In a 5v5, it's common to put two heroes each in the side lanes, with the 5th middle. The idea when choosing lanes is to give each lane a fighting chance, balancing out your weak laners with strong laners. This means putting early game powerhouses like Demented Shaman with poor laners such as Sand Wraith, or putting two heroes with AoE stun together for easy kills. Putting Glacius and Swiftblade together may sound like fun (it's a pretty solid lane), but if your other lanes suffer for it you may need to rethink your strategy.
Obviously, if your lane isn't working out you will want to ask for a lane swap, or a gank. Choosing a lane is just a convention, as I said, not a rule. So if the enemy heroes are giving you a tough time and you think you'd have an easier time in another lane, you can ask a teammate to swap you. It is more common to ask for a gank, however. A gank is when an ally from a different lane comes to your lane to help you kill an enemy hero. Killing enemy heroes gives you an advantage in gold and experience, possibly giving you the advantage in your lane.
Once you're in your lane, your goal is to get as much exp/gold as you possibly can as quickly as you can, while denying your enemies those same resources. You will spend much of your time near the creep wave, as you need to be close to creeps to gain exp and to obtain killing blows on creeps. Keep in mind that the futher out in your lane the creep wave, and in turn your hero, is, the easier it will be for enemies to gank and harass you.
Thus, you should focus on survival as much as possible. The greatest tool for safety apart from your lanemate would be the closest ally tower. These towers have AI built in to attack heroes who are killing you, and they can do a significant amount of damage in a short time, especially early game when heroes are at their weakest.
You are not the only one looking to gain levels and items. There will be enemy heroes on their side of the creep wave performing the same actions and that tactics you are. Whether through denying creeps, harassing, or outright killing your opponents, you will want to keep your enemies weak even as you are making yourself strong.
To summarize: If you want to succeed in your lane, you have to constantly work on several projects at once.
You will need to lane your heroes effectively, creating the greatest combinations you can while making sure you do not neglect the power of any of your lanes.
Once in your lane, you will need to maintain proximity to both a creep wave for exp/gold gain, and an allied tower for safety. This is significantly easier if you use creep control to make sure your creeps are always close to your tower.
You must also harass your enemies as much as possible, so that they do not outpace you and your teammates.
If lanes apart from your own are suffering, you may need to help your allies gank the enemy heroes in that lane.
The key factor in how you go about controlling your lane is what kind of hero you have, and what kinds of heroes your opponents possess. A ranged hero with a powerful harassment spell will use his tools to dominate his enemy, whereas a poor lane controller will have to use tactics to bring about an equilibrium between him and his opponent. While it is possible for an poor lane controller to gain the upper hand over a good lane controller, this is highly suggestive of an extreme skill difference between the two. A Plague Rider would have to make many mistakes, or have been ganked multiple times, to lose to a Chronos.
Many "hard carries" are extremely poor lane controllers, and they can easily get outlaned badly enough that it takes them the rest of the game to catch up. At the same time, many of the best lane controllers quickly lose power in the mid game, which can shift the balance back towards any carries who didn't get shut down in the early game.
You might be wondering how you can tell whether a hero has good lane control or not. The best way to find out is practice and experience. However, there are some traits a hero might possess that can clue you in as to how good or bad of a lane controller he/she is.
While ranged and melee heroes each have their own advantages in a lane, ranged heroes will almost always come out on top in terms of lane control.
Animation and damage
Obtaining killing blows is significantly easier if your hero has a quick or near-instantaneous attack animation, whereas slower animations make it much harder to lane effectively. At the same time, heroes with higher base damage (usually melee) will have a larger window in which to place killing blows than those with less damage.
Nukes, stuns, disables
Easily the most effective way to harass your enemies is with nukes, especially those with additional effects. Bonus points if it's a stun. Abilities that quickly deal damage or hold down an opponent so that you can auto attack him are extremely effective tools when it comes to controlling your lane.
Staying power and survivability
A hero with blink, stealth, or innate regen will be able to spend much more time focusing on obtaining killing blows and harassing their opponents. This is due to them not having to worry about being ganked and harassed as much.
I'll throw out a few examples of heroes with different tools to control their lane.
Demented Shaman- Ranged, amazing animation, high damage for a ranged hero, a powerful slow/stun that deals a moderate amount of damage, a heal than can nuke for upwards of 500 damage, and an above average movespeed. One of the best lane controllers' in the game.
Blood Hunter- Melee, good animation, above average damage, a silence and powerful nuke/semi-disable (to a very low hp enemy, hemorrhage is effectively a 6-second immobilize), with an extremely powerful self-heal with killing blows. Average to above average lane control, with a heavy reliance on maintaining killing blows. Prefers 1v1 lanes.
Keeper of the Forest- Melee, decent animation, extreme damage, only obtains a nuke/disable at 6, stealth that can be cast on self or allies, vision from eyes for map awareness, and a useful armor+regen buff. Below average lane control, though with his skillset can play a hard-to-kill defensive lane.
Chronos- Melee, good animation, high damage, no nukes but 2 nifty AoE disables, one chained to a semi-blink. Poor lane control, but hard to kill unless baited.
Heroes are not defined by their lane control, but your early game can be. Heroes with poor innate lane control can do well early game, either through good use of creep control or being partnered with a powerful lane controller. This tactic is often called babysitting. Heroes with strong lane control can harass their opponents out of a lane, ensuring that they gain an early advantage in gold and experience.
The easiest way to lose your lane, then, is to go into it with the wrong tools. If your enemies have a significantly better hero combination than you, you've lost the lane before you ever entered it. You need synergy, teamwork, and for God's sake at least one ranged, or it'll be tower hugging from levels 1-9 for you.
Sometimes, this can't be helped. Your allies in a pub are not always going to be the most responsive to your suggestions. You need to communicate with your teammates, whether you're friends or strangers, and let them know which heroes they should be looking at picking if they want to do well early. Then, before readying, you should talk with your teammates and suggest who lanes where.
So then, let's assume (mid-range, people) that your allies have chosen heroes cohesive to lane dominance. There are three lanes, and many hero combinations that do well for each.
You will almost always want to put your solo mid. Why?
The middle lane has several features the side lanes do not. It's very short, and both sides along the river have a cliff. It's the most easily reached lane, allowing ganks to happen on both sides. It also has access to the secret shop and both runes.
The greatest candidates for mid lane, then, are mobile heroes with high lane control who benefit greatly from levels. They need to outplay one hero alone, either by harassing the enemy hero, racking up kills and denies, or both. They also need to be able to access runes and then use those runes to gank the side lanes.
Here are several popular mid solo's, I've separated them into loose categories and listed a few examples of each:
Nukers turned gankers
What these heroes have in common is the ability to turn a level advantage into successful ganks. Most of these examples make good use of bottle, and a ward placed on a rune location (top or bottom, doesn't matter) will likely allow them to get at least most of the runes.
(L7 Thunderbringer + Haste) + 2(L5 FriendlyHero) > L5 Nymphora + L5 Pebbles.
Of the heroes listed, my favorite to use mid is Witch Slayer. He uses Graveyard to set up a good 1-3 seconds of Power Drain, harassing both health and mana pools at the same time. Once he reaches level 6, all he has to do is drain a creep to full mana, Graveyard his opponent, auto attack twice, and finish with Silver Bullet. He can use this opportunity to grab a rune, gank a lane, or free farm for 30 seconds.
These heroes have the unparalleled ability to grab each and every rune, using those to control their lanes or gank others. Their mobility makes them a threat to 3 lanes at once, provided they can keep a steady supply of health and mana going.
These heroes have powerful abilities giving them the ability to last hit and deny just about every creep on both sides. They can easily outlevel their opponent, using the subsequent advantage to gank the side lanes at their leisure.
Soulstealer has the added benefit of being a powerful nuker in addition to a powerful creep destroyer. At the same time, Corrupted Disciple has very good mobility and nuking power, making him a very good mid solo.
Heroes who need to reach a certain point quickly
Many heroes already mentioned overlap into here. For example, Witch Slayer and Pyromancer's game hardly begins until level 6.
These heroes are given mid not because they are a powerful ganker (though often they will be), but because it's considered essential by their teammates that they reach a certain point quickly. Glacius is rarely given mid solo, but sometimes his allies deem getting his aura to 7 worth giving him the solo. A better example would be Pharaoh, who, while having poor lane control, can become a ganking machine once he reaches 6 and gets his ultimate.
The second lane we address will be the strong lane. Top for Hellbourne, bot for Legion. It has several advantages to the weak lane. The most prominent of these being the convenient creep pulling location. It's tower is much farther out, and the nearby woods are "friendly". These woods are easier to reach for your allies with tp scrolls and may have a friendly hero neutraling, as well.
You'll be putting two people in this lane. It is the logical place to put your weakest laner. This will usually be your carry, as they can last hit while their lanemate pulls and denies. That lanemate will need to be a good laner; a babysitting hero would be best.
The problem with the "Strong lane" is that a smart enemy will put their strongest combination in the "Weak lane". This can sometimes make the strong lane harder to control than the weak lane. If it becomes a problem, you can ask for a switch and make your weak lane the strong lane, as well.
Some likely combinations would be:
Carry and a babysitter
Sand Wraith/Demented Shaman
The Dark Lady/Hellbringer
The idea of these lanes is to give the carry hero as good of an early game as possible. You get a support hero to cover denies, pulls, harassing, and sometimes heals, while the carry focuses on last hitting.
Jungle and a solo
There are several heroes able to neutral from level one, and a couple more at three. If a team chooses, they can make that hero a dedicated jungler, while the second hero bottom solo's the lane. The soloer should be able to control their lane solo. If that is not possible, you can give it to someone who could use the experience. Only give it to a carry if the jungler plans to gank often.
The fun part of this strategy is that the jungler can at any time and without any warning (without wards) gank the lane. If the enemies push past the jungle entrances they risk getting ganked, but if they don't push past the enemy gets to free farm.
Top for Legion, bottom for Hellbourne. This lane is the easist to gank and the hardest to control. You'll always want a strong combination in this lane. Dual stuns and at least ranged is the way to go with this lane, if possible. The major bonus of playing the Weak lane is that the enemies will normally be the weakest combination. They'll have to rely on pulls and ganks to maintain a presence in the lane.
If you know you're going to the weak lane, you may want to purchase wards of sight. You can place one in their creep pull location, so that they can't spawn, and another in the river near the rune to watch for ganks.
You will normally want your most powerful duo to lane here. Some likely possibilities would be:
Dual AoE stuns are extremely potent early. The easy to aim one (Magmus, Hammerstorm, Pebbles) will open, with the harder to land one easily landed on already stunned opponents.
One man to hold them down, and another to lay down the law.
Choosing a Lane
So how do you know which lane is right for you? The easiest way is with experience. Knowing which combinations work well together may require you to see them in action. Oftentimes you can figure out how powerful a lane combination is by looking at their abilities. A good rule of thumb is to split ranged so that you have one in each lane, if possible, and to split heroes with heavy reliance on farm. If you put Chronos and Magebane in the same lane, neither will get the farm they require to do well.
Short of theorycrafting a lane makeup that allows you to control all three lanes, there's not much you can do in a mid-level setting but choose a lane based on your hero selection and hope everyone else makes the right choices as well.
Keep in mind that choosing a lane is a convention, and not a rule. In most cases you'll want to keep your team's location fairly fluid through various ganks. Choosing to go bottom lane doesn't mean you can't buy a teleport scroll from the outpost to gank top if they're having trouble. It does mean that your teammates will get annoyed if you stay after the gank, since the lane's experience will be split three ways.
You have poor lane control. You can be any number of heroes, from Keeper of the Forest to Chronos. However, all are melee, most have no nukes, many rely on auto attack, and the majority can do nothing but creep until level 6. If your team has one of these types of heroes, send him to your weak lane with a strong lane controller or babysitter. If your team has two, send one to each of the side lanes. If your team has three there's not much I can do for you.
You have decent lane control. You're either a melee with strong abilities (Swiftblade, Blacksmith) or a ranged with poor abilities (Soul Reaper). You can hold your own, but you can't quite solo a lane. You'll want to team up with another medium to strong laner, and go to the weak lane if you can. I say weak lane because you can't solo and you can't babysit whichever agi carry went to the strong lane. Look for possible combinations. Can you stun? Lane with a fellow stunner. If you have a hard to aim abilitity (Swiftblade, Devourer) try to find an ally who can hold an enemy down for you.
You've chosen a powerful early gamer. You have a ranged attack and powerful spells, usually with slows or stuns attached. If you choose to solo mid, make sure you can hold your own in the lane. Also, your teammates will not only expect but need you to gank their lanes to do well. If you don't believe you can hold your own mid, or don't feel like ganking, go to one of the side lanes to help out a worse laner. If you choose to go to the strong lane, make sure your focus is on assisting the better late gamer. If you're laning with a carry, you'll want to be harassing and denying most of the time.
Here are the conclusions you should draw from this section in example form. Your hero selections should have two things in mind:
You need strong lanes.
*You need a powerful mid-end game.
Just so noone calls me on that and makes me feel silly: Yes, you can have a team setup with the idea of pushing raxes at 20 minutes in mind. However, it's inconceivable in a pub setting with strangers, and if you have friends who all want to do this you probably don't need my advice on hero selection anyway.
Hero selection can not be focused on one, or the other. Only by addressing both at once do you have a chance of winning. Here, then, is my "dream team" based on the entirety of the information in this section.
Keep in mind that this is all theory. Here's how we'll do our lanes.
Mobile ganker semi-carry (mid)
Designated carry (strong)
Stunner/ganker/power ult (weak)
Stunner/ganker/power ult (weak)
Our semi-carry mid could be any number of heroes, but let's use Corrupted Disciple for this example. In theory, he used his superior attack animation to get a gold and experience advantage. He might even get a First Blood with his powerful AoE nuke. He uses this lane domination and good mobility to grab runes and gank the side lanes.
We'll put our designated carry, Chronos, with our babysitter, Demented Shaman. Chronos last hits the enemy creeps, while Demented Shaman harasses, denies, and last hits any creeps out of Chronos' reach. DS can also keep Chronos healed, and any gank made of Corrupted+DS+Chronos is made of win. We'll put them in the strong lane, so that Demented can pull neutrals as necessary.
Since we have Chronos, let's get a good turtle hero top. I'm thinking Magmus. Kraken or Behemoth would be fine choices, as well. We'll lane Magmus with Pyromancer for double AoE stun. We'll put them in the weak lane, since they have enough lane dominance on their own.
The idea, of course, is to let Chronos farm away while the rest run interference. Corrupted, and to a degree DS, is a reliable semi-carry in case Chronos has troubles farming. Any time the enemy team tries to push, Magmus will blink+ult, followed by the rest of the team cleaning up.
Note that all 3 of my lanes have at least one ranged. This is essential to good laning.
As with most dream builds, this one is hampered by enemy bans. I'd say DS would be banned or FP'd by the enemy in most BD's, while Magmus is a possible ban as well depending on how the enemy team plans on playing.
The most important part of laning is obtaining gold and experience while reducing your rivals gold and experience gain. There are a variety of methods to give yourself the advantage, the majority of which involves controlling creep waves.
Creeps are the lifeblood of a heroes exp/gold gain. Any time spent away from a creep wave will put you further and further behind the heroes who are creep farming. The most important part of laning is maintaining control of both sides creep waves. The various tactics for controlling said creeps will be listed below.
Be aware that your enemies will no doubt be using as many of these tactics as they know of as well.
This tactic is generally used on the first creep wave and only rarely ever again. It's purpose is to bring the creep battle closer to your tower and relative safety by delaying your reinforcement creeps with your heroes bulk.
It can be tricky to do, and can be difficult to become good at. All you have to do, however, is walk in front of the creeps. It is more effective if you press s or h to stop or hold, and then immediately begin moving again. If done correctly the creeps will get confused and jumble together for a second.
The idea is to do this continuously so that when the friendly creeps meet the enemy creeps they are that much closer to your tower. If done well, the enemy creeps will be just outside of your tower's range, giving you maximum safety. Creep blocking so much that the enemy creeps are within range of the tower will actually push the lane farther than it would have originally, which is counter-productive since the point of creep blocking is to stay close to your tower.
An added bonus for those who wish to go mid and creep block is the elevation advantage. Fighting from your cliff with your enemy in the river is definately a positive when working on last hits and denies. It can help you secure a level advantage against your opponent right from the beginning.
Here I can be seen running directly in front of the creeps. Since they have a slightly higher movespeed than me, pretty soon they will catch up.
I hit s and immediately started moving again. The creeps get confused and jumble around for a little bit. If I'm not careful, however, they'll get ahead of me and I won't be able to block again.
The counter to creep blocking is creep blocking.
The key to proper laning is obtaining killing blows on allied and enemy creeps. Experience is split between any heroes within 1000 range, and gold is given to whomever obtains the killing blow on the unit. So, every time you kill a unit, friendly or unfriendly, you gain a slight gold/experience advantage. Over the course of the laning phase you can obtain a significant advantage in these very important areas over your opponents, an advantage that can easily carry on into mid-late game.
Keep in mind while reading that pushing your lane and auto attacking are not always bad, only usually. If you are seeking to destroy a tower with your teammates, for example, disregard all advice about not auto attacking. Still try to obtain killing blows, of course, but keep in mind that there are exclusions to rules such as "do not auto attack because it will push your lane".
A question raised often is "should I be focusing on last hits or denies". The simple answer is there's no reason you can't do both. However, if you are faced with a moment of absolute clarity, where time freezes, and you are faced with the choice of condemning an enemy creep or redeeming your own, the ultimate choice will be reliant on the heroes involved. If you need cash, like if you're a carry type, go for the creep kill. However, if you're an item independent type laning against a carry, go for the deny. If you're not laning against an enemy hero at all go for the last hit, of course.
Again, a creep killed by your team will give experience but no cash, 50% of the gain. A creep denied gives no cash and will lower the experience by either 1/3 or 2/3, dependent on ranged or melee. So if you must know whether to deny or last hit, I would suggest denying only if there's an enemy hero involved, and last hitting if there is not.
If you're laning with an ally, it comes down to who needs the cash more. To use the previous example, the Demented Shaman should be focusing on denies, only last hitting when a creep is too close to the enemy heroes for Sand Wraith to safely kill it. Meanwhile, Sand Wraith should be last hitting, only denying when there's little risk and Demented Shaman may not have it.
Ranged and melee heroes both have unique advantages in the way of obtaining killing blows. It is much easier to free farm (you're the only hero in the lane) as a melee hero, as you do not have to deal with projectile's. Also, your base damage will generally be higher and you can use Logger's Hatchet to be able to land killing blows with ease. The two cheap shields you can pick up at the outpost have greater benefits for melee heroes. However, a melee hero in a populated lane will put himself at risk of spells and attacks every time he/she moves up to the creep battle for a killing blow.
Another small advantage to melee heroes is that they get 66% of a denied creeps experience instead of the 33% ranged heroes get, possibly owing to how hard it is for a melee hero to get killing blows. Even so, if a ranged hero gets 30 denies to a melee heroes 10, that 33% extra isn't going to balance it out.
Ranged heroes have the advantage in a populated lane. A melee hero looking to score a last-hit can take a hit from a ranged hero every time they move up to the creep battle. They also are a bit further back in the lane, giving increased safety from ganks. However, ranged heroes normally have lower base damage and do not benefit from logger's hatchet as much, making individual creep kills slightly harder to perform.
You might want to have health bars showing (default ') as it makes knowing when creeps are closer to death easy to see without mousing over them.
A very useful tactic when trying to get killing blows on the same creeps your enemies are is to animation cancel. When a creep gets to the point where 2 hits would kill it rather than one, set up like you're going to attack a creep, even so far as to start your heroes attack animation. The enemy will think you're hitting the creep, timing his attack to land after yours. However, if you cancel your hit, and he does not, then you can land your hit after him, granting you the killing blow.
12-08-2009, 02:53 PM
While experience is given to all heroes within 1000 range, gold for a creep is only given to the unit that killed it. This is the first of two reasons suggesting that you not auto attack, but to wait until an enemy creep is low enough on health so that your attack is the killing blow. This will net you full exp and gold for that creep. The second reason to only attack creeps when your attack will be the killing blow is that auto attacking pushes your lane. This brings the creep battle closer to your enemies tower, and further from yours. You are much easier to gank when your lane is pushed. Your enemies become harder for allies to gank, as well.
Creeps killed by a hero don't just fall apart but sorta explode.
There are many things to take into account when last hitting. You need to gain a feel for how much damage your hero does per swing. You then need to figure out how much time it takes from when you right-click a creep to when the actual damage is done. For a hero like Madman this is almost instantaneous, but for Glacius it can take a long time for his projectile to hit the creep. With a ranged attack you actually need to figure out how soon the enemy will be in the killing blow zone based on how much damage the creep is taking from external sources. It takes practice to get proficient at this.
In a side lane, you can get up to four heroes all trying to last hit or deny (next section) every creep at once. This can become a game of who has the best base damage, animation, and skill at obtaining killing blows. It is much easier to last hit and deny when enemy heroes have been harassed (later in the guide) out of the range of creeps.
If you'll look at the picture below you can see the lowermost melee creep has yellow-orange hp. While I can't perform a killing blow right now, if I factor in my projectile's speed and the fact that two creeps are attacking him, if I attack now I might be able to get the gold from him.
Turns out I did the math right. After two attack each from the allied melee and ranged creep, he's low enough on hp that my attack will kill him, granting me both gold and exp for the kill.
The counter to last-hitting is either harassing the enemy, or....
A heroes' second-greatest tool when looking to keep a weak early gamer weak longer, the first being killing the hero. Denying is the same thing as last-hitting (above), but with allied creeps instead of enemy creeps. There are three reasons to deny allied creeps. A deny is effectively your kill, granting no money to enemy heroes. It also reduces the experience enemies will gain from the unit. Ranged enemies will only gain 33% of the experience they would have normally, while melee heroes will gain 66% of the experience. You also get a cool-looking visual that acts as a sort of take-that to your enemies.
You are only able to deny a creep after it reaches 50% hp. If you really want to move your lane back, you can begin auto-attacking a friendly creep once or twice before setting up for the deny, as this will push the lane toward your tower. Take care that this tactic doesn't give the enemy a free last hit because your attack is on cooldown, however.
You can't right-click an allied creep to attack it. You have to hit attack (a default) and then left-click the allied unit to attack it.
On a side note, you can also deny towers, but only after they reach 10% health or lower. While the point of the game is to keep towers and raxes alive, once a tower reaches that low of hp it is effectively worthless, and the money gained from destroying a tower is significant. Denying a tower is a huge (potential) gold reduction for the enemy team.
You can even deny friendly heroes. If a hero has a Damage over Time on them, you can deny them just as you could a creep. Make sure that they're actually going to die, though, as killing an ally who was going to make it could be a bit embarrassing. The benefits are, again, no gold or exp given to enemies.
Countering enemy denying is much easier if they are a melee. You must hit them with spells or attacks every time they move close enough to a creep to deny it. If it's an enemy ranged hero you can try to harass, or else you must time your last-hits so that you get the killing blow instead of them.
Free-farming is one of the easiest things to do in the game. All it requires is a novice's experience at last-hitting, and enemies who will leave you alone. This means having an empty lane except for you, without your hero being ganked or a friendly lane being pushed.
The benefits of free farming are maximum gold/exp gain, while maintaining maximum safety. You can easily get every single creep kill, even while being within spitting distance of a friendly tower the whole time. It's negatives are that it shuts down a lane to any friendlies looking to farm/push themselves, and any enemy can show up to wreak havoc on your operation.
Free-farm is the maintained use of both last-hitting and denying to maintain an equilibrium in your lane. In essence, you get as many killing blows on the enemy creeps as you can, while damaging your own creeps enough that they don't push forward. Whichever creep side is winning is the one you'll want to focus on damaging, though you'll never want to miss an enemy last hit because you were denying an archer.
You'll want to keep the creeps close to, but not in range of, a friendly tower if possible. You might want to have wards in place and a tp scroll handy, so that if any enemy ganks or pushes appear you can easily escape or help your allies as necessary.
If an enemy hero uses this, or is in fact farming at all, the easiest way to stop it is to gank/harass them, depending on how safe the location is. By killing/chasing the hero away, you can upset their operation and maybe push the creeps one way or the other to ensure they can't static farm for a bit.
On the other hand, you can take advantage of their greed and push a lane separate from where they are farming. They will then have to choose between free-farming and defending with their team. Keep in mind that this tactic does not work on Sand Wraith or a hero with teleport scroll.
Creep pulling is a popular tactic, usually used in the strong lane (and half the reason it is the strong lane). The idea of creep pulling is to pull neutral creeps into your lane, where they and your allied creeps will begin fighting. This tactic adds several advantages, most of which involve exp/gold.
Now then, the first thing to keep in mind is that you cannot pull the first creep wave of the game, because neutrals only spawn at 30 seconds on the clock.
The first advantage to creep pulling is fairly obvious. You get the gold and experience for a neutral camp without taking the damage. The second advantage is one most people miss. You do not auto attack the neutral creeps unless you're in a hurry to get your creeps back to your lane. If you sit back and deny your own creeps while they're fighting the neutrals, it's a 100% gold and exp deny as opposed to the minor exp gain it would have been in the lane.
You should only rarely be pulling unless your lane is pushed a ways out or your lanemate has some way of defending the tower. It is almost always a stupid idea to pull a creep wave only to have your tower take 200-300 damage because of it. However, if you do pull while the lane is pushed toward their tower, the lack of a friendly wave will bring the lane back toward your side and under your control.
Creep pulling often has a delayed effect of pushing your lane, as when the extra 2-3 creeps you pulled meet up with the next wave the combined force will fight it's way to the far end of the lane before too long. The best way to counteract this is to stack the camp before pulling. Creeps spawn every time the clock hits a minute point, or at 7:00 and then again at 8:00. If the creeps in the camp are outside the area, such as if you had pulled them at 6:52, there will be two neutral camps in the same area. This camp will kill your creeps much more efficiently which, while slightly counter-intuitive, will actually give you that much more of an exp/gold advantage over your opponents.
If you don't know how to creep pull, it's very simple. The easiest spawn to pull is in the bottom lane on the Legion side, or the top lane on the Hellbourne side. Both are very close to the farthest out tower.
As you can see, I'm set up in front of the easiest pull location. The lane is pushed out a ways in the red circle, while the green circle shows the approximate location of where your creeps should be when you pull the neutrals.
If you're melee, run up to the creeps and begin running toward the lane. If ranged, you can just attack the creeps once to pull them. Either way, time it so that the neutrals hit the creep wave. You can see that I'm running back toward the neutral camp. In the next picture you'll see why.
Either through successful creep blocking, or in my case using Graveyard on the ogre's, you can even stack and pull at the same time. Now my creep wave will be fighting 2 neutral camps at once.
Countering creep pulling is actually very easy. The clumsiest way to go about it is attack the creep camp every time they pull. A much more efficient solution is to have a unit/device of some kind in the spawn. Creeps can't spawn if something is already there. Thus, spending 200g for wards will prevent your enemies from pulling for 12 minutes or until they buy true sight to counter your wards.
Legion's top lane can actually counter-pull themselves. The "hard" neutral camp directly to the right of your lane as you pass the river can be pulled into the lane, as well. It's much easier to do if you use a spell, Rune of the Blight, or Hatchet to cut down one of the trees, pulling the creeps through the gap. However, you can pull them into the lane whether you chop down the trees or not.
The key to staying safe in your lane is proximity to your friendly tower and map awareness. There are some other minor tools you can use to your advantage in keeping safe. Namely, fog of war and distance from the creep battle.
Fog of war is the greatest asset a hero, friendly or unfriendly, can use to gain an edge in ganks. While I'll cover it's offensive uses later, for now we'll focus on the defensive purposes. You'll always want to maintain two things, if possible.
Knowledge of enemies' position
Obscured vision of your hero from enemies
The first tool in knowing where your enemies are is sight range. This is provided to any enemy in a lane from creeps. Wards of Sight are the most common tool to provide vision in between lanes, where ganks would come from.
Welcome to your greatest tool for map awareness, the mini map. As you can see below, all of the Hellbourne's lanes are pushed, giving me very little sight of their lanes. This would make ganking much easier for them, if not for the two wards I'd placed near bottom rune. The ramp up is a favorite place for enemies to gank from, and the woods to the left of the lane is where they like to hang out before going in.
However, you obviously can't have vision of the entire map at all times. This is where the actual awareness comes in, and also why calling mia has become popular. In the situation pictured above, even if I didn't have those wards up I would want to be extremely careful and possibly hide near my tower. I couldn't see any enemies in their lanes except for the single hero bot, meaning that at any time I could be ganked by 1-4 enemies from the woods. It's not that hard to buy a teleport scroll from the top outpost, and then use that scroll to tp bot, cut through the woods, and ambush me 20 seconds after I'd lost sight of that hero.
Always keep track of how many enemies are missing, especially if your lane is closer to the enemies tower than your own. Also weigh how dangerous the hero is. If a Legionnaire goes mia near his woods, you're probably safe, as he's jungling. If Thunderbringer goes mia mid 10 seconds after the rune spawned you might want to gtfo.
Keep in mind that, unless you're playing with people you trust, relying on mia calls is the stupidest thing you could possibly do. Mia calls are a luxury that saves you 1-2 seconds of looking at your minimap, whereas relying on them is as intelligent as the teammate. Many people call mia, but the one out of four who doesn't is the one who will kill you.
That said, your personal safety should not be your only worry. Be part of the cure, not part of the disease. If a hero in your lane goes missing, let your teammates know. Generally, I start typing out mia when a creep wave clashes without an enemy on the other side. They might be shopping or checking rune in between waves, but a hero missing out on exp has somewhere important to be. Also, try to be descriptive if you can. "MIA BOT!", is all well and good, but sometimes the descriptors "2 mia bot, 1 low hp 1 dead." might give your teammates a clearer picture. The idea is to inform your teammates, not to cover your ass with as short a mia as possible in case they get ganked.
To summarize this short chapter on awareness, I'll use a short list of tips in bullet form.
Check your minimap in between creep waves, or every 10-20 seconds
Any heroes not in sight could easily be within ganking distance of your hero
Call mia but do not depend on your team to do the same
For maximum safety, place wards near popular gank avenues
Positioning your hero is a very minor tool with a big payoff. In short, it's keeping your hero in the hardest place to gank at all times. Most of that is covered by controlling creeps and staying close to your tower, but there is slightly more to it than that.
The most important parts of positioning are to:
Maintain distance and fog of war where possible
Never establish a pattern and become predictable
Keep hard to aim abilities hard to aim
Even if the hero you chose is melee, you'll want to spend much of your time behind the archer creeps. You can always run forward for a quick last hit when an enemy creep gets low, but holding position near the creep wave itself invites attack.
Your first goal, then, is to maintain distance and fog of war. Enemies who cannot reach or see you cannot hurt you. However, if maintaining these two makes you predictable or hampers your movement, immediately switch tactics. Your new set of tactics should try to incorporate at least one of the first set, unless that set would also invoke the other two parts.
For example, if you look in the picture below, my hero is hidden by the trees, while still close to the creep wave. Now, I could jump out, kill a creep, and jump back to safety. However, if I do this more than once or twice, I've established a pattern that an enemy could predict. Maybe next time I jump out he'll have a stun ready, or upon jumping back in I'll meet a meat hook.
Thus, if I want to position myself effectively, I could do a number of things. First, I would jump out and back into the tree alcove. Then, I could move to the right of the archer on my side and kill creeps from there until the wave moves on. That way, any hooks or javelins from the forest would hit the creep, instead. I would maintain as many properties of good positioning as possible, changing tactics only when it becomes predictable.
Keep in mind that you always want a clear avenue of escape, as well. While the spot pictured below is hidden from the enemy, I am both too far away to last hit effectively, and if an enemy were to gank me he could easily place himself between me and my friendly tower. http://img14.imageshack.us/img14/645/safe2.jpg (http://img14.imageshack.us/i/safe2.jpg/)
This is a very useful spot you will see people use if they can cut down trees. There is a small opening into the woods in this group of trees, and if you eat a tree at the right side you have a nifty opening into the woods from which to harass and last hit. Again, don't overuse this spot unless you have a reliable ally on your side, as enemies will soon expect you to be there. You might even want to place a ward in the woods behind you in case an enemy sees your pattern and decides to loop around behind you.
Standing on top of a cliff denies the enemy sight of you while giving you a 30% evasion chance to ranged attacks. You will almost always want to be last hitting from your cliff edge. Again, strafe the edges of the cliff so as not to make yourself easily ganked.
If you let yourself get Meat Hooked or hit with a Pyromancer stun, you deserve to die. However, a Hammer/Pyro lane will require you to maintain distance from Hammerstorm, and not become predictable enough to get hit with a Pyro stun. That's why it can be such a tough lane. That, and the >1000 burst they can dish out at level 7.
So then, let's assume you've either ignored all my advice, or have honestly been caught unawares, and are now being ganked. There are several clues you can keep track of to let you get ready for an enemy gank.
If you or your lanemate are low on hp, it is far more likely that your enemies will try to gank you. This also holds true for if you've pushed your lane farther than you probably should have. My first instinct when looking to gank an enemy is to look at my map and see if either of the side lanes have been pushed close to an allied tower. A pushed lane is a vulnerable lane.
Take care if an enemy from a nearby lane has gone mia, or an enemy has recently died. Oftentimes after I die when I think I should have gotten away I go looking for someone to kill to make them feel my pain. Again, don't rely on mia calls to keep yourself safe. If there's only 3 enemies on your map, it's entirely possible the other two are moving in to gank your lane.
If you've been ganked, you've probably made a mistake somewhere. You can think about where it all went wrong while waiting to respawn, but for now the most common way to get yourself ganked and killed is....
Overconfidence and Greed
The easiest way too die in all of HoN is to get greedy. Sometimes you have to settle with sending an enemy back to their fountain, as a kill is almost never worth dieing for. Patience is key to doing well in HoN. If an enemy gets away, just creep farm until they come back for round two. Playing it safe is almost always the better course of action, as greed kills.
Let's say that your enemies are playing unnaturally agressively. If you are at full hp and mana, with a low hp enemy suddenly running forward, you should immediately begin running. Sure, he may be stupid, or having some honest fun bluffing you, but it is far more likely he has backup waiting in the wings, just waiting for you to waste your stuns on his ally so he can destroy you.
At the same time, if you have an ally setting up for a gank, an easy way to give it a greater chance of success is to bait your enemies into believing they have a kill, just before your allies swoop in from the woods.
Magebane can be ridiculously hard to kill early game if he's smart. Just about every gank that comes his way is avoidable through him using Flash to get away. However, a Magebane who has used Flash is weak, oftentimes weaker than most other heroes. Thus, if you wish to kill an enemy Magebane, or are playing Magebane and don't want to get killed, the easiest way to kill a Magebane is to bait him into using Flash aggressively, and counter-attacking when it's on cooldown. Alternatively, you could scare him into Flashing away from you, and if you have a teammate set up to stun him after he does this you could easily follow-up to get the kill. This tactic works just as well for heroes such as Scout, Chronos, and Hag.
Tower diving is a common thing to see in games of HoN. Generally speaking, running to your tower is a good way to get enemies off your back. However, if that enemy has a nuke almost off cooldown, they may tank the tower for the last few seconds it takes to kill you. The best way to counter this is with a stun of your own, if you have one, or running into the woods near your tower. The first bot legion tower has woods below it, while the first top Hellbourne tower has woods above. The first towers in mid have nearby woods as well. An enemy searching for you in the fog will be tanking the tower the whole time.
Not getting focused
There will be many a game in your HoN career where every gank or team fight will begin with your dieing. This can be due to many factors, such as:
1. Have you been talking a lot of **** this game?
This is actually quite fun to do. See, if you play even a bad Magebane, but talk a truckload of **** every time you so much as get within 1000 range of an enemy death, every enemy is going to be out for your blood every team fight. While this can be fun, it can lead to quite a few focus-fire deaths of your own, followed by an absolute storm of counter-shittalk.
2. Are you squishy, and have you been feeding already?
Everyone likes to pad their K/D and purses at the same time. The easiest way to paint a target on your back is to play a squishy hero. I don't mean Glacius so much as any non-strength hero who you neglect to buy hp on. If you're running around with 800 hp 20-30 min in, whether you're Andromeda or Kraken, you're gonna get focus-fired.
The same holds true for if you've been "feeding". How this works is that an enemy team will notice you've gone 0-3, leading them to believe you're absolutely horrible at this game. Whether that's true or not, it's going to make them consciously or unconsciously target you whenever possible. This can easily avalanche into your simple had-a-bad-lane 0-3 turning into a 1-7, causing the enemy team to think you're even more of a noob. Short of saying "don't feed in the first place", the only advice I can give is to hang back and let your allies get initiated on, only making your move once the enemy team has committed.
3. Do you frequently get initiated on for being too far forward?
This is a very easy mistake to make. If you constantly farm on your own away from your tower, or just run ahead of your teammates when you're not the initiator/tank, you can't blame your deaths on anyone but yourself. Again, hang with your team in the fog, waiting for the enemy team to commit before running in guns ablaze.
Of course, if you are your teams initiator this tactic may not always work. But there is a huge difference between dieing while initating for your team and running in to a group of enemies for a quick death. Sometimes, dieing for your team is the best course of action, but oftentimes you have to make a mistake to die.
4. Are you pwning/a carry/a major threat?
Oftentimes the prime target for repeated ganks is a hard carry, or some other large threat that the rival team wants to keep weak. If you're playing a carry, such as Chronos, you might want to farm only in safe lanes and join team fights after the enemies have blown their powerful spells on your allies. Don't wait too long, however, as a well-placed Chronos ult is quite helpful, and may be the initiation your team is waiting for.
5. Are you Vindicator?
Vindicator can absolutely destroy an entire lineup just by chilling at the right place. He combines this ability to shut down entire teams with a legendary squisheyness+lack of escape mechanisms. In short, Vindicator's almost sole purpose is to run into a team fight and hope his allies make use of his aura and ult well enough that the enemy team dies before he gets focus-fired into mush.
Oftentimes, you'll want a hero or two on your team to be the one focused. This is called tanking. However, a hero cannot focus on tanking by buying hp and armor alone, because noone will bother killing him if he has 3k hp and no damage. That's why your tank also needs to be a threat in some way. Common ways to tank are to have a skillset or items to keep your team alive as well, such as with Accursed. Alternatively, you can be playing a hero such as Torturer or Defiler who will do immense amounts of damage if left unchecked. Another common way is to make Mock of Brilliance, as you would be doing 40/s (up to 200 damage a second to an entire team) to any heroes in your radius. This damage would make you the holder a prime target for focus-fire, so if he's a powerful tank he can soak up damage and stuns that could possibly kill an ally or two.
The sad truth is that someone on your team is going to get focused, even if it's just the first person brought to half life by stuns. If you're playing Pharaoh and you bought a Shaman's Headdress, your goal in a gank or team fight is to initiate on them and get focus-fired. Any damage you take and mitigate is damage your weaker teammates don't have to. If you're playing a Witch Slayer and you are dieing before getting your nukes off, play it safe and let your team tank. But if you're playing Accursed, you should be running headfirst into every fight you come across.
Juking is the act of moving in unexpected directions while fleeing from an opponent. It is significantly more useful when using Fog of War while juking. The easiest way to juke an opponent is to flee into woods or up a ramp, and then running the opposite way you originally were.
For example, in the below screenshot I'm running from Arachna.
I use the small tree wall to take a U-turn back to the right and toward my tower.
http://img189.imageshack.us/img189/6296/juke2d.jpg (http://img189.imageshack.us/i/juke2d.jpg/) http://img189.imageshack.us/img189/juke2d.jpg/1/w640.png (http://g.imageshack.us/img189/juke2d.jpg/1/)
A good time to juke enemies is when running through some of the unknown paths of the map. For example, did you know that the woods above top Hellbourne tower and below Legion tower both have 2 entrances? An enemy could chase you into the woods above the first Hellbourne tower, and if you use the second entrance he didn't know about he could run around for a good 30 seconds up there before he figured out where you went.
Juking is best combined with the teleport scroll. If you get in trouble, find some fog or elevation and tp out.
A large part of juking is knowing the spots to run to. I can't show you every one, as there are far too many to show pictures for. For example, the light blue lines in this map are pretty much all the juke spots I know of. You'll find most of them on your own just by exploring the map and using them.
Each of these three areas are just a few examples of the many small nooks you can hide a hero in. An enemy needs to practically run into you to see where your hero is, and these areas are all over the map.
And here is a nifty spot to tp from. Use areas like this, not well known and surrounded by trees, to lose your enemies for just long enough to teleport out.
12-08-2009, 02:54 PM
Building Lane Control
The easiest way to lose your lane is to go into it with the wrong tools - Padawanabee about 7 sections ago.
The easiest way to win your lane, however, is to go into it with the right tools. There are a multitude of items and skill builds to maximize your effectiveness early.
Every skill does something different, but there are several categories you can loop them into, and these categories change in effectiveness as the game progresses. For example, Swiftblade's passive abilities are not very useful early. However, as the game progresses these skills become more powerful relative to how farmed Swiftblade becomes.
While I can't list a build for every hero here (Well I could, but pretty soon I'd have to give up on updating it), I can give you general guidelines in what skills to take to add power to your early game and laning stage. Always pick up disables when you can. Some you will not level past one for a while, such as some builds for Succubus and her sleep spell, but you will always want one level of a disable.
Steroid skills that work with percentages, such as critical hit chance, scale all game. However, the nature of these skills places their potential further along in the game than during the laning phase. Steroid skills that work with numbers, such as Sand Wraith's Desolate, or have a disable on them, such as Pestilence's Gore or The Dark Lady's Dark Blades, are useful to have a level in for their effect, if not for their steroid aspect.
So, key skills to always take
Escape skills that give Stealth or Blink.
Disables, especially hard disables such as stuns. Soft disables include silence and slow.
Nukes and set passives, especially if they include a special effect.
Skills you may want to pass up on until later
Steroid skills that work with percentages
Abilities that require you to be auto attacking a target.
Skills that will push a lane.
I'll list two short examples to prove my point:
Moon Queen should take Moon Beam and Moon Finale since they are nukes that help her to harass her lane. Multi-strike will push her lane and requires her to auto attack. Lunar Glow is a steroid skill that works with percentages, so it is better to put it off until later. Since she has two skills you may want to put off, it is best to alternatively level Moon Beam/Moon Finale/Stats until around 7-12, where we can start picking up her passives.
Pestilence should definately be maxing both Impale and Swarm ASAP, as they have set numbers and disable effects. Flight works slightly outside of my guidelines in that it is a percentage based ability that involves movespeed, a statistic that will rarely change after getting Steamboots/EM/PH. It is also essential to his ganking phase. Gore is a percentage based ability that relies on auto attack, two strikes against it. It has a disable effect included, however, and is sometimes leveled once at level 2/4. Still, two strikes against it and one for it makes it a controversial topic, especially since leveling his other skills is so important.
The key to lane control is endurance. Staying power. The longer you can stay in your lane the longer you're getting an influx of gold and experience. Also, harassing will often get your hero damaged, as well. The first thing to address is regen, followed by hp pool, with last hitting power the final consideration.
The smartest choices are regen consumables, a courier, and cheap stats, in that order. Consumables give cheap regen, a courier allows you to stay in the lane while you shop, and cheap stats fill up your inventory while aiding hp pool and last hitting power.
A courier is a great asset to your team, but you will generally only need one person to buy it. If you have some team coordination you can ask a support hero such as Glacius or Andromeda to do it, otherwise you might have to take the hit and buy it yourself. If you do buy a courier, share control and ask if anyone would be willing to upgrade it to a flying courier since you're allowing them use of it. Most people do not make use of couriers, but if you're doing well in your lane and don't want to leave it can be an asset.
Unless you've randomed a hero in either AR or AP, or are playing with less than five players on your team, you will be starting with 603 gold. You have six item slots to fill with this. Generally speaking, it's a good idea to use most of your inventory space with cheap items. Why? Because extra inventory space is a resource.
Let me explain. A Blessed Orb gives +10 to stats for 2100 gold. 10 minor totems gives +10 to stats for 530 gold. The difference is that the Blesses Orb takes up 9 less inventory slots. A Pretender's Crown gives +2 to stats for 185 gold. A Crushing Claw gives +3 to strength for 150 gold. The recipe for turning those two into a Fortified Bracelet costs 175 gold, almost as much as the Pretender's Crown, but only adds +1 to each stat. It also opens up an inventory slot, however.
The idea, then, is to take care of:
hp and mana regen
Last hitting power (if possible)
While filling up as many inventory slots as possible, using our 603 gold. An example inventory I use in many of my games is:
http://img4.imageshack.us/img4/6995/item1ua.jpg (http://img4.imageshack.us/i/item1ua.jpg/) http://img4.imageshack.us/img4/item1ua.jpg/1/w140.png (http://g.imageshack.us/img4/item1ua.jpg/1/)
2 health and mana consumables each, with +4 to all stats. The consumables handle regen until a more dependable source of regen can be found, and the totems and pretender's crown add to stats, giving us 76 hp and +4 damage. It also takes up 5 inventory slots.
It is wasteful to buy totems you will sell back later, so I like to turn the two totems into a Power Supply, while the Pretender's crown becomes a Fortified Bracelet. So in essence, I've taken up 5 inventory slots for my lane, handled regen, and when I go back to base I can turn it all into 2 items, using the other 4 spaces for better items.
Here you can see a level 1 Witch Hunter before items, sittting at a pitiful 454 hp. He'll last about 2 nukes and 5 hits before dieing. Let's see if we can improve that.
For 150+150+185+90=575 gold, we can give him 152 max hp and about 350 health in regen. He's quite a bit beefier, and ready to go to his lane.
And here's what happens after he comes back to shop. He's hit level 5 (you can't see that) and has turned his items into two Fortified Bracelets. He's now sitting at 800 hp, almost double what he had approximately 10 minutes ago. Remember kids, staying power is what wins HoN 9 times out of 10.
It is almost always a bad idea to go to your lane with just a bottle (naked bottle). While it provides significant regen, especially if you can control runes, it gives no damage or hp. While the lack of 70 hp rarely comes into play, some aggresive lanes from level one will first blood you because of this, your choice of items then setting you back a few minutes. It is almost always smarter to buy a courier and 400 in stats/consumables, and then have the courier bring the bottle to you when you get the money.
Also, if you are going to the side lanes, look at the items in the outpost. Many useful items, such as the ingredients for Iron Shield (Duck Boots and an Iron Buckler), Logger's Hatchet, and Mana Battery can be purchased at the outpost. It often makes more sense to buy regen and stats, and then get a Hatchet from the outpost, than to buy a Hatchet and wish you had regen 3 minutes into your lane.
On the point of the outpost, you can even use it to complete recipe's. For example, Ring of the Teacher is a nice item to have in your lane, but at 500 gold it's fairly expensive to get right off the bat. However, you can get the 325 gold Scarab at the outpost, so you only have to spend the 175 for the Guardian Ring initially, finishing the recipe on gold gained from your lane. This gives you additional cash to spend on hp or other important initiation items.
Consumables and stats will keep you in your lane for a while, but you're going to need more than that if you want to succeed. Obviously, each hero has seperate items and builds they'll want to begin progressing on as soon as possible, but there are some purchases that are smart for different varieties of players to get before thinking about a more expensive item.
Marchers and it's upgrades.
Every hero will want to purchase these within the first 10 minutes of play. Upgrading Marchers is also a smart idea to complete early, as movespeed is an integral part of every heroes survival. Also, boots upgrades are, in general, more cost effective in what they will give you than other recipe's. Find what upgrade suits your hero the best, and work on obtaining those boots quickly.
Almost all heroes will want some form of regen outside of going back to the fountain. The ways to obtain both health and mana regen are numerous, from a bottle, to Sustainer, to life steal. Don't neglect to cover both forms of regen, as constantly going back to base to heal will put that much more distance between your gold/exp gain and the enemies.
Fortified Bracelets, Soulscream Rings, Talismans of Exile
90% of heroes in HoN usually want to make at least one or two Fortified Bracelets. They're cheap, effective, and they take up inventory space you will normally not be using until later in the game. As mentioned before, staying power is integral to doing well in HoN, and 1020 gold can get you 228 hp in addition to the other numerous benefits.
A powerful item for any hero, the Power Supply can normally take the place of one of the above items. It trades +3 to a specialized stat for a very useful and life-saving burst heal/mana recharge. It's cheap, it's effective, and it makes use of minor totems, a useful initiation item you would have sold otherwise.
A smart purchase on melee heroes only, it makes the gap in which to place killing blows about 1/3 higher, making gold easier to obtain if you're having trouble getting last hits. Also, the ability to kill trees is handy, as there are numerous reasons (such as killing Keeper of the Forests eyes) you would want to be able to destroy a tree.
This item is also much more effective on melee heroes. An Iron Buckler is actually a decent purchase on it's own without being upgraded, if you have an extra slot. For only 250 gold, it reduces incoming damage by 20 (10 for range) 60% of the time. While this means very little in a hero fight, most creeps only do 20 damage near the beginning of the game, giving you 60% reduced damage from creep waves. While not essential, this can be a significant boost if you're having trouble with creep aggro.
In the broadest sense, Harassing is any action taken during the laning phase that will weaken your opponents. It can be split into several areas, the most common being denying creeps (above), using spells or attacks to weaken or force your opponents away from the creep battle, and finally either killing or sending your enemies back to their fountain to heal.
Each type of harass carries with it risks. You'll always want to minimize damage to yourself while harassing your enemies. This is why ranged attacks, orb effects, and abilities are preferable to their counterparts: you can do them all while taking minimal damage, yourself.
The most common harassment method would be using your auto attack or abilities to intimidate an opponent. If they can't compete with your harass, they'll be forced away from the creep wave, giving you complete control of the lane for a time. It would be advisable to focus on creep control while they are too far away to affect the battle.
The other purpose is to weaken your enemies, slowly bringing them closer to some set amount where you can kill them. For example, Witch Slayer can burst fairly hard at level 7. But he may need to bring a str type, such as Legionnaire, to about 700 hp through harassment before (Graveyard + attack + attack + Silver Bullet) will kill him.
The most effective method would be outright killing your opponent, or sending him back to his fountain. Not only do you gain a gold/exp advantage through his death, you also gain control of the lane in their absence.
When facing a dual lane, you'll have to choose which enemy to focus. This choice is usually easy, however. Some reasons to harass an opponent may be:
They lack an escape skill that their lanemate might have. For example, killing Plague Rider will be easier than killing Magebane, unless you can lock him down or his Flash is on cooldown
Focus on enemies that have less health or regen. A 500 hp glacius might be tempting, but if he has 9 runes of the blight you may want to focus the 700 hp Devourer with no regen.
They have a greater focus on gold farm than their lanemate. While damaging int types is all well and good, your classic hard carry will be more reliant on the gold and experience he can gain in his lane. It is better to send, say, a Madman back to his fountain for a while than Pyromancer.
Each hero harasses differently, and some are better at it than others. For example, Sand Wraith has one low-power nuke and a melee auto attack, so oftentimes he should focus on not getting harassed rather than attempting to harass his enemies. At the same time, Demented Shaman has two powerful harassment spells (if an enemy melee is moving up to the creep wave to last hit, heal the creep wave for a powerful nuke), and a quick-fire ranged attack he can use to harass any heroes who move too far up.
The easiest way to counter heavy harass is to stay out of their range. In most cases this means you're a melee, and you need to last-hit a creep without getting hit once or twice for it. You can do a number of things, such as taunting creeps back out of their range, to maintain safety while creeping. However, if the harass is getting too strong you may need to pull neutrals and tower hug. If you're sitting at the foot of the tower you have a very good guardian in case they try to harass you.
Harassing with attacks
Harassing with your auto-attack is fairly simple, but it carries with it some risks. It is generally only used without any help from abilities by ranged heroes. Right-clicking an enemy hero will cause the AI of nearby creeps and towers to kick in, causing them to attack you while you attack the enemy hero. Also, any enemy you can see and fight can also see and fight you, only they'll also have the creep wave on their side if they choose to fight.
Generally speaking, the best times to auto-attack enemies is when a melee moves up to his lane, or when the enemy creep wave is dead. In the former you can back up if you draw creep aggro, and in the latter there are no enemy creeps to taunt.
If you're going to harass an enemy with your auto-attack, make sure you run into range without right-clicking them, first. Creeps don't mind if you run into melee range of an enemy hero, so you can take that much less damage by running in that way before right-clicking once you're in range. If you REALLY don't want creep aggro, you can even move your hero behind an enemy hero, and hitting stop (default s). Your hero will attack the enemy hero if done correctly, but since you never issued an attack order the enemy creeps will not aggro you.
A term originating in DotA, Orb walking is when you manually use a spell such as Arachna's Webbed Shot on an enemy hero. These abilities change your attack into an orb effect, and essentially makes your attack a spell. Due to this, creeps and towers will not aggro you for attacking an enemy in this way.
Orb Walking is even more effective if you also make use of the next section...
Both abilities and attacks have animation's tied into them. Some, like KotF's camouflage, require you to do the animation for the spell to cast. This delay before it casts helps to balance abilities, as it would be quite a bit more powerful if KotF could instantly stealth his allies. Many animations, however, do not need to be done. These, "After-attack", animations can be cancelled, giving you more time to move or attack, rather than sitting still as your wizard twirls his staff in the air.
Many spells, such as Pyromancer's AoE stun, have a cast time. If you want to annoy/psyche out your opponent, or if you know ahead of time that you're going to miss the stun your guy is jumping up in the air to do, you have a brief window to hit, "s", to stop the spell. The spell won't cast if you do this, but if you were going to miss anyway this can save you mana and a cooldown.
Canceling attack animations, or
"Shot on the Run"
A somewhat advanced tactic, useful on both melee and ranged heroes. You may have noticed that every hero in the game has an attack who's actual attack is significantly shorter than the cooldown between auto attacks. The pretty animation goes on, but your hero is, for game purposes, sitting there doing nothing. If your hero attacks once a second, but only takes .5 seconds to deal damage, you can use the other half of every second to perform other actions.
The most obvious action you could be performing is running alongside your enemy. If we assume the previous example could get three attacks off before an enemy leaves the heroes' attack range, and they made use of the tactic, then they could attack six times instead of three.
Harassing with spells and abilities
Harassing with your abilities will often be much quicker than harassing with your attack. However, you do not have an infinite supply of mana, so you'll have to choose the best times to harass with your spells. Each hero harasses differently, and how you weaken your opponent will largely depend on lane match-ups.
The simplest form of ability harass, there's not much you can do to enhance their damage output. They are nothing more than mana burned for damage dealt.
Thus, the main point to consider is mana supply. In most cases you don't want to sit at full mana, as any mana regen not used is mana wasted. At the same time, you don't want to spam a spell not at full power. Most nukes are useless until level 3, when you can put two skill points into them. Wasting all your mana on a level 1 nuke is silly, when you could save that mana for the same nuke at 3 or 5 for greater results.
These spells' damage can be greatly increased by taking advantage of the disable time. In a 1v1 setting, the greatest way to enhance the damage of the spell will be with allied creeps or towers.
For example, if you are playing Hammerstorm, you could wait for 3 allied creeps and 1 enemy creep left in the wave. If you threw your hammer in such a way as to kill the creep and stun the hero, your 3 allied creeps would attack the enemy during the stun time. This could easily add up to an extra 100 damage from the creeps, often the difference between a kill and a fountain trip.
One of the easiest ways to score a kill early is to land your stun while an allied tower is attacking the enemy hero. If an overconfident enemy right-click attacks you in range of a nearby tower, it will begin attacking him. A two second stun right after this will most likely kill the enemy hero, if not from the stun damage than from the 3-4 next tower attacks.
While I outlined stun usage in my example, a powerful slow, such as Plague Rider's, can easily allow 3-4 hits from any chasing heroes or creeps in addition to it's high initial damage.
If you've successfully harassed your opponents, take advantage of your lane dominance. Enjoy unrestricted access to the health pools of both friendly and enemy creeps. If you can, keep the lane close to your tower, so that if they want to come back for exp they'll have to come back within harassing range. Let them know you've won, too. If they come back, just start running toward them with your nuke ready. Chances are they'll start running out of range again. Be careful if they don't, however, as this means they probably have backup ready.
Killing enemy Heroes
So, the time has come to finally kill an enemy hero. Either you've harassed him enough that he's vulnerable, or a friendly hero is coming from mid. In either case, it's time to send the opposition back to their fountain.
Chaining of spells can mean two things. When you're talking about a single hero, it would be casting one spell right after the other. For example, you could chain Power Drain off of Graveyard as Witch Slayer to damage health and mana of a hero at the same time for no mana cost. In a group setting, it means multiple heroes casting their spells in the most effective way.
The most common chain is with stuns. If two heroes each have a two second stun, they can get more stun time by casting them one after the other instead of simultaneously. So if you're playing Hammerstorm, you could say, "stunning grey", before stunning grey. You warn your ally so that they have enough time to cast their spells to maximum effect, rather than having a Pyromancer out of stun range when you throw.
Pyro could use the stun time from your hammer to get into range, stunning just as yours is wearing off. He could then chain his ultimate or other nuke to that stun for even more damage.
In the pictures below you can see an Andromeda and Pestilence chaining their stuns on a Blood Hunter. Pestilence used the time Blood Hunter was stunned to get into range to stun, himself, allowing for both allies to get the maximum amount of time to auto-attack the Blood Hunter.
http://img194.imageshack.us/img194/9564/chain1.jpg (http://img194.imageshack.us/i/chain1.jpg/) http://img27.imageshack.us/img27/4121/chain2o.jpg (http://img27.imageshack.us/i/chain2o.jpg/)
One major aspect to chaining spells is to cast your lower cooldown spells early in the fight. Having that spell off cooldown might be important soon, so you'll want the cooldown to begin as early in the fight as possible.
Some of the most powerful spell chains can win games. For example, if Tempest ults 2-3 enemies while Magmus channels Eruption, he can ult the entire team, even stunning them after Tempest's disable ends for more stun time.
The key to burst is killing your enemy before they are aware they're in danger. If you're doing 100/second from auto attack, and your enemy has 400 hp, they'll know they have 4 seconds to kill you. However, if you can drop a surprise 300 damage from an ability they weren't aware you had, their ability to counter your actions drops dramatically. Pyromancer and Thunderbringer are the kings of burst.
Sometimes, getting good burst requires a risk to be taken. For example, if you are playing Thunderbringer and are engaged by a Kraken, you might want to hold off on ulting for a bit. If you throw down your two nukes and he still have 600 hp left to your 300, he'll probably chase through a friendly creep wave, thinking your ultimate is on cooldown. This greed on his part may bring him low enough to kill with the second round of nukes, this time including your ultimate he was not prepared for.
The greatest way to obtain burst damage is, of course:
Coordinating with teammates
This is what will ultimately decide the game one way or another. While an extremely good player may be able to carry his team off of his ridiculous power level alone, often the game will be won be five good players rather than one excellent player and four decent ones. Bonus points if the good players are friends.
You've probably heard that quote about something being "greater than the sum of its parts." If you ever looked at The Art Of DotA by fat404 you've even read his quoting of Sun Tzu: "There are not more than 5 musical notes, yet the combinations of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard." -Sun Tzu
As cliched as it all sounds, it's correct; DotA and HoN are team games. In a gank, the number of heroes you have in the area exponentially raises your chances of winning. This is because of things like chaining spells, auto attacking during disables, and supporting each other. Usually with heals or buffs.
Thus, the more communication and coordination you have in your team, the better your chances of winning the important fights.
Each player has his or her own play-style. If you're playing with a good friend you'll each know how each other plays, and you don't need my help on coordination. But if you're playing with 1-4 strangers, you might want to gain a feel for how they play before relying on them. You can then adjust your play-style as needed.
Ganking and Roaming
Ganking is having a hero from another lane team up with his allies in the lane to kill the opposing team's heroes. The key tool when ganking a hero is the element of surprise. A hero aware of your mia status is more likely to be or have his stun ready than one focusing on creep control. Thus, ganking when your lane is pushed or using tp scrolls to quickly move between lanes are effective when ganking in that enemies are much less likely to know they're being ganked.
When to gank
If you have pushed your lane, there are a number of things you can do. If you don't feel like pulling neutrals or risking spending time away from your tower, you can go ganking. If your lane is pushed, the enemies have very little sight of your lane. They might assume you're spending the time shopping, pulling neuts, or checking rune. This assumption, combined with their being distracted by out-last hitting their tower, can give you more time to set up your gank before they call mia or the enemy hero checks his mini-map.
Another good time to go ganking is when your hero has just gained a new ability. Upon reaching levels 6-9 are very good times to go ganking. In fact, level 9 is when many heroes are at their most dangerous level. This is due to them having one point in their ultimate and four points in each of their primary abilities. So, if you just put a point into an ultimate such as Plague Rider's, or that ultimate has just gone off cooldown, you might want to look for low-hp enemies or pushed lanes.
The third reason to gank is if an allied lane asks for a gank, or just look like they need one. Sure, the gank might not work, but unless you fail hard enough to get yourself killed you have helped your allies to some degree, even if it's makes the enemies play a bit more defensively.
Who to gank
The most common heroes to gank are:
Heroes with very little hp or no escape mechanism have a greater chance of giving you a successful gank. The gold from killing a Glacius spends just as well as gold obtained from a Magebane.
You'll want to spend time ganking enemy carries. Often this is the only counter to their late game domination, so gank often and gank hard. Even if the gank isn't successful, you've driven them away from the creeps they need to overpower you later on.
If a hero has pushed too far without carrying a tp scroll they're asking you to gank them. Additional chasing area and distance from friendly heroes/towers will give these ganks a higher success rate.
Roaming is when a hero turns ganking into a full-time endeavor. They do no so much lane as show up wherever they feel they're needed.
A good candidate for roaming is Magmus. He has a powerful AoE blink/stun and ultimate for offense, and a very good survivalist skillset for when things go wrong. In addition, all he needs to succeed are boots, bottle, and Portal Key, making his need for farm rather low. He can dedicate himself to ganking enemy heroes, forcing them into a defensive game, and delaying their farm. Some other examples of good roamers would be Andromeda and Pharaoh.
12-08-2009, 02:59 PM
Runes spawn at either the top or bottom rune location every 2 minutes. These are powerful tools in gaining the upper hand in a gank. In addition, using a rune will refill an empty bottle if it was used to capture the rune, giving you a good source of regen in addition to a power-up.
A teleport stone costs 135 gold for a one-use teleport to any allied structure. Upon using the stone, your hero must channel and not be inturrupted or the teleport fails. These are one of the most useful tools in getting to where you are needed most. They have a lengthy cooldown time that applies to any stones you may buy during the cooldown.
You can buy them at your home base, but also at the outposts near each of the side lanes. In addition, you can carry as many as you want. One of the greatest benefits to using a teleport stone is the element of surprise it carries.
For example, let's assume an ally of your is being ganked bottom lane. You notice the appearence of enemy dots on your minimap, and decide to teleport bottom to assist your ally, even though you were previously laning top. Your enemies are expecting just the single enemy, as top lane have had no time to call mia, and you could easily turn an allied death into an one to two enemy deaths.
The uses of teleport stones are myriad; suffice to say you'll always want to be carrying one of these. Unless, of course, you bought Post Haste, which gives an unlimited supply of these and allows you to teleport to allied creeps as well.
No one can pay attention to every single thing happening in the game at once. Thus, communication is key to performing well in HoN. The key to effective communication is putting as much information into as few words as possible. Unless, of course, you have access to voice chat.
Typing is a slow and awkward affair, but fortunately you can use the in-game voice chat or third party programs to talk with your allies while playing. This saves time and leaves your hands free to play while informing your teammates of various ganks.
While some things in the game may seem simple to you, your allies may not all be as experienced as yourself. If your allies are grouping up in a push, you may want to spend the 2 seconds it takes to type, "care tempest ult", rather than watch helpless as your entire team dies in the midst of one.
If you've seen an enemy, or are guessing where they're about to go, do not hesitate to inform your allies. The second it takes to hold down alt and left-click your map (creating a "ping" your allies can see and hear) might save an allies life if you alert them to danger. Also, if an ally is pushing too far, you might want to say, "b pink", to let them know they might be in danger.
A team fight can be decided by certain spells with long cooldowns, and you might be wondering if your allies have their abilities ready. If you hold your mouse pointer over their portrait in the upper left, you can see what skills they've put points into as well as the cooldowns on their various spells. I brightly lit ability is ready to be used. The green dots next to their name each represent an ability on/off cooldown, as well.
I'm not going to do an extensive ward guide, I'm pretty sure we have one of those. I'm just gonna type a bunch of stuff, give you a list, then follow up with an example and screenshot before moving on.
The key when placing wards isn't so much to get as much sight as you can as useful sight as you can. The key things to use wards to watch are:
A good example would be the spot below. It can see bottom rune, you can see up both cliffs to the left and lower right, and covers a popular gank avenue to bottom lane.
To further explain the use of wards, I have two shots of the HoN minimap below. The picture on the left has me farming the lane with no wards. the boxed in area shows where enemies could come from to gank my woods. In the right picture, however, I have two wards in place. Since those two wards cover the only entrances to my woods, enemies cannot get behind me without being seen by my wards. I can farm at my leisure without fears of ganks from the sides.
http://img10.imageshack.us/img10/7645/wards1.jpg (http://img10.imageshack.us/i/wards1.jpg/) http://img194.imageshack.us/img194/3934/wards2.jpg (http://img194.imageshack.us/i/wards2.jpg/)
12-08-2009, 03:03 PM
I haven't read it yet, wall of text was too big, but it looks good and i'll read it tonight!
12-08-2009, 03:12 PM
12-08-2009, 04:08 PM
Nice guide, but Keeper's eyes no longer provide regen so I'd remove that line about them doing so.
12-08-2009, 04:18 PM
tbh i'd been waiting for this one to come out
12-08-2009, 05:00 PM
Nice guide, but Keeper's eyes no longer provide regen so I'd remove that line about them doing so.
Ah I didn't know, havn't played him since they changed him last week. Gonna fix that now.
12-08-2009, 05:30 PM
You spelt Miscellaneous as "Miscellanea"
We need a "jump to x subtitle" links like in the DA forums to avoid all the scrolling lol, but good job anyway.
What's the first post reserved for?
12-08-2009, 05:51 PM
Wow, insane guide. I read all of the first two posts before I ran out of time. I look forward to reading the rest of it.
12-08-2009, 06:05 PM
You spelt Miscellaneous as "Miscellanea"
We need a "jump to x subtitle" links like in the DA forums to avoid all the scrolling lol, but good job anyway.
What's the first post reserved for?
Miscellanea is actually muliple miscellaneous items. It's just a lot more fun to say.
The first post is where I'm going to put the intro when I have time and a changelog when I get one.
12-09-2009, 02:29 AM
Nice job Pada
12-09-2009, 01:47 PM
Nice post, thoroughly enjoyed it and very educating. Thumbs up!
12-10-2009, 03:24 AM
Great read. Noticed a few spelling/grammar/context problems that could probably be fixed, but didn't pick em out. Excellent regardless.
One that really irked me, however, was this one. You were talking about denying, and said that you needed to manually attack (a default). I think the parenthasis portion is ambiguous...
12-10-2009, 03:49 AM
Glacius should never be given solo. For one, he doesn't need to rush aura because by the time he's level 4 in mid, the other lanes will be 2 maybe verging on 3, meaning there's rarely any benefit to spamming spells. His terrible animation will also give the opposing solo free farm.
Also, the technical term for "Shot on the Run" is animation canceling, and you should probably include that somewhere so people know what animation canceling is when they hear it.
Still an excellent guide otherwise. Lane control is something that's so sorely ignored by the vast majority of pub players.
12-10-2009, 09:40 AM
Animation cancelling is also the term for cancelling spells, like Pyro's stun when you know you've missed. Also, it's the term for when you're hitting "s" to stop your attack so that you can get an enemy to hit a creep first. Animation cancelling can mean a lot of things.
I suppose I can explain it in more detail in the guide so that people recognize the term when they hear it, though. I just decided I'd give it it's own name in the guide, since in that section I was speaking solely on cancelling the after-attack animation, where your hero is effectively doing nothing. I decided my D&D reference was a bit better than, "Animation cancelling version 3".
Edit: I changed Shot on the Run to be a heading under Animation Canceling. See if you like it better.
Also, ever since aura got nerfed I havn't seen Glacius solo mid very often. But I needed an example and all the good one's were taken. I might put in Pharaoh, since all he needs is level 6 to become a full-time ganker. Thanks for the feedback, it's a long article and I know I missed some things.
12-10-2009, 11:07 AM
Fantastic guide. I didn't even get crit all that hard by the wall of text... the pictures were well-used. :)
01-01-2010, 11:10 PM
Is it too long? I bet I made it too long.
Updated, fixed a typo or two, and added to a couple sections. So this is basically a bump.
03-09-2010, 08:09 PM
That was really long, but really informative. 2 thumbs up.
03-13-2010, 10:42 PM
I....read the whole guide. Good, basic, clear, informative guide, and off to rest my head for a while.
03-16-2010, 09:00 AM
Thank you for actually knowing how to get skills for a Moon Queen/Luna!
03-18-2010, 05:59 AM
bumping this for great justice.
really nice read and a must if you're struggling at the lower games.
This looks like premium material to me
07-18-2010, 04:35 AM
Necro bump, for good writing.
04-02-2011, 09:59 AM
Oh, but it goes and goes !
Witch Slayer with no courier/wards ???
04-04-2011, 10:44 AM
nice and informative guide. I'll add it to our LN clan student resources section.
- weak and strong lanes could be called vertical and horizontal lanes, terms that most people on these forums seem to find better than any other (short/long, safe/dangerous, weak/strong, etc.) as they are so logical and intuitive
- if you think it'd be helpful, in your section about animation canceling and orb walking you can add a reference to the 'Animation Canceling & Orb Attacking/Walking' guide to provide readers with a detailed guide on the subject (or if you strive to shorten your text, just provide a reference):
- you could add more info into the Pulling Creeps section where you state pulling times, both for the medium neutral camp in horizontal lanes and for the strong neutral camp in the top lane which can be pulled both by HB and legion.