Hello fellow players! We're back with the second article in our series ‘How to boost MMR’. Today we will talk about the position 4 support role, which is also known as a roamer.

If you aren't familiar with this series, please check out our previous article about position 5 support, which you might also find interesting and useful.

There are many similarities between the roles of a support and a roamer. Both roles require good understanding of the game, but unlike position 5 supports, roamers need to have better individual skill.

Once again, we will try to help you to select the best heroes you can use to improve your MMR.

Draft

In a previous article we suggested four specific heroes who can be used to improve MMR. This time we will divide position 4 supports into two groups. You can select any hero from these groups based on your personal preferences.

Group one: Melee-disablers and melee-initiators. When you think about  position 4 support, first of all you think about a hero who can provide disables and initiation for his team. In this group we can include Tiny, Tusk, Nyx Assassin, Clockwerk, Earth Spirit, Pangolier, Earthshaker and Spirit Breaker. All these heroes have the ability to initiate fights and to provide a very necessary disable, which can lead to a kill. It is very important to mention that all heroes on this list do not require a Blink Dagger to be able to provide impact in games. For this reason, heroes such as Slardar or Sand King weren't included.

Spirit Breaker

Group two: Ranged-disablers, ranged-pushers. In this group we include powerful, ranged heroes who can work very well in a combination with a melee offlaner. Three heroes from the previous article made the list, since they can be used very effectively as both position 5 and position 4 supports. These heroes are Shadow Shaman, Nature's Prophet and Jakiro. Heroes who join them are Rubick, Vengeful Spirit, Disruptor, Crystal Maiden, Leshrac, Lion and Dark Willow.

Leshrac

Supports from group one fit better for players who like to rotate around the map and apply pressure on enemy cores. Supports from group two can work better for players who are focusing on playing around enemy objectives, such as Towers and Roshan.

Cooperate with your offlaner during picks. Since supports are commonly picked in the early stages of the draft, ask your offlane player which hero he is likely to pick. It will help you to select the most effective position 4 hero.

If you want to select the most effective supports from each group, you should pay attention to the following abilities:

Group one:

1)      Presence in the laning stage.

2)      Ability to be useful without expensive items.

3)      Effectiveness during rotations.

4)      Team fighting potential.

Group two:

1)      Presence in the laning stage.

2)      Mobility.

3)      Pushing potential.

4)      Farming potential.

Based on this and the overall popularity of the above-mentioned heroes in the current meta, we can conclude that Earth Spirit and Tusk are the most effective heroes from group one, while Shadow Shaman and Leshrac are the best choices from group two. Nonetheless, every single hero who made either list can be very useful.

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Starting Items

It is very important to select good starting items and use them effectively throughout the laning stage. A small mistake in starting item build can lead to inevitable loss in the lane.

Supports in group one should always consider buying a Stout Shield. This item is very effective on melee heroes. Stout Shield will allow you to trade your HP effectively with enemy heroes, contest denies more comfortably and even dive under enemy towers.

Orb of Venom is a very situational item and is only worth buying if you are going to lane against very weak heroes. Many players make the mistake of selecting Orb of Venom over Stout Shield, which later leads to an inability to provide any impact in the lane.

Orb of Venom

Wind Lace also needs to be mentioned. This item is almost always a bad choice to go for at the beginning of the game. The only hero who can benefit from buying this item at the start of the game is Pudge.

Wind Lace

Aside from getting Stout Shield or Orb of Venom, you need to make sure to purchase enough healing items to sustain the laning stage. Usually it will be a good idea to purchase x6 Tangoes and a Healing Salve. Do not forget to buy an Enchanted Mango. Most heroes in group one have very low intelligence, but do have several useful spells.

Side notes: Your item build can vary depending on your lane strategy. For example, Tiny can benefit a lot from having Boots of Speed at level 1. This item gives him the ability to throw enemy supports away with Toss and kill them while they are out of position.

Supports in group two should focus on buying extra consumables. Alongside the usual x6 Tangoes and a Healing Salve, you can purchase several Enchanted Mangoes and Faerie Fire. These items will allow you to apply a lot of pressure on enemy heroes.

Shadow Shaman, Rubick and Lion can benefit a lot from having Boots of Speed at level 1. Extra mobility will allow these heroes to set up kills more easily and feel more comfortable in the lane.

Blight Stone can be very useful on Nature's Prophet. Thanks to Teleportation and Town Portal Scroll, this hero is able to get additional regen from the base at level 2.

Early stage of the game (1:30-12:00)

The biggest mistake a position 4 support can make is to head towards the safe lane for no good reason. Most of the time it is better for a roamer to lane in the offlane.You should consider going in the safe lane only if it's absolutely necessary and hopefully will not hurt your offlaner.

For example: you have Drow Ranger and Crystal Maiden as your carry and support and they're going to lane against Nature's Prophet. In this case, your allies have no way of getting anything out of the lane and it is important for you to join and help them not to lose it. Other than that, if your allies have a better or equal lane there is no reason for you to join them.

Earthshaker

In the offlane, you should follow two main scenarios.

1)      If you are stronger, you should just come to the lane and apply as much pressure as possible on the enemy carry and support. Prevent enemy support from pulling. Block the small jungle camp with an Observer Ward if you have one. Do not bother pulling yourself. Focus more on harassing and denying.

2)      If you are weaker, you should move behind the enemy tier-1 Tower and drag the second enemy creep wave towards a safe spot for yourself or your offlaner to farm. Usually the creep wave is dragged in between tier-1 and tier-2 towers if you play for Radiant, and in between tier-2 and tier-3 towers if you play for Dire. This simple trick will not only allow you to farm and deny a full creep wave, but will also push the lane towards your Tower. After this manipulation the lane will start moving back and forth. In this time, focus more on pulling allied waves to a nearby big jungle camp.

Make sure to maintain good communication with your lane partner. It will allow you to lane more effectively.

Check the middle lane from time to time, and always be ready to use Town Portal Scroll to help your midlaner. Avoid making teleports to the safe lane, as it will require you to waste a lot of time returning to your own lane.

Pay attention to the match duration timer and make sure to control Bounty Runes. After nighttime starts, you can start rotating around the map. Effective rotation is a key to winning games as a support. Take advantage of opportunities to gank vulnerable enemy cores.

It is very important to have good vision during the first nighttime. Aim to place one Observer Ward in the offlane area to protect your offlaner from unexpected rotations. It is mostly position 5 support's responsibility to provide vision, but it is normal for you to help him from time to time.

Observer Ward

Ideally you want to destroy the enemy offlane tier-1 Tower before the game reaches the mid stage. It will create a lot of space for your offlaner to farm and will allow you to move more freely around the map.

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Mid stage of the game (12:00-26:00)

At this stage you should start playing around your team's farmed cores and around your teammates in general. Focus your play more around key objectives of the game, such as Towers, Roshan and Bounty Runes.

Think about the strengths and weaknesses of your team's drafts and those of your enemy. Use this information to your advantage. Play strategically. If your team has a better fighting potential, try to force more team fights. If your team has a good split push potential, focus more on farming, split pushing and making single kills.

The more towers your team destroys at this stage, the easier it will be for you in the late stage of the game. Keep in mind that the main purpose of destroying enemy Towers is not to gain additional gold, but to gain additional map control.

Towers

Do not forget to use Smoke of Deceit. This item is only worth 80 gold, but can have a major impact on the endgame result. You can use this item to force team fights, make key kills or place aggressive vision.

Use opportunities to kill Roshan and secure Aegis of the Immortal for one of your teammates. This item can have a significant impact in fights.

Late stage of the game (26:00 until the end of the game)

In the late stage of the game every mistake can have a crucial impact on the endgame result. Use your hero to its full potential in fights, and avoid unnecessary deaths.

Whether your team has the advantage in this stage of the game or not, you still need to focus most of your attention on getting as much map control as possible. Whichever team has more control over the map will likely win the game. Split push the lanes intelligently and carefully, and punish enemy heroes for their mistakes.

Map

Play efficiently and safely, and be disciplined. Do not dive deep into the enemy base during the high-ground siege - this is one of the most common mistakes many roamers make.

Roshan is the key objective for both teams in the late stage of the game. Not only Aegis of the Immortal, but also Cheese and Refresher's Orb, can guarantee either team a victory.

Maintain good communication with your teammates. Communication is a key to victory.

Itemization

Group one: roamers can benefit greatly from having Urn of Shadows. Since they rotate a lot around the map and often participate in many kills, having this item will allow them to deal additional damage to enemies in fights and heal allies afterwards. It is always a good idea to purchase items, which will improve defensive potential and initiation. Blade Mail, Force Staff, Lotus Orb and Blink Dagger are very common and useful items to purchase for most roamers.

Supports in group two are squishier. It makes them more vulnerable and more dependent on defensive and mobility items. Aether Lens, Blink Dagger, Glimmer Cape, Force Staff and Aeon Disk are very effective items for these heroes.

Blink Dagger 
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Global Errors

1)      Buying not enough healing items to effectively sustain the laning stage. It's no big deal if you buy too many regen, but it can be a major issue if you buy too little. As a position 4 support, you need to be able to apply pressure on the enemy carry and create space for your offlaner to farm.

2)      Selecting the wrong lane. It is very important for a position 4 support to be useful in the early stage of the game. It is a huge mistake to lane in the safe lane if there is no good reason for you to be there. Analyze the situation and select the best possible lane for yourself.

3)      Diving the enemy base. Since most position 4 heroes have the ability to initiate fights, very often players make the same mistake of diving the enemy base during high ground sieges. Remember, your goal is to destroy enemy structures rather than to make kills. Be disciplined.

4)      Not moving around the map. Good movement is a key to winning games as a support. Always take advantage of opportunities to gank vulnerable enemy cores.

5)      Not helping your position 5 support with warding. Sometimes it's just not possible for a position 5 support to leave his lane and place vision around the map. Maintain good communication with each other. Make sure to purchase and place several wards for your team if necessary.

Tips

1)      Improve your skill through watching streams, videos or replays of professional players who pick the hero you want to improve on. This is the easiest way to learn to play a specific hero. You might be surprised, but many professional players watch and learn from each other on a constant basis. When you watch the other player, try to not copy his moves blindly, but instead try to understand the reasons for them.

2)      Focus more on playing around key objectives of the game, such as Towers, Roshan and Bounty Runes. Dota 2 is not about fighting, it's primarily about destroying an enemy Ancient. You should always keep that in mind.

3)      Think about the strengths and weaknesses of your team's drafts and those of your enemy. Use this information to your advantage. Try to avoid fights if enemy team has a better team fighting potential. Make sure to push towers if your team has a good pushing potential. Play smartly and effectively.

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May 7, 2019
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