We continue our series of discussion and education articles about different in-game roles. Previously we have talked about the carry and support roles, now it is time to move to one of the hardest roles in the game - the role of an offlaner.

Back in the days, offlaners used to lane by themselves against three heroes. Usually, it meant that they would have very little to work with. Having only level 3 by minute 7 considered to be a decent result. Dota has evolved since. Meta has switched into 2v1v2 lane match-ups, which completely changed the playstyle of many players. Players from other roles, such as Fata or Sumail even switched their positions to offlane for some period of time, because they wanted to dominate and lead their team to victory.

Nowadays meta in pubs is very shaky. Sometimes you may have a good match-up and dominate your lane with the help of a roamer. Sometimes your team may choose to leave you alone in the lane. Sometimes there is this one guy, who prefers to farm in the jungle, rather than support his offlaner. In this article, we are going to talk about all these scenarios and will focus on aspects, which will hopefully allow you to get better.

  • The first and the most important thing you should focus your attention on is Analyzing and understanding your lane.

Before you even come to the lane, you should ask your teammate whether he is going to lane with you or is going to roam around the map. Analyze the match-ups, whether you are going to dominate the lane, or you are going to play from behind. In many cases, analyzing your match-up helps to select better item and skill builds. Use any information you can potentially gather. Does enemy support has a stun? Can he potentially cancel my teleport? Who is going to get stronger with levels, you or the enemy carry? At what stage of the laning phase you are going to be a lot stronger than your opponents? Think about all the possible consequences and it is going to be a lot easier for you to predict your laning stage.

As an example, think of a match-up of Legion Commander vs Lich and Slark. In this match-up, it is very unlikely you are going to get anything out of the lane. It is very dangerous for you to come close to creeps, as Slark will steal your stats and you can potentially die to Lich slows. In this case, you should immediately switch your playstyle in the lane for regular, to creep stealing. Once you get level 3, you may also adjust your skill build, get two points in the Moment of Courage and start farming behind the enemy tower. All these tricks can help you to turn your lane from a complete disaster to a very good scenario for yourself.

  • The next important thing is Buying correct starting items.

As an offlaner, it is very important to have a lot of consumables to be able to dominate in the lane. In most games, it is a must to purchase six Tangoes and a Healing Salve. Not to mention you might need an Enchanted Mango as well.

Are you going to lane against Lich, who spams Frost Nova? Well, then you should get yourself a Magic Stick over three Tangoes. Do you plan to steal creeps from behind the enemy tower? Wind Lace will make this process a lot easier. Think of your match-up, think of the possible scenarios in the lane and adjust your starting item build respectfully.

Cooperate with your lane partner

The lane will become a lot easier if you are going to keep effective communication with allied roamer. Lane is pushed too far? Make a call to make a pull. Enemy heroes are low on resources? Make a call to play more aggressively. Do you wait for the courier to deliver an important item? Share this information as well. Communication is very important in Dota 2 but is even more important during the laning stage because very often the laning stage can decide the overall outcome of the game.

Securing ranged creeps

Many players in lower ranks absolutely ignore this very important aspect of the laning stage. Ranged creeps have less armor and HP than melee creep, which makes it a lot easier to deny them. In the meanwhile, they give more experience than melee creeps. If during the first two creep waves you manage to secure both last-hits on ranged creeps and deny at least one, often it means you are going to have a full level advantage over your opponents for a short period of time. During this time, there is a high chance you may get an easy kill and start snowballing the lane.

Use your abilities to secure a last-hit of a ranged creep. If you do not have any active spells, which you can use to last-hit a ranged creep, make a call to your roamer to do so instead.

Now let’s talk about more specific things, every good offlaner should now and use regularly.

Creep dragging

Creep aggro is an important feature, which every single core player should know and use regularly. By aggroing creeps on yourself, you can significantly ease the process of last-hitting, keep the desired lane equilibrium and even mess with the last-hits of your opponent.

To drag creeps aggro on yourself, you need to position yourself close to creeps and then use an ‘Attack’ command on the enemy hero. It is not necessary to use an attack command on the nearest enemy hero, you may as well use it on the hero, who is located on the other side of the map. It can be useful if your opponents in the lane are not showing, but you need to move enemy creeps closer to the allied ranged creep to deny it faster.

Creep stealing

Creep stealing is the feature, which is commonly used in professional and high ranked games. In case you have a very bad match-up, you can move behind the enemy tower and steal a full creep wave. You can move this creep wave to a safe area and farm them there. The most effective thing you can do is to move creeps in between allied towers, where you can not only farm them safely but also deny a full allied creep wave from the enemy carry. It may also result in lane equilibrium being broken and enemy creeps coming closer to your tower, which means you get even more experience. Keep in mind that you can’t steal the first creep wave of the game.

Creep stacking

Creep stacking is an alternative to creep stealing. If the enemy support is too strong and you are not sure you are going to drag the full creep wave to a safe spot, you may consider going all the way to a tier-3 enemy tower and wait for the second creep wave to arrive. Once the creep wave is out, aggro the creeps and run with them around until the third creep wave comes out. Use the Town Portal Scroll immediately after. It will result in two creep waves stacking together, which will later result in lane getting pushed to your tower. It will help you to secure a lot of experience.

Farming behind the enemy tower

Many offlaners have the ability to farm behind the enemy tower. Often, they need level 3 to do so. Heroes, such as Axe, Legion Commander, Dark Seer, Centaur Warrunner, Bristleback and more can effectively farm behind the enemy tower. As stated above, most of the times level 3 will be required. In this case, you can either get it in the regular match-up, or in case of a bad match-up you should start with creep stealing or creep stacking and then progress it into farming behind the enemy tower.

If you have any other tricks you can share, do so in the comments. Play smarter, get better!