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Dota 101: Supporting part 2 – Laning

The support is the often unsung hero of Dota 2. The position is often regarded as less important than the core roles because of its limited impact in the later stages of the game.

The truth however, is that the support can have a massive impact on the game. That is why we are going to tell you how to have his impact right off the bat, in the laning stage.

Soft Support and Hard Support

Before we can give you the necessary pointers to dominate your lane, we first need to get some definitions out of the way. You might have seen the names “Hard support” and “Soft support” thrown out on many occasions. Similarly you might be familiar with the positions 1 to 5, indicating farm priority and to indicate roles. Bringing them together, one could figure out that position 5 corresponds with the hard support and position 4 with the soft support.

While both roles are supports, there are some important differences to note. First off all, as the farm priority indicates, the Soft support is supposed to farm up some critical items themselves as opposed to the Hard support, who needs to get by on the little bits and pieces that get provided to them during fights, for example. Although if you are playing the hard support, don’t feel bad about farming a quick wave or camp here or there. If there is no one from your team that might be interested in this piece of farm, you might as well. Every bit of gold counts, even as a hard support.

More importantly though, is the fact that the Hard support often accompanies the carry in the safelane, while the Soft support aids their offlaner in the offlane. Two wildly different lanes and laning partners, which means two wildly different styles of playing the lane.

Keeping the safelane safe

As the hard support your job in the early game is to provide a safe environment for your carry to farm in. To do this there are a myriad of tools to make use of. Last week we had an in-depth talk about pulling, an essential tool for the Hard Support. As pulling will provide you with the ability to affect the place where both creep waves will meet each other. Therefore affecting the place that the farming occurs in. Try to get this to be as close to your own tower as possible, and you provide your carry a safe place to farm.

A lot of the tools you have however, depend on the hero you are playing. To make it simple though, we will be looking at one of the most common kinds of support found in the safelane. We will be looking at the sustaining support, in particular Warlock.

Playing a hero like this means you want to keep trading auto attacks with your opponents while staying in a position where they can’t quite kill you or your carry. Due to your ability to sustain constant HP regen with your shadow word, you will eventually run your opponents out of resources. Making it so that they will not be able to dive on top of your carry, meaning that they can farm safely and securely. Sustain supports are heroes like Warlock, Oracle, Dazzle, Keeper of the Light, Winter Wyvern and IO

Going off in the offlane

Playing as the Soft support in the offlane can be very different as opposed to your harder buddy on the safelane. First off all, you will probably play a lot more aggressively. Since you don’t possess a wide array of pulling options, it’s often smart to prevent your opponent from using their pulls, preventing them from making use of this advantage. Just like on the safelane however, the hero you are playing, greatly determines what this aggression will look like. Once again we will highlight a specific hero, to show how you can play this and similar heroes in the offlane. We will be looking at the bruiser support, Doom.

Doom is a very tanky hero that can be played both as a core or as a support. When playing this hero as a soft support you want to make use of his great base stats. It’s tanky, and can deal a good amount of damage with its auto-attacks. Most Hard supports don’t want to get into melee range with this hero. You should interrupt pulls of your opponents or just stand in the camp on the XX:00 minute marks to prevent it from spawning. To do this, it’s recommended to start with brown boots so you can outspeed your opponents and get into their melee range, you might even want to pick up a Orb of Venom, to chase down your victims. Heroes similar to doom are Brewmaster, Slardar, Tiny, Earthshaker and Ogre Magi for example

Every game is different

No game will ever be the same, and circumstances change massively based on what heroes are involved. There is however one simple thing to understand, that will guide your way of playing support. Hard supports protec, Soft supports attac, but most off all they both deserve respec.

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