I have had a long chat/interview with a Dota 2 pro player about different aspects of Dota 2 gameplay. He is a pro and I being the noob, replied to my inquisitive questions. He has played more than 6000 Dota 2 games and his Solo MMR is 6823 and Party MMR is 6253 at the time of writing. He had been in Leaderboard in SEA for quite some time. (This article was written back in August 2015, it was deleted accidentally but I managed to recover it after a long time)
I have converted our chat in the form of an article in easy English for the understanding of all those who sincerely want to improve their Dota 2 Gaming Skills.
I will write it down in point form so that it is easy to grasp and understand. Those points are in no sequence, just random, anything came to my mind, I asked and discussed with him including some secret tips which will not be secret after reading this guide.
1. Pro Players Do Not Panic (Often)
Once you think that the game is going like hell, everyone including you is feeding and the enemy team is fat as hell, you will start panicking. But its very seldom that you’ll see a Dota 2 Pro panicking. Once they know one of their strategies has failed, they move to the next strategy and try other options.
You have a tinker or Nature Prophet in your team, you can start rating. Although it feels and looks bad, but hey, you ever heard Admiral BullDog? The best Dota 2 rat player and his team have won many matches because of him ratting. No one stops you from doing it. This will give space and time to your team and your carries and especially your rat will start farming well. If you got a lucky chance, you can take barracks or even enemy ancient through ratting. Therefore, think and plan for new strategies once your main strategy has failed and do not panic.
2. Don’t Lose Hope Till Your Ancient is Destroyed Because Come Back is Real
Pretty self-explanatory I think. I myself have seen players calling GG WP, Finish Fast etc at 10-12 mins of the game.
Remember the longest game of Dota 2 between Cloud9 and SFZ? This game lasted 3 hours and 33 mins. Ultimately SFZ won the game despite mega creeps. They could have also called GG WP when it was mega creeps, but they did not give up and ultimately won the game.
If you have not watched that game, you can watch highlights of this game below.
3. If Your Team Sucks, it Means You Suck Too Because You are Part of Team
“Most of the time” you are matched with players whose skills and stats match with yours. Your Teammates and your opponents have almost the same skill level, almost same hours played, almost the same number of games won and almost same KDA ratio. This is how Valve’s matchmaking system works. Take a look here for more details about how Dota 2 matchmaking works. It’s very rare that you are matched with any players with a lot of skill difference. However if you still see some of the player playing stupidly, that means either he is new to that hero, or he is completing some of his fuc**ng challenge (Thanks to compendium).
So do not start saying noob Slardar, GG Stun, delete Dota 2, you are stupid etc… It will only get you more enemies and believe me it won’t make the situation any better.
4. Define What Role You are Good at, Then Play According to That
Everyone cannot carry and everyone cannot play support because it’s against their natural playstyle. If there is anyone who claims he can play carry and support equally good, then that means he not good at either of that role.
If you like to play very aggressive, try playing tanks or nukers to take a solo kill. If you like to farm till the end of time, better pick a hard carry. If you do not like farming and just want to chill around the map and only want to participate in team fights, why not to go for support. If you can’t do anything, then delete Dota 2 and start playing “LoL” because it is not your game to play.<<<< This is what he actually said
5. Remember You Can Not Master ALL Heroes
He said and I quote “I can play almost 25-30 heroes perfectly, 20-25 heroes normally and on rest 50 heroes I am actually quite a noob. By perfectly means I almost own the game with those heroes unless the whole enemy team is my counter and they have focused me hard”.
6. Read Tips and Tricks Online, Those Actually Work
He said and I quote “I did not know that Omni Knight’s Repel Shield can be removed using Diffusal Blade and purge spells, before knowing this, Omni knight was really annoying for me, but now when I see we have an Omni Knight in enemy team and he is good, I directly rush Diffusal blade”. So I suggest that read and implement tips and tricks available on the internet. We also have compiled few great Dota 2 pro tips which you can check here.
This does not mean you should start fountain hooking using Pudge, knowing very well that you can’t even hook straight with Pudge.
7. Good Dota 2 Knowledge Means Good Game
Dota 2 is like a 10th Grade class, and Dota 2 Game is your test. So if you got good knowledge about heroes, items, spells, and Dota 2 mechanics, you are definitely going to do better than others.
If you know that Axe’s Ultimate “Culling Blade” can instantly kill any enemy with Dazzle’s “shallow grave” whereas Necrophos’s Reaper Scyth cannot kill an enemy in Shallow Grave, you’ll not waste your ultimate. So once you are in game and free and doing nothing, read the description of spells. Also, one great place for more Dota 2 knowledge is the gamepedia site.
If you have good knowledge then you can make different combos of heroes like DK has good armor, so he is good against physical damage heroes and make a combo with those heroes who give him more armor/healing/damage to make him more useful in the game.
8. Dota 2 is a Team Game, not a Solo First Person Shooter Game
Dota 2 is a Team Game, so play like a team. Remember, if teammates start fighting each other, then that means you are giving benefit to the enemy team. But a question arises that what you should do when your ally is abusive or is a flamer? Simply mute him and concentrate on your game. If you have enough report options available, simply report him and he will get his due share.
You can never win a game alone, you may carry a game very well, but still, you will need help/support of your teammates at all stages of the game. Some teammate to tank so you can deal damage, some teammate to heal you once you start your fight or just some random spells by teammates to reduce HP of your enemies.
9. Make a Combo, No Matter How Small
Make combos in your team no matter how small it is. Even if you can make a combo of 2 heroes, that will be better than having no combo at all. Sometimes, you can increase the effectiveness your combo using items too. More Strong combo with more heroes with synergizing spells means more chances of winning. So, do not forget point # 7 that good Dota 2 knowledge will always pay you well. If you have good knowledge about Dota 2 heroes, spells and items you can make better combos.
10. Spend Small, Save Big
This is a funny, small but very important point. Spend small amounts of gold on necessary items like wards and TP and sometimes literally you can turn the tables on the enemy. These 3 items which are very important and I will tell about all separately.
- Wards: Wards save life spend 75 gold on Observer ward and save 275 gold from death from an unexpected gank. In case you have enemies with invisibility or Shadow Blade, no need to tell you that 100 gold spent on Sentries can get you an easy kill on scouting invisible hero.
- Teleportation Scroll (TP): Many times you will be in a situation where you have successfully escaped/juked enemy or you see some gank coming to you, if you have TP, you can easily get out of trouble, but if you are carrying no TP that means almost confirm death. There are many professional games where teams lost because of not carrying TPs. So from 5 minutes of the game onward permanently keep 2-3 TPs until you get your Boots of Travel.
- Magic Wand: I can’t tell you how many times this item has saved me. This is my personal advice to you to go for a Magic wand as soon as possible no matter what her or role you are playing. It gives you enough space to stand against enemy spammers and also gives you initial HP, Mana and Armor boost. You can use its charges to go for a kill when you are on low health/mana or you can also use it to save your life while escaping.
11. Items in Dota 2 are Never Core, These are Always Situational
Some of you may disagree with me here, but this is what reality is. There might be some items that you can consider core for some heroes but in some games, you may totally disregard that item because of the enemy hero line up. So I will suggest that always build your items keeping your enemy team hero line-up and then your team in mind (Same combo stuff as in the above point).
Let’s suppose you are playing Magnus. If you make Arcane Boot, Dagger, Force Staff, Refresher Orb, Assault Cuirass, and Vladimir Offering, that means you are going and playing like a support. On the other hand, if you make Power Treads, Battlefury, Deadlus, Assault Cuirass, Monkey King Bar and Mask of Madness, then you are going for a carry build. So you need to see the enemy team and then your team to see if you guys need a carry or hardcore support to decide what items you should make on your hero.
12. Never go 1 by 1 in Team Fights no Matter How Much You Have Famed (Been Fed)
Going 1 by 1 in team fights will always result in a lost team battle and even game sometimes. If one of your allies is struck hard by a gank, judge first that if he is the only carry or is a support? Can you save him without getting killed or not. If the answer to both questions is NO, then let him die and save your towers and base instead.
When you go 1 by 1 in team fights, most of enemy heroes spells might have refreshed again by the time 3rd or 4th of your teammates go to fight. It is always better to secure a high ground first and then start the fight as planned according to your heroes roles.
13. Dota 2 is a Game But Don’t Take it Lightly When Playing
If you want to enter Dota 2 pro scene, then you should never take things lightly in the game. Almost everyone must have played a game where you are winning a game for sure and then because of 1 stupid mistake you lost the game. Most of the time that stupid mistake is taking a wrong team fight or going in team fights as 1 by 1. Believe me, although Dota 2 is a game and we play for fun, but is there any fun in losing a game? No, I don’t think so.
Later on, regretting will not get you a win. But watching your replay and correcting your mistakes in next games will give you a win.
14. Watch Dota 2 Pro Games and Replays
Watching Dota 2 Pro games either live, on streams or recorded videos on YouTube, will surely help you learn new heroes. Frankly speaking, I learned Storm spirit by watching games and replays of Suma1L form EG. When I read on Facebook and other places that he wrecked enemy teams with Storm Spirit, I got curious and started watching his gameplay, seriously that was awesome. So I played some bot games to learn the basics of that hero and now I can say Storm Spirit is one of my favorite heroes.
Believe me, watching your own replays really help. It shows you your mistakes that could have been avoided and the ways to improve. But, when you watch your replays, concentrate on your own hero, leave what others have been doing in that game. Because you cannot do anything about others, all you can do is, improve your own gameplay. I suggest you especially watch those replays in which you think you did not do good. See all the mistakes you made which if avoided would have got you a win.
15. Don’t Delay the Game Un-necessarily
If you watch pro games you will see, the moment they get a chance, they finish the game. It’s very stupid to go for enemy’s top and bottom towers and barracks when you can easily destroy ancient. So, I suggest, as soon as you get a chance to finish the game, do it. Because you may not get another chance.
Remember same 200 minutes long game between Cloud9 and SFZ? Cloud9 did not take Ancient when they had the chance, so ultimately we all saw that they did not get even 1 chance later on despite applying all possible strategies for rest of the game to destroy the ancient. At last SFZ won.
Bonus Point: There is no Kill Steal in Dota 2
Most of the time you find people who keep whining about kill stealing. This happens mostly in low-skilled games. When you go to high or very high skill games, everyone understands that there is no Kill Steal. Only killing enemy heroes matters. So if you are one of those who cries about someone stealing your kills, then please stop doing that immediately.
I don’t say that carries should not take the last hit for kills, they should. I just want to say that don’t let enemy hero escape once he has entered in your trap.
However, there may be situations where supports can easily avoid kill stealing thus allowing carry to take the kill. So, in that case, leave the last hit for your carries. In case you are playing carry, no matter what your teammates say about KS, just take last hits. Because it will be you who has to carry the game later on.
If you are playing Oracle and got 30 kills, I think that may not get your team a win. But if same kills have been done by a hard carry, for example, Medusa, Spectre or AM, then you surely are going to win the game.
Some Useful Tips
- If the enemy team has got more / better carries try to end game as fast as possible. Because if you delay, the game will start going in your enemy’s favor because their carries will start getting fat.
- Keeping carry alive is more important than supports. If you are playing carry and your support is about to die, don’t rush to save him and get yourself killed. See the enemy, estimate their cooldowns and then decide whether to fight or not.
- Farm, even if you are not a carry but not at the cost of missing team fights and losing barracks. Whenever you find spare time, space, try to get as much gold as possible. Because it won’t hurt if Lion gets a scepter and deals a massive AOE damage after every 20 sec.
- Keep your team’s morale up and hope alive because the enemy can also make mistake and you may also win because of enemy’s 1 costly mistake.
- If you lost a few games in a row, don’t play next games in a rage to win. Take some time out, relax and then play again after some refreshment time. You will definitely see some improvement.