Laning is one of the most crucial aspect of Dota 2 and when it comes to beginners and public games I dare say it is the most important.
This is because in public games the way the team performs in the laning phase will on average determine the outcome of the game.
If your team loses the laning phase, odd are you will lose the game.
So it can not be understated the importance of understanding how to lane as a beginner.
Winning your lanes begins with the hero selection process. If you are just starting out try one of the beginner heroes from this guide.
Once you have your hero and the starting items that you would like to use, then comes the decision of which lane to choose.
Which lane to choose?
For new players the top or bottom lane will be easier than middle lane. The reason for this is because the hero that goes middle lane carries a large burden.
Not only will that hero be engaging in a one versus one, they will also have to support the side lanes with ganks and harassment when need be.
Hell even if you did well in your lane and your team loses, your team will still blame you.
However if you were to go to a side lane, then you will have another teammates hero to support you, giving you more room to make mistakes and learn.
Which ever lane that you choose, make sure you have sufficient health regeneration which comes in the form of tangos and healing salve.
Allowing you to stay in lane longer.
Once you get to the lane the first thing you want to do is wait to see the enemy heroes before getting near the battling creep wave.
This helps prevents early ganks and you never want to be “the give first blood before one minute” guy.
Like middle lane, it carries a heavy burden.
Once you have seen one hero if you are middle lane or two heroes if you are in one of the side lanes, then its safe to move up.
If you are in one of the side lanes and it is short a hero, there is a possibility the hero is jungling and there is no fear of the early gank.
To be sure do a quick peak into the jungle to make sure no one is hiding in there.
Should I harass enemy heroes?
First you have to check the ability of other heroes by left clicking the hero and then you will be able to see what their abilities do.
This allows you to know how aggressive or passive you should be in lane. Do they have two heroes with stun and you dont? Play like a scared little girl.
In these cases its warranted.
However if your lane has 2 ranged heroes and they have only melee ranged heroes.
Harass them like no tomorrow.
It all comes down to how strong your combination of heroes are versus their heroes.
Whats the goal of laning?
Your goal during the laning phase will be to secure more gold, experience, and hero kills than the hero or heroes you are facing.
There are exceptions at the higher levels like suicide laners etc but thats not something you have to worry about when you are new player.
Just focus on out performing the enemy heroes, or at the very least staying alive.
How do I outperform the enemy heroes in my lane?
To out perform heroes in your lane you must receive more gold and/or experience than they do.
This is done by getting more creep kills, hero kills and tower kills than the opposing heroes.
Or if you are at a LAN, unplugging their ethernet cord.
When it comes to creep kills you should focus on getting the killing blow or better known in Dota as “the last hit”.
By getting the last hit, your hero receives the gold for that creep. So by getting more last hits than the enemy you will receive more gold than they do.
Be sure not to attack the creeps until you are trying to get the last hit. By auto attacking the creeps when their health is high will cause the lane to push forward towards the enemy tower at a quicker pace and put your hero in a potentially dangerous situation.
You can also “last hit” your friendly creeps when their health is low. To do this press A on your keyboard then left click on the friendly creep to initiate a forced attack.
Why would you do that? Well by last hitting your friendly creep, which is called denying by the way , prevents their hero from getting the creep kill.
This “denies” them the opportunity to receive the gold and will reduce the amount of experience they receive from that creep, giving you an advantage.
During your last hitting, find opportunities to pressure the enemy heroes with auto attacks and your hero abilities.
When there’s a chance to get a kill go for it.
This will give you more gold than a creep kill and also cause that hero to lose gold. Making hero kills the best way to ensure you outperform the enemy hero in lane.
If you are unable to get the kill thats fine. Focus on getting creep last hits and most importantly do not die.
Death will set you back greatly by causing you to lose some of the gold you earned and also lose out on precious experience during the respawn timer and walk back to lane.
A quick tip, If you do die purchase a tp scroll and use the scroll to teleport back to the tower. This will allow you to get back into the lane more quickly reducing the amount of experience lost.
I won my lane, now what?
Good job on winning your lane!! By winning your lane you were able to gain more experience than the hero in your lane and thus were able to get your skills earlier than they did and with the gold advantage you were able to purchase better items than they did.
So what do you do now? If you haven’t destroyed the tower as of yet, try to take that down. The tower kill will not only benefit your hero with additional gold but also your entire team.
Once the tower is destroyed, assist other lanes. Help them to get hero kills and also push the towers in their lane furthering the gold advantage.
The important thing after winning your lane is to keep the pressure on, and keep on pushing forward to capitalize on the advantage you gained in lane.
By not keeping the pressure on this will give them space to farm and catch up. Negating the advantage you once had from the lane victory.
I lost my lane, now what?
You lost your lane, perhaps the hero lane combo they had were better, you were ganked by heroes from other lanes or they were simply better.
So what now? If you lost your lane, though you will be at a disadvantage it does not mean you can not get back into the game.
To get back there are a few things that can be done.
First you can participate more in team fights, ganks and team pushes. When you team gets a hero kill and you are in the area, you will receive some gold and experience. Even if you were not the person that got the kill on that hero.
Team pushes will get get tower kills which will provide gold to the entire, and more to the person that got the last hit.
In your jungle there are neutral creeps that similar to creeps will provide gold and experience. If you are able to kill them this will provide you an extra boost to catch up.
Keep a TP scroll on your hero at all times and use it to teleport to empty lanes and farm nearby creep waves.
The most important thing to remember though is losing your lane will happen, especially when starting out
Your team will scream bloody murder but don’t worry about it.
Just try your best to understand the reason why you lost, and do not blame others for it.
By understanding what you could have done better, will provide a better overall learning experience for you than crying foul on your teammate.
And that learning will allow you to eventually take your lane game to the next level.