Dota 2 Pro Guide

A Dota 2 Pro Guide

How can I go Pro in Dota ?

Going pro in a game has always taken sacrifice, dedication, and passion. While Esports has come a long way since WarCraft 3 and StarCraft: Brood War, some things never change, and that's the work required to be the best there is. When we are going after that 6k MMR mark for Immortal, there are a few things we need to sharpen up in order to make that push. There is always a better way to do what we already know how to, so let's learn how to play again.

Optimal Itemization.

We have talked about the basics of items and what is best to work towards depending on your character and goal in you team’s composition.Building up your stats is important but there are ways to build specifically for the early, mid and late portions of the game. Early on we can purchase items like Magic Wands and Tango’s to keep us in lane longer, but we can tend to ignore the fact that we could also stay in lane longer if we knew how safe it was for us to farm in it, making use of wards will help us miss less creep waves and be able to track possible threats coming near our lane. Alternatively, wards can give us vision of where enemies are going to be and that can help to set up traps to get a little further ahead.

Vision items including wards are items we should be investing more int as they have the potential to either get us ahead or avoid falling behind. There are optimal places to put them, of course. Where there are trees there are escape routes and paths that make it harder to track where enemies are running back to. High Ground vision also pertains to wards so using them to get High Ground vision can be a huge help.

Observer wards are what we’ve mainly been talking about, they just sit there and offer a way for you to see in the fog of war. Sentry wards do a little bit more for you though. There are plenty of Heroes that gain invisibility whether it be an ability or through the use of an item, Observer wards don’t pick up invisible enemies, Sentry wards do. They should be put wherever the closest choke point is in order to avoid trapping ourselves if we wander too far in that direction.

There are some other items that show invisible enemies, such as Dust and Gem of True Sight. These aren’t usually necessary unless there are a few different enemies that have inherent invisibility, or if you know the enemy is playing pretty cheesy and will be buying a Smoke of Deceit or two. So, buy vision and sustain items, but there are also some items that offer us a little extra firepower such as Gauntlets of Strength, Circlet, and Mantle of Intelligence. We can purchase a few of these in order to make the most of our early game gold and gain a little extra pressure in lane. Buying the right item especially for the right matchup could be the difference between winning and losing lane.

These items are usually of secondary concern to high tier players, but every once in awhile it pays off more to just go for broke and buy 2 Circlets and 2 Slippers of Agility for the early game prowess. All that really matters is you understand the risks that come with both choices and that you are able to transition into the mid game correctly.

Building for the midgame is more like, waiting for the mid game until you have enough gold to wreck your enemies in the late game. Rotating and map control are more important than straight up overrunning your enemies. We will talk about that later. When you get into the mid game make sure to try and keep up you ward coverage but remember to use the courier to get the items you need to hit that next power spike.

How should I use Hero Abilities?

By now we know what the abilities of our favorite Heroes do and we are familiar with how our picks matchup into the enemy teams. Usually we can skim by picking our favorite over the most Meta pick because if we can play our Hero better than our opponent can play theirs, we can hard carry games. In truth, there isn’t an optimal ability path or perk tree, it all comes down to independent matchups and eventually, adapting to the Meta.

Sure enough at every TI we see the biggest variety of Heroes chosen every year out of probably any tournament. We have to remember that there are specific use cases that each team is trying to implement when they pick those Heroes and if we wish to emulate them then we need to be able to be flexible like they are. 

At the same time, it isn’t always best to try and emulate the pro players. Even when we begin to approach the Immortal rank there are still those steadfast longterm players and pros that know, Solo que is not a pro match. There are a variety of different things that are taken into consideration when going into a pro match and the game is played slightly differently than it would be even in a solo que match that featured 10 pro players.

Each game is going to be different from the last and the next, even if we end up with the same 10 Heroes everybody is at a different skill level and everyone has their good and bad games. It all comes down to decision making and capitalizing on opponent’s mistakes. So when it comes to getting the correct skills in the correct order, there really just isn’t one. It is matchup dependent as well as advantage dependent.

If you are able to identify what order you need your skills at in a matchup then you have a much higher chance of thwarting your enemy. This simply comes with experience but there are also plenty of other guides available for players to reference when it comes to specific matchups.So here the best advice is to tread carefully until you know you win, practice makes perfect and trust your instincts.

If we have the opportunity to pick last or even just pick to counter a specific Hero that may be a big threat, then we should take it. If our opponents pick some burst damage Heroes then a nice tank or sustaining Hero may prove favorable. If they have a lot of extra mobility then the Heroes with extra Crowd Control abilities can help lock them down.

Counter picking is such a staple in MOBAs and unfortunately we may not have been able to utilize that strategy to its fullest extent previously because we tend to focus on comfort picks above all else.

Try to only counter a specific playstyle, instead of a specific Hero. When we counter a playstyle we limit the options our opponent has to play around, and if they make the wrong choice we already inherently beat them. Countering is important, and it’s more important now than it was before. We should assume our enemy is better than us, but that we can beat them if we play correctly. Play smarter, and work to increase our ability to make the right decisions even when they’re near impossible to know.

What is the optimal practice?

At this level it isn’t always apparent how we should practice. When it comes right down to it we should be playing against some of the hardest Bot Scripts and studying pro matches for their builds and patterns. We shouldn’t emulate everything they do, but they can teach us a lot about power thresholds and power spikes as well as optimal builds and ward timings. Queuing ranked mode isn’t always the healthiest form of practice as a few bad games and we risk not just our MMR but out mental fortitude as well, which eventually depletes our will to think rationally.

Repeatedly going into solo que and losing game after game due to tilt is only going to set us back even further than we felt we were. There’s no reason to end on a win if all we gain from it is a fraction of the MMR we started with. Look for opportunities to take a break, and go into those Bot games or normal matches and focus on the mistakes we made that put us in this position in the first place.

I have a pretty strict two losses in a row take a break rule, it doesn’t work for everyone and sometimes it is counter productive but in the end it is the difference between me tilting off the MMR i worked so hard to gain and living to rank up another day. Find what works for you, take the time you’re tilted and try to turn it into productivity. Watch streamers, play Bot games, or catch up with the patch notes we never read. All of these things and more can help bring us back to reality and get us even more prepared for the next match.

Micro and Macro in Dota 2.

We talked about this before, but there’s always room to improve when it comes to Micro and Macro. Micro wasn’t as important before and that’s because it takes away from the rest of what we should be focused on. Now that we have more experience with the rest of the game though, working on our Micro capabilities can prove useful when we are able to outplay our opponents more frequently. At the same time if we are confident in our Micro and it helped us reach this point in the game we need to turn our heads to Macro and learn the best ways to press our advantage around the map.

When it comes to Micro the only way to improve is to practice dodging skill shots and setting up the perfect play. When we want to practice this we need to repeat scenarios over and over whether it be using Bot Scripts or 1v1ing a friend with the intention of working on simply improving our mechanics. There is never a surefire way to increase our Micro capabilities, it is one of those things that is innate and can be harnessed for some people, while for others they have to grow into it and find it for themselves. Some of us, just don’t have it.

Luckily for those of us that lack mechanical skill, we can serve a greater purpose, and that is supporting those that do have that mechanical prowess. Being a support or tank Hero and being that frontline or CC chaining power house that allows for our carries to truly carry us, is something that makes us shine as players. 

Macro is a lot easier to learn, but a little more difficult to repeat time and time again. Learning Macro and expanding on it is one of those things that changes with the Meta, there is an optimal way to play at all times and being a driving force in what makes that Meta work is no small task, whether or not it makes sense in hindsight. In Dota ganking isn’t something only one person in the game is responsible for, at the highest levels of play everyone makes preemptive rotations to try and secure an objective or to disrupt a lane that may be running away with the game a little bit. Knowing when to leave your safe zone and try and force a fight somewhere else is the difference between an easy game and a hard game.

Try to look for those lanes that are struggling, and if you can afford to leave your lane in order to support another one even if it is for just a moment or two, it can pay off for your team as a whole. These things are more about breaking our old habits and creating healthier, more MMR friendly ones. Practice makes perfect and while some of us may struggle with one or both of these aspects, we eventually can break the mold and come out a better player because of the time we put in to improving just one aspect of our game.

Being the best at Dota 2.

There is nothing simple in Dota 2, just like there was nothing simple in Dota. This is a game for the hardcore gamer and it takes a lot of effort to reach the top of the rankings. When we focus on the smallest details in practice, and look for the biggest moves in ranked, we can pull ourselves out of the worst of situations and glide up the rankings. At this high of a level though we do have to remember, sometimes they were just the better team, while we should never settle for this solution, we have to acknowledge its relevance and use it as a way to fuel ourselves to be on the other side of that coin. This is the end of our Dota 2 guides, thanks for letting us help you reach your goal, and we will see you in Immortal.

Cameron Carr image

Cameron Carr

9 November 2019
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