Have you recently started playing DotA 2 and managed to learn the basic principle and mechanics of the game but are now struggling to win your matches? Or have you been in the same matchmaking bracket for ages and can’t seem to rank up?
Winning or losing is an integral part of any game but it can be quite demoralizing if you are losing constantly. You need to have both mechanical and in-game decision-making skills to be better at DotA 2 and win games consistently.
Although all of that comes automatically with constant practice, there are also some things that you can do to increase your performance in the game. Here are the different things that you can do in your games to get better at DotA.
Table of Contents
Drafting Phase Communications
Try to communicate with your teammates during the drafting phase. See what heroes your teammates are trying to pick and try to synergize with them. Also, if have a certain hero in mind that you think is good for the game, don’t hesitate to suggest them.
However, don’t be too pushy and force your idea into them. Let them pick their comfort heroes then pick a hero that goes well with them. In case you have to first pick, either pick a hero that is in the meta or pick your best hero.
Understand Your Timings
In a DotA 2 match, every hero has a timing when he can start fighting and help the team toward the objective.
For Supports, it may be when they reach level 6 or when they get certain items like Blink Dagger. For Mid, it may be when they get a Power Rune or when they get their Ult. For Offlaner, it may be when they get their Vanguard or Pipe of Insight. And for Carry, it may be when they get their BKB or a fighting item.
No matter what role you’re playing, it is important that you understand your timing and absolutely not force a fight before that. This is even more important for a Carry since even one death can delay his item progression by a lot.
Also, don’t forget to make moves when you reach your timing. Buy smokes, gank other lanes, or force a big fight to gain map control when you know you’re ahead.
Understand Your Role in the Match
In each of your DotA 2 matches, there are five roles players can choose from:
Carry/Hard Carry: Damage dealer and needs items before he can join fights. It is important that you give them enough space to farm and protect them from enemy ganks. As a carry, it is your job to outfarm your enemy counterpart and carry your team to victory.
Mid: Sets the tempo for the team. They are usually heroes who have the potential to snowball and disrupt the enemy team’s game. They also get their items and ultimate faster than any hero on the map and can utilize this opportunity to gank the sidelines.
Offlaner: Builds towards tanky items and becomes the frontline for their team. They are strong and don’t really care about anybody. Their job is to take the most dangerous farm on the map while also attracting the enemy’s attention. Most offlaners usually have big teamfight ultimates.
Soft Support: Support, but can also act as a core, depending on the game. In the laning phase, their job is to secure the lane for their offlaner and help the team with ganks. After the laning phase, when they usually have Blink Dagger, they act as the initiator for their team and help to set up kills.
Hard Support: Usually the least farmed hero on the map. Their main job is to secure the lane for their carry and ensure that he gets to farm without any worries. They are generally carrying the wards and detection items for their team. They also don’t need any items to be effective.
It is important that you know what role you are playing and understand exactly what you should be doing on the map.
Try to Win the Vision War
Wards play a very important role in DotA 2 matches. Having a superior vision over your enemy is already a big advantage for your team. Not only you can keep tabs on your enemies and their location at all times, but you also instantly know if they try to make a move.
So don’t be stingy to buy lots of sentries and observer wards. Even if you’re playing a carry, it’s better if you buy your own ward rather than asking your support to buy it. Who knows, this one move might end up saving your life from an enemy gank.
Also, don’t forget to put vision if you’re planning to smoke and the enemy territory.
Prioritize Objectives Over Kills/ Farm
When you take a successful teamfight and kill all your enemies, don’t just go AFK farming. Learn to take advantage of this situation and complete objectives such as pushing towers or controlling the outpost.
This is also a great opportunity to put down some deep wards and deward enemy wards. If you’re in the mid/late game, you can go for the Roshan as well.
Just do something with this advantage. Remember, your goal is to destroy the enemy Ancient not outfarm your enemies.
Learn to Create and Take Space
In DotA, the more space you have for farming, the sooner you can complete your items. This is even more applicable in the higher ranks where both teams are looking to control the enemy territory for more space.
After you have taken down enemy towers, the whole area now basically belongs to your team so you should be thinking of protecting this from the enemy team and making sure they don’t get to farm there freely.
You should put some wards in those areas so that when an enemy hero enters the area, you can immediately punish them.
Learn to Utilize Map to Your Advantage
DotA 2 has different structures on the map that you can use to your advantage. Choke points such as ramps, Rosh pit, or even the river can be used to your advantage if you have big AoE spells.
On the other hand, you should also be careful in these areas if the enemy team has these spells. Having a high ground is also another great advantage that you can have in DotA.
This is because you have a full vision of your enemies while they have none. So if they try to walk up to your teammates, they will immediately get punished and might even result in a teamwipe.
This is why pushing into high grounds is one of the most dangerous moves in this game.
Learn When to Commit and When to Fall Back
You should also learn when to commit to fighting and when to back down. Basically, if your Carry is dead or your teammates aren’t able to join the fight, you should immediately back down and either wait for them to respawn or until all your team is together.
You shouldn’t also chase heroes and dive the enemy base for the sake of getting kills. In my own personal games, I’ve experienced matches where a careless dive lost us the game.
The only case it is okay to dive into the enemy base is when they have already used their buybacks. But still, you should be careful not to get yourself killed in the process.
Learn How to Play and Win on Your Matchmaking Bracket
In each matchmaking bracket in DotA 2, people have their own strategies when it comes to playing the game. The matches in the lower ranks tend to last much longer than in the higher ranks.
People also make a lot of mistakes in the lower ranks which go unpunished most of the time. This is the reason why the smurfs almost always win their matches.
However, this is not the case in higher ranks. In those ranks, your enemies will always try to outplay you and punish you heavily for your mistakes.
So, learn how people usually play at your current bracket and try to turn plays into objectives. Also, don’t try to make solo plays, and tell your teammates if you want to do something.
Communicate With Your Teammates
Remember that DotA 2 is a team-based game and communication is the key to victory. The moment you throw your ego aside and start communicating with your teammates, you’ll notice that your games will be much different than before. Tell them what you want to do and how you want to proceed with the game. You can also encourage them if they miss their big spells.
Also, don’t do or say anything that will tilt your teammates. On the flip side, if they are being toxic to you, you can mute them as well.
Try to Master a Few Heroes First (Then Increase Your Hero Pool as You Climb Ranks)
Winning a DotA game is hard enough and it becomes even harder when you try to play a different hero in every match. I’ve seen many players trying to play Arc Warden or Lone Druid after seeing a pro completely dominating their match and fail miserably.
If you really want to get better at DotA, then try to stick to a few good heroes and always try to play one or two roles until you feel confident to try other roles and heroes. You will automatically get better as you play more matches and climb up more ranks as well.
Always Think of the Ways You Can Win the Game
You should accept the fact that not all your matches will end up going the way you want them to go, and at some time you’ll have to make adjustments on how you want to proceed with the game. Maybe your team lost all the lanes, or maybe you were hard-countered from the start, or maybe the enemy team has some cheese strats to end the game in under 15 minutes.
In those cases, instead of giving up and blaming your teammates, what you can do is think of the things you can do to turn the game around. If you’ve lost all your lanes, then give your carry as much safe space as possible and try to make plays with the remaining four players.
If your team is hard-countered, try to force your enemy into taking bad fights. And if the enemy has cheese strats, try to delay the game as much as possible. For this, you can either split-push or cut the waves to delay their push.
Be the Shot-Caller
You are losing a lot of matches simply because there is no one on your team calling the shots and everyone is playing their own games. This situation can be easily avoided if someone takes over the game as a shot-caller.
Use Different Tactics
DotA 2 is a strategic game but sometimes you’ll need more than just plain strategy to win games. Each DotA match you’ll play will be different than the previous ones and each one will require different tactics to win games. Some games may require you to split push to divert the attention of enemies while some may require you to stick up as a 5-man and force teamfights.
In any case, you’ll learn about these tactics as you play more matches and you’ll see them being applied in your own matches by either your own teammates or your opponents. When the time comes, you’ll also start using them automatically.