This is going to be an in-depth (warning: lots of text) guide for carries, explaining not so much the mechanics aspect, but rather the strategic, decision-making aspect, which is in my opinion far more important than any mechanics. Most of you who are reading this have probably been playing Dota for a lot longer than me. I started just 3 months ago. I am by no means a pro Dota player (still climbing the ladder at a slow rate due to university and stuff) but before moving to Dota I was a Diamond I (top 0.1% – equivalent of a 6k+ Dota Player) LoL player on multiple accounts for a year or so. The games are considerably different, but having this experience at a high level before starting Dota helped me know the essentials (map awareness, decision making) and get a head start from other new players..
What’s your job as a carry
Whether you are playing core at mid or in the safe lane, you need to know what your job is, and that isn’t to afk farm all game unless you’re playing something like Naga or Medusa (which I don’t recommend in low MMR because you will rarely win games by afk farming for 30 minutes as your team gets stomped 5v4 due to poor map awareness). Even if you’re getting fat with all the farm and ready to 1v5 later, your low MMR team will not understand the reason why you’re never with them and will be very demoralized and convinced that you’re the reason they’re losing. Which is, for a big part, true.
Depending on your hero and the enemy lineup, you need to have a general idea of your game plan before the runes even spawn. But usually, regardless of what heroes you pick, this is the general stuff you all already know:
a) Farm a lot
b) Get strong
c) Carry your team
Of course this isn’t as simple as it looks. In fact, it’s probably very misleading. So let’s look at the single biggest 1k-4k carry complaint, and the solution (with replay example included (ID:1375865971) – replay analysis at the end of my post , because we all know wall of text is boring):
Problem: “I farmed better than anyone in the game, didn’t even die once but my team fed the shit out of them”
Solution: This is why that generic abc-rule for carries is misleading. The tactic you follow on ANY role when you’re miles ahead of the enemy opposing role is always the same: Exploit your advantage and play aggressive across the entire map:
- Lots of people complain about “win lane, lose game”. If you win the lane and lose the game it’s not your team’s fault. It’s your fault. When you win your lane really hard you have a responsibility to use that advantage on the rest of the map and start getting objectives. You don’t sit in your lane afk farming while your stomped enemy roams the map.
- Yes, play super aggressive, but super aggressive doesn’t mean go yolo mode and whatever happens happened. Take calculated risks that you know you can come on top of. And if you know your hero’s limits well you can push your advantage to the limit. Which is why I advocate the spam 1 hero mentality
- You must always be able to recognize at any point in the game if you are stronger than your enemies, and if not all, which of the enemy heroes you’re currently stronger than. Use this in combination with game-sense and map awareness to effectively increase your team’s gold lead. If I’m playing Slark for example I always think beforehand which are the heroes that I can 1v1, or even 1v2, at any point in the game. Then I go looking for them where I think they’ll be out of positionSolution tl;dr Know how strong you are and how much difference in strength there is between you and your enemies. Exploit this on the rest of the map to give your team (not just yourself) a huge gold lead. If you play passive or defensive when you’re fed and not taking advantage of it, you deserve to lose the game.
Now, let’s see these 3 steps in action and the result:
REPLAY ANALYSIS – (Match ID: 1375865971) –
Note: I have since made a second account which is at a considerably higher hidden MMR than my original, but I decided that I’d ratherclimb the ladder the traditional way first rather than get a free 4.5k calibration on the smurf.
You don’t really need to watch it from the beginning, the important parts start around 5:10 (game time) and from minute 15 and on it’s simply a stomp. So let me (playing Slark) explain what I’m thinking and what happened:
Pre-game: This game looked like it was going to be hard from the beginning. The enemy team had a 3.9k MMR carry (Phantom Lancer) and the highest person on our team was 3.5k ish (the average MMR of this game). Our wraith king also really wanted to play safe lane, but I said “If you want you can go aggro trilane offlane with both supports and I’ll solo safe lane. PL will be useless”. It worked. If I hadn’t communicated with my team before the game started, the game would be a lot different with normal dual lanes. I also advised supports to ward block their jungle as soon as possible so PL can’t find safe farm. Always communicate
My laning phase (0:00 – 5:10): One of the reasons why I chose this replay is because my laning phase wasabsolute shit. I made tons of mistakes vs that necrophos, wasted all my regeneration and for that reason also had shit farm (not just for that, I’m also terrible at last hitting). I also messed up my salve and had to buy a new one. Not going so well
Post-level 6 (5:10-13:39): Slark’s hard part (Lvl 1-6) is finally over, after all the fucks up I made. This is where the“have a game plan before game begins” kicks in. I played tons of Slark games (in fact I only play Slark) so I know the ins and outs. I know that after level 6 I can 1v1 almost any hero in the game that is at least the same level as me (and even 1v2 vs some squishy supports that feel safe 2v1 against slark. You’re never safe). So even though I had shit farm and almost no items, I abuse the passive effect of my ultimate and start playing super aggressive vs Necro. After all I have more regeneration than him so I can just keep trading damage until he is at a point where I can pounce and finally kill him (5:40-6:49). This is an example of step 2 and 3, but on a smaller scale. From 6:49 to 13:39 I’m afk farming for my shadowblade. This is another example of step 3. I know that on this hero my power and overall game influence peaks as soon as I get a shadowblade. So I tunnelvision towards that goal (while always having a teleport scroll on me as you can see, just in case the enemy team decides to suicide-dive someone).
Post-shadowblade (13:39 until the end): Notice how this game is extremely short (29 minutes) when I did terrible in laning phase and looked bad from before the game started? This is because I understand and use Steps 1 2 3 whenever I can. So let’s see what happened here:
13:39 I finally have enough gold for my shadowblade. Despite my terrible early laning phase I kept farming as much as I could without dying and managed to get shadowblade at not amazing, but reasonable time. First thing I do? Push lane as much as they allow me to force a teleport, then immediately leave lane and start forcing my hero’s power spike on as much of the map as I can. What happens is that Phantom Lancer had to respond to my push to get his tasty farm so he teleported. I used this chance to rotate to mid tower and we wiped them. From there on I took the lead for my team (to minimize chances of throws) and started communicating both with chat, pings and chat wheel phrases. The rest of the game was simply applying calculated pressure on objectives (which comes from my experience in LoL) as me and my team under my lead gave them absolutely 0 space to breathe or come back. This was important because I know slark falls off late game and cannot carry harder than a Phantom Lancer (another example of knowing your hero’s ins and outs well, and having a game plan before the game starts).
That’s it, hopefully these 3 steps solve some of your problems as a carry (trust me, if you practice them and implement them in your playstyle, you will get better). I’ve seen many people with this problem so as soon as I had a game that very clearly showcases the Step 1-2-3 strategy, I wanted to share it and explain it better. Of course this isn’t something simple that you can just get in your next game and start doing perfectly. It requires good map awareness, good hero knowledge and good decision-making, which are all things that come with experience (which I had from before starting Dota). If you have any questions, I’m going to be answering all of them whenever I have free time.
tl;dr If you’re like me and too lazy to read it all of this, read the “problem” and “solution” section. If it caught your interest, download the replay, read my analysis and share your thoughts with us.
Problem 2: Supports who are reading this, please search for guides explaining pulling/stacking/double pulling/zoning/creep aggro/creep equilibrium. Supporting sounds simple and easy but honestly it’s probably the most complex role. This is a tricky problem because most 3k carries or lower will not even realize it exists. But it is a huge problem: An inexperienced support that doesn’t understand their role very well can directly ruin a carry’s game. They can stand afk in your lane leeching experience while doing nothing to help you farm (harass enemies, deny a bit) while your enemies harass the shit out of you. Some other supports think they are helping by single-pulling when you’re doing perfectly fine controlling the lane equilibrium at the perfect spot, with the result being 2 waves of free safe farm and experience for the enemy offlaner, which by the way is now outleveling you even since your support was leeching exp the whole time. Others know the basics and try to zone the enemy away as you are keeping the lane equilibrium, but they forget that they must not aggro enemy creeps while harassing or that ruins the equilibrium. The list of potential mistakes a support can make is endless. They seem minor, but they hugely affect the laning stage of the carry. I end up winning 1v1 and 1v2 lanes a lot easier than I win with a support. Sadly, at the 3k range or lower this is a very common phenomenon. But fear not, because even for this, there is a solution.
Solution 2: Communicate with your team:
IN PICKING PHASE: “<X name of player>, can you please not pick melee support and try something ranged? I am playing <X carry> who is melee, so I need a ranged support that can help harass and deny. Their ranged <X hero> will freely harass me all game if you pick melee support.”
“You can go support in off lane if you want. It’s really a lot better for us if I solo safe lane than have a melee support.” (try to be nice, cause people who don’t understand will be offended and call you an asshole – happened to me many times)
I got so desperate that I had the idea to create 3 chat keybinds that I use at the beginning of every game I play with a support. But it helps a lot and I recommend doing the same:
bind “N” “say_team I will try to freeze creep wave near our tower so you can harass and deny him out of exp range easier.”
bind “,” “say_team If I fail and can’t freeze wave do a double pull so the lane comes back near our tower. No single pull pls or lane will push”
bind “M” “say_team Don’t worry about kills, if we do this he’s even more useless.” – (for those super aggressive supports who think they’re helping by going yolo and spamming pings to move when there are 14 creeps in front of you that you need to farm)
These apply mostly to 2v1 lanes, but sometimes I type the “N” keybind anyway even if it’s a 2v2 lane.