How do we learn to get better at our favorite heroes? Some of us read countless discussions on forums, some of us study pro replays (ex. iceiceice’s Timbersaw), and some of us just listlessly play pubs and hope we’ll get better.
Recently, it’s been exciting for me to see reddit AMAs, guides, and tips from players on Dotabuff’s top rankings. I’m not saying that hero guides are more instructional when they come from experienced players, but rather I’m glad to see that the rankings have motivated these players to contribute to the community. Some of their tips have motivated me to try new heroes (Shadowblade Slardar!) and rethink my ideas on other heroes (Offlane Nightstalker).
Here is a compilation of guides from these players and also pros who have spent time helping the community.
You could study iceiceice replays on his signature Timbersaw, but sometimes a cohesive guide can be more instructional, especially since what ice does is beyond our understanding. Tango Wango wrote an extensive guide on his Timbersaw play that goes through every ins and outs of the hero, from starting item builds to late game decision making. He’s also compiled gifs of interesting tricks with Timbersaw, including a play where you clear trees with chakram before chaining to the one behind it.
One of the first AMAs from a player who specialized in one hero. Give credit to Attacker for creating the new Blink, Battlefury Kunnka we see in our pubs and competitive play today. He climbed to the top of the leaderboards with 6900+ MMR playing Kunkka exclusively. Though his AMA is advice from pre-6.83, there is plenty of useful advice and his reasonings behind his item choices. He believes Shadow Blade is overrated, however it still remains more popular than Blink Dagger in pubs, with a lower win rate at 49%.
Slardar received a few moderate buffs in 6.83, the most significant one being Amplify Damage’s cooldown reduced by half, from 10 to 5s. Slardar feels like it’s on the cusp of being viable in competitive play. He just needs a little time.
Vinny has played 130+ games on Slardar and boasts an impressive 70.59% win rate, but the most surprising stat is his first core item: Shadow Blade. His reasoning is that attack speed and 522ms suits Slardar better than Blink Dagger’s mobility and initiation. It allows Slardar to move into a late game carry role, similar to why TA and Tiny players skip their blink daggers.
Check out his guide for how he plays it and how support Slardar can also be viable.
In pubs there are plenty of viable offlaners, particularly because supports almost never de-ward the pull camp, and they’re terrible at zoning offlaners without pushing the wave itself. I’ve seen heroes like Sniper and Medusa have success in the offlane. It can work.
Nightstalker makes sense if he can leech XP until the earlier night change at 4 mins. From there, his passive gives good escape and he can roam and contribute to the other lanes. He also becomes a threat to supports who try to zone him in the offlane.
This is by far the cleanest design I’ve seen for a hero guide. A lot of effort was put into this post and I believe it deserves more attention than it received when it first appeared on the front page of r/dota2.
Ponies supplements his guide with an interactive flow chart on item builds, high resolution gifs, and a graph showing your chance to crit if you’ve “primed” your attack.
“You see what I’m doing? I’m being a pain in the ass.”
This is a classic video of iceiceice showing how to play offlane Furion. It’s one of the first instructional guides I’ve seen from a pro player, and it made me wish every pro would do a demonstration like this.
Playing offlane Furion requires you to check the clock like your rearview mirror. Iceiceice blocks the pull spawn every minute, stacks the ancients every minute, checks the rune every two minutes, and pops from the jungle and back to his offlane when it’s pushed enough to farm safely. This video is essential for any offlaner to see how you can make an impact on the game from all the little things.
Meracle had an AMA last month and was bombarded with questions about his signature heroes. As a prolific pub player(over 6,000 games!) it’s no surprise he holds top 10 Dotabuff rankings on a variety of heroes.
Here are some highlights on his Naga answers:
AdmiralBulldog has to be the original hero spammer. No other player has reached such success off the back of one hero. He was THAT good with Lone Druid. It’s a treat for him to guide us through his thoughts on the hero in this recent tutorial.
AdmiralBulldog talks about nearly everything you need to know or didn’t realize you needed to know about the hero. He doesn’t believe in Mask of Madness/Maelstrom. Radiance into Pipe is by far the best build. He talks about how to micro when you’re getting ganked, and how to micro your bear to gain more attacks when chasing. I don’t even play Lone Druid that much and I sat through the entire hour long video.