The Art of Support

I watch a lot of Dota at the moment, whether that is from people like Purge or professional games, partly because I find it interesting, and partly because I want to improve my support play.

What I’m finding however is that there is a significant difference between support play at low levels and at high level, which is that supports at high level very rarely play the role of solo lane support. High level games almost always feature a 1-1-3 split, with two solo lanes and a tri-lane. Alternatively there will be three solo lanes and a pair of supports roaming for kills.

Clearly there’s still a lot to learn from these videos, whether that be item builds, behaviour in team fights, and mid to late game strategy, but in terms of the critical early game it’s quite hard to draw too much from it.

In a conventional low-MMR 2-1-2 format there will be two opposing heroes in the offlane. When not playing hard support I like to choose a “bully” strength hero such as Tidehunter, Centaur or Abaddon. I have also seen Axe played offlane to great effect. Against a hero like that, plus a support or nuker, it’s simply not possible to leave your carry to farm while you go off creep pulling and stacking – to do so is just asking for a gank. As say Jakiro or Maiden I need to be there to offer something against the opposing players – at least the threat of a spell or disable to make them think twice about diving the carry. 

So reading posts like The Art of Support on the Team Liquid forums, while fascinating of itself, is not really something that’s going to help my decision making all that much, because the decisions I need to make, in selecting heroes and in the early game at least, are different to in a high level game.  


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