Part II – You’re Not Alone: How to be a Selfless Support

“So you’re probably feeling pretty good about your supporting at this point. You know you serve a noble purpose and you’re aware that you’ve got to try and do it as efficiently as possible but you’re probably wondering. What about later on? What do I do? Or, how about the mid game? I feel like I just wander about for the most part. Well! You’re in luck, this part is all about that and will answer most of your questions!

You are relevant at all stages of the game. Adjust your play to match the role you should be playing at any given point.

  • You are powerful in the early game. Use this to ensure lane advantage. Roam to help mid and other lanes. Teleport to towers to save a hero that is being attacked in lane.
    • By the nature of your role you will (or should) be playing a hero that is strong early on. This allows you to perform the functions of a support while minimizing the effect of these responsibilities on your performance. Take advantage of that early game strength. Muscle your way around in lane. Go to other lanes and set a kill up on the opposing team’s mid hero.
  • Keep up sight and deward when possible.
    • Though it may not seem obvious at first (I played almost all of my DotA 1 games with little to no ward coverage), wards are incredibly important. Being able to have constant vision on an area of the map allows you to coordinate and make much better decisions than if you were operating in the dark. So, as a support, it will be your task to keep those beacons of light (wards) burning bright. Conversely, an additional goal for you is to try your best to bring deep, dangerous darkness to the enemy team by hunting down their purposefully placed wards and extinguishing them (with sentries).
  • Play defensively and act to slow down the other team’s powerful heroes.
    • Later on you will likely be less effective in teamfights than you were before (unless you are playing a hero with a stun or silence or similarly consistently powerful ability) so you will need to adjust your approach from just smashing everyone to working to disable, damage and slow down key targets. For example, if you are able to silence or hex an opposing support before they can cast their ultimate then you’ve managed to still make a significant contribution even at the late phase in the game where you autoattacks do nothing but tickle the enemy carry.
  • Check for Roshan.
    • This is a simple but effective way to contribute to your team. By keeping tabs on Roshan (when it is safe to do so) you are making sure that the other team isn’t killing him unnoticed and your team is aware if he has respawned and can begin to organize trying to kill him and get the aegis (should they wish to do so).
  • Distract/draw attention to yourself.
    • If you are playing a hero who really tails off quite badly by the time you’ve reached the late game (say CM who doesn’t have much to offer unless she is able to get off an ultimate in the middle of the fight) then one of the best things you can is distract the enemy team from targeting more valuable heroes on your team. Though you may perish in a quick and painful fashion you can have made an important contribution by a giving your team leeway to smash through the three other players on the enemy team that weren’t tricked into running off and chasing you.
  • Try and get spells off before dying.
    • Another tip for the late game. If you are liable to get killed in one or two hits then try and play defensively and use your spells before you inevitably fall. For example, if you are playing as Lich, armor up all your teammates before the fight begins and then use your ultimate as soon as it is suitable. Given the probability of you falling quickly it is better to use your ultimate and have it be slightly less than optimal rather than not using it at all.
  • Stacking/pulling creeps.
    • Early on you can get quite a lot of gold and experience for yourself and control your lane better by stacking (drawing their attention and making sure they are outside of certain boundaries surrounding their area at the minute mark) and pulling (drawing their attention and bringing them towards the lane when your units are moving along it so that they attack and get the attention of your units) the jungle camps that are within reach of your lane. Later on in the game you can give your allies a big gold and experience boost by stacking Jungle and Ancient camps for them to kill in one fell swoop once they’ve grown powerful enough to do so. This is an activity that you can do throughout the game and will help your team gain a gold and experience advantage. The only caveat is that you need to bear in mind that those stacked camps can also be taken by the enemy team so also creates a bit of a liability in your team is not in a position to take them within a reasonable period of time.

And again, additional resources should you wish to consult them!

XVRogue’s videos on various topics

XVRogue provides a thorough explanation of various facets of DotA 2. I’ve always found his videos to be well-made, succint and to the point and knowledgeable. Of particular interest to us is his guide on playing as a support. If you don’t feel like reading a bunch of text, this is probably the best option for you!

Tsunami’s articles (Pull Camp/Rune WardsPushing Wards, Situational Wards) on placing wards and Making Money as a Support

With warding being one of the most important roles of a support, these articles provide additional information on where exactly to place your wards and sentry wards to block camps, rune and Roshan pit vision, using wards to get additional information while in lane, placement around towers, where to place wards based on your current situation (T1, T2, T3), as well as a variety of situational wards that you may find useful. In his article on making Money as a Support, Tsunami gives a few helpful tips to maximize your usefulness as a support, make the best use of the limited funds available to you and take advantage of the select few opportunities you do have to generate income.

Sando’s guide on supporting

Sando goes into more detail on the theory behind hard supports and the reason to pick them (and is a great deal more articulate). He also provides specific examples of lane compositions and potential situations (and the strategies to match them). He then goes into application of game knowledge and capitalizing on situations that present themselves. He gives a useful snapshot of the support mindset with regards to gold and experience, team fights, when to fight or run, managing your mana and dewarding. I would recommend this guide for anyone new to the role or who feels like  they could do with a refresher with regards to some of the facets of such a complicated role.

BurningSera’s guide on how to play supports.

BurningSera provides an in-depth look at playing the role of support with a breakdown between basic, intermediate and advanced points. He has some points that I don’t quite agree with (like buying a Divine to intentionally suicide and attempt to ensure it’s transfer to your carry and playing with near-reckless abandon in a lane that you feel you will likely lose) and it’s not written in the most articulate fashion but it has many useful points and images to illustrate said points.

Parliament’s guide to Competitive Positions

Parliament briefly covers the concept of the 1-5 role system and gives examples of heroes that fit those roles and professional players who play them. With each role he briefly covers what is to expected of them and their goals in the game. This guide is less friendly to new players as it uses a lot of jargon but it is an effective breakdown of what is to be expected from each role. His description of the #5 role (the hard support) is pretty on point and would provide a new player with a good understanding of what they should be doing.

That’s all for now! Have a pezant day.

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