Dota Two The Role of The Support
Supports are heroes whose purpose are to keep their allies alive and give them opportunities to earn more gold and experience. Supports will usually come with skills such as healing spells or skills that disable enemies. Like Semi-Carries, Supports are not dependent on items, and thus, most of their gold will be spent on items such as Animal Courier, Observer Ward, Sentry Ward, and Smoke of Deceit. Supports are typically paired with the team’s Carry at the start of a game. This is because the Carry tends to be the weakest and most gold-hungry member of the team early on.
The support role is one of the most misunderstood aspects of DotA, especially when played as a babysitter for a hard carry(ex. Lich/Void, CM/Jug). This article will touch on the general theory of the support role, and focus less on the particular techniques one employs to play an effective support. When I pick a hard carry in a pub game, most of the time someone will opt to lane with me as a support hero. They usually just sit in lane with me, making sure I don’t die, harassing a little bit, and sometimes even stacking/pulling. This is all swell, but there are some core components of support play missing:
The idea of giving one or two heroes the majority of the gold to farm is fairly intuitive. Gold is not the only important resource on the map, however; experience can be just as vital, and in some cases is more important than gold. During the initial laning phase, the carry will want to maximise their last hits as well as the amount of solo experience gained. What does this mean for the support? Get out of the lane. This may seem counter-intuitive for a babysitting role, but it’s absolutely necessary to get your level-dependent carry to that critical mass. Whether you’re stacking and pulling, checking rune, ganking, warding, or sitting in the jungle just out of XP range waiting for an opportunity, any amount of time you can guarantee safe solo XP for the carry is usually worth it. Too many times I’ve seen a solo come to dominate a 1v2 lane because they out-levelled both enemies. The obvious next step is: how does a support guarantee safe solo XP for the carry?
Winning the lane
I will qualify this section by saying that it’s generally more feasible to shut down a solo hero, and that the duo-sidelane setup of most pubs is not conducive to “proper” or competitive support play. What does it mean to win a lane? There’s no set criteria for “winning” a lane and there’s plenty of nuance involved with handling your lane’s trials and tribulations, but more often than not you can ask yourself “Which farm-dependent hero got the most farm?” to determine who won the lane. As a babysitter, this basically means killing and/or zoning the enemy until they can’t approach the creep wave without serious risk. Once lane control has been firmly established through stacking/pulling, outright muscling your opponent out of lane at low levels, ganking your own lane, aggressive warding/counter-warding, and stacking regs, it is generally safe for you to leave lane to grab runes and make stuff happen elsewhere. This will give your carry the chance to leverage the intial level and gold advantage into serious carrying potential.