Dota 2 Support Guide: How to be a Good Support in Dota 2

Here in our Dota 2 support guide, we discuss the basics of supporting, why you should start playing support and how to get good at it.

Why You Should Play Support

Dota 2 support players who actually know what they’re doing are pretty scarce. But, when you find one in pubs, you’re pretty much assured of a good win. No matter how good of a carry you are, if your enemy’s supports are great at leading their team and choking your vision, you’ll have very little room to farm and take over the time.

Below are a few pros and cons of playing as a Dota 2 support.

Pros

  • You can come online starting from minute zero
  • Your impact throughout the game, especially early to mid, is huge
  • You’re pretty much the de-facto leader of your team and will actually be looked at to lead a five-man stack (almost every top-tier team’s captain plays support, just like at Alexei ‘Solo‘ Berezin, Peter ‘ppd‘ Dager, Clement ‘Puppey‘ Ivanov).

Cons:

  • Good luck making flashy plays
  • Your farm will be well below the priority list, and most of your gold will be spent on Observer Wards, Sentry Wards, Smoke of Deceit, Dust of Appearance, and anything else that your team might need
  • Your impact late in the game pretty much depends on how you space you can create by stalling and luring the enemy team to kill you
  • You’re pretty much reliant on your carry to win the game for you if the game goes late
  • Getting RAMPAGE on a support is nothing but a wet dream
  • You will die. A LOT.

As you can see, there are a lot more cons to pros when it comes to playing as a Dota 2 support. So, you may ask yourself, why should I play support? Well, the answer really is, you don’t have to. It’s not everyone. The same goes for the carry role. Pick one that best suits your character and the way you want to play the game. Although it wouldn’t hurt to know how to play as a support.

Dota 2 Support

Fun fact: With a base damage of 62-70 (and +25 from his Strength at Lvl 1), Treant Protector has the highest damage output early game. The hero can easily trade hits with anybody, making him very good at zoning enemy heroes out of the lane, especially melee offlaners.

Be a Dota 2 Support Player If You Want To

  • Want to support other people
  • Want to make an impact in the game with basic items and your own skill

Watching your carry destroy enemy team, knowing that it’s all happening because of your effort in the early game can be a very satisfying experience (works for me!)

Dota 2 Support

But before we go into deeper things like warding, pulling, roaming, and so on, let’s define what a Dota 2 support player means.

The support role in Dota 2 is about giving your team every possible advantage. You see, in Dota 2, there are what we call macro games, which are all the flashy fights and moves that you see in highlight videos, and then there are the micro games, which are all the small things that add up throughout the game that gives a team an advantage against the other; a tower destroyed or defended gives gold to your cores, grants your team vision, prevents the enemy team from farming and gives you map control.

It is the job of a Dota 2 support player to provide the condition for his or her team to take down the enemy Ancient; your carry needs to get more space to farm more than the enemy carry, your mid must have an easier time during the laning phase, and your offlane needs to have a good game or at least not die a lot, and it’s your job to make sure that happens.

As a support, this will be your priority during the laning phase (<10 minutes)

  1. Your carry must be safe and can secure last hit easily (zone their offlaner out if you can)
  2. He gets as much experience as possible (stay out of exp range if possible)
  3. The mid player get sufficient help getting rune and avoid ganking from enemy support (remember rune spawn time and go there if you don’t have more important tasks)
  4. Be ready to teleport to your offlane if the enemy dives his tower (but make sure that you’re not just teleporting in to die)

If you successfully do so, here is what you will get:

  1. The enemy offlaner gets zoned out with limited exp gain
  2. Enemy mid is afraid of getting ganked (smoke gank with other support/ sometimes just disappear on the map)
  3. The enemy safelaner and other rotating supports won’t dare dive into your offlaner’s tower

Of course, it’s not always possible to complete all of these tasks. Depending on your team’s lineup, one of the lanes will get sacrificed, which means that the player will be left pretty much to his or her own devices so you can focus on securing the other two lanes. This is something that the top teams are excellent at — they pre-plan for which lanes they will sacrifice and they know how to adjust accordingly in the middle of the game in case everything doesn’t go according to their plan

The 10-minute mark or the laning phase is the most important window for a Dota 2 support player. This is especially true in today’s meta, where games are fast-paced and games end earlier than a year or two ago. A good laning phase pretty much assures your team a victory, so be active and contribute everything you can during this brief period of time.

Dota 2 Support

Fun fact: Crystal Maiden’s Frostbite skill only lasts several seconds on heroes but 10 seconds on creeps, dealing damage over that period of time, so grab some extra creeps when you walk pass them in the jungle

How to Adapt as a Support

Dota 2 support players are always adjusting. For example, if your carry can safely farm against the enemy’s offlaner, try doing these more productive things instead:

  1. Camp mid. Make sure that you are far away enough to avoid detection and not leech exp but also close enough that you can provide help or gank when necessary.
  2.  Go check on how well your offlaner is doing. If the offlane is having a hard time, go help out there instead.
  3. Be as productive as you can possibly be while roaming Check runes, stack creeps, and if applicable, clear weak neutral creeps for some extra gold and exp.

If your offlane is having a hard time, consider doing these instead:

  1. Do not teleport in immediately. Only do so if there is a chance that you can punish the enemy’s heroes for diving past the tower. Most offlaners don’t mind playing at a deficit, especially if this helps create space for the mid and safe lane.
  2. Go pressure the other lanes. If you apply enough pressure, the enemy team will be forced to rotate, giving your offlaner a chance to soak up some farm and much-needed exp.
  3. Never ever teleport to the offlane unless it guarantees a kill; it’s a waste of time and puts the safety of the other lanes at risk.

Your mid player is getting tower dived constantly:

  1. Place a sentry at various places at mid to check for enemy vision. The enemy team might be confident diving because they have a strong vision around the middle lane.
  2. Place defensive observer wards at mid so your mid player is more aware of incoming ganks.
  3. Try to predict the movement of the enemy supports and counter gank if possible.
  4. Always carry a Town Portal Scroll for extra security.

Additional Tips

  1. Don’t rest easy knowing that your carry is farming great because this only makes him more susceptible to an enemy gank. Because of how the current gold and exp bounty mechanic for kills work these days, the enemy team will get the most gold and exp if they manage to kill the most farmed hero on your team.
  2. If you plan on leaving your carry alone for a while, place a ward near the enemy tower first so your carry can at least see if enemy supports and/or other heroes are teleporting in to try and gank him.
  3. Lure the enemy team into thinking that the carry is alone by hiding behind your carry and turn the fight around as soon as they take the bait.
  4. If you can take down a Tier 1 tower, do it. The more towers you can secure, the more vision you’ll have and the harder it will be for the enemy team to gank.

Final Thoughts

The job of the Dota 2 support player is to find and create every possible advantage for the team. Yes, it’s near impossible to win all three lanes. In fact, most teams these days are happy to sacrifice one lane if this means helping them secure the other two. Even winning one lane hard and losing two lanes is better than losing slightly in all three lanes.

As a Dota 2 support player, the first 10 minute is where you’ll shine the most; it’s the point of the game where you’ll constantly rotate from lane to lane and doing everything right in between. But, if you pull it off, including constantly checking for runes, stacking creeps, and clearing weak neutral creeps, your team’s chances of winning will be all the better for it.

What do you think aspiring Dota 2 support players should learn first? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.

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