Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Analysis: Hard Lane Heroes

 LAST UPDATED: May 28, 2013

Disclaimer: This isn't going to be 100% correct (if it were, then Dota would probably be close to a solved game). Also note that the list will innately be more geared towards pubs. Also, have to do a lot of fixes to this list as my skill has increased plus the meta has shifted. The original version of this list was pretty awful. Sometime soon, I'll just do a whole re-write of this post.

The key things are:

  • Survivability
  • Ability to farm against 2+ heroes

Other notes:

  • Some heroes are good because they can play a little more dangerously because they have good escapes
  • Some heroes are good because they have long range methods of getting some farm
  • Some heroes are good because they don't require much farm and can screw enemies over with levels
  • Even if a hero is generally very good at the lane, there are ways to counter them (e.g. they might not be good at fending off pushes)
  • Some heroes can solo the hard lane, but whether they should is another story.

Very good:

  • Lone Druid is absurdly good at the hard lane. His bear is basically a lanemate that takes no XP from you. His movespeed is very high, allowing him to escape most quarrels. However, a few stuns and he's toast. Also note, using his bear, he can pull creeps
    • If the lane is too difficult, he has the option of Jungling
  • Dark Seer because he has a speed boost and can farm creeps from a range with Ion Shell to some extent, but due to it being a DoT enemies can deny. However, you can harass the enemy carry and keep the creeps pushed into tower range which makes last hitting more difficult.
    • If the lane is too difficult, he has the option of Jungling
  • Batrider due to an excellent escape in Firefly. He also can harass with Sticky Napalm and Flamebreak to some extent.
    • If the lane is too difficult, he has the option of Jungling
  • Nature's Prophet because he can pull with his Treants. Sprout gives him extra survivability. Combine Sprout and his Teleport, you can escape many situations because the enemy does not have vision of you. However, AoE stuns can still shut you down while you're hidden in Sprout and he has no escapes other than those two.
    • If the lane is too difficult, he has the option of Jungling

Pretty Good:

  • Weaver because he has invisibility and Geminate Attack works well for harass. After getting his ult, he's pretty safe. However, he is very easy to nuke down with his low base HP and poor attack range.
  • Clockwerk by using his rockets to last hit and harass. A well placed cogs will get you out of many bad situations.
  • Windrunner because she has a good escape mechanism, Powershot allows her to farm from a range as well as harass, plus she has a stun. However, against a coordinated trilane, she'll be in for trouble. She is much better against a dual lane that also has a jungler.
  • Clinkz has invisibility to escape with. He also has Searing Arrows, which allow him to last hit effectively. If you turn your back on him, he can easily take out a tower or kill a hero.
  • Bounty Hunter is a good pickup because he is able to leech XP with invisibility, similar to Broodmother. His goal is to hit level 6 quickly, then get kills with his ult, making up for lost farm. He can be countered quite easily with Sentry Wards though.
  • Beastmaster because his axes have a long range. If you skill his critters, he gets a huge sight radius so it's hard to gank him and you can use his boar to help you last hit or harass. Many people also will stack the ancients and farm that using the Boar. He's also very difficult to deal with 1v1, forcing the enemy to dual lane in order to get farm.  
    • How to farm Dire Ancients: Use your boar to stack the ancients on the 52 second mark. Build a Soul Ring. Once you have 3+ stacks, use your Axes to hit all the Ancients. Wait until your Soul Ring comes off cooldown, use it for the mana, rinse and repeat. (I've seen this done with even up to 6 stacks of ancients).


  • Magnus used to be a tier 1 offlaner. however, Skewer was nerfed (the range now scales instead of starting at max distance). He can still do OK, but kind of relies on Bottle-Crowing and spamming Shockwave. Leveling Skewer is a must, the level 1 distance is crap. He really shouldn't be run against lanes with heavy disables. Ideally, he'd work better if they had a Jungle Trilane. 
  • Broodmother can hide in her webs and use her spiderlings to farm the jungle, giving her some nice guaranteed farm. The problem is that if the enemy picks up Sentry Wards the lane can be problematic. However, you also have high movespeed in your webs, good regen, a long ranged nuke, and spiderlings. Plus, the enemy has to use money to buy Sentry Wards. Her main goal is to leech XP and then push down towers as soon as laning phase is over (i.e. players leave the lane to gank and do other things), leaving Broodmother unchecked.
    • NOTE: Brood got her Spiderites nerfed hard, so she is a bit less viable (they don't do as much damage to towers as they used to and are worth more bounty)
  • Enigma because, similar to Lich, he can deny creeps. His minions allow him to last hit while not putting himself in too much danger. He also has a stun, which can be used aggressively or to retreat. Just be careful not to feed his minions to the enemy, they are pretty slow.
  • Mirana due to her jump for escapes. She can farm decently with her attack range as well as Star Storm. If an ally comes to gank, a well placed arrow is great. Plus, getting her to level 6 quickly helps the entire team with her ultimate.
  • Treant Protector can soak up XP using his invisibility. He's mostly put there to gain levels fast and help other lanes by using Living Armor.
  • Lich because he can deny creeps, giving him an even larger level advantage over his enemies. He is mana independent and can harass effectively with his nuke. His movespeed is higher than most and he has a good attack range. However, he cannot fend off pushes very well and if caught out of position, he doesn't have much of an escape.
  • Tidehunter is good as a solo in certain situations. Anchor Smash allows him to get some last hits (depending on the match up). It also reduces damage by 40%, making it difficult to kill him with auto attacks. It's also incredibly low in mana cost. Gush can help him escape due to its slow. Lastly, he has Kraken Shell, which reduces incoming damage and will remove debuffs at a certain threshold of damage.
    • Like Sand King, Tidehunter is also an excellent counter to Broodmother because of Anchor Smash.

Situationally (and in some cases can, but shouldn't):

  • Sand King because he is excellent at escaping. His stun is very reliable and can be used to get away from a bad situation. Sand storm allows him to get out of a lot of bad scenarios as well because of the reveal time after breaking the channel. Additionally, his passive has splash damage which can be used to harass enemies that get too close to the creep wave.
    • Sand King is a very good counter to a solo Broodmother lane due to Caustic Finale.
  • Wisp Sometimes, people throw Wisp there to get him to level 6 quickly. His attack range is pretty decent (575) and Spirits give him further harass. But, once he's level 6, all hell breaks loose and ganks come non-stop
  • Tinker  can work on the same grounds as Beastmaster - Ancient Stacking. He is a bit less able to stay in the lane and is very dependent on Soul Ring or Bottle for stacking properly (no cheap spell like Boar to stack with).
  • Queen of Pain because she has blink. She also benefits from the extra levels and can demolish her lane once she has ult. However, she works much better if the lane is 1v1.
  • Puck because illusionary orb allows it to farm or escape. Phase shift, when used properly, will make Puck very hard to lock down with a stun. Puck also has a silence.

Also remember, that some of these heroes have the ability to solo the hardlane, but you have to be careful with mana.

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