Monday, November 26, 2012

Defining the Lanes

There is a lot of confusion surrounding lane terminology. Here are my interpretations.

Basic Terminology

There are 3 lanes:

  1. Mid Lane - everyone knows this
  2. Hard Lane - Radiant Top / Dire Bottom, it's the lane that is riskier, you cannot pull creep camps as easily, and you're regularly far from your tower next to a jungle that is easy to be ganked from
  3. Easy/Safe Lane - Radiant Bottom / Dire Top - the lane that you're frequently near your tower, plenty of good gank spots from the jungle, etc.

Advanced Terminology

Now we get into trickier terms.


The offlane is a solo sidelane. This is typically used in a scenario where there is some form of a Trilane.

A special incarnation of the Offlane is the Suicide Lane. This is a 1v3 setup. The solo hero is there to survive and soak up XP for the most part. If they can manage to get some creep gold or even a kill, that's spectacular. There are some exceptions, like Lone Druid, where getting some creep kills is more expected because of the hero's innate abilities. (For Comparison, think of it like [Offlane - Suicide Lane] is similar to [Support - Babysitter]).


Simply put, a Trilane is when 3 heroes are in (NOTE: "in" is a loose term, because Jungle is frequently considered part of the Safe Lane) the same lane.

From here, you have a few types of Trilane that sprout:

  • Defensive Trilane - 3 heroes in the lane (no Jungle) attempting to get their carry safe farm while denying the enemy experience. Once the carry has been established (i.e. they have decent farm, on track with core items), one or both supports might start to roam.
  • Offensive/Aggressive Trilane - 3 heroes in the lane (no Jungle) attempting to get kills, while also denying creep gold/XP. The goal is to completely shut down the enemy carry. This is typically used in a Trilane vs. Trilane scenario.
  • Jungle Trilane - 2 heroes in the lane, and a Jungle hero. The Jungle frequently ganks the lane in some manner. The benefit here is to have additional farm and XP to go around because there are in effect 4 sources of XP and Gold with less heroes to split between.


A roamer is a hero that spends much of their time between lanes, setting up ganks and kills. Sometimes, this is done from the start (e.g. heroes like Earthshaker have good skills for doing this). Other times, a hero will break off of the Trilane to do this once the Trilane has"won" the lane (e.g. typically the #4/Second Support).

Long/Short Lane

Before talking much about this, note that these are bad terms because of how vague they are. Long and Short can be interpreted in many ways, and often are confused.

The actual definitions are:

  • Long Lane = lane it takes your creeps longest to reach the enemy tower = Radiant Bottom / Dire Top = Safe/Easy Lane
  • Short Lane = lane it takes your creeps the shortest to reach the enemy tower = Radiant Top / Dire Bottom = Hard Lane
By "Shortest/Longest" time to reach the tower, I mean where the creeps collide. In the "Long Lane", creeps collide close to your own tower and then they still have to walk around the turn and head to the enemy tower.

Again, this is a widely confused term. Some refer to it as the lane where your creeps fight farthest from your own tower. So you're a "longer" ways away from safety.

However, many sources will confirm what I have bullet pointed above:

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