Friday, December 28, 2012

Analysis: Neutral Creep Pulling in the Safe Lane

Pulling creeps is a tactic used for controlling the lane. A lot of player blindly say to stack-pull every time. Others completely ignore pulling. Neither is the correct approach.

DotA is a game of making decisions to fit the scenario. You can never just blindly do something for every situation.


Stack-Pull refers to stacking the safe lane pull camp before pulling it. This gives you two sets of neutral creeps. When you pull these creeps (around the x:17 mark), they will completely destroy your creep wave.

This does two things:
  1. Moves the collision point of the creep waves closer to your tower and to safety
  2. Denies your opponent an entire wave of experience (~250-300 XP, in the early game), and gold

You Do Not Always Want to do This Though

If done at the wrong time, this can prompt a few bad things:
  • Your Opponents Push the Tower -- there are no creeps to help defend it, so they just apply pressure and get early tower gold
  • Your Carry/Support Tanks Damage -- if you don't want the tower to get hit, you can kite the creeps to some extent, but a hero will inevitably take some damage
  • Your Opponent Dives a Hero -- with creeps already there, your opponent can dive a hero while one support is busy with the pull. You may be able to react in time, but even then, your carry might be too low to do much beside leech XP until a Salve can be sent to them.
Also note that a good opponent can apply harass under the tower by attacking a hero, then immediately doing an attack-click on their allied creeps (thus losing aggro). By doing this, they will not be targeted by the tower.

Single Pull

Single Pull refers to pulling a single set of neutral creeps into your wave. This will deny 1-2 lane creeps potentially. It also delays the creeps from re-entering the lane.

Generally, you do this when you want to push.

For pushing, try to do this:
  • On the wave that has the catapult
  • Or the wave just before the catapult wave
Note: Siege creeps come every 7th wave (the first is at 3:00 minutes).

When you do this around Siege Creep time, you'll get a double wave + a siege creep, which is very hard to defend.

Other Times to Single Pull

When playing Trilane vs. Trilane, you typically do not want to be pulling much at all because they can take the tower, contest the camp, or get easy kills. However, you can single-pull the first wave (given your camp is not warded) to bring the lane creeps closer to your tower / a more favorable position.

If the wave gets too far out, but you cannot risk stack-pulling, a single-pull can be useful as well.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

DotA Rules of Thumb

DotA is a complex game, mostly in the area of decision making. Here are some helpful rules of thumb I've discovered that help you become a better player. Also note that while I call them "rules of thumb", there are no "rules" in DotA, only guidelines that you'll have to understand when to break.

  1. Have a Justification for Every Decision
    1. Never do something blindly because a pro did it, it worked last game, etc.
    2. Every game is unique, so you have to play uniquely
  2. Minimize Down Time
    1. When you're doing nothing you lose Experience/minute and Gold/minute
    2. There is always something you could be doing (e.g. stacking neutral creep camps)
  3. There is Always Something You Could Have Done Better
    1. Dunning-Kruger Effect, a term you'll hear over and over - everyone thinks they're better than they are
    2. Another reason not to rage at teammates - there's something you could have done at some point in the game (action, saying something, a ping, etc.) that could have helped your team win. Even if another player on your team was legitimately bad, the game was not unwinnable most of the time.
  4. Focus on Team Cohesion
    1. Morale is hugely important for the team. If everyone is having fun, your team will naturally do better than the team that is stressed.
    2. Don't worry about counter-picks as much as making sure your lineup is solid. While a counter-pick is nice, it isn't always helpful if you don't have someone that knows how to play the hero well or a lane that suits the pick.
  5. Have Fun
    1. If you enjoy something, you'll naturally want to improve and you'll improve faster
    2. If you're having fun, you have one less stress and that leads to playing better
    3. Having fun gives you a good mindset. There is nothing worse than going into a game thinking "jeez... no one picked a support. I'll have to do it AGAIN. I hate support." How well do you think you are going to play like that?
  6. Information is a Key to Victory
    1. Watch the minimap constantly because it will tell you how to play (see players coming for you, play defensively or teleport out)
    2. Look at what your teammates and opponents are building. Don't get redundant items (e.g. to Vlads on your team). Be prepared for your opponent (e.g. you see their initiator got Blink Dagger - watch out for them)
  7. Play to Improve
    1. Winning is fun, but you can't win all the time. Don't be frustrated though.
    2. Set small goals for yourself so there is a victory in each game (e.g. I'm playing carry, so my goal is to get 80% of the last hits on each creep wave for the first 5 waves)
    3. Over Time: Effort Towards Improving > Achievements
  8. Focus on What You CAN Change
    1. Yelling at a teammate during the game isn't going to change the fact that they didn't rice hard enough early game. That happened. It's done. Focus on the immediate and the future.
    2. Beating yourself up for a mistake during game will only make you play worse / hurt your attitude. Save it for watching the replay.
    3. Pointing out that less than optimal picks were made is good for reflection, but it's not worth the effort to debate that during the draft/game. You cannot change it at the moment, so don't waste time on it.
    4. If you see someone dying a lot (or it's you), try to figure out a way to stop that from happening. Give specific pointers rather than "play better".

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hero Guide: Undying

Undying is an extremely aggressive hero. Therefore, to no surprise, he's usually found in an aggressive Trilane setup (i.e. 3 heroes in the Hard Lane with the purpose of getting a shit load of kills and denying the enemy carry farm).

In pubs, you'll probably find him in a Dual Hard Lane, or even solo (which he can do decently well, due to getting a higher HP pool from Decay and being able to last hit with it to some extent).

The problem you'll have is that he's mediocre late game. He's extremely aggressive early to mid game though. And you'll want to take advantage of that. Knowing when a hero peaks is part of playing them (e.g. you can initiate with Crystal Maiden before level 6-8, but after that she'll get torn apart).


  • Get One Level of Decay (unless you are specifically doing something else, then you might want level 1 Tombstone)
  • Max out Tombstone next
  • Max out Soul Rip after that
  • Take Ult when you can
  • Finish off Decay after that
  • Lastly, get stats


  • Getting additional levels of Decay:
    • Reduces Cooldown
    • Increases Mana Cost
    • Increases Duration
    • Increases Damage
  • Why I leave this at level 1:
    • You have absolute shit for a mana pool - each level increases cost by 20 mana
    • Tombstone is better
    • Soul Rip is more versatile (damage or healing)


The one exception I've heard of is taking Undying solo mid against a STR hero like Pudge because then he cannot be aggressive against you (i.e. Rot will kill him before you), you'll also probably have a bottle to resolve your mana issues.

Some players like going multiple levels of Decay early. Could just be a personal preference thing. Perhaps they're with a KotL, who can give them a lot of mana for it. I just find it less useful overall (Soul Rip can heal your Tombstone if it gets focused).

Other Skills:

  • You need to max Tombstone early, it is more or less why you pick Undying in a match
  • Tombstone will stop pushes, or allow you to be aggressive and commit to a fight
  • Tombstone is very hard to deal with early on because it has too much HP for the enemy to get rid of quickly
  • Soul Rip combos well with Tombstone for damage or healing an ally that is about to die


Undying will change drastically based on who you're up against. He's a Utility hero at heart and builds what the team needs most.

You're also going to want some Tankiness because you ult provides damage amplification based on how close you are to your enemies (750 range max). They're also slowed by a static 9%.

TP Scrolls


This item deserves its own section. TP Scroll are huge for Undying (especially in pubs where you probably aren't aggressive trilaning). Undying is great at turning ganks around, making a dive into a double kill, etc. Get TP Scrolls. Watch the map. You should probably pick one up by 4 minutes into the game or so, as that's when shit usually starts happening.



  • Arcane Boots - this is going to be your choice most of the time. You need the mana, most teammates need mana. The only time this might not be applicable is if you have a KotL and you're the only other mana dependent hero.
  • Power Treads - this can be another good choice because it gives you some tankiness and more mana. Switching to different stats will help you cast more spells, take more damage, etc.


NOTE: You might not be the one getting support items, but these are good choices if you are
  • Mekansm - more healing for the team, you'll also stay alive long enough to cast it in a fight
  • Pipe - more tankiness against spells, survivability, etc.
  • Sheep Stick - you can use the mana/INT, the regen, and stats. It also helps you shut down enemy carries.
  • Heaven's Halberd - the STR and Evasion benefit you so you can provide Damage Amp more effectively. The Disarm is huge against right click heroes like Faceless Void, Phantom Assassin, Ursa, etc.
  • Vlad's - if you have a melee carry, you might consider picking this up for them and being somethng of an aura packmule for the team. You have high survivability
  • Drums - same as Vlads more or less. Good item too if you're behind a bit because all the stats benefit you.


  • Shiva's Guard - more slow is good, the armor is good, the INT/mana is good, and the aura is excellent on a tanky hero
  • Necro Book - excellent for pushing, excellent for chasing, really good against heroes that might accidentally kill the melee creep (does 200/400/600 PURE damage), the stats work well for Undying too
  • Assault Curiass - armor is good, the aura is good, the attack speed on you is kind of meh (depends on the amount of strength stolen)
  • Also, see Heaven's Halberd in the Support Section, as it can be Utility as well.


  • Heart - good for survivability if that's what you need most
  • Armlet - good if you're the primary farmer and get it early for midgame dominance. You're sustained by Soul Rip and the healing from kills in your Ult Form
  • BKB - you might need this to stay alive in fights. Being able to do Decays during fights is crucial to your survival. You can't do that while stun locked.

Things I don't really see a purpose in getting:


  • Aghs - I don't think it buffs you enough. The stats and nice, but doesn't seem very necessary in comparison to getting items with higher utility
  • Vanguard - You get plenty of HP from Decay. It just feels like a waste to me. Grab the Vitality booster and get a heart instead.

Using your Skills


  • Use it pretty frequently in lane, not so much that you can't Tombstone though
  • Try to only use it if you can get 2+ heroes in the AoE, or at very least the carry (so they're afraid to last hit)
  • Use it as soon as it's off cooldown during fights - this is how you survive and get huge


  • Only drop this once your team has committed to a fight
  • Try to place this so your opponent is stuck in this range as long as possible (generally cutting off the escape route)
  • Defend the shit out of this
  • You can Soul Rip your Tombstone to heal it
  • You can use Tombstone defensively too - once the enemy has committed to taking a tower or something
  • If you're not sure whether to put it down, DON'T, the cooldown is too long to waste a tombstone. Good opponents will try to bait it out. That's why it's better as an aggressive skill. You KNOW when your team is going to commit. You don't know when the opponent will.

Soul Rip:

  • You can use this to heal your Tombstone
  • Use this to heal yourself or allies that are almost dead
  • Use this to do crazy amounts of damage mid game to high priority opponents (e.g. annoying supports, carries), this works really well once you've spawned a few Zombies


  • Again, don't use this until you commit to a fight
  • The closer you are to an enemy, the more damage they take (i.e. the damage amplification aspect)
  • If you're low HP, kill an enemy creep (or ideally a hero) to heal a percentage of their HP

Monday, December 17, 2012

Hero Guide: Tinker

Tinker is a fragile burst damage hero and excellent pusher/counter-pusher. His skillset revolves heavily around mana regeneration and his Ultimate, Rearm.

Skill Progression

There are two main skill progressions for Tinker. One is a bursty nuker. The other focuses on pushing (which gets you a ton of farm). Note that these are the two purest forms of the builds, it's not necessarily uncommon to pick up a spell here or there depending on your lane or other conditions.

Build 1: March of the Machines (Most Common)

  1. Heat-Seeking Missile (1)
  2. March of the Machines (1)
  3. Heat-Seeking Missile (1/2) / March of the Machines (1/2)
  4. Heat-Seeking Missile (1/2) / March of the Machines (1/2)
  5. Heat-Seeking Missile (2/3) / March of the Machines (2/3)
  6. Heat-Seeking Missile (2/3) / March of the Machines (2/3) / Ult (1)
Basically, you'll be maxing out Heat-Seeking Missile for kill potential and March for pushing. Some players skip the ultimate till later on because it has a huge mana cost and takes too long to be very effective (i.e. you either won't be able to rearm in time, or you won't have the mana).

March is a huge asset for a lot of reasons:
  • Able to push the wave so you can grab the rune
  • Able to discourage players diving you for a kill
  • Farming ability
  • Huge damage output over time

 Build 2: Max Burst

  1. Heat-Seeking Missile (1) / Laser (1)
  2. Heat-Seeking Missile (1) / Laser (1)
  3. Heat-Seeking Missile (2) / Laser (2)
  4. Heat-Seeking Missile (2) / Laser (2)
  5. Heat-Seeking Missile (3) / Laser (3)
  6. Heat-Seeking Missile (3) / Laser (3) / Ult (1)
Going this route will give you a lot more kill potential early on. However, you will be lacking in creep clearing. It might be wise to pick up at least one level of March of the Machines just for creep clearing.

Item Progression


Starting items vary by player preference and match up. Two fairly standard builds are the Bottle Rush and maximizing last hitting potential. Bottle Rush gives you stats and some minor regen, but will allow you to get your bottle before 2 minutes.

Last Hitting will take longer to get your Bottle, but sometimes it's necessary because your opponent might have higher base damage. Some players get 2 Mantles of Intelligence, but that might also go to waste (all you can build it into is a Null Talismen / Dagon).
  • Bottle Rush
    • Tangos (90g)
    • 3 x Iron Branch (53g / each)
  • Last Hitting
    • Mantle of Intelligence (150g)
    • Tangos (90g)
    • 3 x Iron Branch (53g / each)

Early Core

  • Bottle --- Main source of early mana and helps with your gank potential. Tinker has excellent wave clearing with March of the Machines, so you should always be able to get the rune.
  • Boots of Travel --- This will be your next item after Bottle. Paired with your Ult, Rearm, you can freely move around the map for ganks, farming, and refilling your Bottle at the Fountain.


  • Soul Ring --- Another critical part of your survival. Tinker needs the immediate mana provided by Soul Ring. Rearm will also give you a second charge of it. When porting around, using Soul Ring once will usually give you the mana needed to Rearm. Then you can use it again if you need mana to Teleport.

Situational & Late Game

  • Magic Wand --- This item is great for a quick burst of mana and HP, but depending on your playstyle, may not be necessary. It's still a great early-midgame pickup before Tinker maxes out his item slots.
  • Blink Dagger --- Serves multiple purposes on Tinker. He can use it for chasing, ganking, or blinking into trees to safely Teleport back home.
  • Force Staff --- Mobility is key on Tinker, and Force Staff will work when Blink Dagger is disabled. Good for Utility/Support, chasing/ganking. However, it won't work as well if you want to move into the trees for a clean get-away.
  • Ethereal Blade --- If you're doing very well, Ethereal Blade can be a great pick up because Tinker deals massive amounts of Magic Damage (with certain item builds). Paired with Ethereal Blade, you can get rid of most heroes quickly and turn the tides of a battle.
  • Shiva's Guard --- Gives Tinker armor and mana, which are both important for a mana heavy, squishy hero. Shiva's provides a great aura and an excellent active, which Tinker can spam freely with assistance from his ultimate.
  • Dagon --- Depending on who you're facing, a Dagon + Ethereal Blade can be very potent (along with Heat-Seekers, and the rest of Tinker's spells). If you picked up an early Mantle, Dagon will give it a purpose. While Dagon can be great for quickly getting rid of a support or carry, it won't bring much else to the team, or your pushes.
  • Scythe of Vyse --- Provides a lot of great mana & regen to keep you out on the field longer, also great stats from Ultimate Orb. Being able to sheep an enemy brings a lot to team fights and ganks.
  • Manta Style --- While you don't get much out of having Illusions, Manta gives you a lot of great stats. More importantly, when you use it, debuffs are cleared.
  • Eul's Scepter --- Gives you a lot of extra mana regen to keep you out on the field longer and more involved in battles. Cyclone can be great if you or a teammate gets focused. If you're chasing, it gives you time to Rearm and finish off your target.
  • Black King Bar --- As a squishy hero, the extra Strength and the magic immunity help Tinker to survive long enough to cast his spells multiple times during a team fight.
  • Orchid --- sometimes the item is necessary against heroes like Storm Spirit or blinkers. The bonus damage helps, as does the mana regen.


  • Spell Notes
    • Laser
      • Deals pure damage (ignores armor)
      • Blinds target for 3 seconds (miss 100% of physical/auto attacks)
    • Heat-Seeking Missiles
      • Must have vision of the opponent in order to hit them
      • Massive 2500 range
      • Will not hit ethereal units (i.e. Ghost Scepter, Pugna's Decrepify, Ethereal Blade)
    • March of the Machines
      • Deals universal damage (i.e. reduced by magic resistance, but goes through magic immunity, deals 1.4x to ethereal units)
      • Can be used to farm Ancients
      • Generally want to angle the march for maximum impact (otherwise you might not hit the opponent hero)
  • Early Game
    • Use March of the Machines to push mid lane before rune spawn (8-15 seconds beforehand)
    • Gank if you get a good rune and the opponents are overextended, otherwise you're missing valueable farming time
    • Get your Bottle fast, then go immediately for Boots of Travel
    • On Radiant, you can easily stack the Ancients and farm them with March of the Machines
  • Mid-Late Game
    • Fights
      • Positioning is the key part for Tinker, you will die immediately if focused
      • Stay off to the side spamming nukes and items
      • If you can get a March in, go for it, but sometimes you'll have to put yourself too out there
    • Pushes
      • Use your Boots of Travel to put pressure on lanes
      • You are a Split Pusher with Boots + March
      • Remember to use Soul Ring before Rearm (get bonus mana)
      • You can use Blink Dagger to move into the trees and teleport out from there (safer)
    • Counter-Pushes
      • March of the Machines is incredibly hard to push against
      • Once Rearm is a high enough level, you can use it and March from multiple directions
  • Heroes to Watch Out For
    • Storm Spirit --- able to gank you quickly and keep you locked down. SS is great at killing split pushers like Tinker
    • Clinkz --- an invisible ganker that has Orchid as part of his core
    • Bounty Hunter --- basically same as Clinkz (minus the Orchid)
    • Pugna --- in team fights, you will kill yourself by casting with his Netherward in range
    • Riki --- Same as Clinkz and BH
    • Wisp --- Global ganker (though you can usually tell when you're going to get ganked)
    • Spectre --- Global ganker that has a dagger that allows her to pass through any terrain (no blinking into the trees for safety)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Spotlight Build: FnC Lifestealer (Naix / Na'ix)

This is the signature build for FnC. These are my observations based off a few replays I've watched.


  1. Feast (1)
  2. Open Wounds (1)
  3. Rage (1)
  4. Rage (2)
  5. Rage (3)
  6. Infest (Ult)
  7. Rage (4)
  8. Feast (2)
  9. Feast (3)
  10. Feast (4)
  11. Infest (Ult)
  12. Open Wounds (2)
  13. Open Wounds (3)
  14. Open Wounds (4)
  15. Stats
  16. Infest (Ult)
  17. - 25. Stats


  • Starting
    • Ring of Protection (175g)
    • Gauntlets of Strength (150g)
    • Tangos (90g)
    • 2-3 x Iron Branches (53g / each)
  • By 20 Minutes:
    • Ring of Basilius
    • Phase Boots
    • Drum of Endurance
    • Magic Wand
  • Mid-Late Game
    • Mjollnir
  • Situational
    • Vladamir's Offering (though, very common)
    • Daedalus
    • Heaven's Halberd
    • Abyssal Blade
    • Boots of Travel
    • Monkey King Bar
Core Build Progression:
  1. Phase Boot
  2. Ring of Basillius
  3. Magic Wand
  4. Drums
  5. Mjollnir
  6. Vlad's / Situational/Late Game


  • Take Lifestealer to the lane (either Safe or Hard)
  • Stack Camps (if possible) and use Infest to help you kill it (auto the creeps as far down as possible, then use Infest to go back to full HP and splash damage them)
  • Ring of Basillius gives you mana to use Rage more often than normal
  • Mjollnir is your farming item
  • Goal is to farm fast and easily in the lane - if you cannot get your core by 20, you're doing it wrong


  • Feast helps you last hit in lane
  • Rage helps you survive and get kills
  • Lifestealer basically needs movespeed (to not be kited) and attack speed (to deal damage with Feast quickly)
  • Rage scales very well early game (better than small percentages of Feast, which is good late game)
  • Open Wounds gives you more life leech, but not additional movespeed slow

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Analysis: Mid Lane Heroes

LAST UPDATED: May 28, 2013

Mid heroes are a pretty crucial part of the game. Generally, most teams will have a solo mid. The interesting part about mid is that almost any hero can do it, especially if there is a large difference in player skill. Most would say Solo Mid takes the most "skill" in the game, by which I mean mechanically the best with last hitting, timing, etc.

You put heroes at mid for different reasons. Sometimes it's to hit level 6 quickly, sometimes it's to farm fast, some heroes are good gankers and can use the runes to amplify that. Occasionally, some heroes are picked up as a direct counter-pick to the other mid.

Generally, you're going to see the "#2" role at mid (that is second highest farm priority). This is a pretty wide category, but notably encompassing Utility heroes and Semi/Mid Game/Snowball-Carries.

Sometimes, you'll also see Dual Mids. This is not as common, but can be done for a few reasons:
  • Shut down a strong mid player, especially on one of their signature heroes
  • Give a carry additional farm/XP by not running them in a Trilane
You passively gain a lot if you run a Dual Mid vs. a Solo Mid properly. For instance, you should have superior rune control, excellent farm, high kill potential, and more distributed XP.

Lastly, there aren't exactly tiers of mid heroes, but there are stronger mids, situational mids, and more common / "trendy" mids. That's how I'm going to approach this Analysis.

Note: I'm generally not a mid player, this is for my own benefit / personal notes, so don't take this all as 100% accurate

Trendy Mids

  • Puck
    • Put mid for fast levels and ganking
    • High survivability due to Phase Shift, Silence, and Illusionary Orb
    • Able to harass with Illusionary Orb
    • Can have difficulty last hitting due to base attack damage
  • Queen of Pain
    • Excellent Rune Control with Blink
    • Excellent Survivability with Blink
    • Able to clear waves quickly with AoE spells around rune time to force opposing mid to choose between Gold/XP and Runes
    • Very good ganker
    • Want to reach level 6 quickly to get her ult and use it for ganking
  • Outworld Devourer
    • Put mid against Intelligence mids (generally) due to Astral Imprisonment sapping INT/attack damage
    • Put mid to farm and for fast levels / played as a carry/semi-carry
    • Damage scales well with farm / items (based on mana pool)
    • Especially deadly when combined with Treant Protector's Living Armor (popularized by DD/Quantic)
  • Dragon Knight
    • Put mid to farm and semi-carry, but also to push
    • High survivability due to Dragon's Blood (regen + armor)
    • Able to farm and clear waves with Dragon's Breath
    • Hitting level 6 quickly helps DK a lot
    • Decent ganking skills due to his long stun
    • Using his ult, he is able to push towers quickly (the level 1 ult gives Green & Red Dragon a DoT that works on towers)
    • Relies a bit on Bottle-Crowing

Good, But Less Common Mids

  • Warlock
    • Put mid to get levels fast (get ult ASAP)
    • Excellent harass due to Fatal Bonds
    • Decent Creep Clearing from Fatal Bonds
    • Decent Survivability from Shadow Word (healing)
    • I would argue he's still a good mid, but he's out of style and potentially bad against heroes like Queen of Pain (blinks and burst damage), Templar Assassin (he could get rid of her shield with Fatal Bonds, but she still has the higher kill potential)
  • Windrunner
    • Utility mid hero
    • Ability to harass and clear waves with Power Shot
    • High Survivability due to Windrun
    • Good rune control with Windrun
    • Good ganking due to Shackle Shot
    • Put mid for fast levels and ganking potential
  • Mirana
    • Able to farm well and clear waves with Starfall
    • Decent ganking skillset, but unreliable due to Arrow being a skill shot
    • Getting a fast Ult allows for ganking, saving allies, etc.
    • Decent survivability due to Leap (but slow turn rate hurts her escape mechanism)
  • Invoker
    • Spells scale with levels moreso than other heroes
    • Able to farm well with Exort (Damage) Builds
    • Able to survive well with Quas (Regen + HP) and Wex (Move Speed)
    • Able to gank well with Wex (Move Speed) Builds
    • High Utility hero, very adaptable
    • Does not rely on Runes
    • Fairly farm dependent
  • Templar Assassin
    • High Survivability due to Refraction
    • Ability to harass with Psy Blades
    • Getting her to level 6 is a priority because Refraction bonus damage is better the earlier you get it
    • Getting her Ult is a priority for rune control and ganking
    • She's able to use all runes effectively
  • Batrider
    • Very powerful harass with Sticky Napalm
    • Want to get level 6 quickly for powerful ganking
    • High Survivability with Firefly
    • Extremely potent early-mid game
    • Having farm is good for Batrider because he becomes much more deadly with Blink Dagger
    • He can use runes very effectively
    • Somewhat considered a counter to TA due to ticks of damage getting rid of TA's refraction shield
  • Tinker
    • Put at mid for fast levels and farming
    • Able to clear waves quickly with March of the Machines to secure runes and/or screw over opponent's farm
    • Able to stack and farm Ancients (big neutral creeps) on Radiant side with March of the Machines
    • With Boots of Travel, Bottle, and Soul Ring, Tinker can use his ult to move around the map with ease to gank, split push, and farm
    • Hard to gank due to March of the Machines
    • Good counter-pusher due to March of the Machines
  • Brewmaster
    • Put mid to farm and hit level 6 quickly (excellent team fight ult)
    • High survivability due to natural Tankiness and from his abilities (built in evasion and miss chance)
    • Needs farm to initiate well
    • Mediocre rune control and creep clearing
    • Mostly a "farming" mid
  • Shadow Fiend
    • Put mid to farm fast and carry
    • Decent rune control due to ability to quickly clear waves with Razes
    • Low survivability (easily gankable and best dealt with by ganking due to squishiness, lack of escapes, and he loses damage when killed)
    • Able to use all runes effectively
  • Storm Spirit
    • Put mid to hit level 6 quickly, farm, and gank
    • Excellent ganking skillset
    • Excellent rune control after level 6
    • Farm Dependent semi-carry
    • Excellent anti-split push due to his ult
    • Able to clear waves with Static Image
    • Mediocre survivability before level 6 
    • Often picked for his synergy with Lifestealer's Infest
  • Death Prophet
    • Put mid to hit level 6 quickly, farm, push, and semi-carry
    • Able to clear waves quickly with Crypt Swarm
    • Able to use Runes effectively
    • Mediocre survivability other than move speed from her passive and silence
  • Skywrath Mage
    • Put mid to farm, level, and gank
    • Able to harass with Arcane Bolt
    • Low ability to creep clear
    • Able to rune control with high base move speed and Concussive Shot
    • Low survivability if ganked (some if you can manage to silence before they get to you)
  • Magnus
    • Farm Dependent Initiator (needs Blink to be most effective)
    • High Survivability due to Skewer and being a STR Hero
    • Able to farm and harass well with Shockwave
    • Want to get level 6 quickly for his huge AoE disable ult
  • Night Stalker
    • Put at mid to get fast levels and some farm, levels are crucial on him because his spells are extremely good early-mid game
    • Once night hits, NS becomes an amazing ganker (and much of his success is determined the first night) 
  • Slark
    • Put mid to farm, level, and gank
    • With early Essence Shift harass, he can gain some lane control
    • Snowball mid-game carry
    • Good survivability due to Dark Pact and Pounce
    • Outclassed by many ranged mids
    • Some ability to creep clear
    • Decent Rune control
  • Beastmaster
    • Able to farm, harass, and clear waves with his Boar and Wild Axes
    • Hitting level 6 fast is beneficial for ganking and team fights
    • His attack speed aura is valuable to the team
    • Able to scout, control runes, and detect ganks with his Hawk
    • No escape mechanisms
    • Viable in the off-lane makes him less of a priority for mid
  • Kunkka
    • Put mid to farm and get fast levels
    • Works well against heroes like OD mid because Tidebringer is unaffected by INT loss and requires no mana to work

Good, But Rare Mids

  • Nature's Prophet
    • Hitting level 6 quickly allows him to farm faster and gives him a good team fight ability
    • Able to farm and push with Treants
    • Sprout + Teleport give him a decent escape mechanism
    • Fast levels make him a deadly ganker, especially with Teleport allowing him to bipass normal routes for ganking (e.g. the river)
    • Less of a priority for playing mid due to ability to Jungle and Off-lane
  • Bane
    • Put mid for fast levels and ganking
    • Excellent rune control due to Nightmare
    • No ability to clear creep waves hurts him
    • Some survivability due to Nightmare
    • Able to kill nearly any hero at level 6
    • Excellent harass after he gets mana regen/soul ring due to Brain Sap being Pure Damage (i.e. ignores all forms of armor)
    • Less common mid because he also is a viable support hero and unable to control the creep wave
  • Lone Druid
    • Put mid for fast levels and farm (ganking is unreliable due to Entangle being chance based)
    • Bear gives him excellent lane control, harass, and farming (it's basically like having 2 heroes mid, but only one gets the XP)
    • Able to clear waves quickly to some extent due to the bear
    • Low survivability due to lack of escape mechanisms (other than speed and Entangles) and low base HP
    • Viable Jungler and Off-Laner contributes to being seen less at mid
  • Pudge
    • Put mid for ganking and fast levels
    • Wave clearing from Rot
    • Able to semi-carry if he snowballs in farm or kills
    • Mediocre Rune Control (dependent on hitting hooks)
    • Unreliable due to skillshot (Hook)
    • If played well, adds a huge strain on the opponent because of Hook's ganking potential / constantly worrying about positioning and where Pudge is
  • Rubick
    • Utility mid hero
    • Able to clear waves with Fade Bolt
    • Put there to hit level 6 quickly and farm
    • Good ganking hero with Telekinesis
    • Some survivability due to Telekinesis and Fade Bolt (reduce damage)

Situational Mids

  • Axe
    • Put mid against certain heroes, to farm and level quickly, some gank potential
    • Can be very good against melee mid heroes due to his ability to zone them out with Spins
    • Able to clear waves quickly with Spins
    • Some survivability due to Call giving temporary bonus armor, and naturally high HP; however, he has no escape mechanism
    • Able to harass well with Battle Hunter and good zoning
    • Mediocre rune control other than wave clearing
    • More kill potential with fast farming of Blink Dagger
  • Shadow Shaman
    • Put mid for fast levels, some farm, and pushing (also gank potential)
    • Some survivability due to his Polymorph spell, but other than that he has low HP and is easily killed
    • If Blink Dagger is farmed quickly, he's able to gank well (otherwise he's too slow)
  • Viper
    • Sometimes put mid to counter Templar Assassin (his poison damage ticks deplete Refraction shield)
    • Put mid for countering, fast levels, farm, and ganking
    • Some survivability from natural tankiness
    • Low ability to clear creep waves
    • Low rune control
  • Enigma
    • Put mid to farm, get fast levels, push, and gank at level 6
    • No real escape mechanism / low survivability
    • Excellent farming and harass due to Eidelons
    • No instant creep clearing ability
    • Not common due to working well as a Jungler and Second Support
  • Sand King
    • Put mid against some melee heroes, to farm fast, get levels, and gank
    • Caustic Finale serves to harass and creep clear
    • Excellent survivability due to Burrowstrike and Sand Storm
    • Decent rune control due to Burrowstrike
    • Rare because he is outclassed by ranged heroes, works well as a second support and sometimes off-laner
  • Nyx Assassin
    • Put mid to farm, level fast and gank
    • Outclassed by many mids because he's melee
    • Farm Dependent
    • Some survivability due to Spiked Carapace
  • Dark Seer
    • Put mid to hurt the opponent's farm with Ion Shell
    • Scales well with items and farm
    • Level dependent
    • Good wave clearing with Ion Shell
    • Good Rune control with Surge
    • Rare mid because he is a very good / top-tier off-laner (and can Jungle)
  • Lich
    • Put mid to deny enemy farm, get fast levels, and gank
    • Able to sacrifice a creep, which leads to less farm for opponent and outleveling
    • Able to spam spells due to replenishable mana pool
    • No escapes lead to easy kills against an aggressive mid hero or ganker
    • No anti-push
    • Works well as an off-laner and support
    • Doesn't really need farm to be effective (so that's lost on him at mid) 
  • Alchemist
    • Put mid to farm (and gank to some extent)
    • Decent creep clearing with Acid
    • Decent harass / zoning with Acid
    • Low survivability until he gets his ult 
    • Needs to be against a melee hero like Dragon Knight so he can get CS
  • Weaver
    • Put mid to farm and semi-carry
    • Works well when paired with Treant's Living Armor
    • Is able to zone and harass with Shukuchi & Geminate
  • Lifestealer
    • Put mid to farm against melee heroes
    • Still basically plays the carry role at mid 

Out of Style / Rare Mids

  • Razor
    • Put mid to farm, gank, and outlevel the enemy
    • He's a mid-game snowball carry
    • Able to creep clear and harass with Plasma Field
    • High Kill potential with Static Link
    • Weird attack animation is a put off to some
    • Low survivability
    • Doesn't necessarily scale as well as others with farm (he mostly needs to tank up and keep Static Link on someone as long as possible while his ult hits them)
  • Clockwerk
    • Put mid for fast levels, farming, and ganking
    • Decent survivability due to Cogs
    • Low creep clearing ability (Rocket Flare works to some extent)
    • Low kill potential if creeps are around (Battery Assault works better in 1v1 scenarios)
    • If he doesn't get farm, Clock is fairly useless
    • A lot of players complain that he doesn't play the same in DotA 2 or that his abilities don't work the way they should
  • Morphling
    • Put mid to farm (as a carry)
    • Mid-High Survivability from Wave Form and Strength Morph (though it was nerfedin 6.75 patch)
    • Good rune control from Wave Form
    • Decent creep clearing with Wave Form (you lose your escape by using it though)
    • Less common due to nerfs in 6.75 patch
  • Dazzle
    • Rarely seen (at this point, I think only Dendi of Na'Vi has taken him mid in a pro game)
    • Good creep clearing from Shadow Wave
    • High survivability from Shadow Wave and Shallow Grave
    • Some ability to harass with Shadow Wave (if melee opponent)
    • Decently ganking skillset
  • Necrolyte
    • Put mid for fast levels and farming, and pushing to some extent (via Death Pulse)
    • Decent creep clearing with Death Pulse
    • Decent harass with aura
    • Some survivability due to Death Pulse and Sadist
    • Primarily a farming mid
  • Leshrac
    • Put mid for fast levels, farming, pushing, and ganking (to some extent)
    • Able to clear waves decently fast with his Stun and Ult (or Lightning if picked up)
    • Low-Medium Rune control (he has a stun and above average move speed)
    • Low-Medium survivability (squishy, no escape mechanism, but dangerous to dive him because of Edict)
    • Able to quickly take down mid Tier 1 Tower
    • Able to Semi-Carry with enough regen
  • Ancient Apparition
    • Was a popular mid in The International 1
    • Put mid for fast levels and ganking
    • Able to gank from the mid lane with his ult
    • Low ability to harass
    • Low ability to clear creeps
    • Low ability to rune control
    • Fairly farm independent (arguably wasted on him)
    • Works well as a support, so rare to put him mid now
  • Pugna
    • Put mid to farm, level, and push (gank to some extent)
    • Excellent creep clearing
    • Low survivability (easy to kill, no escapes other than Decrepify, but that amplifies magic damage --> potentially hazardous)
    • Low rune control
    • Similar to Leshrac in that he can support or be a very item dependent INT carry
    • Similar to Tinker in that he can get Boots of Travel and be used to gank and push / split push
    • Situational pick-up because Netherward and Decrepify might not be useful with or against certain lineups

 Pub Mids

  • Bloodseeker
    • Considered the bad version of Nighstalker (who is more reliable and his skills synergize better)
    • Put mid to level and gank
    • Unreliable kill potential
    • Med-High survivability due to regen from creep killing, but no escape mechanism
    • Low ability to creep clear
    • Low ability to control runes
  • Pudge
    • (same as above)
  • Lion
    • Put mid to level and gank (farm to some extent)
    • Decent creep clearing
    • Decent rune control
    • Good ganking
    • Poor survivability (he has disables, but no escape mechanism and is very squishy)
  • Viper
    • (same as above)
  • Huskar
    • Put mid to farm, level, and gank
    • Snowball mid-game carry / reliant on getting kills
    • No ability to clear creeps
    • Low Rune Control
    • Low-Medium Survivability (he has Inner Vitality, also Berserker's Blood makes him risky to gank unless you have good disables)
    • Decent Harass with Flaming Spears
  • Keeper of the Light
    • Put mid to Push and screw opponent's farm
    • Excellent creep clearing
    • Decent rune control (from high movespeed and Mana Leak)
    • Illuminate forces the opponent to last hit under the tower which is more difficult
    • Illuminate also works well to harass
    • Low Survivability (very squishy, no escape mechanism)
    • Item Independent (farm is arguably lost on KotL)
  • Sniper
    • Put mid to farm (and push to some extent)
    • Low survivability (slow, low HP, easy to gank)
    • Medium ability to clear creeps (Shrapnel to some extent)
    • Decent Harass (long ranged attacks)
  • Drow
    • Fairly similar to Sniper
    • Put mid to farm and level (ganking to some extent due to Ice Arrows)
    • She's more of a mid-game carry versus Sniper who is more late game
    • Low survivability (she has Silence, but that's about it)
    • Low creep clearing
    • Decent Rune Control (due to Ice Arrows)
  • Silencer
    • Put mid for farm and fast levels (his ult is a huge part of the reason to pick him up)
    • Primarily a farming mid
    • Can soft counter some mids that cannot spam spells
    • Low survivability and easily gankable
    • Low Rune control
    • Low Creep Clearing
  • Broodmother
    • Put mid to farm, level, and push
    • Decent rune control from move speed and webs
    • Decent creep clearing due to Spiderites
    • Decent survivability due to web regen and ult regen, plus invisibility
    • Problems with her:
      • Many heroes can clear her Spiderites for massive bonus farm
      • Easily countered by Sentry Wards
      • Works very well as an Off-Laner

Dual Mids

This is sort of a sub category of mid heroes. Some heroes are potent mids if they have a support to back them up. Again, the benefits of doing this are:

  • Shutting down the opposing mid (lane control, rune control, higher kill potential)
  • Spreading farm around (earn more XP because you're not in a Trilane)
 Dual Mids aren't exactly common, but they are effective in certain situations. As I don't know a lot about Dual Mids, I'll just give examples of combinations I've seen work well (in order of farmer + support):

  • Kunkka + Shadow Demon
    • Guaranteed Torrents w/ SD's Disruption
  • Juggernaut + Venomancer
    • Spin + Gale
  • Naga Siren + Leshrac
    • Net + Split Earth = guaranteed stun
  • Chaos Knight + Leshrac
    • Chaos Bolt + Split Earth = guaranteed chain stun
Heroes frequently seen in Dual Mids:

  • Chaos Knight - high early game kill potential with another stunner
  • Venomancer - very good against Templar Assassin (poison DOT burns her sheild)
  • Crystal Maiden - lots of disables and slows
  • Brewmaster - guaranteed farm with a support harassing
  • Jakiro - lots of good disables and pushing abilities
  • Rubick - Telekinesis gives the damage dealer a lot of time to get hits in, Fade Bolt is useful for making the enemy hit softer
  • Leshrac - paired with a stunner, Split Earth will hit; Edict will allow the Dual Mid to take the tower quickly
  • Lina - same as Leshrac w/ her stun, but she pushes creeps better and has more burst damage
  • Morphling - out of style at the moment, but with a support he is guaranteed farm
  • Night Stalker - guarantees farm, but slows leveling if he has a support there
  • Templar Assassin - (don't know for sure, but guessing that she dual mids when the opponent dual mids against her)
  • Lich - used for guaranteeing farm, harassing opponent, and destroying their farm by denying creeps with his spell
  • Shadow Demon - has a lot of spells that combo well with stuns, plus Soul Catcher adds a lot of kill potential
  • Ancient Apparition - stun that works well with other stuns, able to amplify magic damage
  • Naga Siren - net is very deadly in combination with other stuns; high kill potential with Rip Tide