Monday, February 11, 2013

The Basics of Trilaning

Trilanes are a tactic used in organized matches to work towards specific goals like optimizing farm, XP, or denying the other team some advantage.

While there are many variations on Trilanes, there are three basic forms:

  • Defensive Trilane - 3 heroes in the safelane with the goal of getting their carry free farm
  • Jungle Trilane - 2 heroes in the safe lane, 1 in the jungle with the goal of getting the carry farm while also maximizing XP advantage
  • Offensive Trilane - 3 heroes in the hard lane, with the goal of screwing over the opponent's carry (typically you'll see a Trilane vs. Trilane)
I'm going to use the following notation to visually show the configuration of your lanes:


Defensive Trilane

General Overview

  • Configuration: 3 --- 1 --- 1 --- [0]
  • Goals:
    • Get your carry farmed
    • Deny opponent farm and XP
    • Second Support gets some farm from pulls (and Lane Support to some extent)
  • Typical Composition:
    • Hard Carry (#1)
    • Lane Support (#5)
    • Second Support (#4)
  • Example Lineups:
    • Luna (Hard Carry), Jakiro (Lane Support), Sand King (Second Support)
    • Chaos Knight (Hard Carry), Wisp (Lane Support), Rubick (Second Support)
  • Items
    • Second Support - Sentry Wards, Smoke of Deceit (for ganking / courier sniping)
    • Hard/Lane Support - Observer Wards (given to off-lane), Courier
  • Potential Issues
    • An aggressive trilane has the potential to dominate a defensive trilane
    • Fast pushing against your offlane cane force the supports to rotate or they get 1-2 tower (potentially even a Barracks)

Specific Roles

  • Carry
    • Farm - get gold and XP
    • Deny - deny creeps from opponent (but prioritize farming)
  • Lane Support:
    • Zone - position yourself between the creep wave and the opponent (if able to), or at least make them nervous to get too close to the creep wave. Ideally, you want to push them out of XP range.
    • Harass - get some hits in on the opponent. If you have mana regen (Clarity Potions, KotL, Arcane Boots), be sure to use that to your advantage.
    • Deny- deny creeps when the carry has to choose between farming and denying (otherwise the carry can do it). You can also hit creeps down that are < 50% HP to help with lane control.
    • (Farm) - ONLY take creep kills that your Carry/Second Support cannot get to in time or are in dangerous areas (assuming you're ranged)
    • (Gank) - Once the carry is established (i.e. have decent farm, cannot be contested in lane), rotate to other lanes, gank, etc.
  • Second Support:
    • Stack - stack creep camps, particularly the pull camp (pulling a stacked camp will kill a full creep wave, effectively denying a full wave of XP to your opponent)
    • Pull - bring neutral creeps into the creep wave to exercise lane control. This is also where you'll get your farm.
    • Gank - in a 3v1 situation, you'll be over by the pull mostly. When you're not (or the lane is too close to the tower), gank the lane and try to get a kill or send the opponent home. Also, once the carry has been established, move on to other lanes.

Optimal Results

  • The carry is 3+ levels higher than the opponent in lane
  • Carry has free farm
  • Second Support (and Lane Support to a small extent) has farm from pulling and killing neutral creeps
  • Opponent has minimal farm, is extremely underleveled, and/or has died multiple times
  • Carry is well established and support is able to help win other lanes (or shift into 4 protecting 1 tactic)


Jungle Trilane

General Overview

  • Configuration: 2 --- 1 --- 1 --- [1]
  • Goals:
    • Get your carry farmed
    • Maximize Second Support's (Jungle Support) Farm and XP
  • Typical Composition:
    • Hard Carry (#1)
    • Lane Support (#5)
    • Jungle Support (#4)
  • Example Lineups:
    • Phantom Lancer (#1), KotL (#5), Nature's Prophet (#4)
    • Gyrocopter (#1), Jakiro (#5), Enigma (#4)
  • Items
    • Jungle Support - Varies based on hero, playstyle, and lineups
    • Hard/Lane Support - Observer Wards (given to off-lane), Courier
  • Potential Issues
    • Less lane control unless your Jungle Support is stacking and pulling (or your Lane Support is)
    • Your lane is weaker and good suicide laners can take advantage of that (e.g. Darkseer is very hard to deal with in 2v1) 

Specific Roles

  • Carry
    • Farm - get last hits, maximize GPM and XP
    • Deny - deny creeps when you can, but prioritize farm
  • Jungle Support
    • Farm - you are jungle to maximize XP and GPM across all lanes
    • Gank - you generally will have to gank the lane because good suicide lanes can exercise too much control and have too much farm or mess up your carry's farm. You need to keep them on their toes.
    • (Stack + Pull) - some junglers will stack and pull. It's good to do this when you can, but won't always be necessary.
    • Important Note: If you are AFK farming, you're probably doing this role incorrectly (there can be exceptions, but generally you'll NEED to gank). Also, you're still a "support" hero.
  • Lane Support
    • Zone - force the opponent away from the creep wave so they get no XP
    • Harass - get damage on your opponent whenever your can (preferably without drawing creep aggro or putting yourself in a bad situation)
    • Deny - deny creeps your carry will not (e.g. they are last hitting at the moment), start denying when creeps are < 50% HP to exercise lane control (not always necessary if you have a pull)
    • (Stack + Pull) - stack and pull when possible (e.g. you know your carry will be ok alone)
    • (Gank) - help gank other lanes when your carry is established and will be OK solo (having TPs is beneficial here so that you can return to the lane quickly if needed)

Optimal Results

  • Carry has level advantage
  • Jungle Support has level and farm advantage over opposing second support
  • Jungle Support has aided in multiple kills
  • Carry has free farm
  • Lane Support has level advantage over opposing lane support
  • Opposing off-laner has minimal farm and is underleveled


Offensive Trilane

General Overview

  • Configuration: 1 --- 1 --- 3 --- [0]
  • Goals:
    • Get kills
    • Deny opposing carry farm
  • Typical Composition:
    • Carry/Semi-Carry/Trilane Farmer (#1)
    • Aggressive Support (#5)
    • Second Support (#4)
  • Example Lineups:
    • Sven (#1), Jakiro (#5), Undying (#4)
    • Chaos Knight (#1), Leshrac (#5), KotL (#4)
  • Items
    • Second Support - Varies (e.g. split Wards & Courier, get Smoke, etc.)
    • Aggressive Support - Varies / Observer Wards (given to off-lane), Courier
  • Potential Issues
    • Opposing Trilane is not against your Trilane - now you'll have to move, attempt to farm the off-lane, push a tower quickly, etc.
    • They have a powerful Defensive Trilane (e.g. KotL makes it hard to be aggressive)

Specific Roles

  • Carry/Semi-Carry/Farmer 
    • Farm - take last hits when you can
    • Attempt Kills -  initiate fights or be prepared to follow up
  • Second Support
    • Set Up Kills - try to set up stuns, or abilities that will enable the carry to get kills
    • Harass - put damage on opponents so kills are easier
    • Deny - deny creeps so opponents do not level or farm well
  • Aggressive Support
    • Set Up Kills - try to set up stuns, or abilities that will enable the carry to get kills
    • Harass - put damage on opponents so kills are easier
    • Deny - deny creeps so opponents do not level or farm well

Optimal Results

  • Opposing Trilane cannot stack & pull
  • Opposing carry is killed multiple times
  • Opposing carry has no farm
  • Your carry has plenty of kills (reliable gold)
  • Enemy trilane is forced to move or lose the lane


Miscellaneous Notes

  • Terminology
    • Stack = getting neutral creep aggro at the right time so that while they are following you, the camp respawns and now you have multiple sets of creeps in that camp
    • Pull = aggroing neutral creeps so they follow you into your own creep wave (which will then follow the neutral creeps)
    • Suicide Lane = a solo hero in the hard lane that goes against a Trilane
  • Only stack & pull when it is appropriate
    • Done to gain Lane Control (move creep collision closer to your tower, push the enemy tower, etc)
    • Also done to deny XP to opponent
    • Can be risky in 3v3 or 3v2 because your lane is weaker while you pull, they can attempt a tower push, or can contest your pull (stealing the farm you were attempting to deny)
    • Stack + Pull is good for moving the lane close to your tower, denying XP & Gold
    • Single Pull is good for making a big wave of creeps in order to push (note: siege creeps come every 3 minutes)
    • Using a Single Pull to get a tower can be disadvantageous if your carry is farming well and you do not want to draw attention to that fact (if a tower is under attack, you might have supports TP to defend and put pressure on your carry)
  • There are several other pulls that can be useful at times:
    • Dire Double Pull - on Dire side you can pull the small camp into the lane, you can also pull the big camp near the river into the normal pull camp
    • Radiant Double Pull - You can pull the medium camp into the pull camp by chopping down a tree
    • Radiant Hard Lane Pull - You can pull the camp near the river into your creep wave (done with some suicide laners like Lone Druid, Darkseer)
    • Radiant Mid Lane Pull - Your support can come and pull the small camp (need to chop down a tree) to stall the lane / kill off a creep or two (to be honest, I can't remember if this was patched or not)
  • A good Suicide Laner can mooch XP or farm safely, even against a Trilane (e.g. Windrunner, Broodmother, Bounty Hunter, Beast Master, etc.)
  • A Trilane done properly will absolutely destroy a Dual Lane
  • Generally, once a carry is established (has good farm, can solo the lane) then the supports go to gank other lanes in order to win more lanes
  • Sometimes, ganking begins when your own suicide lane hits a specific level (e.g. when Bounty Hunter hits level 6 and gets Track)
  • A Jungle Trilane can be effective for maximizing XP across all your heroes, but can be risky because 2v1 is not as dominant as a 3v1
  • You might see other non-trilane lineups such as Dual Mid and Dual Roaming Supports
  • Certain Heroes are innately good at Trilane vs. Trilane. Some examples are:
    • KotL (Illuminate)
    • Visage (Soul Assumption)
    • Undying (Decay + Tombstone)

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