Dota 2: Beginner’s Guide to Middle Lane



Wed 27th Jun 2012 - 11:11pm

The solo mid lane can be considered the hardest lane in the game. With so many rules, technicalities, timings, and strategies that go into it, soloing the middle lane can be extremely daunting for a newer player. Do not fret though, as I will show you the basics of the lane and how utilizing different aspects of your hero will let you conquer it with ease.

1. Hero Choices

First of all, let’s discuss what a hero needs in order to be a good mid laner. A mid laner should be someone that has:

1. The need for early experience and farm to excel in the early/mid-game.
2. Can use a bottle to help refresh their health/mana to continuously use their skills.
3. Has a way to get a lot of creep kills/denies, whether it be through high base damage or spells.
4. Has a high amount of burst damage and/or stuns and utility to help gank the outer lanes.

Heroes that classify under these qualifications include Pudge, Night Stalker, Storm Spirit, Shadow Shaman, Beastmaster, and many more. All of these heroes can cause a massive amount of damage during the mid-stages of the game with their huge damage output and ability to cause absolute chaos and fear.

2. Beginning Item Choices

Mid heroes are special in that there is generally only two ways to build their items as they first leave the fountain area. You can either

1. Go all out and spend all of your money on regenerative and stat items, thus making you initially stronger in lane.
2. Buy a Flask, a set of Tangos, and three ironwood branches, leaving you with 254 gold. This will allow you to buy your bottle much more quickly.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both of these methods.

If you go with method 1, you will have a bit of an advantage when it comes to last hitting and have a higher overall presence in the lane because of your higher overall stats. The downside is that your will have to get a lot of last hits to get your bottle. You will probably get a very late bottle with this approach and have no rune control for the first 4-6 minutes of the game.

If you go with method 2, then you will have the advantage in the fact that you will only need a few creep kills to get your bottle, allowing you to continuously spam your skills with your large amount of mana regeneration and keep control of the runes. You will also be able to continuously harass your enemy with your bottle charges. The downside is that you may suffer in terms of last hitting in the beginning if your opponent has more stat items than you. If they play their cards right, they will be able to keep the gold away from you and harass you at the same time, making you pay for the low amount of stats you have at the start.

3.  Creep block

Creep blocking at the start of the game is extremely important, as it can instantly give you immediate control of your lane. To block your creep, all you have to do is walk in front of your creep, quickly press S to stop your character so that the creep can’t walk past you, and then keep walking. Continue this motion so that you are always stopping and going so that your creep will continuously be blocked. To see an example of this being done, click on the video below:



By the time your creep meets theirs, this is the position that you want your creep to be in.


creep block

Radiant creep block


creep block

Dire creep block

The reason that you want them to be in that position is simple: High-ground advantage. Any ranged unit that attacks uphill has a 25% chance to miss when attacking up hill. This is great against ranged heroes, as they may miss last hits simply because of the RNG effect. Melee heroes in the mid lane will also have to be more cautious when attempting to last hit since you will be able to harass them and deny them much more easily from the high ground.
You also have to consider the fog of war effect. Heroes on the high ground will have a ton of vision, while heroes on the low ground will have a small amount of vision. This will make harassment a lot harder for them, allowing you to control the lane as much as you please.

4. Spell Usage

You should not be afraid to use your spells in the middle lane. Whether it is to last hit, harass your enemy, or gain momentum for your lane, using spells is an extremely essential part to dominating the mid lane. You should never spam your skills, as it may push your lane at an inopportune time, but you should definitely use them as you see fit. Never be afraid to use Night Stalker’s Void if it can guarantee you an otherwise impossible to get creep kill. Don’t be afraid to use your Wild Axes as Beastmaster from afar if you think that someone is coming to gank you. Lastly, never be afraid to use your Ether Shock as Shadow Shaman to push your creep into their tower so that you can get the rune.

5. Rune Control

Runes start spawning on either the top or bottom part of the river at the very beginning of the game (0:00) and every two minutes after that (2:00, 4:00, etc.) Runes are special in that they give you a power-up based upon what kind of rune it is. Runes will also refill your bottle to full if you have a bottle in your inventory. Here are the different kinds of runes available:

Invisibility: After a 1 second fade time, your hero will become invisible for 45 seconds. The invisibility will be lost if you perform any actions, such as attacking, using spells, or using items. You will still be visible by any unit or building with true sight.

Haste: Gives your hero +100% movement speed, essentially causing your hero to have the maximum 522 movement speed for 30 seconds. You also have immunity from any movement speed slow while under the effects of the Haste rune.

Double Damage: Gives your hero +100% damage for 45 seconds. Note however that this only increases your base damage, and will not take into account damage items such as Divine Rapier.

Regeneration: Will give your hero a bonus 100 HP/second and 67 Mana/second for 30 seconds or until you are full on both health and mana. The effect will end early if you take any damage while regenerating.

Illusion: Will create two illusions of yourself when activated for 75 seconds. Your illusions will deal 50% damage and take 400% damage.

The key to keeping rune control is controlling your lane. You always want to get the rune in order to refill your bottle and keep you alive and well, but you never want to give up a lot of last hits and experience just to have that rune. In order to secure yourself an easy rune, simply push your creep into their tower as the rune starts to spawn. Around 30 seconds before the rune spawn, start pushing the lane towards the enemy tower. This will force them to stay back and defend their tower, while you gain the freedom to get off the lane and get the rune. You will also not lose any experience or gold by doing this, as the enemies creep will not die when they are being hit next to their tower.

6. Knowing When to Gank

The biggest mistake that a lot of people make when playing the mid role is ganking at inappropriate times. You can and should gank a lane when it meets the following criteria:

1. Having the lane on your side of the map
This is probably the most important part of organizing a successful gank. There really is no way that you will be able to kill the enemy heroes if your lanes are pushed towards their towers. They will be way too close to their tower, making the kill extremely hard to pull off. Tower diving is generally not a very smart thing to do, and can often get all of your teammates killed while gaining no kills in the process. Instead, wait until the others are on your side of the map, and then go out to kill them.

2. Having the core components and items
There is no point in trying to gank the other lanes if you don’t have, at the very least, boots, a bottle, and a high amount of health and mana to survive the retaliation and to cast all of your spells. It is also advisable to gank when you get a good rune, such as a Haste, Invisibility, or Double Damage. You don’t necessarily need these runes to pull off a successful gank, but it will make the gank that much easier and faster.

3. Being the appropriate level
Certain mid heroes will reach their deadliest during a specific time frame. For example, Pudge becomes a huge threat as soon he hits level 7 due to the fact that his hook becomes extremely long and powerful. Night Stalker becomes powerful as soon as the night hits, as he gains the ability to move extremely quickly and cast more powerful spells. Other heroes, however, like Storm Spirit, do not become as powerful until later levels. Unless you get a haste rune, you will generally be unable to gank with Storm Spirit until level 11. By level 11 you should have your bloodstone up and ready, giving you a lot of mana regen. Pair this with your faster ultimate and long stun makes for a very devastating gank.

7. After the gank, if you can’t push, get out of their lane and do something else.

Too often do mid heroes stay past their welcome in their teammate’s lane. After you’ve done what you came to do, unless you are a great pusher like Shadow Shaman and can take their tower, then you really have no reason to stay in that lane. Get back to your lane and gain back control of it so that you can go out, get the rune, and gank the side lanes once again.

That’s it! I hope you’ve enjoyed the guide and I hope it has taught you a bit about how the middle lane works. I will be making an advanced version of this guide very soon, which will give you a lot more in-depth coverage that will detail every single aspect of the middle lane, so look forward to that! Thank you all for reading, and have a nice day!