Dota 2 - Improving Last Hitting
Sun 26th Aug 2012 - 3:06pm
One of the first pieces of advice any new Dota 2 player will hear from one of their more experienced teammates is sure to be, "Just last hit the creeps, don't autoattack them." What they don't tell you is what that does, or why to do it, or how to do it. Just do it. Now the first two questions are easy to answer. The last one, not so much so.
Why last hit?
Last hitting is the primary way to gain gold in Dota 2. Unfortunately, creeps are greedy jerks, and will only relinquish their hard-earned life savings on death, and only to the person who kills them. If no one gets the last hit, the gold presumably evaporates into the air. So, in order to ensure that you get the gold, you want to make sure you get that last hit!
Why do I want to last hit instead of autoattacking?
As you move down the lane and your creeps engage the enemy creeps, they'll start dealing damage to each other. Helping your creeps deal damage causes them to win the fight and ensures that the next place where the creeps engage is farther down the lane in an area that's likely more unsafe for you.
How do I last hit?
This is a hard one. The aspects of last hitting are very multi-faceted. You must be aware of multiple things involving your hero, the enemy hero, and the creeps in lane.
Knowing your hero: Attack animation, projectile speed, attack range and damage, spells.
Every hero in Dota 2 is different. The first thing you want to do while learning to last hit is to learn some important aspects of your hero.
1) What's your hero's attack animation like?
Pictured here: Crystal Maiden's attack animation
Different heroes have different attack animations. Pictured above is Crystal Maiden - a hero with a longer attack animation than most. Notice how she holds her staff above her head before her projectile comes out. Make sure that you know the attack animation of your hero when you last hit and compensate for it. If you move before your attack animation finishes, you won't release the attack and deal any damage.
2) What's your hero's damage?
Some heroes have larger damage than others. This makes it naturally easier for them to last hit. Make sure you have a good idea of how much damage you can do. As a general rule, melee heroes tend to have higher base damage than ranged heroes, and carries/gankers tend to have higher damage than supports.
3) If your hero is ranged, how does your hero's projectile move? What's your hero's attack range?
If your hero is ranged, they'll fire a projectile out. Not all projectiles behave the same! Some, such as Crystal Maiden's, move rather slowly. Some, such as Sniper's move very quickly. By changing the distance you stand next to a creep, you can control the extent to which you need to compensate for your projectile. Naturally, being closer to the creeps makes it easier to last hit, but makes you more vulnerable, and standing farther away.
Stand really close... and then...
Bam! Easy deny.
4) What spells does your hero have to help farm?
Many heroes have an ability to help them farm. Usually this is an AoE ability, such as Crystal Nova, or a high damage, spammable orb such as Outworld Destroyer's Arcane Orb or Clinkz's Searing Arrows. The latter two should be treated as improvements to your base damage and will help your last hitting as such, however, since orbs are unable to be cast on allied units, they will not help your denies in the same way. For AoE abilities, there is a very simple strategy you can use to make sure you get the bang out of your buck.
Spread the damage...
Keep a good eye on which creep your wave is attacking. Use your auto attacks to lower the rest of the wave, and then nuke the wave with your AoE ability.
Know your allies: Creeps in lane.
Most of the damage that will be done in the early game will be done by your allied creeps in lane. Paying attention to how your creeps are spreading damage is of utmost importance in knowing when to last hit.
Note how all of the Radiant creeps are attacking the same Dire creep.
In particular, make sure you are paying attention to the damage your ranged creep is doing. It does most of the damage, so by making sure your attack animation hits between the attacks of the ranged creep, you can more easily ensure your last hit!
Keep in mind these tips, and you'll see your last hitting improve dramatically. After that, it's just practice, practice, practice!