Ultimate Dota Supporting Guide

 The Support

  • Mainly a support is a hero that takes care or, from the name itself, supports
    the whole team, most especially the carries. Supports are the ones that
    are in-charge for the overall team defense and map control.

Main tasks of supports
  • Now most people's knowledge of a support hero's job is only limited to
    providing the courier, roaming and warding when in truth a support needs
    to do more than that. Here is a list of what a support user must do for
    his/her team:
  1. Providing the courier
  2. Warding/Dewarding
  3. Roaming/Ganking
  4. Babysitting
  5. Teamfight Setting/Initiation
  6. Lane Harrasment
  7. Team Defense
  8. and last but not the least and also the most important: Overall Map Control

Preferred skills for supports
  • When choosing a support one must take the following abilities or spells into consideration:
  1. Single Target/Area Disables
  2. Global/AOE Beneficial Aura
  3. Healing Spells
  4. Movement Reduction Spells
  5. Burst Damage Nukes
  6. Status Reduction Spells
  7. Teamfight Oriented Abilities

  • A support user greatly relies on their own movements on partially on the
    items on their inventory. Supports usually go for items that add beef or
    STR type items for survivability, wards and town portal scrolls. A good
    support player should be able to survive a whole teamfight and get the
    tide of the battle in favor for their team. Here is a sample item core
    build for a support player:


  • Warding
    and Dewarding are two of the most important skills that a support user
    should have. Knowing when and where to place wards gives a very great
    advantage in vision, pushing, farming and teamfights
Placing Observers, When to Ward, Where to Ward:
  • This
    section would cover certain wardspots for Observer Wards in certain
    situations and phases in the game. I'll start with the sentinel side
Early Game/Before Creepspawn
Lane Wards

Cliff beside mid lane, gives a decent view of the river, blind spots and rune area thus giving a safe mid lane farm.

One of the most commonly used spots in game, gives a good view of the
river, rune area and also provides vision for both the jungle and roshan

Yet another commonly used wardspot, gives a quite larger view of the river, runearea plus jungle and roshan entry points.

ward area for going against a Scourge trilane on bot, gives a rather
good view of the fogged area, Scourge's tier 1 tower and could be used
to offset incoming ganks.

Another preferable wardspot when going against a Scourge bottom trilane.


Jungle Wards
Wardspot for Scourge jungle area, gives a good view of the two creep spawn points

Scourge jungle ubercliff, one common and very useful wardspot

Pre-push Warding
These wards are helpful when doing massive lane pushes, they provide decent
vision on the back of the tower to give sight of any incoming enemy

Pre-push ward for Bottom Tier 1 Scourge Tower

Mid lane Tier 1 Tower Pre-push ward area

area for when your team wants to push the Tier 1 tower on top, could
also be used as a defensive ward for going against top trilanes.

Pre-push wardspot for Midlane Tier 2 Tower

Base Warding
spots are good for doing that final massive Tier 3 tower push, gives a
good view on the enemy base and greatly reduces fog areas on the top

Bottom Lane Base Ward

Base Wardspot for Mid Lane

Base wardspot for top lane

Situational Wardspots

Mid Lane fog reduction

Top lane anti pull also gives a good view of the jungle entrance, offsetting incoming ganks

Ward area when your team wants to go for roshan or to scout if enemies are planning to go for roshan.

defensive ward area for mid lane, gives a good view of the gank road in
the jungle plus reduces the fog area on the river and the opposite

Another ward area for offsetting midlane ganks

Ward area for protecting your top lane solo hero

Ward area to give vision on the gank lane

Now that' all for the Sentinel Side, let's now check on for Scourge Team ward areas.

Early Game/Before Creepspawn

This spot gives a decent view of the river, runearea plus it eliminates the common fog spot used in ganking

A rather defensive ward spot for protecting your mid laner

Wardspot to block a creep spawn point and prevents bottom lane creep pulls

A good spot to be used when going against top trilaners, gives a good view of the river below, tower and some fogged areas.

Top rune wardspot, please note that this spot could be also used by the Sentinel

Mid Game/Ganking
Jungle Wards

Uber Cliff Wardspot, a common wardspot used in-game

Pre-push Wards

A good vision spot when your team wants to do a push on Mid' Tier 1 tower

Ward area for pushing Bot's Tier 1 Tower

Top's Tier 1 Tower Pre-push Wardspot

This area gives a further view at the back of the tower, signaling for any incoming enemy defender

Ward area for pre-pushing Mid's Tier 2 Tower

Base Warding

This spot gives a good view of both the Top Tier 3 and Mid Tier 3 Towers

Base wardspot to give vision of the Bottom Tier 3 Tower Area

Situational Wardspots

to give an additional edge for your mid-laner, this spot is good
against defensive and tower-hugging opponents, gives a good view of the
tower area plus eliminates a few fogged areas.

Ward area to give vision of the gank lane and jungle entrances.

ward area to protect bottom laners against aggressive gankers, gives a
good view of the river plus eliminates the jungle fog area

area for scouting the roshan entrance, could also be used (and normally
used) as an early game wardspot since it gives a good view of the rune

Ward area used to offset incoming ganks or to foil enemy setplays.

Defensive ward area to offset backstab-type gankers on the bottom lane

Now that would be all for the warding section.

  • Dewarding,
    from the term itself, it is an act of locating and destroying enemy
    observer wards in the map. This is to reduce enemy vision to a minimum
    and it also helps in landing successful ganks and team setplays. There
    are two main ways to deward, one is through the use of Sentry Wards or by using the Gem of Truesight.
    Now for this section I won't be posting any pictures regarding on
    locations on where to put your  Sentries, why? Plain logic: If you know
    where the wardspots are then you should know where your enemy's wards
    are located. Knowing every wardspot in the game plus the proper
    observation if whether your ganks are predicted or not already gives you
    an edge on whether if the enemy is warding or not and where to hunt for
    enemy observers.  Also, take note that Sentry Wards have limited
    natural vision on itself


  • The red circle shows the natural sight range of a Sentry Ward while the
    transparent white circle shows its true sight range, knowing this gives a
    good edge in Dewarding since you won't be wasting too much sentries to
    locate multiple observers that could be located by only one when placed

  • Yet another vital
    skill that any support user should posses, proper knowledge on when and
    how to roam gives a very good advantage favoring your team. Plus
    partnered with warding and dewarding skills, total map control could be
    achieved without any hassles.
Some tips about Roaming and Ganking
  1. Go roam or do ganks at night, during this time most heroes and
    units visions are lessened making it easy for you to find blind spots
    behind heroes for surprise kills.
  2. Ninja moves is a must, use the fog, this is your best friend when
    roaming, proper utilization and abuse of the fog-of-war in-game is an
    advantage both in attacking and backing out.
  3. Do it fast, a good gank should last for no more than 10 seconds to reduce the chance of enemy counterattacks
  4. Stunlock like a pro, mind the duration of your disables, plan your
    moves on who throws the stun first, who throws in next and when would
    you or they throw the stun.
  5. Hero block, after stunning, quickly run forward and block your enemy's lane so that your ally could deal a good amount of DPS.
  6. Timing is everything, here's a tip, wait for the next creep wave
    to get near to the enemy so that he would not have any vision or
    whatsoever from behind him, also take a look at your own creep wave to
    anticipate on where the enemy wave is currently located.
  7. Be careful when towerdiving, don't directly attack or right-click
    on your opponent when your diving for them inside the tower, try moving
    in advance to where he is running and then throw some spells or nukes,
    doing this reduces the chance of the tower and the creeps going aggro on
    you thus reducing incoming damage that could possibly be taken from
    both the tower and the creeps.
  8. Bring potions, if you wanna be a solid, hardcore, roamer/ganker having potions in your inventory ensures  continuous
    ganks without having to go back to the fountain to often but also be
    mindful on how much you're spend for pots for you might not be able to
    stack up for your core items which are badly needed during mid-game.
  9. Anticipation and mind games, try to think ahead of your enemy, try
    to guess where he would be going or what move will he be doing next.

  • This is the act of protecting your lanemates to ensure a safe farm for them, Babysitting is best and mostly done for heroes that are totally fragile on the early game phase or don't have any escape mechanism skill whatsoever like:


  • Now take note that babysitting is not limited to these types of heroes. Babysitter type supports are mostly the ones having healing and protection type spells like:


  • Well of course supports of these types are not limited to those heroes only. Now as opposed to the offensive Trilane, babysitting is a lot more defensive in every aspects, babysitters don't do too much harass but they do everything to their extent to protect their lanemate, either by slowing down enemy progress, disabling or in most cases healing.
  • Now most people think that a support should sacrifice himself just to save the carry, now this is not true in most cases. A support must always do everything within his ability in order to save a dying colleague without going into the need for sacrificing oneself. A support could do this by disabling or slowing down enemy movement, healing, path blocking and drawing enemy aggro to oneself if necessary.

Teamfight Setting and Initiation

  • Distance is important when doing teamfights, this is to ensure that your Support Hero would last throughout the whole clash without dying in order to deal the highest amount of damage output possible coming from you, the support user. 

When to engage in team fights?
  • Mostly you go in after your carries or tanks, then throw a spell (mostly stuns), back out a bit then go back and throw a spell or a burst nuke again if you have one. Always keep an eye on who your team is focusing on and on who hits your carries to know who to nuke or disable.
When to retreat?
  • A Support (or your team) should back out when:
  1. There is no mana left to throw a spell
  2. Carries/Tanks are dead/low on HP
  3. Failed Gank Attempts

All in all, a support player should be able to master or if not at least gain a fair amount of knowledge regarding hero synergies, clash initiations/settings, warding/dewarding, proper roaming, fog abuse, and overall map control in order to be totally effective in the game. One must not be totally dependent on what items they have in their inventory but must rely on their movements and decision making skills in order to become a good support player.


Well I guess that would be all for this guide, here are some other useful articles to help you along in your journey in becoming a good support:
http://www.playdota.com/guides/the-forbidden-techniques  - "Ninja Moves" Manual
http://www.mineski.net/discussion/11067/tips-and-tricks-facts-gathered-from-all-around-the-web./#Item_65  - Fun DotA Facts Gathered from all around the Web
http://www.mineski.net/discussion/11892/mastering-warfare-tips-for-getting-that-clash-control-and-effective-hero-kills/#Item_7  - A Mini Guide for Mastering Clash Control

Credits to Salawayun for the article.
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