The top 10 most popular Dota 2 heroes in the off lane during 7.11. We will have a look at some of the best picks in the meta, and learn how to play or counter them.
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The heroes are arranged by pick rate, and the data considers all games played in any region and bracket during the past 30 days. Statistics from Dotabuff.
|Hero||Name||Pick %||Win %|
Learn more: I skipped the top hero in this list as recently I dedicated an article to him, How to counter Bristleback.
Popularity isn’t equal to strength. Windranger has a negative win rate in all MMR brackets and is completely ignored in pro games.
There are better heroes for the off lane
She isn’t a horrible pick, but there are many superior choices to cover her role.
An average laner. Moderate damage and health pool, low armor, an escape that can be countered easily, and an expensive nuke.
Weak against the meta supports. Windrun is Windranger’s escape ability, it gives a movement speed bonus and 100% evasion for a few seconds. This skill is ineffective against most of the popular supports in this meta: for example, Shadow Shaman or Bane can just disable her for the entire duration.
- In a 1vs1 situation, both her and the enemy carry might farm, but meanwhile the supports will roam and ruin the other lanes.
- When against a competent support or a trilane, Windranger should never win.
A greedy hero
Among all possible offlaners, she is one of the greediest ones. Most pub players will try to build her as a carry, even after earning almost no gold in the lane phase.
The result is a late Maelstrom (her most bought item after the Phase Boots) with which they will try to come-back farming lane and jungle creeps as much as possible, stealing farm from the position 1 and 2. I am not criticizing this item, which works pretty well on her, but only this “carry” behaviour.
Note that with a proc of Maelstrom plus Powershot she can clear an entire creep wave, and most of the jungle camps.
Several items required. Many offlaners just need experience and a Soul Ring, while others may demand also a Blink Dagger. Windranger needs the former to use Powershot, the latter for positioning to stun with Shackleshot, and finally a Force Staff to escape or chase heroes. Without these three items, she can’t properly contribute to the team’s efforts.
IceFrog continued buffing Windranger in almost every patch during the past years: beside a few adjustments, her abilities and talents have been mostly improved from 7.00 onwards.
Similarly to what happened to Lina and Sniper (for a brief period), if this trend continues, she might suddenly transform in a fearsome opponent.
Learn more: I featured Doom also in the list of best offlaners during 7.07.
Summarizing, he is a solid pick that can adapt also to the most difficult lane, has a versatile item build, can buy any aura item required by the team, and his ultimate has the potential to transform every fight in a 5vs4 if used against the right target. You can find these topics, explained in detail, in the previous article.
You do not pick Doom to farm in the off lane, you pick him to dominate the lane
I noticed that most players max Devour during the lane phase: this is wrong in almost all games as an offlaner. I understand that many are tempted to level-up it so they can collect extra gold, but this isn’t a priority because you are not playing as a core.
The “classic” pub Doom who remains next to his tower, farming with Devour, will often be ignored by the enemy team. He can’t be killed and isn’t threatening the carry, so the supports will use their time to stack camps in the jungle, roam, and gank your cores. You want to avoid it.
You need the extra damage and health regeneration from Scorched Earth to play offensively and survive. In the off lane, the main goal as a Doom is to be such a nuisance that the enemies must commit multiple resources to deal with you. Optimally, you must ruin the farm of the enemy carry and force him to back off in his base to regenerate.
Maxing Devour, you won’t have any impact after the lane stage. At level 7, you have no offensive spells but Doom, and that’s not enough to help your team. In the early fights, Scorched Earth transforms you in a real monster as you are an unkillable hero dealing AoE damage for 16 seconds.
Please, stop being a selfish player, and do not flame your teammates if they are behind. Playing a passive Doom while the enemy supports are jeopardizing the other lanes is as bad as playing a jungler!
|Hero||Name||Pick %||Win %|
Sand King is not the most suitable off lane hero for an unexperienced player. He requires practice and an appropriate opponent, otherwise his lane will be a disaster.
The bane of melee heroes
He works the best when matching against melee heroes due to Caustic Finale. The damage caused by the explosion is huge, particularly if used on multiple creeps, so often it is enough to keep melee opponents at a distance and prevent their last-hits.
If they don’t know exactly what they are fighting, let them experience it, stunning them around the exploding creep wave using Burrowstrike.
- Caustic Finale pushes the lane. It is necessary to learn when playing aggressively is a poor choice because your passive will push the lane, putting your hero in an uncomfortable position.
Even when not in danger, a lane pushed too much will block any ganking attempt from your own roamers.
Some carries have issues last-hitting under the tower, while others are perfectly fine due to their animation and solid base damage. Be aware of your opponent before deciding the lane behaviour.
- Sand Storm as an escaping tool. At lower ranks, it may work extremely well, and probably you can also zone out the opponents. At higher ones, almost all supports will buy a Sentry Ward at level one for an early kill.
- You do not have to be a support to buy a ward. When playing a hero with invisibility skills, I always suggest to bring a Sentry Ward with you at the start of the match. Do not place it in the middle of the lane, but hide it behind some trees. In this way, you will have the chance to spot the enemy ward while the position of yours is still unknown, and quickly dispose of it using a Tango.
- Steal the enemy camps. In most games, Sand Storm won’t be your priority, but if you notice that the enemy supports are constantly stacking camps in the jungle, you can grab a couple of points later on to clear the stacks and acquire a substantial amount of gold.
Valve nerfed Omniknight in four distinct patches, from 7.07c to now, but he is still a dominant hero both in competitive and pub games.
Omniknight relies on Degen Aura to win the lane
Purification is a great skill as it heals a friendly unit and inflicts pure damage to all nearby enemies, but it isn’t the main culprit behind his success in the lane phase.
Degen Aura reduces movement and attack speed of all enemies in a 275 radius around Omniknight, making them more susceptible to your harassment. Combined with the slow of the Orb of Venom, almost all melee cores and supports will have a very hard time against you.
IceFrog knows that in this spell resides Omniknight’s triumph as an offlaner, in fact it has been nerfed multiple times, and prior 7.07c it had a 350 radius. The adjustments to his abilities won’t stop soon as he is the second most banned hero in the game during 7.11 (69.1%) - pro players prefer banning Omniknight instead than dealing with him.
Strong lane with a few items
We discussed this topic when talking about Windranger: the most effective offlaners are those that can do their job with a minimal amount of items, and Omniknight excels at it.
He can use the Orb of Venom (275g) to boost his harassing potential, but it isn’t mandatory.
The Magic Stick (200g) - often upgraded in the Magic Wand - if laning against heroes that will spam spells. Considering the actual meta and the indispensable two supports, I suggest you always take it.
The Soul Ring (770g) to cast Purification at will.
With just these few items, and experience, he can have the upper hand in the off lane.
I know that many players love the Hand of Midas, and that’s surely a crucial item if you controlled the lane, but if you are unsure about your first item, I suggest to buy the Drum of Endurance: solid stats, works well with your abilities, and the active is an appreciate buff during teamfights.
Learn more: To defeat Omniknight during the lane phase, you need ranged heroes and magic damage. I shared some tips in the article about the best strength heroes of 7.07.
Header image and hero icons: Valve
Vincenzo is an esports writer with five years of experience. Former head editor for Natus Vincere, he has produced content for DreamHack, FACEIT, DOTAFire, 2P, and more. Follow him on @SkulzDota.