Updated on October 6, 5:14 p.m. (GMT+8): Improved relevancy based on recent Dota 2 patches.
The support role comes with a big laundry list of things to do. While every role in the game has certain requirements and expectations, it’s the support role that is most misunderstood.
Everyone should learn how to play support if they wish to grind MMR. Since Valve implemented Role Queue, players will have to spend some time in every role, not just their preferred ones.
When players queue all roles, it’s almost guaranteed they will get to play support, so learning a few simple but effective tricks could greatly improve your win rate in that role.
Learn how to play support in Dota 2
Control jungle camps, no matter which hero you’re playing
The mechanics of pulling neutral camps has been around since Dota 2 started. Pulling creeps is a simple way for supports to control lane equilibrium while providing gold and experience for themselves.
Because pulling creeps is easy and worth doing, it’s best to prevent the enemy from having that option. To block neutral creeps from spawning, a player must put their hero, other creeps, or a ward in the yellow spawn box.
Use a Sentry ward to block pulls, which allows the hero to stay in the lane and help their partner. Andrew “Jenkins” Jenkins goes into greater detail about the benefits of this strategy in this video.
Managing neutral camps also means stacking camps on your side of the map. This is a good objective to aim for whenever you’re rotating around the map. Consider stacking at even minute marks to get river runes, or every three minutes to secure bounty runes.
By blocking the enemy camps and stacking your own, a support player can generate tremendous impact in the game with just a sentry ward and good rotations.
Best of all, this isn’t limited to any specific hero, although some are better at it than others.
Support Dota 2 cores with regen items
Core players want to stay in the lane as long as possible and farm as many creeps as they can. However, the process of farming can be greatly impeded or entirely stopped if the enemy has strong harassers — and that’s where the support has to step up.
In a difficult lane, supports should buy extra sets of Tangos or Healing Salves to help their core stay in lane. This is an expensive investment on the support side, but it pays off long-term.
This isn’t limited to just buying more regeneration, though. After teleporting from the fountain, heroes carry the “fountain aura” for three seconds. This aura not only provides health and mana regen, but also refills any bottle the hero picks up.
This trick allows supports to teleport to any ally who has a bottle and refill it for them for free. It’s often used to refill the midlaner’s bottle, but can be used for any lane. Just be sure to return the bottle to your ally after refilling it and not your enemy!
Manage the team’s consumables, especially Smoke of Deceit
Smoke of Deceit restocks once every 420 seconds, Observer wards once every 135 seconds, and Sentry wards every 70 seconds.
A team can have a maximum of three Smoke of Deceits, four Observer wards, and 10 Sentries in their shop.
Why does this matter?
If there are three Smoke of Deceits in the shop, it won’t restock any more. Same thing with the wards. This means that teams must always aim to buy these consumables as often as they can.
If a team only starts buying Smoke of Deceit at 30 minutes, they would’ve “wasted” at least four Smoke of Deceits which they could have bought earlier. It’s a similar concept with warding, for these items are meant to be bought as often as possible so that the shop restocks them.
Smoke of Deceit can also be used to dodge a few spells. As long as the enemy hero can’t break smoke, it can render quite a few ultimates harmless, which means that an early Smoke of Deceit can be game-changing.
These are a few tips and tricks support players can do. They don’t require specific heroes or high mechanical skills to perform, so the next time you queue and have to play hard support, consider trying one of these strategies.