Undutchable here, bringing you insight into the competitive world, this time focusing on how to play mid, several matchups and neat tricks!
As you all know, there’s three lanes, of which mid is usually the solo lane. This means that the hero in that lane will get extra xp, the ability to farm, the possibility to gank, has acces to runes, is easily ganked, and generally makes a big impact in the early game.
For this reason, there are several types of heroes useful for mid. Gankers, semi carries, and heroes that can keep the opposing mid hero down. Hard carries aren’t viable because usually they need to farm, thus can’t gank, and they rarely have a way to escape in the case that they get ganked.
As for the mid lane, it’s a bit unbalanced at the moment, when the wave clashes, (without the influence of players) it ends up on the hellbourne side, around the ledge. This is completly unfair and should be fixed asap, since it gives a huge advantage to hellbourne’s mid hero. Because, best case scenario is the creeps clashing as close to your ledge as possible, yet in the river if you can. So, the second the rune spawns and you’re not going to get it, run towards mid lane, and block your creeps (normally, both sides have to, now only legion) You see players like N0tail blocking them off from spawn, this comes from DotA where it’s common to not fight over the runes, because it’s to risky. He rather has an advantage in mid lane, but usually it’s good to stay at the runes.
If you are at the rune, and it spawns, dont pick it up immediatly (unless there is danger, but thats obvious anyway) Perhaps talk about it with your teammates, if it’s invis or haste, let one of your teammates pick it up and gank mid, if it’s regen, decide wether you want to leave it, and if it’s DD or illu, you should wait a couple of seconds before picking it up. Time it, so that you don’t waste time waiting for the creeps, pick it up, go to the lane, block the creeps for 1 second, and you just earned yourself an extra 5-10 seconds DD time.
Now, at this point you’ll actually engage in the lane. (i’m not going to talk about different situations with different runes, that would be to long) but assuming that you have dominance, excersise that. Below i’ll post a replay of a random MM i played as defiler against pebbles, he was bad, but the way i went total shitnut aggressive on him threw him offguard, (he had an illusion rune) and proceeded to win me the lane (yes, i won the lane in the first 15 seconds)
You can aggro the creeps to get the lane in a more comfortable position, and your own positioning is crucial. Are you FA against pebbles? Pebbles cant do much against you, with proper positioning he shouldn’t be able to touch the creeps untill he’s lvl 5 or so. This is because with the skeletons, volley and your range you will outdamage him, even if he stuns you. As long as you manipulate the lane by making sure it’s close to your tower, you should be winning this easy. This does not work against all melee’s, such as Devourer. Although you might be getting lane dominance, you are usually putting yourself in a vurnarable spot, and if not done properly, he’ll pull them fukers in, and that aint funny ;)
The problem is laning against a pebbles, devourer, and heroes of that kind, they need levels more then anything. So even if you haras them out of the lane perfectly, unless you can actually get them out of xp-range, you still have to be careful. In pubs, pushing them out the lane = win. But in decent games, this means you’re going to be ganked… alot. This comes down to experience, the misscalls of your teammates should be standard, not a luxery. Are there runes taken by the enemy, people missing, position of the creepwave, aggression (or passifism) of my enemy. This applies in all lanes, but we’re talking about mid. If your lane-enemy suddenly changes behavior, be careful. Even if he goes passive all of a sudden, he is either buying something (=good) or he’s making sure you don’t back off to your tower (= not so good)
When i’m playing pubs, or scrims against teams i don’t know, i usually test the enemy out, by doing something out of the ordinary. Going incredibly aggressive, passive, don’t go for creepkills i could have gotten, etc. This seems weird, because usually it’s not the best thing to do. But this makes it harder for your opponent to guess what your next step is going to be, as well as (and the most important thing) you get to probe your opponent. Does he respond to it, what is his reaction, reaction time, etc. if you have a good team (we’re not talking pubs) they will be out of the lane alot, if not only to scare other lanes that they might be around. This can be used to great effect if excersised properly. (imagine a behe standing in the fog in bot, and you go shitnut aggressive on mid – as hellbourne) my gameplan would be to run the fuck back to my tower just to make sure. Same way, if he goes passive, i’m wondering why the fuck he would be passive, and that behemoth that isn’t there isnt making me comfortably, usually resulting in me running my ass back to the tower to make sure of it, or at least checking in with my teammates.
Your job in mid obviously depends on your role. A Soulstealer should be farming, only ganking with runes in the right moments, not wasting any time in a unsuccesful gank. Whereas a pebbles is free to leave the lane at any time he likes (pretty much). This also depends on your enemy. If soulstealer is the enemies team primary carry, pebbles should stick to him like he’s your rainbow warrior and you want to unicorn stampede all over his ***… well, you get the idea. You are good against SS in lane, so ruin his game as much as possible, only ganking when you know you will be effective, or your sidelanes are in trouble and you need to help them. Ganking is a risk-reward thing. You will give mid freefarm, but at the sametime you will be giving your lane freefarm. I’ve been in cases where both our side lanes decided to push out, just so that pebbles would gank either side to give our SS some room. Wasn’t the best idea in the world, but if it would have been executed properly, could have worked (I advise not to do this, just gank pebbles in mid or ask for a gank from the other side lane)
To round this up: Think about how to pick up the rune, where your position in the lane is, and think about what you want to achieve in the lane/game.
Some neat tricks that i’ve learned over the time (i’m not the best mid player i must say, not at all) so perhaps there are more that i’m just forgetting:
#1 A lot of heroes start with some parts of a blood chalice, and are also looking to get a bottle. this depends on your enemy and the timer. If it’s around 1:00/3:00/5:00 (etc) or later, you have to look at wether you can empty your bottle sucessfully before the rune spawns. You can obviously go shitnut aggressive once again, only to make you use the regen you have for spare. If you’re dominating and want to continue dominating, you’re usually better off getting a blood chalice, since this means you can stay in the lane, and you’re not getting harassed anyway. Ask your side lane to pick up the rune, or do it after you excersised trick #3.
#2 Look at your opponents items. Some players choose to go bottle first, in which case harassing them is not as effective as when they brought one set of tango’s (runes of the blight) If they are going for an early bottle (lets say the bought 3 minor totems, and want to get the 150 by going aggressive) you can answer this by going even more aggressive yourself. You have regen, he doesn’t, he NEEDS creepkills, otherwise you’ll tear him up. go aggressive, let yourself go to half life or below, as long as you don’t get killed, and don’t allow him his bottle, pretty much everything is allowed. Again, what is your goal, and how do you want to achieve it.
#3 This is one that is tricky to master, but the end-result is incredibly statisfying. I remember about half a year ago, the second scrim i played with my old team, we had our mid player saying “OMG- this guy is so lucky, everytime the rune spawns, my lane is pushed” Having a good laugh at this, even thinking back on it, since he’s a 1950 player now, playing with and against some of the best teams out there, it’s incredible to see what improvements he, me and others who i played with made. Back to the point, whenever the rune is going to spawn, (2:00/4:00 etc) you want your wave to be going into the enemy tower. This is achieved by nuking down the 1:30 wave by using your skills (defiler, SS, Polly, tundra, hag etc) or using creep aggro to draw them into your tower. the second part is the hardest. Best would be to manipulate the lane creeps into standing on your ledge, then around 1:30 pulling them in, so that the wave that arrives at 1:45 (and spawned at 1:30) is as close to your tower as possible, then you can proceed to pull those in as well. This is useful for every hero, but even more so for heroes that can’t spam the wave down (arachna for instance) other heroes such as DW, pebbles and the like can do it as well, just be prepared to fight over the rune since the enemy mid hero doesn’t want you to get the rune, and you just used your skill(s)
#4 Defending runes. This is used even more since the tri-lanes, and is seen more in DotA then in HoN. Whenever it’s 1:45/3:45 one of the side lane supporters/gankers (someone who doesn’t die instantly to the opposing mid hero) they move towards the rune, arriving before the rune spawns, in the meanwhile you can go to the other spawn location, or (best if used properly) stand closer to the other spawnlocation the the opposing mid hero, so that he can’t get to the rune before you, while also letting you stay in the lane. If it’s at the sidelane hero, talk about wether you want to gank or not, if you want it, etc. If it’s haste or invis, he can gank mid easily.
To conclude, manipulate the wave to your advantage, play according to mid-matchups, line ups, items picked up, choose items which suit both you and the situation, discuss rune pickups, defend runes and practice, practice, and then practice some more!
Questions or feedback? Let me know trough the forum or here.