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Friday, April 26, 2013

Trilanes 101

This is written largely from supports' perspective.  Notice that I'm not saying that I'm writing this for supports.  These are fundamentals that everyone should know, support or not.


There are two types of trilanes.  First is defensive, where you send your trilane to your safelane.  And the other is offensive, where you send your trilane to your offlane, challenging the opponents' safelane. These are just simple names to know where the trilane is going and it may not always define the purpose of the trilane.  For example, you may execute an offensive trilane in attempt of dodging the clash, and punishing their offlane solo.  Most of the time, the names well reflect the purpose of the trilane, but it's important to know that they aren't absolute.

Trilanes often fail in pubs and even in organized games because players have a poor understanding of them.  Frankly, even I have a very difficult time understanding all the intricacies in trilanes, especially when it comes to matchups.  Thankfully, there is this one thing that never change about trilanes, which works sort of as a guideline for your actions: Trilanes are always employed with three players.  This is a very simple, yet a very crucial fact that gets overlooked far too often which produces difficult games.  You must understand the opportunity cost of putting that many resources in one lane.  With three players in one lane, you have make sure that the trilane pays off for its investment.  And this is precisely where many fail, simply making the trilanes pay off.

I'm going to illustrate some standard scenarios for trilanes:


Defensive 3v0
A lot of popular offlaners nowadays often abandon the lane completely until the creeps reach the tower, or until they feel confident enough to handle the trilane.  Funny as it sounds, 3v0 is sort of a counter to trilanes itself.  This is because you are putting three heroes in a lane to secure lane dominance, but no one is there to contest it.  It's basically a wasted effort.

As soon as you realize that it's a 3v0, the clock starts ticking.  This is a tougher situation than it may appear because you are basically racing against their trilane and jungling offlane.  They're getting shit done, you better too.  You have several choices here.  You can maximize jungle, roam to win other lanes, or push to force a reaction.  You have room for only about two plays, three if you are lucky. After that, you neither have the room or the opportunity to do these things anymore, so it's on you to make them count.  Any action is fine as long as it makes sense, and is effective.


Defensive 3v1
This is a simpler situation than 3v0 because the offlaner isn't gaining gold or xp from jungle that you must account for.  Generally speaking, you will have one hero to keep lane presence (5), another to maximize jungle (4), and the other to pimp the lane (1).  Standard stuff.  That being said, if they sent an offlaner. There's a reason why that hero is going up against three other heroes.  So this is where matchups and strategy come into play.  If it's Furion, he'll look to empower other lanes.  If it's Lone Druid, he'll look to disturb lane equilibrium in his favour.  If it's Lich with boots first, he's looking to deter carry's growth while securing experience, and et cetera.  So, know what they want to do and think about how you would foil his plans.

However, this is largely a matchup thing and draft does play some factor in this.  For example, if you have a Bane, Rubick, Void trilane, it would have a tough time handling a well played Broodmother.  How would you handle that lane?  Sometimes, there are no good options, only options that are better than the other.  Whatever it may be, do what you must in order to win the game in given situation.


Defensive 3v2
This almost never happens, but it may be worth mentioning for the sake of discussion.  Naturally, if dual lane doesn't die and gets experience, they win the lane even if they aren't getting any farm.  First off, if the opponents sent a dual lane versus a trilane, they would send heroes that are potent with levels, and one of your other lane is suffering a 2v1. So there's a quite a bit of pressure and need for your lane to win.  And win big.

If the opponents are smart, there's probably a good reason why they sent a dual lane against your tri.  Don't let them get away with what they want.
 

Defensive 3v3
The clash.  I can't say I have a great understanding of tri versus tri.  I think there are a lot of subtle details of 3v3 that I fail to understand.  I suppose I'll just write what I know.

Singlepull is a very powerful tool for defensive trilane.  There is more value to singlepulling than just extra income and experience.  It can be used to bait bad positioning from the enemy tri when they attempt to respond to your pulls.  It will also stack the wave, and with it, you can aggress the enemy tri and they may respond poorly (creep equilibrium play a big factor in aggression in the lane).  It would also allow a huge creep wave to push towards their tower, and this is not a bad thing.  For an extended period of time, you would have a full knowledge of their positioning, while you have space for ganking, pulling some more, or even diving with further aggression.  One thing to mention is that if the supports do decide to gank other lane, the carry must not die alone.  As soon as the opponents realize that the supports are gone, they may look to aggress, and you absolutely cannot die here.  All of supports' work is for vain if carry just dies, and this happens far too often.  Do not give them a chance to offset the advantage, or get ahead if the mid gank fails.

Vision is also very important in 3v3.  Check their inventory and see who has observers wards.  Be wary of his movements and where he'll go, see if he has spent the wards and estimate where his wards are placed to counter it.  Conversely, try to ward smart so yours doesn't get countered.  But also be careful on being hung up on countering the ward that you die over it as they can be used to force (bad) actions.

Generally speaking, I think it's fine as long as you don't die.  They sent an offensive trilane for a reason, so by not dying, you've already done damage to their gameplan assuming you didn't get outpicked to hell.  There should be other factors you should be relying on.  One of the commons would be that their offensive trilane is easier to gank with cores.


Offensive 3v3
Usually, as an offensive trilane, you mean to crush their lane, or in the least, disrupt their growth. Much like anything else in dota, it all depends on the situation.  If it's about just disrupting growth, usually you have a backup plan like a solo carry in safelane.  Anyway, make sure that the purpose of your offensive trilane is strategically sound.  Offensive trilane is harder to pull off in my opinion because there's more pressure to achieve stuff than defensive trilane.

If you are running an offensive tri, it probably means that you have a stronger 3v3.  Once you've confirmed the 3v3, you should know to block their pull or not.  You don't have to block it if you have a plan to take advantage of it.  If you are meaning to block, make sure if you want to use sentry or observers.  It might be sufficient with 3min block than a 6min block, and make sure that the ward placement is not easy for them to guess.  Do not make it obvious for them to counter!

I think damage recovery is worth a mention when discussing offensive trilanes.  Sometimes, one death in the first minute or two can distinguish the outcome of the lane.  If it becomes extremely apparent that the lane is lost beyond any hope, immediately leave the lane as discretely as possible. There's no sense in staying in a hopeless lane allowing the gap to get bigger.  You must look to equalize the disadvantage elsewhere, be it mid or safelane.  Take the initiative and do what you must to win!


Offensive 3v2
Much like defensive 3v2, there's a lot of pressure for trilane to achieve stuff.  Defensive has it somewhat easier because it's largely about zoning them out of experience range, and if they get careless you engage and kill them.  But in an offensive, it's harder to achieve that because they will be safer more often, which means they can accumulate experience easier and you can't engage them as easily.  As such, your window of engagement is tighter, because they will get stronger at a faster pace.  You either need a kill scenario or roam if the lane has no action.

One way to force action is to pull their creeps into the medium camp and diving.  Your window is rather tight, and you want to do it as early as possible when everyone is same level.  If you do this too late, they will have level advantage and they may come out on top, especially if your teammates are positioned poorly to follow up the aggression.


Offensive 3v1
You have to kill the solo offlane.  The window is even tighter than 3v2 because there are four other heroes to account for.  A lot of the times, the opponents may shift their supports to safelane, and you want to press on your 3v1 advantage before that happens.  So you need to act quick, as quick as the second wave for a 0:45 pull-dive.  Don't let that advantage rot away.  Even if the kill doesn't happen, you can still chip the tower and that's a pretty good.  If it remains a 3v1, and the kill scenario is not possible, you must either roam elsewhere or get a quick tower and move on.  Do not treat this like a safelane 3v1.


Offensive 3v0
This really never happens, but if it does, you need to punish them for giving a 3v0 lane.  Best way is to probably take the tower quickly, then threaten tier 2 asap.  Another way is to rotate the supports and try to get things done.


In closing..
I don't know, not much to say.  I suppose try to look at the game from more of a bird's eye view, outside of your lane, but as a whole.  And consider what you must do in order to win the game.  It's a team game afterall.

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