The Ultimate Mid-Game Guide: Leaving The Safe Lane
One of the biggest challenges that new and low-to-mid rank Dota players face is understanding what to do in the mid-game. Steps you need to take in the early game are pretty straightforward, and there are plenty of guides out there that teach you that. But once the laning phase is over, things start to get more confusing.
This guide is a step-by-step lesson that will explain which part of the map you need to play on, which objectives to take first and how to use the terrain to your advantage. It is divided into four parts. The first part will cover when you should leave the safe lane, both as a support and carry player.
When to leave safe lane as a support
As a hard support / position 5 player, you are expected to help your carry / position 1 player as much as you can. You want them to accumulate as much resources as possible, whether its gold or experience, and prevent them from dying.
Simultaneously, you also want to make sure the enemy off lane / position 3 player gets the least amount of gold and experience. You may also be required to teleport to another lane to protect your teammates from enemies that may be diving their tier 1 tower.
But after a certain point, your carry will build a few necessary early-game items and be able to farm on their own. This is the time when you want to leave the safe lane for good and look to making moves on other parts of the map. Generally, this will be around the 10-minute mark, when the 2nd day cycle starts.
This is often as early as the 8-minute mark in high MMR games, but tends to be as late as the 15-minute mark in low MMR games. Your carry generally won’t need your help as much and can farm both the jungle and lane without your help.
Instead, you should go to the off lane and try to bully the enemy support + carry duo out of their safe lane. You can either teleport there, or walk through the jungle, stacking as many camps as you can along the way. You can also help your mid lane by planting some wards for vision, dewarding any vision the enemy might have and pressure their mid laner for a while. On your way to the off lane, once again, you want to stack camps in the secondary jungle.
When to leave safe lane as a carry
As opposed to the support player, the carry player can stay a bit longer and farm as much as they are allowed to. This depends on how well the lane went, how aggressive the enemy heroes are and whether other enemy heroes like the mid laner choose to gank your lane.
You may stay in the lane up to the 10 to 14-minute mark, but don’t push your luck. Once the 2nd night cycle starts, your vision will be limited, which makes it harder to see ganks coming your way.
Sometimes, if the laning phase doesn’t go well, you may resort to leave the lane and farm the jungle as early as the 6 to 8-minute mark. In contrast, low rank carry players often leave the lane much, much later, around the 15 to 20-minute mark. Sometimes, players won’t leave the lane at all and try to keep pushing it and take the enemy off lane’s tier 1 tower. This is usually a mistake as it doesn’t give you much in terms of map control.
Even when you do transition to the jungle, you have to think about which camps to farm. The primary jungle is generally not safe, as there are many paths that the enemy team can take to gank you.
Even if your support has provided you with vision, the enemy could simply use Smoke of Deceit to gank you. And if you don’t have mobility or innate defensive spells to protect you, the gank will likely be successful. Instead, it is better to move to the other side of the map and farm the secondary jungle, also known as the triangle. Here, you can stack camps easily and get a good chunk of resources from ancient camps.
In the next part of this guide, we’ll talk about what you should do after leaving the safe lane, which areas to pressure and how to increase your map control.