How to analyze your replays as a support
Players who are trying to improve and climb up the ranks in Dota 2 are often told to “watch your replays”. It can help you understand what types of mistakes you’re making in the game, which you may not realize at the time. But what is it exactly that you should be on the lookout for? Let’s discuss from the perspective of a support player.
Focus on the macro
Your primary focus should be to try and understand the overall flow of the game, rather than fixating on small micro mistakes. Usually, it can be difficult to pinpoint where your overall strategy is failing during the course of playing a game. This is especially true if you’re not proficient at the micro-level, which will make you focus more on your positioning, spell usage, item usage, and other supporting duties.
Looking at what decisions you make, where you go, where you decide to TP, which path you take when trying to smoke gank, who you decide to go with and who you leave behind to farm, which objectives you decide to take or not take, all come under consideration.
Warding and dewarding
It can be difficult to understand how and why the enemy support found your wards and how quickly they dewarded them. Did they have a pre-placed observer ward that you walked under on the way to put your own ward? Were you planting wards that are too obvious and very common spots to place in? Or were they just spamming sentries everywhere, hoping to find your wards?
It is even more useful to watch the replay from their perspective. And try to think about whether placing wards at certain locations was useful or not. If you place a ward on the enemy’s side of the map, but your team is not playing aggressively and never goes there, would it be better to place defensive river wards while your cores farm?
It is a common misconception that the job of a support is to just ward and buff/heal carries. As a support, there are usually tons of things that you can and should do during a game.
One of the most important things is stacking. Over the past few years, the bonus gold from stacking has been buffed multiple times. It now gives you 30% bonus gold to the person who stacks the camp. We will explain the intricacies and various tricks you can use when it comes to stacking in another article in the future.
It’s also a good idea to watch and understand when you could be farming. Often, supports will either roam around the map too much looking for kills or be too sacrificial and only let their cores farm. But there are plenty of times where you could have farmed instead of doing nothing. Even one neutral camp or creep wave can make a significant difference and bring you closer to that next item. So watch out for it.
One thing that players in the lower brackets will do is that they’ll never click on the enemy heroes to look at what items they have and stick to their pre-planned item build. While it can be a bit difficult to frequently check the enemy’s item build during a game, during a replay, you have the comfort to do that.
There are some items that are almost always good choices on support heroes. But often, we need to be able to adapt to the enemy’s item choices. This can even be the case with consumable items. For example, the enemy support built a Glimmer Cape. Did you have Dust of Appearance ready for it? Did the enemy heroes survive because you didn’t buy detection?
Take it easy!
Watching replays doesn’t have to mean that you sit there for over an hour closely looking at all the things over and over again. Generally, it is okay to watch replays at 2x or even 4x speed. You can learn plenty, as long as you know what you’re looking for.
Hopefully, this article has helped you understand that! And remember, you don’t need to watch the replay of every single one of your games. Even one or two replays a week can make a big difference in spotting your mistakes and learning from them.