The offlaner, or position three, in Dota is one of the most varied positions you can play. In some games you will be acting as another carry, in others, you will be another support and in others, you will fill another role entirely.
Sometimes it really is just as simple as executing one ability in a team fight and then tanking as much damage as possible.
Knowing exactly what to do as an offlaner is a skill that will take a lot of time to learn, but before you can master that you will need to know the basics.
Where do I play?
Unsurprisingly the Offlaner plays in the Off Lane. For the Radiant side, this is the top lane and for the Dire side, this is the bottom lane.
Unlike League of Legends where the lanes are symmetrical for both sides, in Dota one side has an advantage in each of the side lanes. In the off lane, the creeps meet closer to the opponents tower, making it riskier for you to go and last hit.
In normal matchmaking, you will often find yourself with a support in your lane for the entire laning stage, but in pro matches the offlaner usually plays alone.
What is my goal?
Unlike the other roles where this is quite clear the goal of an offlaner really depends on the hero you choose and your team’s strategy.
Sometimes your objective early is literally just not to die and make sure you get some kind of experience, whereas in other games you will be expected to try and secure as much farm as possible to transition into a real damage dealing threat later on.
Quite often an offlaner will be some kind of crowd control hero that has the ability to stun or lockdown multiple enemies, meaning that a lot of the time your job is to initiate fights, which is one of the most important jobs in Dota, as a good initiation can win a fight before it even begins.
What heroes are good for an offlaner?
While there are a lot of different types of offlaner you are going to want to choose one who is able to survive any ‘ganks’ that come your way.
This could be with some kind of ability that allows you to escape such as Batrider and his Fire Fly ability, or Dark Seer’s Surge ability.
Or it could simply come in the form of being very tanky, such as Centaur Warrunner, or Underlord. All of these are great choices for those looking to make an impact in the offlane early on in your Dota journey.
Tips and Tricks to improve your game.
Sometimes not dying is better than farming
If you do find yourself alone in your offlane, which is not uncommon, then a lot of the time making sure you stay alive is much more important than getting some last hits.
Going in for a last hit is almost always going to put you in some kind of danger when you are alone, and if you keep going in to last hit and dying you are feeding the enemy carry, the one hero you do not want to feed.
Sometimes staying back and earning experience by just being near the dying creeps is a better idea than going for farm and dying.
Play around your cooldowns
A lot of offlaners have very long cooldowns on their ultimates, and often for good reason, they are usually some of the most powerful spells in the game.
Knowing when to use them is obviously key, but one other thing you need to be aware of is how to play after you have used them.
A smart opponent will know if your ultimate is available or not shortly after you use it, so will try and get more aggressive when you don’t have one of the biggest tools in your arsenal. When you don’t have your ultimate available you will probably want to be more cautious.