Over the last couple of weeks, we went over some heroes who get too much undeserved attention as beginner-friendly heroes and we proposed better alternatives. Today, we would like to expand on the ideas presented in the previous posts, discussing possible pairings for you and your friends to try. Our goal is to find some dual lanes that are effective in lane and are effective throughout the game, while being fun and requiring teamwork.
There is a huge number of such duos in the game, so we are only providing some basic ideas and the reasoning behind them, hoping the community will come together with us on this one and propose their options as well.
Newcomer Wraith King + Veteran Keeper of the Light
We hear you and we understand you: Keeper of the Light is a tough recommendation nowadays. He is statistically weak, a bit greedy, and doesn’t really do a whole lot in team fights until after getting his Aghanim’s. However, since Wraith King is a hero for your newbie friend and KotL is a hero for your, supposedly, more experienced self, there is even something ethically pleasing about playing an underpowered hero in a lobby with lower-level opponents. Or if ethics aren’t your thing, you can also always be proud about winning with a 45% win rate hero against all odds.
Moreover, this pair is a blast to play, since KotL solves so many issues Wraith King has. Do you want to spam Wraithfire Blast in lane and get kills? KotL can help, and WK’s stun and slow are an adequate setup for Illuminate. Farming faster is also an option, since Chakra Magic reduces the Vampiric Spirit cooldown, meaning more skellies, meaning more gold. Buddy getting lost in the jungle a little bit too much while you need to start fighting already? Just Recall them and simply never tell about the “disable help” option.
No mana for ulti? You are there to help your friend who might have been a bit too frivolous with his spells and as a cherry on top, Chakra Magic also reduces Mortal Strike cooldown. Two back-to-back guaranteed 260% crits are a very satisfying prospect. Though it will definitely take some training and learning to pull off consistently, and this is why it is, in our opinion, a good duo: it is fun, it is effective and it will demand extra commitment to teamwork from both of you.
Newcomer Legion Commander + veteran Skywrath Mage
Of the three recommended offlaners, we think Legion Commander is the easiest to combo in an effective manner. She has better movement speed and attack damage, compared to Axe and Tidehunter, and what she loses out in AoE control, she more than makes up for in terms of duration. Moreover, LC scaling, especially in overly long lower-level games, is both fun and effective.
The lane itself isn’t anything special. It is strong, it has access to quite a bit of magical damage and it is very fast: both Sky and LC run at 325+ MS; however, there aren’t any apparent synergies during the laning stage. Come midgame, though, it is one of the most devastating combos in the game and it is a professional scene staple for a reason.
Mystic Flare and Duel have relatively similar cooldowns and most of the time it means that as long as LC can get to her enemy, she will win the Duel. This means more damage, this means more money and it is a lot of fun. This combination works even from behind, which is pretty important.
On top of being fun, it can also be quite educational. LC relies on her active items, so it is a great opportunity to train using Blink, Blade Mail, and BKB. LC also has access to Strong Dispel, potentially leading to a good conversation about status effects, status effect resistance, and soft/hard dispels. Finally, by carefully guiding your friend while they are playing Legion Commander and showing them how to lane, you are also ensuring that no other newcomer in the game sees the immortal, ever-present abomination that is Jungle LC. How it came to be is a mystery, but with enough effort we can make sure it is at least somewhat contained.
Newcomer Ogre Magi + Veteran Juggernaut
Of the two proposed newcomer-friendly support heroes, we think Ogre Magi is better suited for when playing with friends. Warlock is an exciting hero, but definitely not in lane and while there are ability builds that can mitigate this, we don’t believe they are optimal in most games. Hence, Ogre Magi + Juggernaut or, more broadly, Ogre Magi + any active carry with kill potential is our suggestion.
Heroes like Troll Warlord, Chaos Knight, and Wraith King could all fit the bill, but there are several reasons we named Juggernaut specifically.
One is that he theoretically has the highest kill potential of the three when coupled with Ogre Magi and his Ignite. Slow + Bladefury is a very old combination, but it still works, and come level three deals a tremendous amount of magic damage.
Two is the Healing Ward. The mileage you get from level one of this ability on Ogre, who has seven starting armor, is ridiculous. That means your friend gets to survive through enemy attacks and gets to play more Dota. As long as your lane has mana, it will have sustain and aggressive potential. It is also a great conversation starter for when your friend is ready to learn about what Armor means and how it works.
Finally, Bloodlust is simply too good on Juggernaut. Lower BAT means AS effects are stronger on Juggernaut and if the previous sentence was confusing, both you and your friend might be interested in reading a brief explanation on attack speed and why Juggernaut typically gets extra benefits from buffs.
Fundamentals of Dota are never boring and while knowing them doesn’t make you a stronger player, we firmly believe that they can facilitate the process of learning. We also think that it is frequently better to give new players the knowledge of how things work, rather than a step-by-step guide of what to do: all of us can be surprised with what players with no ingrained Dota stereotypes can come up with, given time.
So here are our general ideas of what a good dual lane for a Newcomer + Veteran players can be, but as mentioned earlier, we believe there are many more and potentially even better combinations to discuss. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below, or challenge our arguments — it is always appreciated.