Every Dota player has had numerous encounters with a cute little monster hidden deep in a pit. More often than not, the problematic thing is not Roshan itself but those pesky players from the opposing team. To secure the Roshan kill for your team and acquire the goods that it drops, it helps to approach the whole Roshan-taking action in a structured way. Let's discuss what that entails in this article.
In the first part we’ll explore which specific heroes, items and spells allow you to take down Roshan quickly. The longer you spend killing Roshan the more likely you will be contested by opponents. In the second part we’ll discuss setups and strategies that will lead to your team being able to take Roshan down in the safest possible way while still some or all the opponents’ players are alive. The third part will tackle the problems you’ll run into trying to materialize the advantage of having Aegis and other Roshan items. We’ll touch on what you should be doing if the opponents are in possession of those in the fourth and final part of the article.
Anti-Roshan items and spells
Generally speaking, all the heroes and different hero compositions can take Roshan down given enough time. The time at your disposal is limited though. Here’s the list of spells and items designed to speed up the kill:
- Spells with incremental damage increase on each hit (Ursa - Fury Swipes, Huskar - Burning Spear)
- Summon-based spells and items (Lycan - Summon Wolves, Beastmaster - Call of the Wild Board, Helm of the Dominator, Helm of the Overlord)
- Armor-reducing spells and items (Slardar - Corrosive Haze, Templar Assassin - Meld, Desolator, Solar Crest)
- DPS output buffing spells and items (Bloodlust - Ogre, Vengeance Aura - Vengeful Spirit, Vladmir’s Offering, Assault Cuirass)
Strategies and setup for a Roshan kill
Now that we’ve discussed the “light” stuff, let's move onto the more challenging topic of setting up Roshan. Roshan spawns between 8 to 11 min after it was previously killed. What can you and your team do to make it easier to secure the Roshan kill and collect the rewards? Here are some pointers:
- Make sure to have decent vision around the Roshpit, including removing the opponents’ vision. Don’t forget to drop a scan just to make sure none is around.
- If there is a real chance of opponents’ contesting you, consider quitting the attempt or continue doing it with damage-dealing heroes only (usually one or two cores). The other heroes should assume their defensive positions or look to delay opponents’ contestation. Have at least one slot inventory slot open to collect the Aegis.
- If the opponents are dead or at least important heroes are, it is easy to take Roshan :) Look to make a move that might result in you taking Roshan. Organizing a smoke play and scoring a pick-off or winning a skirmish close to the Roshpit will allow you to naturally claim a Roshan kill as a reward.
- Forcing opponents’ attention to the bottom lane can allow you to grab Roshan for free. For example: push out 2 or 3 waves with your hero, summons and/or illusions → teleport to your teammates → smoke moves straight into Roshpit or in nearby areas to find a pick-off.
- Capitalize on opponents’ poor positional gameplay. This kind of relates to the previous point. For example, it is that point of the game that your team can take Roshan if opportunity presents. And while that is the case, the opponents chose to push your bottom t1 or t2 tower. Instead of defending it, you can take Roshan instead.
- If you have a single hero or a group of two heroes that can take Roshan, you can pop a smoke and try to sneak away a Roshan kill. Meanwhile, the other team players should keep showing themselves on the map or even apply some decoy pressure.
- Just play as Radiant all the time :) Radiant has a higher win rate than Dire for a long time now. The main reason is that the Radiant team tends to play around the left half of the map in mid to late game. The Dire team gravitates towards the right half of the map. Considering that, on average you will have more opportunities to take Roshan down as Radiant than Dire. Being Radiant and picking heroes that are good at killing Roshan is a winning combination.
Materializing the advantage of acquiring Roshan items
This is a quite misunderstood concept in the pubs. Players feel like they need to go ham right away and often end up throwing the lead away. This is especially true for the first Roshan. Here are some things to consider when having Aegis, Cheese and other goodies in your pocket:
- First of all, give the Aegis and/or cheese to the hero that will be hitting buildings. This is a general rule.
- You are in possession of Aegis for 5 min! No need to hit the opponents’ t3 towers right away. Sieging high ground and even taking t2 towers is often a tough task. Use first 2 or 3 minutes to build up the net worth lead over the opponents.
- Acquire map control. Secure one or both jungle sections on the opponents' side of the map by warding and dewarding them. Play in one of those areas and on the two lanes bordering it. The third lane you can’t control fully and it would be risky to show yourself on all three lanes at the same time. That lane should be addressed indirectly by pushing it out with summons, illusions or highly mobile heroes that can return back to the team quickly.
- Look for pick-offs. Generally, the opponents will be dodging the fights once you take Roshan. They are likely going to be playing in the base or on the opposite part of the map of your current location.
- Take outer towers first. Don’t go straight high ground! Expose the Aegis carrying hero hitting the tower. Others stay in position. The first t2 tower by priority is the one on sidelane next to opponents’ outpost. When pushing t3 towers, push sidelane one over mid one.
- Keep an eye on the clock. Perhaps there is a new tier of neutral items dropping that you can collect before forcing any further action. Perhaps an active or bounty rune is spawning. Most importantly, keep track of the Aegis duration!
- Check each-others items. Perhaps a small amount of gold is missing to complete a major item.
- Despite you having Aegis and cheese, don’t feel overconfident. Don’t dive. Expect opponents to buyback and be ready to disengage.
Playing around opponents having killed Roshan
If the opponents took Roshan that usually also means that you are already or going to be behind very soon in net worth and experience. Thus, you are the mouse in the “cat and mouse” game. Here are some tactics to make it harder for opponents to capitalize on the advantage they have:
- Avoid full-scale team fights away from your buildings. Consider giving t2 towers away as well if you are far behind in net worth and experience or without buybacks.
- Be quick at realizing which lane the opponents are going to push and begin to split push on the other lanes. Consider cutting creep waves behind the opponents. If opponents split up as a result of split push, you might be able to look for pick-offs and get back on the map as a team.
- Defend and delay towers from falling initially with heroes that can do that in a safe way or are expendable (KotL - Illuminate, Jakiro - Macropyre, Lich - Frost Shield). If possible, don’t sit in base or defend the towers with heroes that are not good at it! You won’t keep up or catch up in net worth that way.
- Once you decide to defend as a team, say your t3 tower, fight while the tower is still up and as you glyph it, ideally. The tower provides you with bonus armor, HP regeneration, true sight and damage. Glyphing it as you engage will grant you an extra bit of damage.
- Have defensive observer wards and sentries placed, especially in front of the tower that opponents are looking to push. You will see creeps coming in and be able to nuke them from a distance before reaching your tower. You might also see opponents teleporting out which might be an opportunity to make some plays.
- Save for buyback. If you feel like you need a certain item (Divine Rapier, MKB) to be able to win the fight, that is fine. If you are playing a “transformation” hero like Sven or Lycan, you also can consider not saving for buyback. Expose the heroes with buyback.
- Kite the hero with Aegis. If that hero is hitting your buildings, consider keeping him disabled in some way while dealing with the rest. Perhaps even smoke on a few heroes and loop around to jump their backlines.
- Keep track of the Aegis duration! If it is about to expire you might want to start chipping off the Aegis carrier or organize a smoke move.