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From Pubstar Hero to Inhouse Competence


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I've been meaning to make a guide like this for a little while now. I don't know how to make cool tables and stuff like in Muto's begginer's guide, so if you know where a thread is explaining that or know how yourself, help me out please. I consider myself a decently well rounded player with an acceptable to good understanding of mechanics, team comps, etc. I don't consider myself a top tier player, so take these as guidelines, but not the absolute truth of the matters covered. My goal is to share my basic knowledge and experience, hopefully resulting in a resource for players new to the IH scene to reference as a starting point. If you experienced players have anything you would change or add, let me know, as my goal is the best resource possible.


Here's a link to a beginner's guide to mechanics.




In this guide, I'll cover:

  1. Terms and abbreviations
  2. Basics of drafting and Team Compsition
  3. Team Items
  4. Laning
  5. Jungling
  6. Warding
  7. Positioning

1. ​Terms;



AA: Auto Attack. Can refer to the act of AAing or auto attacking an enemy. It can also refer to an "AA hero." An AA hero is one that does most of their damage through auto attacking (Usually carries).

AOE: Area of effect: Refers to a spell or ability that covers an area larger than a target unit. Examples include auras and spell damage like Rancor's Nukes.

Backdoor: refers to 1, sometimes two heroes splitting off from an engagement in an attempt to take a tower while the rest of te enemy team is occupied.

CC: Cowd Control: Anything that hinders movement of the enemy to include Stuns, roots, knockups, and movement impediments like null's forcefields, Cow's walls, or cyprus's pillars

C/D: Cooldown: refers to whether or not your abilities are ready to use. Many times a teammate will ask "is your ult/stun/etc. up?" This means they are asking whether or not you will be able to use said ability.

Dial: The item Impact Dial

"Tanking a tower": refers to the attempt to kill a tower with no creeps around for the tower to aggro first. This means you usually want a tanky hero to be the recipient of the damage and at least 1 hero to be able to dps the tower down.

TS: True Sight. Can be either truesight ward or Truesight elixer. Usually Truesight wards will be referred to as TS wards and Truesight Elixer will be referred to as TS.

LB: The item Shroedinger's Lock Box

Freezing a lane: Freezing a lane is where you make sure never to auto attack the enemy creeps and only last hit to get the mineral and experience bonus.

Easy Lane: Easy lane is bottom if you are protoss, top if you are zerg.

Hard Lane: Top if you are protoss, bottom if you are zerg.


2. Drafting​


Drafting usually proceeds as follows:

Global auto bans are usually decided by the norm of what is considered OP at the time or agreed upon by both team captains. Current examples for v. 1.144 are Getting Impact Dial on Micro or Shadowmourne on Garamond. Each ban or pick is unique. Bans apply to both teams and when you pick a hero, the other team cannot use said hero.


Team 1: Ban 1

T2: Ban 1

T1: Ban 1

T2: Ban 1

T1: Ban 1

T2: Ban 1


T1; Pick 1

T2: PIck 2

T1: Pick 2

T2: Pick 1


T1: Ban 1

T2: Ban 1


T1: Pick 1

T2: Pick 1

T1: Pick 1

T2: Pick 1


Right now there are around 6 "tier 1" heroes that are considered by many to be stronger than most of the other heroes available and are therefore high value in the draft. There are many factors that make a hero "tier 1" including the meta game, hero abilities, items, and many other factors.


Currently the 6 heroes (v. 1.144) that are considered tier 1 are Micro, Drake, Justicar, Queen, Null, and Marine King.


Micro: He's strong because he's incredibly tanky and an exceptional initiator/zoner.

Drake: One of the strongest Ults in the game that can change teamfights drastically. He has a pull as well. If built properly, he can be the tankiest hero in the game.

Justiar: Very tanky, strongly counters AAs with the armor bonus from his ult, and has a the ability to stun/disable targets for a long duration

Queen: One of the strongest pushers in the game that can decimate towers if left alone. She has a strong heal, strong zoning with her banes, and has a strong AOE stun with her ult.

Marine King: Again, a contender for strongest tower pusher in the game. Passively amplifies weapon speed of heroes/minions around him and can DPS or carry team items effectively.

Null: One of the strongest counter pushers in the game, amazing CC, a great stun, and very good AOE spell damage out. He can also go spell/dps at the same time.


The goal in the draft is slightly different for team 1 and team 2. The goal for team 1 is to try to ensure that there are only 1-2 tier 1 heroes available after the first six bans are complete or they want there to be at least 4 available. In the first case, it would mean that team 1 would get one tier 1 hero and possibly deny team 2 of having any. In the later case, team 1 would have the option of getting 2-3 tier 1 heroes while team 2 would have the option of getting 2.


The opposite goal is true for team 2. They want there to be zero or three tier one heroes available after the bans. This would mean that either team 1 gets none and they get none or team 1 gets one tier 1 hero, but team 2 gets two.




"Tier 1" heroes are not the only thing to consider while drafting. You should also consider the ratio of relative push/counter push between the two teams. If you're team one and you pick drake, then team 2 proceeds to pick Garamond and Unix with their first two picks, you should consider getting strong counter push heroes soon in your draft or at least plan for the eventuality of it.


You also need to consider initiation as a high priority in your draft. There are compositions that allow for a team to go without direct initiation (push comps as an example), but in most circumstances, you want to have some initiation in your team comp.


Another thing to consider is the Tankiness to damage relationship between the two teams. Sometimes one hard tank is enough tankiness, sometimes you may need 2-3 tanky heroes. If you don't have alot of tankiness, you should usually compensate for by having strong pulls, counter initiation, or disables to name a few possibilities.


Lane setup is another key priority while drafting. Who is going into what lane? Usually you will have a one hero mid, one hero solo hard lane, two heroes easy lane, and one hero jungle. It's somewhat common to have two hard lane and one easy. It's much less common to see two heroes mid, and you should almost never have two heroes jungle (I've never seen it done, but I'm sure a composition could be built around the idea). You should also take into account how well heroes will lane together if there are two in a lane and how well they should be able to do against what heroes you thin the enemy will put in that lane.


CC should also be considered. Stuns/roots/disables are a sub-category of CC and CC overlaps a little with push/counter-push and initiation. Generally however, you should be considering the relative ability between the two teams to control what the other does in engagements and teamfights.


The last major thing to consider while drafting is team compositions during teamfights. How do you think teamfights will develop regarding synergy between your own team's heroes. Also consider how your heroes will interact with the enemy team's heroes. This area is the hardest to define and is really an amalgamation of all the other areas already covered. The more you play, the more you'll get a feel for it. Team compsition and lane composition are the two things I have the most trouble grasping, as they are pretty complex interactions.


3.Team Items


Here's a link to the items database:




Team Items:

Team items are items that have an aura effect that buffs your team or disables the other team in some way. Team items include Dominion Standard, Coat of Arms (COA), Spell Buffer, Korhal Vanguard, Chilling Artifact, Eternal Drive, Tazer, and Sword Breaker. These items are some of the strongest in the game and are easily the most effective items by cost in the game. Something to remember is that the aura for Eternal Drive and Korhal Vanguard are the same Unique and therefore do not stack if the two items are carried by the same hero. The do stack however, if they are carried by two different heroes. Who carries which item is largely up to the team that is playing together. There are a few situations where one item should be carried by a certain hero.


Korhal: If you have a support/tanky INT hero that needs to tank up, they should get this item, it gives everything you need to generally tank up. Examples are Queen, Erekul, and Rory


Spell Buffer: Best carried on a support/damage hero like Tychus, Tosh, Marine King in roughly that order. Also carried well on faceplant initiators like Jackson, vorpal, and LZ.



COA: Best carried on heroes that produce minions. Marine King, Tosh, Bio, Balrog, Tychus, and Kerrigen can carry this item in about this order of how well it fits on them.


Chilling: Can be carried by anyone, but usually you want it to be a semi-tank/bruiser or at least a hero that will stay in the middle of the teamfight (this can include casters that want to get some armor.


Eternal Drive: It's an item that is often overlooked because it doesn't have great stats outside of the aura and the heal is somewhat weak. Works best on support heroes like Egon, Medic, Greelus. Don't hesitate to get it if the enemy has strong debuffs like Rory or Toxi.


Tazer and sword breaker: Can be carried by anyone, but usually you want either to be on someone who will be near the center of a team fight.


Pyre and Contamination Shard:

Pyre and contamination shard are the two main anit-tank items in the game, as Ancient Rune is only really worth it on Toxi and even then only under certain circumstances. Many times the management of these two items is overlooked entirely, as many AAs usually don't think about planning their builds with the rest of their team. If the enemy team has more than two tanky heroes (which is almost always) you'll want at least one Pyre. Pyre is most effective mid game. It won't kill a tanky hero outright, but it will allow you to lower their current health pool which keeps them from diving your team as hard as they would otherwise be able to. Ideally, you'd have a STR AA or a semi carry go pyre as their weapon speed item. This allows your hard carry to build pure weapon speed and damage. AGI weapon speed builds are stronger late game than Pyre centric weapon speed item builds because AGI gives damage and armor as well as speed. This will make your AGI carry more resistant to the enemy's carry. The other benefit is that Contamination shard will be more effective, as they will have higher weapon damage. Pyre is strong mid game, but falls off late game and Contam shard scales with weapon damage, so it's strongest late game. If you balance both properly, your team will have an anti-tank weapon throughout the duration of the game. On top of that, the higher weapon damage on an AGI carry mid game will allow them to do more damage to enemy AAs and INT casters, allowing them to get more fed.


4. Laning


Part of proper laning is up to the team captain as to where he wants each hero. Most of the time you will have a good idea where the enemy will put their heroes before the game starts. Usually there will be a solo hard lane, solo mid, two heroes easy lane, and one jungle.


Hard Lane:

Good solo long lane heroes include Vorpal, Bio, Vergil, LZ, Jakk, Cyprus, Queen, Unix, MK, and a few others. That order reflects about how well each does solo hard. Vorpal can hold the lane well and can get farm pretty easily. MK has a hard time getting any farm at all, all he can really do is hold the lane. The idea behind a solo hard lane hero is someone that can defend the tower and usually a hero that has an escape to avoid ganks, which is reflected by this list. If you have a hero that doesn't have an escape in the hard lane, make sure they ward river and enemy jungle by firebat.


Mid Lane:

Good Mid heroes include Raynor, Jakk, Queen, Brawler, Null, Garamond, Cow, Unix, Kerrigen, Immortal, Erekul, and Cyprus. Usually you want your caster or burst caster mid if possible as long as they can lane well against the opponents' mid. This is because mid affords the best combination of experience and creep kills of any position or lane if played correctly. I would highly recommend warding at the bottom of the ramp leading to the river from your tower. It's especially important for mid heroes to lane well because many times the hero that gets level 6 first will do much better in lane from there out. This is because many mid heroes have a very strong level six timing with their Ult (Raynor, Cow, Cyprus, Null, Raynor, Erekul, etc). Getting your burst before theirs is very important.


Dual lane:

In a dual lane it is very important to "freeze" the lane if at all possible. Freezing the lane is the act of keeping the creeps from pushing towards the enemy tower. Usually your two heroes will be facing a solo hero, so if you just auto attack the lane, you'll push it faster than the enemy will. The ideal scenario here is to freeze the lane near your own tower by only last hitting enemy creeps. Another key component of freezing the lane is denying your own creeps. You can only attack your own creeps if they are under a certain amount of health (the exact number I'm unaware of, I think it's a percentage), but you can usually get 3-4 attacks in on your own creep. One very good way to get ahead in freezing is to attack your own siege creep when it gets low. Freezing is important, because it allows you to entirely dominate your lane. Instead of you pushing to the enemy tower every wave and them getting maybe 1-2 creeps and some exp, your support can zone and the farmer farms, leaving almost no exp or creep for the enemy.


Dual lanes can vary highly, but two common configurations are carry/tank and kill lane.


Just what it sounds like. If your ranged carry isn't jungling, they will likely be dual laning, as very few AAs can solo lane anymore with recent base damage nerfs. The role of the tank is to zone for the carry so they can farm (keep enemy heroes at bay) and deny the enemy creeps if possible.


Kill lane:

A kill lane is almost always either combos with alot of early game stun/disable/cc or alot of damage out... many times it's a combination of both.

Many times, you'll switch the kill lane to hard lane because you don't want to be against a hero with an escape in easy lane if they are playing well. So, it's not uncommon for a kill lane to go hard lane and for your team to put a hero solo easy.

Examples of good kill lanes:







Unix/Another slow/stun


5. Jungling:

For most AGIs that jungle, Hunter's Hatchet into machete is a good starting build as it gives you good health, sustainability, and good damage early.


Your jungle hero will usually be an AA or gank hero. Strong jungle heroes will generally have some sort of ability that makes ganking easier. There are also a number heroes that are strongly restricted to the jungle, as they are very weak in lane... Most of these are melee AGI heroes (Boros, Shadow, Penthos, Zeratul, Ling, Leo). Your route can vary slightly, but I prefer starting at jungle tank. I like starting there because if the enemy ganks you can see them earlier and they won't be able to entirely corner you like at the firebat. So your route will look like this Tank>Firebat>Check Rune>Firebat>Thor>Shop>Tank (hard lane)>enemy jungle if possible>Check Rune>Tank (Your own hard lane)>Mid Thor. You will usually be unable to finish out your last thor camp unless you use recover or get a mendy. I usually just pop it on the second firebat because I know I'll need it to get through the thor.


If your team is dual hard lane and solo easy, bring a tanky hero along on the first two camps to tank the jungle. After the first two he can port and go back to his dual lane. Allows the jungler to avoid using recover, which can help with early ganks/getting the enemies jungle.


Neutrals respawn every 4 minutes, so your neutral timings will be 2:20, 6:20, 10:20, etc (based on timer over minimap). Rune creeps in the river spawn at 3:00 based on timer over minimap and respawn every 2 minutes sfter being taken. If you're not going to make it to one side of the map in time to take the neutrals there, make sure to tell your teammates to take the neutrals there.


6. Warding:


Warding spots include both rivers, the opponents jungle near tank, your own jungle near tank, both your and the enemy's high ground by thor camp mid, highground near mid tower (for vision), and firebat camp on your own side and the enemy's.


Warding is essential for any successful team. At minimum, you want both rivers warded at all times. Warding the enemy's jungle could get you an easy gank on the enemy jungler early while they are low. You'll likely want at least one truesight ward in mid if they have a cloaked/burrowed hero (as it is most likely that teamfights will happen here early) and it would be best to have a TS ward in each lane if they have a brine to avoid ganks.


A basic rule is that if you have an open item slot, extra money after buying, and aren't behind, you should buy at least 1 possible two wards depending on how many are out on the map already. Another issue you have to consider is TS wards vs. regular wards. If they have regular wards in the river or high ground mid, it's usually worth the extra minerals to get a TS ward to counter it. It's also nice to have them in the river, because many AAs will get phase cloak and use it as they run past a spot where they know you have wards. A TS ward will allow you to see them if that's the case.


7. Positioning:


Here's a rough outline of hero roles so you can better understand where you should be as a certain hero relative to the rest of your team.

Tanks: Balrog, Micro, Drake, LZ, Erekul, Justicar

Semi-tanks: anyone that isn't a full tank, but builds tanky: Rory, Brine, Vorpal, Tychus, etc.

Bruisers: Cain, Tychus, Kerrigan, MK, Immortal (kind of a bruiser, but should have similar positioning), Starscream

Support: Medic, Egon, Greelus, Queen

Initiators: Rory, Brine, Jakk (Part initiation, caster, dps), Boros, Jackson, vorpal, Tass

DPS: Darpa, Nova, toxi, etc.

Casters: Brawler, Null, Raynor, Cow, Cyprus, Maar

Floaters: Bio, Vergil, ling, Penthos, Grunty, Rancor, Starscream (In flight mode), leo, zera, shadow


Positioning going into team fights is key to making sure the fight goes the way you want it to. The center of any team formation should be the tank.

Your bruisers, initiators, and semi-tanks should be in a 4-6 unit radius to your tank, usually to either side and slightly behind.


Initiators should be right along side, sometimes in front of your tank to get their pull off.


Casters should be 3-5 units directly behind the tanks, initiators, and bruisers.


DPS should wait in reserve somewhere behind the front line of tanks, initiators, semi-tanks and bruisers. After the team fight has begun, the dps should move up from the rear or the side and engage at a favorable angle. What hero you're playing will determine how you engage. Nova and toxi do better sitting behind the tanky heroes and poking, while more other heroes with mobility and less range do better engaging from the side (darpa, grunty, penthos, cat, ling)


Floaters are heroes that tend to float on the flanks (sides) of a teamfight or even behind them in some cases. Which hero you have will determine positioning. Vergil and bio are examples of heroes that do well coming in from behind because of their playstyle and mobility. Rancor does well skirting the sides of a teamfight because his cloak and speed allow him to position well to get an opportune snipe-nuke combo. Grunty, leo, zera, and penthos do well flanking the enemy as well so they can get at the squishy heroes behind the enemy's tanks.


Together tanks, Initiators, bruisers, and off tanks should form the front line of your team formation to soak up damage, zone, pull, and protect the squishy casters and dps. DPS should engage after initiation has taken place. Floaters should engage at the time they are needed, which is dependent on what hero it is. Burst heroes should use their burst when they see a favorable positioning for them to engage (i.e. cow when the enemy is clumped up, or vergil when he can get the majority of the enemy team in his ult). Nukers should also keep in mind the timing of their skills... You don't want to burn you skills too quickly and give the enemy a hance to escape, but you also want to maximize damage (when all the enemy is still engaging).


Lastly, make sure to communicate the state of your cooldowns with your team before entering a teamfight, as it can drastically effect the outcome. Important examples are drake Ult, Jackson combo, vergil ult, cow toilet, Toxi Ult, Queen ult, LZ ult, Rory combo, etc.

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I think someone should update Shablagoos old guides, they are still relevant with some changes, not to mention they are probably the biggest contribution made on the forums in terms good reading.


Was in a rush so didn't have time to read everything through, but consider stealing warding spots from I think Quidditch guide, and add some pictures as that might help explain better than words.

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Uhm what do ss and ts mean ?


Added "TS" to terms. Where do I reference "SS" in here?



I think someone should update Shablagoos old guides, they are still relevant with some changes, not to mention they are probably the biggest contribution made on the forums in terms good reading.

Was in a rush so didn't have time to read everything through, but consider stealing warding spots from I think Quidditch guide, and add some pictures as that might help explain better than words.




Yea, I've read it. Great guide for drafting. I wanted this guide to be aimed at a slightly lower skill level however. Ideally, the people just entering or recently entered the IH scene. I went through the basic ideas, jsut so people can get an idea of strategy.

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Added "TS" to terms. Where do I reference "SS" in here?







Yea, I've read it. Great guide for drafting. I wanted this guide to be aimed at a slightly lower skill level however. Ideally, the people just entering or recently entered the IH scene. I went through the basic ideas, jsut so people can get an idea of strategy.


You really should encouraged new pubs to IH to not go crit build on dps like toxi, darpa, kerrigan vv.... Add a crit mechanics :/

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I'd also like to make a few short videos to go along with this, anyone have a suggestion for onscreen video capture? I used to use Fraps, but I've been having framerate issues with it. I tried VLC media play, but it's clunky and cumbersome.


Camtasia studio used to be pretty decent. Message me if you need a key and I'll try get you one.

Also 'SS' does indeed mean missing in lane. Its origins lies in the word: MISSING

EU innovation right?

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Added "TS" to terms. Where do I reference "SS" in here?







Yea, I've read it. Great guide for drafting. I wanted this guide to be aimed at a slightly lower skill level however. Ideally, the people just entering or recently entered the IH scene. I went through the basic ideas, jsut so people can get an idea of strategy.

Oh I meant the older guide he made, not the drafting one, that covered positioning, hero roles etc.

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