By: Charles Harrison
One of the first things that a new player must learn, is the farm priority or positions. From position 1, or the player that needs the most amount of farm, to position 5, the player that needs the least amount of farm, these positions usually coincide with what lane each player is in. Your safelane player is usually the position 1 player, supported by the position 5 player, but this isn’t always the case. Even if it should be the case, different players play different ways and have different ideas of how to play the game, so you have to be able to adapt on the fly. This brings us to our topic, making space.
Making space is both a very simple idea and one of the most complex concepts in Dota. Put simply, creating space is doing an action that draws the attention of your opponents, which allows your allies to either get an objective of farm a part of the map. What makes space creation complex, is just how you go out and do it, how successful your actions are, and whether your allies actually use the space created for them. While you may be drawing the ire of your opponents as you run down a lane as Bristleback, if your allies are farming the jungle instead of pushing, or you keep dying with minimal effort on your opponent’s part, your space creation isn’t that effective.
Who should be making space and how do they do it? This is a very difficult question to answer because it relies on countless factors, but the easiest answer is: the heroes best equipped to do so. A Crystal Maiden can set up or shut down ganks for the first 10 minutes, but she’s less effective later on as enemies get stronger. Storm Spirit is pretty useless in the first 10 minutes, but after acquiring a Kaya or a lucky Arcane rune, he can do a lot just by himself. Generally positions 3-5 should be making space for positions 1-2, although most position 2 heroes are played mid and are have a power spike when they hit level 6. Even if you’re a lvl 5 support at 10 minutes, simply having a stun makes you a formidable force in the early game when space is in short supply.
Any support can buy a Smoke of Deceit and try to gank the enemy mid laner in the first 10 minutes, drawing the supports from the other lanes or killing the enemy mid. As the game goes on and both teams get stronger, the players making space will likely shift. An experienced Anti-Mage player can make an incredible amount of space by simply pushing lanes and being hard to kill, even though he is next to useless in the early game. The most important thing is keeping the farm priority of both teams in your head, and considering how you can ensure your team gets the maximum amount of farm while hindering the opponent as much as possible. Consider the farm priority of the enemy team and who you can lean on to disrupt their strategy.
One of the more tricky things to get used to is recognizing where space is and is not. If you are playing against a Clinkz and Ursa, getting out on the map might be a terrifying idea, but if your whole team sticks together in the jungle and no one farms lanes, you’re eventually going to lose the game to attrition. Obviously it’s better to not be in that situation to begin with, but if you can’t farm anywhere safe as the position 1 player because your whole team keeps farming the jungle before you can get to it, try to explain to them that you need the farm more than they do. They might listen or they might flame you in all chat, but it’s better than the alternative; trying to farm somewhere that is definitely not safe and dying needlessly.
Making space is one of the hardest skills to master in Dota, even pro teams have trouble with it sometimes. The only way to get good at it is to play and practice, learning your limits as a player as well as the limits of certain heroes. Remember the farm priority and when certain heroes are strong and you will be well equipped to make all the space in the world when you next play!