When playing Dota 2, one of the first things you have to decide on is what role to play. If you opt to play as an offlaner or Position 3, then you are going to have one of the most impactful roles in the game.
In fact, most winners of The International (TI) feature a world-class player at Pos 3. These include the likes of Faith_bian, MinD_ContRoL, Ceb, and Collapse.
To play like these champions, you must know which heroes work best in the off lane. Of course, in every patch, there will always be broken heroes that pop off, like Outworld Devourer in Patch 7.30e.
This guide will show you the best offlaners in Dota 2 that can work in any meta.
The Role of Offlane Heroes
It’s vital to understand the roles offlaners are responsible for. Unlike other positions, though, the offlaner does not have a clearly defined identity. The Pos 3’s role during the match depends on your team’s draft.
It can be the initiator, or the hero that can safely and advantageously launch a team fight. In some cases, the offlaner also has to serve as the tank, or the hero that can absorb physical and magical damages to ensure its teammates can endure team fights long enough to do their work.
There are also some drafts where the offlane hero is tasked with picking up team-oriented items, such as Pipe of Insight and Solar Crest, to increase the survivability of the squad.
Regardless of the role, the Pos 3 hero has to be able to sustain in the lane and, if possible, win its lane. This is because it is facing the enemy team’s carry hero during the laning phase. There are also some situations wherein the offlane hero should know how and when to harass the opposing carry to disrupt its farm.
One way to mess up the opposing heroes’ game is to block your own lane creeps so that the sets of creeps will meet under your tower. Learning how to lock camera in Dota 2 can help you block creeps more easily.
Now that we have examined what a Pos 3 hero’s conventional purposes are, here is the list of the best offlaners in Dota 2.
Good initiators are heroes that have strong area of effect (AoE) spells or abilities that can stun or disable enemies. This way, they can catch the opposing team by surprise and hinder them from attacking or casting their own spells.
Initiators need good positioning in order to start a winnable team fight. For this reason, a positional item, such as Blink Dagger, is an ideal purchase.
It also helps if you can level up your abilities faster in order to use them earlier in team fights. Learning how to level up fast in Dota 2 can give you a massive advantage in games.
Below are two of the best initiating offlane heroes.
One of the most contested heroes ever, Mars is an exceptional offlaner that can fit almost any draft.
His most potent skill is, of course, his ultimate. Arena of Blood creates a circular zone that no enemy can enter or exit and blocks attacks from opposing heroes that are outside. The arena also deals significant damage on enemy heroes that come or are pushed near the inside edge. This ability can help separate the enemy team and disjoint them in team fights.
Mars’ other skills are quite powerful, too.
Spear of Mars deals a high amount of damage that can impale and stun an enemy hero when you successfully skewer him to a tree, building, or cliff. It is a great initiation tool because of the relatively long stun duration.
Mars’ second ability, God’s Rebuke, is another physical nuke. It always delivers critical damage when it hits enemies. His third ability, Bulwark, can be toggled to make him more capable of tanking physical damages.
In the right hands, Mars is an excellent offlaner from early to late game.
Those who watched TI 10 found out how OP Magnus can be because of his abilities and flexibility. His win rate of 73.33 percent in the playoffs ranked second in the prestigious tournament.
One of the things that sets Magnus apart from other offlane heroes is his knack for dictating where team fights occur. His first ability, Shockwave, not only deals a good amount of damage but can also pull enemy heroes closer to him and teammates.
But the wombo combo that makes him a godly offlane hero is his Reverse Polarity (RP) and Skewer abilities. When he initiates with Blink Dagger, RP sucks all nearby enemy heroes to his front, then Skewer can drag them towards teammates.
Buying or consuming an Aghanim’s Shard will make Magnus more powerful as it unlocks the Horn Toss ability. When casted, the ability tosses all enemies in front of him to his rear. The ability can be used as an alternative to RP because of its shorter cooldown.
Magnus can also buff ally heroes with his Empower ability, which provides the target with attack bonus damage and cleave damage (for melee heroes.) The ability can also be casted on Magnus himself, which can make him a good carry or midlaner.
Tanky heroes are built for durability, able to take a beating and still keep standing. In almost every team fight, they go in head first.
To help them survive long battles, these heroes usually rely on their base strength stat and purchasable items, such as Crimson Guard, Blade Mail, Heart of Tarrasque, and the aforementioned Pipe of Insight.
The following heroes are some of the beefy ones that can dominate the off lane.
A literal Leviathan, Tidehunter is one of the toughest heroes in Dota 2 and quite hard to lock down. He has good base stats and his Kraken Shell ability blocks a portion of any incoming physical attack damage from enemy units. It also provides a debuff (removes negative status effects) if the damage taken by Tidehunter reaches a certain threshold.
Tidehunter is not just a solid offlaner because of his inherent tankiness. His other abilities also make him a good initiator and utility hero.
The hero’s most well-known ability is Ravage. The spell damages and stuns enemy units in a 1250 radius for up to 3.8 seconds. This gives your team sufficient time to deal damage to the opposing team or run away from disadvantageous fights.
Tidehunter’s first and third abilities are also incredibly potent, especially in team fights. Gush damages and reduces the movement speed and armor of enemy units hit by the spell.
Meanwhile, Anchor Smash also provides plenty of damage to nearby enemies. More importantly, the spell causes attack damage reduction, which can increase your team’s survivability and advantage in skirmishes.
Bradwarden or Centaur Warrunner thrives being in the middle of team fights.
He loves to draw attention to himself. And if the enemies take the bait, Centaur Warrunner’s Retaliate ability can deal a significant amount of damage to the attacker. That he is the hero with the highest strength gain in the game additionally makes him a beefy tank.
His ultimate, Stampede, makes him a good offensive offlaner. The ability causes every ally hero in the map to move at maximum speed, which can be used for chasing opponents or as an escape from ganks or bad team fights. Heroes affected by Stampede can also move through units and obstructions and take reduced damage from enemy units.
Centaur Warrunner can nuke down opposing heroes with his other two abilities. Hero Stomp, which is a good initiating tool when coupled with Blink Dagger, damages and stuns heroes in a small radius. Double Edge, on the other hand, delivers a base amount of damage and an additional damage proportional to the hero’s strength.
The hero can serve as a semi-carry, more so if you are able to buy him the right set of items, including Heart of Tarrasque and Overwhelming Blink.
One of the beauties of Dota 2 is that the game is constantly evolving. Even the offlaner’s role can change depending on how the team’s strategies coming into the game.
For instance, if your team wants to play fast and aggressive, some of the most ideal heroes to choose for Pos 3 are Broodmother and Night Stalker. On the other hand, a lineup that wants to control the map with continuous split pushing can put Dark Seer or Nature Prophet in the off lane.
There are different ways to approach the draft when it comes to selecting an offlane hero.
In most cases, you cannot go wrong with the heroes I presented in this guide.