Winning a Dota 2 match usually requires players to farm faster than the opponents. This means gaining experience and gold at a faster rate than the enemies in order to level up and buy the needed items more quickly.
There are several techniques every user must learn to do this. One of them is last hitting, which involves dealing the final blow to kill a unit. By performing the last hit on an enemy creep, you will be rewarded with gold. You can also ensure that you and ally heroes nearby receive the full experience from the creep being slain.
Many beginners are tempted to keep on attacking enemy creeps even if they still have high health/hit points (HP). This can lead to missed chances on getting the last hit. On the other hand, some competent players already know the concept of last hitting but may be having a difficult time executing it.
This guide will teach you how to last hit in Dota 2.
How to Time Your Last Hit
Last hitting has a lot to do with timing. Just a simple miscue can result in the target unit clinging to a sliver of health then another unit (an enemy hero or ally creep) landing the killing strike on it. The tips below will help you time your last hits better.
Disable Auto Attack
Avoid auto attacking nearby enemy units. Doing so can mess up your last-hit timing. Remember that your hero has slow attack speed in the early phases of the game. If you keep auto-attack on, you might miss the chance to deal the final blow because your character could still be resetting from the last attack when the target unit has little amount of HP left.
What you should do is let ally creeps do most of the damage on a creep then only attack for the killing shot.
To disable the auto-attack function, do these steps:
1. Go to Settings by pressing the gear icon at the upper-left corner of the screen in-game.
2. Navigate to the OPTIONS tab.
3. Under the GAME section, tick Never or Standard in the Auto Attack box.
- Never auto attack: Never attack a new target without explicitly targeting it.
- Standard auto attack: Attack any nearby target unless you have just moved, denied a creep, or pressed the stop or hold key.
You can also disable auto attack through the console. Firstly, you will need to learn how to open console in Dota 2 and set the hotkey that will activate the console inside the game. After launching the console, enter dota_player_units_auto_attack_mode 0 to disable auto attack.
Take note that another reason to avoid auto attacking is that it will prevent you from pushing the enemy creep wave, which can leave you vulnerable to ganks.
Watch the Health Bars
Last hitting on a creep is nearly impossible if you do not keep track of its health status. Be on the lookout for units that your ally creeps are attacking and position your hero within attack range of that unit. Once its HP is nearly zero, attack it with the final blow.
Learn Attack Animation
Another important game mechanic that you have to understand in learning how to last hit in Dota 2 is attack animation. It is defined as the period of time required to complete an attack, from the foreswing (attack point) to backswing. Ranged heroes’ attacks also have projectile speeds, which are the speeds at which the attack travels from the character to the target.
Different heroes have varying attack animation times. And it has an impact on their ability to last hit. For example, Sniper and Gyrocopter have some of the fastest animation times, while Lina has the slowest.
It helps to learn the attack animation of each hero to successfully land the final blow on target units. Otherwise, the moment your hero’s attack swing or projectile reaches the unit, it might already be dead.
Use Spells to Last Hit
It is common for beginners and intermediate players to save their mana for spells to spam on enemy heroes later on. While this is useful in the mid or late game, the priority in the early game should be farming. For this reason, you can use one of your hero’s spells to last hit an enemy creep.
Just be careful to not use an ability with high mana cost too much that you leave yourself with no mana to survive any potential gank.
How to Manage Harassment When Last Hitting
Of course, last hitting is easier said than done. Not only do you have to master the right timing, you have to be mindful of opposing heroes who aim to disrupt your farm or harass you out of the lane by denying their own creeps or attacking your hero non-stop. This is one of the reasons many users ask, “Why is Dota 2 so hard?”
To skirt this, there are a couple of things you can do.
In many ways, the right positioning plays a huge role in Dota 2. For instance, in team fights, the best support heroes in Dota 2 have to be situated at proper spots in order to empower or save their core players. Otherwise, they would not be able to fulfill their duties correctly.
Positioning is also key in last hitting, especially when facing harassment from enemy heroes. Ideally, you want your character to be just behind your own creeps most of the time in the laning phase. Then before an enemy creep is one shot, move your hero forward for the killing blow
Pulling Creep Aggro
If you are using a melee hero and laning against two ranged heroes, last hitting becomes an even more difficult task. A technique that can help you get through it is pulling enemy creep aggro toward you. This way, the creeps are drawn nearer you and possibly your tower. However, do not pull the creeps within attack range of your tower.
To do this, when you are near the opposing creeps, press the attack button on any enemy hero, then right before the attack launches, run back toward your tower or to the opposite direction of your foes. The creeps are programmed to target any unit that has attempted to attack their ally heroes.
Other Useful Tips
Below are some other tips to improve your last-hitting skill.
Attack Animation Cancelling
If you watch competitive Dota 2 matches, you might have seen experienced players perform animation cancelling. It is the act of eliminating the time spent by a hero in doing the foreswing and backswing of its attack.
Think of Drow Ranger as an example. When she attacks, she lifts her bow then fires her arrow. This is the foreswing or attack point. After finishing her attack, she relaxes her bow before being able to launch an arrow again. This is the backswing or follow-through.
You can cancel attack animation in two ways. One is by alternating between force attacking a unit and stopping the action until the target can be killed by just a single hit. This lowers the attack point and allows you to last hit the creep before it can be denied by an enemy.
The other is by moving your character perpendicularly right after successfully launching an attack. This cancels the backswing and can let you attack again immediately.
Keep in mind that once your attack speed increases, there is no use in executing this technique anymore. It is only useful during the early game.
As mentioned earlier, it is a good idea to keep opposing creeps away from the range of your tower. When they do come near, gauging when to last hit a creep becomes much more challenging. If possible, keep the waves in neutral territory while still a little closer to your tower.
Furthermore, last hitting is not just performed on creeps or heroes. Dealing the final blow on towers is equally important because it gives you and each of your teammate gold reward. Make sure to time your last hit on towers carefully.
Buying the Right Starting Items
Some may not think much of their starting items, but it can be key to your ability to last hit in Dota 2.
I have seen a lot of newer players purchase Boots of Speed right off the bat, which is a rookie mistake because the additional speed does not provide that much help in the laning phase.
The first item you should look to buy is Quelling Blade, more so if you are using a melee core hero. Its attack damage bonus certainly makes it a bang-for-the-buck item.
Other items to consider buying are those that increases your hero’s primary stat — which also boosts its damage. Moreover, Iron Branches are definitely worth getting if you have a little more than 50 gold left.
Regen items are also usually a must, such as Tango and Faerie Fire. But your support teammates should also help out with the consumables.
Increasing your damage gives you a larger window for your last hits.
By learning how to last hit in Dota 2, it will help your hero level up fast because you will be giving your counterparts less opportunities to deny their own creeps. Also, it can provide you a boost in the race for gold. This way, your team can achieve its timing more efficiently and allow you to get the upper hand in the match.
Remember, though, that not every team member should be last hitting. The priority on last hits must be handed to all the core players to help them farm quickly. Support players only have to enable the cores.
Because the carry has to rack up creep kills, the best offlaners in Dota 2 must have mastered last-hitting mechanics on not just enemy creeps but also on their own. Doing so can limit the opposing Pos 1’s ability to gain gold and experience.
Practicing last-hit skills does not always have to be done in matches. You can also demo the heroes you love using or are comfortable with to work on your techniques.