Why Last Hit Matters for Every DOTA 2 Player

In a game of DOTA 2, getting resources is very important. How fast we get the resources determines our strength over the enemies and ultimately leading to our victory.

There are many ways to gain resources, but it all boils down to one key mechanic: last hitting. That is why in the first session of our DOTA 2 Back to Basics Online Coaching, we went in-depth with last hitting, explaining:

      • how it works,
      • why it is important,
      • and practical ways to improve this fundamental skill.

Last-hitting is so important that we have decided to share some tips here.

What is Last Hitting?

For those who might be new to the game, last hitting is the key in-game mechanic when the hero receives the gold bounty from dealing the finishing blow to enemy creeps. Specifically in DOTA, you are allowed to "last-hit" ally creeps, also known as deny. Deny is important as it denies the enemies from the bounty, hence its name, and provides you with 20% of the bounty starting from the 7.20 game patch.

Why is Last Hitting Important?

At the start of the game, every hero is at its weakest, with minimal damage and "expensive" skills - they cost mana and have a cooldown. This means you have to rely on your "right-click" last hits to gain resources. Once you have significant higher damage compared to your enemies, you can get the last hits/denies more easily while posing as a threat to your enemies in the same lane.

Case reversal, if you are weaker in last-hitting: your enemies will outlevel and overpower you at the start. This forces you to either leave the lane or wait for an opportunity to last hit as there is no way for you to trade hits or compete for last hits. This is the position you would want your enemies to be.

Even if you have a hero with skills of high damage, low mana cost and low cool down (for example, Zeus' Arc Lightning), you are not going to secure any gold without knowing how to last hit with your skill. Worse still, if you are unable to get the last hit, this provides the enemy with a higher chance to deny you.

Last Hitting and Support

Last hitting is also important for supports. Many have the misconception that since you would not be touching creeps in lanes, it is not important to last hit well. Actually it is precisely this reason why you need to last hit even better.

A support needs more resources because a huge percentage of your gold does not go to stats e.g. Smoke of Deceit, Sentry Wards and early Tango for mid-laners. You cannot be a threat to the enemy if you remain weak. It is even more disadvantaged if you become a potential victim. Finding resources is challenging, as all lanes are dedicated to your cores while you are unlikely to be strong enough to jungle on your own. That is why you cannot afford to miss opportunities such as:

      • last hitting Neutral Creeps (NCs) after you have pulled the creeps,
      • denying/hitting the creeps that your core/enemy is going to miss,
      • and when there is an opportunity to stand in the lane while waiting for your cores to return.

Remember every creep counts, such as getting your boots as early as possible. Buying team items such as Sentry Wards and ganking for the team should not be your excuse to be under-farmed.

Common Problems Faced and How to Handle Them

      1. Inconsistent Last Hits
        It is advisable to warm up in a lobby before finding a game to make sure you get used to the hero. You want your last hitting to be accurate and instinctive.
      2. Distracted by the Last Hits You Have Missed
        Remind yourself that everybody misses last hits, including the pros. In every game, it is always important to focus on what to do next rather than the mistakes that just happen. Last-hitting helps to train our focus, which will affect how you play the game as well.
      3. Facing Opponents Who Can Last Hit Better Than You
        To improve, it is important to practice last-hitting with the heroes that you are going to use. Different heroes have different base damage and last hit timings due to their attack animation. For a start, you can practice in a lobby with heroes who have low base damage and slow attack animation as this requires you to plan your last hits carefully. Allow yourself to only use 1 hit on each creep to practice your accuracy. If practicing alone in the lobby is boring, find a friend to practice last hitting/denying with you in a 1v1 lobby.

Apply what you have learnt about last-hitting and see your games improve!

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