You have probably heard the term snowballing while playing Dota 2. It means that once a hero gets enough momentum, they become much stronger in comparison to other heroes. Usually, heroes that tend to snowball often are also the best when it comes to gaining MMR, especially in the lower MMR brackets. That’s why it is crucial to learn how to snowball and once you do, how to utilize your capabilities properly. Here is some advice that you can apply to your gameplay.
Laning & General Tips
The first and probably the most important thing is related to laning. It all depends on what position you are playing in the current game. Usually, the snowball heroes are the cores, even though it is possible to see a position 4 NS being godlike just 15 minutes in.
Getting a Good Start & Timing
You can’t snowball unless you get a good start. The snowball heroes are very reliant on particular abilities and items. So, in order to get them ASAP, you need to have a good start. Otherwise, your snowball hero will fall behind big time from the rest of the team, which means that you will most likely lose.
If you are having a bad game, going to the jungle might be a possibility. However, it all depends on the game. Sometimes it might seem easier said than done.
Always remember that timing is everything. Don’t wait until you have 5 items because the enemy Anti-Mage will win the game before that. Always look at the bigger picture and try to analyze whether prolonging the game is right for you or not.
Paying Attention to Your Enemies
Always make sure you know the position, level, and items of the enemy hero that can kill you. One of the worst things that can happen is to lose your tempo just because you haven’t seen that the enemy Bane is level 6 (example).
Choosing the Right Hero
The various snowball heroes have different strengths and weaknesses. Usually, they have a good laning mechanic which allows them to gain an advantage. Shadow Fiend, for example, has an amazing nuke that can secure tons of farm as well as kill potential early on. After you win your lane, you can simply move around with your supports and make stuff happen across the map.
On the other hand, if you're a hero such as Slark, you will need to get a certain item to shine. Usually, that’s a Shadow Blade or a Blink Dagger. Don’t try to make plays until you get an item that will help you win the game.
After you win your lane, depending on the hero that you play, you have to itemize properly. The best snowball items are usually the most cost-effective ones, even though there are many exceptions here. For example, if you have a good game as a Storm Spirit, you should try to get an Orchid, even though it’s not really the go-to item in the current meta. A well-farmed SS with a fast Orchid can kill ANY hero on the map early on.
Always try to buy the items that are good for the specific game, rather than the usual items brought on the hero. This is a very common mistake done by new players.
Different Snowballing Positions & Heroes
If you are playing mid, the best thing to do in order to snowball properly is to simply outplay your enemy. However, the times where the mid was purely 1v1 are long gone. There are constant rotations from the supports, so at the end of the day, it all comes down to the proper ganks that should help you gain a significant advantage. Of course, that does not mean that you can’t just straightforward outplay your enemy.
Common snowballing mids are QoP, Storm Spirit, Shadow Fiend, Invoker, TA and Meepo.
In order to snowball as an offlaner, the most important thing to do is not to die.
The first thing that you should do is to decide if you have a chance in laning. Most of the time, you will find yourself laning against a melee carry. That’s when you have to try to pull the wave to you as much as possible. You can do that by simply attacking the enemy hero (the so-called creep aggro). As soon as you do that, the creeps on the lane will start chasing you, which pulls them towards you.
If you are lucky enough, you will be able to get two range creeps on the enemy wave. By doing that, you will secure yourself a big wave that will eventually reach your tower.
Some of the best snowball offlaners are Timbersaw, Pangolier, NS, and LC.
Probably the most notable snowballing carry is Slark. As mentioned earlier, you need to get an item that will allow you to cause havoc on enemy heroes. Until then, you are not going to achieve much by ganking heroes. This applies to other carries such as Ursa and Luna for example.
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