Tips and Tricks for Pubs is a weekly series focusing on the best strategies for succeeding in pubs.
In every professional game of Dota 2 there exists a hard support, also known as a Position 5 support, whose job is to buy utility items that benefit the team such as wards and dust. While common in professional play, pubs can benefit greatly from the addition of a hard support as they will have one less player with high farm priority while ensuring that the team has a strong strategic overview of the map.
While by no means a popular role, a Position 5 support can be very rewarding for players interested in improving the team on a map wide scale. It also, you know, can help you win a lot of games.
Here are the Dos and Don'ts of being a Position 5 support.
Do: Be cautious throughout the game
Most heroes that excel as a hard support are those that are not reliant on a particular build order to succeed. Lich is a prime example of a Position 5, as his abilities do a lot of damage, are capable of slowing the enemy down and are not affected by a lack of required items. But Lich, like many other hard supports, is squishy and will go down fast if he ventures too far forward or is caught off guard.
As a result, be content to stay in the backline and away from the immediate action. You are there to assist the carry in winning the safe lane, not to control it yourself. You will get less farm, you will not solo kill an enemy player, but you will survive and be able to set your team up for a stronger position as the game evolves.
Don't: Try to be a hero
If you are playing a support hero, you will die quickly. You may deal a lot of damage, but that doesn't count for much if you die at the drop of a hat. Position 5 supports are not meant to be solo heroes, and players must understand how other heroes work in order to properly control the flow of a game.
This is arguably the most important, and one of the most difficult, aspects of being a hard support. You have to aware of how multiple heroes work and operate in order to ensure that you work well in conjunction with your team all the while ensuring that you can properly work around the opponents' heroes. Planning a gank, ensuring that you win a lane and being aware of the enemies' capabilities all rely on a proper understanding of game's heroes.
Do: Expect to starve
Are you the kind of player who likes to farm and buy high impact items that elevate your hero to the next level? Then you should probably look elsewhere because a Position 5 support has the lowest farming priority of every hero on your team.
So with that said, welcome to the life of a Position 5 support, where your gold will almost entirely be for the benefit of your team. You will be the player who buys a Courier at the start of the game and will be the primary source of wards, Dust of Appearance and Smoke of Deceit for your team. It's not a glamorous job, but someone's got to do it.
Don't: Neglect the map
As a Position 5, you will not be actively killing creeps in most circumstances, leaving you with lots of time to assist your team in a multitude of different ways. Beyond helping to control the lane, hard supports should be focused on ensuring that your team has strong vision of the jungle and key objectives. Make sure that you're stocked up on wards at all times, and be sure to ping your team if there is an opportunity to set up a gank if an enemy hero wanders into the vision of one.
The next most common task for a support is to stack creeps for your carry. As they will be focused almost entirely on farming in the early stages of a game, stacking creeps will be extremely beneficial for them later on.
Preston Dozsa is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.