Solo lane is arguably one of the most important roles in the early/mid game of most games of Heroes of the Storm.
Your solo laner not only has to make sure the XP is soaked, and often from 2 lanes fully, but also has to be constantly aware of enemy ganks, movements, and be there on time/communicate with your time for group objectives.
In this short guide I will highlight some key aspects that you should keep in mind when playing solo lane heroes such as Sonya, Dehaka, Artanis…etc
- The mini-map is your best friend
I cannot stress this enough, but try to get yourself used to always looking at the mini-map, even during teamfights, objective brawls, or the solo lane duel. Ultimately it is your duty as a solo laner to identify missing enemy heroes on the map, and while your team can help you with missing pings, like an RTS, you have to be constantly looking at the mini-map and being aware of your position in the lane and the enemy team comp.
- Learn the solo-lane matchups
Now I wont have time to go through all the of matchup combinations of each of the solo laners against each other, but for the purposes of this post I'll talk about one of my favorites. Artanis. First thing to do is to research how Artanis fairs against other solo laners. The best way I can explain it is through an example. Let's say we are on Braxis Holdout, and my opponent is a Yrel. In most situations, <
- Communicate early, don't be a scapegoat
Consider a situation where its first tribute on Cursed Hollow. Your team have already died 2/3 times in the early game and its looking tough. You are already almost a full level behind. You are playing Sonya, and you type: "team, poke & delay them. Don't fight. I will double soak XP". Be concise and straightforward, and let your team know of your plans. If you are showing up, but need to back or finish clearing a wave, type "1 wave and I come" or "I'll be late, care". These small chat cues really make a difference, and will help your team approach the area of these objectives entirely differently.
- Learn to manipulate minion waves to your advantage
Depending on the team compositions of both sides, sometimes, your best play is to sit in a bush and soak the experience, especially when enemies are missing. Wave manipulation can have drastic impact on who is winning the solo lane in terms of value, and who uses more resources first. Your fountain and where your globes spawn is a really big deal. If its early and you took lots of damage, focus on clearing the wave as fast as possible and back instead of using the fountain. Let's take as an example Battlefield of Eternity. Consider a Sonya vs. Dehaka matchup at the top lane. As a Dehaka player, you want to 1- gather essence and globes for your trait. 2- do enough damage to the Sonya that you force her to use her fountain before the immortal phase. How do you do this? One option is to let her clear first; this forces the wave to your wall. Let the melee minions through, and tank the shots from the backline row of minions, or the archers. Melee minions do very little damage, its the ranged ones that really dent your structures. Now by the time the next wave comes around, your minion wave gets support from your towers, and if you do manage to land a sneaky drag on her the Sonya, chances are she will take major tower damage and not have minions to spin on to get HP back. Lots of heroes, like Sonya, Malthael, and even to some extent Artanis and Leoric need minions around to attack safely to get either CDR, or health back. There is also another trick you can try to force minions to cancel their attack animations and move slower up than they would usually, you do this by standing on the edge of the minion attack range, move slightly back and then press 'S' to stop. Repeat. This way the minions will chase you slowly but never attack you. Try it in Try Mode.
The situation changes sometimes, lets say the enemy team doesn't have any strong ganking heroes, and you think you can dominate the solo match up and get some XP for your team from towers, and maybe eventually a fountain. This is the time when we want to clear minion waves fast; you have to get rid of the archer minions first. They do the damage, the front minions simply soak shots and do very little damage. There are ways to take advantage of this. Let's say for example you are playing Sonya, and your opponent is Falstad. Falstad can't stay too close, because a Spear and W will chunk him heavily, so he will find it hard to freeze the wave if the Sonya decides to push it in. As a Sonya player, killing the archers, and then letting the waves hold in place zoning the Falstad will mean that by the time the next wave arrives, your wave will have MANY more arches than the Falstad's wave. This effectively means that the clash of the two waves will stay near to the center (safer against ganks), and having more archers means you will get the chance to bully the Falstad off of their globe. Consider the situation where you clear all the wave and your dudes march up to the wall and die under towers, its very risky to make a play for that neutral globe in that circumstance. Let your minions kill the mage and frontline melee minions, you kill the archers. That way eventually when your wave reaches the enemy wall, there are many archers there and you will do way more damage much quicker.
TL;DR for this section: You have to know when freeze, withdraw, or push the wave, depending on matchup and compositions. If enemy has gankers, you want to withdraw the wave. If the matchup is even, freeze the wave, if the enemy has no gankers and you think you can win the matchup, kill archers and stack up your own archers to get more structure damage over time and deny opponent XP through zoning.
Hope this was useful, good luck globe hunting.
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