Roaming

By: blueseph




THIS GUIDE DOES NOT WORK WELL IN PUBS. YOU WILL NOT GET A HIGHER KD DOING THIS


Roaming



Hello and welcome to my guide on a very distinct playstyle. Roaming is something seldom discussed on these forums except in a passing comment. It is an incredibly potent strategy under certain circumstances and an amazing roamer will set your carry up for the express lane. Roamers admittedly gimp themselves on items and levels but if played well they will devastate the opposing team.


What is a roamer?
A roamer is a hero with no set lane. They head from lane to lane, looking for players who are out of position/low on hp to score a kill or to simply harass and slow down their farming and ganking potential.

Two types of roamers exist. For the majority of this guide I'll be focusing on dedicated roamers


Dedicated Roamers
Dedicated roamers are heroes that begin roaming at level one and stop roaming once the leveling phase stops and the group fight stage begins. They have either a strong stun or a crippling slow at level one that leads to an early first blood and hopefully subsequent kills beyond that.

Please note this is not an all-inclusive list. Pollywog Priest and Electrician, for example, also make great roamers.

A major requisite to being a roamer is to be strongly item independant. A hero who is expected to carry late game should not roam, because through roaming you minimize the amount of experience and creep kills you recieve to the collective benefit of your team. A Sandwraith should not roam, but a Slither is a prime candidate. Barring Staff of the Master, Slither cannot increase the magic damage/slows he does, so he will put out roughly the same amount of damage without any items at all.


Semi-roamers
Semi-roamers are heroes who start in a lane but leave their lane and begin ganking once certain criteria has been met. For example, Pharaoh will leave his lane and begin ganking nonstop once he hits level six and has boots and a bottle. These heroes will not be discussed in this guide.


Why should I choose a roamer?
Roamers put pressure on the enemy from level one. They give your team two solos and you help your carry/babysitter in a psuedo-trilane. Enemies mid and short lane are forced to play defensive lest they step out of position and be destroyed by a fissure that gets them stuck. Roamers are also incredibly potent ways to stop pulling and shut down jungling players. They are ausually in prime position to ward.

What are the downsides to roaming/why should I not choose a roamer?
Roamers inherently have no money. A roamer should never get the killing blow on anything for the first few minutes. They leech XP and receive assist gold. A roamer at twenty minutes would be lucky to have a bottle, boots, and a pair of bracers. You should not expect your roamer to carry you to victory.

If your team does not have two adequate solos, do not run this strategy. Playing the roamer in a pub game is also a quick way to concede at 15 minutes.



Item Overview

Recommended starting items
...
You get quite a bit of mana regen, a solid amount of stats, and enough tangos to last you through to your bottle (hopefully). You should ideally be able to sustain yourself through these items until at least you have boots/bottle.

If your team needs you to get wards, the second item set should be what you buy. You skimp on stats but the wards are invaluable to your team.


Starting Items I don't recommend
...
A naked bottle on a roamer is not *terrible* seeing as we're not trying to outhit anyone, but every bit of autoattack damage really comes into play in ganking. A pair of marchers and regen is something you should never take. You severely gimp your damage and mana regen, requiring you to head back to base after a maximum of two casts, defeating the purpose of being a roamer. Never get boots first.


Secondary Items
Every roamer needs these items, regardless of who they are.

Marchers give you extra MS, allowing you to chase and animation cancel better, allowing more hits and more successful ganks.

Bottle gives unequaled rune control and combined with a Winged Courier gives you a near infinite supply of mana.

Mana battery and Power Supply supplement your regen quite nicely, as well as provide you fodder for some mind games.


Optional Items
The Homecoming Stone allows you to quickly counter tower dives and move to the far lane. Carry one as soon as possible, the mobility and ability to scare off tower dives is without a doubt worth the 135g.

You are always in a good spot to both offensively and defensively place wards. These are somewhat costly and should probably be left to your dedicated ward *****. If that's you, salud.

You generally won't be the person to buy a courier, but you may want to upgrade it to a Winged Courier. It allows your items to be brought much quicker and refilling your bottle becomes painless. There are usually better candidates for upgrading your courier but it won't harm you to.



Positioning

Map Position
Depending on your team's lane choices, you'll be sitting in either team's jungle. If your team plays it safe and lanes your carry in the short lane, you should be sitting in your jungle and vice versa. You'll make occasional treks to mid, but your general position will be somewhere in this jungle.

Make no mistake, though; you're the most vulnerable to mid->short ganks. You will probably be overpowered by a higher level hero and any assistance from the lane. Your mid must be on top of missing calls and you should do your best to attempt to counter gank.
Rune Control
Roamers have a prime position to grab their respective runes. If short lane attempts to grab it, they have to go through you. If mid is a rune-dependant hero, it's an opportune time for you and your mid player to attempt a kill.

Double Damage/Illusion are your best bet at a guaranteed kill. You can eschew most of the good positioning required to gank and still be awarded the kill. With double damage rune you will most likely take the kill, but it's not something to fret over. Illusion not only adds damage, but it allows you to block with one illusion, further increasing the damage done to the enemy.

Invisibility lets you ignore positioning and wait right next to the enemy until the creep wave is in a favorable position.

Haste is my personal favorite. Haste allows you to visit the lane you can't normally get to in a flash. The enemy won't be expecting you in the slighest, giving you a great opportunity to catch them with their pants down.

Regeneration should be left to your mid player. You should have enough regen to carry you through to the end of the laning phase.


The Gank
Someone messed up and moved out of position. It's Glacius, and you can already taste his delicious tears. You step out from hiding and let fly with the nukes. Even Kremlin Joe would be terrified. You walk up to Glacius and start auto-attacking, just waiting for the announcer to triumphantly proclaim...

"Bloodlust!"

But your allies are sitting at the tower. You notice you're at the fountain, far from where the bad guys are. Your name is definately on the screen, but it's the second one instead of the first. That means...

...#$!%. Okay, let's prevent that.

Before the Gank
Let your allies know you're there. Ping yourself and then ping your enemies. If time allows, let them know of your preferred target. If you have multiple disables, try to organize them to possibly get both heroes. It's usually best to wait for your creeps to overwhelm theirs.

At this point you become the initiator. You are the embodiment of the word go. Look for your opening and take it.

The Gank
Someone messed up and moved out of position. It's Glacius, and you can already taste his delicious tears. Before he can even correct himself, you're there. His pants turn a delightful shade of brown. You land your nuke cleanly, and Sand Wraith is on him faster than white on rice. Witch Slayer lands an amazing stun that nails both Glacius and Maliken. At the very instant Glacius shatters, Maliken is a miniature version of himself, waddling towards the safety of the tower. He trail of sand at his back weighs him down, but he finally makes it.

An unsung agreement between the three of you is forged and your trio follows. Your nuke flies yet again, and Sand Wraith gracefully swoops in and clinches the kill.

"Bloodlust!"
"Double Tap!"




After the Gank
Head to the opposite lane that you just ganked. It's going to take that lane a little while to return and regain their confidence. You're simply going to be wasting time there. The opposite lane gives you time to regen, a quick runecheck, and another opportunity for a gank. Even if you don't kill mid, you should at least try to harass.

Killing an enemy is definitely the goal of a roamer, but even if all you're able to do is slow their farm and make them tower hug, you're accomplishing your goal.

If both lanes refuse to leave the safety of their tower, consider going to the far lane for an assist. If this is also unfeasable, farm a little with your lane. Try not to take your carry's last hits, but if he can't reach one for whatever reason, don't be afraid to snag it.



Hero Miniguides


Slither

....Analysis
+ Strong slows
+ Decent range
+ Strong anti-juking mechanism

- DoT means enemy becomes deniable
- Harder to animation cancel
- Below average movespeed.
.....Skill Build
1 - Poison Spray
2 - Toxicity
3 - Poison Spray
4 - Poison Ward
5 - Poison Spray
6 - Poison Burst
7 - Poison Spray
8 - Poison Ward+

Posion spray shoots in a line. Try to hit both heroes with the spray, but if you can't feasibly hit both, one is fine.

Try to tag both targets with Toxicity for the 10% slow, but if it cannot be done don't worry about it.

Poison Ward should be used as an extension of your attack range to tag Toxicity.

Poison Ward can also be used to block potential juke points and give vision of them.

.....Replays
Match 28353650 (``Zera)



Behemoth

....Analysis
+ Easy to aim long distance stun
+ Longest disable in the game
+ Every skill can stun

- Melee
- Difficult to animation cancel
- Potential to disable YOUR team for 8 seconds.
.....Skill Build
1 - Fissure
2 - Heavyweight
3 - Fissure
4 - Enrage
5 - Fissure
6 - Shockwave
7 - Fissure
8 - Heavyweight+

Use fissure not as a stun but as a blocking mechanism. Using it like this makes it an eight second disable instead of just a 1-1.75s disable.

Aim the fissure a little to the side of the hero so that you hit them with the stun but do not place them on the wrong side.

Enrage requires you to be standing adjacent to the enemy to cast, so don't be afraid to get close up and dirty.

.....Replays
Match 21559824 (JoshBell)



Andromeda

....Analysis
+ Long range easy-to-hit stun.
+ Armor reducing skill
+ Easy to animation cancel

- Short Range
- Low duration stun
- Large damage spread
.....Skill Build
1 - Comet
2 - Aurora
3 - Comet
4 - Stats/Aurora
5 - Comet
6 - Void Rip
7 - Comet
8 - Aurora+

Comet has a short yet consistent stun. This makes positioning more important than other roamers.

Your attack range is very short and requires you to get very close. Be aware of it.

Aurora gives vision, reduces armor, and costs very little mana. Use Aurora right after Comet to increase the damage done to the target.

.....Replays
Match 27129614 (Rolo_L)



Electrician

....Analysis
+ Long range long duration disable
+ Movespeed increasing skill
+ Strongly mana independant

- Melee
- Easy to stop disable
- Scales very very poorly.
.....Skill Build
1 - Static Grip
2 - Energy Absorption
3 - Static Grip
4 - Energy Absorption
5 - Static Grip
6 - Cleansing Shock
7 - Static Grip
8 - Energy Absorption+

Static Grip is a very long disable with a relatively long cast range. It allows your team a good amount of time to position themselves well.

Energy Absorption does a good deal of damage and gives you a large movespeed advantage, giving you the opportunity to block your target from running, much like you do to creeps.
Mid Game

Mid game has rolled around and the laning phase has broken down. You're significantly lower level than the enemies, and you're also undergeared. Your team is miles ahead and your carry is a few minutes from his first big core item. Their carry is finishing up his bracers and is about three fourths of the way through his mana battery. Your job as a roamer is done and it's time for you to start recovering from it.

If you lose the game, don't fret. Learn from your mistakes. Maybe it wasn't an opportune time to take a roamer, or you played too timidly/aggresively. Don't expect this strat to beat every team ever. Learn to play it well, adapt to it, and adapt to enemies who adapt to your strat. A good roamer is an impact player that will decide the game within the first ten minutes.