Initial lane compositions are an essential factor in DotA 2 especially if you want your team to have the upper hand in early game. Getting first blood in the 5 minutes is a big advantage but doesn’t necessarily guarantee control. However, some may argue that early game doesn’t matter as much as mid-late game team fights. Teams have a better chance of dominating if they start early ganking but this doesn’t guarantee a winning game. I’ve seen plenty of games where I felt confident because of early game domination only to realize that Anti-Mage had been freefarming a lane while we were roaming around ganking feeders. Suddenly, I’m out of mana and it’s GG.

There’s a difference between playing with a team and playing as a team. It’s easy to start off with a killer hero lineup but it’s even easier to lose due to lack of communication and teamwork. MOBA games are much more fun when playing with friends. After three years of playing with my DotA2/HoN partner, GGYellowRanger, we’ve come across some really hilarious and fun lane combos that are just a must-try.

Shadow Shaman and Juggernaut

This lane combo has been around since DotA was still a mod for Warcraft III. It’s perfect for getting First Blood especially if you buy Boots for Juggernaut as your first item. This works best if you are top lane in Scourge side or bottom lane in Sentinel side. That way the enemy heroes start farther from their tower even if they block creeps.

Before the creeps even come out, you should both hide in the secret shop in either bot or top lane depending on your faction. As soon as the enemy heroes show up with their creeps, Shadow Shaman will shackle whoever is squishiest followed by Juggernaut using Blade Fury on the shackled enemy. Shackle at LVL1 lasts for 2.5 seconds with 40dps; that’s already 100dmg to the enemy hero. Blade Fury lasts for 5 seconds regardless of level and initially does 80dps. If executed perfectly, this combo will do a total of 400dmg that’s not to mention follow up auto-attacks after Shackle runs out.

This combo should be used preferably against an intelligence hero because of their low initial HP and strength. If you just so happen to come across a tank it might be a problem. The biggest tank when it comes to base stats is Axe with a starting HP of 625, 25 STR and 1.8 starting armor, not to mention his Berserker’s Call grants him bonus 40 armor for 1.5 seconds at LVL 1. In the event that Axe doesn’t get Berserker’s Call as his first skill and gets Counter Helix instead it could be potentially dangerous for Juggernaut because it still works under Shackle.

Lina and Lion

I think this lane combo deserves more mentions. I don’t see enough of this combo, at least not in EU servers. Lina and Lion combined has so much stun/disabling power its damn near impossible to screw up the lane. Lion’s Earth Spike (60dmg at LVL1) and Hex (1.75 sec at LVL1) combined with Lina’s Light Strike Array (90dmg at LVL1) can have an enemy hero disabled for 4.37 seconds and damaged for 150dmg. However, due to issues with mana management, it’s better to play this combo defensively until both heroes are LVL 6.

Their stun/disabling combo can render an enemy immobilized for atleast 4.37 seconds at first level skills but the real combo here is Lina and Lion’s ultimate (fourth skill). Lina’s Laguna Blade does 450dmg at LVL 1 while Lion’s Finger of Death does 600dmg at LVL 1. That’s already 1050 pure magic damage and that’s only from their ultimates.

Let’s insert Axe into this scenario again, as mentioned above he is the hardest initial tank. At LVL 6, Axe has a minimum of 853hp depending on what items he is equipped with. While the Lion/Lina stun combo might not do enough damage to kill Axe, an ultimate from Lion or Lina would do the job. Also, this is Axe were talking about, imagine the wrath of this combo when applied to a squishier hero.

Dark Seer and Bounty Hunter

If done correctly, Dark Seer and Bounty Hunter can be the one of the most annoying lane combos. They have so much harassment potential that the enemy team would have to play exceptionally well to counter them. This combo relies on Bounty Hunter’s stealth ability combined with Dark Seer’s Ion Shell. Dark Seer’s Ion Shell does 30dps at LVL 1 for 20 seconds. Normally, this skill is used at early game to push creeps harder. However, if Ion Shell is applied to Bounty Hunter instead while he is on Shadow Walk, he can just stand next to the enemy heroes as they take damage. Bounty Hunter’s Shadow Walk lasts for 15 seconds at LVL 1 and only costs 50 mana. The best part is without observer wards they can’t really do anything about it but hang around their tower.

While this combo might not be the best for getting First Blood, it does tremendously hinder the enemy heroes’ farming giving your team the upper hand in early game. Also, we all know how annoying Bounty Hunter can be when farmed up.

Of course, all these combos are worth nothing without a trustworthy and skilled lane mate. Most games are lost due to players who just want to get kills. You can have a better hero lineup than the enemy team but it all boils down to how skilled your teammates are and if they communicate well. Just the same, you can have the worst lineup in history but still win.