Most heroes in Dota 2 start out in one lane,​ but it's important not to get too cozy, as camping one lane for too long can be a surefire way to lose.


When a hero leaves their starting lane and goes to another it's called a rotation. Making rotations can help both you and your teammates get ahead, but most importantly rotating can win lanes. Rotating in ​Dota 2 isn't as easy as it might seem, it requires map awareness, caution, and most importantly timing. This is a guide on how to make various types of rotations work successfully.


The TP Rotation


This is the simplest kind of rotation around, but also one of the most crucial. A teleport rotation is when a hero teleports to another lane to assist an ally or allies. Teleport rotations are almost always reactive rather than proactive, as using a TP scroll costs gold and puts it on cooldown but has the advantage of getting you to a lane almost instantly. This is useful when enemy heroes are trying to dive or gank and are closer to the tower. Pretty much every hero except safelane carries should be ready to make a TP rotation at all times, as they are essential in stopping early aggression or ganks.

xd

To make a TP rotation always keep a scroll handy and keep one eye on the map. If you see enemy heroes under tower, you should check it out to see if an ally needs help. Communication is key, as allies can eliminate the need for constant map awareness if they just call out when they need support.


The Shrine and Rune Rotation


These rotations work by catching the enemy off guard. Generally when you leave a lane, enemies will notice your absence and call it out to teammates. However if you leave lane when low on health or mana, it can make enemies assume you're going to back to base rather than rotating. Instead of going back to base, refill with a Shrine or Bottle then approach the enemies from the side. 

xd

This works better for sidelane supports and offlaners than mid laners, as their absence is usually expected and therefore won't sound as many alarm bells for the enemy team. Try to time these rotations around rune spawns, either with the five minute interval bounty runes or the even minute river runes. They give you a cover for leaving the lane and can help make ganks easier depending on the rune.


The Smoke Gank


Smoke of Deceit is absolutely crucial, if not completely necessary for making most ganks work. Smoke of Deceit turns you and allies invisible and gives movespeed until coming in close proximity with enemies. This allows you to bypass enemy wards that might have been placed specifically to stop ganks. 

xd

If anyone on the enemy team sees you pop Smoke -- the gank is ruined. Even having a Smoke in your inventory is suspicious, so considering leaving it on the courier or even putting it on the ground if you're feeling extra daring. Smoke isn't free however, so consider grouping up with other heroes before making a gank, as an unsuccessful Smoke gank wastes gold and valuable time. In addition, try to Smoke gank when the enemy creep wave is pushed closer to your tower. It will make wrapping around that much easier and will eliminate enemy TP rotations.


Photos courtesy of Valve