Dota 2 – Playing as Position 4

Other than doing programming and CTF challenges, I also enjoy playing Dota 2. For non-dota-2 players reading this, please don’t leave, I assure you it will be a good read.


A position 4 player is rather different from other positions. This player does not stay in a lane, so where does the player go? Sometimes the player farms in the jungle, sometimes the player roams, but the most important part is, the position 4 is responsible of performing ganks (something like an ambush attack) to the 3 lanes in the game, in order to give an advantage to the teammates.

A successful position 4 player will hugely improve its teammates’ gameplay, at the same time putting a wall to the enemy’s momentum.

I’ve only changed to playing as a position 4 lately. Before that, I’ve often played as a position 5 support, which is the poorest player in the team, fully responsible of buying support items like wards… even worse, sacrificing my life if it’s necessary to keep the carries alive.

But recently, I watched a number of professional games, and got interested in playing as position 4, and the outcomes have been way better than my position 5 games.

Why play support?

In Dota 2, not a lot of people like to pick up the support role. Why, for those not playing Dota may ask?

The support role is not that fun, you don’t get nice numbers on the scoreboard, gold per minute (GPM), experience per minute (XPM), net worth, kills/deaths/assists (KDA), you will most likely be at the bottom of the chart for any of these number, the only number that looks good will be “gold spent on support items”, but I guess no one is really enthusiastic about that.

We’re just getting started… Being a support means you dedicate your gold onto support items, meaning no fancy items to boost your damage or disable your enemies (unless your team is winning very badly). Being a support means you get scolded if your teammates die because you are not there for them or you did not plant a ward to provide them with ample vision (even though you know you did). Besides, being a support to most people is boring, as it is not very “action-packed”, for reasons like not getting kills in a fight, etc…

If it’s that bad, why do I play as a support?

Firstly, it is precisely due to the reason that no one likes to play support. A team without supports will most likely lose the game due to multiple factors, some of them being, no wards, 5 people fighting for limited farm in the game, and such factors will not only put the team in a large disadvantage, but will also affect the players psychologically as they die and die due to lack of vision, or being underfarmed. To prevent such things from happening, I’ll play support if no one wants to.

Also, I do not care too much about the numbers, as long as my team wins, as my role, as mentioned earlier, is to make sure my carries are protected and get all the farm they need to win us the game.

Experience as a Position 5

Playing as a position 5 does not mean you only place wards, but most of the time, the position 5 will be the captain of the team. In almost every professional team, the captain is the position 5 player. This is simply because the other roles have to worry about things like kills, last hits, etc, and do not have the time to care about the overview of the game.

The support however, will worry less about these things, and spend more effort in evaluating the state of the game, and to make decisions such as whether to take Roshan, to push the lane, or to take teamfights. Since in most games, my teammates although are already way stronger than the enemy team, they still walk around in circles, farm in the jungle, or walk alone into the enemy and feed, as there is no coordination in the team on what to do, there is a really important need of a player telling everyone else what to do (in a polite manner of course).

As a support, I find it very important as I make decisions throughout the game and communicate (hopefully) with my team on what should we do, and another important thing, keep all team members positive, as once somebody gets frustrated, it becomes very problematic.

However, if the carries are bad at the game, there is little to zero hope of a position 5 support trying to win the game, as the player will be severely underfarmed as compared to the carries. This is rather different for a position 4, as a position 4 support will be involved in most kills, and neglecting the need to buy wards if unnecessary, hence still getting the gold and experience the hero needs.

Transitioning into Position 4

Recently, I have watched a number of professional games and got interested into playing as position 4. What interests me is their ability to spot bad positioning by the enemy heroes, and perform beautiful ganks to punish those small mistakes, to give their team an early advantage. Most of the time, these position 4 players choose heroes like Earth Spirit, Monkey King and Riki, and indeed, these are the heroes I play recently.

Ever since I played as a position 4, I find myself being more map-aware, as I constantly look out for who is in the lane in a bad position, or who might be in the jungle for me to ambush. Also, in most games I played, in the first 20 minutes of the game, 90% of the kills by my team will be associated to me, and that is a really good sense of achievement. Sometimes, I even become so annoying to the enemy that they rage quit the game, and I that’s something I’m really proud about. :p

I guess for now as I really enjoy playing this role, I’ll be playing this role for at least a few months, until I find something else that interests me. Also, since the new 7.00 patch by Valve, I have not really done my research on the timings for stacking and pulling jungle camps, so maybe I’ll take a break from playing position 5 for now.

Final words

This post may be quite long, as I try to explain the mechanics of the game to non Dota 2 players. Maybe my next post will be much shorter than this. Still, I hope you enjoyed this post.


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