By: Naproxen - at March 11, 2013

DOTA 2 - True Trilanes and Pseudotrilanes

Dota 2 TrilaneIf you are playing pubs (public games), then you are most likely familiar with the classic 2-1-2(0) setup. When stating team setups it is common to write them in this format. The first number represents the number of players in the short lane (top for radiant, bottom for dire), the second number represents the number of players in the middle lane (mid) and the third number represents the number of people in the offlane (bottom for radiant or top for dire). The number in the brackets shows the number of players from the bottom lane who are in the woods, and is commonly left out if it is a zero. So, in a standard public game, two people will go top, two bottom and one mid, hence the 2-1-2. This setup is the worst possible combination in DotA 2 team games.

DotA 2 relies heavily on XP per minute and gold per minute, two factors that make or break your team. There are several sources of these resources. They are:
1.  The lanes
2.  The woods
3.  The ancients
4.  Roshan

In a standard 2-1-2 setup, the players farm the lanes, while the potential rewards of the woods, ancients and Roshan remain unused, at least in the early stages of the game. A better team setup would be one where more of these sources could be utilized in early game. A possible solution is to play the 2-1-2(1), placing one player from the bottom lane into the woods and allowing the offlane to be farmed by a single player (thus eliminating XP and gold sharing in the lane). Playing Ursa may allow for killing of Roshan before the ninth minute. While many variants exist, this guide will focus on the most popular competitive gameplay build – the trilane.


DOTA 2 TrilaneIn a trilane, three people are placed in the offlane, allowing the short lane and middle lane to have solo-farm. This allows teams to place a carry in one or both of the lanes (although a counter to the opponent’s potential trilane may be necessary in the short lane). The objective of the trilane is either to:
1. force the opposing team’s players away from the creeps, and in doing so
    a. deny them farm and XP
    b. allow the carry in your trilane to get every single last hit, free from harassment
2. assure early kills of enemy players, and in doing so
    a. costing them gold and XP
    b. allowing the carry more gold through kills
I realize I have not yet spoken about the composition of trilanes, but yes, there is always one carry in them. The exact composition depends on the type of trilane.


In a TRUE TRILANE, often simply referred to as “trilane”, the setup is 1-1-3(0). One carry farms the lane while two ranged (potentially nuker) characters force the opponents from the creeps. The trilane is efficient at achieving the first objective listed above, but not so efficient at the second. One of the ranged characters is tasked with pulling creeps into the lane from the camp nearest to the offlane tier one tower (referred to as “pulling”). This must be done every two minutes as the neutrals respawn. When not pulling, this player is in the offlane pushing away the opponent heroes.

In a PSEUDOTRILANE, the setup is 1-1-3(1). Do not be fooled by the small difference in notation, as the difference in play style is totally different. A pseudotrilane features a carry in the lane and “stunner” (character with stun or slow spells). The third member is a “woods” character (one who can farm the woods). The woods character must pull the creeps every two minutes, just like in the true trilane. The difference is that in between those pulls, the woods character stacks and farms the woods rather than entering the lane. The woods character must also be able to stun or slow so that when the time is right, he can pop out of the woods and give the carry an easy kill. The pseudotrilane is much better at the second objective than at the first.


An example of a team setup for the TRUE TRILANE would be antimage, disruptor and jaikiro. While the antimage is a dangerous end game hero, he is very vulnerable at the start. The sooner he farms up, the sooner you win the game. Jaikiro and disruptor and intelligence heroes who can manage with a lower level of farm, provided the antimage makes up for it. The disruptor can stay in lane with the antimage and attack or cast at the enemy heroes. The jaikiro can fire from the woods between pulls. Together, the two intelligence heroes can force the enemy back, or should they stubbornly persist, give the antimage a nice early kill.
In such a setup, antimage will get all the last hits in his lane, farm up early, and be a force to be reckoned with much earlier than he would be in a standard 2-1-2 setup. If your antimage is able to hunt down enemy heroes around the map, it means that your trilane has worked and you managed to feed a hard carry, who will win the game for you.

DOTA 2 Trilane GameplayAn example of a team setup for the PSEUDOTRILANE would be chaos knight, wisp and naix. Notice that I have two carries in this setup (the chaos knight – technically a semi-carry – and naix, a hard carry). The chaos knight and the wisp stay in lane. They have a powerful stun combination that is dangerous on its own. With a naix farming the woods, it adds a new element of danger. The naix can pop out and slow an enemy if they linger too far from their tower. This gives the wisp and chaos knight more than enough time to stun lock the enemy long enough to kill him.

The pseudotrilane is much more difficult to play. It requires that kills be made early in the game. If your naix is having to pull all the time, and has only two minutes alone to farm woods, he will not be farmed. Also, the naix will not be able to keep the enemy players away from the creeps, and so if no kills are made, the chaos knight will not have last hits and the whole trilane will fail.


Due to the common occurrence of the trilane, the opposing team is likely to counter it. Both types of trilane can be countered with heroes such as keeper of the light or dark seer. These heroes do not require excessive farm, but can with their basic skills, easily defend a lane from even five players in early game. Should the opponent pick one of these two, it may be necessary to rethink your trilane and possibly switch into a 1-1-3(1) with the player in woods avoiding all contact with the offlane.

Another danger is specific to the pseudotrilane, and that is warding. If your opponent wards the lane entry point for the woods character, it will become impossible to take early game kills. Be ready to counter-ward or dismantle your trilane. Pseudotrilanes are generally easier to dismantle than true trilanes, as pseudotrilanes have a woods character by default, who can easily be told to play woods.





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DotA 2 - True Trilanes and Pseudotrilanes

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