Last hitting (the act of killing hostile creeps to get gold and experience) is vital in Dota 2 especially for carries. Looking at some "pro" players streaming I see that they almost get all last hits, but I have some timing difficulties. How can improve my last hitting skill other than play, play and play? Are there any tecniques to learn that can help me?
When you're last hitting in Dota2, a lot of the damage from creeps is being dealt by the ranged creep. Notice which enemy creep it's attacking and often simply just time your projectile to hit immediately before or immediately after the ranged creep's attack to ensure the last hit. You should be hitting each enemy creep exactly once- this way your enemies won't have a chance to deny it while you're waiting for your next attack. If your opponents are too close to the wave, especially if they're melee and you're ranged, you can harass your opponent to completely remove the ability for them to deny you. Doing this will draw creep aggression to you, however, so you should usually start to back away as soon as your attack is released to minimize the damage you'll take (none, if you've positioned properly). If you feel like you're in a good position, you can also animation cancel (begin walking towards your target) as soon as the attack is released, and usually get off more attacks and really harass your opponent. Just be careful when chasing past the creep wave, you usually don't want to expose yourself that much unless you're in a strong position and an creep wave can do a surprising amount of damage.
Your starting items will also help you to last hit in lane dramatically. My typical ranged carry build is a +3 primary stat, a +2 all stats, and three +1 all stats items, and a health potion or tangos. This gives you adequate health regeneration, +95 HP, and +8 damage, and builds nicely into a Magic Wand and a Wraith Band/Talisman. For melee carries, I usually buy a Stout Shield, a health potion, tangos, and three +1 all stats items. I see a lot of new players buy boots or other worthless items first that don't help them win the lane, they just lose it less dramatically. You'll be surprised how simple choices like this can help you crush a lane early against equally skilled opponents who are making bad choices. If you're a melee hero competing with a hard hitting melee hero or an opponent who keeps denying creeps, consider buying a Quelling Blade to improve your damage. If it lets you get 3 last hits you otherwise wouldn't and then you sell it, it's more than paid for itself.
One concept calling animation canceling is unintuitive at first but incredibly important both in lane and in general. To perfect your last hitting, you'll need to know how to do this and understand your hero's attack point. Here's a full list of Attack Points that's sortable (add the Atk Point column)- they typically are between .3 and .6 seconds, with a few outliers. A lower attack point is better because it lets you prepare an attack faster. It's kind of like riding the edge of a trigger: you want to be really close to firing as often as possible, but not actually fire until you're sure of it. When you know your hero's attack point (which will improve over the course of the game as you gain attack speed), you can start attacks and cancel the animation just before it completes by pressing S or H, immediately being able to start another attack. Doing this repeatedly is very effective for faking attacks and causing your enemy to misplay- they won't know when your true attack will be coming out. To last hit with ranged heroes you'll also have to account for projectile speed, which also varies but can be seen in the same link.
Since you are asking this question, I assume that you realize that last hitting one of the most important aspects of the game. Denying is almost equally important as it not only denies the opponents XP and gold, but can also cause your opponent to get frustrated and make more mistakes.
Here are some tips and things to think about.
Some players opt to turn off auto attacking. This can be done in the game controls menu. A reason to do this would be if you disliked using 's' to cancel your attack animation.
You must train yourself to always be on the lookout for last hits. Even mid and late game last hitting is still fairly important whether your team is ahead or behind. Even if you are moving across the map, keep a lookout for minions that can be last hit. Never forget the importance of gaining gold.
You must familiarize yourself with your character's auto attack damage and attack animation speed (which changes as you gain more attack speed). By practicing you will become confident that when you go to attack, you will get the last hit.
You must be highly aware of how fast the minion you are attacking is dying. If it is going down fast or slowly you must factor this in to when you are going to start your attack animation (if you have a slow attack and the minion is going down fast you will need to start your attack sooner than later).
4b. Something to note is that minions and towers are often being killed by bursts of damage in which every minion and/or the wagon hits them at once. Sometimes this can make it difficult to last hit.
When playing a pushing character, or pushing a lane in general, the idea is to use auto attacks to lower individual creeps to the point where when you shock (Shadow Shaman for instance) you will kill most of the creeps and not leave stragglers which you may not be able to last hit.
Last hitting towers provides a significant gold bonus over the regular 200 gold. Generally you would like your carry or semi-carry to get this because that extra gold is significant. This is usually the hardest thing to last hit, but again you must be aware of how fast the tower is dying.
One more thing to consider when playing in a lane with a carry on your team, and you are a support. If you see opportunities in which your team mate is not around a creep that needs last hitting, do not hesitate to take that gold (it is wasted if you don't). In many cases being able to get quick items on an initiator (Blink) or a support (Mekanism) will help your team tremendously.
My suggestion to you would be to play some bot games with an easy last hitting character. Sniper would be my first choice for this as he has the fastest attack animation in the game. Alternatively Anti-Mage is a fast melee attacker. As you get better with the suggestions above, you will be able to apply them to the slower attacking characters.
Practice practice practice!
I only started not too long ago, here's what I've learned so far:
- Some heroes are better at last hitting than others. Razor, for instance, will easily out last-hit the Invoker. Don't expect to do well if you have a character with slow animations/slow projectiles.
- Know your character's attack speeds and damage. Having early damage boosters like the quelling blade can help out a lot when last hitting.
- There's one trick I see a lot of people use. I think they're doing the attack and canceling it by hitting the s button to stop movement, which cancels the attack before it lands. This can help control exactly when your last hit occurs and potentially lower some attack animation time.
Not all heroes have the same difficulty level in last hitting. For example, Tiny is a high damage, melee hero, while Rylai the crystal maiden is a long range, slow animation, slow bullet speed.
I suggest you start with "easy" heroes like tiny an gradually move all the way up to more difficult ones like Rylai.
Early game is crucial for last hitting since it allows you to gain a little edge over your opponent. However this is rather difficult to "train" during this time since you have a lot of pressure. Mid game in "abandonned" lanes or genuine 4v5 are excellent opportunities to rack up last hits