Dota 2 - Farming Efficiently

Efficiency of Farm

Efficiency separates the good from the great. Efficiency is the reason that pro games last 20-30 minutes, and pub games last 40-60 minutes. Pros, almost by instinct, make use of every single coin of available gold on the map at all times. They last hit every creep of every wave. They stack camps every minute on the minute to accrue gold in one location. They maximize their farm with mathematical efficiency, and it makes an astounding difference. High level players have no downtime (for argument's sake, we'll define downtime as time in-game where a player is not gaining experience or gold, and not making a play for an objective)

Every time a game ends, the scoreboard displays player stats including gold per minute(GPM) and XP per minute(XPM). Statistically, higher MMR players have higher numbers across the board. They acquire GPM and XPM at a much higher rate through a combination of mechanical last hitting skills, utilization of neutral farm, lane rotations, and occupation of empty space. Fundamentally, they play the game faster than lower MMR players. This drastically affects all stages of the game. Because they are gaining gold and eXP faster, they have core items earlier, and can initiate teamfights and push objectives earlier. They hit the key levels 6 and 11 faster, changing the dynamic of the game. As a result of this high speed play, the game becomes a competition of map control, with the winner being whoever can monopolize and utilize the most farm. The takeaway here is: If you’re more concerned with harassing the enemy hero than you are with maximizing your farm through map control and rotations, it’s time to change your priorities.




How do I increase my efficiency?

  1. The most immediate and relatively simple way to do this is eliminating travel time. You should not be spending 30-45 seconds walking between lanes unless there are objectives along your path, such as warding or taking a rune. Spending 50 gold on a teleport more than pays for itself in the XP and last hits gained in the 30 seconds that you would have spent walking, gains that would otherwise be lost during the travel time. When you walk between lanes multiple times per game, the net loss results in being two to three levels behind, and a few hundred or thousand gold further from a major item.


  1. Make use of empty space, and conversely, avoid crowded spaces. When three of your teamates are having a dick-waving standoff with four of the enemy heroes in the midlane, there is at least one lane with nobody in it. Get to that lane, soak up the free gold and experience, and keep a teleport in case the dick waving turns into a fight. At lower MMR brackets, most players are not going to be efficiently utilizing farm, which means there is way more available for the savvy farmer.



  1. Practice last hitting at all stages of the game. Most players are well versed at competing for last hits in the early game laning stage, but after that, the skill level-and the farm efficiency- drops drastically. AOE damage tends to dominate farming in the mid game. Low level players will bludgeon waves with AOE spells and skills like Frost Blast, or Cleave, and only land 2-3 of the last hits from that wave. That’s not even 50% of the gold that they could be acquiring FROM EVERY WAVE. Time your AOE damage carefully, so that it doesn’t accidentally put a creep in range for an allied creep to steal the last hit. Take the time away from attacking a tower to last hit a near-dead enemy creep. Land all the last hits you possibly can, at all stages of the game.



Time is a resource in Dota as much as gold and experience. Being in the right place at the right time is essential to maximizing your experience and gold gain. Two or three seconds is the difference between teleporting into an engagement and gaining proximity gold + experience for a kill, and missing out on all of that.

The best way to make use of time is, uneXPectedly, map awareness. A high level of map awareness means you are always aware of where farm can be found, how to get to it, and whether or not that farm is contested. Map Awareness lets you construct a queue of objectives to accomplish. For example:

  1. Farm hits in top lane
  2. 2-minute mark approaching
  3. Move to large creep or ancient camp and stack on the way to rune
  4. Take rune
  5. Farm next wave of creeps in bot lane
  6. Two enemies on minimap mid, stock a teleport scroll
  7. Farm stacked camp
  8. Push wave into tower
  9. Teleport mid to defend tower.
  10. Stack camp after repelling enemy
  11. Rotate back to bot lane, farming all jungle camps on the way


This Action Queue should be a constantly present list in your head, with action items being moved up and down on in order of priority. The point is to never be wasting time, and always be thinking about your next objective.


A big part of the Action Queue is effective rotation. Rotation is essential to maximizing farm. Rotating to the jungle in between waves to stack a camp that you'll come back to farm later is good habit to form. When a teamfight is occurring, or an enemy is diving any of your towers, rotate to gain XP and gold for team kills. If a large enemy creep wave is approaching a tower, rotate and clear it. Lane rotation increases your GPM and XPM, and pressures the enemy team by making it difficult to track you, and putting pressure on their heroes.

When it comes to teamfighting, there is a cost-benefit analysis that needs to take place every time you choose to teleport into a teamfight or not. On a basic level, it's an assessment of your team and their ability to handle the fight. Next, it's weighing the benefits. Will you gain more farm from teleporting in and engaging, or would you be better off remaining in your lane to push down a tower to get your team bonus gold. Are you underfarmed, and better off in the jungle, relying on the steadier income and reducing the risk of feeding the enemy? Furthermore, is your hero critical to winning a teamfight? Does your team need you to fight effectively, or to win that particular engagement? There's a lot to consider in these situations. Being able to consider all the factors and make a snap decision within a split second takes a lot of experience. But if you're thinking about it, and already considering at least a few of those factors, you're on the right path to boosting your game.

Ideally, farming efficiently should be a second nature. You should do it without even thinking. Casually stack the ancients or a large creep camp while passing by them on the way to a rune, to ward, or to gank. Carefully direct your AOE so that it doesn’t cause two creeps to die to allied creeps while you only get the last hit on one. Rotate constantly to gain proximity experience from engagements. Utilize every resource you have to accrue more gold and XP than your enemy, and Dota will be a lot easier for you.

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