Tips for a successful Initiation

Initiating correctly can be a deciding factor in terms of a rewarding team fight and a victory for you and your allies. While the emphasis of initiating with large scale area of effect spells and team-wide debilitating disables is on the blink carrier, there are other alternatives to be the first one in, and when the enemy is ready and expecting it, then patience and perhaps even new tactics are required to remain successful.

Not just a Blink

The most obvious way for initiating is the Blink Dagger icon.png Blink Dagger, but with an added twist to make things more difficult for your opponents: try combining this with a Smoke of Deceit icon.png Smoke of Deceit beforehand, or even a Force Staff icon.png Force Staff for a greater run up before the actual blink which improves your ability to sit further back out of danger before the time is right.
An instance where this would be useful is when engaging a team with Luna Luna, as her Moon Glaive Moon Glaives have a large area of effect bounce which will constantly put your blink on cooldown, so sitting further back and Force Staffing before the initiation will sometimes be the only answer - unless you come from the side or behind with the smoke as mentioned earlier. Either by yourself or with your team, smoking to flank the enemy can be incredibly effective since their focus will be in front of them, rarely on the side or behind.

Blink Dagger Cooldown

There are multiple heroes that instantly come to mind where a Blink Dagger is core - Axe Axe, Slardar Slardar, Centaur Warrunner Centaur Warrunner; these types of melee stun initiators rely on their blink since the moment they buy it. which in turn. gives you an opportunity to keep that blink on constant cooldown pre teamfight. Damage over time spells should target these types of heroes at an even higher priority than the enemy carry. Long range spells, apart from the obvious global ultimates from Zeus Zeus and Spectre Spectre, do well when constantly targeting them to prevent them from being effective. Do the same to any enemies that are retreating, focusing damage to prolong the cooldown timer.
Credit to artist JoshCorpuz85


Sometimes the best big initiations happen during the teamfight and not to start it! Once health bars start going down during the course of a fight, the enemy players will think less and less of the big Magnus Magnus Reverse Polarity Reverse Polarity or Enigma Enigma Black Hole Black Hole, causing errors in their gameplay which will give you an easier time to catch them all within your spell. Never rush your timing unless you see them clumped in such a way that you need to go ‘now’ - mistakes are made and sometimes you need to bait out a Naga Siren Naga Siren ultimate, or even a Global Silence Global Silence before you can bring a more stable initiation from yourself.

Teammate harmony

It’s also important to note that the effectiveness of a successful initiation requires some level of team chemistry since it’s necessary for the follow up damage to make use of the disable that the initiator will create. It’s never a good time when a potential game winning initiation is soured by the lack of follow up from your allies, so keep in mind the positioning of yourself and your team before you go in - not everyone will have their own blink to follow you instantly, so keep this in mind.
A quick word over voice chat, a pre-teamfight typed message, or even a ping will help better harmonise your allies to follow you in. Communication is key not only in this aspect, but many others in Dota.
Credit to artist shenron1030

Tips and Tricks

  • Force Staff before Blink. Mentioned previously, self casting your Force Staff before the eventual Blink Dagger initiation allows you to remain further back, not only out of harm’s way but out of vision as well - the fog of war is arguably a more important aspect.
  • Camera control. Perhaps not everyone’s preference, but using the middle mouse button to adjust slight changes in camera positioning can help dramatically when searching for the perfect blink initiation. While this change of control (for players new to its function) may take some time to get the hang of, it will help fine tune that important slight adjustment rather than moving your mouse to edge pan when it’s instead needed for the actual aiming of the blink.
  • BKB early! The main point of a Black King Bar icon.png Black King Bar will sometimes be to prevent your blink from going on cooldown rather than protecting you during a channeled spell initiation. With enemy heroes such as Zeus and Spectre it’s likely that their ultimate could ruin your timing so use that BKB to prevent mistakes from happening.
  • Blink range. With the unique interaction of Blink Dagger’s penalty range - when you attempt to blink further than the range, it results in an overall shorter distance, it’s important to learn this mechanic as the second nature. This will come with experience, but for the time being and for a safer option, move a few steps closer to your target to eliminate any possible mistakes that can ruin your timing.
  • Silencer. For those times when you’re playing Silencer Silencer, do your utmost to keep patience and attention to enemies with blink initiations. There is literally nothing an enemy can do if interrupted with Global Silence as it pierces spell immunity, so a premature cast of this spell will be nearly useless once mid game comes around and items such as Eul's Scepter of Divinity icon.png Eul’s Scepter and Manta Style icon.png Manta can dispel the silence. Keep your wits and target those specific enemies.
  • Stun and run. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you need to be the auto attacker once you have committed yourself to the middle of a team fight to land your blink stun combination. Priority lies in your disable abilities and then getting out, especially in middle to late game where your auto attacks will likely be almost worthless, so do what you can for your team and then get out to potentially do it again. Soak the damage if you’re a Blade Mail icon.png Blademail carrier, but otherwise rinse and repeat your blink stuns to frustrate the enemy team.


Counter Initiation

Often is the case that a team will dive too far for a kill, tunnel visioning an enemy and stacking up together that will allow for an extremely easy counter blink initiation that leads into a multiple hero stun, disable, or ultimate. Patience is key with any big blink and ultimate combination - sometimes waiting for the right time once the teamfight is already under way will produce the most success rather that forcing to be the first in the fight yourself. Heroes such as Enigma Enigma, Magnus Magnus, and Tidehunter Tidehunter are very good examples of counter initiation when the enemy will momentarily forget about their presence in the heat of combat.
Credit to artist ningyee7

Item timing and Conclusion

As is most often the case, blink-initiating heroes are generally offlaners. Slardar Slardar, Centaur Warrunner Centaur Warrunner, Axe Axe, Batrider Batrider- they all prioritise Blink Dagger as the first core item and will usually have a difficult time buying it if facing a zoning support for the enemy safe laner or sometimes even a tri lane.
If little to no farm is available, then it’s likely an Iron Talon icon.png Iron Talon purchase will salvage your early game GPM, and with the introduction of the 7.00 offlane with the small jungle at such a close proximity alongside the Shrine, this will need to be utilised if you wish to avoid being poor for too long. A safe laning enemy carry is less scary than a decent blink timing as the offlaner, since your kill potential dramatically increases and that’s what happens after you have your Blink - fight.
AuthorLukeSan Date12 March 2017, 05:47 Views15967 Comments0
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