Definition of “Carry” in DotA2

In Dota 2 there are a vast array of heroes and a multitude of differing positions and roles to play them in. Among those is what is commonly referred to as the “Carry”, described as the prototypical hero that carries the game for the team after accumulating farm. What is not stated in that description is which position the Carry plays. Generally in the Dota community there is a misconception about the role in itself, the consensus among fans and players alike is that the carry is typically the hero that resides in the safelane and takes the priority farm given to them, they tend to be one of the most weakest hero in the early game hence the need for a ‘safe’ lane.

However the role of the carry is not restricted to the safelane and this is where the misconception comes in. By definition the carry is the strongest hero on the team and theoretically can win the game with how strong it can be, the position of the hero on the map and the lane it plays in is irrelevant. It is entirely possible to have your Carry be situated in any lane and there are a multitude of examples of pro teams doing so historically and recently.

Here are a few examples of players that have used these different types of carry in the teams they’ve played in:

Safelane Carry: BurNing

If there existed a Dota dictionary for the definition of a traditional safelane carry BurNing would the first result to pop up. Famous for his Anti-Mage, BurNing is the prototypical carry that people tend to mold their perceptions on the role around. Like any traditional carry his team has a game plan that tends to correlate with a “4 protect 1” style of strategy that has his team create opportunities around the map in order to pull aggression away from BurNing so he can farm and accumulate game winning items for his team. This style of play is particularly flawed as are all of the types of carries. You see having a hero be away from team fights and objective pushes for majority of the game has the team play at a disadvantage, so while the team plays 4 protect 1 style they’re also playing 4 vs 5, which is very dangerous as the team could just outright lose while BurNing in this case is farming or if BurNing dies excessively while farming alone their game plan is ruined. Irregardless of the shortcomings of this style the reason it is more traditional is because of how low risk it is compared to the other styles.

Mid Carry: Arteezy

Ever since the SADBOYS era of Evil Geniuses the play-style the team has adopted and still to this day use is the carry Mid. Patented by Arteezy in his first outing in EG and later perfected by his now teammate Sumail, the two of these mid lane titans honed in on a particularly greedy style of mid that teams rarely used because of how risky it was. The concept of the mid Carry is that the midlane is the shortest lane in the game and thus the creep wave reaches the river quickest compared to other lanes and so in theory the midlane hero can get off to a better start quicker than anyone. So having a greedier hero in the midlane with this accelerated speed which experience and gold is earned, could net a snowball that could enable the mid to simply win the game off of the farm acceleration alone. This style is incredibly dangerous though as it requires a composition of heroes that allows for the midlaner to be more farm oriented, which means that the safelane has to be a hero that either farms less and/or can fight early in order to make this style work. If the midlaner in this situation dies excessively which is more likely to happen because of how volatile the lane is, the game plan could fall apart because of the sacrificial nature of the safelane hero in this example not being able to add redundancy to the late game.

Offlane Carry: AdmiralBulldog

In Dota there are many offlaners that are known for a wide array of play-styles but none in this day and age dare tread in the footsteps of AdmiralBulldog and the role of offlane carry. Having played for Alliance on and off for the past 4 years, Bulldog was synonymous for his Lone Druid and Nature’s Prophet play that seemingly no other offlaner would touch at the time. The reason for his success came down to the players he was playing with and their play-styles enabling him to be the true carry of the team. Having played with s4 who is a play-maker in the midlane and Loda who is more often than not a sacrificial passive safelaner who can tolerate the harassment, allowed for Bulldog to soak up the farm and carry his team to multiple victories even The International. What enables an offlane carry to function is the pressure aspect of it, having a hero like Nature’s Prophet or even Lone Druid that is fully focused on pushing and shutting down the enemy safelaner with the aggression allows for the hero to snowball off of it. However due to the nature of the enemy safelaner more than likely having assistance in the lane makes this style so much more difficult to pull off in the current climate of Dota, making the offlane carry arguably the hardest to pull off but the one that nets the biggest fundamental reward out of the laning stage.

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