Dota is as much about executing your own strategies as it is about making sure the enemy can’t execute theirs. One way to accomplish that is to pressure the enemy into behaving and playing a way that they don’t want to do, or disrupting their flow so much that they have to respond to your actions, as opposed to setting the pace themselves.
Pressuring the opponent into mistakes or at the very least into a disorganized state is a generally overlooked approach. Often teams and players are more concerned with their own strategies and execution, rather than making sure the enemy can’t execute their own moves. Under pressure, any team and player is prone to mistakes, especially in pubs where the teams are randomized, and communication is bare as it is. These mistakes can in turn be exploited for kills and objectives.
With simple concepts, such as abusing the fog of war or pushing out waves, we illustrate how one can easily apply pressure at virtually any stage of the game. These concepts are often misunderstood or not even used in pub game, even though this is where they can have the biggest impact with only little communication required.
Vision wins games. It’s not just Observer Wards, but abilities that provide vision are key to the game’s balance, which is why many heroes that provide or deny vision are so popular in pro play, such as Beastmaster’s Hawk, Night Stalker’s superior night vision, or Clockwerk’s Rocket Flare that can scout enemies across the map.
With sufficient vision, players can scout ganks early, win team fights or take objectives uncontested. But how can that vision be used to apply pressure?
There are many ways, the simplest would be to not give your opponents any good vision. Deny any wards they may place (which is easier than it sounds) or simply make any of their wards useless by playing through fog of war as much as possible.
Earlier this year, we did a meta analysis on Newbee, and Newbee’s support are excellent at playing around the fog of war. In the following example against Team NP, Newbee’s supports barely showed on the map, which pressured the enemy Luna into not farming. Without Ogre Magi around, the threat of dying was too high for Luna in this scenario. Centaur had uncontested lane farm and it forced the NP supports to rotate down.
Even later, when Newbee had both supports down here, NP weren’t aware of Mirana's position and executed a gank, which Newbee was able to turn around due to superior positioning.