Welcome to the noob’s guide to ganking in Dota 2. Ganking in Dota 2 refers to the action of leaving your lane during the laning phase and killing an enemy Hero in another lane. There are many factors and variables to consider, but pulling off a successful gank can be a huge benefit for your team. Conversely however, failing a gank can be just as costly.
Ganking in pub games is often associated with Mid. The Mid player is pretty much expected to gank in pub games, and is well situated to do so. Because experience is shared between teammates within a certain radius, the Mid player will gain experience at a higher rate than the side lane players, and thus will have a level advantage in the early stages of the game. This means he or she is slightly more powerful relative to the side lanes, and can thus make a gank more likely to succeed. Also, the path from the Mid lane to the side lanes has a powerful rune along the way. With the help of a double damage, invisibility, haste or illusion rune the Mid player can bring a significant advantage in power to bear against the enemy team.
In order to execute a successful gank, it is vital to coordinate with your teammates. If you are in the target lane already and someone else on your team roams to gank your lane, you must be ready for action when the time comes. Once you know the gank is coming, you must prepare things like ensuring you have sufficient mana and HP, and ensuring that you don’t give the game away with obviously aggressive actions or positioning. If you are ganking, an early heads up (even just a ping) can give your teammates that extra warning to start preparing themselves.
If you are the ganker, the path you take into the target lane is crucial. Further away from the target lane, the main concern is avoiding potential warding locations. Take a path which avoids the standard ward locations if possible, or use a TP scroll at the appropriate time. Closer to the target lane, you must move “behind” your enemies (between them and their tower), preferably through the trees in order to minimise how much time they have to react. Once the action starts, you or a teammate should nominate a target to focus on, and if all goes well you will get a kill! Some guidelines for target focussing: make sure you chain any stuns/disables you have in order to maximise disable duration, and everyone MUST focus everything on the one target. If you split targets you may very well fail to net a kill for your team.