I have already mentioned last hitting and denying briefly in my introduction to the laning phase, however this game mechanic is fully deserving of its own article due to its great importance. If you master one skill in Dota 2, make it last hitting, because it will make the most noticeable difference to your success in Dota 2. You’re probably wondering why this is so… I’ll explain exactly why. If you perform the last hit on an enemy creep, you are rewarded a gold bounty. Over time, accumulate enough of these and you will have gained enough gold to purchase one or more crucial items. For make no mistake, items are the key to your Hero becoming more powerful and effective in whatever his or her role is. As described in my previous article, items can provide boosts to your Hero’s attributes which govern his or her measurable level of power, as well as providing special effects and/or abilities you can unleash on your opponents (or on yourself).
So, on to the art of last hitting. Last hitting, as the term suggests, involves landing the ‘last hit’ on an enemy creep: the instance of damage which brings the creep’s HP down to zero. Although this can also be achieved through the use of your Hero’s abilities, for now we will focus on utilising your Hero’s basic attack. The reason for this is that abilities cost mana, and unless you are doing so for a specific reason (eg. to push the lane) it is generally not advisable to expend your mana freely on creeps. You will want to save enough so you can use your abilities on enemy Heroes, as it is more important not to die (or to kill your opponents). The first skill to master is monitoring creeps’ HP, which is visually displayed above their heads as a green or red bar. You cannot focus on one creep, you must simultaneously monitor several, and you must do so at an instinctive level. What is important to take mental note of is the RATE at which the creeps are taking damage. This will determine the timing of your attack in order to obtain the last hit, which we will go into more depth about below.
OK, so we’ve determined that a creep is nearing expiration, so what now? As mentioned above, timing is key, for we want our basic attack to be the final instance of damage on the creep which removes its remaining HP. Here’s where it gets tricky, for every Hero has a unique attack animation with a different duration of time before the attack lands and deals damage. Ranged Heroes also fire projectiles which take time to travel towards their target. Also, Heroes deal different damage on their basic attack, which makes things even trickier. There is no remedy to this but practice and familiarisation with your Hero’s specific attack animation and damage.