What is a Dark Slayer (Top) Laner?
Tanks, fighters and sometimes assassins are best in the Dark Slayer Lane. They can get a lot of gold and experience thanks to the Vision Wraith/Spirit Dragon. As a DS laner, it is required to have great map sense and decision making. There are two type of DS laners in the game and their gameplay are different than the others. They are the Split-Pusher/Carry and Teamfighter/Tank. I'll be explaining more on what's their goal and objective below.
Playing in the DS Lane, your goal is to win against your enemy laner, if you do, that is a great advantage for your team. Now, how do you win against the enemy laner? By winning, it is not necessary to solo kill the enemy in a 1v1 situation. It's all about pressuring the Dark Slayer side of the lane and jungle or securing/stealing enemy jungle camp as much as possible, having gold advantage over the enemy laner.
Type of Dark Slayer Laner
A. Split-Pusher or Carry
They are mainly fighter, assassins or hybrid such as Zephys, Lu Bu, Zuka, Ryoma and so on. Their item path are usually damage items with some tanky items which makes them hard to kill while doing ridiculous amount of damage. They are focused more into pressuring the DS Lane, zoning out the enemy laner and taking farms as much as possible. These heroes requires item and gold lead to be effective. If the enemy laner has gone missing or recalled back to Altar of Life to recover, they can push towers really quickly and when it is destroyed, the Dark Slayer side would be really dangerous for the enemy to farm peacefully.
It is required to play as aggressive as possible unless you know you are losing. It would be a huge advantage if you could dominate the entire lane and pressure DS side of the map. These heroes usually take Punish or Execute as their talent.
- Execute - Aggressive playstyle, cheesing strategy.
- Punish - A little safer side, securing Vision Wraith/Spirit Dragon and stealing enemy jungle when the entire enemy team is on the other side and you can't reach there in time. Also for the Jungle Items, some jungle items are really strong on some specific heroes.
A great example of a teamfighter would be Maloch, Xeniel, etc. These heroes are the main tank of the team, required to be in the front line in teamfights to soak damage and peel for your ally carries if needed. Unlike Split-Pusher or Carry, in the laning phase they have to play safe and wait for a gank. If the enemies has Punish and you don't, it's hard to secure the Vision Wraith. They will fall behind in gold if against an enemy hero with Punish but these heroes are strong naturally, building tanky items would make them really hard to kill meanwhile their damage are still debatable.
These heroes are not good at split-pushing (except Xeniel) because their basic attacks are slow and lower damage than the others. It's better to follow-up and roam with your team whenever they need help. It's a lot easier to play teamfighter or a tank than a splitpusher/carry.
When to choose Tank or Carry?
It can be tricky when it comes to choose between a tank or carry to be played in the Dark Slayer lane. It depends on the team composition, when your team has too much carries, it's wise to have a tank in your team otherwise it would be really risky to have a proper teamfight. Whenever your team has at least 1-2 tanks, it's fine to pick a carry type of hero to play in the Dark Slayer lane. Vice versa. Find the playstyle that suits you and your team and pick the hero accordingly.
Things to Know in the Dark Slayer Lane
Can I win a 1v1 fight?
-It's important to know if you can fight against the enemy. If you can't there is no point trading with the enemy, wait the lane push into your tower and farm.
Can I rotate and help my teammates if needed?
-Teamfights normally occur when the Abyssal Dragon has spawned. You need to rotate accordingly when it comes but if you can't, your team has to know. A bad rotation can lead to an "ally tower destroyed". You have to be sure that your team can secure the Abyssal Dragon otherwise it's not worth.
Can I push the tower?
-What type of hero are you? Where are the enemy jungler? Is it safe to be overextending?
Know when you are losing or outscaled so you can play accordingly - either aggressive or passive.
How to Play in the Dark Slayer Lane
Players are required to have great decision making skills in the DS Lane, for example:
Situation A) Enemy jungler and enemy Dark Slayer laner are in the bottom side, taking down Abyssal Dragon.
-It's too late to help your team at this point, it's better to just push the tower or stealing the enemy jungle camps.
Situation B) You have pushed out the minion wave and the enemy laner is still clearing it.
-You can roam around and set up a gank until the next wave is out or you can try to steal the enemy jungle camp (only as a fighter/assassin).
You need to know when to rotate and when not to. There are so much possibilities when it comes to hero picks and situations. Winning a lane is not all about having 1v1 kills. It's about showing who's the boss and pressuring them for your allies to secure objectives. Always be prepared to rotate when your team is planning to take down the Abyssal Dragon. If you start dying too much, change your playstyle and play less aggressively.
Let's say if you have successfully taken down the first tower in the Dark Slayer lane. Don't stay in the same lane and overextend all the way into the second tower! It's time to roam and help your allies to siege the other towers. If you are losing the lane by just trading with each other, don't repeat it. You will probably lose and risk yourself getting dived under tower. It's okay to turtle and hide under your tower range with full health, wait for your jungler to gank. If they don't, that's perfectly fine too. Be patient and wait for an opportunity to take advantage over the enemy team.
Things required to do as a Dark Slayer Solo Laner:
- Securing the Vision Wraith, with Punish it's easy. Without Punish, it's harder especially the enemy has Punish unless the enemy wasn't paying attention.
- Clearing the minion wave. (Last Hit if possible, has bonus gold)
- Push the enemy towers. If your team needs help, rotate.
- Roam and help your team/stealing enemy jungle.
- Don't overextend whenever the enemy jungle is missing for a long time. You can be very vulnerable to ganks.
- It is not necessary to harass the enemies when they turtle into their tower range. You will open up space for the enemies to gank you easily. (Don't overextend)
- Always look around the map. Knowing where the jungler is can help you decide if you want to be aggressive or passive.
- Taking down the Spirit Sentinel, solo or with your jungler/teammates. It's risky without Punish, can be stolen easily by the enemies.
Winning in Trades
If you have won in trading, let's say your enemies are in 10% health and you have 50% health. You can either push the tower, steals enemy jungle, securing Spirit Sentinel if the enemy jungler are on the other side. Pay attention to the map and start playing around it. Take advantages over everything you can find. Even a few hits on the tower would be totally worth it.