Dota 2 Level 1 Roshan Guide



Dota 2 Level 1 Roshan Guide by Nightmarjoo

Which of the following team compositions cannot kill Roshan before +0:00 game time?

a. Bristle, Puck, Morphling, Abaddon, Visage
b. Huskar, Dazzle, Weaver, Magnus, Vengeful Spirit
c. Clinkz, Beastmaster, Tusk, Spirit Breaker, Lina
d. Shadowfiend, Alchemist, Templar Assassin, Witch Doctor, Jakiro

If you picked any of the above answers, you’re mistaken. Every one of those silly (but laneable, viable, and strategically sound) teams can kill Roshan on time (albeit by TPing) at level 1.

The following is a treatise on the killing of Roshan at level 1, and all relevant considerations.

Why bother killing Roshan at level 1 (specifically before the game timer hit 0:00 ideally)? Everyone knows the only reason to kill Roshan is for the Aegis right, and the heroes aren’t strong enough to get anything done with an Aegis that early right? Well maybe, but the other incentives are more important. When 5 heroes kill Roshan the xp split amongst them is enough to give them all level 2. They also all obtain 200 gold, and the one who gets the lasthit gets a little more. That gold can either cover the cost of a TP scroll to guarantee easy completion of Roshan, or afford extra sets of Sentries, or afford the supports Magic Sticks, or speed the mid hero towards their Bottle, etc. The level advantage should enable any 1v1 lanes to win; if you trilane vs trilane you should easily win the lane; and even if you do dual lanes you should be able to capitalize on and compound your level advantage swiftly. Literally the end result of a level-1 Roshan kill is that your entire team is better than their entire team.

Well if killing Rosh at level 1 is so great, why don’t we see it more often? Everyone knows all you need is an Ursa or Skeleton King and you can do it. Well, there’s the problem. At high level both heroes are uncommonly drafted, so to see them picked immediately creates suspicion. If the enemy team walks into the pit with you while your whole team is low hp, getting bashed by Roshan, with a team composition unsuited for a level 1 teamfight, with skills unsuited for fighting additionally, you’re just going to give up a ton of kills in addition to Roshan himself. That’s a great way to lose the game instantly, so clearly there’s some risk involved.

Thus the first step in a level-1 Roshan attempt is to not pick Ursa or Skeleton King, and maybe not Wisp either. So at this point most people are out of ideas. What other heroes are good at level 1 Rosh? That’s what I’m here to enlighten you about.

The first section must of course start with Roshan himself. What are we dealing with at level 1? We need to overcome:
7500 HP
20 HP/s regen
65 Damage per hit and 1s BAT: yielding 65 dps
75% Magic resistance
15% Bash chance for 1.65s stun and 50 bonus physical damage
250 Radius Slam for 70 damage and 2s of attack and movement speed slow every 10s (which he will always and only use on 3+ targets in melee range (not just heroes))
Strength of the Immortal which auto-purges illusions
3 Armour
Spell-block with 15s cooldown (behaves and looks like linken’s)

What does this mean? It means all magical sources of damage are useless, most spells will either achieve nothing or be wasted on procing his spell-block, or the few useful spells which are blocked by spell-block must be heralded by a deliberately wasted spell to proc the spell-block. It means having more than 2 melee units/heroes involved will significantly increase the amount of dps Roshan is outputting. It means we can’t be super clutch about walking away from Roshan to lose his aggro before healing with a salve for worry of getting bashed to death. Roshan is formidable, but beatable with the right heroes.

In addition to picking heroes who are useful in the pit there are a few tactics we can employ to facilitate the process of killing Roshan. Many compositions require immediately teleporting to the Roshan pit (especially if you’re Radiant), and the ones who do not benefit from the extra time anyway (it can be used to get to lanes on time, or ward the enemy jungle, or try to immediately press the level 2 advantage by trying to engage the enemy, etc).
The other is what I call a salve rotation. This is where you allow one hero to get hit by Roshan until he’s low on health, then moving him back once there’s a replacement tank hero to be hit in his stead, and then healing with a salve. This is another reason why having mostly ranged heroes is adviseable. When a ranged hero is finished tanking and goes to heal (s)he can continue to hit Roshan during the salve’s duration. A melee hero must back up and not attack while healing because Roshan will occasionally spontaneously switch between available (in-range) targets. Or if you have three or more units/heroes attacking Roshan the Slam damage would cancel the salve of anyone within range even if Roshan didn’t target them.

Especially clutch Roshan fights (typically those lacking a powerful tank hero/skill) may involve two rotations– where your ranged heroes must come back to tank a second time, even if they lack salves, and then backing up again. If you have a melee hero do this, they’re out of the fight after the second tanking, whereas ranged heroes can be useful even at very low hp. Some fights may simply require two full salve rotations, but these are pretty inefficient and if possible should be avoided. I’m not aware of any viable teams who have the damage to kill Roshan in a reasonable amount of time while also requiring 3 salve rotations, but it may exist. The problem there is that if your heroes are so lacking in tank capacity whilst high in damage output, the enemy team can probably take advantage of such a vulnerability, resulting in the team being inviable outside of the pit even if it works in the pit. At anyrate, typically 2 salve rotations will result in killing Roshan only seconds before the game timer begins at +0:00 after having immediately TP’d to Roshan, so I don’t know if 3 is even possible. Such an endeavor would probably require 4 if not 5 high-dps ranged heroes.

The second section is a list of the qualifying or disqualifying traits of all heroes sorted alphabetically. The purpose of it is to at a glance show how each hero would be used against an early Roshan. Many heroes would for example skill something different for level 1 against Roshan than they would normally, e.g. Lich obviously gets Frost Armour instead of Sacrifice against Roshan; on some heroes it’s less obvious.

All heroes alphabetically; notable qualifying/disqualifying traits:

Abaddon: Aura which while he’s applying it to Roshan gives everyone attacking Roshan a bonus of 10 attack speed.Alchemist: Acid Spray reduces Roshan’s armour by 3, reducing his damage reduction by 11%, assuming no other sources of armour reduction.
Ancient Apparition: Ranged and can proc spellblock with coldfeet.
Anti-mage: No redeeming qualities whatsoever.
Axe: Counter-Helix proc chance too low to be effective; poor tank and negligible damage dealer; surprise– Axe is still useless.
Bane: Ranged and can proc spellblock with Brain Sap.
Batrider: Ranged and can deal negligible damage with Firefly.
Beastmaster: Aura increases team’s attack speed by 18.
Bloodseeker: Can proc spellblock with bloodrage, but poor melee damage absorber.
Bounty Hunter: Can proc spellblock with Shuruken, but poor melee damage absorber.
Brewmaster: Drunken Haze can proc spellblock, and be used after to give Roshan miss-chance.
Bristleback: Nasal Goo can proc spellblock, and be used after to reduce Roshan’s armour up to 4 times, reducing his damage reduction by 23% assuming no other sources of armour reduction.
Broodmother: Can proc spellblock with spawn spiderling, or can induce miss-chance with passive, or can use Web for innate 2 hp/s regen on self only, but poor melee damage absorber.
Centaur Warrunner: Can stun Roshan with Hoof Stomp for 2 s every 13 s; can be expected to use twice total.
Chaos Knight: Can proc spellblock with Chaos Bolt (once) or Reality Rift (three times, but can’t keep spellblock down 100% for long cd), or can try to use potentially high damage with his passive crit or with allied buffs.
Chen: Can proc spellblock with Penitence twice, and use once on Roshan to amplify damage by 8% for 7 seconds (procing spellblock thrice probably more useful).
Clinkz: Ranged and can do decent dps with orb.
Clockwerk: Cogs can block Roshan away from your ranged heroes for 5s; useless for the next 10s though, and if used poorly cogs can prevent your heroes from attacking as well.
Crystal Maiden: Ranged and can proc spellblock with Frostbite; Brilliance Aura could possibly be useful.
Dark Seer: Can deal 150 damage (after Roshan’s 75% magic resistance) every 20s with Ion Shell; not recommended for being poor melee damage absorber.
Dazzle: Ranged and can proc spellblock with Poison Touch; Shallow grave could be used to get 5s more dps out of a hero; Shadow Wave can heal 960 hp total over 48s, while dealing 320 damage (before damage reduction– armour dependant) to Roshan– unlikely for either effect to make a difference.
Death Prophet: Ranged.
Disruptor: Ranged and can proc spellblock with Thunder Strike.
Doom: No redeeming qualities whatsoever.
Dragon Knight: Can proc spellblock with Dragon Tail, but even if the passive is used instead is a poor melee damage absorber.
Drow Ranger: Ranged, and can very slightly buff the damage of other ranged heroes.
Earthshaker: Fissure can be used from outside the pit once reliably to block Roshan for 8s, useful only if your other 4 heroes are ranged, but not enough mana to use twice without regen– in general skills cost too much mana to be reliable, and poor melee damage absorber.
Elder Titan: No redeeming qualities whatsoever– passive does not apply to Roshan.
Enchantress: Ranged and can heal a total of 300 hp once; Untouchable not significant at level 1.
Enigma: Ranged and can proc spellblock with Malefice; can create eidolons from a Treant or Hawk as well, though wasting Beastmaster’s skill on Hawk instead of aura is probably a mistake.
Faceless Void: 10% bash chance for 40 extra damage and 1s stun, or 10% evasion; decent damage output if not getting hit.
Gyrocopter: Ranged and can proc spellblock with Homing Missile; Rocket Barrage insignificant damage.
Huskar: Ranged and can tank damage to utilize passive for up to a 112 increase in attack speed; orb works as well but is far inferior to using passive– who knew Huskar was good?
Invoker: Ranged and can increase damage by 9 with 3 instances of Exort.
Wisp: Ranged and Tether can stun Roshan and be used to get twice as much out of a salve provided Wisp tanks before the receiver.
Jakiro: Ranged and can stun Roshan with Ice Path for 1s every 12s, up to 4 times total.
Juggernaut: Can heal entire team for 2% of their hp/s for 25s total.
Keeper of the Light: Ranged and can proc spellblock with Mana Leak; could possibly find a good use for Chakra Magic instead– 75 mana every 19s.
Kunkka: No redeeming qualities whatsoever; his disable doesn’t work, his passive gives him a negligible dps increase, and X can’t be used.
Leshrac: Ranged and can proc spellblock with Split Earth for a 2s stun every 9s up to 3 times total; can proc spellblock with Lightning Storm; Edict negligible damage after both resistance and armour reductions– yay composite damage.
Lich: Ranged and can increase an ally’s armour by 3 for 40s whilst decreasing Roshan’s attack speed by 20; or could spend 2.5x the mana to proc spellblock.
Lifestealer: Open Wounds makes all heroes lifesteal for 15% from all damage dealt, but duration too short to be significant at this point; Rage probably more useful for increasing dps momentarily; Feast doesn’t work on Roshan.
Lina: Ranged and can stun Roshan for 1.6s every 7s up to 4 times total.
Lion: Ranged and can proc spellblock with Hex.
Lone Druid: Ranged and Bear can effectively tank 1702 damage while adding nonnegligible dps.
Luna: Ranged and Lunar Blessing increases the damage of all heroes by 14.
Lycan: Wolf Familiars can add nonnegligible dps, especially if certain allied auras are present; has severe mana issues which would be solved by one Chakra Magic use, or by 30s of regen with Basilius and Brilliance Aura; Howl too long cd to be useful barring specific circumstances regarding heroes’ BAT and attack speed buffs and Roshan-fight duration that might make its dps increase exceed that of Wolves.
Magnus: Empower can increase the dps of one hero for 40s by 20% every 12s.
Medusa: Ranged and can proc spellblock with Mystic Snake.
Meepo: No redeeming qualities whatsoever– shocker.
Mirana: Ranged and can stun Roshan once for 5s prior to entering the pit.
Morphling: Ranged and can Morph agl up to 62 damage and 45 attack speed (without items); this leaves Morphling with 226 hp; good target for buffs such as Empower.
Naga Siren: Can proc spellblock with Net, but poor melee damage absorber. Riptide uneffective, and Illusions will only tank one or two hits each.
Nature’s Prophet: Ranged and can spawn 2 Treants to tank Roshan with Nature’s Call who have 550 hp each.
Necrolyte: Ranged and can heal a total of 700 hp.
Night Stalker: Can proc spellblock with either ability, but poor melee damage absorber. Neither ability’s use has much nonnegligible efficacy for short durations.
Nyx Assassin: No redeeming qualities whatsoever.
Ogre Magi: Bloodlust can increase an ally’s attack speed by 20 every 30s.
Omniknight: No redeeming qualities whatsoever.
Outworld Destroyer: Ranged and with some luck could possibly be useful with aura.
Phantom Assassin: 20% evasion can make her a useful damage absorber.
Phantom Lancer: Can proc spellblock with Lance, but poor melee damage absorber.
Puck: Ranged.
Pudge: No redeeming qualities whatsoever.
Pugna: Ranged and can proc spellblock with Decrepify.
Queen of Pain: Ranged and can proc spellblock with Dagger.
Razor: Ranged.
Riki: Can proc spellblock with Blink, but poor melee damage absorber.
Rubick: Ranged and can proc spellblock with either ability.
Sand King: No redeeming qualities whatsoever.
Shadow Demon: Ranged.
Shadow Fiend: Ranged and can reduce Roshan’s armour by 3 with aura.
Shadow Shaman: Ranged and can proc spellblock with any ability.
Silencer: Ranged.
Skeleton King: Lifesteal aura.
Skywrath Mage: Ranged and can proc spellblock with Arcane Bolt, and continue to add some dps with it after.
Slardar: 10% bash chance for 1s stun and 40 damage– worse attack speed than Void though.
Slark: No redeeming qualities whatsoever.
Sniper: Ranged and has 40% minibash chance for 0.25s stun and 15 damage.
Spectre: No redeeming qualities whatsoever.
Spirit Breaker: 17% bash chance for 1s stun and 29 damage.
Storm Spirit: Ranged.
Sven: Can proc spellblock with Storm Hammer, but poor melee damage absorber; Armour aura active duration too short to matter, but superior if there’s no need to proc spellblock.
Templar Assassin: Can reduce Roshan’s armour by 2 and deal 50 (before reduction) damage every 7s up to 6 times; Refraction not significant here.
Tidehunter: Can proc spellblock with Gush, but poor melee damage absorber; Kracken Shell not significant.
Timbersaw: Reactive Armour not significant– no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
Tinker: Ranged and can add negligible damage with March (Universal damage reduced by resistance, 75% resistance pretty good); can proc spellblock with Laser.
Tiny: Craggly proc chance too low to matter; no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
Treant Protector: Living Armour gives some damage-block and hp regen– not terribly significant, but more than most supports and most melee heroes offer.
Troll Warlord: Bash chance and damage too poor to matter; Fervor in ranged mode can add 40 attack speed.
Tusk: Frozen Sigil decreases Roshan’s attack speed by 30% for 30s.
Undying: Tombstone can either tank three hits and/or create Zombies to tank one hit each over 15s.
Ursa: Fury Swipes enables Ursa to deal great damage if allowed to build stacks on Roshan.
Vengeful Spirit: Ranged and aura increases total dps against Roshan by 12%; -armour from Wave of Terror will never exceed this value at level 1.
Venomancer: Ranged and wards can obstruct Roshan’s pathing over time and add damage; wards will never be targetted over a hero, but die in one hit anyway.
Viper: Ranged and can add nonnegligible damage with Nethertoxin– more significant than the DoT or attack speed slow the orb adds; passive less useful as well.
Visage: Ranged and can proc spellblock with Grave Chill, and can use again after to significantly drain Roshan’s attack speed (64%) for 3s.
Warlock: Ranged and can heal a single ally for a negligible amount.
Weaver: Ranged and Geminate can add some damage; Swarm ineffective.
Windrunner: Ranged and can proc spellblock with Shackleshot.
Witch Doctor: Ranged and can heal all allies for a total of 900 hp.
Zeus: Ranged and can can proc spellblock with Arc Lightning.

This next section is a list of heroes sorted out into different categories. Use in conjunction with the prior section to identify exactly why these heroes are deemed useful or useless.

Highly Useful Supports:
These heroes are traditionally played as lane supports (some grey area, because it’s DOTA, nothing is ever straight-forward), and of support heroes are the most impactful at a level 1 Roshan attempt. Since most teams have at least 1, usually 2 supports, it’s important to try to pick a support that’s going to actually assist the attempt. Some supports are liabilities for killing Roshan at level 1, and must be avoided at all costs. Some supports add nothing but their weak auto-attacks, but at least aren’t a detriment to the effort. This first list is of supports who are actually really useful in this endeavor.

Abaddon
Wisp
Lich
Ogre Magi
Tusk
Vengeful Spirit
Venomancer
Visage
Witch Doctor

Somewhat Useful Supports:
Most of these heroes are here because they can stun Roshan without disrupting his spell-block, i.e. without requiring any hero to waste their spell to proc the spell-block first. Chen is probably the least useful here, but I put him here rather than in the section of ranged supports who can only proc the spell-block because he can get his spell off once for a buff of 8% damage amplification fo everyone for 7 seconds, which is more than the rest of them can do. Treant and Undying offer interesting ways to help tank Roshan’s damage.

Centaur Warrunner
Chen
Jakiro
Leshrac
Lina
Treant Protector
Undying

Useful Ranged Cores:
These heroes are traditionally played with a farm priority position of 1-3, and thus I refer to them as core heroes. Typically 2-3 cores are used in a team, so again it’s best to pick those which not only won’t be a liability, but will also expedite the process in some manner. In general ranged heroes are better vs Roshan because of Slam. All but two of these heroes help out by adding a significant amount of damage through their individual damage. Nature’s Prophet uniquely gives a source of protection from Roshan’s damage in the form of 2 550 hp Treants, or 1100 hp every 37s, giving us someone other than a delicate hero for Roshan to hit essentially for the full duration of the gauntlet. Shadowfiend provides -armour aura effectively amplifying everyone’s damage by approximately 7%.

Clinkz
Huskar
Luna
Morphling
Nature’s Prophet
Shadow Fiend
Sniper
Troll Warlord
Viper

Somewhat Useful Ranged Cores:
These heroes add more than most ranged cores, but nothing on the level of those mentioned previously. Mirana has a wonderful 5s stun that works on Roshan through spell-block, but it requires her to be 2000 distance away, and thus is only effective once, right before she enters the pit. Weaver’s damage from geminate isn’t negligible, but isn’t on the level that the previous heroes were outputting through bashes or auras or morph.

Mirana
Weaver

Useful Melee Cores:
Most melee heroes are liabilities against Roshan because of Slam. These heroes offer some ability so good that it outweights their melee condition. Lone Druid is technically a ranged hero at this point, but I listed him here because his Bear still adds one melee target for Roshan to consider Slamming. Again, try very hard not to have more than 2 melee heroes/units involved. Most carries are melee however, so odds are you’ll have at least one melee core, so try to pick them out of this list. Some of these are defensive and some offer extra dps. Skeleton King is almost a liability, as those who make use of his aura must be melee as well, which brings us into Slam range, in addition to his capacity to level-1 Rosh being relatively commonly known of. He’s definitely best with Ursa, though actually running a composition with both heroes is sketchy.

Alch
Beastmaster
Brewmaster
Bristleback
Clockwerk*
Juggernaut
Lone Druid
Magnus
Skeleton King
Templar Assassin
Ursa
*situationally useful, else useless

Somewhat Useful Melee Cores:
These heroes all add respectable dps to the fight, except for Phantom Assassin whose evasion makes her a respectable melee contestant. Chaos Knight is the least-deserved here, but his high possible base damage in conjunction with various possible buffs gives him his position here.

Chaos Knight
Faceless Void
Lycan
Phantom Assassin
Slardar
Spirit Breaker

Spellblock Ranged Supports:
These supports aren’t liabilities because of their attack range, but otherwise only offer a way to remove Roshan’s spell-block in case you need to). Having one of these isn’t bad even if you can’t make use of that capacity, because at least they’re ranged. Sometimes having supports you can comfortably lane and play the rest of the game with is more important than having ones which necessarily speed up your ability to slay Roshan.

Ancient App
Bane
Crystal Maiden*
Dazzle
Disruptor
Keeper of the Light*
Lion
Pugna
Rubick
Shadow Shaman
Skywrath Mage
*scenario-specific possible utility

Spellblock Ranged Cores:
Same deal as the last bunch, except these guys have some farm priority.

Enigma
Gyrocopter
Medusa
Queen of Pain
Tinker
Windrunner
Zeus

Useless Ranged Cores:
Similar to the last group, except these also lack the spell-block-proc-capacity. They offer nothing to killing Roshan whatsoever, but they haven’t stepped into the realm of being liabilities yet.

Batrider
Death Prophet
Drow
Enchantress
Invoker
Necrolyte
Outworld Destroyed
Puck
Razor
Storm Spirit

Useless Ranged Supports:
Same as before, minus the farm priority.

Shadow Demon
Silencer
Warlock

The rest of these heroes are completely useless. They’ve gone beyond offering nothing and are well within liability-territory. Absolutely do NOT have more than two of these, and make sure your total melee hero/unit count does not exceed two additionally, or they’ll show how much of a liability they can become as they get bashed and slammed left and right.

Spellblock Melee Cores:
Useless liabilities, but they can proc Roshan’s spellblock with some skill. Plan your drafts accordingly if you require one of these as a farm priority core.

Bloodseeker
Bounty Hunter
Broodmother
Dragon Knight
Naga Siren
Night Stalker
Phantom Lancer
Riki
Sven

Useless Melee Cores:
These heroes are core to your overall composition and end-goal, not to your level 1 Roshan scuttle. Same rules as before: keep your melee count under three.

Antimage
Dark Seer
Doom
Elder Titan
Kunkka
Lifestealer
Meepo
Pudge
Slark
Spectre
Timbersaw
Tiny

Useless Melee Supports:
You can’t even count on these heroes to carry you later. If you really require them for your team, just remember to keep the total melee count under three.

Tidehunter
Earthshaker
Nyx Assassin
Omniknight
Sand King

So what does this leave us with? Well it means we have 30 supports available that are viable in some manner or another (are not ever liabilities), 46 viable core heroes, and only 25 heroes that are generally completely useless. And of these 25, 10 of them could at least serve to break the spell-block if you had a need, serving some use. So while only 30 are exceptionally useful, at least we haven’t removed too many options, and won’t approach the draft shaking in fear.

Understand that I am trying to increase awareness and understanding of this dynamic of the game which I believe is relatively unexplored (I’ve seen far more relevant threads/posts in forums than I’ve seen actual games of, and I want to change that!), and thus that I am not bringing this up as a “pub-game-strategy”, or as just a “pocket strategy” at high level. I believe this tactic is viable and its application should be explored at all levels, drafts-allowing. At competetive level I think it’s a powerful dynamic which can force a lot out of teams. When both teams are aware of the possibility they have to be concerned that the other team if they have a suitable team could be doing Roshan, having either smoked in or even teleported to the nearest tower Alliance-style; this means they can’t move as 5 into the opposing jungle to guarantee warding the pull-camp; this means they have to also be concerned about a level-1 Roshan fake-out attempt, and cannot commit too much or too little into uncovering the truth.

The big caveat I keep mentioning is the draft. In all real Captain’s Mode games you can’t just pick whatever five heroes you want, you have to draft them, revealing a part of your plan to your opponent with every ban and pick. I want every team’s intent going into a draft to be to formulate a composition which can possibly defeat Roshan at level 1, but depending on what heroes they’re willing to concede, what their overall rest-of-game plan is, what their general hero priorities and inclincations are, and how their opponents draft they may have to at any point in the draft abandon the idea, adapt and come up with a new strategy to use their remaining picks with.

Initial Drafting Concerns:

Drafting: what do we do? I personally have some limited experience with bizarre all-in compositions at high-veryhigh level skill bracket, but in general when I’m thinking about these level 1 Roshan teams I’m trying to build a balanced, easy to lane composition. This means I’m aiming to have a single hero in mid, a real trilane or a dual lane with a jungler, and an additional solo hero, usually in the offlane (though I think aggressive trilanes are a great way to compound the advantage of the level 1 Roshan kill, but having a safe trilane to fall back on if you have to abandon the attempt prematurely or something goes wrong). If you need to adapt your lanes in a funkier manner so be it, but that’s game-specific. At anyrate we can’t just pick any 5 of the heroes I’ve listed as being viable, we’re trying both to create a team that can fight Roshan at level 1 and win the rest of the game.

Let’s start with what we don’t want our opponents to have. The first dynamic as far as the team not Roshing is concerned with is how they safely stop the Roshan attempt they suspect the other team of concocting. I emphasize safe here, because just walking in isn’t always an option. If you walk in with one hero, the Roshing team might be able to just focus them for a quick first-blood. The Roshing team should absolutely have at least an Bbserver Ward up, if not a Sentry as well. Walking in with your entire team could be suicide as well if the other team is camping outside. Consider NoTideHunter (precursor to Alliance)’s Roshan bait vs EG in Dreamhack Winter 2012. They suicided their Nature’s Prophet to Roshan to fake out EG into thinking they were inside the pit, and when EG entered they attacked them from behind from where they were actually hiding.

So what gives you safe ways to look inside? Possibly stealth, if you don’t expect your opponent to use a Sentry before any wards have been placed, but if you’ve picked a hero with a form of stealth that’s probably not a safe idea. Clockwerk’s Flare is a great way to get vision of the pit safely. Admittedly if you can force your enemy’s Clockwerk to skill flare over cogs just for this you may be able to capitalize on it in lanes, but we’re focused on the Roshan-attempt itself right now, not the huge can of worms that gets opened later.

So let’s say we don’t want our opponents to have Clockwerk, how can we prevent them from having it in a manner that isn’t suspicious? Our opponents are constantly trying to find the reason behind our every move in the draft. One possible solution is to just pick Clockwerk first. He’s a solid mid or offlaner hero, and if you later in the draft decide you need a different mid/offlane hero instead you could even run clock as a lane support– he’s very flexible. When do we pick him? Well if our opponents have picked or look like they might pick a carry who can be easily controlled by Clockwerk, we can pick him as soon as possible. On his own he’s not a red flag, and for our purposes he’s decent vs Roshan if he uses cogs well (and if the remainder of our heroes are ranged, else we’re removing our own dps as well as Roshan’s 33% of the time).

What if we don’t want to pick Clockwerk? How can we ban him without being suspicious? Well everyone knows Clockwerk is good vs Lifestealer, so if we just pick Lifestealer before/after banning Clock our opponents will be none-the-wiser. Additionally Lifestealer is alright vs Roshan at level 1 given his hp and base damage, and enables us to comfortably run an aggressive trilane if we so desire/if our picks warrant one. See the kind of thinking you have to employ during the draft?

Who else can get vision of the pit? How about Mirana? Arrow provides vision and a 5s stun if shot from 2000 range, and it’s certainly no stretch for Mirana to skill that at level 1 anyway. The bright side here is that Mirana isn’t a common pick, but that also means banning her is unacceptable. We also don’t necessarily want to pick her ourselves, because 1. she’s Mirana, and 2. she isn’t very good vs Roshan– only providing a single 5s stun. But at least she’s ranged, and is a flexible laner. We can try to offlane her (best if Radiant to have access to easy Ancients; I don’t know how Dire Ancients offlaner Mirana fares), or run her mid if we’re okay with a single shitty lane, or have her farm in our trilane (defensive or aggressive both work, and we can always rotate her out of lane as a roamer after some time if we want to move the better offlaner into the better farming position later, etc), or even run her as a support. In addition to the hero herself being flexible, if we pull off the level-1 Roshan attempt we have some leg-room for some silliness anyway.

Beastmaster certainly doesn’t want to level Hawk at 1, but especially if he’s the mid hero it won’t set him that far behind, and it’s a great way to get vision of anywhere. Luckily for us he’s both declined in popularity as of late and is incredible against Roshan with his 18 attack speed aura. He’s not so uncommon that we can’t pick or ban him (if the opponent is missing an offlaner or mid hero) without raising suspicion, but remember to try to keep your melee hero/unit count under three.

Alchemist’s Acid Spray isn’t a horrible level 1 skill even for what’s ostensibly a free-farm safelane, and while it doesn’t provide vision it will rouse Roshan out if he’s not busy. Additionally it’s a pretty good skill to use against 5 heroes in a tight space to farm the first 5 kills of game. Keeping Alchemist out of the game is tricky because he’s an extremely common pick right now, but that also means there won’t be any suspicion whatsoever to picking him up for ourselves, and Acid Spray coincidentally is great for us against Roshan. If we really are trying to get rid of all heroes who could bother us in the pit, it’s notable that in lacking any special mobility skills (his ult only gives movement speed), and in being a common BKB farmer both Clockwerk and Beastmaster are acceptable bans if we choose to pick Alchemist.

Timbersaw actually can easily get vision (and do a little damage to everyone in the pit) with his Timber Chain by grabbing a tree to the east of Roshan from the western side of the pit, but would be stuck on the highground after. It’s unlikely they would try this, but it’s something to keep in mind. Getting one hero stuck isn’t a big deal (he can get out by expending all of his energy leaping through trees to the northern side of the Roshan pit) if the rest of their team has decent aoe abilities (Lina’s Light Strike Array especially comes to mind) with which they can win an enclosed and tight 4v5. So be mindful of their entire composition. Timber isn’t a common ban but also does nothing for us, so this is a pick we’re probably going to have let go through (though if you’ve picked an obvious strength hero for your mid lane and they lack an obvious mid hero you may be able to see the pick coming and ban it in a manner appropriate to nothing unusual going on). If you think it’s a problem based on their composition you may have to just let the level 1 Roshan attempt go and play the game normally regardless of your composition.
Keep Magnus in mind as well. Skewer at level 1 is acceptable for both an offlane and mid Magnus, and it can push one or more of your heroes into the trees above the Roshan pit (getting them stuck in most cases; while Magnus will still be in the pit). Needless to say that’s not a great outcome for you. Magnus has fallen off in popularity as both an offlaner and as a mid, and I haven’t seen any carry-Mags recently, so he’s not a likely pick. If you’re worried about him either because of what he can do in the Rosh pit or what he can do to your team in synergy with the rest of their picks so far, and either can’t fit him into your lanes or don’t think Empower is going to make a difference in your Rosh attempt you can try to dissuade them from picking him by picking a strong ranged mid yourself. Queen of Pain and Puck both come to mind. Neither hero offers anything vs Roshan (qop can break spellblock every 20s), but both being ranged prevents them from being liabilities at least. As I’ve stayed previously you don’t need 5 perfect picks to kill Roshan. However we’re starting to get the bigger picture: it’s not possible to guarantee your opponent gets none of these heroes, and any one of them can potentially singlehandedly ruin your game (though just because they picked them doesn’t mean they’ll use them in this manner). This is why drafting is a bitch.
Elder Titan’s Spirit is just as good at scouting the pit as it is at everything else for the rest of the game. There are so many other good offlaners that this one probably isn’t worth a ban unless you get to the 5th ban and you think this one fits them well or that the offlaner they will pick won’t be as big a problem for the early Roshan or the rest of the game, etc.

Razor’s Plasma Field damages in aoe and gives vision in a wide radius. He’s most commonly picked against Lifestealer and Outworld Destroyer, but not picked frequently in general. He’s not good vs Roshan, so you’ll probably have to concede this pick and hope they don’t pick him. If they do grab him you can still try the Roshan attempt, but the moment you get vision of him with your ward you have to get the hell out of Dodge.
Technically Venomancer can scout with his Plague Wards, but if the enemy picks him and skills that at level 1 just to get vision of you, take a moment to give a great sigh of relief– because if he had leveled Gale instead and went into the pit blindly you’d have lost the game instantly.

Phantom Lancer and Naga Siren can both create illusions at level 1 to scout you with. If you see one of them walking into the pit ahead of everyone else please don’t blow your stuns on the illusion. Naga is a very common pick currently, albeit usually as a support who levels either Riptide or Net at 1. Naga is at least an acceptable phase-one ban if you can’t stand her and want to remove a possible scout. Phantom Lancer is less commonly picked and less likely to be a good ban, but if you ban him they’ll assume you just hate him rather than are worried about a niche use of his skill kit.

Sniper’s Shrapnel Shot can give vision, but is otherwise a weak level 1 skill. Sniper is also an extremely rare pick (at competetive level). He’s also decent against Roshan because Headshot is a good skill toi have, so if you think he fits your team for the rest of the game you could kill two birds with one extremely boomerang-shaped stone and just pick him. A level advantage on him would be a big deal however you lane him.

Vengeful Spirit’s Wave of Terror is going make you shit your pants if she casts it into the pit. She’s a moderately common pick, commonly accompanying either an aggressive trilane or a jungler (Chen or Enchantress most notably) as part of a roaming pair. She can also roam with an initiating lane support such as Rubick, so you might be able to anticipate this pick depending on their draft. She’s also incredible against Roshan thanks to her aura if you want to deny her by picking.

Spectre’s Dagger provides vision along the path itself, and is easily the most commonly selected level 1 skill. Spectre has moderate popularity currently, and most commonly is associated with very defensive supports, such as Jakiro, Rubick, Treant Protector, and Shadow Demon. She’s completely useless against Roshan. Potentially worth a ban at the end of the draft if they lack a carry.

Meepo’s Net provides vision if it lands on a hero, but if your opponents pick Meepo you’ve already won.
Lone Druid’s Bear is worth 300 gold, but Roshan is worth over 1000 gold so it’s a safe bet he’ll scout the pit. In addition to being a flexible laner he’s one of the absolute best heroes for level 1 Roshan, so do consider just picking this guy, and at any point in the draft. He’s lost some popularity recently but is still unlikely to turn up any eye-brows even early on in the draft. Entangle is a good strategy to bank on.
Puck’s Orb gives a ton of vision and is its normal starting skill. Puck is an extremely common and powerful mid hero, so is always a reasonable ban (I don’t recommend first-phase banning though). It does nothing for us against Roshan either.

Windrunner’s Powershot is a respectable level 1 skill and will give them easy vision of the pit. She’s usually run as an offlaner, but is flexible enough to mid or support as well. Unless you’re playing vs Orange (or at least pre-post-ti3-team-swaps Orange) you probably don’t want to ban her, though she also offers very little against Roshan.
Nature’s Prophet can easily scout the pit for free with early Treants. He’s a respectable pick or ban at any stage, and is absolutely incredible against Roshan. He’s almost certainly the easiest hero to build a level 1 Roshan team around (Sylla being the second easiest).

Tinker can annoy Roshan with March, similarly to how Alchemist can. He’s not that common of a pick, but if you’re building your team around Furion or Sylla and thus it looks to your enemy like it might be a pushing composition, banning Tinker may appear a completely valid choice as his anti-push capacity is very good.

Keeper of the Light similarly can agitate Roshan (and obtain vision of hit enemies) with Illuminate. You’d ban him in the same manner as you would Tinker, except if they needed a support and not a mid instead of vice versa.
Dazzle could potentially scout by applying Shallow Grave on himself before entering. There’s no reason to ever ban this guy (unless the enemy has Naga Weaver and need a support), so you’ll just have to run if he’s walking towards the pit (running from a Dazzle will hurt less than getting teamwiped and giving up Roshan, if barely).

Silencer’s Curse of the Silent will make a different noise (a deep “curse you”) if it hits versus if it lands, so it can be used to scout out the pit. He’s not commonly drafted and is useless for our purposes– just be cognizant of his capacity.

It’s unreliable, but Dark Seer could possibly grab one of your heroes from inside the pit with Vacuum. I wouldn’t worry about it during the draft. Just know that if he and the rest of his team are making a bee-line to the pit you should get going while the going’s good.

Ice Vortex first Ancient App best Ancient App right? At anyrate it’s an incredibly good scouting tool, even if they’d be better served using Chilling Touch and walking in blind because Chilling Touch is overpowered! This hero isn’t picked often and is useless vs Roshan. Don’t bother picking or banning; just be aware of the potential danger he carries.

Shadow Demon’s Shadow Poison will give vision of heroes it hits. He’s useless against Roshan, and isn’t a good ban unless you’re fielding an illusion carry (none of which are good against Roshan either). He’s a fairly common early pick, so if the enemy doesn’t grab him early they probably won’t bother at all.

Technically Weaver could scout you out with Swarm, but Swarm before Shukuchi is a little questionable even if they’re positive you’re doing level 1 Roshan.

There could be other scouting heroes/abilities I’m failing to think of, but you get the idea. Keep the most commonly drafted problematic heroes in mind, and try to draft in a way that either directly denies them to your opponent or dissuades them from picking them at all. There are far more troublesome heroes than you can pick and ban, but if you understand the significance of the heroes you’re drafting relative to drafting in normal (unrelated to Roshan) you can control who your opponent is likely to pick or ignore. If you pick or plan to pick a hero that gives your team really strong teamfight (e.g. Warlock, who while he gives your team nothing vs Roshan is at least not a detriment to the attempt) such that your opponent would rather split push than try to contest you in fights, don’t let them pick Nature’s Prophet, for example.There’s more to the draft than what they can scout you with, consider also what they can contest you with. Anything with an aoe effect is likely to give you a hard time. Let’s say you’ve already picked Lina, and they’ve grabbed Shadow Demon. They need another support, so consider banning Jakiro. He syncs well with the Shadow Demon and is going to give you more trouble in the pit than say, Chen is. Your opponent may pick Chen as their follow-up stun (from his jungle creeps) and be very content with their tier-1 support– not realizing you’re just as okay with that as they are. If they do identify your Roshan attempt and try to contest it you may be able to win the level 1 fight when they arrive if you are not too badly injured already since you’ve denied them the strong level 1 support. Chen is useless prior to the +0:30 mark– he’s almost a liability to them.

So if they show up and scout you out with Shadow Poison and walk into the pit, they don’t have a single disable among their supports and in this example you have Lina– whose stun is just as good against the enemy in the pit as it is vs you (and vs Roshan for that matter). Clearly your team already has some source of damage and durability at level 1– you’re using it against Roshan; you may be able to use it to win the level 1 teamfight if they force it. If you come out of the draft such that your level 1 is so much stronger than theirs (likely at what would normally be a trade for a disadvantage later in the game that they would normally be comfortable with) it doesn’t matter if they know you’re in there and can scout you or not. Then it’s your job to compound the early advantage you’re conferred by killing Roshan and from already having the stronger early game (or maybe it’s even a shorter-term advantage than that– maybe your level 1 is stronger but their level 2 would be more than a match for yours)– if you have the stronger level 1, imagine how your level 2 fares against their level 1.

Now that I’ve talked about the kind of heroes your opponent could pick that could give you a hard time in the pit, it’s time to start talking about who you should consider picking of the heroes which are good against Roshan. It’s my intent to allow you to easily adapt your normal team compositions without replacing too many heroes or adding in too many new factors, so I’m going to show you how you can run the same strategies and lanes as before with just some minor alterations to allow easy level 1 Roshan kills.

Hero Priority Drafting Concerns:

Now– who do we prioritize? Your priority as far as level-1 Roshing goes may end up being different than your drafting priority. Odds are high at the current time that you feel a lot more strongly about Luna for example than does the average drafter now that she’s fallen out of popularity for some reason. So just because you’ve decided that you really want her because she fits your midgame plan, fits the trilane you’re going to make out of the support you’ve already firstpicked (or whatever), in addition to being an incredibly good hero at level 1 Roshan, doesn’t mean you should actually pick her as your 2nd or even 3rd pick. She’s worth more to you than to your opponents ostensibly given the current metagame, so you can afford to pick her later. Don’t be bothered by the fact that the heroes you pick before her are lower in priority to you than is she– just keep in mind the fact that the metagame/your opponent holds them in higher priority and is thus going to be less disturbed by your drafting choices. If they don’t notice anything we have the advantage, so picking in a manner that isn’t unusual is important.

As far as my personal Roshing priority goes, regardless of the actual draft priority, in no particular order, from no particular role, these are the heroes who I think are most valuable to a level 1 Roshan-obliterating team composition:

Nature’s Prophet
Lone Druid
Juggernaut
Luna

I don’t actually know for sure, but would like to make the claim anyway that with any two of these with any other three heroes in the game you could eviscerate Roshan at level 1. That’s at least how good my impression of them is if it’s not literally true. Notice that 4 of them offer surviveability/tanking against Roshan. Luna just adds a bolide of damage. I don’t include Ursa because he’s just too obvious. Ursa-Wisp is probably everyone’s first level-1-Rosh experience in one side or another, and while it remains effective in a vacuum, it’s unlikely to be effective in practice.

Make sure not to draft too much surviveability. Without good dps you won’t be able to finish off Roshan in a timely manner. You really only have about one minute at most to kill Roshan. A draft with Witch Doctor and Juggernaut and any other three in the game can probably erradicate Roshan, but it may take several minutes to do so– which is unacceptable. If you think you’re going to be a little slow at it, I highly recommend just teleporting there to be safe. Even if you finish early you can easily put the extra time to good use. Time is money, and gold is money. To be honest that’s probably the best option no matter what. If you don’t TP and you fail to kill Roshan you’re probably in as equally a bad position as if you did TP and failed to kill Roshan.

If you enjoy aggressive trilanes you may want to pick Visage and/or Venomancer. They both are quite good against Roshan as supports go, and are excellent aggressive supports. The stuns of Centaur and Lina are decent vs Roshan and could sync well in such an aggressive trilane as a follow-up to one of the previously named supports’ slows. Undying would also fit an aggressive trilane very well, and is okay against Roshan. Even if he can only deny a few hits from Roshan, those are a few hits that weren’t bashing one of your heroes. Tusk is a respectable aggressive support, and his ward is very useful against Roshan.

When running the aggressive trilane consider Lifestealer, Juggernaut, Bristleback, or even Slardar. Slardar offers the least, but will always make it through the draft if the others do not. I’m not sure how effective Troll is in aggressive trilanes yet, but I have seen him work at competetive level in such a lane.

If you need a more defensive trilane Abaddon may be the best support to grab. Jakiro is also a strong defensive support, though of the stunning supports is relatively less effective against Roshan. Leshrac and Lina aren’t bad defensive supports, though they usually require an initiating stun to be reliably effective. If you need a set-up stun Vengeful Spirit is an excellent pick here.

Luna, Alchemist, Morphling, Phantom Assassin, and maybe Lycan or Sniper would be decent defensive trilane farmers. Phantom Assassin definitely offers the least to the effort, but if Alchemist doesn’t get through the draft she’s the best of these heroes at pairing with Wisp if you’re able to pick it up early. Phantom Assassin and Wisp can even be run as a defensive dual-lane if you’re running a jungler (or even offensive jungler) the way Alliance often has. So just looking at a decent composition for the rest of the game: Phantom Assassin, Wisp, Chen, Templar Assassin, Nature’s Prophet gives you a composition with decent lanes, decent synergy between the Pa + Wisp ganks, Furion’s tp ganks, a blinking ganking Ta, and global heals from Chen, and even despite violating the <3 melee units/heroes rule can demolish Roshan in a reasonable amount of time. Notice that we have two heroes who are basically useless in the pit and can still pull it off.

When picking the mid or offlane you have a lot of options, and what you pick depends at what point in the draft you’re at. If you want to grab a mid or offlaner early on that you know can help out vs Roshan you might want to grab one of the more flexible laners so that you can decide later in the draft whether they’re mid or offlane depending on the opponent’s draft. Beastmaster, Clockwerk, possibly Magnus, and Clinkz are decent in this function. Weaver offers less against Roshan, but more in terms of flexible laning. Lone Druid can be laned very flexibly as well, though he definitely gets the most out of solo-easy-lane.

If you just want to straight-up grab your mid you should consider what kind of a mid you want. If you want a lane dominator Viper is an excellent choice, and he can farm your mek later on if your offlaner is unsuited to it. If you’re in all-pick Huskar is perhaps the stronger pick at this point in time, and his contribution to Roshan is enormous. His duty vs Roshan is to tank as much hp as he safely can (or all of it if you have a Dazzle), at which point he backs off and deals more than twice his normal dps. Seems legit.

If you need initiation and the previously mentioned heroes won’t suffice you could consider Brewmaster. He’s fallen off really hard recently, but against melee heroes is still effective in-lane. If you already have an early advantage thanks to Roshan his ult’s ridiculous cool-down won’t hurt you much, as it’ll be the enemy’s job to try to make the plays against you lest you snowball out of control. Brew’s contribution to Roshan is the miss-chance Drunken Haze provides, making your hp last longer. I still recommend against getting Slammed.

Templar Assassin is strong against the common mid hero Puck, and her Meld does wonders against Roshan. Ranged mids that offer nothing against Roshan could be acceptable depending on the rest of your draft. Remember: not every single hero has to be great, but the more you do have the faster it’ll go. So if you really think your team needs a Puck or Queen of Pain, or Outworld Destroyer, or you just want to deny them to the other team, you can! I just recommend against picking someone like Dragon Knight for your mid since he’s useless and melee. If Dragon Knight would have worked, Alchemist will probably suffice, and he offers more in the pit.

As far as strict offlaners go, Nature’s Prophet is easily the best. Lich is a little suspicious, but if you have other teamfight-looking heroes he may not stand out too much in your draft. Mirana is very draft/side specific, but is a repsectable offlaner when she can lane it (or do ancients). If for example she’s sacking the Radiant offlane and shooting ancients instead she’s best drafted along side a mid hero with a decent disable, such as Alchemist. He can set up her arrow in the laning phase for easy kills. She’s not great vs Roshan, but at least isn’t a liability.
This next section is a brief analysis of a few notable level 1 Roshan slayings from the proscene (i.e. Alliance at work). These games are my proof of concept, my words in action. Yes, you can call them pocket-strategies for now, but they need not be in the future as awareness and understanding of the concept is increased.

Analysis of Specific Pro-Games

Alliance vs Mouz; G-1 League Western Qualifiers; Match ID: 180173685 (replay requires tournament ticket). I won’t get into the draft here because it uses the outdated drafting format– drafting is completely different now. Alliance picks (not in order) Luna, Nature’s Prophet, Axe, Shadow Demon, and Dazzle. Notably they do not have Ursa. Notice also that they have two of the heroes I said could probably take Roshan with any other three in game: Luna and Furion. Axe has some utility vs Roshan in some extra high skill Helix procs, but ends up only procing it 6 times (Luna tanked more than Axe did for some reason) for 600 damage before armour reduction. Dazzle healed 3 times total for about 560 total health healed across the two heroes and one damaged Treant tanking Roshan.

My point is that Luna’s aura did most of the work. Furion bought a ring of Basilius which helped them tank. The smart thing Alliance did this game however was to send the first spawn of Treants to scout the enemy in their jungle, giving Mouz the impression that they were not killing Roshan, dissuading them from checking the pit. This means that Axe and Luna tanked Roshan until Furion could create more Treants, relying on Salves until then.

Additionally note what could have happened if Mouz had engaged Alliance in the pit anyway. They had more crowd control than did Alliance, but Alliance had more damage from Luna’s aura and more armour from the early Basilius. The tools that killed Roshan would have in this scenario likely given them the win in such a fight, barring any shenannigans from Mouz’s Magnus’ Skewer.

So ultimately they successfully grabbed the free Roshan using about 1.5 really effective heroes (Furion used one half of the possible Treants to tank– his only usefulness). Note however that Alliance had 4 ranged heroes. And in this case they allowed Roshan to Slam them in a controlled manner to get the most out of their heroes prior to the second set of Treants coming out– the damage of which was healed by Shadow Wave.

Then they fell into extremely advantageous lanes and crushed all three lanes. They ran an aggressive Axe trilane, put Luna mid against the melee Magnus, and solo’d Nature’s Prophet. Their draft gave them very strong midgame pushing capacity with which they compounded their early advantage and swiftly ended the game.Alliance vs DK; G-1 League; Match ID: 202242367 (replay requires tournament ticket). Alliance picks Lone Druid, Ogre Magi, Leshrac, Beastmaster, Ursa. All five heroes are great vs Roshan– which is important since they’re using Ursa. Having five heroes strong in the pit hastens the process, which is necessary since they used an obvious Level-1 Rosh hero/composition. They further add haste by teleporting to the pit immediately. The speed of their attempt makes the fact that they have 4 melee heroes/units less important of a factor. Note that even with their haste that their opponents were only about 5 seconds away from engaging, and they did not even speed up their scout with a Smoke.

In this case, if DK had caught them in the pit, it seems likely Alliance would have been defeated. The vast majority of their dps against Roshan came from the 22 stacks of Fury Swipes Ursa accumulated on Roshan, which he collected quickly thanks to Beastmaster’s aura. This is great for sustained damage over time, but insignifcant in a quick exchange with the enemy team. Their only source of control at that point came from Leshrac. DK had the extreme burst damage of Visage’s Soul Assumption and Gyro’s Rocket Barrage, combined with the control of Rubick’s Lift (which could stun everyone potentially) and Lifestealer’s Open Wounds.

Even after taking Roshan at level 1 the game proceeded to take another hour before Alliance could defeat their opponents. This however is because of the nature of the strengths of Alliance’s composition. They have some midgame push capacity in Sylla’s Bear and Leshrac’s Edict, but it’s not really superior to DK’s antipush capacity in Gyrocopter. Alliance’s real strength comes from the attack speed buffs Beastmaster and Ogre can provide the Bear lategame. Theirs was an advantage which could not be compounded early. At the same time DK had a three-damage-core lineup which could keep up easily over the course of a long game– thus making it difficult for Alliance to end the game.

The lesson to be learned here is to carefully assess the weaknesses to your composition during the draft. Again I won’t get into specifics of the outdated draft order, but Alliance had the option to ban Gyrocopter before DK picked him, and opted to ban Juggernaut instead. Their other two second-phase bans were very appropriate: Keeper of the Light who offers tremendous anti-push, and Clockwerk who offers a great deal of control against the immobile Ursa. Juggernaut offers push, but not so much anti-push. Gyrocopter on the other hand gave DK a significant amount of anti-push which slowed Alliance down.Alliance vs Orange; The International 3; Match ID: 264470591. This match has the current drafting format, so I will analyze the complete draft. First-Pick Orange bans Lone Druid and Chen in their first-phase bans. Sylla is a hero Alliance’s offlaner AdmiralBulldog is infamously skilled with, and Chen is one of Akke’s stronger heroes as well. Alliance bans Visage and Naga Siren. Visage offers a lot of power at level 1 (such as in level 1 Roshan bait engagements…), and Naga Siren can prevent the compounding of advantages with the incredible stalling and resetting capacity of her ultimate. Orange grabs the incredible initiator Batrider– a solid, standard pick. Alliance responds with Wisp and Furion, securing their next best offlaner and a strong global ganking presence. Both of these heroes coincidentally are great vs Roshan at level 1. Orange takes Lifestealer, a strong midgame focused carry with built-in magic immunity (protection from Wisp ganks potentially).

Second phase bans: Orange removes Enchantress, who offers pushing power in addition to that of Furion, and also bans Weaver, a flexible carry or offlaner whose kit renders him unkillable at the hands of Lifestealer. Additionally Alliance is known to run a jungler often when they use Wisp to help give Wisp his ultimate early, and this largely denies them that opportunity. Alliance bans Outworld Destroyer, a lane-dominating mid-laner, and Nyx Assassin, a hero whose powerful invisible ganking/counter-ganking capacity can threaten the pushing capacity of Furion and the ganking capacity of Wisp.

Alliance picks Puck, a strong mid-laner and powerful initiator– a hero who can set up ganks for Furion and Wisp. Orange picks Rubick, a solid lead-stun support. Alliance picks Venomancer, an aggressive support who is decent at level-1 Roshan attempts. This uncommon pick is even less common with the highly defensive support Wisp, and in conjunction with the Furion pick could make Orange suspicious of a level-1 Rosh attempt by Alliance. Orange picks Templar Assassin, a midlaner strong vs Puck, and a hero who can be difficult to gank.

Alliance bans Jakiro, a strong defensive support whose stun syncs well with Rubick’s Lift. Orange bans Anti-Mage, a hard-to-kill carry whose split-pushing power matches the elusive quality of most of their picks. Alliance picks Ursa, a strong level 1 Rosh carry. Orange picks Storm Spirit, ostensibly a fourth farming hero– making their composition very greedy. Notice that Orange has not a single hero who can safely scout the pit.

Both teams bee-line towards Roshan, Alliance Smoking up. Alliance wraps around into Orange’s jungle instead of entering the pit itself, and fakes the Roshan attempt by moving the first set of Treants from within the pit to scout outside. Orange get out of position and Alliance descends upon them from behind, getting two kills for free. Yes, I tricked you– there wasn’t any level 1 Roshan killing. Orange was equally surprised, since they lacked any capacity to safely scout– their error. Note however that they still grabbed an early advantage that their highly midgame focused composition could best compound. The game ended within 20 minutes. Alliance’s skill-build was suited for the early fight, and thus ill-suited for the level 1 Roshan, so they couldn’t attempt it even after winning the fight.
I can’t really say that Orange’s draft is the sole reason the strategy worked, but consider how they at least could have conducted the draft better anyway. The way they laned their greedy lineup was with an aggressive Naix dual lane against the solo Furion, mid Templar Assassin, jungle Batrider, and solo Storm Spirit. Templar Assassins frequently build Blink Dagger with a good start and Batriders always build Blink Dagger, so the Naix-Infest initiation capacity of Storm Spirit really doesn’t justify his presence in this lineup. Weaver was banned so he wasn’t an option. The next best solo hero who can also scout the Roshan pit safely is Windrunner. What would she have given Orange? A good mek-farmer, which they lack, a second support/utility hero– which they lack, a hero who has a possible early escape skill against the aggressive trilane of their opponents (which admittedly was not the obvious way to lane their trilane; and Windrun is potentially a dubious escape mechanism against Venomancer’s slow as well), and a hero who could if necessary abandon the lane in favour of stacking or farming ancients.

Who else could they have picked? Beastmaster would fulfill many of the qualifications I just gave Windrunner, minus the escape. Frequently his offlane usefulness is just in stacking ancients anyway. They definitely have the capacity to farm stacked ancients relatively early to give their solo levels with either or both Templar Assassin or Lifestealer. Another possibility is Tinker, whose March could scout the pit by agitating Roshan from a safe distance, and could be used to farm stacked ancients safely. His anti-push would have been very useful against the obviously mid-game pushing focus some of Alliance’s heroes had.

I hope to have hilighted the importance of drafting carefully and intelligently with regards to using or facing a level 1 Roshan team. If I am successful in increasing the number of teams at whatever skill level that try to take on Roshan at level 1, then I knowingly open the strategic can of worms that arises on the other side– when you think your opponent might Level 1 Roshan you must have a way to distinguish whether they’re doing Roshan or baiting you to check Roshan. There are enough heroes which can safely scout the pit that it should be possible to include one in your draft without compromising your intended strategy.

Not good or practiced at drafting? Not really getting much out of my long analyses of all the various aspects of drafting? That’s fine, here are some level 1 Roshan teams you can draft with specific instructions– no extra understanding necessary. Obviously what I decide the opponent picks and bans is subjective, but should give you insight as to what you might be able to expect your opponent to get out of your draft.

Dummies’ guide to Captain’s Mode Level 1 Roshan:

Draft 1: You’re Dire Second-Pick. Your goal composition is Lone Druid Juggernaut Viper Leshrac Vengeful Spirit. Note: you must TP to Roshan to complete this in time.

Their ban 1: Nyx Assassin
reasoning:
They’re going to build a split-push composition, and Nyx Assassin’s gank potential can impede that.

Your ban 1: Batrider
reasoning:
You’re building a 5man pushing team and need to knock off the most popular and powerful single-target initiator, especially because they’re first-pick.

Their ban 2: Keeper of the Light
reasoning:
They don’t know we intend to push yet, our Bat ban didn’t give away much. They don’t know this ban is actually good for us. It’s good for them to ban because it counters their split-push intended strategy.

Your ban 2: Naga Siren
reasoning:
Naga gives them initiation and a powerful stalling tactic to delay or stop our 5-man pushes, we can’t let them have her, and we don’t intend to take her ourselves. She’s a very common support pick currently. We aren’t banning Wisp because as a team that intends to be as 5 mostly we have nothing to fear from the hero that specializes in pickoffs. The other likely possibility from them is Nature’s Prophet because of their ban of Keeper, but we aren’t afraid of him because the way we lane this will give our Sylla Bear a good enough start to farm Radiance which will suffice as our anti-push by the time Furion would become a real nusance otherwise.

Their pick 1: Wisp
reasoning:
Wisp is a strong pick, and is a hero who doesn’t often get through the first ban phase– they think they’ve picked up a strong asset to their team, but we already know it isn’t a problem for us.

Your pick 1: Lone Druid

Your pick 2: Juggernaut
reasoning:
This is the crux of our lineup– the two most important cores to our team. They are the reason our 5man pushing lineup will be so strong. They’re also both strong vs Roshan for their defensive capabilities– so we’ll need to add in damage later. This is a strong duo combo, but one that was popular a few months ago– so it’s unlikely you’ll be unable to pick it up. We’re grabbing both of them early anyway because this is the only chance we’ll get to pick two heroes at once, and if we pick one it’s possible the other will get denied later if they recognize the threat of the duo.

Their pick 2: Nature’s Prophet
reasoning:
We already saw it coming– it finishes the global synergy with Wisp, gives them a strong offlaner who can potentially assist the trilane against our likely aggressive trilane with Teleport early, and builds the crux of their split push composition. They can’t fear the global counter picks of Spirit Breaker and Spectre because we’ve already picked up two core heroes best in the side lanes, so this is a safe pick.

Their ban 3: Enchantress
reasoning:
She’s a powerful aggressive support who adds push and 5-man strength. They ban her instead of Chen because he’s much more commonly run defensively than aggressively (and our trilane is almost obviously aggressive, even with just the two picks so far). Furthermore Chen is actually a good pick for them because he allows Wisp to get levels while having some defensive lane presence if necessary. And if they do end up picking Chen the last thing they want is an Enchantress stealing his creeps.

Your ban 3: Tinker
reasoning:
This ban is a bit redundant given that they already have Nature’s Prophet, but it’s not unheard of to field both as their roles don’t entirely overlap. What we hate about Tinker is that March is an excellent anti-push measure which is especially strong against 5-man teams, which is exactly what we’ll be running.

Their ban 4: Puck
reasoning:
Puck is a strong midlaner who would add some pushing power and ostensibly much needed initiation to our team. They don’t realize that our priorities differ from the “norm”– our third farming hero must be able to deal damage to Roshan, which Puck cannot. Additionally we’re actually going to forgo intitiation, counting on compounding an early advantage and to rely on the raw pushing power of Bear and Healing Ward to enable us to not care about actually engaging their team.

Your ban 4: Invoker
reasoning:
While it’s true that Invoker is not commonly picked anymore, Invoker really does fit their draft so far. He would give them a stronger 5-man presence with spells that could disrupt or delay our pushes– namely Meteor, Defeaning Blast, Tornado, Ice Wall, and he would give them more split-push power with his Forge Spirits, and would also add more global power with Sun Strike.

Your pick 3: Leshrac
reasoning:
Strong, flexible support who gives us a good aoe stun against Roshan and their team. Lightning will give us some anti-push, and Edict will enhance our pushes. This lets us wait to pick up our mid hero as well.

Their pick 3: Queen of Pain
reasoning:
They need a hero who can kill with burst damage because our Healing Ward will prevent kills from sustained damage. She also gives them some more split push and anti-push, and is a strong mid hero in general. Her ganking potential also fits the Wisp Furion picks. Why don’t we care? Our supports are going to be harder to snipe due to the level advantage. Our mid hero is going to be a lane dominator starting out with a level advantage.

Your pick 4: Viper
reasoning:
Viper is the only hero who can fulfill all of the following: mid hero who offers us extra damage vs Roshan, can win the lane vs Queen of Pain, and is a suitable Mek farmer. The last one is the most limiting constraint on who we can pick, but is a very important factor given our strategy.

Their pick 4: Sven
reasoning:
They need a carry who’s hard to kill in lane, ganks well with Wisp, can fight without much farm (their trilane is weak because of the Wisp pick, so their carry is not guaranteed farm in lue or our aggressive trilane), is relevant in the midgame, can also carry if the game goes long, and offers some aoe control. Chaos Knight or Lifestealer would be the pick if they didn’t need the last factor. Why we don’t care? Entangle goes through BKB.

Your ban 5: Jakiro
reasoning:
He gives them aoe control and stalling power. He’s also a strong defensive support.

Their ban 5: Venomancer
reasoning:
He would give us a very aggressive set-up slow in-lane, more pushing power later, and coincidentally is good vs Roshan.

Your pick 5: Vengeful Spirit
reasoning:
She helps us vs Roshan, she gives us a set-up stun for lane, she roams well with Leshrac, she gives us some initiation/counter-initiation later in game, and her Wave of Terror’s vision utility is nice as well. The armour reduction component also syncs well with our high physical damage.

Their pick 5: Enigma
reasoning:
Picking a conventional support probably wouldn’t win them the trilane, and it would slow Wisp’s levels down. Enigma gives them split-push, teamfight, a mek farmer, and great synergy with Sven. Why we don’t care? Vengeful Spirit can always prematurely end Blackhole with Swap even if he farms a BKB if she’s not caught inside.

Final result: Lone Druid, Juggernaut, Leshrac, Viper, Vengeful Spirit versus Wisp, Nature’s Prophet, Queen of Pain, Sven, Enigma. It will be difficult for them to get the most out of their Wisp pick. They can potentially scout our Roshan attempt with Furion’s Treants, but I think our level 1 is stronger. We should be able to win every lane: Sylla 1v1 Furion, Viper 1v1 Queen of Pain, trilane vs dual lane. Our supports can roam at any point to either harass Enigma or try to gank Queen of Pain. Lone Druid’s job is to farm Radiance as quickly as possible. Our strongest timing window opens up at the moment he finishes Radiance. If Lone Druid somehow ends up with a poor start and decides to abandon the Radiance attempt, and switches to Maelstrom, our Leshrac will have to level Lightning and forgo Edict altogether to give us some semblance of anti-push.

Possible replacements if your opponents inadvertently ban any of the heroes I’ve instructed you to pick (if you need to sub out both sylla and jugg you’re doing an unrelated strategy and I offer no guarantees or advice on Roshan or the game):

Lone Druid: Luna
Juggernaut: Troll Warlord, Gyro
Leshrac: Lina, Jakiro, Centaur, Alchemist (support), Witch Doctor
Viper: Templar Assassin, Clinkz, Bristleback
Vengeful Spirit: Venomancer, Visage, Ogre Magi, Undying, Abaddon

Draft 2: You’re Radiant First-Pick. Your goal composition is Nature’s Prophet, Faceless Void, Beastmaster, Jakiro, Ogre Magi. You must TP to complete this in time.

Your ban 1: Batrider
reasoning:
Since we aren’t going to take him ourselves, we’re going to eliminate him. He’s too strong to let the other team have, since we’re relying on a single damage core.

Their ban 1: Naga Siren
reasoning:
They’re going to be building teamfight, and Naga is great at stopping or resetting those.

Your ban 2: Wisp
reasoning:
We’re going to buy space for our Void with Furion, so we need to prevent them from being able to easily slay Furion while he pushes alone. We also aren’t running a composition that can effectively group as 5 early, so we can’t just nullify his effect with grouping.

Their ban 2: Lifestealer
reasoning:
Since we denied them the best initiation that goes through magic immunity Naix possibly offers them a problem in teamfights.

Your pick 1: Nature’s Prophet
reasoning:
He’s the space-maker who will allow Void to get farmed. He shouldn’t step on Void’s toes at all because Void isn’t a great split pusher like Antimage. Furion will be our offlaner.

Their pick 1: Gyrocopter

Their pick 2: Dark Seer
reasoning:
These are the core of their lineup, two heroes who offer tremendous 5man teamfight capacity. Gyro also offers some anti-push which can be useful against our Furion. This immediately gives them a strong offlaner.

Your pick 2: Jakiro
reasoning:
Jakiro is a safe pick– a strong defensive support who gives us stalling power against their 5man groupings. Additionally he has great synergy with Dark Seer, so we are denying them that possibility.

Your ban 3: Puck
reasoning:
Puck is a strong mid who would give them a lot of control in teamfights as well as initiation. It has strong synergy with Dark Seer and Gyrocopter as well, who rely on their powerful ultimate skills in teamfights.

Their ban 3: Queen of Pain
reasoning:
She’s a strong mid hero who would give us strong gank potential in conjunction with our Furion. She’s also strong vs the hero they want to lane mid. They don’t realize the mid hero we want to use would actually be very weak against her in lane.

Your ban 4: Outworld Destroyer
reasoning:
OD is a lane dominating mid hero who frequently builds Mek. His ultimate skill is effective in teamfights, which we can see they’re building towards.

Their ban 4: Tinker
reasoning:
Tinker offers great stalling power, especially against teams which are fully grouped as 5. It’s plausible that we might run him with Furion for extra split-pushing power as well.

Their pick 3: Dragon Knight
reasoning:
He gives them a durable secondary damage core who also offers some pushing strength with the DoT of his ultimate.

Your pick 3: Ogre Magi
reasoning:
Even though we know our Beastmaster pick would be safe, this gives away less information. This pick tells them we want to run an extremely defensive trilane in conjunction with the Jakiro pick. Hopefully the effect is to dissuade them from running an aggressive trilane.

Their pick 4: Chen
reasoning:
They concede to leave our trilane alone, and opt for a defensive trilane of their own to give them more xp. The extra xp is useful to them so that they can get their teamfight ultimates earlier. Additionally Chen is a good mek farmer for them and his ultimate will strengthen their 5-man.

Your pick 4: Beastmaster
reasoning:
We now reveal our effectively one damage core lineup. Beastmaster gives us some antipush to slow them down with as well as decent single target initiation that bypasses magic immunity. He shouldn’t have any trouble in lane against Dragon Knight.

Their ban 5: Spectre
reasoning:
We obviously need a very powerful lategame carry who requires such a safe trilane. Spectre would have strong synergy with the global ganks of Furion. However she’s useless vs Roshan, so we don’t even want her. They aren’t afraid of Phantom Lancer instead because of their strong aoe damage.

Your ban 5: Shadow Demon
reasoning:
He can really impair Void in teamfights with Disruption during Chrono and his Demonic Purge the rest of the time. He also synergizes well with Chen as part of a roaming duo early on.

Their pick 5: Leshrac
reasoning:
He gives them aoe control which synergizes well with Dark Seer’s Vacuum, and also benefits from the levels that their jungler offers. He offers some antipush against our Furion’s split-push, and also gives them a stronger 5man push with Edict.

Your pick 5: Faceless Void
reasoning:
He’s a strong carry whose ultimate skill can disrupt or dismantle their teamfight strength. He benefits greatly from the attack speed buffs of Ogre and Beastmaster.

Final result: Faceless Void, Nature’s Prophet, Jakiro, Ogre Magi, Beastmaster versus Gyrocopter, Dark Seer, Leshrac, Chen, Dragon Knight. The game will come down to how well Void uses Chrono to disrupt their teamfights. From Void and Beastmaster we have decent initiation and should be able to pick off their heroes before they can engage us. They don’t have a way to scout the pit, but really should not be on alert for level 1 Roshan because Void is such a throw-off. Instead they should be concerned with protecting their jungle as 5, preventing us from blocking any of Chen’s camps (especially defending it against the Treants they expect us to send). The lanes aren’t in a state to be snowballed yet, so we won’t have a crushing advantage immediately, but should be in a position to slow down their attempt at snowballing in the midgame with their teamfight strength. Normally a defensive Void trilane is weak, but a trilane with a level advantage and an offlane Furion starting the game out with global TP is anything but weak.

Note: if you’re forced to swap out Void for someone else you’re effectively running a different strategy altogether. The possible replacements I’ll give will allow you to kill Roshan still, not to run the same rest-of-game-plan:

Void: Luna, Lycan, Alchemist (Lycan is a split pusher, the other two are teamfighters to contest their teamfight with)
Beastmaster: Brewmaster, Magnus, Alchemist, Viper (Alch and Viper would both farm Mek for teamfights, the other two would farm blink and be strict initiators)
Nature’s Prophet: Lone Druid
Jakiro: Lina, Leshrac, Centaur
Ogre Magi: Vengeful Spirit, Wisp, Venomancer, Tusk

Draft 3: You’re Dire First-pick. Your goal composition is Luna Abaddon Jakiro Lycan Templar Assassin.

Your ban 1: Nature’s Prophet
reasoning:
We don’t want him, his Treants can scout us out in the pit, and we aren’t going to have a lot of anti-push. Additionally since it’s a bit of a throw-off ban our opponents will think we’re trying to give ourselves a guaranteed tier-one firstpick, baiting them into banning the heroes we don’t want to have to.

Their ban 1: Batrider
reasoning:
This is the pick we bait them into banning, as they can only assume we’re forcing them to decide whether we take Bat or Wisp as firstpick. Our priorities differ from the norm because of the level 1 Roshan though, so they’re mistaken. If they hadn’t banned him we would have, forcing them to either ban the Wisp in their 2nd ban or gamble on whether or not we take it.

Your ban 2: Wisp
reasoning:
We don’t want it in the game– now they have no clue what we’re up to.

Their ban 2: Dark Seer
reasoning:
They don’t know what we want, so they remove a powerful offlaner.

Your pick 1: Abaddon
reasoning:
He’s a strong support with high utility who gives our opponents no information as to our strategy.

Their pick 1: Alchemist

Their pick 2: Queen of Pain
reasoning:
They don’t know what we’re doing, so they’ve opted to just pick two strong core heroes who can fight midgame as well as scale.

Your pick 2: Lycan
reasoning:
Picking Lycan here throws them off in a few different ways. It doesn’t really tell the story of how we intend to lane our heroes, and doesn’t give away the rest of our picks either.

Your ban 3: Weaver
reasoning:
Weaver is an elusive offlaner. He would give our solo easy-lane Lycan a hard time, and be difficult to kill later in the game. To control both Weaver and Queen of Pain in fights would require more crowd control than we intend to draft. He would also give them a strong and flexible three-core lineup that would be strong in the midgame and scale very well. Additionally, the armour reduction of Swarm would synergize well with Alchemist’s Acid Spray.

Their ban 3: Puck
reasoning:
Puck is a strong mid hero capable of holding its own against Queen of Pain in lane, and gives us much needed control to hold Lycan’s targets in place.

Your ban 4: Naga Siren
reasoning:
She’s just so annoying, as previously described. Her Riptide adds to the armour reduction of Acid Spray, and Song would help isolate Luna once she farms a BKB.

Their ban 4: Outworld Destroyer
reasoning:
He’s strong vs all Intelligence mids, and could hinder their Queen of Pain.

Their pick 3: Shadow Demon
reasoning:
He’s a strong support who offers control in lane and in teamfights. He’s a strong ganker because he can set up any stun. Most importantly they deny him to us, as he’d be especially effective at controlling Alchemist in teamfights.

Your pick 3: Jakiro
reasoning:
He’s our second support and offers us the bulk of our control in lane and in teamfights. Picking him here denies him to them, as he’s a good partner for Shadow Demon. We’re picking him over Leshrac because Ice Path is larger and lasts longer than Split Earth, and we need all the control we can get from this support given the rest of our draft.

Their pick 4: Leshrac
reasoning:
He gives them some antipush to contest Lycan’s split-push, and his stun combos well with Shadow Demon’s Disruption.

Your pick 4: Templar Assassin
reasoning:
She can do alright against Queen of Pain, gives us a strong source of damage in midgame, is good in the pit, and has more synergy with our other cores Luna and Lycan from the mobility she builds than does say, Viper. Abaddon can help cover up her fragility when Refraction is down. Picking her here rather than Luna makes them think our next pick is an offlaner, which will cause them to completely waste their ban.

Their ban 5: Clockwerk
reasoning:
He’s a solid offlaner, and offers us free initiation as well as a strong means of controlling Alchemist in teamfights.

Your ban 5: Bounty Hunter
reasoning:
They need an offlaner, and Track would in addition to making their 5man stronger help them kill Templar Assassin without spending as much on Dust or Sentries. He also would be effective at harassing Lycan in their 1v1 lane.

Their pick 5: Mirana
reasoning:
She can most easily offlane in Radiant thanks to the way the Ancients are set-up, gives them initiation or counter-initiation with her ultimate skill, and gives them another good stun– one which also combos well with Disruption.

Your pick 5: Luna
reasoning:
She makes killing Roshan a breeze, is strong in the midgame, and nukes hard in lane– making her useful in the aggressive trilane we’re running. Her fragility will be nullified by Abaddon. She’ll scale well if the game goes late.

Final result: Luna, Lycan, Abaddon, Jakiro, Templar Assassin versus Alchemist, Queen of Pain, Shadow Demon, Leshrac, Mirana. We can kill Roshan pretty quickly thanks to Luna’s aura, Abaddon’s passive, and Meld. We’ll press the level advantage immediately by running an aggressive trilane. Luna’s normal weakness in such lanes will be nullified by Abaddon’s Aphotic Shield. Mirana should be able to do alright in lane since it’s a 1v1 matchup, but with good Wolf control Lycan should be able to stay ahead. Queen of Pain will still be a tough matchup for Templar Assassin, but the level advantage from the level 1 Roshan kill will help. Once Lycan has Vlads and Medallion he can solo Roshan any time they give us the opportunity. Once he has these items he can start roaming and we’ll rotate Luna to the easy lane to catch up. When Luna finishes Drum we’ll have a strong timing window to press against them. We have strong split push as well as strong teamfight, and can adapt our play to the game. We aren’t comitted to any tactic. Our three damage cores will scale if needed, but also give us the means to compound our early advantage in the midgame. Our second strong timing window is right after Luna finishes BKB. Lycan will build Necronomicon for the huge burst in dps it offers him. If we’re concerned of them scouting the pit with Mirana’s Arrow we can just TP there. Their level 1 is stronger than ours, so this is a valid concern.

Note that replacing Abaddon may force you to abandon the aggressive trilane attempt, though with the level advantage it should still be viable. Replacing Luna with a melee hero should probably be followed by replacing one of the other melee heroes with ranged, else too much Slam damage is taken and Salve rotations are impossible. Additionally, replacing Luna will slow down the Roshan attempt considerably, requiring you to TP. Possible replacements:

Lycan: Lone Druid, Nature’s Prophet
Luna: Alchemist, Vengeful Spirit (carry), Spirit Breaker
Templar Assassin: Viper, Lone Druid, Alchemist
Jakiro: Lina, Leshrac, Tusk, Sven (support), Earth Shaker
Abaddon: Vengeful Spirit, Ogre Magi, Visage

Draft 4: You’re Radiant Second Pick. Your goal composition is: Sniper, Puck, Lone Druid, Jakiro, Vengeful Spirit.

Their ban 1: Naga Siren
reasoning:
No one likes her.

Your ban 1: Batrider
reasoning:
It’s simple– we ban the Batman.

Their ban 2: Alchemist
reasoning:
Strong, popular carry with flexible laning.

Your ban 2: Wisp
reasoning:
It would weaken our lanes to use, and we don’t want to give them a chance at picking it up.

Their pick 1: Visage
reasoning:
Strong support who is durable in later teamfights and provides strong burst damage in lane and in teamfights. Opens the possibility of running an aggressive trilane.

Your pick 1: Puck

Your pick 2: Jakiro
reasoning:
Jakiro is a strong defensive support– will be useful if they run an aggressive trilane. Puck is a strong mid hero– a good teamfighter and initiator. Puck does nothing for us in the pit, but that’s okay because the rest of our picks do.

Their pick 2: Outworld Destroyer
reasoning:
Mid hero strong vs our pick. Good Mek farmer and midgame fighter.

Their ban 3: Lifestealer
reasoning:
His magic immunity skill Rage reduces a lot of damage their picks so far output.

Your ban 3: Gyrocopter
reasoning:
Strong aggressive trilane farmer with attacks/spells with long range, which reduce the positional advantage Sniper has as result of his long range later on in the game.

Their ban 4: Dark Seer
reasoning:
Strong offlaner who synergizes well with Puck and Jakiro.

Your ban 4: Juggernaut
reasoning:
Strong aggressive carry with a strong gap-closing skill for teamfights– could be problematic for Sniper all game.

Their pick 3: Chaos Knight
reasoning:
Strong aggressive carry who brings control and scales reasonably well.

Your pick 3: Lone Druid
reasoning:
An offlaner strong in 1v1 lanes (which he’ll likely get) who provides us with some control and gives us a secondary source of damage.

Their pick 4: Keeper of the Light
reasoning:
Brings their trilane a lot of burst damage to swiftly set up Soul Assumption, and his Chakra Magic can alleviate Chaos Knight’s mana issues.

Your pick 4: Vengeful Spirit
reasoning:
Strong stun in lane, roams well with Jakiro if they get the chance, gives us more intiation or counter initiation in teamfights, and good in the pit.

Their ban 5: Phantom Lancer
reasoning:
We need a carry, and this one would be good against Chaos Knight later in the game. He would also possibly be hard to kill in lane.

Your ban 5: Weaver
reasoning:
They need an offlaner, and this one is slippery and good at undoing positional advantages, which Sniper will rely on.

Their pick 5: Windrunner
reasoning:
She offers them the much needed control that their mid and supports lack.

Your pick 5: Sniper
reasoning:
Normally this would be a horrible pick because he’s so weak in lane and can’t farm especially fast. However here the fact that he can’t farm well is irrelevant since the two damage cores on the other team can’t either, and his weakness in lane is offset by the free level 2 Roshan gives. In conjunction with Lone Druid he gives us a strong midgame pushing force that can take advantage of any mistakes the enemy make.

Final Result: Lone Druid will easily win his 1v1 lane against Windrunner in the offlane, Puck may have a tough time mid but is not at any risk of dying, and can utilize his superior rune control to assist the side lanes. The trilane should go well for us, leaving their Chaos Knight behind where he needs to be to dominate the midgame with Outworld Destroyer. Our superior control and positionally oriented carries should defeat them in teamfights.
Possible replacements:

Puck: Magnus, Clockwerk (cogs useless in pit here), Beastmaster
Jakiro: Lina, Leshrac
Lone Druid: Lycan, Luna
Vengeful Spirit: Ogre Magi, Visage
Sniper: Slardar, Juggernaut, Luna

From looking at specific drafting scenario examples we can see some of the strengths and weaknesses of level 1 Roshan teams. The differing priorities can cause the draft to look weird at times as heroes deemed of a higher tier or priority are overlooked in favour of those which are more useful in the pit. While picking useful supports isn’t an issue, you’re sometimes limited in what core heroes you can pick. At the same time some teams can look completely normal and inauspicious as they take down Roshan at level 1. And being able to kill Roshan at level 1 can nullify some drafting or laning disadvantages. Building a level 1 Roshan team does not need to completely mold your draft– if there’s a hero useless in the pit who you really want to build a strategy and draft around that’s fine, you just have to make sure that you have at least two good cores in the pit.

Now that you’ve seen a few ways that proteams have drafted level 1 Roshan teams and a few ways I’ve suggested to draft such a team, let’s look at the drafts of normal games and see in how few changes they could have been able to take on Roshan at level 1.

Analysis of common drafts

Tongfu vs iG Sina Cup Supernova Finals: Tongfu has Visage, Alchemist, Rubick, Beastmaster, Templar Assassin. This draft actually can kill Roshan on time by TPing and doing a full 5man salve rotation. Rubick must break the spell-block for Visage to use Grave Chill. Templar Assassin’s Meld and Alchemist’s Acid Spray reduce Roshan’s armour by 4, and Beastmaster capitalizes on it by increasing everyone’s attack speed by 18. If Beastmaster was replaced with Nature’s Prophet or Lone Druid, Roshan would be cake. It’s true that those heroes don’t fulfill exactly the same role as Beastmaster in terms of initiation, but both at least add some form of control in Sprout or Entangle, respectively.

Same set: iG’s lineup is Lifestealer, Puck, Shadow Demon, Leshrac, Troll. This draft comes very close but just falls short of killing Roshan. TPing and using two salve rotations could perhaps seal the deal, but that’s a lot of very technical work to do what would be easier done by swapping out a hero here or there. Shadow Demon is useless in the pit– replacing him with say, Vengeful Spirit would give them an initiating stun as well as the damage needed to defeat Roshan on time. iG was first-pick, so it’s not possible that iG picked Shadow Demon before Tongfu picked Rubick, removing the possibility that they then denied the pick to Tongfu, as Shadow Demon is strong against Lifestealer. Shadow Demon for similar reasons is also strong against Alchemist however, and Vengeful Spirit in truth does not offer the same level of control, though her Swap can help fulfill a similar as well as different but equally useful function.

They picked Puck in the first phase, allowing her to be counter-picked in Templar Assassin. It’s not a game-long counter, just in lane, but not a necessary outcome. Magnus would have fared about the same as Puck in lane, provided a similar function for the rest of the game, and offered more in the pit. Tongfu had already banned two strong counter-pick mid heroes to Magnus in Bat and Outworld, iG easily could have removed the Queen of Pain with one of their phase-two bans if she was a worry. Instead they banned Gyrocopter, a hero decent against Lifestealer, but not in my eyes to a sufficient degree to warrant banning him after Tongfu had already picked Alchemist, who is a stronger carry than mid hero.

iG’s other option would be to replace the Lifestealer: Luna or Lone Druid could have performed a similar role as far as midgame-fighting carries capable of soloing in the easy lane, and either would have guaranteed an easy Roshan.Game 2 of the same match: iG’s draft is Visage, Weaver, Lion, Beastmaster, Troll. This team can kill Roshan at level 1 with TP and a salve rotation. Vengeful Spirit especially, but also Lina, Leshrac, and Jakiro would yield similar function to Lion yet be more useful in the pit. None of these heroes were picked or banned.

Tongfu’s draft was Outworld Destroyer, Rubick, Clockwerk, Gyrocopter, Tidehunter. All five of these heroes are completely unsuitable for level 1 Roshan. However, for practice’s sake, let’s see how we could change the heroes to enable level 1 Roshan without changing the strategy. If we replaced Outworld with Viper, Rubick with Vengeful Spirit, Clockwerk with Beastmaster or Lone Druid, Gyrocopter with Luna, and left Tide alone we would have a team that can level 1 Roshan which fulfills very nearly the exact same function/strategy.Game 3 of the grand finals of The International 3: Alliance’s lineup is Lone Druid, Mirana, Lina, Ogre Magi, Batrider. This lineup can kill Roshan by TPing. Replace Mirana or Batrider with Beastmaster to make it faster.

Game 2: Alliance’s lineup is Nature’s Prophet, Venomancer, Visage, Beastmaster, Spectre. This lineup can kill Roshan by TPing, though it’s a little slow. Replace Spectre with Luna, Troll, Alchemist (other team had him in this game), Void, Spirit Breaker, Sniper, or Bristle to kill him faster. These carries offer different shared aspects with Spectre, of varying degree, depending on what Alliance’s specific intended function of Spectre was this game.
Winner bracket finals between the same teams of the same tournament, game 2: Navi’s lineup is Luna, Nature’s Prophet, Wisp, Tidehunter, Enchantress. This absolutely can kill Roshan, even without TPing (though again, it’s probably still a good idea).

As a counter-example, here’s a lineup Alliance has used several times in the past: Phantom Assassin, Magnus, Wisp, Chen, and whatever solo they can. In G-1 League vs Orange they ran a Windrunner. Against Quantic they ran Dark Seer. Note that even if Nature’s Prophet is the offlaner they still can’t kill Roshan (not enough damage to kill in a reasonable amount of time). Not only can this lineup not kill Roshan, swapping out any hero for any other would not quite achieve the effect this set of heroes offers.

Specifically this draft runs a safe Pa/Wisp dual lane which usually gets nothing but levels and a few dagger-lasthits, as teams usually aggressive trilane vs it. Chen just does his thing getting levels and progressing towards Mek, aiding the dual lane or mid lane with creeps as needed while he stacks camps. The solo hero gets a 1v1 lane to varying degrees of success, depending on the matchup. The point is in midgame they utilize the Wisp’s relatively early ultimate skill, and make their underfarmed Phantom Assassin useful anyway with Empower (lets her farm as well). Their solo, Chen’s ultimate, Magnus’ powerful initiation and lockdown of RP combined with the aoe critting PA hits with a very strong 5man at their timing window of effectiveness.

The offlaner may be flexible, but no offlaner can singlehandedly enable the rest of the draft to kill Roshan. Swapping out Magnus results in PA hitting less hard, not hitting for aoe, and not being able to farm. Swapping out PA results in a useless carry dragging the team down– PA’s ability to swiftly garner pickoffs with crits is the crux of her midgame usefulness. Swapping out Wisp enables the other team to split-push them to death. Swapping out Chen dramatically reduces the strength of their early 5man, removing his global heal, his Mek timing, his pushing power, and his lane harass capacity via creeps. Enigma comes close in effectiveness and utility, but still doesn’t allow them to kill Roshan (unless the offlaner is Nature’s Prophet).

Enigma and Nature’s Prophet with the other three are able to kill Roshan (by TPing), but at a cost. Nature’s Prophet doesn’t offer as much in a teamfight as do other offlaners. His strength as an offlaner is his ability to block the pull camp for a considerable amount of time, but if the enemy is aggressive trilaning he loses this usefulness. Magnus is weak against many common mid heroes: Queen of Pain, Puck, Templar Assassin, Timbersaw, Outworld Destroyer, and others. All of these can’t be removed as possibilities. Chen’s ability to assist the midlane with a Wildkin’s Whirlwind, or a Harpy’s lightning, or a Troll’s ranged autoattack harass, enables the Magnus to get more out of his lane. If he can draw his focus to the easy lane, Chen can assist the PA and Wisp with the same creeps and others– a creep being melee is less of a detriment here. While PA and Wisp have a lot of surviveability, especially strong aggressive trilanes can still threaten their lives and zone them out, if not kill them. Enigma cannot safely just walk into either mid or the easy lane and expect to safely harass with Eidolons. Furthermore, the aggressive supports can harass or even kill Enigma far more easily than Chen. While effective in midgame, Enigma is more of a liability in such a scenario early on, even if they can secure the level advantage from Roshan.

Thus in such a carefully crafted draft walking the razor’s edge of clutch hit or miss efficacy, using the ideal heroes can be more important than opening up the possibility or threat of level 1 Roshan. However, against the right draft– one that cannot possibly run an aggressive trilane, the Roshan variation could strengthen their cause, but this incredibly game-specific.

Now if you just want to run out and kill Roshan at level 1 in an all-pick public game, you don’t care about all these drafting concerns. You just want to pick 5 heroes that can get this easily snowballable advantage. The following is a list (one that is by no means exhaustive) of such possibilities. I make no attempt to list all possibilities: you can easily modify any of these teams with a single swap here or there with any of the combatible (and in some cases even incombatible) heroes I’ve mentioned to make a new team. This list is just a start with which I encourage you to expand your personally comfortable-to-run compositions that can spifflicate Roshan at level 1, and may not even contain all of the compositions I’ve mentioned in this guide alone.

List of level 1 Roshan teams:
Lone Druid, Ogre Magi, Beastmaster, Lifestealer, Visage
Luna, Nature’s Prophet, Visage, Crystal Maiden, Queen of Pain
Luna, Templar Assassin, Lycan, Visage, Lina
Alchemist, Brewmaster, Lycan, Witch Doctor, Lina
Shadowfiend, Alchemist, Templar Assassin, Witch Doctor, Jakiro
Lone Druid, Venomancer, Faceless Void, Puck, Tusk
Nature’s Prophet, Faceless Void, Lina, Jakiro, Beastmaster
Lone Druid, Venomancer, Queen of Pain, Sniper, Witch Doctor
Sven, Venomancer, Visage, Templar Assassin, Nature’s Prophet
Abaddon, Ancient Apparition, Morphling, Timber, Dazzle (this silly bunch is my favourite proof-of-concept team)
Nature’s Prophet, Templar Assassin, Chen, Wisp, Phantom Assassin
Nature’s Prophet, Enigma, Magnus, Wisp, Phantom Assassin
Lone Druid, Juggernaut, Centaur, Viper, Vengeful Spirit
Lone Druid, Troll, Leshrac, Templar Assassin, Vengeful Spirit
Lone Druid, Lifestealer, Lina, Viper, Vengeful Spirit
Lone Druid, Ogre Magi, Wisp, Beastmaster, Invoker
Luna, Juggernaut, Leshrac, Viper, Vengeful Spirit
Ursa, Wisp, Lich, Jakiro, Puck
Skeleton King, Beastmaster, Ogre Magi, Lone Druid, Wisp
Troll, Ogre Magi, Vengeful Spirit, Nature’s Prophet, Batrider
Slardar, Lone Druid, Visage, Venomancer, Outworld Destroyer
Clinkz, Beastmaster, Tusk, Spirit Breaker, Lina
Huskar, Dazzle, Weaver, Magnus, Vengeful Spirit
Bristle, Puck, Morphling, Abaddon, Jakiro
Skywrath, Naga Siren, Luna, Lifestealer, Lina
Treant Protector, Sniper, Jakiro, Beastmaster, Queen of Pain
Undying, Vengeful Spirit, Slardar, Puck, Troll
Lone Druid, Mirana, Lina, Ogre Magi, Batrider
Visage, Alchemist, Rubick, Beastmaster, Templar Assassin
Visage, Weaver, Lion, Beastmaster, Troll
Luna, Viper, Vengeful Spirit, Beastmaster, Tide
Nature’s Prophet, Venomancer, Visage, Beastmaster, Sniper

In conclusion, there are quite a few viable team compositions which can kill Roshan at level 1 in a reasonable amount of time. While you cannot pick just any 5 laneable heroes to try Roshan, there’s enough variety in the heroes that are useful that you should be able to build any kind of team you want and still have the option of taking on Roshan at level 1.

An additional consideration I did not address in this guide is the notion of “viable” teams. As I explicitly explained: the teams I’ve listed and recommended all follow the current drafting and laning methods. Dota is however not so simple a game that we can assume the current way the game is played is perfect. There are many hero combinations which will become viable as the metagame shifts, and many of which that will become obsolete just the same.
What I’m getting at here is that there may be specific drafts which in the current 3:1:1 laning format, and with the current methods of handling farm priority, are inviable, but with the level lead of level 1 Roshan may become viable. I hope people explore and experiment with the new possibilities that arise from beginning the game with a global level advantage. I peaked into this a little bit– showing how heroes normally too weak to farm in an aggressive trilane with a level advantage, supported by heroes with a level advantage, may now be able to run in an aggressive trilane.

The rammifications of this alone open up the great possibility for having new hero combinations– placing heroes in the solo easy lane who could not normally do so without a level advantage and/or without the midgame support of heroes who could not previously safely be part of an aggressive trilane, etc. Additionally, the notion that dual lanes are too middle-ground and ineffective may prove false when given the level advantage of level 1 Roshan. Lastly, there are likely a great number of various “all-in” team compositions, which would not normally ever be viable, but now are with the level advantage.

A last element which I did not explore is what all is possible with an early Aegis. This definitely appears to be a consideration which progamers have not figured out yet either. There’s a TI3 game I omitted between VP and Tongfu where VP easily successfully nails Roshan at level 1 (Luna Furion + instant TP– they had 30 seconds before the game started, and Tongfu apparently had no idea). I specifically omitted the game both due to my having already hammered in their type of composition as one of the strongest possibilities, and mostly due to the way they just threw away the game with a stunning mechanical disadvantage.

At anyrate, they gave their mid Beastmaster the Aegis versus Dark Seer. Beastmaster lazily allowed himself to get very low on hp by tanking Ion Shell without any source of regen (he easily could have afforded the gold and time to bring himself a Salve), and Dark Seer effortlessly popped the Aegis with an auto attack or another tick of Ion Shell. Immediately Tongfu’s Shadow Demon and Lehsrac walk forward from just out of Beastmaster’s vision and effortlessly claim firstblood. So after having given the Aegis to the hero/role which almost certainly could make the least use of it, he failed even to get even the bare minimum utility out of it: as a gank prevention tool making up for the hero’s lack of an escape.

To me this failure is not the product of a lazy player, but rather the product of an entire professional team simply not knowing exactly how to use their advantage. I’m okay with this– it just means we need to spend more time as a community discussing and exploring these possibilities. It’s the same kind of problem an inexperienced support player may run into where he simply doesn’t know the best next move. Should he be babysitting the carry? Should he be staying near the midlane to try to guard the mid hero from ganks? Should he be stacking jungle camps to farm with the other support or with the carry for gold or xp? Should he be stacking the ancients for the carry or team to farm later? Should he be helping the offlaner defend his tower? These questions are often answered with practice, experience, or observation of others, but sometimes the answers to such and similar strategic questions don’t exist yet– and we must deliberately and actively seek out the solutions to these problems.

Unfortunately I personally lack the reliable and dedicated team necessary for exploring these possibilities, which is why I choose to share all of this information with you– so that you have the option of doing what I cannot.
I hope the format of this guide is not too jarring. Specifically I hope the content is not too redundant. I tried to be thorough; though I realize that much of the content is made up of mere lists. Still, I hope that the lists in conjunction with the provided analyses prove useful. However, please inform me of any objectively superior ways to organize this information, and I’ll consider implementing them.

I hope the information provided is interesting and enlightening. If you think there is something I missed that I can include to augment the guide, please inform me of such. Please also inform me of any claims you are unable to personally replicate. I have personally tested everything stated in this guide, though inaccuracies due to laziness or chance are possible.

Please give any and all comments related to the guide or its content. I will clarify any points I have explained inadequately and answer any questions you have.

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