Dota 2 Tower Targeting Priorities Guide



Dota 2 Tower Targeting Priorities Guide by Dest

Introduction

More often than not, people will say: “Gosh, the tower always switches to me when I go under it! Funny thing is, it never switches when my enemy goes. Haha.” or “If ONLY the tower did switch to that hero, I’d have killed him!”, as if randomness took its place in the decision of a tower’s target. Well, first things first:

RANDOMNESS IS THE LEAST IMPORTANT FACTOR IN THE DECISION OF A TOWER’S TARGET!

Meaning: Tower has priorities, and randomness only takes its place if you are dividing a “priority level” with someone else. And even so, as you shall see in this guide, it is not “random” in fact. So, arguably, we could say that there is NOTHING random in a tower’s decision to attack.

Tower Priority

Let’s talk about what matters, and what is the skeleton of this guide: The tower priority.

I’ll explain how it works:

This is the priority list for a tower’s target, with 1 being top priority:

  1. Closest enemy hero attacking a friendly hero with auto attack
  2. Closest enemy unit attacking a friendly hero with auto attack
  3. Closest enemy unit or hero attacking the tower itself with auto attack
  4. Closest enemy unit or hero attacking any friendly unit with auto attack
  5. Closest enemy unit or hero
  6. Closest enemy catapult

And these are the “Reseters” (I am hereby defining the following things as “Reseters”, and this is how I’ll call them throughout the guide, even in the videos), meaning: the tower resets its priority search, if one of the following happens:

  • The targeted enemy unit or hero dies
  • An enemy unit or hero targets a friendly unit or hero
  • An enemy hero being attacked by the tower manually attacks an enemy unit or hero (This is the famous tower target switch technique, where you A-attack one of your creeps to “reset the aggro”)

Some observations have to be made:

  • There is nothing random in the process. It is an algorithm: The tower will recognize the target with the highest priority in the moment, and will attack it to death if no Reseter occurs
  • Spells ARE NOT AUTO-ATACK. This means you can spam spells under a tower and it won’t switch.
  • Auto-cast spells (like Frost Arrows, Searing Arrows, Arcane Orb), even though are “attacks”, count as SPELLS for the tower IF YOU CAST THEM AT THE ENEMY INSTEAD OF USING THROUGH AUTO-CAST AND RIGHT-CLICK. Like before, you can spam them under a tower and it won’t switch.
  • Think about it this way: The tower chooses someone, based on its priority and sticks to it until it dies (a priori). A reseter induces a memory loss on the tower. Then it chooses another unit, based on its priority, and sticks to it until it dies. And so on.
  • You may have noticed the list is a bit different from the wiki. The wiki’s list is wrong, this is the right one. You can test it yourself : ).

So, now we have the skeleton. But the skeleton is important, so let’s do it one more time, but with another approach.

I’ll explain the process in a lucid way now:

I am the tower. I am the almighty tower. There comes some units!

IS SOMEONE ATTACKING MY HEROES NEAR ME?????
Oh, no? Ok…
IS SOMEONE ATTACKING ME????
Oh, no? Ok…
IS SOMEONE ATTACKING SOMEONE THAT I LIKE???
Oh, there is a creep attacking one of my creeps! I’ll KILL IT!
Oh, yeah! DEAD!
[Memory Loss]
???? I am the tower. I am the almighty tower. Hey, there are some units nearby!
IS SOMEONE ATTACKING MY HEROES NEAR ME?????
Oh, no? Ok…
IS SOMEONE ATTACKING ME????
Oh, a pesky Sven is attacking me! I’ll kill him!
[Sven retreats a bit, in order not to be close to the tower, and A-attack a creep]
[Memory Loss]
???? I am the tower. I am the almighty tower. Hey, there are some units nearby!
(and so on.)

Program-like

Now, if you are familiar with programming, I’ll make a pseudo-algorithm to illustrate (mind me, there’s a long time I don’t play with programming):

if priority 1:
attack target until RESETER, then go back to beginning
else:
if priority 2:
attack target until RESETER, then go back to beginning
else:
if priority 3:
attack target until RESETER, then go back to beginning
else:
if priority 4:
attack target until RESETER, then go back to beginning
else:
if priority 5:
attack target until RESETER, then go back to beginning
else:
if priority 6:
attack target until RESETER, then back to beginning
else:
back to beginning

Ways to abuse the knowledge

Well, most people say every knowledge is only as good as its applications. So, let’s begin with some strategies:

Tower Diving

The important aspects to remember here are:

  • Spells are not Reseters. Abuse this.
  • Switch targets (A-attack your creeps when they are in a higher-priority state) when you disengage the enemy.
  • If you have another Hero with you (which is highly advised when you dive a tower), you two can effectively switch the tower’s aggro. Notice that some times this will be a two-man job: both of you will have to do your part on changing the aggro.

Pushing

There is really only one aspect to remember here:

  • Switch targets. If you can tank the tower safely for your creeps, do so, switching the tower’s aggro to you. If tanking the tower will not be a safe decision, let the creeps do it, and change aggro to them if the tower begins hitting you.
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