By Crowslaw

One of the most popular lane setups this meta is the suicide lane. Let’s explore this strategy of sacrificing yourself for your team and examine why it is seen in nearly every game as of late. The main features of suicide laners are a focus on levels rather than farm and some sort of escape or lane control through creeps, minions or denies.

The skill level of this role is one of the highest of all the lanes. You will likely face another solo hero or a dual lane—and possibly a jungler—making it very difficult to stay alive.

Getting your early ward off is one of the easiest ways to help keep lane control, but don't expect that to stay up for the full 6 minutes if they have a jungler, roamer, or support there to counter it. Despite this predicament, getting that ward off is the difference between lvl 1 and lvl 6 at 10 minutes.

You must plan for this and know that you may not be getting all the experience you came for—staying alive is the most important rule of the suicide laner. If you are unsure of where people are and if they are waiting for you, don't leave your tower under any circumstances. Stay well behind it until you have vision and creeps from which to get experience.

An example of the timing when you should have your minions sent to creep pull for lane control.

In no particular order, the typical heroes we see suicide are Wildsoul, Plague Rider, Keeper of the Forest, Wretched Hag, Valkyrie, Bubbles, Tempest, Tundra, War Beast, and Pharaoh. You can probably tell why all these heroes range from god tier to a decent suicide laner—each and every one has an escape mechanism and is hard to kill, or has minions with which to pull the lane. In Tempest's case, he can use his elementals after denying to clear the ancients if the lane is not in his favor, while Plague Rider is bound at the mercy of the enemy team and their deny capability.

After creep pulling, you have the creeps sitting under your tower for free farm and experience.

Why do people play suicide?

This is something that does not translate over to pubs in general. I can say with experience that when I pick a hero to go suicide I am usually met with grief and remorse as my team suspects I am trolling or trying to purposely lose the game. Yet I often win my lane even 1v2 suicide, and continue to push with Keeper or completely dominate with the likes of Tundra, Bubbles or Wretched Hag. In the end my team still considers this trolling even after we've won, so what is this stigma that surrounds suicide players?

The suicide player is sacrificing himself for his team. He does his best to not die, then tries to get experience and, if possible, some gold. In that order. I don't think pubs understand the appeal of “sacrifice.” They believe you should win every lane no matter what, and if you don’t, you are bad.

So You Want to Suicide

If you think you’re unfamiliar with the suicide role, I suggest you reconsider. Anyone who plays long lane has at one point been zoned out and pushed back, yet still managed to stay in experience range and succeed, even if just a little bit. If you’ve done this with a non-suicide hero, congratulations. Hopefully it showed you how important hero choice is.

Here are some more tips if you’re going all-in as a suicide.

Getting your early boots is probably the most obvious decision you should make, as well as having a Ring of Teacher switched to affect heroes only. After those items you should focus on finishing Steamboots and whatever stat items you can get to help you stay alive. By then it will probably be time to leave your lane and get kills, so you don't need to stay there to farm the lane any longer.

But items are only half the battle—it's often your laning/escape mechanism that makes or breaks the deal. For example, using a Shell Surf as Bubbles to try and get some last hits or harass means you can get jumped on easily by a roaming support, and with no escape you’re turtle soup.

For the blinkers it is all about timing your jump. More often than not an enemy will try to predict an early blink and someone will be waiting for you. Wait to see every angle of attack collapsing on you, then make your decision where to safely blink.

As Keeper of the Forest you should do one thing every time you see an enemy disappear and reappear: check his items. Be on the constant lookout for an invisible ward or Dust of Revelation from the hero you are laning against, a roaming support or anyone who appears near you.

For heroes with minions like Booboo, Hellhounds, or treants, the best tactic is to keep pulling the enemy creeps to your tower. This lets you keep lane control but will require a few mana potions at the very minimum (unless you are Wildsoul), so it’s a good thing you are close to the observatory.

Final Thoughts

To those wishing to play suicide role, I would say the same thing to anyone who chooses a lane or style beforehand: it is not your team’s fault if you lose your lane, especially as a suicide. For one, you are not supposed to win your lane, and if you happen to lose it and the rest of your team is getting outplayed because of their hero picks there isn't much you can do to save them.

As a suicide lane it is not up to your mid or bottom to gank for you—they should be focusing on winning their own lanes. If you get forced out of lane completely, forfeit the lane and try to kill ancients or go jungle and try to make up lost experience somehow. If the enemy team starts to push your towers it is up to you and your team to decide how to react; losing the first tower is fine if they back off, as you get free experience and farm from pushed creeps.

If they decide to continue and push your 2nd tier tower it’s again up to your team how to respond. More often than not you will have to lose that tower, at which point the enemy will be far ahead but you will still get free experience from all the creeps that are pushed up. Under no circumstances should you let the enemy attack or try to push your base or barracks this early—your team should respond to either defend or gank and kill the defenders at the very least.

If you want to try suiciding, verify your team can win their lanes beforehand. Pick your hero and learn it inside out, micro your minions, learn to last hit under a tower and most importantly, don't die!

- Crowslaw