Mastering the base race is an essential part of ranking up in Dota 2.
In Dota 2, the term base race refers to a specific late-game scenario in which both teams attempt to attack the opposing base to end the game. Some players use the term “GG push” to refer to the tactic. Base races are an uncommon scenario, but they almost invariably lead to the end of a game.
For the losing team, a base race is a last resort to win a difficult game. For the winning team, it’s the ultimate test of game knowledge, teamwork, and coordination. Learning how to base race is a great way to snatch MMR from the jaws of defeat.
The first step to winning base races is to identify when you should try them. First, you should rarely attempt to base race if you can actually defend your own ancient. If possible, just teleport back to the barracks and try to fend off the enemy team. If you have a substantial net worth or experience lead, it’s best to just fight the enemy team directly instead of going for their base, as winning the fight can then guarantee capturing the opposing ancient.
Remember that a lead does not necessarily mean that your team is better at hitting buildings. If left alive, team with Leshrac, Wraith King, and Jakiro can melt structures regardless of how much money they have.
The best time for launching a base race is when you know where the enemy team is and you think you can destroy the ancient before they can return to defend it. For example, winning teams will often hang around the enemy jungle to deny farm. You should have defensive vision there already, so you can check their inventories for Boots of Travel. Tools like Mirana’s Moonlight Shadow or Smoke of Deceit can help your team to infiltrate the enemy high ground. Wait until the enemy approaches your own high ground, then start whacking the enemy structures.
Once you’ve committed to the GG push, nothing that has happened earlier in the match matters. It’s all about dealing as much building damage as possible. If that means selling your items to buy others, so be it.
The best items to buy for a base race are Desolator, Helm of the Dominator, Assault Cuirass, and Black King Bar. Vladimir’s Offering is also great for keeping creeps alive and avoiding backdoor protection. If you have the money for it, Divine Rapier is the most gold-efficient damage item in the game.
There’s always the threat of the enemy teleporting to defend, so leaving one hero behind to interrupt their TP scrolls is a good idea. In fact, the most famous base race of all time relied on this strategy. Alliance mid-laner Gustav “s4” Magnusson canceled multiple TPs in the final game of The International 2013. The “Million Dollar Dream Coil” allowed Alliance to blitz the enemy throne as Danil “Dendi” Ishutin and company waddled back to base. Puck is great for this situation, but any hero with multiple stuns like Enigma, Rubick, Tidehunter, or Shadow Shaman can do the trick.
Once the chips are down, the biggest threat to any base race is backdoor protection. This is especially important now since glyph can take out an entire creep wave. Backdoor protection has some strange rules, but knowing how it works can be the difference between gaining and losing MMR.
Backdoor protection is an innate aura that provides towers with 50% damage block and 90 points of healing per second. If damage is dealt to protected structures, it will constantly heal back up. Backdoor protection is active whenever there are no enemy creeps near the structure. It is possible to kill towers through backdoor protection, but it’s much more difficult.
It’s worth noting that attacks through backdoor protection will always deal exactly one point of unrecoverable health. Nature’s Prophet, Lycan, Leshrac, and Death Prophet are the best at exploiting this mechanic.
If the creeps around a tower all die, backdoor protection will be deactivated for 15 seconds. Heroes can damage towers normally during that brief period. Any damage dealt during this time will not be healed when backdoor protection kicks back in. All of the Dota 2 base structures have backdoor protection, including the ancient. Backdoor protection isn’t necessarily the end of a base race, but it’s a very important factor to consider before launching your last stand.