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Guides:Lanaya - The Solo Mid Guide

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The Solo Mid Guide
Templar Assassin By Yoshi
( more  ·  talk )
Guide to Templar Assassin
Published January 30, 2012
(807 days ago)
Last Update February 18, 2013 by Medoke
(422 days ago)
0 / 5 (0 votes cast)


[edit] Introduction

Lanaya is one of the strongest solo mid heroes in the game. You should destroy many common solo mid heroes in the lane including Tinker, Lion, Shadow Fiend, Storm Spirit. This is due to Refraction, which gives you huge damage that makes it difficult to last-hit against Lanaya, and the defensive power of Refraction that allows you to tank hits for free. On top of that, Psi Blade harassment is very painful if you know how to aim it.

Playing Lanaya requires "smart aggression". What I mean by this is, being aggressive in attacking, killing and seizing every opportunity that presents itself in the game. However, you must be aware of your own limits and not over-extend. She is one of the rare heroes that absolutely requires you to play mind-games on your opponents to be effective. This is explained in more detail in the Intuition section.

All of Lanaya's skill and statistical information may be found here, for those unfamiliar with her stat gain and skill set. With that, let's begin with the guide itself.

[edit] Skill Build

  1. Refraction
  2. Psi Blades
  3. Refraction
  4. Meld
  5. Refraction
  6. Psionic Trap
  7. Refraction
  8. Meld
  9. Meld
  10. Meld
  11. Psionic Trap
  12. Psi Blades
  13. Psi Blades
  14. Psi Blades
  15. Stats
  16. Psionic Trap
  17. Stats
  18. Stats
  19. Stats
  20. Stats
  21. Stats
  22. Stats
  23. Stats
  24. Stats
  25. Stats

[edit] Skill Build Explanation

Refraction is taken at level 1 to secure the first few last hits you need for your Bottle.

Psi Blades is taken at level 2 so you don't have to walk around creeps for a last hit. When last-hitting, try position yourself in the lane so that the damage splashes onto your opponent. Note that damage from denying your own creeps also splashes via Psi Blades.

One level of Meld has its uses for hiding/mindgames/spell-dodging, so take it at level 4 or maybe at level 3 if there's certain spells you could dodge with it on the enemy team and they gank you early (Magic Missile, Storm Hammer, etc).

Refraction is maxed first. This is for defensive reasons to ensure your opponents do not harass the hell out of you with nukes or a ranged high base damage. It should also be used for last-hitting.

Meld is maxed next to pump your damage output to the max by midgame. Meld is NOT used to hide. If, and only if the shit hits the fan and your Refraction's run out and it's on cooldown and you're about to die, attempt to juke into some trees and Meld and wait for Refraction to cool down. It's generally an OFFENSIVE skill.

Psionic Trap is taken at every possible level, for cooldown decrease and to increase warding capability. As soon as you hit level 6, ward both rune spots with it. If enemies counter-ward, simply replace it later, since it has low cooldown and a negligible manacost.

Additional levels of Psi Blades are not as important as Meld and Refraction until later levels.

To kill with Lanaya, see the step-by-step guide below.

[edit] Solo Mid Tips

While somewhat risky to play, a well-played solo mid Lanaya has amazing mid-game destruction potential. However a single death will be very costly, so you will have to play very cautiously and be very map-aware.

[edit] Refraction

Good Refraction use is key to the solo mid Lanaya. It's quite difficult and takes a lot of intuition to know when to use Refraction. As of 6.77, it now costs 100 mana. You can't spam it like an idiot anymore, unless you're perma-bottlecrowing. Use it when you need it to last-hit, and when you feel there's danger (e.g. enemy walks forward to nuke you).

[edit] Map Presence

Before you hit level 6 you will have to watch your map a lot to avoid ganks. After, you can lay down Psionic Traps on common pathways such as the ramps leading to your side of the lane and on the runespots to help avoid ganks. This way you can keep a constant eye on the Runes, and so you can use them yourself for your own ganks.

Set a trap at the top of the enemy ramp the moment you hit level 6. This gives great vision on the top of the enemy ramp that you normally cannot see. Once you've done this, your opponent will not be able to cross the river onto your side of the map safely - if he walks forward, you can set a Trap and then when they run back, your Trap on the top of his ramp will keep him slowed and spell his doom (unless he's someone like Mirana or Queen of Pain).

If you do get ganked, and have no hope of getting away, don't run. Turn on Refraction, wait for them to come into melee range and Meld-hit them. Either you catch them by surprise and kill them, or you deal some massive damage on them before you die so they are forced to the fountain or to empty their Bottle afterwards, or a nearby teammate can clean them up.

Another thing to make a habit of doing is buying a TP scroll once you have Phase Boots, and bringing it to you via Courier. Then when a fight goes on in another lane, you can teleport there and assist at any time, and this often turns into a great counter-gank and nice kills for yourself.

[edit] Rune Control

The splash from Psi Blades can be used to hit creeps and push the lane. You should start autoattacking and splashing creeps deliberately about 30 seconds before the rune spawns, so that when it's time for it to spawn your creeps have pushed into the enemy's tower, leaving you free to take the rune.

From level 6 onwards, you can put a Trap on the cliff on your mid opponent's path to the rune, and use it to slow him when he makes a run for the rune, allowing you to go ahead and take it. If your opponent decides to fight you for the rune, a fight in the river is very likely to go your way due to Refraction blocking nukes and no creeps and towers being around to take the charges off. Lanaya's rune control is quite possibly the best out of any hero.

[edit] Item Build

[edit] Early game

Animal Courier (Radiant) icon.png

I strongly suggest having a courier. If your allies won't buy one, buy it yourself I guess. It does hurt having to buy your own courier, but it's worth it. Needless to say, in serious games, Lanaya should not be the one purchasing the Courier.

Magic Stick icon.png

Along with Refraction, Magic Stick and later Magic Wand helps you mess with your opponent's mind. Refraction + the use of a significant amount of Stick/Wand charges gives you a very sudden burst of survivability that can catch your opponent by surprise.

Bottle icon.png

Ferry this over via Courier the moment you have 600 gold. The ability to store Runes is quite useful. Lanaya can wreak havoc with a well-used Haste/Illusion/Invisibility/Double Damage Rune. You Rune-whore extremely efficiently thanks to your Psionic Traps.

Phase Boots icon.png

Phase Boots are very effective on Lanaya. The damage is great, phase ability for chasing is great.

Power Treads icon.png

Gives survivability and attackspeed, very nice and very cheap and lets you get your Refraction-boosted attacks off faster. Choosing between Power Treads and Phase Boots is a up to the player's personal preferences.

Medallion of Courage icon.png

Some players do like to use Medallion on Lanaya, so I'll mention it here. I personally don't use it, since Dagger and BKB are very important items for Lanaya to function in mid-game teamfights; Medallion delays these items. You can get Medallion after Dagger if you want; it is a strong item; but it's not necessary.

[edit] Core items

Blink Dagger icon.png

With Blink Dagger, you have a useful escape mechanism up your sleeve - juke into trees and Meld, then Blink out. However, its main use lies in offensive positioning and mind-games.

Black King Bar icon.png

BKB is a great item that lets you ignore disables and go straight for their support heroes; it should be bought if there are simply too many disables in the enemy team's arsenal or if you're having a tough time in the game. A fast BKB can also increase your lead over your enemies. The item choice is yours, and will vary from game to game.

Crystalys icon.png

Crystalys is extremely cheap. At the cost of 2150, it adds a significant amount to your burst damage, and if you're farming slow or if you need BKB first, Crystalis is your item of choice.

[edit] Luxury items

Desolator icon.png

Giving a -6 armor debuff on your target, combined with Meld this rips off a great 14 armor from your target. Desolator gives a significant increase to Lanaya's burst damage and will make even the tankiest of heroes feel the pain. If you had a great start (multiple kills, high cs) then you can expand your lead on your enemies by getting this and two-shotting their supports. You should only buy Desolator if you're far enough ahead of the enemy team to not require a BKB, and if you can finish the Desolator very very fast (20 minute mark at latest). If you go BKB first, don't go for Desolator - make Crystalis instead.

Again, in summary: If you can get it before 20 minute mark, get it, otherwise, skip it entirely.

Monkey King Bar icon.png

MKB is a great luxury when you're against people who buy Butterfly, PA, and Windrunner (I often get it just to counter a Windrunner).

Daedalus icon.png

Daedalus builds off Crystalis, and adds a great amount to your burst damage, and is another solid luxury choice for the lategame.

Assault Cuirass icon.png

This item lets you keep up with the hard hitting carries in the lategame with the attackspeed and armor, and also adds more -armor to your arsenal.

Scythe of Vyse icon.png

This is sometimes needed to shut down a very problematic, slippery hero on the enemy team and you should get it if nobody else on your team can. Very situational.

[edit] Killing Heroes with Lanaya

[edit] Ganking

Your bread-and-butter ganking combo. Dangerous on its own, it's absolutely deadly with teammates throwing disables at them as well.

  • Turn on Refraction, preferably from the Fog or trees.
  • Cast Psionic Trap next to the enemy. It has an insane 2000 casting range; abuse it.
  • Set off the Psi Trap. My preferred method is to press tab after casting the Trap (When you cast Psionic Trap the Trap is automatically added to selection, pressing tab will select it as your main unit) and activate Psionic Trap.
  • Cast Medallion on your target at this point, if you have it - it has a long cast range, and you don't want to be fiddling around trying to cast it after you Blink in so better to do it beforehand.
  • Blink next to your enemy if you have a Dagger; walk if you don't. Blinking is very efficient; if you don't have a Dagger you may need ally disables or a second Trap. If you're walking and have Phase Boots, DO NOT activate Phase at this step.
  • Meld-hit them. The correct way to do this is hold your cursor over the enemy hero, tap D and then right-click them right away.
  • Autoattack to finish. If you have Phase Boots, activate Phase at this step - They will help you chase once your Psionic Trap's slow has worn off.
  • Blink to chase when they're cooled down and using more Traps as it comes off cooldown if necessary.

[edit] Double-Meld

Due to Lanaya's map control with Psionic Traps, you can sometimes see your opponent moving from one place to another - for example, going to a rune spot. If you happen to be in the path that they are travelling, you can actually Meld-hit twice if you predict their movement accurately.

  • Turn Refraction on. Make sure they can't see you.
  • Position yourself in their path, and Meld. Again, make sure they don't see you do this.
  • When they walk by you, Meld-strike them.
  • Cast a Psionic Trap, and activate it if they start to run.
  • Autoattack them.
  • Meld-strike as soon as the cooldown is up. It will be considerably shorter, since you Melded in the second step - the Meld cooldown triggers from the start of her invisibility.

[edit] Counter-ganking

This is your counterganking combo; it works best in an environment where you have a well-coordinated team that you trust and communicate effectively with (i.e. Ventrilo, Skype, etc). If your ally is being chased by one or two heroes:

  • Set a Psionic Trap down.
  • Turn Refraction on.
  • Meld a little behind your Trap.
  • Get your teammate to run past your trap and you.
  • Select the Trap, and press T to activate the trap when the enemy hero(es) run onto it. This ensures that Lanaya does not break Meld by activating the Trap.
  • Select Lanaya, and Meldhit the enemy hero with the least survivability (In terms of HP and armor).
  • Add a second Meldhit if it's cooled down; if not Meldhit with the next cooldown which will be short, as you Melded before your enemy reached your trap.
  • Finish them off with the help of your teammate.

[edit] Intuition

This is the biggest part of playing Lanaya. She's designed to be a very aggressive hero, but her downside is her extreme vulnerability without Refraction. Due to her squishiness, if you do not use Refraction properly you cannot be aggressive. But she is not the kind of hero you buy tanking items like Vanguard and Hood for, and mindlessly rambo and tank all your enemy's attacks. The trick to playing Lanaya is abusing her Refraction to get the most survivability. You have to be able to see the situations when you can be extremely aggressive and get away with it, and the situations when you should play more cautiously. This is fairly difficult to explain, so I will give an example.

If you Psi Trap and Blink onto a Zeus in the river, how will he attack you? Your Refraction blocks his nukes and his normal attack is too slow, so his only option is to run. But that is also difficult against Lanaya, due to Psi Traps. A Zeus by himself is an easy target that you can be extremely aggressive on.

Now let's say the Zeus in the river has a Vengeful Spirit tagging along next to him. Again, Venge's attack is quite slow and she only has one stun up her sleeve. You can dodge this stun with a Meld or Blink if you are quick enough, and you could probably still end up killing the Zeus even if you eat the stun, since Refraction will soak up the stun's damage and Zeus's nukes before it runs out. Again, you can still be aggressive in this situation and take out the Zeus.

Now let's say the Zeus and Vengeful Spirit are in tower range. This is a situation where you should NOT engage. The tower will take too many Refraction charges off, and VS's stun and Zeus's nukes will ensure you do not leave that fight alive.

Always keep a rough idea of how many Refraction charges you have left, and how fast your enemies can take them off and play accordingly. Misjudging your survivability in a fight can be fatal. You need to be able to read these situations and learn when to engage and not engage, rather than rely on items like Vanguard and Hood to keep you alive. Those items are for mindless rambo tank heroes like Bristleback. Your own intuition should keep you alive instead.

In the later stages of the game, unless you're very far ahead of the enemy team, you cannot survive without BKB. The tactics and mindgames that work throughout small clashes and ganks in the early-mid game do not apply in teamfights. In teamfights your BKB is almost always necessary. So unless you are stomping your enemy extremely hard, you should be walking into the mid-game with a BKB straight after Blink.

In earlier teamfights before you have BKB, you should be standing back, looking for the squishy support heroes and Blinking in a position where you can take them without getting focused by the rest of their team. With good positioning, not many spells should fly your way and your Refraction will block the ones that do. However, if you have a BKB, you can be much much more aggressive in teamfights and even initiate them, Blinking and focusing the squishy heroes straight away while your team follows up.

[edit] Enemies to note

[edit] Heroes


  • A well-placed Macropyre renders your Refraction utterly useless in a fight.
  • Dual Breath has a damage over time effect which will burn up your Refraction. Engaging a THD will likely cause him to retaliate with a Dual Breath and probably an Ice Path as well, so keep in mind you will likely have zero Refraction charges left afterwards to fight subsequent opponents.
  • A bit tankier than most supports, he might take a few more hits to kill than you'd expect so be wary of possible counter ganks.


  • If you solo against an equal-skilled Bat Rider, you will inevitably lose the lane.
  • Napalm will make Psi-Blade-spill aiming tricky with its turn-rate slow. Also, it will be very easy to pile it on you since Lanaya's attack range is so short. You should probably back off from the creepline if he gets three stacks of it on you.
  • Refraction offers no protection whatsoever against Firefly.
  • Flaming Lassoo drags you out of position, rips your Refraction off (with Firefly) so 90% of the time you get Lassooed, you will die. Once Bat Rider gets a Dagger, getting Lassooed is just about unpreventable.


  • Diabolic Edict will trigger your Refraction every 0.25 seconds - your whole Refraction comes off in 1.25 seconds.

Refraction comes off even faster with Pulse Nova on.

  • His nukes will hurt if you don't have Refraction on.
  • Dodge his stun when you fight him. Whether that stun hits you or not will often decide the outcome of small clashes.

He's fairly squishy, so if you dodge his stun you should be able to kill him fairly quickly.

Ogre Magi.png

  • Ignite slows, disables your Dagger and burns off Refraction for a whole 7.5 seconds. Very annoying.
  • Each hit of a multicasted Fireblast will take off one Refraction charge.
  • He's fairly tanky - 5 base armor, large strength gain. Keep in mind it'll take quite a bit of time to take him down, which means he'll have plenty of time to retaliate with Ignite and Fireblast.


  • Rot burns down Refraction very quickly.
  • Dismember will hold you in place while Rot burns your Refraction off, so it's very unwise to try engage him one-on-one while his creeps and/or towers are on his side.
  • Blocking Hook's damage with Refraction won't change the fact that you'll be out of position and have creeps and/or his allies beating the shit out of you. Avoid being Hooked, Refraction or no Refraction.

Dark Seer.png

  • Ion Shell takes off Refraction very quickly.
  • Vacuum moves you out of position, and often clumps you in the middle of other units, making it difficult to click things.
  • The above two will often screw you up in a teamfight if you get caught, so try to position yourself well.
  • Surge goes through the slow of Psionic Traps, so he can easily save his allies from you.
  • He has 5.7 base armor and is quite tank, so you probably don't wanna aim at him first.
  • Do try to not walk through his Wall of Replica, because you don't want an Illusion following you around eating your Refraction charges in a teamfight.
  • This hero is a no-brainer to ban if you're planning to draft Lanaya in Captain's Mode.


  • Shadow Word will burn your Refraction.
  • His Infernal has permanent Immolation and will likely chase you around hitting you as well, being extremely annoying.
  • His armor and strength gain is quite high so he will take quite a while to kill; be careful when fighting him as Shadow Word + * Infernal sets up an easy counter-gank on you.

Doom Bringer.png

  • Scorched Earth burns off Refraction.
  • Doom shuts you down completely for a teamfight (You are little more than a creep if you can't use Refraction, Meld and Psi Traps)
  • Lucifer is a common Radiance carrier.
  • He has 0 base armor, so he won't be as tanky as he looks. But even so, he's a huge threat to Lanaya.
  • One of the gayest heroes in DotA, Doom counters just about every hero and Lanaya is no exception.


  • Acid Spray's DoT will kill your Refraction.
  • Unstable Concoction will not be dodged by Meld (You will still take the stun and damage even when invisible).
  • Alchemist is a common Radiance carrier.
  • He has 0.6 base armor, which means he's not so tanky with his ult off. But when it's on he's very tough to take down.


  • Rocket Barrage fires one rocket every 0.1 seconds - that's your whole level 4 Refraction off in half a second. It's probably best to hit Meld and wait for Barrage to finish when he casts it if he doesn't have True Sight.
  • Meld dodges Homing Missile.
  • If Barrage is going off and your Meld's unavailable (cooldown, or they've got True Sight) kill your target quick since you'll be fighting without Refraction, and if you can't then just back off.


  • Spiderlings take off your Refraction charges very fast and are very annoying to deal with, even with Psi Blades.
  • Her ult will allow her to recover health lost from a Meld-hit very fast, and once your Meld hit is used up you won't be able to kill her through that insane lifesteal.
  • That miss chance is nasty too, you might not even land your Meld-hit because it could miss.
  • Keeping these in mind, don't have a one-on-one brawl with a Broodmother.


  • Poison Sting Level 1 damage is too low to trigger Refraction. However, from Level 2 on, it will make sure your Refraction will only protect you from one attack.
  • He will be tough to solo against, since Lanaya's attack range is fairly short. Try to last-hit as many creeps as you can manage with Psi Blades.
  • Keep in mind you can dodge critical attacks and Viper Strike with a well-timed Meld and catch him off-guard by throwing a Meld-hit back at him.
  • Attacking him after he's leveled Corrosive Skin will kill your Refraction.


  • Damage from Level 1 Burning Spears is too low to trigger Refraction. However, from Level 2 onwards it will burn off your entire Refraction with one Spear.
  • In mid-lategame when he's quite tanky, he'll be very tough to take down when he has Inner Vitality on.
  • ALWAYS try to dodge Life Break with Refraction. Life Break takes off a chunk of Huskar's health, another chunk comes off from your Meld-hit and then he's easy food.


  • The DoT and slow from Venomous Gale is very annoying, taking off your Refraction and disabling your Dagger for 15 seconds and often spells doom for you if they brought Dust.
  • A single hit with Poison Sting will take off your whole Refraction.
  • Don't ignore his Wards in teamfights, your Refraction will come off faster than you expect.
  • Poison Nova also rapes your Refraction.
  • He's fairly squishy, but Gale + Nova as a retaliation will leave you very helpless for his teammates to kill.


  • Meteor has a DoT component to its damage, which will burn Refraction off.
  • Deafening Blast removes your ability to attack (and thus removes your ability to be of any use).
  • Cold Snap will interrupt your attacks, remove extra Refraction charges and generally be a pain in the ass.
  • Ice Wall is a bitch (slows by a shitload, removes Refraction, disables Dagger). Don't chase through it. Blink across it if you can.
  • Forge Spirits can remove Refraction pretty fast.
  • Mid-game, EMP can burn the precious mana you need to cast your beloved Refraction. Try not to get hit by it before important teamfights.

[edit] Items

Radiance icon.png

  • The DoT on this makes it the ultimate anti-Lanaya weapon.
  • Once an opponent hero has this, you probably should avoid teamfights until you have BKB. If your opponent managed to get a fast Radiance, then this means your BKB should come before your Desolator or in extreme cases even before Blink Dagger.

Ghost Scepter icon.png

  • This basically makes the hero who uses it immune to you for 4 seconds. If he's quick enough, he can make you waste your Meld-hit (you right-click him while he's ethereal, your Meld-hit doesn't work)
  • In teamfights if your target uses Ghost Scepter, you should change targets, since you can't afford to spend four seconds not hitting anything. In smaller clashes or ganks you can just wait the duration out and Trap him again.

Scythe of Vyse icon.png

  • Like most heroes, you should be very careful of heroes that carry Scythe of Vyse.
  • You need to BKB in time to avoid this at all costs in teamfights. You simply cannot afford to spend 3.5 seconds disabled.

[edit] Differences between DotA 1 and Dota 2

  • Refraction attack charges are not decreased when denying creeps. Use this to your advantage to deny creeps for free in the laning phase, and try to get some Psi Blade harassment off as well.

[edit] Miscellaneous tips

  • When you're farming an empty lane, position yourself to hit multiple creeps at once to farm faster. If you have spare mana, you can use Refraction to clear the creeps in only 2 or 3 hits in mid and late game, since Refraction's mana cost is quite small.
  • Remember that you can dodge projectiles such as Magic Missile, Hellfire Blast, etc with both Blink and Meld.
  • Animation cancel between attacks when you're chasing (More important when you have Phase Boots than Treads, since with a lower attack speed the amount of time you stand still between attacks is quite substantial and you want to shorten it)
  • Refraction has a 17-second cooldown. If you time it correctly and activate Refraction 10 seconds or so before a clash happens, you can jump into the fight, lose your charges and then bring them back up as your Refraction comes off cooldown - effectively doubling your survivability in a fight.
  • Try not to Meld-hit uphill if you can help it. If your opponent is at a higher position on a ramp than you are, you have the 25% chance to miss because you are a ranged hero no matter how short your range is. Your Meld-hit can miss, and this leads to a significant decrease in your burst damage.

[edit] VODs