Ganking is the act of actively moving around the map in order to kill an enemy hero.
The advantages of ganking
Ganking is used to gain an overall experience and gold advantage. Successful ganks can significantly slow down an enemy carry's farm, help a teammate recover a difficult lane, and provide a time window to push down a tower or to kill Roshan. To gain an early advantage, active ganking and pushing are essentially mandatory. Additionally, ganking is often the easiest way to kill heroes when the other team has a large advantage in the late game.
Ganking also serves as a counter to enemies trying to push because they must move deep into your territory, where they are often isolated and have little vision. After the enemy pushers are ganked, your team can execute a counterpush to negate the advantage the other team was trying to gain.
Means of ganking
Gankers, as their title suggests, are heroes that are extremely efficient in ganking, often destroying their opponents in one-on-one combat using the element of surprise. Some gankers depend mostly on ganking for their farm, and must get kills in other lanes to buy their items. Most gankers require quick experience, scaling best with early levels. They are also great rune carriers, especially with a Bottle, because their movement around the map while ganking gives them a chance to use the offensive runes.
Roamers are heroes that are focused on warding and map control early game, often scouting territory and spending little time in lanes. Since these heroes do not need to stay in a lane, they often aid in ganking, especially if they are equipped with a powerful disable. Most roamers are capable of ganking even before they reach level 6, possibly excepting Bane, Jakiro, and some others. Some roamers, such as Zeus, Lina, Leshrac, Spirit Breaker, and Lion, are powerful gankers and may make it their primary role.
|Ancient Apparition||Bane||Clockwerk||Crystal Maiden|
|Puck||Sand King||Shadow Shaman||Slardar|
There are some items that both item-dependent and item-independent gankers can use to ease their job. Items like Blink Dagger, Force Staff, Phase Boots, and to some extent, Tranquil Boots, Town Portal Scrolls, and even Boots of Travel helps players enter battle faster and allow gankers to surprise the opposing hero. Shadow Blade and Smoke of Deceit are also great items, providing invisibility. Smoke of Deceit is especially useful because it is cheap and increases movement speed tremendously. However, the base store's stock is limited to three. Successful gankers rarely return to base, so Arcane Boots, Bottles or Clarity Potions are needed to preserve health and mana. Items that provide hit point regeneration are also helpful, especially Urn of Shadows and Magic Wand. Though not necessary, items that provide additional disables, such as Eul's Scepter of Divinity and Rod of Atos are useful in the lategame.
|Clarity (50)||Smoke of Deceit (80)||Town Portal Scroll (50)||Magic Wand (400)|
|Ring of Basilius (500)||Bottle (650)||Soul Ring (755)||Urn of Shadows (875)|
|Tranquil Boots (950)||Medallion of Courage (1175)||Phase Boots (1240)||Arcane Boots (1300)|
|Blink Dagger (2250)||Force Staff (2250)||Boots of Travel (2400)||Eul's Scepter of Divinity (2750)|
|Dagon (2715)||Shadow Blade (2700)||Rod of Atos (3030)||Scythe of Vyse (5700)|
Preventing enemy ganks
An efficient way to avoid a gank is turtling, the act of farming away from enemy territory by preventing creeps from pushing too far by last-hitting enemy creeps and denying. In the early game, it is difficult to perform a gank if a hero is beside their tower. Not only does the tower deal high damage, but other enemies can easily kill the ganker by using Town Portal Scrolls to reach the tower in time.
Items are useful in preventing the enemy team from ganking. A team should maintain vision of key areas of the map by placing Observer Wards and using Sentry Wards to reveal invisible heroes and enemy wards. Furthermore, Town Portal Scrolls can be used to assist allies who are ganked on the other side of the map. Carrying Town Portal Scrolls, maintaining vision, and watching the minimap can allow a team to quickly gain a numbers advantage over the gankers and kill them.
A common way to protect your team from ganks is telling your teammates when an enemy leaves a lane. In public games, this is done in team chat. For example, calling out "missing" lets teammates know that enemy hero(es) have left a lane and may be ganking.
Some abilities like Mirana's Leap are well-suited to escaping from incoming ganks. These abilities are often referred to as escape mechanisms. Heroes lacking an escape mechanism like Shadow Fiend and Silencer are susceptible to ganks and must be especially careful when enemy heroes are missing on the minimap. These heroes can purchase items like Force Staff to gain an escape mechanism.
Other heroes have abilities that help with map control through temporary vision, pseudo-wards, temporary summons, and illusions. Clockwerk's Rocket Flare, Vengeful Spirit's Wave of Terror, and most of Zeus' abilities are prime examples of abilities that reveal the map temporarily for an advantage. Venomancer's Plague Ward is also a great anti-gank tool because the wards provide vision and can be spammed. The minions summoned by Lycan's Summon Wolves, Enchantress' Enchant, and Nature's Prophet's Nature's Call provide vision as well. Night Stalker with an Aghanim's Scepter has protection against ganking – the Scepter gives him the ability to see through cliffs and trees at night. Slardar's Corrosive Haze, Bounty Hunter's Track, and Necronomicon have some anti-gank utility.