Lately I have been experimenting with some push (kill towers, cap portal flags) builds and strategies which I will share for your thoughts. Every game (~3-4 per build) I am drawing from here was played in pantheon, skirmish, or custom game, with 2v2 or 3v3 human player lineups. My team won 90% of these games before anyone reached level 15 (usually 1 DG on the team gets levelled above everyone else; most DGs, our team and theirs are around 10 when the game ends).
The goal of this strategy is to win relatively quickly through pushing down towers early and developing creeps and map control. You will gain a flag/war score advantage at the cost of individual DG power. With this strategy you seek to force the enemy into certain certain defensive measures, eliminating their ability to execute any pre-arranged strategy and hopefully catching them off guard.
This is the opposite of a strategy that seeks to develop a DG-to-DG advantage that allows encounter based victories later in the game (e.g. the typical more balanced strategy, turtle, or get artifacts/pwnface in one push strat).
1) Pusher - One player is the designated pusher who will camp/attack a side lane almost the entire game. This player is the backbone of the strategy. The Pusher must choose a demi-god with staying power and early tower killing abilities. This players possible builds and strategy will be described in detail below.
2) Roamer - In a 2v2, the other player is the roamer, in 3v3, 1 or both of the others can play this role. The roamer is typically an assassin or DG killer general. The roamer's primary role is to harrass the enemy DGs and to keep them off the pusher as much as possible. The roamer should also be capping the outlying and important flags. A good roamer can hold his/her own in a duel if not triumpth consistently.
3) Hybrid/Support - This is an optional replacement to a second roamer in 3v3 and is necessary on larger teams. Hybrid/Support roles are typically more difficult to fill and require more skill (typically...). These DG's should focus in buff's and debuff's and healing/shielding. Typical Hybrid/Supporters are Oak (shield/penitence builds), Sedna, QoT. Supporters should never miss a team battle. They aid the roamer with kills and keep the pusher from dying. If no one is fighting, they should be pushing a different lane than the pusher.
Pusher Play - The pusher calls a side lane (on crucible, the pusher stays mid). That is his/her lane. He/she will not leave that lane and will constantly pressure enemy towers in that lane. Teammates should never worry about the pusher's flag as that should stay capped unless he/she gets teammed up on. The pusher should not be returning to base often and typically will not need a lot of items to be effective. The pusher should never switch lanes until he is at the citadel. It is their teammates job to draw fire.
Pusher Milestones - A good pusher will knock down the first tower before they reach level 4, assuming the enemy team isnt focusing on them; details on how to do this are below. Early game, the pusher needs to establish dominance over his or her lane, should knock the first couple towers down by level 5/6 and should be pressuring the enemy's base flags by level 7. The goal is to win around pusher level 10 by knocking down the citadel.
Citadel upgrades - In this strategy, priests should be purchased as soon as possible (i.e. war rank 3) because they will be used early. Creep upgrades are also usefull (dmg/hp). Skip everything else. No tower upgrades, no experience upgrade, no money. Spend your cash on items/pots/tp scrolls to gain an early advantage, you are not playing a long game here.
Roamers with a combination of area control abilities and direct damage are the most useful. Roamers should start in a different lane than the pusher, cap the outlying flags, then start looking for 2v1 situations to get some kills. Very early, the roamer should facilitate the pusher's first tower kills by coming to the pusher's lane to throw back or kill any enemy DGs there. It's typical for the roamer to get 80% of your team's kills and not a single building. The roamer is in charge of the important flags not in the Pusher's lane. He/she should prioritize EXP (more to deny it to the other team), Regen, Portal, and Reinforcement Bonus flags.
Supporters should, as descibed above, aid the roamer when needed for kills, defend the Pusher if the enemy team gangs up on him, and defend against enemy pushes in other lanes. If there is no one fighting seriously, the supporter needs to be on the opposite side from the pusher, working that lane.
Cataract Example - When playing cataract, the pusher chooses left or right. The others cap the middle experience flag at lvl 1 and defend it against the initial attempts of the other team to get it. Then, once mid is cleared, the supporter goes to the lane opposite the pusher and the roamer either goes with him if there are 2 heros there or can go aid the pusher against his opponent. If at anytime the pusher gets ganged, the supporter should be TPing in and the roamer should be walking over. The roamer is in charge of watching that middle flag the entire game. Anytime an enemy goes for it, he needs to beat them off. If two enemies are mid, its the roamer's responsibility to call for help from the supporter. After the pusher knocks down the first flag he should turn mid for the second. After the second flag mid, he should make a bid for the enemy portal on his side. He should cap that while his teammates keep the enemies occupied, then lock it, and try to clear the surrounding towers. If the roamer/supporter pushed down the opposite side's towers and all your team creeps have regrouped in the middle, the pusher should switch mid, clear towers under cover of teammates, then attack the enemy citadel while the roamer keeps the enemies at bay. This can all be done before you reach level ten with good players and the right DGs. If only I could post replays...
- Use potions. None of these characters should buy armor intially, buy potions/TPs to give you the staying power and thus the level advantage during the first couple of levels.
- Buy early, buy often, buy consumables. Most pusher builds and roamers use skill based damage (even if it is an attack bonus) and thus dont need gloves. Armor is very helpful against towers, which you will be fighting often, so getting the 1500g - 500HP, 750AR chestpiece, some potions, and some TPs is usually all you need in most of these games. Heart of Life (HoL) is a fantastic choice for all these roles in this play style.
- Buy Idols. The pusher should buy/summon/sell monks at the start before buying potions and should later purchase monks/priests/or bishops and seige units for keeps. A support character or General Roamer should buy monks/priests/or bishops at a minimum when they have the extra money/opportunity.
You win with this strategy by using constant pressure on the enemy. If the enemy neglects the pusher, he will be in their base very very quickly. If they focus on him, they will be fighting 3v2s or 3v3s (because the roamer/pusher will help) all game and will accomplish nothing. Every time they back, it is likely the pusher will do significant damage to one of their towers. Everytime they go to another lane for a flag, the pusher does significant damage to their towers. If they spread out, the roamer creates 2v1 situations to punish them. We are focusing on creeps, towers, and flags, otherwise known as Map Control.
Coordinated teams should use a roamer pair and a support character to defeat this push strategy. The roamer pair needs to be searching for 2v1s all game which can achieve quick kills and the support should be used for defense, standing on top of the towers in the pusher's lane. This team would occaisionally group up for a 3 player push down any lane and try to force the other team to group up for defense, buying you time and disrupting the push.
I have not seen a turtle strat (Tower buffs at citadel and late game heros) defeat the push strat yet but it may with good players.
Comments? Questions? Anyone else found success with something like this?
I will post the best pusher builds I have developed in the first reply.