Perhaps the most important skill a player can have when playing a MOBA game such as Riot Games' League of Legends, or the topic of today's guide, Valve's DOTA 2, is minion or creep control. League players might be familiar with the concept of stacking minions to make farming easier, which also applies to DOTA 2 albeit with creeps instead of minions, and it can be done in the jungle too.
To creep stack in the jungle in DOTA 2, you have to draw neutral creeps from a camp away from their default position at the right time so that new creeps can spawn when the time is right. Like this, the new and old creeps 'stack' in the camp waiting for a player to come and cash in on all the gold.
We'll be going through everything you need to know about stacking creeps in DOTA 2, specifically when it comes to doing it in the jungle.
What is Creep Stacking in Jungle
Creep stacking means exactly what it sounds like, stacking creeps in a single area. Now, this can be done either in the lanes or in the jungle, but today we'll be focusing on creep stacking in the jungle.
As you probably know, the jungle in DOTA 2 has a bunch of neutral creeps that can be taken out for some valuable gold. However, it's a rather time consuming process to constantly go to them, kill them, then wait for them to respawn in a cycle that lasts the entire match.
Fortunately, with creep stacking, you don't have to waste so much time. Instead, you can make it so a large number of creeps are stacked in one place so that you can cash in on them at once. Maximum gold and minimum time wasted, what's not to like?
How to Creep Stack in Jungle
Now that you know what creep stacking is, how is it done? Well, it's rather straight forward. First, you have to head to a jungle camp that has neutral creeps in it. Try to be as quick as possible as you want to perform the stacking process before the minute mark for maximum effect.
Then, you'll want to attack the creeps once and then instantly run to a lane with the creeps on your tail. Now, the exact timing really depends on what type of hero you're playing as. If it's a ranged hero, then you want to attack the creep on the 51 second mark and then instantly bolt to the nearest lane, while if you're using a melee champion then you want to do it on the 50 second mark.
Ensure the camp is no longer in your sight when the game timer hits the 1-minute timer, and if you've done everything right then when you return to the camp you'll notice it has twice as many creeps as it should. This is because not only will the creeps that were chasing you just a few seconds earlier be there, but so will the creeps that just spawned.
After getting it down the first time, you should be able to repeat it as many times as you want as long as you keep in mind that creeps respawn every minute. So 1:00, 2:00. 3:00 and so on. There are, however, a couple of things you need to keep in mind.
Things to Be Careful Of
Easily the biggest risk when stacking creeps in the jungle is the chance that someone from the enemy team can always come across your stack. Not only will this mean that you won't get ANY of the gold you would have otherwise gotten, but a player of the enemy team will also get a substantial amount of gold. The more creeps you stack the greater the risk of this happening.
Additionally, if you try to stack the ghost camp, then you have to remember that attacking the ghost neutral creep decreases your movement speed by 20%. This makes it more difficult to stack creeps as they might catch up to you if you're a melee hero, or you might not be able to reach the lane in time for the respawn.
Speaking of respawn, if a hero or ward is anywhere near the camp when the time for the creeps to respawn comes, then the creeps won't spawn. Because of this, a very common tactic of blocking the enemy camp from stacking is to simply place a ward or invisible sentry near it and then forget about it.
There are, of course, other ways players are able to block the opposing team from stacking, such as using certain abilities that give their team vision. By using those abilities near the creep camp, they'll effectively make it so the creeps won't spawn even if you successfully pull off the stacking maneuver.
Tips For Stacking Efficiently
There are several tips and tricks you can use to stack creeps in the jungle more efficiently. For starters, if you time it correctly, it's possible to use the lane creeps to absorb most of the damage that otherwise would have been dealt to you. However, this will take a bunch of practice to pull off properly.
One thing that makes creep stacking all the more attractive is the fact that a common strategy is to have the support do the creep stacking and then have another player cash in on the gold by killing all the creeps. By doing this, the support also gets a stacking bonus of 30% of the bounty.
Additionally, some heroes can stack heroes very quickly or from anywhere on the map. For example, Clockwork's rocket flare ability can be used to either block a camp for the enemy or to stack a camp by damaging the neutral creeps from anywhere on the map at the right time. Pair a Clockwork player with someone who's able to give direct and exact callouts, and you have yourself a devastating combination.
Finally, as mentioned above, it's possible for some heroes to stack creeps by damaging them from afar instead of getting up close and personal. Well, some heroes have abilities that have an even longer distance than any hero's basic attack, which makes it so those heroes are able to stack creeps with literally zero risk of being damaged themselves. This is often called safespotting.