Hi guys, I’m SlashStrike (still not slahser), and I’m bringing you my guide Shift-Queuing. You may remember me from my guide to solo mid Earthshaker. Now, to some of you shift-queuing may seem like a pointless thing to write a guide about, because it is in fact fairly simple. However, I’m also sure that many of you are unaware of the mechanics behind shift-queuing, don’t entirely understand how it works, have no clue when to use it and therefore miss out on many little tricks that could improve your game.
There’s a video accompanying this written guide – throughout the text you will find links to certain times of the video, demonstrating what I am discussing. At the end of this guide you can see the full video embedded, in case you want to look through it again.
Lastly, if you want to see me make use of these techniques live at 6500+ MMR, you can check out my twitch channel.
Table of Contents
- What is shift-queuing exactly
- Common Uses
- Notable Hero Mentions
What is shift-queuing exactly?
Shift-queuing refers to the ability to assign several actions that your hero or unit will complete one after another without needing any additional clicks.
Let’s clear up the most common misconceptions about shift queuing. Shift queuing spell combinations is almost always a horrible idea, and will lead to a slower execution when compared to manual casting.
This is because most heroes’ casting animations have a frontswing (also known as cast point) and a backswing. If you cancel the frontswing, the spell does not go off and is cancelled without any mana or cooldown being used. Cancelling the backswing is something you should always aim to do, because completing it does not achieve anything – the spell has already gone off, yet your hero keeps flailing his arms around until you issue a new command.
While cancelling the backswing can be done by giving any new order (be it to move, attack or cast another spell / item), cancelling the frontswing can only be done by issuing a stop command (pressing ‘S’). The point is that if you shift queue spells, your hero will complete the full backswing of each one, resulting in slower execution. So don’t do that.
So, when should you shift-queue?
When eating a tango while chasing or being chased, it is an absolute must to shift-queue in order to not slow down. When using tangoes and/or a quelling blade to juke through the forest, the same thing applies – shift queuing makes it much faster.
When you want to use a spell right after teleporting, shift-queuing is once again your friend as it makes sure you do it as soon as possible, with no risk of cancelling the TP. You can also shift queue item-casts after teleporting, such as the common blink to safety, but also for example an Orchid silence, a Blademail or a BKB, if you are teleporting into the middle of a fight.
Picking up runes or items can also be done through shift-queuing, and once again it makes the process faster. If you are playing a hero with manaboots and would like to drop your forcestaff before using them, for example, you can shift queue the item-drop and the cast of manaboots right after. This also works with multiple items, i.e. dropping the manaboots and forcestaff at the same time in order to use bottle, for example.
Microing any kind of summons or illusions can also be done more effectively by shift queuing – for example, you could shift queue a path through the forest for Furion’s treants in order to have them scout, or you shift-queue several attack-move (a-click) commands for Invoker’s Forged Spirits or a dominated creep, to have them push a lane.
Lastly, if you would like to quickly buy an item from the sideshop and immediately run back to the lane in order to not miss any lasthits, the fastest way to do it is to shift queue a move command to and back from the shop, and then focus your mouse on the items you want to sell/buy.
Notable Hero Mentions
There are some heroes that benefit from shift-queuing as part of their combos, but they are only heroes that have channeling spells.
Sand King’s Epicenter into blink is probably the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about shift-queuing, and for a good reason. In order to blink/burrow right after you finish channeling, shift-queuing is imperative because an interrupted channel means a whiffed ultimate.
Windrunner’s Powershot is a channeling spell, and ever since the fix you need to let it go for the entire channel in order to get the full damage – to avoid cancelling it, you can shift-queue an attack/move/spellcast command after.
Shadow Shaman is an interesting case, because he has his Shackles as a channeling spell that can be followed up by Hex. Since the latter is an instant cast (hex spells have an instant cast time regardless of the hero), it allows you to chain the two disables perfectly.
Elder Titan’s Echo Stomp is channeled, so like with Windrunner it is a good idea to shift-queue your next commands to not risk cancelling it accidentally.
Pudge’s Dismember is channeling, so it’s a good idea to shift-queue a move command to chase afterwards, or perhaps a blink out if you’re low on HP. However, never shift-queue a hook because people expect it and it is very easy to sidestep from such a close range. Bane’s Fiend’s Grip, Kotl’s Illuminate and Oracle’s Fortune’s End all follow suit.
Enigma’s black hole can also be followed by a shift-queued malefice in order to further chain disable a single target.
Special mention goes out to Tinker, who’s Rearm is channeled meaning that he is the hero you should be shift-queuing the most with, constantly.
Note that Shadowfiend’s Requiem of Souls, Meepo’s Poof, Sniper’s Assassinate and Furion’s Teleport are not channeled – they simply have a long casting time, meaning that issuing any commands other than ‘Stop’ while they are being cast will not cancel them, essentially eliminating the need for shift-queuing as you could just spam click to move/attack as the spell is about to finish casting.
NEVER shift queue long spell-combinations, only do it to follow up a channeling spell or item, or to walk a certain path through the map.
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