8k Windranger (Core) guide by SlashStrike
February 24, 2020
Hey guys! I'm SlashStrike and my real name is Stoyan. I'm a 23 year old Bulgarian pro DotA player that grew up in the Netherlands, and I'm here to enable you to get what you want out of this game. I've been playing DotA for over 12 years now (started around v6.48) and apart from playing competitively, I make highlight videos, stream, write guides, analyse drafts of the top teams, and of course coach people!
- Peak MMR: 8150
- Peak Rank: 43rd on EU Leaderboards
- 150+ students coached
- 15+ in-depth guides published
- 17,000+ hours played
If you would like to reach me I can be found below:
Thank you and I wish you the best of luck in your upcoming Windranger
matches! Feel free to post a comment telling me how the guide has been working for you. :D
Abilities & Talents
Shackleshot - This is your catch, your hard stun. Although it's a skillshot, it's pretty much a guaranteed hit on lanes, so it's excellent for catching split-pushers. A little bit less easy to land in the middle of the jungle, and only really difficult in the river where there are no trees.
Getting a Blink Dagger makes it reliable anywhere, and even allows you to land 2-man shackles, but it's rarely necessary since Windranger is best at targeting the enemy frontliner or carry that will be trying to go in, not an elusive hero that will be usually running away.
If you're getting a pick-off with your team, this is a good spell to start with since it's fast and difficult to dodge, and the duration will be long enough to kill most heroes when you have back-up.
If you're going for a solo kill, it's not always a good idea to start with Shackleshot, unless you are sure you have enough damage to kill the enemy in the stun duration. Versus tanky immobile targets that cannot retaliate easily ( Doom, Pudge, Tidehunter, Underlord, etc.) it's better to wait till your ultimate brings their HP down, and then use the Shackleshot once you're able to finish them, otherwise they will just teleport out after the stun ends since you'll usually lack the damage to burst them.
Powershot - This spell is your farming tool, although it has some other nice purposes. You can use it to scout when going uphill, scout and break trees when an enemy is trying to juke you, break trees when you are the one juking and trying to escape, and even with assist kills on sidelanes while standing in the river, making use of the massive 2.6k range.
Lastly, although Shackleshot is quick (1650 ms projectile), it is not quick enough to be a reliable catch versus heroes with Blink Daggers - this is where a Powershot (3000 ms projectile) from the fog can come in handy just to cancel a blink, and then give you the time to connect with your Shackleshot.
Keep in mind that for many of these uses, speed is more important than damage, meaning it's not necessary to wind up the Powershot for the full 1 second. The only times you absolutely need to wind it up fully, is when damage is most important, i.e. when farming or hitting a hero that's disabled / doesn't see you making you certain that they cannot dodge it.
Windrun - Your escape and mobility tool, as well as one of the factors that determines whether it's a 'good Windranger game', or not. Some heroes rely fully on right-clicks and cannot threaten you when you are windrunning ( Templar Assassin, Lycan, Clinkz, Nature's Prophet) while others don't care at all ( Zeus, Pugna, Kunkka, Timbersaw).
Identifying which heroes could pose a threat and which cannot will allow you to pressure those you have an advantage against, and avoid those that are dangerous. Also keep in mind some heroes are able to dispel/purge your Windrun ( Invoker's Tornado, Enchantress' Enchant, Oracle's Fortune's End). Honourable mention goes out to Shadow Demon which is a very hard counter, since his ultimate Demonic Purge continuously dispels you meaning that even after he casts it you cannot activate Windrun for its entire 7 second duration (or it will immediately get purged).
Keep in mind that this changes in two key moments - when you get a Black King Bar, which is when almost no hero can threaten you (except Shadow Demon's ultimate, it also pierces magic immunity), and when the enemy carry gets an Monkey King Bar, at which point you need to be a lot more careful.
Windrun is also your main trading tool in the laning stage, since it allows you to get free hits in and avoid damage back for a very low manacost.
Focus Fire - The hero's trademark ability, this ultimate is very powerful as long as you have the items to enable it (damage + Black King Bar). Combined with Shackleshot, you can take down most supports before they are able to cast anything.
However, since the cooldown is too long (until late game) for you to use it twice in a fight, it's usually necessary to save it for an important enemy core. The best targets are heroes that don't have an easy way to disengage once you start hitting them.
Keep in mind that if you manage to target the real hero, you will keep hitting them even if they spawn illusions, which can be great if you catch a Phantom Lancer or Naga Siren off-guard. Still, if they are able to set up and come in with their illusions, you will need an ally to clear them or at least reveal which is the real one, since your dps is low without your ult and you cannot risk targeting an illusion with it.
has more than half of the max duration at level one, so one value point is fine until you get your other spells maxed out.
, since it's your farming and waveclear tool. Windrun
second, since it's your way to get aggressive and tower dive. Extra points in Windrun
early are definitely valuable though to allow you to tank tower for a dive at level 6, and depending on the enemy mid shackle may or may not be needed. Generally you want to be 1-3-2-1 at level 7, or 0-3-3-1 if Shackle is unnecessary. Rank up ultimate whenever possible, talents likewise.
+2 Mana Regen
- You definitely need the mana, and this talent allows you to skip any major items and just rely on a couple clarities throughout the early-midgame to spam your spells.
+125 Attack Range
- The Powershot
damage is also very good, but most of the time won't be as much of a game changer as the bonus attack range. Sometimes you want to run up close to your Focus Fire
target so it may seem like the range won't matter, but it does give you more maneuverability in a fight since you can walk bigger circles around your target while still hitting them. It also makes sieging a lot easier, since you start out-ranging the tower.
-20% Focus Fire Damage Reduction
- This one is a no-brainer, it's a big damage increase equivalent to 2 extra levels in your ult, and just makes your hero much more powerful, whereas the +1s stun hardly changes anything.
- Bit of a tough call, because the invisibility really is strong, but CDR is generally just stronger. 30% is A LOT, second only to Drow Ranger
and Shadow Fiend
's 40%. It means you can almost perma-windrun (more than permanent if you have Aghs), allows you to be much more liberal with your ulti and reliably use it more than once per fight, and perhaps most importantly it lowers your Black King Bar
cooldown considerably, which is very important in the late-game.
Starting Items (Mid)
Starting Items (Sidelane)
Cheap damage and health regen is what you need, since you have great range, BAT, animation, and an already large starting manapool. 2x Circlet
, a Mantle of Intelligence
, an Iron Branch
, a Faerie Fire
and 2x Tango (Shared)
if you're mid. 2x Mantle of Intelligence
, 2x Tango
es and 2x Iron Branch
if you're on a sidelane.
If you're having a good game, rushing the Javelin
is super strong and allows you to kill anyone when you're level 6. Go for it if you are not being pressured and are able to get it before the 6-7 minute mark.
If you're having a harder time, get Boots of Speed
and finish the 2 Null Talisman
s, then get the Javelin
Important: Lock your Javelin
when you buy it!
are good versus physical damage that you cannot dodge with Windrun
( Monkey King
's Boundless Strike
's Quill Spray
's Anchor Smash
, etc.) since your armor is very low, otherwise Power Treads
do actually give you more DPS since Focus Fire
doesn't cap out your attack speed. Also note you may need the Phase Boots
active phase if enemies have many summoned units to potentially block you.
The 2 Null Talisman
s give you a bit more DPS (don't underestimate spell amp on Maelstrom
procs!) and fill out your slots with great value stats.
Black King Bar
is absolutely crucial most games, to allow you to chase your Focus Fire
target and ignore everyone in a teamfight, making it a 5v4 advantage for your team every time. Maelstrom
is more damage and can be good if you need waveclear, but sometimes you need to get that Black King Bar
faster, which is why it's important to lock your Javelin
so you don't accidentally assemble the Maelstrom
when you buy the Mithril Hammer
for your Black King Bar
Monkey King Bar
not only for heroes that have evasion/debuff you with miss chance, but also for heroes that are likely to buy it (think Heaven's Halberd
on Strength heroes, evasion talents, etc.)
can be great if your team lacks AoE damage and enemies have many summons, also nice if you have a frontliner that you can put the active on.
is great for getting on top of high-range ( Sniper
, Drow Ranger
) or mobile heroes ( Puck
, Ember Spirit
, Void Spirit
) that you absolutely need to lock down and target quickly. Special mention goes out to Faceless Void
- always buy this item versus him because it's the best counter to Chronosphere
, its animation is slow and you will always be able to blink out if he timewalks on to you!
/ Hurricane Pike
can be nice for that extra range once you have damage from other items, allowing you to siege easily since you become like a sniper with your attack range talent.
is awesome once you have sufficient damage, since it makes you super mobile around the map and lets you have Windrun
up 24/7, making you near unkillable versus lineups relying on right-clicks.
if the silence is useful and/or you need a Linken's breaker to help you land shackle and focus fire - Force Staff
is the cheaper option.
for once you have some other items already ( Monkey King Bar
+ Black King Bar
at least) and just need more raw physical damage output to take down enemy magic immune heroes.
Linken Sphere's will be useful in many games, because even if they don't have strong single-target abilities, good enemies will still build Heaven's Halberd
You're very strong once you have your Javelin
and ultimate ready, and can kill most heroes solo. Instead of farming enemy supports, however, try to think about which enemy core will be the biggest threat and try to gank and kill them, in order to slow down their game.
This is the stage of the game in which 5 on 5 teamfights will start breaking out, which means you definitely want to have your Black King Bar
by now since it will allow you to ignore the enemy team and focus down your preferred target.
Try to fight around enemy objectives so that you can get a tower after winning a fight successfully.
Note: While your ultimate is good for killing Roshan, you cannot really fight without it. So either commit it on Roshan when you are sure the enemy team will not contest nor fight you afterwards, or use the ult to win a fight, in which case you will need an ally good at taking Roshan to secure it. You can use Windrun
to tank rosh quite effectively though!
At this stage you need to be really careful since you can easily get chain-stunned and blown up before you get to use your Black King Bar
. When a fight breaks out, don't immediately commit on the first guy you see - think of who your most valuable target is (usually the enemy hero that does the most damage), and save your Black King Bar
and ultimate so that you can commit on them once they show themselves. You generally cannot afford to use your ult on a support, unless you are sure that you will kill them before they get any spells or items off, AND they are not able to just buy-back and teleport in afterwards!
This is also the part of the game where split-pushing becomes more common, and fortunately for you, you are one of the best solo-kill heroes in the game! Two big tips here:
- Use Powershot from far away to push waves without showing yourself. You don't always need to get all the creep last-hits, you just need enemy creeps to die faster so that the wave pushes towards the enemy base!
- Use Powershot to cut yourself a path in the trees on the side of the lanes. This puts you in a much safer spot since enemies hunting will have a much harder time finding you there, and it also puts you in a great position to catch an enemy that comes to shove the wave back, since you can sneak up right next to them from the trees, which they won't expect!
Thank you once again for reading and I wish you the best of luck in your upcoming Windranger matches! Feel free to post a comment telling me how the guide has been working for you and what other heroes you'd like to see me create a guide for!
If you would like to reach me I can be found below: