Welcome to RossenX's Guide to the Drow Ranger
One major thing I've noticed with the Drow Ranger is that everyone likes to play her their own way and this is my way.
I like to start her off pretty much always on the easy lane.
(Bottom for the Radiant and Top for the Dire)
The reason i keep her on the easy lane is because she can harass the enemy and slow them down for your lane partner to take them down easily.
the starting items are pretty standard and i think the best use of your starting gold.
Healing Salve and Tango will help you stay in the lane if you take some very early harassment from the enemy.
Iron Branchx2 will help you very early on and transform nicely into a magic want
Slippers of Agility give you a very nice boost in damage and will help you last hit and deny those creeps.
You'll want to rush and get a Poor Man's Shield which will drastically decrease the amount of harassment damage you take from enemy heroes and the occasional creep that attacks you.
Magic Wand once again is to help you stay in the lane which is your primary goal. Going back to the fountain will cost you a lot of gold and experience early in the game.
Once you have your items to stay in lane Power Treads will be the next thing you need. Always buy your Boots of Speed, Gloves of Haste, Belt of Strength in that order. The Boots of Speed are your first must-have item so you can out run an enemy if they charge at you. Gloves of Haste are your much wanted attack speed and finally the Belt of Strength is just a nice bonus to your hp.
Mask of Madness is my choice when it comes to the life stealing masks. I see a lot of people go for the helm of domination which i personally do not thing is as useful as the Mask of Madness mainly because the Mask of Madness is an item you can use ALL THE TIME, if you see a gank it'll help you get to safety with it's increased movement speed, the increased attack speed can make short work of almost any hero or tower for the matter. It has a slightly higher life stealing percentage also.
Yasha is your next main item you'll want, which will of course build into a Manta Style in late game.
Manta Style is i think EVERYONE's choice when it comes to that one item that a hero needs. Once you have the Manta Style you can pretty much solo towers and take them down without any creeps. Thanks of the Mask of Madness once you focus your fire on the tower it'll crumple into dust in no time at all. I've won countless games just by counter-pushing and taking down their towers while the enemy is making a push for my own base and if the enemy tries to send one hero to defend you can usually make pretty short work of them on your own.
Assault Cuirass will greatly in crease you ability to take down the enemy towers and give you a massive attack speed bonus and armor. Choose this item when you have some gold to spare and want to take down the enemy base quickly.
Boots of Travel are once again there to help you push the lanes. As a Drow Ranger there is NO ONE that is as good at pushing the enemy towers like you. Some people might argue that point, but with your unprecedented ability to take down enemy buildings on your own, you have to make sure that the enemy feels the pressure and are not given any breathing room.
[[butterfly] is what you'll need if the enemy is smart enough to keep trying to take you down in team fights. It'll give you a massive boost in attack speed, evasion and damage! Choose this item when they have anoying stealthy heroes that like to take a stab at you in the dark.
Daedalus is considered a CORE item by most people, but for me even though it can do amazing damage when combined with Manta Style i think of it as an item you might want if your team isn't doing well in team fights and you need that extra boost to take down the enemy.
Ethereal Blade might be though of as a strange item to give to the Drow Ranger but when it comes down to it 3 seconds are all you need to take down almost any carry the enemy might have. In team fights you should always use it after your initiator and shut down their carry and take them out. By late game you can do over 2000 damage in those 3 seconds, which should ether kill the enemy or bring their health down low enough that they'll die within a few seconds of your Ethereal Blade wearing off.
Shadow Blade is an item that is considered as a core by most people, but i don't think you need it at all to be effective at what you do. Only time you NEED it is when the enemy is very good at boxing you in and surrounding you as you try to push a lane. You should never let yourself get in those situations but some teams are very good at all of a sudden finding yourself surrounded from all sides.
A lot of people swear by giving her stats before level 6, i however do not find this to the best best choice, mostly because any hp regen issues she has i counter with a few cheap items. Magic Wand actually gives you +3 to all stats which is already better than wasting a point in stats. By level 6 you should have 3 points in Trueshot Aura which combined with Marksmanship translates in a lot more damage. Hp regen is not going to be a problem at all for you once you have your Mask of Madness which is dirt cheap and if you find yourself getting out-laned by the enemy you can safely jungle near your tower for extra xp and gold.
frost arrow is basically what makes the Drow Ranger who she is, with her ability to keep an enemy from escaping her high damage and high attack speed.
You should focus on getting this somewhat early on, but not using it unless your team is going after a target. Getting it early on in the easy lane will make you able to slow down enemies enough for your lane partner to take them out, because you won't be doing that much damage to start with. Just remember that using frost arrow will NOT GIVE YOU any life stealing from your Mask of Madness.
Silence is a skill i like to get around mid game, because that's when all the enemies will get spells that you will want to silence, ether in team fights or just because you attack them yourself. Try not to waste your silence in a single target, it has a fairly large radius and you can silence all of the enemy melee heroes in a team fight, making them easy to take down by your allies.
Trueshot Aura is a skill i like to pick up right away, because even if it only gives you +5 damage at level one and your starting damage is about 50, that's 10% extra damage for you to use on last hitting. Some people like to go with frost arrow on level one or stats, but they're not useful at all in the start of the match and you can wait 1 minute (2 creep waves) for your frost arrow without losing a thing.
Marksmanship is pretty much the Drow Ranger's most important skill. By level 6 you can do as much as 100 base damage, combined with the Mask of Madness you can take down any heros that's trying to flee from you. Because chances are that once they see you coming at them they'll try to escape. Even if they try to attack you thanks to Mask of Madness you can safely keep your distance from them and use frost arrow to take them down.
Can do massive damage after mid game.
Can take down enemies in a few seconds.
Can take down towers in a few seconds.
A beast after lvl 16
Very lower HP, you will almost never find yourself having more than 1200 hp in a single game.
Easily taken down if your let yourself be surrounded. (If you find that happening often, buy a Shadow Blade
Very farm dependent, like most carries you depend highly on your level and items to give you an edge of your enemy. So if you just can't seem to defend a lane well, you can go semi-jungling after you have your Mask of Madness to give ether get you to the same level as your enemy carry or to get you even higher than them.
Very easily taken down before level 8. Alot of heroes get very useful things by level 8, though you might find yourself not able to take them on. Don't worry about that and focus on getting your farm and your items. Drow Ranger is like a snowball, you start out slow, but eventually become an unstoppable force.
In team fights you want to always be behind your enemies, you're extremely vulnerable and have a very low health pool, even at higher levels.
Your worst enemies are stealthy high damage enemies, such as Riki and Bounty Hunter, because they will always sneak up and take a few hits and kill you. So it's not a bad idea to keep some sentry wards with you when you go into a team fight and place them down around your location. If you catch them early you have a very good chance of taking them down, before they take you down.
When you're in a lane you usually want to be with another carry, this might seem against the laws of Dota, but having a support with you is almost useless. Having another carry that can take down enemies you slow down with your frost arrow is much more useful. You might not get as much farm as you do if you had a support with you, but killing the enemy will give you more than enough experience and gold.
I like to think of the Drow Ranger as a support carry. Meaning that you are a carry, but you're more of a carry that is at her full potential when she is supporting another melee carry. Such as Axe or Tidehunter or even Morphling, because while they distract the enemy with their massive health pools and stuns, you can pick the enemy off from a distance.