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5 Votes

If you were still alive, I'd still be shooting

December 28, 2012 by
Comments: 1    |    Views: 20775    |   

Recommended build

DotA2 Hero: Windranger

Hero Skills


2 5 8 9


3 4 6 7


1 12 13 14

Focus Fire

10 11 16


15 17 18


29/12 - Completed guide

30/12 - Edited some parts (added a lil solo mid item choice section and added the hyperlink for items) replaced scepter with aghanim's scepter to prevent any confusion. Added a <during laning phase and mid game> component under item choice.

Hero Introduction

Windrunner is a versatile hero which can be used to solo the hard lane (top for Radiant/Sentinel and bot for Dire/Scourge) or start of as a support and starts transitioning into a semi-carry/carry. She is most popular for her Shackleshot which allows her to throw a stun which can latch on to an enemy unit or tree, stunning both units for 3.75 seconds at level 4, which is why windrunner is such an insane hero to begin with. Her Powershot is a great early game nuke and is used mostly to counter push or snipe running heroes which is very very very satisfactory if you manage to pull one of. Windrun is windrunner's escape skill giving her a speed boost and any physical damage to miss her (except juggernaut's omnislash). However, many players tend to forget that it slows the opponent by 30% at level 4. Her ultimate, Focus Fire, basically allows you to shoot at maximum attack speed (correct me if I'm wrong) with reduced damage.

She is a very popular hero among both pub games and competitive plays and with much practice, getting a shackleshot will be a walk in the park.

Pros / Cons


    Great escape
    Great laning phase
    Best non-ultimate skill (IMO)
    Fun hero
    Beginner friendly
    "God" mode against meelee with windrun on


    Requires a little bit of farm
    Kinda squishy
    Doesn't scale well into late game

When to pick windrunner ?

When you see that your team does not have any support or good stuns. Or, when your team needs a hard lane solo.

*Windrunner can also take up a solo mid position, but is more likely to be seen supporting a carry, roaming or solo-ing a hard lane.

Skill Build Justification

In most scenarios

We add Windrun at level 1 for escape purposes in case of ganks. However, many players tend to go for the Shackleshot at level 1 for first blood attempts, it is perfectly fine too. Just remember to add the other skill at level 2. Mainly because Windrun gives you an escape and Shackleshot gives you a stun to either escape or go for the kill. Next we skill Powershot to level 2 to get a decent nuke.

Alot players might argue saying : "you should just go for Powershot at level 5" but I tend to disagree. Playing windrunner for over a 100 games, I can assure you that 1.5 second stun (provided the shackle latches) is not enough to do much damage, getting it to level 2 however, will get you a decent 2.25 second stun.

We then proceed to max Powershot by level 7 to maximise its utility early game, followed by Shackleshot.

Focus Fire is gotten at level 10,11 more of during the mid game for pushes and during the early game, you do not have that much damage or mana to support this skill.

The rest of the skill build are kind of self-explanatory.

Worth a mention

Sometimes, instead of max-ing Powershot, I would max Shackleshot first. This situation is only when you are a decent windrunner player and is playing in a gank-oriented play style where your team has enough dps and does not really need your powershot. This build mostly picked when your teammates require more farm than you and you have to roam around.

Item choice

Starting build

If there are no supports in the team, you SHOULD (BETTER) get an Animal Courier for the team. This would help your teammates farm better and survive their lanes. Start with 3 Iron Branch to provide some stats and a Tango, Healing Salve and 2 Clarity for regeneration. You might opt for a Ring of Protection and 2 Iron Branch if you're a fan of Tranquil Boots and Ring of Basilius. (There is no definite boots for windrunner.)

*If you solo mid, you can opt for a Bottle too to help in laning

Laning Phase

By about 10minutes, you should have upgraded the boots already. Also, try to upgrade your courier to a Flying Courier somewhere around the 6min-8min mark, where the courier is carrying alot of items, especially your solo mid teammate.
Remember to get your Magic Wand at this stage of the game too.

Mid Game

At this point of time, you should probably get a Mekansm if there are no good meka carriers in your team. But, if there is someone building a meka already, go for a Force Staff The force staff provides regeneration and gives you intelligence which boosts both your mana and damage, helping with spamming skills and dps. The force (?) ability is great in positioning yourself, forcing an out of position (oop) enemy hero, helping your team engage (e.g forcing in your team's earthshaker to ulti), or just saving your teammates and yourself.

*During laning phase and mid game, ALWAYS and ALWAYS carry a TP scroll, like any other support, you play around in case of emergencies to escape or to tp to another lane to save your teammate or when they call for reinforcements.

Late Game

At this stage, windrunner has plenty of items to choose from. I recommend going for a Daedalus/ Crystalys or Monkey King Bar. Then a black king if your team lacks dps.

Or, you can get more disables such as Scythe of Vyse or Eul's Scepter of Divinity.

Mjollnir/ Maelstrom would allow you to shoot lightnings when you use focus fire almost every single second (TONS OF DAMAGE !!)

Orchid Malevolence can be picked up for its silence for heroes such as storm spirit.

Desolator helps in reducing armor especially in a minus armor strat game. (dazzle,slardar,assault cuirass, etc.)

Divine Rapier is only gotten when you're pubstomping madly with scores like 50-0 lolol

How to play windrunner ?

During early game, try to get as many last hits and denies to get your core items (if you're solo-ing mid or the hard lane). Try to harass the enemy as much as possible. Do not be afraid to use your powershot for harassing. But always keep enough mana to windrun away in case of emergencies. If another lane calls for help, be sure to help with your shackleshots ! :D

During mid game, this is when most teamfights start, stay back, get shackleshots, use your ulti, shoot some powershots, snipe heroes that are running away, meka your team (during or after the teamfight). And use your force staff (if you have it).

Late game or after you won a teamfight, where pushing starts. Use focus fire on towers (barracks are recommended over towers). I actually recommend suiciding the rax.

If you ever meet up with an annoying as hell pushing strat, use your powershot to lower down creep waves and enemy heroes. With no creeps and low health, they will have to back off.

Farming with powershot : either get the meelee creeps to around half health and hit the range creep once then use powershot. Or use it first and aim for last hits.

Positioning your shackleshot

I don't really know how people gauge their shackleshots. As for me, I always look at whats behind the enemy hero and imagine light rays (yes, from physics). From there, I get into position to get as much of a straight line as possible between me, the target I'm about to shackle and the object the shackle is going to latch to.

This takes a lot of practice to do with as it is hard to focus on whats behind the target and still shoot the shackle.

Use your phaseboots (if you do get one, about 80% of the time) and force staff to get into position.

If you're a really good windrunner player, you can try forcing creeps/enemy heroes to get a nice shackle shot ( I'm still learning how to do this nicely )

Notable items

Helm of dominator
Some of you might be wondering "WHY IS HELM OF DOMINATOR CONSIDERED A LUXURY ITEM?!?!?!"

Well, if you are into dota mechanics, windrunner's ultimate actually works based on trigger heal. (Refer to luminous' video) ---> Do check out other luminous videos :D

Instead of healing yourself (as stated in luminous' video) your skill heals your opponent.

Scenario (ignoring armor and stuff) : You are dealing a 100 damage per hit while using focus fire (reduces damage by 30%). You actually deal a 100 damage to your opponent and he heals back 30 damage. So it looks like you're dealing 70 damage only. Therefore, lifesteal (from helm of dominator) would benefit from this situation as most people would actually think that the lifesteal is based on the 70 damage dealt to the opponent, but no, its based on the 100 damage you deal initially before trigger heal.

P.s that was dota1 mechanics, I'm not sure if trigger heal still works in dota2.

Medallion of courage
Medallion is a cheap way of getting more damage for a cheap amount of gold. But it does take up space for your luxury items much later.

Item comparisons and rejected items

Phase Boots VS any other boots

Arcane Boots might be a great item in theory, but if you don't overspam and ration your skills well enough, you don't need arcane boots.

Power Treads allows you to change from str to agi to int, which is great for extra hp/armor/mana and with that extra attack speed it gives. However, your dps will suffer quite greatly as compared to getting a phase boots and you do not have the phase ability.

Tranquil Boots I have personally used this before and seen manymany players get this early game, then dismantling the parts to get phase boots, RoB, meka or force staff. Tranquil gives a decent heal early game, helping in lane survivability. You can try for this item, but I wouldn't really do so. If you opt for an RoB, you gotta constantly keep in mind when to on/off it when you're pushing or not, depending on the situation, if not, the Ring of protection is kinda useless. ALSO, when disassembling your tranquil boots in the goblin shop, there is the constant fear that your enemy will appear and destroy your items. Destroyed items means mood spoiling, needing more farm which could have been used to purchase better items instead.

Phase Boots is the best IMO as you get a spammable ability to phase up, giving around 400ms with a 3sec time gap between the end of the phase and the end of the cooldown. Its also a cheap way of getting +24 damage, boosting your dps by your ulti significantly.

Boots of Travel can be gotten around late game as you might not have enough slots for a tp scroll, but other than that, stick with the phase boots.

Aghanim's Scepter

Scepter might seem like a good item, allowing you to spam your ultimate without fear, pushing down towers with a breeze. Well haha, thats just a very nice fantasy. A similar analogy is a magnataur/tidehunter going for a refresher to double ulti, only realising that he does not have enough mana to support the refresher. SAME LOGIC. The mana cost at level 3 for focus fire would still remain at 400 mana, burning your mana a lot. The main reason why you don't see this item being picked up by many players.

Credits and recommended videos

This is my first guide and I finished this guide at 7:09am after staying up the whole night dota-ing and starting at around 4-5, so I'm sorry for any typos etc. This is my first guide, so I'm sorry if its kinda ugly and stuff :/ Windrunner is one of my favourite heroes and I hope that this guide has taught you how to play windrunner effectively. Thanks for reading and remember to share it with your friends, rate it 5 stars and what not.

Recommended videos:
The best windrunner player IMO, ChuaN DK vs iG
First player perspective windrunner by Purge. Purge plays windrunner

I hope I don't infringe any copyright or anything else from youtube.

Steam IGN : FFYM.Good4Aura or

P.S sorry if i ever offended you in any dota2 games, TROLOLOLOLOLOL.


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