|2.||The Drow Ranger|
|6.||Why no Shadow Blade?|
|7.||Helm of the Dominator vs Mask of Madness|
|8.||Hand of Midas|
|9.||Eye of Skadi (Rant Chapter)|
|14.||Countering Drow Ranger|
|18.||Random Advice and Information|
Hello all, I'm R-Conqueror and this is my highly anticipated(at least by Rode Krijger) second guide to Drow Ranger. After playing in some higher tiers and learning more about the game, my first builds were so skewed I just wanted a clean slate. So, tell me what you think and enjoy!
I will try to make sure I update the guide every patch, right now it is updated for 6.84.
Drow Ranger can be a catastrophe waiting to happen at any point in the game. For both teams really. Sure you shut her down early, but you forgot about her in that teamfight and she still dished out 150 a hit. On the flip side, you can do great early...and then a farmed Anti-Mage takes a liking to you and your KDA flips. This is the skill factor of playing Drow, making her consistently good rather than unpredictable.
Drow is an incredibly dangerous fighter because of her massive agility bonus from Marksmanship. She will Silence you, melt your health bar, and refuse to let you go with the dreaded Frost Arrows. That is, until you see past her tough exterior and get close to her. Then Marksmanship is gone, and her potency with it.
So if you don't want to dance with death, go attack Io... until he/she/it/glowing sphere thing starts hitting for more than you do with Drow's Precision Aura.
So in conclusion, be careful when dealing with a Drow ranger... counter picking is recommended.
So, at level one we take Frost Arrows. Why? Because orbwalking is awesome. To orbwalk, you just manually cast frost arrows instead of putting them on autopilot, and then you won't draw the attention of enemy creeps that hurt a lot at low levels.Your harrass is bad for any ranged opponent, and DotA hell for melee, you will take this skill whenever you can.
A quick level of Silence can work wonders in a variety of situations, including early team encounters, ganks, and escapes. Also, it allows you to push away some people who gettooclose, and opens up opportunities for pro plays like pushing someone onto a cliff.
A level of Precision Aura will give the ranged players, including you, some last hitting power, and will boost that harass even further. Remember to activate it when you are pushing, as it will bulk up all your ranged creeps.
More frost arrows and then BAM! You start hitting like a freight train on steroids. At level 6, your DPS is really, really insane. If you have Boots of Speed, you can take down your lane opponents in most cases.
After maxing your Frost Arrows, you then get the rest of your Silence levels. The reason for this is that especially now that it's "Gust", it a PHENOMENAL skill. It can get people away from you and can silence whole bunches of people for 6 seconds. SIX. This skill really makes Drow helpful in teamfights, and people often aren't prepared for it.
If you have at least 2 other ranged heroes on your team, you can think about putting more levels into Precision Aura earlier, which will help them out in lane. Otherwise, however, you just want to get your silence up so you can be more effective at shutting people down.
So our beloved archer(archerette?) was not directly changed in 6.84, but there are some things I need to touch on that she will be affected by.
So assume you are in super lategame, and you're six-slotted...but the enemy is too(dun dun duuuuunnn). You need something that will put you over the edge, but you don't want to get rid of what you have now.
Ladies and gentlemen: Moon Shard (oooohhhh)
So this can be your 7th slot(whaaaattt). After you build it the item gives 120 attack speed, which is awesome. Even better though, you can EAT IT and it gives you 60 permanent attack speed without taking up a slot. So while eating it definitely reduces the effectiveness of the item, its still 60 attack speed you didn't have before.
Mask of Madness got nerfed a bit, the movespeed increase isn't as great anymore. However, it is still viable, it just means you want to use it offensively as opposed to a run-away tool.
The other big thing that changes the playstyle of Drow Ranger a little bit is that creeps are now worth less, and hero kills are worth 10% more. This means that you cannot just afk farm when you hit level 6(of course, that wasn't a good idea anyway), but instead you need to be roaming around and getting kills in order to keep up with your item progression. I actually view this as a buff to drow, as once she hits level 6 she is pretty great at killing heroes.
[*] Starting Items: This gives you regen and stats, I wouldn't hate you if you swapped the Circlet for another Slippers of Agility, it just makes it easier to build into your...
[*] Early Items: A Ring of Aquila is a bit weird, but it is such a cost effective item and provides more usefulness than 2 Wraith Bands. However, the jury is still out on this one, so post your opinions below. Power Treads work the best for Drow in my opinion, keep them on Strength so you are a bit tankier. Again, don't get greedy with damage.
[*] Core Items: Yasha gives you more chasing ability and adds to your Precision Aura, which is great for your team, instead of just damage for yourself. Black King Bar. I know, I know, I don't want to get it either, but it is a necessary evil if you want to survive teamfights. Helm of the Dominator is a great item on Drow, but you might notice I've added in Mask of Madness as an option(no, still no shadow blade), and I will expand upon that in it's own chapter.
[*] Late game items: So BIG BUFF for Manta Style- your illusions now get the bonus agility from Marksmanship. To me, this Silences the SnY vs. Manta debate, as your illusions are now much more formidable. TLDR, get Manta Style. Daedalus is just insane for you, as your attack speed guarantees some big crits buttttt I decided to replace it in the progression with a Butterfly. It has emerged in my games as what is most useful as the game goes on, giving your aura a buff as well as some great evasion and mobility. It's not critical to upgrade to Satanic, but if the game goes late enough, it is great. The item just gives you another weapon in your arsenal. Besides giving survivability, even when your enemies are in your face you can activate it and it will boost your HP back up.
[*] Situational Items:
Blade Mail can be pretty important at keeping the opposing carry off your back long enough to gain an advantage, just be sure to activate it when you see them coming at you.
Monkey King Bar has to take the place of Daedalus pretty often. If the enemy team has any evasion, such as Phantom Assassin, Heaven's Halberd, or Butterfly you will be worthless without this. Keep in mind that the mini-stun stacks with lifesteal/frost arrows, so it really is pretty good.
Heaven's Halberd is if you want more tankiness than maybe just a straight Butterfly. Keep in mind that this item has an incredibly useful active. Halberd can stop carries as cold as a freezer full of liquid nitrogen on a cloudy day in Antarctica. Force Staff deserves a mention as it can get you away from those smelly heroes into the free air where you can concentrate and run away/kill them. Just follow your fight or flight response. But sometimes it just won't help and you don't get anything out of it other than the active, so consider it carefully.
Again, I would like to stress the fact that you don't need to get greedy with damage. You really do hit hard, so not every item needs to be geared specifically towards damage.
*So previously I recommended Ethereal Blade, but since 6.79 it is no longer viable in my opinion.
Plz.. R-COnqueror Shadow BLade is too stronk on Drow...ICEFROG needz to nerf!!11!!1! Y u no hav it?!/1?
Shadow Blade is 3k gold that is just a Dust of Appearance away from being worthless. If you are playing against a good team, they will know when you are missing, use wards and dust, see you, and kill you. Yes, it gives good positioning in teamfights and ganks, but you can do that without spending 3k gold on an easily countered item.
BuT R, ShaDoW Blad now buildz into Silver Edge!!1!
Oh yeahhh, okay so before I know I said I couldn't find much use for this item but now I have. So, if you are against somebody with very strong passives, this might be the item for you! It's great against Huskar, Sniper, Faceless Void, and Bristleback.
Notice I don't have Phantom Assassin up there because 1 you shouldn't play against her as Drow and 2 I would rather have Monkey King Bar for her.
So how does this fit into your buildup? I'd say just get it right after treads/aquila so that you can just be done with it and go right into better items for Drow.
For me, Helm of the Dominator has three major uses, not including lifesteal.
#1-Dominating creeps: Go into the jungle and find yourself A. an Alpha Wolf or B. a Centaur. The wolf gives you a 30% damage increase[/color]. WHAT!?!? I cannot stress enough how good that is. Just have it follow you around and kaboom, you hit a lot higher. If you have some micro skills, get a Centaur Conqueror(I kinda have a special connection to those guys) for some body-blocking/stunning action. And the attack speed aura is good too. Uhh, they don't have that any more, they decided the Hellbears needed to be even harder to kill AFSDKLASJSALKSAJKA... sorry, ok.. just the stun then.
#2-Killing Roshan: With a neutral creep helper and the lifesteal, you can take down Rosh pretty fast. If you have a centaur, body-block Rosh a bit, giving you more hits with getting bashed, and if you have a wolf, keep it behind you so you maintain the damage aura.
#3-Stacking ancients: This is next level meta stuff guys. Step one: Get a creep. Step two: Put it by the Ancient Camp. Step three: At ?:52, attack the ancients with it and run away. This will make a double camp of ancients. Step four: repeat. Tops you can get like four stacks. And step five: Farm said ancients, get $gold$, buy stuff. If you are busy and have a willing support, give the creep control to them and have them do it. This can really boost your XP and GPM, so do it whenever possible.
So as you can see, Helm of the Dominator is an incredibly useful item, so don't feel pressured to upgrade to Satanic too soon.
But recently, I've been enamored with Mask of Madness games and there is definitely merit to the item, it boosts your DPS by insane amounts and makes it easier to kill basically everything. However, this awesomeness comes at the price of making you even more squishy than you already are(sigh). So which one do you get? Well in general MoM is just more risky, if you get caught out of position with that on in a teamfight without your BKB you are dead. If you think the damage is worth the risk, grab it, but otherwise go with the safer HotD and do those 3 things I talked about.
Hand of Midas is very situational. I feel like addressing it since I believe Purge uses it in his Drow guide and it does have some merit.... well maybe not. After considering it more, I really feel that its just not gonna help you that much.
Drow Ranger falls off a bit right around minute 30(since other more lategame oriented carries start to come online), so before that time you want to be as useful as possible. If you farmed up a Midas, you're gonna have about one less item at 30 minutes which may mean the difference between winning or losing fights.
Also, now that creeps are worth less, a Midas is harder to get if you aren't getting hero kills, which is pretty hard for our ranger until she hits lvl 6.
WHY. IT'S SO MUCH WORSE THAN ANY OTHER BIG ITEM YOU COULD GET BECAUSE
The next few chapters will focus on how to play Drow Ranger, which is probably more important than item choices anyway. When I play her I find myself pretty busy, silencing, using actives, and toggling Frost Arrows, on top of coordinating with teammates. It may seem like a lot of right clicking, but there is skill involved in knowing when and where to do so.
To use a few more insane analogies, at level 6 you deal more damage than a starved group of pandas does to a bamboo forest in the Garden of Eden. You hit for higher than the temperature of a bolt of lightning on a sunny day, in June, in Florida. You melt health bars faster than a chocolate bar in the hands of Lina on that very same day. You do more...... ok I'm done.
The point is, your DPS is, I'm reasonably sure, the highest in the game(not counting items) at level 6. Treant is the only challenger. So press that advantage and, if possible, kill your lane, TP to other lanes, kill those lanes, push towers, GG. Oh yeah, about Teleport Scrolls, always have one. Please. You can use it to find farming spots, defend, be there for a push, everything. But I digress. This point of the game is where drow shines and creates an advantage, so pick your targets wisely and don't forget about the Phantom Lancer in the forest.
You have to be quick, efficient, and deadly in teamfights. Your first priority is to not be the first to be targeted. You need to dish out as much of your damage as possible, and that means not being disabled half the fight. Once you come in, Silence any casters who might be saving spells just for you(don't you feel special?). Then, focus on the enemy team's carry, or the one who is on a hot streak, toggling between Frost Arrows to make sure they don't escape, and lifesteal to keep your health up. You are a single target monster, so be decisive and pick them off one by one. If it goes badly, back out and don't chase the one low guy when the rest of the enemy is chasing you. Make sure to stay out of melee range if possible so that you don't lose your agility from Marksmanship.
I touch on this in a lot of chapters, but I've decided it deserves its own. And man it's all fancy now I have pictures (ooohhh) Enjoy.
A few rules.
#1. Whenever possible, stand on a hill.
Normally I'd be scared of this Sven, but I have such a defensible position there's no way he'll make it to me if I kite and back up into the fog.
This is a technique that has been around for centuries, you put your archers on a hill. The same works for Drow. They can't get up to you very fast, and if a few line up and try to rush you, Gust will wreck them.
#2. If you are on level ground, stand on the corner of a teamfight.
I get a 4 person silence here that leads to me getting a triple kill. I entered the fight late, stayed on the outside, and focused people down quickly and cleanly while their Bloodseeker was distracted.
Stay at the corner of a teamfight with an escape(es-kapp-eh as Dory would say) route behind your back. When heroes approach you, knock them back with gust and either silence or retreat. This works because you can kite the Mary Poppins out of people, they will just be sooooo sllllowwwww and by the time they get to you they are either dead or you're gone.
#3. Know where juke spots are around you(stay near the trees).
Even though I am ruptured and am against 2, I have both the highground and the juking advantage that will keep me alive just long enough for my Omniknight to get there.
#4. People are just not prepared for a well-positioned Drow.
They just aren't. If you're up on a hill with BKB and Gust and an escape route behind you, you just aren't gonna die if its even close to an even game. That may seem really specific but there are a lot of spots on the map that have those qualifications. In my bracket, Drow just is not played a lot, so when I play her well, the other team just does not know how to respond. She kinda has that "out of the meta edge" right now(blog post coming up) and it can really net you some wins.
Drow Ranger is not invincible, there are several counters to her. When you are getting focused by any sort of blinker ( Anti-Mage, QOP) or heroes that can close the gap ( Spirit Breaker, Rikimaru, Phantom Assassin, Tusk) you are gonna pick up some deaths. So use a bit of a buddy system/fight club routine. Never walk alone. Heaven's Halberd is really aggravating as well.
And if PA gets picked before you pick... don't pick Drow Ranger unless you've eaten your Wheaties for the day.
Vengeful Spirit is great, she can get you great positioning and some bonus damage.
Abaddon is pretty awesome, can make you pretty tanky and your slows compliment each other.
Windrunner is pretty good, can make kills so much easier with a Shackle Shot set up by frost arrows.
Earthshaker's fissure can also allow you to lock opponents down in lane.
Ogre Magi and his Bloodlust is pretty nice as well.
Omniknight gives you that sweet sweet Repel.
Those are just a few combos I know to work well, there are others.
This is for when the game has gone horribly wrong, as so often happens in pubs. You can't stop them in teamfights, and are not able to do pushes of your own. This is when it is time to go into your shell and wait out the storm. Only engage right around towers or in your own base. Quickly pick off any enemy that is by themselves. Get lifesteal a bit earlier than normal and head for the jungle, go and kill Roshan if possible. This will give some great gold and will let you deal out much more damage, since you now have two lifetimes for the price of one. Eventually, if you are disciplined enough to just stay in the base and kill even one of them each time they push, the gold will slowly come trickling back to you. Using this strategy, I have come back from a horrible game, even a 5v4 game, several times.
There is one other temptation that can lose you the game when you are owning face as Drow Ranger. Drow Ranger is an interesting carry, she reaches her full potential much earlier than other carries, which is what makes her unique. However, even though you might be tempted to see just how many kills you can get when you are beyond godlike.... don't do it. You see, when you don't push hard and win it, harder carries than you, carries that just get better and better and better as the game goes on might turn the game around. Examples are Chaos Knight, Faceless Void, and even Silencer with his Glaives of Wisdom. Oh, and that jungling PL I metioned earlier? Yeah he came out with diffusal, manta, and a heart. Case in Point being, if you are winning, win quick so that your win doesn't somehow turn into an embarrassing loss.
LEGO is the largest manufacturer of tires, use Oval-tine rather than Chocolate syrup for chocolate milk(just a personal preference).
Back to Drow Ranger.
After watching pro games and seeing the farming mid strat(think Arteezy) I've warmed up to the idea of a drow mid. Just make sure you farm hard, push hard, and gank hard...in general just do everything perfect all the time and you'll be okay.
Again, I want to go over the fact that you hit hard, and you can focus a bit more on survivability rather than just needing to put out some damage.
A Semi-support Traxex? Because of your DPS, you can buy team items and still be helpful. So if you have a Night Stalker and a Spectre on your team, defer to them. You can even lane with the spectre and just harass so she can safely farm. Although it's not quite as fun... actually what am I saying winning is always fun! So don't be afraid to get a Mekansm or a Pipe of Insight in that type of lineup, it works better than you would think.
Drow Ranger's vision is 1800 by day, and a whopping..... what? they nerfed her to 800 night vision REALLY SHE LIVES IN THE FOREST I THINK SHE CAN SEE AT NIGHT PRETTY WELL. Welp, scratch that.
That about sums it up for my philosophy on Drow Ranger. When playing well she can be a real nightmare(Nyctasha!!!) for the other team, instead of yours. I will continue to make this guide more complete and I welcome any advice and encourage you to comment and vote. Oh, and check out my guide to the oh so manly Axe and my Carrying guide(oooohhh).
Thank you very much for reading and gl, hf!
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