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17 Votes

Sando's Guide to Windranger

June 23, 2014 by Sando
Comments: 13    |    Views: 94661    |   


Build 1
Build 2

Solo (Mid or Offlane)

DotA2 Hero: Windranger


Purchase Order

Starting (No Bottle)

Tango
Healing Salve
Clarity
Clarity
Ring of Protection
Iron Branch
Iron Branch

Core

Phase Boots
Ring of Aquila

Extension Options

Maelstrom
Force Staff
Orchid Malevolence
Rod of Atos
Scythe of Vyse
Blink Dagger

Luxury

Aghanim's Scepter
Daedalus
Desolator
Linken's Sphere
Mjollnir
Shiva's Guard
Monkey King Bar
Abyssal Blade

Situational

Black King Bar
Boots of Travel
Ghost Scepter
Necronomicon
Bottle
Drum of Endurance
Magic Wand


Hero Skills

Shackleshot

2 8 9 10

Powershot

3 4 5 7

Windrun

1 12 13 14

Focus Fire

6 11 16

Talents

15

Introduction

Windranger is a super-flexible hero that everyone should know how to play.

She has a very well rounded skillset that allows her to play almost any role effectively.

Able to dodge almost all physical attacks for a short time - she can easily evade and frustrate opponents, before cleverly trapping them and going in for the kill...

Strengths and Weaknesses

+ Well rounded stats gain
+ Strong mix of physical and magical damage
+ Long duration dual target stun
+ Long range AOE nuke
+ Good escape and defensive ability
+ Flexible laning and role options


- Quite squishy early on
- Vulnerable to magic and burst damage
- Can be neutralised by movement/attack slows
- Stun is unreliable
- Requires good positioning

Shackleshot



Shackleshot is Windranger's bread and butter skill, no matter what role she's in, and landing it consistently is your most important job when playing her. It's quite an unusual skill in that it will automatically hit it's first target for a 0.75 second stun, but requires a second target within a 26 degree angle behind them to fully activate.

This secondary target can be an enemy creep, minion, hero or even a tree (including Sprout) within 500 units - and it will also be stunned for the full duration if hit. Enemies heroes are automatically prioritised if multiple latch targets are available.

This means that you can potentially stun two enemy heroes for 3.75 second each - an incredibly potent ability if you get it right.

Good positioning and timing are the key to landing a good shackle, although having other players set you up with reliable stuns also makes it much easier. This is part of the reason that positioning items like Force Staff, Blink Dagger and Phase Boots are so popular on her.

Some tips for landing good shackles:


- Be very aware of the range of Shackleshot, if you use it from outside the range, you'll have to move closer before throwing, meaning you'll potentially lose your angle/timing.

- Be patient; sometimes you need to wait for the right moment - rush it and you'll have to wait too long for another chance.

- Always be aware of your positioning and what opportunities are available for you to land a good shackle. Creeps in front, trees behind, etc.

- You can use Windrun to help get the angle you need if necessary, but be aware of the cost and cooldown.

- You don't always have to go for the best possible shackle; a long stun on one important hero can be better than missing a two man stun.

- You can shackle enemy heroes by aiming at a creep in front of them, they will be auto-prioritised, and it can allow you to hit them when you wouldn't otherwise have the range or a target behind them.

Powershot



Powershot is your AOE nuke, an aimed, long range shot with your bow that hits all targets in it's path for reducing damage. It destroys trees and also provides temporary vision. This can make it very useful for stopping enemies from juking, and also scouting out the map.

Powershot can be channelled for up to a second, with 0.8 seconds required to get the full damage. It can be fired earlier, but will lose quite a lot of damage - this can still be useful if you need to quickly do a tiny amount, or just need the vision. Every enemy or tree hit in its path will reduce its damage by 10%.

It has a number of uses:


- The long range makes it very suitable for safely pushing out lanes or farming from distance.

- You can snipe fleeing enemy heroes with a little guesswork and anticipation.

- You can hit multiple enemy heroes when they're lined up...say by being stuck together with a Shackleshot...remember early game this is far more damaging than your normal attacks.

Windrun



Windrun is your escape and defensive skill. It provides excellent protection from physical damage by giving you temporary 100% evasion - and it can also disjoint projectiles that have been fired at you, but haven't hit you yet.

It also gives you a 50% movement speed boost, and slows any enemies within a small radius. Obviously this gives you a chance to get away or reposition, but can also be used to effectively slow enemies who are chasing allies.

All round this is a great skill for a relatively squishy hero to have - you're basically invulnerable to certain forms of attack for the duration (including towers), and gives you great survivability against most carries.

Say you're using Focus Fire to take a tower down and it switches focus to you - Windrun means you can shrug off these attacks and ensure it isn't denied. Alternatively you can use it to "manfight" a carry who might suddenly be unable to hurt you for up to 5 seconds.

Although it's usual to get a single early point in it, get another if you feel like you need it.

However, it does also have some disadvantages:


- It provides no protection against magic damage, so you still be stunned, slowed or nuked while it's active.

- It has a relatively high cost and long cooldown during the early game.

- It is countered effectively by true strike (e.g. Monkey King Bar).

Focus Fire



Recently reworked, Focus Fire adds 400 to your attack speed against one specific target, and lasts for up to 20 seconds. You can switch targets during that time, but will only receive the attack speed bonus against the designated target. You can target buildings and magic immune units.

However, despite the increased attack speed, you do lose some of your damage - inflicting between 50% and 100% depending on level and whether you have an Aghanim's Scepter, which also reduces the cooldown to 15 seconds. You do however inflict the full damage of an Unique Attack Modifiers you may possess. This has lead to some interesting new builds.

When and how useful this skill is depends mainly on your role. Support Windrangers tend to lack the items necessary to really get a lot of extra damage from this, but it's still useful for pushing buildings. Solo/semi-carry Windrangers can potentially throw out a lot of damage against enemy heroes too.

Skill Builds

Windranger is an interesting hero to build as all of her skills are fully viable and can be changed on the fly to fit the situation.

The solo build listed above is definitely the most common one, and makes sense for a number of reasons - a level in Windrun to avoid ganks, a level in your stun, and Powershot maxed ASAP. You may or may not decide to take Focus Fire at level 6, it depends on whether you're expecting to push towers soon or not.

The support builds are much more flexible - you may well want to put extra points into Shackleshot early on when you have allies to set you up and/or follow you in to get the kill. Powershot like all nukes is most effective early game, so you want that maxing pretty soon too. Get whichever is most likely to get your team kills.

Your other two powers can be skilled as required - you only need Windrun when you're at risk of getting ganked - so you might get it quite early in a 3v3 lane, but late in a 3v1 lane. Focus Fire is for attacking towers only at this point, so get it when your team is starting to push them.

When to Pick Her

+ Enemy team has a lot of physical damage
+ You want a strong and flexible all-rounder
+ Your allies have reliable setup stuns


- Enemy team has a lot of magical burst damage
- Enemy team have a lot of disables/silences
- You need a #4 who can semi-jungle efficiently

Role

Windranger is a very flexible hero, and can realistically be played anywhere from #2 to #4 on the farming priority list. You'd have to be very push focused with her as a #1, and she's not a great #5 because she benefits a lot from some extra equipment.

For me, there are 3 main Windranger builds - #2 semi-carry, #3 utility or #4 semi-support. The #2 build means getting damage and offensive actives to maximise the impact of your ganks and Focus Fire. #3 gets some mix of damage and utility items as required by the team, while #4 will be almost exclusively utility items.

I get frustrated sometimes in pub games where Windranger's automatically go for a semi-carry build when it's not what their team requires. If you have an AFK jungler and a single hard support, your team really needs utility items rather than extra damage.

Laning-wise, she can go offlane, mid or safe support - although offlane is historically the most popular. The big problem she has these days is that her escape is less effective than some of the alternatives like Timber Chain and Leap - if the opposition can stun or slow you during Windrun then you can be in trouble.

However, don't underestimate her effectiveness in the offlane - she has good range, attack damage and the long range farming/pushing of Powershot. She's good at defending her tower and staying alive.

Mid she does just fine in, being reasonably competitive against most other mids without being dominant. Support is ok for her, although she's reasonably level dependent so doesn't particularly enjoy trilanes unless they get kills. With a reliable stun to setup for Shackleshot, this can be quite possible.

Items

As with all flexible heroes, there are a large number of effective ways of building Windranger, and it's down to your knowledge and situational awareness to pick the best for the job in hand.



Starting:



A reasonably common set of starting items. Your abilities are reasonably expensive so you want to pickup a couple of Clarity potions unless you're going for a Bottle rush.

Personally I tend to go for the Ring of Protection when soloing, with a mind to quickly building a Ring of Basilius for the extra damage and mana regeneration. However, you may want to start with a Circlet instead.

Some players like an early Null Talisman for last hitting, but personally I think it's a bit of a dead-end as Dagon and Veil of Discord aren't particularly useful to you.



Core Options:





You effectively have 2 pairs of boots to choose from as Windranger - Phase Boots for speed and damage (the attack speed bonus of Power Treads is irrelevent as you have Focus Fire), or the mana boost of Arcane Boots.

This isn't entirely tied to role - there's no reason an offlane WR has to go Phase Boots - especially if their supports aren't going to get Arcane Boots and/or offer other mana regen.

My usual choice for Windranger is Ring of Aquila - I know some of you will already be pulling faces - so let me explain :). The extra damage and mana regeneration of Ring of Basilius is very useful for you...and sticking a Wraith Band on top of it helps bulk your stats out at a relatively low cost, and more importantly, without using another inventory slot. Yes, ideally it's better on agility heroes, but it's still useful to up your stats and damage. If the team requires it, you could always disassemble it later on and upgrade it to a Vladmir's Offering.

Urn of Shadows is another nice support item, bulking out your health and offering some much needed mana regeneration. The active heal can be quite an effective supplement to or substitute for a Mekansm if necessary.

I have to say, another of my pet hates when watching others play Windranger is when they go for a pure speed/damage build ( Phase Boots/ Ring of Basilius/ Force Staff) with no stats - especially against a team with some decent nukers. Even though she has great escapes, a little redundancy on your HP may be required in order to be alive to use them!



Extension Options:





There are so many good extensions on Windranger that it's actually quite difficult to keep the lists managable.

The most popular one is probably Force Staff - combine it with Windrun and you have a great set of escape skills, combine it with Shackleshot to get good positioning for stuns. It's a great item, but personally I don't consider it core on her - there are other options that make sense in different situations.

An alternative is Blink Dagger which almost guarantees perfect positioning, but is less reliable as an escape, and doesn't offer you the extra intelligence either.

Mekansm is obviously a great item on her - extra survivability and plenty of mana pool to support it.

There are plenty of other options too - Eul's Scepter of Divinity for when your team needs more stuns, Drum of Endurance for all round stats and movement speed gain, Rod of Atos to bulk out your health, get a strong slow and a lot of damage/intelligence.

On the damage/disable side, Scythe of Vyse and Orchid Malevolence are both great items on her - although tend to be expensive enough to count as luxury for support-rangers.

Finally the Maelstrom is an interesting item on her now - thanks to the attack speed of Focus Fire it's possible to proc it like crazy, throwing out big chains of 120 magic damage can be pretty devastating. Really this needs to be combined with an Aghanim's Scepter to lower the cooldown though.



Luxury:





Your choice of luxury items will depend on your role - support-rangers tend to lack the necessary existing damage equipment to focus on maximising Focus Fire against the enemy team, so you'll normally pick up more utility/extension items, or save up for a nice Scythe of Vyse. Shiva's Guard is another useful team utility item that also boosts your stats nicely.

Semi-carry rangers can look to build up their damage further - with Aghanim's Scepter being a key component. It buffs up your physical damage by reducing the % loss from Focus Fire and massively reduces the cooldown to allow you to use it more often.

You can choose fairly freely between damage/utility items like Scythe of Vyse/ Orchid Malevolence and pure damage items like Monkey King Bar and Daedalus depending on which will be most effective for your team and the situation.

Linken's Sphere offers a nice set of all round stats and survivability, and can be worth getting if you're facing particularly unpleasant single target abilities.



Situational:



A selection of odds and sods that you may need from time to time. Necronomicon isn't a particularly usual pickup, but can be helpful against lineups with a lot of invisibility. Black King Bar is obviously required in some games when you're facing a lot of nukes or disables.

Ghost Scepter isn't a particularly common pickup as you have Windrun for physical protection, but can be a response to Monkey King Bar or to allow you to survive simply ridiculous levels of physical damage.

Boots of Travel can be useful to save a slot late game and allow you to quickly travel the map (you're a pretty effective solo pusher).

Bottle if you're going mid and decide you want one (go for a standard Tango and 3 Iron Branch start), or possibly even offlane if you think you've got a decent chance of getting some runes.

Medallion of Courage
is an interesting pickup, useful if your team has a lot of physical damage and other armour reducers. Also handy for early roshans. While not offering you an awful lot, the physical evasion of Windrun means you can easily survive the armour reduction of the active.

Sample Builds

Supportranger:




Utilityranger:





Pushranger:





Damageranger:

Good Allies



Heroes who can both stun and reposition enemies are very useful for you - with a little co-ordination it's very easy to make good Shackleshots. Frankly any reliable stun is good news for you.



A quick arrival from Teleportation and a swift Sprout makes for the easiest possible shackles.



Any long AOE stuns make it easy for you to line up a pairs of enemies and hit them with Shackle/Power combo.



Mana batteries are nice for keeping you and your team topped up, allowing you to spam your powers more and potentially make different item choices.



Allies who can quickly remove debuffs and heal you are very handy for an evasive hero like Windranger, making you even harder to kill.

Bad Enemies



Burst damage, especially of the magical variety is bad news for you. Early game you have relatively poor starting strength (with good growth) and Windrun won't protect you from their stuns and nukes.



A selection of long and unpleasant traps that you can't escape from using Windrun, Glimpse can be especially problematic.



Long Silences combined with slows or other unpleasant debuffs are not fun for a hero who is so reliant on her abilities to escape. You can potentially cause all of these heroes problems, but have to be very careful if you don't have a numbers advantage.



Strong magical harassment is difficult to dodge and will wear you down over time unless you can find a way to kill them.

Conclusion

Windranger is a very strong all round hero, able to fill a number of key roles in the team. This makes her an excellent pick when drafting, as she gives so little away to the opposition - they won't know whether you're going offlane, mid or support, and you can always switch this up later on if they counter one role strongly.

Although commonly played as an offlaner, she's one of the strongest heroes against physical damage, and is much harder to pick off than most others if played as support. Her item and skill builds are extremely flexible, and you can easily make her into a disabler, nuker, utility, pusher or almost-carry as required. She may not be the single best at any of these, but she's pretty good at all of them.

The only big no-no when it comes to picking Windranger is heavy enemy magic damage, this means you will have to alter your build somewhat to get extra stats and try to survive it. This may leave you less than optimal when choosing items.

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