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Traxexing you down: A Drow Ranger guide

March 7, 2013 by pumpermoose
Comments: 29    |    Views: 638751    |   

Build 1
Build 2

Hard Carry

DotA2 Hero: Drow Ranger

Purchase Order


Whilst Laning

Mid Game

Method of Escape

Late Game

CORE items


Hero Skills

Frost Arrows

2 5 7 9


4 8 10 12

Precision Aura

1 3 13 14


6 11 16


15 17 18

Traxexing you down: A Drow Ranger guide

March 7, 2013


HELLO and WELCOME! This is my first guide ever, so may take a little while to polish it off nicely. This is the guide for my style of play for my favorite character since Warcraft 3 dota 1 the Drow Ranger and I thought I could share my play style, and hopefully get some sweet feedback to get my own gameplay a lot better.
Drow is arguably one of the best hard carries in the game. A well farmed Traxex is just devastating in team fights, in 1 v 1 and almost every other situation from mid game onward. She is most definitely a hero to be feared and respected when playing with or against her.

Please post some comments to help me get my own gameplay better and to get some discussion going on about Traxex! Don't just down vote, if you want to tell me why so I can mull over conflicting views and get better as a player!


Pros / Cons


- Frost Arrows and chase down fleeing opponents
- DPS (Damage/second) is off the charts
- Range damage increase via percision aura
- Can be a difference maker in team fights
- 6 second Silence... :O
- Easy at last hitting because of base damage


- Squishy (like real squishy)
- Item dependent escape mechanism
- Cant team initiate
- Disabled easily
- Needs to be farmed well to be supremely effective


Frost Arrows
The bread and butter of the Drow Ranger. Work supremely well when ganking because you can just right click and watch as you slow them shot after shot as they try and run. Experienced players will often stand and fight, but even then you can just run and slow, run and slow. The only time they are truly effective is after level 2, which I try to get by level 5, as they allow for a 24% reduction in speed (They are effective only then because you can slow them enough to run and chase them to hit them again). I aim to have the arrows maxed by level 9-12 depending on what how heavily your team needs your Silence. This gives you a solid foundation to control enemies and dictate the speed of the game from mid all the way till the end of the game. I would not recommend to auto cast these while creeping as they are 12 mana a shot and with the attack speed drow has, it can be costly on the mana front.

The toast to Drow's bread and butter... This is arguably the best aspect of Traxex, a 6 second silence when maxed out. In most team fights that is majority of the fight, thus giving your team a large advantage. I aim to have a level 3 completed by level 10 as it provides 5 second silence which WILL make a huge difference in mid game team fights. Depending on the game, let's say you are roaming and ganking heavily, and then you may have it at level 4 before level 10 instead of getting the early game aura.

Precision Aura
As you get more agility, your fellow range team mates get stronger and so do you. I'm a fan of getting free damage bonuses, thus why I get this ability bumping fairly quickly. It is effective when you have lower agility in the early game, but it really becomes super effective mid and late game when your agility begins to sky rocket, thanks to Marksmanship. I let level 2 stand for most of the game as the slow and silence are a huge aspect of Drow's control, but I like it early on as it gives you the extra damage for last hits and harassing enemy heros while in lane. It's also useful to toggle on and push lanes when there is a few range units and some siege, great for when you have the enemy on the ropes and force them to defend towers as your creeps are stronger than theirs.

This ability really fires me up, haha, giving damage, attack speed, ramping up your Trueshot aura. Everything about it screams success. It helps enable drow to be a force to be reckoned with starting at level 6, when I have seen myself have 103 damage... the farming advantage this gives you is superb, allowing you to put in a lot more work on getting those last hits sooner and allowing you even to jungle as you do more damage when enemies heros aren't around. Get this every opportunity you can. The bonus is just too good to ignore.



So my item build with drow is probably fairly regular for the Traxex. It works, haha, its hard to really vary greatly with Drow. The only thing I do a little differently is the beginning and laning phases.
I always start off with 2 Slippers of Agility, 1 Circlet and a single Tango. The Circlet I like to have because it gives you +2 strength as opposed to a 3rd Slippers of Agility which only gives +3 agility ,I see a lot of Drow players doing and it doesn't give the same early game survivablility if they try anything to early.


I always try to get 2 Wraith Band up and going ASAP, hog the Animal Courier if you have to until you have both of those, even if they come down just 1 at a time. I experimented doing a Poor Man's Shield for a while and although it is helpful, I find the bonus health granted from the +3 strength and mana from the +3 intelligence is more helpful then avoiding 20 damage. Wraith Band is so helpful at the early stages for remaining in the lane, giving you more everything (mana, HP and damage). A lot of people dont use the courier in the early game, so take it if its free. Once these are both up, Speed boots, Town Portal Scroll then Power Treads. I cant stress enough the importants of getting a Town Portal Scroll before completing Power Treads. It lets you move to where Drow is needed for ganks and lets you get back to base quickly if you run out of tangos and are low on life. Power Treads are the final thing I get before I leave the lane and begin my major offensives. [[power treads usually come around level 6 - 8 depending on how well you farmed, and your team will need help around then so you should start ganking. TP to top/bot lane and buy the items at a secret shop there following a gank.
Slight aside Note: If your support didn't place an Observer Ward on their high ground while you play middle, get the couier to bring a set with your Boots of Speed. Its a bother to lose out 150 gold, but it can mean your life if they have a Pudge on the opposite side of the river.

MY Hard Carry Mid Game

Method of Escape Pick one:

My hard carry build is probably fairly typical of Drow players in pub games and is extremely effective. Increase in agility, increase in survivability and increase DPS. I start with getting Yasha right after I have the Morbid MaskYou cna get the Yasha before the Morbid Mask but I find it really good to farm in the jungle after team fights or when waiting for ganks, then you are not wasting any time. Yasha grants increases attack speed, increase movement speed and increase agility equals great success when put on Traxex. The Helm of the Dominator grants life steal (you may already have the Morbid Mask, which is huge, allowing you too farm your health and gold back up, in the jungle, and not making you go back to bass following a team fight, you can just heal in jungle, lets you to 1v1 Roshan at level 14 and allows you to take control of the Alpha Wolf which grants a passive attack damage aura, effecting you and your team mates.... Just have the little guy follow you around and troll your opposition with free increase damage. Who doesn't love free increases in damage? Crystalys is a necessary item on drow. Critical damage + DPS = game over for enemies. Heart of Tarrasque or Satanic are problem items to kill people late game, So if you get the Crys, you do more damage, often killing more enemy hero's thus not allowing them to get the farm tehy need.
Following the Helm of the Dominator I feel there is an important tactical decision to make. We have to choose our Method of Escape.

Decision Time
It is time to decide how your game will play out based on enemy heros and based on how farmed you are thus far. This is the time when you choose your Method of Escape. Drow needs a method of escape, she is far less effective without it. If you have other invis heros on your team, the other team likely will go for invis detection, so I'd recommend going the Manta Style route. If your team does not have invis the otehr team will not have gone for invis detection yet. and yo uwill have a strong advantage going with the Shadow Blade.

So for a long time I was getting Manta Style, but I have changed to getting the Shadow Blade. I feel like it gives me more options with my play style as a drow to both survive and be a threat in the game. When you play good players, they know to counter your invis with observer wards or dust of apperance. So you have to be aware of of whats going on in the game. This may be an item to avoid if the other team is countering invis.

I used this item for a long time, it is tried and tested good. Using it to get away while being chased, to knock down towers, to turn and fight someone who is chasing you down. The opportunities to use this item are endless. I still do get this item when ever I dont get the Shadow Blade. It gives you strength, agility and mana, movement speed and the illusions ability. Its a great item you cant really go wrong with, I have started to prefer the Shadow Blade but if they are on invis lockdown mode go this route.
Another great thing about this item is if you time the casting, you can avoid being stunned by dodging it when you transfer into 3 of yourself. Great trick to get really good with as it gives you another method of escape and survivorability.

Recently I I have preferred to get a Shadow Blade over the Manta Style, but it is incredibly situational. It gives the Drow a mechanism for escape, and if you have a sweet farm, you can have it before the 25 min mark. I was getting Manta Style before it for a long time, but I think Shadow Blade gives you more options as you can gank, flee and give your team some vision before an initiation.

They call her the Closer

For my end of the game build, I get Daedalus first. Just max out that crit damage asap. I never get Butterfly until the end of the game. Monkey King Bar is my preferred item if the game lasts this long following maxing crit damage. Ember Spirit: True Strike is incredibly helpful as you never miss shots... completely nullifying the Butterfly or Heaven's Halberd the opponent may have gotten. Just makes your end game very strong. For me Manta Style is now an end of game item. You may need to get it at another point in the game but I aim to have it later on in the game. I personally have never made it far enough into my build to get my Satanic or Butterfly, but the Satanic is great for end game health and the Butterfly works well for all agility heros. IF you even go that far, not bad options, but save Butterfly for last.

Situational Items Drow

Black King Bar
If you are playing a team who is heavy with nukers, you may want to pick one of these up. I'm not a huge fan of the BKB, but its hard to ignore when you are constantly getting signalled out in team fights and are un able to contribute. The reason I avoid it is because it does not contribute to your offensive power as it is more of a strength based item. See who the other team has and understand that you may or may not have to go this route.

Sange and Yasha
I very rarely get this item as it delays you getting bigger and badder as a DPS machine. When you are getting beat up because oyu are to squishy, you can go this route as it gives you +16 strength on top of the other great thigns that come from Yasha. It also gives the greater maim ability which can slow down enemies even furthur on top of your slows. Not a bad item to increase your HP, but you are better off going the Manta Style route. Sange and Yasha is a cheaper way to do HP increase than manta, but it just depends on the situation you are in in the game.

Poor Man's Shield
Not a bad starting item. Can be helpful as it blocks 20 damage from coming in allowing you to stay in the lane a little longer and be a little more aggressive. Combine it with a Wraith Band and its not a bad way to start the game. You start with the items to go this way anyway so you may as well if your feeling it. Just a matter of preference.

Ring of Aquila
Not a bad item to pick up if you feel like spending the extra gold. Drow isnt a huge mana user, so you dont necessarily need the mana regen. The armour can be helpful early game for newer players and the mana regen can be helpful to people who cast a lot of Frost Arrows. I prefer to spend my goal on working towards Power Treads or get parts of Yasha or Morbid Mask. Individual preference for this item, I dont use it often but it is a possibility. Eventuall you will have to sell it, but its not bad in mid stages.

Early Game

I usually like to lane middle with Drow but really she can play in any lane as long as it isn't with another hero who needs tons of farm. Last hit, last hit, last hit. Deny, deny, deny. Harass, harass, harass. These are the 3 keys tasks when laning with Drow. Be mobile, dont push past sight lines and stay behind creeps. She is so squishy, you cannot afford taking shots from the tower or being struck by creeps nor getting shots from enemy heros or spells. Wraith Band helps with her squishy ness, so make sure to get 2 of those on your Drow by the 5th minute, hog the courier and make it happen, it will make her very powerful in her lane. However, be cautious for the entire game on this front, there is no real way drow gets her health up because we dont buy items for that. Her purpose is to max out DPS, not get health.
When I do play middle, I like to either ask my support to put up a ward for me on their high ground, or even do it myself. It will pay off in the long run as it allows you to see if a Pudge will be looking to line up a Meat Hook on you, a windrunner is looking to send an Powershot or even a Keeper of the Light sending a Illuminate your way. It also lets you see if they have a gank coming your way on the high ground if you have been hitting the tower. It can keep you in the lane longer and thus able to farm more gold. Remember also to check the runes and collect them if they are up; find a DD early in the game means early kills. If you find one, go to a lane and start killing the enemy heros.
Being mobile is very important, always be on the move, and try not to venture to far onto the opposite high ground, makes you an easy target for any ganks or counter attacks. If you have chased off the enemy hero push the tower by all means, but start pulling back to your next creep wave when you only have that last creep working with you as tower shots will diminish your health rapido!
After level 6, start being a little more aggressive, the attack bonus at this stage in the game because of Marksmanship is great giving you higher damage then majority of hero's and so you should start harassing enemy heros even more so. If you are in the middle try and organize a gank on the opponents long lane, or even your long lane. If you know the other team has someone jungling go in with a teammate and get an easy kill. Always return to lane though, there isnt really a point in Traxex's game where you can sit idle not accumulating gold.

Early Game Summaiton:

Use the courier and stay in lane as long as possible. stay until level 6-8
Last Hit and Deny
Farm heavily as your team needs you to get a significant gold advantage
Harass enemy hero's frequently to lower their farm
Target arrows and use them sparingly, do not auto-cast (unless ganking or fleeing a gank)

Mid Game

For me, the mid game is when Drow comes into her own. Yasha, Helm of the Dominator and Power Treads are what you should be working with by around level 11. Roam around lane to lane working with your team for ganks, playing defense, pushing towers and helping your team in fights. As Drow, I try to never initiate a team fight. You wait for one of your stunners to disable, then you cast Silence and Frost Arrows and clean up. It is very important to cast Silence in a team fight as it should be maxed out by this stage of the game and is then forcing the other team to be without some of their key abilities for 6 seconds. You should cast it following your teams casting stuns (the enemy hero should still be stunned, but dont cast it right after). Try to get as many people as you can with your Silence and then specifically target those that are silenced so their abilities never become a threat. If there is a dominant enemy hero who your team wants you to silence then target them so your team can get an early advantage in a team fight. If you see heros fleeing a team fight target them with some Frost Arrows so your team can catch up and help out, and then you eliminate more opposing heroes as well.

Push towers after team fights, assuming you win them. Drow has a nice range and the DPS allows her to knock off towers very quickly giving you lane advantage and making the game ever closer to being over. Remember to have a Town Portal Scroll as this is drow's only way to escape enemies until you have the Shadow Blade. Run to the forest and tp out if you dont think you will be able to run away. When you heal, do so in jungles as this is beneficial to both your gold and your life because of Helm of the Dominator. While in the jungles, if you see alpha wolf dominate it because it gives you a sweet attack bonus. Just set the little sucker to follow and it gives you and your team a nice passive bonus.

If you find an opportunity around levels 14-16, and have Helm of the Dominator and Yasha, solo roshan. You can do it; I try and do it every game. Try to have someone wait outside or place a ward just to give you a heads up if the enemy decides to Rosh at that same time.

Mid Game Summation:

Continue farming, but leave the lane to help your team in fights, ganks and push towers
Use the jungle to gain life instead of buying pots or going back to base
Have a Town Portal Scroll always
Don't initiate team fights, let the disablers do that and you follow up with a [silence]]
Choose a Method of Escape Yasha or Manta Style
Dominate a alpha wolf.
Solo roshan

End Game

So around this stage, you truly are the difference maker on your team. You get +40 agility because of Marksmanship, you have a passive life steal because of Helm of the Dominator, critical damage because of Crystalys or Daedalus, and your DPS is through the rough. Stay with your team, move as a team and stay at the back. Push lanes together and don't leave your team hanging. When the decision is to push into a base, do it! Try and show up a second later to the fight so you are not disabled immediately, cast your Silence on their big nukers and pray on them with your Frost Arrows and life steal. After team fights continue pushing lanes. Dont worry about heroes if there is only 3 of them and 5 of you, kill towers and Barracks. Save team mates when you can, but focus on killing the barracks as it gives you a creep advantage which can win you the game if they start counter pushing. Dont stay in lanes by yourself unless you are confident you can get away as you are still a squishy hero. Remember to try and have a Town Portal Scroll, or be in lanes with another hero, the respawn time isnt worth it when you get caught in a gank. Many people have Blink Dagger at this time so if a disabler blinks near you Silence them and town portal away or stand your ground and fight if its just one hero looking for a quick kill on you and you think you can take them with your life steal/frost arrow combo. An effective method is Frost Arrows and run away, and repeat until they run away which is when you start to chase the. You should always have your auto cast on Frost Arrows at this stage unless you are attacking creeps or you start losing health, then you should switch it, so be able to recognize the different scenarios when you have to make a quick switch in order to save your life.

End Game Summation:

Stay with your team, you are far too squishy to be caught alone
Push towers and racks with your team
Stay and fight with your team, if you are losing health turn off the auto cast arrows and life steal because of Helm of the Dominator.
Always have a town portal scroll to defend your own towers and to TP back to base

Lazer Beam

So my lazer beam Drow is just something I have been doing for fun recently, a buddy of mine showed me the build and it is really fun to play. The way he showed it to me, Frost Arrows and Silence were the last 8 abilities to get. I couldn't bring myself to deviate so far from my usual build and people get way to mad if you don't at least have a 3 second silence, but try my version out and see how well you like it!

It does take a little bit more skill and patients to play as you are more susceptible to damage and spells without Frost Arrows and Silence. You are not really playing Drow the way she is meant to be played. People WILL yell at you and call you a noob.
Don't take it the wrong, they just aren't open minded to different ways to play heros!

Essentially, you are just trying to max Drow out on agility as fast you can by level 11, then go for the big ticket items. Power Treads (you get this before level 11 to have a ganking presense), Yasha to get a movement speed boost, attack speed boost and combining +16 agility in there, Mask of Madness to pop and destroy with mad attack speed, Crystalys and Daedalus for that crit damage, Shadow Blade to pop up on enemies and surprise them.

The item ordering for me the last few games has changed around a little. I find farming for the Shadow Blade takes to long unless you have part of the mask first ie Morbid Mask. Yasha is a must following the 3-4 Wraith Bands and the completion of your Phase Boots.
Between Crystalys and Shadow Blade is where I sometimes change it up. If my team is orchestrating the initiating well I will go for crit damage instead of the invis surprise. Still trying to figure out this piece of the build, have yet to play enough games with doing one thing or the other to figure out which is truly beneficial. But when I know, you'll know :)

My success has been about 50-50 in pubs and about 65-35 in my play circle. Try it out, see if you like it and give me some feedback on this build!

Unique Manuevers

Orb Walking

The ability to attack your enemy with a slow then run after them without the the effect wearing off to hit them again, essentially keeping them within your range at all times.

So I didn't make this video but it expresses well what I would do in the instance of a one on one battle when you are Orb Walking. I would recommend putting in more than one shot into Orb Walking. In the video he auto casts only at the last exchange, but I would have auto-cast my Frost Arrows if/when I am Orb Walking. Another thing to keep in mind is that you have to move while your attack animation is on cooldown, so the second Drow has realeased hero arrow, you are clicking in front of the enemy hero to move towards them, as you move closer hit them again. It takes some practice to get used to when to attack and when not to. I would only recommend doing this in one on one scenarios.

Ability Dodging

Using a Manta Style at the moment just before impact of a targeted projection spell (stuns, lightnings, dagon, etc.) and some aoe instant spells ([rupture, ghost ship, etc.) where you are able to dodge the impact and escape without taking damage or being stunned/effected by the spell.

This is the reason I used Manta Style in my build for a long time and still throw it in if I am not farming for a Shadow Blade. It is just incredibly helpful to be able to dodge Sven's Storm Hammer or skeleton king's hellfire blast or Dragon Knight's Dragon Tail (while in dragon form) and Sniper's Assassinate, gyro copter's Homing Missile and so many other target abilities. Being able to master this unique move enables you to play at greater skill levels and be more heavily relied on by your team. Definitely something to work towards if you are interested in improving your Dota play.

There were no Drow dodges available, but these break the skill down to show you how it can be done.

Friends and enemies

Pretty much any disabling hero is a friend of Drow's. These are a few of my favorites who I have had a lot of success playing with.

Death Prophet is my favorite to be on a team with as Drow. Her Silence is just as powerful as Drow's... giving your team a 12 second grace period on beefy heroes. It is a very awesome combo to have on a team. Exorcism is added heavily by drow's Frost Arrows as the fleeing enemy take more damage because they are stuck in the AOE.

Disruptor is also a great friend of drow and one of my favorites to lane with. Kinetic Field traps enemies so that drow just shoots fish in a barrel. Also makes Silence easier to target as they have about the same AOE. Glimpse brings the enemy heros back to where they were previously, more likely than not making them closer to you, and thus easier to slow and kill.

Undying super helpful in the early stages of the game is laning with Undying because of his Decay ability. Sapping enemy hero's strength is huge for a young drow because she is able to slow and chase a hero who has reduced HP making an easy target. Undying can also cast Tombstone which creates an obstacle that an enemy hero has to run around while slowed, making them even easier to kill throughout the game. He is also a tank who will take shots from enemies and is good for denying creeps.

These are a few heroes who suck to play against as drow because she is so squishy and who I have had failure while playing against.

Riki has a whole arsenal for killing heroes, especially squishy ones. Blink Strike, backstab, permanent invisibility and Smoke Screen are designed for 1 v 1 death. When he gets you there isn't much you can do except run out of the smoke screen, silence and attack back. This is why I stress not being alone unless you are in the jungle. Its very hard to fight Riki 1 v 1 unless you are well farmed or unless you have a team mate.

Centaur Warrunner is probably my least favorite to play against. The reason being is his Return ability which makes harassing him an absolute nightmare as drow is so squishy, she cant afford to take her own damage. Stampede also perfectly counters your Frost Arrows because of the granting of max movement speed. When in Stampede he is also able to stun you, making you vulnerable to enemy attack if you are in a team fight. I always try to take out this big guy at the beginning of every fight just so he cant counter your slows.

Lycanthrope also puts in work on Drow. when he is in his Shapeshift he not affected by Frost Arrows and thus tears right through your defenses. If you see him, kill him, haha, and get your team to disable him before he can ulti so you can silence and slow and kill.


So that is my style for playing Drow Ranger. Any feedback is greatly appreciated as I am very willing and able to learn!
Important things to remember for Drow are:
- work on last hitting
- work on staying in the lane through being mobile
- communicating and orchestrating ganks
- casting silence at appropriate times and catching as many people as possible
- recognize when to auto cast Frost Arrows and when to not
- try not to initiate fights or be at the head of the group

Thank you very much for reading and may your Drow playing skills increase greatly! Enjoying Traxexing down your enemies!

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