Traxex, the Drow Ranger
|Carry Disabler Pusher|
Drow Ranger's given name is Traxex—a name well suited to the short, trollish, rather repulsive Drow people. But Traxex herself is not a Drow. Her parents were travelers in a caravan set upon by bandits, whose noisy slaughter of innocents roused the ire of the quiet Drow people. After the battle settled, the Drow discovered a small girl-child hiding in the ruined wagons, and agreed she could not be abandoned. Even as child, Traxex showed herself naturally adept at the arts they prized: Stealth, silence, subtlety. In spirit, if not in physique, she might have been a Drow changeling, returned to her proper home. But as she grew, she towered above her family and came to think of herself as ugly. After all, her features were smooth and symmetrical, entirely devoid of warts and coarse whiskers. Estranged from her adopted tribe, she withdrew to live alone in the woods. Lost travelers who find their way from the forest sometimes speak of an impossibly beautiful Ranger who peered at them from deep among the trees, then vanished like a dream before they could approach. Lithe and stealthy, icy hot, she moves like mist in silence. That whispering you hear is her frozen arrows finding an enemy's heart.
|+25 Marksmanship Agility||25||+400 Gust Distance/Knockback|
|+14 Strength||20||+6% Precision Aura Damage|
|+20 Attack Speed||15||+175 Health|
|+5 All Stats||10||+15 Movement Speed|
|Starting Items||Early Game||Mid Game||Late Game|
Not many can escape Drow Ranger once she's within range. After her foes have been silenced with a chilling blast, she finishes them off with a barrage of slowing, ice-tipped arrows that few can survive.
Drow Ranger is a ranged Agility hero who is generally played as a hard-carry or semi-carry. In the current state of the game, Drow Ranger is most often played as a carry in the easy lane (also known as the 'safe lane') and less often in the mid lane. Like almost all carries, she scales incredibly well with items but is relatively weak in the early game.
Her three main skills are Frost Arrows, Silence, and Precision Aura. Her ultimate is Marksmanship. Frost Arrows is an orb effect that applies a slow to the target. Silence is an area of effect silencing ability that prevents enemies from casting spells for the duration of its effect. Precision Aura is a global damage increase for Drow Ranger and her allied heroes that is based on a percentage of her agility. Precision Aura can be toggled to affect non-hero units as well, and is excellent as a pushing tool. Drow Ranger's ultimate, Marksmanship, increases her agility immensely. The effect is doubled when there are no enemies around Drow Ranger.
Like many heroes, skill priority often changes from game to game. The most common skill order on Drow Ranger is taking Frost Arrows first, followed by a point each in Silence and Precision Aura, and then prioritizing Frost Arrows, with Marksmanship taken whenever available. Sometimes, particularly against caster-heavy lineups or because of a difficult laning situation, it may be beneficial to put more early points into Silence or even take a point or two of stats for the strength gain. Generally, however, Precision Aura is maximized last because of its relatively insignificant use early in the game beyond level 1.
Drow Ranger's kit is very straightforward and generally simple to use. In general, because Frost Arrows is an orb effect, Drow Ranger can freely harass while laning by orb walking. This type of playstyle is similar to Clinkz, though Drow Ranger often has a higher potential of getting a kill in the early game due to the slow effect of Frost Arrows. Silence is used to aid in escape or in obtaining kills, as Drow Ranger is susceptible to stuns.
Your starting items should include a mix of Tangoes and Salves, Iron Branches, and possibly a ring of protection or agility slippers to build into a Ring of Basilius, a Ring of Aquila, or aid in last hitting. Getting basic boots as soon as possible is advised, as Drow Ranger has no innate escapes, and boots coupled with the Frost Arrows slow effect can often result in an early kill. One may consider rushing a Hand of Midas if it can be bought between 6 and 8 minutes into the game. The latest that a Hand of Midas should be bought is 10 minutes, as getting one after this point is not very effective. The item is often built when an early kill or perfect farm provides enough gold to make the long-term experience and gold gain worth the initial investment. If a Hand of Midas is bought, it's often best to use it on the most powerful creeps in the jungle in order to rapidly gain experience. It is often a good idea to obtain a Magic Wand and a Town Portal Scroll, as these are both very useful items to have early in the game.
Drow Ranger usually prefers Power Treads over other boots choices, because they can provide any required basic stat, and a good amount of attack speed. Tranquil Boots can be built for the regeneration when facing a difficult lane.
Helm of the Dominator is used to dominate a creep from the jungle for use. Usually, the dominated creep is used to repeatedly stack the ancient camp at the X:52 mark so that it can be farmed later. Note that the lifesteal does not apply with Frost Arrows. After the Helm of the Dominator is built, Manta Style is commonly considered, as are the other standard items listed above. This build focuses more on farming for a longer period of time. The Helm of the Dominator can help in extended teamfights, however, as the lifesteal, armor, and regeneration can allow Drow to stay in the fight longer. The helm can later be upgraded into a Satanic in the lategame when Drow's damage is enough to make the lifesteal active useful. Manta Style is more useful when going for a Helm of the Dominator build as opposed to a Shadow Blade build, as you are in search of items that provide long term sustain in fights, as opposed to burst. Manta Style provides all the stats you need for this, in addition to an active that is useful for purging debuffs or avoiding targeted abilities, or simply adding illusions that confuse and damage the enemy. Since illusions benefit most from natural stat gains, it's often a good idea to build Butterfly following Manta Style, or Black King Bar if magic immunity and even more tankiness is desired.
- Drow Ranger's attack animation has considerable backswing, so animation canceling is quite useful when trying to last hit in lane.
- Because Frost Arrows is an orb effect, orb walking is a very useful skill to learn. Applying constant harassment can often force the enemy to play very defensively and miss last hits or even experience, and/or spend money on items for hit point regeneration.
- As with most carries, it's generally advised to farm until you have enough items to fight or your team requires you to push to alleviate pressure on other lanes. Static farming will ensure that you get all the last hits in the vicinity of the safety of your tower, while also putting the enemy in your lane at a higher risk of dying due to ganks.
- Keeping Precision Aura toggled off until pushing is desired is usually the best way to approach the skill. The creep ability often isn't incredibly useful in the average game until at least the midgame (20 minutes or so)
There are generally two popular ways to build items on Drow Ranger beyond the early game items. One involves rushing a Shadow Blade, followed by obtaining critical strike in the form of Crystalys and eventually Daedalus. Beyond these items, Black King Bar, Butterfly, Satanic, Manta Style and Monkey King Bar are often considered. This build focuses on early survivability through Shadow Blade's Shadow Walk ability, and incredible burst and surprise potential through the damage provided by Shadow Blade's on-hit effect and Crystalys's critical strike. After building a Shadow Blade it is often easy to obtain a kill on a support by simply breaking invisibility with Frost Arrow shots, following up immediately with a silence to prevent retaliation. The target is often dead before a teleportation channel can finish.
Other situational items include:
- Drum of Endurance - This is an item that is great on almost every hero, and Drow Ranger is no exception. She can use all of the stats it provides, though often there are better items to buy. Drum of Endurance can be bought when in need of cheap, cost-effective items.
- Assault Cuirass - against an enemy team full of high armor heroes or physical damage dealers. This item is not as good as Butterfly, as there are no agility gains and there are generally better carriers for Assault Cuirass, but sometimes if you are the only player able to farm enough for it, it can be useful.
- Linken's Sphere - against heroes with strong single-target spells such as Beastmaster or Doom Linken's Sphere can be useful. A lot of the stats aren't very useful for Drow, however, and generally Black King Bar is enough.
- Divine Rapier - consider getting Divine Rapier when your team is behind and in sore need of some sort of force to surmount a comeback, or when far enough ahead that obtaining a Divine Rapier will ensure a victory. It may be a good idea to purchase a Rapier after killing Roshan and taking the Aegis of the Immortal in the mid to lategame, as Drow's pushing ability and natural agility/attack speed gain is strong enough that a 300 damage increase may simply result in a win on the spot.
- Monkey King Bar - this item is useful for the ministun against channeling abilities and, most importantly, the truestrike ability. Truestrike is excellent against opponents with evasion through items or abilities, or blind effects, such as Riki's smoke screen. Truestrike is also very useful for attacking uphill, particularly when sieging the enemy Tier 3 towers. Finally, the damage gain and attack speed increase give Drow even more offensive capability.
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