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Traxex, Drow Ranger
Updated for version 6.6x

Table of Contents

I. Introduction
II. Skills
III. Skill Build
IV. Starting Items
V. Core Build
VI. Situational & Luxury Items
VII. Rejected Items
VIII. Game Walkthrough
IX. Minor Strategy
X. Changelog


This guide is not intended for newer players to DotA. A basic understanding of the game is necessary not only to comprehend the concepts discussed, but also to play the Drow Ranger at the skill level required.

Although not seen as often in competitive play as the more popular powerhouses such as Death Prophet, Necrolyte, Earthshaker, and so on and so forth, the Drow Ranger nevertheless proves to be a truly deadly heroine in capable hands. Excelling in one-on-one combat, Drow's power grows significantly as the game progresses; that is not to say, however, that Drow is weak early-game. Hardly, in fact. With skilled use of her silence brewed with proper orbwalking and last-hitting, not only can Drow score early-kills with ease, but she can make use of her gold to become one of the most dangerous heroes late-game.

Playing Drow properly requires a few key points of knowledge:
1) An adequate understanding of your skillset
2) Your role in the team - a damage-dealer, silencer, and chaser, and,
3) Common sense. You either have this or you don't. If you don't, don't play Drow - you will only end up feeding, and feeding hard.
Lastly, keep in mind that this guide is only a guideline on how to properly play the Drow Ranger. With every game, the scenario and situation changes. Adapting (falling under the category of common sense) to the game is an integral part of your success for not only playing Traxex, but every other hero as well.

- Traxex can prove to be a strong carry hero with a high damage potential
- She possess skills that increase damage and attack speed by a significant amount
- The Drow Ranger is an excellent chaser with a team presence due to an AoE silence and a 900 AoE aura
- She is a carry hero with a decent early-game
- Drow has poor stat growth combined with extreme fragility
- She also has no innate escape mechanism, making her extremely susceptible to ganks
- Traxex requires quite a bit of farm to perform at her full potential, but she...
- Lacks the steroid farming skill to clear out creep waves like other carries may have (e.g. Moon Glaives, Cleave)


Frost Arrows: An orb skill with a low mana cost, FA is the very skill that enables Drow to be the unrelenting chaser that she is. It can be used early-game to harass to almost the same effect as deadlier laners such as Viper and Huskar, and on a defensive level, can be used to indefinitely kite melee heroes such as Axe and the Broodmother.

Silence: While a three-second Silence can save you from a nasty gank in early-game, a six-second silence is more than enough for a skilled Drow to effortlessly dispatch more than one target towards the end. Silence is a great skill to take out squishy INT heroes and should be used to disable an enemy's disables before they fall on Drow. Note that Silence does not stop the target from using items.

Trueshot Aura: A great skill for significantly increasing your damage (as well as that of surrounding ranged allies). Note that Trueshot Aura only consider unit base damage and primary attribute increases - not raw damage items. For this reason, Drow's build forgoes items that give raw damage in favor of Agility bonuses - not only for Trueshot Aura, but for the IAS as well.

Marksmanship: Although not the most exciting ultimate, Traxex's Marksmanship passively increases her damage by 45 (even more with Trueshot Aura), ASPD by 45%, and even armor by over 6 points as well.

Skill Build
1 - Frost Arrows
2 - Silence
3 - Frost Arrows
4 - Stats
5 - Frost Arrows
6 - Marksmanship
7 - Frost Arrows
8~10 - Silence / Stats
11 - Marksmanship
12~15 - Trueshot Aura
16 - Marksmanship
17~19 - Stats / Silence
20~25 - Stats


One level of Frost Arrows is taken at level one to ensure lane domination right off the bat. Followed is a level of Silence to escape ganks and to provide even more offensive capabilities (for an easy first-blood against spellcasters).

Frost Arrows is maxed as soon as possible for ganking and harassing purposes. In an easy lane, the combination of a 3-second silence as well as a constant orbwalking harass is more than enough to drive intelligent players back to the fountain and slay the ones not as bright.

Stats are taken to boost Drow's HP slightly as well as to increase her damage. After Frost Arrows is maxed, a choice must be made whether to take Silence or Stats. This choice is situational and up to your judgment. If facing a team heavy on casters, the choice is obvious and essential. If facing a melee lineup that is easy food, Stats may be the better route to take.

Trueshot Aura is maxed last just at the time that the bonus damage truly begins to shine. By the time Drow hits 16, the aura itself should be adding a good amount of extra damage, further increasing her single target output.

It is a wise choice not to underestimate the fluidity of the Drow Ranger's skill build; certainly, Trueshot Aura can be skilled earlier on in place of Stats and Silence if you feel like you need the extra bit of damage that it offers in the pursuit of controlling your lane. Similarly, Silence can be skilled up earlier if the necessity arises. Understand that the above build is not a set rule, but rather a guide to the general idea of what a vanilla game would require.

Starting Items

Tangoes: For regenerative purposes. With a nice range of 600, a spammable orb, as well as a 3-second silence, you shouldn't need many of these except in the more difficult of dual lanes. In the event that you do, just send your chicken back to pick some more up.

Circlets: A basic stat item - increases HP and damage for an easier time laning. Circlets are upgraded to Wraith Bands later on.

Slippers of Agility: To improve last-hitting and harassing, as well as to be turned into Wraith Bands later on.

Grab these items and head off to your lane. Although Drow Ranger is a decent soloer, she works well in a dual-lane too, with a constant harass and spammable slow.

Core Items

Wraith Bands: Wraiths help boost your HP and mana pool, as well as add a cheap source of damage and ASPD. Stack them as needed.

Power Treads (STR): Give movespeed, HP, and IAS.

Manta Style: The interaction between Drow and the new Manta Style is fantastic. Not only does it give movespeed, much needed HP, damage, IAS, and mana, but Mirror Images adds additional survivability and gives Drow even more pushing power than before and allows her to rax down the enemy base like no other. Frost Arrows works beautifully with images, as it slows down the target immensely, allowing your images time to pound on the helpless hero. Additionally, learning how to dodge stuns (Hellfire Blast, Storm Bolt, etc.) with Manta Style can save you from a potentially disastrous situation.

TP: Never leave home without one.

Situational & Luxury Items

Below is a list of situational and luxury items that work well on Drow, and excel under certain circumstances. As the game progresses on, judge carefully what you feel you are lacking in and need. While the following are all good items on Traxex, some work better than others against the enemy lineup - it is up for you to gauge what you need the most.

Phase Boots: Phase Boots are a viable alternative to Treads. They provide armor, damage, movespeed, and the Phase ability for better chasing. Late-game, Treads will almost certainly serve your purposes better (as they provide a whopping 40% increase in ASPD) and can be swapped to STR for the extra HP. Its up to you, though. Phase Boots are slightly cheaper and give good bang for their buck. Note: the Phase effect dispels after your first spell casted (when chasing, this will most likely be a Frost Arrow).

Boots of Travel: Almost an entire grand more expensive than Treads, only consider purchasing a pair of Travels if you are farming extremely well. The high price is not without ample reason: not only do they give you the highest movespeed bonus in the game, but they allow you to teleport freely around from lane to lane, letting you free-farm whenever the option is available to you. Furthermore, BoT allow you to participate in quite a few more ganks than would have otherwise been possible and be with your team almost instantly whenever the need arises. Note that apart from the 90 MS bonus and teleportation, BoT do not give you any sort of stats or IAS, so it may be a factor to take into consideration.

Lothar's Edge: Lothar's is a pub favorite, and for good reason too: it helps farm and push with the security of knowing you are less likely to be ganked (as pubbers rarely carry around Dust), thus "solving" Drow's greatest weakness - survivability. It can also be used to great effect for positioning and setting up ganks more successfully, so even in higher-tier play where True Sight is more prevalent, Lothar's shouldn't be discounted entirely. However, note that the extra damage that Lothar's Edge adds is not factored into the bonus damage of Trueshot Aura. If you decide to take a Lothar's, skip the Manta Style, pass Go, and head on to your Butterfly.

Butterfly: One of the absolute best items on Drow, Butterfly gives Drow everything she needs: a massive attack speed bonus, damage, and EHP in the form of evasion - all of which synergizes fully with Drow's skillset and the role she is intended to play. By the time you start farming a Butterfly, make sure you purchase the new Talisman of Evasion first - it increases your EHP by a significant amount, giving Drow a nice buff to her major weakness.

Buriza: You will not encounter many games dragged on long enough to farm a Buriza. However, in the event that your Butterfly is complete and the game is still not finished, this should be the next luxury item to aim for provided that you are not having survivability issues: with Drow's rapid attack speed and high damage, she should be smothering targets completely with her silence and additional criticals. Note: One of Buriza's main advantages is that images from Manta Style will crit as well, leading to an amazing DPS output.

HoT: A Heart is a good luxury item on Drow, giving her additional survivability over her low, low life. However, it should be a late-game luxury item instead of part of her core, never replacing the Butterfly (but possibly taken in lieu of a Buriza). Drow is meant to be a hardcore DPS hero, not a tank. Sometimes a solo Vitality Booster will do.

MKB: If you're in the need to counter another hard AGI carry with evasion (think PA, Void, Troll with a Butterfly, etc.), MKB may be the way to go as a luxury item (taken in place of a Buriza). Although the damage bonus from MKB does not contribute to Trueshot Aura, the ministun and True Strike can prove to be invaluable.

BKB: BKB is always a good situational item if you're facing a team heavy on stunners and disablers. Those 5-10 seconds of magic immunity coupled with your AoE Silence could be the difference between death or a successful kill (or three). The bonus HP and damage from BKB doesn't hurt at all either. If you find yourself getting beaten to an undead pulp before you can even react (think Tidehunter, Leoric, Sven, etc.), BKB may be the best way to go.

Rejected Items

Chicken: A chicken is great on Drow, and she could definitely take advantage of one to stay in lane as long as possible. However, Drow should not be the one purchasing a chicken. Ask your support hero to purchase one for your use and rest assured that any competent player will smile and agree. Chickens have great synergy with barbecue sauce and ketchup, but unfortunately are not improved by Trueshot Aura.

Vanguard: Surprisingly, I see this item as one of the most prevalent mistakes, despite it having no synergy whatsoever with Drow's role. Sure, it might allow you to tower-dive a little better, but with 2225 gold, you could be halfway to your Manta Style (giving you the survivability that you need). In cases where you are desperately in need of more HP, grab an early Point Booster or Ulti Orb.

Lifesteal: If the glaring red, orb effects do not stack, were not enough, her natural orb trumps Lifesteal any day, even if 17% lifesteal with the critical of a Buriza sounds nice on paper. It's not worth the money.

Orchid: I see this often as well. True, it adds damage and attack speed, but that's all of this expensive item she benefits from. She doesn't need the Soul Burn (innate 6-second AoE Silence, anyone?), she doesn't need the mana regen (no matter how much some people may insist it to be true), and the item does not synergize with Trueshot Aura at all. Rejected completely.

Assault Cuirass: AC is generally an item best left to STR heroes who need additional IAS and armor (e.g. Slardar, DK, etc.). Being an AGI hero with a more than ample amount of agility, Drow Ranger should be pumping points into Agility rather than straight attack speed and armor. If you're lacking in survivability, a HoT would be a much better option.

Game Walkthrough

In no way, shape, or form should any walkthrough be followed strictly. Although the guide should give you a general idea of what you should be doing, game experience may change during online play; adapt to that change.

... early game. "I have 0 last hits and 0 denies. FML." - enemy Slardar

Grab your beginning items and head off to your lane. Drow can solo, but priority should be given to your early-game nukers such as Zeus and Tinker. In your lane, harass relentlessly by orbwalking with Frost Arrows, and try to grab a first blood with your lane partner on the most fragile enemy hero. A double-melee lane is a pure godsend to you - your harassment should be so consistent and constant that they have to work just to stay within EXP range.

Grab your last hits and denies mercilessly. The faster you can farm up, the more deadly you will be. Drow has a relatively fast projectile speed and a nice animation - practice last-hitting with her until you get it down right. Kite melee heroes when they get too close and Silence possibly dangerous situations. Participate in ganks in your lane, but for the majority of the time, stay in your lane for as long as possible. Early-game is spent farming up and dominating your lane.

... mid-game. "I couldn't do anything about it, man. She silenced me..." - Rikimartin

Level 10~11 is when you hit mid-game with Drow. By now, you should have your Wraith Bands and Treads (or Phase Boots) farmed up. Scout the map for free lanes to farm and push towers when the coast is clear. Aid your team when they need you, as your Silence and slow is now exceptional. Remember that at this point, you are still a fragile AGI hero, and play like one. Keep on farming, don't push so far into enemy territory that you can be easily ganked, and support allies whenever possible. One of Drow's advantages over other carry heroes is that she does not handicap her team as a game of 4v5 until she is farmed up. Abuse that advantage and abuse the enemy team unflinchingly. Your slow makes ganks an almost guaranteed success provided that the rest of your team knows what they're doing, and your Silence makes it so that even Blinkers can't just drift away. Finish up your Lothar's / Manta Style, and begin working towards your Butterfly and other luxuries.

... late-game. "ipwnn00bs551 has left the game."

Now is your time to shine. As you obtain L3 Marksmanship, your attack speed and damage should be putting a hole through enemy heroes with every shot. Work on your Butterfly, push as a team, Silence those pesky spellcasters and disablers and kill them in five (quick) shots (ex. Rhasta). Decide as a team which enemy hero to focus down first and do so. With Frost Arrows, let no one escape and lay the slaughter on hard.

Not dying as this stage in the game is imperative - a team wipe could lead to your immediate loss. At late-game, in the eighty seconds it takes for you to respawn, the enemy team could've pounded down your rax and started working on your Throne.

Is it importunate that, at this point in the game, you work together as a team. Games are always won or lost as a group united, and even if you are fed like a monster, you can still be easily taken down by a competent opposition without your other four allies to back you up. Don't Rambo in, and don't cower out. Remember to, above all, play the role you were meant to play: a single-target DPS powerhouse.

Minor Strategy

As I mentioned here earlier, this guide isn't to teach you how to play the game. However, below are some minor strategies specific to Traxex:

You are the Drow Ranger. What this means is that Traxex is a single-target DPS powerhouse without the weak early-game of others such as PA and Troll. She is much more effective from much earlier on, able to participate in ganks from level one onwards, and easily able to completely change the tide of a teamfight with one well-placed Silence followed up with piercing shot after shot. Although she lacks a steroid farming and pushing skill, Drow's high damage and attack speed makes her one of the best tower-demolishers in the game.

Your teammate looks like a tank, feels like a tank, has items like a tank, and even smells like a tank. Let him tank. Understand the role of the other heroes on your team lineup. Let the initiator initiate and the tanker tank. Do not play the role of another hero, or you will feed. If your team lineup has no room for If your team lineup has no room for Drow, don't pick Drow. If your team needs you to play another hero (such as a tank or a disabler), don't pick Drow. Although the Drow Ranger is strong in many aspects and can fit well into most team lineups as the DPS / carry, sometimes she just doesn't work. In the event that you are playing Drow, let your teammates do your job while you do yours.

Silence is golden. In many cases, you can hit more than one target with a 275 AoE Silence, disabling any of their skills for six full seconds. Evaluate and judge the opposition before you select who to Silence - quite obviously, Lina would be rendered useless by one while a Lycan would still be able to rampage through your team. A well placed Silence can turn a teamfight into a 5v4, or even a 5v3, creating havoc in the ranks of the opponent lineup. By the time those six precious seconds are up, your team will have had the time to inflict the heavy damage necessary. And in the event that the deal isn't sealed, after nine more seconds you are able to slap another one onto them.

Use it to save yourself from ganks, as well as a teammate from his death. Silencing a Lion about to Finger of Death your ally and saving them from an embarrassing death will earn you their eternal gratitude ("omg, I f*cking love u dude!!!"); in many cases, you can even turn right back around and slay the newly disabled hero before they can react. Moral of the lesson: six seconds is a long time for a hero easily pumping out 250 damage a shot.

Night falls. Drow Ranger has a sight range of 1700 at night, second only to three heroes with 1800. Abuse her sight range, which is more than twice as far as that of normal heroes.

Orbwalk only up to a certain point. When your ASPD becomes faster than you can orb (usually around mid-game or so), just switch Frost Arrows to autocast in team clashes and let loose.

"Chat-sex" gets a lot of attention because she's female. Sometimes you have males like Troll Warlord who aren't that great with girls and attempt to express their love by blinding you and subsequently bashing your head in. Unfortunately, at times you just can't do anything against masochists like Phantom Lancer, Troll Warlord, and Spiritbreaker. Either ragequit when they kill you (not advised), or alternatively, strategize with your team to keep on capitalizing on your advantages while systematically minimizing your weaknesses. At the end of the day, Drow is just another hero that can be countered by a select number of heroes. Lothar's might be able to help in these situations, but against a good team, for only so long.

Learn to kite.
Drow is one of the best kiters in the game - abuse, abuse, abuse. When melee heroes start chasing you, turn around, fire a Frost Arrow at them, and then run forward a few steps. Keep them lagged behind you so they can't get up close enough to beat on you. Eventually you should bring them down to a much lower amount of life - in which case, you should immediately turn around and punish them for even thinking that they could kill you in the first place. Of course, you can't kite every melee hero (Riki, Gondar, etc.), but the more manly ones that have to run up next to you to start bashing your skull in, you most certainly can.

Surprise sex is actually bad, but can be great in DotA (where you won't be meeting many girls anyway). Flanking is one of the finer strategies on the Drow Ranger, but can be incredibly effective in creating havoc and finishing off fleeing enemies. Instead of approaching the enemy head-on in a teamfight, there are many instances were opting to slip into the battle from the sides or even the back once it has already started may prove to be a larger advantage to your team than if you had been there all along (and possibly disabled immediately and taken out first). Finish off the Lich trying to flee once he has unloaded his Chain Frost as well as silence the Weaver about to Time Lapse a few seconds into the past. Moral here: don't always charge in head-on for the best effect.


June 19th, 2009: Guide originally written, submitted in draft mode
July 1st, 2009: Added pros and cons of playing Drow, made minor changes to the format. Submitted guide for publishing.
August 4th, 2009: Some major changes made to the guide.

Traxex the Drow Ranger
Author: Corsair July
Map Vers.: 6.60b

Traxex, Drow Ranger

An updated guide to the Drow

Date Posted: 07/01/09
Last Comment:03/12/2011
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