Dota 2

Guide on how to actually play Drow Ranger in Aghanim’s Labyrinth

I've seen a lot of guides/builds for her and most of this I hugely disagree on. Guides seem to focus on her Markmanship aura which I think is the wrong way to play her.

Reason being:

  1. Building around this will make you completely team reliant. You will be nothing but an aura bot. If you don't have competent teammates, you are building towards failure when you reach PB and they won't deliver.
  2. If you rely on your Marksmanship active to deal damage, (most guides consider Glacial Blast THE BEST shard for her) you have a huge downtime and you're pretty much useless everytime its on cooldown, which is 90% of the time.

I almost exclusively play only Drow Ranger in Aghanim's Labyrinth, and I've been playing ALOT (I already unlocked all blessings by amassing fragments just from grinding games and not from the weekly bonuses)

In this post I will share how I play Drow and actually carry the runs on your own, and if you are doubtful how viable this is, I have cleared APEX MAGE several times with this. No bullshit for Magician/Apprentice only builds like some guides I see. This is tested and proven on the highest difficulty, multiple times.

I am pretty active on the r/dota2 discord Aghs Lab channel as "anykey", and I've helped multiple people clear Apex mage runs with this build.

Her TIER 1 shards are:

WAVE OF ARROWS (15% chance to proc Multishot on frost arrow attack) This is your god tier wave clear shard. If you have this, you can solo clear most mobs with constant kiting, as opposed to actual multishot where you have to stop and channel. The most important aspect of this shard however, is this will be your built-in crit everytime it procs. It's basically an AOE Crit, a single proc actually deals more damage than 1 arrow wave when you cast Multishot. When you have this shard, focus on % Multishot Damage and + Arrow common shards. The stronger your multishot is, the stronger your "crit" is.

OVERWHELMING POWER (Get stacking damage/ms for every enemy hit with multishot) – This synergizes really well with Wave of Arrows because when it procs, this is also applied. In the late game you will have constant Overwhelming Power stacks uptime and constant knockback.

BITTERLY COLD (Hypothermia in vanilla Dota, 4 stacks of frost arrows that deal dps) – This is your boss/captain killer. If you get this shard, you can focus on Frost Arrow damage and Frost Arrow duration, and you deal huge damage over time to bosses and captains. The good thing about this is its contant uptime as opposed to Glacial Blast.

Decent Shards:

WALL OF ARROWS (Bigger multishot) – Only get this if you have Overwhelming Power/plan to build around multishot. Not much needed explanation, pretty great wave clear.

REFRACTING ARROWS (bounce attack on frost arrows) – It's pretty great if there aren't any other better shard to choose from. However, it is only really effective in the early game. By late game mobs will have so much armor your frost arrow bounces wont matter. In this mode, raw DPS build on Drow (or any other agi dps hero for that matter) is not that great, hence she has to rely on Wave of Arrow procs/Bitterly Cold to actually deal damage.

FLEET FOOTED (grants free pathing on cast, ms for allies) – With Octarine and a few +gust duration/gust cd shards, you can actually go perma phased. Helpful for kiting and cheesing a lot of rooms, but not mandatory. It's best use? EZ Split cracks escape. Just use this on the edge of the map everytime PB starts split cracks. The cracks don't go all the way, so if you are far enough you dont have to bother dodging it to the point of not even buying BKB for it.

GLACIAL BLAST (+2 charges, aoe blast) And now this is why I created this guide. Because all the Drow gudes I've seen have this marked as the top tier shard for some reason. I strongly disagree with this. I've tried multiple runs trying to play around this shard and it's just really not as effective as the one I'm running with. The reason I'm not a fan of this is because this shard is pretty much useless unless you build around it and get Markmanship only shards. Which like I said, makes you really weak during downtime. Even with the additional charge, you are still waiting for its cooldown most of the time. Focusing on Multishot/Frost arrows gives you less downtime as they have significantly faster CDs, hence making you more effective and actually more DPS in the long run.

Gimmicky, but viable shards:

MARKED REFLEXES (auto gust on enemy proximity) situational, but really useful at times. Helps with kiting and my ass has been saved by this skill numerous times. Never get this as your first legendary though. I tend to get this only if there aren't any available after the boss fights.

SHIFTING SHOTS (can move during Multishot) really great and eliminates that vulnerability Drow has during Multishot, but only take it if you have Overwhelming Power/Wall of Arrows to synergize it with.

That's it. The rest of the shards I haven't mentioned are either pure trash, not that useful/interesting enough for me to list here.


Going full DPS/full AGI is the wrong way to play her. Some will say stack eblades, that's just plain stupid and it only looked strong on that one video because it was on apprentice, and only if you have actual competent team mates.

My go to item build has always been:EBLADE, SWIFT BLINK (her ult + these are enough to reach max aspd) EULS/WINDWAKER, TRAVELS, OCTARINE, BKB.

If you get Fleet Foot shard, you can ditch OCTARINE/BKB and go for SATANIC/DAEDALUS, since you don't have to worry about the split cracks anymore.


Not alot know this but its actually very easy to solo PB with any hero, as long as you have Euls and enough mana regen to sustain yourself. This works the same principle with Drow Ranger as your hero.If you get to fully understand his pattern, you'll realize how easy it is to do.

When all 4 are still alive, your window to damage him is when he starts throwing rocks. Swift Blink directly in melee range of him and auto attack away (He won't throw rocks to those close to him)

At around 70% HP, he starts doing the grab + circular slam combo.To avoid getting grabbed, when he starts his "roar and then marches while rocks fall", count the falling rocks, on the 6th rock, Euls yourself. Alternatively, when he roars, count 5 seconds then euls yourself.

When he grabs someone, check where he is at. Blink directly to the opposite of the map to avoid the circles entirely. If they're at the center and you have no choice to dodge, you have your Eblade to protect yourself from it (its physical).

When he reaches 50% HP he starts the split cracks phase.

There are multiple ways to dodge this:

  1. Time your BKB. Go to the edge of the map, buy a few seconds and wait until the split almost reaches you, then blink towards him and BKB. you can auto attack either him or clear the mobs while on BKB, and keep note of your duration, euls yourself exactly the moment it wears off.
  2. If you have Fleet Footed, you can dodge the entire phase by walking out of the map. Even without duration shards you can still outlive the split cracks by Euls after the gust duration wears off.
  3. This is advanced and much less reliable. But there is a sweet spot just below his chin where if you stand you wont get hit by any of the cracks. Experiment with this until you can reliably get it but I recommend only using this trick if you are out of options (like BKB on cd, no mana etc)

When you are the last man standing, everything becomes way easier. You can reset his pattern by Eulsing yourself after he throws the 2nd rock.

So your pattern is: He charges you 3 times, dodge while trying to chip in some attack damage here and there. When he starts throwing rock, blink dagger near him to dodge the rock and get free autos at the same time. On the 2nd rock, euls yourself. He starts charging again, rinse repeat until dead. Will be much faster if you have Bitterly Cold, but as long as you have the Multishot Wave procs, its pretty quick as well.


SLARK – Should I get the Slark scammer's deal? YES. People will think you are griefing. But this will actually help you in the long run. As long as your lineup has consistent heals. More gold means you can fully upgrade your Windwaker and Travels 2. More MS is always KING in this mode. As KITING is Drow's way to clear mobs. You can get life steal to sustain yourself as a substitute for pots, but in practice you shouldnt be needing them as you should rarely be getting hit anyway by staying in the backlines.

TINKER – DO NOT get the attack range upgrade. You are nerfing your blink dagger range, which is essential for dodging and reaching the edge of the map during PB.



Of course, for reference I can share some of the recent matches Ive cleared with this Drow Build. All at APEX MAGE Difficulty and no "Magician only" nonsense. I've reliably cleared runs around 20+ times by now, most with this build on Drow, and also with WD, which I play a lot of as well.





I am pretty active on the r/dota2 discord Agh's Lab Channel under the name Anykey. Constantly searching for people who needs help clearing. If you can play on EU/SEA, feel free to DM me and we'll see if I can do a run by then.


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