Let's Look At: Windrunner
Wed 6th Mar 2013 - 8:47pm: DotA 2
Today we are going to take a look at WindRunner, she can be played in a number of ways and is very versatile in terms of role coverage. She is usually chosen for a team because of her ability to perform well in the "suicide lane" and has pretty good survivability even when fighting at a two versus one disadvantage. We'll get this started by taking a look at what her abilities do and how they contribute in teamfights and prove incredibly useful while solo laning.
We are going to start off with her first ability Shackleshot. Shackleshot is a no damage single-target utility spell which focuses on disabling your opponents by binding them to a nearby tree or enemy unit. While this is incredibly useful players have keep in mind that if there is no nearby target or tree the stun will be reduced from a 1.75/2.25/3.0/3.75 second stun to just 0.75 seconds.
This ability will shine the most when you are in the middle of a teamfight due to the fact that you have a chance at disabling 2 enemy heroes for just about 4 seconds , which as we know in this games can be a game changing amount of time.
While laning this skill will give you the opportunity to control your opponent's movements and if you are in a two-versus-one situation they will most likely want to stay apart so they don't run the risk of being disabled for so long. When skill building you might want to make this the second skill you max out as its utility will be valuable in any fight.
Next we are going to take a look at PowerShot. Powershot is an powerful charge shot that has a long-rage and added utility in addition to its high damage output. This ability comes with a whopping range of 1825 and deals 120/200/280/360 , if this skill's channel is interrupted the shot will still go off but will not deal the entirety of its damage. This attack does pierce through enemies but keep in mind that its damage deteriorates by 10% for every enemy it passes.
Powershot, while an offensive spell, can be used for utility because of its ability to destroy trees. Destroying trees in DoTA 2 can be helpful because it can open up an escape route or provide another point of entry for your teammates to come in and gank from. While in a teamfight you might want to use this to hit as many enemy heroes as you can or to help out a teammate in danger that has to make a quick getaway, you may also want to use this as an execution as you can finish off enemies from a great distance. Something that's also worth noting is that it provides vision along the path which it was shot so use that to your advantage too.
While solo laning or during the laning phase this skill can be used to constantly harass your opponents and keep poking them from a safe distance all while dealing high amounts of damage, so maxing this out first is high recommended.
Windrun just like name implies lets her run at an incredibly fast speeds and make her avoid any physical damage she might succumb to while the ability is active, as an added bonus she slows down enemies around her while in windrun. Using this ability increases her speed by 50% , slows her opponents by 8/16/24/30% and makes you immune to physical attacks and duration 2.75/3.5/4.25/5.0 seconds depending on the level.
When in a teamfight windrun can be used for several different reasons. The ability gives windrunner the ability to slow down her opponents movements and also position herself without running the risk of getting hit by melee heroes or physical attacks, keep in mind while it can be useful to avoid physical hits she is still successible to magic and any form of crowd control. Windrun can also be used as an escape mechanism incase you are at critical health or to chase someone down.
While laning you can use this skill if you engage in early battles with your opponents, this is because early on in the game most fights will consist of auto-attacks which you can avoid by using this. This skill while incredibly useful will be the third you max out since at level one it last about 3 seconds which is enough for early game.
We have finally made it to her ultimate Focus Fire. This ability is actually not as good as one would think even though it maxes out your attack speed like most great things in life it comes at a price. Focus Fire gives windrunner the ability to attack at the max attack speed but reduces her damage by 50%/40%/30% depending on the level. While not a traditional channel it does follow the same guidelines as one , if you attack anything that wasn't the initial target of the ability that speed is lost and you have to wait for it to come off cooldown and is why for the most part it's used on enemy structures.
In a team fight this can prove to be slightly useful since it allows you deal damage pretty quickly to a target of your choosing. While your damage does get reduced it can be made up by having high amounts of attack damage. When used in conjunction with the rest of her abilities Focus Fire can become a devastating attack, you can combo it with your shackleshot so they are disabled and forced t o take the damage or you could use it with windrun against any opponent dishing out physical attacks.
While in the laning phase this can be used to deal high amounts of damage to your opponents towers in a small amount of time , though realistically you won't be putting a point into this ability till your at least level 10. This will definitely be the last thing you max out for the sole fact that without high damage its total damage per hit will be laughable.
Ok! Now that we have the abilities covered let's talk about how you can build her and how she will function in lane. At the beginning of this article we mentioned that she was versatile in terms of role coverage now we are going to explain why. Windrunner can be built as a hard support which means you will focus on babysitting your lane partner by taking on several tasks such as denying, harassing enemy heroes so that your partner can farm in peace and also helping out by providing wards and a courier for your team. On the other hand she can be built as a semi-carry which involves you taking a small portion of your build to support but also being able to build up damage to help give your team a higher damage output. Let's take a look at how these vary and how you should decide on which role you will be taking for the game.
When playing any support you want to make sure you have one thing in your head and you remember it throughout the game , you won't be going for any kills and will forfeiting all of the farm to your lane partner which will most likely be a carry or any of the various roles in DoTA2. When playing support you will want to always be aware of what is going on in the map, this task will become much easier for you as you provide your teams with wards. There will be instances where people will rag on you for having no kills and all deaths and or assist but keep in mind that it's your job and the team wouldn't be able to function properly without you, With all this in mind make sure to perform your duties while putting yourself in the least amount of danger as possible.
Initial Purchases/Starting Items
When the match starts off you will be buying some essential things that will make supporting your team a lot easier such as a courier that anyone on the team has access to and some wards. When buying the courier keep in mind that you will have to upgrade it in the future so make sure to save gold for that and also for the wards you will have to be buying as the game progresses, remember just because you bought wards once doesn't mean you shouldn't buy them anymore. Along with these essentials you might want to invest in buying a healing salve or clarity and any form of mana regeneration so you can spam your spells.
During the laning phase you will want to help your partner out by harassing the enemy team and also denying them of experience by last hitting your own minions. When arriving to your lane it might also be a good idea to drop a couple of wards to have abit more vision of the map and also make it easier for your mid to check if the rune is next to your corresponding lane. While laning make sure to be aware of your surroundings with existing wards and also help your partner if he gets himself in any sticky situations. You can keep your opponents at bay by continuously hitting them with powershot and making sure they don't have enough HP to initiate a fight at any point with you guys, while this may not always be possible any amount of damage you can deal to them puts them at a disadvantage if they decide to go in for a fight. I rarely see people do this but something you can always do is if you have an extra salve or tango you can use it on your partner to keep them up while they are farming.
As you gain gold overtime and you start having to make purchases you might want to choose items that will benefit your team in a fight or when they are in danger. Things you might want to prioritize are things like the Mekansm so you can provide a heal for your team and a Force Staff as it can be useful in many situations. Depending on how your game is going and who else is on your team is how you are going to decide on what boots are more suited for the job, if you see that your team is in need for some additional mana you might want to go with Arcane Boots on the other hand if your team is fine and you want to give yourself some extra mobility you can take Phase Boots instead and the extra damage won't hurt either. Items that interrupt your opponents like Eul's Scepter of Divinity or Scythe of Vyse help by disabling opponents in the middle of a battle.
When team fighting you want to make sure you disable members of the opposing team with your Shackleshot and utility items you might have purchases during the games progression. On the same note you might have purchased things that help suchs as items for providing them with heals or mana, keeping track of your allies HP and MP will prove useful in using these items to their full extent and or executing them properly. You can always provide some additional damage for your team by using your Focus Fire and or PowerShot but keep in mind that it's not your priority to take any of the kills for yourself, if it so happens to come around that you nabbed a kill that's some extra gold for you but if you can hand over the kill to someone else it would be wise to do so.
Now that we covered playing a hard support let's take a look at a semi-carry and how it differs from what we just covered.
Playing this won't be a lot easier but you can have a more aggressive mentality and aim for those killstreaks you so desire, While you won't be the sole carry of the game and won't be doing much of the wrecking you will dish out high amounts of damage that you'll be satisfied. There are a couple of things that you will do differently and things you will have to remember such as instead of denying the creeps for your enemies you will now have to instead last hit so you get the farm and you will have to do so for awhile before being ready to start fights.
Initial Purchases/Starting Items
For your starting items you won't have to worry about the courier or wards but you will have to start about getting more sustain and usually comes in the way of mana regeneration. You can pick up the recommended starting items if you'd like but instead of getting a courier you can switch it out for something like a Mantle of Intelligence seeing as you want to focus on being able to stay on your lane as much as possible and farming up gold.
Your laning phase will also differ from when you played support, chances are that if you are building Semi-Carry though you are probably on the suicide lane on your own but we will go through it as if you had a partner and if you didn't. If you are on your own you will want to be stay a bit farther back but not outside of EXP range, here you will focus on going in for last hits and making sure your opponents don't push too far into your lane. PowerShot proves to be incredibly useful in these situations as you can harass the opposing team with it and you can also use its long range and high damage output to last hit minions that would otherwise put you in danger. As the game progresses if you have some extra gold or even if you don't it would be wise to purchase a couple of wards for your own safety, seeing as you are more successible to tower dives and or ganks when you are on your own. The laning phase might and most likely will be a bit easier if you have a partner to support you as you guys can be more aggressive instead of just hanging back all the time, though you have to remember that your main focus is getting those last hits so you can farm.
For your item selection you will be getting more offensive items this time around as opposed to the utility items you were purchasing last time, saying this it's worth noting that the Force Staff can be used in both builds since it can help you out with positioning enemies or yourself in a battle. When buying boots make sure to take Phase Boots a little bit of early damage never hurt anybody. An item that is worth shooting for is the Orchid Malevolence it provides you with the ideal stats to increase your damage output but also comes with the added benefit of a silence and a 30% damage increase, this synergizes with your ulti seeing as in it's final level it reduces your damage by 30%. The Monkey King Bar provides a stun when attacking and also synergizes well with your ulti seeing as having max attack speed increases the chances of its effect procing. You will want to stay away from Aghanim's Scepter the item itself doesn't prove to be useful in this kind of build and seems to cost too much for the added effect it provides to your ulti.
When team fighting as a semi-carry you will still want to disable as many enemy heroes as you can but with the added function of dealing heavy damage to them as well. You will always want to focus down the biggest threat first and make sure you aim for taking out the enemy carry first or who ever you find to be the biggest threat at the time. Using your windrun while in the middle of the fight can prove to be useful as you can avoid unnecessary damage and stay in the fight longer than usual, in added function you can use it chase people down and finish them off or to line up a powershot. While team fighting always make sure that you aren't in the front and don't be the first one to rush into the battle.
Windrunner is great at what she does, she seems to excel at it also. She has so many things available to her and synergizes well with so many heroes, there are probably other things that could be covered but that will be left for another time. Whether you're new to DoTA 2 or already have experience you should try this hero out, she is great and is fun to play too!
I'll be doing more of these and they will improve this was my first one so I would love your input on this and would like your suggestions on what hero to cover next, if there is anything I should have added let me know I'm always open to discussion about every hero.