Drow Ranger’s pick rate is soaring, here’s how to counter her

By Kenneth Williams


Dec 24, 2021

Reading time: 3 min

Countering Drow Ranger may seem silly until you watch your health bar melt under a barrage of arrows.

With the release of the new Dread Retribution arcana, Drow Ranger’s pick rate has massively spiked. She’s now the sixth-most-popular hero in the game according to Dotabuff pick rate info. Anyone who’s played during the holiday season already knew that.

Drow Ranger is usually stereotyped as a training carry due to her simple kit and straightforward playstyle, but there’s more to the archer than meets the eye. The best counters involve heroes and items that directly counter her abilities.

The best heroes to counter Drow Ranger

The best heroes to counter Drow Ranger include Spectre, Lycan, and Phantom Assassin.

The most important part of dealing with Drow Ranger is getting close to her. Her passive ultimate, Marksmanship, deals an incredible amount of damage. It also grants a bonus of 50% of her agility to allies in close range. It can seem hopeless to square off against a farmed Drow, but Marksmanship comes with a fatal flaw. The entire ability is disabled when an enemy hero is within 400 range. Therefore the best heroes for countering Drow are able to get close and stick on her to disable the passive.

Statistically, the best heroes for countering Drow Ranger are Mars, Spectre, Lycan, and Phantom Assassin. All three have abilities that force Drow Ranger into melee range. Arena of Blood locks her down in a teamfight while God’s Rebuke and Spear of Mars prevent her escape. Spectre’s Haunt instantly disables Marksmanship at any time. Lycan can simply run up to Drow before and after Gust, and Phantom Assassin can wait until Gust is used and blow her up with Coup de Grace crits.

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Branching out further, any melee hero with a good initiation tool can do the trick. A ton of other heroes become viable Drow Ranger counters.

Slark can sneak up on her in a team fight. Riki can do the same. Spirit Breaker can charge in and use Nether Strike to keep her disabled. Nothing makes the jazz music stop like an Earth Spirit rolling in from out of vision. Void Spirit can bridge the gap and dice her up with spells.

The truth is that Drow is countered by play style, not specific hero picks. As long as you can get close and stay there, almost any melee hero can theoretically counter Drow Ranger.

The best items to deal with Drow Ranger

Items that can counter Drow Ranger are Blink Dagger, Assault Cuirass, and Eul’s Scepter.

If a team doesn’t have a clear Drow Ranger counter, there are still several ways to deal with her. There are several items across multiple positions that can mess with her. Again, the important thing is to fully understand how Marksmanship works. The proc arrows fully pierce through base armor and evasion, but bonus armor still blocks damage no matter what.

For cores, the best item to counter Drow Ranger is Assault Cuirass. In addition to granting a massive 15 bonus armor to the owner, it also gives five bonus armor to everyone in the aura. Manta Style and Black King Bar are great options for dealing with Gust. Lotus Orb does double duty as a form of bonus armor and a purge for the silence. Just remember that Marksmanship procs ignore evasion, so Butterfly and Heaven’s Halberd aren’t quite as good as they seem.

Supports don’t have as many options for bonus armor. Guardian Greaves, Medallion of Courage, and Solar Crest are the best bets. Another good idea is items that boost mobility. Gust means losing access to your spells, so Force Staff, Eul’s Scepter, and Glimmer Cape are best for saving yourself or a friendly hero. If no one on your team is willing to get close and disable Marksmanship, you can always use those same tools to get close and shut it down.