Quelling Blade has always been a strong early game option for melee cores in Dota 2, but ranged heroes in the mid and safe lanes are starting to get it too.
Quelling Blade is a 130-gold item that grants bonus damage when hitting creeps. Melee heroes get 12 damage while ranged heroes only get six. Despite the 50% decrease in damage, ranged heroes in the Dota Pro Circuit and pubs are starting with the item to boost their last hitting ability.
Six damage doesn’t sound like a lot, but compare it to a Null Talisman. Null grants an intelligence hero five damage, 0.6 mana regeneration, and 3% spell amp. While Null Talismans have some clear advantages, they cost nearly four times as much for less raw damage. Very few items in Dota 2 offer as much value as Quelling Blade, even when its damage gets reduced by half.
The effective cost of Quelling Blade is the lowest it’s ever been. The item dropped from 200 gold to 150 in patch 7.28, then lowered to its current price of 130. Once item slots run low, it can be sold to recoup half the investment. While the melee bonus damage has been slowly nerfed from 24 down to 12, the ranged bonus went from seven to six.
Some ranged heroes even have abilities that synergize with Quelling Blade. The bonus damage can be applied to an enemy hero with Templar Assassin’s Psi Blades. Medusa and Gyrocopter have similar synergies with Split Shot and Flak Cannon respectively.
All of that comes in addition to the standard benefits of Quelling Blade. Ranged heroes can still chop down trees to make more efficient jungle paths or interact with enemy spells like Sprout and Acorn Shot.
With an opportunity cost of two last-hits and a multitude of benefits, consider picking up Quelling Blade the next time you play a ranged Dota 2 hero.