Windrunner is a hero that should be in every match, and nearly is. She can do everything and can fill in any role. This ranged intelligence hero is the jack of all trades, master of all. The only thing that keeps her from ruining every game, is the fact that she has two skillshots.
Your ability to accurately cast these abilities, will determine your effectiveness as Windrunner. Mastery of them will break the game. While poor use of them will leave you a drain on your team. Are you up for the challenge?
- Targets: Enemy units
- Effects: Stuns for .75 or 1.5/2.25/3/3.75 seconds if the shackle attaches to a unit or tree.
- Cast Range: 800
- Shackle Range: 500
- Cooldown: 12
- Mana: 90/100/110/120
Shackleshot is one of the best disables in the game, if you can land it. If a tree or unit is behind a target, up to 500 distance, then both targets are stunned.
- Targets: Enemy units, trees
- Damage: 120/200/280/360 initial damage, deals 10% less damage per unit the projectile passes through
- Range: 1800
- AoE: 125
- Cooldown: 9 seconds
- Mana: 90/100/110/120
Powershot has a 1 second channel time, before the arrow is released. You can break the channel early, but the arrow will do less damage, depending on when you broke the channeling.
- Effects: 100% evasion, 50% increased move speed and slows nearby enemies by 8/16/24/30%
- AoE of Slow: 300
- Duration: 2.75/3.5/4.25/5 seconds
- Cooldown: 15
- Mana: 100
If I were to start listing the ways in which this ability is useful, I would be here till the end of time. Simply put, this is one of the most versatile escape skills in the game.
- Targets: Enemy units, buildings
- Effects: Max attack speed, while dealing 50/40/30% reduced damage.
- Duration: 20 seconds
- Range: 600
- Cooldown: 60
- Mana: 200/300/400
Ironically, Windrunner’s ultimate is her least attractive ability. It’s hard to find points for it, when each of her basic skills are worthy of being ultimate skills.
The only times I put points into this, before I’ve maxed out Windrunner’s first three skills, is when my team is pushing heavily, early on and we need the extra tower killing power.
Purchasing Aghanimn’s Scepter will reduce the cooldown of this skill, to 15 seconds. It also removes the damage debuff on item effects, like chain lightning.
- Powershot (maxed)
- Shackleshot (maxed)
- Windrun (maxed)
- Focus Fire
- Focus Fire
- Focus Fire (maxed)
Windrunner can be extremely flexible with her skill builds. Take what you need, as you need it. This is the most basic build that is taken in most situations.
Some games, you may find yourself needing to be extremely offensive, without the need to be defensive. In such an event, you can forgo taking Windrun until level four.
Starting: Courier, and/or Observer Wards, Consumables, Iron Branches
Alternative Starting: 2x Mantle of Intelligence, 2x Iron Branch, 2x Tango
Early: Arcane Boots
Core: Force Staff
Situational: Mekansm, Blink Dagger, Scythe of Vyse, Diffusal Blade, Aghanimn’s Scepter, Linken’s Sphere, Ghost Scepter, Magic Stick/Wand, Wards, Flying Courier
Being such a flexible hero, Windrunner tends to pick up the slack of her team. Which, unfortunately, is almost always that of support. As such, you’ll almost always find yourself picking up either a courier, wards, or occasionally both.
Even though Windrunner can be amazing in any lane set up, she is most often seen soloing the hard lane. Because of this, she absolutely needs wards to keep the enemy team from pulling the jungle into their creep lane. Which effectively denies Windrunner a massive amount of experience and gold.
Wards also help serve another purpose, to keep the rune warded for mid, which also allows you to know when you’re getting ganked from mid. If, for some reason, you don’t need to pick up either the courier, or wards, then feel free to go with the alternative starting build.
I’m addicted to Arcane Boots in general and I find Windrunner to be a mana hog that absolutely needs Arcane Boots in order to get the most out of her early and mid game.
Arcane Boots also allow you to support your team with extra mana. Since you’ll be getting Mekansm in most games, you’ll end up becoming an indispensable mana and health replenishing tool throughout the game. Force Staff is also another must have item.
Outside of the fact that it’s just stupidly powerful in general, Windrunner really makes use of it, when needing to get into the right position to pull off a perfect shackleshot.
Mekansm may, at first, seem like an odd choice on Windrunner. It doesn’t have any synergy with her tool set, but because she is most frequently used to fill in the support gaps, Mekanasm becomes a natural extension.
Especially considering that Windrunner’s core items are cheap and short in number. Scythe of Vyse, if you can ever afford it, is absolutely perfect on Windrunner.
It takes care of her mana problems, completely. It also gives her some great damage and a spectacular disable. Ghost Scepter is there for when the enemy team has a lot of auto attack reliant threats, while Linken’s Sphere is for single target casters.
Diffusal Blade is taken when your team needs someone that can deal with Omniknight’s multiple buffs. Nothing is funnier than purging off magic shield and physical damage immunity, while you chew through the targets health and mana, with Diffusal Blade + Focus Fire.
You become a pretty potent carry when you combine both Diffusal Blade and Aghanimn’s Scepter. I’ve out carried Anti-Mage’s that blinked in, only to find themselves slowed to a crawl from Diffusal Blade’s purge and bleeding mana so fast, that they can’t even blink out.
Gameplay Strategy Tips
Windrunner is one of the best hard lane solos in the game. Her amazing stats and stat gain allows her to easily last hit and survive with nearly no items.
With Windrun, she can avoid a lot of damage and escape a ridiculous amount of scenarios that would spell doom for anyone else.
Combined with the fact that she has an incredible stun for control and a really long range nuke to harass and last hit with, and you have the perfect formula for success.
Trying to solo the hard lane, otherwise known as the suicide lane, can be a difficult endeavor to undertake. As previously mentioned, warding is the most important aspect to soloing the hard lane. I like to place a ward directly on the camp that is closest to the enemies outer most tower in your lane.
I also prefer to have one on the cliff nearest to the rune spawn. With some minor observation, you should be able to easily see any ganks coming your way.
The key to surviving the hard lane as Windrunner, is to harass with Powershot, while picking up last hits with it, at the same time. In order to do this, you’ll need to funnel yourself a lot of consumables. This is best done with the aid of a flying courier, which you will almost assuredly have to buy, and buy early.
Abusing Powershot’s range allows you to have massive lane presence, without actually putting yourself in harms way. Be sure to stay just within experience range, though in some cases that may be too dangerous. In such an event, you’ll have to judge whether or not it’s worth spamming Powershot, or not.
If the enemy team is doing a great job of controlling the flow of the creeps and the creep line isn’t moving, then you should continue to Powershot. If your opponent(s) are pushing the lane pretty hard, then you should just let them push the lane to your tower.
Because Powershot destroys trees, you can open up quick pathways to gank unsuspecting players. Try your best to line up a Shackleshot. Although it may be risky, you can use Windrun immediately after you create a pathway through the trees, to try and capitalize on the surprise factor, to land an easy Shackleshot.
If you have a team mate that has a slow, or a harder disable, it’s always better to let them land that, so you can perfectly line up your Shackleshot.
Windrunner is one of the best heroes to place wards, because she has so much survive-ability, mobility, control and range.
Past the laning stage, you should always have a ward on the cliff, over looking the rune spawn point closest to Roshan’s entrance. More is always better, but that can depend heavily on the myriad of circumstances in each game.
Windrunner has outstanding presence in a team fight. You can stand from afar and land Powershots on people who are distracted by your teammates.
Always, always, always be on the look out to land a Shackleshot. If you can grab two heroes with one Shackleshot, then your team is given a free win. Just hope that they can capitalize on it.
It’s generally best to save your Focus Fire for when you land a Shackleshot. Though, if someone overextends and is gunning for your teammates, then Focus Fire can burn them down quickly.
Because of her skillcap, there are few heroes that are as fulfilling to play, as Windrunner. Mastering her is a seemingly never ending process, that is ever so satisfying when you snipe and kill an invisible hero with a blind Powershot, 1600 distance away.