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At the ESL One Dota 2 Stockholm Major, Windranger emerged as one of the most successful heroes of the tournament by winning 13 out of the 16 games she appeared in.
Out of those 16 games, Stockholm Major champions OG picked Windranger 12 times for stand-in position 5 support Sébastien "Ceb" Debs.
Ceb was one of the standouts at the Stockholm Major, winning 11 out of his 12 games on Windranger.
The two-time The International champion proved to the world that he is truly a force to be reckoned with, whether he plays as an offlaner or a support.
If you want to play arguably the flashiest position 5 hero right now, then let's break down how Ceb played his support Windranger.
For starters, let's look at Ceb's skill and talent build for the hero:
Windranger stats overview
Windranger starts out with 560 health and two armor, so she's not exactly the most durable hero in the early game.
Despite her early frailty, Windranger's three strength gain per level is the third-highest strength growth among all intelligence heroes.
That is tied with Warlock and behind Ogre Magi's 3.3 strength gain and Death Prophet's 3.1. This high strength gain allows Windranger to become reasonable tanky later in the game.
Windranger's intelligence gain of 3.6 is good enough to allow the hero to spam out her spells with the help of a mana item or two. Windranger doesn't have big mana issues but players also won't be able to spam spells as much as they like with Ceb's item build.
Apart from her stat growth, Windranger's other stats are unremarkable. Her 290 starting movement speed and 600 attack range are both average values for each stat.
In summary, Windranger's stats as hero isn't all that remarkable. But what makes the hero shine in the right hands is her versatile skillset. Let's dive into Windranger's abilities and how Ceb utilizes them:
Without a doubt, this is a support Windranger's most important ability in the game. Landing a good Shackleshot disables up to two enemy heroes for 3.8 seconds while missing means only one enemy is stunned for 0.75 seconds.
Shackleshot prefers to stun two units together and only latches on to trees if there are no other units available in the area.
Players should always aim to get two-man Shackleshots whenever they can, as doing so allowed Ceb to shut down two of Fnatic's cores in a pivotal fight.
Shackleshot has a generous cast range of 800 and a 10-second cooldown. The spell can be further improved with talents to have a longer stun and shorter cooldown.
Ceb always puts one point in Shackleshot at level two and focuses on maxing out the skill after Powershot.
The first skill Ceb maxes out on Windranger is Powershot and it's easy to see why. Powershot has an incredible range of 2600 and deals 450 damage, making it one of the most damaging basic abilities in the game.
A maxed-out Powershot deals 450 damage every nine seconds to multiple units, though the damage does reduce per unit hit.
Whether you hit multiple enemies or just snipe down one target, Powershot will be how a support Windranger primarily contributes to her team's damage output.
Powershot also enables Windranger to push out lanes, farm neutral camps, and defend the base. The skill synergizes well with Shackleshot, as both skills work best when enemies are standing in a line.
Ceb puts his first point in Powershot at level three and has the spell maxed out either by level seven or eight in every single game.
There's a lot of utility in Windrun, it provides Windranger with 60% extra movement speed and 100% physical evasion while slowing down nearby enemies. The spell has a fairly short cooldown, especially with talents. At max level, Windrun has a 75% uptime.
Ceb always puts his first skill point in Windrun. It enables him to trade effectively with enemy heroes during the start of the laning phase, forcing them to back off and use regen items.
Windrun also enables Ceb to escape from bad situations, especially against melee fighters.
One value point in Windrun is enough early on for Windranger, as her other two spells are far better at securing kills.
In Dota 2, it's generally better to focus on nukes than on utility spells, which is why Ceb always maxes out Windrun last.
For a support Windranger, Focus Fire is not the best ultimate.
She gains a huge amount of movement speed and the ability to attack a target while moving in exchange for a 30% damage reduction to her auto-attacks. The damage reduction doesn't apply to secondary item effects such as Maelstrom's lightning proc.
It's a great ultimate for core Windrangers who purchase multiple DPS items, but Ceb focuses on building utility items when playing Windranger and thus tends to skip Focus Fire till level 11 or so.
That doesn't mean Focus Fire is never worth taking at level six. Ceb took Focus Fire at level six during OG's second game against TSM in the Stockholm Major grand finals.
In that game, TSM picked an offlane Dark Seer for Jonáš "SabeRLight-" Volek. Dark Seer's Surge allows him or allies to run at max movement speed to chase down or escape from enemies.
However, that's not an issue for a Windranger using Windrun and Focus Fire.
Focus Fire is also worth taking early when facing highly mobile enemies or enemies with shield charges, such as Templar Assassin's Refraction and Visage's Gravekeeper's Cloak.
What talents does Ceb take on Windranger?
Windranger's talent choices enable the hero to either deal more damage or focus on disabling enemies. This allows the hero to adapt to different games as needed.
During the ESL One Stockholm Major, Ceb always stuck to the exact same talent choices in each game.
Level 10: -2s Shackleshot Cooldown vs -5% Powershot Damage Reduction per Unit
The level 10 talent choices are a no-brainer. Shackleshot is Windranger's most important spell and reducing the cooldown by an additional two seconds allows the hero to really abuse the spell in team fights.
The Powershot damage reduction on the other hand is....well, useless. Powershot loses a lot of its damage after passing by just a couple of units and -5% less damage reduction per unit barely does anything to help with that.
Level 15: +225 Windrun Radius vs -4s Windrun Cooldown
The extra 225 Windrun Radius allows the spell to slow all enemies within 550 range of Windranger, which is very generous.
The issue here is that support Windranger tries to avoid being near enemies and the extra radius isn't enough to apply the slow from the edge of the battlefield.
Another issue is that it's rarely worth coming in close just to apply the slow. The slow from Windrun doesn't pierce Black king Bar either, further reducing the value of this talent.
Reducing the cooldown of Windrun on the other hand provides a lot of utility to the spell. Windrun lasts six seconds at max level and with the level 15 talent, the cooldown goes down to eight seconds, allowing the hero to be "Windrunning" 75% of the time.
The talent allowed Ceb to be moving with 60% extra movement speed and full physical evasion for most of the game, benefits that no players should avoid.
Level 20: -16% Focus Fire Damage Reduction vs +0.8s Shackleshot Duration
As mentioned during the earlier discussion of Focus Fire, the spell is rarely taken on support Windrangers to deal damage. Instead, Ceb uses it to remove shield charges on enemies and prevent them from using Blink Dagger. This is why Ceb always ignores the bonus Focus Fire damage at level 20.
Instead, it's better to go for extra stun duration on Shackleshot. Stunning an enemy hero for 4.6 seconds is very strong, stunning two enemies for the same duration is absurd and allows Windranger to decide the course of the game.
Level 25: Focus Fire Kills Advance Cooldown by 20s. vs Windrun Grants Invisibility
There was only one match at the Majors in which Ceb reached level 25 and that was game one of the lower bracket against BOOM Esports.
In that game, Ceb bought a Black King Bar and Crystalis in order to focus more on dealing damage. In that situation, it made more sense to get the Focus Fire talent at level 25.
Since Focus Fire has a 30-second cooldown, being able to reduce that by 20 for each kill allows Windranger to almost always have it up on an enemy hero. It's also a boost to the hero's mobility, as Lyralei can keep switching Focus Fire targets during team fights.
The other talent provides invisibility to Windrun, which is pretty good on paper but not so much in practice.
By the time supports reach level 25, the game will be close to ending and both sides will carry a Gem and plenty of detection, nullifying the value of Windrun's invisibility late game.
This is just part one of our two-part guide on how to play support Windranger like OG's Ceb. Part two will look into Ceb's item build for Windranger, so keep an eye out for it.
Keep an eye out for part two of this guide, which will focus on the best item build for support Windranger.
Otomo is a long-time gaming enthusiast and caster. He has been playing games since he was 10 and is the biggest Dota 2 fan.