Artist: MDL
What we can learn: Drow in VP vs Mineski & LGD

MDL Disneyland Paris Major, Lower Bracket

We started our discussion of Drow in this meta in our last analytical article:

What we can learn: Drow in Liquid vs EG 

The VP vs Mineski series and Game 2 of the VP vs LGD series give us three more matches to continue our Drow analysis because VP had to figure out a counter to Drow in all three games.

The disclaimer here is that Liquid and EG are theoretically closer in mechanical skill than VP and Mineski, i.e. VP could theoretically win on the back of better execution rather than a strategic counter. Even if this is true, however, I think there is a pattern in VP’s drafts in the games that reveals in what way they think about playing against Drow.

Game 1 vs Mineski:

VP vs Mineski MDL

MATCH ID 4734915083

In game 1 Mineski used something we mentioned is a big advantage in Drow drafts. They first-picked Drow, but then picked Morph in the later stage of the draft as their true pos. 1. Carry. Morph fits Mineski’s lineup very well – he benefits from the auras of Drow and Venge a lot and if he has a good start, he can easily become a super hard carry.

In the EG vs Liquid series, EG did something similar in game 2. They picked Alch last, which created a big problem for Liquid, who had good heroes against Drow but didn’t have anyone who could deal with a farmed Alch.

This game, however, turned out differently. VP has the overall last pick in the game, which allowed them to pick up AA for No[o]ne as a hard-counter to Morph. It’s interesting to note that they left both their pos. 1 and pos. 2 picks for last, which gave them time to adjust their strategy.

Shaker, Bat, Apparition:
Earthshaker Portrait
Ancient Apparition Portrait

As far as Drow counters go, they had ES and Bat (later combined with the ult of AA). Those are not the first heroes that came to mind when you want to counter her, but they are actually decent at finding her while she farms the jungle and ganking her (long range initiation + long disables + AA ult). It seems that VP value making it hard for Drow to farm by ganking her and restricting her space on the map more than drafting cores that can get on top of her to counter her damage dealing potential in fights.

Terrorblade & Oracle:
Oracle Portrait

With AA, ES, and Bat providing answers for Morph and Drow, it was up to Terrorblade to secure the late game. Even though he is not brilliant vs Drow in the early-mid game because he is vulnerable to her silence and slow, in the late game he is a great hard carry versus Drow and Morph – they simply lack the AoE damage to deal with his illusions. With the space that his team provided for him, Ramzes was able to slowly but steadily out-farm everyone and easily secure late game fights, especially with Oracle in the backlines ready to protect him if things go south for some reason.

Game 2 vs Mineski:

VP vs Mineski Game 2 MDL

MATCH ID 4735107360

In this game what stands out is that VP are once again using an illusion hero as a counter to Drow in combination with Earth Shaker.

Earthshaker Portrait

Few people would think of Shaker as a Drow counter, but she is actually a hero that dislikes buying BKB until the late game, which makes her vulnerable to Shaker’s disables. Moreover, the long range of Fissure can reach her even before he gets his Dagger, and until she buys Pike a Fissure block could easily cost Drow her life in the early-mid game.

Naga siren

In Game 2 of Liquid vs EG, Liquid tried to utilize Naga against Drow but fell short mainly because of EG’s Alch pick for which they lacked a solution. In this game, however, the Naga pick felt much more powerful. Drow has trouble to deal with illusions, this is true, but the key here was actually the Naga + Disruptor team fight combo. Song of the Siren in combination with Kinetic Field and Static Storm fight initiation won VP three separate fights. It allowed them to easily reach the enemy backlines (great against Drow) and the silence from Storm is also quite powerful against Ember and Puck, who depend on their spells for survivability.


It’s important to note that VP used Necro in this game, which according to Dotabuff’s stats is the worst possible hero against Drow. He is a slow, short-range hero, so she can easily kite him. More importantly, he relies on Ghost Shroud to stay alive against her, and she could use Silence to prevent him from casting it. In this game, however, No[o]ne itemized perfectly against that. His first item was Guardian’s, which provides him with a dispel for the Silence and ensures he can use Ghost Shroud if he gets focused. Later on, he got Lotus Orb (another source of dispel) and Ghost Scepter (essentially a second Ghost Shroud, to counter her right-clicks). All of this helped No[o]ne to finish the game with 0 deaths as VP’s frontline hero. That said, Necro's role in this game wasn't to counter Drow specifically, VP relied on ES and Naga + Disruptor to do this job.

Game 2 vs LGD:


MATCH ID 4737828660

With VP dealing so well with Drow against Mineski, it’s unfortunate that they got eliminated from the tournament by a Drow strat. It was a very close game and it’s hard to blame the strat entirely (especially versus LGD, who currently play on a higher level than Minseki).

That said, they didn’t go for their Earth Shaker + Illusion hero strat in this game and didn’t have an obviously superior mid-game team fight as they had in the Mineski games. They relied mainly on Enigma for team fight control and this was an exceptionally hard game for Enigma to hit big-impact ultimates:

  1. Rojer is playing against two ranged cores, so he’s unlikely to catch both of them clumped together.
  2. He’s playing against multiple spells that can interrupt Black Hole, two of which pierce Spell Immunity (Fiend’s Grip and Reaper’s Scythe).

It’s very interesting to note that LGD gave Drow a hard lane (they sent Ame to the offlane, and didn’t babysit him for a big part of the laning stage). They prioritized giving a good laning stage to Storm. This is a smart decision because Drow finds most of her farm in the jungle when she gets to lvl6, not in the lane. In that sense, she is a good catch-up hero. In contrast, a good start for Storm is more critical this game because he is their main playmaker and the main hero that will provide Drow with free space to find her items.

Drow Ranger Conclusions:

This is likely the last article in which we pay special attention to the hero, so it makes sense to distill some key points.

What works for Drow:

  • Don’t stress too much on giving her a good lane. She can catch up once she hits lvl6 in the jungle. It’s more important to provide her safety (and possibly stacks) in the jungle in the early-mid game (probably by occupying the enemy team elsewhere).

  • Having Hurricane Pike is crucial, but try to also have other save mechanisms on your team (spells or other Force Staffs). The enemy team will try to focus Drow in fights for certain.

  • Try to use your 2nd core pick wisely. If the enemy team over-commits to countering Drow, you can pick your true 1st position hero in the later stages of the draft (as EG did with Alch). Alternatively, you can pick a synergistic second core early on which you are confident playing to avoid getting it banned (as LGD did with Storm).

What works against Drow:

  • You need some kind of solution for her passive flash-farming in the early-mid game. Generally speaking, you need to be able to apply pressure and take away map control on her side of the map. Heroes that can scout and gank her are great.

  • Having a way to get to her in fights is obviously important. Cores that can reach the back-lines are the obvious solution, but there are other creative possibilities (like the Song of the Siren initiation).

  • Long-range and long-duration disables work on her well. She dislikes going for early BKBs, she needs her stat items first.

  • Illusion heroes are a good counter to her in the late game (and they can often keep-up in farm, if they have space).

  • Last but not least, don’t pick too many Drow counters. This leaves you vulnerable to surprise core picks in the 2nd half of the draft. Drow can work as the pos. 2, while another hero plays the true pos. 1 win condition. Save a couple of picks to deal with the rest of the enemy team, as VP did in their game against Mineski’s Morph.


Drow still seems to be the meta defining hero despite teams having plenty of experience playing against her and sometimes finding effective solutions. The advice here would be similar to the last one – watch the draft and try to predict if the team facing Drow has good-enough solutions. Check for the general rules in the two columns above. After you see the lineups, the team that hits more checkboxes might provide a value-bet.

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