Hello my name is ~Hyatt and I will be doing my best to extrapolate the force that is Morphling support. As I understand it there are those that dismiss the notion as throwing a game, but those that pay attention to the changes to Morphling over the pass few patches will notice that Icefrog is clearly making it more viable each time.
I have been tooling around with this character build for quite a while and I hope that this guide (it will take time to polish with help from the community, it is my first one after all) will help people explore a hero with a lot of upside and versatility.
The trends of the last handful of patches make it clear that it is something that Icefrog is trying to open up, as I will explain later. In fact with the most recent patch of 6.87 there has never been a better time to learn Morphling support. I will say this right now.
I'd like to think of Support Morphling like an Ogre Magi or Vengeful Spirit with a better stun, more escapes, and greater utility with Replicate. Of course Ogre has far better early game, and for many people that should naturally dissuade people from picking Support Morphling. But I feel, and my experience tells me, that following this guide will help to offset those deficiencies, by providing farm for your carry, and getting marginal XP until you get online. Again it is important to play your game, but also the game as it unfolds, don't force the hero if you can avoid it.
(all examples are with no items)
At level 5 Morphling has 1016 HP when shifted for Strength to be 50% greater than agility
At level 5 Ogre Magi has 845 HP
At level 9 Anti-Mage has 769 HP
Naturally with the item builds I recommend it will augment your effective HP.
As mentioned earlier if you notice a trend in the most recent patch notes they make Support Morphling more and more viable.
Adaptive Strike stun max duration increased from 0.75/1.5/2.25/3 to 1.25/2.25/3.25/4.25
- Here is where the magic starts to happen. A 41.6% increase in max stun duration. To put this in perspective this is 0.75 seconds shorter than a max Mirana Arrow (5 seconds) but it is cheaper, reliable, and those 4.25 seconds feel like an eternity.
Adaptive Strike now has a 1150 speed projectile
Added Aghanim's Scepter upgrade to Morphling: Grants a new ability, Hybrid. Allows morphling to target an ally, turning himself into a hybrid illusion, removing the Morphling himself. This hybrid illusion can cast non-ultimate abilities and has your original attributes. Lasts 20 seconds. When the duration ends or the hybrid dies, your hero emerges (cannot end prematurely). Cooldown: 140, Manacost: 200, 600 cast range. Note: Ability is not available while you have a Replicate living.
- Giving him a scepter was a dead give away. At the time he could technically have two lives while using all the abilities of the allied hero he copied. He could Hybrid Techies, do Suicide Attack! and Morphling would be where the "Techies" just suicided and keep fighting. The cooldown helped prevent it from being spammed.
Agility growth increased from 3 to 3.4
Adaptive Strike damage rescaled from 20/40/60/80 to 50/60/70/80
Hybrid no longer hides Morphling or restricts its usage when a Replicate is out
Hybrids are visibly known to enemies (Similar to Dark Seer's Wall)
- More agility means more strength for support Morph since he can move his stats around. Again another boost to the base damage of Adaptive Strike makes up for the low damage output of a support Morph. The change to Hybrid now allows there to be a replicant on the field, Morph, and the hybrid.
Adaptive Strike base damage increased from 50/60/70/80 to 100
Adaptive Strike mana cost reduced from 100 to 100/90/80/70
Morph rate increased from 2/4/6/10 per second to 2/4/8/16
Morph now shifts in intervals of 1 rather than 2 [?]
Hybrid cooldown reduced from 140 to 120
- This just improves on everything I mentioned previously. The base damage and mana cost help support Morph be more of a factor. The shift rate and cooldown were nice touches to further make Morphling support be just that much more viable.
Replicate damage dealt increased from 50% to 80%
Hybrid cooldown reduced from 120 to 70
- Once again Icefrog is driving home the point that Morphling is absolutely a support hero, this time by again reducing the cooldown on scepter. The scepter has really no great DPS that a carry would us, but rather the utility that a support would love. The cool down time allows much more liberal use of the hybrid ability to use in team fights. The replicant damage going up to 80% is huge as well because with some carries you can really actually use them to farm for you or at the very least be a much more convincing target for the enemy team to try and gank.
Hybrid cooldown reduced from 70 to 60
Agility gain increased from 3.4 to 3.7
- I've already said it a few times, but every time they make the scepter better (by reducing the cooldown) they are begging people to make use of it. The Agility gain is a plus for both support and carry. With the one minute cooldown, you really can activate it at every possible instance and at every team fight. The utility of another heroes abilities, spells, and passives (along side the replicant confusion) gives you a strong edge if you are clever enough in your micro.
Talent Tree added.
- The abilities in the talent tree further give greater flexibility for a Support Morphling. At level 10 you pick the 200 Mana since his mana pool is so shallow. At 15 you pick the movement speed because even with the extra damage your attack speed will still be so slow. At 20 the 12% cooldown reduction is the better choice. And finally at 25 it is the choice between better initiation / escape with waveform or if you have a very strong agi carry that you can replicate.
Cast Time: 0.25+0
Cast Range: 1000
Max Travel Distance: 1000
Damage Radius: 200
Cooldown: 11 seconds
Mana Cost: 140/155/160/165
Surges with a speed of 1250.
Morphling is invulnerable, and his model cannot be selected with the mouse during Waveform.
Morphling can turn, attack, cast abilities and use items during Waveform.
Casting Morph Replicate or using Blink Dagger during Waveform cancels it.
Does not travel the full distance, when targeting closer than its max distance.
At maxed level it is a very good way to clear waves of creeps and jungle and net a few last hits. It is a great escape mechanism and allows you to dodge all sorts of damage such as Sniper's Assassinate Ulti or Zeus's Thundergod's Wrath Ulti since you are invulnerable.
Cast Time: 0.25+0.67
Cast Range: 600/700/800/900
Base Damage: 100
Min Damage Agi Multiplier: 0.25
Max Damage Agi Multiplier: 0.5/1/1.5/2
Min Stun Duration: 0.25
Max Stun Duration: 1.25/2.25/3.25/4.25
Cooldown: 10 seconds
Mana Cost: 100/90/80/70
The projectile travels at a speed of 1150 and can be disjointed.
The multiplier and stun values are not fixed. They adapt linearly in smooth intervals depending on the difference between Morphling's Agility and Strength.
The values change with each % difference between agility in strength, even when it is just a minimal change.
The multiplier and stun values also count bonus attributes, not only base attributes.
When the current agility is 50% higher than the strength, the damage multiplier stops increasing and the stun duration stops decreasing.
When the current strength is 50% higher than the agility, the damage multiplier stops decreasing and the stun duration stops increasing.
The knock back uses the same rules as the stun, it stops decreasing when agility is 50% higher than strength, and stops increasing when strength is 50% higher.
Knock back distance is 100 - 300 units. Knock back speed is 1000.
This is what is going to give you a ton of assist gold. Coupled with the waveform the plausible range for stunning an enemy is ~2000 units, so the ability to catch up and prevent an enemy from moving for 4.25 seconds is huge. When you play for the support stuns you will be surprised how far it is and how well it sets up your carry to close in for ganks.
MANA PER SECOND: 30
POINTS PER SHIFT: 1
SHIFT RATE: 0.5 / 0.25 / 0.125 / 0.0625
BONUS AGILITY: 3 / 4 / 5 / 6
Normally in a Morphling guide here is where they would talk about using Morph to escape and tank, but with Support Morph you are already quite tanky. I often have it so my base armor sits around 1 with subsiquent armor coming from my build. Getting the prescribed items will make Morphling resistant to both physical and magical damage alike.
If being chased and you need more HP to prevent death you can switch everything to Strength. You will be surprised how many people will assume an attack will kill you, yet when the attack connects and you are still gaining strength/hp you will have made more ground.
But Morph is a very important skill in that you want to make sure that your Strength is 50% greater than your Agility. So being able to do some simple math on the fly is to your benefit. For those who are mathematically challenged here is a simple way to see if your total STR is greater than your total AGI
take your total AGI, divide it in half, and add it to the original number. If that number is lower than your total STR you are in the clear and will get the max stun.
Cast Time: 0.25+0.33
Cast Range: 700/1100/1500
Illusion Damage Dealt: 80%
Illusion Damage Taken: 100%
Illusion Duration: 30/45/60
Cooldown: 60 seconds
Mana Cost: 25 (taking place of Replicant 150)
With this ability (and a mere 25 mana) you are able to replicate any hero on the field (including their illusions). The Replicant will deal 50% of that heroes base damage but it will take all damage at 100% rather than the bonus damage illusions normally take.
Morphling can instantly take the position of the Replicant for 150 mana. If Morphling dies, the Replicant will expire.
It is a great escape since lets say you are being chased by the enemy, you replicate the enemy and send it in a different direction. Even if the hero keeps chasing you can replicate to where the replicant was sent to evade them.
This has a mirade of applications. It is great for split pushing, having a tanky scout check Roshan, and for pushing high ground since they won't really know which allied carry you replicated. It is also great for auras. If you are facing an enemy Shadow Fiend in a teamfight, replicate him and have his team be affected by the same negative armor debuff as your team. I will go into detail some synergies with specific heroes later.
Cast Time: 0.25+0
Cast Range: 600
Illusion Damage Dealt: 50%
Illusion Damage Taken: 100%
Illusion Duration: 20
Cooldown: 60 seconds
Mana Cost: 200
This allows you to make a "replicant" of your teammate with the added bonus of being able to use their non-ultimate abilites.
I put replicant in quotes to note that these replicants are based off the Morphling's base stats, and as such will be bulker in some instances. Also it will have the same look as the illusions that come off of Dark Seer's Wall of Replica ultimate. If the target has a scepter added ability (like Lifestealer's Assimilate or Undying's Decay) the hybrid will get that too.
This has the incredible ability to push high ground with 3 Undying. The real one, the replicant, and the hybrid. You can then do double Tombstone and revel in the chaos.
AoE ultis don't nessisarily counter this as it just makes execution much more a function of communication.
There are a few goals you want to be able to check off when playing as Support Morphling. By mentally understanding his pros/cons and team synergy you allow yourself to establish success if you can execute.
On the most basic Morphling support you can do a lot of work with just Arcane Boots, you are able to be very bulky and the stuns allow your team to really get kills they wouldn't otherwise. If you go to Blink Dagger or Aghanim's Scepter they are safe choices that only increase your viability on the field. You really don't need any gold for this Morphling to work. You just need to stack for teammates, get assists, and repeat.
Naturally buy wards, sentries, dust, smoke, courier, and courier upgrades when apt
Be active in stacking camps for your carry. Its ok to be a little behind level wise early because once you have your 3.25 second stun you are able to set the table for successful ganks. Making sure that your carry has more farm and levels from the stacked camps will allow the carry to be more efficient in securing the kill that you setup. It is also important to realize what kind of hard carry you have on your team. If they are able to be in lane against an offlane bully like Bristleback or aren't totally crippled by less gold and are ok with the XP they soak Morphling is a good pick. On the other hand if they need gold for items more than XP for levels you either need to be more aggressive in zoning them out or make sure there is another support to help them.
Understanding what kind of team you have is important in determining whether you roam after level 5 or stay with your carry. This is also affected by the role you are playing as either an assist machine or initiator.
Once you are level 6 using your replicate to scout or split push. The mana cost is incredibly cheap and with a little micro can make them think it is a real hero since they take normal damage.
If you have a Gem of True Sight rather than using replicants aggressively, use them defensively as escapes to ensure that the gem isn't lost. Leave them near towers or in base to have an easy escape. If you are playing Morphling well in general he should almost never die.
It is important to remember that you are weak against both Black King Bar, Repel, and Juggernaut with his Blade Fury. Similarly holders and heroes with Blink or those that buy Blink Dagger also reduce your effectiveness.
You synergize well with heroes that can capitalize greatly on stunned heroes or have trouble initiating themselves.
In terms of the transitional build into a semi-carry, you pretty much start as a support, but as you get more items and are more comfortable shifting your stats around, you can farm as if you were a carry if you have space to do so. Finding 250 gold here and 300 gold there, you can eventually get a Linken's Sphere which is great as a support to put on your carry. Finding whatever gold you can allows you to get a Eye of Skadi which will allow you to stun when at 50% greater strength over agility and then while they are stunned shift all your stats back into agility and start dealing damage. This build is recommended if your team might have problems with late game carries and need more damage per second on your team.
-buy support items
-scout/push with replicant
-roam and stun with team/carry
-understand what kind of heroes the other team has to make sure you aren't countered too hard
-can easily transition if you prepare for it.
One of the beautiful things about Support Morphling is not only that he doesn't require a lot of gold to be effective, but that the items that make him more effective are relatively cheap and easy to build up.
Since we are forsaking right click power there are two big things that we need to cover Morphling's weakspots
Lucky for us many of the items that resolve this are great, cheap, and easy to build. Here we will go through them and explain their role. With the brackets making clear what deficit they fix.
Ring of Protection - [Armor] It is a very cheap item that gives us the armor we need when we shift our agility into strength. It synergizes well with the build up as you will see.
Ring of Basilius - [Armor/Mana] Both the Urn of Shadows and Medallion of Courage require a Sage Mask. By having this Ring of Basilisk you can help both your armor and mana problems. The best part is that you can disassemble the ring to put into the bigger items when you have the other pieces.
Magic Wand - [Str/Mana] Don't sleep on this very cheap item. It only costs 465 gold but after shifting the Agility to Strength you have an item that gives 8 str & 4 int, with an active to heal and give back mana. It is incredibly cost effective early on, especially if there are a lot of casters.
Arcane Boots - [Mana] With this item you don't have to really worry about mana problems. It is cheaper than the Tranquil Boots/ Soul Ring combo, gives +250 max mana, and allows you to give mana to yourself and teammates. At level 4 Adaptive Strike you get two stuns from the 135 mana from the active.
Force Staff - [Mana] If you are going the route of the initiator having a force staff is recommended. Not only does it allow you to cheaply get rid of Linkin's Sphere but it allows you to close distance to do your stun without using Waveform which is more mana intensive and you miss out on possible damage. It is easy to build up and the extra mana pool and regen is always welcome.
Urn of Shadows - [Str/Mana] This item is something that ought to be invested in if there is no clear Mekansm hero or hero with reliable healing. Morphling just doesn't have the intelligence to handle mek. That being said it gives more bulk and mana regeneration, plus you will have plenty of charges that result from that 4.25 second stun.
Medallion of Courage - [Armor/Mana] If you have another hero on the team that is an initiator or can deal damage quickly after they are stunned, having this item will help them melt. Heroes like Phantom Assassin or with a Blink or Blink Dagger can close the gap and start to do some real damage with the reduced armor on the enemy. Also prioritize it if your team can use it on Roshan effectively.
Blade Mail - [Armor/Mana/Damage] This, along with Urn of Shadows, is the priority if you are the initiator. That means you wave through your enemy, and with the Adaptive Strike knockback, push the enemy towards your allies. Immediately activate blademail, and with your large hunk of HP will be able to dish out considerable damage if they decide to focus you. If they ignore you and you have the mana, you can then replicate escape to safety.
Ghost Scepter - [Stats] This is another addition to the initiator pool of items as you can avoid being right clicked, but be wary of magic attacks that will deal more damage. In general it is a good cost effective item that is equivalent of +10 Strength after Morph.
Drum of Endurance - [Stats] Like the Ghost Scepter this is to help agument your stats while providing a strong aura and active in team fights. It is easy to build up and after Morph will be +18 Strength.
Aether Lens - [Magic Resistance/Mana] After a bit of testing the value of this item is great. I ofters the passive Magic Resistance that makes Morphling that much harder to kill, larger mana pool, and effectively increases the damage and range of initiation. With the lens you can now add an extra 400 range to our potential initiation, which in my opinion beats out a blink. The Waveform now goes 1200 units and the Adaptive Strike goes 1100, not to mention the range of Replicate. Also the magic damage is buffed to be 357 for Waveform over 325 and the Adaptive Strike while as strength is 108 + whatever added agility you have. This is extra effective if you are ever in agility mode and want to do the shotgun combo, it will pack much more force.
Glimmer Cape - [Magic Resistance] This is a situational item that should be deployed against teams with a lot of magic. You have a lot of HP and armor but only the base 25% magic resistance. With this item you really become that much harder to kill and you are able to save some teammates from things like Necrophos and his Reaper's Scythe or Sniper and his Assassinate
Solar Crest - [Mana/Armor/Evasion] Like the notion from Glimmer Cape, at the point in the game when you can afford it you will have a lot of HP and Armor, so the evasion is just the icing on the cake. If the enemy team is very right click oriented you can be that much more difficult to kill, help buff your carry before a fight, or use it to melt whoever you stunned or on Roshan.
Blink Dagger - I have had mixed results with this. For what it is it allows you to have even more escape and initiation. But the price tag is roughly that of blademail. If you feel confident that you can blink, stun, and waveform to safety quickly enough I suggest doing it. If the other team doesn't have much stun or silence it is much more attractive. But if you can't execute it quickly enough you will only be giving them gold.
Aghanim's Scepter - [Stats/Ultimate Ability] I will actually give this item its own breakdown later on.
As mentioned earlier Morphling has pitiful early game presence. He isn't very tanky, doesn't do much damage, his attack range is very short, and moves are mana intensive.
That aside it is important to execute well to help your teammates be in a better position to succeed to offset that. Stacking and pulling camps along with securing runes for teammates offer a lot more than ~50 dmg at 350 range can do in lane unless your positioning is spectacular. You don't have to Morph Strength Gain your stats for the max stun until you are level 5 or so, to do so when you don't have a 3+ second stun just makes you even more irrelevant.
In this guide I assume that you are a solo support and will buy all the wards, courier, courier upgrade, and the like. Obviously it is better if you can share the burden with another support but I don't make that assumption. Obviously the sooner you can get the items recommended the better.
Offlane: This assumes you will be there to soak a bit of XP to get levels, secure rune for mid, stack offlane camp and anicents for the carry, and come online a little bit earlier
Safelane: Depending on whether it is a tri-lane or you and a carry you want to be still be aggressive in stacking for your carry. If you have trouble stacking camps your ceiling for Support Morphling will be some what lowered. The fact that he can disappear to stack and ward, be level 5 for a strong stun and still be bulkier than your level 7-8 carry speaks to how good Morphling is at staying relevant through shifting his abilities.
In response to a very good comment from Guicpv about utilizing Waveform into Adaptive Strike to setup ganks it made to really think about the nature of early Morphling.
"Yes the nature of using it is rather fluid and naturally determined by the position of you and your target, but Waveform is a fantastic way to close in on or extend the setup for a gank using Adaptive Strike. When the Morphling is level 4 when the Adaptive Strike is level 2. the stun is 2.25 seconds long. That is comparable to Wraithfire Blast or a Storm Hammer but without the added benefits. It is super important to hit them back towards your ally as even stunning them, pushing them away makes you lose valuable seconds.
It is also important to note that the range of the Adaptive Strike starts at 600 and increases by 100 every level until it is 900.
All that being said, you should be able to Waveform through your enemy, Adaptive Strike them towards your team and hopefully setup a gank. This is abated if your teammate has a slow or a stun of their own. With this in mind you could very realistically start harassing at level 4 when your Adaptive Strike is level 2, and if your team is prepared for it."
So even with reduced range from the level 2 Adaptive Strike you can waveform through the hero and combo that with the stun. At level 4 with one point in waveform and two in adaptive strike, that is 200 damage and 2.25 seconds of stun. If you did it perfectly you would also push the enemy 300 units closer to your teammates. The beauty in this is that Waveform has such a good range, that they disregard its power to initiate at their own peril.
I will try and add a video here since this part of the game is so important.
Now depending on the make up of your team you've decided to either be the assist machine (priority on Medallion of Courage) or the initiator (priority on Urn of Shadows and Blade Mail).
Assist Machine - This build prioritizes rotating, ganking, and securing assist gold. Pretty much as soon as you have Boots of Speed, a Town Portal Scroll, and at least level 3 in your adaptive strike it is time to get some kills. Make sure before any of this that your Strength is 50% greater than your Agility by using Morph. If after doing this you have 295 mana you have enough to teleport to a lane that you want to gank, Waveform through the enemy, and stun them. You should be doing this constantly between stacking camps to keep the enemy off balance. Even if you aren't able to turn the stun into a kill, a good attempt will form that hero to heal at the very least. The chances of constantly using a 4.25 second stun in concert with your eventual Medallion of Courage will net quite a few kills.
Initiator - This fits quite will with pushing and if there is no one on your team with a good stun with blink. It is important that you have Urn of Shadows for the extra HP that it gives you, Blade Mail is good too depending on the enemies. Using Replicate is the key here and there are a few ways to utilize it.
Late game is problematic for support Morphling because Black King Bar and Linken's Sphere really hamper your ability to use Adaptive Strike or Medallion of Courage/ Solar Crest. So you can hope that your carry is better leveled and equipped then theirs due to your diligence in stacking and securing kills.
But that only means that your should further prioritize stunning heroes that could cripple your chances to win the team fight. Trying to waveform through as many heroes as possible is still optimal since that 325 damage nuke is quite good.
But you aren't without any tools late game. Replicate is especially good late game when you need to push lanes, win critical team fights, or push high ground. If the other team has debuff auras like Degen Aura or Presence of the Dark Lord copy them during the team fight. Similarly if they have strong auras like Vampiric Aura or Vengeance Aura) you can copy them to help your team or hinder the enemy.
Replicating an allied tanky carry on your team also sows confusion and every attack they waste on the replicant only increases the longevity of your real carry.
Using Glimmer Cape, Solar Crest, and potentially Aghanim's Scepter will allow you to still have a decent team fight impact late game. Especially when pushing towards the enemy base, support Morphling is best when he strikes first, stunning the enemy before they can use their Black King Bar. So make sure you buy plenty of Smoke of Deceit.
Also important is, if you are able to get enough gold, getting an Eye of Skadi as a viable semi-carry option. The changes to the rate of Morph Agility Gain allows him to shift stats very quickly and go from tank to right clicker provided he has the mana. He is able to push lanes with his replicate and waveform, and if uncontested can work down buildings too.
Dota is a robust and dynamic game because for every hero are a slew of heroes that are strong against it. Morphling is no different, yet I like to think that proper positioning and his mirrade of escapes allow you to do what you have to do in team fights or ganks without being too easy for your counters to kill you. I will try and break down the counters into groups that allow you to itemize against them or bait them for other teammates to counter them.
Scepter is a great item because it gives Morphling stats which he needs and another ability to help win fights. If you have no idea how to build going towards a scepter is always a safe choice.
Here I am going to go through how the hero pairs as an ally assuming that you have scepter. Now Morphling will very rarely have a scepter because the cost is quite high. it should be assumed that Morphling will get scepter late, and as such I have excluded some heroes who presumably fall off by the time Morph will acquire the scepter.
I initially wanted to break down every hero but it wouldn't be terribly useful. So at a suggestion I figured to include a short list for rubrics that other heroes might excel at which Morphling can exploit.
In short getting a scepter acts as a Refresher Orb for your allies non ultimate abilities, so there is immense value in getting one if you have allies from the following list.
Imagine this, two large pools of Acid Spray, Morphling stuns an enemy for 4.25 seconds. The Hybrid then stuns for another 4 seconds using Unstable Concoction, and finally the real Alchemist stuns for another 4 odd seconds. If the target is somehow alive Morphling's stun is already off cooldown to go again already.
It has three active moves but one of them just refreshes the duration of the chilling touch. The Cold Feet and Ice Vortex can be quite strong if there is coordination between the hybrid and the real hero.
Imagine the Bane and his Hybrid Nightmare two enemies, Morphling stuns a third, and the Bane and his Hybrid both Enfeeble and Brain Sap the remaining two?
This is fun. Double Blood Rite, push the enemy high ground where they take damage and are silenced or have to fall back to Tier 4. You can cast Bloodrage on an enemy with the hybrid. Use Morphling to stun that enemy and cast the Bloodrage on them to increase the damage they take.
If you think dealing with his evasion and slows were bad enough (of Thunder Clap & Drunken Haze), now you have twice as much beer in your eyes. The cooldowns are such that you can do them quite often during the 20 seconds that Hybrid is up.
The Quill Spray stacks from both the hybrid and the real Bristleback. So you can very quickly rack up a lot of quills, and that isn't even factoring in the passive quill sprays. Even if all you do is send him high ground getting 3-4 quill sprays off would be huge before the real one gets up there.
Between Morphling, the Hybrid, and the Centaur that is two Hoof Stomps, an Adaptive Strike, a Waveform, and two Double Edge. Not to mention that It is yet another hero on the field that does Return damage if they attack it.
A good Crypt Swarm spammable nuke, AoE Silence, and her Spirit Siphon make her a very strong partner with this item when she can utilize it in the midst of a team fight.
Another source of the Natural Order aura, a nuke, and a sleep mechanism with Echo Stomp. All of these things help to hurt the enemy, even if the Hybrid doesn't do a single move.
Double Midnight Pulse (so 44% of max % HP) if Morphling stun is landed in it. That aside Enigma can do his Black Hole and the Hybrid can add another layer of midnight pulse. It just adds up to an incredible amount of damage that scales very well throughout the game. Also an extra stun in the form of Malefice and more Eidolons from Demonic Conversion
He is able to do the stun Split Earth, slow Lightning Storm, and the AoE magic damage of Diabolic Edict. Doing both in Concert would be very very effective.
two Earth Spikes, two Hex, two Mana Drain, and the Hybrid can do this all with no risk. Add in the strong Morphling stun and you have a ton of crowd control (at least until BKB are over)
Now your team has two Repel when going high ground and two Purification as well as another source of Degen Aura
two very strong nukes Purifying Flames, purge Fortune's End, disarm in Fate's Edict, and heals when you absolutely need them.
You can Decrepify two enemies, and have all the nukes be thrown at them. Also double Nether Ward is crazy strong.
Double Plasma Field along with Static Link on whoever you just stunned with Adaptive Strike is noteworthy.
Can cast two damage amplifications with Soul Catcher, two Disruption, and best of all the poison damage from Shadow Poison will stack with the real Shadow Demon meaning you can real max stacks much faster for a huge amount of damage.
Like Lion he is to add to crowd control. You have a Hex and a channeled hold with no risk, so there is a lot of crowd control and means when in team fights.
Double Tombstone, Decay, and Soul Rip. With Scepter and Undying as a teammate, every team fight is suddenly much better for you. That is all that needs to be said.
Here is where the magic is. Even though the Hybrid doesn't have the Chaotic Offering, the Fatal Bonds, the extra Shadow Word, and the Upheaval are great. The fatal bonds & upheaval especially since late game they scale very well, and you can cast fatal bonds, and start channeling upheaval in the middle of the team fight, which will help you either escape or prevent them all from escaping since at that point the hybrids job is done.
Here is a short list of Auras that Morphling can take advantage of by either replicating the enemy that has it, or making a copy of your ally to expand its area of affect in split pushing or team fights.
Beastmaster - Inner Beast
Elder Titan - Natural Order
Luna - Lunar Blessing
Necrophos - Heartstopper Aura
Omniknight - Degen Aura
Outworld Devourer - Essence Aura
Shadow Fiend - Presence of the Dark Lord
Vengeful Spirit - Vengeance Aura
Wraith King - Vampiric Aura
Again imagine a team fight where the other team has a Beastmaster or Omniknight, you replicate them in the midst of the team fight. Replicating Beast Master will give yourself and your allies an attack speed boost, which is made even better if you are able to kill the enemy Beast Master giving you the Attack Speed the enemy once had a monopoly over. Similarly for Omniknight, since the replicant will spawn right on the target, suddenly the enemy team will have a heavy movement slow and attack slow, leveling the playing field a bit.
I am going to make a quick note about Drow Ranger and her Precision Aura. She has a global aura so it is a little different. But as an aside having her passive damage allows you to be very tanky but still put out respectable right click damage. You can stun enemies and watch her fill them with arrows. The two of them are great to have on the same team.
Now for most heroes you replicate they are nothing more than a very tanky scout. They don't take damage like most illusions and as such you can sometimes fool the enemy into wasting their time, or falling into a trap (since you can take the place of the replicant and stun if your team is nearby.)
But there are a few heroes that have builds or abilities that lend themselves to being more than just scouts.
- Even with the nerf to Greevil's Greed free gold is free gold. If the Alchemist is on the other team, you get the gold and Greed Gold if the replicant gets the last hit. If the Alchemist is an ally, you get the base gold but the Greed Gold still goes to him. This is especially strong if Alchemist gets an early Radiance for strong split pushing. Making a copy of the enemy Alchemist who has radiance and burning the other team and making them miss is quite fun as well.
Any hero that does well with a Radiance will be short listed below, but Alchemist gets a shout out because of the extra gold.
- Is a fantastic partner because the Counter Helix cuts waves easily and doesn't pop so quickly like other illusions. This will force Heroes to spend time and energy to try and kill pretty much an Axe clone or watch as he continues to just push lanes quickly with no risk. It is great at creating space, split pushing, and farming your support items. With the resent changes to the spins being pure damage, this makes Axe much more formidable throughout the game, and by extension your replicant of him.
- The Return damage is what will clear the waves like Axe but just isn't as efficient, plus if the other team is sharp they will realize that it is a replicant, because of the weak right clicks, where a real Axe would use his passive to farm.
- Isn't able to clear waves and doesn't have Quill Spray but the damage reduction makes him a great scout and great at baiting enemies into a trap. An attentive team will notice he isn't spraying his quills but all the same a bulky scout is optimal.
In this guide I try and lay out the foundations on why Support Morphling is not only viable, but exceptional.
Support Morphling is not a greedy support, has the all around best stun in the game, and has many escapes to prevent feeding.
Support Morphling players benefit from having a deep knowledge of the heroes in the game, and how to either work in concert with / or to take advantage of various heroes on the field.
Of course this guide is not the be-all-end-all for Support Morphling, and naturally I look forward to debating the merits and demerits that people posit. Any hero is only as good as the team they are on, and Morphling is no exception. The same way you wouldn't pick Medusa or Wraith King into an enemy team that has Anti-Mage and Phantom Lancer, You shouldn't pick Support Morphling if the other team is loaded with silences, disjoins, and natural Black King Bar buyers.
I'd like to think of Support Morphling like an Ogre Magi with a better stun, more escapes, and greater utility with Replicate. Of course Ogre has far better early game, and for many people that should naturally dissuade people from picking Support Morphling. But I feel, and my experience tells me, that following this guide will help to offset those deficiencies, by providing farm for your carry, and getting marginal XP until you get online. Again it is important to play your game, but also the game as it unfolds, don't force the hero if you can avoid it.
(all examples are with no items)
At level 5 Morphling has 1016 HP when shifted for Strength to be 50% greater than agility
At level 5 Ogre has 845 HP
At level 9 Anti-Mage has 769 HP
Of course this doesn't include armor, but that armor comes from the Ring of Protection or the other items suggested. This shows that even at lower levels while Morphling is stacking camps he can still be very bulky when roaming for team fights.
Add a section on counters
Add videos of examples and expand on how to move him.
Add more images to highlight positioning and distances to initiate.
Eventually add pro video hoping that a pro will give this build a shot. ;-)
(April 22, 2016) [6.86d] - Put more of an emphasis on getting blink dagger, scepter, and aether lens. The other build up items are nice but, if you are skilled and your positioning is good, you shouldn't need to have many defensive items that your massive HP pool and escapes can't cover for. If you are new to morphling having the initiator build will be an easier way to build up morphling with smaller ticket items.
(April 25, 2016) [6.87] - Updated "Road to Support Morphling" section to reflect the new update. Changed the values for the replicant damage and scepter cooldown. Made a point that the Axe combo is strong since Counter Helix is now pure.
(June 13th, 2016) [6.88] - Updated "Road to Support Morphling" section to reflect the new update. Changed the values for the scepter cooldown and agility growth.
(January 2rd, 2017) [7.01] - Updated Talent Tree section in "Road to Support Morphling".