October 14, 2012
Phantom Lancer (PL) is a well rounded, moderately difficult, and really fun hero to play. He is agility
based, and is balanced very well between basic attacks and abilities. What I mean by this is that his abilities, while not the main source of damage output, compliment his damage output very well, and can put a hurting on the opposite team. PL is by no means a tank, and will probably never reach the point if you follow my item build. He is squishy throughout the game, and will take just as much damage early game as late game, however he is outfitted with one of the most useful escapes DOTA2 has to offer: Doppelwalk.
This allows you to get in, or out of a fight relatively unnoticed, and will save your butt more than once throughout the game. To sum up PL he is a squishy, well equipped carry, and can hit and run like no other character in game so use this to your advantage.
Why Dopplewalk first? Simply because you are a squishy mess. You will be running back and forth to the fountain if you are not playing smart and this is simply not acceptable, you will fall behind on gold and on XP, and you simply don't have the MP to keep up spirit lance for a long enough period to get a kill. You should be hanging back, worry about the last hits, worry about gaining that XP (first priority in truth), and if they moment arises you can get a kill, make sure you leave enough MP for a fast get away with Dopplewalk.
Spirit Lance is an AMAZING ability for multiple reasons. It does a good amount of damage early game if you get enough levels into it, and does two things very well; slows, and hurts. It has an amazing range, and a quick cool down; its ability to slow allows you to chase down your enemies while your clone continues to do damage to them. When used properly with Dopplewalk you can case spirit lance, slow your enemy and do some damage, and Dopplewalk for the speed boost and the element of surprise to catch up and finish them off.
Juxtapose on paper seems like a useless ability, the clones are weak, and only come up once in every 8.333333333333333333333 ..... hits. They only really start doing damage around lvl 4 and even then they can be taken down with one fell swoop from a strong character. It is for this reason that I have saved this first level to be gotten right before you can get the first two upgrades of Phantom Edge
. This makes it (basically) worth even having the ability. It sends out multiple different targets of which your enemies don't know who is real or fake, and allows for massive damage output and a legion of faithful, short lived, companions for whom are useful for pushing lanes, or throwing off enemy spells in a team fights.
In short phantom edge is like Juxtapose
level two. It makes it better in every shape way and form, as well as helps your PL become a little more tanky with its spell resist. It is a passive ult, and one of the few, and helps you focus more on damage out put with basic attacks as opposed to point and click over and over again. This is what makes phantom lancer fun. There is no flashy mega ult, or wait and see ult. It is all up to you and your ability to focus during an all out battle, to pick and choose your targets and use your abilities when required.
I picked Vlads
for two obvious reasons, for one the life steal aura that offers your and your clones some prolonged time in battle, and because of that mana regeneration which helps out a ton if you are continuously pushing towers without a trip back to the fountain.
I picked Diffusal Blade
yet again for obvious reasons. Its agility
attributes makes your a heavy hitter and adds some much needed damage. In addition to this in burns your targets mana which makes most nukers useless in a few hits because their mana is too low to get off their ult, as it burns mana it converts it into damage, so the first few hits on a hero with INT
as their primary will be boosted big time because of this mana burn. The active is also an awesome ability, eliminating any buffs and slowing your target, but lets be honest, your Q gives a great slow, and any buffs they have wont matter because you are PL.
Some builds leave out many attack amplifiers in exchange for items to make PL more elusive or tankier, but in my opinion the attack damage does wonders. You already have vlads, so while you might be able to land a lot of hits in a short amount of time if you focus on agility
items, it doesn't do you that much good if each one of those hits doesn't do a whole lot of damage. The extra little bit of damage, mixed in with the 1.75 critical hit at 20% chance is AMAZING and should not be underrated. I put crstalys as core however over Daedlus because of the sheer cost of Daedlus, but by all means, if you have the money and time after manta style finish up the item because it is well worth it, and takes out even the most tanky tanks in a matter of seconds.
Over all Manta Style
is an awesome item. It gives to all attributes but focuses on agility
which gives your a huge damage bonus, on top of attack speed, and movement speed. It gives you the power of mirror image which generates two clones, but I found this to be quite useless unless your are in a fleeing situation, because your clones already generate so quickly on contact at this point in the game. However in case your need to flee and Doppelwalk is on cool down, manta can come in handy if you can micro manage well enough to through off your enemies.
How to Lane/Play PL
In early game not only is PL squishy due to his low health and armor, but he doesn't have the damage out put yet to push a lane back at the enemy. You want a ranged lane partner to help keep the lane even, and to deny while harassing the other heros in the lane. However you have to be able to play with the 'cards' you are dealt so to speak. If you are constantly taking damage in your lane from ranged heros then you need to play accordingly. You do not have the time to be sprinting to the shop every few waves, or the cash to blow on TP's. Instead focus on getting levels, and last hitting where you can. Do not be concerned with first blood or an early tower push, unless your are sure, without a doubt, you can do either without dying. If your play for XP and not gold you will be level 11 in no time, and start pushing lanes and towers as if your were KOTL or Natures Prophet with twice your levels.
In mid game (level 11-16) you should be racking up some gold, and XP from the lanes your are pushing. It is at this time you car start ducking between lanes to get easy kills or tower pushes. Your clones will keep your covered from enemy attacks as well as assisting you in pushing back wave after wave of creeps for all the gold and XP you could ever want. It is at this stage that you will get the most fed from creeps. Team fights hold priority however and do not disregard them. You may not be the one getting all the kills at this point but you can pick off the one of two squishy stragglers at this point. Engage with Pantom Edge, or sneak in with Dopplewalk followed by phantom edge. Look for the squishy nuke, and use Difusal Blade to take him out quickly with not enough time to nuke your or a team mate. Based on how the team fight is leaning you can continue picking off each hero from squishiest to least tank with the same combo, or your can Doppelwalk to safety in order to avoid dying, and pop back into a lane unnoticed to continue your farm.
It is at this point that you have moved on to 'Running from a team fight' or 'Squishy' to "OH ****! Phantom lancer is coming we better back to tower" Here you will almost always be using Doppelwalk to engage even in team fights because if the other player is smart he will tuck his tail and run at the first sign your are coming. At this point you are able to single handed take out the enemy tank in the middle of a team fight or one on one, maybe even two on one if you play it right and still get the double, triple, mega, or ULTRAKILL. Honestly you have just become the BAD A$$ on the fields of battle. However don't let all this damage and power get to your head. Your are still a squishy Character if you can't repeatedly get hits to heal with Vlad's and spawn clones to throw off enemy fire. However close the distance and its GG all around. Make sure to stay engaged in team fights and back up your team where possible. Happy fishing Phantoms.