Hello, My name is Mcus and this is my first ever guide, and this site's first ever Morphling guide (so please be gentle!)
Morphling is my favorite hero and in my opinion is one of the hardest carries in-game. He relies heavily on items, so if your last hitting isn't up to snuff then I really can't recommend Morphling as a hero for you. He is also a hero who requires a lot of practice to play well, so don't be too disheartened if your first few games don't go too well!
Also, to those who say that I copied the recommended, this guide was originally written BEFORE the recommended item builds were implemented, so put that in your Pipe of Insight.
Morphling's abilities are very important and completely define the Morphling himself. He has (probably) the most escape mechanisms of all the heroes with a total of 3/4 (I'm counting morph as 1 skill here).
So onto what his spells do!
This is Morphling's bread and butter ability, use it to destroy entire waves of creeps for that hard-earned cash or use it to get out of (or into) the fray! Whilst waveformed, Morphling is immune to everything (except poison damage that was applied pre-wave) so use it to avoid projectile damage (we're talking towers, Slow ice arrows, the works!) It can also cross all terrain, so you can wave over mountains to completely outrun your gankers or completely cut down an enemy's retreat! This is escape Mechanism number 1!
This is a complex spell which I'll explain now.
It's effects are based on morphling's stats. It does max damage if His agility stat is double (or more) his strength, and it does max stun/knockback when his strength is double (or more) his agility.
This little spell isn't too helpful until later-game as damage is based on a percentage of your agility/strength attributes and the ratio's thereof, so ideally you want to hold off on this skill. It's also worth mentioning that You can't get the most out of this spell until you have morph (unless you somehow have seriously attribute-influential items early game)! Also, it is not really an escape mechanism, so actually it's only really good for hurting heroes from afar (it's got great range) until you wave in for the kill.
This ability has two parts, Morph Agility and Morph Strength. This is one of the most underrated and underused Morphling abilities (in my opinion). When used incorrectly, it can have catastrophic results. When mastered however, it can literally morph your odds to surviving!
Morph agility starts transferring strength points to agility points, effectively making you a damage and attack speed machine. You will however, lose a lot of hp in doing this, so I only reccommend this later game/ to restore the effects of his opposite skill...
Morph strength! This skill is definitely a life-saver, as it starts converting agility points into strength points, giving you absurd amounts of health (up to tripling it late game!)
Morph strength is escape mechanism number 2, as nothing freaks out the enemy more than when after exhausting their spells seeing you with the exact same hp you started the battle with!
This spell allows Morphling to make a replicate of any hero within it's range (which increases with each level, along with the duration of the replicate). The replicate receives 100% damage and deals 50% damage, but when placed well, it can still deal some great damage (night stalker at night anyone?) it can also save team mates (opponents don't know the illusion from the real deal) finally it has an extra great feature! You can teleport to it's location at any time for 150 mana (be aware that this does destroy the replicate), making this escape mechanism number 3, and by far one of the most frustrating for the opponents, as you wave into the woods and then replicate back to the replicate you sent to base (make sure you have enough mana for both though!!)
Now, Onto my justification for my skill build.
Levelling Waveform first is by far the best decision one can make, it gives you amazing farming abilities and gives you 325 damage in your pocket at 1000 range in a line of aoe! Meaning pushing a lane is a cakewalk, catching fleeing enemies becomes a doddle and escaping leaves that antimage 300ish hp more vulnerable in his pursuit of you! The tricky part is choosing what skills to level with and after it!
I go for one in each spell, just so you have much more options, versatility, and those 2 more escape mechanisms!! Replicate first, purely because it's an instant teleport which really increases your map control (which will eventually become extremely easy with the help of the Boots of Speed). I max out Morph next (whilst also improving replicate) because each point in morph Increases the rate of stat change by 2 points per 20 mana, meaning that health boost comes 4x faster when it's maxed out (8 points per second).
It's only then that I level Adaptive Strike, as then I have the capabilities to actually utilise the vital mechanics of the Adaptive Strike: Adapting your stats.
In terms of which heroes to pair with, melee heroes work well, or range heroes who can keep the enemies well harrassed. Any support hero is even more ideal, as you really need that gold early on, and if you can't stay close enough to last hit and farm, you're going to be in trouble.
Personal favorites are:
Queen of Pain
And my all time favorite combo
Big no-no's are
You can also take mid, although it's a lot more challenging, especially if your opponent is
(But it's still managable, you just have to be on those runes and keep on your toes (or the watery equivalent!)
In terms of how to actually lane, play cautiously, if you're being harrassed be even more cautious, keep your hp high (keep using those tango's when you're down 150 hp or more, keep last hitting, but most importantly (and I can't stress this enough) a last hit is NOT worth a death (took me an age to learn that one.)
The Tango keep you in-lane until level 8 ideally (when you get Replicate and can use it to teleport back to your lane as soon as you've finished healing/ mana regenerating at base). Clarity ensures that you keep a Waveform in the pocket for your retreats, or ensures you can teleport to your replicate if you've already popped a waveform. The Gauntlets of Strength provide an INVALUABLE hp boost early game. I cannot stress enough how key they are. They are the difference between 1/10/2 and 8/2/6. I promise you this (that was two ends of my Morphling career, but within mere days of each other, and the 8/2/6 score has continued staying that way ever since I got gauntlets, they make THAT much of a difference). And finally an Iron Branch, I kinda figure you might as well, although feel free not to bother, I'm not entirely sure how key it is, I sometimes buy it, and sometimes don't.
Now, onto the Early game items, and their orders. I specifically picked them in order for you guys, so it's very simple. Perseverance seems like a large investment, but you buy it in 2 parts Ring of Health and Void Stone I think it's self explanatory which comes first (RING OF HEALTH!) although if you find yourself heavily harrassed and having to run back to base a lot, or on mid and struggling to get back and forth from the runes in time, you CAN get the Boots of Speed before Void Stone (but AFTER the ring of health). But normally the boots can wait. Yasha's next, and it's made up of 3 parts, Blades of Alacrity, Boots of Elvenskin and the Recipe: Yasha. Yasha gives you increased movement speed, attack speed, damage, just about everything you could possibly want out of a weapon, AND it works into Manta Style... What more could you want? You can buy these in any order (but with the recipe preferably last, unless you're about to die and have 600g, in which case, buy that bad boy and lose minimal gold!)
Onto Mid game items. At this point, you're very much put to the grind when it comes to getting the gold you need for the Ultimate Orb then Recipe: Linken's Sphere and the Boots of Travel. Stick to it, get those last hits (especially on towers if you can) and it'll come a lot sooner than you think (some kills should be coming your way too, although don't worry if they're not, it's all a matter of practice!) Linken's boosts your hp/mana gain, gives you targetted spell immunity for 1 spell every 20 seconds, which doesn't seem like a lot, but when you avoid Doom's Ultimate or Storm Spirit's pull, you'll be thanking me (and that Linken dude, whoever he is!) Now, the Boots of Travel. Probably the most controversial choice in my item build, but not for much longer! The boots of travel, when used in conjunction with Replicate give you total control/free-roam of the map, and with Morphling's TERRIBLE initial movespeed (285 Base), this will keep you faster (or at least almost as fast) as the other heroes out there with their Power Treads, Phase Boots and Arcane Boots. I can't really stress enough how helpful the Boots of Travel can be, just take my word for it, and thank me for all the free and fast regeneration you get late game (not to mention item pick-ups if your team has no courier!) Having said this, if you are really really struggling to get the Travel's despite your best efforts, due to Morphling's attack speed nerf, Power Treads are now also potentially viable (the [Boots of travel]] are pretty sweet though, and if you do start with treads, you can always replace them later when you're pwning everything in sight ;))
My late game build allows you to start carrying your team like a total boss. Manta Style allows you replicates, which, if you boost your agility with morph (agility gain) first (don't forget to morph (strength gain) back before entering the fray or you WILL die!), will be killing, pushing, tower-destroying, money-making machines! If you don't morph them, they are still all of the above, just slightly more balanced, they also buy you time to get your replicated hero where you want him before escaping, or give you that edge on a straight waveform escape! The Helm of the Dominator is next, and needed for Satanic. It further improves your health gains by giving you lifesteal, which, when you pump more agility points and really start dealing out the pain, really makes a difference! If you manage to farm up Reaver and then Satanic you should be unstoppable, especially when you activate Satanic, and have 175% hp regen!
For situationals, I added Ethereal Blade, as I realize it's a bit harsh of me to leave it NO mention at ALL, but I personally am not a huge fan of the shotgun build. It feels somewhat gimmicky to me, but I know those who swear by it so feel free to try it out!
Eye of Skadi is also an enormously under-rated and under-used item, and can be invaluable in the very late game (especially as it works with Satanic!
I hope this section has been as thorough and clear as possible, if you're confused about anything, just comment and I'll try and reply or make amends to he guide as required :)
In later game, you should be doing a lot of teleporting in and out of action, and aiding in the clean-up/ cutting off escapee's from ganks. But always be on your toes, as you may feel invinsible, but as soon as you're stunned, you're stuck. Try to create a replicate of an ally pre-gank and send it back to base, so that mid-gank, if things start going pear-shaped, you have that in your back pocket already (although be conscious that it only lasts a certain amount of time (30/45/60 seconds)) And try to keep an eye on your mana, there's nothing worse than waveforming in with your head full of hopes and a replicate back at base, only to find that waveform just ate your last chance to take your replicate's place!
You should also keep farming, those late game items seem very expensive, but at this point you should be dealing out the hurt so fast you're gaining hundreds of gold per minute (waveform +manta = lane destruction + last hit heaven)
BUT! Don't find yourself in too deep, as no amount of waveform will save you from a full 5-man gank if you can't get to your allies or get a replicate far enough away in time! As a rule of thumb, try not to go past the Second Tower (or where it would be if it's destroyed) unless you have an allied hero in range, or a replicate in a safe place with enough time for you to survive a colossally long stun or silence, I say half-way to a quater left is ok, anything less will leave you in trouble if they chain hex/silence/stun you.
- Keep out of team fights unless you can finish them with Waveform, and you have more than half HP. There's no point in getting a kill only to be towered or even worse... Creep killed... *shudder*
-Waveform is your main escape mechanism, but backwards isn't the only way out! if you waveform to the side, you can escape whilst giving your team-mates an increased chance to kill said enemy.
-Replicates are your friend! They only cost 25 mana, use them often, and 99% of the time, EITHER send them back to base OR leave them in a safe place, close-ish to the action whilst you run back to base to get health and mana, and then use it to teleport back to the fray, fresh faced and rosy cheeked!
-Waveform hits hard, and you have morph. If they retreat under/behind a tower, wave that fool, get the kill, tap morph strength and re-group. Team fights are best played fast and hit and run, replicate, send it back to base, wave in, hit them with adaptive strike (keeping an eye on your mana) hit them a couple more times, hit morph strength and pop back to your replicate. The reason I say pop morph strength is that I've found that in the heat of the moment, you don't notice poisons or Damage over Time spells, and in the past I've replicated out, started running back to base, only to find Viper's STILL managed to get me!
-Inititate with Wave, leave with wave, have your replicate halfway between base and the fray so you can retreat and decide whether you can regenerate enough to go back, or if you should hit the base, and use the boots to re-enter the action.
-You'll want agility to be double your strength so your health gain scares the enemy even more when you morph, although there is a fine line between vulnerable but vicious and untouchable but unhelpful.
This is a work in progress, but I think I've covered most of it. Tips and Constructive criticism are welcome! If you're confused about anything, just comment and I'll try and reply and/or make amends to he guide as required!
Feel free to rate and give feedback, but please give reasoning and evidence to back yourself if you're going to abuse or downvote me/ my mother/ the guide :P
Enjoy and have a good day,
I completely forgot about this, but I'm so glad to see that it has helped people, despite it's age! I've come back to ensure that it's up to date as it needs some things sorting, and seeing some of the comments and having played MANY more games than before, I'm back wiser and smarter! Look out chaps, updates to come!