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Brutalis' Guide to Phantom Assassin [Last Updated 5/2/2015]

February 6, 2015 by Brugriff
Comments: 10    |    Views: 103653    |   

Build 1
Build 2

Mid Game Fighter

DotA2 Hero: Phantom Assassin

Purchase Order

Starting Items

Early Game




Hero Skills

Stifling Dagger

1 3 5 7

Phantom Strike

2 8 9 10


4 12 13 14

Coup de Grace

6 11 16


15 17 18


Hello and welcome!

Phantom Assassin (hereby known as PA) is an AGI carry that functions best in the safelane with proper supports. Famed for her huge physical DPS she is not a hero to mess with once she hits level 6. Although PA can very easily function as a super good late game carry, this guide focuses on her ability to dominate mid game fights provided RNGesus is with you. The reason PA is capable of being a mid game carry is how easy it is for her to farm thanks to Stifling Dagger and the fact she needs very few items to start hitting like a truck. Farming away for 45 minutes getting 6 items is all well and good, but with this guide you'll be able to go around killing and fighting in 20 minutes or less resulting in maximum fun by all.

Please remember that every game is different and that no skill/item build works for every game. This, like all guides, is just a rough outline. Be fluid when you play and adapt your play to suite the game!

This guide is also available via steam here: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=297849489 Please subscribe, rate, etc. I'm open to all forms of criticism and comment - constructive or otherwise.

Good luck and may you crit often.

When to Pick and Pros + Cons

When to pick

- When you wanna play PA (most important factor, IMO)
- When the enemy line up has little lockdown and consists of squishy heroes
- When your team needs a safelane farmer
- When your team needs some physical DPS punch
- When your team is midgame focused and has very little late game potential

When not to pick

- When you don't want to play Phantom Assassin
- When the enemy team has a lot of lock down and disables
- When the enemy team has enough magic damage to melt you
- When you don't trust your supports to look after you in-lane
- When your team already has a safelane farmer/carry


- Very fun hero to play
- Very versatile item builds
- Good survivability later on
- Doesn't need 45 minutes worth of farm
- Great DPS
- Makes you feel like a god amongst men when you start getting those crits


- Squishy early game
- Vulnerable if unsupported
- Can be outcarried late game
- Very RNG based. Be prepared to crit every creep but not a single hero

Skills and Explaination

This is what allows PA to farm so well so early. We max this first to increase the damage it deals. At low levels, use this to grab last hits. 60 pure damage should be enough to grab any last hits you need. Don't be afraid to use this often. When chasing or fighting the enemy, this spell should hardly be on cooldown. It keeps them slow and also has a chance to crit making it a wonderfully spammable nuke.

So much utility. This can be used defensively or offensively, getting you out of harms way or straight into the thick of it. Max this second to reduce the cooldown to arguably abusive levels. With a CD of only 5 seconds at level 4, you can have the bonus attack speed (a whopping 130) bonus for essentially a whole fight. Because of this, you will proc your items and crit often.

Survivability in a nutshell. A gigantic 50% evasion at level 4 will usually force the enemy team to buy a Monkey King Bar, which is a lot of gold they could spend elsewhere. This skill will keep you alive despite how squishy PA appears to be. A recent change has actually buffed this skill, making you invisible on the minimap when no one is near as opposed to when you're about to get into a fight. What this means is that your rotations aren't gonna be spotted by enemy wards so you can really sneak up on people in the midgame. It's probably better for a late-game carry PA, though, since this skill will now allow you to farm lanes in secret thus reducing your chances of getting ganked.

SPLAT! This skill is super crazy. By super crazy I mean it gives you the ability to kill enemy heroes in a single blow later in the game. Coup de Grace gives you the ability to stomp in the midgame with unparallelled DPS thus allowing you to snowball out of control before the enemy carry has enough farm.

Items and Build Order

Starting Items

Solid regen. Some people are inclined to get two sets of these instead of one + Healing Salve. I'm quite partial to one of each, but do what feels best for you.

Burst regen. Helps recover after a failed enemy gank, which is why I prefer one of these aswell as Tangos

Good stats and builds into a Bracer later.

Literally the best item in the game for it's cost. 3 of these will do just fine.

Early Game

This should be your first purchase. It increases your tankiness and also gives you the damage to reliably last hit, allowing you to save your Stifling Dagger for the last hits you would otherwise miss.

Good ol' brown boots. Not much to say here, really. Every hero should buy this early on and Phantom Assassin is no different.

This isn't an item to get every game, but it's certainly useful. Consider picking this up at the side shop depending on who you are laning against. Wonderful against someone like Bristleback. The burst regen this provides can often save your life.


The best boots on a midgame focused PA by far. The active helps you chase enemies, allowing you to run through creeps and enemies to chase down that fleeing hero. The +24 damage may seem small, but when you start to crit you will see the difference it makes!

The corest of cores on a fighting PA. Wonderful stats and bonuses aswell as an active that will help both you and your team fight. Remember to use those charges. This item falls off late game so sell it once it's usefulness runs out in favour of something more suitable.

The last core item, once you've got this you're set to go. The damage HoD gives may seem small at first, but just like Phase Boots it allows you to crit like a boss. The lifesteal, coupled with Blur enables you to jungle and farm ancients very effectively! Remember to dominate a creep. Useful to provide bonuses, push lanes or stack camps/ancients.


The first thing to ask yourself at the start of the game is "Do I need BKB?". Note the word "need". If you're up against a line up of heavy lock down and magic damage then you will NEED a Black King Bar to survive. Phantom Assassin is just too vulnerable to magic and lockdown to ignore the threat. However if the enemy has very few stuns and minimal magic damage then feel free to skip this in favour of damage or attack speed items.

This is the first true damage item you ought to get. As it stands, Phantom Assassin has no way to cancel TPs and such and this will do the trick. Phantom Strike increases your attack speed anyway so you're very likely to get a good bash off without the need for attack speed items.

Gotta hit fast. A very cheap and effective way to increase attack speed, damage and farming capability. The speed in which you hit directly effects your chances of getting more Coup de Grace procs in a given time so this can help you reduce your opponents to jam.


Your go-to tank item since you already have a Helm of the Dominator. 25% lifesteal is amazing, especially when you proc Coup de Grace! Use the active ability to save your life when things start to go badly.

A great item, and a decent upgrade to Skull Basher. The damage is huge, the bash chance is awesome and the active is just icing on the cake. A stun that goes through Black King Bar? Yes please. Critting with this can and will result in tears of joy from you and misery from enemy supports.

The upgrade to Maelstrom. Notice a theme so far? This thing makes you hit faster than Kenshiro in Fist of the North Star (look it up). You'll crit over and over and clear creep waves and jungle camps in no time at all. Remember to place the buff on either yourself or your team's tank/initiator before a fight!

With her great AGI gain, Phantom Assassin already has good armour but it can never hurt to add a metric tonne more! Especially when it also increase your attack speed, buffs your allies AND debuffs your enemies. This is a great pushing and teamfight item.

Damage + attack speed + ministun + true strike. Everything this item does is something you'll love. This is the first luxury item you'll need if the enemy has someone like Brewmaster with natural evasion or if an enemy is building an evasion item like Heaven's Halberd.

Yes the evasion stacks with Blur. You'll see this item in most builds for AGI carries and rightfully so. This item gives you everything you need to hit like a truck on cocaine.

Not often built on Phantom Assassin as it does nothing to help you punch people, but the one thing it does is unmatched. You will be able to wade through anything the enemy can throw at you with this. When you wanna go super-tank, this is the item to get.

The alternative to Black King Bar. When there isn't enough magic or lockdown to warrant a BKB purchase but you still find yourself getting hit by a hex from a Scythe of Vyse or the odd single target spell by someone like Visage, this will be solid gold.

I don't know why this isn't built often but it's amazing. The only UAM to stack with your lifesteal, this will help you lock those fleeing heroes in place. The stats it provides are also awesome.

The age old question: damage or attack speed?

Something Phantom Assassin players often ponder is whether to get more damage to help nuke down the enemy or to get more attack speed to allow for more Coup de Grace procs. There is a very simple way to find out what you need... Are you winning?

Winning = Damage
If you and your team are winning the game then focus on acquiring more damage. This will help you focus down the enemy during the fights and increase the snowball. Faster fights mean more time to push lanes. Phantom Strike increases your attack speed anyway so damage should be a priority to end the fights rapidly.

Losing = Attack Speed
When you're losing fight after fight and are down on towers you must focus on getting more attack speed. The reason being is that in this position your team should be avoiding big fights and going for pickoffs on lone heroes. More attack speed means you'll crit said lone heroes down before the enemy can respond and wipe your team off the map. It also helps you farm faster so you can worry about getting ganked less.

Generally speaking though, you will want both attack speed and damage. When I say "focus on acquiring damage" I mean that you should buy/upgrade your Skull Basher before your Maelstrom and vise versa.

Friends and Foes


- Midgame teamfight oriented heroes eg Treant Protector and Zeus
- Heroes with good lock down eg Lion and Shadow Shaman
- Supports that can help net kills and protect you in lane eg Crystal Maiden and Earthshaker
- Tanky initiators that force the enemy to divide their attentions eg Tidehunter and Axe


- Heavy harassers in lane eg Weaver and Keeper of the Light
- Heroes with high magic damage output eg Lina and Lion
- Heroes that will roam on you and gank you non-stop all game eg Pudge and Queen of Pain
- Heroes with stuns, slows and other good lockdowns eg Bane and Earth Spirit


To conclude, Phantom Assassin is a very fun safelane carry due to her ability to fight much earlier than others carries. Stay safe in the early game when you're most vulnerable by using Stifling Dagger until you're confident enough to last hit properly. Always be looking to kill who you're laning against. First blood or a normal kill in the laning phase can really make a difference. Farm up until you have Phase Boots, Drum of Endurance and Helm of the Dominator then join the fights! Black King Bar should be your first follow on purchase if you're gonna get it. Roam around and get as many kills as you can to enable your snowball, but don't get stupid and dive tier 4 towers.

Thank you for reading and have fun out there!

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