Height: about 5'6" but she keeps moving around
MTG: Rakdos (Red Black)
Likes: Knives, Crystal Maiden , space, hugs, PDA, ancient stacks, French
Dislikes: Monkey King Bar , Axe , cowards, everyone who turns invisible (she's salty), Dagon
It had to be done, there needs to be a guide for PA, because I just lost a match as Necrophos , whom before this match I had a 81% winrate with, because the PA on my team decided to opt for a 40 minute Battle Fury instead of this clearly superior build. Obviously the Arcana for PA (11/xx/14, never forget) has made her 2nd most popular by the 23rd of that year and month and 10% of her matches at that date have been played in this last month.
Less statistics, here is a picture of the guy responsible for this build I'm telling everyone to opt for right now.
That is Arteezy, formerly of EG and now part of superteam Team Secret, and every time I've watched him play Phantom Assassin he's gotten some whack streaks, and he's 7k mmr, which means he looks at the rest of the Dota Community from above and pities them. This build is different from the one I'm used to building, which is Hand of Midas into Power Treads then Helm of the Dominator then Battle Fury into Black King Bar and then into Abyssal Blade , but no, this one is better by far.
So, as far as PA goes, she's one of those people that you can't just right click down without blowing 5 Gs on a Monkey King Bar and she has a 450% crit at level 16, which means people like Crystal Maiden and Ancient Apparition cry quietly in the corner after they get slowed by her dagger. She's very susceptible to magic damage though, and is actually quite squishy unfortunately.
But Fear not, (That's a pun), that is why this build exists, to turn her into a very survivable hero instead of your average glass canon build, which at the moment is something that most heroes will not be able to get away with
Right now this biggest reason to pick Phantom Assassin is to show off your Arcana or to fulfill a contract, which I can't blame anyone for doing, but if you're going to do this, then you should probably follow this guide and no one else's, I don't care if your team starts calling you out for not building Battle Fury , because even though yes it gives you a lot of additional damage, but surviving is way more important.
When to pick Phantom Assassin
-Your team is fairly good at creating space
-You need to create space for a second carry
-Your team will allow you lots of survivability in order to last longer in the teamfight
-The other team doesn't have any natural Monkey King Bar carriers
-The other team has a lot of squishy supports or carries
-The enemy team relies on a lot of spells that don't go through Spell Immunity
When not to pick PA:
-The other team has a lot of burst damage
-The other team has a roamer with a stun
-The other team has more than one stun
-Your team has a 5-man push strat
-Your team already has a heavy right-clicker as the hard carry
While I honestly believe that you can overcome most of these negative things just by playing smart, I would highly recommend your team be competent enough to rotate when you need it or at the very least fill a couple of the green ones to overcome the red ones. since PA doesn't appear on the map, a hybrid push-carry strat is viable for PA, since the crits allow her to wipe a wave regardless of Battle Fury or not. Regardless you should be very wary of these things because even though PA doesn't require a huge snowball it's always nice to not get set back. So without further ado, let's look at the early game.
Three of the Iron Branch , a Tango pack, and then hustle your way to the secret or side shop and nab yourself an Orb of Venom . Afterwards you have two options: you can either start building the Ring of Aquila or you can work on your Poor Man's Shield . Now some people (like myself before this momentous day in my life) will ask "Why should I spend about 1400 gold on these items when I could just save for Power Treads instead?" My friend, you don't understand the importance of 1. the extra damage the Ring gives you, 2. the chase potential of the orb, and 3. why the shield is so good. Let's say at level 3 your evasion is at 20%, which means 1 of every 5 attacks will miss you. In the early stages of the game a PMS will always block 20 incoming damage from enemy heroes.
So for instance, if a Faceless Void auto attacks you for 66 damage, he procs a miss chance AND it will be reduced automatically down to 46, and we aren't even counting armor rating, which factors into the damage. With those three things combined, you are now pretty solid for the early games. This also means supports like Crystal Maiden and Lich do literally no right click to you. Talk about a sweet deal.
Now the only thing you will have a problem with is inventory spacing, and I find myself having to sell the branches because I haven't burnt through my tangos in time to make room for the incoming ring. Also since you might be contracted you'll find yourself in need of a TP scroll since people are dumb and will try to 5-man roll over PA, which honestly doesn't go over since it's a lot of wasted time and effort and, if your teammates are smart, they'll pick heroes that allow for kiting, which is basically leading the enemies around in circles or preventing them from getting away in order to create space for any newer players. So if you find yourself with all the lanes missing, just go behind your tower, and when they appear, just TP somewhere else and continue farming
Remember to politely ask (VERY politely) your support to ward the large spot of your jungle to prevent silly ganks like this.
All that matters at this point is levels. As soon as you hit level 6, if you can push towers if there is space, however you will only have 1 point in Blur unless your support is unreliable in being close enough to Phantom Strike to in time to get away from ganks, in which case opt for 3-0-2 build. Why do you max dagger first, some might ask, and it's very simple, it's a pure damage mini-nuke that has a chance of becoming a pure damage crit, and it's range is ridiculous. Since PA is a melee hero you can safely farm creeps from far away if the wave is too pushed up. Not to mention if someone is getting away on 80 health it's nice to be able to secure the kill.
Things to do if your tower is done for
If your tower is doomed and there's no chance for you to push a wave back that will kill the tower, the best thing to do is to rotate mid and have the mid hero go around ganking. If YOU were the mid hero and your tower is done for, then tough ****, time to work that jungle.
Things to do if you've successfully taken their tower
The other side of the map is a spoooooooky place and is not fit for a lone PA to wander by herself. Thank your lucky stars that no one ganked you mid and proceed to help another lane take a tower with the help of your Ring of Aquila in order to guarantee you some space to farm.
Arteezy transitioned from Power Treads to Helm of the Dominator and then straight to Manta Style , but not all situations allow that. For instance, if the other team has a Zeus or a Sand King or an Ogre Magi , things can get really hairy fairly quick, especially of there's an Axe trying to run around and Culling Blade your face, so the much safer bet would be Helm then Black King Bar . By the time the 20 minute mark is around you should have enough in Blur to ensure your survival, but the Helm will allow you (or your friend who is good at micro) to stack ancients for loads of money and the lifesteal against jungle creeps will allow you to heal efficiently after a teamfight.
Q: But UnrulySupportGuy, why shouldn't we rush Battle Fury since everyone else does it?
A: IF EVERYONE IS THINKING THE SAME SOMEONE CLEARLY ISN'T THINKING. -A wise dude who is dead.
Fury makes for a squishy PA. Damage is good, and high crits are good, but this build is for living through the teamfights and making people regret focusing you when you have all this extra life and armor. Also there are heroes, funnily enough, like Lina who have this skill set called "burst" damage, where if you have a small health bar, they just...for some odd reason...blow you up after stunning you in place. Crazy right?! sorry for the sarcasm, people are just really bad and it makes me sad. BKB plus Manta gives PA approximately 380 more health, 3 more armor and then some, and a 10% movement speed as well as a .01 frame of invincibility which incidentally REMOVES DEBUFFS. Silenced? Manta Style. Slowed? Manta Style. About to get stunned or ulti'd by Sniper ? Manta Style . If your BKB is on cooldown it's a much cheaper way to remove things like that, and you can find a list of all the things Manta helps avoid.
Now, one more thing. If one finds a Double Damage rune at bot and one has life steal and a Yasha at the very least, one may find it a good opportunity to sneak Roshan. Thanks to Blur , dear Phantom Assassin doesn't appear on the minimap unless someone actually looks at where she is, which is a good thing for her. Not only does soloing rosh give you an Aegis of the Immortal but it also gives 200 gold for everyone and a big EXP leap for our beloved blurry girl. All EXP leaps are welcomed, thank you come again. get rid of the Orb of Venom or sell the Poor Man's Shield before you Rosh, because your slots are probably filled.
My farm with PA has been phenomenal, but I'm still only about a 3k player using a 6k player's build, so I expect a Manta Style and a Black King Bar as well as the Helm and Treads by at least 36 minutes as well as a few kills and towers to my name, so if you're newer give yourself about a 41 minute mark expectation of those items.
Skull Basher is always a good item on Melee heroes, especially when you have slippery people such as Weaver or Elder Titan who can clean you out with an Echo Stomp or Sukuchi away, and it's also helpful in a Duel when Legion Commander has a lot of damage output or you need to delay for your team. Also it will help prevent those pesky people trying to teleport away and deny you the satisfaction of murdering them, and it transitions into an Abyssal Blade which gives an extra 100 damage and a stun through Black King Bar , which makes the Enigma get very sad as well as poor Crystal Maiden , as if she didn't have enough trouble on her hands already just trying to farm it.
Use the Aegis wisely, and never be afraid to BKB TP out of danger if you find yourself split pushing and trying to destroy tier 3 towers
Around the time you get to transition to Abyssal, it should be around the 40 or so minute mark, which means it's time for you to finish up the game before the other team starts buying Monkey King Bar . People like Weaver who are natural MKB carriers are quite possibly the worst because mini-stuns go through BKB and that stupid bug will Time Lapse to about full health if you don't get super crits on him. Slark is also a problem since he can pounce and do both magical and physical damage with MKB, but you should be able to get help before he can do much damage.
As you can see, there isn't much diversity in the late game PA, because she's really only about being so sustained in a teamfight that she kills at least 1 person without too much damage herself and deterring another, if not killing him too. Also, two of these items of the six are directly tied through her slots. If you can't win the game by the time the 60 minute mark appears and the other team starts getting Monkey King Bar or Refresher Orb on their teamfighters, PA will have to wait for an Aegis to pop up and give her plenty of time to allow the enemy to focus her before the team goes in for the kill. Of course you can always opt for the first item on the late game list and it really won't matter in the end.
Satanic allows for Phantom Assassin to recover a booty-load of health just by critting, because it gives you 175% lifesteal upon activation. That means if you crit for 1000 damage, your health pool is pretty much instantly restored with 1750 health.
Abyssal Blade as mentioned before is just more damage, a full 1.4 second passive bash and a 2 second active bash which ignores Magic *COUGH COUGH* ahem, Spell Immunity. Normally Miss Stabby will have a base damage more or less of about 150 by this time, so adding a cino on top of that makes for good crits
Eye of Skadi is just a stat slot item, really, and it does stack with lifesteal, so you won't have to worry about dropping your Satanic and then pick it back up again. The reason I recommend this is for those weird games where you are getting focused and you just need them to chew through your health bar while your team annihilates them for you. If you think you need it, keep your Orb of Venom for later. Honestly, though, stats have been the way to go recently, especially with all these Troll Warlord players running about.
Desolator doesn't stack with your lifesteal, so if you wanted to switch the orb you'd have to drop it and pick it back up, but you don't want a Nyx Assassin to Impale you then kill your item and tank your networth. More damage, minus armor, which is delicious for a right clicker such as PA, and it makes a cool new sound. Also good for when you need to take towers while your team is distracting their team. So if you're focused on split pushing a tower while your team creates space, go for it. Of course, if you find yourself against a lot of strength heroes such as Pudge or Wraith King you might want to consider this as a core, since the minus armor will chew through their health with blistering speed.
Monkey King Bar I feels goes without saying, but more damage, ministuns, and True Strike, so if a Brewmaster tries to 1v1 you, or someone like Drow Ranger builds Butterfly , your crits will not be in vain. Honestly though the damage is good, you really have to judge if it's worth it. I'd say build it if you find yourself against a *snort* carry Windranger .
Mjolnir is something I opt for when I'm just seriously done with people. That shield procs on being attacked rather than successfully having one landed, so it gets a lot more use out of PA than other people like Sniper and even though it barely gives damage, it skyrockets the DPS with it's 80 extra attack speed and allows waves to be completely destroyed just by lightning bounces. With all the other items PA has built, she has become a crit machine which no one can stop, and there won't be a single carry other than a super farmed Faceless Void with an MKB that could stop her, and even then it's whoever bashes first and how many times a day that void prays to RNGsus.
So then, this concludes my guide to Phantom Assassin . Remember to keep up your farm and levels early game so you can just go wild ham on the enemy late game. Enjoy your arcanas and try not to get contracted if someone first picks her before you!
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