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3 Votes

Moister than an Oyster: Morphling, 102

October 3, 2017 by Terathiel
Comments: 5    |    Views: 14733    |   


Build 1
Build 2

Midphling

DotA2 Hero: Morphling




Hero Skills

Waveform

2 3 5 7

Adaptive Strike (Agility)

11 13 14 16

Adaptive Strike (Strength)

11 13 14 16

Attribute Shift (Agility)

1 4 6 8

Attribute Shift (Strength)

1 4 6 8

Morph

9 12 18

Talents

10 15

Hero Talents

+35 Strength
25
-40% Waveform Cooldown
Waveform Attacks Targets
20
+1s Adaptive Strike Stun duration
+15 Agility
15
+16s Morph Duration
+250 Waveform Range
10
+15% Magic Resistance

Introduction

You only miss the water when the well runs dry.

Welcome to the comprehensive guide to core Morphling, 7.06 updated. I sincerely hope that 7.07 doesn't come out immediately after I publish this guide, therefore rendering it obsolete, but I have a sinking feeling it will.

Regardless, this guide assumes you have limited experience with Morphling. Maybe you've randomed him once, and thought he seemed cool. Or maybe you got trashed by one in a recent ranked game and are furiously trying to learn how he can be so ********.

So, to get your feet wet, I'll start off slowly at first, with an "oh **** I just randomed Morphling" alt-tab section, and then get into detailed explanations in the following sections.

Crest-Risen: Characteristics

Morphling has a set of abilities that appear rather complex and discouraging to someone who has only just picked up the hero. Once you get familiar with how they function and interact, they become really easy to understand, but getting to that stage can be a daunting prospect. People will often rightly say "Morphling is one of the best lategame heroes", but it's fairly hard to understand why this is just from looking at the hero's stats and abilities.

However, there will be more on that later. For now, let's go over the hero's stats, and a more simplistic examination of his skills.

Strength:

Agility:

Intelligence:
19

24

17
+2.3

+3.7

+1.1

(74 at 25)

(113 at 25)

(43 at 25)


Health

Mana

Damage

Armour

Movement Speed

Attack Range

Base Attack Time

Turn Rate

Vision

580

262

33-42

1.43

285

350

1.5

0.6

1800/800


So, Morphling's starting stats are quite good - 19/24/17 is well above the average, and allows a lot of shifting to be done at level one. Likewise, his Strength gain of 2.3 and Agility gain of 3.7 are also exceptional - Morphling has the highest Agility gain in the game, as a matter of fact. However, he has the second lowest Intelligence gain, at a paltry 1.1. This necessitates conservative mana usage in the early game, and going into the midgame.

Attack and cast animations are fairly standard. Morphling has a noticeable damage spread which can impact last hitting, but it's nothing you'll notice overly much in a game. His movement speed, at 285, is atrocious, and for a ranged hero he's barely sitting out of melee.

Worth noting is Morphling's improved base attack time - 1.5 instead of the usual 1.7. This increases his damage per second by 13.3% compared to the standard BAT.

Abilities



Waveform


Type:
Targets:


Active
Ground
Morphling dissolves into liquid and surges forward, damaging enemy units in his path. Morphling is invulnerable during Waveform.

Level

1


2


3


4

Mana

140


155


160


165

Cooldown

11


11


11


11

Range

1000


1000


1000


1000

Damage Radius

200


200


200


200

Damage

100


175


250


325

Notes:
  • Disjoints on cast, and cannot be cast while rooted.
  • Surges at a speed of 1250.
  • Although Morphling is invulnerable and unselectable during Waveform, he can still attack, turn, cast abilities, and use items during it.

This is the simplest of Morphling's skills - it turns him invulnerable, he surges to the target location, damaging all enemies hit by the surge. It's a good mobility skill that offers decent kill potential in lane and a miniscule bit of wave clear that Morphling desperately needs. The prohibitive mana cost prevents spamming until later in the game, so keep a Magic Wand at the ready for burst charges.

Adaptive Strike


Adaptive Strike Type:
Targets:


Active
Enemy units
Launches a surge of water toward an enemy unit, stunning the target while dealing base damage plus additional damage based on Morphling's Agility times a multiplier. If Morphling's Agility is 50% higher than Strength, the maximum damage and the minimum stun is dealt. If his Strength is 50% higher than his Agility, the maximum stun and minimum damage are dealt.

Level

1


2


3


4

Mana

80


80


80


80

Cooldown

10


10


10


10

Range

600


700


800


900

Base Damage

100


100


100


100

Min Agi Multiplier

0.25


0.25


0.25


0.25
Max Agi Multiplier

0.5


1.0


1.5


2.0
Min Stun Duration

0.25


0.25


0.25


0.25
Max Stun Duration

1.25


2.25


3.25


4.25

Notes:
  • Projectile travels at a speed of 1150 and is disjointable.
  • Damage and stun values adapt linearly as Morphling's stats change, not in fixed intervals.

This spell looks complicated, but it follows a very simple rule; the more Agility, the higher the damage. The higher your Strength is than your Agility, the longer the stun is. This is a long-range spell that is integral to Morphling's playstyle and has synergy with his most popular items. It's an incredibly hard-hitting nuke with a low mana cost, but it's maxed last because Morphling's other spells are far more important, and Adaptive Strike is limited by its reliance on stats.

Morph


Morph Agility Gain
Morph Strength Gain
Type:
Affects:


Active (Toggle)
Self
Morphling shifts its form, pulling points from Strength or Agility and pouring them into the other stat. The process is reversible. Additional points in Morph increase the rate of stat change. Passively grants bonus Strength and Agility.

Level

1


2


3


4

Mana per second

30


30


30


30

Cooldown

0


0


0


0

Shift Rate

0.5


0.25


0.125


0.0625

Point per Shift

1


1


1


1

Bonus Strength and Agility

3


4


5


6

Notes:
  • Shifts 2/4/8/16 stats per second.
  • Does not interrupt channelling upon toggling.
  • Can be activated while disabled, and will shift stats while disabled.
  • Can only convert base Agility and Strength.

This is it - Morphling's absolute signature skill, and the skill that makes him function as a hero. The stat shifting allows Morphling to go from glass cannon to unkillable tank in mere seconds, and everything in between. Combined with his excellent stat gain, Morphling becomes a fierce enemy to reckon with.

Replicate


Replicate Type:
Targets:


Active
Heroes
Morphling replicates any hero, friend or foe, dealing 80% of the original Hero's outgoing damage while taking 100% of any incoming damage. At any time, Morphling can instantly take the position of the Replicate for 150 mana. If Morphling dies, the Replicate will expire.

Level

1


2


3

Mana

25


25


25

Cooldown

80


80


80

Range

700


1100


1500

Illusion Damage

80%


80%


80%

Illusion Damage Taken

100%


100%


100%

Duration

30


45


60

Notes:
  • Cannot be cast on the caster, or any illusions they control.
  • Allows access to Morph Replicate, allowing Morphling to take the illusion's place.

Replicate (and its sub-ability) is a very versatile skill, that goes a long way to completing Morphling as a hero. Usually, it's used for safety while split-pushing, but can also be used for combat, although it's usually on cooldown during those times. At the very worst, it can be used as a 1500 range Blink. As the Replicant is an illusion, it benefits from everything illusions do; Radiance, Counter Helix, etc... make sure to take advantage of this if and when you can.

Talents



Morphling has a slightly underwhelming, but still decent, array of talents to choose from.

Level 10: +200 mana OR +8 Agility


As a carry Morphling, this is a no-brainer for the 8 Agility. It's a solid boost to your primary stat that simply makes you better at everything you want to be doing as Morph.

Level 15: +12% cooldown reduction OR +25 attack speed


25 attack speed isn't particularly noticeable on a hero who hits as fast as Morphling does. Conversely, the 12% cooldown reduction improves Replicate uptime, allows more Adaptive Strike and Waveform usage for better damage output and map movement, and also works with items. It's an easy win for cooldown reduction.

Level 20: +40 damage OR +25 movement speed


Whereas most heroes in this position would take damage, I'm usually an advocate for taking the movement speed. It fills out Morphling's extremely weak base movement speed, whereas he already deals a huge amount of damage. Since it isn't base damage or stats, it doesn't have any overt synergy with Morphling's skillset, and is simply tacked on to you right-clicks.

Level 25:+50% Replicate damage OR +400 Waveform range


Waveform range is always good, whereas Replicate damage is dependent on having another hero in the game that makes use of illusions. While a 130% damage Replicant is going to hurt no matter what carry you target with it, the ability isn't often used for direct combat and so requires that above condition to be met before it outshines Waveform range.

Early Game

Morphling is highly reliant on a good start and requires a heavy amount of farm before he can be relevant, which puts him at odds with the current meta. It's for this reason I highly advocate sending him mid (which has 2-4 supports camping there anyway so it's basically safelane), as he can really use the experience and gold from the extra creep. Unfortunately, the midlane is quite a hostile environment, and on his own Morphling will fare poorly against most midlaners. For the sake of completion, I shall go over the heroes you're likely to see mid, and how they are to play against.

Absolute cancer; repick tier





Thankfully, Silencer and Skywrath are uncommon to see in the middle lane in this patch. The other three however... yeesh. Viper and Veno are the absolute worst cores to go up against, as their harass will rip Morphling apart and they have better ways to handle the creeps. Lich, thankfully, is more often seen picked with Morphling than against, but if you have to go up against him, or indeed any of these heroes, just give mid to another player and go safelane.

Unfavourable Matchups



Outworld Devourer

These four heroes aren't anywhere near as bad as the cancer tier, but you'll still struggle against them. TA is a really bad matchup; her damage is higher, her harass better, and Morphling has no reliable way to break Refraction. OD is mainly an issue due to Astral Imprisonment - Morph's low range and movement speed leave him vulnerable to it. Arcane Orb, although it isn't generally skilled early, causes a lot of problems all game for a low-health hero whose primary defence is massive amounts of armour. Low range also means that Medusa's Mystic Snake will wreak havoc on you, necessitating a lot of regen to be bought.

The Shadow Fiend matchup is more interesting. Like the other heroes, low range leaves Morphling very vulnerable to long and medium razes while he's going in for last hits, but if you want to go on SF, Waveform allows you to bypass these entirely. The first 3 levels are critical to this matchup, and it can definitely switch to a Morphling-favoured one if you can get enough of an advantage. Higher damage and fast attack rate can make it difficult for SF to acquire souls early on; upon hitting level 3, once the next creep waves meet, you can Waveform right on top of SF and start trading. You'll probably hit 3 slightly before he does, meaning that the short raze will deal a lot less damage. Furthermore, Morphling's higher armour and better right-clicks will ensure the trade is in your favour. Be wary of long and medium razes while disengaging, however. Should you not get this advantage early, be ready to ferry out regen and tank a lot of razes.

Even matchups





These matchups share a definining feature; they're all very farm-intensive. Zeus' Arc Lightning can be annoying, but Morphling is find with getting an early wand. Against Invoker or Zeus, you can potentially get a kill, but Naga Siren is simply too tanky to take down. These matchups will mostly consist of trading last-hits. Ember can potentially zone you out with Flame Guard, but Morphling's better damage and attack animation should give him the edge with last-hitting.

Favourable matchups





Because Arc loses mid to basically anyone let's be honest.


Your mid matchup will mostly depend on support rotations though, hence why Morphling goes mid at all despite having so many unfavourable matchups. The primary objective of the laning stage for Morphling is to acquire farm and start progressing towards your core items. The faster they come online, the better.

The Boots of Travel-centric playstyle to Morph is somewhat at odds with the current meta, but it's still the most efficient way by far to play the hero. The cost of the boots and the lack of stats is offset by Aquila, Wand and potentially another Wraith Band; this gives Morphling enough stats to function properly in the interim to his core items.

In the early game, a max level Waveform is quite a potent nuke, and the level advantage from the middle lane means that Morphling is actually a considerable force in the first 10 minutes. After that, however, he becomes completely reliant on items.

Mid-Game

It's water under the bridge.

It's at this point in the game, after the laning stage but before you've amassed some items, that Morphling's combat effectiveness drops off considerably and you're forced to split-push in order to be at all relevant.

Split-pushing safely is a simple matter of keeping a Replicate up and in a safe location. If you don't have one, stay back; but if you do, you can put yourself in the riskiest positions imaginable. Be wary especially of silences, as they will stop your ability to use Morph. Boots of Travel are essential to maximising your splitpush; although they are an investment of themselves, they enable you to perform your job much, much better than Treads, the competing boots.

During this stage of the game, I will stress - Morphling cannot engage in fights and skirmishes. If a fight breaks out, your job is to take advantage of that distraction to continue split-pushing. Hopefully, you can take or at least severely damage a tower.

This ineffectiveness in fights is only exacerbated by the common decision to rush a Linken's Sphere as a first item. While it certainly makes sense on paper - the item provides the stats Morphling adores, regeneration to keep him in the field, and the spell block to keep him safe whilst split-pushing - the Linkens rush build is a relic of an era where the meta was much slower. In the current game, it's simply too slow and leaves this wide-open period where you're quite useless.

Ethereal Blade, obviously, is instead pushed up to first priority. An argument can be made for getting Yasha first; this has the same issues as Linkens in that it delays your timing window. Eblade gives comparable stats to Linkens, trading some defence for vastly better offence, and is essential for Morphling's dreaded shotgun combo. The lack of mana regen is compensated for by Ring of Aquila and Raindrops. Additionally, Replicate allows Morphling to take free trips back to base at any time.

After acquiring Ethereal Blade, you are more capable of taking action in fights. Continue split-pushing, but be open to taking part in fights and ganks. Utilise Replicate for this - keep it with your team if they are looking to engage, so you can join at a moment's notice. The ideal situation is to force one or two enemy heroes to rotate in order to stop your splitpushing, at which point your team engages a fight with a numbers advantage.

During this period of the game, it's important to minimise your deaths and maximise your farming. While you are expected to participate after acquiring Ethereal Blade, your primary goal is to amass a farm advantage to transition into the lategame.

Wave of Mutilation: Lategame

I'll sweep you away.

Lategame. Or, at least, that point in the game where Morphling has acquired two or three major items. This is your time to shine.

As with before, keep up split-pushing. Utilise Manta Style illusions to extend your reach and increase your tower damage massively. At this point in the game, Replicate becomes your absolute most impactful ability for general lategame utility. There are a variety of uses it can be put to;

  • The most obvious - keeping Replicate away and safely farming while you split-push and take dangerous farm in case you are jumped.
  • Using it to instantly join fights in a similar manner to a Spectre's Haunt - while it's a lot more restricted, a well-placed Replicate can bring you to a vital place instantly.
  • Risk-free ganking. Scout with a Replicate to find a solitary target while showing yourself (and your team) on the map. Knowledge of where you are will prompt the enemy team to play more aggressively. Utilise Replicate to find an isolated foe, take its place, and shotgun them back to the sidelines.
  • Baiting the enemy team into thinking you're taking Roshan. This falls into the general mind-games aspect of the skill, and doesn't work as well if the enemy team has a way to instantly kill illusions (eg Hex). It also requires you and your team to be positioned in order to take advantage of the bait - either by initiating on a vulnerable enemy, or by taking an objective while they are distracted.

Morphling is justly considered one of the hardest carries in the game. He absolutely lives up to that view. Like the other 'hard carries' in Dota - heroes like Spectre, Arc Warden and Naga Siren - Morphling forces the enemy team to play in a way unique to him specifically. Attempting to gank Morphling requires over-commitment, otherwise he can Morph-tank all the damage and disables and Replicate away in an instant. Thus, even if the gank was successful, there will usually be two or three big cooldowns expended that his team can then take advantage of. Likewise, Replicate's virtues I believe I have sufficiently espoused in the above paragraph to give enough justification as to why it's such a potent skill in the lategame.

As a Morphling player, it is your job to be aware of the hero's lategame strengths and force your opponents to play into them.

Specific Tips

Time to test the waters.

Here is a short section dedicated to advanced advice regarding executing Morphling's combos and abilities. If you're only looking at this guide for basic information, this section is skippable. To more advanced Morphling players, hopefully there will be something in here that can be useful to you.



The Shotgun


Morphling's most well-known aspect, and his deadly burst combo. Ethereal Blade, immediately followed up by Adaptive Strike on the same target. Waveform to finish them off if necessary. This combo deals in excess of 1500 damage in the lategame and is enough to finish off any injured targets on its own.

The closer you are to the target, the harder it is for them to react. Both Eblade and Adaptive Strike are disjointable projectiles, so getting in close can be the difference between a kill and the enemy getting away.

Since the combo doesn't tend to 100-0 targets on its own, ensure your team can follow it up with more nukes if necessary. In the lategame, when executing Replicate ganks mentioned in the lategame section, right-click the target to bring them into the combo's kill threshold. Remember to include the target's magic resistance!

In teamfights, it's often better to save Waveform for either escapes or mobility rather than as a source of damage. Be wary when using it offensively, as it can leave you stranded.

Morph + Teleport


You can use Morph (either one) while teleporting. Furthermore, Morph can be used while stunned (but not while silenced).

Replicate + Teleport


Replicate has an 80 second cooldown, and Boots of Travel have a 45 second cooldown. Therefore, Replicate can be used roughly every two teleports.

It can be used as a quick trip back to base. Replicate a hero in lane, teleport back home to regenerate, and take the Replicate's place back in the field.

Itemisation

I'm spending money like water.

Morphling has a fairly wide selection of items to choose from. Let's separate them into Core, Offensive Extension and Defensive Extension.

Core


This is Morphling's signature item, so it requires little justification. It gives a hefty boost to stats for a reasonable price, and its active synergises with Morphling's skillset. It's core for a reason.

Usually, this is picked up immediately after Ethereal Blade, but it can be delayed for a defensive item if necessary. Manta Style is a very important item for both offensive and defensive reasons. Offensively, it boosts Morphling's damage by 56% - making it the biggest damage boost the hero can get. The fact that this damage boost is tied to two separate units has advantages and disadvantages. While the illusions created can be destroyed, they can also be controlled individually, which offers a lot of versatility in both fights and split-pushing scenarios. Defensively, the most valued aspect of Manta Style is its ability to dispel debuffs - specifically, silences. It also gives movement speed to compensate Morphling's poor base speed, and its stats are quite nice as well.


Extension - Offensive


This is the most obvious offensive item, providing a total of 65 damage and attack speed, 35 of which is in Agility. This makes it a natural progression from Manta Style. Furthermore, it provides a burst of movement speed that can assist in chasing down enemies. The evasion is also a defensive benefit.

The big crit stick is, after Manta Style, the second biggest damage boost you can get on an item. While the raw +80 damage isn't a necessarily attractive feature, the 30% chance for a 235% crit very much is. The crit applies to illusions, providing synergy with Morphling's core items. This is decidedly a lategame item as it is entirely mono-dimensional, providing only damage. As a result, it is unlikely to be picked up before the 5th or 6th item slots.

While a more expensive source of crits than Daedalus, Bloodthorn generally synergises better with Morphling's usual game plan. The active assists in bursting enemies, and the mana regen is a much appreciated aspect. The choice of crits comes down to whether Bloodthorn's active is more valuable than Daedalus' sustained damage. As with Daedalus, Bloodthorn is a lategame purchase and is even more gated by its increased cost.


Extension - Defensive


Often picked up after Manta Style, Eye of Skadi offers everything Morphling wants. A large stats boost, and the on-hit slow to prevent kiting. Strictly speaking, this item fits more with a "generalist" category than a defensive extension. As a result, there's never really a situation where it's bad.

While the stats aren't terrible, especially on Morphling, if the item's passive effect is of limited use in the game it's better to skip Linkens entirely in favour of other purchases. Thus, it follows the same rule as on other heroes.

To a certain extent, Morphling is like Anti-Mage - he wants to be tanking spells, as Morph allows him to shrug off their effects and keep coming. However, if there is simply too much magical damage and/or disables, BKB is a necessary purchase.

Lifesteal, alongside Morphling's naturally great damage, is a really good source of survivability for the hero. The caveat is that its use hinges on a 4-second duration active during which you are vulnerable to disables. This is another item that should not be bought earlier than as a 5th or 6th slot.

Allies and Enemies

More friends!

Morphling's weak early and midgame, as well as the hero's unique traits, means that he has a considerable list of counters to be wary of. Likewise, he has some noticeable synergies with other heroes that can be easily abused.

Foes


Huskar and Viper perfectly take advantage of Morphling's weak early-game to snowball and give him no space to farm. Viper, especially, will slaughter Morphling in the middle lane.
Another early-game powerhouse that can nuke Morphling down with ease. However, Decrepify is a double-edged sword if used defensively - should Morphling get farm, the matchup switches and Pugna will find himself feeding a very, very angry water-thing.
Being vulnerable to mana burn, Anti-Mage is the perfect hero to deal with Morphling at any stage of the game. Mana Void will deal a massive burst as a finishing blow. And, as the icing on the cake, AM's peak timing window lines up perfectly to take advantage of Morphling's weak midgame.
Primarily, this matchup is an issue due to Mana Burn. Despite having a ****tastic Int gain, a lot of Morphling's items boost his attributes, making him a juicy target for the bug.
Silences, and heroes with silences. Prioritise Manta Style against these, perhaps even to the extent of getting it before Ethereal Blade.
Outworld Devourer
Aside from massive Pure damage output that completely bypasses Morphling's armour, Astral Imprisonment and OD's general tankiness makes it difficult to take him down before he takes you down.
Zet is a hard carry that excels in taking down other hard carries, and Morphling is no exception. Aside from being a natural Bloodthorn carrier, Arc in the lategame offers many of the same strengths as Morphling, but far more utility and splitpushing.
Terrorblade is another bad carry matchup, as he capitalises on Morphling's early-game weaknesses to dismantle your outer tower formations. Reflection also hurts, a lot, and Morphling has no real way to clear TB's illusion army or defend high ground from his sieges.

Friends


As a hero with phenomenal stats, Shadow Demon can make illusions of Morphling that do damage comparable with a lot of heroes. Soul Catcher also is a 50% damage boost to the shotgun combo, which greatly extends the reach of your burst.
Her Vengeance Aura amplifies base damage, and as we've gone over previously, this is not something Morphling lacks. You're looking at 100+ damage from this skill alone - reaching closer to 150 if Venge hits level 25.
This is only relevant to support Chaos Knight, which is rare. However, his Aghanim's Scepter effect will create a whole lot of illusory Morphlings that will proceed to kill everything they touch, be it buildings, heroes, or indeed anything that can't deal with the swarm.
The massive Magic damage amplification of Decrepify will make Morphling's burst damage absolutely unparalleled.

Conclusion

Some things are a lot clearer now.

Thus concludes my guide to Morphling. As always, I can be found on Discord if there are any clarifications or points which you wish to raise. I shall try to answer comments here as best I can.

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