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Phantom Fighter - A Guide To Mortred

March 24, 2015 by Fumbles16x
Comments: 6    |    Views: 27246    |   

Safe Lane Carry (Early Fight)

DotA2 Hero: Phantom Assassin

Hero Skills

Stifling Dagger

1 3 5 7

Phantom Strike

4 8 9 10


2 12 13 14

Coup de Grace

6 11 16


15 17 18

Who am I and who is Mortred?

Well, to answer your first question, I'm Fumbles16x/Beezus. I play a lot of Phantom Assassin and she has grown to be one of my favorite and most successful heroes. She is considered to be a bit of a pub stomper, which isn't inaccurate, and kind of "ez mode." She's certainly not overly complicated, but I don't think you can just walk blindly into a match and expect to do well with her. So that's what I'm here for!

Mortred the Phantom Assassin

Phantom Assassin or Mortred or PA, is about as straightforward as it gets in Dota 2. She kills things. Her skills are specifically designed to, as her name suggests, hunt you down and destroy you. Due to having the best critical hit in the game, she can make short work of all but the tankiest heroes, and is a formidable manfighter at all stages in the game. She excels at dealing huge amounts of damage in short periods of time, while remaining elusive herself, much like Weaver.

I will go more in depth on her abilities later on in the guide, but know this: Phantom Assassin is a great hero to learn if you're new to the game, and is still useful even at higher levels of play, meaning that if you're interested in playing carry, she is a great place to start.


1. She's forgiving. You can afford to lose the early game with this hero because she can always make a kill happen. Her crits do NOT mess around and can turn a fight around in an instant.

2. She's fun. Seriously, blinking around the map and cutting people in half is a hell of a good time. Also winning is pretty fun.

3. She's far more exciting than other carries. She doesn't have to sit in lane or farm the jungle for 25 minutes before she can fight. She's good as soon as she gets a couple of low cost items and then she can start wrecking face.

4. And more. I'll just let the guide kind of speak for the hero. Chances are you know a little about her already since you're here. I'm just going to try and help you get started with her, and give some tips to help you start getting that winrate up.

Strengths and Weaknesses

  • Massive physical damage
  • Elusive and mobile
  • Comes online very quickly for a carry
  • Still stays relevant in the lategame.
  • Fast solo Roshan attempts
  • Pretty easy to learn
  • VERY easy to burst down with magic damage
  • Aside from natural evasion, pretty squishy
  • Single target focused, needs help dealing with groups
  • No lockdown without items or help from the team


Stifling Dagger

"How many daggers am I holding up?"

This skill is taken first and maxed first nearly every time. The reason for this is the increase and damage and decrease in mana cost. It becomes completely spammable and makes it possible to get last hits in the toughest of lanes. It's your best friend in the laning phase, and is also useful later in the game when chasing down potential kills.

In the laning phase, its primary use will be for lasthitting. Simply target a creep with low health and fire away. It will take some practice to get the timing right as the dagger travels fairly slowly through the air, but it deals more damage than your auto attack throughout the early game, so it's very helpful. If you can get a lasthit without it, don't waste the mana. But if you're up against a trilane or maybe two ranged harrassers, this can sometimes be your only hope for getting farm.

In engagements with enemies, this is a pretty simple long range slow. It deals physical damage and shares your passive crit chance, but can't target spell immune targets. It's best used in conjunction with Phantom Strike to keep enemies from escaping.

Phantom Strike

"Don't blink, or you'll miss me."

Phantom Strike is your initiation and escape skill. It has a huge range so you can cast your dagger on an enemy and immediately blink in to pummel them before they gain move speed back. The best part about this skill is that you can use it on enemies and allies alike. If you get in a sticky situation, target a nearby teammate to immediately blink to safety. When targeting enemies you also gain a few stacks of bonus attack speed. This helps you secure a critical hit once you jump in, and it's what allows you to be really ballsy when playing this hero. Like Dagger, you can't target spell immune heroes with this.

Only one point is taken early on, but you max this second. The reason you take a point in lane is just for the escape if you need it, or if you ever manage to get a kill setup with your support or a passing ganker.


"I'm here to blur the line between life and death."

Another pretty straightforward skill which helps PA fight earlier than most carries. It passively gives evasion which can only be countered by a Monkey King Bar, meaning that most other carries won't even be able to touch you if you engage them. It's tempting as a new player to take a bunch of points in this, but really one level is all you need until your first skills are maxed. The first point gives the biggest boost of evasion and adds the minimap invisibility, so it's all you need for awhile.

Speaking of which, the minimap invisibility component of this ability is wonderful. Unless an enemy hero is nearby, you don't show up as an icon on enemies' minimaps, meaning that they have to physically move the camera to where you are to see you. This gives you a lot of safety when farming or split pushing, but it's usually a good idea to always assume you're visible to them. It just takes a flick of the camera to bust your cover.

Coup de Grace

"The grace note."

Now that you've read up on the assassin's kit for tracking down and killing everyone you see, this is the ability that ties it all together. The best crit in the game combined with your attack speed buff from Phantom Strike mean you will nearly always proc at least one massive crit per fight, but it's totally possible that you'll get several (depending how often you pray to RNGesus).

There isn't much to say about this skill. It's just a huge damage steroid and the reason behind those four digit crits you've probably seen in youtube videos.


The starting items are pretty self explanatory I think, so I won't really spend time on them. One note though: if you can pool tangoes, meaning getting your support to give you a couple, it can help you get a little boost to your Poor Man's Shield or boots.


It's kind of up in the air which boots are best. Phase Boots were in the Valve in game guide as her core boots for ages, but now Power Treads are listed. It's really up to you. The top PA player in the world uses Phase Boots and the second best one uses Treads. I used them both and can't tell much difference. Since you already have attack speed from Phantom Strike, I'd just rather opt for more damage and the ability to move through creepwaves and teammates during chases.

Usually it's going to be Helm of the Dominator. If you know for certain you will need a different Unique Attack Modifier, get Vladmir's Offering. Mask of Madness gives insane amounts of attack and move speed. If you aren't facing a lot of burst magic damage, this is actually a decent option. The biggest downside is that it doesn't build into a Satanic. I would advise going for the helm in probably 85% of your games though. The choice is yours.

This is a really good item for the price. Move speed, attack speed, and damage. It builds into a Manta Style which is always good on agility carries. A lot of people overlook this item on her, but it makes chasing and fighting a lot easier. More attack speed means more bash and crit procs.

This is a very important item on Phantom Assassin. She has no natural stuns, so when you catch an enemy out alone and go in for the kill, you need something to keep them in place. With this they can't TP away or channel anything else for that matter, and it makes them sit still so you can continue your beating. Builds into an Abyssal Blade which is a must lategame.

This is the one thing stopping that Lion or Lina from completely making your PA pick worthless. If you can't attack due to stuns, hexes, other disables, or just plain getting nuked to death, you aren't useful to your team at all. I almost always get this item after Helm/Yasha/Basher, but against certain heroes like Invoker and Shadow Shaman who have a lot of CC, you may need to rush it.

If any of your enemies have evasion or plan on getting it, this is a must. If you can't land hits you can't land crits or bashes, meaning no kills. It also gives a nice mini-bash chance and a ton of damage, so it's often good to buy after your core just so you know you will beat then enemy team's Butterfly and Heaven's Halberd purchases.

Stacking crits is beneficial, and goldwise this is the best DPS item in the game other than a rapier I guess. Pretty much, this thing makes you hit harder.

This builds off of your Helm from earlier and gives better lifesteal, plus a ton of raw hp so you can stay in fights longer. It literally comes with a GOD MODE button that you can switch on to get 175% lifesteal per hit for a few seconds. As if your manfights weren't one-sided enough.

The best lategame item for PA in my opinion. It builds onto your basher and gives a bunch of damage, but most importantly you have a spell immunity piercing stun so nobody can get away from you.

This builds out of your Yasha and gives you some illusions to play with. You can use this to purge debuffs from yourself, dodge spells, and push towers. It's just pretty good all around. There's not a huge rush to get this item as there are much more important ones, but it's good to grab on your way to being six-slotted.

More armor for you and your team, less armor for your enemies. I don't like this item a ton, but it's good in anti-armor strats. I think it's best left to a strength hero like Tiny or Dragon Knight since you have quite a bit more natural armor than they do. Attack speed is nice, as always.

Buy this if you need a boost to pushing. However it DOES NOT STACK with Helm of the Dominator, Satanic, or Mask of Madness, meaning if you want lifesteal with it you have to get Vladmir's Offering. I don't recommend this, but it's okay in anti-armor I guess.

Like Desolator, this doesn't stack with lifesteal other than Vlad's. But it's still a great item on the hero. It gives a spell immunity piercing slow and a ton of stats, so if you find yourself with gold to blow, this isn't a bad idea.

Mana Burn is nice, but the main reason you buy this is for the active. Anyone who can apply nasty debuffs to you like silences or slows will be annoyed when you purge them away, and enemy supports who buff their teammates will be pissed when you purge them away as well! Omniknight is the biggest hero I can think of who you might need to buy this against.

A casual Orb can do a lot. You already chase really well so this isn't super useful on you, but it makes it that much harder to get away from PA.

The best attack speed item in the game along with Mask of Madness. You'll be proccing crits and bashes left and right with this thing, and also throwing out lighting chains everywhere. The lightning shield also works well on PA, who finds herself in the middle of fights often. It's a good post-core, last slot option.

This item probably looks incredibly strange on a hero whose longest cooldown is 6 seconds. However, this item has been seeing some high level play, and for good reason. When the game goes beyond 45 minutes, Phantom Assassin can start having a rough time. Lots of damage is flying around, and she's vulnerable due to her BKB usually being down to 5 seconds here. The idea is to blink onto someone, BKB, use Abyssal stun, and get a kill. Then when the BKB wears off you refresh and do it again. It is certainly not for every game, but sometimes the situation just calls for. Only for the extreme late game when nothing else works.

Soloing Roshan

Depending on map control, items, and other factors, Mortred can solo Roshan fairly easily and quickly. Not quite as fast as Ursa, but probably around as quickly as Drow Ranger and Troll Warlord. Soloing Rosh is incredibly beneficial to you and your team, as you get a free life, a ton of extra exp, and a nice gold boost to your team.

Though it's still best to smoke in, Mortred can sneak into Rosh pretty easily with her Blur ability. It also helps you survive Roshan's attacks because of the huge evasion. As far as items go, you only really need some lifesteal and levels. By the time you have basher and lifesteal, you can't really die to him.

The strategy for a quick and easy Rosh with PA is this:

1. Smoke into the pit. Make sure wards are up so that you can see anyone who might try to gank you inside the pit.

2. Use Stifling Dagger to pop Roshan's spell block, then immediately Phantom Strike him for the boosted attack speed. Attack speed means more crits and bashes, which means a quicker Rosh.

3. Repeat. You can usually use Phantom Strike 3 times before having to pop his spell block again with dagger, but that should be plenty to kill him anyway.

Make sure you always have a slot for the Aegis. PA doesn't really have slot issues until the really late game, so you should be able to pack an Aegis most of the match. Try and keep an eye out for Rosh as often as you can, because it gives your team a HUGE advantage. He respawns every 8-11 minutes and the Aegis lasts 5 minutes. Always be aware of these times so that you know how long you have to push your advantage, and how long you have until you can go back into the pit.

A Minute-by-Minute Analysis

Every match in Dota 2 is different, of course, but I wanted to give a sort of guideline for what you should be doing at certain times during the game so that you know you're on the right track.

Pre-game to 00:00

Head through the jungle with a support and try to secure the first bounty rune. It should give you enough gold to finish off your Poor Man's Shield once you walk to the side shop.

00:00 to 10:00

Farm, farm, farm. Though I don't consider PA to be a farming carry, she still needs to make the most of the laning phase. If you're getting free farm past this time, then by all means keep going. You usually want to have your boots and helm by the end of this.

10:00 to 15:00

If the enemy team is active, farm the lane safely and try and start clearing out the jungle. Use your helm to stack the ancients and be ready to clear them, otherwise they may get stolen.

15:00 to 20:00

It's time to start looking for kill opportunities if you haven't already. Also a good time to try for your first Roshan.

20:00 to 35:00

This is really where you shine. Get pickoffs, win fights, take aegis, take lanes. Dota is objective-based gaming. Once you win a teamfight or get a couple of pickoffs, push the advantage. The biggest sin when playing this hero is to passively farm when heroes aren't up to stop you from taking objectives. Keep the pressure up and you can't lose.

Post 35:00

Just take objectives really. Most of my PA games end around 35 minutes, and there's not much you can do here except finish big items and have big teamfights, Rosh attempts, and pushes. Be aggressive, but play cautiously.

Other Notes

Phantom Assassin is a high risk, high reward hero. You blink on top of enemies just hoping for a big crit to put them away, but when it works it can give your team an enormous advantage and send your enemies fleeing. When playing this hero, you can never let up. You will be surprised how easy it is for this hero to get kills and start snowballing. Even in lane, all you need is a little setup from a support to start making things happen. Once you have your crit, all you need is a little RNG to get a kill, honestly.

As I mentioned above, don't passively farm unless there's nothing you can be doing somewhere else. Phantom Assassin peaks when she has a Basher and BKB, around 25 mins-ish, so you need to be making things happen. Communicate with your team so that you can group up and take a tower. Past 25 minutes the only time you should be farming is if all three lanes are pushed to their base, Rosh is down, and you have heroes down on your team. Other than that, move around the map and take objectives. If you're moving around the jungle making gold, so is your enemy carry. If that carry happens to be a Faceless Void or Medusa, they're going to be putting that gold to much better use than you.

Don't run. Obviously if you can avoid a fight that you know you can't win, you should. But if you're already committed and know that you're probably going to die whether you fight or run, just keep fighting. Seriously, a crit can happen at any time and turn the fight around for you. There have been multiple times where I've walked away from a fight with <100 hp and won due to a lucky crit. Just commit and let your skills do the rest.

When you're in a teamfight, the first target you should take is the enemy support/nuker/caster. You will only have BKB for so long, and after that they can just disable you. You may not be able to take out their carry fast enough, but usually a crit (or even just some auto attacks) is enough to finish a support before he can even cast a spell.

Battlefury Used to be Core... Why Don't You Have it?

It's situational. If you have an Enigma or someone who can pack up the enemy team in a nice, tight cluster, then a bfury can be decent. It does help farming speed, but.. it takes 15-20 mins to build it doing nothing but farming, and you're too good at fighting to waste this time. You come online faster than almost any carry other than perhaps Troll Warlord, so you need to just embrace what you're good at. Go fight people. Farm heroes. Kill their carry while he attempts to farm and cause a major gold swing. More reliable gold (from hero kills and buildings) is better than more unreliable gold (from creeps), so it's best to just get pickoffs and push towers. The more active you are, the more likely you are to win, and Battlefury is not the item for that playstyle. You are not Anti-Mage.

Friends and Enemies

Like all heroes in Dota 2, Phantom Assassin shares a certain amount of synergy with some heroes, and is countered hard by others.

Best Friends

This guy is the best friend I can think of for PA. He has a BKB available for you from lvl 1, and on a much shorter cooldown. He can make you immune from all damage for several seconds, which is more than enough time to get a kill and uneven a teamfight.

She's a good support in general, but her skills really help PA out a lot. Her mana aura will make spamming daggers way less punishing, and she can root people to the ground for you to destroy.

This support helps in boosting the physical damage output of your team, which is the only kind of damage you have. Plus she has one of the best reliable stuns in the game for setting up easy kills.

More help in the physical damage department, plus some extra healing and armor for you. Shallow Grave also gives you a few more seconds to rack up kills.

This combo certainly isn't the famous Io/ Tiny, but it's still good. Reduced damage and bonus attack speed makes you really, really strong, and he can always keep you topped off with a bottle.

You can easily get two kills if the crits are favorable during one of his ults. Not to mention the heals he can give you between ganks.

Empower is great on PA. It gives more damage and a cleave, which is like a free Battlefury. He also has quite a bit of good CC to make killing bunched up enemies easier.

***Anyone who has good lockdown (stuns, slows, silences) is going to make a good partner for PA. She deals straight damage to people, all she needs is someone to make them hold still.***

Fearsome Foes

Before you get your BKB, these guys are a nightmare. Lina and Queen of Pain are always bad, because their ults go through BKB with scepter. Heavy nuke is your hardest counter, stay away from it.

Heavy crowd control is also really strong against you. Though you are a right-clicker, you still need your spells to get to your targets. Silences and mana burn really make this difficult.

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