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21 Votes

The name is Phantom.. Phantom Lancer

December 25, 2015 by KoDyAbAbA
Comments: 51    |    Views: 99495    |   

Build 1
Build 2
Build 3
Build 4

Standard build

DotA2 Hero: Phantom Lancer

Hero Skills

Spirit Lance

1 4 5 7


2 8 10 12

Phantom Rush

3 9 13 14


6 11 16


15 17 18


Phantom Lancer, Commonly known as The Cancer, is an agility hard carry known for his insane pushing prowess,amazing damage output and sheer evasiveness with which he can single handedly win the game.

Azwraith, The Phantom Lancer

Phantom Lancer is a hero known for bringing an army of illusions with him,destroying anything and everything in his path.Relentless in his pursuit and highly evasive, it is very difficult to pin down this hero for more than a few seconds at a time owing to Doppelganger and Phantom Rush.

With the complete rework given to the hero, Phantom Lancer has gained an entirely new facet which has not been explained properly, resulting in people thinking that the hero is either brokenly OP (4K++ mmr) or very weak(everybody else).

With this guide, I am going to give some pretty in-depth explanation about his skills and play style.

Pros and Cons


  • Can instantly make an army of illusions.
  • Needs only one item to come online.
  • Insanely hard to kill without silence.
  • Very high damage output.
  • heavily countered by AoE skills *looks at Earthshaker.
  • Mana hungry.
  • Cannot rat as effectively as before (less duration of illusions).
  • Somewhat higher skill ceiling now due to Doppelganger and absence of invisibility.
  • Nerfed agility gain(from 4.2 to 3 per level).


This skill is a nuke, a slow and provides an illusion dealing 20% of your damage.An average nuke, but is maxed first due to its very small cooldown and insane slow (40%),leading to easy kill opportunities.Very taxing on Phantom Lancers pitiful mana pool, so it is advised to use it sparingly in the early game, atleast till the supports get Arcane Boots or something.

Mana cost:125/130/135/140
Cooldown: 7 seconds.

A new skill which was added as a part of the complete rework of Phantom Lancer.It is currently a very underrated skill, often left to be maxed last which is a completely wrong way to play him in my opinion.This skill is basically Puck's Phase Shift with a higher cooldown,lower disappearance time which is somewhat compensated with a blink like mechanism which can be used to reposition yourself 600 units away from your original position.

What this skill does is, it gives you a semi-reliable escape,coupled with the ability to dodge every skill in the game and also gives you 2 extra illusions,one of which tanks as much damage as you can (ie. no damage amp on the illusion!).It can be used to juke your way out tough situations,much like a Puck would.It is also a very effective chasing tool as it takes every one of your illusions along with you, making you even more irritating to deal with!.

Remember that You cannot decide where the illusions will reappear,nor can you decide your own position, making it a double edge.Suppose you are on low ground, trying to aim to go to higher ground as you would with a Force Staff,and you accidentally aim on the edge.There are chances that you might end up on low ground again, just in a different position,effectively wasting your skill, and giving the enemy an easy kill.
mana cost:50
cooldown:25/20/15/10 seconds

This skill becomes more important as you go into the late-game,enabling you to transform from the "stay-back and farm hero" to a "rush in and violate" hero.With its insanely low cooldown, There is literally no way of running away from Phantom Lancer past 45 minutes.

What this skill does is ,when off cooldown, if you command your hero to attack an enemy unit within the prescribed range, the main hero along with his illusions will rush towards the unit so attacked at a speed of 800 and proceed to attack the unit.

Remember that this is not a togglable skill,implying that you cannot control when it procs,making your auto hit-canceling work against you as you may dash towards the target,making you vulnerable getting nuked down.Use with care.

Aaaah...This skill must be renamed to "****ing overpowered illusion generator 2.0".seriously,its that OP.

At level 1, this skill grants you a 40% chance of creating an illusion when hitting,scaling upto 50% at level 3,meaning that you will be creating an illusion every other hit!.This is a huge buff to his teamfighting as well as farming ability as he can just jump out, regen health and jump in,re-making his army of illusions in mere seconds.

just the fact that you can make a total of 14 units(including original hero),which means that you can theoretically burn 350 mana per hit from the enemies mana pool.This is, like huge.With his naturally high agi gain, supplemented by the massive 30 agility given by Diffusal Blade,its no wonder that heroes generally end up with 0 mana within mere seconds.Also makes targetting you a lot more difficult.

Item progression.

Unfortunately, our blue friend is not very flexible about his item builds.The most he can do is change the order in which he buys them (even that is after Diffusal Blade and Power Treads.

Early Game

In the early game, i usually prefer to start with a + combination, giving decent stats and backup regeneration for lane harassment.

A + + combination can also do the trick if you have problems in taking last hits without the convenient Quelling Blade bonus.

ring of aquilla: A very good item on Phantom Lancer,providing him with mana regeneration, something he desperately needs to spam Spirit Lance,extra armor to make him even harder to harass and 18 extra damage;9 from agility and 9 raw damage and a mix of stats, which is always good :D.

: Our choice of boots on Phantom Lancer is Power Treads.This is because of the tread switch being perfect for getting mana for that life-saving Doppelganger,or just enough mana to kill with Spirit Lance.Also,attack speed is always a welcome addition.

: Not very gold efficient,but builds into Diffusal Blade,which is all you care about.

Mid Game-The core Items

: Aaaah...the Diffusal Blade...

this item is so core on Phantom Lancer that its not even funny.It's so core, they made an in-game-item for it. Its so core,they changed the whole bloody hero for it(making Radianceunviable).Without this item, Phantom Lancer is just an annoying guy who hits like a tissue,if he gets near his enemies in the first place.

The new rework, in which the duration of Phantom Lancer's illusions was drastically reduced (from 20 seconds to a mere 8), has completely removed the question of whether you should make Diffusal Blade or Radiance.

The 25 mana burn that you receive from this item makes you a very dangerous hero to meet alone.One Spirit Lance and you are gasping for mana,one Phantom Rush and you are dead.Its that easy.

Also, the slow helps you to prevent the enemies from running away from the seemingly endless waves of illusions that you can create.

: This item is very good on Phantom Lancer simply due to the fact that it helps you to rapidly regenerate health,making you a team-fight nightmare as your illusions just keep coming.Also helps with the split-pushing part a lot and your illusions can actually take a hit now.

: An amazing item on our blue friend, as they last much,much longer than your skill-illusions,thus facilitating pushes amazingly.You can even experience the old cancer :').

Also the moves-peed bonus is good,along with good all-round stats,coupled with another juking tool,making you an annoying little **** to deal with :D.

Core extensions

: They get evasion, you get Monkey King Bar! pretty straight forward.Also, gives you a solid damage boost.

: A very good item on any hero quite honestly.Gives you a solid disable coupled with solid stats.Me like.Scaling very well into late game, its a good pickup against carries who don't want to make Black King Bar

: gives you the biggest damage boost in the game after Divine Rapier.What more could you possibly want?Also please note that even though the illusions crit, the damage is shown before reductions, implying that there is a boost in damage,its just relatively underwhelming.

: amazing stats and evasion.A very good pickup against a physical damage oriented lineup.The evasion also applies to your illusions, greatly increasing their EHP.

: Now, before you all run up to me and chant the good ol' "no bash on illusions" rhyme,let me explain.When coupled with Phantom Rush,the slow from Diffusal Blade and Spirit Lance, don't you think that a Abyssal Blade as an late game item could do wonders to your fighting ability? sure, The illusions won't bash,But you will!And that's quite enough isn't it?It gives you enough time to get those Diffusal Blade powered hits in,completely destroying any hopes the enemy might have had of using their spells.Also,it gives you some strength,a ****-load of damage and a Black King Bar piercing stun!.Imagine,your enemies making a Black King Bar to counter your team's nukers and your mana burn, and you just "dropping the bass' on those unlucky little critters as they witness their precious bkb seconds going to waste!

: A very situational item which is made only when you just can't deal with the attack-speed with which the carries are hitting,and when they have mass black king bars.Also, stats!

Phantom Lancer loves stats! You get more tanky , hit harder AND slow the enemy! Fun Fun!!


Early Game

As a hard carry, the only thing that you need to think about is getting lasthits.Playing safe is very important when playing Phantom Lancer due to his lack of a farming mechanism, which really sets him back when he is ganked a couple of times.

Staying safe must be your top priority.To ensure that you are safe,you must lane with a hard support like Keeper of the Light or Bane or Vengeful Spirit or something,to trade hits when you are farming and potentially zoning out the melee offlaner.

The only time you can get aggressive in your lane is when you are in a trilane with dual stuns,even then, I would advice you to stay back and wait until you are sure that the kill is set and the mid laner is where he is supposed to be.

Remember that Spirit Lance has a very low cool-down, so if you have the mana to use it during a gank, don't hesitate to use it as you can secure an easy kill with it.Also, juking the enemies only stun (looks at Sven and Wraith King) can be pretty irritating for the enemy team as it really sets their aggressive tri/dual lane back because their main objective is to shut you down,which they can't for the next minute or so as their stun is on cool-down or they are out of mana.

Mid Game

This the point of time where you start coming online with your first core item, Diffusal Blade and become a nightmare for single-target damage heroes or heroes which are very mana dependent for doing what they are supposed to do.Also, you can dive very efficiently because of the sheer amount of illusions that you have around you to tank up the tower damage, making kills easier to get.Still,beware that you are still squishy as hell and you don't want to get bursted down making rounds of the jungle or getting a rune.

So,basically what you do is,you run in and burn mana while being an annoying piece of **** and not dying.

Also, you need to analyze the enemy team.Do not underestimate your enemy,you never know when you might lose a pivotal team-fight because you didn't see the Black King Bar pickup on Phantom Assassin who already had 2 of her core items.If they have single target stuns,you need not worry as the probability of they even caring to find the real Phantom Lancer is lesser than that of them finding you!But, if they have AoE stuns such as Dream Coil (which works on illusions too), Earth Spike and Storm Hammer, you might wanna consider staying back lest you are stunned and damgaged, revealing you to your enemies as your illusions take more damage than you do,making you stand out like a sore thumb.

Late game

At this point of time, you have finally become what you have been farming all game for-A hard carry.After getting all your core items and extensions, you become a monster,the devourer of supports, the bane of mana-hungry heroes and carries alike with your insane pushing prowess and an irritating knack of nope-ing the **** out of an situation you want,whenever you want.

Now, it might seem that the hard part has ended, and that now you can go ROFL-Stomp the enemy. NO.At this point you will feel the pressure of playing one of the more skill- needing carries in the game.The timing needs to be flawless,there is no margin for error on this hero,much like Faceless Void. One Doppelganger can decide the outcome of a teamfight.

Just imagine the fear in the enemies eyes when they realize that you weren't touched by that Black Hole+ Echo Slam combo, or when they realize that Puck wasted Dream Coil for nothing.That's how much you can influence the game with a single juke.It's like you are a Puck in the first 20 minutes,hitting 5 people at once for 400 damage,you cannot be ignored.

Also, you can split push very effectively at this point of time with the aid of a simple Boots of Travel.Just TP in,use Manta Style,destroy creep-wave,destroy tower,run away.

Remember, a single pickoff at 50 minutes in the game can change the tide of the next engagement.If that pickoff is you, you might as well shut your pc down and shove a sock down your throat,because you most probably lost, or gave the enemies two pairs of barracks,making your game 10X more difficult to win.

The worst thing you can do in the late game is making bad item choices..
If I am not able to kill that 6-slotted Faceless Void or Phantom Assassin,I would make a Scythe of Vyse and guarantee that kill or than make an Eye of Skadi and reducing their damage output rather than making a Daedalus,cuz crits are good right?

Items you should not make on Phantom lancer.

: Its true, this item is no longer a good item on Phantom Lancer.The simple reason for this is that your illusions don't last for long now,completely destroying the reason for building Radiance,which was pushing out multiple lanes while farming the jungle.

vladimirs mask: WASTE.This one word completely describes the most overrated item on Phantom Lancer.Let me show you why.
Does the lifesteal affect illusions? No.
Would it help if it did? No.
Does the armor aura affect illusions? No.
Does Phantom Lancer need the life-steal as badly as other carries do? Nope.

Nope Nope Nope Nope.

: If you cannot last hit with Phantom Lancer's attack damage with Quelling Blade,you might as well play Treant Protector with a [quelling blade]].

Why is Vladimir's bad on Phantom Lancer?

here it is boys.

Let's start with some assumptions.

PL hits for = 300.

He hits once per second.

Damage calculated for juxtapose illusions.

Damage output per illusion = 16%.

Vlads heal = 16% (not taking bonus damage )

So, each illusion will deal 16 * 3 = 48 damage ;_;

+ diffusal blade = 25

Total = 83 damage.

Lifesteal per illusion = 16% of 83 = 13.2 health per hit.

So ends this math session. :D

IF you guys want any more math related stuff for this guide, just PM me :)

Video Time!

I found this guide on Phantom Lancer showing how to farm the jungle (meh) with the new phantom lancer!

Merlini plays [[phanom lancer!

Friends and Foes.


: Sustains your excuse of a mana pool,good against push strats which work rather well against a Phantom Lancer, and can bring you home when your are in trouble.

:This guy is like your personal Manta Style,Saving you from the initiation as well as creating 2 illusions which can create their own illusions!Also the hefty damage boost from soul catcher leads to some easy kills for Phantom Lancer.

:A very good laning support who also gives you handy mana regen coupled with a solid disable and slow,resulting in a very good synergy between Phantom Lancer and Crystal Maiden.

:The insane slow and damage output of this hero in the early game, coupled with a 2 second hard disable (if used correctly).A very good lane combo.


:No ****.The name says it all.He shakes the earth.The greatest enemy that you can have.A well played Earthshaker will lay waste to any attempts made by you to push at any stage of the game.Also, Echo Stomp has 0 cast animation.Good luck juking this mofo Padawan! DO NOT ENGAGE!

:In the good old days, Sven was considered to be a moderate counter to Phantom Lancer has he is more than proficient in stopping pushes after getting an item or two.Now,He can safely be classified as a hard counter as now Phantom Lancer has to stay with his illusions to push, giving Sven perfect chance to run in and give you the shrek treatment. DO NOT ENGAGE!

: Now this is a bit of a dual edged sword.A well played Invoker will lay waste to illusion making heroes with his huge arsenal of nukes and disables.On the other hand, a badly played Invoker will get caught out of position and die without making any significant impact. Engage with caution.

:This guy is you,just more irritating and less scaling.
  • Crazy jukes.
  • Good nuking power.
  • High snowball potential.
  • Irritating as ****.
  • Has a silence.

Also,As of the new patch, Dream Coil latches on to illusions too,implying that in the early game, you can't do nothing and you might just kill yourself trying to get that last hit with Phantom Rush.He can also run away from everything that you can do in a gank,if you are foolish enough to solo gank him.

: Oh well, this is the important part. Medusa can now be considered a direct counter to Phantom Lancer because of her static damage boost in Split Shot and instant illusion clear with Stone Gaze.You partially counter her after your Diffusal BladepickupEngage only if low on mana.


Phantom Lancer is a hero which with the new rework, is relatively unused hero,mainly due to the simple fact that people have not understood the essence of the hero.

I believe that the rework of Phantom Lancer was justified but valve failed to specify the nature of the rework, leaving the difficult part to the players to unravelled, in which they have not yet succeeded.

Through this guide, i have tried to explain the new way of playing Phantom Lancer (it isn't much different, its just a bit more diverse).

I hope that this guide is to everyone's liking.Please feel free to give suggestions and keep the arguements going!
If you really liked my guide, please check out my other guides

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