Thanks for the love guys ! New guide for another hero coming in a few weeks !
# Change Logs
- September 3rd 2014 ; Edited guide presentation
- October 4th 2014 ; Edited several parts (Laning, Skills, Match-Ups, Extra Comments) after the 6.82 patch.
- November 21st 2014 ; Created this post-it part, and edited some minor things.
- December 6th 2014 ; Added tips on PA mid in the last part, edited the video in the survavibility comment.
- December 30th 2014 ; Added more tips in the 'Hoes & Foes' part, added more incoming stuff.
- January 20th 2015 ; Updated the summary table. Edited the comment on Diffusal blade.
- February 23rd 2015 ; Added the 'scouting rosh with Blur' trick in the Skills chapter.
- March 27th 2015 ; Added a challenge in the 'Item Discussion' chapter (not joking).
- April 30th 2015 ; Updated the summary table after the 6.84 patch, and the parts in the guide in which I mention items' stats. More changes to come.
- May 20th 2015 ; Added some 6.84 items in the 'counter items' part, which I moved in the 'Mortred VS the rest of the world' chapter. Added Moon Shard as an optional item.
- June 21st 2015 ; Added comments about starting items in the last chapter.
- September 26th 2015 ; Updated the summary table and some parts of the guide after the 6.85 patch.
# Incoming stuff
- Screen to illustrate some parts of the guide
- Might try some new items
- Update of the match-ups part
Sorry guys I've been really busy with university these times, I'll try to update the guide as soon as I have some spare time.
Hey, hey. Here is my very first guide on dotafire, and for it I decided to share with you some secrets from the Sisters of the Veil. I used to play Mortred a lot before she got buffed in the recent patchesand before she got her Arcana. Now she's over picked so I felt like a guide would be useful for everyone who likes to play her and wants to succeed his contracts. Note that I'm not a pro-competitive player, this guide is mainly for mid-tier pub matches (myself am at 4k1).
Also, I'm not that good with bbcode and stuff like that, so most of this guide will be textual. I will consider any smart comment, positive or negative, and I am open for all discussions about the content you are about to read.
- High carry potential, and almost unbeatable in a 1v1.
- Can farm decently in a tough lane with dagger, and can jungle quite early.
- Two awesome spammable spells, making her one of the best chasers in game.
- Overpowered passive 50% evasion!
- Quite enjoyable to play, especially when you one shot a support with a crit.
- Low damage output at early levels.
- Pretty weak to disables and magic burst damage.
- Lack of teamfight presence.
- The best lane for PA is the safe lane. Its where most of the time you can get the easiest farm. A tri-lane will make you safer and give you more killing potential; but your supports need to be decent at stacking pulling etc, in order to avoid draining too much experience.
- Offlane is actually a possibility, but never solo. In a classic dual lane; it's sometime better when the opposite team has 2 strong offlaners and not a great safelane. Or even an agro trilane if you feel it can be relevant (because your foes have weak laning etc).
- I don't recommend playing her mid. Yeah, 'RTZ does it', but you are not a member of EG. You are in a pub, you won't get support TPs when enemies dive you and you won't get smoke ganks from your supports. Though the last patch made her a good ganker with the new Blur (explanations in 'Skills' chapter). So you can try if you are playing in a higher bracket or with friends, and if you think you can handle the ennemy midlaner.
I won't explain the skills in this guide; I think the descriptions do this well enough. But I will give some tips and info about them :
About Stifling Dagger :
- This is your main skill for the laning stage, you should always max it first.
- The 1200 range is huge; use it to cancel clarities and salves from the enemies.
- Use it for last-hitting when getting close is a bit risky.
- Even if you can get close without risks, last-hitting with dagger is sometimes safer when you are facing a high lvl 1 right clicker like Treant or Void, because you can kill the creep before they can deny it.
- There are a few reasons you should avoid using dagger for harassing. 1- it's quite a low damage spell. 2- if the enemy has a magic stick/wand you'll fill it quickly. 3- you can find yourself lacking mana to cast Phantom Strike (which is more mana-expensive than dagger).
- At level 6 it becomes more relevant to harass because you can crit with it, and that hurts.
- It's one of the best single target slow in the game: 50%, huge range, last 4 seconds at max level, and has a 6 seconds cooldown. Used with Phantom Strike, an enemy just can't escape from you if he doesn't manage to lose you in the fog of war.
About Phantom Strike:
- This is, in my opinion, the best skill of Mortred. Max it after dagger if you want to go aggressive, the decreased cooldown will help you.
- The range is huge here too (1000), use it to surprise your enemy from the other side of the tree line in a lane.
- The 130 attack speek bonus for 4 attacks is huge as well. It's more than 2 hyperstones. That combines really well with your ultimate and others pseudo random distribution based items.
- This spell should always be in cooldown during a fight. Even if you are already attacking your enemy, use Phantom Strike to benefit from the bonus attack speed.
- Same thing in jungle, use it on the big neutral creep to accelerate your farm rate. Don't forget about Roshan. Break linken's with Dagger and then spam your blink for max AS.
- About the defensive aspect, it's less efficient because you have to blink on an allied unit. When you want to get aggressive in a lane, try to do it just before a creep wave is about to reach so you can blink back if **** goes wrong. Otherwise use your mic and ask your teammate to come close to you. If you're alone, you can try fooling enemies by running and blinking in the opposite direction to their own creeps or the last hero chasing you.
- The new Blur is really cool. You can still guess when an invisible / hidden enemy is near if you see the Blur effect not procing. Now you can split push easily because the enemy team doesn't realise you are with this creep wave pushing the tower. And the most important benefit is that ganking is much easier, because even when walking through wards' vision, the enemies won't see you on minimap if you are solo. It makes PA mid a bit more legit, but you are quite relying on runes for being a good ganker (see 'Extra Comments' chapter).
- You can scout Roshan quite easily with it. Just go near the pit and check if Blur triggers or not. Here is an interactive map showing the area in which you can do so. As you see, it's pretty huge. (If interested, I used this site)
- The most important part of this spell is of course the passive evasion. 50% at level 4 is enormous and it really forces your opponents to build a MKB.
- Max it after dagger if you want to play a defensive/passive early game. But even in this case, always put at least one point on Phantom Strike.
- Note that Hex no longer disables evasion.
About Coup de Grace:
- This is Mortred's signature skill. The proc chance is weaker than a Daedalus but the crit is way more powerful.
- It might be an option to not level it as soon as you are level 6, and rather take it at level 8 (no later though). In a passive approach where you want survivability instead of going aggressive, getting extra points in Blur helps with the extra evasion.
- Or, because you lack attack speed early game and 15% chance is pretty low; getting extra points in Phantom Strike might be better if you aim for kills because the decreased cooldown really helps.
I don't like items builds because to my mind it's stupid to follow a restrictive build without adapting to the situation. Please always think by yourself to decide which items you should build, which items are useful against your foes, etc.
However, I've decided to pull out 4 examples, which match with different ways to play Mortred. I'll be quite quick and I'll discuss item choice later. Keep in mind that these are general builds. You should never follow them step by step, but rather adapt to the situation. An important thing as well, is to communicate with your teammates (I know it's quite hard with Cyrillic sometimes) so you don't find yourselves with 2 assault cuirasses or vlads.
(see the Extra-Comments chapter for my thoughts about starting items)
# The classic build: 1 crit, 1 kill
This is the most used build in pubs. Basically it focuses on raw damage. It looks like a high risk, high reward build to me because you are ultimately relying on CDG to proc. But if it does, you can one shot a support. This is the most farm efficient build but focuses more on lategame.
Example of possible final items :
# The attack speed build: 1 blink, 4 procs
The crits will hurt less, but stacking the attack speed with your blink will make you a little Ursa. Using Phantom Strike on an enemy will most of the time result in a crit + a bash + a lightening + a maim proc in the following second. Cool thing about this build is every item is actually an upgrade of an intermediate that can make you active quite early.
Example of possible final items :
# The versatile build: Play it safe
It's an intermediate build which gives a bit of everything, both offensively (damages and attack speed) and defensively (magic immunity + armor for physical damage). In this way it's the safest build in my opinion, but each item is quite costly to build and is more late game oriented than the attack speed build. Basically, it's the classic build except you build PT instead of Phase Boots, then you sell your BF for an AC. The best option though, is to get Midas instead of BF so you can work earlier on the following items.
Example of possible final items :
# The alternative build: Midgame PA
This one is focused around desolator, which is maybe the best snowball item if it's bought early enough. Having lifesteal is crucial on PA, and since Deso is already a UAM, you'll have to get Vlad. That means no Satanic late game. Also knowing that you don't have a farming item & that Deso falls off a bit late game; this one is more oriented on a mid-game PA. Get BKB if needed, and then a quick basher for more damage mid game, or an AC for more armor reduction (but it's less mid game oriented because it will come online later than the basher). Medallion of Courage is cool but you better ask your support to build it.
Example of possible final items :
Here is a table which summarizes what each build can offer.
I listed 5 items because you should always have a free slot for a TP or for the Aegis. If you have all your items and still more gold, buy boots of travel and get a 6th item. But then you will have to put one item in your stash if you want Aegis.
This will be the longest chapter. As I said, you should never follow a build step by step. The ones I showed you are just general ideas of different play styles. Feel free to mix all of them according to the situation. For example, the attack speed build with a BKB instead of a S&Y is actually awesome. The classic build with Power Treads is cool as well. Etc.
My custom PA build in game actually looks like a bunch of items, and I decide during the game which items I pick (see yourself - Free rare if you guess the reference of my build's name).
Here are some thoughts on these so you can make the best choices.
# Your Boots: Phase Boots VS Power Treads
I almost gave up going Phase Boots. They give you raw damage that make your crits better; but that's pretty much it. You don't really need the phase ability to chase, you can slow your enemy by 50% for 4 seconds every 6 seconds, and you can blink on him every 5 seconds.
With Power Treads on agility you gain 9 bonus damage and 34 attack speed. This is way better than just 24 bonus damage in my opinion, since PA is all about procing your passives. The Tread Switch ability is really useful early game as well. You can get 161 bonus health via strength, or get a bit of mana for an extra blink or dagger via intelligence.
So I'd say Power Treads are more versatile and safe. Phase Boots might be better for a snowball build like the desolator one.
# Your farming item: Battlefury VS Maelstrom
Yeah guys, Battlefury is not a must-have item on PA. It's obviously the best item to farm. The early ring of health helps you during the laning phase. Thanks to the mana-regen you can spam Phantom Strike for faster farming, which is already boosted by the cleave; though it's quite expensive, therefore delaying your entrance to the battle. And if the enemies are spread enough the cleave is quite useless.
Maelstrom is way cheaper, so you get it earlier. The lightning substitutes the cleave as an AoE effect for farming neutral camps faster, and the magical damage from lightning compensate your lack of physical damage early game. It can (and has to) be upgraded into a Mjollnir later. The bad side is that you'll miss the HP regen for your lane and the mana regen for the blink spam.
Go for Battlefury if you aim for a farming late game oriented match. Build Maelstrom if you want to be more active with your team early mid game.
# BKB or not ?
I actually love NOT going BKB when I play PA so I can focus on damage or attack speed items. As I put in the attack speed build, Sange & Yasha is a good example of replacement. It stills gives you survivability (304 HP + a 16% movement speed that make you hard to catch) and it offers more damage output than a BKB (32 damage and 32 attack speed).
But let's be realistic. When your MMR rises, you'll tend to see less and less full carry lines up. You'll see disables and BKB will be a must-have item for 75% of your games. Not 100% because I really think PA is not fully reliant on magic immunity. You're not a hero like Luna or Sven which have to get right into the middle of the battle without being stopped. Thanks to your blink, you can actually stand quite far of the battle, wait for the initiation & for the first stuns to be used, and then make your entrance by blinking on a disarmed hero on the side of the battle. You are actually quite elusive. You can blink every 5 seconds and you have a 50% miss chance.
So yeah, it's really cool if you can avoid BKB. Try to do it if they lack reliable stuns (slows are not really a problem for you), especially if you have heroes that can draw the attention in teamfights like Dragon Knight or Wraith King.
Though if you have to build a BKB, please do NOT rush it. It's useless to have magic immunity while you spend 8 seconds on killing someone. Build a damage item before. Also if you have your BKB too early you will tend to use the best charges in small encounters like 2v3 ganks. Trust me, you really don't want to have a 5 seconds charge during a 5v5 fight at the 50th minute when the enemies has built sheepstick, halberd and other stuff.
# Satanic : Made for Mortred
In any situation, you have to get lifesteal. And in any close match, you have to get Satanic. The passive 25% lifesteal is huge with your crits. And the 175% active lifesteal combined with blink actually fill up your life in 1 second.
Most of the time you'll get it after your other upgrades (typically after a Mjollnir and a Basher) but it can be cool to finish it early if you have no BKB for example. The Mjollnir's attack speed will ensure a stun from the Basher every blink so you don't really need the 'reliable stun' from Abyssal, and the 475 HP from the Satanic will compensate the lack of magic imminuty. Most of the time even if you are stun, thanks to the HP and your 50% evasion, the enemies won't be able to finish you. Blink & Unholy Rage when the stun is finished and you're full HP again.
# Abyssal Blade : Perfect lategame item
It's more expensive than a Rapier but it's worth it. You might have a tough time finishing it because of the high price of Sacred Relic. But PA is maybe the hero who benefits the most from the item. The 85 bonus damage is huge for your crits. And thanks to Phantom Strike, the ****ty range of the stun isn't an issue at all. As I said earlier, you don't need to rush it if you have max attack speed because a simple Phantom Strike will ensure a passive bash.
# Assault Cuirass : A reliable choice
AC is always cool to have since it is both offensive (via the attack speed and armor reduction) and defensive (via the armor). Plus it's useful for the whole team, especially when you face off against lots of physical damage (not only right clickers but ultimates like Exorcism or Death Ward). It's actually my favorite extension item. Half of the time I even build it before upgrading my Basher or HotD.
# About Butterfly & Daedalus :
Your passive evasion will force the enemy carry to build a MKB so going Butterfly is unwise. Even if they don't, 50% is in my opinion quite enough to annoy them. You can focus on other big items.
Daedalus is not 100% stupid since crits stack. But, the item itself just offer more damage output. Wherheas items like Abyssal or MKB offer damage output as well (maybe a bit less) but also crucial abilities like bash, true strike or mini bash, which in my opinion are more helpful than just extra damage.
# Optional Items :
- Desolator for the snowball / alternative build as we saw.
- Monkey King Bar is core if the opposite carry builds a Butterfly or if you face off versus heroes with evasion (Brewmaster top of them, but Troll, Riki, Night Stalker also come in mind). It does not counter backtrack so it's useless versus Faceless Void. Get it instead of the Basher if you need it.
- As I mentioned, Sange and Yasha is a good mid game item. It gives tons of bonuses and it's easy to build thanks to the cheap components.
- Eye of Skadi can be a good substitute for BKB as well. The slows are very cool and it makes you tankier. The downside is that you don't really benefit from the components, so it's quite useless until you got the complete item.
- Diffusal Blade is really optional. It used to be a must have against Warlock's Golem. Though you benefits well from the agility gain and the mana break offers some extra damage, it's better to ask a teammate to build it. It can be a cool mid item but it's VERY situational (for example, if you face off against an Omniknight, or a Wraith King).
- Ring of Aquila or Drum of Endurance are cheap choices if you want to be more active early game.
- If you're willing to be aggressive on your lane, an Orb of Venom can be really useful.
- I've never tried Armlet of Mordiggian but it seems legit on paper. Quite cheap to build, useful damage and attack speed, gives some survivability, and the HP drain is compensated with your lifesteal.
- Hand of Midas is cool if you can get it early (I'd say before 7 minutes). Skip Battlefury if you get it. It'll just delay your other items.
- Moon Shard is, to my eyes, for the very late game. If you are already 6 slotted and still have tons of gold, you can put an item in your stash, buy and consume a Moon Shard, and then take your item back.
# Hoes & Foes:
This part could be very long due to the big pool of heroes in game. I'll try to summarize.
- About the enemy team:
# Mortred is a cool pick when the enemy carry has a pretty non flexible build with items they don't want to skip for an early MKB.
# You can pick PA if the enemy team doesn't have many disables (so you can skip BKB and still do tons of damage) or a full disable line up, because in this case that means they are totally countered by BKB (be careful in these games, you are really weak when your BKB is on cooldown).
# Don't pick her when enemy has good control spells, especially ones that go through BKB (Fiend's Grip, Lasso...). Note that hex no longer disables evasion, if I understood the new patch.
# Avoid heroes who usually build quick blademails.
# Keep in mind you have 50% evasion but you are still weak to physical spells that go through magic immunity. So avoid heroes such as Axe / Tide etc.
- About your team:
# Pick Mortred if your team has enough teamfight presence to allow a 100% single target oriented hero.
# Any hero with armor reduction is your friend since you only do physical damage.
# About cool supports to lane with: it's better to have a hero that has both a reliable stun and magical burst to compensate your lack of damage. Venge or Lion for example. You have yourself a very good slow so you need burst more than disables to help you. Defensive supports like Dazzle, Treant or Omni are okay for survivability but you'll find it more difficult to go aggressive.
# Try to lane with good harassers such as Jakiro etc.
# Any right click booster (Ogre/Invoker...) is cool in your compo.
# "Dedicated" counter items:
- Be extremely careful about Blade Mail, since you do more damage than you can handle yourself. That's the only case in which Phantom Strike can actually be your enemy (sorry dear spell). If your enemy is reactive enough to use it when you blink on him, you have to stop attacking as soon as possible; otherwise the crazy attack speed from Phantom Strike will cauue you to kill yourself. It's okay if you have a BKB but most of the time Blademail is online before BKB.
- Avoid blinking on people who have Ghost Scepter, it's wasting 4 seconds.
- Heaven's Halberd is a pain since you only do physical damage; same thing with Scythe of Vyse, which is the best disabling item. These are countered by having a BKB though.
- The Solar Crest is actually a good counter to you. If casted on the enemy you are attacking, it will grants him armor and evasion. Note that the duration is as long as the cooldown, so it's potentially a full time 30% evasion for one of your foes. If casted on you, you'll miss 30% of your attacks. In both cases, you understood MKB is a must have item.
- Last but not least, Silver Edge is actually a huge counter to PA. If the carrier successfully breaks the invis with a hit on you, you will be both harmless (-40% damage output and no Coup de Grace) and vulnerable (initial hurtful hit and no more Blur evasion) for 5 seconds.
# Match-ups versus the Top 6 most picked heroes: (september 2014)
If you are careful when your mid calls ss, you should be fine. This fat guy has pretty low armor, and rot is worthless once you have lifesteal. So basically it's just about avoiding those hooks. If you get caught, try to blink away. Even on an enemy, it's better than getting dismembered. Once his spells are on cooldown he's an easy target; even easier if you have a BKB.
You are awesome versus this guy. Most of the time Sniper's player will go a full damage build, because his op attack range + the 40% 'minibash' chance allow him to burst an enemy before he can reach him. But PA has a 1100 range instant blink. So Sniper is easy to catch and he's really squishy. Blur is cool as well, since it forces him to build MKB. If he rushes it, he misses survivability for a long time. If he focuses on another item, he misses damage for a long time. Don't forget to carry dust if he has shadow blade.
Eh, another cool match up actually. If you're not an arrow magnet, you can easily deal with her. She's squishy, and her Leap is pretty useless against you since you have huge ranged spells with short cooldowns. Same thing here about MKB. And same thing for dust as well!
Once again playing against Invoker is not too bad for you. You can be shut down a bit early game, but he's totally countered by BKB. Even if he goes for a right-click Invoker, he generally does not want to build a MKB and will suffer from the 50% evasion.
# Faceless Void:
With the new patch I'd say you are good against Void. He used to be the only hero who doesn't need a MKB to true strike you thanks to chronosphere, but that's over. You have no way to counter backtrack, but your attack speed and crit are good against his low health pool, especially if he pops MoM. Be careful though, Chronosphere doesn't give true strike anymore, but it's still an easy way to set up combos. Skywrath, Witch Doctor are real threats in this case.
I haven't play versus a BS in 6.82 but I think it's a good match up. You can chase him even if he's boosted by thirst. Rupture isn't a problem. Don't move, use Dagger immediately so he wastes crucial seconds getting close. Once he's in attack range, use Phantom Strike on him. If he uses the silence spell, you have still time to cast Dagger but not Phantom Strike. Finally, the bloodbath is a 50/50 skill for both of you so it doesn't really matter (in a 1v1 situation only !).
# Starting Items
Itemization starts before the horn. As soon as you enter the battle, you should think about what items to buy. Guess which hero will be laning against you and choose carefully. A stout shield is NOT needed against a Tidehunter. You basically have 3 choices :
- If the offlaner is a ranged hero with right-click harassing capacities (ex: Windranger), you should go for stout shield.
- If he is a physical spell spammer (ex: Bristleback, Tidehunter), you should go Ring of Protection (turnt later into a Basilius for the mana regen because these heroes force you to stay away from the creeps and last hit with the dagger) and a quick magic stick.
- If he is a magical spell spammer (ex: Undying), you should go for a fast magic wand.
# Roshan Trick on Dire side
More proof that Phantom Strike is your best ability. If you have a teammate with a spell that can give vision (Clockwerk, Shadow Demon, etc), ask him to do so over the Roshan Pit from a safe position. Break the Linken's with your dagger and use Phantom Strike after that. In that way you can do Rosh without passing through the potential river wards or buying a smoke. Important fact: ask your teammate to stay at the initial spot, so you can blink on him if the enemy team comes into the pit.
You can also do it alone with a dominated creep from your HotD. Stay on the safe spot, send your creep in the pit, blink on it and send the creep to the initial position. Even if the creep is seen by wards, the enemy will just think you were checking Roshan. Here again, blink out onto the creep if **** goes wrong.
Of course it requires some farm since you'll be solo in the pit (unless you have allies with blink that can join you). Special mention to Vengeful Spirit, thanks to her wave of terror you both get vision for the trick and armor reduction. And if she built a Medallion, it's even better.
# A special note about survivability
Playing carry requires a good knowledge of all heroes and good judgment. Being a good carry is a lot about knowing when you can take a fight or not. By knowing the capabilities of your hero and the enemy's and being aware of the enemy's farm compared to your own farm. Phantom Assassin actually has quite strong survivability because of her fantastic combo: Blur + Phantom Strike + Crit + Lifesteal. You should not underestimate this. As I said earlier in this guide, you're really good in a 1v1, but more generally, you are very sustainable once the stuns are on cooldown. 50% evasion is huge, a crit with lifesteal is huge, 120 bonus attack speed every 5 seconds is huge.
For some reason the video clips I make weigh 2 GB, so I had to search something that could illustrate what I mean and I though about this video from NoobFromUA staring Tucker as PA. Check it out.
Of course this is incredibly rare, but the idea is there. You have the tools to survive basically just by right clicking. So don't give up too fast, you can fight even if you are low HP.
# Put the chance on your side
This last one is for mechanics' lovers. Pseudo random distribution works more or less like this; The % chance of a proc starts actually lower than what it should be (lower than 15% for PA's crits) and then it rises as long as you don't proc. So if a big fight is coming, or if you are ganking, try to find creeps and attack then until you get 4-5 hits without a crit. Now you have a higher chance to proc a crit on the next attack so stop attacking until you blink on an enemy hero.
If you are patient or a perfectionist, you can try to combine this with both your crits and items. Try, by attacking creeps, to get 3-4 hits without any crit, bash or lightening. Now you you'll almost definately proc all of them the next time you use Phantom Strike.
# PA mid
You can actually handle tough match-ups when you are mid thanks to your Dagger. You just need your level 3 and then your foe can't deny his creeps from your Dagger. Just stay far enough, spam your dagger from up-hill in order to avoid filling up your enemy's magic stick if he doesn't see you. It ensures a decent farm even versus harassing heroes but you have no way to deny your own creeps in return. With that spam you should build a Basilius. A quick Basilius, turned later in an Aquila, bottle, brown boots, magic stick. I would recommend these items in an early mid-laning with PA.
You can easily gank with Blur but you are a pretty bad ganker as far as skills are concerned, compared to other mid heroes. So you'll need runes to ensure kills.
# PA & Runes
Invis rune is mediocre since the idea of Blur is to get close without being spotted by wards. Plus you have a blink capacity to closing the gap when initiating.
Regen is cool for lane sustain only, not ganking.
Bounty is okay because it improves your farm a little bit, but it stills doesn't help you gank.
Haste can be cool if you have only 1 point in Phantom Strike (i.e. a long cooldown), but with you 50% long slow, getting close is usually not the issue.
So you understood Double Damage is THE rune to get if you want to gank. Since you have the capacities to both sneak towards side lanes AND chase your enemy with Dagger + Blink, the only thing you miss is damage output. That's why DD > others runes.