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We outnumbered you, we outnumber them all: A Phantom Lancer guide (Updated!)

February 15, 2013 by depparted
Comments: 27    |    Views: 136247    |   

Build 1
Build 2
Build 3

Stats build

DotA2 Hero: Phantom Lancer

Purchase Order


Early Game (Relic is optional)

Core Items (rad if you bought relic)

Late Game

Stay out of

Only get it if you really need it

Hero Skills

Spirit Lance

2 3 5 7


1 8 9 10

Phantom Rush

13 14 15 17


11 12 16


4 6 18

We outnumbered you, we outnumber them all: A Phantom Lancer guide (Updated!)

February 15, 2013


Phantom Lancer, or PL for short, is one hell of a carry, and my personal favorite hero.
With his illusions, he's very hard to kill and can deal insanes amount of damage.
With a very powerful nuke and a good escape mecanism, he's useful from level 3 and throught the entire game.
It's really fun to play, and it's kind of easy to do.
This is my first guide, and english is not my native language, so excuse me for any mistakes I make along the way.

So, on with the guide!

Pros and Cons


- Has a nice nuke, with damage potential from the start;
- Highest agility gain in the game (an amazing 4.2 agi per level, that's 4 damage, 4 attack speed and 0.5 armor per level);
- Good escape mecanism;
- Amazing carry late game;
- Only needs a diffusal to start being effective early game.


- Very very squishy untill you get HoT;
- Dust/Sentries/Gem counters his escape;
- Very vunerable early if silenced;
- As any other carry, needs farm to really shine in the late game;
- Can have some mana problems early on.


Phanton Lancer's first skill is, shockling: Phanton Lance.
With just a 7 seconds CD it's a great nuke with a nice slow, and it creates an illusion at your target.

Doppelwalk is what makes PL so hard to kill if the other team has no coordination.
It makes you invisible and creates an illusion right beside you to confuse your enemies.
Its manacost and CD are considerable in the early game, but they decrease a lot as you level the skill.

PL's first passive is Juxtapose.
It gives you a 12% chance to create an illusion of yourself as you attack.
Great passive, but shouldn't be taken early on, since PL needs a nice attack speed to make the procs happen more often.

And finally PL's ult is Phantom Edge.
Not only it gives you 10/15/20% magic resistance, it buffs your juxtapose chance to 18%, and gives any illusions you have a 7% to create another illusion as they attack.


Early game!

The early game rule to any carry is: FARM!
And PL is no exception to that rule!
Farm 'till your heart's content! Find a nice support to babysit you in lane and farm away!
If mid comes to gank, throw in some phantom lances and try to secure the kill, but remember: don't overcommit to a kill, it might get you killed!
But otherwise, stick to farming.
And remember: no skill build is static, adjust it to your needs in each game! If you're getting ganked a lot, get more points in Dopplewalk, since the reduced mana cost and shorter cooldown can be a lifesaver.

Mid game!

So you've made it into mid game, and if all went well, you should have at least one core item (Diffusal, or radiance if you went for it).
Now you evaluate the game: can my team survive without me? Will I die too much if I start to really commit to teamfighting?
If you answered yes to both, then keep farming, if not, it's time to go chase some kills.
Your phantom lance slow coupled with your diffusal's slow makes you a very good chaser, with a 250 damage nuke/slow every 7 seconds, getting kills shouldn't be too hard.
And as always, remember: it's better to get out alive without killing anyone than getting a kill and getting killed right after!

Late game!

Oh the late game, the carries paradise!
If your team hasn't lost yet, it means you have at least 2 more big items (HoT, Manta, Butterfly or whatever item you chose to go), and you're probably balling hard now, so go rape the other team and be happy.
But never put yourself in bad spots, a dead carry can cost your team the game.
Nothing much about this stage, teamfighting and pushing should be constant, and you should always be there!

Items choice

Things you should buy!

Early game, the soul ring + tranquil boots combo should give you all the lane sustentability you need to never have to go back to base, ever.
Plus, this combo gives you free nukes, just pop the soul ring, throw phantom lance and heal up with tranquil.
But why tranquil and not treads you might ask:
Well, tranquil is the cheapest pair of boots in the game, and they give a lot of movespeed, making chasing/escaping so much easier for you. Plus, with all that agility gain, PL can make do without the extra attack speed from treads. Tranquil doesn't give you the stats that treads does, but it does give you some nice armor.

Diffusal is an obvious choice, since it's the only orb effect that works on illusions AND it combos wonderfully with your phantom lance's slow. Plus the extra agi can't hurt on such a stats deppendent hero.

Radiance works well on any illusion hero, and that includes PL. Sure your illusions don't get the raw damage increase, but they do get the aura, and that makes farming and pushing easier, since the real you doesn't need to be there

HoT is a great item for any hero, but it works specially well on PL, since it makes you and your illusions so tanky that they can probably kill an enemy support hero by themselves.

Manta is great on PL, not only it gives some nice stats, attack and movespeed, its active ability works wonders on him, since the manta illusions can also create more illusions by themselves.

Butterfly is the ultimate item for every agi carry, and even if the illusions don't get the evade, it is still an amazing item.

BKB is a nice item for every carry, but I find myself hardly ever needing it, but always keep it in mind against a hard disable/magic damage team.

Ethereal Blade not only gives you and your illusions some great stats, but combined with your amazing agility gain and your spirit lance, you can deal massive amounts of damage to people. I know this goes against the whole concept of a hard auto attacking carry, but this item can turn the tide of a 1v1 against another carry, since it deals great damage, and it stops them from attacking you. Plus, you can probably 2 shot most squishy supports.

Things you shouldn't buy!

Skull Basher/Abyssal Blade are completely useless, since your illusions don't benefit from the raw damage nor they can bash, stay away from it.

Battlefury is also stupid! your illusions don't cleave and don't recieve the bonus damage. Sure the regen in nice, but still not worth it.

Ring of Aquilla sure gives you some nice stats, but the tranquil + soul ring combination is so much better.

Sange and Yasha is a bad bad bad combination of items. Sure it gives you nice stats, but it's too expensive for what it provides.

MKB is a nice item, but once again, it benefits only you, and not your illusions.

A few tips about items

Whatever you choose to buy, remember: you're looking for things your illusions benefit from, so always remember that when buying stuff.

The new metagame (Early 2013 - The defense 3 and EMS Cup)

Well once again, the pros came along and spoiled all the fun!
hahaha j/k, they actually introduced a very different take on PL, specially on the early game.
I named it the Fear build because I first saw it done by EG. Fear, but if anyone knows who exactly started this one feel free to correct me.

This new PL gives more focus into your auto attacks early on, since the nuke damage requires no item. The skill build changes around to fit this new playstile too.
Here your goal is to get that yasha as soon as possible, this is really important, since it'll be the item that makes your juxtapose proc more often with that sweet attack speed.
After, or even before, you can consider a set of Drums of Endurance, since they give you amazing stats early on, and you'll be almost hasted when combining the drums active + yasha + tranquil.
After that, get that diffusal and finish your manta, everything else stays the same.
And always remember: if you're free farming or farming like crazy, get a midas, it's an amazing farming item.
Heart as always should come right after manta, the tankability is mandatory.
About the skadi: Sure it does not get carried to your illusions, but the stats are what you're looking for. When you buy it, remember to sell your diffusal, since they don't stack. This item will make you, and you're illusions nearly immortal... A level 25 PL with full slots (skadi, heart, manta, boots, butterfly and daedalus/mkb) will have 3.5k hp, evasion and a ****load of armor, meaning killing you is next to impossible.

And I know I said mkb/daedalus aren't worth it, but in the late game, you need to step up your damage, those items do exactly that! Mkb should only be picked up if you're facing a hero with evasion that's causing you a lot of trouble, if not, go for the daedalus, since your illusions will crit aswell.

Friends and Foes

Friendly supports:
Since PL is a carry, virtually any support can be listed as friend, but there are some special ones:

I found that Ogre is one of the best supports to lane with PL for some reasons:
1) He has such a intimidating presence early game with such a low CD stun and and that slow that most other heroes will think twice before coming close to you
2) His skills make getting early kills so easy it's almost unfair. He stuns, you hit, then you both slow and BAM, enemy dead.

Oh the allmighty support, omni.
He can heal, he can repel, he can make you invunerable to physical damage... Nothing much more to say. Oh, and repel dispels dust.

Stuns, disables, nukes, slows... They all work well with PL and can babysit him in lane.

Friendly carries:

Because well, **** your mana.

Inifite slows means infinite kills, think about it.

You're NOT supposed to lane together, but your slow coupled with blade fury can get some nice easy kills

Moar illusions means it's harder to tell who's real, leaving you open to easy kills and messy teamfights for your enemies. Plus, chaos' stun and naga's net can get some nice kills.


Basically any AOE caster can **** you up, but there are some that are pretty cruel out there:

You provide 10 units (12 if you have manta) alone to ES's ult, and well, that's not pretty.
Seriously, it ****s you up pretty hard.

The ultimate illusion destroyer, OD can kill everyone of your illusions in one hit and see the real you in no time. Plus his aura makes your diffusal's feedback pretty much useless. And his late game ult makes you cry like a little girl

Who's the real you? Who cares, I'll just cleave all of you with 1k crits and gigantic boats.

12 people hitting me? Pff, I'll just counter helix you to death.

Going invi? I still can see ya!

Meteor, tornado, EMP, Deafening blast, ice wall...
All of these AOE spells in just one hero.

They can create illusions of you, that in turn can create more illusions of yourself.
They basically fight fire with fire
Plus, the initial illusions hurt, A LOT.

Miss, miss, miss, miss...
Basically the MC Hammer of dota.

So as you can see, PL has a lot of enemies and a lot of friends.
But don't be intimidated, the right item choices can make them as easy to kill as anyone else.

The end!

So this is it, my first guide!
Thanks for reading it all the way, and if you have some suggestion please post them on the comments!
Once again thank you and see you next guide!

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