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Hello and welcome to the beginners’ guide of Dota 2’s most fierce hero – Azwraith. Phantom Lancer is a strong melee agility hero who plays his role as a carry and a hard pusher due to his ability to create multiple illusions in a split second.
Phantom Lancer requires at least one support at his lane to help him grind a vast amount of farm, pick up a couple of kills, and secure a decent enough item-build before engaging into combat of a midgame phase.
He’s known for his signature illusion spamming spells, making him a great carry with on-hit trigger items, most annoying pusher and almost indistinguishable in the brink of battle.
For this type of headache giving spells, Phantom Lancer is also known for his famous nickname – Phantom Cancer.
Abilities and usage:
Q – Spirit lance – Phantom Lancer throws his spear at the selected single target enemy, dealing a decent amount of damage, scaling with level 100/150/200/250, and grows additionally with Talents 225/275/325/375.
The spell also slows your opponents’ movement speed for just the right amount (10%/18%/26%/34% for 3.25 seconds on each level) to track them down, and additional to that, it creates an illusion upon your target giving you vision in case they’re escaping into the fog of war.
In the worst case scenario where your lane opponents completely dominate the lane, Spirit Lance can be used to last hit creeps, but due to its demanding mana cost (125/130/135/140) you want to buy an item called Soul Ring at the side-shop of the map for constant replenishment of your mana, and most importantly, effective farming.
Azwraith’s proficiency at spearing his family’s meal of fish is proving quite useful in the battlefield.
W – Doppelganger – Is one of the most annoying spells throughout the game. Doppelganger allows you to vanish for 1 second, evading any projectile coming towards you, after which you re-appear with two additional illusions, giving your opponent a hard time figuring out which is the real one.
Bonus to Doppelganger’s efficiency is its range of 600. It will come useful to you in ways of escape, as well in chase of your opponents. For example, if you run from an opponent with no jump/blink ability, he won’t be able to follow your cliff-jump maneuver.
A great advantage of Doppelganger is its low mana cost of 50, and incredibly low cooldown when upgraded with Talents (25/20/15/10 with Talents 19/14/9/4).
Now imagine jumping every 4 seconds, evading any projectile thrown at you, constantly creating more and more illusions, almost never to be caught. You definitely want to max it out as your second spell, maybe even as first given to the difficulty of the laning phase.
Dread Magus Vorn’s death imbued the Phantom Lancer with the ability to blend with all spectrums of light.
E – Phantom Rush – Currently the best chase-down ability in the game. By right clicking on your opponent, you gain a charge of 800 movement speed until you reach him.
Additional to the fast movement charge, you gain bonus Agility (11/22/33/44) for 2 seconds upon reaching your target. The minimum proc distance is 250 range to ending maximum proc distance of 600/700/800/900 when leveled up.
It’s also known to be an excellent chase-down ability with great execution potential when used correctly. But be wary when using this ability, as you want to max your Spirit Lance and Doppelganger first, the early level cooldown is great, and the timing crucial (16/12/8/4 with no mana cost).
Azwraith knows that on the field of battle, speed can mean everything.
R – Juxtapose – Now, this is why people call Phantom Lancer – Phantom Cancer. On each hit Phantom Lancer has a chance to create an illusion (40%/45%/50%), and on each hit of his illusions, also have a chance to create an illusion (thankfully only 8% on all levels).
Illusions created by Manta Style also have a chance to create illusions, and even the rune you pick up by the river that spawns two illusions, they also have the ability to create more illusion. I know. Phantom Lancer is based on illusions, and nobody likes him.
We all want to know how strong these illusions are. Well, they take 650% damage, which is great, and deal 16%, which makes you think, “okay it’s not that bad”.
But now imagine all his illusions with just one on-attack trigger item rushing towards you with Phantom Rush, or even ambushing you with Doppelganger. You’d melt in mear seconds.
Each of Azwraith’s lance attacks feels like two from a normal warrior; or three; or four…
Gameplay and itemization:
Phantom Lancer’s core position is easy-lane-carry. With starting skill Spirit Lance (Q), and items such as Quelling Blade, Stout Shield and a pack of Tangos, you’re ready for an adventure of farm-vile.
Within minutes of effective last-hitting, you’ve gained level 5, making your Spirit Lance (Q) now doable for harassing your opponents. This is where the fun begins.
After a couple of Q’s, your opponent is left without anymore heals and becomes vulnerable to kill-potential.
Speaking of multiple, you’ve now surpassed your level 6 and added more points to your Doppelganger (W), and the first item you want to rush is Diffusal Blade.
An enchanted blade that allows the user to cut straight into the enemy’s soul.
It costs 3150 in total, built from items that give you the needed Agility for your main attribute, and Intelligence for higher mana regen and wider mana pool.
Diffusal Blade has the ability to purge your enemy, removing 90% of the game’s positive buffs, and slowing them to almost unmovable state. The most important impact it gives to Phantom Lancer is the on-attack mana-burn effect.
Mainly it burns 20 mana on each attack, but has a one-time upgrade, giving it greater 36 mana-burn on each attack. With this masterpiece of an item, you can solely hunt down your enemies with ease.
After hunting down your enemies a couple of times, more space opens for you to grab additional items. There are two best options for you to continue your build.
If you want to focus on Phantom Lancer’s split push abilities, focus on getting Boots of Travel next (for highspeed movement speed and its no-cost teleport with a shorter cooldown (45) then regular Teleport (60)).
On the other hand, if you wish to be a fierce warrior feared by all, you should go with this build. Your second item should be Power Treads (for bonus Agility, and attack speed), with your third item coming in as Manta Style.
This will allow you to be more efficient in the damage output, as well as boggling your opponents’ mind with additional illusions.
As the midgame passes, its time for expensive late-game items. As your fourth item, you would want to grab Radiance (5150).
A divine weapon that causes damage and a bright burning effect that lays waste to nearby enemies.
Radiance gives you an aura of 700 radius that scorches your enemy for 60 damage every second, and blinds your opponents, giving them a miss-chance of 17%.
All these effects work on each and every one of your illusions, making you even more Cancerous to the opposing team.
Every carry needs tankiness sooner or later. For the 5th and 6th item you would want to grab Assault Cuirass and Heart of Tarrasque.
Assault Cuirass will give you 15 armor, 25 bonus attack speed and an additional aura of 5 armor for you and your allies.
And with Heart of Tarrasque as your last item, you become an unstoppable force with its bonuses of 45 Strenght, 450 health and its insane 50% health regen amplification when out of combat.
You also might be interested in: Beginners Guide Dota 2 – Earthshaker
Counters and synergy:
- Earthshaker – This fella is someone who you want to ban each and every game in the draft section. Earthshaker’s combination of his Aftershock and Ultimate ability allows him to deal 310 damage for each hero around him, and you guessed it, for any illusion as well. When he grabs his precious Blink Dagger, you’re a goner.
- Queen of Pain – Has an enormous damage output in a large AoE radius. With her precise positioning of Scream of Pain (E) and Pure damage Ultimate, she can clear Phantom Cancer’s illusions in a second.
- Lina – One of the strongest, yet easiest champions to master stands as a great threat to Phantom Lancer. Her first two spells deal great damage and stun her opponents in 375 AoE. If placed correctly, she will reveal the real Phantom Lancer, and burst him down with her single target, pure damage Ultimate.
- Lion & Shadow Shaman – 2 support Intelligence heroes with high range and long disables (7+ seconds if timed correctly). Either of these does a very good job with PL for most of the game simply because the enemies are unable to escape the beatdown.
- IO – Best-known support when synergized with physical damage carries. Using his tether to connect with Phantom Lancer, IO gives him a great amount of attack speed. He can also teleport himself with PL to gank a lane or save him from danger.
- Omniknight – A strength-support hero known for his healing, yet purifying abilities. Omni Knight has an ability to heal Phantom Lancer for 360 Health with also dealing pure damage around him for the same amount. This combo can be well used with Phantom Lancer charging onto his opponent, or even healing his illusion to confuse the same.
If you’re a Dota 2 player that is looking to learn a new, fun, yet a simple champion, with high carrying potential, then Phantom Lancer is the hero for you.
He is always a fun pub-game pick, but if you’re looking to pick him in the Dota 2’s professional scene, you will need a good back-up team to support you.
With this said, we conclude our Dota 2’s beginner guide for Phantom Lancer, and as we love to say – stay Cancerous!