The Ultimate Phantom Lancer Guide
This is my personal guide/item build and strategy for Azwratih, the Phantom Lancer.
This guide is to be used mainly for -em type games, although it could be used for non-em as well.
For descriptions of Azwraith's skills use this link
Level 1: Spirit Lance
Level 2: Doppelwalk
Level 3: Spirit Lance
Level 4: Doppelwalk
Level 5: Spirit Lance
Level 6: Doppelwalk
Level 7: Spirit Lance
Level 8: Doppelwalk
Level 9: Juxtapose
Level 10: Phantom Edge
Level 11: Phantom Edge
Level 12: Juxtapose
Level 13: Juxtapose
Level 14: Juxtapose
Level 15: Stats
Level 16: Phantom Edge
Level 17-25: Stats
Usually i don't get juxtapose early because i find it's pretty useless early, due to low attack speed and that doppelwalk can be quite useful early for escaping ganks and such. Also, i wait until level 10 to add to phantom edge because i don't really find that i need it until i have at least level 1 of juxtapose. I know it also has the MR but I don't worry about getting casted because thats what doppelwalk is for.
Early Game Items
These are some useful items you might want to get early on in the game.
I like to buy the robe of magi early due to the nice mana boost. Typically i'll start right off with the ring of basilius and some tangoo's, (if its arem i'll usually wait for the money to buy a ring of regeneration), but build up to all these eventually. Some people like to get wraith band's, but i usually don't.
Early Game Strategy
Right when you get into your lane, if you're facing a melee type hero you should be very aggressive on the enemy creep waves. If you're up aganist a range type hero I usually just try to last hit creeps, or try to run up and hit the hero from time to time, to make them back off. Once you get to level 3, start harrassing with your spirit lance, if you are the solo, then i would wait until level 5 or even 7. Usually after you hit them a few times with it, they'll go back to heal a lot, or at least leave the lane, allowing you to farm quite well if you repeat this process. (Try to farm a lot early game. A strong and farmed PL can massacre a game.)
Also try to stick with your lane, usually you'll be left alone besides the oppsoing player in that lane, and if they try to gank just doppel away.
Mid Game Items
Your items should look something like this.
For the Treads, I usually will get strength treads because I like the life bonus from it. Agility is also fine, but I find strength to be more useful. Finish off the Vlad's and work on getting a yasha which I like to turn into Manta later. If you tend to have a nice income of gold, start off your butterfly by getting an eaglehorn, if you don't have too much gold, grab the talisman of evasion first. Overall they're both pretty helpful so it doesn't matter too much.
Since Manta Style no longer has the feedback effect, an optional item to get could be the Diffusal Blade. Feedback is always a great passive to have, especially if you're facing a lot of casters, and purge can be useful for chasing down enemy heroes.
Mid Game Strategy
Mid game i'll still like to stay in my lane. Usually by this point you'll be past the fist tower so if you end up pushing too far and an enemy hero comes, most of the time they will push it out a bit then leave to go somewhere else. If someone does come, just hide then come back out when they leave, or if its a weaker hero and you feel you can take them out, hide in the trees, doppel in, then go at it. If a few heroes come just get out of there and get to another lane or go neutral.
The only time I would really leave the lane is if the were a big team battle, or the other team was pushing hard. If this happens just doppel in and pick off weak heroes with your team around to help with the other ones. But still try to stick with farming the lanes.
Late Game Items
Here's how your PL should look late game...
, or or
Manta is always great for the movement/attack speed along with the increased damage and mirror image, a good fit for PL. The Butterfly is just a given, it is great for any agility hero. Assault Cuirass is also a good fit for PL, with the armor aura buffing up your images a bit, and the extra attack speed is always nice. The sixth item is really dependant on what type of heroes you are facing. If you're up aganist big hitting heroes, i would go for heart for the increased life. If you're up aganist a lot of intelligence heroes, I would go for Diffusal Blade for the mana burn and purge. If you're up aganist agility heroes and minor-casting intelligence heroes, i would go for Sange and Yasha, mostly for the maim, but the stat bonus is great as well.
Late Game Strategy
Late game is all about pushing. By now you will have a massive attack speed, so images should produce quite fast. This is extremely useful while pushing because it will have your enemies confused and scared to approach you.
In big team battles, you should lead the way. If there are some creeps around, attack them first to build up some images, then send them at the enemy heroes, and they will continue to build up, making it quite hard to kill you, and to even know where you really are. Pick off low life inteeligence heroes first, you will tend to kill them pretty quick, and make it easier for your team to take out the rest of them.
If you still can, gank a lot. A successful gank can lead to a good advantage to an upcoming push from your team. Communicating with your team is key to pulling off good ganks and pushes.
Heroes to Watch Out for
These are some heroes you should watch out for while playing Phantom Lancer. Most of them aren't too hard to take out 1v1, but watch out when they have their team backing them up.
Watch out for his avalanche and toss combo, avalanche especially. A successful hit on you could mean death if the oppsoing team is targeting you, because most of the time it will kill most of your images, leaving you defenseless to other disables. If you're fighting him alone, he may combo you, but afterwards there's nothing he can do to stop you besides his passive stun, so soloing him isn't too difficult.
Watch out for his combo! It is extremely strong and could take you by surprise if he has a blink dagger, but mostly only a big threat when in a team battle, like Tiny.
Mostly just watch out for his ult. You're an easy target if he catches you in it.
Watch out for his ult as well. If he Doom's you in a team battle, only worry about it if you're being targeted by the rest of the team, otherwise you could just keep fighting, Doom's damage hardly hurts later in the game.
He has a lot of AOE spells, so try not to get caught in those. Firestorm will destroy your images, and he might catch you off guard with a pit of malice, so if you're pushing, watch out for a gank from Pit if he's got teammates with him.
Don't let him get his ult off on you. It will give his entire team true sight vision of you, and decreases your defense. You'll be an easy target.
Watch out for his mana burn. A quick blink in and a couple good hits can do serious damage to your mana, and can leave you with none if you're trying to escape with a doppelwalk.
Just like Slardar, don't let him cast his ult on you, especially if you plan on making a near-death escape. You'll be easy prey for him.
Another AOE ult to watch out for. If he catches you in it, his team will be able to take you out with minimal effort. It's heroes like enigma you should try to eliminate first in a team battle.
Bloodseeker is probably the hero you should watch out for most. He is built to hunt down escaping heroes. In a team battle, target him right after you dispose of any annoying intelligence heroes. This is more of a personal preference for you rather than what's good for the team.
Thirst, Bloodrage and Rupture are all skills of his that he can use to have an advantage over you. Watch out for Bloodseeker.
Roaming around(Late Game)
Roam around the map to search for heroes that are farming neutrals, or gank heroes that are solo in their lanes. Also just killing neutral creeps like the ancients is good to accumulate extra income.
Push Push Push
Pushing and farming lanes is very important when playing Phantom Lancer. He can quickly push lanes quite easily with his images, which are also great for taking out towers.
Pros and Cons for PL
-Great stealth based combat style.
-Strong nuke with slowing effect and short cooldown.
-Magic Resistance Skill.
-Juxtapose is very effective for pushing lanes.
-Good balance of attributes.
-Very vulnerable early game to ganks and nukers. (Due to low mana)
-Images can be weak and easy to get rid of, earlier.
-Overall less effective early game.
Overall, Phantom Lancer is a great late game hero, so if the need arises, help out your team when they need it, because you don't want the other team to end it early. Having the game prolong will maximize PL's effectiveness, which will most of the time lead to a victory if you play him well and have good support. Thank you for reading my guide and I hope it helped you.ï¿½