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Most Concise Morphling Alt-Tab Guide
The first of the longest alt-tab guides in existence.
by Melderv

Latest Changes:
  • June 23, 2013 - Updated to 6.78b. It has no Dota 2 counterpart for now. Comment if you want one.
Originally Posted by SM|1sm View Post
Wow. He stated at the beginning that this was the guide of a pubber, not a competitive player. But the guide is totally relevant to competitive play, too. Apart from the fact that they rather mix-and-match the items that Melderv suggested, depending on how the game is going, they get pretty much everything Mel suggested.

  1. Foreword
  2. Introduction
  3. Playstyle
  4. Morphling's Skills
  5. Skill Build
  6. Item Builds
  7. General Strategy
  8. Miscellaneous
  9. Conclusion
  10. Replays
  11. Credits
  12. Changelog


This guide was written by a Filipino whose native language is not English. As SM|1sm already pointed out, although this is a pubber's guide to Morphling, all his items are viable in competitive matches as well. You forget that Morphling is incredibly versatile, and my choices might not appeal to everyone.

I don't play Morphling much anymore, but there is no doubt when I say he is an excellent Hero that is able to "adapt" to any situation, pun intended. I recently edited this guide to look much more like my newer guides (Pudge, Meepo, and Traxex).

This is the first of my alt-tab series guides, which are not actually alt-tab guides. I hope you enjoy them.

History: This is Morphling's history in a table starting from 6.70.

6.70-6.70cNo changes.
6.71Adaptive Strike rescaled from (0.75/1.5/2.25/3.0x Agility) to (20/40/60/80 + up to 0.5/1/1.5/2.0x Agility).
6.71bNo changes.
6.72Armor reduced by 2. Replicate now has a visual time (Player only) that counts down its duration. Morph now has a visual effect (different for AGI and for STR) that can be seen by both teams.
6.72b-6.72cNo changes.
6.72dFixed a rare bug with Morph Replicate allowing you to endlessly teleport to the middle of the map.
6.72e-6.72fNo changes.
6.73Base agility increased by 5. Adaptive Strike cooldown decreased from 20 to 10.
6.73b-6.73cNo changes.
6.74Morph passively grants 3/4/5/6 STR and AGI. Waveform now properly dodges projectiles.
6.74b-6.74cNo changes.
6.75Cast animation time increased from 0.3 to 0.45. Morph manacost increased from 20 to 30 mana per second. Base damage decreased by 6. Waveform AoE decreased from 255 to 200. Waveform no longer allows you to start attacking/casting before it is completed.
6.75bNo changes.
6.76Cast animation time improved from 0.45 to 0.4.
6.76b-6.76cNo changes.
6.77Cast animation time improved from 0.4 to 0.25.
6.77b-6.77cNo changes.
6.78Base attack time improved from 1.7 to 1.6.
6.78bNo changes.



This guide does not detail competitive play. I'm not qualified to give useful opinions on such. This is purely a pubber's point of view on Morphling, but that's not to say I'm degrading my guide.

Morphling is the kind of Hero that you pick if you want to own hard with your team. He is not the Hero to pick if you don't farm well. Although you can take advantage of a few mistakes your enemies make early, that's not enough to justify a win later on. Morphling is quite item dependent as a ranged AGI carry Hero, and learning how to get those items is a core skill when playing Morphling.

Here are a few reasons why to pick Morphling for that game:
  • You want to have a good game with cooperative teammates. Morphling is not a 1v5 Hero, because nobody is. When you pick Morphling, make sure your teammates are not picking Heroes that are going to compete with his farm. Although he may farm well, all the extra burden is going to be heavy later on.
  • You like playing mindgames. Waveform is an easy juke skill, and with Replicate, you can easily form mindgames with your Hero.
  • You want a hard-hitter with an escape mechanism. Morphling may have two in hand, which you can also use to whack enemies with.
  • You like Heroes that are useful at all stages in the game. If you farm well, you can carry the team to victory. If you focus more on player skill rather than total farm, you can use early-middle game to your advantage by being a ganker.



Morphling can carry the games he ganks on, if done correctly. In a few seconds, he can start tanking after taking out a fragile carry or supporter. It all depends on how you want to do it.

Carry: However, you can't do this all on a failing game. To be a farmer, you need to get your core as soon as possible. That involves last hitting well early so that you can get your Boots of Travel, and using Waveform to farm and avoid getting killed rather than risking a rambo kill (i.e., killing but getting killed in the process).

Ganker: As a ganker, you may have to utilize Waveform by itself coupled with good teammates to reach the farm you need. Although effective early game, you'll just be useless later on if the failed ganks outnumber the successful ones. When you play ganker, make sure your teammates are likely to respond, which should be hard if you don't know the people you're playing with.

Tank: More rarely, to be a tanker, you'll have to sacrifice a few damage items. You'll be a lot more risky and you might have to initiate clashes by entering with Waveform. You'll be using a lot more mindgames with Replicate, and you'll also be using it to escape after tanking a good portion of the enemy damage, only to return as a semi-carry after Morphing a few STR points to AGI.



Click the spoiler button to see my Morphling Hero Summary.


Background Story: The Morphling, nature's magnum opus, the pinnacle of evolution, can force his liquid body to flow over opponents in a massive wave, forcibly moving himself as well as injuring his enemies. At a whim he may change the composition of his body, trading strength for agility and vice versa. Capable of manipulating his energy into either disable or damage based on his strongest attribute, the Morphling's most disturbing ability creates a literal clone of a chosen target, forcing them to face their own reflection as he crushes them in their confusion.

Strength - 19 + [2]
Agility - 24 + [3]
Intelligence - 17 + [1.5]

Attack Range:350

Waveform - (Active, Point-Target, Affects Enemy Units)
____________________Morphling dissolves into his components and surges forward, dealing damage to everything in his wake.

 ManaCooldownC. RangeAoEDurationEffects
1140111000200N/A100 damage.
2155111000200N/A175 damage.
3160111000200N/A250 damage.
4165111000200N/A325 damage.

  • Morphling becomes invulnerable while traveling using Waveform.

  • You will not lose control of Morphling when he uses Waveform.

  • Both as initiating nuke or as a clever escape mechanism, the damage is quite more painful compared to other spells.

  • In 6.74, you can now properly dodge projectiles using this skill.

  • In 6.75, Waveform no longer allows you to start attacking/casting before it is completed.

  • You can pass through trees and cliffs using this skill.

  • This is your main damage source early on.

  • Waveform's damage type is Magical.

Adaptive Strike - (Active, Single-Target, Affects Enemy Units)
____________________Blasts a target with magical energy, dealing damage and disabling the target based on the Morphling's dominant attribute between Agility and Strength.

 ManaCooldownC. RangeAoEDurationEffects
110010600N/A0.25-0.7520 + 0.25x-0.5x AGI Damage dealt.
210010700N/A0.25-1.540 + 0.25x-1.0x AGI Damage dealt.
310010800N/A0.25-2.2560 + 0.25x-1.5x AGI Damage dealt.
410010900N/A0.25-3.080 + 0.25x-2.0x AGI Damage dealt.

  • For the stun, refer to the duration. For the damage, refer to the effects.

  • If you have 50% more agility than strength, it deals the maximum of the damage and the minimum of the stun.

  • If you have 50% more strength than agility, it deals the maximum of the stun and the minimum of the damage.

  • Knocks the target back 100 - 300 units.

  • Recently changed, Adaptive Strike now deals Magical damage.

  • Very early on, this is not a reliable source of damage.

  • You can use this spell to interrupt channeling spells.

  • Completely blocked by Linken's Sphere.

Morph (D|F) - (Active-Instant, Self-Buff, Affects Self)
____________________The Morphling edits his physical being to fit the circumstances. He can, at will, lose some strength and gain agility, or vice versa. The process is reversible.

 ManaCooldownC. RangeAoEDurationEffects
1301/1N/AN/AN/A2 points every second. +3 STR and AGI.
2301/1N/AN/AN/A4 points every second. +4 STR and AGI.
3300.5/0.75N/AN/AN/A6 points every second. +5 STR and AGI.
4300.25/0.5N/AN/AN/A8 points every second. +6 STR and AGI.

  • Adds 3/4/5/6 STR and AGI depending on the level of Morph.

  • Even if Morphling is disabled, when set on Autocast, it will continue to move the stats.

  • Bonus STR or AGI from items can't be converted, remember this.

  • Most people who are unfamiliar with Morphling tend to forget that they have Morph on autocast. This is very expensive for his mana and may cause some unexpected deaths or situations, so don't forget!

  • There are two numbers for the cooldown. The first one is for the autocast, and the second is for the manual cast.

  • The visual effect for Morph can be seen by both teams.

Replicate - (Active, Single-Target, Affects Heroes and Illusions)
____________________The Morphling has the unique ability to replicate any target friendly or enemy hero. Although it only deals 50% damage, the hero can morph into his replication, instantly taking its position.

 ManaCooldownC. RangeAoEDurationEffects
12580700N/A30Creates an Illusion of the target unit.
225801100N/A45Creates an Illusion of the target unit.
335801500N/A60Creates an Illusion of the target unit.

  • The Illusion receives 100% damage, which means there is no way to tell if it is real or not simply by damaging it.

  • The Illusion deals 50% of the original's damage.

  • When the Illusion is created, this skill is temporarily replaced by another skill (called Morph Replicate) until the illusion disappears.

  • A practical way of using this is for teleporting, if you can imagine how. Replicate an ally, set aside, use a TP scroll, do whatever you have to do, and then use Morph Replicate and control the map.

  • As an escape mechanism, you can use this skill to prepare for a clash you are uncertain of winning. Just use Morph Replicate when you are in danger of dying, as long as the Illusion is still there, mind you.

  • For mind games, use a Replicate of an ally to fool enemies into thinking the illusion is real, wasting their skills.

  • For stealing item effects, Replicate a holder of Radiance to gain its effects.

  • For taking advantage of passive skills, Replicate Axe to obtain an Illusion that can tank as he uses Counter Helix.

  • You cannot target yourself at all with this skill, even Manta Style illusions.

  • The Illusion has all the properties of a standard Illusion, such as being destroyed by Hex or Purge.

  • Completely blocked by Linken's Sphere (on enemies, of course).

  • The visual timer can only be seen by the player.



1. Waveform
2. Adaptive Strike/Stats
3. Waveform
4. Stats
5. Waveform
6. Stats
7. Waveform
8. Stats
9. Morph
10. Replicate
11. Replicate
12. Stats/Adaptive Strike
13. Adaptive Strike
14. Adaptive Strike
15. Adaptive Strike
16. Replicate

Justification (Flexibility): This is an experimental build with the goal of achieving the most flexible type of Morphling. It can be adjusted according to every situation. You can adjust it your liking, beyond the two obvious changes you can make.

Waveform is maxed first as it is clearly his best skill. It will be his damage source from early to middle game, while still being useful as a utility spell for ganking and escaping. It costs 165 mana, so we only take Adaptive Strike as his second skill to interrupt.

His manapool is quite low, Stats offer a good fix to this. So only take Adaptive Strike early if your allies' stuns are too valuable to waste on a channeling Hero. Otherwise, head directly for Stats up to Level 8, or give one point to Morph for a +3 boost to STR and AGI plus the option to use the skill, as explained next.

Morph costs 30 mana, and we only need 1 level of it for now, taken at Level 8. You can switch it with one point of Stats early on, since it adds +3 to STR and AGI on the first level anyway. It will be useful for manipulating your stats slightly. You then level the rest of Adaptive Strike during 12-15 because that's where it'll be likely to be effective.

Replicate is taken at Level 10 and 11. Although it is not as important, utilize it during those times!

If you have not yet read what I have been trying to imply earlier in my foreword, this skill build is not meant to restrict your gameplay. Flexibility is Morphling's greatest asset, and to provide only one skill build to use limits his potential. I've elaborated on the Miscellaneous portion about situations involving a change in the skill build, but so far, this is the most common build that I personally use.

Note: Adaptive Strike is taken early only when there is a need for interrupting channeling spells and that's it. Otherwise, go for Stats.



I have four core builds, all extremely different from each other to emphasize Morphling's flexibiliy as an asset. Let me list down some of their qualities below. Their respective build progressions are noted underneath their justifications to save space.

Manta CoreNot to be confused with the mythical creature Manticore, this build is focused on maximum dps output as early as possible. Manta Style is the centerpiece of this build, and it involves making full use of the illusions to deal damage as the prime cooie cutter build.
Ethereal CoreEthereal Blade is the sniper rifle of Morphling in this build, equipped magical Adaptive Strike ammunition to slay his enemies from afar. This build focuses on instant kills over fragile support/disabler Heroes instead of achieving a widespread dps like Manta Core.
SnY-Diffusal CoreThe first Orb Effect build proposed, SnY-Diffusal Core is the build to get for ganker Morphlings who intend to maximize AGI use instead of raw damage output. The Maim and Purge is there to chase when needed.
Skadi RushSkadi Rush is a proposed build for experienced players who are keen with their farming at early stages. It involves rushing Eye of Skadi as their first item right after getting their basic needs. There is very little room for error in this one.


Boots of Travel is the best choice, but it is not the best by too much. It excels only very little above Power Treads, but because of the map control and farming power it gives, it is generally suited for a hard carry such as Morphling. Do not mind my putting Boots of Travel as a core item for three of my builds because I chose it for simplicity. Power Treads is still an option every time.
Power Treads is the second best boots but it doesn't stray far from the above. The general questions you should be asking yourself before you get this instead should be: Am I dying too much? Do I need to focus on survivability rather than farming? Do I need to adjust to the enemy's gameplay? And finally, can I use Power Treads better than Boots of Travel in this situation? If you answer yes to at least two of those, then by all means, get this item.

Manta Core

Justification: Boots of Travel as discussed above.

Manta Style is still a decent item on Morphling, despite the recent nerf on it with ranged Heroes, and the fact that Morphling cannot Replicate his own illusions. Why?

Manta Style is just the DPS item to get when you want to own in clashes in general. The DPS is quite good even after the nerf, and it's the item to get when you want to dish out a whole lot of DPS, rather than burst damage. You can still have the best of both worlds, but in the end, Manta Style is still the preferable build.

Linken's Sphere is always there as an option. You can get Manta Style first and then Linken's Sphere. But almost always, if you're going for this type of Morphling, Linken's Sphere will be gotten first. It solves mana problems and gives you a good boost for stats, not to mention the Spell Block ability.

Magic Wand is, of course, part of the core build. I'll discuss the other items to get along with the core later on.


  1. Ultimate Orb

  2. Perseverance

  3. Linken's Sphere

  4. Ultimate Orb

  5. Yasha

  6. Manta Style

  1. Perseverance

  2. Yasha

  3. Ultimate Orb

  4. Linken's Sphere

  5. Ultimate Orb

  6. Manta Style



Middle Lane

Items: It is fairly easy to manage Morphling in a middle lane. What you do is you get the safest consumables that you need in order to farm up a 600-gold Empty Bottle. The downsides to Morphling middle lanes are that you can't control your lane. You have whatever you are given. Against a good solo such as Tinker or orbwalker such as Viper, you pretty much resort to scraping any last hits you might get.

Against burst damage solos, it's advisable not to get any mana regeneration. Instead, focus on a single Healing Salve and a single batch of Tangos. With four Ironwood Branches to last hit, that's all you're gonna really need (assuming you bought an Animal Courier).

Lane Control: If you think you're going against someone who's going to control the lane a lot, maybe against another farmer such as Shadow Fiend, or an annoying solo like Obsidian Destroyer, get two Clarity Potions instead of the Healing Salve. You'd be a lot more on the offensive because you know by themselves they can't kill you. You'll use Waveform to harass while last hitting and retreat back to safety.

Farming: Farming is as simple as pie. Walk up to the enemy wave, making sure you're not going to get killed in the process, get near the Hero, which will expect you, and Wave back to your original position, killing creeps in the process.

Etiquette: Common middle lane etiquette applies (calling missing Heroes, calling rune locations). If it's getting risky, I always buy an Empty Bottle before upgrading to the Flying Courier. Or, you might need a Flying Courier first to deliver more consumables if you're getting pummeled on a lot. It's your choice.

You can only gank depending on what rune you take. Double Damage, Invisibility, Haste, and Regeneration can be used to gank (only when you could bottle the Regeneration rune though). You don't have a stun, and you're going to be relying on the damage from Waveform to kill, so coordinate with your allies. If you get lllusion, you can fake that you're not missing by sending one back to your lane. Other mindgames include sending it to a dual-stun enemy lane to fake a fail gang.
  • Get to a high level as you farm. Don't move around too much because you'd have another person gang for you. By yourself, you can't roam, but ganking is an option.

  • Keep yourself safe and avoid getting deaths. Don't tower dive with Waveform unless you're confident. Just use common sense.

  • Call missing Heroes and be aware if you're known to be missing or not.

  • Since you buy the Empty Bottle, too, once you have it, you can start efficiently ganking. Don't just gank for the sake of trying. Secure a kill or don't move at all, because you'd let no one defend your lane.



Getting Stuck

Getting stuck on purpose in order to escape is something that you should know. Whether be it a patch of trees no one can get to, or a high cliff that would lose enemy vision, these places are locations you should be aware of at all times. At times, this may be because of error, and you might just get lucky.

You have three means of getting out. Using Waveform again once it's on cooldown is the second quickest, and usually the most convenient. Next is using Boots of Travel, an item you should have as your core. Finally, Replicating someone and taking the illusion's place. A fourth one is using the command -unstuck, but then you'd waste valuable time.



This conclusion will be of the entire guide as my final words. Nothing on strategy anymore, since everything is summarized into neat sections that would detail everything that you would need to know in a jiffy.

This guide is not fully informative, but it does provide the necessary information quickly and concisely. It's a good reference guide to the many possibilities of Morphling, with good reasons that justify their potential in the actual game.

I made this guide in my free time in a single day. I'd continue updating it as Morphling and DotA itself is changed. Soon, I'd post a replay, either of me or my friends, doing this guide that I've made that could be of valuable reference to you guys.

Thanks for reading my guide, and I hope you discovered a new Hero. To all the newbies out there, keep playing, don't let losing discourage you, but don't let DotA take over your life. It's just a game, and there are more important things out there waiting for you. Such as DotA 2.

Final Words: My Alt-Tab series of strategy guides are meant to display as much helpful information as possible without the unnecessary portions. They are not meant for Spotlight guides, with their fancy pictures and video tutorials. That is, in my opinion, extremely time-consuming. It deviates from my purpose, which is to have fun while writing this guide to communicate with others in the DotA community. I like to maintain clean and simple updated works which are just as rich in content as most good guides are.



Replays removed due to oldness.



I'd like to thank you, my dear reader. I'd like to thank my friends who have supported me a lot, but never as Morphling, not yet at least. Thanks IceFrog and all of DotA's developers and beta testers for such a nice game. This guide is short but sweet and it's for all of you.

On a personal note, I have no specific people to thank, except probably dsbnnoob, The Rev, who always used Morphling in my casual games.



  • October 27, 2010 - Started and finished the guide.
  • November 4, 2010 - Guide published. Edited the formatting of the guide, specifically the Morphling's Skills, Item Builds, General Strategy, and Miscellaneous. Added more information to Morph early from one of my posts.
  • November 5, 2010 - Added more information to Foreword, Skill Build, Credits, and which upgraded boots to take.
  • November 9, 2010 - Added replay from a pub game on the same day.
  • December 18, 2010 - Added a banner I made for the guide.
  • December 25, 2010 - Updated to 6.70, Merry Christmas!
  • January 23, 2011 - Updated to 6.71.
  • February 22, 2011 - Added some minor stuff.
  • May 1, 2011 - Updated fully to 6.72.
  • May 5, 2011 - Updated fully to 6.72b.
  • May 10, 2011 - Added a new core item build and updated a few things. 6.72b ready.
  • June 14, 2011 - Updated fully to 6.72c.
  • April 22, 2012 - Updated to 6.74c.
  • June 23, 2013 - Updated to 6.78b. It has no Dota 2 counterpart for now. Comment if you want one.


Morphling the Morphling
Author: Melderv
Map Vers.: 6.72c

Morphling Alt-Tab Guide

Most Concise Morphling Guide

Date Posted: 10/27/10
Last Comment:22/06/2013
Total Votes: 193
Current Rating: 8.75
Views: 422774

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