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May 29th, 2008

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Hero Counter Guide by ECKsO

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

Author of this great guide is ECKsO

Preface

DotA Allstars is a game with many layers of strategy, and like any well balanced game it features a paper-rock-scissors system. This guide has evolved significantly since it’s first incarnation, but has remained focused on the first decision made in every game of DotA Allstars: hero selection. This choice is often far more important than people give it credit, and can frequently make or break your team’s effectiveness over the course of the game. Taking the liberty to modify Sun Tzu’s proverb from the Art of War: “If you know both your heroes and your enemy heroes, you will come out of one hundred battles with one hundred victories.”
The first of the two major components of this time honored concept, is knowing your teams heroes. A team should be balanced, and if you and your allies choose a team of heroes that heavily leans to one end of the spectrum you are likely hindering your effectiveness. As an example, if I see an ally select Stealth Assassin and another select Bounty Hunter, it would be unwise for me to choose Nerubian Weaver or Clinkz. This is due to the fact that the opposing team will likely get a Gem or Sentry Wards to counter my allies, and I will be at a significant disadvantage from the start. The same principle applies to a majority of spell dependent heroes. If your team selects all spell casters against a competent team, you will see HoD and BKB which again, lowers your team effectiveness. In summary, know your ally heroes strengths and weaknesses and try to compensate for them in your own. In this guide you’ll see which heroes to choose.

The second part of Sun Tzu’s concept is to know your enemy. Generally speaking, DotA is balanced by having a counter-hero or item for every hero or skill/spell. Please understand that the largest factor in deciding the outcome of a DotA Allstar game is not the fact that one hero has an advantage against another, its player skill and team work. Even with a hero that is best equipped as the “counter-hero” for your enemy, you may still lose to your opponent if they have a higher skill level than yourself. By choosing your hero wisely, you are successfully approaching the first layer of strategy, but that alone will not warrant you a victory.

That said, there are cases where (all skill levels considered equal) one hero or item will have a significant advantage against a specific enemy hero. A classic example of this is Medusa against Omniknight. Her Purge ability instantly removes all of Purist’s buffs, rendering his Repel and Guardian Angel useless when she is around. Can a team with a skilled Omniknight player excel against a mediocre Medusa player? Of course, but there was always a slight advantage in base effectiveness for Medusa when teamed up against an Omniknight player.

Hero Selection

The initial minute of every game is critical for this kind of strategy. Ideally, you will want to wait to select your hero until around the 60 second mark, or until the other team has selected most of their heroes. This will leave you with at least 30 seconds to buy your starting items and get to a lane, which is more than enough for the average player. For -random games, consider a repick if you find yourself facing 2 or more of your “counter” heroes, or your team is too skewed in one direction or another. This guide is to help you know which hero to select, and what item build to begin working toward by that 60 second mark.

I understand that some people hate the idea of “counter-picking” but the fact of the matter is, it is a part of DotA and if you choose to ignore it you will often find yourself at a disadvantage. To limit the impact of this kind of strategy being used against you, you can simply play -ar or -rd games, or wait even longer to select your hero.

Without further ado, here is my current alphabetical list of heroes and their significant counters. While there are thousands of possible counter combinations of heroes and items, they all vary in effectiveness and I will attempt to capture only the best. Please feel free to add your own suggestions after you’ve read the note at the bottom of the guide.

Heroes & Their Counters


Anti-Mage
.:Dota Allstars Magin the Antimage:.

Heroes:
{Tiny} Tiny has one of the smallest natural mana pools in the game, which lowers the effectiveness of Magina’s Mana Break & Mana Void. Grow greatly enhances Tiny’s physical damage output, which the low health Magina is very susceptible to. Additionally, should the Anti-Mage stay and fight, Craggy Exterior causes his fast attacks to work against him as he will be stunned and damaged frequently. As usual against an Anti-Mage player, it’s usually best to unleash all of your spells early in the fight before you’ve lost the necessary mana.
{Rhasta} Like most fragile blink heroes, Magina suffers greatly from chain disables. Between Shackle (4.75 seconds), Voodoo (4 seconds) and a Guinsoo (3 seconds), you can near permanently ground him. Additionally, his Wards deal physical (piercing to be exact) damage, so his Spell Shield won’t benefit him from any of this. Especially with a teammate nearby, there’s little chance he’ll survive.
{Bane} Nightmare can set Magina up for a team kill, or allow for an easy escape from him should he attempt an ambush. Fiend’s Grip gives you (and your team) 5 seconds of free shots at him, and if you went with Necronomicon then your summons can potentially drain his mana below Void or Blink levels. Lastly, Brain Sap is an exact exchange of life and is not reduced by his Spell Shield.

Axe
.:Dota Allstar Mighul Khan the Axe avatar:.

Heroes:
{Ursa Warrior} Ursa is most deadly when he is allowed to land multiple consecutive hits thanks to Fury Swipes. Axe’s primary mode of operation is to force enemies to attack him, which means Ursa’s damage will surpass any Helix damage by a significant margin. Culling Blade also loses effectiveness against high health enemies, and any proficient Ursa player will mass strength/health items in mid-late game. Lastly, Helix deals physical damage and Ursa is an AGI based hero so his relatively high armor will even further reduce Axe’s damage output.
Items:
{2x Bracer} If you’ve only got 600 health, a Level 1 Culling Blade will kill you when you reach 50% health. However if you have 600 base health and 2x Bracers (~ 830 health) Axe needs to drop you to about 35% health to kill you. On some heroes, a Vitality/Soul Booster or HoT may be a better choice, but the idea here is that health boosting items render Culling Blade less effective.

Bloodseeker
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Bristleback} Rigwarl’s Bristleback ability passively reduces all damage that is taken from behind (including Rupture if it’s cast from behind). This fact, coupled with his run speed and slow spell makes him tough to kill… even when being chased by Strygwyr. Offensively, constant goo-spam will bring Bloodseeker to a crawl and allow you and your team to catch a fleeing BS, even with Thirst activated.
{Enchantress} Few heroes work as well as Enchantress as a defensive counter to Bloodseeker. If Ruptured, Wisps greatly aids in her survivability while she stands there waiting out the duration of the spell. Bloodseeker’s attacks are few and far between against her thanks to Untouchable, and her Enchant spell can save her or her ally’s life when being chased with Thirst. Lastly, Impetus is an amazing early game harassment tool against him to keep his levels down.

Bounty Hunter
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Doombringer} Doom’s ultimate not only prevents Wind Walk and Shuriken, it actually nullifies Jinada throughout the duration of the spell. This means no crits, no dodge, no stealth-escape, and without those traits Bounty Hunter will fall quickly to your LVL? and Doom. *See “Stealth Heroes” for more counters.*

Bristleback
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Axe} Berserker’s Call forces Rigwarl to face Axe throughout the duration which allows your team to land their spells/attacks against his front, making his Bristleback ability less effective. Also, Culling Blade is not effected by the Bristleback. (To give you an idea of how powerful that is, a late-game 600 hp fleeing Rigwarl would require ~1,400 worth of spell damage from behind to kill, versus a single Culling Blade from Axe.) Lastly, Axe is difficult to chase with Rigwarl as his attacks are fast causing multiple Helixes, which he takes from the front.

Butcher
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Juggernaut} Yunero’s bladefury allows him to not only escape the damage & slow of a rot-chase, but it also damages Pudge as long as he tries to chase. Pudge’s hooks most often come from secluded locations (in the woods, up a cliff, etc.) which basicaly just set him up for a full damage Omnislash if Jugg can survive the Dismember (not too difficult if you manage your hp carefully).
{Doombringer} If Doom is cast on Pudge while he has Rot on, it will prevent him from turning it off for the full duration of the spell. This can easily total over 2,000 damage without a Scepter, though you may not get the kill if the last damage dealt is from his Rot. Additionally, Luci’s large strength gain means he will have more than enough health to survive the Hook->Rot->Dismember combo mid-late game.

Doombringer
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Lord of Avernus} Abaddon’s ultimate will remove Doom when he reaches 400 health, which severely limits Doom to when he can cast his ultimate effectively. Abaddon’s Frostmourne helps to counter Scorched Earth when chasing, and his shield provides excellent lane harassment against a melee hero like Luci.
{Tide Hunter} Kraken Shell periodically removes negative buffs, including Doom, and it is a passive ability to boot. Currently, a level 4 Kraken Shell removes negative buffs every 8 seconds, which means on average you will only take 4 seconds worth of damage. Doom’s speed buff from Scorched Earth is also countered by his Gush spell which has a decent slow.

Earthshaker
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Silencer} Earthshaker is one of the few non-INT based heroes that rely on the power of multiple spells being fired off in quick succession. Putting a 4 second delay in between his spells royally screws him over in both 1v1 and team battles. A well timed Global Silence can prevent his ultimate from wrecking your team as soon as you see him charge in. As a bonus, a kill with Glaives of Wisdom will steal one of his already few INT points… and your ranged advantage makes laning against him easy. I’d suggest at least one point in Curse for early game harassment as keeping his mana low will prevent Fissure spam/blockage.

Enchantress
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Tinker} Enchantress fairs well against heroes that deal steady physical damage, thanks to her heal over time and her physical attack speed reduction. On the other side of the coin, her low health and lack of an instant-heal make her weak to heavy spell casters. Tinker is famous for his potentially endless onslaught of high damage nukes… especially when coupled with a Dagon. Some harassment and a launch of his Laser and Missiles in quick succession can end her before she can even click her Nature’s Attendants.
{Nerubian Assassin} NA breaks the mold as Enchantress usually does well against melee heroes, but his primary source of damage is his three active abilities. As with Tinker, near instant burst damage makes NA an amazing counter, and the damage output from Vendetta->Mana Burn->Impale will be more than she can handle early-mid game. What sets NA apart from other nukers is that his Mana Burn wrecks Enchantress as her spells are relatively costly (Nature’s Attendant’s is 170 mana at level 4). The key is to keep Mana Burn at level 1 and spam it whenever you see her get close to 40-55 mana to prevent Impetus harassment when laning against her.

Faceless Void
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Mangix} Panda is one of the best late-game perma-bash counters in the game, as his Drunken Haze can be coupled with his passive Drunken Brawler to achieve a dodge rating of ~80%. Faceless Void’s effectiveness is almost entirely dependent on being able to land his attacks and Mangix takes that away from him.

Geomancer
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Axe} Meepo and his three low-health clones simply give Axe 4 times the number of Helixes and a good selection of Culling Blade targets. You are almost guaranteed 3 helixes during your 3 second Berserker’s Call, coupled with a few normal attacks and you’ll have easily done 700+ damage to one of his clones. Culling Blade and watch the other 3 Meepos fall to the ground.
{Doombringer} We know Doom serves as a counter to many heroes, but it’s so easy to kill a Meepo clone it’s almost silly. With Aghanim’s Scepter, a LvL ? and Doom will kill a clone guaranteed, even if Meepo’s running around with a Mek. Killing him before you’ve gotten a Scepter is still so easy it’s almost not any fun… almost.
{Earthshaker} All of Eartshaker’s spells can have a point blank AoE stun associated with them, allowing him to keep Meepo and his clones locked down for several seconds while you focus on single target. Finishing with his ultimate causes his clones to take bonus damage from each other and his Fissure is also great for sniping low health Meepos on the run.
{Lich} Aside from his excellent early-game harassment against melee heroes, Lich’s ultimate requires multiple heroes to reach full effectiveness. Meepo is multiple heroes. Also, Lich’s Frost Armor works very well against his multiple attackers.
Items:
{Dagon} This certainly doesn’t go for every hero in the game, but many heroes can make good use of a Dagon against Meepo. While usually considered a sub-par item, focus firing your spells on a single clone and finishing with a Dagon can be an effective way of killing Geomancer.

Goblin Techies
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Image Heroes} If you’ve played as Techies before, you know how frustrating it can be to burn 5 Remote Mines on an image. Heroes like PL, Silithice and Terrorblade can make it difficult for Techies to decide when and where to detonate their mines. Regular mines can be cleared by simply sending the image into their vicinity, and this applies to Statis Traps as well.
Items:
{Gem} Techies is nothing without his invisible mines and traps. While it helps to avoid damage on Melee heroes, they really can’t do anything to get rid of the hazards. Thus, ranged heroes make better use of the item as they can destroy the mines and traps without consequence.
{Sentry Wards} Especially early game, these wards will make it much easier to lane against him. Through last-hitting and denying, try to keep the combat location of the creeps in range of your ward so that one ward at a time will suffice.
{Necronomicon} An item that grants vision of mines, extra health to survive them, and mana burn? Sounds like a custom tailored-item against Techies. Not all, but many heroes can use this much more effectively than a Gem or Wards so consider it an option.

Gorgon
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Anti-Mage} Magina’s Mana Break passive drops Medusa’s mana shield and health faster than any other melee attack. Magina’s Mana Void ultimate can then be used to the fullest potential. When slowed by Purge, Magina has Blink to escape or catch up in a chase.
{Nerubian Assassin} NA’s level 4 mana burn may only do 100 damage to her with her mana shield on, but it will burn almost 325 mana every time it’s cast. With a such a fast cooldown, her mana pool can be depleted very quickly. She has relatively low health so once her mana’s gone, just perform the usual Vendetta->Impale combo for the kill.

Holy Knight
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Enchantress} The Enchant ability can be used to instantly convert one of Chen’s creeps to fight for her, essentially making Chen do the hard work of creeping for stompers for her. Additionally, Enchantress provides similar healing abilities to her team (especially when coupled with Mekansm) which will offset the effectiveness of his healing spells for his team.
Items:
{Hand of Midas} This almost needs no explanation, but Midas allows you to instantly kill one of Chen’s creeps… which are usually high gold value creeps to begin with.
{Helm of the Dominator} This item works like Enchantress’ Enchant ability, allowing you to instantly convert one of Chen’s creeps to an ally. Be warned that Chen can simply re-convert the creep if the cooldown is ready, but you can definitely turn the tides by using his own stomper against him.

Juggernaut
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Omniknight} Purist has Guardian Angel to not only counter Omnislash for himself, but for his whole team. Juggernaut’s melee attacks require he be in range for Purify damage, and Degen Aura helps prevent Bladefury chasing. Bladefury is also magic damage, so one point in Repel is enough to last the full duration, allowing you to whack on him without his AoE DPS chewing on your health bar.
{Blink Heroes} Juggernaut has no way of dealing with Blink heroes. Both his Omnislash and his Bladefury require the enemy to stay within range of his attacks, and he has no means of disable on them.

Lich
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Nerubian Assassin} Few heroes can go toe-to-toe with Lich in an early game lane, and the real downside to Mana Burn is that often times it will drain all of the opponent’s mana… ceasing to do damage. Lich however has an endless supply with his Dark Ritual, and Mana Burn’s low mana cost and cooldown allow you to spam it indefinitely. As soon as you see Dark Ritual cast, follow up with an immediate Mana Burn and you’ll keep Lich in check. Mid-Late game, should you be caught in a bad situation with Lich’s ultimate creeping toward you, simply Vendetta to dodge it and finish the low hp hero off.

Life Stealer
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Medusa} Mana Shield prevents N’aix from leeching health. Early game use of Chain Lightning and ranged harass can keep him at a level deficit. Her Purge slows him to the point that she can escape even when under his Open Wounds ability.
{Silithice’s} Her Net goes through Rage, and his life leech does not work on her images. Splitting into her images removes his Open Wounds, and with her superior DPS she should have no problem taking him down at any point in the game, especially in 1v1 situations.

Lone Druid
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Lich} The Lich is often chosen as a counter for Syllabear for several reasons. First, Nova Spam while laning against him is an excellent harassment, and it can hit both Sylla and his pet. Second, Sylla virtually always has his pet with him, providing two targets to bounce his ultimate between. The bear will usually have more health than Sylla so you should either get the maximum number of bounces, or a dead Syllabear as long as there are no creeps around. Third, Lich’s frost armor significantly slows down his pet’s attack speed mid-late game, providing for fewer Entangles.
{Bane} Nightmare lasts longer on Sylla’s pet than it does on heroes, making it a good target for the spell. Sleeping the bear allows his Fiend’s Grip to last it’s full duration without worry. Brain Sap can nullify any early-game bear harassment that Sylla may attempt. Enfeeble is also a great counter to Rabid on his bear.
{Crystal Maiden} Frostbite’s duration is the same at all levels against Sylla’s pet, and the damage remains constant so a single point in Frostbite will do ~700 damage to his pet and immobilize it for 10 seconds. Sylla’s only form of channel-interrupt is Entangle, and with his bear in Frostbite you can cast your ultimate with nothing to fear.

Lord of Avernus
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Necrolyte} Reaper Scythe is one of the few spells that can pierce through Abaddon’s ultimate, assuming he has lost enough health for the spell to kill him. Death Pulse spam gives Necro the much needed survivability when laning against Avernus or running from him. One Pulse will destroy his shield and heal you for half the damage it does. The 5 second cooldown on Pulse (compared to 23 seconds on Shield) and your ranged attacks will ensure that your health is always greater than his. When he’s running around with 4k health late-game, just wait until your team gets him to 40% and end him with a single Scythe.
{Lion} As with the above counters, Lion also has the potential to kill Avernus through his Borrowed Time as his Finger of Death spell (starting at lvl 2) will do enough damage to prevent activating it. The catch is to used his Impale+Vodoo when he reaches the 600-700 health range, and then finish him off with Finger before he can activate his Apothic Shield. This requires excellent timing, but his two disables (three with Guinsoo’s) serve as a great way to hold him while your team brings him to a suitable level to finish him off. Lastly, his mana drain keeps Abaddon from spamming his Apothic Sheild during early game. (Lina’s ultimate works as well, but she lacks the disables & mana drain which are crucial)

Lord of Olympia
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Pugna} A well placed Netherward will completely dominate a spell-spamming Zeus. His mana will not regen and he will damage himself with every spell he casts. Put some thought into your ward placement, as it will make or break your gameplay. The ward should be placed close enough to keep him in the AoE, and yet far enough behind you and/or your creeps to force him to enter into a dangerous position should he attempt to destroy it.
{Keeper of the Light} Mana Leak will cause Zeus to lose 80% of his mana should he cast any spell within that 22 second buff window. While KotL has this advantage against most spell-reliant heroes, Zeus is the definition of “spell spammer” and is absolutely useless without his spells.

Moon Rider
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Abaddon} Borrowed Time, coupled with Apothic Shield, act as an excellent counter to Eclipse. He should wait until Luna uses her ultimate to cast his (and shield) and will take damage for the first hit, but will heal for the shield damage and remain unscathed for the rest of it. Once her ultimate has been used, Frostmourne and Abaddon’s fast movespeed will allow him to keep up with her.
{Clinkz} All Wind Walk heroes have an excellent counter to Luna’s ultimate, however Clinkz takes the cake against Luna. Like Bounty Hunter, Clinkz’s cooldown on his Wind Walk is lower than it’s duration, so he can break stealth to attack and immediately re-stealth once she ultimates. He far excels above BH in lane control with his orb attack for harassment and he will be far enough back not to be hit by Moon Glaive. Luna’s movespeed is 320, which is significantly above average. Clinkz however can match and exceed that easily by mid game making him one of the few that can actually chase her. Finally, Searing Arrows and Strafe wreck Luna’s low HP from mid game on.
{Templar Assassin} Lanya has several advantages over Luna throughout the game. Obviously her Meld work like wind-walk as an effective counter to Eclipse, with the added bonus damage/armor reduction attack when its over. Her traps also work wonderfully against Luna’s insane movement speed when chasing/fleeing. Finally, Refraction will absorb the first few Eclipse beams while you reach for your Meld key, and also functions as early game anti-harassment from Lucent Beams.

Morphling
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Bane} Enfeeble reduces damage based on stats by 120% at level 4, making Bane an amazing counter to Morph’s high agility damage output. Also, Bane serves as a poor hero to Replicate so don’t have to worry about his ultimate too much.

Naga Siren
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Magnataur} Naga is relatively weak without her images helping her out, and a decent Mag player can ensure that all of her clones are taken out quick and easy. This is done through the low mana cost on the now spammable Shockwave, and the ease at which Reverse Polarity can grab Naga and all her images after she net-surrounds you. Cleave and Shockwave are often enough to kill her images before she’s even unstunned from his ultimate.

Netherdrake
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Enchantress} This has probably been the most hotly debated counter in the thread, so I’m going to post it here with a disclaimer that you may or may not agree with the suggestion. Impetus works as a good counter-harassment to Viper’s Poison Sting when in a lane against each other. Viper’s lack of burst damage allows her Wisps the time needed to do their thing, and the slow from her Enchant ability is on par with his Poison Sting.

Oblivion
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Morphling} Pugna will have a hard time against an equally skilled Morphling, as Pugna’s Life Drain is interrupted by Waveform. On top of that, Morph is not affected by Nether Ward when using his Waveform. Pugna doesn’t have much health to begin with, and even if he has a BKB and Scepter, his ultimate is useless on Morphling.

Obsidian Destroyer
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Pugna} Nether Ward works wonders against high mana cost, spammable spells, and Obsidian Destroyer fits that description. His primary orb attack has no cooldown and costs 100 mana per cast (ward deals 150 damage in return). The sweetest part is that his ultimate costs 300/500/700 mana (ward deals 450,750,1050 damage in return), and with Pugna’s +4 INT per level compared to his +2.8 INT, Pugna will likely be unaffected by his Sanity’s Eclipse. Again, proper ward placement is a must and it would be wise to only use Life Drain after you’ve seen Astral cast on someone so as not to interrupt your drain.

Omniknight
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Gorgon} Omni relies on three abilities to remain effective in battle: Degen Aura, Repel & Guardian Angel. Gorgon’s Purge removes both Repel and GA, which renders his usual god-like survivability down to nothing. His Degen Aura is useful in chasing down enemies or running from them, however his 28% speed reduction is NOTHING in comparison to the 80% reduction from Purge. 5 seconds is more than enough time to catch up to (or run away from) an Omni player.
Items:
{Diffusal Blade} In the same way Gorgon’s Purge can make Omni’s life hell, Diffusal Blade’s purge does the same thing. While not necessarily a good choice on all heroes, many heroes can make use of the mana burn and Manta Style later in the game.

Phantom Assassin
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Doombringer} It seems that most people don’t realize that Doom not only prevents Shadow Strike and Blink Strike, it prevents both Coup de Grace and Blur passives throughout the duration of the spell. This means no crits, no dodge, no blink-escapes, and no slow spell. Without those traits, the fragile Mortred fall quickly to your LVL? and Doom.
{Nerubian Assassin} Mortred is one of the lowest health heroes in the game, and she is extremely weak against chain nuking. NA brings one of the highest damage nuke combos to the table once he hits level 6. Doesn’t he have this advantage against most low hp heroes? Yes, but she is rare in that she has no real disable and no real escape mechanism. Also, the best defense against her critical strikes is a high armor count, and Spiked Carcapace does the trick well for mid-late game. Granted, it doesn’t return critical strike damage, but it will help in survivability.

Phantom Lancer
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Axe} We know that Axe performs best with many weaker enemies attacking him, and this is the very nature of the Phantom Lancer. In addition to the surplus of Helixes, Berserker’s Call will force PL out of his Dopplewalk should he get caught in the AoE. Care should be taken when using Culling Blade however, as it sucks to find you wasted it on an image.
{Earthshaker} Echo Slam is amplified by each target it hits, including images. This can add up to a serious death toll if PL is walking around with 6+ images. However, most PL players will go for Manta Style which burns mana, so use your ultimate early to get rid of the images and make good use of your stuns.
{Bloodseeker} Strygwyr’s passive works on images (though only granting 20% of the hero’s health) which he can shred through like butter. Killing 2-3 of PL’s images should bring him to near full health every time. In addition, once Bloodthirst activates he can chase and auto-attack PL even after he’s Wind Walked away, partially nullifying that ability. Radiance is also a common item on BS, which works wonders against his images and clues you in on the real one.
{AoE Heroes} As many have pointed out, PL’s images are large in numbers but fall very quickly to AoE spells and attacks. Heroes like Magnataur with Cleave/Shockwave and those like Pugna with Nether Blast can make quick work of his images… which account for 3 of his 4 skills.
Items:
{Radiance} Many heroes that can farm relatively well and lack an AoE ability can use a Radiance to chew through PL’s images in no time. Forget trying to attack each image in search of the real hero, Radiance will make it quite obvious by which one is taking the least AoE damage. The evasion doesn’t hurt against a melee hero like him either.

Prophet
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Anti-Mage} No way, Anti-Mage is good against an INT hero? Really? Furion is utterly screwed in comparison to other INT heros when facing Magina… especially mid-late game. Magina’s blink (and all other blinkers) renders Furion’s Sprout spell useless, and his ultimate will do reduced damage to Magina thanks to his Spell Shield. Even his teleport can be interrupted by Magina’s Mana Void, making him the ultimate counter to Furion.
{Priestess of the Moon} Like blink, leap nullifies Furion’s Sprout, and Elune’s Arrow will cancel his teleport. Starfall helps to counter his treant summon pushes as well.
{Spirit Breaker} As with the above counters, there is nothing Furion can do to stop this hero from killing him. His Nether Strike allows him to “blink” out of a Sprout and his Charge allows him to close the distance on him quite easily. Finally, his bashes keep him from Teleporting out of the situation.
Items:
{Tangoes} Sprout plays a huge part of Furion’s gameplay, and for a few gold coins you can nullify it with any hero. Be sure to eat a “side” tree, as the other “corner” trees may or may not let you out.

Queen of Pain
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Anti-Mage} Magina does well against most INT heroes, but very few heroes can keep up with QoP and her ability to blink. She can’t really be played as a physical damage dealer, and all 3 of her offensive abilities are magic damage which is reduced by Spell Shield. Her blink can be countered by a good Magina player, and her short duration slow from Shadow Strike is not very effective against Magina’s already high base movespeed.
{Silencer} As previously stated, QoP has 4 active spells to choose from and the vast majority of her damage stems from their use. Last Word aura will passively prevent her from being able to Blink in and unleash 3 damage spells (and slow) instantly, and blink out. With a 4 second delay between casts, it would take her 12+ seconds to get off all 3 spells and be able to blink out. During that time Nortrom’s Glaives will wreck her low HP with little problem.
{Keeper of the Light} While more of a defensive counter, KotL can render QoP useless mid-late game. One should not solo as KotL against her early game, and when paired with a spell-spamming ally Chakra can keep her underleveled quite easily. Mana Leak should be gotten early, and your fingers should always be ready to hotkey it when she blinks in.

Rogue Knight
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Gorgon} The spell that makes Sven so powerful is his God’s Strength ability. Medusa’s Purge removes the buff instantly. Sven also lacks a natural escape mechanism, so Purge can set him up for an easy two-man gank. Also, lacking any real damage output without God’s Strength means he will have a hell of a time chewing through Mana Shield.
{Omniknight} Like Purge, even one point in Repel will remove God’s Strength from Sven, not to mention Guardian Angel which renders his team immune to Sven’s primary form of damage: physical attacks.
Items:
{Diffusal Blade} Having a Diffusal is like having a mini-Gorgon in your pocket that you can pull out and Purge with. It comes with 10 chances to remove Sven’s God’s Strength and slow him to a crawl. As with the hero counters, Sven simply sucks without his DPS boost.

Sacred Warrior
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Necrolyte} It’s only fitting that his greatest ally is his worst enemy. Reaper’s Scythe coupled with his Life Break can almost instantly kill any hero, regardless of how much health they have amassed. However, his ultimate and his tendency to run around at half-health (to get the full bonus of his Berserker’s Blood) make him a sitting duck for Necro’s ultimate.

Sand King
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Juggernaut} The Blademaster does not take Epicenter damage and is unaffected by Impale when he is in Blade Fury, so it’s an easy “out” should he find himself in that situation. His ultimate, Omnislah, also has a “ministun” effect on the first slash so it will stop SK’s channeling ult if timed correctly. If your opponent is foolish enough to use Sandstorm, simply stand right on top of him and Bladefury, you will take no damage and he will suffer the full duration of your spell. It’s advised to get a gem or carry some wards if you see SK use Sandstorm, because it will interrupt your Omnislash if he goes underground.
{Silencer} Another hotly debated counter… Sand King’s play style is often compared to Earthshaker’s, as they are both STR heroes that depend on multiple spells being fired off in quick succession. Silencer has the ability to passively prevent the infamous Impale>Epicenter combo and can effectively use his Global Silence to prevent it at any other time… even from across the map. Finally, his Glaives steal that precious +1 INT from Sand King’s already low INT stat pool upon death.

Skeleton King
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Anti-Mage} Magina’s Mana Break ability can help reduce Leoric’s mana below his Reincarnation threshold, rendering his ultimate useless. Just make sure you don’t go for the kill until you drop his mana below the 100/150/200 mana count. Leoric is often a high damage output hero late-game, and if you don’t go Bashers, it’s suggested you have a teammate hold him in place while you burn his mana. Your primary role is to waste his mana, so even if he tosses a Storm Bolt at you and you blink away, you’ve succeeded in lowering his mana by that much more.
{Nerubian Assassin} Similarly, NA can use his Mana Burn ability to achieve the same effect. However in his case, Spiked Carcapace helps reduce Skeleton King’s damage output, as well as returning some of the damage to himself. It’s easy to set up a gank with Vendetta, and two Mana Burns should be enough to bring him below the threshold of Reincarnation.
Items:
{Manta Style} Again, while not the best item for every hero, there are some heroes that can use it well and it works wonders against Skeleton King’s low mana pool. Phantom Lancer, Naga, Chaos Knight, etc. are among the many that can burn away his mana in a matter of seconds.

Slayer
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Pugna} If Lina casts her maxed Laguna Blade in the presence of Pugna’s Netherward, she will deal 950 damage (713 reduced) and receive 1020 damage (765 reduced) from the ward. That’s over 100% damage return instantly. If she tags on another spell or two and she will kill herself in a matter of seconds. As with all Pugna suggestions, ward placement is key to the success of this counter. Wards should be far enough away to prevent easy killing of the unit, but close enough to keep your enemies in range.

Spirit Breaker
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Centaur} The Return skill damage is doubled against Spirit Breaker. This is because his bonus damage from Empowering Haste is done through a second (instant) attack. Every time Spirit Breaker swings his lanterns he will take 100 damage in return, instead of the usual 50. A Vanguard will show the results more clearly as it will drastically reduce the damage you take while he will get hurt for the damage you blocked in full.
{Tidehunter} Kraken Shell removes 40 damage per hit against him, and like Centaur’s Return it will act twice against SB. Every attack SB makes can be reduced by a whopping 80 damage against Tidehunter, and that doesn’t take into account armor reduction. Additionally, Ravage can be used to stop SB’s Charge of Darkness and his Nether Strike if cast at the right time. Gush also helps to counter SB’s imba movespeed when chasing.

Stealth Assassin
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Bristleback} Rigwarl’s Bristleback passive ability heavily reduces all damage taken from behind, which is where SA wants to attack from most often. This reduction applies to Backstab damage as well. Quills can be spammed while being chased and Bristleback will also shoot quills which will stack and wear on your chaser. Lastly, Goo can keep SA in your warded area longer and allow you and your team to finish him quick with the stacked armor reduction. *See “Stealth Heroes” for more counters.*

Terrorblade
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Lion} Terrorblade hates two things, large burst damage, and stuns/disables. The burst damage found in Lion’s Impale and Finger of Death can be used to get TB below his Sunder threshold before he can activate it. The stun from Impale or the disable from Voodoo interrupt him from using his Soul Steal to heal. Lastly, his Conjure Image and Metamorphosis are quite mana intensive, so Mana Drain can work to your advantage.
{Slayer} Lina also has a stun and an arsenal of burst damage. TB must remain still to use his Soul Steal, making him an easy target for a Light Strike Array.
{Necrolyte} Terrorblade’s ultimate requires him to be at <50% health to be useful offensively. This puts him in a dangerous situation when around a Necro player has Reaper’s Scythe can finish him off (or simply drop him below the required health to even cast his Sunder). While he doesn’t have an ability to interrupt Soul Steal when laning against each other, his Death Pulse has a shorter cool down and can be used as soon as TB is done to keep him at low health.

Tormented Soul
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Anti-Mage} Magina excels against most INT heroes, but Leshrac is at the top of his food list. Aside from the fact that all of Leshrac’s damage is reduced by Spell Shield, most TS players will stockpile on mana so as to allow longer Pulse Nova durations. Pulse Nova drains heavy amounts of mana while turned on, and it’s possible to get Mana Void damage into the 1.5k damage range against him.
{Keeper of the Light} The Mana Leak ability shines against heroes with massive mana pools, and a reliance on spells for damage output. In this case, TS fits both of those. While Mana Leak works effectively against most INT heroes, few will have a mana pool as large as his.

Venomancer
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Silithice} She can simply cast Mirror Image to remove two of Veno’s primary skills: Poison Nova and Shadow Strike. Additionally, her net allows her crits and images to make quick work of low health AGI heroes like Venomancer. If her Mirror Image is on cooldown, she can always sleep after a Nova and allow her and her team to get away to safety.
{Tidehunter} Venomancer’s damage over time spells are periodically (and passively) removed from Tidehunter through his Kraken Shell. Veno also lacks an escape mechanism from Gush or Ravage.
{Lord of Avernus} Apothic Shield nullifies Shadow Strike as soon as it’s activated, on both Abaddon or his ally. When Veno’s ultimate is used, a Shield and Borrowed Time should leave you unharmed, with potentially more health than when it started. These things work better against Veno than most heroes because his damage is dealt over time, which allows more time for you to react and cast your Shield & Time.
{Nerubian Weaver} Venomancer lacks any burst damage, allowing Weaver plenty of time to hit his Time Lapse and remove every DoT Veno has. Nova has a much longer cooldown than Time Lapse, and Shukuchi + Geminate help Weaver establish lane control over Veno, who has the upper hand against most heroes. It should also be noted that a well timed Shukuchi can dodge a Shadow Strike projectile from Veno.
Items:
{Manta Style} In a similar fashion to Silithice listed above, Manta Style works well on many heroes as a quick way to remove all of Veno’s powerful damage over time spells.

Warlock
.:IPB Image:.

Items:

{Diffusal Blade} Heroes that can make use of this item (and Manta Style) can really piss off a Warlock player. 10 insta-kills of his summoned Infernal will also net you a respectable amount of gold in the process… almost making the item pay for itself if you use all the charges.
Note:
-I do NOT consider Gorgon a “strong” counter… Purge only deals 600 damage now which is still considerable against a level 1 Infernal, but when I sa

Categorical Counters (Special Cases)
When the opposing team selects a majority of one of these categories:

INT Heroes
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Anti-Mage} This one may be obvious, but for thoroughness I have included it. Magina is called the “anti-mage” for a reason, every skill he has gives him an advantage over INT heroes. He’s often a good choice when faced with a majority of INT heroes on the opposing team.
{Silencer} Like AM, Silencer is also designed to counter heavy spell casters. If you’re against a majority of INT heroes that rely on firing off spells in quick succession (Lion, Lina, Tinker, Crystal Maiden, etc.), consider Silencer your best team player. His mana pool will be largely unused mid-late game, so consider a Mekansm to further counter the enemies AoE spells against your team.
{Pugna} Netherward is one of the best spells to use against INT based enemies. The AoE is huge, which lets the spell especially shine in team battles when spells are flying left and right. Constant draining of every enemies mana also helps in those prolonged team skirmishes. -Contributed by Harby
Items:
{Black King Bar} As with Anti-Mage, I almost feel this should go without saying… but an item that provides limited spell invulnerability works well against spell casters. If just one noob reads this and learns that’s what it’s for then it was worth it… right?
{Hood of Defiance} With an extra 30% magic resistance on top of your inherent 25%, you’ll be cutting all magic damage by more than half. The two RoR required to build it help out early game when trying to hold a lane against a nuker as well.
{Orchid Malevolence} While mostly an item for INT heroes, it provides a nice 5 second silence to a single target in addition to 20% damage amplification. Works as a great interrupt item for those channeling ultimates that could destroy your team in a big battle.

STR Heroes
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Necrolyte} Reaper Scythe does damage based on a percentage of health remaining, which means it can actually do more damage to enemies with large health pools. If your team is facing a 4k-HP Centaur player, you only need to do ~2.4k damage for a Scythe kill, instead of the full 4,000 damage.
{Terrorblade} Similarly, the Sunder ability also does damage based on a percentage of health, meaning the more (maximum) health his enemy has, the larger the potential to do damage is. TB’s worst enemies are those that can do large bursts of damage (mostly INT heroes) and excells against steady DPS heroes (i.e. most STR heroes).
{Huskar} Again, his ultimate is percentage based and does more damage when the target has more health. He to is a STR hero so he shouldn’t have a problem going toe-to-toe with his enemy well into the late-game.

Melee Heroes
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Nerubian Assassin} For 4 skill points and an easy 3540g, NA can have 80% melee damage return, +30 attack damage, and +18 armor through a few Blade Mails. The armor boost translates into alot of effective health for such a low HP hero. Note that it does not return critical strike damage, but for the most part your opponents will lose health much faster than you in any skirmish.
{Tiny} Craggy Exterior makes it difficult for melee characters to chase or kill Tiny easily. Melee means they have to be in Toss range to attack him, and should any of his opponents attempt a stun lock build, he can act as an effective counter against them.
{Enchantress} Untouchable makes her… well… simply untouchable… when faced with melee characters, as it slows their base attack speed by up to 90%. Additionally, the healing effect of her Nature’s Attendants works best when she takes steady damage (i.e. melee attacks), and not sudden burst damage (i.e. nukes). To top it all off, she is a ranged hero which gives her a large harassment edge when in a lane against melee opponents.
{Axe} One of my personal favorites, Axe is the bane of all melee heroes. This is especially true for low damage and high attack speed heroes, or melee heroes with relatively low strength gain (for easy Culling Blades). Once a Vanguard has been made, Helix will almost always ensure you’re doing more damage than they are and Berserker’s Call maintains it’s utility in team battles through the entire course of the game. -Contributed by mastershan
{Netherdrake} I don’t care what hero you choose, you will have a tough time laning against Viper. This is especially true for melee heroes. However, what makes Viper such a pain is the fact that he can orbwalk slow and kite you across the map. The insane attack speed reduction from Corrosive Skin, Poison Attack and Viper Strike does apply to ranged heroes, but at least they can nuke from a distance. Most melee heroes are dead in the water. -Contributed by Guyoverthere07
Items:
{Blade Mail} Assuming you’re not facing alot of heroes with critical strike passives, one or two Blade Mails can help bolster your armor and raise your effective DPS.

Stealth Heroes
.:IPB Image:.

Heroes:
{Slardar} Every stealth hero is serverely weakened when their ability to ambush and escape easily is taken away. Slardar’s ultimate keeps them from using Wind Walk or Invisibility, at very low mana cost to him and with fast cooldown. On top of this, stealthers are usually chasers, but against Slardar they are often the ones being chased with his Sprint, stun, slow and bash abilities. Amplify Damage also reduces the high-armor count on agility heroes up to 15.
{Bounty Hunter} A stealther to counter stealthers? It’s all about Track, which not only allows him to see Rikimaru, Clinkz, Rooftrellan or those Lothar’s users, but gives him the movement speed to keep up with them while he chases them down… the bonus gold and armor reduction are just icing on the cake. Jinada crits work wonders on the low HP heroes and the evade grants him considerable effective HP against their high damage output. -Contributed by disrup3
{Bloodseeker} Bloodrage will prevent them from stealthing in the first place, but at the effect of giving them a huge damage increase so make sure it’s only cast if you know your team can finish them quickly. Also, if any of the stealthers drop below the 40% health mark, Bloodthirst activates and you will be able to continue to chase/auto-attack them (even though you can’t visibly see him on the screen). -Contributed by Genosis and disrup3
{Spiritbreaker} Aside from being able to tank their damage, his Charge of Darkness will give you and your whole team vision of the stealth hero from the second you cast it (even from across the map) until the moment of impact. It’s important that your team tries to finish off the stealther as soon as possible because your opponent can re-stealth after you’ve landed your stun. -Contributed by techplore
Items:
{Gem} Another item that should go without saying… but with the changes to Aegis, it becomes a much more difficult item to hold on to. Your team should put this item on the hardest to kill hero (Abaddon, Morphling, etc.) until one of you recieves an Aegis from Roshan. The hero that has the Aegis should carry it until he loses the charge.
{Sentry Wards} Recently nerfed, they still serve as an excellent counter to stealth heroes. Better used defensively, and placed in gank spots early game, or in locations of high traffic during mid-late game.
{Level 3 Necro Book} Not everyone benefits from the book the same, but many heroes can make good use of it. If your facing stealthers, and you have any form of channeling spells, then this item should be a no brainer as reveals hidden enemies and it boosts your DPS while you channel.

The exception to the rule…
IPB Image

Doombringer is unique in that his ultimate is really the “king of all counters” when you look at things the way we are for the purposes of this guide. Doom silences virtually every spell, skill and item that the target hero has… making it one of the most potent abilities in the game. Instead of making this already long guide even longer by listing him alongside every hero, I am simply providing a link to Guyoverthere’s Guide to Lucifer which has a detailed list of what Doom silences.

Conclusion

If you’ve gotten to this point, I salute you. The guide contains a significant amount of information, but a game like DotA has enough strategy in it to keep the fan base interested and this topic is an extensive one. A big “thanks” to all who have contributed, molded, and shaped the guide into what it is today. Remember, your individual skill and ability to work as a team will always have the most significant impact on your game… but knowing yourself, and knowing your enemies are the key to starting a game off right.

Contributors

The following forum members provided input to make the guide what it is today:
AmericanDeagle, angryrabbit2, Blaow, Boogiepop!, Chameleon12, disco_john, Dky, EndJ)Storm(, freak_, Genosis, GeraX, harby, Heavens Knight, Himura_Kenshin, jacky817, n00bermicro, neosquad, nukeme!, nwfxyz, peter_tobbermon, physics223, Sick_of_it_all, sp00n, Tfiws dna eliga & usgroup1.

The following forum members have each provided multiple suggestions that made it into the guide and their continued support has been greatly appreciated:
AzureDrag0n1, disrup3, Guyoverthere07, M. E. Winstead, Macmac1990, MrBurninat0r, PieMonger, The Lobotomist, X@!n

Abbreviated Changelog

v4.1 – 4/21/2008 – Minor update to a few things I missed.

- Removed Beastmaster as counter to Furion (axes no longer cut down his trees)
- Added Juggernaut as a counter to Pudge
- Updated Bane’s enfeeble against Morphling (from 80% to 120% reduction)

v4.0 – 3/25/2008 – Major overhaul to update to current version of DotA:

- Removed Dagger of Escape from most entries as it can no longer be used as a reliable escape method
- Added Axe as a counter to Bristleback
- Removed Spectre as a counter to Pudge (Dispersion no longer has a mini-stun)
- Removed PotM as a counter to Enigma (Black Hole now silences her Leap)
- Added Pandaren Brewmaster as a counter to Faceless Void
- Added Earthshaker & Lich as counters to Meepo
- Removed Drow as a counter to Chen (Her ultimate no longer insta-kills his creeps)
- Removed most of N’aix’s counters as he has been completely remade in recent versions.
- Removed Axe as a counter to Abaddon (Axe simply can’t tank his Apothic Sheild spam early game)
- Added Lanya as a counter to Luna
- Added Enchantress as the potential counter to Viper
- Added Spiritbreaker as a counter to Furion
- Added Necrolyte as a counter to Huskar
- Re-added Silencer as a counter to Sand King
- Added Necrolyte as a counter to Terrorblade
- Removed Obsidian Destroyer as a counter to Warlock (his orb no longer deals bonus damage to the Infernal)
- Added Hood of Defiance as a counter to INT heroes
- Added Huskar as a counter to STR heroes


v3.0 – 5/23/2007 – Edited with minor format revision and updated Preface.
v2.0 – 4/11/2007 – Edited with major format revision & removal of several “weak” counters.
v1.0 – 2/1/2007 – Guide posted in it’s original form.

Azwraith, The Phantom Lancer Guide by ~HoneY~

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

This guide was created by ~HoneY~

Dota Allstars Azwraith the Phantom Lancer

Contents.
1. Introduction.
2. Stats.
3. Skills.
Manta Build-
4. Skill Build.
5. Core Item Build.
6. Justification of Item Build.
Skadi Build-
7. Skill Build.
8. Core Item Build.
9. Justification of Item Build.
10. Luxury Items.
11. Other Items.
12. General Strategy.
13. Best Enemies.
14. Worst Enemies.
15. Good Allies.
16. Screenshots.
17. Extra.
18. Replays.

1.Introduction.

Phantom Lancer Stats Dota Azwraith Phantom Lancer

Azwraith the Phantom Lancer is one of the best lategame heroes in Dota Allstars if played properly and an excellent pusher. Fragile and weak early game but capable of producing an army lategame. He is not the best hero-killer, however you can still get some kills.

2.Stats.

Range: 100 | | Move Speed: 290 | Primary: AGI
Str: 18 + 1.5 | Agi: 23 + 2.8 | Int: 16 + 1.7
Damage: 45 – 67 | HP: 492 | Mana: 208
HP Regen: 0.79 | Mana Regen: 0.65
Attack Speed: 1.31 (+ 23% IAS) | Armor: 2.2

To check out Complete Stats click here.

Pros:
-Cool model and icon based on Kimahri from FFX.
-Good survivablity thanks to Dopplewalk.
-Fun to confuse your enemies and make them waste their skills on illusions.
-Good base damage and agility growth.

Cons:
-Low base movement speed.
-Weak early game.
-Low HP.

From this we learn that Phantom Lancer has a very good agility stat growth and consequently he has good armour and attackspeed. He also has an alright intel growth and his mana pool is sufficient for his two active abilities. On the negative side, his str growth is very low (one of the lowest in DotA Allstars) and so he also has very low HP.
3.Skills.

Spirit Lance (T)Dota Allstars Phantom Lance

Throws a magical lance at a target, slicing it and slowing it down for 3 seconds.
Level 1 – Deals 110(82.5) damage and Cripples for 10%.
Level 2 – Deals 150(112.5) damage and Cripples for 20%.
Level 3 – Deals 215(161.25) damage and Cripples for 30%.
Level 4 – Deals 310(232.5) damage and Cripples for 40%.
Mana Cost: 140
Cooldown: 9

A good nuke and slow spell that deals decent damage. Helpful through out the game as the damage is still not too bad lategame and the slow is very helpful in both chasing heroes and preventing heroes from chasing you and your allies. Numbers in brackets refers to damage done after magic resistance.

Dopplewalk (W)

Azwraith Dopplewalk

Allows the Phantom Lancer to become invisible for a period of time, leaving behind a duplicate of himself to confuse enemies. 10% movement bonus at all levels.
The Dopplewalk image lasts 20 seconds, and invisiblity and movement bonus on Lancer lasts 12 seconds.
Dopplewalk image deals 25% damage and takes 300% damage.
Level 1 – 150 mana.
Level 2 – 120 mana.
Level 3 – 90 mana.
Level 4 – 60 mana.
Mana Cost: 150/ 120/ 90/ 60
Cooldown: 30/25/30/15

A very helpful surviving/chasing/ambushing skill with a low mana cost at level 4. The image created helps in making a large image army lategame. Care should be taken when using this skill as the duration of invisibilty is not as much as Windwalk and Vendetta, it is only 12 seconds. The cooldown is pretty long at early levels so take care not to use it much incase you need to suddenly escape, eg. you get ganked. This move should not be used as a harrassing skill early game except when you feel relatively safe and have a ally around, or the enemy hero has no stun skill. The speed boost is also helpful when chasing heroes.

Juxtapose (X)

Dota Juxtapose

Whenever the Phantom Lancer attacks he will randomly create a duplicate of himself. Limit of 8 images.
Duplicates last 15 seconds, deals 25% damage and takes 300% damage.
Level 1 – 3% chance.
Level 2 – 6% chance.
Level 3 – 9% chance.
Level 4 – 12% chance.
Mana Cost: N/A
Cooldown: N/A

A unique passive skill that causes confusion and chaos at lategame. Azwraith is usually able to create a large army of images very quickly thanks to this skill. It is very rare to see a good Phantom Lancer lategame without any images around him.

Phantom Edge (D)

Gives the Phantom Lancer an edge in combat by allowing him to evade attacks and increasing Juxtapose’s image generation. Additionally, it enables his images (including Juxtapose image, Dopplewalk image, and Manta Style image) to generate their own images.
Level 1 – 5% evade, 3% chance illusions will duplicate, 2% increase in Juxtapose.
Level 2 – 10% evade, 5% chance illusions will duplicate, 4% increase in Juxtapose.
Level 3 – 15% evade, 7% chance illusions will duplicate, 6% increase in Juxtapose.
Mana Cost: N/A
Cooldown: N/A

A nice passive ultimate that aids in your production of images greatly. Also gives decent evasion to both you and your images.

Manta Build.This build is more for pub games, where you can get some early-mid game kills by ambushing heroes that are farming alone. This build allows you to get some kills, but you must also farm to became the effective late game hero PL is. Neglecting farming and only going around trying to get kills is not recommended.

4.Skill Build.

Level 1:

DoppleWalk.

Level 2:

Spirit Lance.

Level 3:

Spirit Lance.

Level 4:

DoppleWalk.

Level 5:

Spirit Lance.

Level 6:

DoppleWalk.

Level 7:

Spirit Lance.

Level 8:

DoppleWalk.

Level 9:

Stats.

Level 10:

Stats.

Level 11:

Juxtapose.

Level 12:

Phantom Edge.

Level 13:

Phantom Edge.

Level 14:

Juxtapose.

Level 15:

Juxtapose.

Level 16:

Phantom Edge.

Level 17:

Juxtapose.

Levels 18-25:

Stats.

Why did you get Spirit Lance and DoppleWalk early game ?Spirit Lance is learnt at early game as it does good damage and it is useful for harrassing and may also get you some kills if you have a lanebuddy. DoppleWalk is very good for escaping and ambushing and can be used for harrassing if you are near your own tower. Dopplewalk is learnt at level 1 for emergency use.

Why not just 1 level of Dopplewalk for escaping ?

The manacost of level 1 DoppleWalk is 150 and you may not have enough mana to use it in emergencies whereas level 4 DoppleWalk has a manacost of only 60. It also lowers the cooldown. Since this build focuses on getting some early kills, Dopplewalk needs to be maxed early on.

No Juxtapose early game ? ZOMG!!!11!!! you’re a n00b !!!

Why would you level up Juxtapose early game ? You’re barely attacking and so won’t produce any images. The images that you do produce will deal like 15 damage, which is worse than creeps.. dry.gif and they will die in two or three hits.

Why did you get only 2 levels of stats at levels 9 and 10 ? Leveling up more stats is much better than Juxtapose because your images are still too weak !!!

Although that may be true, images are very helpful in farming. When you have 3 or 4 units attacking a single creep it is almost guaranteed that you will get the last hit. They also greatly help in pushing and help you to take out towers and thus earn a large chunk of gold. They also help in neutral creeping, which is a necessary task for Azwraith.

Why did you get 2 levels of stats ? Juxtapose is much better !!!

It adds a nice boost to all attributes and helps increase your HP, damage attackspeed so that when you do get Juxtapose you create images much faster and they are stronger and more helpful.

Why did you learn only 1 level of Juxtapose and then Phantom Edge ?

Phantom Edge does not grant the real PL a chance to make illusions unless you already have atleast 1 level of Juxtapose. So learning 1 level of Juxtapose is worthwhile so that when you do learn Phantom Edge you get all the benefits possible from it.

5.Core Item Build.

Total Cost = 16 770 gold.

The basic order should be 2 Bracers, Boots of Speed, Diffusal Blade, Yasha, Reaver, finish Manta, Boots of Travel, finish heart. That is the usual order for when I play but It may differ slightely in each game depending on how well you are farming or how many Purge charges you have left.

*Note: Upgrade Diffusal Blade to Manta only after you have used up all the charges, or you feel that Purge is no longer helpful to your team and that you need the pushing power Manta gives you. Sometimes getting Heart before Manta is better.

6.Justification of Item Build.

Boots of Travel is good for PL. A great boost to your low movespeed, and the Teleport ability is very helpful for pushing and defending lategame. Much better than Treads.

Bracers for the extra HP and stats early game.

Yasha is the best way to increase the damage and attack speed of both you and your illusions. It also gives 2.3 armour and 5% movespeed to both you and your illusions. Very good item and very effective for its cost.

Diffusal Blade/Manta Style is the number one orb effect for PL and it is a must have. Your images burn mana. At lategame with 5 illusions and yourself attacking a target you will burn 6 x 36 = 216 mana for each attack. Purge from Diffusal Blade is also very helpful. The stats and HP from Manta also benefits illusions.

Heart is an excellent item, giving both you and your illusions what you desperately need, HP. Gives 965 hp and excellent regen. Makes your illusions stronger and able to tank towers/heroes/creeps for much longer.

Why not get Yasha first? Why get Diffusal Blade first?

Purge will be more helpful for both you and your allies than Yasha slight damage and MS boost.Upgrade to Manta Style only after you have used up all your purge charges or you feel that you no longer need purge and need extra images to start pushing better.

Why not get mass Yashas instead of a Butterfly ?

Yes, I know two Yashas are much better and cost effective than a Butterfly, however they take up 2 item slots and you need other items aswell by lategame. Why buy an extra one or two Yashas if they are going to be sold as soon as you can afford an Eaglehorn. People will also argue that you do not need the evasion from Butterfly as you already have 15% evasion from Phantom Edge, but why wouldn’t you want an extra 15% evasion for both you and your illusions?

Skadi Build.
This build is more for serious games, where you can support your allies with Spirit Lance. With this build you get no/few kills early game and your main goal is to rush your Radiance. After Radiance, money starts coming in real fast and you can build up your Skadi pretty quick. This build makes you an excellent pusher and you become one of your teams most important heroes lategame.
7.Skill Build.

Level 1:

DoppleWalk.

Level 2:

Spirit Lance.

Level 3:

Spirit Lance.

Level 4:

Stats.

Level 5:

Spirit Lance.

Level 6:

Stats.

Level 7:

Spirit Lance.

Level 8:

Juxtapose.

Level 9:

Phantom Edge.

Level 10:

Juxtapose.

Level 11:

Phantom Edge.

Level 12:

Juxtapose.

Level 13:

Juxtapose.

Level 14:

Stats.

Level 15:

Stats.

Level 16:

Phantom Edge.

Level 17:

DoppleWalk.

Level 18:

DoppleWalk.

Level 19:

DoppleWalk.

Level 20-25:

Stats.

Why do you max Spirit Lance early game ?Spirit Lance is learnt at early game as it does good damage and it is useful for harrassing and may also get you some kills if you have a lanebuddy.It is your only nuke and is very effective early game.

Why just 1 level of Dopplewalk for escaping ?

Since this build does not focus on getting early kills/chasing heroes only one level of Dopplewalk is sufficient for escaping emergencies.

Why do you get stats at levels 4 and 6 ? Juxtapose is much better !!!

It adds a nice boost to all attributes and helps increase your HP, damage and attackspeed so that when you do get Juxtapose you create images much faster and they are stronger and more helpful. Survival is the most important part in this stage of the game and the extra HP from stats is needed to increase PL ’s low HP.

Why did you learn only 1 level of Juxtapose and then Phantom Edge ?

Phantom Edge does not grant the real PL a chance to make illusions unless you already have atleast 1 level of Juxtapose. So learning 1 level of Juxtapose is worthwhile so that when you do learn Phantom Edge you get all the benefits possible from it.

Why did you max Dopplewalk at levels 17,18 and 19? Why not leave it till levels 23,24,25 ?

This is the part of the game where you may need to chase fleeing heroes more often, after team battles/encounters. The much faster cooldown will will be necessary as you may find yourself in trouble more often than in earlygame. Also, you can use the Dopplewalk illusion to help you create many illusions much faster. By this stage of the game, you should have your Skadi, so your HP is pretty high hence getting stats is not that crucial.

8.Core Item Build.

Total Cost = 16 095 gold.

The basic order should be 2 Bracers, Boots of Speed, Radiance, Point Booster, Boots of Travel, finish Skadi. This is not a set order and should be modified to suit different conditions for each game.

9.Justification of Item Build.

Boots of Travel is good for PL. A great boost to your low movespeed, and the Teleport ability is very helpful for pushing and defending lategame. Much better than Treads.

Bracers for the extra HP and stats early game.

Radiance is excellent because of the Immolation. Images do not get the +60 damage but they do get the immolation. Excellent when pushing as immolation will cover the whole lane and all the enemies.

Skadi is for all the stats it gives, which makes PL and his illusions very versatile. Illusions do not slow but it is still worthwhile as illusions can hit the enemy while the real PL slows them down.

Starting Items.

For starting items I suggest 2 sets of tangos, 2 clarity potions, a gauntlet and an ironwood branch. Tangoes for hp regen, clarity potions to keep mana up to harrass with Spirit Lance. Gauntlet is better than more branches as it can later be upgrade to a bracer and PL does not really need anything early game besides HP. PL should not be buying chicken, let your teammates do that. PL needs to save as much gold as possible to farm for his late game items so he can own later np.

10.Luxury Items.

Buriza is worthwhile, but only after Heart and Butterfly. Images do critical, althouth the criticals deal much less damage (a % of the real PL’s critical depending on what type of illusion they are) You do not really have to worry about your higher critical damage giving you away because PL usually has so many images and it is very difficult to tell which PL got that certain critical, especially when all the PL’s are moving and other actions are occuring in battles.

Heart is an excellent item, giving both you and your illusions what you desperately need, HP. Gives 965 hp and excellent regen. Makes your illusions stronger and able to tank towers/heroes/creeps for much longer. A second Heart makes your images very tanky and pushing will be a breeze as illusions can tank so much tower/hero/creep attacks. A third Heart however, is not recommened because 3.5k HP is sufficient and other attributes such as Attack speed and Damage are also required to make PL fully effective.

Butterfly is good because it gives a nice 30 agility. The 30 agility results in 4.29 armour, 30 damage and 30% attack speed that both you and your illusions benefit from. Also gives evasion of 30%, higher than your evasion from Phantom Edge. Make sure you get Eaglehorn first, so that images get benefits aswell straight away. The 30 damage and 30 % attackspeed don’t help your illusions, but it still is a great item.

11.Other Items.Power Treads.

VS

Boots of Travel are a necessity on PL. He needs the Teleport ability to defend/push and to increase his and his images pathetic base MS. Power Treads are not a good item for PL. The attack speed does not benefit his illusions, the movespeed is also too little. PL is a pushing hero and he has low base movespeed of 290. BoT are much better than Treads on PL.

But this item helps in making images faster in ealry game because of the attack speed increase !!!
Yes it does, but remember, we are not trying to make illusions early game and so it is not needed.

Cranium Bashers.

Not a good item on PL. Illusions do not benefit from the extra damage and the tiny extra HP is hardly noticable. Images do not Bash. The blue swirl thing appears, but the enemy is not stunned. For this item to be effective, you require more than one and why would you waste gold and item slots for items that only help in a 1vs1 situation. Do not get this item, you are not Magina nor are you Troll.

Nulls and Wraith Bands.

VS

Bracers are much better than Null Talismans or Wraith Bands for almost every hero, including PL, in almost all situations. You have two active spells and together they use 200 mana, you have sufficient mana to use them without any extra intel items, hence Nulls are unnecessary. Bracers are much better as they give you much better survivability and HP, the thing PL desperately needs more of. However, if you are in a easy lane and do not get harrassed much then Wraith Bands will be a good option instead of Bracers as they provide good damage and are cheaper.

Bottle.

The empty bottle is a very good item that has become vastly popular in recent times. It provides excellent HP and Mana regen aswell as the ability to store ruins. Bottle is a good item for almost any hero and PL is no exception. Since rune whoring is left to the ganker of the team, (eg. Veno or Vengeful or w/e) it is not really a good idea to whore all the ruins with PL, nevertheless a decent regen item.

Vanguard.

Vanguard is not really a great item for PL. PL’s main concerns are AoE spells which wipe out all his illusions and Vanguard does nothing to help this except for the increased HP which can be achieved by Bracers for a cheaper price and extra stat boosts aswell. The damage block is rather unneccessary, especially since illusions don’t get it. To sum it up, Vanguard is a early tanking item and PL is a lategame hero, it simply slows down his core items and is not needed.

Battlefury.

Images do not benefit from the bonus damage, nor do they cleave. The HP and Mana regen is nice, but it is not wise to spend this much money on an item for such few benefits. Do not get this item.

Monkey King Bar.

Not a good item for PL. Images do not benefit from the 75 bonus damage in DotA Allstars, nor from the 15% attackspeed and they dont ministun and deal the bonus 100 damage. If you want to increase your DPS, get a Buriza. Do not get this item.

Dagger of Escape and Lothars Edge.

You already have Dopplewalk as your escape mechanism, you do not need either of these items.

Orb Effect Items.

Manta Style and Eye of Skadi are the 2 best orb effects on Phantom Lancer, getting any of these would be a sub par build and you wouldn’t be playing Phantom Lancer to his maximum potential.

Multiple Yashas.

Although the movespeed does not stack on neither you nor your illusions, an extra yasha is still alright. Yasha is the cheapest way to increase agility. Two yashas cost 4100 gold and give 32 agility whereas an Eaglehorn costs 3400 and gives 25 agility. Instead of getting a Butterfly, you may want to just get another Yasha, this is only when you think you can end the game quickly. If you think the game is going to last longer, do not waste money on a second yasha and just save up for an eaglehorn as it gives more benefits. Two extra Yashas is not very wise, as having 3 Yashas in your inventory is wasting half your item slots for only a little damage and attackspeed. If the game goes on for a long time, you will have to sell the Yashas to make room for better items, so it is a waste of gold.

Aegis Divine Combo.

Since you have to kill Roshan to get Aegis this combo is no longer viable. PL has great difficulty soloing Roshan because of Roshan’s anti-illusions aura, which owns PL like np.

Hand of Midas.

Images do not benefit from the attackspeed increase. By mid game, with your high base damage, good attack speed and a decent amount of images you will have no trouble farming. Do not get this item.

Vladmirs Offering.

Images do not lifesteal, even though they have the shiny animation on them. They do not benefit from the 5 armour. Asking a melee ally to get this item would be much better, as you need all your item slots to buff your images.

12.General Strategy.

Concerning lanes, PL should go either top or bottom.PL does not need to solo and would do much better with an ally.If you are very good at last hits/denies then you could solo if you want, but it is not really recommened.

Play safe, do not tank creeps and don’t rambo. Try to last hit and deny as with any other hero. Take note that PL’s attack is slightly delayed, meaning the damage he deals occurs slightly after he actually attacks.
Don’t spam spells early, use tangoes and mana potions whenever necessary, however be conservative. If your ally has some stun/slow/nuke, try to net some kills.

Basic Tips

It is possible to dodge targetted spells and any effects they cause with good timing. Spells like Magic Missile and Storm Bolt that have a projectile can be dodged by using Dopplewalk at just the correct time. If timed correctly, neither you nor illusion will be damaged or stunned. This rather difficult to time and you should practise dodging projectiles to become more profficient at it.

In battles with other heroes try and use Dopplewalk at the right time to make them waste spells on your illusions rather than on you or your allies. Since most players will use their ultimates only when they think they will get a kill, (eg. Finger of Death, Doom, etc) you should use Dopplewalk when you have yellow HP. If you Dopplewalk straight away then they will most likely not waste any spells as a few hits on the illusions and they will realise it is not the real PL. You can also evade spells by using Manta Style’s Mirror Image at the righ time, this requires practice aswell as good instincts.

If you get ganked, don’t Dopplewalk straight away unless you are being ambushed by multiple heroes that have many disables/stuns. Hit the hero a few times and then Dopplewalk as your HP starts to drop a little bit, this way they will use spells as they think it is the real PL and you will have caused them to waste their spells. Use Spirit Lance on them to fight back and if they have low HP you may be able to get a kill, show them that the predator has become the prey.

Spirit Lance has a pretty long animaton time, PL jumps in the air, throws his lance and then lands back down. You can animation cancel Spirit Lance to save time and help when chasing heroes, simply give PL another order as soon as the lance has been thrown and he will move straight away, saving time.

When getting chased after just having killed a hero during late game and you have an army of illusions with you do not send all the illusions back to base. Split your army up, send some illusions in each different direction and hide yourself among on of the groups. This will increase your chance of escaping as the enemies will not know which group to chase.

When pushing the towers/rax, most likely the enemy will be waiting for you and they will be ready to use their AoE spells to destroy your army of illusions. To counter this, send in your illusions in groups or spread them out a bit so that not all can be wiped out with a single AoE spell. Also, don’t forget to send your illusions to keep a look out in the area to prevent your team from being ganked by heroes hiding in the forest or coming from behind, etc.

By late game, PL will usually have atleast 3 or 4 illusions with him most of the time, you can use these illusions for blocking the path of the enemy if they try to chase your allies or to block their path when they try to run away, simply use the illusions to stand infront of their path and block their way the same way that you would creep block. This is rather difficult to do and requires heaps of practice aswell as good micro.


Manta Build.


Early Game. Levels 1-8.


If you are soloing and you are versing a low hp hero it is still possible to get First Blood. When the enemies HP is about 2/3 thanks to harrassing from Spirit Lance, Dopplewalk behind them. Make sure you control your Dopplewalk illusion so that they do not know you are invisible. Just send your Dopplewalk illusion back, but still in exp range, and make it hold position. Move it forward and back slightly to make him think it is the real you, not an illusion. Once the creeps have passed and start attacking each other, break invisibility by hitting him and use Spirit Lance, keep hitting and chase untill you can use Spirit Lance again. Hopefully this will get you First Blood or atleast an empty lane to farm in as they go back to heal.
Do not chase near tower, slow movement speed + low hp = certain death for you.

If you are solo and versing 2 heroes, just play defensivly and don’t go for early kills. Our goal at this point in the game is to stay in lane as long as possible and farm as much money as possible.


Mid Game. Levels 9-16.


By level 11/12 you should have your Boots of Speed, 2 Bracers and parts of/maybe all your Yasha. With average hp, decent movespeed, good attack speed and a nice nuke/slow you can get a few kills.
Using Spirit Lance twice on a hero will do 460 damage, AFTER magic resistance. This is about half of the total HP of most heroes at this time, not to mention it also gives you 6 seconds of slow to keep hitting them.

If you see heroes with low hp and no disable/slow (eg, Sniper, Razor, Zeus,etc.) then you can probably kill them. Dopplewalk when you are near them, but not near enough for them to see your illusion, we dont want them to know we are nearby, invisible or not. Once you are close to them just use Spirit Lance and keep hitting them, chase, use Spirit Lance again and another few hits will get you a kill most of the time.

If they are a low hp hero but have a stun or disable (eg, Vengeful Spirit, Crystal Maiden,etc.) then Dopplewalk and send your illusion to go near them at the same time as you. This will cause them to use their stun/disable on your illusion, after they do, Spirit Lance them and start hitting them. If they don’t use any skills on your illusion, then Spirit Lance and fight anyway, you have a good chance of winning and you can Dopplewalk away if things turn out bad.
Don’t try to ambush heroes with 2 or more disables ( eg, Lion, Rhasta, etc.) If there are no low HP heroes farming by themselves then simply go to a lane and farm. If the level 1 towers are already down, then go farm neutral creeps.
Don’t worry about getting ganked, simply Dopplewalk and run away if you do get ambushed. Try to get enemies to waste their spells on your illusions whenever possible. One way to do this is to use Spirit Lance and then very quickly Dopplewalk, they will think it is the real PL since you just used a spell. If the enemies get wards to counter your Dopplewalk, by yourself a gem and go ward hunting.

You can ambush/Gank but don’t make it your priority, keep in mind that you have to also farm so that you can be a monster when lategame comes. Of course this does not mean just farm farm farm, if your teamates ask for you to come help push or if the enemies are attacking your base towers then ofcourse go and help. Help your teammates in ganking heroes, you have 2 slows, use them. Don’t always use Spirit Lance to last hit, use it for the slow so your allies can whack the hero too, not just so you can last hit. Help your allies if they are being chased, slow the enemy with either Purge or, preferably, Spirit Lance as it is not limited to 10 charges.


Late Game. Levels 17-25.


After your 10 charges of Purge have been used up, or when you think its about time to get Manta, upgrade Diffusal to Manta. With Manta and Phantom Edge PL will be an insance pusher. With Boots of Travel and your illusions it is your job to teleport all over the map and push down towers and cause confusion in team battles, aswell as dealing damage.

Skadi Build.

Early Game. Levels 1-8.


Early game don’t try and get kills if you are soloing unless the enemy in your lane is not so good. If you are soloing against 2 heroes then definetly don’t try, PL is much to fragile early game. If you are with an ally you can get a few kills by using your skills together, communication is the key. Basically just try to farm as much as possible, the success of this build relies on how fast you can finish Radiance.

Mid Game. Levels 9-16.

By mid game, you should have saved up 2.8k or so gold, continue to farm untill you have your relic and eventually Radiance. Don’t go hunting heroes unless your allies come to your lane to gank, simply keep farming. If farming in your lane is not an option simply go to another lane or go neutrals. Use your Dopplewalk Illusion to tank the neutrals for you. If the enemy team are doing a 5man push, going to defend is not always the best option. PL early game is rather useless with no AoE and such low hp. Only go to defend if they are attacking the base tower and there is a chance they might take out your rax. If they are only pushing the first or second towers then continue to farm. The faster you finish Radiance, the better, you will become helpful after you have Radiance. After you have Radiance, you can contribute to your team’s pushes and you will be able to farm much quicker. In team battles, make sure either you or your illusions are directly in the mid of the battle so that all the enemy heroes will be hit by Radiance’s Immolation.

Late Game. Levels 17-25.

Skadi shouldn’t take too long to farm and once you have it you will be very strong. Buffed stats, frost attack, many illusions and Immolation will mean you will be a great pusher. Teleport around the map and push lanes, you illusions can survive after you TP away, just control them and make sure they are attacking the creeps and they should spawn more illusions, in this way you will be able to push 2 lanes at once. Basically here, just push, own take out rax, gg.

When you are killing a hero keep the real PL attacking him to slow him down and control half your illusions to also attack him. The other illusions should be sent infront of the hero to try and box him in, this is will allow you to have way more hits on the enemy and with Spirit Lance’s slow and Frost attack the enemy should rarely get away.

13.Best Enemies.

Sniper.
What makes him a threat is his range, when you Dopplewalk and go near him, he becomes very easy to kill. Low hp, no disable/stun and slow movespeed make him an easy target.

Zeus.

Low HP, slow ms, no stun/disable make him an easy target. Tricking him into wasting his spells on illusions by sending them in first is also a good idea.

Troll.

Low HP, slow ms, no stun/disable make him an easy target. Lategame he can be a real threat though, especially with the Chain Lightning from Mjollnir, which is a popular item on him.

Naix.

Low HP and damage means he is only strong when he is lifestealing. Attacking Illusions does not let you lifesteal so basically, as long as he is attacking an illusion, he should go down fast.

Techies.

Low HP, slow MS and after you have burnt his mana away, useless. Send illusions to wherever you think there may be mines to trigger and waste them.

14.Worst Enemies.PL, like most illusion heroes fears AoE nukers the most and so they are his worst enemies. These are your specific problems though. Heroes with Cleaving/Splash damage are also a threat, as they can clear your images very quickly.

Magnatuar.
Although only seen once in every 90874908120938 games, this hero is a real problem for Azwraith. Shockwave is a spammable, AoE nuke with a low mana cost. Empower + Cleaving = Bye Bye images. Reverse Polarity also rapes all your images and stuns you for a long time for enemies to focus fire on you. At lategame, even if you burn all his Mana he will still be able to take you down because of cleaving and his high HP. Don’t try to take on Magnus by yourself.

Earthshaker.

His spells destroy all your illusions and deal considerable damage to you aswell.Without Mana hes pretty useless. Lategame, with Manta and Heart, your images should be strong enough to survive his combos and burn his mana rendering him relatively useless.

Tormented Soul.

With three AoE spells and another spell that hits multiple targets, hes a real threat to PL. Lategame he won’t be that much of a threat if your tank enough to survive his AoE spells for a bit because he doesn’t have that much HP nor armour and can be taken down pretty fast.

Tiny.

Early-Mid game his 2 AoE nukes will hurt you a lot and at lategame his craggy exterior will stun you and your images a lot due to your fast attack speed. By lategame he will have a base damage of +200 and armed with a Hyperstone or 2 he will plough through your images easily and can take you down even if you burn his mana. His high HP is also annoying. Don’t try and fight him alone.

Axe.

Berserkers Call and Counter Helix together will absolutely rape you. The more images you have attacking him, the more times Counter Helix will trigger. Don’t try to fight him unless you have decent HP (+2500). His Culling Blade will also kill you instantly before you can Dopplewalk away.

Sandking.

All his skills deal damage to an area. His Burrowstrike + Epicenter combo will tear you and your images apart. Whenever you see him about to use Epicenter, quickly use Spirit Lance on him as it has a mini-stun which will cancel Epicenter. Lategame, when you have enough HP and good manaburn, you can fight him and force him to return to heal or use his Sandstorm.

Sven.

God’s Strength and his cleaving attack is horrible for PL. Don’t forget to Purge him when he activates God’s Strength to negate his huge damage increase. His High HP and good armour make him hard to take down.

Bloodseeker.

Every heroes worst nightmare. He will Bloodrage himself and tear your images apart, and for every illusion he kills he heals his HP thanks to Bloodbath. Rupture cannot be cancelled by neither Purge nor using Manta Style. Don’t try to fight him by yourself.

Nerubian Assassin.
His combo is painful and his manaburn prevents you from Dopplewalking away. Not only that, his Spiked Carapace results in you and your illusions taking lots of damage every time you hit him.


Dragon Knight.
He has a decent AoE spell and when he is in his Elder Dragon Form he has splash damage. (Red Dragon deals 100% splash damage and Blue Dragon deals 50% splash damage.)

Blademails and Battlefury(on melee heroes of course) are good counters for PL aswell. If the enemy heroes get a Blademail, be careful when attacking them as you will take considerable damage aswell.


15.Good Allies.Since PL has no disable/stun skill and has slow movespeed, heroes that can provide him with a disable are very good allies as it gives him time to burn the mana of the enemy and surround them with images. Here are some of his best allies.

Naga Siren.

Together you can form a large army and since she usually gets Manta Style aswell, you will have about 10-12 illusions that all burn mana. Her 5 second ensnare will provide you with enough time to attack and produce many images to surround the enemy hero. With all their mana gone and because they are surrounded by illusions, its a sure death.

Treant Protector.

Overgrowth is the best disable skill in the game. It provides you and your images 5 seconds to attack and keep attacking all heroes that were trapped, burning their mana and surrounding them with illusions.

Furion.

Excellent pushing together with treants and illusions. Sprout an enemy hero with PL and watch chaos unfold as the enemy hero gets raped by numerous illusions.

16.Screenshots.

In this pic, I just used Spirit Lance on the Enemy Lion and I begin my chase.

I continue to chase, even past the tower as I know I can use Spirit Lance again soon.

I Dopplewalk to chase slightly faster. He is about to enter his base when I throw the second Spirit Lance.

The lance leaves him with a tiny bit of HP and my Illusion gets the final hit and I level up.

I ambush a Veno and throw a Spirit Lance.


I chase and use Purge on him.

The cooldown of my Spirit Lance is finished and I use it again.

The result ? A dead Veno and 100 gold for me.

17.Extra.

Here I will mention some extra tips to remember while using the Phantom Lancer.

-Don’t forget to use your illusions to keep an eye out for Runes in the river, if you are nearby.

-When you are playing a team with a Techies and your team is afraid of taking that DD rune in the river because it might be mined, simply send an illusion to run past and trigger any land mines or stun mines. Use your illusions to trigger any land/stun mines that may be on hills/cliffs and at your secret shop aswell.

-Purge is not only for slowing down an escaping enemy, it can be used to remove many positive buffs from enemies and many negative buffs from your allies. Some of these include God’s Strength on Sven, Amplify Damage from Slarder and Guardian Angel from Omniknight.

-Using Manta Style’s Mirror Image will also remove many negative buffs from yourself. It can remove Slarder’s Amplify Damage and you can free yourself from Naga’s Ensnare with it. It does not remove Rupture, you will still be ruptured after using Mirror Image, but your images won’t be ruptured. Does not remove Doom, you cannot even use item effects while doomed.

-Voodoo from Rhasta, Lion and Guinsoo’s will instantly kill an illusion.

-Roshan has an aura that kills all illusions and when you attack Roshan you will not create any illusions.

-Not all your illusions deal the same damage. Dopplewalk images deal 25% damage and last for 20 seconds, Juxtapose images deal 25% damage and last for 15 seconds and Manta Style images deal 40% damage and last for 20 seconds. All these images take 300% damage.

-Images don’t heal at the fountain nor do they get healed by Mekansm, however they still get the armour increase.

18.Replays.Here are some replays of me playing PL. Keep in mind that these are just pub games and I’m no chu or coL.fear so don’t expect super high level play. That been said, they are still alright and they show most of the skills required to play PL effectively. The PL.IH is of higher quality then the others and shows players with better skills.
Note that I have 3 Battle.net accounts and I play the PL in each game, except the last one. The last game features Yoshi[P] from team Pandemic playing PL, it also features other famous players such as inDe_eD and MYM|Maelk. He goes a slightly different build of Radiance + Manta and note that this is a replay for version 6.41.

Attached File pl_shortgame.w3g ( 370.39K )
Attached File pl_long_game_.w3g ( 756.7K )

Attached File PL_average_game.w3g ( 516.57K )

Attached File pl_skadi_build_.w3g ( 414.33K )

Attached File PL.IH.w3g ( 714.5K )

Attached File Yoshi_P__PL.w3g ( 1.95MB )

Well thats my guide, I hope It was at least a tiny bit useful. Please post comments and replies, I’m open to suggestions and other opinions.

-Credits.
Everyone that will read or post in this guide.
MB for everything.
RuptureMan for helping me to test things and proof reading.
DotaPortal, for hosting this guide and being an awesome website.
Myself, I rock.