If you are looking for one of the most overpowered heroes of Dota 2, you have found it: Phantom Lancer. It’s the single best choice out there for those who are looking to win a game by themselves, without relying on their teammates. If you are sick of your allies holding you back, Phantom Lancer is here to help. (Huskar could work in almost the same way, but that’s a different story.)
Let’s learn how to conquer Dota 2 as Phantom Lancer, shall we?
Who should play Phantom Lancer?
As I said, he is amazing if you want to be a lone wolf who wins the match for their team by themselves. This requires some confidence and independence on your part. If you aren’t cut out for this kind of gameplay, it won’t work. Don’t even try to force it, because you will end up like many players, desperately clinging to a build that simply isn’t meant for you.
Another thing to take into account is that you need to be willing to wait. Phantom Lancer can’t do much in team fights until he gets his first couple of items, so jumping into them would be a huge mistake. You need to look the other way for the first ten minutes of the match, at the very least.
What items does Phantom Lancer need?
- Diffusal Blade
- Manta Style
- Heart of Tarrasque
- Abyssal Blade
That is your core outfit, buffing you a little through every stat. I highly suggest going for Diffusal Blade first, as it’s your main item and it will help you peak even sooner than you normally would. After that, you should get some kind of boots. As always, I can’t tell you which specific one to get, because it will depend on the current situation, but Power Treads usually works. After that, you can build your items however you like. Look at how the game is going, and what you need the soonest, and make your choice. The end result will be the same: a well rounded hero.
Once these 5 items are done, you can go several ways. What I recommend is becoming the lane pusher of your team. Simply build Butterfly, Eye of Skadi and Sange and Yasha. These are all insanely powerful items for someone who wants to go solo for a huge chunk of the game. They will help you if you get ganked, or if you have to get out of a situation quickly. Just make sure that you pay attention to the passives.
And if you are feeling really confident, and you notice the enemy team is letting you get kills and get out alive constantly, get Divine Rapier.
When to switch it up
Phantom Lancer’s counters are actually awful in this meta, so you don’t need to worry about any of them showing up. And if they do, they will just get pounded into the ground by all of your allies. You likely won’t need to take any kind of precautions, but if by some miracle they get fed and come after you, you will be in huge trouble.
If that happens, start building defensively and stop pushing alone, because you’d be taking a one-way trip to loser town otherwise. Still, the defensive side to Phantom Lancer should only be used if your entire match is getting really out of hand.
In a normal match, you should not be afraid of going all in. And if you want to thread the line between cautious and aggressive playstyle, here’s what you can build: Paladin Sword, Satanic – use that active ability as often as possible -and Linken’s Sphere. I know, these are rather unusual items for Phantom Lancer in Dota 2, but they will give you a lot of health regeneration, which is crucial if you want to survive team fights.
How to play as Phantom Lancer
You will need to go to mid lane. That’s your first obstacle, as many players don’t understand why Phantom Lancer would do that, and are used to seeing him elsewhere. If you catch some BM, just ignore it. Don’t listen to anyone: statistically speaking he has a much higher chance at winning the game if he goes to mid lane, even though that one has the lowest pick rate.
At first, simply farm. Have some tunnel vision and ignore whatever is going on around you – except if you are in danger, or if the jungler is coming to get you a kill, of course. Focus on getting your first item and your boots, then the fun can begin.
Depending on how overpowered you are by this point, you can either push the side lanes alone (best case scenario), or stick with the team and act as a carry for them. Whichever needs to be done, just make sure that the enemy never knows who to target when it comes to their abilities and ultimates. Create as many clones as you can, and use them to trick people.