Even though Phantom Assassin does not have a huge pick rate in pro games, this hero is quite popular among pub players. PA is very fun and simple to play, but which is more important, she can be very effective.
The downside of Phantom Assassin is that she needs quite a lot of time before she can start providing necessary impact for her team. However, once she finishes her key items, it is very hard to stop her.
Table of contents
- Starting Items
- Early stage of the game
- Mid stage of the game
- Late stage of the game
- Common mistakes
- Tips & Tricks
Just like for any other melee carry, the most standard item build for Phantom Assassin is Stout Shield, x2 Iron Branch and x6 Tango. Remaining 100 gold, you should use to buy a Quelling Blade at the start of the laning stage, right after your team takes two Bounty Runes. In case you know you will get harassed a lot in the lane, you can consider getting an extra Healing Salve or two more Iron Branches, it will improve your sustainability in the lane.
Early stage of the game
Laning stage can be quite harsh for Phantom Assassin. This hero doesn’t have a huge amount of damage and might have troubles contesting last-hits or trading HP with opponents. Thankfully, Phantom Assassin has an amazing ability called Stifling Dagger. This spell helps her to ensure last-hits and help her support apply additional pressure on the enemy offlaner.
After your team takes Bounty Runes, you should immediately run towards side shop and purchase a Quelling Blade. This item will ease the process of last-hitting and improve your farming potential later in the game.
If you play for the Radiant, you should think twice before making a creep block. Do it only if you are absolutely sure your opponents block their creeps as well. Even if you do the slightest block and your opponents didn’t bother to block creeps themselves, it can result in creeps meeting too close to your tower, which will make the lane push immediately towards the enemy tower.
The most important thing for any core player is to learn and effectively use the creeps aggro trick. This trick is very simple and insanely effective at the same time, it helps to secure more last-hits and farm in more safe positions. To make it work, you need to stay close to enemy creeps and use ‘Attack’ command on any enemy hero, it will force creeps to follow you. You can use this mechanic in various ways. Use it to drag creeps further away from your opponent, so he will not have an opportunity to prevent you from last-hitting. Drag creeps closer to your ranged creeps, so you can easily deny it. Use it to drag creeps closer to your tower so that you can farm in a safer position. Remember, any player, who considers himself a good core should master this game mechanic to perfection.
Phantom Assassin is dependent on her items and is not very strong in the early stage of the game. If the enemy team starts applying any pressure on your lane, you should immediately leave it and make a rotation either to the offlane or to the jungle. Your goal is to get yourself a Battle Fury as fast as you can. Farm as efficiently as you can, use Blur to farm ancient camps.
Phantom Assassin can potentially participate in early fights, but you need to make sure not to die in them. Pay maximum attention to your positioning and do not jump into the fight too aggressively. Every death will significantly slow down your farm.
Mid stage of the game
This stage of the game for you can be described as 80% farm, 20% fight. Farming should be your highest priority. Join fights only if it is necessary, or if you can get some easy kills out of it. Finish Battle Fury, and then use it to farm even faster.
Analyze the enemy draft and the current situation on the map. Your next item should be based on the conclusion you come with. If your team is losing and then desperately need you to join fights, then it is necessary for you to purchase a Black King Bar as your second big item. If the game goes even or your team is leading, then you can fearlessly go for Desolator.
Once you get Deso, ask your team to use Smoke of Deceit and force a teamfight, ideally around the Roshan pit. With the help of Desolator and Coup De Grace, you can demolish Roshan in the space of a few seconds. Aegis of the Immortal will make you a lot stronger in the upcoming fights.
Keep farming effectively, use Blur to split push the lanes and make unexpected rotations.
Phantom Assassin is somewhat dependent on her teammates, as she needs disables to kill her opponents. This is why it very important for PA to maintain excellent communication with teammates and play around them.
Late stage of the game
Phantom Assassin’s gameplay in the late stage of the game is very standard. Play around your teammates, try not to get caught out of position. Make sure to keep the lanes pushed, as it will give your team additional map control.
Focus on playing around key objectives of the game, such as Bounty Runes, Roshan, Towers and Barracks.
Pay a lot of attention to your positioning in fights, do not use Phantom Strike too aggressively. In the late stage, it is very likely you will only have 5 seconds on your Black King Bar. This is why you need to use this item perfectly.
While you siege or defend the base, try to use Stifling Dagger as often as you can. With the help of Coup De Grace crits, it can lead to easy kill and can work as a great setup for a fight.
1) Selecting the wrong starting items. Make sure to purchase enough healing items to sustain the laning stage comfortably. Do not buy Quelling Blade at the start of the game, as you can get this item from the side shop at the beginning of the laning stage.
2) Participating in unnecessary fights. Phantom Assassin is very dependent on her items. It is not worth for you to risk your life by participating in a fight if you are not sure you can get something out of it.
3) Going straight for Battle Fury. Stats matter. Early-game items matter. Before you go for Battle Fury, you need to make sure to purchase at least one Wraith Band, Magic Wand and upgraded Boots.
4) Using Phantom Strike to dive deep into the enemy base. Phantom Assassin deals an insane amount of damage, but this hero is very squishy at the same time. You need to be very careful about your positioning.
Tips & Tricks
1) Improve your skill through watching streams, videos or replays of professional players who pick this hero.
2) Focus on playing around key objectives of the game, such as Roshan, Towers and Bounty Runes.
3) Do not skip a Magic Wand. It is one of the best and most useful items you can get on a core hero. It will make you significantly stronger in fights.
4) Make sure to use Blur effectively throughout the game. Use it to make rotations, farm ancients in early stages, gank enemy heroes and split push lanes.
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