Dota 2 Pub stompers: Phantom Lancer



Sat 9th Mar 2013 - 1:26pm

 I hate this guy. The fact that he has his own personal army and is the undisputed king of illusion characters makes him one of the most popular carries in allpick. He's one of the highest tier carries in both pro and pub games, and one of the most difficult to deal with.  I'm gonna break down what you can expect when you play against one, why this character is so tough to deal with, and how to shut him down.

One thing about PL that I find infuriating is that he doesn't need much farm or items to get out of control. Good PL players usually start with a quelling blade, a ring of protection, stats and regen. This is because they try to build tranquil boots asap and stay in the lane. Once he has tranquil boots, he isn't leaving the lane. He is going to farm until he has 800 gold for soul ring. This can easily be achieved before the 8 minute mark and is the beginning of the end.

Lets look at his two active abilities.

You may look at this and say “Oh, well he doesn't seem too bad...” Slap yourself in the face because you're wrong. If he has his boots and Soul ring he is going to constantly beat up on anyone that would get in the way of his quota. He can spam that Spirit lance every 7 seconds, and with soul ring you can expect him to hit you or the other unfortunate sap your laning with atleast once every 30 seconds for increasing damage each level. Yeah, your lane phase is going to become more traumatizing than that time your uncle yelled you for that thing you don't remember.

His W is a pretty solid escape tool, and later in the game it can be spammed to create more illusions for him to push farm, push, or harass with. Don't expect him to use it in lane, unless he is making a run for it.

Lets take a look at his passives.

These two abilities do the same thing in different ways: Make more illusions, faster and more often.

Assuming he hasn't been ganked yet, you can expect him to pick up Diffusal blade at around 14-16 minutes. This stupid item makes his illusions pillage your mana, and gives him a powerful slow and/or purge. Now he's capable of pushing, and ganking. Your carries won't have their items at point, and it gives him a chance to snowball the rest of the game. He has the best agility gains per lvlup (4.2) and scales really well later in the game.

After Diffusal you can expect him to not make any purchases until he can pick up one of these :


After he's gotten even one of these items, he'll be nearly unstoppable. The Radiance effect goes off his illusions, making him able to affect a much larger area at once. Heart makes his illusions as tough as a regular character, and Butterfly makes him hit like a truck. If he's gotten this far you guys better hold onto your butts, because it only gets worse. It's nearly impossible to come back at the point, unless you have a hard carry like Faceless void or PA that's as fat as he is. The point is, you never want him to get this far. 

So, now that you know what to expect when playing against a good PL, I'm going to share some ways how to shut him down.

1. Gank him Early.

The easiest way to shut down any carry is to ruin their lane phase, gank them over and over again. PL is no exception. He has a very small health pool early game because of his terrible str gain, but don't underestimate him. You're going to need dust and most likely you'll need help from the mid character. Don't expect anyone in pubs to support, so buy the dust yourself. If you get him two or three times before 10 minutes, his farm will be stalled quite a bit. There aren't any cons to this approach except for buying dust (180g or 5 LH) unless you're dealing with a tri-lane there isn't a reason why you shouldn't do this. Remember, Gank early. Gank often. Gank until the other team starts whining in Allchat

2. Fight Broken with Broken.

If you see PL picked up and your team doesn't respond and picks all carries you need to take the initiative and deal with it. Get Keeper of the Light, the other most unfun and unfair character in the game. KoTL can make it impossible forPL to farm early game, and shut him down early before he gets scary.

PL has relatively low HP starting out, and a couple good KOTL blasts should make him think twice about going in for last hit, if not kill him. Sven is also a good choice, as he doesn't need mana after he blows all his abilities in a team fight. The cons to fighting broken with broken is that the characters might get picked up, and if you fail as KOTL early, PL will wreck you the rest of the game.


This item built on melee hero (such as jug, kunka or PA) will allow you to quickly kill PL illusions and stomp him mid game. The cleave from 2 Bfs stacks to 70%, which is some serious damage considering you'll have +130 damage. This approach is probably the worst way to approach dealing with PL, as it has the most cons. First of all, you're going to have to farm up 8700 gold for both of them.

You will be able to farm a lot faster after you get the first one, but it's still a drain on the team to do this. Secondly, you leave yourself vulnerable to other heroes besides PL. Not having BKB or building scepter could cripple you. And lastly, your team is going to hate you for farming DOUBLE BATTLEFURY. I kind of hate myself for even sharing this one... but it has worked for me in the past and I feel it's worth mentioning.

4. Remove him from the game

If you REALLY, REALLY hate this character, for the low low price of 100 gold you can pick him first, then repick the character you want to play. It will remove PL from the pool, every English speaking person on your team will thank you. Your ancestors in Valhalla will sing songs of your heroic deed.

I hope you've gotten a good idea what to expect you play against Cancer Lancer, and how to deal with him pubs.

Tl;dr phantom lancer is a jerk, never stop ganking him, always buy dust, and never try to out carry him.

Your Comments

  • Sat 23rd Mar 2013 - 9:57pm
    He reminds me of Broodmother in gameplay style.
  • Sun 10th Mar 2013 - 5:55am
    gyro and medusa also work if fat enough DAMN your idea at no 4 : Briliant !! i dont mid lose some gold to remove that guy...specialy when play solo at pub the problem is all your team need to focus at PL,...while it will give free space for other semi carry hero on enemy team
  • Sat 9th Mar 2013 - 4:27pm
    You can also pick up a Gyrocopter, flak cannon is AMAZING in the midgame against Phantom Lancer. Also, check out some of Virtus Pro's recent Premier League games for casual Rapier builds used to beat down a PL.

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