Normally when I play phantom lancer, I usually go for the normal tango > magic wand early game, then I wait till I can afford diffusal blade (level 2 hopefully). After that I usually have no idea what to buy. Sometimes I get Manta Style, or Heart of Tarrasque, but what other items are effective on phantom lancer?

I know he's a mid-carry whose illusions deal a ton of damage. He also has a good escape, and his Phantom Lance is a great harassing ability. I'm trying to look for ways to maximize his illusion effectiveness.

3 Answers 3


Picking items is always situationnal :

Laning stage

  • Tangoes (4-8 depending on how much you think you'll get harassed)
  • Ring of protection (into basilius later)
  • Quelling blade if you need it
  • A salve of healing
  • Spend remaining gold on Iron wood branch (into magic wand later)

Early Game

I recommand against midas on PL unless you can get it by 5 min. PL is very weak early game and midas is very greedy on this hero : it doesn't bring survivability and the extra attack speed won't help much.

  • If you are dominant in your lane you can aim for an agressive built with Ring of Aquila and Power Treads
  • If you need more defensive stats, don't upgrade the Basilius and aim for Drums of Endurance aswell as Power Treads. The new PL is quite mana intensive so drums should solve most of your early game mana issues and give your some welcome stats for survivability.

Mid Game

If you feel safe enough and your team is creating you enough space go for a farming built. In other word rush a Radiance : the sooner the better.

If you can't farm safely then don't aim for the Radiance. This is too much of a risk and every death will set you back so hard that you will become soon irrelevant. Instead go for a more standard combat built.

What offensive items to get for Mid Game fights ?

  • Yasha is good and can be later upgraded into Manta style. Manta is still a good item on PL. Beside the stats it provides (Attack Speed, Move Speed and Agility/Strength), it allows you to dispell silences aswell as push faster.
  • Diffusal Blades. Since last patch feedback is at a constant 25 Mana Burn/Damage so you can leave them at level 1. This item was core on the old PL and still is. It has great utility : purge can be used offensively (to chase) aswell as defensively (to remove debuff on yourself/an ally) and the illusion benefits from feedback.

What defensive items to get for Mid Game fights ?

  • Drums (if you don't already have them)
  • Vitality Booster (even a Vanguard) to get more raw HP. You can upgrade the Vitality Booster into a Heart later. If you built a Vanguard you can sell it to get the money back for another Vitality Booster into a Heart.
  • Ultimate Orb : if you have the gold and want a Manta Style. However this item is really not cost efficient so take it only if you don't want to waste gold but need the extra 10 strength only. An advantage however is that your illusions will benefit from the extra stats aswell.


  • A Blink Dagger. If you are really confident this items is truly good on the new PL since you can blink in and out of fights quite easily. The extra mobility is also welcome since PL can no longer Dopplewalk away from bad fights.

Avoid getting

  • A Crimson Guard : you don't need the damage block much, this is a waste of gold when you only need some raw HP to survive through the fights.
  • A Vladimir's Offering : at this stage in the game the lifesteal won't do much. the %damage only applies to base damage (which are boosted only by gaining more agility). In the midgame your stats aren't high enough to fully benefit from a Vladimir's Offering. Unless your team have several melee and you plan to group up and push, Vladimir's won't do much for now.

Late Game

  • Heart of Tarrasque for survivability (Usefull mostly when the enemy team has a lot of magic burst)
  • Butterfly for a mix between survivability and offensive power (this item is always a good choice)
  • Eye of Skadi : very good on PL since you get a slow that goes through Spell Immunity and +25 to all stats (which also helps your illusions)
  • Boots of Travel : PL is still a strong split pusher, plus if you have a Manta Style you can force the enemy team to defend at the other side of the map and gain time.
  • When ennemies start becoming tankier and more resistant to magic damage, you can sell your Radiance and get a Daedalus for more damage. This will weaken your split push potential but greatly increase your teamfight presence.
  • If you are getting controled too much in teamfight you can concider getting a Black King Bar. However this waste a precious item slot so think about it twice.
  • A Vladimir's Offering if no one else got it.
  • If nobody else got it an Assault Cuirass can be good but not as a priority.


Picking items is always situational though you can follow those simple guideline when you don't know what to do. Just take the time to analyse what situation you are in and make the item decision based on that. Don't block yourself in a mindset of "I need this item (radiance/diffusal/whatever) so I must farm for it no matter the cost".

  • 1
    you played too much hearthstone ;) , you missed one hearth and yahsa has a typo as well. Anyway great answer as usual! thx Nov 5, 2014 at 16:45
  • @RayofCommand Thanks for the typo, I was proof reading it at the moment but missed that one :D
    – WizLiz
    Nov 5, 2014 at 16:46
  • I saw it :) and since I know you don't take it personal I reported it. Also I wanted to proof that I read it haha Nov 5, 2014 at 16:47
  • You absolutely cripple yourself and your supports if you start with a quelling blade and your lane is contested. Even though ring builds can work (a lot of people did them when you still could rush tranquil), they really dont give nearly as much in lane as a stout does. In certain lane matchups stick needs to be bought almost immediately at the side shop (i.e. in tri v tri or against a spamming 3 like bristle or bat). In other cases stick/wand are not usually worth the item slot. Rushing radiance is a good way to cripple your team in the mid game, and is even less viable now as your illusions
    – PVAL
    Nov 11, 2014 at 16:35
  • survive for so little time. Eye of Skadi is never going to be preferable to bot/diffusal/heart/manta/butter/mkb/bkb/crit/abysall. This post has a lot of issues, but since these kind of questions are not really well suited for sites like this, it will probably be treated as if it was an expert opinion.
    – PVAL
    Nov 11, 2014 at 16:38

my version of a Phantom Lancer guide. I think there are two or three ways to proceed through items in a game Can you be greedy ? that is if your opposite team doesnt have massive push potential then you can go for radiance as first major item. But i warn this is the most unsafe way of progression as even 2 or 3 deaths early can basically delay your radiance too much and you dont actually "carry". So i advise against it , but more skilled players get it sometimes as they avoid dying by their map-awareness (through experience) If you feel you need to fight a lot in mid game i would recommend Treads-> Drums(soul ring optional) -> Manta/Diffusal and engage in early fights with the team . Dont build drums and try to keep farming when your team is engaging.

  1. Laning Items : Tango, Stout shield , Salve , branches , Quelling is optional but i dont like it on PL as his base damage and agi gain is pretty high . If you see ranged heroes in opponent team that can potentially come to your lane stout is a must. it basically reduces the instant where you go back to base for healing or to tank creeps under tower.
  2. mid game : Treads , Drums , yasha/Diffusal , Manta
  3. late game : Heart , upgrade diffusal , butterfly , Skadi
  4. late late game : Boots of travel , can sell diffusal for some other items if required. Like if your team doesnt have enough lockdown even going HEX is good . or Abyssal for BKB heroes. some told to go for Crit . I think this is not great on PL . any Illusion hero you need to try to get Stat Items so that the illusions are very tanky by themselves and can push towers just through illus. So the Skadi as 6th item is probably the best item you can get . sometimes late game you can get a linkens so that you dont get initiated on by heroes who have HEX.

Also try to understand that PL isnt your typical manfight hero , so try to splitpush and basically be annoying to enemy team . If 1 hero comes to defend engage him , if 2 come then teleport back and engage the 3 with your team . This is basic splitpush

So typical item progression for greedy PL Plain boots/Treads-> Radiance-> Bots-> Manta -> Diffusal-> Heart /Butterfly->Skadi For a more team fight and early engagement -> Treads -> Drums -> Yasha/Diffusal->Manta -> Butterfly-> Heart vs heroes like Sven/Tiny/Antimage who are pretty good vs PL i think i would go early abyssal after diffusal or heart since they will clear illusions pretty well and we will have to lock them down during BKB . Hope this helps !


you dont need diffusal level 2 anymore. It has the same mana burn as level one so its useless on phantom now and waste of gold. To maximize illusions get heart and assault cuirass to make them durable and also butterfly for damage and tankiness. Manta is useless according to me now cause he creates illusions very fast now. Thats about it. (2000+ hours player)

  • How is diffusal level 2 a waste? If you run out of charges on diffusal blade level 1, you should buy the level 2 diffusal blade. It's only 700 gold. You have 2000 hours in the game but this advice isn't really helpfull. I dont see how Manta is useless.
    – Loko
    Nov 14, 2014 at 13:07
  • read what he says. He says buy level 2 immediatly, its a different thing waiting for the charges to run out. Manta is useless for him now cause he can get max illusions in 2-3 sec in a fight, earlier manta was used to buff the initial illusions
    – Elgert
    Nov 14, 2014 at 13:56
  • I read what he says but your answer implies that you dont need it at all anymore.
    – Loko
    Nov 17, 2014 at 12:29
  • because the "Main" use of diffusal on lancer is manaburn not purge
    – Elgert
    Nov 17, 2014 at 13:11
  • Diffusal blade level 2 is 700 gold. Worth it for the extra charges after you run out.
    – Loko
    Nov 20, 2014 at 8:39

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