Dota is a game of nostalgia, glory anchored in the past and found in the future. Even with new things coming its way in a few months, the game is rare to become stale for long. In order to achieve a state of turbulence, Icefrog adds new things to a stagnant game state. A MOBA’s game design is dependent on the developer, thus Valve is cautious. One false step from them and the whole game is sent down a storm drain of bad metas. Such is our topic for today, the rework of Phantom Lancer (PL).
Icefrog is seen by the community as a developer with a strange sense of balance. From cryptic teases to nostalgia changes, the community can pinpoint the frog’s personal touch. But of the things that are considered Icefrog’s touch are the nostalgia comebacks. These include mechanics that were present in DotA, removed after the Dota 2 transition, and reimplemented better. Phantom Lancer got a sick rework in Dota 2 patch 7.33 AKA “The New Frontiers.” Let’s explore an old classic and determine whether his recent changes were good or not!
Phantom Lancer: New Side
PL is a hero known for his ability to amass and overwhelm with an illusion army. Suppose you encounter him alone, you may find yourself out of options right away. Over the years, items have enabled PL to become more of a menace in the game. Diffusal Blade allows him and his army to burn mana on top of already heavy damage. And because he is illusion-based, stat items are his go-to builds—think Heart, Skadi, and Manta.
His new buffs increased his attack range from a conventional 150 to an absurd 225 range. This added range gives him leeway to land hits without previous commitment. The bouncing Spirit Lance got moved up as his Scepter upgrade now, allowing it to bounce on a hero twice. Spellcaster PL is now on the menu but builds conventional items still. But that isn’t the only thing Icefrog added back because Dota oldheads might remember this one.
His Nostalgic Side
Starting from 7.33, Phantom Lancer returns to his old roots with the return of Doppelwalk. In the patches before 6.82, Doppelwalk was PL’s second ability, replaced by Doppelgänger. Now a shard tied to his ultimate, it follows the same mechanics as the original skill. Upon casting, the real PL is granted invisibility with movement speed and creates an illusion. This illusion travels in a forward direction as a means of misdirecting enemies.
Keep in mind that this ability replaces PL with the Doppelwalk illusion upon casting. You won’t have to worry about enemies noticing unless they have detection there. This adds a new dimension to the PL counter matchup due to the invisibility factor. All of a sudden, a player needs to identify better if they are chasing the real PL. Plus, if your team does identify the real PL, then be ready to get rid of him. Spoiler, it is just as hard to kill him as knowing which is real. All in all, abusing his abilities just seems easier now than ever before.
So to this, let us find out Phantom Lancer’s counters as well as how to shut him down and starve him out. But of course, that is a story for another time, good luck testing this new-old PL!