Dota 2 Phantom Assassin Guide – Builds, Abilities, Items and Strategy

Mortred, the Phantom Assassin can easily become the hardest hitter in the game. She particularly excels at fighting other carries such as Chaos Knight and Anti-Mage. Her ultimate Coup de Grace is known for being able to kill heroes with a single blow!

PA is a melee late game, item dependent carry hero whose main goal is to farm up for the late game, although she can start killing other heroes with just a few damage items with the help of allies.

Her skill set is  also pretty decent earlier on, Stifling Dagger cuts down enemy movement by half with a nice duration, Phantom Strike gives her a lot of mobility, effectively making her a nightmare to kite and Blur gives her some survivability against enemy right clicks.

For more help on Dota 2, read our Brewmaster, Ogri Magi and Enchantress Guide.

Pros and Cons

  • + High damage per second output
  • + Good mobility
  • + Can safely farm against a strong lane
  • + Very resistant to physical attacks due to natural evasion and high armor
  • – Very item dependent
  • – Fragile against nukes
  • – Somewhat dependent on random Ultimate procs

Dota 2 – Phantom Assassin Abilities

Stifling Dagger
Deals minor pure damage and slows the enemy unit’s movement speed. Deals half damage to heroes.

  • Duration: 1/2/3/4
  • Damage: 50/100/150/200
  • Manacost: 30/25/20/15
  • Cooldown: 8 seconds

Your early nuke, harassing and farming tool. Note that it does pure damage so it does a very decent amount of damage, and it’s low cooldown and manacost allow you to spam it.

Phantom Strike
Teleports to a unit, friendly or enemy, and grants bonus attack speed while attacking if it’s an enemy unit. Bonus lasts for 4 attacks or 3 seconds.

  • Bonus Attack Speed: 100
  • Cooldown: 14/11/8/5
  • Manacost: 50

Your mobility spell. In the early game it almost doubles your attack speed. You can also target allies to escape from bad situations

The Phantom Assassin becomes hard to see by blurring her body and disappearing from the enemy minimap when near enemy heroes. Some enemy attacks miss.

  • Evasion: 20% / 25% / 30% / 35%

Note that it doesn’t stack with evasion items such as Butterfly.

Coup de Grace
Phantom Assassin refines her combat abilities, gaining a chance of delivering a devastating critical strike to enemy units.

  • Critical Chance: 15%
  • Critical Damage: 250% / 325% / 400% !

Probably the best DPS oriented passive in the game, allowing PA to deal 4 times her normal damage. With enough items, you are able to 1 hit everything.

Dota 2 – Phantom Assassin Skill Build

  1. Stifling Dagger/Phantom Strike
  2. Phantom Strike/Stifling Dagger
  3. Stifling Dagger
  4. Blur
  5. Stifling Dagger
  6. Coup de Grace
  7. Stifling Dagger
  8. Phantom Strike
  9. Phantom Strike
  10. Phantom Strike
  11. Coup de Grace
  12. Blur/Stats
  13. Blur/Stats
  14. Blur/Stats
  15. Stats
  16. Coup de Grace

Take your first skill point only when you’ve reached your lane. If your team is able to get a First Blood the 1 second slow is nearly useless so take Phantom Strike because of the increased damage.

Phantom Strike is also very useful if you need to escape from a sticky situation. Stifling Dagger at level one is really weak but it can net you a few last hits in case you couldn’t get safely to the creep wave.

Stifling Dagger is the first skill to max because it scales really well. Not only the damage increases but it’s manacost also decreases, for PA who has a pathetic int growth of 1 per level, this manacost reduction is really imperative.

Phantom Strike is the 2nd skill to max because it will bring the cooldown to a measily 5 seconds.

One level of Blur grants you 20% evasion so it makes you significantly harder to take down. Extra levels of it only give +5% so it depends on enemy lineup, you should max Blur when facing right click heroes like Rikimaru and Void, you should take stats instead when facing heavy nukers like Queen of Pain and Lion.

Ultimate CdG is obviously taken whenever possible since the damage boost is huge and will allow you to kill enemies and farm a lot faster.

Phantom Assassin Recommended items

Starting: Stout Shield, Branch, Branch,  Tango and Salve
These starting items will give you some survivability to give you an easier laning on your early levels.

Early Game:  Ring of Health, Boots of Speed, Quelling Blade and Poor Man Shield

These are the first items you should be working for. Ring of Health will give you all the regeneration you need and will be upgraded soon. Boots to escape ganks and maybe get some kills, and Quelling for the extra damage to last hit and deny, it will also speed your farming by a lot when you go kill jungle creeps. Poor Man Shield will give you a further survivability boost against right clicks, and will make your laning a lot easier.

Core: Phase Boots, Battlefury, Magic Wand, TP Scroll

Phase Boots are the boots of choice. Not only do they add plus damage that will make your crits bigger, but they also make you a really big chaser with increased speed and Stiffling Dagger’s big range.

Battlefury is the first big item you should aim for, it has a pretty good damage/cost and it allows you to clear your whole jungle in less than one minute since the cleave makes you hit every creep in the camp and its mana regeneration allows you to spam Phantom Strike. Magic Wand will give some hp and mana and you should always carry a TP Scroll.

Strong Extensions:  Helm of the Dominator, Black King Bar, Cranium Basher

PA’s biggest weakness is how fragile she is because of her low hp. With lifesteal, you compensate this frailness by healing yourself as long as you keep whacking the enemies.

HotD can be used to dominate one creep, which you can use to stack up Ancient Creeps, after you get some stacks, you can easily farm them up with your cleaved crits and by doing so you will win a ton of gold. Enemy stuns will mess up your lifestealing so to prevent this you can get yourself a Black King Bar.

Alternatively Basher, which offers a really great damage per gold, will help you kill enemies since if you get lucky stuns, they can’t disable you.

Luxuries: Monkey King Bar, Satanic, Abyssal Blade, Manta Style, Boots of Travel, Daedalus, Divine Rapier

Late game you should get these items to make you hit like a big truck. MKB is great when the enemies have some kind of evasion, against heroes like Brewmaster, Windrunner, Riki, etc. Abyssal gives you a disable that goes through magic immunity and it makes up for a decent upgrade to your Basher.

Satanic gives you a big hp boost and it’s active is almost like a free Aegis, use it when you are almost dying, crit once and become full hp again. Manta Style can be a good item since it allows you to dodge spells, and your illusions also crit.

Boots of Travel to free up the slot you had for a teleport scroll. Daedalus may not seem like a good choice at first since your ultimate already gives you crit, but the damage it provides is really good, and the crit chance stacks with diminishing returns, meaning that you will crit on more hits. Divine Rapier is the option to go for in won games. No hero is safe when you get it.

Alternative Items: Vanguard, Hood, Mjolnir, Assault Cuirass, Butterfly

I must say that I’m not a big fan of these items on PA but they can work. Blur already makes you resistant to right clicks and Poor Man Shield already blocks off 20 damage with a 100% chance, and you already get regeneration through BF and Lifesteal so Vanguard just pales and quickly loses its effectiveness.

Hood is a similar defensive item to Vanguard, but again if you fear nukes so much you rather get a BKB and with it, kill that Lion before he nukes you. Mjolnir is on of the best DPS items in the game, but by getting extra attack speed, you get rid of the Phantom Strike buff a lot faster, so in my opinion you’d rather get more damage instead of more attack speed.

Assault is kinda the same as VG in terms of defense, but it scales a lot better in the late game and it buffs up your team as well. Butterfly which is a common luxury in DPS heroes, it’s not that good in PA because its evasion doesn’t stack with Blur.

Phantom Assassin Strategy Tips

You are the main carry so your goal is to just farm and farm and farm. But as usual, if you can get an easy kill like an opponent diving one of your allies, go for it and get free extra gold.

As far as laning choices go, you should always go for the safe lane (Dire top/Radiant Bottom), or the mid lane along with a support hero. Once you get atleast level 5, Stifling Dagger allows you to safely farm an offlane.

Know when to be agressive while laning. when you have the creep wave under control, you can spam Stifling Dagger to harass the enemy, when the enemy has a better control, you can still farm long range with Dagger. 4 Second slow on the maxed Dagger is no joke, if you don’t have the space to farm you can gank pretty well with just the damage of Phase and CdG.

Roshan is a big part of PA’s gameplay, know how soon you can defeat it so that you can give yourself and your team a big boost. A well timed Phantom Strike on unsuspecting enemies can sometimes grant you free kills and later on it will allow teamfights to start 4v5.

Sometimes, games are decided by what item luxuries you decide. It will be up to you to adapt and handle different games accordingly!