A guide to Phantom Assassin’s talents in 7.07. I will analyze PA’s new talents and explain the best choices for your games.
The pick and win rate statistics after each talent refer to pub games in all skill rating brackets. Phantom Assassin received no more changes up to 7.07d.
- +15 Damage - 73.5% pick rate; 51.3% win rate
- +150 Health - 26.5% pick rate; 49.8% win rate
The level 10 talents are the same of 7.06. I advise to take the extra damage in all games as it works well with the skill set of the hero and the next talents.
The +150 Health Points talent is the safest choice. Consider it if you have troubles surviving in the early phases of the game, especially when fighting against many casters. A bigger health pool helps versus magic damage, but the difference is really negligible.
- +20% Cleave - 46.3% pick rate; 50.6% win rate
- -4 Armor Corruption - 53.7% pick rate; 54.9% win rate
Cleave as a farming tool
Adding a cleave effect to your attacks is mainly advantageous to increase your farming speed as PA can’t kill creep waves quickly with her single target damage. In teamfight, it helps against illusion based heroes and if the enemies are gathered next to each other - for example during an Enigma’s Black Hole
Finally, do not forget that the Battle Fury is a very popular farming tool not only for the cleave damage, but also because it gives 60% attack damage bonus to melee heroes when fighting against non-hero units (creeps).
Armor corruption boosts your damage
The Desolator is pretty much a must item on Phantom Assassin - it reduces the armor of the target by 6. The extra -4 Armor Corruption brings the total to -10. In Dota, you want to weaken the opponent’s armor as near to 0 as possible to not shrink your critical damage.
It is a noticeable dps boost against heroes, and somewhat it also enhances your farming speed as you decrease the armor of the neutral creeps, killing them in fewer hits.
I would take the +15 Damage at level 10, the Desolator, and then the -4 Armor Corruption in most games.
- Double Strike Stifling Dagger - 22.8% pick rate; 58.4% win rate
- 20% Lifesteal - 77.2% pick rate; 58.6% win rate
Many players misunderstand what the Double Strike talent really does. It doesn’t throw two daggers against the same target, but a second dagger is sent towards a random unit in the area.
PA’s dagger is considered a regular attack, so it procs any attack modifier and on-hit effect. Maybe, the talent would make sense if the second dagger wasn’t random. But, right now I can’t suggest it.
20% Lifesteal is an excellent option to sustain, and you won’t have to rely on the Vladmir's Offering anymore. In 7.06, this was a level 15 talent that granted only 10% lifesteal.
- +25% Blur Evasion - 40.9% pick rate; 65.5% win rate
- +5% Coup de Grace - 59.1% pick rate; 65.2% win rate
Phantom Assassin already has a 50% evasion through Blur, so the talent would bring it to 75%. This is not the optimal choice in most games:
- You don’t need that much evasion.
- Everyone buys the Monkey King Bar when facing PA.
I would look at this talent only when dealing with multiple right-clickers, if you are dominating the game, and pushing to end it soon, so they won’t even have the time to buy the MKB. But, this situation will rarely take place.
Moreover, the MKB isn’t the only problem as also the Silver Edge and the Bloodthorn counter her. The former is often purchased because many players already buy the Shadow Blade for the invisibility effect.
+5% Coup de Grace is my preference in almost all games, and it raises the proc chance to 20%. PA relies on her ability to obliterate the opponent before he can even react, so inflicting more critical hits will help her even more in the late game, particularly if you built a lot of raw damage via items.
Monkey King Bar - Old vs New
I published an analysis on the differences between the old and the new MKB, and their efficiency against targets with different values of evasion.
In the majority of games, the new version is better and will hit the targets more times that the old one because most heroes can only get a 35% evasion via the Butterfly.
Phantom Assassin is a different story due to her 50% evasion, but the new MKB is still better even against her up to 320 attack speed.
Check out the entire analysis, the damage comparison, and learn also how well the two versions work against buildings.
Vincenzo is an esports writer with five years of experience. Former head editor for Natus Vincere, he has produced content for DreamHack, FACEIT, DOTAFire, 2P, and more. Follow him on @SkulzDota.