The three or four times I’ve played against a well managed PL, my team always got destroyed and no one really knew how to handle him.
Is there a way to pick out the real one from the phantoms?
Spotting the real Phantom Lancer is a pain. Good Phantom Lancer players won’t often show the real one during pushes and let their illusions do the work. Same goes for teamfights: once the army of illusion is here, they tend to dopplewalk away and wait for a good opportunity to show again. If an illusion army is pushing a lane, the real one might be jungling on a nearby neutral camp.
Spot PL before a gank
If you want to spot him before a gank (or spot the real one on the map if visible) you have some options:
- He takes less damage than illusions
- He deals more damage than illusions
- He benefits from some items when illusions don’t: if he has a vanguard or a heart of tarrasque, he will have health regen (this require some practice but the vanguard (or ring of health) regen can be spotted by the naked eye). If he has a vladirmir’s offering, he will be the only Phantom Lancer to lifesteal on attack (the animation of lifesteal is still there on the illusions but they actually don’t lifesteal).
- If he throws a lance you can try to see which lance deals the damage (quite hard to do)
- If you are lucky he will level up thus becoming the obvious target
Things to remember
My best advice against a Phantom Lancer army is to: Massive AOE > spot the real one (the one who took the least damage). This will work in most situations, then it’s up to you to focus correctly.
PL players tend too often to doppleganger away when they feel insecure. When they do so you only have 3 remaining possible choices (2 illus and the real one) : One of the illu doesn’t deal damage, the other take 600% extra damage so spotting the real one quickly is a matter of reflex and game sense. With a bit of training you shouldn’t be annoyed by those anymore. Be carefull though, the illusion that doesn’t deal damage doesn’t only for normal attack, it the PL has diffusal blades, both illusion will still deal the feedback damages.
Shut down a PL
Prevent him from farming. Come in his lane as early as you can to harass him. Take down the outer tower as soon as you can. PL tends to farm tranquil boots > ring of aquila > diffusal blade whereas other carries will tend to farm farming items first (battle fury on void/magina, midas on Alchemist etc.). This means that Phantom Lancer is shut down early on, he won’t be able to catch up as other carries can. But remember: no matter how much ahead you think you are, a good PL can win the game by himself.