18.12.2023, 09:06
20.05.2024, 12:34

Lancer's Counterpicks in Dota 2

Phantom Lancer is a close-quarters combat character, notorious for his increased physical damage and an uncanny ability to spawn illusions, deceptive entities adept at dealing damage to enemies while masking their progenitor.

The Lancer is often chosen as the team's primary driving force - with the proper progression and necessary game-changing artefacts under his belt, the character is a formidable adversary. Overcoming the Phantom Lancer in a one-on-one situation is nearly impossible; even with support, facing a Lancer could be a tough nut to crack.

The Lancer poses a particular threat in the endgame. If the character's growth is unchecked, the Phantom annihilates adversaries, circumvents traps, and seizes bases with lethal efficiency.

You must start countering the Lancer from the onset of the match – you cannot afford to let the character level up and enhance his proficiencies unchecked.

For an optimally effective onslaught against the Lancer, you should employ counterpicks - characters, abilities and artefacts designed to neutralise or weaken the nemesis in question.

Who is Phantom Lancer in Dota 2?

At the start of the game, the Lancer is slow - the hero needs to develop his effects, destroy monsters and collect artefacts. In the initial minutes, Phantom Lancer is busy farming. Lancer's allies cover for the hero if the team works well together.

Phantom can inflict substantial damage - farming goes quite swiftly. The hero can overcome obstacles and adapt to play in the forest. In case of a chance 1x1 encounter in the game's early stages, Lancer might deliberately lose the battle to return to farming after resurrection.

After developing effects, the Lancer avoids direct encounters with opponents using illusions. While the opponent attacks the disembodied spirits, the hero slips away.

Lancer's mobility allows him to avoid encounters despite several opponents attacking simultaneously.

Phantom Lancer has at his disposal four abilities that make the hero dangerous for opponents:

  • "Spirit Lance" - The hero throws a spear that inflicts minor damage to the opponent and slows down; Lancer creates an inferior illusion to the main hero in characteristics but can inflict damage and create illusions.
  • "Doppelganger" - The hero and the created illusions disappear for 1 second and appear in different parts of the map. Additionally, Lancer creates two new copies; the ability allows extending the life of all disembodied heroes.
  • "Phantom Rush" - The character chooses a target and quickly approaches; Lancer's illusions also allow rapid convergence.
  • "Juxtapose" - Lancer creates illusions that also create illusions; when levelling up skills during activation of the effect, Lancer acquires invisibility and increases movement speed.

Illusions are the main strength of the character. The second level of SPIRIT LANCE allows Phantom to attack several characters and create two illusions. The copies that the hero creates live for 8 sec. Copies created by illusions with the JUXTAPOSE ability - 4 sec.

Thanks to his abilities, Phantom Lancer can create more than ten copies that deal damage to the opponent. Even 3-4 copies can destroy an enemy with a low health level; 8 or more make Lancer virtually invincible in group combat.

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In the history of Dota 2, the developers twice changed Phantom Lancer's stats to weaken the hero, but even after the balance in the game increased, Lancer can be called one of the most powerful characters.

Counter picks for Phantom Lancer in Dota 2

Engaging against a Lancer isn't a walk in the park. Right out of the gate, it's crucial to disrupt his attempts to farm by taking down creeps and amassing gold. The best strategy is to prevent the hero from venturing into the jungle, where it's trickier to interfere with Lancer’s operations. If your foe senses your deliberate disruption, he'll either face off or retreat.

Players geared up to counter Lancer should acquaint themselves with the following Achilles' heels:

  • Dependence on farming: Lancer is vulnerable without the right artifacts;
  • Exposed to spells: Vulnerable to area of effect (AOE) damage;
  • Lacking protection: Susceptible to cleave or splash damage.

The right counter against a Lancer would be a character with effects that can disrupt or block the enemy's abilities. Ideally, two players - a damage dealer and a support - should confront Lancer as a unit.

If Lancer starts a fight with negligible resistance, it's likely he's planning to drop fast in order to revive and return to farming. Experienced Dota 2 players often advise against killing in such scenarios - better to pull back, recuperate, then divert Lancer from farming again.

In Mid Lane

When Lancer takes the mid-lane, it’s best to play cautiously against him. Consider having mobile characters or damage dealers on the field - warriors with muscular physical piercing damage are preferable, ideally those with AOE damage. AOE allows simultaneous attacks on Lancers and illusions.

Optimal characters to counter Phantom Lancer in mid-lane are as follows:

  • Storm Spirit - his high mobility distracts Phantom from slaying creeps. Although he’s incapable of overpowering Lancer, he succeeds in hindering Lancer's farming from the get-go.
  • Puck is one of the stellar choices to counter Lancer in mid. His AOE damaging spells can quickly obliterate Phantom's clones. Thanks to his passive abilities, Puck knows precisely when to retreat should any real danger arise.
  • Zeus - his area-wide abilities are a good match for Lancer's passive abilities. However, illusions created by Lancer pose considerable threats.
If your team doesn’t have any of these counter-picks, a smart strategy would be to have two players taking on Lancer. Left unchecked, he could potentially spell trouble on the lane.

In the Lane

An in-lane adversary against Lancer is usually deemed meaningless. One-on-one confrontations are likely to end in a loss.

In the case of such encounters, the best objective is survival. Always carry out lane attacks on Phantom Lancer in pairs, ideally as a trio. The perfect combination would be a character with potent splash damage to deal with clones, a strong physically damaged dealer, and healing support for that much-needed sustain.

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Phantom Lancer's Passive Ability: How To Counter

The Lancer's passive effect, Phantom Rush, is unshakeable. One must indeed be prepared for the Phantom Charge, but the charge in itself doesn't pose a significant threat. The greater peril lies in the illusions created by the Lancer after the rush - it's crucial to have artefacts that enhance 'Dispelling'.

Who counters Phantom Lancer in Dota 2 the best?

Heroes with AOE damage and abilities that can dismantle illusions perform best against Lancer. According to Lancer's battle statistics, the best counter picks are:

  • Beastmaster;
  • Anti-Mage;
  • Meepo;
  • Ember Spirit;
  • Sand King.

In the early stages of the game, Storm Spirit, Zeus and Puck perform better against Lancer.

The copies drain Phantom's Mana – heroes with a passive energy-draining ability are effective against him.

Who Phantom Lancer counters: which heroes are easiest to shut down with this character.

Lancer is effective in battles against damage-dealers who can't distribute AoE damage and characters with low health pools. A weakened champion can be annihilated solely through phantom illusions.

Lancer's weakest opponents include:

  • Viper
  • Wraith King
  • Ogre Magi
  • Templar Assassin
  • Chaos Knight

According to the stats, Templar Assassin has the lowest killing rate and victory rate against Lancer, below 38%.

Templar Assassin- The weakest character when playing against Lancer

A well-developed Lancer, equipped with the right artifacts, has the potential to counter virtually any hero, excluding their counter-picks.

What are the effective items to counter Lancer with?

When gearing up against Phantom, one must proceed with great thoughtfulness. It's essential to assemble at least 3 items of varying functionalities:

  • enhancing area of effect damage, for instance, Battle Fury, Maelstorm;
  • dealing passive penetrative damage, for instance, Mjolnir, Radiance, Shiva’s Guard;
  • dispelling illusions, revealing the primary Phantom, for instance, Silver Edge, Orchid Malevolence, Heaven’s Halberd.
Playing against the Lancer offers an advantage – the presence of time to farm the necessary artifacts.


Phantom Lancer – a formidable character, creates illusions and possesses superior physical damage, defense, and health reserves.

To combat the Phantom, adversaries interfere with Lancer's ability to farm gold and accumulate artifacts.

With the smart selection of counter-picks and strategy, overcoming the Lancer is feasible. Even rookie players execute Phantom's counter-picks.


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