Why is Phantom Assassin rarely picked anymore?

Dota 2 is a wonderful game with an ever evolving meta to keep players; pro and casual alike, on their feet. What was once the meta, later ceased to exist as players opted for newer and creative ways to create their own meta.

With every major patch, comes an update that literally makes or breaks a hero or an item, or the introduction of talents that make a certain weak hero OP and a strong hero less OP. But today’s topic is not about that.

Phantom Assassin has been considered as one of the most lethal carry heroes to ever exist, capable of wiping the entire enemy team in a matter of few seconds. For a while, most pros even played PA in the mid lane to provide additional boost in levels and scalability.

That’s not the case anymore though.

The assassin has blurred to the shadows and is currently out of fashion. You must wonder why?

Phantom Assassin: Fragile in the early game

Despite being one of the scariest heroes to exist in the game, PA is equally fragile during the beginning of the game. Her fragility and lack of early game damage forces her to prioritise farm.

It also renders her relatively less useful in securing early game kills especially without the help of supports thus making it important for her to farm all the more important.

The current meta entailing heroes with high burst damage such as Lina and Outworld Devourer doesn’t make things easier for PA either. For example, Lina at level 6 can burst down PA in a couple of hits with her ultimate and right clicks as the latter’s hp is quite low.

Such situations can prove to be quite tricky for PA without a Black King Bar (BKB) in her inventory – something that’s entirely impossible to get at such an early stage of the game.

Phantom Assassin: Unreliability

Image: Valve

PA as a hero is extremely unreliable when it comes to her skills. She may be one of the highest crit (critical strike) damage dealing heroes but the same is also very RNG based. Her ultimate, Coup de Grace, doesn’t have a fixed timer where it will get activated.

Her ultimate is extremely luck based – one that generates randomly, thus proving to be less effective and at the same time less reliable.

There are plenty of better options out there in her stead, which we will talk about some other time.

Phantom Assassin: Easily countered

Being fragile, and having an unreliable ultimate isn’t fun but what’s not more fun is the fact that PA is easily countered. Yes, high burst damage heroes are the go-to option, but there’s also other factors such as ‘items’ that can turn out to be PA’s achilles heel.

Silver Edge with all its benefits such as invisibility, high movement speed, 175 bonus physical damage and a guaranteed 160% critical strike to the target, all the while disabling their passive abilities for 4 seconds makes it [silver edge] an attractive counter to PA.

Go invisible, deal more damage, deal further crit based damage and bring PA’s already low hp down by a great deal. Mind you, Silver Edge is one of the go-to items in this meta and can be a headache for PA to deal with.

Phantom Assassin: Risk of game ending early

The current meta, along with its high burst damage scaling heroes, also encourages ending the game early. PA takes plenty of time to come online and the same thing proves to be her weakness against heavy push/damage based line-ups.

She literally can’t do much or provide any further assistance if the opponents apply pressure right from the beginning.


PA is a foregone conclusion of a hero vacuumed into the dark. We won’t see her play often anytime soon.

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