Phantom Lance is your harassment tool and later on, your way of making sure your opponents cannot leave. It offers a slow, creates an illusion at your target and is your basic nuke.
As you Phantom Rush an enemy, lock them down with Phantom Lance then Doppelganger to kill them swiftly.
Doppelganger is your dodge tool and escape as well as your initiation when following-up with Phantom Rush. Make sure to spam it as it costs moderate amount of mana and can give you a jumpstart with your ultimate: Juxtapose.
You can dodge stuns, AOE attacks and everything else that has a projectile.
Use Phantom Rush to add agility to your damage and armour - allowing you to more comfortably farm and hasten your itemization.
Phantom Rush is also another way of closing the gap to your enemies and also works with your illusions.
Can be toggled on or off.
Juxtapose works great with all your illusion-creating abilities/items: Phantom Lance, Doppelganger, Manta Style. Juxtapose continues to illusions that will sap the enemys mana (Diffusal Blade) and dish out damage as you reposition yourself depending on how the fight is going.
Iron Branch can be placed on the ground to then be consumed by on your tangos for additional healing.
early (Buy regen if low)
Opt for Magic Stick early if the enemy spam a lot of spells or you’ll be in the lane significantly. Magic Wand can be bought as early as before Boots of Speed or as late as after your core Boots upgrade depending on how the enemy and their spell usage. Magic Wand can also be bought to make room for other items due to limited space.
Core (Required, in order)
Diffusal Blades mana burn works with Illusions created by you. It is a good slow to keep the illusions on your foe and create even more of an army.
If you buy this in good timing, you can start fighting early before resuming farm when your killing opportunities become more and more reduced.
Manta style is also good for pushing lanes and farming without you needing to be there as these illusions do activate your ultimate.
Get rid of Silence, incoming stuns and counter-attack if/when Doppelganger is down.
With more life comes more hits for your illusions and thus; more illusions. Heart is generally the preferred item after your core items as it gives you much more survivability and your illusions last a bit longer to create more.
Aghs Shard provides you more value for your Phantom Lance, allowing you to engage early-on, burn more mana across fights and ultimately spread your Juxtapose chances more through Illusions.
Helps with wave-clear.
Situation (only if needed)
Should be picked up against a lot of key AoE magic users that can ruin your ability to farm and create illusions.
Early Ring of Health especially if you have a tough lane.
With Drums of Endurance, your illusions can be sustained much longer, letting you jungle when you cannot gank and otherwise useful for chasing enemies you want to finish off.
Sange and Yasha as an alternative to Manta Style comes online earlier and provides a lot more survivability for the hero.
The status resistance from Sange means stuns and disables duration are reduced.
Extension (choice, Any order)
Nullifier is a key item for you late-game: it dispels your target. Especially useful against enemies that rely on key passive abilities or items like Ghost Scepter, Euls, Glimmer and Satanic to have them nullified against you.
Hero passive abilities like Windrangers Windrun and Monkey Kings Jingu Mastery are also nullified by Nullifier.
Evasion makes Phantom Lancer unstoppable and his illusions as well. It will force enemies to get Monkey King Bar as well as items to tear down the amount of illusions who will have and the agility to create more illusions.
The damage from Butterfly (agility) adds damage to your illusions attack.
For heroes with a large spell cooldown on their ultimate, Octarine Core is a great assistance, especially if you naturally build into it by having its components created earlier in the game.
For Phantom Lance, the extra range for your Phantom Lance as well as a lower cooldown for Doppelganger makes this actually very valuable.
Eye of Skadi works with Diffusal Blades mana burn allowing you to both slow and sap the mana of your opponents, creating an incredible crowd-control setup with your illusions.
The illusions earn the stats from Eye of Skadi, so this is a natural pick-up.
Blink Dagger removes the necessity of Phantom Lancing someone just to get near enough for Diffusal Blade for to later chase/charge, but rather allows you to stay on top of someone; immediately drain their mana, slow and cripple them before they can escape or get away.
As the game nears the very end and you are completely maxed out on your items, Boots of Travel will allow you to split-push lanes with your illusions and teleport back to base to defend. This is your very last item after you have enough to buyback in case of death.
Consider Linken&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;apos;s Sphere if specific ultimate, target abilities like stuns and silences are keeping you down. This should be seen different as Black King Bar because it will waste ultimate abilities on you like Doom&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;apos;s Doom or Necrophos&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;apos; Reaper Scythe from completely killing/disabling you.
Shadow Blade combined with Phantom Rush allows you to get close with the enemy without them seeing it coming.
Monkey King Bar is ideal for users who need additional attack speed and versus evasive heroes either via Butterfly, inherent passive abilities or cause you to miss attacks. Monkey King Bar not only provides strong attack speed but also heightens your ability to your enemies with your attacks.
Works with your Illusions.
With Satanic, you have sufficient damage output but need to remain in fights. Satanic gives you more survivability and works great to capitalize on the damage you&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;apos;re dealing to extend fights long enough for you to win them.