Many hands make light work.
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- Morphling typically enters the game with a sensitive laning phase. His short attack range and low base damage require him to shift into agility early on to last hit, leaving him fragile for the first few levels. As he gains levels, however, his Waveform evolves into a potent area-of-effect nuke which can easily grab him kills to accelerate his farm. Additionally, early points in Attribute Shift allow him to escape danger so long as he is not disabled.
- In order to transition to the mid-game safely, however, Morphling requires a significant amount of mana and mana regeneration to keep up. His spells are demanding on mana, but a healthy supply of it will allow him to escape, gank, split push, and adapt to all manners of fighting with impunity. This is typically why Linken’s Sphere is a strong item to pick up on him. He benefits from the attributes it provides and Perseverance gives him early game sustenance. The spell block is invaluable; the strongest silences and hexes in the game are instant and targeted, giving him enough reaction time to Waveform out of dangerous situations.
- Carry Morphling typically transitions into the mid-game in two primary ways. The first is through the Shotgun build, where one can purchase an Ethereal Blade. In combination with Adaptive Strike, this allows him to shut down fragile targets with ease, especially in games where the enemy team is often separated. The second is a more defensive, farming oriented build with Manta Style, which allows him to split push and dispel debuffs with ease. In the late game, Morphling has many options. With a full set of attribute items, he boasts the strongest natural attack speed and damage in the game, making items such as Satanic, Daedalus, and Monkey King Bar very profitable on him. He also makes incredible use of every attribute on Eye of Skadi and Butterfly, two must-have late game items which allow him to go toe-to-toe with even the hardest of carries.
- Despite his strengths as a scaling carry, Morphling is a difficult carry to play from behind. Waveform is an expensive spell and he has no in-built sustain to farm jungle creeps easily, and Adaptive Strike requires levels and items to become an effective nuke. In addition, his lack of multiple-target damage makes it difficult for him to join larger teamfights in the early or mid game. Careful consideration needs to be made when picking him into your team. For example, you can consider choosing magic-heavy team compositions to abuse his Ethereal Blade magic damage amplification, a split-push composition, or a composition which is heavy on initiation power so he can unload his damage without risk.
- Putting the first point into Attribute Shift while in the fountain allows him to shift extra points into agility, making it easier to last hit.
- Adaptive Strike (Agility) is primarily used to deal damage, scaling with agility, making it good at grabbing last hits in the laning stage, and nuking enemies in the mid to late game.
- Support Morphling is a build which maxes Adaptive Strike (Strength) early on to leverage its second stun and cast range. An Adaptive Strike with this power is unlocked as early as level 7, allowing Morphling to contribute as an extremely powerful early-game ganker. Because of this, a solo lane (typically offlane) suits support Morphling the best. The sooner he can attain his levels, the sooner he can disrupt other lanes. With some gold, support Morphling can build initiation items like Eul’s Scepter of Divinity, Blink Dagger, Force Staff, Shadow Blade, and so on.
- This role also revolves more around Morph, because it’ll consider potential enemies to morph into and use their own abilities against them, in a similar fashion of what a Rubick can do. However, at first levels, Morph has a very long cool down, so using it requires a careful planning, but it’s extremely powerful when used preemptively.
- During lane phase, Morphling can keep harassing with attacks, using Waveform to catch up or evade, and then using Adaptive Strike (Strength) to settle a long duration stun and knock back when needed. Used with Waveform to proper position yourself, you can push back an enemy that’s running from your team by Waveforming in front of them. Otherwise, you’ll push the enemy away, which is useful when you are the one running away or if the enemy is closing in an ally next to you, and your stun will push the enemy away from your ally. Careful not to push the enemy closer, when your ally may get killed.
- Items for the support role should include those that increases your mana pool and diminishes expenses, such as Kaya or Aether Lens (so you can use more Adaptive Strikes in a conflict, spam Waveform if needed, and use Morph and your target’s abilities, specially those whose abilities are too mana-consuming), and mobility and mana regen, like Eul’s Scepter of Divinity and Force Staff (to allow locking down a target, properly positioning for Adaptive Strike (Strength) and defending allies or escaping ganks).
- Like carry Morphling, the first point is usually put into Attribute Shift, but a supporting Morphling will shift towards strength, increasing his survivability and preparing for Adaptive Strike (Strength) stun.
- Waveform’s scaling only increases damage and mana cost, and so the value point is enough to gain the mobility value from the spell.
- Adaptive Strike (Strength)’s early value in a supporting Morphling lies in the long stun available with more strength, giving plenty of time for allies to kill off the target.
Tips & Tactics
- Early on, go mid or have a support keep you safe in the safe lane while you farm.
- Focus on farming up items. Only go for kills you know you can get.
- Morphling functions better as a carry in teams with a strong front line. This allows him to remain in the fight with a high amount of agility and hence right click or Adaptive Strike (Agility) damage, without feeling the pressure of being focused. Although he is good at soaking damage through Attribute Shift (Strength Gain) and items such as Linken’s Sphere and Eye of Skadi, he is much more useful as your team’s primary source of consistent damage.
- Shotgun Morphling describes a playstyle of using Ethereal Blade in conjunction with Adaptive Strike (Agility), Waveform, and maximum agility from Attribute Shift to deal tremendous amount of magical damage to a single target.
- The build works by having Ethereal Blade amplify magical damage and provide bonus agility to stack with Attribute Shift, scaling up Adaptive Strike (Agility)’s damage. With Ethereal Blade purchased early enough, Morphling can pick off all but the most durable of heroes. However, the effectiveness of this build falls off once enemy heroes tank up, get spell immunity, or start to group.
- If you feel this item has outlived its usefulness, consider disassembling it to make a Butterfly. However, you should also consider Morphling’s normally short-ranged attacks. Even in the late game, Ethereal Blade and Adaptive Strike (Agility) can still effectively kill an enemy support at the start of a fight.
- Use Waveform to escape from ganks early game. If going for kills, use it after using Adaptive Strike to aim more reliably.
- Assuming you have the regeneration and mana pool, you can use Waveform to speed up farming while going for those big items.
- Morphling’s early game damage is relatively high with Waveform and decent physical attacks through Morph. Consider laning with an aggressive support to grab some early game kills so you can accelerate your farm and reach your late game faster.
- Waveform’s travel speed is slightly higher than the projectile of Etherial Blade, meaning that while you can use the item during Waveform, you should use the item before Waveform if you wish to amplify the damage of the ability.
- Given that you can attack or cast abilities while in Waveform, you can use this to close in a disabler enemy and use Morph while still in Waveform, reappearing already in the shape of your foe and able to use the disabler’s ability against your target, then morphing back to finish off your foe.
Adaptive Strike (Agility)
- When wanting to maximize the damage, shift to full agility.
- Use Adaptive Strike (Agility) early on to secure last hits, especially on ranged creeps.
- This is your primary damage spell after you finish Ethereal Blade.
Adaptive Strike (Strength)
- At level 1, skill Attribute Shift as it gives bonus agility and strength, as well as the ability to increase agility to last hit.
- Shift to agility to increase damage output when fighting or farming.
- Shift to strength to increase health, health regeneration, and magic resistance to survive enemy ganks.
- When Attribute Shift to agility, Morphling will be losing strength, so both maximum and current HP will also decrease, but this ability cannot kill Morphling.
- Attribute Shift will continue to work even when Morphling is disabled, as long as Morphling was toggling on Attribute Shift prior to being disabled.
- Attribute Shift preserves agility and stregth through death. Upon respawning, use Attribute Shift to return to desired attribute values as Morphling is teleporting to lane.
- When going back to base with low HP, Attribute Shift to strength just in case to tank enemy global abilities, such as those of Ancient Apparition or Zeus.
- Use Attribute Shift (Strength Gain), gaining health and magic resistance, to tank nukes from heroes like Techies or Skywrath Mage. After they have unloaded their abilities, use Attribute Shift (Agility Gain) to engage.
- At low HP, Morphling can heal with Attribute Shift by shifting to maximum agility then start shifting back to strength again. Take care to do so in a safe spot to avoid enemy ganks.
- Morph does not copy target’s talents, even the talents that affect abilities.
- Morph into an enemy target to use their non-ultimate abilities.
- Morph does not copy target’s items, but you can still use your own items.
- Consider Morph a good opportunity to soak damage, before morphing back to Morphling’s original form, granting its previous health. Beware that when Morphling is morphed to another hero, he cannot shift attributes to save himself, so Morph back before getting killed.
- Morph is very effective when used against disablers or harassers. For example, in laning stage against Batrider, one can Morph into Batrider and use his own spells against him, especially if Batrider shows intention upon running over Morphling with Firefly and Sticky Napalm. Given that Morph’s health and mana return after morphing back, one can try to take down Batrider as much as possible, before morphing back and ensuring the kill with Waveform or Adaptive Strike. Another example is against Lion, where Morph can use Hex or Earth Spike to disable a target, even Lion himself, then burst down the foe after morphing back.
- Morph works almost like a Refresher Orb when copying allies, except for their ultimates. But if used wisely, it can be really powerful. For example, you’re trying to pin down a hero with a blink or escape mechanism such as Slark, Monkey King, or Anti-Mage. If you have a Disruptor as an ally, Disruptor can use Glimpse to bring the enemy back, and, if the enemy runs away again, Morphling can use Glimpse again. Strategies around this sort of use are very broad. Also, if you have allies or foes with escape mechanisms, Morphling can use those abilities to chase or flee from a potentially dangerous gank.
- If Morphling copies Anti-Mage, either as an enemy or an ally, he can abuse Mana Break and Blink, especially if Morphling carries a Manta Style. If allied with Anti-Mage, they can simply burst down a target’s health and mana in a blink and have Anti-Mage follow up with Mana Void for a quick kill.
- During the lane phase, if there is no point in copying your opposing hero’s abilities, you may consider postponing acquiring Morph to later levels and focus on the rest of Morphling’s abilites.
- If playing a support role, copying allied heroes such as Phoenix, Shadow Shaman, Lion, Mirana, or Skywrath Mage can really amplify your team’s disabling capabilities or magical damage output. A strong tanker can be easily taken down by two Sun Ray cast at the same time, for example.
- If tagging along Shadow Demon, Shadow Demon can make copies of Morphling with Disruption which can also Morph into Shadow Demon and make two copies from one of his own copies controlled by Shadow Demon, making up to four Morphling copies. If there’s a Manta Style on Morphling as well, there will be six Morphling copies, which is a very strong pushing force.
- Always consider using Morph immediately after you perform a non-lethal shotgun combo, especially if the target has highly damaging abilities, so you can morph into your foe and still use the Ethereal Blade’s magnified damage with more magical damage if you are not willing to waste Waveform. This strategy is also important against disablers, so you can disable your foe to get time to finish them off when you are able to right click again.
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- Morbid Mask provides lifesteal to sustain Morphling while he farm up better items. It can build into Satanic later on.
- Dragon Lance is a cheap source of attributes, and gives valuable attack range to improve Morphling’s early fights. Later, it may be upgraded to Hurricane Pike for additional mobility, mana, and health regeneration, or it can be disassembled to make Black King Bar and/or Yasha.
- Butterfly gives a very large amount of attack damage and evasion, and so is most effective for a build focused on attacks instead of Adaptive Strike.
- Satanic allows Morphling to use his high DPS to rapidly heal himself full, via the active. However, if you get stunned while trying to lifesteal, you can still be very easily killed, so it should be paired with Black King Bar or used against teams with little lockdown potential.
- Manta Style gives ability to dispel silences and debuffs, and synergies well with his escape mechanisms.
- Diffusal Blade provides modest attributes, and allows his attacks to burn mana. Сan be effective if facing mana-related heroes (Medusa, Storm Spirit etc).
- Aghanim’s Scepter can be a decent pickup, granting you even higher versatility due to its bonuses (cast range increase and the ability to Morph into allies).