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|Morphling is a carry hero who switches between damage dealer and resilient survivor. With an Ethereal Blade, Morphling can deal extremely high burst damage, often taking out an enemy instantly. However, he suffers from item and level dependency, as well as a low mana pool and low movement speed.|
Morphling typically enters the game with a sensitive laning phase. His short auto attack range and extremely low base damage require him to morph early points into agility early on to keep up in last hits, 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 Morph Agility/Strength allow him escape out of danger so long he has mana or is not silenced.
In order to transition to the mid-game safely, however, Morphling requires a significant amount of mana and mana regeneration to keep up. All four of 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 Morph Replicate out of very dangerous situations. However, an early Bottle and good use of Morph Replicate and Boots of Travel can provide sustainability and a huge amount of mobility to farm faster. This is especially powerful when paired with Keeper of the Light, who can supply mana and Recall Morphling around the map.
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 stat-heavy items, he boasts the strongest natural auto-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 stat 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.
Support Morphling is a build which maxes Adaptive Strike early on to leverage its 4.25 second stun and 900 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.
In certain team compositions an early Aghanim's Scepter opens up an entirely new playstyle. Hybrid has a variety of uses. Purchasing Aghanim's Scepter allows a Support Morphling to significantly heighten his team's damage potential, especially if the illusion made is combined with Morphling's ultimate ability, and the +50% Replicate Damage Talent is taken. Using Hybrid on an allied nuker such as Zeus, Leshrac, or Lina; or on the team's Carry such as Gyrocopter, Phantom Lancer with a Diffusal Blade, or Phantom Assassin, allows the hybrid's true strength to come to fruition. Since both the Replicate Illusion and the Hybrid illusion take the same amount of damage that the real hero takes, it would be advantageous to use them as decoys during a team fight to bait out enemy ultimates such as Doom, Fiend's Grip, or Finger of Death; or to set them side by side with the hero they are replicas of to create almost perfect decoys. Unfortunately, all of these strategies for support Morphling require a high degree of skill and micromanagement to create convincing and lifelike illusions, and must all be undertaken by the player while making sure that Morphling is safe.
- As a carry, Morphling should maximize Waveform and Morph early. usually skipping his ultimate early.
- Putting the first point into Morph while in the fountain allows him to shift extra points into agility, making it easier to last hit.
- Morph should be maxed out over Waveform against an aggressive lane, as higher level morph gives him hp faster and costs less mana per point shifted.
- Replicate's first level is short lived and has a short cast range, giving it minimal utility in the early game.
- In some cases, taking the spell early can be useful to gain an instant escape or enable a temporary relocation to another lane or the fountain, but keep in mind the high mana cost of jumping to the illusion's location
- Replicating a durable ally can also be used to tank the attacks of a jungle camp, should you be struggling to find farm in lane.
- As a carry, Adaptive strike is primarily used to deal damage with a large pool of agility, making it weak in the early game.
- In a game with uncontested farm (eg. a successful trilane), it can be preferable to skip one or two points in Morph and/or Replicate in order to max out Adaptive Strike faster.
- Like carry Morphling, the first point is usually put into Morph, but a supporting Morphling will shift towards strength, increasing his survivability and preparing for a stunning Adaptive Strike.
- Morph's higher levels can be delayed for a supporting Morphling.
- 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's early value in a supporting morphling lies in the long stun available when morphed towards Strength, giving plenty of time for allies to kill off the target.
- An early point of Replicate is far more valuable for support Morphling, allowing him to quickly relocate to assist in another lane then return, or to stack additional camps.
|+50% Replicate Damage||25||+400 Waveform Range|
|+40 Damage||20||+25 Movement Speed|
|12% Cooldown Reduction||15||+25 Attack Speed|
|+200 Mana||10||+8 Agility|
- Upgrading mana increases maximum mana capacity and keeps the current mana percentage.
- The agility bonus cannot be morphed to strength with Morph.
- Cooldown reduction affects abilities and items. Stacks multiplicatively with Octarine Core and additively with Arcane Rune.
- The attack damage is added as bonus attack damage, and therefore does not benefit illusions.
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 if you know you can get it.
- 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 damage, without feeling the pressure of being focused. Although he is good at soaking damage through Morph Strength 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.
- 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.
- As Adaptive Strike scales with attributes, it should not be leveled until after Waveform is maxed and should be the last ability maxed out.
- When wanting to maximize the damage, Morph to full agility. If needing to escape, use it after you Morph to mostly strength.
- This is your primary damage spell after you finish Ethereal Blade.
- You do not need to go full strength in order to maximize the stun, merely having Strength being 50% larger than Agility is enough.
- As Morph gives +3 to both Agility and Strength with one level, and the fountain aura provides mana to Morph at the start, you should get this ability at level 1.
- Know when to Morph between agility and strength. During the laning stage, put enough points into agility to easily gain last hits, but keep enough in strength to survive ganks. Basically, Morph to agility when farming creeps, while use strength to escape.
- If you are low on health and being chased or targeted, use Morph to increase your health and health regeneration to increase the difficulty of killing you. Note the moderate mana cost with this ability on.
- When Morphing agility, both maximum and current HP will lower by 20 for each point morphed, but this cannot kill Morphling directly.
- Since Morph has a toggle ability, it will continue to function even while silenced; provided the ability was toggled on prior to being silenced.
- If Morph does not have enough mana to shift one point, the spell will remain toggled on, continuing to morph when enough mana becomes available.
- The current state of Morph is preserved through death. Upon respawning, take care to Morph before teleporting to lane.
- When going back to base consider morphing some agility into strength in case of enemies with global abilities such as Zeus and Ancient Apparition or even Clockwerk and Nature's Prophet.
- If struggling in lane to farm, an early point in Replicate can be used like an illusory support, stacking and/or pulling a neutral camp, or it can be used to tank neutral creep attacks to keep Morphling's low HP pool intact.
- A replicate illusion allows Morphling to teleport back to the fountain to regenerate and purchase items, then instantly jump back to creeps.
- After making a Replicate and moving the illusion to a safe place, Morphling can afford to take more risks such as pushing into dangerous territory or joining a teamfight, and jump to the illusion to escape.
- Creating a Replicate costs far less mana than teleporting to the illusion's position, and in most cases Morphling should create an illusion to help him as often as possible.
- Don't be afraid to create Replicates of enemy heroes if you wish to prepare an escape replicate, it can be very difficult for an enemy hero to kill an illusion of themselves which promptly flees to your towers.
- When supporting, consider enabling allied control so the carries can control the illusion directly to help with whatever they're doing.
- Replicate illusions do not take bonus damage, and so can be difficult for enemies to identify. Moving a ally's illusion into a dangerous position can often be used to bait out spells from the enemy if it behaves convincingly.
- Sometimes deciding which hero to choose for Replicate can be difficult. While any hero can provide Morphling with an illusion to jump to, It can be valuable to consider what you plan to do with the illusion should multiple options be available.
- A hero with high move speed is ideal for a scout, or for moving to a distant location while farming the nearby area.
- A hero with a high base damage and/or a passive ability that illusions can use is ideal for pushing lanes in a dangerous location.
- A hero with a large HP pool is ideal for acting like bait, able to cause the enemy team to group up in order to kill the durable hero before their allies arrive.
- A enemy hero that has a Radiance or other strong auras is ideal for turning the enemy team's strength against them.
- To maximize damage use this on a carry who has built a lot of attribute items.
- Replicating an enemy with a powerful aura is an efficient way to amplify your entire team.
- When levelled, Replicate has an extremely long cast range, and so can be used as a way to effectively blink to an enemy hero, but the long cooldown makes this move best reserved as a last resort. In most cases, it will be better to use the Replicate illusion to secure vision on the target to aim Waveform and/or Adaptive Strike, preserving the illusion to continue assisting you.
- Remember there are a handful of abilities that are able to kill illusions instantly, easily wasting Replicate or Hybrid. Such abilities include Life Drain, Mana Drain, and Hex.
- Avoid creating a Replicate if near death, as the Replicate illusion dies if Morphling dies.
- Unlocked with Aghanim's Scepter to create a hybrid of an ally that can use non-ultimate abilities. This new ability benefits a non-carry Morphling more.
- The Hybrid illusion deals less damage than Replicate illusion, so you best use it on allies with powerful abilities rather than those who rely more on physical attacks if you intend to maximize damage.
- As Hydbrid illusion bases its attributes on Morphling's upon created, consider using Morph to gain maximum strength, helpful in keeping the illusion alive.
- Prioritize heroes with strong abilities or low cooldowns to make use of Hydbrid's short duration, such as Jakiro, Ogre Magi, or Phoenix.
- Upon created, Hybrid illusion copies the health and mana percentage of the target. Hybrid illusion also consumes mana to use abilities.
- Make sure Morphling himself has enough intelligence to use expensive abilities. However, buying items that grant bonus intelligence do not benefit Hybrid.
- Tango should always be picked up to give you sustain. If heading mid consider asking the supports to pool you Tangos.
- Iron Branch and Circlet give cost efficient attributes and can be built into a Magic Wand.
- Ring of Protection improves Morphling's rather low starting armor, and can make an early Ring of Basilius for more damage and mana regeneration.
- Wraith Band should be considered if going mid rather than safe lane.
- Bottle should be the first item purchased if Morphling is running mid, as every rune can be used to effectively speed his farm, and can later be used in combination with Boots of Travel to quickly refill mana and health.
- Boots of Speed are necessary on Morphling to improve his slow 285 base movement speed.
- Infused Raindrops are a valuable source of mana regen, and provide a strong source of protection against magical nukes.
- Ring of Aquila provides Damage, Mana regeneration and Armor, all of which Morphling needs.
- Power Treads are a great addition to Morphling's build as they provide an affordable source of attributes. The cost of his spells can be mitigated by casting on Intelligence, and they can also provide Agility or Strength for more offensive or defensive power without needing to use Morph.
- Linken's Sphere is a common early item for Morphling, providing a modest amount of attributes and regeneration, as well as giving protection against point-target spells, making it even harder for him to be successfully ganked during farming.
- Ethereal Blade is a very interesting pickup on Morphling, and he is the strongest user of the item in the game. Often referred to as "Shotgun Morphling", Ethereal Blade allows you to very quickly deal a very large amount of magic damage to a single target by using the E-Blade active, Adaptive Strike, and Waveform in quick succession while morphed to high agility.
- Ethereal blade provides a large amount of agility and greatly amplifies magical damage to a target, and Morphling is unique in having a magical nuke that scales up with agility. This item allows Morphling to roam and pick off all but the most durable of heroes, if purchased early enough. This is best gotten as the first or second major item on Morphling, as its effectiveness falls off once enemy heroes tank up, get BKBs, or start to group up.
- If you feel this item has outlived its usefulness, consider disassembling it to make a Butterfly. Keep in mind it scales really well with Morphling and can still output loads of damage late game. Considering Morphling's normally short-ranged attacks, even in the late game the Ethereal Blade and Adaptive strike can effectively kill an enemy support at the start of a fight.
- 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 regen, or it can be disassembled to make Black King Bar and/or Yasha.
- Boots of Travel are a strong alternative to Power Treads, as between the teleports of the item and Replicate, Morphling gains the ability to quickly move about the map, using the fountain to easily regenerate and quickly pushing multiple lanes for quick farming.
- Black King Bar is a vital item for late-game teamfights, providing Morphling with time to deal his damage without being disabled.
- Eye of Skadi is the largest source of total attributes available in one item, providing a large amount of HP even when fully morphed to Agility.
- 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 purge silences and debuffs and synergizes well with his escape mechanisms.
- Diffusal Blade provides modest attributes, and allows his attacks to burn mana. It can be an effective item to increase Morphling's damage output in situations where he has a large amount of strength, and after a stunning adaptive strike, one can burn enough mana to prevent the enemy from responding with their own spells.
- Aether Lens provides much of what a supporting Morphling needs to be effective. More mana and mana regeneration, and amplifying the cast range and damage of his spells.
- Aghanim's Scepter is rarely worth the valuable item slot for a carry Morphling. On a support Morphling, with an appropriately strong ally, this can effectively make late teamfights 6v5. Of particular value is allies who have a passive ultimate ability, and allies who can summon powerful wards.