Morphling Guide – Safe-Lane K.I.S.S. – Dota 2

K.I.S.S. – Keep it simple, stupid. Great advice, hurts my feelings every time. Morphling is a three-star difficulty hero in DOTA 2 and as such his kit can be intimidating for new or inexperienced players to try out.

As such, this guide will aim to keep things simple and guide you through the basics of getting your head around playing an effective Morphling, and helping your team get the W.

Starting Items. 

600 Gold.

Quelling Blade. 600-130=470 Gold
You need gold early as Morphling. You’re pretty item dependent throughout the game, as such getting as many last hits early as possible to come online sooner is a must. Quelling will help with that greatly. Stay in the lane, avoid brawling early and just get your farm. You’re weak as heck at 1 anyway.

470 Gold.

Double Circlet. 470-310=160 Gold.
We’re easily the weakest level one hero. Which makes contesting our bounty rune difficult, and surviving any engagement is also tough. The opposing offlaner is going to know this and attempt to bully you, double circlet gives us the stats we need to hopefully survive. We need the bulk, the mana and the damage. Here it is. Also, they build into the masks we need later.

160 Gold.

Tango. 160-90=70 Gold.
If you want to kill creeps, you’re not going to have a lot of your attribute shift into strength. You want to kill creeps, as such you’re going to need some regen for harass and any other damage you’re unfortunate to take. Grab a tango for this, if you get some bounty runes, grab two. I wont put two here, because getting runes is never a guarantee, but you do secure some – grab a second tango.

70 Gold.

Enchanted Mango. 70-70=0 Gold.
Much like the tango, we need our attribute shift on AGI if we’re going to get lots of last hits. Meaning we have bugger all strength. As such, we pick up the mango. It gives us the HP regen we’re lacking. Plus, as an added bonus it can be eaten in an emergency to get a wave off. Secure an early kill, or escape a gank by eating the mango and waving out.

Early Game. (In Order) 

Double Wraith Band.
“Total: + 10 Agility + 4 Strength + 4 Intelligence + 10 Attack Speed + 3 Armor”
We’re turning our double circlet into double wraith here. It gives Morph all the stats he likes, the damage will help us last hit and keep the enemy off laner at arms length. Plus the attack speed ramps up our farm early.

We also get a nice bump to our other stats, and a fair chunk of armor. Good stuff for ensuring we’re sustaining in our lane.

Boots of Speed.
“+ 45 Movement Speed”
Relying on wave to get around is a recipe for no mana, and an ability on cooldown when we need it. An early plain boots helps us get around, escape, chase, all the good stuff. We can get around our jungle, run into to help support or follow up on a mid gank. Grabbing them early is good utility.

Morbid Mask.
“Heals the attacker for 15% of attack damage dealt.”
In order to farm creep waves, and jungle creeps, we need our attributes primarily into AGI. As such, if we’re getting hit, the regen we have is almost non-existent. We can either do two things: swap to STR after each time we do a camp or get hit, then wait for our regen to top us up.

OR, leave our points in AGI, keep farming and getting gold, and rely on our morbid mask to keep us topped up. Grab the mask.

Build Items. (In Order) 

Power Treads.
“+ 45 Movement Speed + 10 Selected Attribute + 25 Attack Speed
Active: Switch Attribute
Switches between +10 Strength, +10 Agility, or +10 Intelligence.”

We’re upgrading our boots to power treads, because they have amazing synergy with our attribute shift, and they’re easily the best early boots in the meta right now. We can shift our attribute into STR, and swap our treads for huge bulk and HP regen if we’re getting ganked at.

Swap to INT, for the mana regen to ensure that we can wave when we need to. Then when we’re back to the farming? We’ve got +10 AGI and +25 Attack speed. You can’t consider any other boots after those stats, this early.

Linken’s Sphere.
“+ 14 All Attributes + 7.0 HP Regeneration + 5.0 Mana Regeneration
Passive: Spellblock
Blocks most targeted spells once every 12.0 seconds.”

The cost of buying Linken’s early might be intimidating, and you’re certainly going to need to farm like crazy to come online at Morph, but once we do, it’s worth it. Linken’s is simply incredible for us.

  • We get a huge, HUGE boost to our HP regen. Which means more attribute shift for AGI.
  • We get a massive 5.0 mana regen, which means if we need to use our wave to secure a kill, or make an escape, we’re not going to get screwed over by lack of mana.
  • +14 All stats. Well, this one speaks for itself. Even more HP, mana, regen for both. Armor, attack speed. Everything. A massive power spike for us.

Even besides the amazing stats of the item, the passive spellblock is what we’re here for. If we get locked down early, we’re not getting kills and we’re dead. This prevents snowballing. If we don’t get infront and start to snowball exp and gold into our big items, well, things are dire. Spellblock helps with this.

You’re blocking their initiation or that first big, long juicy stun, so that we can fire back with our huge AGI damage and attack speed.

Ethereal Blade.

“+ 40 Agility + 10 Strength + 10 Intelligence
Converts the target unit to ethereal form, rendering them immune to physical damage, but unable to attack and -40% more vulnerable to magic damage. Lasts for 4.0 seconds on allies and 4.0 seconds on enemies.

Enemy targets are also slowed by -80%, and take 1.5x your primary attribute + 125 as magical damage. Range: 800″

Oh yeah baby, we’re online, time to go in. Morphling daddy time.
The stats are enormous. 40+ AGI? Yeah. You’re attacking so fast, it’s like lightning. Your damage from each attack is huge between this, linken’s, treads. We have so much agility, adding 40 to it is insane.

Then there’s the active. Enemies are slowed by -80%? They’re not moving.
The blade itself makes them take 1.5x your AGI stat +125 magic damage. This is big, bug chunk of health.

THEN THEN .. they cannot be attacked, or attack. No right clicks for them, and no one stealing your kill. They take 40% extra magic damage. Guess what that means? Use your Adaptive Strike with most of your points into AGI, and you’ve just killed them.

This is your go to ‘shotgun’ combo:

  • Waveform to get in range, or to finish them off.
  • Use your Ethereal Blade, that takes a huge chunk of their health.
  • Finish off with adaptive.
  • Rinse and repeat.

End Game Items. (In Order) 

Aghanim’s Shard.

“Causes Adaptive Strike to have +1 Multishot and removes the 3 second shared cooldown between the two different abilities. Prioritizes heroes.”

Okay, so you’ve come online with your Ethereal Blade, and begun to snowball with the picks from your shotgun combo. What’s next? Shard.

Shard adds mutlishot to Morphling’s adaptive, meaning that an addition foe within range is going to be hit each time you target someone with your shotgun combo. They wont take the additional damage from the blade, but your adaptive by itself is still going to do huge damage and ramp up your teamfight ability in a big way.

It also means that if you’re using the STR or AGI version, it doesn’t put the other into cooldown. This means that you can add the stun to your shotgun combo.

  • Wave in, or get close and wave to finish.
  • Ethereal Blade.
  • Stun them, so even with their movement speed gone, they can’t use ability to escape or disable you.
  • Finish with AGI strike.

Using the stun as a teamfight ability is great too. Follow up on other disables, prevent an escape, help yourself survive. We get to use the ability whenever, but now we don’t have to worry about disabling our nuke if needing a stun.

Eye of Skadi.

“+ 25 All Attributes + 200 Health + 200 Mana
Passive: Cold Attack
Attacks lower enemy movement and attack speed and reduces heals, health regeneration, lifesteal and spell lifesteal by 40% for 3.0 seconds. Slows enemy ranged units by -50% movement speed and by -50 attack speed. Slows enemy melee units by -25% movement speed and by -25 attack speed.”

If you thought they were scared of your shotgun combo + rightclicks beforehand, well, now they’re considering disconnecting.

Eye of Skadi provides excellent stats, means Morphling is getting a big spike in survivability when we pick up the eye. Alongside that, we’re slowing the enemy with each attack, preventing walking escapes. Alongside that we’re slowing their attack speed by a whopping 50! They’re going to have a tough time right clicking you down, or trying to manfight.


“+ 88 Damage
Passive: Critical Strike
Grants each attack a 30% chance to deal 225% damage.”

If the enemy hasn’t given up because of your crazy snowball into your shotgun combo with eye of skadi, they’re going to want to after you grab the crossbow. The extra damage is nice, and will help you zoom away health bars in 0.0002 seconds flat.

But it’s the crit strike that can be so demoralizing for the enemy team. You get a proc of this in any of your lightning-fast auto attacks and their healthbar is going to evaporate in one shot. You will be doing shotgun damage with each proc of your rightclick. The level of HP you can melt is isane.

Combine crossbow with your huge AGI, and attack speed, and you’re a killing machine.

Luxury Gold. (No Order) 

Aeon Disk.

+ 300 Health + 300 Mana
Passive: Combo Breaker
“When you take damage and your health falls below 70%, a strong dispel is applied and you gain a 2.5 second buff that provides +75% Status Resistance and causes all damage you deal and are dealt to be reduced to zero. Only triggers on player based damage.”

Aeon disk can be considered an alternative to the BKB/Manta for dispel. It works great with your Linken’s Sphere. And in combination, they can both save your bacon in a tight situation. Yes the damage reduction means you’re not stealing health. But, if you’re in a dire situation and both Linken’s and Aeon have gone off, you can leg it with wave.

The passive, rather than the active of BKB or Manta, is in line with the philosophy of this guide. Keeping things simple. However, if you don’t mind having the additional actives and feel confident with timing them, grab BKB or manta instead – they’re better.

Manta Style.

“+ 10 Strength + 26 Agility + 10 Intelligence + 12 Attack Speed + 8% Movement Speed
Creates 2 images of your hero that last 20 seconds.
Melee images deal 33% damage and take 350% damage, while Ranged images deal 28% and take 400% damage. Cooldown increased by 15.0 seconds on ranged heroes. Dispel Type: Basic Dispel”

I’m not the biggest fan on grabbing Manta early, because I want to get Linken’s into Shotgun. So the extra farm from Manta comes too late for my liking. And grabbing it early means that we’re less likely to snowball from getting kill after kill.

That being said, Manta is popular on Morph for a reason, even if it doesn’t suit my personal preference. The stats are great. The movespeed helps a lot, A LOT. The active dispel can help you, if you don’t have linken’s or you’re getting targeted with multiple disables.


“+ 25 Strength + 55 Damage
Active: Unholy Rage
Increases Lifesteal percentage to 200% for 6.0 seconds”

Satanic gives us something to turn our morbid mask into it. We’re getting a big boost to bulk with the strength gain, meaning we need to stress less about shifting any attribute into STR. The damage is a little bonus, but by now we have insane damage anyway.

The passive will mean that manfighting you is impossible. The active means that killing you is going to take so many resources. The enemy has used all the cooldowns in disabling you, and trying to force down your health bar? Pop Satanic and fire away. Boom – full health.

Swift Blink.

“+ 25 Agility
Active: Swift Blink
Teleport to a target point up to 1200 units away.
After teleportation, you gain 40% phased movement speed, +50 Attack Speed, and +50 Attack Damage for 6.0 seconds.”

I can tell you one thing: they will not be expecting Swift Blink Morphling.
1. The item is (somewhat) newish.
2. It is not a common Morph pickup.
3. You blink, that’s usually a surprise.

I love swift blink on Morphling. Whilst the agility at this late point in the game isn’t a huge difference maker, it’s the blink and bonus we’re after.

The blink means that we can save Waveform, and don’t need it to initiate at all. We can use blink instead, and use wave to finish off or chase, or just to nuke in general. The active means that when we’re attacking after blinking in and using skills, we’re burning away with our auto attacks even more rapidly. We’ll be so fast, you wont be able to see the animation, you will be a pixel-blur – gg.

Skills and Talents. 


“Morphling dissolves into liquid and surges forward, damaging enemy units in his path. Morphling is invulnerable during Waveform. Damage: 75/150/225/300”

Skill at: 2, 4, 6, 8

Whilst the mana cost can be difficult to manage, it wont be long before we max this are getting a 300 damage initiation or chase. 300 Damage at level 8? That’s a lot of damage.

We can use it early as escape method, as we can teleport and ignore pathing. I generally wait for Linken’s Sphere before I start using it as a method of getting around and clearing waves or doing camps. Otherwise you’re not going to have the mana or the CD for early escapes.

A point of note is that you can still use items whilst traveling, so if you’re worried that your HP is going to be an issue when you leave waveform and that you’re still getting chased – you can use HP items during the wave and pop out with extra health.

Similarly this means that later in the game when you come online with Ethereal Blade, you can use it whilst in waveform. Using the blade whilst you’re invulnerable so that you can immediately shotgun, is a great way to secure kills.

Adaptive Strike (Agility).

“Launches a surge of water toward an enemy unit, dealing base damage plus additional damage based on Morphling’s agility times a multiplier. If Morphling’s agility is 50% higher than strength, the maximum agility multiplier is used. Also puts Adaptive Strike (Strength) on a 3 second cooldown.”

Skill at: 9,11, 12, 13

Your main nuke. We don’t get it terribly early, because we want to focus on getting farm until we can get our E-Blade. Sure, we can pitch in on teamfights around Linken’s Sphere time, but ideally we want to start snowballing once we get our blade. That’s why we don’t waste points in this until we get our item.

Once we do start skilling it however, we go all in until it’s max.

You’re ready to nuke some health down? Poor your points into AGI. Use waveform to either get close, or finish them off after your combo.

Shotgun Combo:

  • Wave in, or to finish.
  • E-Blade for debuff and damage.
  • Nuke with Adaptive.
  • Repeat.

Adaptive Strike (Strength).

“Launches a surge of water toward an enemy unit, stunning and knocking back the target based on Morphling’s strength. If his strength is 50% higher than his agility, the maximum stun/knockback is dealt.”

Skill at: Skills automatically with AGI version – 9,11, 12, 13

This will be more of a mini-stun with how we’re skilling, and the playstyle we’re aiming for.

That isn’t to say it doesn’t have any utility. It’s not great as a catch mechanic, with the knockback, so stick with wave for that. But as a teamfight tool, it’s quite good. as a follow up stun, after a longer disable from a teammate, can be the difference sometimes between getting the core down, and not.

I use it hesitantly before I buy the shard.

As it is going to put one of our nukes, the agility version, on a three second cooldown. That means no shotgun for a short duration afterward.

But as an interrupting tool, it’s fantastic. Especially once you get your shard, and can use it liberally without putting its AGI counterpart on cooldown.

No more channeling for you enemy team, sorry!

Attribute Shift.

“Morphling shifts its form, pulling points from Strength and pouring them into Agility. The process is reversible. Additional points in Attribute Shift increase the rate of stat change. Passively grants bonus Agility.

Morphling shifts its form, pulling points from Agility and pouring them into Strength. The process is reversible. Additional points in Attribute Shift increase the rate of stat change. Passively grants bonus Strength.”

Skill at: 1, 3, 5, 7 – both skills level together.

This is Morphling’s signature ability. Easily swapping between AGI and STR means we can dish out damage when we want to, and survive ganks and tank things when we must.

Having more AGI than STR when using our Adaptive means more damage.
Having more STR than AGI when using our Adaptive means more stun and push back.

Pouring plenty into AGI will ensure that your nuke gets the job done, and early game when mid is coming to your safelane to gank or annoy you, can shift in STR to survive and regen up.

We want to skills these up as fast as possible. We’re incredibly weak without the bonuses stats from this skill, so avoid engaging in any form whatsoever before you can get the spikes at 3. Then more so at 5 and 7 when we finish the skill.


“Morphling changes his form to match the targeted enemy, gaining their basic abilities with reduced mana cost. Can be toggled for the duration of the ability.”

Skill at: 14,16, 18

We’re going to get this very late. Not because it isn’t handy, it CAN be. But all of Morph’s other skills ARE important. And the timing of which are equally important. So, we grab this late and you can incorporate some of the enemy disables into your own routine.

I usually tend to go for utility, if I’m morphing it’s usually as the teamfight has already kicked off and I’m looking at stealing something specific.

Having said that, if a particular skill has been annoying you all game, there’s nothing more satisfying than turning it against the enemy team once you’re online.

Level 10: +275 Waveform Range.

This one is a no-brainer. We’re going to have so much AGI from our skills and items, +10 is inconsequential. The additional range for Waveform is the cast and distant, and provides so much more utility to an already powerful skill. Simple.

Level 15: +30 Attack Speed.

I have literally no interest in additional morph duration whatsoever. It’s very, very situational. We’ve only just grabbed one point in morph. We’re swapping to grab a utility, and changing back to get our ranged auto-attacks in. Attack speed all the way.

Level 20: Waveform Attacks Targets.

This is our first difficult choice, and there isn’t a wrong option here. If you go with cooldowns, you’re getting more adaptives off, you’re getting more waves off and you can morph whenever you need.

However, because we’ve taken items like Skadi and Daedelus, I’m going to suggest Waveform attacks targets. It instantly applies an auto attack to every unit hit by your waveform. You’re clearing waves super fast now with this. And it’ll apply those attack modifiers with wave form as well.

Waveform that applies Skadi and has a chance to crit AND I can use it at huge range because of my level 10 talent AND I can use it to clear entire waves instantly? Ouch.

It enhances your initiation or chase in a huge way.

Level 25: 2 Waveform Charges.

This one is another no-brainer. We have strength enough from our passive, skadi, treads, sphere. The stat is there when we want it with treads and attribute shift. +30 is nice, but not anywhere near as powerful as a second wave. I suppose it’s good if you’re playing a tank or support or something odd, but .. we’re not. Nor has support or offlane Morph been a thing for a long time.

Second waveform charge speaks for itself. We have so many modifiers apply with each wave, a second means we can initiate and chase with waveform. We don’t need to choose one or the other, or wait for CD. We’ve always got it there, and we’re always hard lock down.


ProgramFounding Writers
AuthorLuke Cowling
GameDota 2

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