I was sitting here wondering for quite a while what would be the best way to start off this guide.
Should I explain lanning mechanics? . . ."No, this is not a guide on mid-lane mechanics."
Should I just jump right into the item build? . . ."No, because item builds make a lot more sense after understanding the hero and how it should be played."
Should I just start by explaining the wrong way to play? . . ."No, that would be irrelevant if you didn't know when to pick the hero, because picking the hero into a bad matchup is already the wrong way to play." Ding Ding Dingmotherf***er
One of the most important aspects of learning how to play a hero, is first and foremost, learning when to play the hero. Picking a hero into disadvantageous situations, while good for learning the hero's strengths and weaknesses, is already doing something wrong. Even more so with Pa as she is extremely hit or miss.
All these matchup lists were created with the forethought that both players are of equal skill
I'll just start off with absolute no-go matchups;
- Tinker - Legion Commander - Batrider
- Timbersaw - Storm Spirit - Templar Assassin
- Puck - Juggernaut - Necrophos
All of these mid matchups are extremely disadvantageous and these heroes also counter you for the rest of the game. If these heroes are picked, probably a good idea to not pick PA. Granted you can just sit back and spam dagger, despite that, these heroes will continue to be a menace all game for you.
Unfavorable in lane, favorable/fine as game progresses;
- Skywrath Mage
- Lone Druid
- Death Prophet
These matchups are a pain to deal with during the lanning phase, and you will most likely need a few rotations. However, you can safely dagger for cs from a distance and as the game goes on you will do fine vs these heroes. I had a bit of a back and forth with myself when it came to whether Skywrath Mage belonged here or in the no-go matchups. I settled on here because of Pa's ability to delete Sky as the game goes on.
Neither favorable nor unfavorable;
- Outworld Devourer
- Dragon Knight
Neither you nor your opponent should be able to completely shut one another out of the lane, nor do either have a heavy advantage as the game advances.
Potentially very favorable or very unfavorable;
- Shadow Fiend
All of these heroes don't have a good way to deal with early dagger harass, but can bounce back given some levels. i.e. Razes, Lightning Bolt, Plague Wards, Powershot, Mysitc Snake, Dragon Slave. All these matchups can really be one sided. In other words, from either party there really is no room for mistakes. On top of that both heroes have a chance to completely overwhelm one another as game progresses. Pa can very easily gain an advantage vs Shadow Fiend in the early levels, but once SF gets level 2 raze lane advantage can shift dramatically. However, there is a possibility to hold the lead, but play would have to be perfect and this extends to all the matchups with Medusa being easiest and is in this list purely because of mystic snake and stone gaze being cancer. With Lina, Lina has no way to sustain Dagger spam, but alternatively Pa has no good way to sustain higher levels of dragon slave and the huge range of Lina's right click.
Favorable in lane, unfavorable as game progresses;
These heroes have no good way to deal with dagger spam, and as Pa you will have a very easy time shutting down the lane. However, as the game advances further and further these heroes do exceptionally well vs Pa.
- Morphling either gets agi so he can cs, but then has 300 health pool and cannot be in lane because of dagger or get's a health pool which regardless is still troubled from dagger but can't cs. However, as game goes on and given some farm he can easily burst Pa while Pa cannot easily burst him.
- Mirana has horrible damage for cs, low health pool to sustain dagger spam and gets zoned really hard. Even with lvl 3 starstorm which is very annoying, PA can sustain that and out harass Mirana. However, mirana scales insanely well as a nuker with aghs, and with leap, blink, and a ghost scepter (for e-blade), Pa has no way to burst her down.
Extremely favorable matchups;
- Ember Spirit
- Sniper (?) Drow Ranger (?)
These matchups can be shut outs for the entirety of the game. These heroes have no good way to deal with dagger spam as well as no lanning spells that cause a massive problem to Pa. On top of that they aren't particularly good as game progresses.
- Invoker either gets damage so he can CS(exort), but then has no good way to deal with dagger spam, or he gets mana burn(wex) so he can deal with dagger spam, but has no good way to deal damage for cs and Bottle and Basi can easily replenish 200 mana even with a completely drained mana pool.
- Alchemist is the trickiest matchup because acid spray is VERY annoying, but you can easily shut out Alch via dagger spam until he reaches 6. However, because of Alch's abysmally low armor you can burst through him even with Chem rage with + 1, or just play around his CD, in which everytime it's off CD you can easily kill.
- Pudge is also tricky because you don't want to get walked on with rot then hooked, but dagger spam early on just negates that possibility completely as he is too low to attempt it, therefore early dagger spam is crucial.
- Ember has a horrible health pool, cannot deal with dagger spam, and flame guard and chains just aren't good enough to trade in the early levels and the lane advantage becomes too big.
- Tiny has horrible armor and can't sustain dagger spam forcing him away from creeps. He has 2 strong nukes but a mana pool that can sustain those spells usages only once, therefore lane is incredible easy for PA. However, as game progresses, PA has to play around Avalanche and Toss CDs which aren't that big, and craggy is very good until PA purchases a Bkb. Tiny can burst PA down while PA can burst Tiny down, therefore I put this as favorable because there's way more room for error as game progresses for Tiny, despite Tiny's burst potential on Pa because of how once-sided the lanning matchup should go.
- Sniper and Drow are not good mid heroes but sometimes in low skill are played mid and should get shit fucked. They have no way to deal with dagger spam, and PA's kill potential on them is very menacing.
The thing I find most difficult when playing mid is knowing when to leave the lane and when to stay. It's always a matter of weighing what's you gain from more. In the case of PA, rotating to other lanes is much more efficient and effective than pretty much every other hero simply because wards don't detect your movement. And that's not to say, "OH, so Pa is a ganker..?" No she isn't, simply that if you get a double damage rune, or a haste, your rotation to other lanes is simply more efficient and effective due to blur's passive. Besides that, once you hit level 6 on PA it is absolutely imperative to carry a tp scroll so you can react to any over extension occuring in the side lanes. That is 100% something you need to look for and 100% something that can win/lose you a game. Punishing a 3 man dive on your safelane gains you and your team a MASSIVE advantage. Those examples to leave your lane are very obvious. Ganking Runes, and over extension make for very easy decisions on whether to leave the lane or stay. More subtle reasons to leave are if you see a lane being pressured extremely down the lane into your towers, making for very easy kills due to enemy heroes' positioning. Or if you all of a sudden see 3 heroes making rotations to your safelane or offlane where 1 hero is located and they are stronger, you can easily tp into the opposite side lane with +1 and try for a kill on their safelaner/offlaner and/or trade a tower. Or maybe you have heroes that can defend the tower so you tp in and take the fight. It's very subtle scenarios that you have to look for to maximize your presence as a mid-laner.
Okay. As far as Item builds go, I will be talking about one and only one. This is the same item build MVP.QO went in every game in the international, and is in my opinion the best item build to go in nearly every game.
ALL TIMINGS ARE REPRESENTATIVE OF AN IDEAL GAME (and even so I added at least 1 min to the ideal as to create something more achievable)
- Faerie Fire
- 2 shared tangos
[ 20min> ]Early Game: In order.
- Bottle ~2min
- Brown Boots ~4min
- Phase Boots ~8min
- Wand ~9min
- Aquila ~12min
- Desolator ~18min
[ 20min< ]: Item order varies.
- Vladimir's Offering ~21min
- Black King Bar ~ 29min
- Skull Basher ~33min
- Abyssal Blade ~37min
Quick note that sometimes you will have to get Black King Bar before Vladimir's if enemy hero lineup requires it. If you were to go Black King Bar before Vladamir's in ideal situation you would want it ~25min
This is hands down the most optimal way to build mid-lane Pa as it maximizes everything she has to offer. Important notes about items is that you should disassemble Aquila to finish off Vladimir's. One of the most important things is to hold onto Wand as long as possible because it is one of the most efficient items for Pa's low health and mana pool.
- Blur / Phantom Strike (too much right click harass --> Blur, early kill potential --> Phantom Strike)
- Blur / Phantom Strike (which ever you didn't skill at level 2)
- Coup De Grace
- Phantom Strike
- Phantom Strike
- Phantom Strike
- Coup De Grace
- Coup De Grace
The reason we max Phantom Strike over blur regardless of enemy lineup is to max our aggressive potential. Maxing phantom strike allows you to weave in and out of engagements due to low cooldown, as well as escape much more consistently, and chase infinitely better. Yes blur increases our effective hp, however, we just want to be able to chase people down, weave in and out of engagements, and escape easily. Not to be able to sustain more damage. It is far better for an aggressive PA, and that is what we want to achieve as a mid-lane Pa.
Just some background info on me. 4.7k player, 308 games on Pa IIRC. I am not claiming to be the best Pa player, but I believe I have a lot of experience playing this hero. If you have any other questions as this Guide didn't nearly cover all the nuances of playing this hero just comment. Hope this helps people, I made this guide, 1. Because I enjoy writing down my thoughts, 2. Because there are currently no good Pa mid guides, and 3. Because I had a lot of extra time today :P.