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League of Legends Build Guide Author TheItemGuru

Item Guide: Phantom Dancer: RESTYLED

TheItemGuru Last updated on September 2, 2014
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Item Guides

Welcome! I’m TheItemGuru, and I am here to help you understand the function of items in League of Legends. Before we talk about Phantom Dancer, I’d like to give you general guidance about choosing items.

Just like every champion, every item has its own place in the League of Legends. Each item functions uniquely, an the difference between a good item choice and a bad one can make all the difference for how a match turns out. For your champion has 5 abilities (one passive) that are set in stone for that champion forever, but no matter who you picked the items you purchase are entirely up to you--you could pack an Aegis of the Legion on Leona just as easily as you could buy an Executioner's Calling for her (they are the same price).

Of course, just because they cost the same doesn't make them the same, especially on a champion like Leona. As such, great care should go into what item you should purchase, who you should buy it for, and when it needs to be bought. That is what this guide is for--examining each item for its role in the game. Let's get started, shall we?


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Phantom Dancer


The item in question for today's guide is the Phantom Dancer, an offensive item that is common in many AD Carry builds. Knowing this item's place in LoL will maximize its effectiveness in your build. For that we need to have a proper understanding of Items and their uses in the game:

  • Item choices set you up for success or failure. An item that is powerful on one champion is not beneficial to all champions. Understand what items your champion needs--you already have a great start by reading this guide!
  • Your item builds should vary between the unique champions you play, and they will vary with the champions and play styles you face in each match. The order in which you build items can make or break a game as well, so be thoughtful about your item choices!
  • Much like different champions forming a powerful team composition, the items you buy should complement each other. Choose items that benefit from the others. Doing so will maximize how efficiently your gold is being used, which is important at all stages in the game, whether you are ahead or behind.

I’ll show you how to apply this general advice throughout this Phantom Dancer guide. Keep reading to learn more!


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Item Basics

Mouse over icon to see item details.

Statistics



Let’s break down all the statistics Phantom Dancer grants your champion.

+50% attack speed: Attack Speed increases the rate your champion can perform basic attacks. Attack Speed stacks additively, so a 50% increase will add 50% of a champion’s base attack speed to their total Attack Speed. This means a champion with 1 base attack speed (1 basic attack per second) will have 1.5 total Attack Speed (1.5 basic attacks per second) after buying Phantom Dancer.

+30% critical strike chance: Critical Strike Chance gives your basic attacks a percentage chance to deal 200% (double) damage. Having 30% Crit Chance means roughly 3 of every 10 basic attacks will deal double damage, but this effect occurs randomly.

+5% Movement Speed: Movement Speed indicates how many units your champion can travel in 1 second. Percent movement speed bonuses are applied after flat bonuses, so Phantom Dancer calculates its percentage bonus from base movement speed and flat bonuses from things like Boots.

Unique Passive



UNIQUE Passive: Champion can move through units.

This effect is called ‘Ignoring Unit Collision’. By default, champions cannot occupy the same space as other units, and must walk around them. You may have noticed your champion moving clumsily through a large wave of minions--this is a phenomenon termed ‘creep block’. Phantom Dancer’s unique passive allows a champion to walk through units instead, which allows for direct pathing.

Cost and Recipe



Phantom Dancer’s overall cost is 2800 Gold. It’s Mid-Range in cost, but is completely gold efficient. Constructed from a Cloak of Agility, a Zeal, and a Dagger, the Phantom Dancer is a Legendary item, building from two basic items and one advanced item. The build path is fluid, with strong intermediate items and a low combination cost of 495 Gold.

When starting your PD, usually prioritize building Zeal. It’s like a miniature Phantom Dancer, and is very gold and item slot efficient. Don’t buy the Brawler's Gloves if you can afford the Dagger (8% crit chance alone is nearly worthless (except on this guy )).



So from this we can conclude that Phantom Dancer is a Mid-Game item for Attack Speed, Crit Chance, and a useful Unique Passive. It is best saved for Mid-Game, after more essential items are completed, but it makes itself known through its incredible basic stats and near-doubles the effectiveness of other powerful items like the Infinity Edge. These stats are the Phantom Dancer's primary use, making Multiples a viable (although not always advisable) option.


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Applications

Phantom Dancer is on offensive item that increases the damage-per-second a champion can deal with their basic attacks. Its Movement Speed boost and Unique Passive have both offensive and defensive benefits--it is both harder to escape and pursue a champion that has higher Movement Speed and can move through units. Use large minion waves to your advantage by forcing enemies to chase you through them!

Phantom Dancer grants no direct Attack Damage, however, and thus needs other items to make the best use of its power, especially those that grant Damage and their own Crit Chance; so it is usually unwise build first. In order for the Phantom Dancer's full potential to truly be unlocked, a build incorporating it needs Damage. Both Attack Speed and Crit Chance do little on their own without proper Damage, and the Phantom Dancer boasts the best of both. As such, the items boasting the best Damage are usually the most optimal choices to compliment the PD.

The highest Damage items are a four-way tie of 80 AD between the Essence Reaver, The Bloodthirster, Infinity Edge, and Mercurial Scimitar. The former two offer Lifesteal, which works well on Marksmen and Fighters. The Infinity Edge offers more Crit Chance, which works great with the Phantom Dancer (this is usually the best 80 AD item for the PD). Lastly the Mercurial Scimitar offers Magic Resist and an invaluable Cleanse, a good defensive choice for any sustained Auto-Attacker who may be disrupted.

For maximum overall Damage-Per-Second, combine these items together with the Phantom Dancer, and you'll hit hard and often! The best of AD with the best of Attack Speed and Crit Chance makes for a powerful combo!





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Pros And Cons

Overall, Phantom Dancer is good in some areas and not-so-good in others. We'll closely examine what works well with it and what doesn't in the following sections:

Pros

+ Fluid Build
+ Extremely High Base Stats
+ Powerful Unique Passive
Phantom Dancer is the undisputed King(s) of both Attack Speed and Crit Chance. Only Runaan's Hurricane bests it in Attack Speed values, and nothing beats its Crit Chance (the new Lightbringer ties it, but that's not available on every map). It also give a nice bonus of 5% extra Movement Speed, paired with an invaluable Unique Passive: Ignoring Unit Collision, a Passive exclusive to this item alone (excluding certain Champion Abilities and Ghost). Overall, this item gives a lot of different things, and a lot of it.


Cons

- Sub-Par Speed Boost
- Requires Item Synergies
- Poor Choice for Casters
This item has declined somewhat in popularity in the face of other Crit Chance items. It's stats are good, but it requires other AD items for its true Damage Potential to be realized. It also gives one of the worst speed buffs out there, and gives little else besides the Attack Speed and Crit Chance that AD Carries are looking for like Damage and Lifesteal. Lastly, it offers little to AD Caster Champs like Corki and Lucian. Many AD Carries have since found favor in other Crit Chance Items.


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Recommended Champions/Uses

Phantom Dancer works best when used with Champions and Tactics that compliment its greatest strengths:

Since the Phantom Dancer increases the physical damage a champion deals through basic attacks, it is generally best paired with items that grant Attack Damage, Armor Penetration, Crit Chance, and Attack Speed. Here are some examples of the best items to pair with Phantom Dancer:

Item Synergies


Infinity Edge is pretty much always the best item to pair with Phantom Dancer. It gives the highest value of Damage that can be gained from an item, along with a generous amount of Crit Chance (totaling 55% including the PD). The best thing about this item, however, is its Unique Passive--Critical Strikes will deal 250% Damage, up from the normal 200%. Many Marksmen rush Infinity Edge first and Phantom Dancer second (along with Boots) for a mid- to late-game power spike. The totaled Damage earned from the Passive Bonus can add up to the thousands by the end of a game, making the Infinity Edge invaluable on any Crit Chance build.

Last Whisper gives a modest amount of Attack Damage along with 35% Armor Penetration, which is effective against Armor-Heavy targets. Without proper amounts of Armor Pen the enemy's Armor will usually end up reducing any extra Damage your Crits inflict anyway, making this item invaluable against Tanks.

The Bloodthirster is another high-value Attack Damage item. Note that the more damage you deal, the more benefit you gain from Lifesteal, so pairing high amounts of Damage and Lifesteal with Crit Chance and Attack Speed is a great choice. These two items have often been seen together on countless builds throughout the Seasons, and will likely continue to be built together for Seasons to come.

Blade of the Ruined King gives many stats that combine well with PD. Champions that benefit from Attack Speed (such as Vayne and Kog'Maw) love having both; more Attack Speed means more applications of Blade’s health-shredding passive. Note that the % health damage from BotRK does not critically strike. PD has the best synergy with IE, but BotRK is a great first buy for champions that can capitalize on an early power spike. Its combination of stats, passive, and active provide powerful dueling potential in a single, affordable package. Compare this to an IE and PD rush--these items together total 6600 Gold!

Berserker’s Greaves are the boot of choice for most Marksmen. Any champion that builds Phantom Dancer will likely be building ‘glass cannon’--high damage, little defense. Enchant these boots with Enchantment: Furor or Enchantment: Alacrity for even greater use of the bonus movement speed and passive of PD.

Champion Synergies



Phantom Dancer is an ideal match for Marksmen, especially those that excel at sustained Damage (as opposed to Burst or Spell-Reliant), such as Ashe, Caitlyn, Draven, Jinx, Sivir, Twitch, Varus, and Vayne. Marksmen benefit from the items Phantom Dancer synergizes with, allowing for cohesive builds.

A few ‘light’ Fighters (attack-reliant champions that blend the roles of Fighter and Assassin) also make good use of Phantom Dancer. These champions are Master Yi, Tryndamere, and Yasuo. These champions will usually itemize very similarly to Marksmen.

Remember that each of these Champions can use the Phantom Dancer differently, and many will choose to build it at differing times during the match! Build it wisely!


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Things To Avoid/Alternatives

With these things in mind, let’s look at some alternatives to Phantom Dancer.

Statikk Shiv



No discussion of the Phantom Dancer is complete without talking about its sister item, Statikk Shiv. Shiv gives comparable values of Crit Chance, Attack Speed, and % Movement Speed, but has an entirely different Unique Passive.

Many champions that use PD can put Shiv to equal or better use. How and when do you choose between the two? Let’s examine the Shiv’s defining characteristic--the Unique Passive:

UNIQUE Passive: Grants Static Charges upon moving or attacking. At 100 Charges, basic attacking expends all Charges to deal 100 magic damage to up to 4 targets on hit. This damage can critically strike.

The champions and situations that call for Shiv’s passive are as follows:
  • Champions that gain stacks quickly or more conveniently than others: Yasuo and Master Yi are ‘light’ Fighters whose kits revolve around high Attack Speed and lots of movement (which is the fastest way to build Shiv Passive Stacks). Marksmen like Tristana and Jinx have significant Attack Speed bonuses in their ability kits (which is the second-fastest way to build Shiv Passive Stacks).
  • Champions that support Bursty attack patterns: Marksmen like Graves, Lucian, and Twitch, and pseudo-Assassins such as Quinn and Yasuo that serve bursty, assassination-style playstyles work well with Shiv’s explosive passive. In contrast, long-range champions with more stationary, artillery-style playstyles such as Caitlyn and Kog'Maw can benefit more from the greater sustained damage that PD grants. Hit-and-Run pokes also better serve the Statikk Shiv's bonus damage, giving more use to champions like Gangplank than a PD typically would. Any Champ that typically attacks with a cluster of Abilities and then falls back for Cooldowns will often appreciate the Shiv more than the PD.
  • Champions or team compositions that need supplementary wave clear: Sometimes in order to push, seige, or counter-seige effectively, a Marksman needs more effective ways to kill Minion Waves. Shiv’s passive works well against tightly clumped minions.

Remember, build according to the situation! With experience, you will learn how to choose between Phantom Dancer and Statikk Shiv.


Other Alternative Items



Trinity Force builds out of Zeal, similar to Phantom Dancer and Statikk Shiv. However, it is a unique item that grants a variety of stats and passives. Caster-style Marksmen like Corki and Lucian that use abilities frequently, weaving them with basic attacks, benefit more Trinity Force than Phantom Dancer due to the Spellblade passive and infrequency with which they basic attack relative to other Marksmen. Note how the Trinity Force only grants an additional 10% Attack Speed and 0% additional Crit-Chance over the Zeal--it is not primarily an Attack Speed item. Champions with this benefit more from Damage Items.
Youmuu’s Ghostblade is good on AD Assassins such as Zed and Talon, who should never build Phantom Dancer. If you’re tempted to, try this item instead. Some Caster- or Assassin-style Marksmen (specifically Lucian and Twitch) that deal physical damage with their abilities can also build Ghostblade. These Marksmen both have ‘high points’ during their ultimates, where they make good use of Ghostblade’s active. Some Marksmen that use Ghostblade will build both PD and Ghostblade, but PD will typically come later.
Blade of the Ruined King is a suitable choice for Fighters that don’t typically invest in Critical Strike Chance, but need a boost in Attack Speed and Attack Damage. Don't build the Phantom Dancer if Crit Chance isn't part of your agenda. Again, some Champions will choose to take both this and the PD.


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Conclusion

Dance, Water, Dance! (Oh, I am so sorry...)

This is a powerful tool in any Crit-Chance arsenal, second only to the Infinity Edge. The Phantom Dancer allows the Champion wielding it to do immense amounts of Critical Damage-Per-Second. Left unchecked, a proper AD Carry with one (or two) of these will make short work of any foe. Attack Speed can be an under-appreciated tool, not doing its work with large chunks of Health, but with small, subtle, rapid strikes to whittle an enemy down. With the correct use of a Phantom Dancer in your Build, you will do both at once.

Used in the wrong hands, however, the Phantom Dancer can provide little Poke damage and little use to the Champion only able to make use of it in close enough quarters to be quickly ambushed and killed. This an item for quick, sustained fire and not for the quick Poke or short Burst! Build it wisely!

I hope this guide has opened your eyes to the usefulness of the Phantom Dancer. All questions and feedback are greatly appreciated. Please vote and contribute to this guide’s discussion. Good luck to you, Summoner!

-TheItemGuru

*This restyled guide couldn't have been possible without the help of The All Tomato. If you're new to League of Legends, consider checking out The All Tomato's LoL Essentials Guide.


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