Today we are going to talk about one of the most powerful initiators in Dota 2. This offlaner is an excellent counter pick to melee carries and can work very well in combination with many roamers. He is great in the lane and only becomes stronger as the game progresses. The hero of our today’s guide is Axe.
Table of contents
Role in the game
Technically, Axe can be used in many different roles. The hero may work as a roamer or a support since he has some kind of a slow and also a powerful disable. He may also be used as a counter pick to some melee midlaners. However, the most common role for Axe is offlaner.
The purpose of Axe in the game is to apply pressure on the enemy in the lane and provide initiation for his team throughout the game.
Berserker’s Call is a key ability of Axe. This spell allows Axe to initiate fights and set up kills. The spell becomes very dangerous once Axe purchases Blink Dagger and Blade Mail.
Battle Hunger deals damage per second as well as slows the de-buffed target while also gaining additional movement speed. Use this ability on the enemy support during the laning stage to make it easier for your roamer to trade HP with him.
Counter Helix is your farming and fighting tool. When attacked, Axe has a chance to spin and deal pure damage to all nearby enemies. Use this spell to farm creep waves quickly and clear neutral camps.
Culling Blade allows Axe to instantly kill a target if it has less than 250/350/450 health based on the level of the ability. Spells like Shallow Grave or False Promise can’t stop Axe from killing its target. With a successful kill, Axe is going to grant his teammates movement and attack speed bonuses.
Your starting items should consist of a Healing Salve, two sets of Tangoes, Ring of Protection, and Quelling Blade. You can consider getting one Faerie Fire over a set of Tango and bring it later. Axe is not very strong before he gets to level 3, for this reason, he needs a high amount of healing items to sustain in the lane.
In the early game, you should get Bracer, Phase Boots, and Magic Wand. Bracer is very important in the lane as this item will significantly improve your sustainability. In case you have a very good time in the lane you can skip all mentioned above items and go straight for the Vanguard.
Mid-game is where you get yourself all the key items, such as Blink Dagger and Blade Mail. These two items make Axe what he is. Follow them up with Crimson Guard and Shadow Blade. Shadow Blade helps Axe to select a comfortable position to use Berserker’s Call effectively.
For the late-game, you only left with Black King Bar and Shiva’s Guard.
First off, Axe is not very good at the Bounty Rune fight. To make it easier to secure two Bounty Runes it is better to call your support to join you and your roamer.
Coming to the lane you should aim to use Battle Hunger on the enemy support while contesting last-hits against the enemy carry. Having Battle Hunter on support will not only increase your movement speed but also will make it a lot stronger for your roamer to trade his HP effectively.
Once you get two points in Counter Helix you should start using creep aggro trick to your advantage. Whenever you stay near the enemy carry use attack command on him to drag creeps aggro onto yourself. It is going to increase your chances of proccing the Helix.
The other good thing is that Axe is very good at farming behind the enemy tower. In case your opponents have a very weak support, you can consider moving behind the enemy tower and cut waves there. It can help you to secure every single last-hits and apply a lot of pressure on the enemy carry under his tower.
As an Axe, your main goal in the game is to purchase Blink Dagger as quickly as you can. With this item, you can start roaming around the map and seek for kills with the assistant of your teammates. In the early to mid-game, it is a good idea to initiate the enemy support to get rid of them in fights quickly. Once you complete the Blade Mail you should start seeking exclusively for enemy cores.
Positioning is a key for Axe in the game. Try to use Fog of War to your advantage in fights to hit that one perfect Berserker’s Call.
Play around the key objectives of the game, such as Roshan or Bounty Runes. Ask your teammates to use Smoke of Deceit whenever you plan to fight for the important objective.
Allies and counters
Axe is a great counter pick to illusion based heroes or mobile heroes. Blink + Call allows Axe to catch even the most mobile heroes, such as the Queen of Pain or Anti-Mage.
Great counters to Axe are heroes, who can ignore his initiation due to high amount of health, or let’s say, an extra life, such as Wraith King. Timbersaw works well against Axe since he can kill him quickly in fights.