Wooden Axe, "Rest is for the dead !"
July 15, 2012
Starting items are quite conventional: 6 Tangos, 1 Healing Salve, 1 Stout Shield and 1 Iron Branch. They allow you to go into the jungle without difficulty with Counter Helix at level 1. You're not obligated to buy the Iron Branch : not taking it can help you to buy the first Ring of Regen faster but a +1 bonus in all attributes almost for free (27g loss when you sold it) is always nice.
After the first few minutes of jungling, you can buy the first Ring of Regen (for the Tranquil Boots) followed shortly by a second one (for the Soul Ring) brought to you by your Animal Courier. These two rings increase your life regeneration to 7hp/s and you can continue to jungle without buying new Tangos. Finally, buy Boots of speed.
Once you have purchased the Boots of speed, you must rush for the Ring of Protection to get the Tranquil Boots through which you will not lose hp in the jungle anymore. Then, order your Animal Courier to bring you the recipe of Soul Ring while you're farming in the jungle. Afterwards, try to gank on a lane (bot lane if you're in the Radiant team, top for the Dire team) and take the opportunity to buy the Sage's Mask and complete your Soul Ring. It will give you a constant supply of mana because it increases your mana regeneration but also gives you the asset gain 150 mana. The hp cost is quickly filled by either your hp regeneration or your Tranquil Boots. You will be able to constantly harass the enemy with Battle Hunger (importance of properly controlling the 'deny' mechanism).
I've choosen to buy the Tranquil Boots and the Soul Ring instead of the Arcane Boots because it costs 325 gold more only (1825 instead of 1500) for a better hp regeneration (more than 15hp/s with Tranquil Boots, Soul Ring and Vanguard) and mana regeneration (potentially 150 mana every 25 seconds + 50% mana regeneration instead of 115 mana every 45 seconds + 250 mana max with the Arcanes Boots). Moreover, you can buy parts of these equipments more faster thanks to their low cost and thus reduce the risk of losing money in a failed gank. The only downside is that you can no longer give mana to allies but in most of the cases Axe's players use the Arcane Boots for their own purpose anyway.
Go now for the Vanguard starting with Ring of Health then Vitality Booster. This shield makes Axe more tanky, able to heal himself when he's 'jungling' (after a teamfight or a gank) and makes the loss of health due to the Soul Ring insignificant. Finish the core items by buying a Blink Dagger. It is impossible to do without because it allows you to engage, to catch fleeing enemies and even sometimes to flee your enemies and thus fills the largest gaps of Axe.
The Heart of Tarrasque is almost everytime the best option, especially when your team has the advantage. It is rare to have to buy other situational items without getting it first because once you have it you never need to return to the base anymore and you can keep pushing and harassing the enemies.
If the game lasts too long and you can buy something else after the Heart of Tarrasque, you should buy either the Assault Cuirass (if no ally has already bought it (note that the Assault Cuirass greatly increases your dps, so you can sometimes overcome a fed 'carry' alone) or the Shiva's Guard (if the opposing team is made up of several (more or less) fed 'carries').
The Pipe of Insight can sometimes be useful if the support of your team did not buy it and if there is a Lich, a Shadow Fiend or other AoE nukers in the opposing team.
When should I pick Axe ?
- If there is no tank in your team
Obviously, no comment.
- If no one wants to jungle and one of your mate has picked a good solo champion ( Lone Druid, Broodmother,...)
A solo top/bot lane can be a real advantage for your team (by getting more gold and xp) and will allow Axe to roam more easily but stay alert and don't let your ally alone too long especially if he has trouble to farm and to keep the lane. The use of Battle Hunger on the opponent support without getting out of the jungle and interrupting your farming (at least every 25 seconds with the Soul Ring) can help a lot especially since you don't need mana in the woods.
- If there is an invisible character in the enemy team such as Riki, Bounty Hunter, Templar Assassin, Broodmother or any character who often takes the Shadow Blade ( Sniper, Viper, Gyrocopter,...)
Axe is a good counter to invisible enemies : each one of your skills are effective against those champions. Berserker's Call can force your foes to attack you and become visible, especially when they use their invisibility as a mean of escape. Battle Hunger is a real pain too, as they are obligated to make themselves visible to no longer suffer the damages. Counter Helix, as an AoE skill, can still damage them. And last but not least, Culling Blade can quickly finish the enemy before he becomes invisible again.
- If Dazzle or Omniknight are in the opposite team
Since you're able to finish enemies (especially 'carries') even with Shallow Grave, or Repel and Guardian Angel thanks to your Culling Blade.
- If Huskar is in the opposite team
You MUST stop him with your Culling Blade when his life pool is low otherwise all your teammates will die because of his Berserker's Blood and lifesteal.
- If Broodmother is in the opposite team
Because of all the advantages against invisible champions and Axe's advantage to fight against many units ( Broodmother's spiderlings army) with Counter Helix.
- If another player wants to go in the jungle (at least not with this build)
Axe is pretty good on lanes in early game but you may prefer to buy Arcane Boots to help your lane mate instead of Tranquil Boots and Soul Ring, you will have to leave all the gold to your ally unless you're not with a 'carry' (that would be strange) and you won't be able to roam between lanes as effectively as if you were a 'jungler'.
- If Lifestealer or Anti-Mage are in the opposite team
You can't taunt Lifestealer under Rage. It will leave him enough time to kill one or two teammates (if fed). Furthermore, taunting him after Rage will heal him most of the time because of Feast, Axe's high amount of hp and missing allies.
Anti-Mage is really annoying for most of champions and especially for this build with Axe. His Mana Break will quickly destroy your mana pool (which is not high at all) and prevent you to use Culling Blade or Battle Hunger. You'll still be able to perform some Counter Helix but won't be able to support your mates in fights and Axe's physical dps is low.
- If there are already too many 'strenght' champions in your team OR in the opposite team
Axe's lack of dps made him a bad choice in a team with a lot of champion with 'strenght' for main attribute (thus durable too) and his Battle Hunger will quickly become less effective against enemies with high amount of hp.
- If you (and your allies) can't 'deny' effectively enough
To keep the pressure with Battle Hunger, you must 'deny' almost every creeps you can.
Denying against characters like Sniper or Gyrocopter is not easy at all.
So this is my personal aggressive and funny (as well as reliable) build with Axe plus some tips and advices. I certainly will complete this guide if I find gaps or if I want to add some important news.
Thank you very much for reading my first guide. I hope I have not been too incomprehensible and that you enjoyed this build !
"Cut and run !"