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6 Votes

A Useful Axe: No business but war. No family but death. No mercy but the grave!

August 24, 2013 by Mazer Rackham
Comments: 7    |    Views: 32302    |   

Lane Axe

DotA2 Hero: Axe

Hero Skills

Berserker's Call

4 12 13 14

Battle Hunger

2 3 5 7

Counter Helix

1 8 9 10

Culling Blade

6 11 16


15 17 18

A Useful Axe: No business but war. No family but death. No mercy but the grave!

Mazer Rackham
August 24, 2013


This is my first guide to feel free to provide comments and criticism!

This is a pub guide that allows Axe to actually have mana to spam his spells, though still allowing him to have the regen to jungle and creep skip if the opportunity presents itself.

While this guide is generally meant for a dual aggressive lanes for your standard pubs, Axe can actually work situationally in an aggressive trilane, but I won't get into that in this guide.

Guide Overview

This guide is an attempt to have people rethink the cookiecutter tranquil boot Vanguard Axe build. But it is still very flexible in the sense that Tranquil Boots can still be built in addition to Arcane Boots and can be dis assembled between tranquil and arcanes depending on your regen needs. I've found that after the very early game Axe doesn't require a ton of HP regen and mana regen from Arcanes is much more useful.

Pro and Cons

+Counter Helix can be very deadly early
+Can DUNK like Charles Barkley
+His ult is one of the most satisfying in the game
+Can effectively zone out melee heros from farming
+Can creep skip, further zoning out enemy heros and opening the door for early tower and hero kills
+If you are unable to get kills in lane, or you don't want to push the lane you can be an effective jungler with just one point in counter helix and stacking camps
+Battle Hunger can do over 600 damage to a hero over time and is on a short culldown
+Culling blade is effective against Abaddon somewhat and very good against Huskar and Dazzle
+Has a bkb piercing AOE disable

-His ult doesn't play the Space Jam music.
-Having a good start in lane is key to axe, if the enemy can still come up and last hit, battle hunger becomes a waste of mana
-Has a low STR gain so he doesn't right click particularly hard or have a ton of EHP without items
-Has huge mana issues without arcane boots
-Counter Helix pushes the lane and denys your lane partner farm
-His ult can killsteal from your carrys


Try and partner up with another hero that doesn't necessarily need a ton of farm and can also be very aggressive from level 1. With some luck (counter helix) you can pretty easily get a lvl 1 or lvl 2 first blood.

The basic strategy is whenever a hero comes up to last hit near his own creep wave is you go up to the enemy hero and right click him. This draws the creepwave aggro and your chances to counter helix go up massively. The potential for damage here is almost unmatched at level 1 with some luck. I like to skill Call at level 4, but if you don't think you can land any on heroes if you don't have a setup stun or they are not getting close feel free to skill a second point of counter helix. I dunno I just like the ability to have at least some pseudo CC.

If things are going well and you still have regen you can even creep skip to put a ton of pressure on the heroes and tower. Battle hunger maxed by level 7 does over 600 damage over time and will really melt supports and carrys early game. Especially if you are zoning them out from last hitting.

If things are not going well in lane and you can no longer zone out the other team from farming, don't be afraid to abandon lane and jungle to maximize your teams farming potential.

Item Build and Choices

For starting items Stout Shield is core, but otherwise Axe can mix it up some. The traditional 3x branches stout shield Tango and salve can work, but I prefer to maximize health regen to allow for maximum aggression and creep wave tanking.

Early Game, you can build Tranquil Boots, however I find myself being able to go straight into Arcane Boots. One neat trick is to just build arcane boots AND tranquil boots (minus the second pair of brown boots) and you can disassemble reassemble to whichever pair you need. Additionally Tranquil boots can be made into Mekanism or Vlads. In my opinion Arcanes are absolutely core on axe because without them you really don't have the mana or mana pool to spam your low cool down spells like you should. Plus you offer you team a lot of utility by having another pair of arcane boots.

After boots is where my build really differs from other Axe builds I've seen. In my opinion Mek is far more useful and scales better than Vanguard in a lot of ways. Axe can farm an early Mek similar to a dark Seer and it allows Axe to have a lot of survivability and team utility. If someone else is a more natural Mek holder you can build a Vlads, Hood into pipe as a utility item, Medallion of Courage, or if you want to be a solid initiator rushing blink is never a bad idea..

Vlads is a great item for a support to pick up if your team has a melee carry. However Vlads is much more than a lifesteal aura. It provides mana regen, an armor aura, AND an aura damage buff.

Pipe of Insight is great versus nukes and provides Axe with a huge hp regen buff.

Medallion of Courage provides you with Armor (though not when active) and MP regen. It has synergy with counter helix as it reduces their armor, and helps you take down ancients mid game or help your team in team fights or taking rosh, a great cheap item all around. Like an Urn of Shadows (which is also a great situational pickup), having a MoC on a team is a good idea.

If you absolutely destroy your opposing lane and get several kills in lane and the tower consider building a Bloodstone. In a lot of ways Bloodstone is the ultimate snowball item, and the more kills you are involved in the better it gets. Sure axe doesn't need all of that mana regen even if spamming all your skills on cooldown, but if you really get going, you can spam your battle hunger on creeps and heros alike and go full racecar around the map. Plus the huge heal and exp on death, fast respawn and ability to suicide is great. You can disassemble your Arcane boots into a portion of it, and several of the items really improve axe's EHP, mana pool, HP/MP regen. Heck, all of the components of Vanguard, minus the stout shield are found in Bloodstone. Being able to spam battlehunger on cool downs + building phase boots after disassembling your arcanes into bloodstone, I've found Blink Dagger is no longer absolutely core (when snow balling) as you can actually land you Call without blink dagger. If you do get bloodstone, Aghs becomes an interesting item, though dunking people and stealing kills from your carry is risky. FOR THE LOVE OF GOOD DONT BUILD Bloodstone UNLESS YOU HAVE AN AMAZING EARLY GAME.

The next situational item I like on axe, though Axe doesn't and shouldn't really get much farm priority after mid game is Sange and Yasha Disassembled into Manta Style and Heavens Halberd.

Why Manta Style? Primarily because Your illusions helix for full damage. In the middle of a team fight this damage output can be huge + your illusions alone have a ton of push potential.

Other great item choices that don't really require much explanation are Heart, Shivas, AC, Sheep Stick and Blade Mail.

Summary; TL;DR


Be aggressive in lane, if that fails jungle. build Arcanes and Mekanism as core. If you have an AMAZING early game consider Bloodstone, skipping Mek and coming back for it if noone else already has one. Make sure you let your team know you are building [Mekanism] so you don't end up with more than one on your team. If you don't have an amazing early game FOR THE LOVE OF GOD don't build bloodstone, build utility items like Mek, Pipe, Blink and Bladem Mail. Great Semi Carry/Late game luxury/situational Items are SnY into HH and Manta, Heart, Shivas, AC, and Sheep Stick.

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