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[ARCHIVED] LordVesper's Personal Guide to Anti-Mage [7.06f]

November 1, 2017 by LordVesper
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Hard Carry Build/s

DotA2 Hero: Anti-Mage

Purchase Order

Starting Items (Easy Lane)

Starting Items (Hard Lane)

Earlygame Choices

Midgame Boots (Choose one)

Midgame Damage (Choose One)

Midgame Protection (Choose one or none)

Extension/Situational Items

Six-Slotted (Ideal)

Hero Skills

Mana Break

2 5 9 11


1 4 7 8


3 13 14 15

Mana Void

6 12 18


10 16

Hero Talents

-50s Mana Void Cooldown
+25% Spell Shield
-2.5s Blink Cooldown
Blink Uncontrollable Illusion
+15 Agility
+400 Blink Cast Range
+20 Attack Speed
+10 Strength


Greetings, everyone! I'm LordVesper (although my name's House Vesper on YouTube/Twitch) and today I'll be presenting you yet another Dota 2 hero guide! This time, I'll be talking about Anti-Mage, one of the scariest heroes in the game if left alone to farm up for his items. However, to balance out his incredible power in the lategame, he is rather weak in the early to midgame and must rely on the support of his team in order to survive. Typically, enemy teams end the game before Anti-Mage comes online and this is usually the best strategy to defeating him. In this guide, I'll be showing you ways on how to survive his ****py earlygame and wreck others in the lategame. Anyways, let's get this guide... STARTED!

This guide is going to be an extremely big wall-of-text. Because of this, I advise starting with whatever you need help with first before trying to read the whole thing.

Tips about Anti-Mage's Abilities

Mana Break

Anti-Mage's damage steroid that allows him to scale extremely well into the lategame with attack speed items such as Butterfly and Mjollnir. This ability shines the most when used against enemies that rely on their mana to be effective such as Morphling, Wraith King, and pretty much any Intelligence-type hero. However, it is worth noting that this ability is pretty weak in the early stages of the game where Anti-Mage's attack speed is not high enough to fully benefit from Mana Break. So, don't expect too much from it in the laning phase.


Anti-Mage's signature ability since it provides so much utility. It can be used to escape fights where you would otherwise die, it can be used to split-push lanes without much risk, and many more! As a good Anti-Mage player, you must abuse this ability's power at all times whether it be through outmaneuvering enemy teams by constantly pressuring lanes or taking out key targets in teamfights that hide in the backlines such as Sniper and Zeus. However, due to Anti-Mage's fragile nature and the fact that Blink has a delay and cooldown, one should be careful not to extend beyond his limits especially when fighting against dedicated disablers or anti-mobility heroes such as Bloodseeker, Shadow Shaman, and Bane.

Spell Shield

Serves as Anti-Mage's protection against most nuking spells such as Finger of Death and Thundergod's Wrath. It provides insane magic resistance, and for this very reason, is why you pick Anti-Mage against teams that compose of mostly magical damage. However, remember that this doesn't actually make him invincible to magic damage and he will still die if focus-fired by the whole enemy team especially if they have some way to lock you down. Skill this point early on for some extra survivability in lane or you can just skip it if you're up against pure/physical-damage dealers such as Templar Assassin and Bristleback.

Mana Void

Is typically Anti-Mage's finisher move against an enemy once he has Mana Breaked them to low enough mana. However, there are some cases where the enemies themselves use up all their mana and can easily be killed or at least be heavily damaged by Mana Void. These heroes are typically casters such as Storm Spirit, Zeus, and Silencer. In addition to that, these heroes typically have huge mana pools so the damage caused by Mana Void is insane and can downright win a teamfight on its own. It's also worth noting that it provides a mini-stun on the main target and has its damage dealt to a medium radius around the center. Use this ability wisely as wrong usage can easily lose you the fight (such as by accidentally casting it on a creep that doesn't even have mana).

Ideal Gameplan













Laning and Jungling





When to Pick



The Pros & Cons of Playing Anti-Mage



Item Explanations

Starting Items (Easy Lane)

Stout Shield

Bought to compensate for Anti-Mage’s lack of armor in the earlygame since it greatly increases his survivability in the laning phase against creep attacks and enemy harass. Although you might have an easy time in lane, I still advise buying Stout Shield since it will help later on when you start jungling with your Battle Fury or Maelstrom.

Quelling Blade

Provides bonus damage against creeps to aid in last-hitting during the laning phase. However, even if you’re confident in your last-hitting skills, you should still get Quelling Blade since it will help you a lot later once you start jungling. It’s also worth noting that Quelling Blade is a necessary item if you plan on building Battle Fury, so don’t bother skipping this item unless you desperately need other items first, which isn’t the case if you’re having an easy time in lane.


You may have an easy laning phase but, disasters can still happen wherein you end up taking heavy damage. In these scenarios, Tangos are there to heal back your HP and allow you to last-hit without fear of dying horribly. However, if you truly believe that you will not be taking much harass damage, then you can skip this item for a small gold advantage (which matters for a greedy hero like Anti-Mage).

2x Iron Branch

Bought purely to spend all of your starting gold. It’s the most cost-efficient item in the game so I usually don’t bother skipping this unless I’m 100% sure that I am well-protected during the laning phase by defensive supports (preferably with heals) such as Warlock and Winter Wyvern. By the way, don’t forget that you can eat your Iron Branches with Tangos for doubled effectiveness.

Starting Items (Hard Lane)

2x Slippers of Agility

Bought at the start to later be assembled into a Poor Man’s Shield which allows Anti-Mage to perform decently in the laning phase despite being constantly bullied by enemies. These also provide some agility to aid in last-hitting. Hopefully, that slight increase is significant enough to give you an edge in the last-hitting/denying game because Anti-Mage really NEEDS that gold!


While other players prefer buying two sets of Tangos if they expect a hard lane, I myself just get one set and then a Healing Salve. This is because there are a lot of cases wherein Healing Salve’s rapid health regeneration would save you from death rather than just Tango’s gradual health regeneration. However, this is just my personal opinion and many people have different playstyles. So, just decide for yourself!

Healing Salve

Since Anti-Mage is a very weak laner, he will most likely have numerous near-death situations so that’s why you start off with a Healing Salve. The rapid health regeneration from this item is usually enough to save you from being tragically killed and maybe even swing the fight to your favor. While it does have the disadvantage of being instantly dispelled when attacked by enemy players, I believe it’s still worth getting on Anti-Mage since he can just disengage with Blink and use Healing Salve from there.

Iron Branch

Just like in most starting item builds, you get Iron Branches to spend all of your starting gold and provide yourself with a slight advantage over your enemies. This is especially important in games where Anti-Mage won’t have the time of his life in the laning phase and must therefore rely on cheap items to survive in the early game.

Earlygame Choices

Magic Wand

Should always be bought when facing against spell-spammers such as Phantom Assassin and Batrider. The burst health and mana regeneration it provides is just too good to pass up if you can actually get some charges on the item. Besides, it also provides some nice stats to help Anti-Mage with his horrible laning phase.

Poor Man's Shield

Typically bought if you are not doing well in lane. The damage block and agility it provides is insane in the early game and might just be enough to put Anti-Mage in a better spot. Oh, and it only costs 500 gold too! By the way, since I added two Slippers of Agility in the Starting Items (Hard Lane), then you should be able to assemble this item with ease from the side shop.


If you plan on rushing Battle Fury, then getting this item as soon as possible is generally a good idea. While others prefer getting Broadsword and/or Claymore first, I personally think that's unnecessarily greedy since Quelling Blade is usually enough for you to secure last-hits. Anyways, Perseverance provides some decent health and mana regeneration, comparable to 1/2 Tango and 1/2 Clarity. It should help quite a lot in the laning phase since it slowly heals back HP that you've lost from creep/enemy harass and also allows you to use Blink much more often. This is important especially in Anti-Mage's case since he's melee and will typically take damage whenever he goes for a last-hit.


If you're currently stuck in a losing situation that could be solved by getting more survivability, then Vanguard is the perfect item for you! It provides decent HP plus the damage-block is really handy when against physical damage dealers that rely on attack speed such as Troll Warlord and Drow Ranger. However, note that this item does not provide any farming potential whatsoever aside from the fact that you can jungle indefinitely now. As good as that might sound, it's not really that effective without Battle Fury or Maelstrom since Anti-Mage relies on those items in order to farm effectively.

Vladmir's Offering

While Morbid Mask's lifesteal does not work with Anti-Mage's Mana Break, this rule does not apply to Vladmir's Offering and is therefore considered a viable item on him. However, you should really only buy this item on Anti-Mage in games where the team cannot afford to fight without him and must gain an advantage over the enemy team first before Anti-Mage may farm freely on his own. In short, Vladmir's Offering is only bought in games where you desperately need to make a comeback. After all, Anti-Mage is a hard carry that prefers to be left alone while farming up for items so it must mean that he's currently losing if he's forced to fight early.

Helm of the Dominator

If you need a cheap item to survive the earlygame/midgame but can afford to be a bit greedy, then Helm of the Dominator is the perfect item for you! It provides enough health regeneration for you to be able to start jungling even before getting Battle Fury/ Maelstrom plus the ability to dominate creeps provides so much utility whether it be in fighting, farming, or even pushing! It's also worth noting that this item provides decent attack speed which synergizes well with Anti-Mage's Mana Break. Last but definitely not the least, the dominated creep can even be used to stack jungle camps for you to reap later!

Midgame Boots (Choose one)

Boots of Travel

While getting this over Power Treads is such a greedy move, it just might be the right thing to do in games where you can farm non-stop until you snowball out of control due to how much gold and experience advantage you have over your enemies. With that being said, please remember that Boots of Travel further delays your capability to join in teamfights so only get this item when you're absolutely sure that your team won't be needing you anytime soon. Don't bother buying this in losing situations or suffer the consequences of being a useless farm-all-day carry!

Power Treads

The ideal boots of choice for our Anti-Mage since it offers little to no risk unlike Boots of Travel. Buy this whenever you feel like it, although I personally get it just before buying Battle Fury. It provides decent stats (depending on the attribute it's set on) plus the attack speed works well with Mana Break. Please remember to use the tread-switching ability since this will further increase your farming efficiency. It might not be a huge difference, but every little thing counts in a game of Dota 2!

Midgame Damage (Choose one)

Battle Fury

Is considered as Anti-Mage's most important item in order to come online and wreck his enemies. Usually, Anti-Mage players rush this item right from the start of the laning phase in order to farm fast and snowball from there. While this is not a bad strategy, it's just too greedy for this current meta where winning teamfights is important and lane dominance can singlehandedly win games! However, do consider rushing this item if you feel that the enemy team is not aggressive enough to end the game before Anti-Mage can properly contribute to his team. This is usually around the 30th minute, where most Anti-Mage players already have enough items in order to be considered a threat to most enemies. Anyways, once you do get Battle Fury, remember to abuse its farming potential by constantly pushing creep waves and clearing out jungle camps whenever possible. By doing this, you maximize Anti-Mage's gold and experience gain. If you manage to keep this up for at least 5-10 minutes, I'm sure that you'll be six-slotted in no time!


While unpopular to most Anti-Mage players, I believe it's time for me to show this item the attention it truly deserves! Let me explain... First of all, Maelstrom is much cheaper than Battle Fury! This is important especially in the current meta where being ahead of your enemies early on is crucial to achieving victory. Anyways, not only that, but Maelstrom actually scales much better into the lategame compared to Battle Fury since it can be upgraded into Mjollnir which emphasizes more on increased attack speed rather than increased damage. Like I said before, Anti-Mage prefers attack speed items over damage due to how Mana Break works. Now, you might be asking me, "If that's the case, then why should I ever get Battle Fury over Maelstrom?". Well... The problem is that while Maelstrom provides SOME farming potential, it's definitely not as strong as Battle Fury when it comes to that. So, you should really only be buying Maelstrom in games where you're quite sure that you won't be getting much farming time and must focus more on early teamfights and taking objectives.

Midgame Protection (Choose one or none)

Aghanim's Scepter

If you're going for both split-pushing AND teamfighting at the same time as Anti-Mage, then Aghanim's Scepter is your protection of choice. The ability to reflect spells helps quite a lot in ruining enemy ganks when you're splitpushing while also being a considerably powerful asset in teamfights. However, unlike Black King Bar, it doesn't provide any protection while on cooldown so enemies can abuse this and just focus you down as a team.

Black King Bar

If you're going for a mostly teamfight-based Anti-Mage, then you will typically buy Black King Bar. While Anti-Mage has incredibly high magic resistance due to Spell Shield, it doesn't actually help at all when it comes to abilities that are designed to disable/incapacitate targets rather than nuke them down such as Nightmare, Fiend's Grip, and Echo Stomp. However, you can afford to skip this item if enemies don't have any threatening disables or if the confusion caused by Manta Style is enough as a sort of pseudo-protection. Just remember, it's better to be safe than sorry!

Linken's Sphere

If you're going for a mostly split-push based Anti-Mage, then Linken's Sphere is your best choice of protection. This is because it automatically blocks spells used against you whether or not you're aware about it unlike Black King Bar which requires activation from the player himself before receiving the spell-immunity. In the case of split-pushing, this is especially important since you will most likely be unaware whenever enemies come to gank you. And since you're alone, you will most likely die or at least take heavy damage before even activating Black King Bar! If you buy Linken's Sphere instead in these games, ganking you will actually be quite hard since they have to use two targeted disables first before they can actually catch you. However, remember that Linken's Sphere does not provide ANY protection against non-targeted spells so watch out for heroes like Earthshaker or Earth Spirit. Anyways, just be cautious whenever you split-push since one wrong move can lead to your death.

Extension/Situational Items

Abyssal Blade

Pretty much considered a core item on Anti-Mage in the lategame due to how well he can use it. Since Anti-Mage has no innate lockdown abilities, he must rely on disables from other allies to deal maximum damage in teamfights. With Abyssal Blade, you don't have to rely on your teammates anymore since Anti-Mage would have enough attack speed at this point to consistently bash his enemies. Not only that, he can also use the active ability in case he gets fairly unlucky with the bash procs or to prevent the enemy from casting their most important spells such as Enigma with his Black Hole.

Assault Cuirass

If you need more power to outcarry a physical damage-dealer in a teamfight, then Assault Cuirass should do the trick! It greatly increases the armor of Anti-Mage and his nearby allies while decreasing the armor of nearby enemies at the same time. By the way, it's worth noting that the armor decreasing aura also works on buildings so this item would help quite a lot if you're going for a split-pushing playstyle. Moving on, this item also provides high attack speed which synergizes very well with Anti-Mage's Mna Break! However, note that Assault Cuirass does not provide any HP and will rarely be worth getting over Heart of Tarrasque just because of how good that item is on Anti-Mage. Anyways, just get Assault Cuirass over Heart of Tarrasque in games where armor is a bigger problem than HP and you might end up losing countless teamfights without its help!


Another item that is considered core on Anti-Mage in the lategame due to how well it synergizes with him. The insane amount of agility and attack speed it provides allows Anti-Mage to quickly take down squishy targets through a Blink and stun from Abyssal Blade, usually before they can even react! Not only that, the evasion it provides can greatly help with manfighting enemy carries if they didn't purchase Monkey King Bar beforehand. Anyways, just remember that Butterfly is quite expensive and has a pretty bad buildup, so rushing this over Abyssal Blade or Manta Style is never a good idea.

Heart of Tarrasque

Provides Anti-Mage with tons of HP to work with so that he doesn't just die instantly when focused down by the enemy team. This means that he gets to Blink out and retreat to safety whenever he feels like it. This also means that the massive health regeneration from Heart of Tarrasque will kick in and allow him to re-engage in teamfights. By doing this repeatedly, Anti-Mage is able to outlast most enemies in teamfights with only a few exceptions. As a rule of thumb, think of Heart of Tarrasque as a way to transform Anti-Mage into a sort-of Slark, who usually relies on engaging and disengaging fights to be effective. Personally, I buy Heart of Tarrasque after Butterfly so that my Anti-Mage has that perfect balance of both survivability and damage.

Manta Style

The item that marks the point where Anti-Mage can truly join teamfights. You will usually be getting this item immediately after your Battle Fury or Maelstrom so that your team can stop fighting at a huge disadvantage (4 versus 5). The added agility, movement speed, and ability to create illusions that fully benefit from Mana Break is just too good to pass up so I don't recommend skipping Manta Style unless you're up against enemies that can easily clear out the illusions such as Sven, Earthshaker, and Magnus. Heck, even in those games I still get Manta Style more often than not since I can just choose to focus killing someone else in teamfights and avoid summoning illusions near said heroes.


Assuming that you bought Maelstrom instead of Battle Fury

Monkey King Bar

Moon Shard


Divine Rapier

Behold! Divine Rapier, the Harbinger of Hope and Destroyer of Dreams! Anyways, get this item on Anti-Mage if a huge comeback is needed in order to win the game. This is usually in the case of mega creeps, where all odds are stacked against your team and the only way to have a chance at winning is to take huge risks. Besides, it shortens the game by quite a lot since it forces players to teamfight whenever possible to see how impactful the Divine Rapier is and you pretty much just lose the game instantly as soon as you drop it. However, please avoid buying Divine Rapier in games where you're just feeling cocky. Remember that Anti-Mage is a very squishy hero so it's very likely that he will die when focused down by the entire enemy team no matter how fat he may be. However, a viable strategy that you can apply is to buy Divine Rapier to force your allies to stick by your side and follow your orders. While this strategy is considered insane by most people, it actually works quite well in games where the team just isn't cooperative enough!

Check these links for specific info on Anti-Mage (that I didn't add to the guide)


This is important especially if you wish to play Anti-Mage as a Position 1 Hard Carry. The last thing your team would want is a carry that can't even do his job because he was hard-countered!



Learn from the past mistakes of others, so that you might not repeat them yourself! Also, try watching pro Anti-Mage players and observe their actions and decisions. I'm not saying you should always follow the pro players but, most of the time they're right!



While some guide creators prefer adding these details into the Dotafire Guide themselves, I'm not one of them! Sorry, but other websites have already gathered these information for us so I see no point in just copy-pasting. Anyways, check this out if you wish to learn the mechanical details about Anti-Mage such as Blink cast time, base attack time, etc.


Vesper's Other Guides (and videos)

Vesper's Guide to GAINING Solo MMR:

Check this guide out if you wish to have a brighter mindset when it comes to Solo Ranked Matchmaking. While this is just purely based on my opinions, I believe I've made some really good points and hopefully you'd understand them and follow the ways of the Non-Toxic Player :D


Vesper's Guide to Bloodseeker:

Do you wish to put an end to the bullying of heroes with high mobility such as Slark and Queen of Pain? Then look no further! This guide will teach you on the ways of Bloodseeker, a hero that punishes mobility with his ultimate, Rupture.


Vesper's Guide to Meepo:

Have you played micromanagement games before and decide that Meepo might just be the perfect hero for you? Then look no further! I will teach you how to play Meepo correctly so that you may gain an edge over your enemies with your previous experiences from other games like Starcraft!


Vesper's Guide to Sven:

Think you know how to play Sven at his maximum efficiency? Think again! Or don't... Actually, just check this guide if you feel that you could play Sven better. Note that I've added a few unconventional item builds to this guide so please keep an open mind and don't just flame me randomly.



8/27/17: Started working on the guide! Although, I've not made any significant progress today as I was too busy playing Dota 2.
9/2/17: Made some significant progress today by making the template for all the guide sections. These are all based from my previous Sven guide. After all, don't fix what isn't broken, right?
9/5/17: Finished some sections of the guide. Of course, I started with the most lengthy section first which was the "Item Explanations"!

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