Skills and Gameplay
Let's take a look at the skills.
Why level Battle Hunger
first instead of Counter Helix
On paper, Counter Helix
seems to be deadly, but actually Battle Hunger
is more likely to deal more damage than Counter Helix
Enemies will try to dodge you whenever you get close to creep wave because they don't want to get hit by Counter Helix
procced by creeps. If you continue pressing on them, they will kite you until you are away from the creeps and then proceed to beat you down because you overextended.
Such act is easily countered by Battle Hunger
. Even if they know at level 1 you have Battle Hunger
instead of Counter Helix
and realizes they can harass you by right click without damage feedback from the passive, don't be discouraged. Your own creeps will be your primary shield until level 2. Although this means you don't play aggressive at level 1.
At level 2, this is when you start playing aggressively. Counter Helix
and Battle Hunger
has stronger synergy in laning phase rather than Counter Helix
+ Berserker's Call
+ Berserker's Call
has the same problem like level 1 Counter Helix
. There are no actual benefits at skilling Berserker's Call
at level 2 unless the enemy is a complete idiot and stand close to the creep wave when you get close. You will get kited around outside Berserker's Call
range. Even if you do manage to call them, they are more likely manage to kite you outside the creeps aggro range.
Even against melee heroes, Battle Hunger
will do more for you because the skill increase your own movement speed while decreasing theirs, making them easy to get them stay close by to get hit by Counter Helix
when procced by the creeps.
So here's the breakdown on how to use Counter Helix
+ Battle Hunger
Cast the Battle Hunger
and proceed to get close to them (and right click them of course, so the creep will turn their attention to you, and procs the Counter Helix
They will be too busy dodging you to get last hits or denies, and you get last hits from Counter Helix
to enemy creeps.
Whenever they try to dodge Counter Helix
, Battle Hunger
will do the damaging. To prevent Battle Hunger
from stopping (they get to kill a creep or deny), just use the combo above to chase them out of attack range to creeps. DO NOT overextend, just harassing until they cannot last hit from the creepwave is enough.
If you cast Battle Hunger
and they still try to get last hits even if you get close, that's the time to use Berserker's Call
The best times or target to cast Battle Hunger
- First and foremost, targets supports first, especially supports that has hard time to last hits or deny. Harass the supports first because they are the one that will most likely try to save their carry. When they back off because they don't want to die, change the target to enemy core.
- When your creepwave ends and a new one is coming. This is mostly targeted at cores.
- At core heroes after they get a last hit or deny and the other creeps are still healthy, then proceed to get close.
- When they last hit below the towers, because last hitting under the tower is hard.
- Against spellcasters that can depends on skills to last hits, hit with Battle Hunger after they cast their skills. (e.g. Phantom Lancer, Magnus)
Before Level 6, you will always want one point on Berserker's Call
, this is to catch enemies, and then end them with Culling Blade
Always beware of Culling Blade
's mana cost. Axe
have little mana pool and your items generally does not expand it (notice there is no intelligence or mana bonus item on your core items beside Blade Mail
, and even then it's very miniscule), so use it sparingly. If the enemy's death is certain without any chance to escape, don't use your ultimate. Save your mana for a future Berserker's Call
, and perhaps get another kill.
Level 6 and above
After getting Culling Blade
, this is where the your choice of putting the skill points can affect the gameplay.
Getting Counter Helix
to level 2, while not mandatory, can be a boost to faster your farming rate at jungle or creepblocking behind enemy tower (only do this if you are sure it's safe, like having a ward vision on enemy jungle or enemies are at the other side of the map).
Leveling above level 2, however, delays the utility you bring to the table when team fight happens, so better level something else. Counter Helix
level 2 is fast enough to clear creepwaves and hard camp jungle creeps. You cannot take on the ancient creeps however, because it will be too slow.
If you do fine and not get shutdown, this is most likely the time you get Vanguard
. You can start jungle after getting Vanguard
Always focus on getting Vanguard
first before Blink Dagger
died too fast without the item. Do not enter offensive fights without getting Blink Dagger
first. Focus on pressuring enemy towers via creepblocking, only TP to save teammates that get ganked or perhaps fighting in favorable conditions like teamfight under your own tower.
If you do get shutdown, do it like steps above. Pressure enemy towers when you have Vanguard
and the enemy team is on the other side of the map. Continue to farm, and don't die to ganks. Back-off whenever the enemy defends the tower.
Leveling Battle Hunger
to max is probably something you want, because the low cooldown gives a huge bonus to movespeed (from multiple targets), chasing power, and damage when you gank enemies before getting Blink Dagger
. Also, Battle Hunger
provides damage on the downtime when you back off after using Berserker's Call
in team fights. Battle Hunger
also helps jungling, cast it on the big creep and let Counter Helix
sweeps of the small creeps. So make sure to stock on those Clarity
Potions all the time.
After getting Blink Dagger
or getting close to one, max Berserker's Call
. You want maximum lock down, instead of damage (from Counter Helix
). Why? Because even maxed Counter Helix
will not give solo kills without Blade Mail
to support you.
After you get Blade Mail
everything else is situational.
The reason to get these cheap items and left quite some gold in your pocket is to get quick Boots of Speed
. Sometimes you may want to get Quelling Blade
at side shop so the enemy won't easily denies the creep, which is a huge detriment in this meta.
Get Quelling Blade
when the match up is unfavorable. Unfavorable matchup means you cannot play Aggressively without a huge risk of dying. QB will help to last hit ranged creep, and jungle faster after getting Vanguard
If you get ganked at first minute and survives with a low health, you can ferry Healing Salve
with your courier.
Boots of Speed
Get Boots of Speed
as quickly as possible.
Movement speed has huge synergy with Battle Hunger
and thus Counter Helix
. By having more MS in laning stage, you harass harder, and if the enemy left an opening, you may able to catch one enemy in Berserker's Call
while in the middle of the creeps.
, Blink Dagger
, Blade Mail
, are obvious core for Axe
and the order to get it is also like that. The question would be: why skip Tranquil Boots
delays Blink Dagger
quite a bit. Also, Tranquil Boots
is quite useless, it gets cooldown on hits and offers nothing in fights. The healing from Vanguard
is already big enough that you don't need the heal from Tranquil for sustain in jungle.
After getting Vanguard
, start buying Clarity
potions. Always have 2 or 3 of them in your backpack whenever you leave the fountain. You will be hungry for mana all the time. Even a simple one man gank can deplete your whole mana pool.
Get many Clarity
potions throughout the game, even to the late game. Even Lotus Orb
mana regen is not going to be enough. You will need both Lotus Orb
and Scythe of Vyse
to not worry about mana anymore. Use Clarity
whenever your mana is below half and you are jungling creeps, this will make sure you have enough mana to at least cast Berserker's Call
and Blade Mail
combo whenever there's conflict.
The rest of the items are pretty much self explanatory.
Unless the enemy has overwhelming attack speed (e.g. Troll Warlord
) or perhaps depends on a modifier that bypass your defenses (Outworld Devourer), or perhaps stacks on attack speed items like Mjollnir
and having Daedalus
on top, getting Shiva's Guard
may be detrimental considering it lowers the attack speed and thus lowers damage from Berserker's Call
+ Blade Mail
+ Counter Helix