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8 Votes

The Anti-Guide to Anti-Mage

January 8, 2013 by Sando
Comments: 8    |    Views: 15365    |   


Following 'thisismyrifle's excellent idea of the "anti-guide", I thought this would be a really useful way of getting more info out there on how to deal with particular heroes. It's often a problem in pub games that certain heroes are not countered effectively and end up winning easily.

I'm going to start out with one of the best known heroes - Anti-Mage.

Anti-Mage is a hard carry with excellent mobility and farming speed. Left untouched and uncountered he can outfarm pretty much any hero in the game and be nigh on unstoppable in the late game.

He's particularly difficult to gank effectively because of Blink - this allows him to escape very easily unless you can fully disable or silence him until death. While relatively squishy until later on, Spell Shield massively boosts his magic resistance, making him less vulnerable to nukers and burst damage heroes.

Choosing Heroes and Lane Combos

In public matches you can't always assume that Anti-Mage will be picked up first, and that you will have time to counter-pick the ideal team to take him down. However, it's still worth pointing out heroes who can help, and also some things to avoid.


- Make sure your team has plenty of stuns and silences.

- Have at least 1 ranged hero in your long lane to deny him some farm and xp.

- Try to have a team that can win before late game.


- Rely on slows. They only work combined with silences.

- Pick a jungler and have a solo against him, unless he tri-lanes.

- Assume you'll be able to outcarry him.

Specific Counter Heroes

Hopefully you'll get at least some opportunity to pick up heroes who can help counter anti-mage, even one of these guys on your team can go a long way to keeping him under control:

Shadow Shaman - one of my favourite picks against him. Shaman provides a massive amount of disable with both Shackles and Hex - stopping him from using Blink if you chain them properly. Your other abilities both help with strong early game pushing, shortening the game and restricting his farm.

Lion - another similar pick to Shaman. Earth Spike and Hex once against provide a lot of cc, and you also have a tasty nuke in Finger of Death. Obviously you lose some damage against Spell Shield, but it can be enough to finish the job in a tight spot.

Night Stalker - allows you to get stuck into ganking him early on, and has the silence ( Crippling Fear) needed to get the job done. Some help from you team may still be needed however.

Bane - more long disables, including Nightmare and Fiend's Grip. Obviously Nightmare won't let you auto-attack, but your allies can still use their abilities against the target.

Riki - not everyone will agree, but he can be a counter to AM, given the right circumstances. Smoke Screen's silence and a lot of backstab damage are the main factors, though it still relies on getting plenty of farm.

Faceless Void - another hard carry, with his strong passive skills and Chronosphere offering the potential to beat up even Anti-Mage late game. Match up very much depends on who gets the most farm.

Any hero with a stun or silence can help against him however, it just requires more team work.

Specific Counter Items

There are two specific items that come instantly to mind when countering AM (and to a point, most carries), and a few others that can prove useful later on.

Scythe of Vyse - the best option against AM, providing a long hex time and minimal movement speed. While expensive, it's well worth striving for when your team lacks disables, or even when it doesn't.

Orchid Malevolence - silence plus amplified damage makes for a great ganking and focusing weapon. It stops him using Blink, but doesn't stop him moving or attacking.

Heaven's Halberd - a good option for strength carries if he is starting to get too strong in team fights. The active ability prevents him from attacking for several seconds, and the evasion might win you a close fight.

Abyssal Blade - a very expensive item, but it's active ability goes through Black King Bar and disables for 2 seconds, plus major damage and a chance to stun on each attack. Still not enough on it's own, but it will certainly help.

The lifestyle and habitat of the lesser spotted Anti-Mage

There are two main builds for Anti-Mage - Vanguard and Battle Fury. The first allows him to get involved relatively early in the game, while the latter offers better farming speed. Most players these days tend to go for the early Battle Fury, looking to get super-farmed as soon as possible.

Either build will usually be found in the safe lane with a support to keep them alive and the lane pulled. Sometimes the enemy will even put out a tri-lane here which limits your options in shutting him down directly. In this case, hit his other lanes hard.

Once he gets the money together for a Ring of Health, he'll usually disappear into the jungle whenever the easy farm on the lane is pushed out too far or threatened. Once a Battle Fury is completed, he easily clear the jungle in no time, jumping out into any easy farm on the lanes and taking down their ancients. He'll only join team fights in desperation or to grab easy kills.

He will be racking up major farm and levels at this point, and can swiftly start acquiring more powerful items that will carry his team to victory.

Strategy and Tactics

Harass in Lane

Ideally you want to send out a strong pair of harassers against AM, and keep his start as slow and painful as possible. This should greatly damage his farming speed.

Gank early and often

Again this damages his speed out of the blocks, and also his confidence. AM can recover from early set backs if given enough time, so try to keep the pressure on throughout the match. Gank in numbers to ensure you have enough damage and disable to take him down.

Deny the Jungle

Anti-Mage loves to jungle once he has the equipment to do so, with Blink cutting out all the travel time between camps. The first thing you need to do is try to destroy their safe lane tower, making it far more risky for him to be there. Secondly, try to ward up around some of the camps and gank if you see an opportunity.

Push for Victory

Anti-Mage can only really become involved in team fights when he has the farm he needs, or if his team are winning fairly easily and he can pick up a few easy kills. If you use your superior early-mid game, and push aggressively, you should be able to win the fights 5v4. Pushing hard denies him time and space to farm in.

Other similar heroes

Both Queen of Pain and Storm Spirit are best countered by the same methods outlined above, although they both have a far more aggressive playstyle and will be ganking as much as farming. Essentially these tips work against most heroes who rely on their mobility to survive.

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