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|Anti-Mage is one of the most mobile carries in the game, mostly well known for his ability to punish lineups heavily reliant on magic damage with Spell Shield giving him very high magic resistance and his Mana Void can be used to cause massive damage to heroes with huge mana pools. His Blink makes him one of the fastest farmers in the game, with the ability to jump from creep camp to creep camp and quickly clear them with few items. Anti-Mage is however incredibly reliant on items to unlock his true potential, having a very low strength gain and no way of locking down enemy heroes makes him a very vulnerable hero if he does not have enough farm.|
Classic farming Anti-Mage
The role of the classic safe lane farming Anti-Mage has not changed through many patches, and is still essentially the same. The main role of a safelane Anti-Mage is to farm a Battle Fury as quickly as possible and then start farming up bigger items. As soon as Anti-Mage get his Battle Fury he should start flash farming with his Blink, switching between lanes and jungle camps while split pushing around the map. At this point Anti-Mage should focus on forcing the enemy to rotate and defend against his splitpush or taking towers that aren't being defended.
The main problem with this playstyle is forcing your team to take fights 4 versus 5, while you are off either farming your Battle Fury or farming bigger items like Manta Style or Butterfly. If Anti-Mage gets shutdown too hard or if you play against heavy early push heroes like Lycan or Undying the game can be over before Anti-Mage get enough items to fill his needed role.
In recent patches an Anti-Mage build focusing on heavy early fighting has become more popular, most notably pulled off by pro players such as Miracle- and occasionally Fear. The build revolves around getting strong early game items like Vanguard and Vladmir's Offering combined with Power Treads then proceeding to join early teamfights while delaying or completely skipping Battle Fury. In this video Miracle- pulls off the no Battle Fury build to get 9k mmr.
This build is high risk, high reward and requires incredibly good decision making and map awareness to pull off well, and is not recommended to newer players or people inexperienced with playing Anti-Mage.
A standard Anti-Mage involves tons of points in stats to make up for his very bad strength gain, after 16 it's common to just keep going stats till you can't get anymore, then maxing Mana Break and only max Spell Shield with the last 3 skill points. A rule of thumb,if you need to max Mana Break for whatever reason, is to match it with your Manta Style timing, meaning you try to have 4 points in Mana Break at the same time you get your Manta Style.
|-50s Mana Void Cooldown||25||+25 Agility|
|+10 All Stats||20||15% Evasion|
|-1s Blink Cooldown||15||+20 Attack Speed|
|+20 Damage||10||+150 Health|
- The attack damage is added as bonus attack damage, and therefore does not benefit illusions.
- Upgrading health increases maximum health capacity and keeps the current health percentage.
- The evasion stacks multiplicatively with other sources of evasion.
Tips & Tactics
- You are utterly useless in team fights if you can't physically attack enemies. There are many ways to counter raw physical damage in DotA, especially if it's melee. Decent players will buy items like Scythe of Vyse, Blade Mail and Ghost Scepter to shut you down. Timing your entrance into the battle is everything for you.
- Do not pick Anti-Mage if your team picks farmers such as Shadow Fiend, Enigma, or Tinker.
- If you find yourself being killed quickly a Vitality Booster provides 250 health and can be later built into a Heart of Tarrasque. Generally, it is advisable to get a faster Manta Style.
- A quick Battle Fury will greatly increase your farming ability which will greatly help later in the game.
- Don't only farm the jungle. If the enemy is pushing Anti-Mage can push a different lane solo with a reliable escape mechanism with Blink and Town Portal Scroll and can indirectly defend by forcing the enemy to defend. It will require at least 1 core to respond to kill you generally giving your team a huge advantage if you TP back home to fight.
- Be very wary of heroes like Shadow Demon, Dark Seer and Morphling, as illusions created from you carry the Mana Break spell as well, and combined with Anti-Mage's high Agility, could easily turn the tides of a teamfight.
- Once you get full slotted you could opt to sell your Battle Fury for a different item, but its creep clearing abilities are still very useful and sometimes critical. You should sell it if you absolutely need another item that can turn the tides, such as a Monkey King Bar.
- Many players are tempted to switch Power Treads to agility, but given your low strength gain (1.2), it may be better to keep them on strength if you are not jungling.
- If under a lot of harass in lane, it can be worth it to get a Ring of Regeneration on top of your Ring of Health and later use that to build a Vladmir's Offering. Vlad's allows Anti-Mage to solo Roshan and also farm at full health while also being able to jungle ancients efficiently.
- It can be a good idea to finish a hero with your ultimate, even if you could easily kill with an autoattack. Chances are a hero you focused is running low on mana and its team trying to save would come in close enough for your ultimate to hit quite a few enemies.
- Even with Black King Bar, you should avoid being an initiator and instead bide your time until you can exploit a weak spot in the enemy's formation after a team fight starts, usually in the back lines where the supports are. This is especially important if the enemy carry is on the front lines with a BKB, which is a fight you will almost never win head on.
- Even though you have poor strength gain, your starting strength and armor is actually very decent. Couple that with your naturally fast attack speed and a single point in mana break makes you very strong in trading hits.
- With the above tip in mind against some common offlane heroes like Windranger and Mirana who try to harass you it's a good idea to constantly blink on them to trade hits as early as you're level 2, rather than simply withstanding harass. Setting the pace for the laning is critical to how fast you farm later in the game.
- Your laning phase is an absolute nightmare. Many heroes can cripple your early game by harassing you and chasing you away. Also, if you don't utilize your laning phase the game may well end before you reach Anti-Mage's maximum potential. Ask your teammates to babysit you.
- Anti-Mage has relatively low base health. If you can't kill an enemy quickly, it may be best to disengage, as an unfavorable fight can easily result in your own death.
- Mana Break is most effective against heroes with low mana pools, as you can completely deplete and disable them in less time. However, this also means that Mana Void will do significantly less damage when deployed as its damage is reliant on the mana pool's maximum size.
- Take note that heroes with small mana pool also potentially take much less damage from Mana Break since they are emptied so quickly, preventing the mana burn from further contributing to the Anti-Mage's potential damage.
- Manta Style is a commonly built item on Anti-Mage as your illusions can also apply Mana Break, tripling the ability's effectiveness. It also provides an increase to all attributes and a means to remove most disables, especially silences, that could prevent escaping via blink.
- The damage from Mana Break is dealt as physical damage. As such, deliberately reducing your opponent's armor will increase the damage that Mana Break does.
- Unlike most passive attack modifiers, Mana Break does not bypass spell immunity.
- Blink is the most common choice for your first ability point, as its immediate benefit is better than either of your passives. Put some points into Spell Shield if you are facing strong opponents or go for Mana Break if you want to be aggressive.
- Never use Blink to start a fight unless you know you can win it. Doing so could leave you stranded in a bad situation.
- Blink is a very versatile and powerful mobility tool. You can also use it to chase, maneuver, or to avoid spells during battles.
- Relative to Anti-Mage's mana pool, Blink is somewhat costly in terms of mana. As such, you should refrain from freely employing the spell in the early stages of the game unless you have intelligence and mana boosting items to supplement your low base intelligence.
- While Spell Shield provides substantial magic resistance, it is not a substitute for magic immunity as it does not block non-damage effects of enemy magic.
- Additionally, spells and abilities that deals physical and pure damage will completely bypass the bonus bestowed by Spell Shield.
- Against an enemy lineup that consist of almost entirely physical damage dealers, Spell Shield can be considered as redundant and should be leveled up last in such a situation.
- Likewise, if you're against a spell and nuke heavy opposition, you may need to spend some early points in Spell Shield to negate and reduce some of the potential spell damage.
- With Aghanim's Scepter, Spell Shield grants Anti-Mage a protective barrier that will reflect a targeted spell back onto his aggressor while blocking the effects of spell from himself entirely, effectively combining the powers of Linken's Sphere and Lotus Orb into a single item.
- Aghanim's Scepter can be a very good investment against an opposition with many single-target abilities, as the cooldown for Spell Shield's protective barrier is 12 seconds, which is lower than both Linken's Sphere and Lotus Orb.
- Linken's Sphere and Lotus Orb will only react and activate when Spell Shield is on cooldown should Anti-Mage be carrying either of them.
- Mana Void is very difficult to use to full effect. Constantly check enemies with large mana pools. Use it on enemy casters after they have used their abilities and burned most of their mana. It can absolutely devastate an enemy team if used properly. Note that it does have a short stun, allowing you to cancel spell casts and channels.
- Mana Void partially bypasses spell immunity as the damage is dealt in an area even if the primary target becomes spell immune, so while the main target will not take any damage, enemies around the radius will take full damage from the spell based on the mana loss of the primary target.
- Mana Void will apply a mini-stun that pierces spell-immunity to the main target. This can be used to disrupt channeling spells and abilities.
- Tangoes help provide Anti-Mage with health regeneration in the early game.
- Healing Salve will give Anti-Mage a massive boost of health regeneration.
- Iron Branches will give Anti-Mage an additional attribute boost in the lane, and can be built into Magic Wand.
- Stout Shield will allow Anti-Mage to take a few more hits from enemies when taking last hits in lane. Anti-Mage will often build this in a Poor Man's Shield.
- Boots of Speed give Anti-Mage a speed boost which can be helpful for getting around.
- Magic Stick is a good idea to pick up if the enemy is using a lot of spells since that gives Anti-Mage a lot of regeneration in case of emergency.
- Ring of Health provides Anti-Mage with decent HP regeneration in the early game, and can later be built into a Battle Fury.
- Power Treads provide Anti-Mage with attack speed and attributes, allowing for a substantial increase in damage and durability.
- Magic Wand provides Anti-Mage with more attributes and good HP and mana regeneration if the enemy is using a lot of spells.
- Town Portal Scroll is always a good idea to have on Anti-Mage at all times, as it allows Anti-Mage to easily escape from enemy ganks if Anti-Mage is out of position.
- Battle Fury provides Anti-Mage with HP and mana regeneration, and gives Anti-Mage a cleave that allows Anti-Mage to farm faster and push faster.
- Manta Style provides attributes that benefit Anti-Mage very well. The illusions benefit from Mana Break, greatly improving Anti-Mage damage, pushing potential and mana-burning capabilities. Additionally, the split allows Anti-Mage to dodge and remove spell effects, which can be useful in combat or when escaping.
- Abyssal Blade gives Anti-Mage a damage boost, a chance to stun enemies when attacking, and a guaranteed stun that goes through spell immunity. It also gives Anti-Mage a small amount of strength that will increase his health pool.
- Butterfly offers a very substantial damage boost as Anti-Mage is an agility hero, it also gives Anti-Mage armor, evasion and additional attack speed on top of the attack speed gained from the agility on the item.
- Heart of Tarrasque increases the health pool of Anti-Mage massively, which gives Anti-Mage a lot more survivability.
- Vladmir's Offering is the only way for Anti-Mage to have lifesteal since Mana Break is a Unique Attack Modifier. The lifesteal and damage boost benefits both Anti-Mage and his teammates throughout the entire duration of the game.
- Eye of Skadi gives Anti-Mage a big increase in survivability with health and armor, a passive late game slow that pierces spell immunity and works with Mana Break, and a DPS increase with 25 agility.
- Aghanim's Scepter gives Anti-Mage the best single-target protection in entire game, boosting his survivability tremendously against an onslaught of single-target spells and abilities.