Axe is commonly played as an initiator, as his potent disables can disrupt the enemy's formation and give his team openings in fights. Axe's fighting style demands that he gets up close and very personal, as he can taunt enemies into attacking him with Berserker's Call, preventing them from engaging his teammates. Once he has the enemy's attention, he can counter those who strike him with a sweeping Counter Helix that slashes all enemies at melee range with pure damage. He also has a slow and damage-over-time nuke in Battle Hunger, which can harass the enemy or force them to join in battle, while also slowing their movement speed and boosting his own. Finally, he has the ability to unconditionally remove weakened enemies from the battlefield if they are under a certain threshold with Culling Blade, while simultaneously boosting his allies' speed. A bloodthirsty and indomitable warrior, Axe's presence on the battlefield is felt by friend and foe alike, dominating the attention of the enemy wherever he goes.
Bio[edit | edit source]
Gameplay[edit | edit source]
Axe is a durable initiator who can disable, damage, and kill whole groups of enemies alone. To do this, Axe's abilities combo into each other very well. Berserker's Call, though hard to land without a Blink Dagger, is a three-second area disable that forces enemies to attack Axe. This forces Counter Helix to proc more often, causing all affected enemies to take massive damage during its duration. If enemies fall under Culling Blade's threshold, Axe can instantly kill them - refreshing the cooldown and allowing Axe to cull again. Even if the enemies survive the initial onslaught, Axe can chase them down through Battle Hunger to secure a kill.
Axe can play in any lane well, though he's usually an offlane support hero. Going midlane or safelane is not unheard of, but both positions depend on the composition of the enemy team. Axe can also successfully jungle at the start of the game by levelling up Counter Helix to kill camps, being more efficient than many level one junglers.
Axe can make the most out of his abilities depending on his item choices. Axe can transition to a semi-carry by building damage-dealing items like Heaven's Halberd and Assault Cuirass, which helps counter the enemy carries during the mid-game. As a ganker, Axe can use Blade Mail and Aghanim's Scepter to pick off squishy heroes during Berserker's Call. If built as a pure tank, Heart of Tarrasque and Crimson Guard lets Axe soak up tons of damage while initiating, taking enemy aggro while letting his carries damage the enemy team. No matter the position, Axe's role is to disrupt the enemy's teamfight potential through disables and nukes.
Abilities[edit | edit source]
|Axe taunts nearby enemy units, forcing them to attack him, while he gains bonus armor during the duration.|
|Cast Animation: +|
Armor Bonus: 40
- Affected units cannot use any spells or items and are forced to attack Axe for its duration.
- Units attempt to follow and attack Axe regardless of distance, vision, obstacles, or status.
- Affected units are still subject to disables and do not gain free pathing.
- If Axe turns invisible during the taunt, affected enemies start attacking the next closest enemy to them.
- If no enemies are nearby, affected units stand still. While standing still, they can be given one order which they then execute. This order cannot be manually canceled.
- This can be any order, including casting of an ability or item, or a move or attack order.
- After that order, the unit cannot do anything and stands still until the taunt expires. However, if Axe turns visible again, affected units start attacking him again.
- The taunt has the same priority as Winter's Curse, but lower priority than Duel.
- Same priority means that affected units attack the first taunted unit.
- Affects invisible units and units in the Fog of War. Does not affect towers, wards, Roshan, invulnerable or hidden units.
- Re-casting on a unit under the taunt effect of Berserker's Call refreshes the duration.
- When Axe dies, the taunt ends immediately.
|Enrages an enemy unit, causing it to be slowed and take damage over time until it kills another unit or the duration ends. Axe gains movement speed for each unit affected with Battle Hunger.|
|Cast Animation: +|
Cast Range: 750
Damage per Second: 16/24/32/40
Move Speed Slow: 12%
Self Move Speed Bonus: 12%
- Axe is granted 12% movement speed for every affected enemy. This effect stacks.
- Casting Battle Hunger multiple times on the same target does not stack, but refreshes the duration instead.
- Using Death Pact, Devour, Demonic Conversion, or Hand of Midas also removes the debuff.
- However, Lich's Sacrifice does not.
- Killing illusions does not remove the debuff.
- The affected unit itself has to make the kill to remove the debuff. Summons or illusions owned by the same player do not remove it when they make a kill.
- Deals damage in 1 second intervals starting 1 second after cast, resulting in 10 instances.
- Can deal up to 160/240/320/400 damage (before reductions) when lasting its full duration.
|When attacked, Axe performs a helix counter attack, dealing damage to all nearby enemies.|
Proc Chance: 20%
- Can only proc when an enemy unit lands an attack on Axe, regardless of distance. This means it cannot proc on missed attacks.
- Secondary attacks from Moon Glaive, Death Ward, Split Shot and Flak Cannon cannot trigger Counter Helix.
- Can proc on the secondary attacks from Marksmanship, Geminate Attack, and the attack from Stifling Dagger.
- Despite the visual effects, the damage is applied instantly within the radius.
- Counter Helix uses pseudo-random distribution.
|Axe spots a weakness and strikes, instantly killing an enemy unit with low health, or dealing moderate damage otherwise. When an enemy hero is killed with Culling Blade, its cooldown is reset, and Axe and nearby allied units gain bonus movement speed.|
|Cast Animation: +|
Cast Range: 150
Kill Speed Bonus Radius: 900
Kill Health Threshold: 250/325/400 ( 300/425/550)
Kill Move Speed Bonus: 30%
Kill Attack Speed Bonus: 30
Kill Bonus Duration: 6 ( 10)
- When the target's health is above the threshold, it only applies its regular damage (magical) and plays a different sound.
- Even when the target dies to the regular damage (possible with damage amplifiers), other effects of Culling Blade are not applied.
- When the target's health is below the threshold, it does the following
- Due to the killing blow being damage flagged as HP Removal, it can be survived with the healing effects of Bloodrage or Flesh Golem.
- If this happens, the speed boost and cooldown reset still fully apply.
- Despite the killing blow being HP Removal, it is still reflected by Blade Mail.
- The target's health is checked upon reaching the cast point, so if it gained health during that time so it exceeds the health threshold, the cull fails.
Recommended items[edit | edit source]
- Tango gives Axe health regeneration in the laning stage, allowing him to survive against most forms of enemy harass.
- Stout Shield is crucial on a melee hero like Axe, as the damage block drastically increases his survivability against attacks, whether they be from enemy heroes or neutral creeps.
- Ring of Protection gives Axe additional armor, further increasing his survivability against physical damage. It also allows Axe to build Tranquil Boots from the Side Lane Shop, boosting his efficiency.
- Iron Branch is a cheap item that allows Axe to shore up his attributes with his remaining gold. It can be sold for inventory space as needed, or built into a Magic Wand.
- Tranquil Boots provide Axe with movement speed, armor, and passive HP regen outside of combat. It is crucial to get on Axe early for increasing his mobility for early initiations, giving him more armor for even more physical survivabliity, and providing a source of HP regen to allow him to remain on the field instead of returning to base.
- Magic Stick gives Axe burst HP and mana regen, and his status as an initiator allows him to easily accrue charges from enemy spells. The burst regen can allow Axe to survive longer in fights and cast one or two more crucial spells, important given his low intelligence growth.
- Blink Dagger is the most important purchase Axe must make if he is to become an effective initiator. Jumping on top of the enemy in order to disable them with Berserker's Call allows Axe to paralyze multiple enemies at once for his team to follow up on.
- Vanguard gives Axe even more survivability against physical damage by giving him increased damage block, more HP and HP regen. The damage block is particularly strong for mitigating the damage Axe takes during Berserker's Call, allowing him to proc more instances of Counter Helix.
- Magic Wand is a powerful upgrade to Magic Stick, giving Axe additional attributes while also providing burst HP and mana regen, further increasing his ability to initiate and disable enemies with his spells.
- Town Portal Scroll is necessary for allowing Axe to be present at teamfights and ganks. His powers as an initiator can set up fights decisively in his team's favor.
- Blade Mail provides many strong benefits for Axe. The additional armor increases his durability, the intelligence boosts his mana pool to allow him to cast spells more often, and the attack damage lets him farm more easily and deal more damage to the enemy with his attacks. The active, used during or after Berserker's Call, further punishes the enemy for attacking him, allowing him to use his HP offensively to deal damage to the enemy during initiations.
- Heart of Tarrasque greatly increases Axe's health and provides base damage, giving him much more power as an initiator, since he can continue disabling the enemy during fights so long as he is alive. As well, if he manages to survive fights and escape, he can quickly regenerate his HP and jump straight back into battle.
- Pipe of Insight gives Axe tremendous magic resistance, allowing him to shrug off magic nukes that the enemy may use to try to bring him down. The active gives him additional teamfight utility, as he can protect his team from magic nukes for a short time as well.
- Shiva's Guard drastically boosts Axe's intelligence and armor, giving him yet more survivability against physical damage while also eliminating his mana problems. The attack speed slow aura can greatly hinder the enemy from making physical attacks during fights, while the active can be used as a damage nuke and a slow to hinder their mobility.
- Aghanim's Scepter gives Axe stats across the board, providing tankiness and more mana. Its upgrade improves Culling Blade's kill threshold, allowing Axe to remove enemies from the battlefield much earlier, and reduces its cooldown to allow the spell to be used tactically.
- Boots of Travel gives Axe additional battlefield and global mobility. The global teleport allows Axe to show up to fights to initiate for his team more easily, while the increased movement speed allows him to be more mobile on the battlefield, chasing enemies down and inflicting them with Battle Hunger to slow them.
- Assault Cuirass is a strong teamfight item that greatly increases Axe's armor and attack speed. The armor provides yet more resistance against physical damage, and the attack speed allows Axe to become much more threatening with his right-clicks. The allied armor and attack speed aura is a strong edge in teamfights, while the enemy armor reduction aura can increase the amount of damage that Counter Helix deals to them.
- Heaven's Halberd is a strong survivability and utility item that can help Axe if the enemy's physical damage output is more than he can handle. The additional strength and evasion give him more health and survivability against physical attacks, respectively, and the active disarm allows Axe to completely stop an enemy from attacking.
- Crimson Guard, upgraded from Vanguard, is a strong utility item that provides Axe with even more survivability against physical damage. The extra armor and attributes on top of the existing damage block and bonus HP can make him extremely tanky, and he can augment it even more and protect his allies with the active.
- Lotus Orb is a strong initiator item that allows Axe to punish enemies for targeting him with disables. The item provides armor and more regen, making him more tanky and allowing him to replenish his mana over time. The active, used during an initiation, can punish enemies who target Axe with single-target disables and nukes, disabling and nuking them in turn to cause more chaos for Axe's team to capitalize on.
- Bottle can be a useful purchase on Axe as an off-laner. It gives Axe the ability to replenish his HP and mana to survive harass, and can be replenished by taking runes. Once Axe has his Blink Dagger and begins roaming for kills, he can further keep his HP and mana up by picking up runes as they spawn, and use the runes themselves to further give him advantages during ganks and fights.
- Soul Ring can be a useful early-game item to build on high HP heroes with heavy mana costs like Axe. Having on-demand burst mana can allow him to cast his spells when needed, and he can easily recoup the HP cost with Tranquil Boots. The item itself also provides some passive mana regen and some HP regen as well to increase Axe's self-sustain.
- Urn of Shadows is a good ganking item that gives Axe many benefits. The extra strength increases Axe's HP and base damage, and the passive mana regen helps with his mana problems. Urn charges can be used to add extra Pure damage to fights and ganks, or to heal Axe back up from any damage he incurs during Berserker's Call.
- Force Staff gives Axe many strong benefits and is a powerful utility item to carry. The increased intelligence gives Axe a larger mana pool, while the passive HP regen helps to keep Axe's health topped up. The active can give Axe additional mobility, or can be used on teammates to help them initiate or escape. As well, using the active on himself after a successful Blink-Call can allow Axe to quickly kite enemies away, forcing them to follow him during the taunt.
- Vladmir's Offering is a good survivability and self-sustain item. The armor aura helps increase Axe's survivability against physical damage, while the lifesteal, HP regen and flat mana regen aura can keep his mana up and allow him to sustain his HP while farming. All these benefits confer to nearby allies as well, making it a strong teamfight item as well.
- Eul's Scepter of Divinity is an unorthodox item to build on Axe, but can be quite powerful under the right circumstances. The intelligence and powerful scaling mana regen can virtually eliminate Axe's casting problems, while the bonus movement speed make Axe more mobile, allowing him to position and initiate more easily. The cyclone can be used to pin an enemy down and then get within range for an easy Berserker's Call, or can be cast on Axe himself to provide temporary invulnerability while also removing debuffs from him, buying him time and survivability.
- Black King Bar can be a necessary purchase if he is facing a very disable-heavy lineup. Because he jumps right into the middle of the enemy to initiate, he is a prime target for focusing down with magic nukes and stuns, so having spell immunity can allow him to do more in fights.
- Mjollnir is a strong purchase on Axe given his role as a close-range initiator. The item gives him greatly increased attack speed, making his physical attacks much more dangerous, and allows him to bounce Chain Lightning procs during fights to deal magical damage all around to the enemy. The Static Charge active can also be placed on Axe himself right before initiation, further punishing the enemy for attacking him during Berserker's Call.
Counters[edit | edit source]
- Should Axe manage to rope in an opposing hero with Berserker's Call, Omniknight cannot only heal the target, but also damage Axe with Purification.
- Viper and Venomancer have ranged slows and can harass you easily out of the lane.
- If you get hooked and caged by Clockwerk, there will generally be very few enemy creeps within range to call and trigger your spin.
- Outworld Devourer laughs at Axe's low intelligence with Sanity's Eclipse and can also steal Axe's intelligence with Arcane Orb
- Diffusal Blade slows you and quickly drains your mana, that you desperately need to cast one or more culling blades.
- The best item counter is considered Rod of Atos. It has a very low cooldown and makes it very easy to kite you.
- If you harass with battle hunger in lane, the enemy supports might consider to buy Tranquil Boots because they do not break on ability damage and quickly restore the lost health.
Gameplay[edit | edit source]
Strategy[edit | edit source]
Counters[edit | edit source]
History[edit | edit source]
Lore[edit | edit source]
Equipment[edit | edit source]
Counters[edit | edit source]
- Dazzle can use Shadow Wave when Axe approaches a creep wave to hit him for a lot of Physical damage and can save allies from early deaths with Shallow Grave. By level 6, however, Grave starts to be less of an issue due to Culling Blade.
- Slark can steal stats early with Essence Shift, making you less tanky early on and punishing Axe when he uses Berserker's Call. By level 6, he also becomes difficult to kill with his Shadow Dance.
- Bristleback can punish an Axe that goes for aggressive plays with Quill Spray and can lower his Armor with Viscous Nasal Goo. His passive also reduces a lot of early game damage.
- Axe is strong against Physical damage mostly, and getting too close to a creep that has an Ion Shell on it can be painful.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Axe's alternate/Fun name was "Mogul Kahnt Touch This", a reference to MC Hammer's famous song U Can't Touch This.
- Axe, Disruptor, and Warlock are all related as they come from the Oglodi tribe.
- Axe's phrase Play "Better red than dead!" is a reversed reference to an American Cold War slogan stating "Better dead than Red".
- Several of Axe's deny and Culling Blade killing blow responses (such as Play "You get nothing. Good day, sir!") are references to Willy Wonka's infamous rage scene in the 1971 movie Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. 
- Axe's name, lore and "one-man army" image may have been inspired by Khan Noonien Singh in the Star Trek series, who was also described as a "one-man army" and killed uncooperative subordinates (along with used-to wearing a red shirt).
Gameplay[edit | edit source]
Audio[edit | edit source]
History[edit | edit source]
Gallery[edit | edit source]
Model and icons before November 21, 2013 Patch