A Close Examination of Heroes: Axe

Posted by Connor BS on 16. Apr 2014

Axe: A man who wished he was a lawnmower

(source: ipicturee.com)

"You might have been a fancyman in Heaven, but down here you are nothing next to Axe." ~Axe to Zeus

I am trying out a different format versus the standard way. I may add in some items at a later date, but really you are just looking at survivability and initiation gear.


Axe, A man known by the weapon he wields, is the living embodiment of what every man strives to be. He is a man among men. If he was asked, "why do you go out not wearing armour", he would more likely reply as, "Then I wouldn't be called Axe then, would I?" then execute the question asker on the spot for being so weak willed. After all, he is literally considered a one-man army, anything else would get in his way.

Pick Axe to punish those that rely on fast attack speed. You can still pick Axe versus physical nukers like Phantom Assassin, but a Blade Mail is mandatory. Magic damage is terrifying, do not pick Axe versus a heavy magic team, you have been warned.

Skill Set:

Lets look at Axe's Skill set:
Berserker's Call: Ever yell so hard that you drive people into temporary insanity? This call not only turns otherwise sane people into insane psychopaths, but it beefs his resolve to the point that it equates to 40 armour! Do you know what item has 40 armour? Nothing. It's 4xPlatemails gained with him yelling at people.

Battle Hunger: Speaking of a yell turning someone into an insane psychopath, Battle Hunger forms a small pain inside the target to the point that if they do not murder something, anything, they will die. Oh, and you can't deny someone with this debuff.This leads to the question, is it a debuff, or is it Axe awakening something that was already in that hero to start with? Would make sense if all the heroes fall under the same archetype as "Dexter".

Counter Helix: Axe thought to himself, "How can I be more manly?" and this was his solution. If you attack him, there is a chance that it angers him and he will spin, doing 205 damage(lvl 4) in a 360 radius. Did I mention he is immune to vertigo? He can perform this Counter Helix every 0.3 seconds. He more then likely limits himself to 0.3 for the sake of the universe, because if he did it even a 0.000001 second faster, the universe would explode, and Axe would be left with nothing. Nothing to chop, nothing to kill. Thank you Axe for not blowing up the universe.

Culling Blade: The final ability in his repertoire is deadly, though I would argue not as deadly as Counter Helix. This ability allows to do a tiny bop on the head if the target has lots of health, but if Axe sees a target with low health, he will take his trusty axe, and bash in their skull. Now, I know you thinking, "meh" right now. A lot of heroes kill you in gruesome ways, so why is this in anyway 'manly' or even good? Culling Blade doesn't just kill a target, it destroys them. It ignores armour, and defies Shallow Grave and Borrowed Time. It destroys the target so much that 50-90% of their blood comes gushing out of their head in half a second. This excites Axe and terrifies all his teammates that witnessed it to such a point that their adrenaline kicks into high gear, giving them 40% move and attack speed buffs. He literally makes people's heads explode to the point that it affects the mental status of his fellow combatants, even heroes like Death Prophet, Undying, and Queen of Pain. Whether they get either extremely excited or terrified is up for debate, but to get these guys this excited this much is a feat onto it's self.

Skill Builds:

(1-1-3-1 if safe lane is fine, 1-3-1-1 if you need to gank)

This is the jungle Axe. Instead of murdering people, you are murding cute(?) creatures of the forest and bathing in their blood for strength. Axe is one of the fastest heroes to start killing stacks in his jungling phase. You can stack the easy camp at 0:54 and do it with little to no problems(depending on spawn luck). Pick up the first level in Counter Helix, then one in taunt, and gauge what is needed from you by how well the lanes are going. If your lane(the safe lane) needs a gank, you are usually looking at leveling up Battle Hunger over your Counter Helix and Berserker's Call

Gnawing Hunger:


This is the Battle Hunger Axe. Great for mid, or sidelanes. The trick is  to cast Battle Hunger when the opponent starts backing off, forcing them to return to the fray, or just at the moment where your creep wave dies. Save enough mana for your Berserker's Call, and you can keep them away from the killing blow for another 2 seconds, and possibly killing them in the process. Just remember to try and net all the creeps in your lane when you cast Berserker's Call, letting you proc that many more spins.

Zen State:

(2-0-3-1, or level Battle Hunger if enemies are just barely escaping)

This is the creep cut, murder and destroy Axe. No matter what you do to this Axe, you cannot stop him from murdering everything you love. Axe has achieved perfect Zen State, and sees the rivers of time flow, allowing him to see both present and future simultaneous. In this state, he cannot die. You pick this build when the offlane is a non-threat and/or you generally have a healer (or a good support) by your side and stay permanently behind the enemies tower. Make sure you level Counter Helix first though, otherwise this will not work.

  • Culling Blade goes throughShallow Grave, Borrowed Time, Black King Bar, Linken's Sphere, and any other magic immunity abilities/items.
  • Culling Blade can actually steal the kill from Necrophos's Reaper's Scythe. That being said, resist KSing your carries, as late game becomes a struggle for Axe.
  • Axe has a strong early game with high base stats(but poor stat gain). With that in mind, make sure if a lane is all melee heroes, stand between them and the creeps, gaining full lane dominance.
  • The enemies health bars(red) above the unit is divided into small boxes. Each box denotes 250 health, the threshold for Culling Blade level 1 to instantly kill. This knowledge can help you kill someone quickly and confidently without spending the time to click on them and read the health bar. 
  • Soul Ring gives enough mana and regeneration for all of your spells.
  • If you aren't initiating, you are probably doing something wrong, or you picked him versus a heavy magic team. +40 armour is of little value when everyone has a dagon.



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