Dota 2 Axe Guide – Builds, Abilities, Items and Strategy

Axe is probably the most underrated hero in all of Dota. While he does needs some levels to get going,  when he does get them, he is feared by all enemy squishy heroes while also being annoying to the more tanky heroes.

He has a good mobility through the extra movement speed boost that he gets from using Battle Hunger on enemies, he can initiate fights with his Berserker’s Call and he can finish off low hp heroes with his Culling Blade.

Axe brings the Axe!

Pros and Cons

  • + Great Initiator
  • + Tanky due to high Str
  • + Good jungler
  • + Ultimate goes through Magic Immunity
  • + Very Strong damage over time skill
  • – Melee
  • – Level Dependant
  • – No reliable Disable

Browse through the guide – Abilities, Skill Builds, Recommended Items and Strategy. For more help on Dota 2, read our Zeus, Juggernaut and Storm Spirit Guide.

Dota 2 – Axe Abilities

Berserker’s Call
Axe taunts nearby enemy units, forcing them to attack him, while he gains bonus armor during the duration.

  • Duration: 1.5/2/2.5/3
  • Bonus Armor: 30
  • Radius: 275
  • Cooldown: 10
  • Mana: 80/90/100/110

The only thing that Axe has that looks like a disable. It can be used on magic immune units, and on Invisible heroes.

Battle Hunger
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.

  • Duration: 10/13/16/19
  • Movement Slow: 10%
  • Bonus Movement Speed: 4%
  • Damage per Second: 15/21/27/33
  • Cooldown: 20/15/10/5
  • Mana: 75/85/95/105

Axe’s strongest skill. It can be used both offensively to slow and to kill heroes as well as defensively to escape from enemies with the increased movement speed. It’s also very spammable due to its low 5 second cooldown and enemies can’t be denied with it.

Counter Helix
When attacked, Axe performs a helix counter attack, dealing damage to all nearby enemies.

  • Radius: 275
  • Chance to Helix: 17%
  • Damage: 100/130/160/190
  • Cooldown: 0.65/0.6/0.55/0.5

Axe’s signature skill and the one that enables him to run the jungle, as well as a great creep wave sweeper.

Culling Blade
Axe spots weakness and strikes, dealing moderate damage but instantly killing an enemy unit with low health. When an enemy unit is killed in this way, Axe and nearby allied units gain bonus movement speed.

  • Kill Threshold: 300/450/625
  • Damage: 150/250/300
  • Range: 150
  • Bonus Movement Speed: 25%
  • Movement Speed Radius: 600
  • Movement Speed Duration: 6

Axe’s powerful ultimate, with it he can kill off any low hp hero, even if he is magic immune.

Dota 2 – Axe Skill Build

  1. Counter Helix
  2. Battle Hunger
  3. Battle Hunger
  4. Counter Helix (Berserker’s Call)
  5. Battle Hunger
  6. Culling Blade
  7. Battle Hunger
  8. Counter Helix
  9. Counter Helix
  10. Berserker’s Call
  11. Culling Blade
  12. Berserker’s Call
  13. Berserker’s Call
  14. Berserker’s Call
  15. Stats
  16. Culling Blade

This build will offer bring forward the best killing potential that Axe has. A maxed Battle Hunger at level 7 is very powerful and will kill off most supports with just 2 casts of it. Helix is the second priority since it will speed up your farming as well as pushing power.

Berserker’s Call can be obtained as early as level 4 at the cost of some creep killing speed that could be obtained with leveling Helix, get it if you need to hold a hero with an escape mechanism, such as taking out a Sand King from his Sandstorm. Call is maxed after that when you have an initiation item like Blink.

Culling Blade is obviously taken whenever possible, at levels 6, 11 and 16.

Axe Recommended items

Starting: Stout, Branch, Branch, Tango, Tango
These starting items will allow you to get fast Tranquil Boots to get the regen you need.

Early Game: Tranquil Boots, Soul Ring
Tranquil Boots will give you a huge boost to you regen, as well as giving you the speed to catch up and cull your enemies. It will also complement the sacrifice  from Soul Ring, which you really need to keep spamming your Battle Hunger.

Core: Magic Wand, Force Staff or Blink Dagger, TP Scroll (Vanguard)
Axe really needs an initiation item to do his full combo. Blink is optimal to land the Berserker’s Call on the most enemies possible, but Force Staff will give a really good mana boost as well as giving a more reliable escape mechanism, which can also be used on your allies.

Always carry a teleport scroll to help your allies when they get ganked. Sometimes they will give you free kills. Magic Wand along with the Soul Ring mentioned earlier are just what Axe needs to solve his mana problems.

Vanguard has always been a good item on Axe, however I don’t really like it because with the introduction of Tranquil Boots, the regen is from Vanguard is really uneeded and it delays other better items for Axe.

Strong Extensions: Drum of Endurance, Aghanim Scepter, Pipe of Insight, Blade Mail
These items will further boost your survivability, as well as being a huge asset to your team. Drum’s movement speed fully stacks with Battle Hunger’s bonuses so it will make Axe even faster.

Aghanim will allow you to spam your ultimate because its cooldown will lower down to 6 seconds, which will allow you to give a huge speed bonus with your team as well as having it always available to cull enemy heroes.

Pipe is a common item on Axe to make him being able to fight without getting nuked down. Blade Mail combos up with Berserker’s Call really well, since enemies get forced to attack Axe, they receive their own damage as well as the spin damage from Helix.

Luxuries: Heart of  Terrasque, Shiva’s Guard, Scythe of Vyse, Black King Bar, Heaven’s Halberd
These items are great on Axe if the game goes into the late game stage.

Axe Strategy Tips

There are 2 ways of playing Axe in the early game: Jungling (the most common one) and Tower Skipping (which can be very risky).

For an efficient jungling with Axe it’s required to do frequent creep stacks. A creep stack is when you drag the neutrals out of their spawnboxes to make them spawn again in the same spot.

The more creeps are there, the bigger the chance Helix has to proc and the faster you clear the camps (and receive more gold).

To stack a creep camp do as following -> Run towards the easy camp, aggro it at 0:52 and run to make the camp stack, then proceed to kill it. Don’t overstack the hard camps though, or you won’t be able to kill them until later in the game.

Tower Skipping
Axe can tower skip by going in between the T1 and T2 towers. By doing this, you are ensured to get every creep kill in the wave, and either deprive enemies of their exp and pushing the tower with your unopposed creep wave, or having the enemy run around their own tower running from the creeps and having a hard time getting the last hits due to low damage at level 1.

You will want to have a strong ally that can either heal you or has some way of stunning enemies in case things get bad. Don’t do this against tri lanes, or heroes that are very strong in doing early First Bloods such as Venomancer.

General Strategy
Always spam Battle Hunger, even when you can’t get a kill you should Battle Hunger the enemy heroes because it will put so much pressure on them that your team will have a bigger chance at winning the lane.

Learn to time your Battle Hunger. Don’t just use it when enemies are heavily focused on last hitting or they will quickly dispel it without taking damage. A good way to use Battle Hunger is to move aggressively towards them and use it while they are retreating.

While you should be more focused on leveling and farming before level 7, when you get Tranquil Boots, Soul Ring and Level 7 you should start ganking around the map because this will be the time window that your Battle Hunger will be the most devastating.

Remember it has a slow, so you can use it to catch up to the enemies and then use your ultimate to instantly kill them.

If possible, try to engage enemies around lots of creeps. When you use Berserker’s Call, all of them will turn to attack you which will make for a lot of Helix procs which in turn will lead for a lot of burst damage.

When pushing towers, go in front of the tower and spin the enemy creep wave to death, granting you a lot of gold and making your own creep wave push towers faster without interruptions.