Anti-Mage is one of the most popular heroes in Dota 2. Whether he’s a good pick or not, you’ll see players grabbing him whenever they get the chance because there’s something immensely satisfying about his game play. Once he’s online, Anti-Mage farms like a god, has superb pick-off potential and split-push, and there’s always a chance of that massive Mana Void play. Anti-Mage is a true late-game monster, although he can get out-carried by certain physical damage cores, but his major strength is that he’s one of the fastest heroes at getting to that late-game six-slotted situation.
Laning as Anti-Mage
Anti-Mage is a fairly static laner. Your priority is to farm Battle Fury as quickly as possible. He’s hard to kill in lane thanks to his Blink, and excels against certain mana-dependent offlaners like Timbersaw, but a strong duel offlane will crush his farming if he doesn’t get enough support. Don’t pick AM in games where you know the safelane is going to be an impossible place to farm. Usually you’ll want to pick up a Poor Man’s Shield and Boots of Speed before going for that Battle Fury. An Orb of Venom can be handy if you want to apply a bit more pressure in a favorable laning matchup. His ability build is pretty flexible, but remember extra points in Blink will increase your farming speed the most during the mid-game.
Farming as Anti-Mage
You should aim to have your Battle Fury before the 15 minute mark, but the earlier the better. Once you’ve got it, it’s time to power farm. If the enemy team lacks lockdown or silences then feel free to aggressively push the lanes, cutting behind Tier 1s to create space for your team. If it’s risky to be out on the map, then you’re best sticking to the safest areas of your jungle and clearing up waves that push into your towers. Remember to stack whenever possible, Blink between camps when you feel safe, and cut down trees blocking your path. Once you’e got a bit stronger, start hitting the Ancient Camps as often as possible. Watching professional players farm on Anti-Mage is the best way you’ll increase your farming speed. Talent-wise, you’ll generally want the damage, stats and Agility at Level 25. His Level 15 Talent is the most flexible one, and you’ll have to decide between the Attack Speed and -1s Blink cooldown depending on whether you want the extra mobility or damage.
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Good Anti-Mage Item Builds
Anti-Mage’s item build has become slightly more flexible in recent times, however, you’ll rarely deviate too far from the classic build. Starting off with 2 Slippers of Agility and lots of regen, you can complete the Poor Man’s Shield from the side shop and pick up a Quelling Blade. You can also grab Boots of Speed from here, and the Ring of Health for your Battle Fury. Once the Battle Fury is compete you finish off you Power Treads, and go straight into a Manta Style. After this, you have offensive options in Abyssal Blade, Butterfly, Monkey King Bar, and defensive options in Black King Bar, Linken’s Sphere, Aghanim’s Spectre and Heart. Assault Cuirass and Skadi provide a bit of both. In late game situations you’ll want Boots of Travels and Moon Shards, but you can leave the Boots of Travels in your backpack and use a different item when fighting thanks to the short cool-down blink.
Anti-Mage is well known of defeating mana-dependent cores and magic damage heavy line-ups. Heroes like Medusa, Zeus, Storm Spirit, Slark are easy opponents for him. However, Anti-Mage struggles against physical or pure damage heroes that can get online faster than him. Phantom Assassin with a fast Desolator, Legion with a quick Blink, Clinkz with a fast Orchid, for instance. Well-executed push strats–Drow line-ups for instance–are likely to out-tempo him as well. Outworld Devourer deserves a special mention, due to his pure damage and passive which keeps his team topped up with mana.