Axe Manta made quite an appearance at the WePlay AniMajor. Here’s our guide to why and how it works, plus a build straight from PSG.LGD Ame to get you started!
If you watched the AniMajor, you probably caught a glimpse of LGD’s Ame building Manta on Axe and destroying… well everyone. So, what made Axe so strong that he could be played as a carry? That’s easy: the combination of his Aghanim’s Shard and Manta Style. Let’s take a closer look at this new Axe build.
Why Build Manta Style and Aghanim’s Shard on Axe?
Axe’s Counter Helix has always been his signature ability. The ridiculously high PURE damage from this ability allows him to bully out weak carries early on.
At a base level, the ability has a 20% chance to go off for 180 pure damage at max level. While this sounds absolutely nutty, the drawback is the condition: only when Axe is attacked.
This means that it really only does damage against heroes that you catch in Berserker’s Call, or heroes with high attack speed.
Additionally, it has a internal cooldown of 0.3 seconds - stopping Axe from constantly spinning.
But what if we could get MORE spins thus more pure damage? That’s where Manta and Shard come in.
The Agh’s Shard
Axe’s Shard makes it so Axe’s attacks also have a chance to proc Counter Helix. So, that’s a few more spins.
But it doesn’t stop there. These Shard spins IGNORE the base Counter Helix cooldown. This effectively removes the cap for how many spins Axe can get.
And it keeps going, the Shard also raises the proc chance from 20% to 25% and grants 35 attack speed.
On its own, it’s a decent Agh’s Shard...but we’re not even close to done yet.
3 Axes Are Better Than One
This is where the Manta Style comes in. Manta can be activated to make 2 illusions which can proc spins when they attack (and when they get attacked). We won’t bore you with the maths - but the result of 3 Axes all with a 25% chance to spin on every attack equals: A LOT OF DAMAGE.
And don’t forget Axe’s ultimate Culling Blade which instantly kills anyone under 450 health at max level. So, Axe uses Berserker's Call on you - pops Manta and hopes to deal enough damage to finish you with Culling Blade. Which almost always happens because he does an insanely high amount of pure damage with this combo.
Also remember that it’s pure damage, so armor and magic resistance won’t save you - and we have the ultimate killing machine.
How Does Axe Get To This Point?
Okay, so we’ve covered why the Agh’s Shard and Manta work so well together - and how it makes Axe’s combo pretty much a death sentence. But Manta Style + Shard costs a whopping 6000g. Not to mention the fact that Axe wants to build Boots AND Vanguard before the Manta. And to be able to get the combo off effectively - Axe will still need a Blink Dagger.
Surely farming all this makes the build less viable? Not necessarily... Axe as a hero already farms pretty fast with Counter Helix (especially if you max it first).
The Vanguard acts as a farming item as it allows Axe to clear lane, jungle and ancient creeps without worrying about HP regen. This is what lets him get an early Manta Style, further ramping up his farm.
Used efficiently, an Axe with Manta can clear almost the entire jungle (and ideally a creep wave) in roughly a minute. This lets the creeps respawn to be farmed again.
Note: the +1.5 Mana Regen talent at level 10 really helps with the mana cost of spamming Manta.
Finally, Manta Style itself is just a nice farming item - providing Axe and his illusions more stats to tank creeps and movespeed to get to them.
There is a synergy in the build where each item lets Axe farm faster and faster. Eventually hitting the Manta timing where his farm rate just explodes. Once he has his Manta - the Blink Dagger and Agh’s Shard don’t take long to get.
Then he’s online and Axe Manta is very very scary.
How To Play Axe Manta Like Ame
It’s worth noting that LGD (Winners of the AniMajor) runs the Axe as a carry in the safelane - which means he has a somewhat easier time farming his Vanguard and has number 1 farm priority throughout the early and mid game. We have seen this same build tried from the offlane and it was not as effective.
Ame starts with the same items every game: 1 set of tangos, a magic stick, A Quelling Blade, 2 Ironwood Branches and 1 Faerie Fire.
Next Ame builds into his Ring of Health - which is followed by a Vitality Booster to finish his Vanguard. He then goes back for Boots, upgrades his Stick into a Wand and grabs some Infused Raindrops.
He then hard farms his Manta Style (starting with the Yasha). Once the Manta is completed he will occasionally come to conveniently placed fights - otherwise he keeps farming for his Blink Dagger.
Finally, he completes the terrifying combo with an Aghanim’s Shard and begins to really play the game - joining his team to initiate fights.
The Axe Manta build is rounded off with a Black King Bar, Assault Cuirass (more attack speed for more spins), Boots of Travel and an Overwhelming Blink.
Check out this video of LGD vs EG in the grand finals of the AniMajor if you want to see how Ame's perspective while playing Axe.
Spin to Win!
While this build does seem incredibly strong when executed properly, we have seen other teams running carry Axe to mixed results. Thus, unless you have LGD playing around you in your pub games - this build might not be ‘free MMR’. However, it certainly looks viable and extremely fun. You might as well get out there and play some carry Axe before Icefrog Culling Blades this build out of existence. Happy spinning!
If you want to check out other fun builds - be sure to check out Esports.gg’s Dota 2 guide section and if you are a newer player check out our Top 5 Heroes for Begginers guide!