Updated on September 29, 4:10 p.m. (GMT+8)Updated for relevancy based on recent Dota 2 patches.

Axe is a solid pick for most hero compositions because of his versatility. He is a tanky team fight initiator and counter-initiator who can impact clashes with timely Blink Dagger, Blademail, and Berserker’s Call combos.

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He has a good laning phase thanks to Battle Hunger, and has one of the most satisfying way to eliminate enemy heroes with his Culling Blade. But even the strongest heroes can be countered.

Heroes that will stop Axe in his tracks


Dota 2 Batrider The Rowdy Firebrand
Credit: Valve

Batrider’s kit works extremely well against Axe. Batrider is all about repositioning enemies and being mobile himself, and this offers a good player many counterplay options to work with.

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Firefly gives Batrider extra movement speed and the ability to fly over any terrain, making him difficult to catch, while Sticky Napalm greatly slows Axe and causes him to take extra damage from all of Batrider’s spells.

Furthermore, Batrider’s Flaming Lasso allows him to get the jump on his enemies before they are able to use any spells. This gives Axe an impossible situation — even a Black King Bar doesn’t stop Batrider from dragging Axe out of position, making it far more difficult for any initiations.

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Batrider’s ability to create chaos and reposition enemies makes it very tough for Axe, since he can shut him down from the start of the laning stage till the end of the game.


Dota 2 Timbersaw Iceiceice set loading screen
Credit: Valve

As a strength hero, Axe might be as bulky as a tree — and no one is better at cutting them down than Timbersaw.

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Axe’s tankiness scales through Culling Blade’s armor stacks, and Timbersaw simply does not care. Rizzrack’s litany of pure damage and strength-sapping Whirling Death makes him a nightmare to deal with for even the best players.

Furthermore, he likes to Call weak supports or strong carries that deal a lot of physical damage when he has Blademail, giving him a chance to instantly delete them with Culling Blade. Timbersaw is neither of those things, and will likely never die to Axe’s favored combo.

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Plus, it’s difficult to chase Timber down with his Timber Chain, making Battle Hunger close to useless. Timbersaw excels both offensively and defensively in this matchup, making him one of the strongest cores you can pick in this matchup.

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Dota 2 Leshrac Lord of Chronoptic Synthesis loading screen
Credit: Valve

Similarly to Timbersaw, Leshrac’s overwhelming magic damage output simply goes through most of Axe’s defensive kit. None of it triggers Counter Helix, basically ignores armor, and Leshrac’s high mana pool means he can keep it on most of the time.

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Leshrac also doesn’t deal a lot of right-click damage and attacks slowly, making Berserker’s Call less effective when used on him alone. The hero also moves extremely quickly, which makes the skill even harder to land.

Leshrac also has some control that can keep Axe in check. The hero likes buying Eul’s Scepter, one of the better counters to his initiation, and Split Earth — and its ensuing Aghanim’s Shard upgrade — can be very annoying for an Axe planning to jump in.

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With the Bloodstone build now prevalent for Leshrac, it makes the hero deceptively tanky and hard to use Culling Blade on. Leshrac’s constant spell lifesteal means it’s truly difficult for Axe to ever use Culling Blade on the Tormented Soul.

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