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May 02, 2012

Play like the Pros #1: GoSu | PowerNet's Anti-mage

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Written by: KuroSagi

Play like Pros is a fortnightly series that provides hero guides for intermediate and high-skilled players, with direct insights and advices from best professional players from all over the world, in an informative and entertaining way. This time, we would like to introduce our very own GoSu | PowerNet to showcase his knowledge on one of his best known heroes: the Anti-mage.


Manadha, the Anti-mage 


Basic & Advanced Attributes

Strength: 20 + 1.2
Agility: 22 + 2.8
Intelligence: 15 + 1.8
Damage: 49-53
Mana: 195
Armor: 2.08
Movement Speed: 320
Sight range: 1800/800
Attack Range: 128 (Melee)
Missile speed: Instant
Attack Duration: 0.3 + 0.6
Cast Duration: 0.3 + 0.47
Base Attack Time: 1.45

Role: Carry


- One of the strongest carry in the game

- Insane attack speed + great animation

- Mana Burn = a pain in the ass to any enemy + free  ~40 bonus damage per hit.

- Great mobility and survivability with Blink and Spell Shield

- Does not require too much skills to play


- Low hp pool

- Item-dependant

- No disabling ability, which may cause Anti-mage certain problems in teamfight if allies cannot manage to focus the enemies down.


Which strategy that Anti-mage can fit in?

Unlike other hard carry heroes, AM provide decent DPS output even early game through his Mana Burn. Along with his natural mobility, AM is a perfect choice for a split-pushing strategy, in which 4 heroes constantly keep pressure on the enemies’ lane and let AM farm and push on another one, distorting enemies’ defense system.


How do you rate Anti-mage among other hard carries, i.e Spectre or Faceless Void?

Although these three heroes fall into the same group, they provide different maneuverability. Anti-mage provides strong split-pushing power and grab and enormous amount of farm. Faceless Void, with his Time Walk and Chronosphere, capitalizes on his big teamfight potential. Spectre is kind of a hybrid between the two: she has decent pushing power with an early radiance and also global presence and distortion of enemies’ formation in teamfight with Haunt


During which pick phase should Anti-mage be picked up?

During the earlier phase of the beta, AM often falls into the first phase, even as a constant first pick; mostly because there were not many strategies and heroes to shut him down properly. Now with the hero pool being larger and the employment of hardcore pushing line-ups, AM has occasionally fallen into the second phase.


  : simply Anti-mage’s bread and butter. This makes Anti-mage an anti-mage. With an insane 64 mana combustion at level 4 which provides 38.4 bonus physical damage per hit, Mana Break makes him a nightmare for Intelligence heroes.

 :provides Anti-mage chasing ability, escape mechanism and farming speed-up tool. Enough said for a low-manacost and low-cooldown skill.

: Anti-mage laughs at enemies’ nukes with this (even though too much nuking still make him cry indead). Being maxed out, he has a jawdropping 62% magic resistance (Lina’s Laguna Blade at level 3 and with Aghanim’s Scepter only deals 475 damage, quite a small one compared to the fearsome 1250 number on the tooltip)

 :Intelligence heroes’ nightmares just get worse. Mana Void can deal a massive damage in a small AoE if targeted at a mana-depleted hero who has large mana pool. Several slices and a Mana Void,  you are screwed.



*Start with: Tangoes, Healing Salves, Iron Branches, Quelling Blade or Stout Shield

The most confusion during early game item selection is whether Quelling Blade or Stout Shield should be picked up (you have enough gold to buy both, but it would be crazy to do so). If you are unsure of the your enemies you are facing on your lane or going up against a trilane, getting stout shield is the best choice since it gives a little extra survivability until you can get a Ring of Health to safely stay on the lane. If you only have to face an offlane solo enemy, then Quelling Blade gives you better farming. Also Quelling Blade is useful if there is a Nature’s Prophet in the opponent team, since Blink has relatively high cooldown at low level and being trapped by those sprouts is not nice at all.

On a less common scenario in which AM is put into a dual-mid formation, then Poor Man’s ShieldIron Branches and Tangoes (need pooling from allied support) is a viable choice since he can capitalizes on the survivability that Poor Man's Shield provides to fend off harassment and ganks towards middle lane.

*Early – mid game:

There are a wide choice of items for Anti-mage during this stage of the game. Let’s divide it into several cases:

- You have fairly good farm and even a couple of kills: rushing for Battle Fury and Power Tread. Battle Fury turns AM’s into a mad farming machine;as the regens allow AM to constantly switch between farming on lane and neutral camps by abusing Blink. The bonus damage is just a nice icing on the cake for a hero with such fast attack speed. Should you feel that a little tankability is needed, get a Health Booster (but do not upgrade it into Vanguard) and you can use it to form Heart of Terrasque later.

- You have some troubles with your laning phase: getting Vanguard to fix AM’s low hp problem, then try to work towards a Manta Style later to boost his DPS potential in teamfight.

- Your team want you to join the pushes: Vanguard and Vladmir’s Offering are the way to go. With everything that these two items provide, probably no further explanation is needed.

- You have too many troubles on the lane, you cannot farm at all!: this is the worst cast for any carry hero. Consolate yourself with Wraith Bands and hope for miracles to come in the coming minutes of the game. But basically, in this case, facepalm could be the most viable deed.

Occasionally, Magic Wand/Magic Stick may be useful against a line up with a lot of spammable spells and also help AM last longer in clashes. Also Hand if Midas is not too shabby as a option; however, it may not be really effective on AM since he already has the best base attack time in the game (1.45 base attack time - wut!!)

*Mid – late game: Manta Style, Heart of Terrasque, Butterfly, Black King Bar, Skull Basher – Abyssal Blade, Monkey King Bar, Daedalus, Boot of Travel

Manta Style, Butterfly, Black King Bar are all neccesities for an agility carry hero during late game since they scales very well with their attributes. Skull Basher (which can be upgraded into Abyssal Blade) is also useful against other Black King Bar carriers, or in cases where your own line up does not have enough disables to hold the enemies down. Monkey King Bar is used to counter enemy Butterfly’s carrier of Phantom Assassin with her natural evasion (note that Monkey King Bar cannot counter Faceless Void’s Backtrack since the ability is based on triggered heal). Daedelus for a hero with high raw damage and insane attack speed, just instant profit! Heart of Terrasque makes your "low hp problem" a thing of the past. And Boot of Travel if you want to troll your enemies with occasional backdoors or just to save theTeleport Scroll slot for high-tier items.



Most people automatically maxing out Mana Break on Anti-mage (well it is his bread-and-butter skill, you say?); however, a smart AM player has to look at the situation. If the laning phase is a lot of troube and survivability is to be prioritized, then Blink/Spell Shield may need more points. In other cases where Mana Break is maxed out first, equal share between leveling Blink and Spell Shield is more advised (unless the opponent team has fairly little magic damage output then you just max out Blink, but it is not very likely the case in high-level play). And there should be no question of taking Mana Void whenever it is available.



Farm, kill, farm, kill again, back to farm, kill everybody. The overall playstyle of Anti-mage sounds boring. And to give yourself some excitement in mastering the Turskakuri priest, make a mental tool called item benchmarks.

How does it work? It is the process in which you set yourself a certain time required for getting certain MAJOR item (it is nonsense to calculate which minute you should get a branch or a tp scroll). For example, if you are to go for the Battle Fury build; then getting it around the 16 minute mark should be attained, followed by a possible Manta Style in the next approximately 10 minutes. In the case you consider theVanguard/Manta Style build; then 22 minute is your tic toc to get both of them. Those are what you should aim for everytime you play Anti-mage, even though certain delay mays be possible under unfavourable circumstances. However, nobody wants to see your big Anti-mage walking around with only Battle Fury 40 minutes in the game. An important tip to max out your farm is to always keep a teleport scroll in the inventory so you can switch between lanes to pick up as many creeps stats as possible.

I am a carry hero, I carry the team. It means I just jump towards my enemies during teamfight? Oh no no, unless you massively outfarm your opponent and you are capable of taking them down with raw brute force. Anti-mage has no initiation, why would you let him jump in first though? There is no glorious death, especially the death of the carry hero during early moment of teamfights. What Anti-mage should do is to keep a decent distance from the central heat of the fight, then blink it and focus fire on any hero that allies are focusing on. Slicing enemies as if they are all Dead Gods and get honor on every kill. Also do not be too rigid on using Mana Void. In case of emergency, it can be used to shut down powerful channel spells with its mini-stun.



-Never die

-Vanguard is seldom necessary

-BattleFury by 20!

-NEVER DIE! (repost for super duper importance implied)



- Roaming aimlessly:

Oh yes, you still get an enormous amount of 1 gold per second for roaming. Fortunately IceFrog gives you something to defend yourself with while playing a roaming Anti-mage. You constantly place a breathtaking pressure on the river and the trees around the map, you show your altruism by allowing your enemies to not worry about you (even though your teammates are raging like hell with what you have been doing). And in return for all those noble deeds, you get low creep stats, limited farm, poor items and free kills for the enemies. GG.

- Do not focus fire during teamfight:

You want to annoy the hell out of the other team, so you try to scatter several slices on every enemy hero so they would find trouble casting their skills. However, once all of your allies’ spells are in cooldown, the enemies team up very quickly and thank your lenience with a fast death.



What can I do if I have to go against Shadow Demon in my lane?

Call for ganks from allies to help you find some space to farm. Or simply just switch your lane.

Comments (5)

  • Swagolicious wrote

    Cool STUFF man, but ... actually better if u can write this here
    PEACE \/

  • Milli wrote

    How about a few points in Stats early on?
    Do I get Quelling/PMS early, even if I started off with the other one?
    How do I decide between Butterfly, Abyssal and Daedalus?

  • KuroSagi wrote

    AM does not need Stats early on, his base stats are decent. If you want some survivability on the lane, get Stout Shield early on, it's better than getting 38hp through stat. AM has no spammble skills early game (Blink spam early on??) so extra mana is not needed.
    If you get PMS/Stout Shield early on, it's not neccessary to get QB, unless you have real trouble last-hitting (a little practice can fix this easily) or there's a Prophet on enemy team. And if you have QB early on, you may

  • Really nice guide. The item timing is a very helpful concept. I like the analogy it has to the same way Korean progamers know all the build timings. Hope to read more guides soon!

  • Red_- wrote


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