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Strategy Guide for Magina the Anti-Mage

by Cyclops_Hammer (as of v6.59)
Table of Contents

• Introduction
• Hero Overview
• Strengths and Weaknesses
• Skill Descriptions
• Skill Build
• Item Build
• Late Game Items
• What about these items?
• Heroes You Should Fear
• Heroes You Can Trust
• Strategy

Ever since my first version of this guide (which advocated Soulbooster lol), my play and builds
with Anti-mage have been continually evolving. I believe Anti-mage is one of the most exciting
heroes to play in DOTA, and is versatile enough that a number of builds will work on him. His
interesting mix of speed, mana break, and attack speed make him a fascinating hero and one that
can be carry, ganker, or even a tank. I am always in the process of analyzing current builds used
by pros and measuring their effectiveness and comparing them with my own builds. I am not a
high level player, but I enjoy playing AM and coming up with new ideas on how to play with

Requirements To Play Anti-mage

Anti-mage is not a hero for noobs or the faint of heart. The margin for error with him is very
small, so if you don't have certain qualities as a player you will tend to suck with him. These are
some characteristics you need in order to be successful with him.
• Very good at last hitting - If you don't last-hit, you will be harassed, outfarmed, and
• Knowledge of the abilities of almost every hero in DOTA - ignorance of an enemy's
abilities before a fight always leads to death.
• Quick fingers - Anti-mage rides on the edge of death like no other. Anticipation and quick
decision making are also important.
• Teamwork abilities - Anti-mage is a hero who works best with others to get kills. If you
just try to play him as a lone hunter, you will not be nearly as successful.
• Agressive Playstyle - Being agressive while knowing your limitations is one of the keys
to owning with AM. AM needs to push the envelope in order to win.
• Mana Break is very powerful in the early and mid game
• Blink is the best escape mechanism in the game
• Great movespeed and Base Attack Time

• Low HP and Mana
• Being a melee hero makes him a target in team battles
• Lacks a steroid skill
• Is not a great team hero because he only has 1v1 skills

Skill Descriptions

Mana Break
Each attack burns mana based on spell level.
Level 1 - 16 mana per hit. (+10 physical damage)
Level 2 - 32 mana per hit. (+19 physical damage)
Level 3 - 48 mana per hit. (+29 physical damage)
Level 4 - 64 mana per hit. (+38 physical damage)
Orb effect.

His bread and butter skill. Almost all heroes need mana to be effective, and having your mana
burned away is devastating.

Short distance teleportation that allows one to move in and out of combat.
Costs 60 mana.
Level 1 - 12 second cooldown.
Level 2 - 9 second cooldown.
Level 3 - 7 second cooldown.
Level 4 - 5 second cooldown.
Mana Cost: 60

The best escape mechanism in the game. This is a versatile skill, helping you attack, chase,
escape, and travel.

Spell Shield
Magina channels a powerful warding magic, damping the negative effects of spells.
Level 1 - Reduces magic damage by 10%.
Level 2 - Reduces magic damage by 20%.
Level 3 - Reduces magic damage by 30%.
Level 4 - Reduces magic damage by 40%.

This is an ok skill, but it's one dimensional. At level 4, you get only 30% extra magic reduction
due to diminishing returns.

Mana Void
Creates a powerful void in an enemy unit caused by a lack of mana. For each mana point
missing, the unit takes damage.
Level 1 - .6 damage per mana point missing.
Level 2 - .85 damage per mana point missing.
Level 3 - 1.1 damage per mana point missing.
Mana Cost: 175 / 225 / 275
Cooldown: 120 seconds.

This is an awesome ultimate, and is the main reason INT heroes fear you so much. It has
incredible synergy with Mana Break. As the game progresses, other heroes' mana pools get
larger, so Mana Void's damage scales higher like a percentage-based skill.

Skill Build
1. Blink
2. Mana Break
3. Mana Break
4. Spell Shield
5. Mana Break
6. Mana Void
7. Mana Break
8-10. Spell Shield
11. Mana Void
12-14. Blink
15. Stats
16. Mana Void
17-25. Stats

This skill build is flexible, as there are times when you may want to max Blink first. However, in
higher level games, the threat of nukes is usually too high to justify not leveling Spell Shield
before Blink. In Pubs max Blink first, since you can afford to be more aggressive.
• Mana Break is maxed first because it is his best lane control skill (with Blink and Break)
and is essential for proper usage of Mana Void.
• Spell shield is necessary for surviving in your lane early game and fighting in the mid
game. However, if there are less than 3 casters in a game, you should skip it and get stats
• Blink is gotten at level one for escaping and Blink/Break purposes. Although we give up
some killing potential by maxing it after Spell Shield, AM's survivability is more
important in the early game. Also, we won't be chasing past towers much in the early
game anyway. Once we have level 2 Mana Void, AM is a serious threat to any INT hero
in team battles, and low cooldown Blink becomes important.
Inhouse Item Build

• Starting Items - 2 Tangos, Healing Salve, Circlet

• Ring of Health
• 2 Circlets
• Belt of Giant Strength
• Boots of Speed
• Gloves of Haste
• Power Treads
• Finish 3 Wraith Bands
• Vitality Booster
• Stout Shield = Vanguard
• Quarterstaff
• Eaglehorn
• Finish Butterfly
In Inhouse games, AM's role is to farm in the early game, assist ganks in the mid game, and then
carry in the late game. You may wonder why I focus on HP so much in this build. It's simply
because he's already pretty scary offensively. Since AM needs to be in the middle of a battle in
order to attack and doesn't have burst damage, he absolutely has to be able to tank a good deal of
damage. He just can't hold up under focus fire unless you stack him with survivability items.

One thing you'll notice is that I alternate defensive and offensive items, to keep him balanced
throughout the game. You can be more flexible with the ordering of items, as you will have
different amounts of gold everytime you have to go back to the fountain. For example, if you've
farmed 1100 gold at one time, you might want to pick up a Vitality Booster instead of a couple
Bracers so you can finish Vanguard sooner.

Wraith Bands
These are cheap and give you a nice damage boost, making you that much scarier in the
early/mid game.

Power Treads
Power Treads is an important item in this build because it gives him a big offensive upgrade
early on. With the recent buff in 6.49, it is one of the keys to his ganking prowess. I prefer to get
the 10 STR because of his survivability issues. AM desperately needs IAS because of its synergy
with Mana Break (and indirectly Mana Void), and it makes him a whole lot scarier in the
midgame. Also, Blink makes him much more mobile than other heroes, so you don't need the
extra MS from BOT.
This item gives you creep protection, HP and regen, all things AM needs. It is a relatively cheap
survival item that allows him to stay alive in team battles. The block helps you tower dive and
ignore creep damage.

Butterfly is the best late game item because of its synergy with Mana Break. Its IAS and damage
increase your DPS like crazy, and the evasion helps you stay alive in team battles.

Late Game Items

Black King Bar

This is an option if there are too many disablers on the enemy team for you to survive team
battles. I would get this if Rhasta or Bane Elemental is on the other team.

Assault Cuirass is a good item for a tanking AM, especially since the components work so well
on him. He needs armor to tank, and the attack speed from Hyperstone works great with Mana
Break. This is a great late game item to make you impossible to kill and have crazy IAS.

What about these items?

Vladimir's Offering
I see a lot of people getting this nowadays, and frankly, it sucks on AM. The lifesteal does almost
nothing until the lategame. It doesn't give HP or very much damage. Vanguard gives much more
survivability and regen.

Hand of Midas
Anti-mage has too much potential to be bothered with this item. Ever since the price increase, no
one gets it anymore anyway. It will delay you too much from being able to dominate in the mid

Hood of Defiance
After some discussion in the strategy forum, I'm still not sure if this item is worth getting. The
spell reduction adds with diminishing returns, so you are not really getting an extra 30% spell
reduction. With hero reduction and Spell Shield, you get 55% spell reduction. If you get a Hood
as well, it only gives you an extra 13.5% spell reduction. Other heroes will get 22.5% extra spell
reduction from HoD. I still think that getting straight HP is just a better deal for AM.

Heroes You Should Fear

Rhasta and Bane Elemental have freaking long disables that prevent you from blinking to safety.
The enemy team will proceed to pound you to death. If one or both of these are on the enemy
team, it may be smarter to get a BKB. Enchantress is a monster early game hero, and her
harassment is much more damaging than anything you can do. Once she gets Untouchable, you
really can't do anything to her and she dominates you for the rest of the game. It doesn't help that
Impetus cuts through your Spell Shield and armor.
Heroes You Can Trust

All disablers. You don't have a disable, and using AM becomes sooooo much easier with disabler


EARLY GAME - Levels 1-8

First of all, only choose AM if the enemy team has at least two intelligence heroes, preferably
more. Lane with a ranged partner because you are a melee hero with low HP. You really want to
have a disabler as a partner because it will allow you to use Mana Break to its fullest potential.
Last hit, so that you get more gold and take less damage from harassment.

Blink is a fantastic skill, and allows AM to be a great chaser and escape artist. Blink's range is
1000, but only when you click exactly that distance away from him. If you you blink to a spot
farther that 1000, you will only blink 800 distance away. When escaping, it is always better to
escape across land barriers so that your enemies can't follow you easily. When ganking, it is best
to blink directly behind the enemy to cut off his escape route.

In the early game, Blink and Break is your key to controlling your lane. Knowing when and who
to do this to is important because if done incorrectly, you can take a lot of damage or even die.
Once you have level 2 or 3 Mana Break you can begin using it. When there are one or two creeps
left, Blink directly behind him and start hitting him. You Blink behind him so that you can get
more hits while he tries to escape, and it makes it less likely that the creeps will come after you.
If you're opponent is not running away and you are taking more damage than him, you did not
choose the right time or opponent to Blink/Break. For example, trying to Blink/Break a Lich or
CM is retarded as you will just be pwned. Using this on agility heroes, melee heroes, and INT
heroes with no disables is best. The key is to choose advantageous situations to jump in and
harass them. If you have a disabling/stunning partner, time your Blink right after he stuns the

Be careful not to take too much damage from creeps or try to chase past towers. Your HP is still
too low to take too much punishment. Laning is particularly difficult against two strong nukers,
so you will have to be more selective of when you Blink/Break. While laning, try to anticipate
when the enemy is going to try to spell combo you and Blink away from danger.

MID GAME - Levels 9-17

By the mid game, you are ready to start ganking with your teammates. Your focus should be on
low HP heroes with no disables. For example, trying to gank Bane Elemental or Pudge by
yourself is just retarded. The ideal situation is being able to work with disabler allies to keep
them in place while you burn more mana. Before engaging an enemy hero, make sure to check
their mana. This way, you have an idea of how much mana they have left before you can use
Mana Void for the kill. When engaging low mana heroes, its better if they have at least a little
mana left because you get the extra damage from Mana Break. Jump in behind them to block
their best escape route and start attacking. After they start to run away, chase them and use Blink
to the spot about 200 range in front of them. If done right, you will be able to block their path
and get more hits in. Don't Blink in front of them when they can change direction to another
path, or else you might get juked (trust me, they will try to). When their health is getting low,
quickly check their mana to make sure that you will be able to do enough damage to kill them.
Generally, INT heroes will die anywhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of their HP depending on their
mana pool. However, STR and AGI heroes usually require a much lower remaining HP for Mana
Void to finish them off.

Try to gank the worst players, as you have a higher chance of success. When team battles start
happening, you have to make sure that you jump in after the battle has started. Because of your
1v1 nature and the fact that you are melee, you will be a natural target for the enemy team. Only
Blink into battle after the fighting has started and some disables have gone off already. Attack
INT heroes that have already used up a lot of their spells since Mana Void will do the most
damage to them.

LATE GAME - Levels 18-25

By now, you start to become a carry hero with the massive damage you inflict. Hopefully, you
have established some dominance during the mid game so that the enemy is not too fed. Despite
your upgrade in power, you should still not initiate battles and work with your disabler allies for
kills. Pushing with your teammates is your top priority, along with defending your base if your
team is losing. For late game items, get BKB if you are being chain disabled. Get Buriza if you
are pwning because your damage will be ridiculous and you can finish up the game. Butterfly is
another option if the enemy has a lot of physical attack heroes. Heart is the best item if you need
a tank or the enemy has a lot of AOE nukers.

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