Dota 2

To counter Anti-Mage, try Bounty Hunter Offlane

I get asked very often by my students when coaching, how to counter Anti-Mage in their lower MMR bracket.

I get where this is coming from, we need an organized team-work to kill AM, and win the game against AM. And we can't realistically expect much of a solid team work in the lower end bracket (1-2k MMR).

You also need to understand how to pressure and choke AM early from level 1, for that is his main weakness. But this is all pretty advanced concept. You need to be mechanically sound, and must have competent teammates. It takes more than one person's job.

This is why I've been telling my students to just ban AM every game, and pray it gets banned. There will be assholes first picking AM; and it will work, because they're AM picker. They know how to abuse the hero in their bracket.

So, here's another solution if you are specializing in Offlane. Play Bounty Hunter. Why? Because BH core has a high potential to solo-kill Anti-Mage in mid-late game. I believe this should be the basis of how to win against AM in the lower MMR bracket. You need to enable your hero to be able to threat a solo kill against AM.

Let's discuss details.

Start with Quelling Blade and lots of regen. At level 1, take Shuriken Toss and use up all of your mana. You can either harass AM with it (if he's carrying less regen), or secure last hits. If Anti-Mage took Blink at level 1, taking Jinada at level 1 is totally fine. But most cases, you'll see AM taking Mana Burn at level 1. So be prepared to burn yourself all of your mana.

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I prefer 2-2-0 build by level 4, that is 2 points in S.Toss and Jinada. This is enough damage to keep great pressure on AM. But feel free to be creative on your own. You can do Shadow Walk + Jinada Harass. Just remember, do not mess with AM when you have mana. He's going to win. Ideally speaking, you want to stay below 10% of your maximum mana all the time.

Once you get Phase Boots, it's a huge power-spike for BH Offlane. AM shouldn't be able to deal with you anymore. Activate it, Jinada, weave in and out, and repeat. Then, getting Magic Stick or Mango (for emergency mana) makes sense. Getting a value Windlace or Wriath Band also makes sense. Do whatever that works for you.

At level 6, Track him, and AM is officially done. If he's got good supports behind him, sure, we gotta show him some respect, but otherwise make it clear who's the boss. AM simply can't stay in the lane anymore. Because you're 6, you may choose to rotate to other lanes and fight, but know that by making a rotation, you're giving another minute or two for AM to free farm in his dead-lane. This is why I like picking up Orb of Corrison, stay in my lane a bit longer, cut the wave, and destroy his tier-1-safe-lane-tower very quick. Only then, I rotate to other lanes, or invade into their jungle to find AM, and fuck with him.

Bottom line, if you managed to make AM jungle early, you did your job.

For the itemization progress, after the Phase Boots, I would say get Drum or Yasha. Or just get both. We can greatly appreciate having the mobility, because we're constantly moving around the map to find AM. We want to choke him and create early brawls.

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But remember, the enemy supports will start buying sentries, and they will lay down a trap to kill you. So, do not overextend too much by yourself. You already won the laning stage. AM is extremely poor. Do not feed him back. You can always just group up with other allies and push other tier-1 towers. The battle is highly likely to be 4vs5, because AM is out of the equation.

From there, you can either rush BKB, which will make a huge difference in team fights. Or, get Blink Dagger. With the Blink, you can now solo kill Anti-Mage. Watch this clip:

Even still, there really is no right answer. Every game is different. If you get BKB, you're saying you're going to win the game by joining and winning the next team fights. With the Blink, you're saying you will hunt down AM to death, and he will never get enough farm to play his game. You can even get Solar Crest or Desolator. They're a huge physical damage boost. It's also a way of securing Roshan for your team when you have the map control. I've seen people getting Skadi, Nullifier, Aghs, AC, the list goes on. Play it however the way you wish. Be flexible with your itemization. Prove it yourself that you were right by winning the game.

If the game gets dragged because your team is not coordinated enough to push objectives, be prepared to go super late game. And let's be real, this happens a lot in the lower MMR bracket. They just refuse to push high ground, or they fail it miserably. But you can still win the game by killing Anti-Mage.

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Therefore, the final-late-game-itemization that could solo kill AM should look something like this:

  1. Phase Boots 2. Manta Style 3. Blink Dagger 4. BKB 5. Hex 6. Bloodthorn

You can Hex-initiate AM out of nowhere (Shadow Walk), then cast Bloodthorn, pop your Manta Style, and beat him to death. I can imaigne replacing the Phase Boots with Abyssal Blade for further lock-down. If you don't like Blink Dagger, because you just don't, then it can be Desolator. More damage.

Last but not least, if you're looking for easier, brain-dead solution to win against AM, just pick Night Stalker, Axe, or Tide Hunter.


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