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We just lost two times in a row because of an unstoppable Anti-Mage in the other team.

Both games were very long (50-70 minutes) and even though we paid attention to not feed him or his team nor let him farm too much, in late game he pwned our team at each team fight: Manta Style + Skull Basher + another speed/damage item = gg

Which counter-pick works against Anti-Mage? How can an Anti-Mage be countered in game, and which items works effectively against him late-game?

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dota-2 and dota are two separate games - which did you mean to ask about? –  Raven Dreamer Dec 8 '11 at 1:16
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@RavenDreamer although separate games, DOTA and DOTA2 use exactly the same game system and the same heroes, so i believe question is valid for both. –  Dalshim Dec 8 '11 at 8:46
    
Dota 2 is still in closed beta (very large closed beta, about 15K concurrent players on Steam). If I can ask question about Dota 2 I would remove defense-of-the-ancients tag. –  Drake Dec 8 '11 at 10:27
    
@Dalshim - that's not going to be true forever, though. –  Raven Dreamer Dec 8 '11 at 15:31
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11 Answers

up vote 26 down vote accepted
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The composition of your team is the first line of defense against Anti-Mage. Having a good core of gank-tasked heroes (3+) and ideally, no more than 1 hard carry. With Anti-Mage, like many of the late-game carries (Spectre, Void, Antimage), your game should not fixate on countering him late game, but instead ask what counters Anti-Mage?

Wards, Ganks, and Pressure

You need to shut down these hard late-game carries early. Even allowing the completion of a single core item uninterrupted is a bad sign. Where you listed 3 high tiered items, the momentum for Anti-Mage was likely far out of your control to rein in late game.

So you're looking to gank him frequently. Note that if the enemy team has more than one late-game carry this becomes more difficult for both teams, where your team will need to keep both late-game heroes in check and from the enemy team's side they need to [1] not die, and [2] wait you out. So logically, you need to do the opposite, gank them far more often than you would consider necessary and push down towers.

While "kill them and push towers" is a bit too simple-minded of an approach, the crux of the issue is defined.

The problem is that in execution, as is commonly the case especially on randomly assembled teams, not many players risk leaving their lane, leaving behind their potential farm-able gold, and losing experience roaming from one lane to another.

But what is important here is to reframe the issue, again, and that is a successful gank does not always need to result in a kill. Pushing Anti-Mage out of the lane to hug the tower, deny his gold/experience gain, return to base to heal, or even just added pressure that you guys are coming for him stacks up for an effect in your favor. Understanding that 'yes he has blink' and 'no you probably won't kill him' you are primarily focused on disrupting his acquisition of gold and experience.

Laning against Anti-Mage should involve 2 heroes that can stun or disable, understand when picking a lineup against Void, Anti-Mage, or even Spectre, their escape mechanisms (blink, timewalk, dagger) are going to allow them to get away from most gank attempts. Understanding this, a gank would ideally involve a third hero circling into the lane to stun/disable first (unexpected) and then following up with the 2nd and 3rd from the heroes already in the lane stacking the disable duration for a kill and to prevent the blink out.

Tri-Laning (3 heroes in your lane against Anti-Mage from the start) - is a decent option as well, all 3 heroes need to have a stun, disable, or a decent slow skill for this to be appropriate. You're looking to press hard on the enemy heroes and push through their towers when they linger back. The general idea being heavy pressure and pushing down towers early and getting in the way of the usual progression a carry needs to farm/level.

Heroes

Lion - an excellent ganking hero early game (even before level 6), leveling hex and stun, coupling Lion with any other hero (or two heroes!) is an easy combination for early harassment. Lion should also be looking to incorporate a blink dagger into his build sooner than later, to quickly get the drop for ganks (few people stand around as Lion charges at you) and also in order to keep up with Anti-Mage when possible.

Blink in, hex, wait, wait, stun, wait wait. This is a long time to be disabled. You can blink to chase as well, but the key here is to get in his face before he realizes stuns are incoming so ideally you are blinking in and disabling before he can blink out.

(Rhasta could potentially be an option, though less recommended as his second disable, Shackles, requires him to be in the line of fire and also immobilized for the length of the disable, making it less reliable to get the full duration of shackle time)

Spectre - if you're looking for a late game carry that will stand up to Anti-Mage when a game has gone 50-60+ minutes. The problem here is that you are relying on a number of other factors: [1] that you can out-farm anti-mage, [2] the enemy team allows you to get to late game without too much gank interference, [3] the enemy team does not push through to your barracks before your core items are farmed.

Items

Scythe of Vyse - nothing too surprising on this recommendation, hopefully. Later in the game you're looking for a sheep-stick on one or two heroes to help with a few more Hex casts as Anti-Mage becomes more difficult to kill outright.

Other items - most other items are going to focus on dealing damage, because while mass disables are good, you still need your carry/semi-carries to start taking down his HP (not necessarily with nukes).

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Impressive first answer on the site. Welcome to Gaming.SE. –  Drake Dec 13 '11 at 8:17
    
You ignored Orchid Malevolence, an extremely strong item counter to Anti-Mage. It has a 5 second silence which makes your team deal 20% extra damage. Use it-->focus! You also ignored Ghost Scepter and Euls, both of which can make you invulnerable to attacks when Anti-Mage attempts to focus you. Putting a trilane or double stun lane against him is unnecessary, you just need strong harass heroes such as Warlock or Lich to keep him wary of taking too many last hits, and then have reasonably strong pushing to end the game before he can farm much. Krobelus, Shadow Shaman, Enigma, Furion, Chen, etc. –  Decency Dec 23 '11 at 16:24
    
Other hero counterpicks: Doombringer (10 second single target silence, also disables items), Night Stalker (5-8 second silence at night), Krobelus (AoE Silence, can push), Drow (AoE silence, can kite with frost arrows), and plenty more that have yet to be added to Dota2. –  Decency Dec 23 '11 at 16:28
    
I'd like to add the shadow shaman to the list of counters. Between his hex and shackles he can easily take out opposing AM for a long time in a team battle. –  z - Feb 2 '12 at 18:52
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If you are looking for countering/disabling Antimage (AM) with a particular hero, then I would suggest Bane.

Bane is simply the most underrated support hero, ever!

His skills against AM:

  1. Enfeeble: Reduces over 100 damage. This is a boon early to mid-game. Can't count on this for the late game.
  2. Brain Sap: Not that great against AM. It does decent magic damage, but lets just ignore this because Bane being a support, you wont have too much mana to spam.
  3. Nightmare: If AM blinks in to target some hero (without Black King Bar (BKB)), nightmare can be used to set up a counter gank or help the hero escape. This does some damage, almost negligible.
  4. Fiend's Grip: The reason why Bane is picked! This ability just locks down one target for 5 seconds dealing impressive damage. It goes through BKB, so that helps with late game AM as well. However, identifying the right AM (from his manta illusions is the tough part). This skill helps a ton against almost any late game carry.

Since Bane provides immense lock down, any sane opponent will target him first, either by killing or silencing him. Silence is Bane's bane. Try Bane out, he is an amazing hero for a hard core support who has extreme late game importance.

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there are a couple strategies vs antimage.

The first one, is deny his farm/gank him so he can't get super strong; because, as you have said, with manta and basher he is almost imba. To deal with him, there are a few heroes that are usefull. To lane vs him, strong harass is hardly recomended, so if you wanna carry I recommend you Viper. For an antimage, viper is unmanageable early on, because his damage and range are superior, Viper damage is hard to counter since its half physical, half magical. An other hero that you want to have in your team is furion(prophet in DotA2) as he can teleport to the lane AM is farming and force him to go back, as well as gank him early on.Tinker also can make the deal for the same reason as furi. Powerfull disablers such as bane, rhasta or lion are strong vs him as they can make him useless for a lot of time. Doom Bringer is also an option, but at late, he is not as strong as AM is, and you will lose vs him.

The other one, is beat him in farm/kills, and kill him. In public games, there are some heroes that can deal with antimage easyly. They are often called pubstompers, because his skill set is very powefull vs disorganized teams. Lets take a look at them:

Balanar, the Nightstalker: My favourite one. In dota2 i have 48W-2L with him. His first night is imba. His second one, if u get the right build, is gg. First of all, the game shuldnt take the point of AM having full build. Second, you can kill him the whole game at night, denying a lot of farm. At first night, 1 level of silence should be enough to kill him with a little help. At second night nobody can 1on1 you; and you can see him before he sees you beacause u can see 1000 units futher. Even if the game goes to the 40-50 min mark, 40% miss chance and silence for 9 secs is very usefull vs him. Really powerfull vs am.

Huskar, the sacred warrior. If u go HotD/Satanic, BKB, basher --> he is dead. the biggest problem is until you get basher, you need help so he cant blink out, but you only need a couple of secs to shut him down. At late, you will kill him 70% of the times or he will need to run, because he cant stun you with bkb, and he cant survive 6 secs in front of you. Also, getting early kill with huskar is easier, so you can outfarm him early on.

Ulsaaf, the Ursa warrior: In public, roshan is not warded early on in 80% of the games, so you can do it a lot of times from level 7 on. once you have Vladimirs, blink and basher, he cant survive a combo, and the reaction time of average players is poor compared with the time you need to get a stun. Also you can try Lothars/shadow blade and gank he a lot. If you have a bit more farm than him, you'll outdamage him for sure. You can beat him at all stages of the game if you farm/get kills often.

Void: He is harder carry. It means he will beat you(without help) until really late game, when your skills are superior. 5 seconds disble, multi-stun, and thar broken dodge will make the diference. If you play with a friend, you can try to play with Jakiro, who really improves your mid game, so you can outfarm him.

If you are a hard farmer, alchemist can outfarm him without troubles, and 4 seconds stuned is all the time you need to kill an antimage w ultimate and orochid.

As everybody has said, hex and orochid works really well. For certain heroes blink so you can follow him is important to.

finally, I recommend you Balanar and Ursa. They are imba in public games.

Hope it helps you.

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Well, you must first be careful with him. Prevent him from farming by warding so your team is aware of his ganks. Counter-ward his jungle so his neutral farm ratio becomes lower.

If he is already fed, I recommend you to get sheep-stick, making your tank get a blademail, orchid if you need to deal more damage on him and his blinking gets annoying.

Counters I find useful:

Outworld Devourer: This guy never is at low mana, making antimage ultimate trash vs him. Plus his pure damage goes through his magic shield. This guy is the most common counter for anti-fun.

Doom: Very tanky and by ulting him, he is just doomed. He doesn't have much HP and with no blink, mana burn nor items he is sure as dead.

Bloodseeker: Prevents his blinks by using his ult.

Spirit Breaker: Constantly gank him early and ult if he tries to escape. By using this method early in the game, you will prevent him from getting fed in the first place. He is very weak early as most AGI carries.

Phantom bastard: get this guy. He is bullsh*t in pure state. While antimage is farming, so are you. The difference is that if you both have a full build, you will win. As simple as that. You both get fed but you win because you are pl and the strongest late game of all DoTA. (just watch out for angry earth shaker now)

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Personally, I think the best strategy is to push enemy towers early on. Anti-mage wont be able to do much as long as you keep the pressure on the rest of the team and without tower protection, he won't be able to farm as well as he should. Keeping the pressure on this way helps a lot. If you go with this, then warding/ganking the jungle frequently is a must, or he will just farm of neutral creeps.

For individual picks, I would say go for heroes who disable him or prevent him from blinking out from ganks. Night Stalker is pretty amazing at this with his silence and speed, and works very well ganking AM(or most heroes) in the early game. Doom works as well with his ultimate to prevent AM from blinking away and also disables the passive mana burn from AM. Lycan is an amazing counter to AM because he peaks earlier, high movement speed and very good pusher and less reliant on mana. If you are planning on picking a hard carry for your team, I would say Faceless Void and Spectre work well against him. Beastmaster is also good with his 4 second stun ultimate. Lion is a decent pick, but risky. Obviously picking all the heroes mentioned here in a single game is a very bad, so you will need to pick others to counter AM's team.

As for items, get Guinsoo's Scythe of Vyse for the disable(by your semi-carry/aggressive support). If your team is able to successfully disable AM for a big part of a team fight, your hard carry should be able to finish him off and still have to time remaining to take care of the rest of the team. Another way is to eliminate AM's support leaving him useless(like pretty much any hard carry) but this is risky and is dependent on the composition of the rest of the enemy team. You could end up giving AM a team kill.

I am sure Dota veterans can come up with many more counters to AM, or any hero for that matter, but this is a place to start.

EDIT: Just want to point out that I am not in the Dota 2 beta(though desperately trying to get in) and most of this information is from my time with Dota 1 which should still apply here.

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Lycanthrope has yet to be implemented in the beta, but he is a good suggestion - any tanks/carries that are less mana dependent are good choices to use against him. Omniknight's ultimate, Guardian Angel, provides a temporary 98% physical invulnerability which is extremely useful, especially against someone like AM who relies on physical damage and not damage from skills. A situational item that may also be useful is blademail, which when activated will reflect a large portion of damage back to AM. I agree, however, that the best strategy is to pressure his team and keep him out of the jungle. –  Kotsu Dec 9 '11 at 6:33
    
It's also worth noting that items like ghost staff/force staff are very useful for your support heroes to allow them to survive long enough to provide support and disables against AM late game. Guinsoo is a good pick until he gets Black King Bar and takes out 2-3 support heroes in a team fight. –  Bringer128 Dec 13 '11 at 3:33
    
Omniknight's ultimate is 99% in DotA and a full 100%=immunity in Dota2. –  Decency Dec 23 '11 at 16:25
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The most effective counterpicks are not in the game yet. With traditional carries you can simply get a lot of nuke damage and focus them down quickly, but this obviously doesn't work as well against Anti-Mage since he has an innate magic resistance ability.

The counter then is to use disables with proper coordination to gank him successfully. Items like Orchid Malevolence and Scythe of Vice are by far the most important as they give you time to kill him quickly. In teamfights, items like Eul's Scepter or Ghost Scepter can also be super important because you can force Magebane, a melee hero, to choose a new target or waste time.

Other than that, try to pick heroes who have stuns, grips, or silences rather than heroes with slows: Anti-Mage's blink is a very powerful escape mechanism. Any hero with a silence and physical damage is also a good choice, the newly ported Krobelus is a great example (although you have to be careful about spending your mana). In the future, look for ports of Obsidian Destroyer, Tuskarr, and others to deal with him effectively.

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Get Tinker in your team, once he has farmed Scythe he can permasheep Anti-mage due to his ulti. Getting Scythe on Tinker isn't too hard since you will probably get Boots of Travel and just farm.

This is a very good way to shut anti-mage down in mid and late game. Also Tinker has his Lazer ability which I think goes through Black King Bar (BKB). This deals about 325 damage and makes him miss every attack during the following three seconds!

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When Tinker gets Scythe, Anti-Mage got already his two core items and is not easy to kill. –  yene Apr 5 '12 at 13:29
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Most of the solutions has been spoken .But I want to add Tauren/Elder Titan in it, mostly anti mage's armor comes from agi gain and his passive completely ignores all of his high armor, making a short work for your carry to kill it instantly when he got disabled, furthermore this passive reduces his magic resistance, not eraslly a bid deal but It gives another option that magic can harm him as well.Unless anti mage is thinking of getting an assault I don't really think he can stay still as long as the passive debuff is still applied on him even with heart

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Most of your plans detailed above have no chance against an anti-mage.

Basically, destroying the carry is the best way to counter any late-game hero.

The counter to the anti-mage (imo):

  1. Bloodseeker, his abilities Rupture and Anti prevent Blink.
  2. Naga. If the enemy team lacks AoE spells, then she is best counter to the anti-mage.
  3. Eradar, he gets 2 mp burning Predators and deals x2 burning damage to mana. Late-game however, he is completely useless.

In pubs, stopping heroes are really hard.

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2 obvious unmentioned choices are doom, cos, well doom, his mana burn doesn't work his blink doesn't and he has no ult assuming equal farm ofc. and riki cloud and diffusal blade purge and basher/abysmal. means am taking double damage backstabbed silenced/stunned and even if he survives till end of smoke no mana to blink away. both assuming equal farm and initiation of course.

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When answering in future it might be helpful to use proper capitalisation and grammar - you can always edit your answer –  Rory Mar 9 at 18:50
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There is one answer to Anit-mage. If he blinks, you blink too. If he blinks twice, you refresher orb your blink dagger and blink twice. If he blinks more than that, just be Queen of Pain so you can blink at the same rate as Anti-mage. There is one more option, however, and that is to pick Anti-mage first and behold the power to troll anyone and anything and blink your way to an unsurpassed victory.

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