The Axe Snowball Healing Push is a Dota 2 tactic for teams with good communication.
It’s hard to execute but if done well, it guarantees super high win percentages to boost MMR and win Dota 2 tournaments and cups!
|Party Size:||5 Players|
1. Goal of the Axe Snowball Healing Push Tactic
The goal of the Dota 2 tactic called “Axe Snowball Healing Push” is to siege the enemy lanes and break trough the baracks with the head trough the wall! It’s not recommended for beginners or new players, but for advanced players.
Axe stands in the front and 4 allies support, buff and heal him. For this, all 5 players gather on a lane at the 12-minute mark and push as if there would be no tomorrow. The tactic is cheesy, hard to play and ridiculously effective.
2. Heroes and Items
The main heroes for this tactic are the following five, under point 6. you will find variations of heroes to add more flexibility!
The hero that is set is Axe, you can still try other tanks it’s up to you, but Axe allows to slow down enemies and to rush in and take the aggro by calling enemy heroes!
Furthermore his ultimate easily finishes low hp enemies and it leads to even more speed and a better push. Play Axe like Ceb and make game-chaning calls! 😀
The next two heroes are strong healers: Omniknight and Dazzle! Omni can just heal hp or protect Axe from spells and if the enemy team wants to break trough to catch the supports, Omnis ultimate “Guardian Angel” protects you from any incoming physical damage. Dazzle also has a healing wave, from which all teammates can profit. Dazzle can slow down enemies on a high range and protect Axe before he dies with his grave.
Moreover Dazzle’s ultimate “Bad Juju” is extremely helpful for this tactic, because it passively reduces all of your cooldowns, while decreasing the armor of the enemy team at the same time. This spell alone increases the effectivness of the whole tactic by 20%. Don’t skip Dazzle. 😉
Darkseer and Rubick can add some strong damage to the team:
Ion Shell on Axe is just unbeatable, you can also easily speed Axe up to maximum ms and if he can’t reach the enemy, vacuum helps to catch 1,2 or even more enemies into the “Berserkers Call” of Axe! Super powerful! 😉
Rubick’s presence is nothing I need to underline, he’s just incredibly strong. With his “Telekinesis” he can pickup single enemy heroes and put them in front of Axe, to enable a simple call and a simple lockdown. Rubick’s Fade Bolt makes high damage and his passive magic improvement spell “Arcane Supremacy” makes it even stronger. Finally, Rubick’s Ulti can give this team super useful flexibility if the enemies have game-changing spells!
Try to act as normal as possible, the enemies will realize that you have no late-game heroes and understand that they need to survive the early. Even if they have a strong lineup, stay confident, don’t die and do your thing. Move to the lanes, like in every other game and get your items. With these heroes you have a high potential to win all three lanes in the early game, but you should be at least even.
Midlane: Rubick can take mid, he gets quick levels, it’s easy to farm for him and with a high-level Rubick you can do tons of damage.
Safelane: Axe can go bottom, together with Darkseer or Dazzle. Axe needs levels so the dual laner should stay out of range, stack the creeps and keep the enemy offlaner away, later on, he can buy a tome of XP.
Offlane: Omni and Dazzle or Darkseer take the offlane: Omniknight has great sustain, he should be able to get good creeps, and with dazzle behind him, the double heal makes a difference!
Now comes the interesting part: The item choice!
The key element of this tactic is the Mana Boots spam.
Do you know what’s great about Mana Boots? 😀
While Axe rushes Phase Boots and his Vanguard, all of the 4 other heroes get Mana Boots first. Everyone needs to commit to the push time at the 12-minute mark, in the end, you should have at least Mana Boots, but of course, more items are better.
Also everyone should get a Magic Wand, the reason for this is that if you stack up with 5 people, the enemy has to stack up 5 people somehow as well and a lot of spells will be made! Magic Wand stacks as well, everyone will get charges! 😉
Single Slots for Axe:
- Phase Boots
- Magic Wand
- Cloak (15% magic resistance) or a Hood of Defiance (25%)
- Blade Mail can be an option, but not recommended, many players in Dota 2, do not want to focus enmies with a blademail. But your Axe wants focus. Test around! 😉
- Lategame items: If you can not reach the enemies enough to end the game, get a Dagger. But in a normal case just add more sustain, add a Black King Bar, Heart of Tarrasque or Plate Mail.
Aura Items for the Push:
- What you need is a Mekansm (or later Guardian Greaves) to have a permanent regeneration bonus and armor bonus. Guardian Greaves also has the not-dying effect if you fall below 20%, which is the perfect synergy for this tactic. Great on Omniknight, Dazzle or Darkseer.
- Vladmir’s Aura is great for pushing: It grants a mana regeneration aura (75 mana in one minute), bonus armor and lifesteal, which makes Axe and the melee creeps stronger. A melee hero like Darkseer or Omniknight should get the Vlad! 😉
- Urne or Spirit Vessel is an extremely good support item: Due to the clash that you are provoking, kills will be made. An offensive Urne spell does 200 damage, that can make a difference – the Spirit Vessel does even more damage. Urne charges do not stack, so get only one in the team, Rubick or Dazzle can get the Urne.
- If the enemies have a decent early line-up with a lot of magic damage, think about a Pipe of Insight: If activated the shield blocks 400 magic damage, this can be game-changing. Also, the magic immunity aura of 10% is priceless, plus the small regeneration bonus. Darkseer or Omni can get the Pipe.
- Axe can upgrade his Vanguard in the mid-game to a Crimson Guard, to support his allies. The active Guard blocks 60 damage on all allies.
Next Item Goals for all Supports:
One great addon is the Necronomicon! The tactic reaches its climax if all 4 supports manage to get a Necronomicon Level 3! If you start a push and rush in with 8 extra creeps, which make tons of damage, have true sight, mana burn and magic immunity (on the melee creep) then you have a nice push. You can run down enemies and also towers and buildings!
Of course the enemy can farm them out or purge them, but make the life of the enemy hard, catch them with Rubick and get every single enemy down who tries to farm your Necro minions! 😉
The downside of this item is the high price. Decide in each game if you can reach it or not, if you experience early dominance and a good gold income trough towers, invest it into a Necronomicon, but if not, choose one of the cheaper single slots below. 😉
Situational Single Slots for the Supports:
- Force Staff: Number one choice, it gives you extra mana, intelligence, and health regeneration – the active spell is just a game-decider. You can force in enemies or force out Axe if he is having problems.
- Glimmer Cape: Can be an option on Rubick or Dazzle to save Axe and give him magic resistance in the fight.
- Medallion of Courage/Solar Crest: Give Axe a bit more armor and ms or reduce it on the enemy. Top item for this tactic!
- Veil of Discord: Perfect for Dazzle or Darkseer! Use a vacuum and hit Veil, simple execution. It will ruin the life of your enemies! 😉 Veil will add 20% more magic damage for incredible 16 seconds.
- Lotus Orb: Not at all the best choice, but with too much gold in the team add a Lotus Orb to apply an extra spell shield on Axe.
The support heroes should get Mana Boots + Magic Wand.
Afterward, the better-farmed Position 2,3 and maybe 4, should try to reach the first aura items fast (Mekka, Urne, Vlad) or situational top items (Force Staff/Medaillon of Courage). Afterward, all 4 supports should rush Necronomicons.
3. The Gameplan
The party can start now! 😀 Jump onto your lanes and get the items mentioned above. The lanes are winnable, play a good match, don’t get any unnecessary death counts. You don’t have to be aggressive early, stay calm and get your Mana Boots! 😉
While Rubick can have a peaceful time on the mid lane, position 5 (Dazzle or Omni) should ward a bit and keep the back of Axe on the safe lane. The position 5 needs to pressure a bit, to get warding dominance in the jungle, destroy the enemy offensive wards and stack up creep spots for Axe.
Axe needs to be played good, the player should have a bit offensive Axe experience! 😉 After your starting items and a Stout Shield, rush Phase Boots and a Ring of Health. Get every single creep last hit and finish your Vanguard as fast as possible.
If you have it, the party train can start asap! 😉
This is pure fun. The execution might not work on the first try, but with a bit of train and communication, this will automatically bring you into Dota 2 heaven! It’s addictive because it can break the morale of the most enemy teams.
On which Lane should you push?
There is not the “one best solution” for everyone – It’s just important to decide one specific lane and to focus on that, nothing else.
I recommend to start with the safelane, it has good backup positions and you can do great warding before the push. It’s also a great decision, because Axe is already there, who has the worst mobility without a Dagger.
The First Engagement:
When the “LET’S GO” has been called, everyone needs to join the pushing lane as fast as possible! 😀 It’s essential to find the right timing: To make the perfect engagement, the key players need to join secretly.
Tip: Before teleporting or moving over, push out the lane and move back to an area where the enemy on your lane can’t see you, but won’t report a miss (because it was just seconds ago, that he saw you, and now you are in the shadow). This is the perfect time to teleport to the pushing lane or use a smoke to move over. Act fast!
The key heroes for the perfect engagement are those who can guarantee the first kill! These are Rubick, Darkseer and Axe.
These three heroes can do incredible damage: Darkseer’s Ion Shell and Speed up on Axe easily catches the enemy hero, and afterward, Rubick can raise him up and place him again, while hitting him with a Bolt. If the enemy is still not dead, Darkseer could also use his vacuum and Axe’s ultimate will finish him.
But because of the high damage, do not spam out everything: If you finish an enemy with Axe’s ultimate, you all get a speed boost – with Rubick’s Telekinesis the second enemy could be caught, it would help to kill the first enemy without it. 😉
Afterward, come back to full power in a short time: With 4 Mana Boots, good regeneration and healing spells, you will be up again in seconds.
The First Two Towers are Easy:
Axe, Dazzle, and Rubick can hit down the tower together with Creeps, you can also protect your creeps with healing. Push back the enemy and do not let them come near, whenever they engage, react fast and take one enemy down together: Focus the same target, whatever will happen! Even if you lose a support, do not let Axe die, otherwise you lose a lot of time. 😉
Break the Rax:
Simply get those two rax and whenever there is any risk: Move back heal up in seconds and push in again!
The other lanes might lose towers, but that’s okay. Especially if some of the enemy heroes stay on other lanes, then push harder and faster! Get single enemies down and show strong presence and aggressiveness – do not let them come near.
Make pressure, until both barracks are down!
Invest the Gold you got from the Push:
Wiping out a full lane will guarantee a lot of gold for your team, invest this gold into the most important items. Against every enemy team, this can be different. Be smart and check early, what the biggest strength of the enemy could be – and counter it with items. And you know: If it’s possible to get 4x Necronomicons, it will overrun the next lane! 😉
Break the second lane:
When the first lane is down, just heal up mana and hp and move to the next lane, this can be for example the offlane. If you push here, the super creeps will push into the safe lane, and it will be hard for the opponent to keep the creeps out. This gives you an extra advantage, whenever they are splitting, you have the possibility to engage!
Group up and pressure like before, until the next barracks is down, this will simply end the game!
4. Most Important Aspects to win the Match
- Mistakes will get punished hard, you need a well organized team. Keep the moral up, only play with friends/clan mates who commit to play this until the end.
- One needs to be the captain, telling everyone what do to.
- Ignore it if the other lanes lose a tower, its not important. Don’t ever tp there. 😉
- Good positioning is essential: Dont lose support heroes, Axe needs to protect them. And of course don’t let Axe die, he is the key hero in this matchup.
- Rubick’s ulti can add flexibility and steal spells that are useful for your team.
5. Item and Hero Variations:
Any Hero that is not super easy to kill, has sustain, can heal Axe or prevent Axe from dying, has a ranged attack if possible, builds a good synergy with Axe. 😉
Here are some examples, that could replace any of the 4 supports: Io, Phoenix, Abaddon, Undying, Ench, Chen, Oracle, Witch Doctor, Pugna, Visage, Winter Wyvern. Also check the Dota 2 hero combo page to find great synergies.
If you want to replace Axe, try Legion Commander or Dragon Knight, but I do not recommend that.
- Ban Pudge, he can catch single supports and end everything fast.
- High ranged heroes like Sniper can be evil.
- Pugna with his mana burn, will make hard damage to your team. Ban him if possible.
7. Conclusion & Win Rate
When it comes to the win percentage of this tactic it’s superclear: If you play it right its a simple win. It’s snowballing: Extreme pressure is made and only one team can go out as a winner, it is like squeezing out a decision early.
With a well organized (clanwar-) team and a captain that knows this tactic by heart, you will stomp any enemy team. A win percentage of 8 out of 10 can be easily reached (80% winrate).
The downside is, that it’s quite hard to group up with 5 people who commit to such a tactic, if one is not doing what he should, the tactic is just useless. Sometimes things are not working out and enemies can defend the push too easily – then some teammates give up fast. But if they keep it up, you will run down the lane – every time.
These matchups are of course stronger if the enemy picks late-game heroes. The Axe Healing Push Tactic is extremely effective against late-game line ups like Anti Mage, Medusa or Spectre or any other hero that needs time to get online.
How do you like this tactic? Any feedback or suggestions?