Dota 2, at its core, has always been based and designed around hitting certain in-game timings. From the cheesiest of drafts that involve kicking the opponents’ doors down at 20 minutes in, to the carefully-planned lineups involving super hard carries, making the most out of power spikes and/or holding your opponent back until you can reach critical mass and push for the win have been extremely important considerations for as long as the game has existed.
This is why casters, players, and analysts alike frequently refer to certain drafts and strategies as “greedy”. While some strategies, such as Drow Ranger-based, quintuple ranged hero drafts are a little “dishonest”, greedy drafts on the other hand are those that lean more towards the “traditional” way of playing Dota 2. By this we mean hunkering down in the laning stage to secure early levels, transitioning into the mid game with farming items, then coming out of the mid game with a strong, farmed carry at around the 40 minute mark that will lift its team to victory.
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Of course, this isn’t the only way to secure a win, but historically speaking it’s been the most reliable—especially if the opposing team lacks an answer to cores that are stronger than theirs in the late game. Melee cores, especially, have always had a reputation for being extremely powerful with late game items, and teams that are unable to go toe-to-toe with them just tend to fall behind greatly.
But to get to such a point, melee cores that don’t have built-in flash farming abilities will first have to consider how they will approach the mid game. For some, such as Phantom Assassin and Juggernaut, they can opt to buy mid game-focused carry items like Sange and Yasha or Desolator. Those heroes, and more like Faceless Void, however, have another path available to them: Battle Fury.
In today’s metagame (Patch 7.14), Battle Fury has cemented itself as one of the most efficient farming and pushing items. For 4400 gold and a fairly easy buildup including Perseverance (a great item for sustaining yourself in lane and through the jungle), Battle Fury sacrifices the ability to fight early and often in favor of farm acceleration in the mid game. Heroes that purchase the item basically resign themselves to being pretty useless at any stage of the game before 40 or so minutes, much like what would happen if these very same heroes were to buy a Hand of Midas.
But unlike Midas, Battle Fury is most effective on heroes whose abilities abuse its cleave mechanics (Ember Spirit comes to mind first in this regard), and on heroes with mobility skills that allow them to clear the jungle quickly. Anti-Mage, the one hero that is perhaps most famous for using Battle Fury, is the perfect example of such a hero.
Also, Battle Fury can be kept on a hero’s active inventory even after it outlives its purpose as a mid game farming tool—as opposed to Midas which is usually relegated to backpack status when it’s on cooldown and more important items take priority over the small increase in attack speed that Midas provides on its own. Most importantly, however, Battle Fury is simply better for melee heroes compared to Midas, especially for those that don’t really require accelerating their levels.
But going back to its biggest weakness, there are two ways to mitigate the fact that Battle Fury wielders cannot take mid game skirmishes: either draft around the Battle Fury purchase by picking heroes that can protect the farming carry, or select heroes that can fight even without the presence of their position 1 pick. Otherwise, it is often better to just avoid buying Battle Fury altogether, especially when going up against a team that can exploit the window where your own team is unable to take teamfights.
If you and your teammates are able to delay the game long enough for Battle Fury to work its magic, though, you will be handsomely rewarded. Not only does it help your carry reach his other core items faster, but it also comes in very handy against lineups that rely on summoned/dominated units, hero illusions, and Meepo clones. The item is also fantastic at pushing creep waves, as demonstrated by Anti-Mage players who can cut waves as they spawn out of the base. In that sense, Battle Fury can be used to turn a disadvantage around by ignoring enemy heroes altogether—in what is affectionately called “Rat Dota”.
Furthermore, Battle Fury’s damage properties are actually quite impressive. Cleave in general is boosted by critical hits, which is why it’s such a great item on PA and Juggernaut. Cleave also ignores armor and evasion, which is great for carries that have teammates like Dark Seer, Disruptor, and Enigma. The additional 45 attack damage doesn’t seem like much on paper when compared to more expensive DPS items like Daedalus, Monkey King Bar, and the infamous Divine Rapier, but it’s clear that Battle Fury’s utility extends beyond just being a straight up damage stick.
This item really isn’t going away any time soon. It’s there for the taking should your draft and strategy call for it, and it will take you places if you manage to secure it early (the ideal time is 14 minutes or less). Its usefulness even goes past its primary purpose as a farming tool, thanks to a few other desirable characteristics and its excellent pushing power.
Just make sure to keep in mind that your team will be at a significant disadvantage while you build towards it and use it in order to rack up gold. Its lack of additional attributes (as in, strength, agility, and intelligence) means that whoever is holding it is a bit of a sitting duck in the mid game, and that their team will be weaker due to that hero’s non-presence. Draft and plan accordingly, and the axe might just win you the game.
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