The One-Hand Axe has fallen behind lately and in higher difficulties no longer holds its own with just good armour damage and decent
Three main problems with 1h Axe
It doesn’t kill elites significantly faster than other weapons.
Berserkers and Shields are still tough to grind through with an axe and mixed hordes cannot be stalled with just pushes.
A strong head multiplier can give it the power to quickly pick off medium units.
Horde clear is atrocious
Axe never was intended to be a horde blender but it can still be made useful. A long time ago a skilled player could kill two horde units with double headshots but now needs stat investment to kill a single fanatic.
Improving the damage cleave and second target damage profile would help it kill hordes while keeping stagger control tame
Armour damage is merely ok.
There has been a push to make the axe heavy attack the choice for armoured foes despite other weapons also bringing very similar damage. Elf Sword and Falchion now have heavies matching Axe while keeping the capacity for Horde control.
The Axe Light should be the consistent anti-armour with heavy being a strong alpha damage hitter.