Juggernaut is one the most flexible carries in DotA 2. As a result, everyone has their own unique way of playing Juggernaut. As such, I believe it is only fitting if I write this guide in a manner befitting of Juggernaut’s flexibility.
To do so, I will not be using the regular format outlining standard builds. Juggernaut is simply too flexible to ever have a standard build, and rarely will one game be built exactly like another.
Instead, I’ll be breaking down the logic behind what Juggernaut wants to achieve, and how best to do achieve it, given the myriad of different situations you’ll find yourself in.
- Targets: Enemy Units
- Damage: 80/100/120/140 per second
- Duration: 5 seconds
- Effects: Magic Immunity
- AoE: 250
- Mana: 110
- Cooldown: 30/28/26/24
Blade Fury renders Juggernaut immune to magic, while he deals damage per second in a 250 AoE around him. He can move around and cast items while using Blade Fury. One of the most common tricks with this spell, is to cast it, then activate a Teleportation Scroll.
Using this strategy, you can escape some pretty ridiculous gank attempts from the enemy team. Since you’re magic immune, very few things can cancel your Teleportation Scroll. Because this spell does a massive amount of damage, you’ll be focusing on having superior movement speed than your opponents.
- Targets: Allied units, self
- Effects: Heals 2/3/4/5% max health per second.
- Duration: 25 seconds
- AoE: 500
- Mana: 80/100/120/140
- Cooldown: 60
- Cast Range: 350
The Healing Ward can move, and has 300 move speed
- Targets: Enemy units
- Effects: 15/20/25/35% chance to do double damage on auto attacks.
- Targets: Enemy Units
- Cast Range: 450
- Damage: 175-250 physical damage per slash
- Effects: 3(6)/6(9)/9(12) slashes
- Cooldown: 130(110)/120(100)/110(90)
- Mana: 200/275/350
Omnislash is easily the most mechanically obscure ability in DotA. The first slash has a mini-stun component to it, breaking channeling effects, but each slash afterwards, doesn’t have this effect. While slashing, Juggernaut is invulnerable, and can’t be targeted. If your attack speed is fast enough, you can even auto attack in between your slashes.
There’s also an element of randomness to Omnislash. After every slash, there’s a random chance that you’ll stay on your target, or jump to another target, within 450 range. The numbers in parenthesis shows the effects of buying an Aghanim’s Scepter.
General Game Theory
Juggernaut is, in my opinion, the most aggressive laner in the game. Not because he’s particularly suited for it, but because his base damage is so low, and his spell power is so high, that he’s forced to dominate the lane through pure aggression and fear tactics, so that he may get last hits in.
Sporting a 44-48 base damage at level 1, Juggernaut will simply lose to any other hero in the game, in a passive last hitting match.
There’s simply no point in trying to play that game with Juggernaut. Instead, Juggernaut has Blade Fury, the most powerful spell in the laning phase of the game. To utilize Blade Fury, there is but one requirement – having superior move speed, to that of your opponents.
With this goal in mind, it is obvious that the only real option for starting items, is grabbing boots, and health regeneration of your choosing. No amount of stat boosting, will ever get Juggernaut into a competitive state of last hitting.
You’ll always be behind, and will have wasted gold doing so. It is, however, very easy to last hit, when your opponents are either dead, running back to base, or too scared to get inside last hitting range.
This is why it’s almost essential to lane with someone who can either disable (preferred), or put out lots of damage. With the boots first starting set up, it’s best to go for first blood, so you should call for the short lane so that you can hide in a place that obscures vision.
This is where things get complicated. Your choices here will define your Juggernaut for the rest of the game.
Orb of Venom – This is one of the most underrated and underused items in the game. For 350 gold, this item almost nullifies the movement gains of basic boots.
If your opponents pick up an early pair of boots to try and counter you, this item can help you reclaim your movement speed dominance. I always pick this up at some point in time when I play Juggernaut.
Phase Boots – If you’re established complete lane dominance, and can free farm without taking any damage, then this is the item to rush. Generally, in such a situation, your opponents will be very, very far back, so getting into range to kill them will be your biggest obstacle.
This is where the activatable aspect of the Phase Boots come in. Note that, when you cast Blade Fury, it will remove the move speed bonus of Phase Boots buff. However, you can activate Phase Boots after you’ve casted Blade Fury, and you will still get the buff.
Soul Ring – The item simply completes Juggernaut on so many levels. For one, it’s got a great build up that’s all at the side shop which fills in for the regen you didn’t get at the start of the game. Once you complete this extremely inexpensive item, it opens up so many paths.
This single item basically “gives” you two skill points early game. Juggernaut has the misfortune of not having enough intelligence gain to keep up with his abilities.
At level six, he does not have enough mana to cast both Blade Fury and Omnislash. While most players remedy this by putting two of their skill points into attribute points, Soul Ring allows you to either put early points into Blade Dance, or become a walking fountain by putting points into Healing Ward.
You can even get away with putting just one point into Healing Ward and the extra spare point into Blade Dance.
With Soul Ring, your early and mid game performance simply explodes. You can farm creep waves and jungles every 30 seconds, by activating Soul Ring, and then casting Blade Fury. Giving you plenty of spare mana to spend on using Healing Ward.
Or, you can even cast Soul Ring when you’re in a safe position and low on life, to heal you back to full HP in just a few seconds.
The amount of gold and experience points you accumulate simply by never having to leave the battlefield puts you into a position to very easily snowball out of a control, which is something Juggernaut requires to keep his presence known all game.
It also keeps him in a position to be, well, in position to gank whenever an opportunity presents itself.
Health and Clarity Potions – Don’t be afraid to liberally purchase these. You’ll most likely need to use the courier a lot during the laning phase. Don’t ever let yourself get into a passive mode with Juggernaut, use these to keep you going in as aggressive manner as you can manage.
Ring of Health – I hate to even mention this, as buying the Ring of Health is almost an oxymoron. If you’re doing so well , that you can afford to spend money on this, over a Soul Ring (which costs less) then you almost have no need for it.
However, if you’re going for an early Ring of Health, it means you’re going for the old school Battlefury Juggernaut build, so don’t forget to put two skill points into attributes.
Post Laning Phase Items
Yasha – I’ve found myself using this item more and more lately. Combined with Phase Boots and Orb of Venom, you’ll have complete dominance in the move speed department.
Allowing you to chase down and kill opponents you may have had to previously use your Omnislash on, to finish. Speaking of Omnislash, this item gives you a hefty boost to your attack speed, enabling you to get in even more extra auto attacks, not to mention, they’ll be hitting harder, too.
This is generally a win-more item, that really excels when your team is doing relatively well, and you need to establish map wide dominance, not just lane dominance.
Aghanim’s Scepter – With the recent buffs to Juggernaut, this item has become the single biggest boost to his performance that you can buy. Not only does this give Juggernaut a bunch of well rounded boosts to his stats, beefing him up, it also heavily reduces the cooldown on his Ultimate.
Omnislash is Juggernaut’s team fight presence. It guarantees that he gets to deal damage, by making him invulnerable.
The more slashes he has, the longer he’s invulnerable, and the longer he’s invulnerable, the more chances he has of getting in extra auto attacks. Which can easily double his total Omnislash damage late game.
Battlefury -If you bought a Ring of Health, or didn’t buy a Soul Ring, Battlefury can be a great choice. With a Battlefury, you can quickly farm up an Aghanim’s Scepter, while simultaneously giving a unique property to your Omnislash. While the actual slashes won’t splash, your extra auto attacks will.
In many situations, it’s bad to have Omnislash hitting more than one, or two heroes at a time. With Battlefury, it generally won’t matter, because your auto attacks will be cleaving in between the slashes, picking up kills, anyways.
Orchid Malevolence – This item is, unfortunately, something you’ll have to pick up a lot when people try to counter pick Juggernaut.
There are a lot of ways to escape both Blade Fury, and Omnislash, but Orchid Malevolence counters almost every method. Most of these escapes are blinks, but Pugna’s Decrepify is a special offender (be sure to silence Pugna, before he casts it).
End Game Items
Refresher Orb – Following the same logic for purchasing Aghanim’s Scepter, the Refresher Orb is not to be mocked or laughed at. Being invulnerable for the span of 24 slashes, will net you an insane amount of unavoidable, extra auto attacks that no other carry can consistently get in.
At the very least, this makes your team fight a 3v5. It’s not uncommon to simply wipe an entire team within 24 slashes.
Butterfly – A great way to increase your DPS come late game.
Closing Comments – Juggernaut is one of the few heroes that has the tools to overcome his own short comings. Through smart purchases of low costing, easy to obtain items, you can easily spiral out of control and dominate a game as Juggernaut.
He’s also the most enjoyable carry hero, because he has the early game of a hard hitting caster, the mid game of an efficient ganker, and the late game of a carry. Instead of farming creeps, Juggernaut farms heroes. Which is much more enjoyable, anyways.