A Comprehensive Guide to Juggernaut for Smart Players
July 8, 2014
First and foremost, Juggernaut is a carry, but that doesn't mean his build isn't versatile.
Whenever I play Juggernaut in pubs there are 2 builds that I tend to follow, and a third that I am pretty sure will work, but have never tried.
This guide assumes that you already have a basic grasp of the hero and (pretty much) understand how all of his skills work. His kit is simple enough that if you understand how they work, that is sufficient to play the hero and there is no need for me to go over them in detail. If you don't know anything about this hero, or Dota for that matter, go do your homework and come back, or find a guide that explains him if you really need one. This guide will focus solely on Juggernaut's item and skill builds. In terms of difficulty, I think Juggernaut lies around the easy to medium skill level to play successfully, which makes him fairly accessible to new players, as well as a solid choice for veterans of the game.
Although this is not a guide for complete beginners, I will have separate sections focusing on each build and how I believe they should be played, and some of the things I will mention in regards to strategy and item choices may seem like basic knowledge to experienced players. These are my OPINIONS and you can choose to listen to them or ignore them. It matters not to me. If you're just here for the items and skill builds, that's fine too. If you read this guide and think I'm a total ******* who doesn't know how to play Juggernaut, I would greatly appreciate your feedback and constructive criticism.
So let's begin...
Build 1: Standard Battlefury
This is labeled as the standard build because it is probably the safest and most conventional build that focuses on high damage output through building agility and damage. It is essentially Juggernaut
as a hard carry. While it's not quite as popular as the Aghanim's Scepter
build at the moment, if you're good at hitting creeps and building damage, this will suit you just fine.
Starting Items/Early Game
All you need for lane are Tango
s and Healing Salve
s for regen and a Stout Shield
to protect yourself from those pesky enemy supports trying to harass you with autoattacks.
The Iron Branches are for stats that you can either choose to sell or turn into a Magic Wand
later on if you want. It's good on every hero. If you randomed you can consider either first picking up a Quelling Blade
to help last hit or a Poor Man's Shield
, which you will eventually build from the Stout Shield
No surprises here, simply acquire Boots of Speed
and upgrade your Stout Shield
into a Poor Man's Shield
. The Ring of Health
will give you lane sustain as well as build into your Battle Fury
which will be your first major item.
Side Note: This build (up to the cores) is almost exactly the same as the standard Anti-Mage build, in case you were wondering if it looked familiar.
During this stage of the game you will most likely be situated at your side's safe lane, so your job is to spend your time farming away to the best of your ability. If your lane partner has a reliable slow/stun/disable, don't be afraid to casually attempt a first blood by using Blade Fury
. New players often underestimate how much damage this skill does, as long as you use it correctly. When chasing a hero while using this skill, DO NOT right click the hero, but rather click ahead of the fleeing hero to ensure they stay within the range of Blade Fury
. If you can get Boots of Speed
before your lane opponents, you can easily get a kill with the speed advantage. Don't use Blade Fury
for any other reason other than attempting a kill, as its mana cost does not permit spamming this ability. The skill build I laid out shows that priority should be given to Blade Fury
and Stats, but an early level in Blade Dance
or Healing Ward
is perfectly acceptable if you feel you need either skill. Just keep in mind that an early level in Blade Dance
can potentially mess up your last hits.
Core Items/Mid Game
is the obvious and more preferred choice for me, as it grants attack speed and versatility in stats, but Phase Boots
are also an acceptable choice.
Once you've acquired a Battle Fury
you have the freedom to vary your item build, now that you should be able to farm efficiently. You can even rush Battle Fury
before upgrading your Boots of Speed
to Power Treads
, but it's not necessary, and I prefer Treads first anyways. Although I have listed Yasha
as a core item after Battle Fury
this is not mandatory, but it is my preferred item choice. It gives Juggernaut
what he needs to succeed, attack speed and agility, as well as a nice movement speed bonus that helps with farming the jungle and mobility in general. If you do choose the Yasha
path, then Manta Style
is the natural follow up item choice, but it is also completely viable to ignore Yasha
and proceed to farm a Butterfly
after Battle Fury
With a Battle Fury
you will have developed some damage, which means joining in teamfights is a possibility, but farming is still your top priority. If it is convenient, you may participate in a fight, but I would advise holding off on that until you have at least one other major item besides Battle Fury
. This is why I prefer getting Yasha
as my next item, because it is relatively cheap compared to other major items, and it gives Juggernaut
enough damage and attack speed to contribute to fights other than Omnislash
After Battle Fury
you should acquire either a Butterfly
or Manta Style
depending on what you choose. After Yasha
(if you chose to get that), you can skip Manta Style
and go straight for Butterfly
, as it is much more important and turns you into much more of a threat. Once that's finished, if you really want to you can farm an Aghanim's Scepter
, but building agility and attack speed is top priority, so only consider the scepter if you think it will make a late game impact. Otherwise, I would say it's not worth it.
With the attack speed and damage from Butterfly
is a solid option if you want to build even more damage, especially if you aim to be the highest source of physical damage on your team.
is also a solid option for even more attack speed and is a sound choice when facing off against a lot of physical damage.
Despite the free magic immunity from Blade Fury
, most carries still require magic immunity when dishing out damage during teamfights, so Black King Bar
is the logical way to go. If you're in dire need of this, it's acceptable to build Black King Bar
right after Battle Fury
will give you a hefty strength boost on top of the evasion and armor gained from Butterfly
, which fixes the weakness in Juggernaut
's below average strength. And of course, the 175% lifesteal is nice too.
Sange and Yasha
is an acceptable choice if you're behind schedule in terms of farming. Perhaps in the case where you've gotten your Battle Fury
a bit later than you should have, Sange and Yasha
is a fine item in this scenario. Though I think it's not that great of an item, it still makes Juggernaut
into a formidable solo opponent, especially with the slow and extra strength from Sange
Build 2: Aghanim's Scepter
If you're like me and most people, this is typically the build you'll follow in pubs because pressing R and watching Juggernaut
mercilessly slash away at his foes is quite satisfying, and at the same time frustrating for the enemy team. This is also the preferred build because it allows Juggernaut
to contribute to teamfights much sooner than the classic farming carry build. This also provides a significant boost to his solo killing potential, allowing him to snowball with ease. This build forgoes the early farming and damage in favor of developing stats, which is the other advantage of an Aghanim's Scepter
, or that it's ultimate upgrade. And most importantly, Omnislash
is just a damn good skill and if you don't think that's the tightest **** you can get out of my face.
Starting Items/Early Game
If you read the first guide, you'll notice that these starting look exactly the same as before, and that's because they are. So for an explanation of these choices, refer to Build 1
After the essential Boots of Speed
pickup, you'll want to acquire a Bracer
and Poor Man's Shield
in no particular order. The Bracer
will build into Drum of Endurance
for your core, and it provides some extra strength.
There is not much else to explain in terms of laning at this stage of the game, as it is virtually the same as the strategy I laid out in The Standard Build
. Since your top priority is still farming, your strategy will be the same, with the only difference being that you're farming different cores.
Core Items/Mid Game
Once again, Power Treads
and a Drum of Endurance
will provide the stats and attack speed you'll need, and Aghanim's Scepter
will make Omnislash
more powerful than it even needs to be, while adding on even more stats to make up for Juggernaut
's below average stats.
At this point in the game, it is safe to roam with your team rather than farming. An upgraded Omnislash
has extremely high solo kill potential, and catching someone out of position or farming in the jungle is usually instant death, as there is little one can do against Omnislash
. Since Aghanim's Scepter
also decreases Omnislash
's cooldown, you won't have that much down time between uses, which allows you to continue pushing your advantage gained from pick offs or your strong team fight. It is still perfectly acceptable to farm more items, as you will eventually need to transition into a late game carry, but Aghanim's Scepter
to be a much more formidable threat in the mid stage of the game, so it's important to take advantage of that when you can.
Personally, I almost always go Butterfly
after I farm my cores because it is the fastest way to transition into a late-game carry.
, Black King Bar
are still strong contenders depending on the situation, whether it calls for magic immunity or damage.
Sange and Yasha
is another option if you wish to just go for cheap stats and some damage, but I don't like this personally.
If You're Feeling Cheeky
Following the theme of building stats on stats, Eye of Skadi
is an unconventional yet solid choice in my opinion, as it still gives your right clicks a good amount of power behind them. The only downside to this item is that it's expensive, and if more likely than not you'll have to choose between this or a Butterfly
since both items are expensive and you have no way of farming quickly with a Battlefury.
As with most upgraded ultimates, Refresher Orb
is indeed a possibility if you ever feel the need to Omnislash
twice. Though I don't know if this is even necessary as I've never tried building one on Juggernaut
. Against especially tough enemies, this is yet another method of dealing with them. It still has its weaknesses in that a Refresher Orb
is also very expensive and you may not have enough mana to refresher+ult unless you're very high in levels.
If you're a fan of surprising your enemies with an Omnislash
or Blade Fury
, Blink Dagger
is the perfect way to accomplish this. Perhaps in the case where your team lacks initiation, I think this item is completely viable as it gives you the option to initiate fights.
Build 3: Early Push
I've listed this last because this is a highly experimental build. I've never tried this before, but I think Juggernaut is perfectly capable of pulling off an early push given his skill set. While not as strong as the first two, this trades strength for early tower advantages, so this build would be best suited for a strategy that synergizes with it.
Starting Items/Early Game
Standard regen followed by two Clarity potions will give you enough health and mana to begin the push. We will ignore the Iron Branches this time and instead purchase a Circlet which will build into a Wraith Band which then builds into a Ring of Aquila. Though you will not quite be able to begin the push quite yet, you should have enough sustain to at least keep the wave pushed closer to the enemy tower.
Among these three items I would rank Boots of Speed at the lowest priority simply because you don't really need it to push. Soul Ring definitely gathers the highest priority because it allows you to reliably use Blade Fury and Healing Ward, which are the key components for a push. Ring of Aquila provides more mana regen and armor, and it's aura will also push the wave by making your creeps slightly stronger.
As the build states, in the early game your goal is to take a tier 1 before your enemy has time to do anything about it. Blade Fury in combination with Healing Ward will quickly clear waves and keep you and your creeps healthy, allowing the wave to constantly push. This is why we are maxing both of those skills first, instead of the typical Blade Fury + Stats build. Just keep in mind not to feed the Healing Ward when pushing, since it is essential to the success of the push. I have not figured out an exact timing, but I estimate you should have at least taken one tier 1 tower before the 12 min mark, or even earlier.
Core Items/Mid Game
At this point you should either be split pushing other lanes, or just constantly pushing the lane you began with. I think Phase Boots are the proper choice since you're not in need of Power Treads in this situation. Phase Boots offer more right click power as well as somewhat of an escape when pushing deep into enemy territory. Arcane Boots would also be acceptable but Soul Ring along with Drum of Endurance should cover your mana regen. Finally, a Maelstrom will mark the beginning of your transition into the late game with attack speed and damage. The lighting procs from Maelstrom are also perfect for pushing out waves as an added bonus.
Mjollnir should be the obvious choice since you've already built a Maelstrom, and from there you have many options that ultimately depend on the situation. Since this is an early push strat, however you play in the mid to late game is entirely up to you. If you've played correctly, you should have map control for the majority of the game, and that was the ultimate goal. What you build now is entirely up to you, but here are my suggestions.
Assault Cuirass will give you some ludicrous attack speed on top of [[Mjollnir], and the aura it grants to your allied units, (especially creeps), are invaluable to pushing.
Butterfly is always a solid option just for the sake of being an agility carry, so it really speaks for itself.
Vladmir's Offering is another great pushing tool and is a solid pick up especially if you have melee heroes on your team that can benefit from it.
Black King Bar is never a bad option for carries if the situation calls for it, so build one if you have to.
Necronomicon: This is a push build, so why the hell not, though you would need to build this earlier for it to be effective.
The minus armor from Desolator also effects structures, so a push build could easily take advantage of this.
Juggernaut is a pretty cool hero because his itemization requires adapting to whatever situation you're in a just going with it, unlike some other heroes with bread and butter skill builds set in stone.
If there is anything you feel must be added to this guide, then by all means tell me somehow and I will keep this updated.
Now go play some ****ing Juggernaut.