Welcome to Zarathustra's guide to Luna. This guide will go over Luna's strengths/weaknesses and offer an overview of her gameplay. We will look at builds and strategies for Luna in the early, mid, and late game along with some strategies that effectively counter Luna.
WHY PLAY AS LUNA?
Aside from her hugely powerful attacks, she's a phenomenal hero for fine-tuning your DOTA skills. She's generally not considered a good first hero for complete noobs, mostly because she's fragile. But I disagree. To master Luna, you'll need to learn how to efficiently farm, have strong map awareness, think strategically in group fights, and know when and how to push lanes in mid-to-late game. These are pro-level skill necessities for any hero. More than any other hero, learning Luna will force any beginner or even intermediate player to fine-tune these skills.
Before we begin, let me cover a few things.
- If you have any comments or questions, please let me know. You can post in the comments section or send me a message. Constructive criticism/suggestions only pleas. I'll try to monitor the comments section to keep out the trolls.
- To get the most out of this guide, read through the full guide and take a close look at each build. I recommend practicing each build if you can.
Alright. Let's get started.
Overview -- How to (and not to) play as Luna
Luna is a glass cannon. Period. She received some key perks in the Oct 2013 update and is now a massively powerful late game hero. That said, she's fragile in the early and mid game.
What NOT to do
Early solo kills.
What you SHOULD do
Early solo laning.
Hunt enemy heroes before level 8.
Cast Eclipse with lots of creeps around.
Get Glaives in early game.
Farm as much as you can in the first 10 minutes.
Lucent Beam ("LB")
Get most of your core items by 30 min.
Use TP scrolls to join gank fights.
Push lanes when the opportunity arises.
Watch some pro matches with Luna.
LB is Luna's targeted magic attack. Target an enemy, and a beam of light will shoot down and smite them, dealing 75 to 300 damage depending on LB's level. Compared to similar early game abilities, it's quite powerful. In early game, it's good for harassing players, keeping them too weak to gang up on Luna. And it's good for taking down players who get too cocky while laning. It's also the foundation of Luna's ultimate ability -- Eclipse. The stronger your LB, the stronger your ultimate. So it's worth maxing out first.
Glaives are one of Luna's most unique abilities, and most undervalued. Glaive is a passive ability that causes Luna's attack to bounce to other enemies, doing less damage with each bounce. Since the October 2013 update, Glaives now bounce to every enemy/tower in range and will bounce back to the first if they've hit every enemy. So if you have two heroes, no creeps, and a maxed-out Glaive, each attack will hit them 6 times (initial hit + five bounces). The damage reduction can be a little confusing, but assuming your glaives get their full number of bounces, you can use the following to determine your total attack:
Level 1 - 1 bounce - Initial hit + reduced damage hit = 1.65 x DAMAGE
Level 2 - 2 bounces - 2.07 x DAMAGE
Level 3 - 3 bounces - 2.35 x DAMAGE
Level 4 - 5 bounces - 2.64 x DAMAGE
By level 16, with items, it's feasible to have 150 attack damage. Meaning your glaives with full bounces will do 396 DAMAGE PER ATTACK! So this can be a very powerful ability in the late game.
Blessing is a passive ability that grants bonus damage to you and your allies. It also provides night vision, which is kinda cool I guess. By the end game, the extra damage is helpful, especially when combined with Glaives (see above). But Blessing's main advantage is to help you farm in the early game. Paired with an ally melee hero in an off lane, it will help you farm effectively and gives you and your mate an attack advantage over the other team's heroes.
Eclipse is your ultimate ability. It's what makes Luna a cannon. Casting Eclipse makes it night (kinda cool effect), and proceeds to shoot Lucent Beams at random nearby enemies. Since the October 2013 update, it can target the same enemy more than once. With level 1 LB and level 1 Eclipse, it will deal a total of 225 damage. But when LB and eclipse are maxed out, casting it on a group of heroes (with no creeps nearby) will deal 3000 damage over 5 to 6 seconds. That's MASSIVE! It's very effective against groups of heroes and can easily turn the tide in group fights. You can increase the number of beams it shoots and eliminate the 4-hit-per-hero limit with Aghanim, but for reasons we'll discuss later I don't necessarily recommend this.
Luna Pacing and Strategy
The rest of this guide will go over pacing and strategy for Luna at various game stages. Both the basic build and the advanced builds follow the same gameplay structure, which is more or less the following:
Farm gold in early game --> Help gank and keep farming mid game --> Push lanes and gank late game
You will not
be the star, hero-killing player on your team, at least until late game. But you'll have a lot of fun pushing lanes in mid-to-late game, especially if you like the gold sound (ka-ching ka-ching
). And your allies will love your Eclipse. So even if you're not the all-star hero-hunter, you'll be rich and popular ;)
Early Game Strategy -- 0:00 to 10:00
And the name of the game is...GOLD! That's your focus in early game. Get rich. And don't die trying.
- You'll need Healing Salve and Tangos because you'll be fragile as a Faberge egg. You will get harassed and ganked.
STARTING/EARLY GAME ABILITIES
- I go with 3 slippers of agility early on because it ups your attack and movement. Iron Branches are also a possibility, especially if you want to grab a Magic Wand first thing. But you won't have as much attack, making last hits more difficult.
- Start with lunar blessing. The damage bump will help you get last hits.
Then focus on LB. It should be your level 2 upgrade. Use it to harass enemy heroes, keeping their HP down and preventing them from getting too aggressive. You can also coordinate hero attacks with your lane partner.
get Glaives early game. You will lose last hits due to the bounces. And you'll overpower enemy creep waves and push to their tower too early. You'll want to hug your tower early on.
- Have level 3 LB by the time you get Eclipse at level 6. You may want to level up LB at level 7 instead of Glaives, depending on the situation.
EARLY GAME ITEMS
- Poor Man's Shield is probably the first item you want, since you already have the Slippers of Agility for it. It helps toughen up the fragile early game Luna. It also bolsters her Agility, helping with last hits. I go for this first thing in every game.
- Magic wand is a great early game basic. More times than I can count, it has bought me enough time to flee a gank.
- Power treads are another solid basic item. Luna is already a very fast hero, so you shouldn't need anything faster than Power Treads (i.e. Phase Boots).
- That said, if you're taking the Jungle approach, you may want Tranquil Boots to help HP regeneration.
BASIC EARLY GAME STRATEGY
Farm Like a Champ --
If you watch pro gamers in early game, they don't sit there, mindlessly attacking enemy creeps. They farm properly -- waiting until enemy creeps' hp is low and snagging the last hit. They're damn good at denying the enemy your creeps too. YOU NEED TO GET GOOD AT THIS SKILL.
I recommend practicing in offline easy-level bot games. Just play the first 10 minutes and try to get as many last hits as you can. Once you're getting at least 40 last hits in the first 10 minutes, bump it up to medium. Once you're getting 30 last hits on medium, bump it up to hard. Then practice in online bot games. Then try full games.
Take the Jungle-side Lane with an Active Partner --
You'll need a buddy to help you out early on, lest you get ganged up on repeatedly. The best partner is a heavy melee hero like Sven or Tidehunter. Ideally, they'll stick around absorbing XP while you last hit for gold. They'll also ward off enemy heroes. And you'll want the jungle-side lane in case the enemy's too aggressive.
Know If You're Being Out-Farmed --
There are three things that could keep you from farming enough gold in lane -- highly aggressive enemy heroes, getting out-farmed by enemy heroes, or getting out-farmed by your lane partner. If it's a team game, coordinate with your lane partner to make sure you get enough gold. But if you're being out-gunned by the enemy, you'll want to play it safe for a bit. Keep absorbing XP, but don't die. Once you reach level 7 or 8, you can start juggling to make up for missed gold.
ADVANCED EARLY GAME TECHNIQUES
Jungle Build --
This technique will combine laning with jungling in early game. For this approach, do the following:
- Rush Hand of Midas, then use it on high-level jungle creeps every chance you can. This is free gold and XP, exactly what Luna needs early game.
Aggressive Beaming Build --
- Buy a Morbid Mask around level 6. Because Luna is fragile and recharges slowly, she can't sustain juggling without some HP steal.
- DON'T jungle too early or completely abandon your lane. Be mindful of opportunities to gank the enemy or come to aid if the tower is under attack.
- This technique is most useful if you're up against two heavy, strong early game heroes.
This technique makes aggressive use of LB and Eclipse. For this, you should:
- Build toward Arcane Boots and Aghanim's Scepter. Spamming LB will drain your mana pretty quickly. Arcane Boots gives you an extra 2 or 3 LB hits. Aghanim gives you an extra 1 or 2 LB hits, plus it improves Eclipse. Both these items are costly though, and they don't boost your late game as much as other items do.
- Coordinate attacks with your lane hero. Focus on the lowest-HP enemy hero.
- Let them push to your tower. Then, once their creeps are gone or mostly gone, blast them with Eclipse. Then concentrate on one then the other. You cane use LB to slow whichever one is fleeing faster. If coordinated with an ally hero, you could easily pawn two heroes with this strategy.
- Alternate between the jungle-side lane and middle lane to maximize hero kills. But don't give up snagging gold from creeps when you can.
- This technique is effective against weaker early game enemy heroes. If you're up against an enemy like Drow, who's weak in early game but gets too strong if you let her, you'll want to be aggressive early on.
- If you're really ballsy, you can try to catch a single enemy hero alone and Eclipse them to death. Generally though, you want to coordinate attacks with your allies.
- Choosing this build ups your early-to-mid game attack but sacrifices some mid-to-late game strengths, particularly the benefits of Glaives. So be choose wisely.
Mid Game Strategy -- 10:00 to 30:00
Let's revisit our basic Luna approach: Early game farming --> Mid game ganking and farming --> Late-game ganking and pushing
By 10 minutes, you should have most or all of your early game items and a sizable number of last hits (or, alternately, a handful of hero kills). Your focus now will be on the following:
- Push to take down their towers for gold and map dominance.
- Coordinate ganking attacks with teammates, or help groups of allies getting ganked.
- Start building Glaives for mass group damage and farming efficiency.
- Start getting core items, focusing on what will benefit you most given each team's strengths/weaknesses.
Any good Luna player will need to hone some key DOTA skills to play an effective mid game. These skills are:
Know where the enemy team is and isn't. If they're mounting a gank attack, you can TP to that lane and work with allies to fend them off. Eclipse is very useful here. If you're pushing a lane solo, know if they're about to gank you. You can flee or TP out.
- Map Control.
Mid game is where aggressive teams try to make headway. Luna is excellent at conturing this and pushing into enemy lanes. Again, if the other team is ganking and pushing one lane, your Eclipse can stop them. If they're dead, or just spread out, it's an excellent opportunity to cut through enemy creeps (ka-ching ka-ching
) and take some towers. Remember: DOTA isn't just about enemy hero kills. Strong map control can make or break a game.
- Gank Battles.
Gank battles are where Luna's 'glass cannon' characteristics both make and break her. If the enemy group focuses on you, you'll be killed quickly. Learn to hang back enough not to get targeted, and rush in to help with Eclipse and LB. If your team retreats, don't be the last one out. Know your limits and your strengths. It's all about timing here.
MID-GAME CORE ITEMS
Like most agility-based carry heroes, Luna relies heavily on items. That's why you've been farming your *** off. The core items will help strategically bolster Luna. Specifically, you want to maximize the attack damage you can do with Glaives, minimize enemy attack damage and spell damage, get some HP steal/regen, and increase your mana pool/regen if you're focusing on LB and Eclipse.
Basic Build Items
Town Portal Scrolls!
Please, please invest in some TP scrolls. You'll want to help gank or deter enemy ganks whenever you can. TP scrolls will let you lane to your heart's desire and join the fight when needed. They're also great for quick escapes if you're about to get ganked.
- Manta Style.
More than any other item, this takes advantage of the power of Glaives. Your illusions also get bounce damage. With high damage/attack rate and illusions, you will blow through a group of enemy creeps in seconds, take down towers quickly, and confuse/damage enemy hero groups. However, some players forgo Manta Style in favor of agility-boosting and damage-boosting items. Your call.
- Helm of the Dominator.
I almost never use the creep control feature, but the life steal and armor bonus is crucial. If you're taking a lot of damage early on, you might want to grab this item first. If you get low on HP, you can push a lane and grab HP from enemy creeps. You can also usually take on neutral creeps and come out with more HP.
- Black King Bar.
Ah, good ol' BKB. Great if you're frequently ganking (or getting ganked). The magic immunity will keep enemy groups from targeting you, giving you enough time to Eclipse them. The damage and strength boost is nice too.
This is usually my last core item, maybe even a late-game/luxury item. I've won plenty of games without it. Again, it maximizes the power of Glaives, increasing damage per second, damage per attack, and gives you some evasion to boot. Players who skip Manta Style usually grab this pretty early. Especially if they've been racking up the gold.
ADVANCED STRATEGY AND BUILD ITEMS
Jungle Build Core Items
By mid game, you can jungle your *** off if you want. Remember though, that the only reason you jungle is for gold and XP, both of which are useless if all you do all game is jungle. You'll want to take the gold you've made and invest in powerful items.
If you've racked up enough gold and you want to push lanes, get a butterfly. With Glaives it gets pretty devastating.
See above. If the enemy has tanky heroes with strong one-hit abilities, this is a must.
- Pipe of Insight
If up against spell-heavy heroes, consider the Pipe of Insight. The HP regen will help you tank-up and the 35% spell resistance goes surprisingly far.
- Monkey King Bar
For sheer damage-per-second increase, it's hard to do better than MKB. With maxed-out Glaives, this little gem will make your attacks a hurricane of throat-cutting, skull-cracking, tower-busting, ball-crunching kick-***. Yipee ki yay mutha%$#&@.
Beaming Build Core Items
- Aghanim's Scepter
This ups the number of beams-per-use that Eclipse summons, but not by much. At maxed-out LB and Eclipse, it only adds 600 damage. Comparing this to the increased damage you get from Glaives (over 300 per attack in late game), it's usually better to invest in upping damage and attack speed than in boosting Eclipse. HOWEVER, Aghanim eliminates the hits-per-hero limit of Eclipse. So you can deal a full 3000 damage to a single tanky hero and take them down. If that's your plan (and it is a risky one, good sir) then Aghanim may be a good choice.
- Ethereal Blade
The huge agility boost makes this item similar to the Butterfly -- it increases your damage, attack speed, and armor rating. But it also gives some strength and intelligence, which should help with HP and Mana regen.
- Orb of Venom
This may be a controversial choice. Because Luna is a ranged hero, it will only slow enemies by 4%. It also only works on the targeted enemy and does not affect bouncing glaives. Still, if you're chasing down heroes and LBing their sorry ***, the 4% decrease should keep them from out-running you.
- Refresher Orb
Isn't it annoying that you have to wait 140 seconds to use Eclipse again, even if you die? Not with refresher orb you don't! This will reset the cool down of Eclipse. For maximum results, use Eclipse (without creeps around), wait until it's done, then use it again. Then observe that warm, fuzzy feeling you get from raining down deadly Lucent Beams on your enemy like the eleventh plague.
- (Note on this build: Compared to other builds, this does the least to shore up Luna's fragile weaknesses. So you'll have to be very careful in mid-game or even late-game. It's best used in group fights.)
Late and Ultra-late Game Strategy -- 30:00 and later
If 30:00 rolls around and you're at a significantly lower level than most the enemy heroes, you should be worried. Do not â�� I repeat, DO NOT â�� go up against an enemy gank with fewer than three other allies backing you. Even then, you may not want to. Instead, focus on upping your XP and gold. Jungle your *** off. Take down some ancients. Maybe tackle roshan with a couple of buddies. And take every opportunity to push a lane, but do so safely.
If you reach the 30:00 mark, are at level 16, and are about on par with the enemy team, then congratulations, your now a force to be reckoned with. An over-powered Luna is very, very dangerous. Still, you wonâ��t be able to take on a group of enemy heroes solo. Some late game OP heroes can do this. Luna cannot.
Late-game Luna is all about overall game strategy. DOTA is not won by killing the most enemy heroes. Itâ��s won by taking down their towers, invading their base, and ultimately killing their ancient. Thatâ��s obvious, I know, but so easily forgotten by some players.
Luna is a carry hero. You should be able to bring your team to victory. But your strategy in doing so will largely depend on the rest of your team. This portion of the guide will go over good strategies to work with your team's strengths and exploit the enemy team's weaknesses.
LATE GAME ITEMS
At this point, Luna is a cash cow. Seriously. With The Power of Glaives, Luna soaks up all the gold from every wave of enemy creeps and puts down the lesser-ancients in a matter of seconds. Gold should not be a problem in late game.
So, how to spend this gold? In a perfect world with unlimited gold, I would give Luna the following items.
- Monkey King Bar
- Black King Bar
- Manta Style
- Refresher Orb
- Boots of Travel
I've never had a game where I've actually attained this dream combo. But some of these items are worth focusing on:
- Boots of Travel In late-game, you want to be mobile -- meaning, you want Boots of Travel. It's great for TPing back to your base to crush and enemy group rush. It allows you to move around the map quickly, pushing lanes and assisting teammates. You can chase down any enemy. You can escape most attacks. Definitely, definitely worth the investment.
- Refresher Orb If you want to break the enemy team's spirit, there's no better way than consecutive Eclipses using Refresher Orb. With some help, you can kill off an entire invading group of enemies and use the downtime to push to victory.
Now, on to strategy.
Without proper strategy, you cannot win using Luna. But if you're clever, you can exploit the smallest weakness and mistake, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.
First, you want to gauge your team's and the enemy team's strength and strategy. That will help you determine the strategy to use. Is the enemy relatively strong or weak in terms of skill level? Are they ganking all together or fractured into smaller groups? Likewise, where does your team stand by comparison?
Strong, Ganking Enemies vs Weaker Allies
If the enemy has strong or tanky heroes, is attacking in a large group, and is significantly ahead of your team on kills, then Luna can make a big difference. First off, you can use Eclipse to even out the playing field. This may give your team enough of an advantage to defeat or route enemy ganks.
On the other hand, you have phenomenal laning abilities. If the enemy is at the gates and your team can hold them off, you can bring the fight to their base remarkably fast. I once played a game where the enemy team was at our barracks. While my team held them off, I took a side lane and destroyed their second tier tower, their third tier tower, their barracks, their inner towers, and their ancient -- all in under five minutes. They weren't expecting it and didn't even bring TP scrolls to our base. So by the time I was in their base, there wasn't much they can do. Yes. Luna is that powerful of a laning hero.
Strong, Laning Enemies vs Weaker Allies
This is perhaps the trickiest scenario. A coordinated, all-in group attack should push any lane to their base. You can also buddy with a couple allies and go hunting every time your Eclipse recharges. Take every opportunity to get gold and improve your items.
Weak Laning Enemies
This is probably the only time I'd advocate solo hunting enemies, but only if you're tanked out with items. If you can catch single enemies alone, Eclipse them and you're golden. If you have a modestly leveled ally helping you, you can take on up to three weaker enemy heroes and get at least one kill. Just don't die.
Also make sure you don't lose towers. And take Roshan before they can.
Weak Ganking Enemies
It's not uncommon -- a last-ditch attempt by a weaker team to overwhelm your team's defenses or exploit your weaknesses. With strong Glaives and Eclipse, you and two teammates -- or you and a teammate and a tower -- should be able to keep the enemy team from making headway. In the meantime, the rest of your team can make a push for their base. Again, just don't die.
If there's anything I can emphasize, it's that you shouldn't get cocky and take on a group of modestly leveled enemies alone. Even if you get one or two kills, it's not worth dying. Luna is fragile at the beginning, but can overcome a few early deaths if she stays alive in mid-to-late game. If you're in an evenly matched late game and you die more than twice in a five minute period, re-evaluate your strategy and be more careful.
Lastly, the skills that make for a successful mid-game -- map awareness, map control, and good ganking strategy -- are still important for the end game. Against any decent player, you'll lose without these skills.
How to Counter Luna
So how do you beat Luna? It's definitely possible. As a Luna player you'll want to look out for these counter-strategies. And if you're playing against a Luna, these will help you shatter the 'glass cannon'.
In opening game, focus on harassing Luna while stealing her kills. Make her afraid to come too close and deny her every kill you can. If she disappears for no good reason, she may be jungling. This would be a good opportunity to take her down.
Illusions Counter Luna
If even two teammates have Manta Style (or can create illusions) and they use it just before Luna uses Eclipse, the illusions will absorb much of the damage from Eclipse. They'll also absorb Glaive damage. Phantom Lancer is particularly dangerous against Luna, since its many illusions render Eclipse useless.
Stun, Slow, Leech, Attack
Luna's Eclipse works only in relatively short range. There's always a moment of time when Luna advances to use Eclipse and is very vulnerable. A silencing ability or long stun attack before she uses Eclipse will give you enough time to take her down. And if your team survives Eclipse, any spell that slows Luna or leeches her life as she runs will give you the edge to hunt her down and kill her.
Don't Let Her Get OP
If Luna falls too far behind in levels, she's useless and will never come back. You may want to focus your attacks on her in early and mid game to prevent her from becoming too powerful.
That's Luna for you. Again, this guide is meant to provide a basic approach to Luna's strategy and advanced builds to fit certain situations. It's not a one-size-fits all guide nor a simple this-is-the-best-way approach.
If you have any other strategies, ideas, complaints, or constructive criticism please let me know! Specificially I'd love feedback on:
- Other strategies for Luna.
- Problems with the listed strategies/builds.
- Advice on how to clarify this guide or better explain the strategy.
- Links to any epic pro games featuring Luna.
Thanks for reading my guide! I hope it helps you become a master Luna player.