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22 Votes

Lunar Ascendancy: Pubstomping low-skill games with Luna

January 17, 2013 by Shados
Comments: 21    |    Views: 127140    |   


Solo

DotA2 Hero: Luna




Hero Skills

Lucent Beam

2 4 5 7

Moon Glaives

10 12 13 14

Lunar Blessing

1 3 8 9

Eclipse

6 11 16

Talents

15 17 18


Lunar Ascendancy: Pubstomping low-skill games with Luna

Shados
January 17, 2013


Alt-Tab Tips

Laning:


Get solo mid if at all possible, otherwise solo easy lane. If you must dual lane, do so with a support, preferably a babysitter with a stun/slow or at worst some mana regeneration.

Early Game Priorities:

  1. Farm: Use your very high auto-attack damage to last hit and deny as much as possible.
  2. Harass: Once your Lucent Beam is at level 3-4 (or if you're at max mana - don't want to waste your mana regeneration) throw it down frequently as harassment. Try to move close enough to throw 1-2 auto-attacks in after the beam as well, animation canceling to get the most out of it.
    If your enemy is very cautious and generally stays out of sight / on top of the mid hill, consider buying a ward to give sight of them / their side of the river so you can throw long-range Lucent Beams with impunity.
    Always try to leave enough mana for one Lucent Beam + Eclipse.
  3. Kill (Occasionally): In early game, kills aren't your main priority, but it's pretty easy to pick up 2-3 from your lane.
    Notably, most low-skill players will back off if you run up behind their creep line, however this is exactly the wrong thing to do against Luna - if you're familiar with the effective AOE on Eclipse, you can get easy kills by running behind the enemy creep line, within range of their tower, and dropping it. You'll take a few tower hits but they'll generally die, possibly requiring a Lucent Beam to finish them off.

Mid Game Priorities:

  1. Gank: Pretty much whenever Eclipse is up, or if you nab an invisibility or haste rune, go to one of the side lanes and gank.
    Open with Eclipse if you can get close enough & there aren't creeps in range.
    Open with auto-attacks & physical blocking otherwise.
    Spam your Lucent Beam, and remember it has extremely long range, so you can often last hit fleeing enemies with it.
  2. Push: Immediately after ganking a lane, or whenever your enemies are distracted or dead, use your Moon Glaive & high attack damage to push lanes and towers. In the case of having just ganked, you obviously push the lane you ganked.
  3. Defend: Use your awesome bouncing powers to defend towers in danger. Always, always, ALWAYS have a Town Portal Scroll on hand for escape & defense purposes.
  4. Farm: You'll get a fair bit of farm by just pushing lanes with your Moon Glaives, but keep in mind that you can take most jungle camps fairly easily at this point as well, so do so when you have the time.
  5. Teamfight: Luna's full teamfight capabilities don't really come into play until toward the beginning of the lategame, but between Eclipse, base attack damage and a few levels in your Moon Glaive you should be able to make a significant difference in teamfights. However, you're also rather fragile and are likely saving for big-ticket items at this point, so don't go into teamfights you're likely to die in.

Late Game Priorities:

  1. Teamfight: Go completely destroy the enemy team in teamfights, 1v3 enemies with your Eclipse and Moon Glaives, get ridiculous numbers of multi-kills and generally get fed as much as possible.
  2. Push: Every time you down 2-3 enemy heroes, immediately push a lane. When they come up and starting moving to defend, swap to the next lane over and push it too. Keep the pressure up as much as possible. Keep in mind that once a base tower is down, your Moon Glaives will bounce between both raxes and all the smaller buildings nearby, prioritizing units & heroes if they come close - this acts as a sort of area denial, and also generally gives you the last hits on all those little 100 gold buildings in the enemy base.
  3. Defend: You're great on defense against creature-based pushers like Broodmother, Nature's Prophet, Chen, etc. but if you've got good items you're probably better counter-pushing on another lane.

Skill Build:


1    


E

2    


Q

3    


E

4    


Q

5    


Q

6    


R

7    


Q

8    


E

9    


E

10   


W

11   


R

12   


W

13   


W

14   


W

15   


U*

16   


R

17-25


U*
*: U is the default "Upgrade Stats" hotkey.

Item Build:


Introduction

This is my first DotA guide. I've been playing DotA for less than some people and longer than others; I started back in 2005 shortly after IceFrog took over development of the map. I spent pretty much all of high school staying up 'til 1-3 AM playing DotA with my bros. I stopped for a couple of years and played a few hundred games each of Heroes of Newerth and League of Legends, and then got back into DotA when I received a DotA 2 Beta key.

I go by the handle Shados. While I'm neither particularly good nor particularly bad at the game, I am able to carry pub games as Luna at the (rather low) skill level I am matchmade at; I have won the last 17 games I have played as Luna (as of 30/8/2012), and lost only my first in DotA 2.

Layout


The Alt-Tab Tips are first for the sake of all you quick-fix alt-tab guide readers, and you're reading the Introduction already.

The next several sections are more or less in the order you need to know the information within as you play through the game:
  1. Allies, Enemies & Delicious Food and Pros & Cons all give information that is relevant & useful before you even starting playing.
  2. Skills and Items contain information that starts being relevant at the start of the game and continues to be so throughout it.
  3. Playstyle relates information that is relevant once creeps have spawned and you've made contact with the enemy, and extends to the end of the game.

Replays of games played using this build may be useful once you've already read it, in order to give you a better understand of how and why it works.

The Coda mostly just contains the credits and the guide changelog.

Roadmap


  • Improve formatting moar. Add cool header/section images and ****.
  • Frankly, I'm out of other ideas for improvements & additions at the moment. Send me suggestions :D!

Picking Luna

Keep in mind this guide is specifically written for relatively low-skill games, as that's more or less what I'm used to. If you take this into an inhouse or competitive game, expect to get rolled hard.

Pick Luna if:
  • The enemy team has lots of squishies.
  • The enemy team doesn't have a lot of stuns (and to a lesser degree, silences).
  • The enemy team doesn't have a lot of movement-based escapes (blinks, haste abilities, teleports, etc.).
  • You're playing a pub game and thusly cannot trust your teammmates to carry (or, on average, be useful in general).
  • You can last hit & deny fairly well.
  • You have the necessary experience and intuition to usually know which battles are winnable.

Allies, Enemies & Delicious Food

Allies:


Pretty much anyone with a persistent slow, spamable stun or other capacity to prevent your enemy from fleeing makes Luna ganks far more effective. AOE damage combos well with Luna by clearing any enemy creeps, making Eclipse & Moon Glaive significantly more effective. The positive benefits of DPS-buffing is effectively magnified on Luna due to her Moon Glaive, making them very potent in combo with her.

That said, here's some of the more notable ones:
Axe: A well-placed Berserker's Call can frequently keep 2-4 enemies taunted in a tight cluster for an extended duration, allowing you to maximize the extra damage from your Moon Glaive.
Earthshaker: his ability to not only initiate teamfights with Blink Dagger + Fissure/ Echo Slam, but simultaneously clear any creeps around the enemy team means he combos very well with Luna.
Leshrac: With Leshrac on your side, there's never any enemy creeps around in a teamfight, making your Eclipse and Moon Glaive more powerful.
Slardar: Makes for ridiculous ganking combo due to his Sprint speed & Slithereen Crush's AOE stun - especially effective if you can follow his Slithereen Crush with an Eclipse.
Tidehunter: But then, who doesn't he go well with?
Faceless Void: While Luna's attack range is relatively short, if Faceless Void lands a Chronosphere on multiple members of the enemy team you can generally bounce attacks from the one nearest the edge and hit all of them simultaneously for the duration.

Vengeful Spirit: Magic Missile's stun, Nether Swap and her Vengeance Aura's damage buff are all extremely beneficial to Luna.
Wisp: Io goes well with any DPS carry, of course, but Tether adds a much-needed stun to Luna, buffs her movement speed to ridiculous levels and allows her to push lanes & take raxes insanely fast between Overcharge and Moon Glaive.


Enemies:


Your only real escape is your speed, so most enemies with persistent slows are problematic. Stuns are annoying, but generally only problematic if going against multiple stunners. Invisibility can counter your ult (assuming you don't dust fast enough), as can creep spawning, magic immunity and phase-outs. Casters with multiple nukes are effective against you due to your low health, but luckily they're usually also fairly squishy themselves.

Enemies are colour-coded to represent their level of danger to you. Red means they're a serious problem if they're playing against you, orange means they're a problem but can be handled with enough skill and planning, yellow means they're annoying but not too hard to counter:


Brewmaster: Pretty much every one of Brewmaster's moves counters traditional DPS carries, and Luna is no exception. That said, your Eclipse is still effective against him unless he uses Primal Split, in which case Earth has Spell Immunity and Storm can go invisible with Wind Walk, preventing your Eclipse from doing much to him. Alternatively, he can leave Storm visible in order to draw more Eclipse beams away from allies.



Broodmother: Can be very annoying to play against - both the invisibility from Spin Web and the masses of creeps from Spawn Spiderlings work to counter your Eclipse, her Incapacitating Bite's slow counters your speed and combined with her Insatiable Hunger counters your ability to deal damage to her, assuming she has enough in the way of DPS items. However, playing against a bad Broodmother lets you farm not insignificant amounts of gold off of her spiderlings, and you do counter her ability to spiderling push due to your Moon Glaives.
Juggernaut: His Omnislash trumps your Eclipse as he is invulnerable for its duration, and even without it he can simply Blade Fury his way through your abilities. That said, without his Omnislash or CC, you can generally run away from him fairly easily.




Nature's Prophet: Sprout used on you prevents you from fleeing, Sprout used on Nature's Prophet prevents your Eclipse from hitting him ( Eclipse needs sight on the target), the Treants from Nature's Call counter Eclipse and your Moon Glaive by diverting damage from enemy heroes, Teleportation is a hell of a lot faster than you are and he generally has more farm than you. At the very least, though, you can block his Nature's Call pushes pretty effectively due to your Moon Glaive. Upgrade him to red-level danger if gets lots of farm and/or feed.
Nyx Assassin: While you can counter his ganks by using Eclipse, you're generally dead before you can hit the button if he's any good. Only red-level danger if he's played well, however: an un-skilled Nyx Assassin is just food for you.
Omniknight: Degen Aura prevents you from fleeing, Repel prevents you from dropping Eclipse on him, and his Guardian Angel counters both your Eclipse and your Moon Glaive in teamfights.



Puck: While being squishy as a marshmallow, Puck's every ability serves to frustrate and confound you - Illusory Orb is far faster than you can hope to be, Waning Rift neatly seals your powerful early & mid game damage, Phase Shift perfectly defends against your Eclipse and Dream Coil turns your only escape mechanism into a downside. I hate the little ****, and you should too. Upgrade him to orange-level danger if his player is skilled; most people aren't good with Puck, though.




Templar Assassin: Both her Meld's invisibility and her Refraction effectively work to nullify your Eclipse, her burst damage cuts through your low health pool very quickly and her Psionic Traps' slows are devastating to your ability to flee. Worse still, she's almost impossible to lane against early game due to Refraction blocking your harass and Psi Blades harassing you. Downgrade her to orange-level danger if she's not mid against you - which is supremely unlikely if your opponents are at all sane - or if she's just really, really terrible (she is often fairly underwhelmingly played, thankfully).



Ursa: Without a Black King Bar & Blink Dagger, you can juke and kill Ursa pretty easily, using Eclipse if necessary. With them, it is extremely difficult to take him out. In Ursa games, you'll often want a Shadow Blade or Ghost Scepter/ Ethereal Blade to prevent him from easily focusing you in teamfights. Upgrade him to red-level danger if he gets a really fast Blink Dagger + Black King Bar. Downgrade him to yellow-level danger if he doesn't get both at all.


Viper: Whether he's built tanky or carry, his abilities make him a massive pain in the *** for auto-attack carries to fight. If you can afford it, leave him 'til last in teamfights, preferably by silencing or stunning him first - his Viper Strike more or less completely gimps your auto-attack damage output. Upgrade him to orange-level danger if he's mid against you and at all decent at harassing.


Both:


Some heroes are especially effective both with & against you:




Drow Ranger: As an ally, her Frost Arrows' slow makes your ganks & chase more effective, and her AOE Silence can prevent enemies from stunlocking you in teamfights. In addition, her Precision Aura stacks with your Lunar Blessing, giving you both greatly improved damage.
As an enemy, during early and mid game her Frost Arrows' slow prevents you from fleeing and her Silence prevents you from simply firing an Eclipse on her. If you get more farm than her, though, you should be able to take her lategame as you won't be reliant on Eclipse for damage.



Sand King: As an ally, his Epicenter ultimates are devastating on their own, but they really shine when combo'd with other AOEs - Luna's goes especially well, because SK's generally clears any enemy creeps that would otherwise soak up Eclipse beams.
As an enemy, his Burrowstrikes and the high damage from Epicenter can be used to shut you down very effectively in teamfights, and his Sand Storm's invisibility + Burrowstrike blink prevents you from Eclipse-ganking him easily.








Shadow Demon: As an ally, his Disruption can be used on an enemy in a teamfight to focus your Eclipse beams elsewhere, or on you to generate extremely powerful illusions of you. His Soul Catcher's bonus damage is amazing for taking out vital targets in teamfights, and his Demonic Purge is great for ganks and chasing.
As an enemy, his Demonic Purge prevents you from fleeing ganks effectively, and his Soul Catcher's damage amplification makes it unlikely you can simply lifesteal your way out. In addition, Disruption is one of the hardest counters to DPS carries because the combined DPS of the post-banishment illusions can approach or even overtake the DPS of the original hero (the latter only if the hero relies on stats for DPS - as Luna does -, not pure damage & attack speed) and furthermore they are not susceptible to lifesteal. Moreover, they get Luna's bounce, and hence can instead be turned to severely damage your team.




Sven: As an ally, his Storm Hammer's stun helps cover for your lack of effective CC, and his Warcry boosts your speed to ridiculous levels. It is very hard to get away from Luna + Sven alive.
As an enemy, he is very difficult to escape due to the long range of Storm Hammer and his Warcry speed buff. Furthermore, if he builds carry/semi-carry and gets better items than you, it is extremely difficult to fight him - Sven with lifesteal, Black King Bar & God's Strength active will very effectively **** your **** up.



Tiny: As an ally, the AOE stun of his Avalanche is extremely potent in combo with your AOE damage capabilities, and his Toss can be used to setup positioning for your ult or to help you chase fleeing enemies.
As an enemy, his Avalanche + Toss combo is extremely damaging and can frequently one-shot you early game, allowing him to shut you down completely if he gets a fast enough Blink Dagger.


Delicious Food:


Some heroes are particularly ill-suited to play against Luna, and almost cannot help but feed her kills throughout the game. Generally, squishy heroes without a non-channeled escape mechanism make for a great source of vital nutrients (gold and experience, that is), as do gankers lacking invisibility (if you can see 'em coming with your wards, you can wait on top of the appropriate hill and just ult when they get close).

Among the various heroes, however, there are some especially tasty morsels:
Crystal Maiden: Sure, she can slow you and she can stop you from moving, but she herself is incredibly slow-moving and her Frostbite doesn't prevent you canceling her Town Portal Scroll with a well-timed Lucent Beam, and she is just so terribly, terribly squishy.

Sniper: Sniper is perhaps the best food of all - slow-moving, incredibly fragile, unable to CC you, and so very frequently sent to mid against you. True, once he has a Shadow Blade (and you're playing pub games, so you know he's getting one) you need Dust of Appearance, but that's not terribly expensive, and you have a free buffet lunch until then.
Zeus: While Zeus does have some potential to fight back with his multiple nukes, his extreme squishiness makes it mostly irrelevant in the face of your damage output.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Strong early & mid game, especially for a carry.
  • Very high AOE damage output.
  • Hybrid magic & physical damage output between your ult & DPS is hard to easily counter.
  • Amazing pushing & teamfighting potential.
  • If your enemy ever drops a Divine Rapier, you can basically 1v5 them if you have Butterfly + lifesteal.

Cons:

  • Rather squishy.
  • No escape other than high movement speed.
  • Item-dependent.
  • Automatically kill-steals with bounces (haha, I'm kidding, this is a pro).

Skills

Skill Analyses:



I'm not going to write up skill tables here, because you can find them elsewhere on DotaFire, on the DotA 2 wiki, or in any of a dozen other places. I will, however, briefly discuss & analyze each skill.


Lucent Beam: Low cooldown, low manacost, high range (compared to your pitiful attack range, anyway) high-damage nuke with a ministun. Harassment, last-hitting heroes, interrupting channels, preventing fleeing enemies from using Town Portal Scrolls, momentarily stopping an enemy hero's movement just long enough to let your teammate land a final stun or nuke on them, the uses are multifarious and potent.

The "mini"-stun lasts for 0.6 seconds, which in a game as twitch-based as DotA is often long enough of a pause in movement & attacking (taking into account human reaction time & animation backswing) to be greatly meaningful, so throwing it down as a stun rather than a nuke can frequently be effective.

Lucent Beam is most effective in early to mid game, petering out somewhat lategame, although it is still useful for getting that little bit of extra magical DPS during teamfights and for interrupting channels.

Lucent Beam's cast animation has very little backswing, so it fires off almost instantaneously, making it vastly more useful for interrupting abilities with very short channel times (e.g. the 2 second initial channel of Sand King's Epicenter).

                                                                                                                         
                    

Moon Glaive Moon Glaive: While bouncing the maximum number of times, Moon Glaive effectively gives you a whopping 177% extra damage (stacking with any and all other damage bonuses), increases your effective range significantly depending on the positioning of your targets, acts as pseudo area-denial, and in DotA 2 stacks partly with Diffusal Blade, Eye of Skadi and Mjollnir.

Midgame it gives you awesome lane-pushing and tower-taking power, and lategame it makes you brutal in teamfights and nigh unstoppable once you're bouncing off an enemy's raxes.

Moon Glaive is primarily what allows Luna to carry, as it scales into lategame better than possibly any other ability in the game.

                                                                                                                         
                    

Lunar Blessing: Flat bonus damage on an aura and unsurpassed night-time vision range, Lunar Blessing makes your early game vastly stronger and gives you much greater ganking, chasing & escaping potential.

The night-time vision range increase is very, very useful. For one, it means that if you can see an enemy at night at long range, they can't see you (with a few exceptions), making your ganks much more effective and improving your ability to both chase and flee during the night by giving you more information on your enemy's positioning and movement than they have on yours.

The damage bonus doesn't scale particularly well into late game, but this is partially alleviated by the fact that it, like all damage bonuses, is effectively magnified by your Moon Glaive.

In addition, while being a flat benefit means it doesn't scale, it also means it's significantly more potent early game than other damage buffs & auras - it is part of what makes your early & mid game as strong as it is.

                                                                                                                         
                    

Eclipse: Massive AOE magic damage that can also be effectively used against single targets? Awesome.

In 1v1 fights (or 1v2/3 once you have higher levels of it), Eclipse means that Luna is only really in danger against Juggernaut (due to his Omnislash being very similar to your Eclipse, but with the added benefit of being invulnerable for the duration). Anyone else basically needs items to take Luna in a straight-up 1v1 fight.

Because Eclipse needs sight on the target to hit them, enemies with abilities that grant invisibility are able to easily avoid it. If you have some in your game, I highly recommend keeping a Dust of Appearance on you at all times (while you have the slots for it).

Eclipse's AOE radius, while fairly high at 675, is nonetheless easily escapable by anyone with a blink or rapid movement ability, especially because Eclipse's beams do not stun, unlike individual Lucent Beams.

Eclipse's AOE radius can also be problematic in that due to being so high, it can be hard to position yourself such that your ult won't fire on creeps or targets other than your intended one.

When using Eclipse in the jungle, keep in mind that it can and will fire on neutral creep camps, so if you must be in range of them you should at least position yourself so that you do not have sight on the creeps within.

Also keep in mind that Eclipse turns day into night for 10 seconds, which will effectively buff any Night Stalker in the game for the same duration. This can be both helpful and harmful, depending on which team he is on and on whether or not he capitalizes on the short burst of night-time.

Skilling Order:


  • We level Eclipse whenever we can, because it's awesome. Note however that levels 2 & 3 of Eclipse only provide extra benefit in 1vmany fights - in 1v1 a level 1 Eclipse is as effective as a level 3 one.
  • We take a level of Lunar Blessing first because it provides an immediate and significant (in the early game) boost in auto-attack damage, giving us a much easier time last hitting and denying. Also, Lucent Beam at level one is basically useless.
  • We take a second level of Lunar Blessing early because Lucent Beam is only truly useful once it is at least level 3, so there's no real reason to put another point into it at level 3.
  • We max Lucent Beam by level 7 because Eclipse]'s beams deal the damage of your current level of Lucent Beam - if you have no levels in Lucent Beam, Eclipse deals no damage. If you have level 4 Lucent Beam, a level 1 Eclipse will deal a total of 1200 damage.
  • We max Lunar Blessing next for several reasons:
    1. Lunar Blessing adds flat damage, so it is most effective in the early game.
    2. Leveling Moon Glaive this early would do more harm than good by pushing our lane while we still want to be farming.
    3. Leveling Stats can be effective, but if you're following this build you'll have enough health & mana, so the damage from extra points in Lunar Blessing is more useful.
  • We max Moon Glaive next so we can start pushing early. You could put points in Stats or simply not spend your level-up points if you wish to farm longer, but it's generally better to start early pushes.

Items

Starting Items:




Iron Branches: Build into a Magic Wand ASAP. Magic Wand is an amazing item; the stats give hp/mana/damage, and the instant health/mana restoration will not only save your life on multiple occasions, but will give you kills - it'll give you that bit of extra mana you need to drop a last-hit Lucent Beam on a fleeing enemy, or give you just enough extra health to tank a 1v1 fight and win.
Magic Stick: Gives useful stats and builds into Magic Wand.
Tango: Your very short attack range makes it hard to use a Healing Salve without getting hit or having to back off last hitting/denying, so it's better to go with combat-consumable healing.
Gauntlets of Strength: Builds into Bracer & then Drum, and gives you a little bit of much-needed early beef.

Core:


Magic Wand: See above.
Bracer: Once you've got a Magic Wand, beefing up some more is your top priority - you're very susceptible to early nuker ganks.
Boots of Speed: Luna has the highest base movement speed of any hero, and as it's your only tool for both escaping and chasing, you need to keep it high.

                                                                                                                         
                    


At this point, in what order you build your Power Treads & Drum of Endurance is quite variable. If you need more mana & mana regen because you're spamming Q a lot, get the Robe of the Magi, which you can build into either Power Treads or Drum of Endurance due to Power Treads having three recipes (one variant for each stat). If, instead, you need more health, get the Belt of Strength for your Power Treads first.
Power Treads: Yes, you could use the speed bonus of Phase Boots for both chasing and escaping, but you desperately need the extra health, the extra attack speed scales better into mid & late game and you're going to build Drum for more speed anyway.
Drum of Endurance: Stats (giving health, mana, damage, attack speed, all of which you need), damage, attack & movement speed. Give you some of everything you need, and benefits your allies to boot. What's not to like?
Don't be afraid to pop its charges - better to end the game having used all of them than none. If you feel the need you can always re-buy the recipe to recharge it, but this usually isn't worth it.

Movement speed with Power Treads & Drum of Endurance
+ having used Drum's Endurance
|
|
409
448

                                                                                                                         
                    



Eaglesong: After your Power Treads & Drum of Endurance, you want to get this as early as possible. 26 minutes is great, 22 minutes is amazing. If you're dying a lot after getting Magic Wand, Power Treads and Drum of Endurance, and thusly can't keep the gold you're saving, then you'll need to swap to a more defensive and more easily built item build - possibly a Manta Style, Shadow Blade or Black King Bar. Builds into either Butterfly or Ethereal Blade, both great items on Luna.
Butterfly: You want & use everything it gives, it makes you an extremely potent pushing & teamfighting machine if you can get it out early enough, and gives you some survivability against enemy carries.


Ethereal Blade: Good stat bonuses and a completely awesome activatable ability - in combination with your Lunar Beams and Eclipse it can deal huge burst damage while simultaneously protecting you from enemy DPS. If you have it, pretty much always open your combo with it + Lucent Beam, then position yourself between your enemy and their escape route if you're not using Eclipse.


Choosing Between:
When in doubt, get a Butterfly.
Ethereal Blade synergizes well with Luna's hybrid physical/magical damage output - its stats greatly benefit your DPS as well as affecting your Manta Style illusions, and its Ether Blast increases your Lucent Beam & Eclipse damage output while simultaneously making it harder for your enemy to flee (and harder to hurt you if they're not a nuker).
Get an Ethereal Blade if your enemy has a lot of physical DPS - it hard counters them while still letting you dish out plenty of damage with your Lucent Beam & Eclipse.
Do not get an Ethereal Blade if the enemy team has much in the way of burst magical damage, as you will get ****ed up if they do. Be wary of Dagons.

Extension:









Helm of the Dominator: Frequently it is best to build this before your Black King Bar and almost always before your Manta Style. Usually I will build the Morbid Mask for the exceptionally useful lifesteal, then build Black King Bar, then finish this, but I might build Black King Bar before Morbid Mask instead if most of the enemy team's threat is CC and burst damage. Vastly increases your sustainability in teamfights, and you can use Dominated neutral creeps to CC your enemies. Alternatively if you're really, really ***** at micro you can just Dominate an Alpha Wolf for the 30% damage aura, or a Kobold Taskmaster for the movement speed aura (another one :D). The lifesteal also lets you take Roshan with a little help, and allows you (in combination with Moon Glaive) to take heavily stacked Ancient camps with ease.



Black King Bar: Given you're both squishy and somewhat of a magnet for CC, Black King Bar can greatly increase your survivability. If you opponents have no effective CC, no coordination or no focus in using it on you, then you can likely forgo it in favour of building luxury items. If, however, your opponents show signs in their early game of having decent coordination or of focusing you with CC, then it is likely a very worthwhile purchase.



Manta Style: Increases your effective DPS by 56% for the duration of the active, dispels negative buffs on yourself, gives you movement & attack speed and plenty of much-needed stats. Has what is effectively the only non-stats/damage/as benefit that fully stacks with your Moon Glaive - Manta Style illusions have bounce attacks, while every other item's effects only apply to the first hit. Once you've got it on top of your other items, your ability to push, teamfight and rax skyrockets insanely.


Luxury:


Satanic: Makes you tanky, and lets you come out of 1v3s with more health than you went in with. The strength increase also makes your illusions beefy, making it harder to distinguish between them and you based on susceptibility to damage.
Boots of Travel: Gives you unparalleled tactical and strategic mobility, especially useful for all sorts of pushing, counter-pushing & backdooring. Plus, you no longer need to leave a free slot for Town Portal Scrolls.


Eye of Skadi: Stacks with lifesteal, gives you plenty of stats (which your Manta Style illusions also benefit from), and makes you significantly tankier. Cold Attack only applies to the first hit, not your bounces or Manta Style illusions' attacks, but is still very useful. Admittedly the slow is less useful by the time you get it, but it's still a great item.
Mjollnir: The attack speed and damage don't benefit your Manta Style illusions, but the passive synergizes very nicely with your Moon Glaives and the active is awesome against enemy DPS carries.


Situational:


Utility:


Quelling Blade: Quelling Blade is rarely necessary because you have great auto-attack damage from level 1 due to your Lunar Blessing, but if you're up against someone with still higher attack damage (say, an Exhort Invoker) who is also better at last hitting & denying than you, it may be necessary. Otherwise, it's a waste of 225 gold.

Bottle: Bottle is definitely useful for sustaining Luna mid, and for making the best use out of runes, but it is generally unnecessary. If you like it, feel free.

                                                                                                                         
                    


Defense:






Shadow Blade: If you're being frequently ganked or otherwise having trouble escaping bad situations, Shadow Blade can be very useful.
However, its benefits don't help Manta Style illusions, and invisibility is fairly easy to counter. That said, the extra move speed while Shadow Walking is very useful for both fleeing and chasing.
Notably, as Eclipse is not a channel, you can Eclipse and then immediately Shadow Walk, remaining near your opponent while invisible as Eclipse repeatedly pounds on them.
Heart of Tarrasque: Makes you tanky as ****, but generally Satanic is better unless you're being focused by a lot of burst damage.

                                                                                                                         
                    


Counter-Counter-DPS:



Monkey King Bar: The pure damage & attack speed increase are effectively magnified by your Moon Glaive, and True Strike is useful against teams stacking evasion. However, your Manta Style illusions won't get any benefit from the damage & attack speed, so it's not great on you otherwise.

                                                                                                                         
                    


Magic Damage Output:


It's possible to build Luna's items in order to maximize your magic damage output - with a Refresher Orb, Aghanim's Scepter and Veil of Discord, a double level 3 Eclipse will deal 9,000 damage before reductions. Yes, this is an impressively high number, however this build is almost always vastly less effective than building DPS.

I would only recommend building for heavy magic damage under the strict conditions that your opponents have built a lot of DPS counters and your team lacks any other significant magic damage at all. Building for magic damage entirely wastes the scaling lategame potential of Moon Glaive, and the items required build from far less useful components.

Refresher Orb: Lets you double-cast your ult (simultaneously if you like) for insanely high magic damage. That said, generally the DPS carry path is more effective.
Aghanim's Scepter: If you're going for magic damage, always get Refresher Orb first - it's around the same cost and increases your ultimate's damage output by a lot more.
Veil of Discord: Can be combo'd with your ult to increase the total damage output significantly, but it's generally better on a support.

                                                                                                                         
                    


Lucky Bastard:



Divine Rapier: I generally wouldn't recommended building one yourself, but if the enemy team drops one, make sure you get it. Luna is by far one of the scariest Divine Rapier carriers around due to her Moon Glaives, and if you already have Butterfly and Helm of the Dominator, you'll be nigh-unstoppable (as long as you don't do anything too stupid, anyway).

Playstyle

In this section, I'll discuss how you should be playing Luna to get the most out of her in the context of low-skill and pub games. I'll be breaking this down into a general discussion of tactics & playstyle, as well as covering what you should be doing at each stage of the game and then finally some more complicated or advanced things you can do to improve your game.

The coverage of recommended behaviour at each game stage is mostly an expansion and elaboration of the basic priorities discussed in the Alt-Tab Tips section.

Because this section is by far the largest, I'm giving it a table of contents of its own.

Section Table of Contents:

  1. General Playstyle
  2. Early Game
  3. Mid Game
  4. Late Game
  5. Further Tactics

General Playstyle:


The ideal playstyle for this Luna build is a combination of aggression, speed and rapid, accurate assessment of the state of the game. Between Luna's high movement speed and Town Portal Scrolls, you can quickly traverse the map, using your high burst damage with Lucent Beam and Eclipse to gank & teamfight and your high sustained AOE damage with Lucent Blessing & Moon Glaive to push lanes and farm.

However, Luna's low health and lack of an escape mechanism make her susceptible to CC-based teams and ganks, so while you need to be aggressive to maximize her potential, you also need to be smart and cautious - push when your enemies are distracted, gank when you know where your enemies are and have wards protecting you while farming.

Laning:


Solo middle is by far the best lane for Luna to take, for several reasons:
  • It is extremely difficult for the opposing hero to avoid your Lucent Beams in the tight confines of mid lane, allowing you to deal large amounts of damage from a safe distance once you hit level 5.
  • Luna has amazing last-hitting and denying, the latter allowing you to slow your opponents XP & gold per minute significantly, and given the solo mid hero is generally important to the team as a whole, this is quite significant.
  • Luna can make very good use of every rune type.
  • Luna is great at pulling off rapid ganks and pushes on the side lanes before quickly returning to mid.
  • You benefit hugely from both the early experience (due to the potency of your ultimate and your Lucent Beam at level 7) and the early gold (you need immediate speed, health and light mana regeneration).

Occasionally you will (gasp) have to play elsewhere - because there's a hero who actually can solomid better, or because a pub ally just won't listen to your requests, or because the enemy mid is a hard counter to Luna early game.

Soloing long lane is also acceptable, although obviously you can't gank as well, you don't get the runes and the geography makes it a little less easy to keep your enemy within Lucent Beam range all the time.

If you must duo lane, then ideally you want to do so with a babysitter - preferably one with a stun or hard slow and a nuke in order to make getting in-lane kills easier, but at minimum you want someone with mana regeneration abilities or items to fuel frequent Lucent Beams.

Worst case scenario: You're in a duo lane with another ranged carry. My advice: Steal all their last hits and kills as well as you possibly can - you're playing low-skill pub games, so you can't trust them to carry for you.


Early Game:


Priority 1: Farm


Your first priority early game in lane is to get as farmed as you can. Between your decent base auto-attack damage and Lunar Blessing's damage buff, you should have a fairly easy time last hitting the creeps in your lane.

However, simply getting all the last hits (while impressive) just isn't good enough - you not only way to get last hits, you also want to deny your lane opponent their last hits and maintain & manipulate the creep equilibrium to your favour; essentially, you want to control your lane.

Creep Equilibrium: Creep equilibrium is the degree to which creeps are pushed one way or another. Even or perfect creep equilibrium is what happens when the very first creep waves hit each other without any creep blocking; they meet in the middle of the lane. If you push the current creep line toward your enemy's tower, then it makes it safer for them and more dangerous for you, because they are nearer to their tower and you are further from yours and thusly less and more susceptible ganks, respectively.

Manipulating creep equilibrium is very important; if you push the creep line far enough to be under their tower, it does arguably make it harder for them to last hit (due to the tower firing on your creeps) but any good enough player will still be able to do so, and the next creep wave will push the line far back toward your tower. It is much more effective to deny your creeps yourself instead of relying on their tower to do so, not to mention it also prevents a portion of the experience gain from the creep death.

Aside from denying and auto-attacking your own creeps to pull the creep line toward your tower, you can also manipulate the creep equilibrium by partially creep blocking waves other than the first one, though generally you don't want to go back to do this unless you've already gotten all the last hits for your current wave.

In middle lane, keeping the creep line toward your tower is even more important than on the side lanes, for Luna. This is because of two effects of your opponent being uphill:
  • You only have sight on uphill enemies if they are/just have been attacking an allied unit, meaning you can only fire off Lucent Beams and auto-attacks at your opposing enemy when they choose to attack (assuming you can even get them off given the delays of human reaction time and network ping), lowering your ability to harass and generally giving an information disadvantage.
  • Ranged heroes like Luna have a 25% chance to miss while attacking targets uphill from them. Of course, this also applies to other ranged heroes going mid, but it is a problem magnified by Luna's short attack range - it makes you more vulnerable to enemy harass.

On the topic of creep blocking: You should generally creep block the first wave in mid, but ideally only enough to put enemy creeps just outside of your tower range (assuming your opponents have not blocked at all). You do this for two reasons: so if they blocked the creep equilibrium isn't pushed toward their tower, and so if they didn't block the creep equilibrium is pushed toward your tower. Knowing and pulling off the right degree of blocking takes a little bit of experience, but isn't too hard.


Priority 2: Harass


Your second early game priority is to harass your opposing hero(es). You have two main tools for harassment: Lunar Blessing-empowered auto-attacks and Lucent Beams.

A good rule of thumb for harassing with your auto-attack is to do so whenever the enemy is in/near range and you don't immediately need to last hit or deny. Obviously, if they respond with auto-attacks or abilities of their own and are going to do more damage, this tactic isn't going to work, so you'll instead need to go for auto-attack harass when they're either busy doing something else (like moving in for a last hit or deny) or when they've already drawn creep aggro (so they're taking more damage to start with).

Harass with your Lucent Beam whenever you have full mana (so as not to waste your mana regeneration), or once it is level 3+, whenever their health is looking a little too high. Always, always keep enough mana for Eclipse + one Lucent Beam - the Eclipse for kills and counter-ganks, the Lucent Beam in case you need the ministun to keep someone in Eclipse range for long enough, or to finish off an enemy post Eclipse if it was hitting two targets.

There are two main goals with harassing:
  • Keeping your opponent's health low enough that they can be killed with a few good auto-attacks and a Lucent Beam, or a partial Eclipse, or an even half-decent gank from an ally.
  • Keeping your opponent hurting enough to be either backed off from the creep line totally (which is cool if you can keep them out of experience range), or just enough that you deny all their creeps (which is often better because it usually means they're still close enough to be susceptible to ganks, rather than hiding behind their tower).


Priority 3: Kill


In the early game, Luna isn't particularly focused on getting kills, but it's still your third priority because you can frequently net a few by abusing your opponents' playstyles and by intelligently countering ganks.

If you're harassing well and thusly keeping your opponent on low health, you can often net easy kills by just running up and firing off auto-attacks & Lucent Beams, or by calling in a gank from an ally with a stun or slow.

Additionally, you can abuse certain in-grained DotA player responses to your advantage - one great example being that if you run up behind your enemy's creep line, next to them, they'll generally retreat to their tower, expecting a gank or the like. Against Luna, this is suicidal, as you keep moving behind their creep line and pop your Eclipse when their creeps aren't in range of it's AOE, resulting in a quick kill. You'll usually take a few tower hits doing so, but you'll almost certainly survive. Remember to Lucent Beam if it looks like they're getting away.

Often you can also get free kills if you see a gank coming and your Eclipse is up. Simply move just far enough behind your own creep line that the enemy creeps are not in range of Eclipse, wait for the ganker to come at you and pop your Eclipse when they're too close to run away. If the ganker has a stun or a silence, then pop your Eclipse when they're just out of their stun/silence cast range, keeping in mind the small cast time on Eclipse, and then immediately move toward them to minimize the chance of them successfully stun/silencing and running out of Eclipse range.


Mid Game:


Priority 1: Gank


Mid game, you want to get fed as much as possible, and the best way to do that is to gank. A lot.

Choosing your moment:
  1. When Eclipse is up and your lane opponent is missing or (preferably) dead.
  2. When you've just grabbed a Haste or Invisibility rune (Illusion runes are better used pushing, due to Luna's Moon Glaive working on illusions).
  3. When you see an enemy going to gank, defend, push, etc. via a nearby ward, leaving them out of position and none the wiser to your gank upon them.
  4. When an ally is fleeing from chasing enemies (either gank the chasers if you can, or gank another lane while their allies are distracted ganking yours).

Choosing your target:
  1. Delicious Food.
  2. Squishies!
  3. People without blinks.
  4. People without invisibility, unless you're taking Dust of Appearance and know how to use it (recommended that you do; invisibility heroes are frequently more susceptible to ganks than those without because of over-reliance on their invisibility as an escape mechanism).
  5. Anyone without inbuilt magic immunity (too hard to gank mid game without your Lucent Beams, Eclipses or any ally CC).

Choosing your weapon:
  1. Get close to them and drop your Eclipse when the enemy heroes are the only ones in range.
  2. Get between them and their escape route and drop auto-attacks, animation canceling and physically blocking their movement to maximize your damage and available time.

In both cases, fire off your Lucent Beam whenever it is up - unless you know they're going to try to drop a Town Portal Scroll/ Teleportation/ Boots of Travel, in which case you save it to interrupt their channel. Remember your Lucent Beam has a long cast range, so you might be able to last hit a low hp fleeing opponent between it and the movement speed boost from popping your Drum of Endurance.

In all cases, having an ally there to help you is a good thing - maybe some nice CC on your target, maybe some extra damage output, maybe a meatshield in case of counter-ganks - but do not let them get the last hit. Yes, you want them to get assists, because it increases the total gold and experience gain for your team, but make no mistake: in pub games, you have to be the one to carry, so devour that food, by theft if you must.


Priority 2: Push


Seeing as you win the game by pushing into your opponents' base and destroying their Ancient (well, that or making them ragequit, but that's far less satisfying), pushing when you can is a good idea.

When to push:
  1. Immediately after having just ganked a lane, begin to push that lane. If your enemies have already teleported into the lane in a futile attempt to save their fallen comrade, instead swap to the next lane over and push it.
  2. When most of your enemies are dead and the others in other lanes.
  3. When the enemy team is distracted (by a teamfight you can't easily get to in time / aren't needed in, by defending against a push elsewhere, by trying to counter-gank, etc.).

Pushing at this stage is rather simple for Luna: Between your high auto-attack damage and at least a level or two in Moon Glaive, all you really need to do is right-click occasionally. Ideally, animation cancel to somewhat improve your damage output (although of course this is less effective as the game goes on and your attack speed increases beyond the range of human reaction time to improve) and try to attack in such a way that you still last hit every creep in a wave, but there's really not much too it.

Do be wary of ganks and strong defender heroes. If the enemy team is counter-pushing on another lane, you'll have to judge whether your Moon Glaive is leveled enough and your damage sufficiently high enough to justify you continuing to push rather than defending.

Always, always keep a Town Portal Scroll on hand during pushes for fast escapes and defending - if you don't have one, then buy one from the side shop if you're on the side lane, or have the flying courier bring you one if you're mid (If the courier isn't flying by now, either politely ask your allies to buy one, or just go ahead and do it yourself - it's worth the cost. If you don't have a courier, proceed to cry).


Priority 3: Defend


Keeping your towers up is a good idea (it helps with the whole 'not losing' thing), and Luna is great at defending - Moon Glaive your way through creep pushers like Enchantress, Chen, Broodmother and Nature's Prophet and Lucent Beam to poke enemy heroes from afar.

That said, protecting a tower is not worth your death, even if you do succeed. Neither is denying one. This is especially true for you, as you are the carry (and following this guide, dohohoho), and thusly likely significantly higher level than most of the other players and on some sort of killing streak - if the enemy team kills you, they will gain a large amount of gold and experience between them. Don't let them get that advantage.

Protecting your base tower, however, is different - if you are sure that you will save it, then dying to do so is worth it. Once your base tower is down, that lane is far too open to being back-doored, so they're extremely important.


Priority 4: Farm


You still need a bunch of gold to fuel your expensive item purchases, but now farming is less about precisely timed last hits than it is about bouncing your Moon Glaives through everything in sight.

You'll get a decent amount of farm by just pushing lanes a lot, but at this point you can also take on every jungle camp (Ancients included) without taking much damage, due to how fast you kill the creeps with your Moon Glaives. Take jungle creeps when you're not busy doing something more important and when you're not going to immediately need the small amount of health you'll lose doing so.

You can also consider farming the enemy jungle if you have a lot of wards, pushed lanes and map control in general.


Priority 5: Teamfight


While your full teamfight potential doesn't really come into its own until late game, once you have a level or two in Moon Glaive you can deal some serious teamfight damage between it and Eclipse, so joining any teamfights going down can be a good idea.

However, like defending towers, teamfighting is not worth you dying - not even if you get kills (unless you get a lot of them). At the start of the mid game, you're likely saving up for large cost component items (e.g. Eaglesong) and dying would significantly impede your ability to buy them. As such, you don't want to go into teamfights you don't have a really, really good chance of coming out alive in.

That said, as the mid game progresses toward the late game, you begin to have bought your more expensive components and team fights begin to be more and more important (as teams become able to capitalize on winning a teamfight by pushing & possibly raxing lanes), so keep the shifting nature of this priority in mind.


Late Game:


Priority 1: Teamfight


At this point in the game, individual kills are largely pointless: unless your opponents are completely ******ed, getting a gank on a lone enemy will simply result in the rest of them playing defensively while they're down. Sure, this buys you some breathing room, but you want to be winning by now.

As such, your number one priority right now is to win large-scale teamfights where you take out 3-5 of your enemies without losing more than 1-2 of your own heroes, leaving you in a good position to capitalize on your victory by pushing, raxing, taking Roshan, or some other such game-moving play.

In lategame teamfights, your actions should go a little something like this:
  1. If there are any enemy/neutral creeps around the area of the teamfight, clear them or have your allies clear them ASAP. You want your Eclipse and Moon Glaives to only be hitting enemy heroes in order to maximize your effectiveness.
  2. Hang back slightly and let your initiator or tank start the fight.
  3. Once the teamfight has begun, position yourself to hit the squishiest targets most and pop your Eclipse.
  4. Focus your auto-attacks on the carries and then the tankier targets (as long as they don't have a Blade Mail active!), letting your Moon Glaives mop up any of the supports left alive.
  5. Use your movement speed, Drum of Endurance charges and Lucent Beams to hunt down and last-hit any fleeing enemies.

Once you've won a teamfight, you need to immediately take advantage of this. I cannot stress how vitally important this is to winning lategame; if you do not take advantage of teamfight victories, you are asking to lose.

On the flip side, you also need to take steps to mitigate the damage your opponent can deal if they win the teamfight instead. Basically:
  • Try to have all the lanes pushed toward your opponent at all times - the further back their creep line is, the longer they'll have to spend pushing before they can take your base towers & raxes.
  • Try not to leave Roshan alive lategame, ever. If he's not alive, your enemy can't gain the gold & respawn advantage he provides while your team is down.
  • When you're buying items lategame, buy them only once you have enough gold for the entire item (and preferably a safe margin above that), don't buy them one component at a time - not only do you likely not have the slots to hold more than 1-2 components anyway, but you want to leave a large amount of gold in your pool so you can buyback in an emergency. Yes, this does put you at risk of losing a lot of gold if you're dying frequently, but if you're dying that often you've got bigger problems.


Priority 2: Push


In the lategame, as previously mentioned you should almost always have the lanes pushed toward your enemy, but in addition to this, you need to push into their base every viable chance you get - this is, after all, how you win the game.

When to push for their base:
  1. When you've just won a teamfight and they're all dead (or at least mostly, and preferably without buyback) - see above.
  2. When their team is distracted by defending, roshing (if your team can't/won't take them at Roshan), teamfighting (and you can't get there fast enough), etc.
  3. When your team is pushing another lane - split-pushing is a great idea, made more awesome by the likelihood of you being able to push faster than/as fast as everyone else on your team combined.
  4. When their team is pushing another lane.

Luna's ability to push lategame is one of the highest of any hero - it takes all of 2-3 very rapid attacks to wipe a creep wave, and you mill through towers insanely fast between you and your Manta Style illusions. In addition, once you have taken their base tower, your (and your illusions') Moon Glaives will bounce between their raxes and surrounding buildings, essentially giving you a form of cleave against buildings!

Not only does this make your raxing (and hence back-dooring, always keep this option in mind) faster than almost any other hero, it also causes you to 'automatically' get the last hits on the numerous small 100-gold buildings around the enemies' base, meaning a successful push + rax will often give you nearly enough gold for another Luxury (or Situational) item.


Priority 3: Defend


I mentioned previously that when your enemy is pushing is a good time to push for their base on another lane. While this is true, it is not true in all circumstances.

More specifically, you have to be able to judge whether or not their team can push faster than you, taking into account any team members on both sides who are defending. Often times, it'll turn out that you can push faster, and if you are faster by a significant enough margin, then it's a great idea.

You do have to be faster by a significant margin, however, or else it is all too likely that the enemy team will simply wipe your team and port a few of them back to take care of you while the rest of them wreak havoc in your base, before you can do enough damage to make the sacrifice worthwhile. Fundamentally, this judgment call takes experience and intuition, and you'll get better at making it as you continue to play the game and the hero.

Defending in the lategame is a little different from in the mid game, where most of the time you're just trying to scare your enemies off. In the late game, it is much more likely to turn into a teamfight centered around one of your towers - likely a T2 or base tower. As such, you need to treat it much more like you would a teamfight, taking into account that you have some slight extra DPS on your side from the tower, as well as unparalleled vision within your base (including True Sight) while your tower and other buildings remain up.

Further Tactics:


While the above covers the vast majority of what you need to know and do to pubstomp with Luna, there are a few bits of supplementary information and further tactics you may find useful.

                                                                                                                         
                    


Use of Runes:


Hopefully you know what each of the runes do and how rune spawning works, so I'm just going to briefly mention how each is generally best used as Luna:
  • Rune of Double Damage: During early game & mid game, use it to gank or push. During late game, have your team initiate a teamfight and rape face with it. Once you have a Manta Style, make sure to have them out before you pop it so they gain the benefit as well.
  • Rune of Haste: Use it to gank, escape, or quickly roam the map to defend or join teamfights.
  • Rune of Regeneration: During early game, if you see one with your rune spot wards, quickly burn all your mana harassing with Lucent Beams, then go grab it to fill up your mana and start again (you may want to leave enough mana for an Eclipse if it is on cooldown, so as to provide a safety net while going for the rune).
  • Rune of Invisibility: Use it to gank or escape during early and mid game, and use it to scout and get into the perfect position for a teamfight during lategame.
  • Rune of Illusion: Use it to push, farm, or teamfight - because Moon Glaive works for illusions, you really need to use this against a lot of targets. Don't waste this on a gank.

                                                                                                                         
                    


Wards:


I'm not going to bother telling you where to place wards, because A: You're the carry, not the support ward-***** and B: You can google a ward guide pretty easily.

What I will do is tell you the following: Have someone on your team warding (other than you, dipstick), or you're somewhere between 40-80% more likely to lose. Having ward coverage is that ******* important - you need to know where your enemies are, what they're doing and where they're going as much as possible. Much of DotA is about information and behaviour, and well-placed wards give you a whole lot of the former.

You need to be able to avoid ganks, counter-gank, gank jungling enemies, defend against large surprise pushes, surprise teamfight at Roshan, know when to stay in a lane and when to get the **** out of dodge, know when your enemies are all on the other side of the map and you should be pushing and know when they're all coming to screw you in the *** and you need to drop a Town Portal Scroll right ****ing now.

If you don't have wards, you are going to either have to play a whole lot more defensively, or just get repeatedly, brutally murdered. Either way, you're going to lose out on opportunities to be killing, pushing, initiating teamfights, etc. and it's going to hurt your gameplay a ****ton.

If you've got a mate or two to bring with you, have one/both of them ward as supports. If you don't, ask politely and insistently for your pubs to ward. If they don't, try explaining how necessary they are and then asking again. Try asking a specific player to buy and place wards, as one of the consequences of human psychology means that asking a specific individual in a group to do a task rather than asking the whole group of people is much more likely to get results (yes, I did just science you, *****es. Deal with it).

While I'm not going to discuss the placement of wards in general, I will once again mention that having a ward giving sight of the opponent's side of the middle lane riverbank can be a very powerful tool for harassment - it lets you throw long-range Lucent Beams uphill, letting you harass even very canny or cautious players. I would only recommend doing it if they are, though, as otherwise it is an unnecessary expenditure.

                                                                                                                         
                    


Stacking Ancients:


If you find yourself having free time in lane between waves, or if you're overly pushed back or forward, then you can use the time to stack the Ancient camp for later snacking.

Creep Stacking: The act of drawing neutral creeps away from their camp just before the neutral creep respawn time (every minute at x:00, with the first spawn being the odd one out at 0:30), causing a second lot of creeps to spawn in the camp. Usually this doesn't happen because the presence of any unit (including wards) too close to a creep camp at the spawn time prevents the camp from re/spawning.

Generally, to successfully stack a creep camp you have to aggro the creeps at the x:50~53 second mark, running away as soon as you do. The creeps will follow you for ~7 seconds before turning around and heading back to their camp, thusly keeping them outside of the spawn-blocking area at the x:00 mark.

This tactic is most efficient while mid, as it takes a lot longer to get to the Ancient camp from the close lane, and it's not at all viable from the far lane:

MS Items


None.
Boots of Speed

|


|
|

MS


330
385

|


|
|

Travel time from mid


8~9 sec
~7 sec

|


|
|

Travel time from short lane (near end-far end)


20~26 sec
15~22 sec

I don't bother to list times for higher movespeeds, because usually by the time you have enough extra movespeed to make a real difference it's no longer laning phase for you, so these timings are irrelevant.

Regardless of the specific time it takes, the most important thing is to not leave the lane to stack the camp if you could otherwise be farming, denying or effectively harassing during that time period - these things are of more worth, the former because it provides immediate gold and experience, which is important, and the latter two because it helps prevent your enemy from gaining a gold & experience advantage.

Keep in mind that the more creeps you've stacked, the earlier you may need to pull as the creeps will partially creep block themselves getting out of the camp. This puts an upper limit on the number of times you can practically stack a given camp.

Once you have at least a Butterfly, you should be able to take the stacked creep camp (hopefully with as many as 4-5 stacks, more if you can manage it) pretty easily. If you want to be totally safe, wait 'til you also have lifesteal, as you then will take very little damage, or simply get someone to guard you / heal you during it.

If you've gotten your Butterfly in good time (say, around 30~33 minutes) you'll likely be around level 15-16, at which point it requires 1600~1700 experience for a full level up. An Ancient camp stacked 5 times will provide, on average, 1320 gold and 1775 - in other words, a decent portion of your next item and a level up. Obviously, if you can take the stacked Ancient camp earlier, while still in the laning phase - by juking the creeps, or by getting help from allies, or whatever - you can then proceed to stack it again while continuing to lane, allowing you to reap still more of a gold & experience advantage from it.

                                                                                                                         
                    


Mind Games:


Aside from the basic technical skills (last hitting, denying, lane control, micro, skill combos, etc.) and the game knowledge (hero statistics, skills, standard tactics, items, item builds, etc.), much of being good at DotA is about information and behaviour. Map awareness, wards, tracking enemy item builds, etc. covers a lot of the information portion. Mind games cover a lot of the behaviour portion.

I'm not going to cover mind games in general, because once again you can just google it and related topics.

That said, I will mention a few aspects of the art of mind games with respect to Luna's specific capabilities.

Your Eclipse is so absurdly powerful in 1v1 fights, especially early game, that there is far more value in luring the enemy into a 1v1 or 1v2 fight against you than there is for most heroes. In fact, you can frequently get easy kills by allowing an enemy hero to gain enough of an apparent advantage - say, a Haste rune - to make them aggressive and cocky enough to attempt to gank you, and then simply stand just far enough back from your creep line/close to your tower to drop all your Eclipse beams right on their face as they rush toward you at 512 movespeed. It's a little like watching a particularly stupid bird fly right into a window: hilarious, and a little sad.

You do have to make sure than the advantage you allow them isn't one so great that they could actually kill you instead, and you have to take into account any missing enemies while working this out, as surprise ganks while baiting an enemy can be disastrous.

Not everyone is as familiar with Eclipse's mechanics as you are (or at least, as familiar as I hope you are by now ._.). Specifically, while many people know it can't hit invisible units, far fewer know it can't hit units that are within range but out of line of sight. You can abuse this by luring enemies who are "safe" near a creep wave or neutral camp around a patch of trees/corner and just out of line of sight of the creeps but within Eclipse radius, letting you hit their unsuspecting self with the full force of your ultimate.

When fleeing from or juking a chasing enemy past a friendly tower, once/if they have tower aggro immediately Lucent Beam them - the 0.6 second stun on it is enough to let the tower get in at least 1 more hit, 2-4 depending on their movement speed, timing and behaviour. Often times this will cause them to turn around and head back out, in which case you should immediately follow and drop repeated Lucent Beams if there's any chance of you killing them - or at least forcing them back. Do not do so, however, if it's likely there's another enemy coming in to mop you up (i.e. don't try this in Clinkz or Bounty Hunter games if they're missing or too nearby).

Replays

If you're interested in watching some replays of this build at work, you can more or less just watch any match I've played as Luna. You can find plenty from my DOTABUFF profile.

If you're looking for particular highlights, here's a few:
  • Match ID: #35026305 (dota2://matchid=35026305 *) - We're losing pretty badly, all towers gone except the Ancient's, all raxes gone except mid. Then the enemy Nature's Prophet bought and dropped a Divine Rapier. This is why you do not give Luna a Divine Rapier.
  • Match ID: #36497335 (dota2://matchid=36497335) - Quick 33 minute game, notable mainly because I had 986 XPM and 694 GPM, and about as much total gold as 2/3rds of the enemy team. Yes, the other guys were bad. What did you expect?
  • Match ID: #37471218 (dota2://matchid=37471218) - So you can see that in low-skill games, Luna rolls even 5-man premade Captains Mode games.
*: You can copy and paste the 'dota2://' url links into a sufficiently intelligent browser - e.g. Opera - and it'll open the appropriate match in the Dota 2/Spectator Client, assuming you have it installed. Having the client open already may be necessary/helpful.


Things to note from my games:
  • My enemies and frequently my allies are generally greatly lacking in skill. As the name of the guide implies, this is very much intended specifically for carrying pub/low-skill teams, not for playing in high-skill, inhouse or competitive games, wherein I (and most likely you as well) would be horribly raped.
  • I maintain a fairly regular transition from farming to ganking & pushing to teamfighting as the game moves through the phases, as this is more or less how you want it to go.
  • It's largely irrelevant how ******ed your random pubby teammates are, if you can carry hard enough. True, you'll lose some games, but not many if you are actually somewhat more skilled than them. If you're not, go read general DotA guides and practice your basics more - you don't need much of a skill differential to be effective with easy heroes like Luna.

Coda

Well, I hope you've enjoyed the guide, and I hope it improves your pub Luna games. Suggestions, criticisms, formatting advice etc. are greatly appreciated, and any and all questions asked will be answered.
Probably.

Credits:


  • JhoiJhoi for her awesome guide to making guides (let's not hold it against her that it was intended for League of Legends guides ;) ).
  • Eul, Guinsoo, IceFrog, innumerable community contributors & Valve for variously creating, updating, maintaining and remaking the ever-awesome DotA Allstars.
  • The makers and contributors to vi & vim, the text editor I used to edit and format this guide.

Changelog:


Dates are in UTC+10 (I'm Australian, so I'm probably living in your future. The second coming of Jesus was cool by the way, he was pretty chill).

17/01/2013:

  • Re-prioritized build so that Black King Bar is now core/extension - pubbies have gotten a little better in the last few months.
  • Changed half-rule style somewhat.

03/09/2012:

  • Tweaked the description of Black King Bar's usefulness.

03/09/2012:

  • Bunch of minor formatting, phrasing, spelling & grammatical fixes.
  • Added a premade 5 man Captains Mode game to the replays.
  • Added the rather large Playstyle section.
  • Added more credits.
  • Added Puck & Shadow Demon to the list of Enemies & Both, respectively, and added danger-level colour-coding to the Enemies list.

01/09/2012:

  • Added Quelling Blade to situational items.
  • Added Delicious Food to Allies & Enemies.
  • Expanded the Introduction.

30/08/2012:

  • Published the guide.
  • Added Credits & Changelog subsections.
  • Fixed various formatting issues & added wiki links where the DotaFire database is lacking.
  • Fixed various typos and grammatical mistakes. Doubt I got them all, though.
  • Fixed a mistake in my description of Eye of Skadi.
  • Reorganized situational item section into further subsections.
  • Emphasized that building for magic damage is only useful under certain circumstances.
  • Updated the section on choosing between Butterfly & Ethereal Blade.

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