Sidelane Luna, The Moon Face
August 28, 2012
Luna is a powerful hero, but is a hero often that is frequently built in ways that don't play on her strengths. She is a squishy ranged agility hero, but has a small attack range which can often put her in harm's way. She has two powerful nukes, (one of which is a brief stun) a strong early game damage aura, and a powerful cleave like ability. Luna is often build more as a single target DPS carry, which isn't the best way to build her in my opinion, as she is an AOE damage carry, much like Kunkka, Spectre and Leshrac.
In this guide, I will explain my way to build Luna, a way that is similar to how some players build Naga Siren and Phantom Lancer. I play a couple of hundred games of DoTA every month, and have well over 1000 games, and have played Luna many different ways, before slowly creating this build over many games, and having success with it.
The reason this guide sidelanes Luna is for a few important reasons. Luna is a great ganker, but because she doesn't have any AOE creep clearing nukes; it's harder to acquire runes versus mid heroes who do. Luna's range is also very poor, meaning that she can often put herself in risky situations just getting last hits, and can easily be harassed in a 1v1 situation. While she can be a good mid due to her raping of enemy heroes away from creeps (such as at runes), and her good gank capacity, she's often better at counter ganking than ganking, making her great side lane material. Especially with her small attack range.
Lets face it, if you want to read about the skill's damage, cooldown, mana cost, etc you can easily do it in game. Lets talk about something useful, specifically in depth about the skills.
Lucent Beam is a really powerful 300 damage nuke, which also stuns for 0.6 seconds. While the stun is minimal, it's great at temporarily stopping opponents, and stopping channeling abilities or TP scrolls. This skill allows you to contribute in the early game, which someone like a Weaver can't, and gives you some great ranged burst damage.
The problem with this ability is that it has a brief cast animation, it's important to not start this spell unless you are sure you can finish it. If the fleeing enemy goes into fog during casting for example, they will get even further away as the spell won't cast. Wards can be an important factor in being able to use this ability while chasing. With the best movement speed in the game, it's important to be patient, as more likely than not, you'll be slightly faster than the opponent.
Moon Glaive is essentially a bad cleave, but as a battlefury doesn't work on ranged heros, it's very good (it also has a larger range). The glaive allows you to farm easier, as well as do great AOE damage. The damage is reduced on each bounce, but only by 30%, meaning the first bounce still hits pretty hard.
The glaive makes a post manta hero more obvious to spot, and can clean up pesky illusions like mantas and dark seer illusions, without you even attempting to do so. Your illusions also get the bouncing attacks, and they bounce off towers. You can easy farm up the moonwells behind barracks while attacking the barracks, which as a moon rider, you always want more moon.
Lunar Blessing gives you, and all heroes near you, more damage. And one level will increase your night vision range to be the same as your daytime vision. This skill makes last hitting early game much easier, but if you're in the unfortunate position of being in a lane where someone is contesting you for farm, they will also get the bonus damage. And if your friend is a melee hero with quelling blade and your aura, good luck trying to beat him at last hitting.
Hopefully though, this won't occur, but will instead give a support hero, like ancient apparition, more damage to harass the enemy with, countering the damage reduced by damage block (stout shield).
An amazing ultimate that hits random targets around you with your first skill (without the stun). Each hero/unit can only be hit 4 times. With level 4 Lucent Beam, this is a godly 1,200 magical damage if a target is hit 4 times. The key to this ability is to use it when the enemy is close to you, and away from creeps. With a cooldown over two minutes long, you don't want to waste it, nor waste a heap of hits on creeps. The trick is using it when you can rape with it.
If you have wards up and see someone coming to gank your lane, chances are if you meet him in the jungle and ult + beam, it should be an easy kill. Just make sure they don't have a pesky rune to mess with your plan (or magic immunity like juggernaut or lifestealer)! This ult makes Luna an amazing counter ganker, as a gank on her in the jungle can easily be turned around into a double kill for you.
Lunas skill build is pretty simple. Like most heroes, you want to max your nuke out first (Lucent Beam). It will allow you to do some great burst damage every 6 seconds (provided you have mana). However, its best to get Lunar Blessing at level 1, as the 14 bonus damage will make it easier to last hit straight away. Always get your ultimate when you can, but your second maxed skill is situational.
If your game is having a long laning phase, you can opt to get a third and fourth level of Lunar Blessing before getting any glaive. But the first level of the aura gives you 14 damage, where as each additional level only gives you 6 more damage. If your lane phase is short, its best to get glaive before your third and fourth level of aura, as it will allow you to jungle earlier. Whatever you choose, just remember that getting glaive while you are laning, will just push the lane.
You can also get a few levels of stats after two levels of aura if you want to lane without pushing it (such as lane controlling after you lose your tower), and think additional HP is better than the 6 extra damage aura, especially as stats will give you 2 damage anyway.
And here comes the most unique part of this guide, the part that vastly differs from the other Luna builds, the item build.
Soul Ring and Tranquil Boots will give you good HP regen, allowing you to cope with harassment. It also means you never should have mana problems. You can easily work enemies down with the Soul Ring > Beam combo making them prime ganking material, or force a hero without HP regen to leave the lane. The combo allows you to stay in lane for longer, and in the field for longer, rather than having to rush to base or to check/grab a rune to fill your bottle.
The early vitality booster is built into a heart late game, and gives you some much needed HP, while still contributing to your late game. A casual cloak can be picked up if you're having problem with nukers, like the slappa who stole half your name, Lina. You can also upgrade your gauntlet into a bracer if you need some extra strength, which is especially handy against someone like Undying.
After the tranquil boots, soul ring and vitality booster, Manta is a great next item. It gives you good attack speed and damage. Not the mention the great illusions and the bonus movement speed. The +10 strength is also rather handy.
By this point you already have good damage output with your illusions, spells, and aura, so a force staff at this point is good. Smart people will force staff away from you when you ult, and being able to follow them instantly allowing your ult to still hit them is prime. It also makes up the distance if they stun you then run. It also allows you to have a great in combat escape mechanism, which can put you up cliffs. You can go invisible with a shadow blade and still have your ultimate work, but a shadow blade is expensive, easily countered by dust, and doesn't stop people force staffing away from your ult. It does however provide you with damage, movement speed, and the sexy 150 bonus damage. Force staff is often a better option however, as any intelligent player just buys dust. With correct usage, such as forcing up cliffs (or your allies to safety) you can get away easier, and help your team, or chase down fleeing foes.
You now have a choice to make. If you're feeling squishy, its time to upgrade your Vitality Booster into a Heart of Tarrasque, which will give you 40 strength and will give you beastly HP regen, allowing you to switch your tranquil boots in for power treads (disassemble tranquil). Which is something you have to do late game. This is generally the best root to go down.
A butterfly can also work as the evasion makes you harder to kill, and provides nice DPS, whereas if youre really getting magically ruined, a BKB can be prime. You can also get damage items like crits, or an MKB to stop evasion messing with you. If you went Manta > Force > Heart > Treads, you should be fine to just get pure damage items. You can also pickup a maelstrom if you really want to push, or to get rid of non hero units in preparation for an ult, or to make your glaives hit only heroes.
What Not To Get
Don't get scepter, scepter is generally bad on carries, and most carries don't even have scepter upgrades. There are far better items than scepter.
I'm sure some people will disagree, but why not Satanic? If you do 300 damage to a hero, then your first glaive will do 30% less damage, a nice 210 damage. Satanic will only grant you lifesteal from your first attack. And your glaives bounce further than a battlefury will hurt people. You are not a single target damage dealer like a Chaos Knight. You glaive is Area Of Effect, your ultimate is AOE, and you also have an aura, which of course, IS AOE. You are an AOE carry through your abilities, same as Kunkka with Tidebringer, Leshrac with his spells, and Spectre with her ultimate and her Dispersion. Lifesteal isn't that grand on AOE heroes, and heart gives you more than twice as much HP, which is handy as a squishy agility hero. It still can be good, especially the satanic active, but in my opinion there are far better options.
This build gives you great early and mid game contribution, without suffering from a weaker late game. You shouldnt ever be in the annoying Im out of mana position, and can stay in lane/jungle for ages, and are always ready to TP to a tower with good mana and HP. Just remember one thing, your ultimate is strongest away from creeps, but you arent the only hero that is strong away from creeps. Be careful when the enemy has someone like Juggernaut or Leshrac, as Ominslash and diabolic edict will rape your face. Not to mention magic immunity from Juggernaut/Lifestealer can chew through a lot of your ultimates duration. Often baiting enemies away from creeps can be the key to a successful ultimate.
Whatever you end up doing as Luna, just make sure you have fun, be a good little moon face, and try not to get sidetracked checking out your fellow Scottish sounding friend Lone Druid and his strong hairy companion, oh, and I'm not talking about his bear :).