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How to Play Juggernaut in Dota 2

Patrick Bonifacio

Yurnero, the Juggernaut, is one of the most recognizable heroes in Dota 2. Up there with the likes of Pudge, Mirana, and Dragon Knight in terms of iconic status, Juggernaut backs his popularity up with steady, stable gameplay. Yurnero himself has never truly been an off-metagame pick throughout the years, thanks in no small part to his flexible kit. He personifies and epitomizes balance, with a near 51 percent win rate to his name at the time of writing.

Juggernaut Dota 2 Banner

Flexible and adaptable to a fault, Juggernaut is one of the most ubiquitous heroes in Dota 2. (Image courtesy Valve)

In fact, his kit is so versatile that he is a hard carry that is effective at nearly all stages of the game. From his decent laning phase to his incredible late-game prowess, Juggernaut is as well-rounded as any other carry hero out there.

Juggernaut Dota 2 Art 1

(Image courtesy Valve)

His overall game plan is also quite simple and easy to execute. Juggernaut is a viable choice for first-time carry players because of this. However, he is more difficult to master than most people think, and optimizing his gameplay is harder than it looks at first. But fear not: we’re here to help you make heads or tails of how to play Yurnero in Dota 2. Welcome to our Juggernaut hero guide.

Within the Limits

Before getting into the build and game plan, it’s very important for us to go over Juggernaut’s strengths and weaknesses, more so than most other core heroes in the game. This is because his pros and cons are more subtle than those of other heroes, and may go over new players’ heads with how much detail there is to know.

Juggernaut Strengths

By far, Juggernaut’s primary strength is his ability to instantly make himself immune to damage, disables, and most harmful elements. This is facilitated by both Blade Fury and Omnislash, which grant Yurnero spell immunity and invulnerability, respectively. Juggernaut can simply shrug off most debuffs and damage over time effects with Blade Fury, allowing him to escape unharmed if needed. Of course, Blade Fury also deals damage over time of its own against enemy heroes, making it both an offensive and defensive ability.

Omnislash on the other hand makes Juggernaut nigh untouchable. Yurnero himself becomes completely untargetable during this state, rendering him immune to pretty much everything with very few exceptions. And just like Blade Fury, Omnislash allows Juggernaut to dish out the pain while protecting himself. Starting to see a trend here? Juggernaut is all about keeping himself safe while he does his job, whether that be laning or teamfighting.

Other than that, Yurnero has the usual carry tools. Blade Dance directly increases DPS. Not much else to say about it. Healing Ward deserves special mention, though. Not a lot of carries out there have ways to heal themselves outside of lifesteal. Healing Wards can also move just like other units, opening up an avenue for those with micromanagement skills.

Juggernaut Weaknesses

Of course, Juggernaut’s sheer flexibility comes with cons as well. His cooldown timers jump out as the biggest weakness in his kit, as Yurnero is quite vulnerable when he cannot access his abilities. Getting caught by strong disables with Blade Fury on cooldown is practically a death sentence for him. The same goes with Omnislash, especially if he doesn’t have his teammates to back him up.

And then there’s the issue of his attribute growth per level. Juggernaut starts with a ton of base agility, but his base strength and intelligence leave a lot to be desired. He also doesn’t gain much of the latter two attributes per level. This causes his health and mana pool to grow very slowly compared to other heroes. Yurnero therefore greatly requires stat-boosting items in the late game, whereas other carries would be fine just building straight-up damage items.

Finally, there’s the issue with his ultra-late game scaling. Juggernaut isn’t the most mobile melee carry, nor is he the one with the highest potential in the pool. Hypercarries like Medusa, Terrorblade, and Spectre can all outscale him in situations where the game goes to 60 minutes or more. Yurnero is sort of dependent on ending the game earlier than that as a result.

The Way of the Sword

The recommended ability and talent build for Juggernaut isn’t difficult to grasp at all. His scaling is very straightforward, and there isn’t really any room for experimentation here. Blade Fury should be your first priority, given its damage output in the early game and the fact that its mana cost scales downward instead of upward.

Blade Dance is the second priority, as it directly increases your damage output, which can be useful for farming and for taking early fights. Healing Ward isn’t really good in the early levels, and it basically has no scaling to speak of. Max it last. Omnislash should be taken at each ultimate level.

As for talents, the progression is likewise cut and dry, at least past level 10. The level 10 talent choice boils down to whether or not you feel like you need more health to survive, or if you need the movement speed to catch up to your targets. In most cases, +20 Movement Speed is better. Then get the +20 Attack Speed talent at level 15, as it directly impacts the potency of your Omnislash and your general DPS.

At level 20, get the +160 Blade Fury DPS talent; the +8 Armor just isn’t good value on a hero that already has so much agility to begin with. The Blade Fury talent also becomes much better if you opt to buy Aghanim’s Shard. Finally, you’ll want the Omnislash Duration talent at level 25. +475 Health just pales in comparison to an extra second of invulnerability and jacked-up damage.

Swordsman’s Stash: Juggernaut Item Guide

Farming Items

On to the item build. In contrast to the skill build, Juggernaut has many choices in this regard. The most popular build (at least in public matchmaking) involves building a Battle Fury to help accelerate farm. This is a classic build that has been around since the dawn of time, even before Dota even had the number two attached to its name.

However, with the metagame nowadays being so fast-paced, Battle Fury is kind of a liability. It delays your ability to fight quite significantly, which isn’t really good for a hero like Juggernaut. You want to be ready to take objectives or defend yourself at a moment’s notice, and Battle Fury just doesn’t let you do any of those things early.

Therefore, we recommend instead turning to Maelstrom as the farming item of choice. It’s much easier to build compared to Battle Fury, and the Chain Lightning passive works fully with Omnislash. Maelstrom is also very reliable at pushing out creep waves, which is important for Juggernaut as he doesn’t want to risk putting Blade Fury on cooldown when farming.

Mid Game Ramp and Protection

From there, you’ll want to build a Yasha-based item. Yasha is extremely important for Juggernaut, as it gives him movement speed (to prevent getting kited), and more attack speed for more DPS. As for the upgrade, it will depend mostly on the enemy hero composition. Instant silence effects are among Juggernaut’s worst nightmares, so if you’re facing any, build Manta Style for the dispel. If you’re up against hard disables, though, Sange and Yasha may be a better choice.

Juggernaut Dota 2 Art 2

(Image courtesy Valve)

Speaking of hard disables, Yurnero hates going up against spell immunity-piercing abilities. Things like Doom, Primal Roar, and Duel completely ruin his day. This is when a Linken’s Sphere would come in handy. Asking your supports to buy Lotus Orb would also help in this regard. There isn’t much you can do about area of effect spells that go through Blade Fury, though, so we suggest avoiding Juggernaut altogether against heroes like Enigma or Faceless Void.

Final Stroke

As for late-game luxury items, there’s plenty to choose from. Mjollnir is perfect for playing against illusion heroes like Phantom Lancer, and builds directly from Maelstrom. The same goes for Gleipnir, if you’re facing mobile targets like Ember Spirit or Mirana. Gleipnir doesn’t give you attack speed like Mjollnir does, though.

Aghanim’s Scepter is perhaps the best item to buy after completing your Yasha and Maelstrom upgrades. It gives you access to a mini-Omnislash which lasts about a third of the real Omnislash duration, but on a 20-second cooldown. The value of such a thing cannot be overstated, as it allows you to threaten enemies that are out of position without committing the full Omnislash cooldown. Moreover, Aghanim’s Scepter gives you plenty of additional stats.

From there, the usual hard carry items apply. Basher into Abyssal Blade helps with locking down Black King Bar wielders. Eye of Skadi pumps your stats to high heaven while giving you a useful slow on-hit. Satanic is there if you need the lifesteal to go toe to toe with high DPS carries, as is Butterfly with its evasion. Special mention goes to Swift Blink, which is incredibly useful for jumping into the enemy backline and assassinating supports in an instant.

Bushido Blade

While Yurnero’s kit allows him to fight early and often, he is still a carry at the end of the day. Therefore, you need to know how to pick your spots and when to take fights during the phases of the game where you’re expected to farm.

Thankfully, Juggernaut is a fast farmer. Blade Fury alone helps you clear creep waves while also making it safe to show yourself on the map. Maelstrom does this as well as mentioned before. Also, keep in mind that you can still use items while Blade Fury is active. Use this to your advantage to escape from gank attempts by activating Blade Fury and using a Town Portal Scroll to get to safety.

While it is certainly good for you to participate in early engagements, don’t overextend yourself and know your limits. Yurnero is very squishy without stat items, and is a sitting duck with Blade Fury on cooldown.

When using Healing Ward in any situation, make sure to micro it out of reach. It dies in just one hit from any enemy hero, and you will lose the regeneration almost immediately. Try to summon it at a safe distance, and keep it out of harm’s way while you push towers for example.

How to Counter Juggernaut in Dota 2

With his built-in spell immunity and invulnerability, Juggernaut is notoriously difficult for new Dota 2 players to counter. This of course boils down primarily to his defensive capabilities, which cause situations where new players just don’t know how to keep him pinned down.

Silences

Silence effects like the active ability of Orchid Malevolence and Silencer’s Global Silence wreck Juggernaut. Without access to Blade Fury or Omnislash, Yurnero is extremely vulnerable and must rely entirely on his movement speed in order to get to safety. When coupled with potent slows, Juggernaut has no way to escape after being silenced.

Instant Disables

Instant disables like Lion’s Hex or Rubick’s Telekinesis work wonders against Juggernaut, especially when used from areas where he won’t expect them. Chaining instant disables with stuns afterwards leads to better results, with Yurnero being unable to respond until he’s already dead. Bonus points for disables that go through spell immunity like Magnus’ Reverse Polarity.

Counters to Omnislash

Because Omnislash is a purely physical ability, it is prone to getting countered by the same things that counter physical attacks. Ghost Scepter, Necrophos’ Ghost Shroud, and Pugna’s Decrepify completely neuter Omnislash. Eul’s Scepter of Divinity also grants invulnerability for a short time, which can be useful if you’re the only one Yurnero is hitting with it.

Invisibility also helps tons against Omnislash. Glimmer Cape can be used to interrupt the whole thing, in fact, as Juggernaut stops slashing if there are no visible enemy units in the vicinity.

Patrick Bonifacio
Patrick Bonifacio

Patrick has been playing Dota since the dawn of time, having started with the original custom game for WarCraft III. He primarily plays safe lane and solo mid, preferring to leave the glorious task of playing support to others.

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