The top 10 most popular Dota 2 carries during 7.20. We will learn the best carry heroes in the meta, how to play or counter them, and the patch changes.
Article released during 7.20e.
More from this series:
There are several types of heroes who can be defined as carries, but for the purpose of this article I will allow only auto-attackers into the list. Heroes such as Invoker and Tinker - who can certainly carry the team to victory - are not included.
The heroes are arranged by pick rate, and the data considers all games played in any region in the 5k+ (Divine) bracket. Note that we can’t filter data for just a particular patch, so the past 30 days are examined. Statistics from Dotabuff.
Note: I have talked about Phantom Assassin in the November Tier List.
Juggernaut’s new Omnislash
Juggernaut is immensely more popular in pubs than in pro games, which is probably due to the burst damage he can inflict with his abilities and innate critical damage. Honestly, who doesn’t like to annihilate the enemies with a well-placed Omnislash?
7.20 reworked this skill. Now, Juggernaut physically attacks the target affected by Omnislash with a 30/40/50 bonus damage and an 1.8 attack rate multiplier for 3.5 seconds.
These instant attacks do not have True Strike, but they can trigger any attack modifier, including Juggernaut’s passive Blade Dance.
Similarly to the old ultimate, you can cast spells and use items during Omnislash. Only Blade Fury and Town Portal Scrolls do not work. Many pub players do absolutely nothing during Omnislash; I believe they either do not know this feature or are afraid they could accidentally stop the ultimate.
In a team fight, I warmly suggest dropping Healing Ward on the ground during Omnislash, so you will be able to heal your teammates as they do not share your invulnerability. Most players forget about the existence of this ability and tend to activate it only at the end of the battle, which is too late to save lives.
There was a bug after the release of 7.20 that Valve fixed promptly: Shadow Walk, the active ability of the Shadow Blade, added 175 extra damage to each slash! It was a massive increase that led to easy stomps for the players who knew the bug. It didn’t work with the Silver Edge.
The new Omnislash is stronger versus low-armored enemies
I consider the new Omnislash an upgrade if compared to the old one, and in fact Icefrog decided to nerf it a bit by reducing the attack damage bonus from 30/45/60 to 30/40/50 in 7.20e.
During Omnislash, you are physically attacking the targets, so a good armor value will reduce the damage of each attack. Likewise, magic resistance or the Black King Bar can nullify the extra damage provided by the procs of the Mjollnir - if Juggernaut bought the item.
In the early game, it is stronger versus enemies with almost no armor, such as most casters and supports. Instead, a hero like Ogre Magi will have no problems tanking it due to his high base armor.
The new Omnislash also scales better in the late game if Juggernaut can farm enough (unless the target is a heavy-armoured hero), so buying proper items to counter it is mandatory.
There are many ways to counter Omnislash and avoid the damage completely or partially: invulnerability (Eul’s Scepter of Divinity), ethereal form (Ghost Scepter), invisibility (Glimmer Cape) and all the hero abilities with similar effects.
You can also avoid and potentially block the spell by jumping outside the ability search range of 425. This is achieved easily with skills such as Queen of Pain and Anti-Mage’s Blink.
Better stats and laning phase
7.20 also brought another buff:
Increased base agility from 26 to 36.
Reduced base attack damage from 22-26 to 12-16.
Even if the starting damage is the same, the agility brings more benefits, and among them a 10 extra attack speed. Juggernaut has always been a great last hitter, and this adjustment improved even more his early game.
This is a quite significant buff because the hero needs to win the laning phase and farm his Battle Fury as soon as possible.Juggernaut excels in trilanes, and this is an issue nowadays in the dual lane meta, but these buffs in combination with a few decent ganks can lead to an easy victory.
If you are playing a ganker, roamer, or second support, I highly suggest trying a coordinated gank at level 1. Juggernaut can destroy almost any hero with Blade Fury; all he needs is a reliable disable and some extra damage from his teammates.
A look at Juggernaut’s most used items
The following list shows the most bought items on Juggernaut by pro players during December:
Monkey King Bar
The Battle Fury is mandatory
You want a Battle Fury in almost all games to increase your farming speed, and the earlier you get it the higher your chances to carry the match.
This item is great in most scenarios because if you are in advantage, it consolidates your networth lead; and if you are behind, it will help to boost your farming speed for a potential comeback. I would skip it only if you have huge survivability issues and there is no time or space to farm at all. That won’t be an easy game!
Also note that the Battle Fury is a great item during Omnislash as you can inflict AoE damage with each attack.
The 7.20 cleave rework boosted the Battle Fury farming capabilities
After the changes to cleave in 7.20, the Maelstrom is barely used because the Battle Fury gives a lot more farming speed.
7.20 changed how cleave works. Before, it ignored the amount of armor possessed by a hero while now it is a normal physical damage type, which damage is reduced by the armor of the target.
To make up for the damage reduction, IceFrog rebalanced items like the Battle Fury, and in particular increased its cleave damage from 40% to 60%.
While the change is a nerf against heavily armored heroes, it is also a buff versus those with a poor base armor, and generally most opponents during the early game. The lane and neutral creeps have very low armor values, so now the Battle Fury is remarkably more efficient against them.
The Manta Style increases your survivability
The Manta Style should not be used only as a DPS and split-pushing tool, and experienced players buy it mostly for the added survivability.
It dispels silence. If the opponents can silence you, the Manta Style is mandatory. Being silenced at the right time might nullify a gank, team fight, or escape (if you try to Blade Fury and teleport away).
You could consider the Sange and Yasha over the Manta Style only in a minimum percentage of games. Generally, even if the opponents have no disables you can dodge or dispel, they can always get items such as the Orchid Malevolence to disable your skills.
Never use the Manta Style while spinning (Blade Fury). You will waste a potential save from a silence or a disjointable spell, and the opponents will quickly find out who is the real Juggernaut.
The Blink Dagger is an underused tool in pubs
Pub players know the importance of the Blink Dagger, but they do not love “wasting gold” on a carry.
Imagine you are facing a long-range hero such as Drow, Sniper, or Tinker: you really need that gap closer to jump on them and kill them as soon as possible, otherwise they will just shred your team from a safe distance in every team fight.
Thanks to Omnislash you are one of the best heroes who can deal with them because the damage versus a single target is massive and they are usually placed at a certain distance from the rest of their team. Considering the actual meta, I would say that the Blink Dagger is a core item on Juggernaut.
More: Months ago, I have published a quick guide with 15 great tips for Juggernaut.
Header image: Armor of the Unyielding Mask loading screen for Juggernaut - Valve