Juggernaut is not a good hero in this patch. He is currently sitting at below 45% winrate in Divine+ games and feels completely out of place in the current meta. Despite that, some players are finding good success with the hero, opting for a greedier late-game oriented build. Today we are going to analyse this approach, while also discussing why exactly Juggernaut is so weak right now.
There are currently two types of carry heroes who are meta-viable. Lane dominators like Monkey King, Ursa and Slark, or flash-farmers like Medusa, Alchemist or Terrorblade. Technically, you could consider Juggernaut to be one of the former, but in reality, when playing against popular early Vanguard, he can’t reliably get kills unless he snowballs from minute zero.
His farming potential is also limited. The usual Maelstrom first item still leaves him underfarmed when compared to dedicated farming heroes and doesn’t provide the necessary physical damage scaling.
What the hero does have, though, is one of the best BAT values in the game, one of the most reliable crits and one of the strongest sustaining utility abilities in Healing Ward. This is what is being leveraged right now by the strongest Juggernaut players.
The new Juggernaut build is actually the old Juggernaut build, before Aghanim’s Shard on the hero became mandatory. We are playing a strong late game scaling right-clicking machine who has built-in crits and come level twenty also has a very strong built-in lifesteal through talents.
Essentially, the idea is to make Juggernaut unkillable through the combination of Healing Ward, Blade Dance lifesteal and Omnislash immunity. To achieve this you need high attack speed, high physical damage and a decent amount of HP.
What it means is you get Power Treads instead of Phase Boots. Battle Fury instead of Maelstrom and a Yasha derivative, instead of Aghanim’s Shard.
Later progression involves going for either Eye of Skadi or Butterfly for survivability and extra DPS, and then you ideally want to get Aghanim’s Scepter and end the game.
This is as old school as it gets and was the default Juggernaut build before the Shard introduction. With this build Juggernaut is decently tanky, can frontline, especially if he is ahead of the enemy carry, and can siege really well with the help of Healing Ward.
If the game can’t be closed in a timely manner, he can also go for an Abyssal Blade or Nullifier. Coupled with Swift Blink it allows him to assassinate priority targets at the start of the fight, creating an early teamfight advantage.
So when does Juggernaut come into play? Juggernaut is a relatively weak hero, but he has his uses.
He is excellent against heroes who restrict your movement if you don’t have BKB. Heroes like Disruptor can often force bad BKB usage, but Juggernaut doesn’t really care about it — he can always spin and TP or walk away. Same with characters like Mars, Pangolier or even Underlord.
There is also a point to be made about playing against high magic damage dealing characters. One of the big problems with the current BKB is that it doesn’t provide you with enough magic damage resistance. Heroes like Crystal Maiden, Venomancer or even Skywrath Mage can deal a lot of damage even through debuff immunity if left unchecked.
Juggernaut solves this problem easily by surviving through their magic damage with impunity, killing them quickly courtesy of Swift Slash and also keeping his team alive through Healing Ward.
Depending on the enemy draft, Juggernaut definitely has games where he can be considered the absolute best pick and they aren’t as rare as some might assume. Building and playing him correctly, concentrating on killing enemy squishies and evaluating the item build priorities, however, is very complicated.
In the late game your job is to create conditions where you are in a numerical advantage against the enemy carry. It is unlikely for Juggernaut to kill the enemy carry outright, in a fair 1v1 fight. But he can quickly dispose of the enemy supports, while protecting his own team and if played well Juggernaut can be undeniably powerful.
The problem is, you can be just as powerful playing meta carries in a default manner and it is generally going to be much easier and just as powerful as a perfectly played Juggernaut.