When Dota: Dragon’s Blood dropped on Netflix it was pretty obvious that the characters showcased in it would probably see some extra play in the coming weeks. Sure enough, Mirana, Dragon Knight, and Luna all got a small boost to their pick rates despite not being super popular in the meta. For the most part, there hasn’t been a lot of innovation for any of these heroes in a very long time. Then, I tuned into the Singapore Major and saw several Chinese teams running support Luna and winning with it.
Immediately my curiosity was piqued so I dove into some replays to figure out whether this was just some meme or a potentially rare meta development for one of Dota’s classic heroes. What I found is that support Luna is definitely viable and can even be flexibly run as both position four and five. Here’s a short summary of why it works.
When it comes to supports, there are usually two types that have a reliable impact. The first is the laning stage bruiser who secures good early farm for their core. These are usually heroes with high armor, good stats, and hefty damage output who can bully the enemy heroes and give their core space. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a super tanky hero either as heroes like Enchantress and Death Prophet can crush trades with their high damage and high move speed.
The second type of popular support is the team fighter. Generally, these heroes have weaker laning but make up for it with strong mid-game impact and need to mostly just survive the early game without losing the lanes too hard. Luna, it turns out, is a bit of both in the support role. Luna has 325 base movement speed, six base armor, and a short cooldown nuke. This combination allows Luna to easily secure ranged creeps or take favorable trades against most other heroes.
Luna’s laning prowess really becomes noticeable with a couple of levels. At level three you get a six-second cooldown 150 damage nuke and at level four with a 2-0-2 skill build you end up with incredible damage output. The second point in Lunar Blessing effectively gives you and your laning partner an additional 1000 (Broadsword gives +15 damage) net worth each. The mix of magical and physical harass makes any Luna lane quite difficult to deal with.
As the laning stage breaks down, it’s time to leverage that Lunar Blessing for some early towers. I noticed that the Chinese pros would group with their team early to try and pressure the enemy safe lane or mid tower with the second catapult wave at 10 minutes. Support Luna is all about team fighting and forcing the issue with a 4-0-4-1 skill build by level nine. Giving every hero on your team +35 damage and also pumping out over 1000 magical damage in a matter of seconds makes support Luna extremely dangerous at this timing. Lunar Blessing also enables almost any lineup to take Roshan and really just feels like incredible value to get from a position five hero.
Itemization on support Luna is pretty easy since you get so much value out of your skills. Thanks to her incredible base move speed you can skip boots until later and rush an Urn of Shadows. This gives some nice stats and mana regeneration to sustain your Lucent Beam barrage. From there, build into whatever else your team needs. Rush a Spirit Vessel if necessary, pick up some Power Treads if your team is playing slow and farming or opt for other support staples like Vladmir’s Offering, Medallion of Courage, and Glimmer Cape.
Remember, the biggest benefit you bring to the team is your aura, low cooldown mini stun, and flexibility. Some games you’ll find yourself able to work towards an early Aghanim’s Scepter while others you need to focus on just staying alive and saving your allies. Luna’s absurd +350 cast range talent also makes items like Force Staff and Rod of Atos extra impactful as well. It’s surprisingly easy to accumulate gold on Luna. You will rack up assist gold thanks to Lucent Beam and you’ll eventually have to skill Moong Glaives which will help push out waves and quickly kill neutral camps during downtimes in the action.
I was a bit skeptical about the lack of a traditional stun on Luna but Lucent Beam’s 0.8 second one usually provides more than enough interruption for teammates to follow up. Later on in the game, Luna’s cast range and cooldown talents make it almost impossible to run away and provides an incredible amount of low-cost poke damage to soften up enemies. Probably my favorite part of support Luna though is how it flips the script on enemy core heroes. Usually, it’s the job of mid and carry heroes to jump on the supports in the back of team fights and remove their spells from the mix. Luna is one of the only supports in the game who will utterly destroy anyone who tries to target her, at least before BKBs come out.
Your teammates will probably flame you for picking support Luna but they will end up commending you when you run over the game in 25 minutes with her absurd impact in the role.