Bounty Hunter - Played Correctly
May 20, 2012
On Shuriken Toss -- Although many Bounty Hunter players will recommend Shuriken Toss as a great spell to use for early game kills, I find it to be a spell that is only useful in very specific situations. In general, it is simply too costly a spell to be worth using. Early game, with one cast of Shuriken Toss the average Bounty Hunter will have lost half his mana or more. Saving that Mana so that you can use your invisibility and later track effectively is the wiser path.
On Lifesteal -- Although some players believe that lifesteal is necessary on every class, that is simply untrue and even quite foolish. Although Lifesteal will give Bounty Hunter more survivability, if you are being hit enough that you need the lifesteal to keep yourself alive you are either doing things terribly wrong, or your enemy is very skilled and even if you don't screw things up your most-likely-random lane partner probably will. To avoid being hit, use your invisibility. The money spent on Lifesteal would be far better spent on your damage-dealing items. Bounty Hunter is a ganker. His power is in his ability to deliver quick (in the beginning) burst damage and get away quickly before he can be attacked. Under no circumstances should you need Lifesteal if you are playing him correctly. Don't waste the money on a Vladimir's Offering. There is only one situation in which you should buy one and that is if you are carrying hard and in the late game. In that case, sell your Medallion to make use of it. It becomes necessary at that point in part because owning the deadalus gives you faster, more consistent and more powerful crits, and also because if you're carrying hard and you die your team is probably screwed.
On Armor Reduction -- This build is entirely based upon speed and armor reduction. Make sure you use your medallion in literally every encounter. The 6 armor subtracted from your own may seem dangerous at first look until you realize that the Medallion gives you 6 armor. The medallion does not actually take your armor when you use it. It just negates the bonus that it gives you, while making your enemy easier to kill. Use. The damn. Medallion.
On Skull Basher -- If facing a hero who is able to dodge attacks such as Riki, Faceless Void or Brewmaster, swap your Skull Basher out for a Monkey King Bar.
In the early game, focus on getting last hits. Contrary to popular belief, Bounty Hunter can carry hard quite easily. The trick is to get as many last hits as you can in the opening minutes of the game. Once you do, find the squishiest hero on the map and set up a gank. Your Jinada, which you should by the time you have power treads have nearly maxed out, will both damage the enemy massively and slow them. If the enemy tries to run, make use of the extra damage that Shadow Walk gives you to make short work of them. You may even give a particularly stupid enemy a false sense of security in doing so, making your job much easier when they decide to stop running.
If you've made it to mid-game without feeding too harshly, there is one rule you must follow. That rule is to put tracks on everything. Whenever you see an enemy being attacked, use your track on them. The spell is very cheap and it both reduces the enemy's armor and buffs your allies' speed. The extra gold gained from track kills is what allows Bounty Hunter to carry hard.
Although your teammates will probably hate you for it-- steal as many kills as possible as they will give you massive amounts of gold on top of your track gold. Don't worry about them-- they can subsist on assist and track gold. With the gold you gain, you'll be carrying hard enough that regardless of their complaints you'll be winning the game for them.
By Late Game, if you've done what is necessary to secure gold for yourself, you should be carrying pretty hard. If you have followed my item guide to the letter, you should be critting for 800-1000 damage. That will utterly destroy enemies, especially due to the bonus your armor reduction gives to the attacks of all of your teammates attacking your target.
In team fights, focus on the squishiest heroes in the enemy team first. Try to take them out before the team fight even begins if possible. Remember, though-- track everyone, especially invisible heroes. If you are a Bounty Hunter and you are losing to a Riki, you are doing something terribly wrong. Simply tracking him and avoiding his smoke is enough to give you victory.
By 20, between your track, medallion and desolator, you should have more armor reduction than Slardar.