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A Backstabbing guide to Riki

March 26, 2013 by Hales Own
Comments: 16    |    Views: 144685    |   

Build for Backstabbers

DotA2 Hero: Riki

Purchase Order

Starting items

Early Game

Mid Game

Late Game

Hero Skills

Smoke Screen

3 12 13 14

Blink Strike

1 4 5 7

Cloak and Dagger

2 8 9 10

Tricks of the Trade

6 11 16


15 17 18


Riki is a hard-carry/ganker and very squishy.He is easily countered by items and certain heroes most of the time such as a Gem of True Sight and Bounty Hunter.However,he is a hero that people can't kill without detection.

With a few good items and some skill,you can kill even some of the most tankiest heroes like Tidehunter and other strength heroes.Riki can own people early and late game depending on your skill level.

This guide is for beginners and players who have played Riki before and aren't doing too well.If there is any mistake in my guide or you do not agree with my item build or skill build,please tell me so and I will make changes if I agree.


Riki was born middle child to the great dynasty of Tahlin. With an older brother groomed for the throne, and a younger brother coddled and kept, Riki, the small middle son, seemed born for the art of invisibility. It was an art he cultivated, and one which ultimately saved his life on the night that his people were betrayed and his family slaughtered. Of all the royal line, he alone escaped small and agile, unassuming, using smoke as cover. He cut his way out of the royal grounds, using the advantage of surprise, quietly slitting the throats of one enemy warrior after another. Now free of his royal responsibilities, Riki uses his talents in service to a new trade: Stealth Assassin. He silences his enemies, sharpening his skills, hoping to one day take revenge on those who killed his family and robbed him of his birthright.


Early Game Items

I like getting a Poor Man's Shield for Riki simply because of the bonus agility and the damage blocked from heroes.Since your starting health is really little,you get killed by enemy heroes sometimes and when you teleport back in lane you just die again.So the Poor Man's Shield is pretty good early game.

Power Treads are good on Riki as the bonus agility will boost your backstab a bit and when you are dying you can just switch to strength and have the bonus health.Although some people like Phase Boots on him to chase after enemies that are running away,I don't really think its good because you already got Blink Strike and Smoke Screen to slow so there's really no point in buying Phase Boots.

Ring of Aquila is what I find pretty good on Riki early game because of the agility for backstab(i've already mentiooned this) and the armour for more survivalbility.

Mid game

A Diffusal Blade is what almost every single Riki player buys.This item is great because of the bonus agility and it's awesome ability,purge.Purge makes the target slowed so you can pop in a few backstabs when the enemy runs away.I've seen some people use purge to initiate which is very bad because it has only 8 charges and it is NOT a nuke item ability like dagon.A Sange and Yasha is great on Riki because of the bonus agility and strength which would make you more tanky.

Late game

A Black King Bar is really useful for Riki as he really needs protection from spells a lot.And the extra strength will make him harder to kill.I find a Manta Style pretty good on Riki Because the illusions have your backstab AND your ulti with them so it's 3 backstabs going at once and you have created a team of invis assassins.The bonus stats are pretty good I mean who doesn't want more agility and tankiness for Riki?The Butterfly is an item that is pretty good on every agility hero.The evasion,attack speed and agility is what everything agility heroes need.


Smoke Screen

Smoke screen silences and slows all enemies is an area for 5 seconds.It also has a 70% chance of enemies' attacks to miss.This skill is quite good for escaping when ganked or cornered.This skill is not that important but just take one level in it to escape and gank better.It also makes a nice "poof" sound when used.

Blink Strike

Blinks behind an enemy,adding a small amount of damage bonus.This skill synergizes well with backstab.Use this skill to initiate and chase an enemy thats trying to escape and then use smoke screen to slow him down.Thats a little combo I use for Riki.You can also use this on allies to escape but no damage will be done.Also makes a cool "zonk" sound when used.


This is a passive skill that does bonus damage when attacking behind an enemy.The damage done is based on your agility.This skill is great against anyone who tries to run away from you.It can even kill a super tanky hero within say,8-10 auto attacks?Makes a nice sound.All his skills make a nice sound.Except for his ulti.

permanent invisibility

This skill does exactly how it sounds like.Makes you permanently invis unless you attack or cast a spell.No bonus damage will be done when you strike out of invisibility.The fade delay is only 1.5 seconds.So when a cocky enemy wants to farm when he has only 500 health, hes gonna die.

Pros / Cons


Skills cost very little mana
Has an escape mechanism
Awesome ganker
Skills make nice sounds
Good against other squishy heroes
Has quite high base damage
Can own like hell if enemy does not have true sight
Makes enemy watse gold on Gem of True Sight and Dust of Appearance
Does a lot of damage if you have the right items
Doesn't require a lot of skill to play


Very squishy
Very item dependent
Weak early game
Can be countered easily by Bounty Hunter, Gem of True Sight and Dust of Appearance

As you can see,the pros outweigh the cons by more than double it's amount.


Early game

During early game,when you have your blink strike,backstab and smoke screen,blink behind one of the enemies and tell your ally to help you kill the guy.If the enemy's ally attacks you,just ignore him.But if you're seriously low health blink strike to a nearby ally creep and get out of there.But since the enemy is silenced,he can't do much really.Gank when you reach lvl 6 or when you have 1 level in your ulti.And never be too greedy to kill because i've seen A LOT of players tower diving trying to get the kill but in the end it's the riki who dies not the guy he wanted to kill.You can tower dive if you think you can get the kill and make it out alive.Usually since it's early game I suspect you have about 600 health and just 6 attacks from the tower and you're dead.So be careful.

Mid game

During mid game you're quite vulnerable to heroes like Bounty Hunter because of his track,which also gives true sight on the target.To avoid this,try to sneak up on him when you're not tracked and silence him.If he tries to get out of the smoke screen to use track or shadow walk,you can get some free backstabs and will make him about half or a third health less.After he gets out of the smoke screen,stop backstabbing him and just run away so he can't cast track on you.If he decides to fight you with his Jinada,you'll still probably win in the end if you have the right items and if you use Diffusal Blade's active ability.Im not saying riki is a counter to bounty or anything but just a little tactic to use when theres a bounty hunter in the other team.

Late game

During late game you should at least have a Diffusal Blade, Power Treads, Black King Bar and a Sange and Yasha.You should be a bit hard to kill with a BKB as most heroes need to cast their spells a lot like Shadow Fiend and some others.But right-click carries are perfectly fine without their actives like skeleton king and Phantom Lancer.These are the heroes riki can't kill easily even with his invisibility.So this is why a Manta Style is recommended.

Best against/Worst against

Best against

1. Shadow Fiend

Shadow Fiend is a very squishy hero so riki can easily kill him.Even if he has a Shadow Blade,Riki's Smoke Screen can make him visible again.But if you have some trouble laying your smoke,buy a Dust of Appearance so he cant escape.If you're afraid he might just get out of the smoke and go invis,this is why a good purge from a diffusal blade helps.It'll take him about 2-4 seconds more to get out of the smoke screen and maybe you'll be able to get about 5-8 backstabs if you have some agiity items and he will be at most half health left.But most probably he'll be dead.

2. Crystal Maiden

This hero is even more squishy than shadow fiend.You can also use the blink strike,smoke screen,backstab combo.Even if you do not have enough mana for smoke screen,just blink behind her and use purge if you have to.Then she will probably use Frostbite on you and you cant move or attack for 3 seconds.After the 3 seconds,she would probably only a few metres ahead of you and you can use your blink strike again.OR you can use your manta if you have one and she'll die from the countless backstabs.

3. Sniper

Sniper is incredibly squishy so you can just kill him when in the laning stage.Sniper is actually EVERYONE's gank target.It's like when Pudge is in mid,and wants to gank,who does he pick?Sniper.It's always sniper.So you can gank him too.Although he is quite squishy,doesn't mean hes too underpowered.He can just cast a shrapnel and you can't really chase him with 30% of your move speed gone.So this is why again riki has a silence.If you think your silence and slow is not enough,just use purge if you want.But it only has 8 charges unless you buy a recipe and get another 8 charges.So use it wisely,If you think you can get the kill without using purge,don't use it.

These are just the main heroes hes good against.Basically,hes good against any squishy hero there is in the opposing team.But,sometimes other heroes also buy a Diffusal Blade and can remove your purge you used on them with purge.Purge if used on yourself would remove any debuffs there is on you.If used on an enemy,it slows attack and movement speed.

Worst against

1. Centaur Warrunner

The reason riki sucks against this hero is because of his Return.During late game, Centaur Warrunner has a lot of strength and his Return will be doing more damage to you than you are hitting centaur.Plus,the person playing Centaur Warrunner probably wouldn't be just standing there doing nothing when you are hitting him,so the damage done to you will be his auto attack(if you cast smoke screen) and his return damage.

2. Bounty Hunter

I have mentioned how to counter this hero in the previous chapter.But,Riki is NOT a counter to Bounty Hunter.Just one auto-attack and you're tracked for the rest of your life.His Track enables him to have true sight on the target(which means no invisibility) and the duration of it is 30 seconds with a cooldown of 7 seconds which cost only 75 mana.So you're tracked eternally unless you just run away from him for 30 seconds.Then you can finally go invisible again.So once he reaches level 6,prepare to be tracked eternally.

3. Slardar

This hero's ultimate is almost the same as Bounty Hunter's it also gives true sight upon the target but the difference is that instead of giving gold upon death,it reduces the target's armour by 20(at level 3).The cooldown is 10 seconds while the duration is 20 seconds.So another eternal track except this is more dangerous as you'll be a great gank target and you're more easy to kill.

Heroes can also buy a Gem of True Sight or a Dust of Appearance to counter riki.But,even without your invis there is still fog.So just sneak up on a guy that's farming bottom or top lane and maybe you can get the kill.Sometimes enemies put sentry on the lane their in so they can see you while you're invis.So you can buy sentry wards so that you can see the enemy's sentry wards and destroy them.You don't have to do that if you don't want to.It's optional.

Team Work

During a push,don't use any of your spells on creeps.To help push the creep wave,just go behind the creeps and backstab them(you probably know that).When the team fight comes,do not initiate until someone attacks first.

Supposing if you have tidehunter in your team and the enemy team's tower has been just destroyed,you do not blink strike to the opponent,use smoke screen and die.You wait for someone to initiate.Then tidehunter] uses [[ravage and then goes up on them with the rest of your team.THATS when you blink strike and smoke screen.The enemy would be busy handling with your team while you just backstab them.But if they decide to attack you instead,just run away and go invis.They cant do anything when their silenced.

If their stupid enough and try to chase you,your team would take care of them.You may purge some people during team fights if either,1.their too strong to handle.2.You cant get the kill.You may try to killsteal during the team fight although it doesn't really matter that much.But since you're a hard carry,you can killsteal if you want.But if theres a harder carry than you,let him have the kill instead.

During a gank you may want to alert your allies that are in the same lane as your target so maybe he can stun him for a while to get a few backstabs,smoke screen and maybe he can auto-attack the target a little.If there are 2 targets then it's even better.That means a double kill.You can never have enough gold and levels(until you reach level 25).

When to pick when not to pick

When to pick

1.If there is no ganker in your team
2.If there is no carry in your team
3.If there is a support in your team
4.If there is not a lot right-click carries on the enemies team
5.If you know the roles of a carry

When not to pick

1.If there are too much gankers in your team
2.If there is no support in your team
3.If you do not know the roles of a carry
4.If there are a lot of right-click carries on the other team
5.If you do not know the roles of a carry
6.If you think you will not do well

Mini/Full Riki gameplays

Here is a short gameplay of riki.The reason why I picked it was because I thought it was quite a good example on how people play riki: http://www.youtube.com/watch

I used your guide and lost

If you lose your riki game when you followed my guide,blame your team.Either they fed,didn't buy wards,made a big mistake or didn't even do anything bad just blame them.If you think my guide is ****ty because you lost,please tell me anything that you do not think it's good for this hero in my item or skill build and I'll try to make changes to make it better.

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