Gondar, The Bounty Hunter is a tricky hero. One who relies on timing and ganking to deal damage to enemy opponents. This hero isn't the most durable of heroes, which makes it more of an assassin-type hero.
Shortly put, this means that your role in fights is to go in sneakily, deal burst damage (massive amounts of damage in a short period) and get out. If you stay in a fight too long you are dead. If you pick a fight with the wrong hero or multiple heroes at once you are dead.
There are multiple ways to build items for Bounty Hunter, shifting it's role in the team from ganker to semi-carry to carry, and these builds, with their strengths and weaknesses will determinate how you'll be able to play out the cards that the game deals to you.
Ah, I know what you're thinking, good reader. " Bounty Hunter is a very limited hero, why bother?" The reason for this is simple, my friend. Back when I started practicing Kendo, my teacher explained the sport with very few, but precise words.
"The core of the Kendo is so simple, it takes a lifetime to master."
What he meant by this is that when something is simple enough, the way you can practice it can become intricate and precise, up to a point of perfection.
So to play Bounty Hunter is to use simplicity to your advantage, to yield unexpected results with an otherwise simple hero.
There are a lot of builds out there that share similar end results; their builds either go for maximum tankiness, to ensure that you'll survive longer encounters, or for maximum damage, to ensure that the encounters don't last long in the first place. Seeing a hybrid of these builds is not uncommon, but I would say that the most popular ones are the ones that focus on damage output
But these builds are fairly predictable and easy to counter, to some extent. And a predictable Bounty Hunter is a weak Bounty Hunter. That's why I've devised a build that does not focus on direct damage nor does it focus on tankiness, but instead, it focus on something far more precious and often overlooked by Gondar players
When you think of the concept of assassins, an image of a robust man with a Two-handed Greatsword doesn't immediately pop up, but instead, an image of a sleek figure focusing it's attacks on critical areas and thus without much exertion, take care of the target. So why do Gondar players fail to exploit this strategy?
An enemy without it's armor is a weak enemy, and a weak enemy is easy prey for Gondar. Thus, when playing Bounty Hunter one should focus on items that will help reduce enemy armor. This will indirectly increase your damage output (less armor means less protection).
Below I will list the items you are to follow during this build in order, and explain the reasons why
Slippers of Agility x2 (each one gives you +3 agility, the main attribute of Gondar)
Tango (Healing item, gives you 100hp per use, and doesnâ��t get dispelled when you take damage. A single tango has 4 uses and stacks with other tangos.)
Healing Salve (A healing salve heals the user for 450hp during a short time. The reason you want to buy one of these is because as a faster healing option, it will give you the option to heal up and get back into the lane without losing much time.)
Iron Branch (Gives you +1 to all attributes)
The reason we start out with cheap, weak items instead of one strong item is because they are cheaper and as a whole give you more bang for your money. This is why good players do not engage in the practice of starting out with a single, high cost item.
Another reason we start out with cheap items is because by choosing the right items, you can later buy additional items to combine them into an even better item. In this build you start out with two slippers of agility because you need them and a stout shield to build a Poor Man's Shield. Buying the Slippers of Agility from the fountain does not only give you extra agility and thus damage to start out, but since the stout shield is an item that you can buy from the shop, you don't have to call the courier or walk back to base to upgrade to a Poor Man's Shield.
Early game is anywhere between the start of the game and the end of laning phase (usually around 15 minutes, but will probably end up earlier when you play this build.)
Poor Man's Shield A very useful item for Bounty Hunter to have, since it extends his survivability greatly early game. The item itself reduces damage that is dealt to you by a fixed amount (20 damage blocked from each attack that Bounty Hunter sustains). It also gives you +6 agility.
Bottle Many would tell you that Bottle is an absurd item for Bounty Hunter, but in reality it's usefulness is unbeatable. The Bottle comes with three chargers, each one of them restores 135hp and 75 mana. You can store runes in a Bottle, and use them later. Storing runes will also recharge your Bottle, but so will the fountain. The reason I use a Bottle when I play Gondar is because it gives you an edge you just couldn't normally have otherwise. It permits you to poke the enemy for a longer period, and in fights it allows you to quickly restore your mana and hp and jump back into the fray. It can also save you from otherwise perilous situations.
Boots of Speed Basic boots that give you more movement speed, this is a crucial item for every single hero in the game.
The list of early game items is short for this particular way of building Bounty Hunter, which allows you to move onto your core items much earlier than your teammates or enemies. Later in the guide I will explain how to use this to your advantage.
Core items are the staple of your build. They are a must have and stay with you throughout the game.
Power Threads The reason I like going power threads vs Phase Boots is for the attributes it gives you. It gives you a really good boost for midgame and Bounty Hunter doesn't really need the Phase Boots if you know what you're doing.
Vladimir's Offering Gives you +2 HP Regeneration/sec and makes an 900 radius aura that gives to every teammate (and you) in it 16% Lifesteal (Melee heroes only), 15% Bonus Damage and 5 Bonus Armor.
Desolator A very useful item. It gives Bounty Hunter 60 damage and has a passive that reduces enemy armor by 7 for 15 seconds when you strike someone. The debuff countdown restarts every time the enemy hero is hit by Desolator again. This will also allow you to solo Roshan if you accomplish obtaining both Vladimir's offering and Desolator below 30 minutes. Not an impossible feat and very rewarding.
Assault Cuirass A Phenomenal item that grants it's user 10 armor and 35 attack speed. In addition to that, it gives every teammate in it's 900 radius a bonus 20 attack speed and 5 armor, AND decreases enemy armor by 5.
Once you have built The core items above, you become a weapon of destruction to your enemies with massive armor reduction and boosted damage. Not only that, but you also become tanky and provide your teammates a massive list of boosts, making you extremely useful in teamfights.
List of boosts that you provide your teammates within your radius:
+20 Attack Speed
+16% Lifesteal (Melee heroes)
+15% Bonus damage
+Even more bonus damage that you give indirectly to your teammates by reducing enemy armor
These are called Luxury items because they are not required, and usually the game doesnâ��t last long enough for you to get them. You can buy these however you want depending if you want to become more tanky or gain more damage.
Butterfly gives you +30 Agility, +30 Damage, +35% Evasion and +30 Attack Speed. Go for this if you want even more attack speed and evasion
Heart of Tarrasque Gives you +300 HP and +40 Strength (Which translates into even more HP), and has a passive that grants you a HP regeneration rate of +2% of Max HP/Second. Go for this if you want to become extremely tanky
Alright, you've got the items sorted out, you know what to buy and when to do it, but have no idea how to actually play out your game. This list is here to help you out figuring out what to do next when you play this build.
1. Lane until you obtain your early game items and attain lvl 6
2. Begin ganking heroes in enemy lanes to make them more weary of any further attacks (Go for the weaker heroes so you can get kills, remember to co-ordinate with your teammate in the lane.) See "how do I engage in combat?" For more info on ganks.
3. If ganking is unsuccessful, focus on farming jungle/lanes and rush your Vladimir's offering and Desolator. Participate in Teamfights however you see best.
Once you've obtained Vladimir's offering and Desolator, and if the game timer is under 30 minutes, go and solo Roshan
4.Obtain the rest of your core items and begin playing with your teammates, look at the map for ganking opportunities. Never stop instilling fear in your enemies, never let them rest.
5.Win the game
Bounty Hunter can be used to engage in many different ways with varying effectiveness, but to play him at his most effective, you have to follow certain rules.
Firstly, we'll go through something I like to call your movelist. In essence, it tells you which skills to use first.
When executed in fast succession, you will burst massive damage towards your enemy and track him so he/she can no longer outrun you. Fearful and knowing they have only seconds left to live, they panic and play badly. At best you can do all these attacks in under a second, which is really frightening.
Let's set up an scenario to exemplify this list.
Let's say you are somewhere in the enemy jungle and you see an enemy on the map. You are out of his vision and they don't know you are there. Here's what you want to do:
1. Approach and when relatively close,use Shadow Walk. This will give you the option to walk right next to them without them knowing anything.
2. Wait until your Shadow Walk is about to run out, then Jinada. The reason you want to wait for as long as you can is because the cooldown for Shadow Walk is pretty lenghty, and if you come out of invisibility right after going invisible, you lose your escape mechanism for several seconds that can be fateful.
3.Right after Jinada, Throw your Shuriken Strike. The reason you want to do this is because Shuriken Strike deals a lot of burst damage together with Jinada, and it's cooldown is short. You can usually throw it two times during a short encounter.
4.Track You want to track your enemy because it's first reaction will most likely be running towards the nearest tower. Together with Jinada, tracking will make sure they never get close enough to the tower before succumbing to your blade.
After doing this combo, you can either continue right clicking until the enemy dies, or if you know that they might have something that will burst you to death or stun you for too long, go invisible and repeat.
There are exceptions Where you should switch out the order you carry out your skills. For example, if an enemy is carrying a Town Portal Scroll, you want to save your shuriken strike if your enemy tries to make a hasty retreat with it. Shuriken strike Cancels channelings and thus you can stop the enemy from escaping with one.
Remember that if the situation calls for it, you have to adapt. So before doing a certain sequence of moves, analyze the items your enemy is holding, the teammates nearby Etc, and plan out your attack using the intel avaiable to you.
You can identify weak prey with a few key aspects. Always go for the targets that fit the descriptions below best.
The enemy has low HP and armor Heroes with Low Hp and armor can't sustain much damage before death, and won't survive an encounter with you for more than a few seconds.
The enemy is isolated and far from towers The enemy might be in a spot which is far from towers and teammates, making him isolated and an easy target.
The enemy is low on health This is situational, but you might run into a situation where you're walking through the enemy jungle to gank their lane, and you see one of their heroes jungling and low HP. In this case you should shift your focus towards the low HP hero. Since he's already sustained a lot of damage, finishing him is quick work
Below is the golden exception you should take into account when choosing a target:
The enemy is an immediate threat to one or multiple temamates in the fight If you have the option between a weaker enemy hero or one that is about to wreck your teammates, switch your focus momentarily towards the threatening hero. You probably won't be able to take him down alone, but slowing him with Jinada and tracking him is going to ensure that your teammates are able to retreat safely.
Be a team player. don't sacrifice your whole team for one kill. It's not worth it.
This list should help you avoid encountering enemy heroes that may appear a good target at first, but might get you killed instead.
Heroes with Dust of Appearance This item is a nuisance as it makes you visible for 12 seconds and slows you down by 15% if you're invisible. Avoid heroes who either are carrying or are around other heroes with this item.
Heroes under their own tower Heroes under known enemy sentry wards Going after heroes who are under these is not impossible, but will prove very difficult and often will result in your death or a failed gank, as they will see your approach (unless you are considerably ahead in farm and/or levels.]]
Heroes carrying a gem of true sight] â�� The bane of [[Bounty Hunter. Gem of True Sight gives a certain radius of true sight around the area of the hero who is carrying it. Usually one of the stronger heroes is carrying this, since it drops when the hero dies. Do not engage unless you are sure you can win swiftly / your team stands a chance at winning the teamfight.
The enemy has placed a Sentry Ward on my lane, what do I do?
Do not panic. If you notice that the enemy has placed a Sentry Ward try to determine where the sentry ward is approximately. If you have a support in your lane ask him to buy you sentry wards and counter their sentry wards with that when you get the chance. If you are alone, buy them yourself.
I engaged in a fight and got dusted!
This one is trickier since it usually happens when you're around a horde of enemies, but not impossible to survive from. If you are dusted while under Shadow Walk, break your invisibility as fast as you can. You want to do that by using Jinada on an enemy (If you're right next to one) to slow them down. Otherwise just toggle your boots, or if there's an enemy in range, use your Track. This will give you movement speed to help you with the escape. The enemy will assume you ran into the direction that is closest to your own tower / side of the map, so use that to your advantage and run towards unpredictable places until the dust of appreanace runs out and you can escape safely
The enemy has a Gem of True Sight!
This one is a tough one, depending on the skill level of your enemy. You might want to let your teammates know about this and ask them to focus the enemy hero who is carrying it in teamfights. Always be ready to pick it up if the enemy hero falls and drops it. If you do grab it, don't do anything too risky. Instead, run towards your base and drop it on your fountain so the enemy cannot obtain it back.
My teammates are getting absolutely steamrolled by the enemy!
Keep cool. There will be moments in your Bounty Hunting career where you are the last
fortress standing between the whole enemy team and victory. These situations look dire but are not impossible. Just make sure to not die, and try to keep up with your farm to obtain the items needed to hold on. Once you have all the items you need, you will be unstoppable.
During teamfights your role is not only to give your teammates buffs by being there, but also make sure every single one of your enemies die (not necessarily directly through your hand).
Once combat has begun, Track a new enemy every time it runs out of cooldown. Track is a very neat skill that gives bonus gold to everyone within the enemy radius that dies. This is a VERY important aspect of Bounty Hunter, as it can get even the most steamrolled team out of the mud.
You also want to make sure that you don't place yourself in too great of a danger. If you know you're standing in volatile ground during teamfights, back down a bit and let the heat move to another teammate who can deal with it. A dead Gondar doesn't give buffs and without the buffs your teammates lose a very good advantage.
If you know an enemy you're targeting is, for certain, about to die, switch focus. Don't waste your time running after the hero to kill it when someone else can. You gain enough gold from your track bonus, so switch your focus to another hero nearby and close the distance between him. This will not only result in more enemies dead per teamfight, but will give your whole team and you way more gold than you would have gotten from a single enemy hero.
So now you see that playing Bounty Hunter can become a very rewarding experience for you and your teammates, and that Bounty Hunter can be a very useful teammate to have if they decide to follow this guide.
Remember Bounty Hunter's wise words when you play as him in Dota: "For the right price, Anything."
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