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65 Votes

Analyzing competitive plays with Bounty Hunter, by Peppo_o'Paccio

June 18, 2014 by Peppo_oPaccio
Comments: 27    |    Views: 381477    |   


Build 1
Build 2

Off-lane tournament build

DotA2 Hero: Bounty Hunter


Purchase Order

Sample Build

Poor Man's Shield
Phase Boots
Magic Wand
Drum of Endurance
Black King Bar
Vladmir's Offering
Manta Style
Assault Cuirass

Starting items (Two Branches or Branch + Clarity)

Tango
Healing Salve
Stout Shield
Iron Branch
Iron Branch
Clarity

In the laning phase, possibly

Poor Man's Shield
Bottle
Boots of Speed
Magic Stick
Phase Boots
Bracer

Mid game items

Magic Wand
Drum of Endurance
Phase Boots
Black King Bar

Possible core extensions

Heaven's Halberd
Orchid Malevolence
Vladmir's Offering
Desolator

Offensive luxury

Assault Cuirass
Desolator
Manta Style
Butterfly
Monkey King Bar
Abyssal Blade

Defensive luxury

Assault Cuirass
Eye of Skadi
Satanic

Situational

Sage's Mask
Ring of Basilius
Orb of Venom
Medallion of Courage

Items to avoid

Battle Fury
Radiance
Shadow Blade


Hero Skills

Shuriken Toss

4 5 7 8

Jinada

2 9 10 12

Shadow Walk

1 3 13 14

Track

6 11 16

Talents

15 17 18

Introduction

Bounty Hunter is currently one of the most picked off-laners for various reasons: he can easily get experience even against a trilane (things that many Heroes can't do efficiently) and can give gold and true sight to the whole team with his ultimate.

Talking about his skills, Jinada helps a lot in the laning phase since will make last-hitting, the most difficult thing to pull out against a proper trilane, much easier; Shadow Walk is the key of his solo laning power because it makes the enemies spend gold on Sentry Wards and provide a save escape machanism if they don't have them yet and Track gives you that amount of gold you couldn't get in the laning phase while making your team richer. Last but not least, Shuriken Toss is very effective for killing fleeing enemies, disrupt channeling spells and TP scrolls, stealing creeps while the enemy pulled the neutral camp and many other things.

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Very mobile
  • His item build is pretty flexible
  • One of the strongest off-laners
  • Difficult to shut down in the laning phase
  • Costantly gives money to the whole team
  • Can farm in a solo lane thanks to Jinada
  • Can be played in mid lane if the situation calls for it
Cons
  • Not very durable
  • No stuns or AoE skills
  • Low mana pool in the early game
  • Easy kill for hard carries in teamfights
  • Too much reliant on his invisibility in the early game



When to pick him

Bounty Hunter is one of those Heroes that works in almost any situations, provided your team doesn't have too many melees and invisible Heroes: he can play amazingly well with little farm and still dominate the mid game, but he has to plan his ganks and work with teammates.




Summarizing, pick Bounty Hunter if:
  • Your team already has a Mekansm carrier and a hard support(s);
  • You are familiar with invisible Heroes and know when the enemies can detect you;
  • Your team needs the gold advantage and mid game dominance;
  • Your team needs a solo laner, either against a trilane or a solo lane;
  • Your team is planning to push down the other side lane tower, so you can play the mid game outside of your lane.


Also, don't pick Bounty Hunter if:
  • You can't take the solo or mid lane for any reason;
  • Your team needs either a support or an initiator;
  • Your team already has 3 or more melee Heroes;
  • You forget to spam your Track;
  • You forget to costantly check the inventory of your enemies, so you get spotted by Gem of True Sight, Sentry Wards and so on.

Abilities



Your one and only source of ranged damage: it has many uses, but consumes a lot of mana if not used correctly.

Always remember that this skill is not made for harassing and last-hitting lane creeps: by doing so you'll drain all your mana in less than a minute, considering you have to use Shadow Walk frequently, too.

In the laning phase, use this only if the lane support of the enemy lane creep pulls: both Shuriken Toss and Jinada can be helpful for sniping those neutrals.

When chasing or killing an enemy, keep this for either initiating before your teammates come, last-hitting the enemy or disrupting Town Portal Scrolls. As long as you are in melee range keep autoattacking, use this skill only if they manage to outdistance you.

In teamfights, as long as you have enough mana you will be able to use this two or even three times per fight: toss one of your shurikens on the most squishy enemy Hero at the beginning, then use it for chasing fleeing enemies.



This skill is the main reason why BH can be succesful at getting gold in an off-lane: with your damage amplified by 75%, at level 3 you can easily get some creeps without worrying about the enemy denies every 10 seconds.

In mid to late game Jinada works as an initiation tool and an effective slow: this, coupled with the bonus movement speed from Track and (if needed) the active ability from your Drum of Endurance, grants a kill and that bonus gold for your team.

It's always a good idea to save some mana for Shuriken Toss while ganking: if the slow duration from your Jinada expires and the enemy tries to run away, you can hopefully last-hit them with it.

The damage amplification is based on a percentage: the more damage you get, the more damage gets amplified. That's why you don't usually see a Mjollnir or an Assault Cuirass (though the latter still works if your team needs it) on Bounty Hunter.



Even though it has the lowest priority between all your abilities, one point in Shadow Walk is fundamental: without invisibility you will most likely get shut down even at level 1 against a competent lane, and the bonus damage is handy.

Talking about the bonus damage, it actually boosts your base attack by about ~57% (without considering Iron Branches or Slippers of Agility) and makes it almost as good as an autoattack of Treant Protector, who has the biggest base damage.

At level 2 you can technically be invisible forever as long as you have mana: be wary, though! If you activate Shadow Walk when you're invisible you'll become visible until the fade time ends (0.75-0.25 seconds, depending on the level of the skill).

In the early game, the mana cost is not negligible: use it just if you can get an easy last-hit with Jinada, if it's the only way to stay in the exp range or if you want to disrupt the enemy creep pull.



This skill is Bounty Hunter's main source of gold and the reason why he needs a solo lane: with bonus gold on kills, true sight and movement speed increase BH can snowball and carry the mid game until your hard carry gets the core items. The faster you get this, the better.

Use this on key targets which are, ordered by priority:
  • Invisible Heroes
  • Initiators
  • Carries/gankers with escape mechanisms

With a duration of 30 seconds and an absurdly low cooldown, you should be spamming this skill before engaging a teamfight: always save mana for at least two or three Tracks pre-fight, the Bottle can help you keep your mana high.


Items Explanation: Off-Lane Tournament Build

In tournaments you will always see Bounty Hunter played as a solo Hero, either against a trilane (or dual lane plus jungler) or another solo: in both cases you will still be able to get experience and, possibly, last-hits; especially if the enemy that's farming is melee.

If you are facing a trilane and die, don't give up: you can teleport to your tower and still get experience and money. Also, if you realize they have Sentry Wards just stay in the experience range (1200 units, as much as the range of a Blink Dagger) and play safe. That gold is not indispensable for you anyway.

This build is suited for any kind of people, from beginners to competitive players.




Starting items









These items can be a viable starting point for a solo lane: you're halfway from your Poor Man's Shield and still have 1 or 2 Iron Branches for your Magic Wand, with a huge boost in stats and good overall regen.
Normally, solo laners spend even 300 gold on health regeneration items but, since BH can go invisible, you can do well even with just a Tango and a Healing Salve; plus, a Clarity potion will let you stay in lane even if you spent all of your mana with Shadow Walk. The Bottle you take after your PMS will cover all of your following needs in terms of mana and HP.
Of course, you can't take both a second Branch and a Clarity. Choose how to spend that last bit of gold carefully: when in doubt, always go Clarity.




Early game items









If you haven't already bought it, pick a Poor Man's Shield as soon as possible to avoid physical damage and get some last-hitting power.
The next items on your list are a Bottle and pair of Boots of Speed: the movement speed will give you a higher chance of surviving a gank while the costant regen of the Bottle will make you able to spam Shadow Walk and even use Shuriken Toss more often; also, you will have the opportunity to pick up runes. Don't forget to Bottle crow as soon as you empty your Bottle.
Now, get your Phase Boots: they offer an awesome active which can let you escape through your own creeps; they even give a good boost to your last-hitting power and harassing. The downside, though, is that you need 900 gold to complete them and, usually, it's pretty difficult to get them before level 6.
Don't forget the two portions of bigger items: in this part of the game components are superior than complete items, so Magic Stick and Bracer are good and quick choices for burst regen and stats. You will of course need the complete items later, but having a Bracer half a minute before (which means taking only the Stick instead of the complete Wand) can save your life sometimes.





Situational



If you're literally draining your mana by costantly using Shadow Walk, pick a Sage's Mask: you can then build a Ring of Basilius to gain more early mana regen and turn it into a Vladmir's Offering later. As always, keep the ring turned off or you will push your lane and lose a big amount of farm and/or experience.



I've seen some competitive players picking this item for fighting squishy carries when their supports are very ganking-oriented and tend to leave the safe lane ( Enchantress and Leshrac are some examples): adding poison damage and a slow to your attacks means a lot in the early game, and will make your enemy pop all their consumables in no time.




Core items







Finish your Magic Wand as soon as possible to get more space in your inventory, than aim for a complete Drum of Endurance: you need both its stats and the aura as the attack and movement speed are very useful for these kind of Heroes. It's one of the most used items in competitive games, and the active ability can be crucial for getting a kill or escaping: always use the Endurace in teamfights if you still have charges on the drum.
The last core item and the one that lets you transition into late game is the Black King Bar: as soon as you buy it, you will be able to play the rest of the match without last-hitting a single creep. It makes you hit harder and gives you some strength, in addition to one of the best active abilities of the whole game. You might need this item if ganking enemy casters ( Crystal Maiden, Shadow Shaman, Ogre Magi...) that can escape thanks to their abilities; in teamfights it lets you come into melee range without being focused down.





Situational

You can choose to either pick this instead of the Drum of Endurance (asking for one of your teammates to buy it, maybe) or after it when running an armor-reducing strategy: the mana regeneration is very helpful in the laning phase and the Valor ability is good in all stages of the game, even (especially?) when fighting Roshan.




Core extensions



This is kind of considered a "situational item", but it's a viable extension if the enemy carry is too difficult to kill (especially if it's a ranged one): Sange already helps in chasing because it slows targets down and adds both damage and a bit of survivability which is convenient for such a price. Plus, the Talisman of Evasion makes you even harder to kill and overall more difficult to deal with.

The usual method for using this item is to Shadow Walk first so that the enemy can't see you, then attack with your Jinada and apply your Disarm. Tracking after the combo can be a good way to chase them or add gold to the kill.



This item kind of changes your playing style and should only be considered in certain circumstances: if you did a really good job in the early phase of the game and the enemy team consists of blinkers ( Anti-Mage, Queen of Pain etc.) or squishy Heroes with escape abilities ( Faceless Void, Mirana, Weaver...), picking an early Orchid Malevolence can help you win the mid game.

In this case, use the Soul Burn as soon as you hit with Jinada: if they can't escape before you use your Orchid, they will be an easy prey for you.

This item kind of makes you like Clinkz, but you will still need Drums and BKB to sustain your mid game along with the other cheap items.



A very common "core" item in pub games but often overlooked in tournaments: the sustainability offered by both Ring of Basilius and Ring of Regen is nice, and you might need the lifesteal while chasing nukers.

The main reason to get this item is, though, for fighting Roshan: especially if you have a melee carry, buying an "early" Vladmir's Offering can be fundamental to kill him just by yourselves (which means the other 3 Heroes in your team can protect you or push the lanes), and the aura is always helpful in teamfights.

If you want to keep snowballing, though, you'd better aim for something else: the aura doesn't stack with Assault Cuirass, which is a common pick on some melee-carries ( Lifestealer, Alchemist, Doom Bringer...), and it costs as much as a Yasha. So think about this item and don't rush it after your BKB, but don't even forget about the lifesteal aura which can help if your team already has solid DPS and teamfight presence.



The snowball item by definition. A Desolator probably gives the highest damage output for the mid game: for a mere 4100 gold (much less than a Daedalus or an MKB) and relatively cheap components, you get 60 extra damage and a huge amount of armor reduction. Compared to a Vladmir's Offering, if the enemies have one you're basically reducing their armor by 2, and all your teammates can bypass the extra armor too! Late game, though, your foes might pick an Assault Cuirass: that's why you want it as soon as possible.

Just like the Assault Cuirass, this item works well on an armor-reducing team: pairing it with Slardar's Amplify Damage or Templar Assassin's Meld works wonders and lets you two-hit squishies.




Offensive Late Game Items



This item is considered both as an offensive and defensive item for a simple reason: it gives attack speed to your team and armor reduction to the enemy team, but also gives you 10 armor points and 5 more armor to the rest of your team (including you).

This is a very unconventional choice for a Hero that relies on big damage to hit with Jinada but, as a utility Hero, part of your job is to buy items that benefit the hard carry (which means auras like Drum of Endurance, Vladmir's Offering and Assault Cuirass but even disarm/silence items like Heaven's Halberd and Orchid Malevolence).

Some items like Manta Style and Desolator give you a lot more DPS, but the Assault Cuirass is more suitable for an armor-reducing strategy or if your team needs to outcarry a stronger Hero.



The Desolator gives you a huge boost in 1vs1 fights: the faster you get it, the more efficient it is. I usually take it for pushing down towers (as the armor-reducing debuff applies to structures too) or against pushing strategies with one annoying Hero that keeps on destroying the towers of my team ( Tinker, Nature's Prophet, Chen...).

Just like the Assault Cuirass, this item works well on an armor-reducing team: pairing it with Slardar's Amplify Damage or Templar Assassin's Meld works wonders and lets you two-hit squishies.



If you've already bought a Yasha before, you should consider upgrading it into a Manta Style after some time.

This is a mandatory item if the enemy has some debuffs that can get you killed ( Spirit Lance, Shadow Strike and especially Dust of Appearance, Amplify Damage and Rubick's Track) because it removes them.

You can use the illusions to push towers with you, protect you when farming ancients or scout the surroundings; remember, though, that they will be destroyed if trying to attack Roshan.



This is a very late game item as the benefits are not cost-efficient until you get more attack speed and the enemies start hitting harder: the evasion is useful both offensively and defensively, it also forces the enemy carry to buy a Monkey King Bar.

If you already have a Heaven's Halberd, remember that the evasion doesn't stack and the last item you put in your inventory sets your evasion percentage.



A Monkey King Bar is probably the best late game item for increasing your damage: the true strike makes you able to kill Phantom Assassin, Brewmaster and Butterfly-carriers while the mini-bash can interrupt channeling spells (like Shuriken Toss) and adds a bit of damage.

If you know the enemy carry is going to buy a Butterfly at a certain point of the game, then get this item. Also, if they have one powerful channeling spell ( Upheaval, Death Ward Fiend's Grip...) you can really benefit from the mini-bash.





This two items can be as useful as a Monkey King Bar to stop channeling spells, but they are often skipped. The problem with them is that the bash is not always needed (unless more than one enemy has a Black King Bar) since you have Jinada and the gold for a Skull Basher can be spent on, let's say, a Manta Style when you already have the Yasha.

Nevertheless, consider getting these items against Lifestealer or as a valid alternative to an early Desolator, since the gold advantage is crucial: you want to get that stun of the Abyssal Blade as soon as possible.




Defensive Late Game Items



This item is considered both as an offensive and defensive item for a simple reason: it gives attack speed to your team and armor reduction to the enemy team, but also gives you 10 armor points and 5 more armor to the rest of your team (including you).

This is a very unconventional choice for a Hero that relies on big damage to hit with Jinada but, as a utility Hero, part of your job is to buy items that benefit the hard carry (which means auras like Drum of Endurance, Vladmir's Offering and Assault Cuirass but even disarm/silence items like Heaven's Halberd and Orchid Malevolence).

Some items like Eye of Skadi and Satanic give you a lot more survivability, but the Assault Cuirass is more suitable for an armor-reducing strategy or if you struggle to get gold.



This item has an orb effect, so it doesn't stack with the Desolator even though it does stack with lifesteal abilities; it costs a whopping amount of gold but has its benefits. Also, you should consider this only if transitioning into late game with a lot of gold because, otherwise, a Satanic would be a better idea.

The main purpose of the Eye of Skadi is to slow down enemies so that you can animation cancel without letting them run away. The stats increase is another very useful feature, and remember that all the agility (25 points) also become damage and attack speed increase.



The other defensive item that gives you more HP is a Satanic: you can sturt buying the Helm of the Dominator, which lets you stack the ancient camp with a dominated creep, then accumulate all the gold needed for the Reaver and the recipe.

This item is very useful against enemies with a built-in lifesteal or that generally pick lifesteal items (Skeleton King, Lifestealer, Ursa...) because the active ability, Unholy Rage, will let you return to full HP in a bunch of hits. Also, it gives 20 damage which is not very much but still noticeable.

Items Explanation: Orchid Rush

This item build is a valid option since Bounty Hunter needs costant mana regeneration: the silence plus damage is very helpful too, as this Hero excels in 1vs1 fights. You can try to rush an Orchid Malevolence against a solo laner or in mid lane, but trying to farm that much gold in a 1vs3 offlane is just a waste of time.

This build is still a viable options to everyone, but requires you to coordinate your skills and avoid common juke paths before engaging (all of this come with experience). Therefore, I still consider this for beginners to competitive players though the previous build is preferred in tournaments.




Starting items




Choice 1





This is the default competitive starting set: you get a Wraith Band for easy last-hitting and a bit of sustainability. It's a very cost-efficient item for the first 5 minutes of the game, and you will also need it to make a Ring of Aquila later.
The two Tango charges should be given you by the supports: normally, trilane supports spend their money on consumables and Wards or Courier, rarely on Branches and Gauntlets; 3 Tangos instead of 4 can't be a problem for them. If your supports refuse to buy even just one of them, you'd better take the items from the second choice.
Oh, and don't forget to buy a Healing Salve yourself!




Choice 2







These items don't give you as many stats and survivability as a Wraith Band and a bunch of regen items, but in a 1vs1 lane you shouldn't need them for at least the first 2 minutes. Still, the double (or single) Iron Branch gives you a litte bit of last-hitting power and the Stout Shield lets you build a Poor Man's Shield which is really beneficial for your laning phase.
As always Tango, Healing Salve and Clarity let you stay in lane even against a heavy harasser and, after you get a PMS and double Sage's Mask, you will get a costant amount of mana regen and enough damage block not to need them anymore.




Early game items







These can be considered your early game items: rush the Poor Man's Shield if you have a Stoud Shield so you can block a bit of damage and get your Boots of Speed from the side lane shop.
Now, start buying your Orchid Malevolence starting from two Sage's Masks. Yes, two: you need mana regeneration to be able to use Shadow Walk; plus they are based on a percentage, so they give you more mana as you start getting intelligence.





Situational

The mana regeneration might seem redundant, but you can still choose to pick this before your Orchid Malevolence when running an armor-reducing strategy: it gives you a little advantage in the laning phase (the enemy will deal less physical damage on you and you'll be able to do better last-hits using it on the creeps) and the Valor ability is good in all stages of the game, even (especially?) when fighting Roshan.




Core items







In this stage of the game you should be getting some kills thanks to your Orchid Malevolence and Track, so aim for a quick pair of Phase Boots and finish your Ring of Aquila if you have a Wraith Band in your inventory. The extra mana regen and the cheap aura will come in handy while pushing or teamfighting.





Situational

This is a controversial item: I do not recommend this, but you can choose it as a substitution to a Vladmir's Offering if the enemies don't have any stuns except one big ultimate. The movement and attack speed are nice and synergize very well with your Orchid Malevolence and Jinada, but it has the opposite effect of Vlad's: instead of giving you surivability it makes you even more squishy. Be careful while using this, very careful.




Core extensions



This core extension is what you should aim for most of the time: the strength increase gives you that bit of survivability you don't have, plus the damage it gives gets amplified with Jinada.

The Avatar can save your life many times: in teamfights it lets you come into melee range without being focused down, in ganks it lets you pick off enemy casters ( Crystal Maiden, Shadow Shaman, Ogre Magi...) that can stop or even kill you thanks to their abilities.



This is kind of considered a "situational item", but it's a viable extension if the enemy carry is too difficult to kill (especially if it's a ranged one): Sange already helps in chasing because it slows targets down and adds both damage and a bit of survivability which is convenient for such a price. Plus, the Talisman of Evasion makes you even harder to kill and overall more difficult to deal with.

The usual method for using this item is to Shadow Walk first so that the enemy can't see you, then attack with your Jinada and apply your Disarm. Tracking after the combo can be a good way to chase them or add gold to the kill.



A very common "core" item in pub games but often overlooked in tournaments: the sustainability offered by both Ring of Basilius and Ring of Regen is nice, and you might need the lifesteal while chasing nukers.

The main reason to get this item is, though, for fighting Roshan: especially if you have a melee carry, buying an "early" Vladmir's Offering can be fundamental to kill him just by yourselves (which means the other 3 Heroes in your team can protect you or push the lanes), and the aura is always helpful in teamfights.

If you want to keep snowballing, though, you'd better aim for something else: the aura doesn't stack with Assault Cuirass, which is a common pick on some melee-carries ( Lifestealer, Alchemist, Doom Bringer...), and it costs as much as a Yasha. So think about this item and don't rush it after your BKB, but don't even forget about the lifesteal aura which can help if your team already has solid DPS and teamfight presence.



The snowball item by definition. A Desolator probably gives the highest damage output for the mid game: for a mere 4100 gold (much less than a Daedalus or an MKB) and relatively cheap components, you get 60 extra damage and a huge amount of armor reduction. Compared to a Vladmir's Offering, if the enemies have one you're basically reducing their armor by 2, and all your teammates can bypass the extra armor too! Late game, though, your foes might pick an Assault Cuirass: that's why you want it as soon as possible.

Just like the Assault Cuirass, this item works well on an armor-reducing team: pairing it with Slardar's Amplify Damage or Templar Assassin's Meld works wonders and lets you two-hit squishies.




Offensive Late Game Items



The Desolator gives you a huge boost in 1vs1 fights: the faster you get it, the more efficient it is. I usually take it for pushing down towers (as the armor-reducing debuff applies to structures too) or against pushing strategies with one annoying Hero that keeps on destroying the towers of my team ( Tinker, Nature's Prophet, Chen...).

Just like the Assault Cuirass, this item works well on an armor-reducing team: pairing it with Slardar's Amplify Damage or Templar Assassin's Meld works wonders and lets you two-hit squishies.



If you've already bought a Yasha before, you should consider upgrading it into a Manta Style after some time.

This is a mandatory item if the enemy has some debuffs that can get you killed ( Spirit Lance, Shadow Strike and especially Dust of Appearance, Amplify Damage and Rubick's Track) because it removes them.

You can use the illusions to push towers with you, protect you when farming ancients or scout the surroundings; remember, though, that they will be destroyed if trying to attack Roshan.



This is a very late game item as the benefits are not cost-efficient until you get more attack speed and the enemies start hitting harder: the evasion is useful both offensively and defensively, it also forces the enemy carry to buy a Monkey King Bar.

If you already have a Heaven's Halberd, remember that the evasion doesn't stack and the last item you put in your inventory sets your evasion percentage.



A Monkey King Bar is probably the best late game item for increasing your damage: the true strike makes you able to kill Phantom Assassin, Brewmaster and Butterfly-carriers while the mini-bash can interrupt channeling spells (like Shuriken Toss) and adds a bit of damage.

If you know the enemy carry is going to buy a Butterfly at a certain point of the game, then get this item. Also, if they have one powerful channeling spell ( Upheaval, Death Ward Fiend's Grip...) you can really benefit from the mini-bash.





This two items can be as useful as a Monkey King Bar to stop channeling spells, but they are often skipped. The problem with them is that the bash is not always needed (unless more than one enemy has a Black King Bar) since you have Jinada and the gold for a Skull Basher can be spent on, let's say, a Manta Style when you already have the Yasha.

Nevertheless, consider getting these items against Lifestealer or as a valid alternative to an early Desolator, since the gold advantage is crucial: you want to get that stun of the Abyssal Blade as soon as possible.




Defensive Late Game Items



This item has an orb effect, so it doesn't stack with the Desolator even though it does stack with lifesteal abilities; it costs a whopping amount of gold but has its benefits.

The main purpose of the Eye of Skadi is to slow down enemies so that you can animation cancel without letting them run away. The stats increase is another very useful feature, and remember that all the agility (25 points) also become damage and attack speed increase.



As you transition into late game you should be getting some problems with survivability even though you have Vlad's: if this happens, aim for a Heart of Tarrasque (especially if you skipped the Black King Bar) to get that durability that makes you stay in teamfights for longer.

Overall, even if this is a good item you should be aming for something else unless, of course, you skipped BKB or you already have a huge damage output: the HP increase is good, but most of the time you should stay in the back of a fight spamming your Track, coming into melee range just after activating BKB or for chasing. So, this is a choice to let you play an effective "main carry" role but, usually, you shouldn't do so.

Items to Avoid

Sometimes, you might have played a pub with someone that buys a Shadow Blade because they're used to buying it on Sniper or, worse, rushes a Battle Fury. Why is this not recommended? what's wrong with these items?



Battle Fury



This is by far one of the most common items from unexperienced Bounty Hunter players: they pick this item because it's recommended by the in-game item section. In my opinion, it's the worst recommendation between all the Heroes (well, let's say Lone Druid's item recommendations are as bad as BH's), but Valve isn't probably going to change this.

Do you know why this is a bad choice? Let's compare this with two other common items: a Yasha (which is one of the most common extensions but costs a lot less) and a Desolator (which costs about as much as a BF).

Price:
4350

Damage increase:
+65

Attack speed increase:
-

Extras:
+150% mana regen
Cleave damage

Price:
2050

Damage increase:
+16

Attack speed increase:
(15 + 16) = +31

Extras:
+10% movement speed
+2.24 armor

Price:
4100

Damage increase:
+60

Attack speed increase:
-

Extras:
-6 armor for any enemy
or structure you hit


Now, divide them by their price and you find their benefits per gold (which means cost-efficiency): here I also multiplied them by 1000 so you can see integer (or almost) numbers, easier to understand. These are their benefits if they all cost 1000 gold:

~15 damage




It also gives mana
and HP regen and
the cleave ability.

~7.8 damage


(~7.3 + ~7.8) = ~15.1 attack speed

It also gives extra
attack speed and more
armor.

~14.6 damage


~1.5 armor reduction
per hit


-


As you can see, the Battle Fury looks like a great item for its price, right? Well, no. For sure it gives you more damage than the other two, but you don't need the mana regeneration as you should have either a Bottle and a Magic Wand or an Orchid Malevolence.
What about the cleave damage, then? It's a nice addition, true, but it doesn't make a big impact in the mid game as you should be ganking lone enemies and not groups of nukers. On the other side, it doesn't help in the late game either because your hard carry should be farmed enough to deal with those Heroes you can't kill by yourself. You don't even need it to farm as your mid-game is foused on ganking and roaming, not killing creep camps in the jungle.

The Yasha gives little damage for its price, but remember that Agility means damage, attack speed and even armor! It's a very efficient item in terms of gold and it even makes you faster so you'll have an easier mid game.
Also, remember that you can build it into a Manta Style and you can aquire it in half the time compared to the other two.

In the end, the Desolator gives you (almost) as much raw damage as the Battle Fury but it's better for two reasons: the "accessibility" of this item (it costs 250 gold less and you can aquire the items without going to the secret shop) and, more importantly, the armor reduction.
By reducing armor, your attack damage will be greatly improved: if you have to choose between -6 armor per hit or +150% mana regeneration and cleave damage, always go for the armor reduction! It does help in teamfights and works for your team's carry, too. It even works against towers.



Radiance


Fortunately I've never seen a Bounty Hunter picking this item, but if you are a new player and might want to try it here there are a few things that should change your mind.

The Radiance is a farming item and, since you're a ganker and not a farming Hero, you should never want these kind of items (I've said the same thing about the Battle Fury: in fact, these are actually the best items for killing creeps quickly).

Secondly, getting raw damage for such a high price isn't a good choice on Heroes with low survivability: you will spend ~20-25 minutes trying to get something that doesn't help in any way unless you get within melee range. The same rules applies to the Desolator but, as it is more accessible and it shouldn't be rushed (as opposed to the Radiance), this is still considered nice if you have some spare gold after getting survivability items.

Last but most important, the Burn Damage will reveal you! This is the main reason why you don't want this: as soon as your enemies start burning, they will begin to pop Dust of Appearance or plant Sentry Wards. You can toggle the aura on and off, true, but that would make this item inefficient for its price and removes its best feature.



Shadow Blade


The Shadow Blade gives you 10 damage and 10 attack speed for each 1000 gold spent on it, which is still way better than a Sange and Yasha, but doesn't give any other benefits besides the invisibility. Items like a Skull Basher or an Orchid Malevolence have better abilities or more features, thus you'd better aim for them.

What about the invisibility? There are three main reasons why the Shadow Blade is used: split pushing, escaping and cleave amplification/surprise ganks.
First, Bounty Hunter can't split push because he has no AoE spells and can't clear a creep wave in a small amount of time.
You don't need the invisibility for escaping either, as you already have Shadow Walk and enemies would have already bought invisiblity-detection items for you by the time you get it.
Cleave amplification? You already have your Jinada which amplifies your Shadow Walk damage. Surprise ganks? The invisibility from your Shadow Walk is enough, you might add a silence from the Orchid Malevolence if you feel you need more safety.

Also, if you buy it for the movement speed increase while you're invisible you would waste gold: you already have Phase Boots, a Drum of Endurance and maybe even a Yasha.

Skill Build

Bounty Hunter uses a rather standard skill build which grants both solo laning advantage and big mid game presence: your main priority is Shuriken Toss, but you need Shadow Walk and Jinada to farm better and have a safer laning phase. Laning-wise, getting the second level of Shadow Walk is really important because that way you can basically be invisible forever, as long as you have mana.





Shadow Walk
Jinada
Shadow Walk
Shuriken Toss/ Jinada
Shuriken Toss
Track
Shuriken Toss
Shuriken Toss
Jinada
Jinada
Track
Jinada
Shadow Walk
Shadow Walk
Stats
Track
Stats





Shuriken Toss is your one and only nuke, so you always max it out first: the damage scales pretty well especially at level 1-2, and you will always need it to snipe enemies low on health. The main problem is its mana cost: that's why you max it out at level 8 instead of 7.

Jinada is your main skill for farming and your most important ability for ganking: the cooldown reduction is amazing and the crit multiplyer scales with levels, too! You need an early points in it for last-hitting with safety, then you can max it out right after Shuriken Toss so you can abuse the crit and maim.

Shadow Walk is taken at level 1 for having a safe early game and a bit more last-hitting power: since getting a second level is mana-efficient (25% extra duration for the same mana cost) and you can stay permanently invisible with it, you need a second point in the laning stage. The bonus damage kind of scales with Jinada, so you want to max it out before this ability.

Track is obviously your ultimate and the main reason why you can easily make up for the lack of gold in the mid game: get this skill whenever possible and use it as soon as you spot an enemy. With levels, this skill gains many improvements including a wider cast range, more bonus gold for both yourself and your allies, a smaller mana cost and a cooldown reduction.

Playing Style

As said many times, this Hero excels in solo lanes (especially in the off-lane): you want to focus on both surviving and farming efficiently, prioritizing one of them depending on the situation and laning.


This chapter will be divided in the following paragraphs to let you understand better:





Suicide Laning (1vs3)



This laning style is probably the most common situation for Bounty Hunter, as you can get all the experience from the creeps and the enemies won't even notice you: don't try to buy an Orchid Malevolence, but focus on the first skill build ( Phase Boots and Drum of Endurance, for example, can let you dominate the mid game).

Remember that you're not invincible while Shadow Walking: always check the inventory of the enemies and, if you think they placed some wards, just stay in the exp range.

The most important thing about suicide laning that pub players don't understand is that you should not focus on last-hitting! If there are three enemies ready to gank you, it isn't a wise choice at all.

In this lane, the most important thing you have to do is to get experience. So, don't focus on the enemies and don't waste your mana (or worse, don't get in melee range with them) for harassing: most of the time you will die or be forced to go back to base.

Remember that positioning is crucial: in suicide lanes don't go past the enemy trees (on your right if in top lane for Radiant, on your left if in bot lane for Dire) unless you want to disrupt the enemy creep pull. Even so, keep your distances and make sure they don't have any Sentry Wards nearby.


Summarizing, always remember the following things:
  • Always check the inventory of your enemies! You don't want them to spot you with Sentry Wards.
  • Don't get last-hits at all, if not with Jinada.
  • Don't harass the enemies, or they will most likely kill you before you can even react.
  • Most important thing: don't overextend! Unless you go to disrupt the enemy creep pull, don't go past those places where the enemies can come from behind.




Solo Laning (1vs1)



This is another common situation: as a mid game Hero, you benefit a lot from the farm and you can make good use of it buying cost-efficient items ( Drum of Endurance) or expensive objects that give you mid game dominance ( Orchid Malevolence).

Try to get as many last-hits as possible but don't let the enemy harass you, especially if they're ranged: you can sometimes use Shadow Walk in conjunction with Jinada for harassing if you have something to sustain your mana and if you can last-hit without the crit damage from your ability.

Be active in the mid game! Always carry a Town Portal Scroll with you and be ready to teleport to other lanes if needed to. Generically, you shouldn't be afraid to leave your lane as a lone Hero can't push down a tower.

As soon as you reach level 6 and you get Phase Boots- Drum of Endurance or Orchid Malevolence, you can start ganking. As always, make sure the enemies don't have Sentry Wards, Dust of Appearance or a Gem of True Sight.


This quick list can help you remember all the paragraph:
  • Last-hit as much as possible and trade hits with the enemy laner if they try to harass you.
  • Always keep a TP scroll in your inventory and go to other lanes if you see a ganking opportunity.
  • After getting Track and your main items, start roaming and kill/outlane as many enemies as possible.




Mid Laning



Rarely, you can play Bounty Hunter in mid lane: provessional players tend to avoid this because it's very difficult to find a solo laner as good as you, but if your team is going for an offensive trilane and your mid laner would have been, let's say, Lone Druid or Nature's Prophet, you'd better give the 1vs1 safe lane to them.

In this lane the Orchid Malevolence build is almost always mandatory, as you will be able to leave mid and go to gank without worrying about your tower: especially against a melee Hero, you'll find very easy to get last-hits and pick up runes before the enemy.

The only difference in the item build is that you should rush the Bottle first, maybe start with the common 3 Iron Branches + Tango set and get your items sooner.




Ganking



Ganking: Bounty Hunter excels in this, but you have to be very careful and position yourself so that you won't miss the kill or, worse, die. Remember to reach level 6 and get your Phase Boots- Drum of Endurance or Orchid Malevolence before trying to get kills, unless you find lone and weakened enemies.

If you're off-laning and you reach level 6, don't leave your lane unless you know the enemy supports are roaming or a tower is already down: even in this case try to be as quick as possible and don't let the enemy carry free farm, if possible.

As said before, positioning is key: try to get a good Jinada hit and, after Tracking the enemy, push them to your side of the map; you can do so by returning visible between them and their towers/ancient, maybe with a teammate ready to help.

Always try to get lone enemies, as you're not good in 1vs2 fights. Also, remember that casters can succesfully escape from you (unless you got an Orchid Malevolence) and even kill you if their teammates are nearby.

Even when ganking, remember to check the enemies' inventory: if you're sure they got a Gem of True Sight try to spot who has it and focus them in the next teamfight. Otherwise, if you see Sentry Wards and Dust of Appearance on their inventory you can still get the kill and run away, provided they are alone.


In some words, these are your main priorities while ganking:
  • Reach level 6 and get your mid-game items before ganking.
  • Even if you're level 6 and got your items, don't leave the lane unless your/their T1 tower is already down.
  • When ganking a lone enemy, try to put yourself between them and their base so that they will have a hard time trying to escape.
  • Always look for lone enemies and stay away from casters, unless you can silence them or a teammate can help you.
  • Check the inventory of your prey: if they have a gem, focus them on the next teamfight.




Teamfighting



I've already said many times that Bounty Hunter is a perfect off-laner and even a good ganker, but even though Track doesn't reduces the enemy armor anymore he can succesfully "turn" an odd fight to your advantage: even if a fight ends with 2 kills from both sides, your ultimate will still grant a gold advantage.

When starting a teamfight, be useful: use your Shadow Walk (unless they can see you) to scout for hidden initiators, Track the most important enemies, be ready to activate your Drums/Orchid and so on. Try to keep your APM (Actions Per Minute) high so that you will be ready to engage.

As the teamfight starts, select the target you want to focus: Gem-carriers, initiators, blinkers and squishies; always help in chasing and pop your BKB (if you have one) as soon as you reach melee-range. Remember that you can use Track defensively, too: if you lose a teamfight, by tracking an enemy chaser you and your teammates will move faster.

Your autoattacks are pretty hard to deal with, but remember that you're not durable at all: even so, assist your team's carry and don't be afraid to come to close range even though your BKB isn't ready or your Orchid is on cooldown; you still have a lot of movement speed (with Phase Boots, particularly) and your Track if things go wrong. Also, if you die your carry might still escape, which is a good thing.

Friends and Foes

The bright side about this Hero is that he works with almost anyone, so you can safely pick him if you need a solo laner; on the other hand, invisibilty detection and stuns can be really hard to deal with in the mid game.



Friends

When you end your laning phase, try to Track lone enemies and gank them with your allies: a Smoke of Deceit can be really useful for this, especially because you won't get revealed if you are Shadow Walking. In this case, try to pair with allies that can disable or silence for a good amount of time (first line is for usual mid laners, second line is for lane supports and junglers):





Foes

As said before, Heroes that can reveal Bounty Hunter are a solid counterpick to him; silences are a good counter too but in mid to late game BH relies mostly on autoattacks, thus making them less useful. The first line is for dispellable (you can purge them with Diffusal Blade or the active ability of Manta Style) or temporary abilities, the second line is for skills and items that will always work on you:


A special mention goes to Rubick: if he manages to steal your Track not only he will be able reveal you, but will grant extra gold for his team and nullify your gold advantage.

Update History

05-20-2014: Added slight changes.
01-23-2014: Reworked this guide for the 6.79 patch (better late than never!).
03-22-2013: Added the "Items to Avoid" chapter.
03-13-2013: Added the "Playing Style" chapter.
03-12-2013: Added an explanation for situational items.
03-10-2013: Wrote the first part of the guide.

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