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7 Votes

Bristleback: The Hog From the Bog

April 8, 2013 by solarsparten
Comments: 7    |    Views: 304132    |   

Build 1
Build 2
Build 3

Tanky Tank Build (Safe Lane, or Off Lane)

DotA2 Hero: Bristleback

Hero Skills

Viscous Nasal Goo

1 12 13 14

Quill Spray

2 3 5 7


4 8 9 10 16


6 11


15 17 18


Never one to turn his back on a fight, Rigwarl was known for battling the biggest, meanest scrappers he could get his hands on. Christened Bristleback by the drunken crowds, he waded into backroom brawls in every road tavern between Slom and Elze, until his exploits finally caught the eye of a barkeep in need of an enforcer. For a bit of brew, Bristleback was hired to collect tabs, keep the peace, and break the occasional leg or two (or five, in the case of one unfortunate web-hund).
After indulging in a night of merriment during which bodily harm was meted out in equal parts upon both delinquent patrons and his own liver, Bristleback finally met his match. Your tusks offend me, sir, he was heard to drunkenly slur to one particularly large fellow from the northern wastes whose bill had come due. What followed was a fight for the ages. A dozen fighters jumped in. No stool was left unbroken, and in the end, the impossible happened: the tab went unpaid. Over the weeks that followed, Bristleback's wounds healed, and his quills grew back; but an enforcer's honor can be a prickly thing. He paid the tab from his own coin, vowing to track down this northerner and extract redemption. And then he did something he'd never done before--he actually trained, and in so doing made a startling discovery about himself. A smile peeled back from his teeth as he flexed his quills. Turning his back to a fight might be just the thing.

Introduction to the Hog from the Bog

Welcome to the unofficial guide about the Hog from the Bog, Bristleback! Bristleback is a strength hero on the radiant side, who can fit into a couple of different roles. He can be played in any lane, because he is so durable, and is typically played as a tank, although if left untouched early, he can snow-ball out of control! He is fairly easy to play as well, although if not played right, you could end up feeding early.

Pros and Cons

Now, you are probably thinking: "Well, why should I play Bristleback? He just looks like a spiky pig!" And on that, you are right. He is a spiky pig! I would be better to explain my logic this way though:


  • Decent Strength Gain
  • Highest Int Gain of any strength hero
  • More level dependent rather than gold dependent
  • Very Durable
  • Terrific Ganker
  • Can Dive towers relatively early compared to other heroes
  • A decent slow
  • Stackable Damage
  • Mobile
  • Does Mostly physical damage, BKB Wont help them now!
  • He is VERY spikey.


  • Easy to Feed With if not played properly
  • Not very good Agility gain
  • You tend to be focused down in fights
  • If he doesn't get the little bit of gold he does need, he can be easily killed.

Bristleback's Abilities

Vicious Nasal Goo

This skill slows an enemy by 20%, and reduces their armour. It has a 1.5 second cool down, and stacks when used consistently on the same enemy. It has a range of 600. It has a mana cost of 30.
  1. Stacks 3% extra slow, reduced armour by 1 per stack.
  2. Stacks 6% extra slow, reduced armour by 1 per stack.
  3. Stacks 9% extra slow, reduced armour by 2 per stack.
  4. Stacks 12% extra slow, reduced armour by 2 per stack.

Quill Spray

This skill is an AoE stackable physical damage nuke. It has a radius of 625 centered on Bristleback, and stacks an extra 30 damage for every time it is used. It has a mana cost of 35, and a cool down of 3 seconds.
  1. Base damage of 20
  2. Base damage of 40
  3. Base damage of 60
  4. Base damage of 80


Bristleback is the skill named directly after the hero, and is his signature skill. It reduces damage taken, depending on where it was taken. It will also release a quill spray of the current level at no mana cost, if you take up to 250 damage.
  1. Reduced Damage (Side) 8% (Rear) 16%
  2. Reduced Damage (Side) 12% (Rear) 24%
  3. Reduced Damage (Side) 16% (Rear) 32%
  4. Reduced Damage (Side) 20% (Rear) 40%


Warpath is the biggest thing that makes Bristleback the threat he is. Every time he casts a spell, it stacks bonus damage, and movement speed. Combined with his very low cooldown spells, this makes him very scary to face 1 v 1. At max level, with the 5 maximum stacks, you have + 24% move speed, and + 150 damage.
  1. Base move speed increase: 5% Stack move speed increase: 1% Damage Stack: 20
  2. Base move speed increase: 7% Stack move speed increase: 2% Damage Stack: 25
  3. Base move speed increase: 9% Stack move speed increase: 3% Damage Stack: 30

Item Choices

Stout Shield - This is a good item on bristleback, as the damage block will give him some survivability, and it will also be built into a vanguard later.
Iron Wood Branch GG Branches for extra stats!
Tangos Most cost-efficient regen early on!
Power Treads Usually these are the boots of choice on bristleback, as they provide some survivability, damage, and attack speed. You can put these on Strength, or Int, as bristleback has some mana problems early on.
Phase Boots The other choice you could go on Bristleback, although should only be picked up if going a full ganking build. They provide excellent mobility, and the damage should help for last hitting as well.
Vanguard This is going to be the item you rush for after your choice of boots. It provides some fantastic survivability for Bristleback, and combined with the reduced damage from your Bristleback skill, you will be taking little to no physical damage early on.
Heart of Tarrasque This item is fantastic on Bristleback, making the tank even tankier! The strength, aside from the raw Hp make this a fantastic item on almost any tank.
Blade Mail In most cases, this should be considered a situational item. The damage reflect is good, as you will be focused a lot, but the amount of damage you are reducing is also reduced to the people you send it back to. Pick it up if against someone like a Huskar, or Ursa.
Black King Bar It is quite obvious why you would want this. Since you are being focused down a lot, a lot of the spells being launched at you may very well be disables of some sort. Only get this if the enemy team has a lot of disables.
Assault Cuirass This item synergizes so well with Bristleback, its not even funny. Bristleback does all physical damage, and this item will reduce the enemies armour, while giving you more attack speed to wail on the enemies. It also makes you tankier by increasing your armour a substantial amount. I usually get this after heart if the game lasts long enough, and I'm going a tank build.
Heavens Halberd This item, although not the best for Bristleback, is pretty good on him. The strength, disable, and evasion can make you even harder to kill.
Hood of Defiance/Pipe of Insight If the enemy team is dealing with a ton of magical damage, you will want to consider getting a hood of defiance. If no one else has already built one, you might want to upgrade it into a pipe as well.
Rod of Atos The slow is great, it solves whatever mana problems you could possibly have left, and it gives raw HP.
Satanic A possible substitute for heart, although I don't suggest getting it.
Vladimirs Offering Get this if you need some life steal, and you have a lot of melee heroes on your team. Don't get this if someone else already has one.
Radiance If you are going to go radiance, please do it as one of your early items. It loses effectiveness late game, and I feel like it could just end up being a waste of gold.
Bottle Rush this if you are going mid. You won't have mana problems if you keep up rune control, and you will be able to harass freely.
Sange If you are going a mid/gank oriented build, then Sange could be nice for the chance to proc even more slow.
Orb of Venom This item helps slow down the enemy even more, and can be built into a skadi later if you are getting good farm.
Eye of Skadi Only get this if your farm is through the roof, and you don't plan on getting lifesteal of any kind.
Maelstrom The attack speed, damage output, and chance for extra damage will help you murder the enemies faster.
Mjolnoir If you are going a carry build, you will want to build this, along with Daedlus. Not only does it give you extra damage, and massive attack speed, but it gives you the static shield, making you even harder to kill, and making enemies want to attack you even less.
Daedlus Of course Daedlus is good on almost any hero, if they are going a carry build. It is especially good on Bristleback, as he has the stackable damage to crit from with his Warpath.
I added armlet in because it was sort of an item I forgot. I was informed about it by a comment, so thanks! I have tried it only once, and I didn't really find it to be the best choice. It did work out though, and I had a bit of fun with it. Get it if you need the extra damage out-put, and you already have some decent hp regen to make up the hp-loss from the armlet.

Friends and Foes!

Bristleback has made plenty of friends, and plenty of foes. Both in game, and possibly in lore. Lets just see who they are?


- Dazzle: Dazzle is great at making you the hardest person to kill in the game. His shallow grave can keep you alive longer, so you can cause more mayhem, his heal is good to keep you alive, his ultimate increases your armour, and lowers the enemies, and his slow makes the enemies even slower. He synergizes well with Bristleback in all aspects.
- Omniknight: Omniknight is almost as good of a friend as Dazzle to you. He can keep you healed in lane while you cause havoc to ensue, can repel you in team fights to make you nearly unkillable, and of course his ult is just a great help to the entire team in general.
- Slardar: Slardar is one of your best friends, even if you two don't lane well together. His ult will reduce the enemies armour further, along with your vicious nasal goo, and his stun/bash allows you to beat on the enemy longer without them getting away. You also assist him in the fact that he is able to get more bashes off.

- Right-Click Carries: Bristleback is great with right-click carries such as Ursa, Sniper, and Drow. He can keep them in place while your carry beats on them. Just be sure not to steal the kills!


Axe: Axe is one of your biggest foes. He is able to force you to face him, making your damage reduction useless. You are also unable to use your skills at the time, so you cannot build up warpath to take him out. Since you will also be focused a lot in team fights, chances are there will be plenty of chances for him to culling-blade you.

Legion Commander: Although not in Dota 2 yet, if he is able to catch you off guard, before you get any warpath charges up, you might be screwed. He is the only other hero that can force you to face them and fight, and you will not have the damage reduction while fighting.

Any hero with a silence: Heroes such as Drow, Death Prophet, and Disruptor can be a bit of a pain to you. With their AoE silence, it is pretty hard to miss, and while you are silenced, you cannot get your warpath charges up to wreak havoc.

The magic wand is one of your worst enemies. If the enemy is smart, they will pick one of these up against you, as they will get constant charges from your extremely spammable spells.

Early to Late

Early Game

In early game, you will mainly focus on getting your boots as fast as possible, whether it be phase or treads. If you are playing mid, you will want to be sure to go out for ganks often, as your slow is quite powerful, and can keep the enemy there long enough to kill. It is a good idea to get a smoke of deceit, in case they have warded so you can get to them unseen. Invis runes will also do the job, but you don't want to have to rely on those. If you find a double damage rune, build up some war-path charges before you pick it up for the maximum boost. Also, if you find a regen rune, don't be greedy! If someone on your team needs it more, give it to them. If you really need the bottle charges, you can give them the bottle, so they aren't wasted. I'm sure they will be nice enough to pass it back.

Mid Game

Here is where Bristleback reaches the peak of his strength. He is really hard to kill here, and even if he gets 2-3 man ganked, he can easily turn it around into a double-triple kill for him, if he plays smart. You will want to help the team push the towers, and make sure that your supports, and carries dont get killed, unless you are playing a carry yourself that is.

Late Game

In late game, you should be fully farmed, and able to kill anyone on their team solo. You should be looking out for solo heroes on the map, and picking them off when you can. If you find a couple of supports together in a lane, go get that double kill! Make sure you keep your team safe of course, even though they should be able to defend themselves at this point. Get pushing the towers, and try to end it as quick as you can if your carrying! If you wait too long, Bristleback can be out carried, as he is not a true carry.

And with that, I bid you farewell!

If you enjoyed the guide, please leave some feedback as to why! If you are a bit confused by some choices, or really just don't understand some things, go ahead and ask! This is my first guide, so I made sure to do it as best as I could have.

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