|1.||Who is Spirit Breaker?|
|4.||The Skill Build|
|5.||Just Spawned: What Items to Buy?|
|6.||Early Game/Laning Stage Build|
|7.||Early-Middle Game Build|
|8.||The Middle Game|
|9.||Middle Game to Middle-Late Game|
|10.||Assault Cuirass (AC)|
Spirit Breaker is a great hero who has been receiving constant buffs for the last 10 patches. This has transformed Bara from a hero who was unplayed in the competitive scene and barely played in pubs to one who has a P+B rate of 33% (as of June) and is an infamous pubstomper.
Barathrum the Spirit Breaker is a lordly and powerful being, a fierce and elemental intelligence which chose to plane-shift into the world of matter to take part in events with repercussions in the elemental realm that is his home. To that end, he assembled a form that would serve him well, both in our world and out of it. His physical form borrows from the strengths of this world, blending features both bovine and simian—horns, hooves and hands—as outward emblems of his inner qualities of strength, speed and cunning. He wears a ring in his nose, as a reminder that he serves a hidden master, and that this world in which he works is but a shadow of the real one.
1) He has an amazing passive bash which keeps the enemy stunned for 1.6 seconds and an active which stuns for 2.4 seconds.
2) The hero is super durable with the 10th highest base armor (5.38), the 4th highest natural health regeneration, and by far the highest starting health in the game.
3) He has low movement speed at first, but the ability to be wherever he wants on the map with his charge, which targets units rather than heroes. Empowering haste greatly increases move speed, but you generally shouldn't get it until your q and e are maxed because those skills are amazing.
4) At level 2 with a point in his bash and charge, he is already primed to gank.
1) Very vulnerable to team fights, especially in the early game.
2) Well placed observer wards around the map can show his charging, giving the enemy time to counter-initiate or TP out. Unless they have sentry wards, this goes away if he has a Shadow Blade.
3) Reliant on hitting his bash which has a 1/6 chance.
4) Low mana pool.
First Point: Charge of Darkness
The rationale behind this is that you gain an unbelievable amount of utility from this skill. At one point you have a 12 second cooldown and 100 mana, 2 figures that stay constant as you level up Charge. Honestly, this skill does not scale very well, but it's Spirit Breaker's second best skill so you are going to want to max it second. Every subsequent point increases your charge speed by 50 (which is negligible) and increases the stun duration by .4 seconds.
Second Point and Third Points: Greater Bash
We do not need our second skill at this point. It's really not that good compared to your other two, as all it does is increase movement speed (and damage indirectly). But at this stage in the game, we want to farm and get an ocassional lucky Greater Bash which will usually secure us the kill. We want to max bash first because the higher it's level, the better our ult becomes. All our ult does is apply a greater bash and a little extra damage.
Fourth Point: Charge
Fifth Point: Greater Bash
Sixth Point: Nether Strike (ULT)
Always grab the point in your ult when you can. Even though his ultimate ability isn't stellar, it does scale with your Bash. If you have enough mana to charge and ult a lone enemy with an RNG Greater Bash in the mix, they will die 99% of the time. The ult also scales absolutely terribly, with the cooldown going from 80->70->60 and the bonus damage going from 150->250->350. Still, for Spirit Breaker points in his skills beat out getting points in stats.
Seventh Point: Greater Bash (maxxed)
Eighth and Ninth Points: Charge (maxxed)
Tenth - Twenty Five Points
It's now time to max your move speed passive, all while putting points in your ult at 11 and 16.
You will need Tango for regen, and we will get 2 sets of them. Since the enemy can't cancel our tango, we can ensure that we're gaining 8 hp at a time while harassing enemy offlaners. We're going to have an urn later for regen, sure, but the build is to get treads first which makes us slightly vulnerable for the first few minutes of the game. I say slightly because Bara starts with 5 armor and the most hp in the game, but you can never be too safe.
Then buy Gauntlets of Strength, which give strength and will build into an Urn of Shadows. We won't be building urn as our first main item however, since without treads ganking is unnecessarily harder. This leaves us with 225 gold.
It's hard to predict lane setup, but if the opposition's side lanes are going to definitely have right clickers you should generally build a Stout Shield. Since side shop access is limited and you'll have a slow land courier for 3 minutes, it's better to be safe than sorry and pick up that shield. If the lanes aren't going to turn out this way, save your gold for brown boots and a treads rush.
Since he needs movement speed in the laning stage and attack speed for bash, Power Treads are an absolute must. Not only do they make you more mobile, they are the most gold efficient attack speed item in the game (behind MoM and Moon Stone).
Now, you may think that the next item should be Mask of Madness, because it a) is only 1800 gold, b) provides a lot of lifesteal, c) increases move speed (which scales with all your skills) and attack speed (by 100). 100 attack speed is a lot, as it rivals the Moon Stone which is 2.5x the price. However, I'm going to make a case against MoM that should dissuade you from following the generic pub build.
1) 30% extra damage is A LOT. This is from all sources after reductions, including pure. This math by Noobcakes is over 2 years old but still revelant, considering MoM is worse since then from the move speed nerf. This 30% takes away from the durability and tankiness that makes your hero golden. If you get unlucky with RNG and have MoM activated, the enemy's right clicks will overpower yours and destroy you. You of course have your ult for a guaranteed stun, but it's only for 1.6 seconds and the cooldown is pretty long. The Aghs upgrade reduces this cooldown and makes your ult affect a 250 radius, but it's not worth it for 4200 gold (at least from the getgo) when there are a lot of other items that synergize with you better.
2) You are only under the active ability for 50% of the time. You may think that you will always be MoM'd because you can activate it yourself, but there may always be an unexpected confrontation that catches you off guard. Without the 100 attack speed and extra move speed which increases your damage, you have a useless item in your inventory.
3) For roughly the same price you can have a Hyperstone which increases your attack speed by 55 at all times. Hyperstone is roughly the same price as MoM and it has a little more than half the attack speed. However, it is always online versus being active half of the time. When you factor in the fact that you will be building a Moon Stone, it's utility increases further.
In my eyes, your dream job as Bara is to pick off individual targets with your charge and kill them by bashing them to death, making your team have the 5v4 or 5v3 advantage in teamfights after they push due to the imbalance. You should tailor your equipment to do exactly just this. This means that you are not going to be playing a position 1 or 2 hero. You are the definition of a ganker, providing constant support to your heroes. You synergize well with the wards your position 4 and 5 are placing, as it gives you more coverage on the map. If a lone enemy walks into ward vision, they're as good as dead. You don't need to build a ton of items to do this either, which is why you excel so much in the early to mid game. For these reasons, I believe Spirit Breaker is played best as a classic position 3 offlaner.
So, what do you build after your treads? Since you will not be building lifesteal, you need to have a way to replenish your health after a gank. The solution is an Urn of Shadows. You're going to have 2 charges per gank, as your urn should (almost) always be empty. These charges will heal you for 400 each and are extremely versatile. You gain survivability from the brink of death by popping a charge on yourself and healing up. You don't need to rely on lifesteal to be hitting your enemy which is a risky proposition. With an urn you can also heal teammates within a massive 1400 unit range. A charge can be also used to finish off your enemies, although this is more of a niche use for SB. Urn also has a great progression, building from two gauntlets of strength and a sage's mask. With Urn, you get 50% mana regen which allows you to charge more often and 6 strength which synergizes with your lifepool and overall damage. This all happens for only 875 gold.
After the urn I believe you can go for one of three options, with the first being the more traditional.
1) Shadow Blade. Shadow Blade has unbelievable synergy with Spirit Breaker (and I'm not talking about them sharing the same initials). It's a way to escape, you gain 30 attack speed, and it doesn't require a ton of farm. First and foremost however it is an invaluable tool for your charge. While charging in, you have the option of toggling your Shadow Blade to hit your enemy and inflict an extra 175 damage. They won't see you coming unless they have sentry vision in that path (and it's more likely than not that they won't). It also gives you the option of right clicking on the map in the middle of your charge and diverting your path to another hero on foot without being seen. It's a really great item that you can pick up after getting a shadow amulet or a Claymore. It can also later be built into a Silver Edge, for when the enemy team has a core with a great passive(s) (think PA).
2) A Hyperstone. This sounds like a crazy pickup when it doesn't offer any of the utility of shadow blade. For that reason it is, and should only be gotten in situational circumstances at this point. One situation that may arise is that the enemy team is exclusively pushing as 5 and taking towers. In this scenario, you have passed the early game and cannot pick off heroes individually as they will almost always be accompanied with teammates. The element of surprise won't work and you will have to work with your team to teamfight. Use your charge as a way to initiate and soak up the damage while your teammates cast spells. The Hyperstone will ensure that you're bashing more often and rendering at least one enemy team member useless (preferably their position 1). Trading a position 3 for a position 1 means that the rest of your team should win the fight. Another scenario is that the map is littered with Sentry Ward. This could arise when you have a Riki, Techies, Bounty Hunter, Clinkz, or even a Broodmother on your team. In this case, the utility of being invisible has been lost and what you are left with is an item that gives you an extra 30 attack speed and a bit of damage for 2800 gold.
3) DISCLAIMER: Sometimes you may need to let the Hyperstone/Shadow Blade dream die and get a Black King Bar right away, right after the urn. This should only happen extremely, extremely rarely however. The scenario for this occurs when the enemy is heavily magic/stun reliant, constantly grouping up to fight in the early game while you only have Treads/Urn (2,275 gold farmed by you). Since you can't charge in for pickoffs, you're left with farming for BKB and fighting with your team.
If they are clumping up and teaming but are right click reliant, do what I said above and get the Hyperstone. There is no need for a BKB in this situation. Again, the BKB is for the super niche situation where the enemy team is teamfighting in the really early game and has a lot of stuns/not a lot of right clickers. The BKB is for when there is almost no chance for a rogue pickoff, and I always think there will be. I really don't think Spirit Breaker is a 1 size fits all type hero either. You should try to pick him when the enemy does not have a lot of lockdown in their draft. 1 lockdowner is fine because you can choose to focus him in teamfights, but 2 or more is really not the game for SB. For this reason, I really do not think you ever need BKB this early. This does not mean you should never get a BKB however, as it's a really good item on Spirit Breaker in the middle game when the enemy is almost certainly teamfighting.
Regardless of what build you pursued, you should have either:
a) Treads, Urn, Shadowblade
b) Treads, Urn, Hyperstone
c) Treads, Urn, BKB
If you went with a), you are going to now get a Hyperstone, a BKB, or a Silver Edge. You will get a Hyperstone most of the time. The game has transitioned normally and the enemy is still farming and only occasionally opting for a teamfight. They are pretty right click reliant. You're still using your Shadow Blade to charge on lone enemies, though not as much since they usually have accompaniment. It's still helpful to escape though and the utility it granted got you a lot of gold. Since we are now no longer in the early game, the enemy's team fight potential may have come on line due to their lineup.
A Black King Bar at this point is rational. The reasons in the above disclaimer have now started to manifest themselves in the middle game, and you're ready. You've farmed the gold up from your pickoffs and roaming, your last hitting in the off lane, bounty runes that you find as you occasionally go through the river, and any gold your team has gotten from taking objectives. The 10 second BKB will mean that your team will absolutely crush the fight. In this game scenario, magical damage and stuns will do you the most harm. These 10 seconds will allow you and your team to ignore that and go immediately after their position 1 in the fight. This then opens up the door to fight the position 2 with the remaining time you have from BKB, and then mop up the fleeing supports with your charge. Remember, on your team YOU will be the hero responsible for lockdown in teamfights, and your skills pierce any BKBs the enemy can throw at you.
With these two items covering so much, when do you get a Silver Edge then? The answer is against passive reliant cores. Silver Edge will wreck them by disabling their passives for 5 seconds and slowing them through the imbued Sange proc chance. I don't think Silver Edge is ever a bad choice, since Sange has decent synergy with Spirit Breaker. However, I believe that for all intents and purposes the benefit conferred by upgrading Silver Edge is very situational at best. Heroes like Phantom Assassin, Phantom Lancer, Anti-Mage, and Outworld Devourer come to mind.
If you went with b), you are all primed to use your Hyperstone to build your next, most important item. This build means that the enemy team does not have a hero with passives that absolutely need disabling, they are right click reliant, and/or they are constantly grouping as 5. However, you again can situationally get a BKB and get the item that requires the Hyperstone later. You will be only 2,000 gold away from another Hyperstone as I discuss below. It's always important to go with the flow of the game and tailor your items accordingly with any hero.
If you went with c), you got the BKB early to fight against the team that's constantly 5 manning early and stunning you. It's now time to put that spell immunity to good use and get a Hyperstone to be able to fight better.
By now, if things went well, you have a Hyperstone in your inventory. This item will prove extremely versatile as all 3 upgrades are viable (with the exception of Mjollnir, more on that ahead). Again, attack speed is absolutely key on Bara so you want to get the most out of your build. The following 3 chapters cover each of these upgrades.
An Assault Cuirass doesn't provide you with any extra attack speed on top of the Hyperstone. It does however give you a massive 15 armor for yourself and 5 armor for your nearby teammates, all while decreasing the enemy's armor by 5. AC is Dota's signature tanky item and for good reason. The EHP gain you get is very noteworthy. Let's say you have 8 armor before you build AC. The enemy is doing 70% physical damage on you, making a 200 hit go down to 140. With the AC, enemies are now doing 42% physical damage on you, reducing that 200 to only 84.
Don't forget that this item also seriously helps your teammates against right clickers as well. The AC is an item to be build when you and your team need armor to defend against 2 or more heavy farmed right clickers who are constantly teamfighting. If the enemy only has 1 heavy right clicker (like a PA), you can just target PA and do that position 3 for 1 exchange we talked about previously. With 2 however, you'll find yourself sadly outnumbered unless you have coordination/hero synergy with your teammates and that other enemy remains stunned and locked out.
I'm going to be honest with you. I really do not like this item on SB even though some swear by it. Mjollnir stats are 80 attack speed (+25 on your Hyperstone) and +24 damage. It also allows you to place a charged shield (15 seconds) on your allies or yourself which has a 20% chance of proccing and a 35 second cooldown. This shield causes 200 magical damage to 5 random units in a 900 unit radius. This means that the shield can target all your opponents creeps and 0 heroes. The active ability on Mjollnir is meant to cause a lot of damage to enemy right clickers by constantly proccing, but what use is it if you're dead by being right clicked down? Sure, the enemy might have lost 500 health from the shield alone, but your position 1 could still be dead.
This is why I think an AC is much better, as you and your entire team all live longer. It's a lot harder to get right clicked down with AC. Some people say that Mjollnir helps SB clear waves and split push better and jungle to get gold, but he's really not geared for this. Once you have your item that comes from Hyperstone the game should be spiralling out of control for you. Mjollnir really doesn't let the game spiral. It's a farming tool and always has been, and sadly SB cannot get from camp to camp fast like AM or teleport around the map like Tinker. His charge takes like 10 seconds to get across the map.
If I had to get Mjollnir, I would only do it in situations where the game is definitely going to go late and I need all the farm I can get to combat my farming opponents. I'd also get it against a PL (and maybe a Naga) to deal with his illusions. If there aren't any other heroes on my team with a Mjollnir at this point, I will be the one to get it.
Mjollnir's other ability is of course it's chain lightning chance. This procs 8 units, so the chances of missing the entire enemy team is unlikely. However, you're a Spirit Breaker, and you only care about one unit and one unit only at a time. The 100 damage you'll be doing after reductions 1 in 4 times doesn't help too much. Your goal is to right click the enemy down through spell immunity and all other circumstances with your sheer tankiness. And there's an item which has 40 more attack speed than even Mjollnir.
Ahh, the Moon Shard. I was waiting to write about this item the entire time, as I feel it's the gem of 6.84. For the low price of 2,000 gold you can mosey over to the Secret Shop and pick up your second Hyperstone and immediately have your Moon Shard. Just like that, you have +65 attack speed and 250 extra night vision. This item is a lot cheaper than Mjollnir and AC, allowing you to have a great item faster than your enemies can. The 120 attack speed is enormous. Your enemy will be constantly bashed and melt really fast. Killing your enemy quick means that you can quickly jump to another opponent and kill them off as well.
Of the 3 items I've described in this section, this is the most offensive item and least situational. If you find yourself not needing AC or Mjollnir, this is the way to go. Moon Shard also offers 250 bonus night vision. A lot of people blow this off as useless, but it really can help. It makes you into an enemy that can see an incoming team and prepare his target and game plan carefully. With the extra vision you can make snap decisions like charging out to a friendly unit if you are alone. Arguably Spirit Breaker is one of the best heroes to have extra vision on due to his sheer mobility.
When in doubt about your next item, get a Moon Shard.
By now the game should be over or near over. You've ganked around the map with your smart early itemization and secured enough gold to purchase a big item faster than even your opponent's position 2 could. You've traded your health and sometimes life for the guaranteed kill on your opponent's biggest farmers in teamfights, causing them to be down for a minute and unable to farm. When they are up and farming, your supports have placed wards in the enemy's jungle. You charge in and make quick work of them since they are alone farming (their teammates don't want to stay around them at this point and sap their underfarmed core's xp). You charge out back to your friends at full health and prepare for a 5v4 push while their position 1 or 2 are down for a long, long time. With your trusty urn, you've restored the health you lost in that previous skirmish and are ready to rax/t4. You've in essence won the game.
If you haven't won by now you of course have options. If you went the Shadow Blade route and haven't made your Silver Edge yet, now is the time to do so. If you find yourself craving for more attack speed, go ahead and build another item from a Hyperstone. You may need armor in the form of an AC after you went for the sheer power of the Moon Shard. The good thing is you can just pick up a Platemail and get +10 armor just like that and slowly build towards AC. Remember that Aghanim's Scepter we neglected? Now that the game is being decided purely in teamfights, it may be time to get one. That guaranteed 1.6 second stun on all heroes in the fight is going to be really useful if you have a position 1 and a position 2 capable of bursting them down, or a hero like Lich who can drop a Chain Frost on your incapacitated foes. If the enemy has evasion, now would be the time to get an Monkey King Bar. If you are the one who needs evasion, pick up a Heaven's Halberd.
****, all of our item slots are full now. We of course got rid of the urn, but we find ourselves with an example itemization of BKB, Silver Edge, AC, Moon Shard, Aghs, and MKB. The game must have gone extremely late for this to happen which should almost never occur when you are a SB but nevertheless, it did. You can now eat your Moon Shard and build whatever item you want in that last slot. Has your team killed Roshan and they don't have an Aegis or Cheese carrier? Eat your Moon Shard and fill that role. The item's flexibility really makes it shine.
The buffs Spirit Breaker has been receiving since 6.7x have really made him a viable hero. We've gone from seeing a Spirit Breaker extremely rarely to every other game in pubs. Time and time again though, people are building the wrong items on him like Mask of Madness and Blade Mail, which causes him to become a glass cannon. His stats innately make him a tank, and he should not have to lose 30% extra health when an item is activated. You are so better off with a casual Platemail which gives you 4 more armor over the Blade Mail at 2/3rds the price.
I hope this guide has helped. This is my first guide - my next guide will focus on PA and the Moon Shard. Charge on and keep bashing my fellow Spirit Breakers.
6.85 - Bara's Greater Bash now uses PRD. This doesn't change anything except the fact that you could possibly prime bashes by hitting creeps 4-5 times and not proccing.
6.86 - Unchanged :)
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