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Your damage is futile

March 30, 2013 by ibabrak
Comments: 4    |    Views: 20784    |   

Your damage is futile

DotA2 Hero: Bristleback

Purchase Order

Starting items

Early game

Situational items

Mid game

Late game / Luxury

Hero Skills

Viscous Nasal Goo

4 12 13 14

Quill Spray

1 3 5 7


2 8 9 10


6 11 16


15 17 18

Your damage is futile

March 30, 2013


Bristleback or in short BB is a very tanky str hero with the ability to snowball out of control.
He can be played as a very effective durrable semi-carry that does a lot of damage in team fights. This build is about winning the early to mid game and allowing you to snowball out of control.

Pros / Cons


One of the stronger heroes in the game
Very durrable in team fights doing large amount of damage.
Even though he starts with very little base int he has one of the highest int gains (2,8) in terms of str heroes
Item slot starved
Excellent chaser
Decent base damage
He is a hell for squishy enemies
Low cooldown skills


BB is farm and exp dependent
He looses his effectiveness in the late game
He is mana starved in the early game
Doesn't have a disable and his damage needs time to build up -> people can just tp away from you
Can't do much while the target is ghost sceptered


Viscous Nasal Goo:

Very good slow and -armor disable that also gives you stacks of your ultimate.
People often underestimate this ability into thinking that it is a simple slow but the -8 armor can do significant things in combination with your bonus damage from your ulti stacks.

Quill Spray:

This is one of your best skills.
You wanna max this spell first since it gives you a really nice damage that can stack up to 400.
It deals physical damage meaning that it won't get reduced by magic resistance (hero resistance 30%, hood, pipe). It also won't get blocked by damage block abillities (vanguard, kraken shell, etc.)
Keep in mind that Quills do hit invisible units.


This is the ability that makes you tanky as hell. It reduces 40% damage that is dealt to your back and 20% damage that is dealt to your sides. Bristleback allows you to survive high nuke consistant ganks. Even really early on you are able to survive high damage skills like Finger of death combined with other nukes.
Take in mind that for every 250 damage you take to your back you release one Quill Spray
It might take a while but you should really try to take every nuke coming your way to you back.


There's not much to say about this skill.
For every spell you cast you get bonus damage and movement speed allowing your right clicks to do some nasty damage while making you even better chaser.
Keep in mind that using items doesn't trigger your ultimate.


I know I listed only a few mid game items and I listed a lot of situational items but understand that you are very item slot starved because burst heal items such as Mek and Magic Wand are just really good even in the mid game for this hero.
Good Bristleback player is gonna adjust his/hers item build depending on the game he/she is playing.

Starting items:

You wanna start with a stout and some regen. I like to take a claritiy as well because I like to be very aggresive early on. Fill the rest of your inventory with iron branches.

Early game:

You wanna get your Magic Stick (Wand) plain boots and a Vanguard/Mekkanism/Hood of Defiance.
Vanguard gives you some nice damage block, hp regen and raw hp.
Hood of Defiance can be picked up instead of the early Vanguard if your main threat is that the opponent has too many nukes.
You probably wanna pick one of these two items before the Mekkanism since your early mana pool is rather low to support it.
Okay let's talk about mekkanism. You guys are probably wondering why mek even though I said that he's a sort of a semi-carry. Well let's just say that the burst heal from mek + your magic wand is so good that you just cannot pass on this item. Heals give you just so much effective hp thanks to your Bristleback passive.

Don't be arrogant about getting the mekkanism, though. If there is a better person to get it such as Chen you should just let him build it. But don't forget that you are a very good person to build it as well. Just communicate with you team and judge who should be the one building it.

Mid Game

I like to finish my Pipe at this point of the game and continue getting tanky.
I'm not gonna say that much about items for this point of the game and instead I'm gonna focus on situational items that are basically purchased durring this time or maybe little earlier/later depending on how nice the god of gold is to you.

Situational items

Armlet of Mordiggian:
This is an excellent item if the enemy doesn't have too many disables or damage over time.
You should be able to judge if you will be able to properly armlet toggle in the game your playing. You probably shouldn't purchase this item if your ping is too high or your just bad with the toggling.
Welp, if you are able to properly toggle it can make you unkillable in fights since not many are gonna be able to kill you through it (400 togglable hp + 40% bb resistance).

Linken's sphere:
Linken's offers you very nice mana regen that you can use plus some more tank-abillity. It is probably not worth buying if the enemy has too many things that can proc it. You should only buy this item if you are getting killed over and over becuase of some kind of disable like Roar, Hex, Shackle, etc.

Force Staff:
You can use the mobility if you are up against slows. I don't think I need to tell yo why force staff is good. It's just not really required. I would probably buy it if I would be against Riki (Side note. Bristleback is a very nice counter to riki since riki does backstab damage and you want people to hit your back since it does no damage :-) )

Orb of venom:
Sounds nice on paper but you probably won't have the free items slot anyway. The same goes for Eye of Skadi (not to mention that that one is expensive as hell).

Rot of Atos
This item is really nice since the range is so damn good and the slow is just massive. People often overlook the item. I would recomment you try it at least one time. I would probably get it after getting at least one of my items (Vanguard, Mekkanism, Hood)

Blade Mail
If you are fond of this item you can try it. I don't really like it but it could probably work. This item is just too situational in general.

If your team desperately needs some form of high right click damage you can always amplify your already high damage with crit. You still shouldn't be required to play that role.

As for boots
Many people like getting PT on BB. I wouldn't recommend it though.
I actually like to leave my boots plain until the later portion of the game.
You can get Phase boots for even better chasing power. If you are too mana starved in the early game you could build Arcane boots if no one else is willing. I still usually don't upgrade my boots until the late game whne I don't have space for a tp > Boots of Travel

Late game:

At this point of the game you don't do as much as you did before.
You can either get more tanky or get some kind of a disable item. (Hex/Eul's/Atos/whatever)

Scythe of Vyse:
This is the one item no one is gonna blame you for getting (if you can farm it :-) ).
It gives your team the best single target disable that also prevents the target to use bkb in the hex form (eh, as most disables). It's just a really nice item to have to try to nuke down the opponents carry as soon as possible.

Assault Cuirass vs Heart of Tarrasque
Both items give you very good tank-ability. It just depends if you can use the raw hp+the regen of Heart or the massive armor (effective hp) and minus armor (oh and attack speed :) ).

Items not to get

Many people recommend radiance but I just think that it is too expensive for you to build. you can get two more useful items instead. Not to mention that you are not gonna really be farming the entire game.

Black King Bar
I know it seems temptiong but keep in mind that you are your teams tank. You want to take damage. If enemies can't use spells on you they are gonna focus your allies instead.

Play style

I did write a lot about how to use your items above so let's just be quick about this part.

You can pretty much go to any lane. You need farm. You cannot solo offlane against a proper lane.

When you are laning against a ranged hero you want every harrass hit coming your way to hit your back. This also allows you to trade hits favorably in many situations.
You can play semi-aggressively but the best possible scenerio is when you are being chased > you are taking less damage while working the opponent down with your quills and then you can hit him with you bonus damage from your ulti's stacks. This also makes it that you wanna fight team fights where both sides are running back and forth. You should not underestimate how much you can do on low hp. Try to play mind games with popping your wand and mekkanism late when the enemy already commits on you and you suddenly pop big amount of burst heal that gives you even more effective hp. Don't be selfish with your mekkanism, though. If you see dying ally in range try to save him with it, of course.
As mentioned many times above you are an awesome chaser so try to utilize on that if possible.

The item build I chose is pretty standart if you ask me. If you are facing a lane that you can't really do much about you should probably skip that one level in Q and just get more BB (E) while still maxing Quills first.


I hope I didn't forget anything. This is actually my first time writting a guide so please bear with me. For those of you wondering English isn't my first language... so yeah.

If you have anything you would like to comment on feel free to do so.
I hope you like this guide and that it helps you play a better Bristleback.

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