Game Guide

Dota 2: How to Build Bristleback

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In today's article, we cover the build for Bristleback, one of the best offlaners in the game, with an analysis of the best items for this hero, as well as his skills and role in the team.

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translated by Meline Hoch

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About the Character

“Bristleback! Ha ha!”

- Bristleback

Rigwarl is a humanoid being who resembles a porcupine, famous for fighting the biggest and most malevolent troublemakers he encountered in the alleys on the road between Slom and Elze. After being hired as a tavern keeper's henchman to ensure customers always paid their bills, he found a worthy opponent and after a memorable fight, Bristleback lost. Defeated, Rigwarl trained and found himself able to control his spikes. From now on, turning his back in a fight might actually serve him well.


Basic Attributes
Basic Attributes


Talent Tree and Suggestions for Ability Evolution
Talent Tree and Suggestions for Ability Evolution

Bristleback is a strength hero who evolves throughout the game and is an excellent combatant, being a simple character to play, especially in a Tank role. Your entire arsenal of abilities is made to last a long time in combat, chasing enemies and slowing them down.

Viscuous Nasal Goo

Secretes a viscous substance that slows down the target and reduces their armor. It can be cast multiple times, accumulating their effects and duration. Applies a debuff effect to the target that is also stackable.

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Quill Spray

Launches spikes around Bristleback, dealing damage to hit targets. Deals extra damage if the target was previously hit within the last fourteen seconds.

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Reduces the damage taken if hit from the sides or from the back and when Bristleback takes a certain amount of damage to his back, he releases a burst of Quill Spray as the damage from the second skill accumulates. Disabling this ability does not stop Quill Spray from accumulating damage.

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Activated through Aghanim’s Shard. Allows you to launch a ball of spikes at a target location and hit enemies in that area with Viscous Nasal Goo and Quill Spray.

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With each ability used, Bristleback goes into rage, receiving bonuses to movement and damage.

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Hero Build

Bristleback is one of the best fighters in the game, and is also an excellent fight starter. He can weaken the enemy team, reducing their armor and slowing them down, as well as being more than capable of holding off the entire team and securing multiple kills.

In ideal situations, he is a hero who can become basically immortal and one of the best-known plays with this character is to trap enemies at their fountain, invading the enemy base and preventing any resistance. He can literally position himself with his back to the fountain and take damage while launching blasts of spikes and killing trapped enemies.

Basic Items

As always, Tango and Iron Branch are important items in the early game to ensure you can stay in the lane. Gauntlets of Strength provide extra strength points to the hero, which makes him more resistant. Circlet also guarantees basic attribute bonuses that will help in the early game. Quelling Blade is very useful for opening a path through the jungle when flanking enemies or when escaping. Wards, as I have already explained in other articles, will serve to guarantee vision in the fog of war.


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All of these items are components for creating other items which will be critical in the Lane Phase. Among them, we can highlight Vanguard, an item that will greatly improve Bristleback's HP in initial combats, reducing damage received and guaranteeing bonus life and regeneration.

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Essential Items

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Aghanim’s Scepter improves Bristleback’s passive, allowing you to use it whenever you want to launch a sequence of Quill Spray in a chosen direction. During activation, Bristleback is disarmed and has his speed reduced, but the damage caused to enemies targeted by this ability is gigantic.

Aghanim’s Shard is a requirement to enable the use of Hairball.

Bloodstone in addition to the bonuses to HP, mana, regeneration and Arcane Life Steal, the main reason for using this item with Bristleback is for the AoE (Area of ​​Effect) bonus, which greatly improves the hero's abilities, allowing you to hit opponents more easily.

Final Items

You can prioritize any of the items below, and you don't necessarily need to get them all, but Black King Bar, Shiva's Guard and Lotus Orb should be highlighted as essential end-game items. BKB is an important item when we talk about dispel effects. Shiva’s will grant more armor at the end of the game, and its ability gives the hero more presence in the game, slowing down and causing damage to enemies.

Lotus will act where BKB cannot and can be used on allies, in addition to guaranteeing more attribute points for the hero.

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Blink Dagger is a good item to give Bristleback more movement on the map and in combat.

Kaya and Sange is another item that will grant various attributes to the hero, and Octarine acts on skill reset times, allowing you to use Quill Spray more quickly.

Optional Items

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There are other items that Bristle can benefit from at specific moments in the game, depending on the composition of the enemy team.

Phase Boots grants armor, in addition to allowing the hero to move more easily in the lane.

Soul Ring is a good early game item if you are facing mana issues, sacrificing some of Bristleback's HP to grant him a temporary mana bonus, and works well with Ring of Health.

Blade Mail is an excellent item for dealing with heroes who deal critical damage or a lot of damage, such as Juggernaut, Phantom Assassin and Troll Warlord, returning part of the damage received to the attacker.

Heaven’s Halberd is another item that works very well against heroes that deal a lot of damage in combat, guaranteeing Bristle evasion and allowing you to disable a target for a certain time.


Eternal Shroud can be very useful if the enemy team relies too much on magic damage, ensuring you can last longer in combat.

Linken’s Sphere is yet another dispel item that blocks a single target ability, working very well with BKB.

Tips and Tricks

Viscous Nasal Goo is an essential ability not only to slow down enemies, but also to enable the fullness of Warpath, as its cooldown is shorter than Quill Spray. On the other hand, Quill Spray is very useful when farming, allowing you to land the final blow on enemy units without exposing yourself too much.

Be careful when entering combat and use Bristle's passive well, as it is one of this hero's greatest weapons. Stay defensive when attacked and attack when the enemy flees, always being careful to activate Quill Spray on nearby enemies, especially the more fragile ones.

Bristleback is nothing without his items. Enemy heroes will always have ways to escape, so using your build well with tools to disable and disarm opponents is a fundamental part of this hero's strategy.


Bristleback is one of the best and most played Offlaners in Dota 2, a lot of it due to his simple and interactive gameplay. I believe that with the content presented in this article you will be more than prepared to start playing matches with him, and don't forget to keep your back facing the right way!

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