Bristleback was one of the most contested heroes of PGL Arlington Major, being picked 23 times and banned 67 times. This strength-based hero has always been hard to deal with, but in the current meta, he’s nearly impossible to stop if played correctly.
One of the great things about Bristle is that you don’t need to be a great player to win with him. There are only two buttons that you must press and other than that, buying the right items will win you the match if your team is even remotely decent.
The strengths of Bristleback
This hero becomes strong after just a few levels. His early game stats are amazing and his survivability is greatly improved by his passive ability. On top of that, nobody wants to chase him. When he’s running away from you, the damage you deal to him is greatly reduced by his E. On top of that, Quill Spray deals a lot of damage.
At level three, this ability deals around 100 damage on the first hit, and then it deals increasingly more damage every three seconds. If you need to follow Bristleback for more than six seconds, the odds of getting killed before you manage to kill him are very high.
Another excellent ability of Bristleback is his Q, which can be cast every 1.75s and the combination of armor reduction and slow cripples any foe.
After level six, Bristleback becomes extremely powerful thanks to the passive provided by his ultimate. As long as you have enough mana to cast your two active abilities repeatedly, you can give yourself hundreds of bonus damage and an 18-50% movement speed bonus.
This can quickly turn you into one of the most hard-hitting heroes in the game. Even a Templar Assassin, whose Refraction provides +85 damage, is nothing compared to a Bristleback full of Warpath stacks.
Items to Buy
Bristleback is a melee hero, so he greatly benefits from Phase Boots. His Aghanim’s Scepter is very strong, so it should be one of the first items you buy. Vanguard and Eternal Shroud are also good items to become tankier. In professional matches, players often buy a Black King Bar. But that’s not necessarily optimal in pub games.
The thing that works best in pubs is stats combined with resistances that further increase your effective HP. If you’re playing against magic damage heroes, buy the Eternal Shroud. If physical damage is what they rely on to kill you, but armor and a Vanguard.
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