Last night, me (naix) and my friend (Phantom Assassin) were against Bristleback on the bottom lane. We tried to take him down multiple times, but every single time we ended up with either me or PA dead while Bristleback walked away with less than 20-30 hp.

I know that Bristleback has reduced damage taken on his back or on the side, so I have been trying to outrun him and right click him from the front. That put me in a lot of danger since it allows him to stack a lot of Quill Spray. It just seems like there's no chance for naix nor PA to take down Bristleback without some form of help from the other guys.

So what is the best way to counter Bristleback ? Which hero or item or strategy is an effective measure against him?

  • 3
    You don't. Rigwarl is just too manly to allow to be countered. He is the one who decides when to win and when to lose.
    – Duralumin
    Commented Jan 17, 2014 at 11:44

7 Answers 7


BristleBack is vulnerable to a lot of things :

  • In early game he is fairly easy to gank and burst down with magic damage. He has no escape mechanism and the skill birstleback is at low level. Someone like Gyro can take him down solo (if Gyro is easylane vs bristle hardlane). If Bristle is the ennemy safe farmer, let it be, he won't be able to carry as hard as PA, Gyro, Phantom Lancer etc.
  • BristleBack is not a good farmer, his killing potential come from his skills and stacking charges of his ultimate. Burn his mana and he won't be able to do anything (Diffusale Blade, Lion or KotL are usually pretty effective)
  • BrislteBack has no disable whatsoever (and rarely tend to farm one), carry a TP scroll on yourself and prevent any further gank.
  • Basically don't try to chase him, let him leave even with low HP. BristleBack's player rely on taking damage to trigger the passive and stack quills spray faster : no chase > no quill spray > no useless death.
  • If BristleBack is picked, dont pick a melee carry that will have an horrible time versus him in the laning stage. If Bristleback is counterpicked to your carry, concider trilaning with 2 strong support (Crystal Maiden, Venomancer, Keeper Of The Light) in order to harass him out of the lane or get a good healer (Dazzle can save you with shallow grave and negate the quill spray damage with shadow wave).
  • A good melee counterpick however is Legion Commander as Duel force Bristle to face LC, (Same goes with Axe)
  • Watch your Quill Spray debuff if laning against him (as you would take care versus Batrider's Sticky Napalm) and let the debuff goes when there are to much stacked.
  • At last : buy a magic stick as soon as possible, you'll get a lot of charges and it can save your life !

And for the love of god if you have Rikimaru, repick him immediately as you can consider your game lost versus a good Bristle.

To finish : Having 2 melees carries (Phantom Assassin + Nai'x) that both rely on farm to be effective in the same lane is generally a bad idea. You'd better get a support or put Nai'x in the jungle.

  • 2
    In addition, buy Magic Stick as early as possible if you have him in lane. Silence is also pretty effective against Bristleback (Silencer, Death Prophet, Orchid, etc.)
    – Drake
    Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 13:45
  • @Drake I'll mention the magic stick, however a good bristle dont care that much about silences since it doesnt stop his passive. Just turn your back while silenced and its generally not a big issue
    – WizLiz
    Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 14:05
  • "shallow wave"? That sounds like an odd mash-up between two of Dazzle's spells; "Shallow Grave" and "Shadow Wave". Which were you referring to?
    – Ajedi32
    Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 3:07
  • @Ajedi32 I often mix up the name of those spells :D
    – WizLiz
    Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 7:25
  • I agree that your first mistake was picking two carries -- and melee ones at that! -- to go together in the safe lane. You'd be better served by swapping out one for a hard support. Lion would be a good choice. Commented May 24, 2015 at 11:43

As of 6.84:

Bristleback is all about his passives.

That's why Silver edge is a direct counter to him.

Makes you invisible until the duration ends, or until you attack or cast a spell. While invisible, you move 20% faster and can move through units. Attacking to end the invisibility will deal 225 bonus damage to the target, disable their passive abilities, and reduce their damage output.


in early game, magic stick is strongly recommended against bb. pick a range hero such as viper to harass bb or hard to kill melee hero such as timbersaw. doom is really a good pick to disable bb in teamfight if you ult on him().


You should not have tried to take him down, i'm talking pretty much every heroe your up against. That is what most peoples problem is, take high risk/low reward early game. If you deny him creeps he won't get gold and less exp. While you can last hit there creeps and farm more gold then a single kill on BB in two waves. So basically denying and farming yourself is low risk/high reward. Just focus on last hitting, you out farm your opponent and have an easy mid game.


Pugna can be considered a good counter to Bristleback since he (Bristleback) requires his low cooldown, spammable spells to deal damage, which Pugna's nether ward can punish him for.


Try Dark Seer. Put Ion Shield on your creeps. Free XP/gold and lots of harass.


Razor is pretty good against Bristleback. Just static link him (and maybe use on your ult) and you'll wreck him.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .