I am really tired of losing to BristleBack every time. This hero is really very tank and if he survives long enough in a gank, he call kill every one alone. Even when i spectate a few international games, i always see BristleBack surviving most of the time. Is there a way to kill him easily? I am sure some items and heroes should be able to handle him easily.

  • Use Legion Commander's ult to force him to fight you face to face (no passive quills), Necrophos to keep a constant HP drain on him, big disable ults like Enigma's blackhole or Doom's doom. Other tanky heroes like Axe or Timbersaw can be useful to fight him directly.
    – turbo
    Feb 29, 2016 at 20:18

2 Answers 2


By no means is this an exhaustive list, but here are a few suggestions:

  • Anyone with pure damage has an edge. Bristle tends to build his defences to maximise his damage reduction, but pure damage ignores these. He'll still get reduction from turning his back but it can still be a lot of damage going through. OD, Silencer, Timbersaw and Pudge are good examples; Enchantress tends to be a bit too squishy since Quill Spray ignores Untouchable.
  • Draining his mana can hurt him a lot in the mid-game, as he won't be able to keep Quill Spray and Warpath up for speed and damage. OD steals int in a fight and drains mana with his ult and Silencer steals int permanently (both from far enough away to avoid trouble), while KotL drains mana and limits his mobility. Lengthy silences can also help accomplish this.
  • Lowering Bristle's strength causes him to lose health without the "damage" being reduced. Timbersaw can do this with Whirling Death, and Slark can do it repeatedly on hit (although Slark will need to be doing well already to withstand Quill Spray).
  • Doing damage that scales with the target's HP also ignores a lot of his tankiness. Necrophos' ult can kill Bristle from 1/4-1/2 health, depending on his facing (and often Bristle faces forward until he gets lower), saving half the effort of killing him. Doom's Infernal Blade can lead a fight well to lower Bristle's HP. AA's Ice Blast prevents his healing, but more importantly reduces the kill threshold to a percentage of his health.
  • Holding him in place or forcing him to change direction allows your team to get in front of him and deal with him. Axe and Legion Commander can force him to face them for a little (and Culling Blade doesn't care about damage reduction). Pudge or Bane both have relatively long disables that force him to stand still, allowing the team to deal damage from the front.
  • Break disables Bristleback, negating his damage reduction. Anyone who builds Silver Edge can do this (e.g. Legion), or Doom/Shadow Demon can if they have Aghanim's.
  • To a lesser degree, stuns, slows and turn rate slows (such as Sticky Napalm) prevent Bristle from using his mobility (mostly from Warpath) to manoeuvre around a fight, allowing a team to position around him without him being able to turn his back easily.
  • In a similar vein, being mobile lets you get in front of Bristle even if he tries to turn away. Timbersaw is good at this.
  • Finally, armour reduction or damage amplification such as Medallion of Courage or Shadow Demon's Soul Catcher are helpful (if not a direct counter), helping to maximise any damage that does go through, despite reductions.

You may have noticed a few heroes show up multiple times and have multiple features that help against Bristleback, such as Silencer and OD. Indeed, according to Dotabuff's stats, Bristleback currently has the worst win rate against the following heroes:

  • Necrophos
  • KotL
  • OD
  • Silencer
  • AA
  • Legion Commander
  • Timbersaw
  • Dazzle

As an extra note, always buy a magic wand against Bristleback. His rapid casting provides lots of charges that can really swing a lane or a fight against him.

  • I think Skywrath mage deserves honorable mention in the pure damage section. He can outrange quills, it's spammable with high enough mana pool and he can use it from level 1.
    – Zikato
    Mar 1, 2016 at 15:08
  • @Zikato Skywrath can build into a high damage nuker but his slow and silence don't have the spamminess of his Q, and while it does scale with int it doesn't do pure, so Bristle will get a pipe/BKB and it won't matter so much. Plus it's telegraphed and Skywrath lacks a stun, so it's easy for Bristle to turn his back before each blast lands.
    – Samthere
    Mar 1, 2016 at 17:16
  • also you should have a magic wand for bristleback. Mar 2, 2016 at 6:25
  • @RishabhSharma Do you mean that Bristleback typically builds a magic wand? This makes someone like Skywrath less effective as the accumulating charges are worth that much extra HP due to damage reduction, and the mana lets him keep casting. Or were you highlighting my final point about building a wand against Bristle? (or at least a magic stick)
    – Samthere
    Mar 2, 2016 at 9:23
  • 1
    @Samthere Sorry. it was my mistake for not being clear...anyways nice answer... Mar 2, 2016 at 14:45

You can make monkey king bar for BristleBack . Bashes are good against BristleBack .

Try items like: Monkey king bar or skull basher.
Try heroes like: Faceless void or Troll Warlord.

Basically go for bashes/stuns.

  • This answer is very difficult to understand as written; Stack Exchange is a medium for expert answers - they need to be clear and understandable. New members are welcome, but please review the tour.
    – T.J.L.
    Mar 1, 2016 at 15:04

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