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Radiant Hero
Bristleback Large.png
Strength Icon Main.png
22 +2.2
Agility Icon.png
17 +1.8
Intelligence Icon.png
14 +2.8
Base Stats
Sight Range:
1800 / 800
Attack Range:
Missile Speed:
Attack Duration:
0.3 + 0.3
Cast Duration:
0.4 + 0.51
Base Attack Time:
Magic Resistance:
Turn Rate:
Level Changes
Hit Points:
Spell Amp:
Most played as

Bristleback icon.png Rigwarl, the Bristleback[edit]

Recommended Roles
Carry.png Carry Durable.png Durable Initiator.png Initiator Nuker.png Nuker

Never one to turn his back on a fight, Rigwarl was known for battling the biggest, meanest scrappers he could get his hands on. Christened Bristleback by the drunken crowds, he waded into backroom brawls in every road tavern between Slom and Elze, until his exploits finally caught the eye of a barkeep in need of an enforcer. For a bit of brew, Bristleback was hired to collect tabs, keep the peace, and break the occasional leg or two (or five, in the case of one unfortunate web-hund).

After indulging in a night of merriment during which bodily harm was meted out in equal parts upon both delinquent patrons and his own liver, Bristleback finally met his match. "Your tusks offend me, sir," he was heard to drunkenly slur to one particularly large fellow from the northern wastes whose bill had come due. What followed was a fight for the ages. A dozen fighters jumped in. No stool was left unbroken, and in the end, the impossible happened: the tab went unpaid. Over the weeks that followed, Bristleback's wounds healed, and his quills grew back; but an enforcer's honor can be a prickly thing. He paid the tab from his own coin, vowing to track down this northerner and extract redemption. And then he did something he'd never done before—he actually trained, and in so doing made a startling discovery about himself. A smile peeled back from his teeth as he flexed his quills. Turning his back to a fight might be just the thing.


Viscous Nasal Goo
Bristleback viscous nasal goo.png
Targeting Type
Unit Target
Enemy Units
Covers a target in snot, causing it to have reduced armor and movement speed. Casts on the same target stack and refresh the duration.
Upgradeable by Aghanim's Scepter. Affects all units within range.

Mana Cost dota2.png 25
Cooldown Clock.png 1.5
Base Movement Slow20%
Move Slow Per Stack3% / 6% / 9% / 12%
Armor Loss Per Stack1 / 1.4 / 1.8 / 2.2
Maximum Stacks4
8 (Level 15 talent)
Cast Range600
Cast Point0.3
Scepter Radius
Scepter Targeting
 Affected By: Blocked by Spell Immunity Blocked by Linken's Sphere and echoed by Lotus Orb Can be dispelled
Having caught a cold while stuck in the snow, Bristleback turns it to his advantage.
  • Max movespeed slow: 32% / 44% / 56% / 68%.
  • Max movespeed slow: 136%. (Level 15 talent)
  • Max armor reduction: 4 / 5.6 / 7.2 / 8.8.
  • Max armor reduction: 17.6. (Level 15 talent)
  • The goo projectile travels at 1000 speed.
  • Blocked by Spell Immunity and Linken's Sphere.
  • Can be dispelled.
Quill Spray
Bristleback quill spray.png
Targeting Type
No Target
Enemy Units
Damage Type
Sprays enemy units with quills dealing damage in an area around Bristleback. Deals extra damage for every time an enemy was recently struck by a quill. Casts on the same target stack and refresh the duration.
Mana Cost dota2.png 35
Cooldown Clock.png 3
Base Damage20 / 40 / 60 / 80
Damage Per Stack30 / 32 / 34 / 36
61 (Level 25 talent)
Damage Cap550
Stack Duration14
Cast Point0
An enforcer's honor can be a prickly thing. So can his quills.
  • Quill Spray deals damage radiating out from Bristleback at 2400 speed over 0.3 seconds.
  • Cannot be dispelled.
Bristleback bristleback.png
Targeting Type
Rigwarl covers his back in spines, causing him to take reduced damage when hit from the rear or sides. Automatically releases a bonus Quill Spray of the current level each time his rear receives a damage amount up to the threshold.
Reduced Damage (Rear)16% / 24% / 32% / 40%
Reduced Damage (Side)8% / 12% / 16% / 20%
Rear Angle70°
Side Angle110°
Damage Threshold210
 Affected By:  Disabled by Break Illusions gain part of this ability
Turning his back to a fight might be just the thing.
  • Does not reduce HP Cost or Tower damage.
  • Bristleback's rear is considered to be within 70° angle from the back.
  • Bristleback's side is considered to be within 110° angle from the back.
  • For a visual of Bristleback passive reduction areas, see here.
  • The bonus Quill Spray does not cost mana and does not have a cooldown.
  • Illusions gain the damage reduction part of this ability, not the Quill Spray bonus.
  • Disabled by Break.
Bristleback warpath.png
Targeting Type
Every time Rigwarl casts a spell, he works himself into a fury. Movement speed and attack damage increase per stack. Repeated casts stack and each stack has an independent duration.
Movespeed Per Stack3% / 4% / 5%
Damage Per Stack18 / 24 / 30
Maximum Stacks5 / 7 / 9
Stack Duration14
 Affected By:  Disabled by Break Illusions gain this ability
'Temper, temper,' his mum always chided. But in a fight, a temper can come in handy.
  • Maximum movement speed bonus: 15% / 28% / 45%.
  • Maximum attack damage bonus: 100 / 175 / 270.
  • Using items will not earn Warpath stacks.
  • Bristleback visually grows slightly larger per stack.
  • The bonus Quill Spray triggers from Bristleback's passive does not earn a Warpath stack.
  • Illusions benefit from the original's casts and will receive the movement speed bonus.
  • Disabled by Break.

Talent Tree[edit]

Talent Tree
+25 Quill Stack Damage 25 +30 Health Regen
+10% Spell Lifesteal 20 +50 Attack Speed
+4 Max Goo Stacks 15 +225 Health
+2 Mana Regen 10 +8 Strength

Recommended Items[edit]

Standard Build
Starting Items Early Game Mid Game Late Game
Tango Enchanted Mango Ring of Protection Ring of Health Boots of Speed Ring of Basilius Magic Wand Power Treads Vanguard Crimson Guard Pipe of Insight Shivas Guard
Stout Shield NoItem.png NoItem.png Magic Stick NoItem.png NoItem.png NoItem.png NoItem.png NoItem.png NoItem.png NoItem.png NoItem.png

General Strategy[edit]

When it comes to a fight, Bristleback really puts his back into it. Reducing all damage arriving from the rear or from the sides, he wades into battle with barely a care, spraying enemies with damaging quills and slowing snot.


Although his spells seem very weak at first glance, Rigwarl is not to be underestimated. Quill Spray, Viscous Nasal Goo, and Warpath all provide relatively small effects when used only once, but each ability stacks when cast multiple times. Enemies of the Bristleback will soon find themselves covered in goo and shredded by constant quill fire if they aren't careful. Quill Spray deals increasing damage with each cast on the same target, and due to its low cooldown and mana cost it can be very deadly over time. When Rigwarl sees that his enemies are sufficiently weakened, he can move in for the kill with Viscous Nasal Goo. This ability slows the target and reduces their armor, increasing the damage of Quill Spray and Bristleback's physical attack and making it impossible to escape. Furthermore, casting spells puts Bristleback on the Warpath, which increases his movement and attack speeds as he uses his abilities. Bristleback's signature skill, and where he gets his name, is his near invulnerability to attacks that strike his back. All attacks and spells that come from behind him will be heavily reduced and cause additional Quill Sprays.

Skill Build[edit]

Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Spell Bristleback quill spray.png Bristleback bristleback.png Bristleback quill spray.png Bristleback viscous nasal goo.png Bristleback quill spray.png Bristleback warpath.png Bristleback quill spray.png Bristleback bristleback.png Bristleback bristleback.png Talents.png
Level 11 12 13 14 15 16 18 20 25
Spell Bristleback bristleback.png Bristleback warpath.png Bristleback viscous nasal goo.png Bristleback viscous nasal goo.png Talents.png Bristleback viscous nasal goo.png Bristleback warpath.png Talents.png Talents.png

Early Game[edit]

Mid Game[edit]

Late Game[edit]

Version History[edit]

Balance Patch History
Patch Version Balance Changes[1]
  • Nerf Base damage reduced by 4
  • Nerf Strength gain reduced from 2.5 to 2.2
  • Nerf Warpath damage bonus from 20/25/30 to 18/24/30
  • Rework Replaced Respawn Talent: +10% Spell Lifesteal (Level 20)
  • Buff Quill Spray AoE increased from 650 to 700
  • Buff Level 15 Talent increased from +200 Health to +225
  • Buff Level 25 Talent increased from +25 Health Regen to +30
  • Buff Level 25 Talent increased from +20 Quill Stack Damage to +25
  • Buff Quill Spray AoE increased from 625 to 650
  • Buff Level 10 Talent increased from +7 Strength to +8
  • Buff Level 20 Talent increased from +45 Attack Speed to +50
  • Buff Level 20 Talent increased from -35s Respawn Time to -40s
  • Buff Quill Spray Max damage from 450 to 550
  • Buff Viscous Nasal Goo Scepter range from 700 to 750
  • Rework Level 15 Talent from +20 Movement Speed to +4 Max Goo Stacks
  • Buff Level 20 Talent from -30s Respawn Time to -35s
  • Rework Level 25 Talent from +4 Max Goo Stacks to +20 Quill Stack Damage
  • Buff Warpath Max Stacks rescaled from 5/6/7 to 5/7/9
  • Nerf Quill Spray now deals damage as it quickly expands outwards
  • New Added Talent Tree
  • Buff Bristleback damage threshold reduced from 230 to 210
  • Buff Scepter Goo range increased from 600 to 700
  • Buff Added Scepter to Bristleback
  • Buff Viscous Nasal Goo mana cost reduced from 30 to 25
  • Buff Quill Spray max damage increased from 400 to 450
  • Buff Bristleback passive Quill Spray damage threshold reduced from 250 to 230
  • Nerf Bristleback Base Attack Time increased from 1.7 to 1.8
  • Nerf Bristleback movement speed reduced from 295 to 290
  • Buff Viscous Nasal Goo armor reduction rescaled from 1/1/2/2 per stack to 1/1.4/1.8/2.2
  • Buff Quill Spray stack damage increased from 30 to 30/32/34/36
  • Rework Warpath no longer has unique values for the first movement speed stack
  • Buff Warpath movement speed stack bonus increased from 1/2/3% to 3/4/5%
  • Nerf Base damage reduced by 4
  • Buff Attack point improved from 0.4 to 0.3
  • Nerf Viscous Nasal Goo is now dispellable
  • Buff Viscous Nasal Goo cast point improved from 0.4 to 0.3
  • Buff Warpath max stacks increased from 5 to 5/6/7
  • Buff Warpath stack duration increased from 10 to 14
  • Buff Quill Spray hit memory increased from 10 to 14 seconds
  • Nerf Quill Spray damage cap increased from 220 to 400
  • Buff Warpath damage per stack increased from 10/15/20 to 20/25/30
  • Buff Warpath base damage increased from 10/20/30 to 20/25/30
  • Rework Fixed how Quill Spray damage threshold works
  • Nerf Quill Spray damage cap increased from 180 to 220
  • Buff Turn Rate Increased (makes him turn faster)
  • Buff Attack point reduced
  • Buff Cast point decreased from 0.5 to 0.4
  • Buff Quill Spray is no longer blocked by Vanguard, Stout Shield, etc.
  • Buff Warpath damage per stack increased from 4/8/12 to 10/15/20
  • Buff Side damage prevention from 5/10/15/20 to 8/12/16/20
  • Buff Back damage prevention from 10/20/30/40 to 16/24/32/40
  • Buff Warpath maximum stacks increased from 4 to 5
  • Buff Warpath's attack speed increase changed to bonus damage (10/20/30 base with 4/8/12 bonus per stack)
  • Buff Improved Base Intelligence growth by 0.6
  • Buff Improved side angles on Bristleback (90➜110)
  • Buff Returned the Bristleback passive Quill Spray release cap back (300➜250)
  • Buff Quill Spray manacost no longer goes up per level
  • Nerf Lowered side angles on Bristleback
  • Nerf Increased AutoQuills release requirement on Bristleback from 200 to 300
  • Nerf Reduced Bristleback's strength growth from 2.7 to 2.2
  • Nerf Slightly lowered Bristleback's base armor

Notable Players[edit]

Notable Players
MVP March.jpg
March (Korean player)

See also[edit]

External links[edit]