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Strength primary attribute symbol.png
22 + 2.2
Agility attribute symbol.png
17 + 1.8
Intelligence attribute symbol.png
14 + 2.8
Level Base 1 15 25
Health 200 640 1240 1680
H. Regen 0.25 0.91 1.83 2.49
Mana 50 218 686 1022
M. Regen 0.01 0.57 2.14 3.26
Damage 26‒36 48‒58 78‒88 100‒110
Armor 1 3.43 7.03 9.6
Spell Dmg 0% 0.88% 3.33% 5.08%
Att / Sec 0.55 0.64 0.78 0.88
Movement Speed 290
Turn Rate 1.0
Vision Range 1800/800
Attack Range 150
Projectile Speed Instant
Attack Animation 0.3+0.3
Base Attack Time 1.8
Magic resistance 25%
Collision Size 24
Legs 2

Rigwarl the Bristleback is a melee strength hero famous for his array of synergistic spells with low mana cost and cooldown. He is able to slow his enemies down and reduce their armor with Viscous Nasal Goo, then hit them with a barrage of Quill Sprays, making him an effective chaser when ganking enemies. His low strength gain makes him less tanky than most strength heroes, but he becomes substantially more durable when he turns around due to his passive Bristleback, which reduces damage taken from behind. In the right hands, Bristleback is a powerful ganker in the early stages of the game, and a powerful hard carry in the later stages depending on how much farm he gets.

Bio[edit | edit source]

Bristleback Rigwarl, the Bristleback
Play "It was a barkeep that got me into this mess. Yeah, I think I'll pay em a visit when this is done."
Role: Carry Carry / Durable Durable / Initiator Initiator / Nuker Nuker
Lore: 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.

Voice: TJ Ramini (Responses)

Abilities[edit | edit source]

Viscous Nasal Goo
Partially blocked by Linken's Sphere. Does not pierce spell immunity. Play
Viscous Nasal Goo icon.png
Covers a target in snot, causing it to have reduced armor and movement speed. Multiple casts stack and refresh the duration.
Cast Animation: 0.3+0
Cast Range: 600 (Upgradable by Aghanim's Scepter. 0)
Radius: 0 (Upgradable by Aghanim's Scepter. 750)
Max Stacks: 4 (Talent 8)
Armor Reduction per Stack: 1/1.4/1.8/2.2
Base Move Speed Slow: 20%
Move Speed Slow per Stack: 3%/6%/9%/12%
Hero Duration: 5
Creep Duration: 10
Cooldown symbol.png 1.5
Mana symbol.png 25
Upgradable by Aghanim's Scepter. Viscous Nasal Goo becomes a no target area of effect ability, applying to all enemies within range.
Does not pierce spell immunity. Slow and armor reduction persist if debuff was placed before spell immunity and when not dispelled.
Partially blocked by Linken's Sphere. Blocked upon impact. Not blocked when upgraded.
Debuff Viscous Nasal Goo: Dispellable with any dispel.
Having caught a cold while stuck in the snow, Bristleback turns it to his advantage.


  • The goo travels at a speed of 1000 and can be disjointed.
  • Places one debuff on the enemy. This debuff gets stronger when it gets refreshed with successive casts.
    • A number on the icon shows how many times the debuff was refreshed, including the first cast.
  • This is how much movement speed and armor Viscous Nasal Goo reduces with certain amount of stacks on each level. [?]
    • Level 1: 23% / 26% / 29% / 32% / 35% / 38% / 41% / 44% speed and 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 armor.
    • Level 2: 26% / 32% / 38% / 44% / 50% / 56% / 62% / 68% speed and 1.4 / 2.8 / 4.2 / 5.6 / 7 / 8.4 / 9.8 / 11.2 armor.
    • Level 3: 29% / 38% / 47% / 56% / 65% / 74% / 83% / 92% speed and 1.8 / 3.6 / 5.4 / 7.2 / 9 / 10.8 / 12.6 / 14.4 armor.
    • Level 4: 32% / 44% / 56% / 68% / 80% / 92% / 104% / 116% speed and 2.2 / 4.4 / 6.6 / 8.8 / 11 / 13.2 / 15.4 / 17.6 armor.

Quill Spray
Pierces spell immunity. Play
Quill Spray icon.png
No Target
Sprays enemy units with quills dealing damage in an area of effect around Bristleback. Deals bonus damage for every time a unit was hit by Quill Spray in the last 14 seconds.
Cast Animation: 0+0
Radius: 650
Base Damage: 20/40/60/80
Stack Damage: 30/32/34/36 (Talent 50/52/54/56)
Damage Cap: 550
Stack Duration: 14
Cooldown symbol.png 3
Mana symbol.png 35
Debuff Quill Spray: Undispellable.
Debuff Quill Spray Stack: Undispellable.
An enforcer's honor can be a prickly thing. So can his quills.


  • Interrupts Bristleback's channeling spells upon cast.
  • The quills spread at a speed of 2400 and take 0.27 seconds to reach maximum range.
  • The quills do not form a ring. They affect every enemy within the expanding area of effect, so it cannot be avoided by blinking towards Bristleback.
  • The effect is centered at the cast location, it does not follow Bristleback.
  • Though it does not damage ethereal units, it still places the debuff and adds stacks to them.
  • Places one debuff on each hit enemy and a stack debuff on each cast on each hit enemy.
    • The first debuff shows the number of stack debuffs on the status icon. The stack debuffs are hidden.
    • The stacks' durations are independent from each other. Successive casts do not refresh previous stacks' durations.
    • With the current cooldown and stack duration, it can be stacked up to 5 times.
    • To reach the cap, additional procs from Bristleback ability icon.png Bristleback​ are required.
    • The cap is reached with 19/17/16/15 (Talent 12/11/11/10) stacks. So to reach it, 14/12/11/10 (Talent 7/6/6/5) passive casts are required.
  • Checks how many stacks units have first and deals damage based on that, and then increases the number of stacks.
    • This means the first hit only deals the base damage.
  • This is how much damage Quill Spray deals with a certain amount of stacks on each level (before reductions): [?]
    • Level 1: 20 / 50 / 80 / 110 / 140 / 170 / 200 / 230 / 260 / 290 / 320 / 350 / 380 / 410 / 440 / 470 / 500 / 530 / 550 (Talent 20 / 70 / 120 / 170 / 220 / 270 / 320 / 370 / 420 / 470 / 520 / 550)
    • Level 2: 40 / 72 / 104 / 136 / 168 / 200 / 232 / 264 / 296 / 328 / 360 / 392 / 424 / 456 / 488 / 520 / 550 (Talent 40 / 92 / 144 / 196 / 248 / 300 / 352 / 404 / 456 / 508 / 550)
    • Level 3: 60 / 94 / 128 / 162 / 196 / 230 / 264 / 298 / 332 / 366 / 400 / 434 / 468 / 502 / 536 / 550 (Talent 60 / 114 / 168 / 222 / 276 / 330 / 384 / 438 / 492 / 546 / 550)
    • Level 4: 80 / 116 / 152 / 188 / 224 / 260 / 296 / 332 / 368 / 404 / 440 / 476 / 512 / 548 / 550 (Talent 80 / 136 / 192 / 248 / 304 / 360 / 416 / 472 / 528 / 550)

Partially usable by illusions. Disabled by Break. Play
Bristleback ability icon.png
Bristleback takes less damage if hit on the sides or rear. If Bristleback takes 210 damage from the rear, he releases a Quill Spray of the current level.
Back Damage Reduction: 16%/24%/32%/40%
Side Damage Reduction: 8%/12%/16%/20%
Damage Threshold: 210
Partially usable by illusions. Illusions gain the damage reduction, but not the passive Quill Spray procs.
Turning his back to a fight might be just the thing.


  • Bristleback's rear is considered to be within 70 degrees from the back. His side is considered to be within 110 degrees from the back.
  • A visual effect and sound play whenever his back receives damage. Taking damage from the sides only plays the visual effect.
  • Bristleback takes less damage from all damage types except from damage flagged as HP Removal.
    • When taking rear damage, Bristleback's effective health increases by 19.05%/31.58%/47.06%/66.67%
    • When taking side damage, Bristleback's effective health increases by 8.70%/13.64%/19.05%/25%
  • Checks the damage source's current position and compares it to Bristleback's facing angle on each damage instance.
    • This means on e.g. damage over time effects, damage of an instance is only reduced when within the right angle.
    • Damage from e.g. Death Ward icon.png Death Ward​, Proximity Mines icon.png Proximity Mines​ is reduced when facing away from them, since they are their own source.
  • Passive Quill Sprays proc when Bristleback's back (not sides) collectively takes 210 damage (after all reductions)
    • The damage counter has no time limit. It only resets once a passive spray occurs.
    • Any exceeding damage is completely ignored, meaning that if an enemy deals an instance of e.g. 420 damage, the passive triggers only once.
  • Passive Quill Spray procs do not cost mana, have no cooldown and are independent from the active Quill Spray's cooldown.
  • When Quill Spray icon.png Quill Spray​ is not learnt, passive Quill Sprays still proc, but neither deal damage, nor place the debuff.
  • Does not work against towers, but does work against fountains and damage from allies.

Can be used by illusions. Disabled by Break.
Warpath icon.png
Bristleback works himself up into a fury every time he casts a spell, increasing his movement speed and damage.
Max Stacks: 5/7/9
Attack Damage Bonus per Stack: 20/25/30
Move Speed Bonus per Stack: 3%/4%/5%
Stack Duration: 14
Disabled by Break. Prevents gaining new stacks. Already existing stacks still provide bonus movement speed and attack damage.
Can be used by illusions. Whenever Bristleback gains a stack, all his illusions gain one as well. Illusions do not benefit from the raw damage bonuses.
Buff Warpath Stack: Undispellable.
'Temper, temper,' his mum always chided. But in a fight, a temper can come in handy.


  • Using items does not trigger Warpath.
  • Bristleback's size increases and more particles fly around him the more stacks he has.
  • Stacks up to 5/7/9 times, meaning it can give at most 15%/28%/45% movement speed and 100/175/270 attack damage.
  • Each stack has its own duration, successive spell casts do not refresh the duration of previous stacks.
    • Only the first cast's buff is visible in the HUD. This buff has a number on it, showing the current amount of stacks.

Talents[edit | edit source]

Hero Talents
+20 Quill Spray icon.png Quill Spray Stack Damage 25 +25 Health Regen
-40s Respawn Time 20 +50 Attack Speed
+200 Health 15 +4 Max Viscous Nasal Goo icon.png Goo Stacks
+2 Mana Regen 10 +8 Strength attribute symbol.png Strength
  • Health regen and mana regen are added as bonuses and do not benefit illusions.
  • Upgrading health increases maximum health capacity and keeps the current health percentage.
  • Respawn reductions cannot reduce respawn time below 1 second.

Recommended items[edit | edit source]


  • Stout Shield icon.png Stout Shield is a strong pickup, as it helps cut down on lane harass when Bristleback is at his least tanky state and builds into Vanguard icon.png Vanguard.




  • Blade Mail icon.png Blade Mail is a hybrid pickup of damage and defense. It is strong against teams with high amounts of burst damage, either causing the enemies to take the damage themselves as well, or forcing them to not use their burst damage, giving Bristleback some time to deal with them.
  • Heaven's Halberd icon.png Heaven's Halberd is a strong pickup if you're not the hardest carry on your team or the enemy team only has one physical damage dealer that it can be used on. The evasion as well as the strength increase can add a lot to Bristleback's effective health.
  • Assault Cuirass icon.png Assault Cuirass has amazing synergy with Bristleback, as it is one of the few items that can increase the damage of his Quill Spray icon.png Quill Spray​. It also increases his and his team's tankiness against physical damage, and the attack speed greatly increases his attack damage output thanks to Warpath icon.png Warpath​. It also is a great pickup if there are other carries on your team which rely on physical attacks.
  • Crimson Guard icon.png Crimson Guard is built off of a Vanguard icon.png Vanguard, which is also a good item on Bristleback, and is an item any team should have one of if up against a physical damage heavy lineup.
  • Pipe of Insight icon.png Pipe of Insight is built off of a Hood of Defiance icon.png Hood of Defiance, which is also a good item on Bristleback, and is an item any team should have one of if there are any dangerous nukers on the enemy team.
  • Shiva's Guard icon.png Shiva's Guard is another large armor item, and it fixes any mana issues Bristleback can have. The active ability also gives Bristleback more presence in teamfights, damaging and slowing enemies in a huge area.
  • Heart of Tarrasque icon.png Heart of Tarrasque grants a huge amount of health and gives you significant regeneration when not in a fight against heroes. It helps in siege situations, where you can soak up lots of damage and then wait a short time to be back at full health. The immense health boost allows Bristleback to use the passive Quill Spray icon.png Quill Spray​ to their full potential, as he can tank significantly more, retreat to heal up and then repeat.
  • Radiance (Active) icon.png Radiance is great on Bristleback if you can get it early in the game after a couple of items to tank up. This is basically a get-more-ahead item, as if you're hard to kill despite putting so much gold into an offensive item, it can be the best item to snowball the rest of the game by farming quickly and dealing massive area damage in teamfights. However, if you get this item at the cost of being tanky, this is a terrible item to pick up.

Gameplay[edit | edit source]

Audio[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

Equipment[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • In DotA, Bristleback's hero model was a quillboar, having a much more boar-like appearance. His loss of boar-like features in Dota 2 was likely made to distinguish him from the quillboar race in the Warcraft universe. [1] As well, his hero title shares the name of a large quillboar tribe in World of Warcraft. [2]
    • Beta information revealed that Bristleback's original name was supposedly to be "Bristlebog", probably to avoid conflict with the aforementioned Bristleback tribe in World of Warcraft.
    • According to an unused voice response, Bristleback was originally designed with tusks.[1]
    • According to Lycan's response (Play A boar is a wolf's natural prey), Bristleback was originally designed to be boar-like.
  • A silhouette of what appears to be Skywrath Mage icon.png Skywrath Mage​ can be seen in Bristleback's splash artwork, seemingly still having a beta model/texture.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Bristleback response: Play My tusks just got sharper.