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Bristleback icon.png
Strength attribute symbol.png
Agility attribute symbol.png
Intelligence attribute symbol.png
22 + 2.9
17 + 1.8
14 + 2.8
Level 0 1 15 25 30
Health 200 640 1440 2020 2320
Health regen 0 2.2 6.26 9.16 10.61
Mana 75 243 711 1047 1215
Mana regen 0 0.7 2.66 4.06 4.76
Armor 1 3.83 8.03 11.03 12.53
Att/sec 0.56 0.65 0.79 0.89 0.94
Damage 30‒36 52‒58 92‒98 121‒127 136‒142
Magic resistance 25%
▶️ Movement speed 290
▶️ Attack speed 100
Turn rate 1
Vision range 1800/800
Attack range 150
Projectile speed Instant
Attack animation 0.3+0.3
Base attack time 1.8
Damage block 8
Collision size 24
Gib type Goo

Rigwarl, the Bristleback, is a melee strength hero famous for his array of synergistic, simplistic, and yet effective spells with low mana costs and cooldowns. Though each cast of his spells has relatively weak potency on its own, their instances have a cumulative effect, making the Bristleback quite deadly the longer he stays alive in a fight; this is directly reflected in his ultimate, Warpath, which powers up his movement and attack damage based on the number of spells he recently cast. He is able to increasingly slow his enemies down and reduce their armor with Viscous Nasal Goo and hit them with a barrage of Quill Sprays, making him an effective chaser when ganking enemies. His low strength gain makes him seem less tanky than most strength heroes at first glance, but his signature Bristleback passive substantially reduces all damage he takes from the sides and especially the rear, making him very difficult to bring down if he's facing away from his enemies. 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.


Bristleback minimap icon.pngRigwarl, the Bristleback
▶️ "It was a barkeep that got me into this mess. Yeah, I think I'll pay em a visit when this is done."
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
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. 825)
Max Stacks: 4 (Talent 9)
Base Armor Reduction: 2
Armor Reduction per Stack: 1.4/1.9/2.4/2.9
Base Move Speed Slow: 20%
Move Speed Slow per Stack: 3%/6%/9%/12%
Hero Duration: 5
Creep Duration: 10
Cooldown: 1.5
Mana: 12/16/20/24
Aghanim's upgrade: 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 modifier_bristleback_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.
  • 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 armor and movement speed Viscous Nasal Goo reduces with certain amount of stacks on each level:
    • Level 1: 3.4/4.8/6.2/7.6 (Talent /9/10.4/11.8/13.2/14.6) armor & 23%/26%/29%/32% (Talent /35%/38%/41%/44%/47%) movement
    • Level 2: 3.9/5.8/7.7/9.6 (Talent /11.5/13.4/15.3/17.2/19.1) armor & 26%/32%/38%/44% (Talent /50%/56%/62%/68%/74%) movement
    • Level 3: 4.4/6.8/9.2/11.6 (Talent /14/16.4/18.8/21.2/23.6) armor & 29%/38%/47%/56% (Talent /65%/74%/83%/92%/101%) movement
    • Level 4: 4.9/7.8/10.7/13.6 (Talent /16.5/19.4/22.3/25.2/28.1) armor & 32%/44%/56%/68% (Talent /80%/92%/104%/116%/128%) movement

Quill Spray
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: 700
Base Damage: 20/40/60/80
Stack Damage: 30/32/34/36 (Talent 50/52/54/56)
Damage Cap: 550
Stack Duration: 14
Cooldown: 3
Mana: 35
Buff modifier_bristleback_quillspray_thinker: Undispellable. Persists death.
Debuff modifier_bristleback_quill_spray: Dispellable with death only.
Debuff modifier_bristleback_quill_spray_stack: Dispellable with death only.
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 0.29 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.
  • 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 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 (not considering cooldown reductions).
  • 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)

Bristleback's angles visualised

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.
Rear Angle: 70°
Side Angle: 110°
Rear 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.
Buff modifier_bristleback_bristleback: Undispellable. Persists death.
Turning his back to a fight might be just the thing.


  • A visual effect and sound play whenever his back receives damage if Bristleback has learned Quill Sprays. Taking damage from the sides shows no 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%/32%/47%/67%.
    • When taking side damage, Bristleback's effective health increases by 9%/14%/19%/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, 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.
    • Does not count damage which has the HP removal or the no-reflection flag.
    • Passive quills do not proc when Quill Spray is not learnt.
    • Passive Quill Spray procs do not cost mana, have no cooldown and are independent from the active Quill Spray's cooldown.
    • In Ability Draft, Quill Spray must be drafted as well for them to passively proc.

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: 22/28/34 (Talent 46/52/58)
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 modifier_bristleback_warpath: Undispellable. Persists death.
Buff modifier_bristleback_warpath_stack: Dispellable with death only.
'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.
  • 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.


Hero Talents
+24 Warpath Damage Per Stack2513% Spell Lifesteal
+20 Quill Stack Damage20+20 Health Regen
+5 Max Goo Stacks15+200 Health
+2.5 Mana Regen10+15 Movement Speed
  • The health talent increases maximum health capacity, and keeps the current health percentage.
  • The spell lifesteal talent stacks additively with other sources of spell lifesteal.
  • The spell lifesteal talent heals for 2.6% from non-hero units. Treats creep-heroes as creeps and does not heal off of illusions.

Recent Changes[edit]

  • Increased base attack damage from 25-35 to 30-36.
  • Talents:
    • Level 10 left talent: +3 mana regen reduced to +2.5.
    • Level 10 right talent: +20 movement speed reduced to +15.
    • Level 15 left talent: +6 Viscous Nasal Goo max stacks reduced to +5.
    • Level 15 right talent: +250 health reduced to +200.
    • Level 20 left talent: +25 Quill Spray damage per stack reduced to +20.
    • Level 20 right talent: +25 health regen reduced to +20.
    • Level 25 left talent: +30 Warpath attack damage per stack reduced to +24.
    • Level 25 right talent: 15% spell lifesteal reduced to 13%.

Recommended items[edit]

Starting items:

  • Tango icon.png Tango keeps Bristleback healthy in lane.
  • Enchanted Mango icon.png Enchanted Mango gives passive health regeneration and burst mana when needed.

Early game:

  • Boots of Speed icon.png Boots of Speed gives valuable movement speed.
  • Ring of Health icon.png Ring of Health helps to sustain in the lane and builds into both Vanguard icon.png Vanguard and Hood of Defiance icon.png Hood of Defiance.
  • Soul Ring icon.png Soul Ring provides you with virtually unlimited mana and synergizes well with Ring of Health icon.png Ring of Health.
  • Magic Wand icon.png Magic Wand keeps Bristleback in the fight, giving him a chance to potentially use up charges twice for very large amounts of healing, and every two charges will grant him enough mana for an extra Quill Spray or Viscous Nasal Goo.

Mid game:

  • Phase Boots icon.png Phase Boots gives armor and further assists in Bristleback's ability to chase.
  • Vanguard icon.png Vanguard is one of a few strong early to mid-game pickups on Bristleback. It is best against teams that have a large amount of physical damage. Note that the damage block is deducted from the full attack damage, before any damage reduction (such as from armor or the Bristleback ability) takes place. It builds into a Crimson Guard icon.png Crimson Guard.
  • Hood of Defiance icon.png Hood of Defiance, as opposed to Vanguard, is a much stronger choice when the enemies rather rely on magical damage. It upgrades into a Pipe of Insight icon.png Pipe of Insight.
  • Solar Crest icon.png Solar Crest provides survivability with armor and attributes. The mana regeneration also helps with casting spells.

Late game:

  • Lotus Orb icon.png Lotus Orb further bolsters defense with armor and health regeneration. Echo Shell can also dispel silences that plague Bristleback, while reflecting many targeted spells back to enemy casters. The mana and mana regeneration also help him to continuously cast Viscous Nasal Goo and Quill Spray.
  • 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 to their full potential, as he can tank significantly more, retreat to heal up and then repeat.

Situational items:

  • 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, status resistance, and strength increase can add a lot to Bristleback's survivability.
  • Crimson Guard icon.png Crimson Guard is built off of a 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, 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.
  • 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.
  • Octarine Core icon.png Octarine Core greatly increases Bristleback's survivability, and increases his damage output by lowering Quill Spray's cooldown time.
  • 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. 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. It also is a great pickup if there are other carries on your team which rely on physical attacks.


Roles: Carry Carry Durable Durable Initiator Initiator Nuker Nuker
Complexity: ★☆☆
Playstyle: The enforcer at a local pub, Rigwarl's never failed to collect a tab. That is, until he met one tough customer from the north. For the first time in his life, Rigwarl felt the need to train. His thorny back deters attack while peppering foes with constant Quill Sprays. From his nose he blows thick gobs of snot, slowing and covering opponents in Viscous Nasal Goo. With every volley and every sneeze, Rigwarl works himself into a fury, adding rage to each blow as he goes on the Warpath in search of a rematch.





  • 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 minimap icon.png Lycan's response (▶️ 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 minimap icon.png Skywrath Mage can be seen in Bristleback's splash artwork, seemingly still having a beta model/texture.



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