Content of the article: "Guide: Making the most out of out Meta Heroes, Bristleback edition"
Well, my boy BB is currently out of meta (46% winrate in higher brackets), but given that I still have a 56% winrate on him (4.3K mmr), I maybe doing some things less wrong then others.
So, here we go:
First, it is important to understand why he is out of meta. His main issue right now is being weak against a number of popular safelaners. Jug and AM laugh at him while Void,Drow and TB have the advantadge. He is quite ok against Sven and Medusa, but the carries against whom he excels (Lycan for example) are currently even more out of meta then he is.
Second, current meta supports like Jakiro, WD, Phoenix are all reasonably against him.
Third, a couple of patches ago BB could simply creepskip in a bad lane matchup, this has becomes much harder due to changes in creep aggro.
Fourth, he offers neither a stun, nor any form of initiation, this has historically been his weakness in general, but is currently excerbated by him being bad against meta carries.
Fifth, if your pos 4 is a pudge you are typically more fucked then the average offlaner would be.
Sixth, BB could historically be played as pos 1 2 or 3, while I think pos 2 Bristle is pretty valid, pos 1 Bristle simply doesnt compare well to most current meta carries. Essentially, BB lost a good part of his draft flexibility. I do play him on the safelane on occassion, but typically in 5 stacks as a solo safelaner with a strong trilane, which typically features Luna, Venge + 1 other ranged hero with an AOE stun/nuke as an incredibly annoying aggressive offlane. BB safelane in a 1on1 is quite advantadged against most offlaners that arent timbersaw, however, this working is more due to triple ranged Luna/Venge +1 trilanes being obnoxious and not due to Bristle being good, and Luna would still be the hard carry in this situation.
Well, in my opinion, the following things make life easier.
1: Adjusting for his laning weakness. Draftwise, there are 2 ways to go about that. Ideally you have a pos 4 that lanes strongly and synergistically with Bristle. This generally means something ranges, with a stun and/or slow and relevant rightclicks. Vengefull, Jakiro, Lina, snapfire or pos 4 windranger are all pretty good with him. Venge and Snapfire get bonus points for having their own sources of armor reduction. Venge gets even more bonus points for being quite good at stacking.
The Second way is stacked ancients that are not contested by your midlaner. I strongly suggest to not pick Bristleback if your mid indicates that he wants to pick Alchemist, Dusa, or another ancient farming mid.
2: Adjusting for his lane weakness in a lane is best done by creating chaos and uncommon situations. Against a strong kill lane such as f.e Jug Ogre, you want to do as much creepwave manipulation as possible. Heck, often the good play is to pull their wave into their pull camp and farm both. Bristle is pretty reasonable in chaotic setups, like for example when both waves intermingle with a creepwave. You do not want to lane against f.e. Jugg in a conventional manner.
3: Several items are criminally underbought on him. These are:
A) Glimmer Cape. This items is actually pretty good. Bristle benefits from the attack speed, it is cheap, it allows a form of save, the magic resistance from both the passive and the active is quite meaningfull and it often saves someones rearend, including yours, because it is not what people expect on a Bristle. It is also just 1.9K Gold. In a teamfight, it essentially prolongs the engagements and this is great for BB.
B) Euls scepter: This is the cheapest self purge in the game for just 2.725 gold (over 1K cheaper then Lotus). It gives gives very welcome boosts to mana regeneration and movement speed, a form of intiation (Euls someone and walk up to him) , offers a semi save from break (Euls yourself to wait out most of the common break skill or silver edge duration) and can cancel TPs as well as channeled spells. It is also a livesafer against Ursa and outright hilarious against monkey king.
C) Orchid: Orchid has been so much reduced in costs that it has become a reasonable pickup on BB. Personally, I treat it like Halberd but against spellcasters/Illusive targets. It is 400 cheaper then halberd, gives pretty good offensive stats, greatly reduces mana problems and scales well into the lategame (Bloodthorn is the same but better, and BB really likes attack speed). Halberd is of course also great against Weaver/WR etc. but often the winnign things is to kill them rather then to disarm them for 5 seconds. It also has more utility against many supports then halberd does. There is no reason not to get both though.
D) Casual vodoo mask. If you have the slot, the spell lifesteal is pretty good for 900 gold. Also, the spell lifesteal from vodoo mask stacks with octarine.
E) Octarine Core. Essentially, people underestimate by how much his damage contribution inreases from cooldown reduction. The 25% cooldown reduction from octarine raises his Quill damage by roughly 40% if you do not take the level 20 quill spray talent, and by roughly 90% compared to the baseline if you do. There is a misconception that octarine is strictly defensive, it actually isnt on BB. Furthermore, Bristleback tends to build items with actives, Reducing the cooldowns of Halberd, Lotus, Euls, Orchid, Blademail, Solar Crest, Shivas etc. is potent. Havoc hammer on an octarine core Bristle becomes better then most tier 5 items other the falling sky.
You should not be buying these items every game, but you should consider them in quite a number of games.
5: Blademail is the opposite and is overbought on him. He doesnt need to farm efficiency increase, and in most cases a BB with blademail on just gets ignored. It is good in niche situations where the enemy team has multiple sources of uncontrollable damage from non BKB cores, in particular when you have multiple heroes who can go blademail, but it is far from a "pick it up every game" item.
4: People seem to undervalue several neutral items on him. The most notable examples being repair kit (Repair kit, Halberd and the level 20 life reg talent amount to roughly 80ish to 95ish hp reg per second, depending on other items) and Havoc hammer. Spell prism amplifies his damage nearly as much as Octaine does, but is typically strongly contested by literally every other hero on your team. If you have spell prism and Octarine however, you can nearly match a hypotheticl level 3 phyiscal pulse nova with terms of quill damage. The cool thing is that this essentially turns you into the priority target for the enemy, and this is a good place to be in as Bristle. If they try to ignore you in this situation, you will probably tear them apart. Vampire mask is valued appropriatly highly on BB, but another underappreciated item is clumsy net. Decent stats, very welcome mana regen and a tp cancel are a good combination.
6: People pick the spell lifesteal talent at level 25. Dont Do that. This talent A) lies because you only lifeleech 2.5% from creeps, and is thus basically a vodoo mask in a level 25 talent slot. Meanwhile, the rightclick talent is essentially +96 damage if you have an average of 4 warpath stacks, and up to +216 damage if you have the full 9. This is like, 2 or so relics of worth.
7: People are overaggressive in lane. Partly, this seems to stem from a misunderstanding of how quill spray actually works. One needs to keep in mind that the maximum number of stacks one can have on an enemy that does not hit you in the back, and if you have no source of internal (Octa) or external (Kotl) cooldown reduction is 5. Stacks decay individually, they do not work like Batrider napalm.
A degree of posturing is fine. Pretending to be aggressive against a lane that is actually stronger then you is a good idea, assuming the enemy buys your bluff.
8: People run around in teamfights without rightclicking something. Bristle does pretty significant rightclicks, and becomes much less ignorable (one of your frequent lose conditions) if you utilize those.
9: People not quilling/gooing random creeps while moving across the map mid to lategame. 4 warpath stacks are quite maintainable and give a healthy 20% movespeed bonus. This considerably increases farm and movement efficiency.
- Bristleback feeling stronker now?
- Whats wrong with Bristle, and maybe how to adjust to it.
- GUIDE/6K Pos 1 Glimmercape Bristleback
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