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Unkillable Bristleback Dominates at TI12

Phyre Kimble

Rigwarl the Bristleback has emerged as a dominant force in the current meta at The International 2023. With his incredible tankiness and ability to dive into fights without fear, Bristleback is proving to be a star hero in this tournament. Learn how to abuse his timings, understand why he excels in this meta, and discover the perfect items to make your Bristleback unkillable.

Why Bristleback is Thriving at TI12

Bristleback’s ability to secure objectives makes him invaluable in the offlane. His Vicious Nasal Goo not only reduces armor on enemy heroes but also proves highly effective against important targets like Roshan and Tormentors. Additionally, Bristleback is one of the few heroes capable of safely soloing the Tormentor due to the interaction between armor reduction and negative armor buildup on the neutral creep.

Furthermore, Bristleback’s counters have taken a backseat in this meta. Breaks, which disable his passive ability, are rare among heroes. While some heroes like Shadow Demon and Primal Beast have seen play, others such as Viper, Phantom Assassin, and Hoodwink have struggled at the tournament.

Moreover, the current meta favors tanky frontliners, and Bristleback fits the bill perfectly. With his ability to prolong fights, reflect damage through his passive, and become seemingly unkillable with the right items, he thrives in this environment.

The offlane is an ideal position for Bristleback as he excels at cutting creep waves and dragging them into jungle camps for additional farm. This allows your support to stack the triangle, and stacking ancient camps is crucial for Bristleback to reach his desired item timings.

Bristleback’s Item Build: Emphasizing Spellcasting

Rigwarl’s preferred item build is straightforward. Start with Arcane Boots and Vanguard, choosing Arcane Boots if you’re dominating the lane and need extra mana for spells, or Vanguard if you require sustain to stay in the lane.

The next crucial item in your build is Aghanim’s Scepter. This item was reworked in patch 7.34 and took some time for pros to realize its potential. With Aghanim’s, Bristleback can quickly unleash six quills, which can be combined with his own Quill Spray and Hairball spells to stack up to eight quill stacks on an enemy. Bristleback’s low cooldown allows him to spam this combo effortlessly, even against solo heroes.

Following Aghanim’s, the next item to aim for is Bloodstone. This item provides Bristleback with infinite sustain, and a bonus is that you can disassemble Arcane Boots and Vanguard to retrieve Energy and Vitality Boosters for extra efficiency. Bloodstone truly unlocks the hero’s spell-spamming potential.

After these core items, the build becomes more flexible. Consider dispel items like Lotus Orb to counter potent single-target disables that hinder your movement in teamfights. Black King Bar is another defensive option. If you prefer a more offensive approach, Boots of Travel provide mobility and the ability to join fights whenever necessary, while items like Sange and Kaya increase spell damage.

It’s important to note that Bristleback’s new emphasis on spell lifesteal opens up an alternative skill build. While maxing Quill Spray is still crucial, it’s recommended to leave Bristleback’s passive ability at level one. This is because Quill Sprays trigger based on a damage threshold, which takes into account damage reduction, including Bristleback’s passive. By not maxing the passive, you can take more damage, trigger more Quill Sprays, and enhance your survivability. The stacking damage from Quill Spray can make a significant difference in fights.

For more detailed information on this alternative skill build, check out Gustavo “Bowie” Mattos’ video.


Bristleback has become a force to be reckoned with at The International 2023. His ability to secure objectives, lack of counters, and suitability to the tanky frontliner meta have propelled him to the forefront of the tournament. By following the recommended item build and understanding the alternative skill build, you can harness Bristleback’s unkillable potential and dominate your games.



About Christopher Brown

Christopher Brown

We have a wide selection of motorcycles, ranging from beginner-friendly models to high-performance machines, and we also offer a variety of accessories and gear to enhance your riding experience. Whether you are a new rider or an experienced one, we have everything you need to take your motorcycle journey to the next level.





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