How to Counter Bristleback [Dota 2 Item and Hero Counters]

Bristleback can be a pain to play against. Especially for newer players. This guide will help you learn how to counter Bristleback. We’ll go over both heroes and items that will counter bristle and how you should adjust your playstyle against him.

Good Heroes Against Bristleback


Viper is probably the hardest counter to Bristleback. Viper’s Nethertoxin will disable bristles passives when he is standing in the area of the toxin. This means he can’t rely on his passive called Brisleback for staying tanky and he won’t get more attack damage from Warpath. Viper’s poison attack and nephrotoxin will also help counter Bristleback since the slow will make it harder for Brisleback to chase squishy heroes in the team fights.


Hoodwink is a great hero when playing against Bristleback. Hoodwink’s ultimate Sharpshooter will do tons of damage, slow, and break Bristleback’s passive abilities. Scurry and Bushwalk are also great for kiting Bristleback.


Silencer is a versatile hero that can be both played as a support and core. When you’re trying to counter Bristleback it’s best played as a core but even a support Silencer can destroy a Bristleback’s game. Arcane curse is an excellent ability to have since Bristleback likes to spam his quill spray and viscous nasal goo. The duration of arcane curse will increase by 3 seconds each time the affected hero cast an ability. Global silence and last word are also awesome in a Bristleback game since they will silence so bristle can’t spam quill spray and vicious nasal goo.

Other heroes to consider

Any hero that removes bristles mana is great. Lion has mana drain, Anti mage has mana break and Nyx Assasign has Mana burn. Slark is also a great carry against bristle. When Slark hits Bristle he gains agility which means the tankiness of Bristleback will cause Slark to gain more damage.

Consider heroes that have abilities that force Bristleback to face them such as Axe’s berserker’s call or when Legion commander uses duel. Last but not least consider picking Doom. Dooms ultimate will render Bristleback useless for the fight and if you upgrade it with Aghanim’s scepter it will break all passives.

Best Items for Countering Bristleback

Magic Stick / Magic Wand

When laning against Bristle make sure to get a magic stick and then upgrade it to a magic wand. Each time bristle use his ability you’ll get a stick charge of 15 mana and hp.

Silvers Edge

If you don’t have any hero in your team that can remove bristle passives get a silver edge. When you attack out of silvers edge you’ll do 175 bonus damage and it disables all of the enemies passives for 4 seconds.

Spirit Vessel

To counter high hp regen, get a spirit vessel. The vessel reduces HP regeneration by 45% and damage 4% of the enemy hero’s health per second. Since Bristleback tends to buy Vanguard and Heart of Tarrasque the percentage-based HP removal will do tons of work.

Other items to consider

Items that can be used to kite Bristleback are great. Consider getting a Eul’s Scepter, force staff, or a gimmer cape. A Diffusal blade will remove Bristles mana and Shiva’s guard, Aeon disk and Ghost scepter will increase your survivability.

Playstyle for countering Bristleback

Let’s start with the basics. When fighting Bristleback make sure to hit him from the front so you don’t have to fight into the level 4 40% damage reduction. Have a look at how many quill stacks you have. This is especially important in the early game and in prolonged fights. When you have 4 stacks it might be time to back off.

Bristleback is weak in the first 2 levels with the standard quill spray to passive build, so make sure to harass before he gets stronger in the lane. It could be a good idea to teleport out when you got a few stacks and there are no nearby stuns. If you notice that bristle is stacking the triangle and ancients, try to contest it since he can easily farm those stacks.

In the mid game and late game a good strategy is often to simply kite and ignore Bristleback and focus on the other enemy heroes. Consider the best items for countering Bristleback above and itemize correctly and you should handle most team fights. When you do that you are sure to gain MMR in Dota 2.


Bristleback can be a dangerous foe. When his stacking up quill spray and has insane regen it’s often a challenging job to win the team fights if you don’t know what to do against him.

I hope this guide has helped you find some counters and playstyle tips to win your next game when facing a Bristleback.

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