Strygwyr, the Bloodseeker, is an agility hero that is commonly played as either a ganking mid laner or a hard carry. Bloodseeker is a rather unique hero, due to his ability to break the movement speed cap and see injured heroes anywhere on the map. These aspects make him great at running down weakened targets, or helping his team retain vision on heroes that try to escape.
He is notorious among pub players and Dota 2 newbies alike. For those with a less than satisfactory amount of hero and general game knowledge, his kit can be confusing as all hell, especially when he applies his ultimate ability Rupture. Once cast, the target will take massive damage if they move, thus restricting their movement almost entirely. This pairs well with his W ability Blood Rite, which creates a large circle of blood in an area that hurts and silences enemy units. Bloodseeker can then proceed to run at the target with the damage buff from his Bloodrage, as well as the bonus damage from his passive ability Thirst.
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While all of this does sound overpowered on paper, Bloodseeker is definitely not without his weaknesses. Rupture is easily countered with Town Portal Scrolls, and heroes with “saving” mechanics such as Dazzle can protect targets long enough for backup to arrive. Bloodseeker also isn’t the best at flash farming, even with Blood Rite on hand. And finally, he is pretty much a niche pick, which means that not all hero compositions will be able to make the most of his kit.
Despite his shortcomings, though, Bloodseeker does have very good matchups against certain heroes. Anti-Mage, for instance, gets shredded by Rupture if he dares to Blink out to safety. Other heroes that rely on mobility skills such as Queen of Pain and Magnus also kneel to Bloodseeker’s might. While few and far between, there are times when choosing the Flayed One is the best course of action.
Bloodseeker Skill Build
Bloodseeker’s ability progression is relatively simple. Get Bloodrage with your first skill point, in order to give yourself that sweet bonus damage for last hitting creeps in the laning phase. Then, you should invest two points into Thirst, then one value point in Blood Rite once you hit Level 4. Take Rupture at Level 6, then gank one of the sidelanes if you’re playing mid. Ask your supports politely to help you secure a kill if you’re playing elsewhere.
Thirst is maxed out first, as its scaling absolutely amazing. From a base value of 7 percent bonus movement speed, it goes up to a whopping 40 percent—which is usually more than enough to chase heroes down in the early game. The bonus damage is a nice touch too, allowing you to further punish teams that let you and your buddies get their health down.
Blood Rite is given the second priority, since it serves as a great AoE nuke and a mass silence. When combined with other abilities that keep targets in place, it can be pretty devastating as a follow-up skill. Remember that Blood Rite deals Pure-type damage, meaning it can’t be reduced by passive magic resistance—so you might be surprised just how much it actually does. Bloodrage is the last priority, as its scaling is multiplicative instead of additive. This makes it more effective in the late game than in any other phase.
Our recommended skill build, therefore, is as follows:
- Blood Rite
- Blood Rite
- Blood Rite
- Level 10 Talent: +6 Armor
- Blood Rite
- Level 15 Talent: +275 Health
- Level 20 Talent: +18% Rupture Damage
- Level 25 Talent: +18 Max Thirst MS
Bloodseeker Item Build
Generally speaking, there are two common paths to building Bloodseeker’s inventory: Radiance, and standard hard carry. The Radiance build leverages the item’s passive burn ability, thus forcing Rupture targets to move or get run over with Bloodrage bonus damage. Farming it, however, is quite the difficult task unless you and your team get off to a good start in the laning phase. Once Radiance is complete, the next core items will be Sange and Yasha for the movement speed and extra health, followed by Black King Bar so you can shrug off disables while running around at supersonic speeds.
The standard hard carry route eschews Radiance for more conventional carry items. This build seeks to hit the Sange and Yasha timing window as early as possible, in order to fuel a powerful aggressive mid game strategy. Blade Mail is also purchased to discourage enemy heroes from fighting back—making it function kind of like a Radiance in that sense. This route is best taken when there is a pressing need to end the game before the opposing cores obtain their core items—though without a backup carry of your own this typically spells doom if you are unable to close the game out.
As for luxury items, the choices are the same regardless of which path you choose. Linken’s Sphere provides even more protection alongside BKB, and so does Manta Style against opposing silence effects. The latter has the added benefit of having Yasha as a component, making it easy for you to disassemble your Sange and Yasha in the late game. Basher into Abyssal Blade is also a fine choice, particularly against teams that die to hard lockdown. Butterfly provides you with a sizable boost in DPS, and the evasion is always useful against teams with no natural Monkey King Bar carrier.
Countering Bloodseeker without necessarily picking heroes that do well against him is actually fairly simple: always carry a TP Scroll. Since he doesn’t have a built-in stun or disable, he is powerless to stop you from escaping after casting Rupture—unless, of course, you’re already so low on health that you’re going to die anyway. Or if he has one of his teammates with him.
Other than that, though, Linken’s Sphere is a great pickup against him, as it completely blocks Rupture from ever happening. Be mindful, however, that he can cast Bloodrage on you to remove the buff before casting Rupture—though he does need to get within range to do this. Otherwise, you might want to draft heroes that have single-target protection abilities, such as Abaddon or Omniknight.
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