Image by Boonta
Batrider is currently one of those peculiar heroes, who are doing exceptionally well at higher MMRs, but are heavily misunderstood and misused in lower ratings. We will attempt to change that and give a brief explanation of why and how this hero is currently so good.
The historical way to play Batrdier was to jump in with a Blink Dagger, Lasso a target, get out with the target using Force Staff, gang up on them while they are isolated and start a fight in a 5v4 situation. This is still an option, but it is very far from being the most popular or the most successful one.
The way most high level players play the hero is by being a magic damage dealing core first and foremost, with their catch potential being secondary. They are playing a very aggressive type of Dota, making sure to always keep on stacking Sticky Napalm, while preparing to follow up with a repositioning Flamebreak into Firefly.
This kind of approach demands a different item build, one that does not prioritize having instant initiation, but rather the one that allows for long fights to always be in Batrider’s favor.
While Batrider can be technically played in multiple positions, he is finding the most success mid, so we are going to concentrate on this role specifically. After getting Bottle and Magic Stick, most Batrider players go for Boots of Travel into Black King Bar.
This is not a new trend and it was the way Batrider has been played for at least the last year. But it is the one that is still being somewhat ignored by players in average games.
By having these two items, Batrider ensures Movement Speed superiority compared to most heroes in the game, especially with a couple of Sticky Napalm stacks applied. Batrider is also somewhat tanky with a respectable 2.9 Strength per level, though he does lack in the Armor department.
His latter item progression does not try to make up for it, though, with most players opting for traditional Blink Dagger next. It is usually followed up by an Aether Lens into Octarine core build up. The extra Cast Range is more or less non-negotiable, as it dramatically increases the chance of successful Lasso casts on a priority target.
Octarine Core, on the other hand, can be delayed with a Force Staff purchase: this item is historically good on Batrider for obvious reasons, but it is also a good way to break Linken’s Sphere once they start coming out.
The skill build on the hero is very straightforward and has very little room for deviation. Prioritize Sticky Napalm, get an early value level of Flamebreak for the laning stage, max out Firefly next, take Lasso when available.
Most players also completely skip the level ten talent until later into the game, generally opting for the Sticky Napalm radius one when they run out of skills to level up. Later progression involves getting all the Flamebreak talent at level twenty and twenty five.
Surprisingly, most high level players opt for the -10 Flaming Lasso cooldown at level fifteen and while it might be justified in the professional matches, there is little to no reason to go for it in average pubs. The Movement Speed bonus works all the time, and it makes a pretty drastic difference in the vast majority of matchups.
It is also much better in terms of stats, being both more popular and more successful, so we strongly advise going for it when available.
Batrider is a 85%+ contest rate hero in the professional scene with a respectable 55%+ win rate in most regions. At the same time he remains one of the most misunderstood heroes in the game right now, who is being consistently played in an outdated fashion.
We hope that our post will help people rediscover the hero. Batrider is at ~53.5% win rate in Divine+ pubs this week, but is below 45% in all other brackets. As we all know, Dota is primarily balanced around high level play, so the nerfs or reworks are probably coming some time soon.