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Rikimaru, the stealth assasin

A straightforward guide to playing rikimaru

Born as the heir to the satyr dominion, Rikimaru was trained by the mightiest warriors of his race. However, the power of the Burning Legion managed to corrupt many of his kind, leaving them as mindless beasts in the forest. Vowing revenge against the Scourge, he sharpened his skills for battle. Using his small size to his advantage, he can render himself invisible, enabling him to stab his enemies in the back. He can also use thick smoke as a cover, to silence his enemies and become nearly untouchable.

str 17+2.0
Agi 24+2.9
Int 14+1.3


Blink Strike

Teleports to a unit and strikes it if it is a foe, dealing bonus damage.
This is your all-purpose skill.It can be used for chasing, escaping and initiating ganks. Very potent in combination with backstab.


The Stealth Assassin is not afraid to fight dirty, and specializes in attacking his opponents from behind.
One of the best passives in the game, backstab greatly increases rikimaru's damage output.As blink strike is oriented to position you behind the target,you always get to backstab when you blink.

Smoke Screen

Throws a smoke bomb down in the area, silencing opponents and causing them to miss on most of their attacks. Also slows by 25% at all levels.
A very important skill for riki and his teammates, can be used to initiate a gank along with blink, or to save yourself or a teammate from a nuke.

Permanent Invisibility

Rikimaru becomes permanently invisible when not attacking.
Rikimaru's signature skill. This skill makes riki one of the most annoying, dangerous and potent heroes.Most people dont realize they are being attacked till they lose half their hp.

Note: In order to correctly analyse,interpret and use this guide well, one must have a basic understanding of how dota works and reasonable proficiency, which advanced players like to call "A little bit of game sense".This guide is relevant even now, never mind the 6.59d replay.

alright!! so you want to play rikimaru? sure. This hero is one of the easiest o master, but in the wrong hands is an absolute disaster for your team.

When to play rikimaru:
1.when you feel the weight of carrying the game is upon you
2.when there are weak, gank oriented heroes in the opponent team
3.when you feel your team has too many noobs to trust.(this is arguable)

when not to play rikimaru:-

1.when you feel that a skilled opponent with a slardar or a gondar can take you out
2.If you hav never played it before!! (please save your team the liability)

OK, now let me start by explaining the play styles that work well with rikimaru.

1.The mid solo strategy:- this style of playing is very devastating in the right hands. it is particularly effective when facing typical gank heroes like mirana,krobelus shadow fiend.etc If you can pull this off you might just get first blood!(Ive got a lot of comments on this one, describing how ridiculous and laughable it is, but ill just say this: it works for me, if you feel u cant pull it off, dont do it and blame this guide)
what you have to do is play aggressively against these heroes. if you try to farm against krobelus or an sf, they will tear you down in a matter of seconds. Instead, take the fight to them. when you get 2 levels of blink and 1 level of smoke along with back stab,just blink+smoke+hit for heroes like krobelus and mirana or even sf for that matter,you will easily reduce them to half of their hp (which is not much anyway)if you can get a few hits more, you will probably go on to get a first blood, which does wonders for you. Focus on getting your power treads first,with a couple of wraith bands. Don't waste cash stacking a lot of wraith bands as it slows down your core invent.

please note:- If all you want to do is farm, DO NOT PLAY RIKIMARU
riki is not supposed to farm, he is a ganker. keep killing, and the cash will come.
after you have your treads, roam around and pick off the weak heroes(lion, invoker,luna etc.) set up kills with allies to be on the safer side. riki is capable of taking solo kills, but never go for it unless you are completely assured of getting the kill.

in a lane, rikimaru has potential to harass, but is also liable to being focused and harassed himself. so if you're in a lane, it is good to have a babysitter like dazzle with you. dazzle's offensive capabilities synergise nicely with rikimaru's abilities. The poison n heal are superb early game. Likewise, if you have a stunner or an other kind of disabler with you, it works pretty well. even while laning, focus on getting power treads first, as they enormously increase your killing potential. But remember that you cannot afford to be as aggressive as u should be in mid, while in lane. it'll just get you killed quicker.

Now lets talk about ganking and killing.

1.Initiating a gank:- Rikimaru is a pretty good hero for initiating ganks. All you have to do is time and position your smokescreen properly. if you are not very good at blinking in, smoking and stabbing, walk up behind the targeted hero, stab him once and place the smokescreen behind him(the direction he's most likely to run in)and if all goes well, the fleeing hero will show you his back for a considerably long time, giving you a lot of back stab hits. if you have a diffusal blade by then, then you're almost completely assured of a kill. Always remember to take out the easiest kill first. Big-Time disablers are usually the easiest to kill(except tauren chieftain. DO NOT attempt to kill him all by yourself).

2.Scouting enemy neutrals:-
this is very,very important to playing a good game with rikimaru. In almost all scenarios, the opponent team's carry hero will attempt to quietly farm in the forest.Your purpose is to stop that.Your innate invisibility completely bypasses warding by opponents(im talking about observer wards of course) hence, you can effectively set up ganks, and if possible finish off a weak hero all by yourself. Smoke well though. That is the key to being successful while playing rikimaru.Although this guide gives you the basics of playing rikimaru, it takes a great deal of practice to thoroughly master a hero. Good luck.

Skill Build:-
Level Ability
1 back stab
2 blink strike
3 blink strike/smokescreen
4 back stab
5 blink strike/smokescreen
6 permanent Invisibility
7 back stab
8 blink strike
9 back stab
10 blink strike
11 Permanent Invisibility
12 smokescreen
13 smokescreen
14 smokescreen
15 stats
16 Permanent Invisibility
17-25 stats

Item Build:-

1.Starting items:-

A decent +3 to all stats, and 3 more to agility.Good enough to have as a starting item.

Regeneration purposes.I prefer these to salves,though you can stock up a salve if u wish.

cheap stat bonus.Disposable.

Core Items:-

These are everything you need early game to gank.

your best friend.Its one heck of a chasing tool, it removes negative buffs and significantly adds to your backstab damage.
Upgrade it when you run out of charges.
Late game luxuries:-

probably best suited for rikimaru.Agility, damage and evasion. Priceless!

Why? Is'nt it obvious? what better than to get bashed in backstab and get stuck in the smoke. cancels channeling spells. Very nice. But mostly, if you're doing it right, the game is not going to last long enough for you to obtain a basher. still, if you're high on cash, go for it. Good investment.

Items to avoid:-

Please, please dont . This is a complete waste.Usually a team mate makes it, and you dont really need it.The whole point of playing rikimaru is his backstab.You have to give priority to maxing that first.

Not required. At all. Like all agility carries, rikimaru has less health, agreed, but that is no reason to make this item. Rikimaru's armor growth is one of the best i've seen on melee heroes. That coupled with your invisibility should be enough to survive.

Images DO NOT backstab,so this is wasted on rikimaru.And its not all that cheap either.

This is good, but not all that great.I would still stick to a diffusal blade.
with the correct item build, you can tear apart heroes like vengeful spirit, stom spirit and other intel heroes, and even the tanks and carries, because, if you've done a good job, they wouldnt hav farmed anything major

I myself used to make this, but i have realized diffusal blade is a lot better, because by this item is really expensive and if you attempt to make this, and somehow you cant complete it soon enough, your stuck with items that dont really add to your killing potential.
Best Allies

She traps them right where u want them, she can save your ass by putting them to sleep.Excellent dps too.

His degen aura,coupled with his massive heal/nuke make him a valuable asset to you.

she slows, she silences and she shoots like a cannon on steroids.What else could you want?

One of the best gankers in all of dota.Need i say more?

Feared opponents

Your worst nightmare.Armor reduction that also reveals you, a 25% chance to bash,Massive movement speed gain and a 2.5 second stun.This guy is fully loaded.

Possible counters
:- If you have a diffusal blade, you can purge yourself to remove amplify damage.

This guy is one pain in the ass.Like slardar, his ultimate reveals you and reduces your armor, but unlike him, gondar can see you, but you can't see him.He also has a very powerful nuke early game.

Possible counters:-agin, purge removes track, so u can also put an end to his movement speed bonus,and when you think you can take him out but are not being able to due to his stealth, i say buy a gem.Play carefully after that though.Rikimaru is one of the best carriers for a gem.

Items that can put an end to your spree:-
This is common sense. I only included this section to benefit new players.

every invis hero's nightmare.There is little you can do if the opponents decide to buy this item.1100 aoe true sight.Just run. Try and focus the carrier of this item first.Then destroy it. Keep it only if there are invis geroes in the other team.

This is easier to handle.Once you know where the wards are, you can avoid getting into fights in those areas or counter-ward.If you have a gem this shouldn't be a problem.If you keep walking into warded areas again and again, you're plain stupid.

Ive included this as well after some comments,this is more painful than wards, as its somewhat like track.Try to blink onto an ally.

Replays:- Both these replays are my own, in case u find another one similar to my play style, just let me know.I know these replays are not at a very competetive level, nevertheless, they put my point across.I am trying to find a replay that matches my playstyle, i will upload it as soon as i can.

I am not saying this is the only way to play rikimaru, i am just giving you the benefit of my personal experience. Whatever is in this guide has been thoroughly tested, time and again. Feel free to point out any shortcomings. This is my First attempt at a guide.(which does not mean i am a noob)I hope this helps. Thank you for patiently reading it. Special thanks to all the guys at, the site rocks. keep up the good work!

Yours faithfully,

Rikimaru the Stealth Assassin
Map Vers.: 6.59d

Rikimaru - Smokin hot!!

A straightforward guide to rikimaru

Date Posted: 07/30/09
Last Comment:06/01/2012
Total Votes: 189
Current Rating: 7.19
Views: 252193

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