If you look through previous Dota 2 patches, you might notice that Riki was always pushed to the side. He had some good qualities, and was a hero who could support their team and become a carry when needed, but still not that great. Objectively better options always got in his way. Then 7.24 arrived, and now he is a completely viable option.
Not only that, but he can carry you and your entire team with ease.
Who should play Riki?
You can be at any skill level to play this hero. Whether you are playing your first game ever, or have been here since the alpha, it doesn’t matter. Riki has abilities that aren’t too hard to learn, and Dota 2′s meta makes it very easy for newcomers to get used to him as well. After that it’s just a matter of practice to perfect him.
The only thing you need to prepare for, is getting rid of your entire spine. Riki relies on stabbing people in the back, so if you feel bad about using these kinds of tactics, you probably shouldn’t play him. Unfortunately, many people despise not fighting others head on – even though it’s the easiest way to tilt them and thus, win the game, but I digress. If that’s the case with you, maybe try Ancient Apparition.
What items does Riki need?
- Diffusal Blade
Yeah, that’s literally the only core item for him. Seems weird enough, right? Well, I suggest you think about it as a huge advantage for a hero, because that’s what it is. It means versatility. Once you have your Diffusal Blade (which you should rush), you can build in a ton of different ways. We are going to go through more aggressive and defensive routes, because these will be your most common choices. Plus, level and neutral builds are pretty boring.
If you are ahead and want to keep the snowball rolling, you need two specific items. The first is Skull Basher, which gives you a little bit more damage and random stuns with your autoattack. The second is Monkey King Bar, which gives you some extra attack speed so that you can wreck people even harder. By the time they realize you’re behind them, you will have already dealt a ton of damage.
Blink Dagger is a good choice if you want to be able to target the backline easily. It gives you the ability to blink into the enemy team, target the carry or support, possibly even kill them, and retreat with your Tricks of Trade. This maneuver is pretty easy to pull off, and the reward for it is high: a ton of gold and a better chance at winning the teamfight – and by extension, the game.
On the other hand, if you fall back you need to act a little more defensive. Sange and Yasha are perfect for this, as they give you lifesteal. That way you can get out of sticky situations, even if you don’t have much of a chance of winning the fight itself. It can buy you a little more time to run away.
When to switch it up
You should watch out for Riki’s counters. There are a couple of heroes that I would like you to advise not to even play against, one such hero being Spectre. He is awful to lane against, because you will barely be able to go invisible and backstab him, as his Spectral Dagger will follow you all the time. But what if you don’t go into lane against him? You will only be delaying this awful drawback, as once a teamfight starts you will just get revealed anyway. Meepo and Viper are similarly difficult to play against.
Let’s say that the situation isn’t that bad. Maybe you have a harder match-up, but nothing impossible that takes away the biggest part of your kit. In that case, go into defensive mode, and stay in it. Ask for ganks, and get your team involved. If you don’t start the game off right, you will only be a hindrance to your team.
How to play as Riki
I said it already: you need to backstab people. It gives you extra damage, and if you use it right you can get a couple of free kills in the early game. Once that Diffusal Blade is in your bag, things will get even easier. Secure kills as often as possible, and just don’t forget to also farm. If you lose too much gold from the creeps, it won’t be worth the kills: remember that.
Once the early game is over, you become the most valuable member of your team. Riki heavily relies on his teammates in Dota 2, so make sure you’re on good terms with your team, and that you all can work together. Otherwise everything will fall apart – like it usually does when a team can’t cooperate – but this time it will be even worse for you.