Over the past few months there has been a growing trend where teams are picking up Bounty Hunter as a lane support. There has always been a niche of players that pick him up as support but it wasn’t until recently that some of the bigger teams have drafted him. In this post I’m going to be reviewing the Roaming-Support role for Bounty Hunter, going over the strengths, weaknesses, and potential play style. I’m not going to tell you which level to pick which ability, or exactly when to buy certain items, but rather try to help you understand why you might want to give him a shot next time you are on support duty.
It’s important to understand why Bounty Hunter makes a good support before we even talk about his skills. If you look at his skills it seems more like he would be best suited for a roaming ganker, and in some lineups that can work, but I think as a damage dealer Bounty is too easily countered, and gets shut down. Both Riki and Bounty Hunter can move around the map without worrying as much about being ganked since a team has to lay down sentry wards to track their movements, and if they do invest the time and gold trying to track you down they are just spending time harassing a support, while your damage dealers can farm lanes and collect some gold. Bounty moves around the map laying down wards and if he comes across an enemy he can just shadow walk away. Popping into a lane unexpectedly can disjoint an enemy and the burst of damage you offer might be enough to allow your allies to finish them off, or at least enough to force a retreat while your carry farms up a little more and you move back to another lane. But it’s the ability to track his enemies and provide extra gold to his team that will really be the greatest benefit in the late game.
You can’t buy this kind of power!
- Shuriken Toss- Bounty throws a shuriken at an enemy, dealing heavy damage and mini-stunning the target. The Shuriken will bounce between any targets that are being tracked in a 1200 unit radius of the target last hit. With his low Mana pool this ability should only be cast when you know you’re going to get a kill or you need to interrupt, but at 375 damage at max level don’t underestimate just how much health this can knock off an enemy. The mini-stun is also incredibly useful since it can stop a channeled spell or stop an enemy in their tracks! Don’t be afraid to use this skill, but don’t expect to be throwing shurikens like Genji, the cooldown is over two minutes! The major benefit is that in late game fights you should be tracking every single enemy in range, then throwing one of these out into a team fight can completely turn a fight for a team. Knowing when to use this ability is one of the harder points to the hero, and it takes getting used to.
- Jinada– A passive ability that grants a critical strike and maim to a target hit when this ability comes off cooldown. At first glance you might think to yourself “this is totally a ganking carry ability!” and you are right, but if you approach it from a support mind-set this ability makes more sense as a way to help your lane carry get a kill or push an enemy out of lane. If you are moving around and warding you might be able to find a pick off sometimes, but the massive burst of damage this ability provides along with the movement and attack speed slows are very useful at ganking a fight then letting your Carry get the kill. I like to tell my lane carry to try to bait them, and when the enemy gets too close I move in, then the carry has a wounded foe to jump on and get some extra gold and xp!
- Shadow Walk– The ability to move around the battlefield without being seen gives Bounty Hunter’s team a massive information advantage. Wards can be placed deeper than with a traditional support, since getting in and out without attracting attention is easy, and even if you just follow an enemy around you can prevent ganks and give your team a leg up.
- Track- The reason for drafting Bounty Hunter as a support is Track. With a 4 second cool down and a very reasonable cost you should be tracking EVERY.SINGLE.ENEMY especially during team fights. It gives you and your team bonus gold, provides a movement speed buff to allies near the enemy, and best of all reveals the enemy on the map along with how much gold they are carrying. At level six Bounty Hunter can dismantle an enemy team’s strategy and during team fights he can wreak havoc.
The biggest problem with Bounty Hunter as a carry is that his damage in late game can really fall off without lots of items, and while he provides considerable burst damage, in team fights he can’t consistently burn down enemies, and unlike Slark he has no mobility or AOE skills. So while you might be reading about him saying “BUT BURST” remember that early game pick offs don’t always translate to late game wins. A Greedy Bounty Hunter can deal plenty of damage, no doubt about that. But a Support Bounty hunter can give vision across the map, help gank lanes, and provide extra gold to his allies. It may not be as glamorous as you want, but he works really well. But why take if from me? Let’s watch the world’s number one ranked player try him out!
As a support Bounty Hunter can dismantle an enemy team. He can set up ganks, track enemies, and dance around dealing bursts of damage for his allies to follow up on. The extr gold he gets can be thrown at some great support and mobility items and then in late game just help keep track of everyone and watch your well fed carry steamroll a path into the enemy base. Bounty Hunter Support is absolutely a great strategy.