Dota 2 Riki Guide – Builds, Abilities, Items and Strategy

Riki is a stealth based, agility melee hero who functions as an early game carry. Riki is one of the few stealth heroes who isn’t reliant on their ability to go invisible, to function.

The reasoning is because Riki’s basic abilities are so incredibly strong, that he doesn’t even need an ultimate ability, to contribute to any team composition.

Ironically, Riki’s ultimate is arguably one of the best stealth based abilities in the game. That just goes to show you how strong his basic abilities really are.

For more help on Dota 2, read our Crystal Maiden, Axe and Zeus Guide.

Riki Abilities

Smoke Screen

  • Target: Enemy Units
  • Effects: 40/50/60/70% miss chance, -25% IAS and MS, Silence
  • Range: 425
  • AoE: 250/275/300/325
  • Duration: 6 seconds
  • Cooldown: 13
  • Mana: 75/80/85/90

Smoke Screen gives Riki massive team fight utility rarely found on carries. Unfortunately, because of the heavy use of Force Staff in the current metagame, this ability has lost a lot of its potent effectiveness.

Blink Strike

  • Targets: Allied or Enemy Unit
  • Effects: Teleports behind the target, dealing 30/60/90/120 damage if they’re an enemy
  • Range: 700
  • Cooldown: 20/15/10/5
  • Mana: 50

Between the range, and the cooldown, Blink Strike gives Riki some outstanding mobility in combat.


  • Targets: Enemy Units
  • Effects: Deals .5/.75/1/1.25 of Riki’s agility as bonus damage on auto attacks, if behind the target

This passive is the defining abilities scaling is so ridiculous that it’s instantly potent with just Riki’s abnormally high base agility. By stacking up on cheap, cost efficient agility items, this passive will make you into an unbelievable monster early game. Abuse it.

Permanent Invisbility

  • Effects: 3/2.25/1.5 second fade time

While not attacking, Riki is invisible. This seemingly simplistic ability has many, many layers. If you dominate early game by ganking people that go off alone, then you will begin to build up paranoia among your enemies.

Eventually, your enemies will be too scared to venture anywhere without their entire team. This drastically limits their economic income.

If they decide to invest in invisibility detection, you’ve done even more damage to their economy. By slightly adjusting your play style, their new strategies will have little impact on your usefulness.

Riki Skill Builds

  1. Smoke Screen/Blink Strike/Backstab
  2. Smoke Screen/Blink Strike/Backstab
  3. Smoke Screen/Blink Strike/Backstab
  4. Backstab
  5. Backstab
  6. Permanent Invisibility
  7. Backstab (maxed)
  8. Blink Strike
  9. Blink Strike
  10. Blink Strike (maxed)
  11. Permanent Invisibility
  12. Smoke Screen
  13. Smoke Screen
  14. Smoke Screen (maxed)
  15. Stats
  16. Permanent Invisibility (maxed)

Depending on the situation, who you’re laned with and who you’re laned against, you’ll be changing the order in which you level your first three skills. By level three, you should have one point in each.

If you have a passive, or free lane, go with Backstab for easier last hitting. If you need to chase, or escape – Blink Strike is the way to go. Smoke Screen is generally the safer pick as it has a lot of offensive and defensive components to it.

Backstab forms the basis of this build. As such, we prioritize it in levels and itemization.

Recommended Items

Start: 2x Slippers of Agility, 2x Iron Branches, 2x Tangos

Early: Boots, 2-4x Wraith Bands

Core: Power Treads, Diffusal Blade

Situational:  Manta Style, Butterfly, Orb of Venom, Poor Man’s Shield, Black King Bar

Wraith Bands
By now, you’re probably looking at me funny. Stacking Wraith Bands is usually an odd strategy. However, in the case of Riki, there is nothing more cost efficient than Wraith Bands.

For 1940 gold (-300 for starting off with 2 Slippers of Agility) you gain 66 damage, 24 ias, 3 armor, 228 health, and 156 mana.

That’s the power of Backstab’s scaling. For reference, that’s one damage for every 29.4 gold spent. A Sacred Relic, which gives less damage, costs 63.3 gold per plus damage.

At level 7, with Backstab maxed, and four Wraith Bands, you’ll be hitting for 197 damage per auto attack, before armor. With those stats, you start to melt people real quick. Keep in mind, no one ever expects a Riki to be ganking by level 7, especially with that kind of damage output.

Manta Style
I love to use this item purely for mind games when I’m facing heavy anti-invisibility tactics. Manta Style removes dust when activated, but that’s not all. Since the images gain stealth, you can use them to scout and bait invisible detection.

If you see that the other team is carrying sentry wards, you can micro a single image around the enemy team, to find out if they’ve placed wards near the area. If they have, they’ll generally instinctively blast everything they have at your image. People just hate Riki that much.

Diffusal Blade
With the amount of kills you’re going to get with 4 Wraith Bands, you’ll find yourself owning a Diffusal Blade around the same time you would have, if you straight rushed it.

Which is great, because this item is the nail in the coffin for the enemy team. Using this to slow them while they’re in your Smoke Screen means there is no escape, or hope of retaliation on their part. You can even purge off Dust, Bounty Hunter’s Track, or Slardar’s Amplify Damage.

Riki Gameplay Strategy

As a carry, Riki should always be in the short lane. While in the lane, it’s best to last hit until level 3. Once you’re level 3, you can start to co ordinate kills. You should be with a disabler, so that you can set up a perfect Smoke Screen, which usually ensures a kill.

My first 335 gold usually goes to building my first Wraith Band. After that, I usually buy basic boots, then finish the rest of my Wraith Band collection. It’s not surprising to nab several kills during the laning phase.

Especially once you start equipping Wraith Bands. Generally, the moment you hit level 7, you want to go ganking  and instilling fear into the enemy team.

When ganking, you usually want to walk up to the target while stealthed, and position yourself behind them. The moment their movements become less sporadic, attack them from behind, and immediately cast Smoke Screen. If they some how manage to get out of the Smoke Screen alive, prepare your Blink Strike, if they get out of your auto attack range.

When you’ve acquired a Diffusal Blade, you should use its activation effect to slow the target, then cast Smoke Screen perfectly on then. With a bit of practice, you can do this so quickly, that it seems like all one action. Add in Blink Strike into the mix, if you’re chasing targets, and this combo becomes very fluid.

Force Staff
Because Force Staff is such a massive counter to Riki (It can be used while silenced) you should prioritize killing, and shutting down heroes that are likely to get it.

Luckily, this is relatively easy with this build. Since you hit so hard, so quickly into the game, it’s easy to consistently, and constantly kill support heroes.

In response, they’ll generally spend what little gold they do have, on trying to counter you with sentry wards and dust. As opposed to your real counter, Force Staff.

Inventory Awareness
Always, always, always be checking the inventories of your enemies. Know who has the ability to detect you, and the likelihood that an area has detection. Just because you’re invisible, doesn’t mean you have to play any differently than you would without it.

If you think they have detection in an area, either leave it to kill people in other areas, or let your team mates engage for you. Once you see an opening, Blink Strike in and start chewing people up.

Team Fights
When it comes time for the big show downs, Riki offers not only absurd damage, but astounding utility. Always be looking for chances to set up Smoke Screens on multiple people.

As for who to kill, Riki should always prioritize easy to dispatch characters, as opposed to duking it out with other carries. Since riki can kill supports faster than most carries, you’ll simply win fights due to having more players alive.

Closing Comments – Riki is a hero that everyone hates to play with, or against. So understand that, when playing him, you’re dealing more with psychological warfare, than you are anything else. People are going to want to kill you, and counter you, more so than any other hero on your team.

If you play smart and always keep that in mind, you can find yourself really frustrating t he other team to the point where they start making really stupid decisions, like wasting thousands of gold trying to counter a stealth mechanic that you don’t even need.