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[7.03] Gather 'round! TheSofa's guide to Puck

March 16, 2017 by TheSofa
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Build 1
Build 2
Build 3

Mid lane

DotA2 Hero: Puck


Purchase Order

What is this, a game of some sort? (Spawn)

Ah, gambits and exploits await. (Early)

So this is gold's purpose. (First Item Options)

I measure the cost in lives. (Blink Dagger + Extensions)

This might prove a sport of some interest. (Late game options)

Sample 6-slotted CC Puck

Sample 6-slotted burst Puck

Default "I dunno what to do"

Sample Right-Click Oriented Puck

Sample Defensive Puck



Hero Skills

Illusory Orb

1 3 5 7

Waning Rift

4 8 9 10

Phase Shift

2 13 14 15

Dream Coil

6 12 18

Talents

11 16

Hero Talents

+420 Gold/Min
25
+75% Illusory Orb​ Distance/Speed
+10% Spell Amplification
20
-3s Waning Rift Cooldown
+50 Damage
15
+20% Magic Resistance
+8 Intelligence
10
+175 Health

Introduction

"Greetings!"

Hi! I'm Sofa, bringing you my guide the Puck.

Puck the Faerie Dragon is a notorious initiator that is known for causing all sorts of mischief and getting away with it. His skill set allows him to be one of the most (if not, the most) slippery hero.

Puck does require a fair amount of practice to be played to his full potential, and also needs a great deal of bravery, game knowledge, and quick reflexes.

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Mobile and elusive, thus hard to kill
  • Great set-up for teamfight spells
  • Strong initiation
  • Strong laning presence
  • Good burst
  • Extremely versatile and fun to play
Cons
  • Requires practice and fast fingers
  • Relies heavily on spells
  • Low HP pool
  • Somewhat difficult to come back from a bad start
  • Does not scale well into the late game
  • Mediocre talents

Role


Puck is usually played in solo lanes, where he can get the levels he's so dependent on. Generally solo mid is the better option for Puck, since he cannot afford to be bullied out of EXP range. Puck is also not very susceptible to ganks, therefore mid is the better option.

However, if you do come across as situation where you have to solo offlane, fear not! Just try to get experience and never get greedy.

Skills


Puck skillset is the core of Puck's play. Failing to use it properly will leave you will little else to bring to your team.

Illusory Orb


Type:
Targets:

Active
Ground
Puck launches a magic orb that floats in a straight path, damaging enemy units along the way. At any point, Puck may teleport to the orb's location using Ethereal Jaunt.

Level

1


2


3


4

Mana

80


100


120


140

Cooldown

14


13


12


11

Travel Range

1803


1803


1803


1803

AoE

225


225


225


225

Duration

N/A


N/A


N/A


N/A

Effect

70 damage, option to Ethereal Jaunt


140 damage, option to Ethereal Jaunt


210 damage, option to Ethereal Jaunt


280 damage, option to Ethereal Jaunt


Notes:
  • The damage dealt by Illusory is considered Magical damage.
  • The Orb will turn pink 600 units before the end of its travel.
  • Grants flying vision in an 800 AOE around it. The vision lasts 3.34 seconds.
  • 6.87: Speed increased by 1. So apparently Puck got the useless change of the patch. This literally doesn't mean anything, except the distance is increased by 3.
    Here's why

Usage:
  • This is your bread and butter skill. Use it to catch up to enemies, to harass, or in combination with your other skills.
  • Feel free to use more frequently, but keep an eye for ganks.
  • The total travel time for Illusory Orb is 3 seconds, short enough for you to Phase Shift for its travel time with level 4 Phase Shift
  • Before Blink Dagger, use this almost exclusively as an escape, unless you are sure to get a kill.
  • Always Orb in a safe direction, even if you're trying to deal damage. You never know when you'll need to Ethereal Jaunt to it.

Waning Rift


Type:
Targets:

Active
N/A
Puck releases a burst of faerie dust that deals damage and silences enemy units nearby.

Level

1


2


3


4

Mana

100


110


120


130

Cooldown

16


15


14


13

Range

N/A


N/A


N/A


N/A

AoE

400


400


400


400

Duration

.75


1.5


2.25


3.0

Effect

100 damage, silence.


160 damage, silence.


220 damage, silence.


280 damage, silence.


Notes:
  • The damage dealt by Waning Rift is considered Magical damage.
  • Silence can be purged.
  • You can use Waning Rift to silence Visage's familiars (so they don't drop), Brewmaster's pandas, and that annoying Satyr that's going to steal your kill.

Usage:
  • Use this in combination with your other skills to ensure enemies cannot interrupt you.
  • The AOE is quite small, you'll usually need a Blink Dagger or Illusory Orb to make full use of it.
  • Don't be afraid to use this to get last-hits in the laning phase, provide you still have mana for Orb.

Phase Shift


Type:
Affects:

Active
Self
Puck briefly shifts into another dimension where it is immune from harm.

Level

1


2


3


4

Mana

0


0


0


0

Cooldown

6


6


6


6

Range

N/A


N/A


N/A


N/A

Radius

N/A


N/A


N/A


N/A

Duration

.75


1.5


2.25


3.25

Effect

Channelled: Grants invulnerability.


Channelled: Grants invulnerability.


Channelled: Grants invulnerability.


Channelled: Grants invulnerability.


Notes:
  • Phase Shift disjoints projectiles upon cast.
  • Phase Shift hides Puck, meaning Puck is invulnerable. However, due to the fact that it is channelled, Puck cannot attack or cast while Phase Shifting.
  • Puck retains its collision size while Phase-Shifted.
  • Phase Shift cost no mana, so don't be afraid to spam it!
  • Phase Shift cannot be used while ensnared or rooted.

Usage:
  • Phase Shift draws creep aggression off of yourself. Don't be afraid to trade attacks with the enemy laner because they'll draw creep aggro and you won't.
  • At level 4, the duration is long enough to out-wait the 3 second cooldown of Blink Dagger when attacked.
  • Obvious uses include dodging stuns, and other sources of damage.

Fun fact: If you use Phase Shift every time it's off cooldown and to the maximum duration, you will be invulnerable 58% of the game! If you have an Octarine Core and you use it every time, you will be invulnerable 87% of the game!

Dream Coil


Type:
Affects:


Active
Enemy units
Creates a coil of volatile magic that latches onto enemy Heroes, stunning them for .5 seconds and damaging them. If the enemy hero stretches the coil by moving too far away, it snaps, stunning and dealing additional damage. Upgradable by Aghanim's Scepter.

Level


1



2



3

Mana


100



150



200

Cooldown


70



65



60

Range


750



750



750

AoE


375



375



375

Duration


6 (8)



6 (8)



6 (8)

Effect


Deals 100 initial damage, .5 initial stun, and latches all enemies inside the AOE to the coil.


Deals 150 initial damage, .5 initial stun, and latches all enemies inside the AOE to the coil.


Deals 200 initial damage, .5 initial stun, and latches all enemies inside the AOE to the coil.


Notes:
  • Affects invisible units and illusions
  • The stun will trigger with any movement (including teleport), though they will continue to their destination. However, some transportation grants invulnerability ( Waveform, Ball Lightning) and will break the coil with ease.
  • Dream coil will persist, even if Puck dies.
  • If enemies break the coil, it will deal 100/150/200 magic damage to them and stun them for 1.5/2.25/3 seconds.

Usage:
  • Great setup for AOE teamfight abilities with a delay ( Epicenter, Sonic Wave)
  • Can be used on fleeing enemies: They either face you and your team, or the face you and your team while being stunned.
  • Dream Coil does latch onto illusions, so do NOT try to use it to detect which one is the right one.

Aghanim's Scepter:
  • Makes Dream Coil latch on to Spell Immune enemies
  • Makes the stun from breaking the coil go through magic immunity (nothing else goes through)
  • Increases the coil duration by 2 (5 to 7)
  • Increases coil break damage by 100
  • Increases coil stun duration from 1.5/2.25/3 to 1.5/3/4.5 (!!!)

As you can see, Aghanim's Scepter is a great pickup on Puck. Not only does it allow you to actually do something against targets with Black King Bar (which provides Spell Immunity), but it also increases the coil break stun duration to an astounding 4.5 seconds, making Dream Coil with Aghanim's Scepter the 5th longest stun in the game!

Skill Build

There are two major skill builds for Puck: the 4-1-1-1 Illusory Orb max build, or the 1-4-1-1 Waning Rift max build.

4-1-1-1 Illusory Orb max build

95% of the time, you'll be using this build. Illusory Orb is going to be by far your most used spell. The range of Illusory Orb far exceeds the one of Waning Rift. The damage also scales better than Waning Rift (+70 as opposed to +60).
Waning Rift is then maxed second because of two reasons - Phase Shift doesn't scale that well (just an extra .75 seconds per level) and that magic damage is better the earlier you get.


Explanation


1-4-1-1 Waning Rift max build

This build is for the likes of Queen of Pain and Storm Spirit where the extra silence duration makes all the difference. Situation, but strong in certain matchups. See Mid-lane matchups for more details.

Also, this build is more mana efficient because Illusory Orb's mana cost goes up by 20 per level as opposed to Waning Rift's 10 per level.

Talents (rework)


Puck has several unique talents that allow you to dictate the path and role of your play. Correct choices in these talents will allow you to have the edge over the enemy in any given game.
+8 Intelligence
OR
+175 Health
Level 10

What you take here has a major impact on what items you buy, what other talents you get, and generally the style of Puck you'll be playing. Choose wisely.

Choose +8 Intelligence when:
After you choose +8 Intelligence:
Choose +175 Health when:
After you choose +175 Health:
+50 Damage
OR
+20% Magic Resistance
Level 15

What great talents. Both of these are very valuable to pick up. +50 damage is basically a free Demon Edge while 20% Magic Resistance is one and a third Cloak.

While +50 Damage has the better monetary value (2400 for a Demon Edge and ~730 for 1.3 Cloaks.), Puck is frail and often will need the 20% Magic Resistance against enemy damage. +50 damage is also reduced by enemy armor.

Reasons to pick +50 Damage:
Reasons to pick +20% Magic Resistance:
  • You need it against a magic heavy damage enemy team
  • You want to stall until lategame.
  • You also took +175 Health
+10% Spell Amplification
OR
-3s Waning Rift Cooldown
Level 20

In my opinion, +10% Spell Amplification is just better. You need it so Illusory Orb and Waning Rift will clear a creep wave.
+75% Illusory Orb Distance/Speed
OR
+420 Gold per Minute
Level 25

Whoa. Both of these are really cool but kinda useless. Both are super fun and have about the same level of "usefulness" so you can choose either.

I'd say to get +420 Gold per Minute if you plan on buying expensive items like Bloodthorn or Dagon V, but stick to +75% Illusory Orb Distance/Speed if you're basically 6-slotted.

Final thoughts:

You don't have to skill talents at 10/15/20/25! In my opinion and extra skill point in Waning Rift and Phase Shift are almost always better than the talents you can get. Therefore, I recommend skilling talents at 11/16/20/25, because you would skill Waning Rift at 10 and Phase Shift at 15.

Items

Author's Note: Patch 7.00 brought about some new changes to Puck - most notably the talent trees. Some of the talents that Puck can obtain render some items obsolete. Pay attention to which items pair or do not pair with what talents. Enjoy!


Starting Items


Our journey begins with these humble items. A Null Talisman provides us great stats to start out with, and two Faerie Fires provide us with enough damage to contests last-hits. With two Tango (Shared) and a Faerie Fire, we can sustain ourselves until we can buy your first set of regeneration, whether that be a Healing Salve or a Bottle. Faerie Fires will prove useful in this journey when we begin trading hits with the opponent, or looking to survive a gank. The stats from the Iron Branch rounds out our starting items and can be planted and eaten for double tango regen.

Early Game


A Bottle is a fantastic option to keep our health tip topped and satisfy our mana needs. With the new bounty rune spawns added in the new 7.00 map, there's plenty of Bottle refilling to be done.
Boots of Speed allows us to continue on our trek towards victory.
The most potent tool in the hands of Puck, Blink Dagger is a tool for mischief and chaos. There are numerous uses for Blink Dagger, including initiation, escape, and mobility (more on that later). It is such a powerful tool that I must insist that we attempt to pick it up before all other major items. A good guideline is to get Blink Dagger before minute 15 (keep in mind that 11 minutes is optimal).
Power Treads are optional (I don't recommend if you already chose the +150 Health Talent). Great when combined with the +8 intelligence and +40 damage talents.
If we intend on purchasing an Eul's Scepter of Divinity later in the game, you may also purchase a Wind Lace before Blink Daggger. Never underestimate the power of 20 movement speed
Infused Raindrops help us survive and most importantly give us invaluable mana regen early game.

Mid Game Options


Aghanim's Scepter is a great pickup that helps Puck stay relevant post- Black King Bars. Great against BKB - TP, and can be useful if really need to stall/set up for a huge AOE spell. Refer to the skills section for more on Aghanim's Scepter and what it does.
Dagon. When you feel like going full s4 mode, this is the item to pick up. It adds a powerful tool to Puck's arsenal, and gives him the ability to solo kill. With this item, we will be attempt to jump in and out of the fights, targeting their back lines, bursting their supports. Avoid upgrading the Dagon if you don't have to, but you may if you need that extra damage to finish off their supports.
Eul's Scepter of Divinity offers us many good things: a purge for nasty silences, invulnerability to wait out cooldowns, a chasing mechanism, a reliable disable, mana/mana regen, and mobility. See how good it is? Popular uses include "euls'ing" yourself to wait for the 3 second on-hit cooldown of blink dagger (which is 3, so you need to have a .5 sec window), between casts of Phase Shift (which has a 2.5 second down time), and setting up for your team. I'd recommend this in 9/10 games - it just feels like an extension of Puck and his abilities.

Quick note
Linken's Sphere is a great option for rounding out our stats, especially because we can't skill stats any more (7.00 changes). Linken's Sphere is good on heroes who need to get in and get out, and Puck is no exception. It has good stats, and a good active. I'd recommend it in 7/10 games.
The other thing Linken's Sphere let's you do is to protect an ally. It's especially helpful if you have a tanky frontliner who doesn't like to buy Black King Bar (doesn't like as in personal preference, not "is not supposed to").
Guinsoo's Scythe of Vyse, also known as Sheepstick (which turn things into pigs), is the ultimate intelligence item. It provides Puck with yet another disable, and great stats all around. Good with Octarine Core and Refresher Orb.

Late Game Options



Refresher Orb is a natural continuation of the more disable and control type build. Build it after Eul's Scepter of Divinity and Scythe of Vyse so you can refresh their cooldowns along with Dream Coil. Refresher Orb gives Puck so much more teamfight presence and disable, that it often wins you the game.
Force Staff is not recommended by me, but it is an option. Combined with Blink Dagger and Illusory Orb is allows Puck to be very mobile and juke people like crazy. Good when used in tandem with Dream Coil - Force Staff can force an enemy to break the coil, dealing damage and stunning them.
Octarine Core is great because it reduces the cooldown of your items. I often pick Octarine Core up as my 6th slot, usually after Blink Dagger, Eul's Scepter of Divinity, and most importantly Aghanim's Scepter, Scythe of Vyse and Refresher Orb. The shorter cooldown on Phase Shift is also really fun to play around with, but it's not the main reason. The main reason you buy Octarine Core is for the cooldown reduction of your disables, namely Dream Coil and Scythe of Vyse as well as the cooldown on Refresher Orb.
Lotus Orb is a situational item that is bought solely for the active dispel. It can remove most fatal silences off of Puck - allowing Puck to live to see another day.

Situational Items


Long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away... s4 tried Guardian Greaves on Puck. I've tested it out, and it only works in very situational games. Usually, if I ever build it, it's for the strong dispel which can take off nasty silences. Only buy it if there's more than two silences on their team (dispel one with euls, dispel one with Lotus Orb
Veil of Discord was a 6.86 feature on Puck that, in my opinion, isn't very good any more. It works, but I don't recommend it. Veil is an item where you have to build it early in order for it to be fully effective. I usually opt for items like Blink Dagger, Dagon and Eul's Scepter of Divnity instead.

Basic Combos

Puck's spells are all about using it in conjunction with another spell. Here are some basic combinations that you need to know.



Difficulty: Easy
Usage: Escape

One of the very basics in any Puck's repertoire, this combo allows you to get in and out of fights. Basically, you cast Illusory Orb, then Phase Shift as the Orb floats away from you. Use Ethereal Jaunt to cancel Phase Shift's channel to ensure your escape.

The Illusory Orb will blink pink in the last 600 units, signaling your time to Ethereal Jaunt.

Difficulty: Easy
Usage: Creep Clear

Usually you won't use this until around level 10 (with maxed Illusory Orb and Waning Rift), but this mini-combo is mostly used to push out waves or do get some money to buy your Eul's/Hex/ Dagon.

At level 10, this combo will deal exactly 560 magic damage, leaving the creeps 1 hit away from death. Generally you want to hit all the creeps once first, then combo. In the case that your creeps focus on one creep and that creep is dropping fast, grab the last-hit with the Illusory Orb, then attack the other creeps before finishing them with a Waning Rift.

Difficulty: Easy
Usage: Escape

Requires level 4 Phase Shift. Nice and simple. Press Phase Shift. Spam click Blink Dagger at a safe place (I recommend quickcasting, it makes spam clicking easier). Escape harm free.

Honestly though, Phase Shift lasts for 3.25 seconds and Blink Dagger cooldown on hit is 3 seconds. Free escapes every single time.

Difficulty: Medium
Usage: Burst and escape

Puck's cheeky get in and get out combo. Blink next to a squishy target, chunk them with Illusory Orb and Waning Rift, then Phase Shift and wait for the Illusory Orb to slip away before you Ethereal Jaunt to it. Ensure that you send the Illusory Orb in a safe direction

Advanced Combos: Initiation

Initiation is one of Puck's greatest strengths. What sets him apart from other initiators like Clockwerk and Batrider is the fact that he does not have to put himself at risk. This requires precise timings but can be thrilling to pull off. Let's start by looking at some initiation techniques.



Difficulty: Difficult
Usage: Initiation

Step by step process:
  1. Make sure you have vision of the area, don't blink into the fog.
  2. Use Blink Dagger to position yourself near/behind the enemy team so that the direction that you're facing is a safe one (you want to be able to Illusory Orb through the team and have it end up in a safe place).
  3. Cast Dream Coil. Try to catch as many heroes as possible, but you cannot hesitate. Any hesitation will lead to silences and stuns and eventually your death.
  4. Cast Waning Rift during the mini-stun of Dream Coil. You cannot afford to be stunned/silence when you're in the middle of the enemy team.
  5. Cast Illusory Orb in a safe direction.
  6. [OPTIONAL] Cast Dagon on a squishy target.
  7. Phase Shift immediately.
  8. Wait for the Illusory Orb blinks pink/has arrived at a safe destination.
  9. Cast Ethereal Jaunt.
  10. Refill mana with Bottle, wait for cooldowns, rinse, and repeat.

It's complicated, but once you get used to it, you can pretty much kill anyone you want. Which brings us to the question, "how much damage does this combo do?" Assuming you followed the build above (which is pretty much the only way to build Puck, mind you), the following should be true:

Level 6: 307.5/382.5** ((210 + 100 + 100)*0.75)
Level 11: 532.5/645** ((280 + 280 + 150)*0.75)
Level 16: 570/720** ((280 + 280 + 200)*0.75 )

Note that these numbers factor in a standard 25% magic resistance. The numbers with the asterisks are if the target breaks the Dream Coil (which they shouldn't anyway.)

Also note that Puck does not scale linearly and falls off after level 11. Also, 500 pure damage (because I factored resist already) is a lot to deal with, considering that a level 2 Laguna Blade does the same amount of damage. Do not underestimate the burst of Puck, but do make sure that your allies cleanup.

This combo is what you will be using most of the time, be sure to practice it well! This does require really quick fingers though, and this brings me to the next chapter...

Quickcast

You may be wondering... "How am I supposed to push so many keys, so fast?" Well, DotA 2 has a great gift to all of you out there: quickcast. For those of you who don't know, quickast allows you to cast items and spells without having to click the mouse. The action will perform wherever your mouse was when you pressed the hotkey.

Personally, I use quickcast for all my abilities (both Illusory Orb and Dream Coil) for ease of combo execution. I also quickcast all of my items except for Town Portal Scroll while playing Puck.

I recommend you at least quickcast Blink Dagger and your abilities. It will take a while to get used to, but it will prove its worth in clutch situations.

Tips and Tricks


Phase Shift is a complex spell with many different interactions that can be used to Puck's benefit.

Phase-Tap



Given the fact that Phase Shift disjoints most abilities and auto-attacks on cast, staying in the Phase Shift often is unnecessary and a waste of time. Therefore, it is often the right idea to Phase Shift and immediately move afterwards.

This is the Phase-tap. A quick Phase Shift with an immediate move command.

Turning while Phase Shifted



The only flaw in the Phase Shift + Blink Dagger escape combo is the fact that you can only blink in the direction you're facing. This, combined with the fact that Puck has the slowest turnrate in the game (0.4), means that there will be a delay where you get out of Phase Shift and your blink. And often times, this means you're dead.

HOWEVER... there is a way to turn while Phase Shifted. Here's a video to explain it.



Basically, you click in the direction you want to end up facing and immediately Phase Shift. This is very useful, again, when you're trying to Phase Shift + blink. Note that it is unnecessary for Phase Shift + Ethereal Jaunt.

Dream Coil Instant Stun



This is more of a tip than a trick - often, when you're trying to chase someone and you Dream Coil them, the just run around in the circle or TP our. Therefore, if you're trying to use Dream Coil to chase, cast Dream Coil so that the enemy will be near the edge of the radius - the closer to the edge, the better.

Normally what happens in the enemy's brain is something like this:

I'm running away from Puck. Run Run RUN!
Puck casts Dream Coil
Oh no! I'm Dream Coiled. Better not break the tether!
Wait, Puck doesn't have a stun outside of Dream Coil, let's TP out!
Enemy TP's out

However, we, as Puck, don't want that to happen. The closer we can get the enemy to the edge of the radius, the less distance he can run. Also, there's a higher chance that he is still issuing a movement command after the .5 second ministun so he gets stunned for the full duration.

Gameplay


Quick note before I begin: This all assumes you got the mid lane. I don't recommend picking Puck if you don't get the mid lane, so be sure you can secure it before locking in. Note that all the given times are approximate, so be sure to read the paragraph to fully understand what to do.

Early Game


-00:60 - 00:00:
Spawn and Rune fight

Buy your starting items. Make your way to a rune, and remember to hold your skill point. This is extremely important because all three of Puck's spells are extremely useful in level one fights. If you have a number advantage, then skill Illusory Orb. If you have a important spell you need to counter, like Shallow Grave or Fissure, it can be worth it to skill Waning Rift. If you have a deadly projectile homing on you, like Homing Missile or Arcane Bolt, it can be worth it to skill Phase Shift level one.

It is optimal that you get a bounty rune, so let your team know that you want it. If they don't let you or you lose the rune fight, quickly head back to mid to body-block the creeps. If you do manage to get the bounty rune, quickly ferry out a Healing Salve for yourself in order to sustain in lane.

00:00 - 02:00
Getting Lasthits and Denies

Focus on last-hitting and denying. With your decent attack time and damage, you should be able to farm a bottle within the first 2-4 minutes.

However, if the opportunity presents itself and there are no last-hits or denies available, auto-attacking the enemy midlaner when they get close is a good idea. Remember to quickly phase-tap to draw creep aggression off of yourself. Your attacks hurt quite a bit and they, in tandem with Illusory Orb harass, will bring the enemy down until a point they have to retreat or be killed.

Should you have a need for extra HP regeneration, it can be a good idea to use Iron Branch to plant a tree, then quickly consume it with a Tango (Shared). This doubles the regeneration that Tango (Shared) gives and can be used to sustain until getting a Bottle.

02:00 - 04:00
Harassing Enemy Midlaner

Hopefully you have your Bottle now, and can begin bullying the enemy mid-laner (see Mid-lane Match-ups to know what is safe to do). Still focus on last-hitting and denying, with the occasional Illusory Orb to finish a creep.

Be sure to attempt to tag an enemy with the Illusory Orb as a bonus to last-hitting.

When the clock hits :50-52ish, determine whether you need to refill your bottle via a rune. If so, determine which rune to contest. It is beneficial for you to clear up a creep wave before you leave to get a rune to maximise EXP. If your opponent leaves before you, do not attempt to race him for the rune, simply accept the fact that he is missing EXP and continue as normal.

Remember to call missing. A call is as simple as 'ALT-leftclick' the enemy portrait at the top of your screen.

04:00 - 08:00
Ganking

Continue poking the enemy and getting last-hits and denies. Should the enemy go missing for an extended period (remember to call missing), aggressively push to get some damage in on their tier one tower.

When you hit level 6, alert your team-mates and look for a lane that is pushed in. Try to time it with a rune spawn, so you can leave for the rune and continue in the same direction to gank. This is less suspicious and saves time. With Puck's burst and control (with Dream Coil), you should be able to take one of them down.

Then you have two options: TP back to lane, or group with your team to push the tower. I suggest pushing your offlane, and TP'ing back to lane if you ganked your safelane.

However, if no gank opportunities present themselves, staying in lane isn't bad either. You could use Dream Coil to get away from a gank or pressure their midlaner out of the lane.

08:00 - 15:00
Farming Blink Dagger and first few kills

Your quest to buy a Blink Dagger begins. With pocket change after a few ganks and one or two fights, your should be able to purchase it before 15 minutes. I personally aim for 12 minutes, but 15 is good.

A key tip here is to not die. Dying sets you back a lot in terms of gold and exp, so remember: You have a timing to make, the enemy doesn't. Your life is worth more than theirs, so avoid 1 for 1 trades.

Once you have your Blink Dagger, however, it's time to go ham.

15:00 - 30:00

With your Blink Dagger in hand, this is your time to shine. Gank lanes nonstop, push lanes with your team... whatever it take so you push Puck to its limits. This is your power spike, so make as much use of it as you can. You should have both Illusory Orb and Waning Rift maxed now, so make good use of these relatively huge bursts of damage.

Push with your team to force reactions - this is where you can gain an advantage. Fight as often as you can, but keep an eye out for enemy items - watch for the bane of all Pucks worldwide:

Black.
King.
Bar.

30:00 - 45:00
Age of 10 second Black King Bars

With mass Black King Bars being purchased, this is Puck's quietest phase of the game. All of them are at ten or nine seconds, and Puck will not be able to accomplish much to any of those targets. Constantly roam around the map finding lone carries farming, and force them to use they're BKB charges. This goes a long way in helping your team lock down them later. If you find a support without a BKB or Glimmer Cape, quickly analyze whether you can kill them before support arrives. If you can, quickly finish them, using Illusory Orb in a direction into the trees and TP out safely. Stay quiet in team-fights, don't die, and engage when Black King Bars are down. The gold you gain will be used to purchase whatever is applicable to the situation.

If there are many Black King Bars on the enemy team, spend some gold on a Boots of Travel and splitpush. Illusory Orb and Waning Rift are great at pushing. If you can force a reaction, that is the best you can do, so blink into the trees and get out.

If you can catch an enemy core with their BKB on cooldown, quickly lock them down and call for support (you shouldn't be roaming around their jungle without support anyway) and kill them.

45:00 - 60:00

Your hard work has started to pay dividends. Black King Bar charges are now merely 5 seconds long, and the supports are short on cash. You should probably have an Aghanim's Scepter now, as well as 2-3 core items. You can start controlling team-fights, often initiating with a Blink - Scythe of Vyse on an important target. Let your team finish them off, and cycle through your disables again. Remember that Agh's Dream Coil goes through BKB and it is worth it to solo Dream Coil to get a kill on an important target.

Finish the game as soon as possible after this so you can play another game without being bored to death.

Worst-Case Scenarios


"Ok, Sofa." you say "I picked Puck, called mid, and some random dude pick Storm Spirit and won't leave mid. I'm forced to go offlane, there are multiple silences on the other team, and all their heroes tend to buy Black King Bars. What do I do?"

Ah, worst-case scenarios typical of pubs. Happens every so often, and there's nothing you can do to change the situation. However, you can adapt to it quite nicely.

All I can say is to play like you would as a Lion or Skywrath Mage. Buy cheap items until somehow, 30 mins in, you have a Blink Dagger. Help out with as much as you can, but as a side-lane Puck you will be behind in levels.

The best thing you can do is to tell your support (or lack thereof) to roam around, Puck is quite self-sufficient in the offlane.

Mid-Matchups

Back to the mid lane. There are some heroes that you will be playing against more often than others. How do you exactly deal with them? That depends on the situation. but I can give you general tips per hero. Here it goes.



Storm Spirit is a difficult match-up for Puck. Usually I go for a 2-4-1-1 skill build against Storm Spirit, since the extra silence is great against him. The biggest thing is to Phase Shift the Overloaded attacks. It may not seem like much, but the damage stacks up over time and they hurt. A lot. Pushing the wave against a Storm Spirit is hard because a couple of Static Remnants and an Overloaded attack clears a creep wave completely. Bottle crow if you must, and pay attention to Storm Spirit's level and mana. If he has no mana, you may freely harass him. But as soon as he has mana, back off. Respect his ability to kill you, and try to get last-hits.

When Storm Spirit hits about level 6, he's gonna jump you. And it's going to hurt. He may even have back up. So keep your eyes on the mini-map for missing heroes and your finger on your Phase Shift hot-key. If you see that Ball Lightning coming, quickly Phase Shift so you avoid the damage. Furthermore, you can out wait the jump and immediately silence Storm Spirit. Then you fly away as fast are your little wings will let you.

Note that Storm Spirit doesn't care about Dream Coil. He will zip and zap and get out no problem.

A good pickup against Storm Spirit is Eul's Scepter of Divinity. Storm Spirit's tend to buy Orchid Malevolences and that is very problematic for Puck. Eul's Scepter of Divinity allows you to purge off the silence so you can run away. Lotus Orb and Guardian Greaves are other dispels that you may purchase.


Queen of Pain vs. Puck is a classic matchup that favours the more skilled player. I tend to favour Puck a tiny little bit because of the strength of Phase Shift. Queen of Pain is very dominant in lane because of the amount of harass she can dish out via Shadow Strike. However, Shadow Strike is disjoint-able and a simple phase-tap will remedy that. Queen of Pain has way better stats that you. By that I don't mean the Strength, Agility, and Intelligence, but I mean the attack point, attack animation, and attack damage. All of those contribute heavily to the lane since getting last-hits and especially denies is huge. This is one of the only match-up in which you can last-hit with Illusory Orb, and only when the supports aren't missing on the map.

When Queen of Pain Blinks on you at level 6, expecting to kill you, retaliate with a quick Waning Rift followed by a Dream Coil. Most Queen of Pains expect to kill their prey relatively quickly and most often dive into towers, burst a target down, then get out with their life. Since the Queen of Pain Blinked forward, she now has no escape for the Dream Coil and must take tower shots repeatedly. If you feel confident, Illusory Orb the Queen of Pain, using Ethereal Jaunt to disjoint an attack as well as get behind her, and finish her off. If you're not confident, the use Illusory Orb to run away. Try not to get Sonic Waved.

Again, Eul's Scepter of Divinity is a good pickup since Queen of Pains tend to pickup an Orchid Malevolence.

Lina is a hard matchup for Puck. The amount of AOE in Dragon Slave and Light Strike Array matches your own, but Lina's crazy range allows her to abuse Fiery Soul. However, Puck's attack point is slightly better (.5 as opposed to .75) and has very slightly more damage (47-58 as opposed to 40-58). Be aware that once Lina hits level 6, she has enough damage to kill you almost instantly. Keep tabs on her and never allow yourself to get stunned by Light Strike Array. Push out of wave by spamming and controlling runes. Puck has the same movement speed as Lina without Fiery Soul stacks.

Fun fact: You can Phase Shift Laguna Blade. You have .25 seconds to do so after the cast animation finishes and the damage is deal. Good luck have fun.

Shadow Fiend is very common in the mid-lane, and is also very strong. The first 30 seconds of the game will decide the rest of the laning stage, so no pressure. As soon as you get into lane, check for these two things:
If Shadow Fiend is rushing his bottle, it is most likely that he skilled Shadow Raze. Aggressively deny and harass him with Illusory Orb, it is unlikely that he has enough regeneration. However, do respect his triple-Shadow Raze, which deals 225 damage (after resistance) at level one. Attempt to delay his Bottle as much as possible. Since he didn't skill Necromastery, you will deal more damage than he does, which forces him to use Shadowraze, which means he wastes mana.

If Shadow Fiend goes for the Wraith Band + Tango + Necromastery strong start, hope that you went for the Null Talisman + 2x Iron Branch build. You need to contest last-hits and denies, or else the Necromastery stacks will build up and you will not be able to last-hit at all.

Eul's Scepter of Divinity is not a good pickup here, he will Requiem of Souls under your tornado and one-shot you. Instead, pick up items like Aghanim's Scepter (for his eventual BKB) and Scythe of Vyse.

Bloodseeker is a pain to play against. However, since he is melee, you can abuse your range and right-click him while he is Bloodraged. You will not be able to harass him, since the regeneration from Bloodrage last-hits will heal him up effectively. Wait until you are level 6, then go kill him while he has Bloodrage on. Illusory Orb in, followed by an immediate Waning Rift and Dream Coil. He will take 410 damage after resistance and Bloodrage ampification, and a few right-clicks will finish him off.

You will not see Razor in the mid lane as often as the other heroes so far. However, he is troublesome to deal with. Yes, Plasma Field is easy to Phase Shift. But you still have to deal with the most annoying part of Razor: Static Link. Razor usually builds speed, so early Boots of Speed and a Wind Lace is mandatory for keeping up/outrunning him (to break the Static Link). When you (or if you) upgrade the Wind Lace to Eul's Scepter of Divinity, however, avoid using it on Razor - due to his Unstable Current purging you.

Ah, the almighty Lord of Heaven that zaps you over and over and over again until he runs out of mana. And that's the key when you're playing against Zeus. Watch his mana pool and know when he can kill you and when he can't. You can't Phase Shift Static Field procs, but you can Phase Shift the Arc Lightning, since he'll be using it to last-hit and you can predict the jumps. If you have quick fingers, you can also Phase Shift Lightning Bolt due to it's immense cast time. His short range (350) and his slightly worse attack animation (.633 of Zeus as opposed to .5 of Puck) means you can last-hit easily. Remember to tell you team when he hits level 6.

Leshrac is (or rather, was) a midlaner who specialises in area-of-effect damage and tower pushing.
I recommend skilling Phase Shift at level 2, since Leshrac's cast animations is super long and both Split Earth and Lightning Storm can be easily dodged. His attack animation is .1 seconds shorter than yours (.4 as opposed to .5) and he has more base damage than you. Try to get as many last-hits as possible, and remember to get the runes. Don't die, and keep your eyes open for potential rotations. Any support that comes in with a stun or silence = dead Puck.
You have a bigger level 6 power spike than him (usually Leshrac doesn't skill his ult level 6), so try to force a fight with your ult.

Perhaps the most difficult match-up for Puck, Templar Assassin is a troublesome opponent. Refraction is one of the strongest laning spells in the game, and it will make it very difficult for you to do any sort of damage to her, since Puck has no damage over time. The best you can do is to call for a gank, and make sure you buy a Dust of Appearance. Abuse your range as much as possible, and remember that Phase Shift takes creep aggression off of you. Be careful of Psi Blades spill damage and position yourself accordingly.

In pub matches, you will be seeing this hero a lot. And Puck fares pretty well against him. Pudge has a very weak laning stage - he is melee, has terrible damage (for a melee hero), and can't really kill you. As long as there is a creep between you can Pudge, there is absolutely nothing he can do to you. Harass him with Illusory Orbs and right-clicks, and you may be able to kill him. Call missing whenever he leaves, and buy a ward yourself to watch his hook spots. Phase Shifting Meat Hook is ridiculously easy, and controlling the runes is also do-able since Pudge only has 285 movement speed.
Be very careful when Pudge purchases a Blink Dagger, a Blink into Dismember into a point-blank Meat Hook spells doom for {uck.

Just call for your team and kill him. Over, and over, and over. With the 7.00 bounty rune changes he's not nearly as good - plus he's squishy as all hell early on. Just be sure to dodge Unstable Concoction with Phase Shift. Unstable Concoction is undisjointable, so you actually have to time your [[Phase Shift to when it lands instead of simply phase-tapping.

One of Windranger's weaknesses is her squishiness against magic burst. Puck has lots of magic burst, including a silence that can stop her right in her tracks. A couple of good ideas:
  1. When you see Windranger channel her Powershot, be sure to keep your finger on Phase Shift. The channel is 1 second long, and Phase Shift lasts .75 seconds long at level 1, so you should be able to dodge it.
  2. Be wary of Windrun. That skill is broken, and the only thing you can do is run away. When Windranger is running at you, silence her with Waning Rift to stop her from Shackleshoting you, then run away.
  3. Use Illusory Orb for lasthiting, as Windranger's damage and attack animation is way better than Puck's. If you can hit her as well as getting last-hits, that's a win for you. Because you can Phase Shift her Powershots, you should be able to win the war of attrition.
  4. Be wary of ganks, and call for ganks when you can (and are level 6).


Ember Spirit is a tricky match if you happen to find yourself in a lane with him. Even though this lane can be won, I wouldn't suggest picking Puck into Ember Spirit.

Ember Spirit's ace in the hole in this match-up is Flame Guard. Since most of your damage is magical, you cannot damage him whatsoever while he has Flame Guard on.

Your greatest advantage in this particular Match-up is your range. Auto-attack him as often as possible to bully him out of lane. Although you can't kill him, you can poke him a lot.

Be wary of him running at you. Watch out for Haste Runes, because if he can get into Searing Chains range, you're pretty dead.

Note that you can't Phase Shift nor Ethereal Jaunt while Searing Chainsed.

This matchup is pretty good for you 1v1, you can probably dodge most Crypt Swarms with Phase Shift, and your autoattack animation and projectile speed is much better than Death Prophet's. The only thing to worry about 1v1 is Death Prophet's Silence when you're going in agressive. Oh, and never never never never underestimate the heal from Spirit Siphon.

But that isn't the case most of the time, isn't it? When is a midlane against Death Prophet ever a 1v1? Most of the time she'll have either an Earth Spirit, Riki, Bounty Hunter, Mirana, Chen etc etc. behind her. Be very wary about these incoming rotations - one slow or stun from these pretty much equals your death, assuming Death Prophet is smart enough to skill Silence.

What about 2v1s in favour of you? Again, watch out for Spirit Siphon. Too many times have I seen players underestimate the heal and damage (and the fact that you can have two going on at the same time) of Spirit Siphon and handing over a double kill for Death Prophet

Stay passive in lane, get last hits, be careful of Silence.

Friends and Foes

Hopefully it's clear to you by now that you should almost never solo-queue as Puck. So when you're playing in a stack, what do you want your teammates to pick?


Friends


AOE team-fight

All of these heroes have huge AOE abilities that require the enemies to stick close together for an extended period of time, and Dream Coil does just that.

All these heroes tend to buy a Veil of Discord sometime, which benefits all your magic damage.

Magic damage amplification

All of these heroes have some way to increase your damage: Elder Titan's Natural Order, Chen's Penitence, Shadow Demon's Soul Catcher, Skywrath Mage's Ancient Seal, Pugna's Decrepify, and most notably Bloodseeker's Bloodrage.

Foes



Ugh, silences. As the old phrase goes, "A silenced Puck is a dead Puck." Also included are Orchid Malevolence purchasers.

Stuns with no projectile

You rely on Phase Shift a lot to dodge stuns, and these are the heroes who's stuns cannot be dodged.

Heroes that will keep disabling your Blink Dagger

Puck is quite reliant on his Blink Dagger to execute his combos, and these heroes will prevent you from using them.

Questions from the Dotafire Community!


Hey everyone! First off I'd like to thank each and everyone of you for reading my guide - it means lots to me. Second, I'd like to thank those who have left a comment on my guide to help me improve it! I'd also like to encourage everyone to ask questions, whether it's on here or our official Dotafire Discord server (PM Hades4u for an invite).

Here are some questions/comments that people have asked in the comments.


"I would go for +8 int instead of 150 hp. Reasoning is that extra damage and int is great for puck because he runs into a lot of mana problems."

I agree that the extra damage is great, but +8 Intelligence only provides 96 mana. Going the +150 health allows you to replace Power Treads (which are bought for the health) for Arcane Boots, which would give you waaaay more mana than +8 Intelligence.

"Also, I would still get treads for the attack speed. Atk speed is great on puck because he usually gets a lot of right clicks on towers and heroes, etc. ... Also a great mention would be since you have treads the +40 damage option in the talent tree becomes more effective with atk speed."

Indeed, but I tend to favour either a faster Blink Dagger or more mana from [{Arcane Boots]] than attack speed from Power Treads. However, you could go for the +8 Intelligence and the +40 damage and build Power Treads.
Basically, you have two options, either

1) Health, Mana, and Movement speed, or
2) Health, Damage, and Attack Speed

The first option is +150 health, +20 movement speed, and Arcane Boots.
The second option is +8 Intelligence, +40 damage, and Power Treads.

"blink dagger does not need to be rushed so quickly. The blink should be a second big item. Blink dagger is most effective on puck when he has phase shift level 4. (this allows him to use phase shift to give him enough time to blink away even though he gets hit by someone putting his blink on a 3 sec cd) because level 4 gives him over 3.25 seconds."

I beg to differ. Although I agree that Blink Dagger is very useful as an escape when used in conjunction with Phase Shift, it is also used to reposition in fights, initiate fights, and overall get around the map easier. Personally I find that Blink Dagger first has a greater impact on the game than other items and plays well into Puck's level 9-12 power spike.
Although is isn't necessarily bad to go Veil of Discord or Eul's Scepter of Divinity first item, I personally find that Blink Dagger is the best first item for Puck.

Would the new Rod of Atos be a viable option as well?

Rod of Atos isn't bad at all. In fact, it's a great item on Puck. However, it just doesn't fit in the build.

As Puck, you really want Blink Dagger. Eul's Scepter of Divinity is also extremely strong on Puck. The problem with Rod of Atos is this - it's an early-game oriented item that, unfortunately, gets outshone by Blink Dagger and Eul's Scepter of Divinity.

Potentially you could build it in games where Eul's Scepter of Divinity is not needed. I see it as a "I don't need Eul's and I don't want to buy dagon" kinda item.

To answer your question, it's viable and strong, but not the best.

Conclusion


Whew! I hope you're learned something from this guide, even if you're not going to play Puck. If any information in the guide is inaccurate or missing, please let me know kindly in the comments below.

Also, this guide was the winner of the Dotafire Guide Contest! Yay! Thank you all of you to for reading and commenting on the guide.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank a couple of people:

Hades4u and Mowen, thank you so much for tirelessly working behind the scenes at dotafire - your work here is greatly appreciated.

Dr. D and Janitsu, you have taught me so much about coding and formatting - I owe many many thanks to you.

Sando, Peppo_oPaccio, xCO2, and Atlas, your guides have been both an huge inspiration to me and what got me starting playing dota.

Fabioisonfire, PureVapes and NinjaBlademaster, thank you for writing such detailed and once relevant guides to Puck. You played a huge role in my learning and playing of Puck. Although you have since moved on, your legacy will continue through my passion and love for this mischievous faerie dragon.

Lastly, I'd like to thank all my readers for joining me on this fun-filled journey. See you on the battlefield!

Thanks y'all!
~TheSofa

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