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5 Votes

A greedy support's guide for Pugna

September 30, 2017 by luciferkid
Comments: 7    |    Views: 33388    |   

Build 1
Build 2

Anti nuker build

DotA2 Hero: Pugna

Hero Skills

Nether Blast

2 3 5 7


1 12 14 16

Nether Ward

4 6 8 9

Life Drain

11 13 18


10 15

Hero Talents

+1.5 Netherward Damage per Mana
+160 Netherblast Damage
+1.5s Decrepify Duration
+20% Life Drain Heal
+3 Nether Ward Health
-0.8s Nether Blast Cooldown
+175 Health
+15 Movement Speed


This is a simple guide on how to play Pugna as a greedy position 4 . He's unconventional for this role because of the need of a more sacrificial support 5, which is uncommon in pubs, and because he's an unusually hard to draft as a greedy support

What he brings to the table is a toolkit that allows him to punish both mana-intensive cores and right-click ones who struggle to deal with decrepify, to synergize well with the same mana-intensive cores he counters, to synergize well with strong early solo pushers and the possibility of him to scale greatly into the late game and to become a fearsome core, if he can farm at least two core items

Pros / Cons

  • He's an excellent early game pusher, and with a proper build, he can become the best highground sieger in the game
  • He is a great counter against mana-intensive lineups
  • Likewise, he has a great synergy with mana-intensive lineups
  • Can provide true sight with Life Drain
  • All of his skills scale greatly into the late game, more so with certain items.

  • He's among one of the squishiest heroes in the game
  • Lacks strong disables
  • Compared to other greedy supports, he's harder to be drafted
  • Decrepify is a hard skill to master, and can save enemy heroes if used wrongly
  • If you get magic immunity or enhanced magic resistance, either you won't be able to heal allies with life drain or life drain will heal less than it should

When not to pick support Pugna

  • Your team lacks a sacrificial support, also known as position 5 support
  • Your team lacks strong disables and they're needed
  • The game seems to more likely to be more focused around gankings and skirmishes, with lots of chases and escapes from both sides, over 5 vs 5 teamfights, which hampers a proper placement of Nether Ward
  • The enemy team has an inbuilt silence skill, which can screw with your Life Drain can prevent you from placing a Nether Ward, and most critically, it can prevent you from using Decrepifyto save yourself or someone else who is getting focused.
  • One of the enemies' cores has enhanced magic resistance, either through passive skills or through active ones . Usually in such games, your cores' damage will have to be mostly physical, and as such there's fewer possibilities of them synergizing with an offensive use of Decrepify, although depending on the enemy core, Decrepify can be a wonderful skill to counter them
  • Usually, heroes who can benefits from getting Diffusal Blade as their first "big item" will be a problem to you . In that case, it is highly recommend that you get Ghost Scepter as soon as possible, even before Aether Lens, so that you can still get protected from right clicks, and furthermore, it allows you to make them waste Diffusal Blade's charges upon you, if you time your Decrepify or Ghost Scepter usage carefully.
  • If Nyx Assassin can still be picked . Seriously, f*ck this guy

Basic Overview of Skills and Talents


  1. Nether Blast: Your bread and butter skill . Its primary use is to destroy buildings, its secondary use is to push lanes and to damage enemy heroes . Given the huge blast delay of 0.9 seconds, plus its casting time, it is not a reliable skill to hit enemy heroes, unless there's some control upon them. With the Pugna: +1.5s Decrepify Duration talent, plus Aether Lens, you can increase the casting range of this skill further enough to hit towers outside of their attack range, without need to have line of sight of them, and without climbing the highground stairs, which makes this skill highly powerful to siege highground.
  2. Decrepify: It places the ethereal status upon its target, making him/her immune to all physical damage, untargatable by right clicks, while amplifying the magical damage he/she receives by 30%/40%/50%/60% if it's casted upon an enemy target, or 25% if casted upon yourself or upon an ally . Its main utility during the early game is to control the creep equilibrium, to mess with the last hit/deny of the enemy laner and to save allies from ganks . By mid/late games, its main utility is to disarm right-clickers, to save allies who are getting focused by physical damage and to amplify the overall magical damage of your team against a specific enemy . It can be casted on Nether Ward to prevent it from getting destroyed.
  3. Nether Ward: It grants the ability to place a Nether Ward on the battlefield, which deals 1/1.25/1.5/1.75 magical damage for each point of mana spent . While deployed, a lvl 4 Nether Ward can deal a lot of damage against heavy-nukers and punish them so harshly that the enemy team is often forced to itemize specifically against it .
  4. Life Drain: A channeling skill that, when casted upon an enemy target, it deals 150/200/250 damage and it grants true sight of the target . It can heal allies on the same proportion of the damage it deals with Pugna, so if you're taking fewer magical damage or no magical damage at all, you'll heal less or you'll heal nothing at all.


(Lvl 10)+225 Health: Take it 100% of the time . The extra +225 HP is hella useful for a hero as squishy as Pugna

(Lvl 10)+3 mana regen: Don't even bother with this talent . The extra +3 mana regen is nice, but given how severily squishy Pugna is, you won't have the luxury to spare the +225 HP one.

(Lvl 15)-1s Nether Blast Cooldown: Having a shorter cooldown on Nether Blast is better if you're winning the game and if you need to spam it as much as possible . Another situation is if your team has already taken at least one barrack, but you can't finish the game because of split-pushing . In that case, a shorter cooldown allows you to keep all lanes advanced and it gives you an easier time into scaling to the late game.

(Lvl 15)+1s Decrepify Duration: The extra duration on Decrepify tends to be better if you have a nuker core or a Radiance wielder, who don't mind you casting decrepify on enemy heroes or against lineups who can't punish allied heroes who got decrepified . If you're fortunate enough to get Octarine Core later, this talent allows you to have almost 100% of uptime on Decrepify

(Lvl 20)+150 Cast Range: This talent is generally better in most games, for if it is paired with Aether Lens it grants you extra +370 casting range on all of your skills . With it, we can do all the Pugna things, like blasting towers, ghosting allies and enemies alike, and sucking the life out of every foe, from a safer distance

(Lvl 20)+0.75 Nether Ward Damage per Mana: This talent greatly increases the damage of your Nether Ward, so that it can scale against heavy-mana users who have itemized against it by buying Bloodstone or other stats items . If, however, the utility of Nether Ward is diminished in teamfights because enemy spellcasters are using Black King Bar to withstand its damage, and you're using both Decrepify and Life Drain a lot, then get the alternative talent instead.

(Lvl 25)+200 Nether Blast Damage: Take it 100% of the time . It allows you to sweep creep waves with one nether blast, and to sweep super creep waves with two nether blasts.

(Lvl 25)+50% Life Drain Heal: Don't even bother with this talent . It requires you to have at least an Aghanim's Scepter, Heart of Tarrasque or Octarine Core, and an item to get rid of silences and disables, or at least to prevent them, so that you can fully make use of it . A Black King Bar can fill both jobs here, but if you use it, you won't take damage from Life Drain, and as such, you won't be able to heal allies . And if you have Pipe of Insight or any other source of increasing magic resistance, you'll heal less than it should.

Decrepify: When not to use it

With a skill as complex as Decrepify, it is a common mistake among noob Pugna pickers to use Decrepify incorrectly, with the unintended consequences of either saving an enemy hero who's about to die, or worse, to kill an ally hero who'd survive without it

Given that there's too many IFs about how to use Decrepify, I realize that it is easier to list the scenarios where one SHOULD NOT use it:

  • An ally hero is right-clicking and intends to do so
  • An ally hero is getting focused by the enemy team, and either he has got a powerful DoT nuke from a hero like Viper, Venomancer, and/or he's getting blasted by any source of magic damage, or he's getting chased by a radiance wielder, and/or he can be finished off by a ridiculously powerful nuke at any time
  • An ally hero is about to use Black King Bar, or an allied Omni is about to Repel someone who needs it, or an ally Huskar, Juggernaut or Lifestealer are about to use one of their spells which grant magic immunity . However, if casting Decrepify upon them can save them from getting focused, do so.
  • If you have on your team one of the following heroes: Alchemist, Bristleback, Bloodseeker, Death Prophet, Juggernaut, Razor, Techies or Timbersaw, Decrepify will not amplify the damage of their most powerful skills and casting it on the enemy they're focusing will often backfire. The exception here is for Juggernaut, whose Blade Fury's damage can be amplified by Decrepify
  • An enemy hero who is receiving more physical damage than magical one, and none of your allies have a powerful nuke off cooldown to finish him/her/it off
  • An enemy hero either has an innate skill to dispel Decrepify, or has bought an item to do so, like Black King Bar, and you might be better off saving it to use on someone else. If that's not the case, then bait his Black King Bar

Starting items / skills

You start with Animal Courier, Tango, Enchanted Mango, Circlet and Gauntlets of Strength

Your first skill point is on Decrepify, mainly because it allows you to control the creep equilibrium. If your purpose is to retreat the wave, use it on your own ranged lane creep, while if the purpose is to advance the wave, use it on any enemy lane creep . Usually, against a weak enemy laner, you use decrepify to retreat the wave, while against a aggresive and pushing enemy laner(s), you use it to manage the creep wave, so that it can stay in front of your tower.

Other uses for Decrepify is to prevent the enemy laner from scoring a last hit or a deny, to save yourself or or an ally who is getting ganked, and occasionally, to stretch the survivability of lane creeps who are fighting a jungle camp, by decrepifying the creep with the biggest dps

By lvl 3, with 2 points in Nether Blast, 1 points in Decrepify and with at least one ally with one or two nuking skills that are not orb-based, it should be easy for you to fend off a weak offlaner or to score a kill on it.

Your main priority during the first 10 minutes should be to reach level 5, so that you can start mowing down towers . Until then, play it safe, upgrade the Animal Courier to the Flying Courier, make some stacks and some pulls whenever there is an opportunity, and avoid rotating through the map, but carry a teleport scroll if your mid or offlane is getting ganked

Again, if you are to teleport to a tower to save an allied who's getting ganked, use Decrepify carefully . If the ally isn't taking damage over time(DOT) or if one enemy hero is close enough to cast a spell on it, cast Decrepify on your teammate, while if your ally is about to be finished off by right-clicks from one enemy hero, while taking DoT, then cast Decrepify on the enemy hero instead

Once you hit level 7 and max Nether Blast, your main priority should be to bring down all T1 towers, but be very careful in doing so . If needed, place a strategic Observer Ward, place a Nether Ward close to the trees or on a path where the enemy team might come, and ask for help from a teammate .

Anti nuker build

If you have glanced at the skill tree of this build, you would realize that I skipped Life Drain . The reason being that life drain is a bit awful if you don't get at least 2 levels on Decrepify, and we're skipping that because we need lvl 4 Nether Ward by lvl 9, so that we can fully counter nukers during the whole of the mid game .

About talents, these are the ones you'll pick:

(Lvl 10)+225 Health

(Lvl 15)+1s Decrepify Duration: If your team is dishing out as much magical damage as the enemy team, that can be amplified by Decrepify or if you're facing Outworld Devourer, then pick this talent

(Lvl 15)-1s Nether Blast Cooldown: If you're not much in need of casting Decrepify a lot, this talent will prove to be more useful during the mid-late game, even more so with the cooldown reduction of Octarine Core

(Lvl 20)+0.75 Nether Ward Damage per Mana: Given that this build is built specifically to counter nukers, this talent allows you to punish them even more harshly

(Lvl 25)+200 Nether Blast Damage

Your core items here should be Arcane Boots, Aether Lens and Rod of Atos:
  • Arcane Boots should fulfill most of your mana needs during the early game, and it can be dissembled and reassemble, as you use the its Energy Booster to build Aether Lens or Lotus Orb or Octarine Core.
  • Aether Lens provides extra mana, mana regen, a little bit of extra magical damage and extra casting range and, the latter being extremely important for Pugna to contribute to teamfights without risking yourself getting positioned in a bad spot
  • Rod of Atos provides enough HP to allow you to survive the heavy burst damage you're facing and its root allows you to "fish" enemies who stray a bit too far in the wrong direction

From here, get either Lotus Orb or Pipe of Insight or Blink Dagger. Lotus Orb allows you to take a few punches, if you can't decrepify yourself in time, it allows you to deal with pesky silences or other annoying debuffs, and it can be used on allies to protect them from nasty spells or to purge certain debuffs . However, if enemy heroes still insist on casting spells, even under the threat of a Nether Ward, or if they got a Radiance wielder, then get Pipe of insight . Finally, Blink Dagger allows you to quickly follow up with your team's initiation, so that you can place your Nether Ward right at the heart of combat, and to position yourself to make the most use of Decrepify and Life Drain

By late game, get Boots of Travel and Octarine Core . Pairing Boots of Travel with the lvl 25 talent allow Pugna to be an unstoppable split pusher, who can mow down normal creep waves with one Nether Blast, and Octarine Core allows you to either spam Nether Blast non-stop or it allows you to cast Decrepify with 100% upkeep time.

Anti right clicker build

While in the nuking build, we skipped Life Drain at lvl 6, here we ignore Nether Ward until lvl 8 because we won't need it . Along with that, there are minor differences in the talents we'll be picking:

(Lvl 10)+225 Health

(Lvl 15)+1s Decrepify Duration: Given that this build is built specifically to counter right-clickers, and given the short cooldown of Decrepify, the extra duration can greatly minimize the right-clicking damage of the enemy team . And once you get Octarine Core, you can have 100% of upkeep time on it, which means that you can, in theory, permanently shut down any right clicker you wish or permanently make yourself or an ally immune to physical damage.

(Lvl 20)+150 Cast Range

(Lvl 25)+200 Nether Blast Damage

Your core items here should be Arcane Boots, Aether Lens and [[Ghost Scepter]:

  • Arcane Boots should fulfill most of your mana needs during the early game, and it can be dissembled and reassemble, as you use the its Energy Booster to build Aether Lens or Lotus Orb or Octarine Core.
  • Ghost Scepter might seem to be a redundant item, given that you have Decrepify . However, by the time you pick Pugna, the enemy team might be thinking into getting Diffusal Blade or Black King Bar to counter Decrepify, so Ghost Scepter can cover you on that front . Another advantage of Ghost scepter is that it allows you to be more aggressive in decrepifying enemies and allies alike
  • Aether Lens provides extra mana, mana regen, a little bit of extra magical damage and extra casting range, the latter being extremely important for Pugna to contribute to teamfights without risking yourself getting positioned in a bad spot

From here, get Aghanim's Scepter in case there's enough lockdown on your team, so that you can make most use of Life Drain . Else, skip it to other late game items, like Octarine Core or Ethereal Blade, or you can get any other situational item that better suits the game you're having, like Blink Dagger for example, that when paired with Ghost Scepter, it allows you to get away from heroes with a gap-closing skill or with Blink Dagger and with Diffusal Blade, that wants to jump upon you . It can also be used offensively, to catch annoying long-range right clickers, like Sniper or Drow Ranger

By late game, get Boots of Travel, Ethereal Blade and Octarine Core . With Ethereal Blade and Decrepify, you can save up to two allies at once from physical damage, and Octarine Core allows you to either spam Nether Blast non-stop or it allows you to cast Decrepify with 100% upkeep time.

Situational Items

  1. Solar Crest: If you're feeling lucky and your team is about to snowball hard with a deadly 5-man push preceded by a quick Roshan drive by, you should prioritize this item, even above Aether Lens, as it allows your team to quickly dispatch with Roshan, and it allows you to provide survivability to a sieger creep or to an sieger ally.
  2. Blink Dagger: Its greatest utility is to allow you to quickly follow up with your team's initiation and to quickly position your Nether Ward right at the heart of combat, while you can use the privileged positioning and timing to make the most use of Decrepify and Life Drain.
  3. Lotus Orb: It is the best item you can get to deal with silences and debuffs in general, casted on yourself or on one of your allies . Like Solar Crest, it also provides armor, in case you can't avoid physical hits and it provides mana regen to cover your needs.
  4. Pipe of Insight: It is a must have when one of the enemy heroes is about to pick Radiance or against nukers who are about to get Black King Bar or Pipe of Insight to counter your own Nether Ward.
  5. Eul's Scepter of Divinity: Euls is on a middle road between the defensive abilities of Lotus Orb and the offensive abilities of Rod of Atos, without offering the added survivability that Pugna desperately needs. Not recommended.
  6. Black King Bar: BKB is usually an inferior option to Lotus Orb or Pipe of Insight on Pugna, because, while under spell immunity, you can't Decrepify yourself and because either Lotus or Pipe offers more utility to your team . The only scenario where it can be considered to be a good option is if you're facing an enemy hero with a strong AOE lockdown, like Tidehunter or Disruptor or when you have bought Blink Dagger to follow up with your team's initiation and you find yourself right at the middle of the action.
  7. Linken's Sphere: If someone else on your team has already bought Lotus Orb, or if you need to protect an ally from devastating single-target skills, like Batrider's Flaming Lasso or Doom's Doom, or Legion Commander's Duel, then Linken's might be a good idea . However, Beware that its utility is more limited than Lotus Orb since you can't use its active to dispel debuffs.
  8. Ethereal Blade: Although a fairly expensive item, it allows you to further counter right-clickers.
  9. Refresher Orb: Having two Nether Wards, enhanced by the lvl 20 talent, allows you to harshly punish enemies who dare to cast spell close to both, even if their spells don't cost a lot of mana. Ideally, you want to buy Refresher once the Black King Bar's duration of the main enemy spellcaster is about to reach 6 seconds
  10. Dagon 5: With Decrepify, Pugna can deal at least 960 dmg on an enemy hero with base magic resistance in one zap . It should be the last item you'll buy on Pugna, and only after saving enough money for buyback.
  11. Gem of True Sight: You shouldn't be the one buying during the early/mid game, given how starved you are for items . But once you get most of the core items, you are in position to farm fast enough to afford one, if your team needs it.

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