His lvl 25 stats obviously can tell us that he's is tanky. With Flesh Heap his strength is very high.
So here's my guide for Pudge, the Butcher. Pudge is a melee strength-based hero, his main role is Ganker, which clearly defines his role through-out the whole game. He can be built in different ways and these build affect his playing style and behavior, items are the key.
Let's begin with his skills.
Rot is a quite unique skill, as it has no cooldown, no mana cost, has instant activation time and very interesting effect. While Rot is active, u deal damage in AoE to enemies AND yourself every ~0.3 seconds. The damage type is magical, so it really synergies with his passive skills and may define our desire to purchase Hood of Defiance to minimize the damage from Rot to ourself.
There are many uses of Rot. The main thing is that we can deny ourself, this, actually, requires skill, as you will need to deny yourself faster, than the enemy hits you, so timing is the key. Watch your hp, wait for enemy leave you with less than 60 hp and make sure you will have enough time before he will attack or cast a skill. This may take some practice, but oh hell this is USEFUL, as your enemies get NO GOLD NOR EXPIRINCE.
The Rot can be used to lasthit a creep. It is really helpful, as you can lasthit a creep even without attacking him, or if you already attacked but left just a bit of HP on him. But dont overuse it, we want to just double-tap the Rot skill, so we will deal about 20 more damage to the unit, which is quite enough.
The last thing where the Rot can be used with is, duh, killing enemies. Rot is very useful, as it slows enemies by 25%, dealing good DPS. The most important thing to remember is MS of the enemy hero, as it defines how we chase him. If enemies speed is about the same as yours, then we can allow ourselves to atuo-attack him, thus incresing output damage and still have him under the effect of Rot, this "Rot-walk" applies to the moments when you dont want to waste mana for skills, as this hero is very squishy, or you already used all the mana and the enemy want to run.
Kinda all about Rot, so let's proceed with his next skill.
Kinda nothing much to say, well, this grants him good magic immunity, which, surprisingly, WILL stack with Hood of defiance, which is good, as we obtain ~65% magic resistance. The great thing about this skill is that Pudge gains strength every time an enemy hero dies, even if you didnt kill him, so we want to be in every teamfight and gank as much as we can. I recommend picking Flesh Heap on lvl 10, as we collect bonus strength even before we get our Flesh Heap lvl 1, so we dont lose anything, and the Magic Resistance is gained from Hood.
The skill that makes Pudge so popular and interesting. This skill makes Pudge to throw a hook in a direction you clicked on different range. Range varies from lvl. Whenever hook hits a target (enemy or friend) it will pull him to Pudge. If the target is an enemy then it will deal him PURE damage, which means the damage will not get reduced by resistances. This skill makes Pudge one of the most awesome gankers, but Meat Hook requires sime time to master. The key to landing a good hook is learning the pattern of movement of a hero, so when you throw a hook in some point, when it reaches some range, the hero will walk there, thus pulling him to you. Meat Hook has a scaling range, depending on skill level nad it takes a while until you can intuitively land a hook using maximum range. Position and vision are the key to successful hook. Here is a picture of some good spots to land a hook marked with red dots. These sports are good, as they will separate a target from his team-mates, force him to walk under the tower. Some spots may even block a hero between you and obstacle, so you can have enough time to make him taste your smell. But ALWAYS feel free to hook even right in front of your enemy or from a different spot, it's and art, u'know ;)
Pudge's ultimate ability, disables a hero, dealing a minor magical damage, the meaning of this skill is to disable a hero for a good period of time, so you can use Rot at maximum effect. While using Dismember you can turn on\off your Rot skill, without breaking the channel. And as i mention it - yes, it is channel, so be careful for stuns. Dismember can be used in a tricky way to deny yourself, this is quite usefull, as you have 3 seconds to Rot freely and in the same time you can damage a chaser. But be aware, this trick will do it's job only at 1v1 chase, but still, you can try some luck. One thing to remeber is that Dismember cast range is bigger than your 128 attack range AND you Rot AoE, so sometimes after using Dismember in a bad way you can end up dealing no damage with Rot, so keep the range in mind, cast only when you're next to the enemy.
Almost forgot to tell, that Dismember is quite good to assist in killing Roshan, as 6 second disble helps a lot, but keep in mind his spell block, make someone to cast a weak targeted spell before you start chopping.
The basic Pudge's combo is Meat Hook --> Dismember+ Rot. It's quite simmple and very effective, as the target suffers from every skill you have. Another good move is to harass with Rot+autoattck, which will result an enemy to use skills or flee, in this situation we save Hook for the time the enemy gets too far from us. The third combo begins from Dismember, instead of Hook, i like this combo, as it's just enough to kill a squishy int hero. If the target has some escape ability or stuns and he will still have some hp after my Dismember+ Rot, i throw a Meat Hook in his face right before the Dismember channel ends (2.9 seconds). Oh yea, Pudge is deadly.
Items, as i said, define the gamestyle of Pudge, you maynot want to use Rot to farm creeps, if you dont have Hood, you may not want to gank a lot without wards, etc. I have tried a lot of builds on Pudge and I've managed to make a perfect Start-up for him.
Here we have two Iron Branch and Gauntlets of Strength, i buy them for +4 strength to become more tanky and some damage for lasthit, we also get more mana (our manapool becomes 208) which in result will give us mana for 2 hooks, without consuming potions and stuff. I get mysleft 2 packs of Tango, to heal minor damage from harasses, the thing i love in Tango, especialy while staying on a side lane, is that you can eat some trees, which will create us another spot to Hook. One Healing Salve is stored for an after-fb period, when we have a little HP left, as Rot deals decent damage, we kill, we heal, we continue to farm\roam. Clarity is our backup mana if we failed first 2 Hooks (or not), use it only when your mana is on zero (and never use it before you reveal that there's no Regeneration rune).
I did tried a Bottle build, but it has many side-effects: your lasthit is worse, you have less hp and mana, while having about the same healing effect, we get Bottle later.
Our first task is to get our Bottle, the best outcome is to get it after firstblood or 3 packs of creeps, you should have a courier to bring it to you. Bottle is very important, as Rune-control is very important to Pudge - every Regen we get means more ganks, every Hste rune we get means easy kill (oh god, it's so hilarious to have Pudge on 522 ms), every invis we get means easy Dismember+ Rot--> Meat Hook kill (better to gank side lanes with invis, as heroes there have much less HP and you will assist you mates), every DD rune will help us with Rot+Autoattack combo, and the damage is huge, every Illusion rune will get us a ward on rune spot (if you didnt ward) and a good distraction, to land an awesome Hook. And ALL of them refill your Bottle, so we keep our hp\mana full. Do remember to use your bottle before taking any rune, every sip counts. After all that we rush our Boots of Speed and Magic Wand, MOAR MANA. Dont be greedy to get a Town Portal Scroll, when you're at base, so you can gank sidelanes or get back to farm quickly.
I will start from boots. This is quite a big deal to pick a boot for Pudge, as it really changes his style and support for team. Arcane Boots give us mana for dismember every 45 seconds (yes, not enough for Hook), but we will bring 135 mana for our mates, which is good, but I dont like Arcane boots much, as they're harder to farm and give less profit as i may recall. The most epic boots for Pudge is, surely, Phase Boots. There are many reasons why. We get bonus movement speed on actication (our ms becomes 400), so we move LAIK A BAWS, control runes and get to side lanes much faster, and it IS important, we are gankers, we need to be fast. Another benefit from Phase Boots is to chase a hero, some heroes are fast and we need more speed to catch them in Rot or get closer to land a Meat Hook, Phase Boots do the job. And last benefit is a better lasthit, which is kinda not much, but still good. Someone recommend Power Threads on him, and i dont know why, he is tanky enough and attack speed means nothing on him until very late game. Boots of Travel are good on him too (380 ms), as we can be whenever we want and we have decent speed, but they are hard to farm and suitable for late game.
Hood of Defiance is ofcource a must on Pudge, as it raises his survivability and reduces damage from Rot, so we can farm creeps safely, the +8 regen is also a good bonus for us.
Aghanim's Scepter boosts our Dismember, incresing our survivability even more, as we heal ourself for enormous amount, while dealing the same amount of damage to enemy, not hard to farm, you can get it until 25 minute.
Extensions and situational items
As an extension we may count BoT and Pipe of Insight, granting us good spell block and roaming ability.
Force Staff has been always a funny items to use, but let's be serious - it's a great escape mechanism for Pudge, as well as a ganking item - pull yourself from highground or forest and begin with Dismember, or you can simply push a target to yourself. I did some experiments myself, and to be honest, I laughed like a stupid horse, when i pushed myself on this spot. Here's that moment I frapsed. /dota-2/item/urn-of-shadows-86
Items define hwo we kill and as much when we kill, so here's a brief list separated by levels, defyning what we should do. We can have two outcomes: Pudge on mid or on side line.
Pudge is somewhat an initiator that can turn the tide of all battle, as fighting 4v5 means a lot. Try to Meat Hook these sleeping princesses to your team, use Dismember if your team has only a few AoE stuns. The enemy team will want to save their teammate, so go and punch them. We will mostly Rot and punch their faces with autoattack, dont be greedy for Meat Hook just right in front of them, but keep in mind the situations, when 1 enemy flees. Your teammates will want to chase him too, so step aside, we dont want to Meat Hook a friend occasionally that will result to argueing who did a wrong thing. Pudge is desiring to hook, so everyone will kill enemy fast, but teammate blocked the Hook, very common situation, try to evade such Meat Hook.
Now let's find out which enemies we fear and which frieds we love.
12.02.12 - Guide created.
13.02.12 - Made all text look pretty, added vidoes. Build puplished.
I want to thank my friend jf^scrufie for reminding me of DotA world and giving me the key for Dota 2 beta, thus, making this guide to appear here. I also want to thank my friends for enriching my life with playing DotA with me.
I wish you like this guide, it will surely motivate me to create more.
All videos posted here were made by myself with Fraps, as these videos weight a lot, I made them with lower quality.
English is not my native language, so sorry for any syntax or grammar mistakes.