So this is my first guide on DotaFire; I have read many guides on the site and I noticed there weren't many for Puck so I wanted to give it a shot. To be honest, I never really liked Puck until I saw a few replays of him and saw what he is capable of.
Puck is best used as a mid hero due to his reliance on his spells to get kills/assists and to survive in general. In addition, this build is reliant upon getting a blink dagger as soon as possible for a couple of reason that I will get into later.
As you can see, the starting items for Puck are mainly to boost his stats right from the start. Puck has a decent size mana pool, so I boosted it a bit more with the Mantle, in preparation for the Null Talisman.
If however, you are facing a Mid hero who is constantly harassing, this Mantle can be replaced with Gauntlets of Strength/Bracer.
Like most Mid Heroes, the bottle is essential. This will provide Puck with a steady flow of Mana/HP regen during the next phase of the game. In addition, this bottle will aid Puck with his survivability. When this bottle is utilized to its utmost potential combined with Puck's various escape techniques (Phase Shift, Orb, Blink), Puck can be a nightmare for the enemy team.
In addition to the bottle, you should also purchase boots to increase your movement speed to chase down enemy heroes on the run.
Finally, the most important item on Puck for survivability - the Blink Dagger. This provides Puck with an additional way to initiate a teamfight, or an escape mechanism when things go wrong. Combined with Phase Shift at its max level, it provides Puck with the necessary time for the Blink Dagger to Cooldown from being attached and blink out of danger.
Late Game Items
Depending on how well you are doing throughout the game ganking and getting kills/assists, this will determine how early/late you will get these items. I went with Power Treads simply out of my own preference. I like to have the Intel Boots to provide a bit more mana while I do not have much mana regen (other than the bottle). If you are maintaining good rune control, which you should be, then you should have enough mana & bottle charges to keep harassing and initiating without going back to the fountain. In addition, the treads provide one more measure for survivability if you switch to STR treads when HP gets low.
Scythe of the Vise is an AWESOME item for Puck in my opinion. Not only will this item help you alone to chase down enemy heros on the run, this item also allows the rest of your teammates to catch up as well while the enemy hero is hexed.
I know there are many luxury items that would be great on Puck, but I just listed the ones that I believe are most essential and efficient depending on the situation. Eul's, much like the Scythe can be used to slow enemy heroes and allow both you and your teammates to catch up. I like the Scythe better for the overall stat gain.
The Boots of Travel can replace the Treads late game if you find yourself with enough gold. It is not essential, but having a Global presence with Puck can be scary for the enemy team. He is already unpredictable, so why not give him an additional advantage.
The other items are to make Puck less squishy. The Rod of Atos and Linken's both give great stats to Puck to increase HP. Atos also provides an additional disable for Puck who already has a pretty scary arsenal. Linken's will give Puck some HP regen & a Spellblock every 20 seconds when you're not able to use Phase Shift or if it is on Cooldown.
As i stated earlier, there are countless items that would be great on Puck; these however, are the best and most efficient for him in my personal preference.
Illusory Orb - As you can see my focus is maxing Orb as soon as possible. Getting Orb at level 1 is key for almost any Puck build simply because of it's utility. This provides Puck an escape mechanism right from the start, allowing him to go up hills, through trees, etc. This build puts a 2nd point into Orb at level 3. Although this spell's damage does not increase as quickly as Waning Rift, the mana cost does not increase either - giving you increasing damage for harassing/last hits without having to worry about wasting too much mana. In addition, with this item build, your mana regen will be dependent upon your ability to maintain rune control.
Phase Shift - The next skill point goes into Phase Shift, providing Puck with another defensive skill that can help him avoid costly damage in the early game, taking away vital last hits that could slow down your bottle. Phase Shift, when used properly, is an amazing skill; allowing Puck to dodge possible ganks, tower hits, and almost anything else. 1 point in this will suffice for a while, mainly just to avoid stuns & tower hits early on. This skill will be maxed out between levels 12-14, increasing the Shift time to 3.25 seconds. At this point you should have already had your Blink Dagger, and combined with Phase Shift, you can survive almost any attack if used correctly. The Dagger has a cooldown of 3 seconds if you are attacked by an enemy hero; simply use Phase Shift(3.25 seconds) and blink out of danger when Dagger is available.
Waning Rift - Waning Rift a great AOE spell for Puck. Often used in combination with Illusory Orb, it not only deals out a good amount of damage, it also silences enemy heroes within its AOE. I put a skill point in Waning Rift at level 4 for the silence alone, giving Puck an additional defensive measure.
Dream Coil - Cream coil is taken at the usual spots, 6,11, and 16 maxing it out as early as possible. This is an excellent spell for Puck in team fights. Puck can use this any number of ways and I will get more into it later in this guide.
As stated before, Puck really excels when he is Mid-Solo. Although he can be played anywhere, Mid-Solo is the best place for him not only because of his ganking abilities, but also because for this build, Puck needs to get an early bottle and maintain rune control throughout the game.
The key to early game is no secret. Focus on last hitting until you have enough gold to buy a bottle. Once you have a bottle, you should have a few skill points into the Orb which allows you to start utilizing this as a tool to both harass your opponent, keeping him from getting vital last hits, and also to get last hits of your own and maintain lane control.
(Note: The Orb can also be used if you are being constantly harassed and having trouble last hitting. Time your Orb when enemy creep/s are low, and you can steal last hits. If you are lucky the enemy hero will retreat to avoid Orb, giving you a window to get in and maybe score a couple quick last hits.)
START EARLY AND MAINTAIN RUNE CONTROL. Invisibility/Haste/Regen/Illusions are ALL good for Puck to increase his ganking ability.
Puck should also start looking to coordinate ganks as early as possible starting at level 6/7. If possible and the opposing Mid Hero is low, Puck can dive past tower using Orb, but unless kill is sure thing, don't risk losing the gold.
At this point, Puck should be armed with Bottle, Boots, and a Null Talisman/Bracer depending on your choice from the start. Puck should continue to maintain rune control (have teammate ward if possible, if not, just check every 2 mins). In addition, Puck should be roaming from his Mid Lane to off lanes to try to gank enemy heroes that have strayed too far from tower.
Puck can act as initiator if there are no better option present on your team; but keep in mind he is pretty squishy if your teammates fail to join the fight in time. The most used combo for Puck is to Orb into the enemy hero/heroes and immediately cast Waning Rift, both damaging & silencing your enemies. If your teammates have failed to arrive at this point, Puck should cast Phase Shift in order to avoid being targeted with stuns/nukes/etc. At this point your team should have arrived to join the fight, and if not, you're probably out of luck.
Another combination that may be even more successful would be orb to Dream Coil, stunning the enemy heroes and essentially tethering them to a specific place. If they run too far, they will face additional damage and yet another stun. This initial stun would also allow you to cast waning rift, silencing them.
If you are able to perform enough ganks Early/Mid game you will be able to get the Blink Dagger in a reasonable amount of time - giving you yet another way to initiate/escape team fights.
I would also recommend keeping a Scroll (or two) handy in case an opportunity presents itself. If an enemy hero is taking tower hits, but is determined to bring the tower down, a quick TP spell combo could finish him off quickly and allow you to even deny the tower (best case scenario of course). The TP also gives you yet another escape mechanism, Orb into trees and TP back to fountain if necessary.
At this point, you should be roaming, still maintaining rune control - it is probably still your only form of Regen. If you have already gotten the Blink Dagger you are able to roam on your own - with enough escape mechanism to avoid half-*** ganks (this may not be the case if the other team has a lot of disables (i.e. Silencer, Doom, etc.)
At this point you should start your Scythe by getting a Void Stone - granting you that mana regen that you will probably need once you start using lvl 4 Waning Rift and Dream Coil. Also, depending on how your team is fairing in the game, you may not have access to the Runes anymore or you may not want to hault your push due to low mana. The Ultimate Orb should be your next choice for the additional stats as your HP is still relatively low. Finally, you will get the Mystic Staff, boosting Intelligence.
If played correctly throughout the game (ganking, team fights, etc.) you should be able to stop pushes and disperse the enemy heroes fearing ganks simply by using Orb from the fog.
At this point your next item choices are situational; you can go for Linkens for the HP regen & SpellBlock which will aid Puck while Phase Shift is on cooldown or you simply forget to cast.
Puck is not the most devastating hero, nor is he unbeatable, but he excels at hit and run tactics. He has so many potential combinations to get in, do damage, disable, and get out before the other team has a chance to hit him. Even if they have time to stun, a quick Phase Shift and Puck is good to keep going.
Unless the other team is stacked with early stuns/disables, an experienced Puck can own from the very beginning, crippling the opponents heroes and allowing his own team to gain mountains of EXP/Gold from ganks.
I have not played with Puck for very long - and I am sure I am missing MOUNTAINS of possible combos and situations, but this is what I have learned from my time as Puck.
Constructive Comments are welcomed.
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