PUDGE the Butcher
This is my guide to my favourite hooker :D Pudge
This is a general guide with all my experience in it but it's a personal guide so if there are any mistakes or any comments you want to leave, please do so :D
Just a side note
- I have based the skill and item guides on a mid-roaming Pudge play style, any differences between the different roles will be explained in detail within their respective chapters
General Comments about Pudge
Pudge generally has a early-mid game ganker role in Dota 2. He specializes in moving an enemy hero out of a position into a position where his teammates can't help him and then disabling him or to a further extent kill him.
Pudge towards the late game serves only as a disabler and to a greater extent, a tank should the early game go well for the Pudge player.
Note: I am a Pudge player that enjoys a lot of mobility in order to be everywhere and feel like a threat to every lane on the map.
Since Pudge is such a lovable hero he's friends with everyone :D but the more friendlier heroes are those that grant vision, such as:
Zeus (his ulti)
As well as those that can make enemy heroes stop moving for a while i.e a disabler. It's even better if they are ranged stuns so that you don't accidentally hook a teammate.
Bloodseeker (for his ult that makes people want to stop moving)
Crystal Maiden (Bonus for that aura =w=)
Mirana (only if they can land those sick skill shots)
Nature's Prophet (Sprout can trap an enemy and you can't hook trees, also it can provide vision)
Also we must not forget his almost bestest friend:
Omniknight for the free bkb :3 and heal bombs
also special mention to
techies for obvious reasons such as mines to BLOW UP THE DINNER MWAHAHAHAHA :D
Foes of pudge are split into several categories.
First off are those with insane escapes and unless you play like DENDI which I'm sure a lot of you do, these foes of pudge are those that don't really care about being hooked and might escape within seconds. These heroes are also generally hard to hook from afar and unless you have a blink dagger they will probably not get hooked or even be near you.
QOP of pain
Ebola Spirit (Earth Spirit)
Secondly are those with invisibility skills which can always be tricky to hook, but with enough skill these heroes can also turn into food (yum)
Lastly would be those heroes that can straight up turn around and kill pudge easily without many items, those that can turn invulnerable for a short period of time or have insane heal/burst should they survive the ult
And as a pudge you must always be wary of those team fighters that you don't help them get that 5 man sick initiatiion, like Magnus Rp, Tidehunter Ravage, Earthshaker Ultimate
For the sake of being thorough, these are the heroes that are generally food for the pudge
Any and all squishy heroes
Special mentions to:
Pros & Cons
The Pros and Cons of Pudge are not terribly important to keep in mind.
- Huge feeling of satisfaction when you land a blind hook or when your enemies call you a hacker :D
- He's a killer. It's so much fun to KILL EVERYONE :D
- YOU CAN DENY YOURSELF :D SUCH FUN, it's like a huge middle finger to the enemy team XD
- Very difficult to master
- People will target you should they find out you're a good Pudge player
- People are starting to have experience against Pudge and therefore have started using counters such as wards which forces you to buy smoke or have brilliant positioning or just good supports that deward :D.
As for items I will try to explain one by one.
These items are pretty self explanatory.
allow you to sustain yourself against those range heroes or troublesome heroes such as ember spirit.
give you those extra stats for extra damage and tankiness, not to mention letting you get that urn of shadows earlier than expected
just for those early hooks if you see a chance at kills.
First real item to rush for, this will give you everything you need for the early few minutes of the game. Sustained mana for your hook as well as hp for your rot.
Boots of Speed
Next is the boots of speed just for the extra movement speed so that your prey does not escape you, and you can get away from those that may want to cause you harm.
Urn of Shadows
Second main item is urn of shadows. This allows for you to get that little bit more mana regen as well as healing teammates after a gank or damaging that enemy hero that might get away at almost no hp.
NB only go for this item if no one on your team has expressed that they want to buy this item
Next item is phase boots. This is my favourite type of boots out of all of the upgraded ones.
I have seen many Pudges purchase Tranquil Boots, but I feel that this makes pudge slower once he has attacked someone and therefore allow the enemy to run away, also it makes escape a lot harder.
Mana boots are also another choice that many people have picked up, but with enough map control and you as a threat looming around runes, you should be able to control the runes and have abundant mana from your bottle.
Teleportation boots are the last other type of boots that are purchased on pudge which to me seems like a lot of wasted gold for very little reward as your mana problem will increase and there is not that much of a higher chance of you getting kills.
I prefer phase boots as they allow for me to chase people down and make sure they know that they are my food :D. Phase boots are great for getting through those pesky creeps that might block your hook.
Third big item is a force staff. I prefer rushing this item over blink dagger for the following reasons:
This item can not only get you into fights but also out of them
This item also gives you extra intelligence and stats that every pudge out there loves and craves.
This item can be bought in separate portions therefore even if you die you won't lose that much gold should you die
Finally the blink dagger. The SURPRISE BUTTSEX item for pudge. By the time that you get this item, you should have quite a fair bit of stacks on your flesh heap and you should be getting quite a bit tankier. Use this item to blink in towards the enemy and directly ulti them. They won't be able to move for the duration of the channel and that sets up for a nice close hook. Blinking into trees and such also allow for sneaky hooks and insurance that they can not escape.
The items that follow all depend on the situation and as a Dota player you will need to assess the situation and pick the one most appropriate for your team to win.
Heart of Tarrasque
TANKINESS, with this item most pudges become immortal. This item provides all the necessary damage and strength for any pudge to last for a huuuuuge amount of time.
Buy this item if you are comfortably ahead or if your team requires a strong tank to stand in the front lines and absorb damage.
Pipe of Insight
This item gives not only yourself but everyone on your team protection from magic damage. This also negates a lot of damage from rot.
Buy this item if the enemy team deals a lot of magical damage. This also gives you effective tankiness should the enemy team rely on magic damage.
This item is my personal favorite to go for after purchasing my core items. It gives armor, which translates to effective hp against normal attacks as well as a lot of mana for you to never have to run back to base.
Buy this item if the enemy team is running away a lot and you as a pudge are quite far ahead of everyone on the enemy team, where you don't need massive tank but a way to slow and kill them.
This item is the favorite of many pub pudges. It heals you for the damage dealt to enemy heroes by your ultimate. I personally do not purchase this item often as I enjoy moving around a lot and not needing to be in the middle of a fight trying to lock down their heroes.
Buy this item if you are often on low hp when you are able to get an ultimate off or you want a fast mana costly way to heal during battles that allow for you to stay outside of the base for a longer period of time.
Boots of Travel + upgrade
This item is just a general lategame item where you can move around the map freely without needing to run back and forth from base.
Buy this item if your team need a split push or a fast attack on the enemy ancient. Or if you are 6-slotted and just want a new pair of boots :P
I felt as if this item needed a special mention as it can be very effective when purchased at the right time. I have almost never purchased this item on my pudge as I play pudge as a disabler at a distance so the enemy team should not be around to attack me without me being able to do something about it.
Buy this item if the enemy team is always killing you and you're the only tank and initiator in the team.
Items for teh lols
These are the items that I purchase for the laughs and I would definitely recommend buying if the game is 100% in the bag.
for a secure stun and with a force staff and blink it could make for a hilarious lockdown on the enemy
is always nice for a carry pudge ;)
to make them fly in the air and attack themselves onto your hook
cause "POP you're dead" is always funny :D plus ez killsteals :P
and Shadow Blade
to make your opponents mad and for you to be sneaky like ninja
Explanation of skills and Tips
Meat Hook is the bread and butter Pudge. This is the reason Pudge is the most picked hero in all of Dota 2.
Pudge's hook pulls an enemy hero towards Pudge and nothing stop the enemy from landing next to Pudge and probably becoming his next meal. In essence it is a point targetted spell, where if it lands on an enemy hero it deals not only a massive amount of damage but also drags the enemy hero towards Pudge.
But be careful, the hook drags any moving object including friendly heroes, enemy and friendly creeps even to the extent that it hooks neutral creeps as well.
The only things not hooked by Meat Hook are Wards, Couriers, Trees (duh :D), Towers & Buildings(just for the sake of covering everything). This spell is so great it even hooks and damages magic immune targets, with the usage of Bkbor Lifestealer's Rage^ermagerd dat pic tho
This skill is quite difficult to master so obviously one must always be willing to spend a lot of time playing and watching players.
Number 1 thing to remember
is the hardest thing to change when it comes to any human being is their behavior
, therefore you must be patient and observe the behavior of your enemies:
- The newer players aren't as aware of their surrounding and tend to stand still. So when you play against newer players you can normally target them straight and hook them that way.
- The average player are ones that know to fear Pudge and generally run away when confronted with a Pudge. These ones only run away from Pudge in straight lines, therefore you need to watch them with patience and aim your hook in front of them taking into account that it takes a while for the hook to travel. In order to get a sense of the speed, one must just practice and practice.
- The experienced players are the hardest to hook because not only do they run away but also in different directions. These players must either be surprised and hooked when they are not expecting it, but generally you must try to Blink/Force Staff yourself into such a position so that no matter where the enemy runs the hook will land. Generally that is behind the enemy towards their base. Most experienced players when playing a hero with an escape such as blink dagger and antimage/qop blink either towards their base by double tapping the icon, or towards trees so that they have time to use their teleportation scrolls and escape. These depend on the player and by learning the player's preferences you can 'predict' their escape patterns. This will take time, observation skills and above all patience. So have fun fishing :)
Just remember, missing hooks isn't the biggest problem in the world, as long as you still do your job.
This is the greatest source of damage over time for Pudge. Pudge's rot not only deals damage around the hero in an AoE (Area of Effect) but also a slow around Pudge.
But don't forget that Pudge's Rot does damage to Pudge as well as the enemy so use wisely.
Rot is blocked by magic immunity so be careful around heroes with magic immunity and using this spell
This skill is very simple to use. There are only 2 points to remember
Firstly always use rot after throwing a hook. Regardless of hook hitting the enemy or not, you never know. This is a tip that I picked up after playing against many Rubicks. Rubicks enjoy stealing hook as it lets them show off their own skills. So using rot regardless both prevents that few seconds where your reactions are fast enough to hit the button without wasting those few seconds.
Secondly, since this spell deals damage to Pudge as well, don't forget that you can COMMIT SEPPUKU SHOULD YOU HAVE SHAMED YOUR FAMILY AND BETRAY YOUR HONOR, *ahem* I mean if you are about to die and there is no chance of surviving, you can use this skill to suicide yourself and prevent the enemy team from gaining any gold and experience.
Flesh heap is a passive for Pudge where with every death of an enemy hero in the area around Pudge, a stack is added onto Pudge. Each stack provides bonus Strength that increase with every point added to the skill.
The passive also provides a set bonus magic resistance that doesn't increase with deaths around Pudge.
There aren't many tips to give in regard to Flesh Heap since it is a passive ability.
The only note to give is that flesh heap stacks are added even if the ability hasn't been skilled yet, so GO CRAZY AND KILL ALL THE ENEMIES :D
Dismember is Pudge's Ultimate ability. Pudge's ultimate is a channeled disable that also deals damage to enemies.
Dismember still disables magically immune but deals no damage so when the enemy has magical immunity it is almost completely 100 just a disable that does nothing else.
Dismember can be upgraded by Aghanim's Scepter and which increases the damage done by dismember by a multiplier of the amount of strength Pudge currently has. Dismember also heals Pudge by the amount of damage dealt by dismember.
Dismember is quite a simple spell to use.
Tips include, USE ROT
, rot can be toggled on and off whilst the ultimate is being channeled so use it to damage the enemy or stop damaging yourself if the enemy is being disabled at a distance greater than the rot radius.
Also, don't forget to know when to stop using ultimate. Some times it is worth it to stop channeling ultimate. Those times include if the entire enemy team is attacking you and none of your teammates are around to help fight with you.
Thereafter I will explain why I chose this particular skill build.
Level 1 Skill
For my first few games with pudge I always went with hook first but I will list a few reasons below why I generally pick rot first
After you hook someone there is literally no follow up should the enemy have higher movement speed or a method of escape. Even if you hook an enemy onto your side of the river, Pudge generally has a low movement speed so many enemy heroes are able to easily escape
Rot even at level one deals quite a decent amount of damage, therefore with a little bit of practice one can get gold and fast items with rot. There is also a sustained usage of this skill to last hit even if it deals damage to Pudge due to the two bracelets of strength and dual salves.
With this spell enemy heroes that get in close to Pudge with low amounts of hp will die to that smelly smell, that smelly smell that smells smelly. With the first double bracelets gives Pudge that extra tankiness to outlast most heroes. Most of the time when some heroes see a Pudge running at them with rot on will run away 9/10.
But I recommend keeping the skill point until you are in the laning stage.
When fighting for the rune at 00:00, I recommend to keep the point just in case it can land you a kill with the nuke rather than the rot.
Level 2-3 are pretty simple and obvious. Maxing hook is the first priority as it deals a pure damage nuke against the enemy no matter what. Should you have picked hook at level 1 rot must definitely be skilled at level 2 as it offers the most to the player.
Level 4 is a highly disputed level. At level 4 I personally skill one point into Flesh Heap for the magic reduction and for a faster tankiness increase.
Most players skill up rot as there is increased slow plus damage and the stacks gained from flesh heap increase even if the skill is not leveled.
This is just a preference skill-up as I enjoy roaming the map and not even needing to go back to base for heal-ups.
These levels just require a maxed hook
, first, without neglecting ultimate as it disables and deals tons of damage if the enemy is disabled next to Pudge.
is the second skill to max as it deals a large amount of damage to the enemy plus with Pudge's Flesh heap providing magic resistance, not to mention slows and ez kills :D
The last ability to max is Flesh Heap
with the obvious exception of maxing ultimate. Flesh Heap only provides extra strength points for each flesh stack.
Different Possible Lanes (Mid)
Pudge can be played in every role with enough skill and knowledge but some roles are always just better than others :D
I will mostly sort Pudge into different laning possibilities rather than roles as he fits into all the different roles.
The best possible lane for a Pudge to go is middle lane. This is the lane where Pudge can get his fast early levels for maxed hook and his ultimate to be an efficient ganker, plus it allows for more control over the runes and ganking possibilities.
Pudge should stay in the mid lane until he gets bottle. When you purchase bottle you have to maintain control over the runes. Runes give you a massive advantage over the enemy team and allows for easier kills. I will describe how each rune should be most effectively used.
- Haste: RUN AT THEM, try to run at a different lane as the enemy on the mid lane, has a very close tower to run to. The other lanes have towers that are further away for the enemy and also friends to help you kill them.
- Invisibility: Use on any lane. Stand right next to an enemy hero and SURPRISE THEM WITH AN ULTI TO THE FACE. Invisibility is like a free and more trustworthy blink dagger where you can ulti someone out of invisibility and set up for an ez hook
- Illusion: There are few different ways to approach this rune. Either use it as a farming tool and use them to help last hit in lane, or use them as bait and methods of gaining vision in a lane. When used in lane, the illusions also deal damage so when you use all both illusions and your actual hero, you can deal more damage to creeps as if a creep dies to either your illusions or your original.
- Double Damage: Double damage can either be used in a gank, where you rot next to them and hit them with normal auto-attacks. Double damage should generally be used to help last hit in lane unless it is unlikely for the ganked enemy to escape (due to either friends with stuns or hooking enemies into cramped spaces where they are blocked.
- Regeneration: With this rune your aim is to throw as many hooks and ults as possible and then use regeneration in order to replace all the used up mana. This rune is just a free fountain trip for Pudge and doesn't give that much.
- Bounty:: GOLD, and experience, but that's about it. This rune helps Pudge only by getting level advantage or those items quicker as well as bottle charges should Pudge need any.
If you are in the mid lane, STOP LANING AT LEVEL 7
I cannot make this more important. Pudge is generally useless in the late game and only shines during the early to mid game where the enemy feels threatened by a Pudge. Once your reach level 7 let another team member farm the lane, and ROAM. The power of Pudge lies in his ability to make every scared of farming, especially in their lanes, slowing down their farm.
Different Possible Lanes (Support Safe-lane)
This is the next best position for a Pudge to play in. Due to the changes in 'recent' patches Pudge currently has a massive 1000 range on his hook at LEVEL 1. ERMAGERD
This makes for a very effective zoning skill as it strikes fear into the heart of any enemy, except maybe Axe and the like.
The difference in this build is that Pudge isn't a solo roamer but a team fight helper, therefore the skill and item builds change in respect to that.
Skill build changes
Hook becomes the first skill to level up as you want to trade hits with the enemy heroes in your lane without hurting yourself. So rot in this instance is not leveled as Pudge isn't trying to get those extra last hits nor is he trying to make sure people don't escape.
At level 4 I don't get the value point into Flesh Heap anymore, as you are more than welcome to run back to heal a few times. Leveling Rot rather than Flesh Heap allows you to provide more damage and slow for your team in comparison to the bonus magic resistance and strength for yourself only.
Every level thereafter is similar, where Hook = first max, then Rot and last Flesh Heap, and upgrading ultimate when it becomes available.
Item build changes
For the starting items, the changes are that you are going to try for an urn rush rather than bottle rush.
As a Pudge support you will want to be the one to buy the wards rather than the courier, as that allows you to get a lane ward and a rune ward
(unless you share one to the other lanes, where you will prioritize lane ward over rune ward and trust that your mid will call missing, or be super map aware :D)
Enchanted Mango gives you that little bit of extra mana should you have a potential kill on the enemy or a save on a fellow teammate, most noticeably your carry. Use enchanted mango for that burst of mana on anyone, remember that you can force feed your mango on your fellow teammates :D.
Tango gives you a bit of more survivability against enemy harasses whilst you trade blows with them.
Gauntlets still serve the same purpose where it gives you extra strength stats as well as allowing for you to transition into an urn of shadows.
Ironwood branches = gg branches :D
Your core items are more team fight or team supporting items.
Urn of shadows
provide heal for teammates after fights
= chase enemy on low health, escapes, Force Staff teammates to save them as well
Arcane Boots (Mana boots)
, This time I purchase mana boots as it does give you mana for your hook as well as providing mana for your team. Everyone loves extra mana :D
, This is the most surprising pickup for a support Pudge.
Glimmer Cape provides a free cheap way of making a teammate invulnerable. Invisibility = invincibility :D, not to mention a massive amount of magic resistance AT A RATE OF 4 SECONDS COOLDOWN.
As a support your situational items can also be called luxury items :D
First of all you need to assess what your team needs most and adapt your build to it.
If your team is based on pickoffs
and need to keep killing in order to survive.
Purchase either a:
Eul’s scepter of divinity – It grants extra movement speed, extra mana regeneration and even a disable you can hook an enemy out of.
Aghanim’s Scepter – It grants all round stats, as well as a way for you to heal up on enemy heroes as well as deal more damage.
If your team is based on pushing
think of buying either a:
Guardian Greaves – Gives everyone around you mana and hp every time you use it so that you stay outside the enemy base for as long as you want plus passive regen and armor is always nice.
Lotus Orb – This item allows for one person to stand on the top of the stairs and siege the tower without fearing targeted spells. Lotus orb also has insane cooldown which allows you to spam it on anyone that is trying to tank the tower and kill it without needing to invest too much.
If your team is based on team fights
the best items are those that will let you do just that are:
Pipe of Insight – Pipe gives everyone passive regen, magic resistance and the active gives everyone a shield to protect them from magical damage.
Ghost Scepter – This item is a more selfish item as you use it to save yourself against the enemy right-clickers i.e. those that depend on their auto-attacks to deal damage.
Assault Cuirass – This item is a very situational item as it is a very expensive item and Pudge does not need the extra attack speed that it provides, but this item also gives your team passive armor and reduces the enemy armor. It does help with team fight :D
Black King Bar – Black King Bar IS VEEEEEEEEEEEERY situational. Only ever purchase this item if the team REALLY needs your disable and the enemy has A MILLION ways of cancelling the channel. Buy with caution.
NEVER FORGET TO REGULARLY BUY WARDS AND DEWARDS, ALSO BUY SMOKES FOR GANKS
Different Possible Lanes (Jungle)
NB THIS CAN ONLY HAPPEN ON THE RADIANT SIDE
Even though it is not a lane, and it is EXTREMELY INEFFICIENT Pudge can also become a jungler.
This method of playing Pudge is only ever used if you are desperate. Off-lane has a solid solo hero, mid has a better matchup, Safe-lane only requires the 2 of them and your team can pretty much win the early game 4v5. The described method will require a lot of practice in a lobby during your spare time as it is semi-difficult to pull off.
This method depends on a low levelled hook on Pudge and excellent timing.
First off, you will be pulling creeps constantly at Bottom lane on the radiant side, at your tier 2 tower. The camp that is pulled is the one by the radiant cliff by the tier 2 tower.
Yes, I know this sounds crazy but bear with me.
In order to accomplish this, you need to cut down the trees that are in-between the top of the ledge and the camp also those few trees inside the camp so that you can see the camp and hook the tankiest creep in the camp
Next step is to hook that creep from that camp towards your tower so he ‘climbs’ the cliff.
The timing is generally at :58 or :28 which is 2 seconds before the spawning of that wave of creeps.
The creep will attack you a few times then start running towards it’s camp. During the time when it will still attack you, you need to run downwards towards your tower. This forces the creep to run that direction as its closest route to its camp. The route that it will take will go pass your tier 2 tower. If you have timed this correctly the creeps that are running towards your lane will become agroed and start attacking the neutral creep that is fleeing.
This counts as a successful ‘pull’ towards that first camp, but since you already 'nuked' the most tanky creep try to get all the creeps at the camp so that they run through the jungle to return to the lane. This means NO HITTING THE CREEP YOU HOOKED AT ALL.
As your lane creeps run through the jungle you need to keep ahead of them so that you agro each neutral camp before the creeps run past them. This takes a lot of practice at timing and when to leave each camp to chase the next camp.
This is a very inefficient method of jungling plus it is very obvious to the enemy team as they will not be getting lane creeps for many waves.
Hint: use clarity potion right after the lane creeps are pulled so that you regen mana without wasting any time
Another Hint: you can chop all of the trees require from the top of the ledge so you don't need to run into the camp to chop them trees.
You will want to delay leveling up hook at all costs before level 6 as it will cause more damage to your creeps risking the fact that they might die before reaching the camp and that would mean your lane creeps will run through the lane and not the jungle.
So the skill build must be followed exactly as narrated in the skill build for jungle Pudge mentioned above.
NB AT LEVEL 6 STOP JUNGLING, GO HELP THE TEAM BY GANKING AND ROAMING
Thereafter the build returns to normal with maxing hook then rot then flesh heap.
As this method of farming is very inefficient you will want to get the most cost effective items therefore forgoing urn of shadows and bottle.
The Starting items
is a must for this method of jungling as you need vision of the camp.
just for the mana regen so that you can keep hooking those creeps
For a burst of mana should you want to go gank a lane
Ironwood Branch = GG branch
Hood of Defiance
is the only new core item here as should your ganking go poorly you can retreat back into the jungle and farm away the shame and despair.
Boots of Speed
Here I left the core boots at just boots of speed as going for any other upgraded boots isn't going to give enough bonus due to the poor start. Normal boots is enough for Pudge to do his job and be a good addition to the team.
Buy more utility base items that help your team and yourself in any and every way.
BUY ANY ITEM YOU WANT, LITERALLY, any item you can justify on getting onto Pudge, go for it.
So in summary, Pudge is a lot of fun to play :D, call that mid lane, get those items depending on the situation, have patience. Practice makes perfect ^^
AND GL HF <3