Hi! This is my first time adding my personal build and game style for my favorite hero so you might talk trash to me but I'll respect your opinion since we all have our own styles in playing this character. Still, this is going to be fun.
Feel free to comment and share your thoughts :)
Pudge is a very useful hero and can sway the tide of the game to your team's favor if used properly. But if not, your Pudge is going to be nothing more than a walking observer ward with a hook whose accuracy is 10%. This guide is going to help you in making sure that you'll be useful even if you're not that good in hooking. (Disclaimer: You might end up dying two or three times especially if you will rattle while in the middle of ganks so make sure to pack a lot of confidence and belief that you can execute your gank properly)
Offlane - Pudge is usually at the offlane of the team so it's going to be important to familiarize yourself with the surroundings you'll be in so that you can increase your effectivity. If you only have one lane partner, it's very important to assess the heroes you are up against in your lane. If you are pitted against soft heroes such as Sniper and Drow Ranger, it's important to gain the advantage early by positioning yourself at areas wherein the heroes will stand idly while hitting your creeps. It's also important to coordinate with your teammate so that when you are able to successfully hook your enemy, they can follow it up with their own skills to ensure that you can control the lane. Before, I used rot as my first skill since the slow and the damage received by the enemy was much higher at level before but since they have already reworked Pudge's rot, it's very unwise to do so not unless you have two teammates in your lane with you. If the enemy hero has skills to escape (such as Anti-Mage or Spectre), it's very important that there is synergy between you and your allies to make sure that you can kill that hero because if not, you'll only be wasting your mana. If you'll also notice, I prioritized rot over hook. It is because once you get Dismember, your Dismember can immediately kill a hero with a much more lethal level of rot.
Mid - Now I normally do offlane with Pudge but on certain circumstances, I play him at mid. Now, many will not be pleased with the choice but a well-fed Pudge is a dangerous Pudge especially in the mid game. When you are laning on mid, it's very important to choose the creeps you kill. Most midlane heroes are ranged so you will be receiving a lot of hits from them so it's very important to be mindful of your enemy's skills and his play style. If your opponent is aggressive, you need to make sure that you control the creeps that you are in. Lane control is important here so not every enemy creep needs to be killed. If you're against Sniper or Drow Ranger, buying an early Smoke of Deceit is important so that you can blindside them especially when they get too comfortable with hitting the tower. If you're against a Storm Spirit or an Invoker though, make sure to stockpile on some Infused Raindrops so that you can minimize the damage taken from their magical attacks. Once you reach level 6, you now have an option to kill an enemy or to gank your safe lane or your offlane, depending on which is more convenient for you. Always be mindful about runes as well as it can help you dominate the lane or prevent your enemy from dominating you. Make sure to purchase the Tome of Intelligence so that you can level up faster and hasten your ganks or keep up with your opponent just in case you are falling behind in the level department.
My game play for Pudge in the mid game is very chaotic. Once I am able to purchase a Blink Dagger, I tend to be too aggressive (which can either make you or break you in the game). Always look for the weakest hero and while you don't have a blademail with you yet, make sure to pick your spots so that you won't get yourself killed. Always try to aim for the softest heroes or enemies with low HP so that you can easily get the kill. Last hitting is not really necessary at this point because you already have a blink dagger and you should at least gank someone so that you won't be called useless. Once you get the Blademail, you should be always ready to make yourself the target of every enemy. It's better to surprise them that you already purchased your blademail so that when you blink towards them, they will be confident enough to attack you not realizing you already have your item. It's very effective for heroes such as Legion Commander, Phantom Assassin, Templar Assassin, Sniper and basically all heroes which are more damage oriented. If your enemy hero has a shadow blade, make sure to carry a Dust of Appearance so that your efforts won't be wasted. Every minute is important in the midgame as if you fall behind at this time, it will be very hard for you to be tanky in the later part of the game (if necessary). Your next item should be a Rod of Atos. Atos is an item which can help you increase the efficiency of your kill or save yourself from being chased by enemy heroes. A Rod of Atos also makes sure that even if the enemy forcestaffs away, you'll be able to keep them at a certain distance for a moment. Coordination with your teammates also is very important at this stage. Do not try to gank a hero alone especially if there is no wards in the area. You might fall into a trap or enemy reinforcements will arrive to save their comrade. So you need to be careful about ganking. Be more disciplined. Just because you can kill a hero alone doesn't mean that you should. By the way, I really don't see the use of an Aether Lens for Pudge because it will only make your hook longer (with a bit of a damage increase of course) but if you're missing all of them, what's the point of getting an abnormally longer hook?
This is where Pudge loses some usefulness in the game since this part is focused on the carries of your team. Your role in this part is going to be removing one of the enemies (more preferably those whose skills can disable all of your teammates such as Enigma, Earthshaker and Witch Doctor)so that they cannot effectively initiate their plan. Being aware of advantages with your area is also important which can increase your efficiency. You should also save your carries just in case they are stuck in an unfortunate situation. You can dive in the heart of the enemy while activating blademail to surprise them which gives a little bit of time for your carry to at least survive or initiate their counter attack. You can also use hooks in saving your teammate. Don't be stupid and save your hooks to steal a kill, use it for the sake of your team. If you are defending your tier 3 tower from an incoming enemy push, I really recommend you to dagger into the side of each tower (where it is covered by trees) and hook one of them from there. From that point, you can either dismember the hooked enemy or dagger away to focus on the remainder of the enemies that are pushing which gives you time to fight your opponent on a 4 v 5 situation. Lastly, make sure to be aware of the item of your enemies so that you can properly counter them with your item selection. Ghost Scepter never fails just in case you're against an Anti-Mage, Juggernaut or Phantom Assassin while Forcestaff can give you or your teammate distance.
In the early game, I try to really make use of Rot compared to a hook because it can catch your opponent off guard if you just hit some creeps then slowly move towards them and rot the hell out of them while hitting with your physical attacks. When their life is almost gone, you can hook them at pointblank range so that you can get the kill instantly (if you miss the hook, you seriously need some practice with hooking).
I also will try to max both Meat hook and rot first before adding a Flesh Heap. Before, Flesh heap will give you an added magic resistance on top of the added strength gain per kill but now, there is no magic resistance. Also, Flesh heap is retroactive so you can just stockpile kills that occur within your vicinity and just add flesh heap when you are level 11.
For your talents, I highly recommend the +30 XP so that you can level up faster (works with Tome of Intelligence as well. +13% Spell Lifesteal is useful so that you can be more tankier and some of the health you lost will be regenerated back over the rot slow (which is actually a good choice as well especially if you have fast moving heroes but it also makes you less bulky in team clashes when you activate your rot). +180/gpm. Do I even have to explain myself here? And the last, it was really hard choosing at first what to pick but I ended up going with +2.0 Flesh heap stack strength because it will increase your HP more thus making you tougher to kill. On certain situations, I pick +3 Dismember duration, just in case I have a BKB and I dismember any carry that has a BKB. Dismember disables the hero though they do not receive damage but it can still cripple the opponent's team giving your time to wipe them all out or take some of them out.
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