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4 Votes

Pudge - Let the Hooks Begin

December 4, 2012 by Afkz
Comments: 3    |    Views: 18843    |   

Build 1
Build 2
Build 3

Mid - Heavy Ganking

DotA2 Hero: Pudge

Purchase Order

Starting Items

Quelling Blade
Healing Salve

2 min mark


Core (either boots works)

Phase Boots
Magic Wand
Pipe of Insight
Boots of Travel

Luxury (depends on situations)

Black King Bar
Blade Mail
Force Staff
Linken's Sphere
Shiva's Guard
Aghanim's Scepter
Heart of Tarrasque
Assault Cuirass

Hero Skills

Meat Hook

2 3 5 7


1 4 8 9

Flesh Heap

10 12 13 14


6 11 16


15 17 18


Besides his natural tankyness against magic, Pudge is one of the best ganker type heroes DotA 2 has to offer. No other hero has the possibility to completely screw over your opponents strategy like a well landed hook to separate an enemy from his team. I would also like to mention that Pudge, the Butcher is everything but a hero that new players should play. It needs a lot of knowledge and experience to be a good Pudge since you have to know exactly where the pathing of DotA 2 will make your enemies go.

If you are still interested in learning the way of the Pudge, be ready to horribly fail the first games. If you hit one out of ten hooks, you either did well for the start or your enemies were afk. I would recommend that you at least try to play him two to three times in Co-op bot games, since you are most likely to ruin the game for your team by either not landing a hook, being useless or even worse, hooking your own teammates away from an escaping enemy.

Before playing as Pudge, you should at least read the Basics divisions and memorize the spots from where you can land a good hook for early ganks.

Pros and Cons


    Pub Stomper.
    One of the best gankers in the game.
    A disable that goes through magic immunity.
    When having a good early game, snowballs your team.
    One well placed Meat Hook may win an already lost game.
    Extremely fun to play.

    Very high skillcap because of his Meat Hook.
    Very low armor.
    Low manapool.
    One badly placed Meat Hook may put your team at a disadvantage.
    His ult is easily stoppable in team fights.

Stats and Lore

Basics - Abilities

Q: This is your bread and butter skill. It is the reason why Pudge is feared among both, your enemy and your team. You want to max out Meat Hook by 7 because of its range gain. This ability will target the first unit it hits, both hostile and friendly targets can be hooked, allowing you to save teammates that are facing certain death. This is also the reason why Pudge is considered a very hard to play hero.

Also worth to mention is that the hook deals a mini-stun to the hit target, means that it interrupts channeled abilities like a scroll of town portal. Allies are not effected by the mini-stun.

The damage type of this ability is Pure. This means, that it will always deal the full amount of damage, completely ignoring both armor and magic resistance. Another notable characteristic of this ability is, that it passes through catapults giving enemies an illusion of safety. You may even catch a leaping Mirana in mid-air for an easy angling with a price of 1.8 strength.

The range for level one to four is as follows:

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4

Another example for the huge range of the level 4 Meat Hook can be found here

W: This ability is used to either chase down hooked enemies, to last hit creeps that you failed to kill with a physical attack or to kill i.e. deny yourself since it damages both your enemy and Pudge himself. This skill will be maxed second.

E: The Butcher gives new meaning to the words meat shield. These words could not bear more truth. As long as you are close to a dying opponent, or you deny yourself, you will get one stack of Flesh Heap (even if you have not gotten a single point in this ability, will the stack be saved for the future). Each stack will increase Pudges strength by up to 1.8, making him one of the best snowballing heroes in the game as well as giving him up to 16% additional magic resistance.

Note: With this ability at level 4 and a Hood of Defiance, you will have a total magic resistance of 55% because this stat is not additive, but multiplicative. Since the strength bonus is saved even if you do not have a point in this ability, you will put your first point in it at level 10.

R: This is ability is only matched by Banes ultimate Fiends Grip. It goes through magic immunity, making it an excellent counter for heroes like Naix or Black King Bar users. Items like Linkens Sphere nullify it though, so be careful on whom you use it on. Aghanims Scepter is a must-have on Pudge. Not only does it increase the damage of his ultimate by 75% of his current strength, including the strength you gain from Flesh Heap, but it also heals you for the amount of damage you deal per second, making it a great heal when used on ancient creeps (remember, it can be used on magic immune targets like the ancient dragons, who will not take any damage but heal you over the duration of 6 seconds).

Basics – Your role and what you are supposed to do


Ganker, Iniatator

Early game: Level 1 to 6

As a ganker your place is usually the mid lane. Try to stay inside the creeps, to get as much last hits and denies as possible. If your opponent is a melee hero, try to run in front of him with your Rot activated, so if he attacks you your creeps will be attacking him, giving you the opportunity to lead the enemy into a sure-to-land hook. If your opponent is a ranged hero, try to put yourself into a position where you could hook him when he comes in for a creep kill, putting him under pressure of either not getting the last hit or being in danger of getting hooked.

Your goal for the early game is, to farm a bottle and boots without dying. If you got no wards up, ask nicely and your team might buy some for you if you tell them that it will help you gank their lanes a lot. Always gank when the chance reveals itself you need to be able to see a chance for a kill and make it happen to truly do well.

Mid game: Level 7 to 14

As soon as you hit level 7 you want to start to gank, whenever your ultimate is up, which will be so most of the time, you want to be in a spot to get a good hook off. With your Meat Hook at level 4 and your ultimate, snatching some kills should be no problem. First thing to do is, check for runes. You want to gank the side that has a rune available, unless there is no enemy in sight and the lane is pushed to the enemy tower. When you see a good opportunity to gank or with some experience an upcoming opportunity to gank, for example through creeps that are about to push the lane back, try to get yourself into position. If you can not gank because of wards, buy yourself Smoke of Deceit so they do not see you coming.

Your goal is to successfully gank the enemy carry at least twice, so he is far behind in farm compared to yours. Even though you will spend a lot of time ganking, do not forget that you have to get the runes and get a kill or two on your mid lane opponent, so he is not able to free farm, as well. In terms of items, you want to get an Urn of Shadows first, Hood of Defiance second and then work towards your Aghanims Scepter or, if you feel confidence in your skills, get a Force Staff and work towards your Aghanmis Scepter afterwards.

Duo lane:

In rare cases or if you just want to have some fun with a friend, Pudge will be played as a duo lane hero.

Early game: Level 1 - 6

You will be taking most of the creeps, while your lane mate, given that he is range, will harass the opponents as much as possible. If both of you are melee heroes, you want to be on an all out offense. As soon as you reach level 3, you might consider taking another point in Rot instead of Meat Hook so you can deal a lot of damage while chasing down your enemies.

Your first item is supposed to be an Urn of Shadows, followed by boots. A bottle is not necessary since your mid laner will most likely go for every rune possible.

Mid game: Level 7 to 14

As soon as you reach level 7, you will either have to start pushing your lane or, if your mid did not as good as he should, you will start ganking the other lanes to make up for him. If you have to do so, you might consider getting a bottle. Apart from that, there is not much difference to what I wrote above. Try to keep their carry from farming while getting some farm for you as well.

Both ganker as well as duo laner:

Late game: Level 15+

Ganking time is over. Your sole reason now, is to catch single enemies off guard, in a best case scenario that would be their carry/another high threat target, giving your team an advantage to push or defend.

If you did well and your team has the upper hand, you will find yourself pushing the second towers of each lane. While your teammates are pushing, try to position yourself behind some trees. Midlane is a good example, where the second towers have a lot of trees to hide in, allowing you to land an unexpected hook, leaving the opposite team 4vs5 or forcing them to fight.

If you or your team did not do well, and you are behind in gold and experience, you will have to defend your second or worse, your base towers from being pushed. Again, position yourself not too far away from your team, but still try to stay behind trees or out of line of sight, so your enemies wont see your hook coming. The first item that you want to buy is, most of the time, a Heart. Unless the enemy team has an Ursa Warrior or another high-spike damage hero, then you should build a Blade Mail first. After this you will have to decide for yourself if you want to go for Boots of Travel, if your team needs a pipe or if you should go for a Linkens Sphere or a Black King Bar.

Basics – Hooking-spots for early game ganks

The first thing you should learn when playing Pudge is, from where you can land a good hook for ganking. Below you can find a map where I marked several spots for good hooks, as well as screenshots of the best early game spots for hooking.

The map:

Let's start at the top lane.

^This is a very good spot for the Radiant. If you manage to hook someone he will be trapped between you and the trees.

^If the lane is pushed, the Dire may get a nice hook from behind the trees.

^Another good spot for the Dire to catch escaping enemies or surprise the incoming gank from mid.

^A good spot to catch a pushing Radiant hero or to gank the Dire mid player. If you position well, you will have the hooked target trapped between you and the trees.

^A position to catch an incautious Dire mid lane player or someone who tries to get the bottom rune.

^I already posted this one, but it is one of the best positions to land a hook against a Radiant player. If the enemy has backed off a little bit, you can go between the trees right below Pudge to gain more range towards the tower. Though, this spot is most likely to be warded, so your enemy might see you coming.

^Another good spot for a Pudge on the Dire side. Again you have a wide range to catch the enemy as well as trees where they will get trapped.

^A good spot for both, Radiant and Dire to gank. Another spot where you can trap an enemy between you and the trees.

^At last, a good ganking spot for the Radiant when bottom is pushed. Another trap spot but dangerous to go alone. High chance of getting caught because of wards.

Basics – Friends and foes

Usually you want to make mid your own, but sometimes it cant be avoided to go to a side lane. Although, you do not want to take a solo side lane because you wont have the regeneration from runes and are likely to be put against two heroes, putting you into a great disadvantage.

Omniknight -This guy has everything you could dream of. Magic immunity, protecting you from your own Rot damage, a heal that damages enemies around you and an additional slow if Rot shouldn't do the trick.
Dark seer - Another great match for Pudge. His damage-over-time bubble combined with Rot is incredibly strong. His AoE-pull-nuke keeps the enemies close to you and if they should have a chance to escape, he can just increase your movement speed.
Dazzle - A slow, a heal that damages nearby enemies and a spell that makes you undying. What more could you ask for?
Crystal Maiden - A very offensive choice, but still pretty good. Her slow and her freeze keeps the enemy in range for your Rot while helping out your mana pool for additional hooks.

Basically, everything with a slow/disable is a good addition for a lane with Pudge.


Pudge does not have a lot of foes. But those who even the mighty Butcher fears are as follows:
Naix - Pudge's worst nightmare. His life-steal makes him not lose any health when he is attacking Pudge, no matter how hard you hit him. No other hero is a threat comparable to this. Your best choice to Dismember him while he is magic immune and activate your Blade Mail right after.
Doom Bringer - Whenever you run around doomed with activated Rot, you will know what I mean. On the other hand, to whom is Doom Bringer not a counter?
Bloodseeker - While he may not survive as long as the other foes, Bloodseeker can silence Pudge for 8 seconds and rupture him, making him stop chasing because of the high damage you take from Rot and Rupture.

As you can see most heroes with a strong silence or in Naix case counters high hp targets counters Pudge for the most part. Even those these Heroes can be handled you just have to approach with caution. I will be updating this further later down the line.

Advanced – The ruses of Hooking

Some of you might be thinking Hey, now that I know where to hook from, I'm just going to rape some pubs lol!. Let me say, you are wrong. Whilst you might now be a little bit better at being a Pudge, you still lack the arts of being a Butcher.

This section will be assigned to the techniques of hooking. Yes, you might just run at your enemy and try to land an obvious, most likely to miss, hook. But then you could play mind games with your enemy, increasing your chance to land the hook and giving you an incredible feeling of pure awesomeness. I mean come on, who would not want to be such a pretty piece of meat, roaming around, taking every kill for his own?

So, what are we going to do, if not just hook and take what is ours? Well, there are several ways to approach a hook. One would be the ImmintentDoomThroughACreep-way,another would be using a Force Staff to put yourself into an unexpected position, where the enemy is not save behind creeps. I will also show you how to Blind Hook and how to lead your enemy, making him walk into your hooks.

Last but not least, do not forget that you can hook your own teammate to safety. Even though, you might just get that squishy hero over there, netting you another chunk of gold and additional strength, it is better to save your own teammate in most situations.

Advanced – A closer look at the three techniques of hooking

The first technique aka -

ImminentDoomThroughACreep-way or IDTAC-way

Let's start with the most common opportunity for a good hook that you will experience, the IDTAC-way.

For this technique, you will have an enemy waiting behind a creep, greedily waiting to get the last hit. But when he's happily gathering his coins from the ground, the first thing that he is going to see is your incoming hook. This takes a little bit of practice and timing. Also remember, Meat Hook goes through catapults as well as Lone Druids bear (may be fixed soon).

Here is an example:

^On this picture, you can see Gondar, the Bounty Hunter happily farming his minions, while an enemy Pudge approaches from the top right.

^As soon as the creep on the right is killed, Pudge launches a hook directed at Bounty Hunter who is trying to get another last hit on the creep to his left.

^While Dryad took poor Bounty Hunters creep, the hook hit its target and Gondar is about to be pulled into the Dires tower range.

^Gondar tries to stealth away, but since Pudge did cast Dismember immediately after having vision on his target, is Gondar caught in tower range without any way to escape, netting Pudge a little bit of gold and another bonus in strength.

This can be especially useful while playing mid. Whenever your opponent, especially a melee hero, tries to get a last hit, he has to put himself into the danger of being hooked. Try to time the hook so when, for example a ranged creep, fires its projectile, your hook starts right before the creep kills its target, making it hard to dodge the hook since he most likely stood still because he was going for the last hit.

The second technique

The Blind Hook

So, what is this so called Blind Hook. The concept of a Blind Hook connotes, that you do not have vision of the enemy. Whether it is through Line of Sight, invisibility/stealth of your enemy or other stuff blocking your vision. This is the second hardest technique of hooking, since it requires a lot of knowledge about pathing, the map, a good evalutation of how your enemy is playing and also a huge amount luck.

As example for an invisibility Blind hook, I will use a fight at the 2nd bottom tower of the Dire, where Pudge gets attacked by Skeleton king and Bounty Hunter. Turning the tide with help from Vengeful Spirit, just to hook the escaping invisible Bounty Hunter left to die in his Rot.

^Skeleton king and Bounty Hunter jumped at Pudge, when Vengeful Spirit came by, stunning Bounty Hunter, swapping Pudge to the left out of reach from Skeleton King.

^Turning the tide with help from Vengeful, Skeleton King ran away while Bounty hunter is already invisible, trying to make a run to the right while taking some damage from the Rot of the on-guess-chasing Pudge.

^Bounty Hunter being sure about his safety, after his escape to the right decides to go the most common escape route. Away from the enemy, as fast as possible.

^As expected by Pudge, Bounty Hunter kept running down on the right side of the lane. Pudge hooks Bounty Hunter who has just a whiff of health left, scoring a hit with his Blind Hook taking the last of Bounty Hunters health with Rot.

Another example for a Blind hook that Im going to show here is how Pudge hooks a Shadow Fiend through the fog of war.

^Pudge spots a Shadow Fiend with the vision given to him by Storm Spirit.

^Pudge losing vision of Shadow Fiend because Herpderp Spirit thought he had to back off.

^Pudge launching his hook blind to where he guesses Shadow Fiend will walk (screenshot taken with fog of war off)

^As planned, the hook is a direct hit, pulling Shadow Fiend¦

^trapping him in the forest, where the Dire team is waiting for a free kill.

^A picture of the connecting hook with fog of war on

The third technique of hooking requires you to have bought a Force Staff. Since I do not have any footage of this kind of kills, I will add it later on. As explained farther above, you bump yourself with the Force Staff either towards your enemy or in a direction from where you can land a hook. A tricky to pull off stunt, but your enemy won't see it coming.


I'm still working on making a few Pudge video guides for those who rather see than read, but till then heres a few videos that show pudge's greatest back in dota ;)

These two videos were created years ago, by Bengal_Tigger, one of the most amazing Pudge players Ive ever seen. He was my idol and the inspiration that made me want to learn the art of the butcher.

Even though these are videos from DotA 1, the videos will show you basic hooks as well as a good bunch of those blind hooks I mentioned above. One might argue about the choice of music as well as the music editing.

Bengal Pudge 7:

The second video with better editing and a better choice of music:

Bengal the Butcher:

Final Comments

This hero is extremely fun to play and can really dominate pub games and can do decent as well in a skill players hand in high levels if the team is built around it. His hooks make and break games you can make your team good or bad just based how you play so if you want to play him make sure to learn it well or your team will hate you!

I want to thank hawkseye for the great work he has done here :)

This guide is also a work in progress a lot still needs to be added and changed guides can be time consuming so I will miss things. If you see anything you think needs to be changed added or something that could make the guide better please leave a comment.

Some other guides I've done on this site can be found here.

QoP -
Brewmaster -

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