Hi guys, this is my first written guide. I noticed a distinct lack of Pugna guides and decided to write one that seems a little more up to date. I changed around a few things and generally this is how I play Pugna. This guide is open to suggestions and item changes and is generally a work in progress.
Pugna is an underpicked hero in both pubs and ranked but in the right circumstances can be absolutely devastating to enemy teams. His abilities are are all (without exception) double-edged swords and can help or hinder in many different situations.
He is best played as an offlane hero and greedy support though you must be careful to balance out your greed. Pugna is king at stealing kills from carries and can destabilise your team's economy something rotten in the early game.
He is also a fantastic pusher that punishes safe lane enemies pulling creeps by doing massive damage to their tower.
Finally, remember that although Pugna is seemingly an offensive hero, he can be played defensively, using decrepify to save heroes from melee attacks and using life drain to heal allies and keep them in the fight.
This guide contains no late game section as it is assumed that in the late game you are either dominating or already queuing up for low priority.
A far more powerful AoE spell than you can imagine. Although it has a slight delay before going off, you can usually catch heroes in the blast slightly outside of the actual animation - its a bit bigger than you think.
This spell is a creep wave clearer and does nice damage to towers and coupled with Decrepify can slice large chunks off of enemies.
This spell is basically a Ghost Sceptre you can cast on anyone. It will prevent heroes from attacking and being attacked and grants 40% weakness to magic and slows.
If used badly it will leave your team cursing you for denying their kills.
Example "When not to use" scenarios:
Friendly Axe is chasing Enemy Sniper for a kill, decrepified Sniper avoids physical damage and activates Shadow Blade. You get reported.
Casting on Full Health Friendly (but no mana) Tidehunter being chased by Lina. Laguna Blade kills Tidehunter and gets you reported.
Friendly Alchemist is running away from 3 heroes with Unstable Concoction counting down. You decrepify Alchemist, he stuns himself for massive damage and is one shotted by a Stifling Dagger. You get reported.
Example "When to use" scenarios:
Zeus comes from midlane to gank - Decrepify - Lightning Bolt
Leshrac is chasing with ultimate - Decrepify - Pulse Nova
A Support is out of position in a team fight - Decrepify - Life Drain
Your team mates are in the trees but just out of reach of your carry who is low on health and being chased by Tiny - decrepify Tiny or your carry and let your team get an easy kill.
Lycan is closing in on you as you are almost within tower's reach. Decrepify yourself.
Contrary to public opinion, nether ward is NOT a ward. The vision it provides is negligible and the duration of the ward is enough to last a team fight. Nether wards are visible to the enemy and take very few hits to take down.
On the plus side, the cast time is low and you can put these in sneaky places or just when you think you're going to be ulted for magic damage.
When spells are cast it does damage 1/1.25/1.5/1.75 x the amount of mana used for the spell plus 1.5/3.0/4.5/6 x amount of mana used also burned. It will effectively punish heroes that have spell toggles with double mana drain and can kill any hero with high magic damage burst (Lion, Lina etc...).
Life Drain:Pugna's Signature move.
This is the main reason why our item build is important. It is a channeled effect that drains health per second up to your maximum health and then returns mana. A hero at point blank running away from you can lose his entire health pool and die. It is extremely effective on low level right clickers and low to mid game burst damage heroes and obviously squishy supports.
Later in the game it becomes a two edged sword. The amount of health you drain might not be enough to finish of that Phantom Assassin or Pudge that is wrecking your carry and with a Black King Bar thrown in the mix, your ultimate is practically useless.
In late-game team fights, position yourself at the back and drain your health into the carry to give him more sustain. You will need to make sure you have all your regen items ( Tranquil Boots, Force Staff, Linken's Sphere and Glimmer Cape or a Black King Bar. If you are stunned while chanelling it was cancel the ability.
Luckily Aghanim's Scepter will give you 0 cooldown on Life Drain and you can spam it from the trees in a team fight.
Pugna is squishy and is therefore vulnerable to ganks. Luckily he has a huge movement speed of 330 that lets him chase and run away from enemies as well as get in cheeky denies and last hits. His Nether Blast does huge AoE damage to towers and creeps. Despite this, he is NOT a solo hero and playing him solo will gain you no advantage. At heart he is a support and you will need a hardlaner to back you up.
Buy your starting items and a ward and head to the offlane rune. If you get it then good, if not - damage and harass the enemy with your allies as much as you can, if you get a kill it'll be worth losing the rune, if you don't, run the hell away fast.
It's worth noting that the ward you bought isn't going to do anything for you in the first 2 minutes (usually) if you place it in the hard lane jungle. Run up the river and place it mid on enemy territory, just outside of the range of the mid tower.
Alternatively, ward the jungle around the the 2 minute mark and try to block the camp most used for pulling creeps. This will save you from midlane ganks as well as prevent the enemy team from pulling creeps to their tower if they get greedy and kill them.
Don't spam Decrepify on the enemy unless you're laning with another magic damage hero. If you're with a melee hero he won't appreciate it not being able to hurt them and if your ally doesn't know how Pugna plays and chases it will get you both killed. On the bright side, if you have a Lina in lane or a ganking midlane Zeus, save it for a good moment when you think you can secure a kill.
Harass with Nether Blast but don't hit the creeps. You will push the wave. Deny Deny Deny. Although you will need to farm, don't take farm from your carry if you can avoid it.
In the event that you do push the wave, spam Nether Blast on their tower.
This guide hinges on two scenarios:
1. You farmed at your tower and pushed all that is holy out of the lane, farmed well, got some kills and wrecked their tower.
2. You farmed at their tower or midlane, got ganked repeatedly and lost your tower - no midlane help.
Scenario 1 is obviously easier to deal with. TP mid with some wards and ward the river on the enemy side closest to the Roshan pit. If on the dire side, ward their jungle. Hide in the trees and wait for your carry. Life drain the hell out of everything that moves or heal your carry, decrepify as necessary. TP mid, rinse and repeat.
Scenario 2 is always hard. The team by this stage is usually yelling at you to stop feeding, you're angry that mid isn't helping out and although you want to go bot/mid and help out, you don't feel you should be leaving an antimage free farming in this lane.
Guess what, if you stay in that lane you're just going to end up feeding him more.
You've already been outplayed, now you need to contribute to your team. TP bot and do everything you can to support your carry and get that tower. Mid is NOT an option - enemy safelane carries will come down the river and they will pop you first before killing the midlaner. At this point you need extra gold. You can't (and mustn't) take the carry farm or the jungler's farm and kills on your own are not going to do anything. You need tower gold. Push that tower, get the items you were lagging behind on.
Hide in the trees and life drain enemies, if they converge on you, use glimmer cape and keep going. It's unlikely that at this stage they would have sentry warded the jungle (unless you have other invisible heroes on your team) and you can easily get a kill.
If you sense a team fight brewing, place a nether ward behind your team, somewhere it won't get hit by the enemy. Nether wards have a surprisingly long range!
Unless you have aghanim's, don't life drain the enemy first in team fights. Their tank will block you and they will run back out of range or worse, they will stun you and you will have drained for no reason. Wait and see how your carry is doing, if his health is suddenly dipping, drain your health into him. He may be your only hope!
Don't life drain BKB'd heroes. It's dumb.
An Ethereal Blade is sometimes a good idea if your carry and main AoE is a magic output hero ( Juggernaut, Leshrac etc...) as you can disable two heroes and leave them vulnerable to damage. However only get this if you are snowballing as this is mainly a troll item.
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