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63 Votes

Pugna In Depth Strategy Guide

April 12, 2012 by Pugnasaur
Comments: 35    |    Views: 557178    |   

Build 1
Build 2

Support/Pusher Build

DotA2 Hero: Pugna

Hero Skills

Nether Blast

1 3 5 7


2 12 13 14

Nether Ward

4 8 9 10

Life Drain

6 11 16


15 17 18


art from MrsCrake


In the realm of Pugna's birth, near the vents of the Nether Reaches, there stood a lamasery devoted to the Arts of Oblivion, which drew its power from the nether energies. The Grandmaster of the temple compound had himself passed into Oblivion several years prior, leaving his academy without a leader. From the moment of their master's death, the regents of the temple began rites of divination to identify their master's reincarnation, and eventually all signs converged on the immediate neighborhood. Several villages squatted in the shadow of the temple, their alleys and plazas full of the laughter of squalling children. Pugna, a mere thirteen months of age, was but one candidate among the local brats, and on the appointed day he was presented at the temple alongside two other promising tots. The lamas offered a jumble of worn relics to the children, treasured possessions of their former grandmaster. One boy reached for a porphyry wand that had belonged to the lama...and put it in his nostril. An impish girl pulled out an amulet that had also been the lama's, and immediately swallowed it. Pugna regarded the other two coolly, gave a merry laugh, and blasted them with gouts of emerald flame, reducing them to ashes in an instant. He then snatched up the wand and amulet, saying 'Mine!' The regents hoisted the beaming Pugna on their shoulders, wrapped him in their grandmaster's vestments, and rushed him to the throne before his mood could change. Within five years, the temple itself was another pile of ash, which pleased Pugna to no end.


Welcome to my Pugna strategy guide, this guide will be divided into 2 different builds that I have found to be most effective during my times as playing Pugna. I decided to make this guide because Ive noticed that a large quantity of dota players cant seem to play him correctly, they usually feed continuously and barely provide any team fight synergy for the team. Pugna is an extremely easy hero to play if you learn his required playstyle as well as a more in depth understanding of his abilities. Most Pugna players think pugna is a nuker like Lion/Lina, so they often play in a similar cannon nuking fashion. Sure, this style of play can work but there have been other strategies that prove to be more successful.

Pros & Cons of Pugna


    -Does not need farm to dish out damage
    -Has amazing team synergy
    -Has an effective AOE with low cooldown
    -Has effective counterpushing
    -Has high early base damage for harassing
    -Has amazing intelligence stat gain
    -Is an amazing lane pusher
    -His nether ward is overpowered
    -Easy farming

    -His netherward is an unintentional kill stealing machine
    -Has very low strength gain
    -Needs farm or will remain extremely squishy
    -Has terrible attack speed
    -Can ruin his own team fights if abilities are used inapropriately


Nether Blast

Nether Blast

An exploding pulse deals damage to enemies and structures in the area. Deals 33% damage to structures.

Range: 400
Radius: 400
Damage: 100/175/250/325 to units and 40/60/80/100 to structures
Blast Delay: 0.9

Cooldown: 5.5 Seconds
Manacost: 85/105/125/145

-This skill is used for farming, pushing lanes, destroying towers, and dishing out aoe damage in a team fight
-The low cooldown is perfect for teamfights as it allows Pugna to consistently cast it over and over
-If you can catch all five enemy heroes in the aoe it deals 1625 magic damage, this spell is serious business
-Spell animation can be cancelled by pressing S, which stops the ability completely and saves you some mana
-Spell damage does "NOT" go through glyph of fortification on Dota 2
-Spell is most cost efficient when you can catch enemy creeps, enemy heroes, and towers within its aoe



A powerful banishing spell that slows a unit and renders it unable to attack or be attacked. Afflicted units take extra magic damage.

Range: 700
Duration: 2/2.5/3/3.5
Spell Damage Increase: 40%
Movement Speed Slow: 50%

Cooldown: 13/11/9/7 Seconds
Manacost: 100

-This spell is mainly used to amplify magic done to a single target. The 40% extra damage is no joke early game, as it allows for nuke combinations to completely wipe out an enemy hero without the use of physical attacks
-Besides the magic damage amplification, this spell can also be used to stop physical damage. You can decrepify an ally hero to stop physical damage done to him, or you can cast it on an enemy carry to stop them from damaging anyone
-This spell stops any type of damage besides magic and pure damage
-Decrepifying + Life Draining amplifies both the damage and the heal return
-You can decrepifiy your nether ward to keep it alive
-Decrepify yourself before you teleport often times it can save your life from a physical damage enemy hero

Nether Ward

Nether Ward

Pugna places a nether ward that fires mana flares at enemy heroes who dare to cast spells, while also preventing them from regenerating mana. Nether Ward deals damage equal to the damage multiplier times the mana spent by the enemy hero. Lasts 25 seconds.

Radius: 700/1000/1300/1600
Duration: 25
Ward Health: 75/150/225/300
Damage Per Mana Used: 0.75/1/1.25/1.5
Mana Regeneration: -1.5/-3.0/-4.5/-6

Cooldown: 35 Seconds
Manacost: 80

-This ward nukes enemy heroes who dare to cast an ability within its 1600 aoe.
-Used to frighten enemy heroes from casting their abilities
-Used defensively to stop pushes
-Used to gain area control

-Mana flare damage is inflicted before the ability actually occurs, therefore a enemy hero could be slain before the ability actually occurs resulting in zero damage.
-Can be used to block pathing as shown in this video -Can be used to ward-bait enemy heroes, which is the process of baiting out enemy heroes to try and destroy the ward.
-Always place a nether ward before a team clash occurs, initiation spells are very costly in mana, sometimes the enemy heroes will die before the ability actually activates

Life Drain

Life Drain

CHANNELED - While channelling Life Drain, Pugna siphons HP of the target enemy unit. Lasts 10 seconds.
SCEPTER UPGRADABLE: Increases drain per second and sets cooldown time to zero.

Range: 850
Duration: 10
Health Drained Per Second: 120/160/200 (180/240/300*)

Cooldown: 22 Seconds (0)
Manacost: 125/175/225

-Used for efficient lane staying capabilities
-Used to stay alive for team fights
-Can also be used just for dealing damage

-Is a channeling spell, and will continue to lifedrain an enemy unit as long as its in a 850 radius of Pugna
-Even if a life drained hero blinks but still remains in the 850 radius, the hero will still be life drained
-Decrepify also amplifies the heal return on Pugna
-Decrepifying yourself does not amplify the heal
-Life draining an illusion will automatically kill it on the first tick, which is perfect for countering manta styles and illusions.

When to pick Pugna?

There are a few scenarios in which Pugna would be an excellent pick.

Scenario #1

-If the enemy team has a lineup with atleast 3 mana intensive heroes, you are almost guaranteed a win if you play normally. Pugna is probably the best counter-pick to a heavy mana intensive lineup due to his nether ward mana flares. If the enemy team is full of mana intensive heroes, they pretty much have to trade casting their spells for a chunk of their hit points.

Nether Ward counter and murder these heroes because of their mana expensive abilities:

And thats not all, neither ward also counter these heroes for specific reasons

If sandking triggers his ultimate, he will no longer be able to use his blink for 3 seconds because the nether ward will zap him as soon as he triggers his ultimate. If sandking cant use his blink, hes pretty much not going to catch anyone in his ultimate.

Maxed out early game nether wards can drain a skeleton kings mana quickly, which will disrupt his ultimate leaving him with only 1 life. If you shut him down early consistently, he will not be a threat in the mid to late game.

Scenario #2

-If the enemy team has a lineup with carries who rely on right click attacking to dish out their damage, you can use your decrepify in various ways to disable their carries from dealing damage. Also note that the low cooldown on decrepify will allow you to keep recasting decrepify at every 1.5 second interval.

Decrepify counters these heroes from dealing damage because of their reliance on right click attacking

...Wait a second, dont these hereos usually get their Black King Bars? Yes that is true, but if they do get their black king bars, you can just decrepify the allied heroes that they are attacking, which will stop them from receiving any form of physical damage.

Special Mention

-Decrepifying urself or an ally under attack of Juggernaut's ultimate will completely negate it.
-Decrepified units take no damage from Juggernaut's bladefurry.

Scenario #3

-If your team has planned a lane pushing strategy, Pugna would be a must pick.

These pushing heroes should synergize perfectly in a pushing lineup alongside with Pugna.

When to "NOT" pick Pugna?

Even though Pugna can counter a large quantity of the heroes, he himself can be easily countered by a selection of heroes.

Heroes such as these have abilities that completely counter Pugna in various ways

-Antimage's mana break and mana void will completely crush Pugna due to his low strength gain and high intelligence gain. Pugna will almost always have more mana than his hp, therefore resulting in a more deadly mana void ultimate.
-Clink's core item, Orchid Malevolance, completely shutsdown pugna and amplifies incoming damage.
-Bloodseeker has a 9 second silence, which basically counters any ability dependant hero.
-Riki's cloud has a long silence.
-Doom Bringer's Ultimate does more than enough damage to pugna and also silences for a long duration.
-Drows silence and high dps will rip Pugna to shreds.
-Balanar at night, can completely shutdown Pugna with the extended silence and slow.
-Tiny has two mana intensive abilities, but his strength gain ratio is too high compared to the mana cost, so not enough damage is done through the nether ward.

How to play Pugna?

An ideal Pugna should be focused on ending the game before the late game phase starts kicking in because a late game carry can cause some trouble for Pugna. Though, this doesn't necessarily mean Pugna is a terrible late game hero, he can be quite effective late game with the proper carry item build, but aiming for the late game Pugna build can leave him to be sort of useless during the early to mid phases of the game, which are the phases where Pugna's abilities are most useful. I will be explaining in depth the difference between going for a early-mid game strategy and aiming for a late game carry strategy.

Support/Pusher strategy

The support & pushing strategy is basically designed to end the game before the 30 minute mark. By doing so, Pugna is required to use his nether blast, nether ward, early-mid game core items and high base mana to continuously push the lanes and destroy the towers. I will be explaining in more detail on what Pugna should be doing during the early, mid, and late game phases.

Early Game

At the start of the game, you should be thinking about what lane you want to participate in. Pugna is a very versatile laner so any lane would pretty much work for him. Though, every single lane requires a specific starting item build for the up-most efficiency and success.

Mid Lane
If you are laning mid, you need 3 branches and a tango because it will give you survivability and faster farm to obtain your bottle.

It is important that Pugna gets an early bottle, because it will allow him to continuously spam his nether blast and push the lane back so you will have easier rune access. The runes will refill the bottle, which will basically allow Pugna to recharge his mana and spam his nether blast on the creeps non-stop without ever going back to the fountain, just keep grabbing the runes and you will never have to go back to the fountain to get more mana.

Side Lane
If laning on a side lane, Pugna should most definately get a courier for the team. Pugna's build should look like this.

The wards and courier are a must as it will allow the carry in your lane to farm safely and purchase necessities from home.

During the early portion of the game, Pugna's main goal should be to sweep our all the tier 1 towers as soon as he can. The reason why the tier 1 towers should be taken out quickly is because it is extremely easy to take out towers early on because the enemy team will be more likely to still be stuck in the laning phase and not grouped up as a team, this will allow Pugna to spam nether blast on the towers uncontested because there will not be enough enemy heroes in the lane to try and counter push Pugna and his allies.

Core Items
While in your lane, you should be farming for the following items.

Mid Game

During the middle portion of the game, pushing the tier 2 towers will be a little bit harder because the enemy team should be grouped up as a five man team to defend the pushes. Though, if you have maxed out nether wards you can almost push the lanes uncontested, because almost all engagements from the enemies should require abilities to be casted, or they will just straight out lose the team fight. With a well placed nether ward the enemy team will be punished for even attempting to engage on Pugna and his team while they are pounding away on the tower. When they engage, just spam your nether blast, decrepify, and life drain on them while your nether ward zaps them to bits.

Core Items
While pushing with your team, you should be farming for the following items.

Late Game

If you still havent ended the game by now, you better pray you have a carry on your team because all of Pugna's abilities become far less effective during the late game. Though, not all hope is gone if you dont have a carry, just farm for a scythe of vyse so u can disable the enemy carry. Winning from this point on should be a lot harder, so play cautiously.

Core Items
While in the late game, you should be farming for the following items.

Carry strategy

The carry strategy is quite simple because its very similar to the pushing strategy, except Pugna will be missing essential items that will dominate the early to mid game phases. Instead Pugna will be investing his farm into items that will dominate during the late game phase. For this chapter, I will list core items that will allow Pugna to farm his luxury items.

Core Items

Explanation of each core item

-Phase boots should be gotten first because it allows for extremely early survivability. Pugna has 315 movement speed, stacked with phase he will be running like he had a haste run.

-Black King Bar should be obtained after the phase boots, as it will allow Pugna to solo push a line without fear of ANYTHING!. If you are about to get ganked while pushing a lane, just pop your BKB, Decrepify yourself, and teleport to back to base. By the time you walk back to the lane, your cooldown on your BKB should be almost done, so u can retrace your steps again. You will be surprised how much farm you can get from relentlessly pushing a lane. You should have absolutely no problem obtaining your luxury items the rest of the game.

-While solo pushing a lane, you should buy a void stone from the secret shop as the % mana regeneration will stack immensely with your 4.0 intelligence gain. Also the void stone is used in a lot of the recipes for your luxury items.

-The teleportation scrolls are essential in your solo lane pushing

Luxury Items

There is only one general Luxury item that Pugna should get every game, which is Aghanims. Besides aghanims, everything else is situational to the status of the game. With Aghanims the cooldown on lifedrain will be reduced to ZERO!, this will allow Pugna to dish out as much damage as a regular carry would, it is a pretty powerful item on Pugna and I believe it should be gotten every game if Pugna's role is to carry. If amplified with decrepify, life drain can deal around 400 dps. An example of a Pugna dominating with Aghanims is show below.


The one thing that I think most Pugnas have a hard time dealing with, is positioning. Most Pugnas think they should be playing a nuke cannon style like Lion/Lina, this style of play doesnt work on Pugna because of his extremely low strength gain. Often times if a Pugna is found trying to initiate a fight by using decrepify on an enemy hero, Pugna will usually be focused down within seconds from the enemy team. I dont get where these Pugna's get the idea that they should be setting up fights, especially with the buffed range on decrepify. You can now cast it from a 700 range, which means u should be no where remotely in front of your team at all times, or else you will just pop like a fly if focused on. Besides, Pugna's abilities were designed to dominate in team fights, his nether ward, nether blast, and decrepify were designed to dish out large sums of damage to the whole team alongside the help of your allies. Life drain is also a team fight ability because it allows Pugna to stay in the fight longer so he can keep recasting his nether blast. Remember, Pugna has a 4 intelligence stat gain and a 1.2 strength gain for a reason, which is to discourage out-front positioning.


AL vs m5

(I found this game to be a perfect example of a power pushing Pugna strategy done by AL)

Question and Answers?

If you guys have any questions, dont be afraid to leave them in the comment box as I will reply to them when I have some free time.

Time is up!

This guide is over, now do me a favor and stop feeding with Pugna now will ya? ^^

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