Pudge/Guide

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Gameplay[edit]

Playstyle
Pudge minimap icon.png Pudge is a fearsome ganker and one of the most popular and renowned heroes in all of Dota. Played skillfully, he can displace enemies and set up kills for his team that would be otherwise impossible to accomplish even from the early game.
Pros Cons
  • Naturally has a very large health pool that can grow even bigger.
  • Good ganker and roamer in the early game.
  • One of the best tanks in the game, capable of being resistant to both magic and physical damage in the late part of the game.
  • Dismember has a low cooldown and pierces spell immunity, making it an excellent disable. Meat Hook also deals pure damage through spell immunity as well.
  • Can suicide with Rot, denying gold and experience to nearby enemies.
  • Has very low armor.
  • One of the slowest heroes in the game.
  • Very dependent on landing his hook consistently to get kills (as his other spells are both close range).
  • Fairly weak in full-scale teamfights.
  • No escape mechanism.

Roamer/Ganker[edit]

With just some levels and cheap items, Pudge threatens to gank enemy heroes when he is absent from the map.

Ability Builds[edit]

Generic Pudge
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Rot icon.pngMeat Hook icon.pngMeat Hook icon.pngRot icon.pngMeat Hook icon.pngDismember icon.pngMeat Hook icon.pngRot icon.pngRot icon.pngTalent icon.pngFlesh Heap icon.pngDismember icon.pngFlesh Heap icon.pngFlesh Heap icon.pngTalent icon.pngFlesh Heap icon.pngUnknown icon.pngDismember icon.pngTalent icon.pngTalent icon.png

Talents[edit]

Hero Talents
+2.0 Flesh Heap Stack Str25+3s Dismember Duration
15% Cooldown Reduction20+180 Gold/Min
+12% Rot Slow1513% Spell Lifesteal
+35 Rot Damage10+30% XP Gain
Notes:
  • The spell lifesteal talent stacks additively with other sources of spell lifesteal.
  • The spell lifesteal talent heals for 2.6% from non-hero units. Treats creep-heroes as creeps and does not heal off of illusions.

Tips & Tactics[edit]

General[edit]

  • With his poor base armor and agility, Pudge is quite vulnerable to physical damage in the early game despite being a strength hero, and can be easily harassed down due to being a melee hero. As well, his extremely long attack animation makes him additionally easy to harass by lane opponents, so good positioning and knowledge of creep mechanics is necessary to survive in a lane.
  • Because of his extremely powerful spells, Pudge is heavily reliant on building up his mana pool and increasing his poor mobility in order to be effective in teamfights. Try to build items that grant Pudge additional movement speed and burst movement to aid in positioning, intelligence items to increase the size of his poor base mana pool, and durability items to take advantage of his high strength growth.
  • Given his skill set, Pudge can be played in any number of ways.
    • Traditionally, Pudge is played as a solo mid. While he is generally a weak laner due to being a melee hero, judicious and skillful use of his abilities lets him turn the tables on his lane opponent and score kills to give him an advantage. By being given solo experience and gold, Pudge can get an early level 6 and immediately begin roaming for kills, using his gold to purchase items to aid him to this effect.
    • Given his strong utility and high strength gain, Pudge can sometimes be played as an offlaner, both solo and with a lane partner. While he lacks the survivability and escape abilities of traditional offlaners, he can greatly disrupt the enemy safe lane with Meat Hook, which can get kills on the enemy supports under optimal circumstances. If partnered with a teammate with good kill potential, Pudge can foul the enemy carry's attempts to farm safely and reduce their effectiveness later in a match.
    • Lacking other options, Pudge can serve as a strong utility support in the safe lane. While he is unable to effectively harass the enemy offlaner with his spells, he can dis-position them with Meat Hook and slow them with Rot during ganks and kill attempts, giving his team early kills to boost their gold gain. He can also safely and reliably obtain gold and experience through pulling creep camps, which keeps lane creep equilibrium closer to his team's tower where he can more easily get in position to gank them.

Abilities[edit]

Meat Hook[edit]

  • Meat Hook launches a hook that latches onto the first target it contacts, pulling them to his location and dealing Pure damage if it is an enemy or neutral.
  • Meat Hook is one of the most difficult abilities to use in all of Dota due to the hook's slow travel time, but can be very rewarding as it can put an enemy in an extremely disadvantageous position. Good practice and prediction is mandatory in order to catch enemy heroes with it.
    • As it deals Pure damage and increases in range as it is leveled up, Meat Hook should generally be the first spell that Pudge maxes out. As well, reducing its cooldown can allow Pudge to cast it more than once in a single engagement, using the spell to catch an enemy and again as a finishing nuke.
  • The most reliable way to utilize Meat Hook is to cast it from the enemy Fog of War, in order to give them as little time to react as possible. Use treelines, high ground and nighttime to mask Pudge's position.
  • Because it mini-stuns an enemy target upon contact, Meat Hook can be a very strong spell for interrupting channeling abilities, as its long cast range allows Pudge to target enemies that could otherwise be out of range of other disables. In particular, it can be used to interrupt Town Portal Scroll and stop an enemy from escaping.
  • What makes Meat Hook so hard to land is that it is capable of latching on to creeps, which makes the skill extremely hard to use in-lane when the enemy also has vision on Pudge's location at all times. As well, it is able to latch on to allied heroes, which can foul teamfights by dispositioning a teammate who wishes to close the distance with the enemy.
  • Good communication with teammates is mandatory in order to take utmost advantage of Meat Hook. Communicating your intentions with allies ensures that they do not accidentally walk into Pudge's line of fire, and teammates can aid him by landing initiating stuns that allow him to reel in a stationary target. As well, they can position themselves to take advantage of a successful hook, immediately jumping on and bringing down the target.
  • Be mindful that while Meat Hook can still catch and damage spell immune enemies, it does not mini-stun them. If a spell immune enemy is attempting to teleport away, other disables must be used to interrupt them, particularly your ultimate.
    • Meat Hook's ability to disposition enemies precisely allows Pudge to aid various teammates in getting kills with otherwise unreliable nukes and disables. For example, standing on top of a large Techies minimap icon.png Techies trap can virtually guarantee a kill, while standing in the path of an allied Sacred Arrow can guarantee landing a full-duration stun. Make sure to coordinate with your allies in order to make the most of your ability.
  • In a pinch, Meat Hook can be used to save allies and not just capture enemies. Targeting allies who are disabled and being focused down by the enemy team can bring them back to a location of safety.
  • Be careful about the types of enemies you decide to target with Meat Hook, and be especially careful about Pudge's positioning relative to his teammates when doing so. Catching an enemy initiator with a large area disable like Ravage or Reverse Polarity can allow them to disable Pudge's entire team in a worst case scenario. Make sure that the target cannot easily use their new positioning to their advantage, and check on allies' positioning to ensure that they cannot be caught by enemy area disables.
  • Unlike other disables, Meat Hook can still latch on to invulnerable units, although it does not mini-stun or damage them. This means that it is capable of pulling units out of cyclone, and even manipulating units through Song of the Siren.
  • In the laning phase, Meat Hook can be used to disposition neutral creeps in order to alter lane creep equilibrium. Hooking a neutral creep to bring it closer to Pudge's lane can draw lane creep aggro, pulling them back to the neutral camp and denying experience and gold to Pudge's lane opponent(s). Beware, however, that Meat Hook's tremendous mana cost and Pudge's meager base mana pool means that it is necessary to utilize Clarity to this effect.
  • Use Meat Hook to capture runes from a distance without using mana. Most notably, you can retrieve both Bounty Runes in quick succession as they spawn.

Rot[edit]

  • Rot slows and damages enemies in melee range while also dealing the same damage to Pudge.
  • Rot allows Pudge to immediately start damaging and slowing any enemies he catches with Meat Hook, preventing them from easily escaping once caught. The slow also gives Pudge a strong movement speed advantage, countering his low base movement speed and allowing him to easily keep them inside the gas cloud.
  • As a disable and damage nuke, Rot is a good candidate for a spell to be maxed out early next to Meat Hook. The slow and damage can greatly increase Pudge's kill potential in the early game.
  • If self-damage is a concern, one value point in Rot can allow Pudge to retain his disable potential, as the slow is the same at all levels.
  • Rot can act as a last-hitting aid, either by getting a creep within last-hit range or by finishing it off shortly after attacking. Toggling Rot during last-hitting can help Pudge to more easily get gold from last-hits, although a source of HP replenishment is also necessary to mitigate the spell's cost.
  • As items and spells are queued during Meat Hook's cast backswing, Rot can be cast during Meat Hook's travel time, so that it immediately turns on as the hook starts to retract. This can be a useful time-saver for having Rot ready to greet a hook victim.
  • In a pinch, Rot can be turned on to deny Pudge in a hopeless situation. Preventing the enemy from profiting from his death can delay them from progressing their items.
  • Keep in mind that Blink Dagger goes on cooldown if Pudge takes damage from Rot. Try to avoid using Rot if you believe that you might need to blink in the near future.
  • Beware that if Pudge is silenced, Rot cannot be toggled on or off. Being silenced with Rot turned on can cause Pudge to take unnecessary damage from the spell, and make him easier to kill.
  • As Rot deals its damage in 0.2 second intervals, it is possible to have active Healing Salve, Clarity or Bottle at the same time as Rot up to level 3, provided that no other sources of damage cancel them.
  • Due to how Rot's damage timings are, it is possible to rapidly toggle Rot on and off several times to drastically reduce damage dealt/taken while still maintaining the slow. This is mainly possible thanks to debuff lingering for 0.5 seconds on all enemies, causing them to get slowed for at least 0.5 seconds, even when Rot was toggled on for shorter. Also, since the damage is also bound to the debuff, they also take at least 2 damage instances from the debuff.

Flesh Heap[edit]

  • Flesh Heap grants Pudge bonus magic resistance and extra strength based on enemy hero deaths around him.
  • Flesh Heap, with enough stacks, can greatly increase the effectiveness of Rot and Dismember. The additional magic resistance reduces the amount of self-damage Pudge takes from Rot; the strength stacks give him more overall HP for casting Rot, and increase the strength-based damage portion of Dismember.
  • Because it is retroactive, and only becomes effective with enough stacks, Flesh Heap is a poor ability to put points into in the laning stage, and should generally be reserved for after Meat Hook and Rot are maxed out. Pudge always gains the full benefits of all previous kills/assists, and all stacks always use the current level of Flesh Heap for rewarding bonus strength.
  • Keep in mind that Pudge does not have to get the kill himself in order to gain a stack of Flesh Heap. Assisting in kills, or simply walking within radius of an enemy hero as they die is enough to gain a stack, so showing up to teamfights is greatly beneficial to Pudge, even if his contribution is minimal.
  • Pudge still gains Flesh Heap stacks outside of its radius if Pudge himself is credited for the kill. This means that killing an enemy with a long ranged Meat Hook, or finishing them off with an Urn of Shadows charge, can still reward Pudge with a stack.

Dismember[edit]

  • Dismember is a channeled disable that deals damage over time to its target based on Pudge's strength, while also healing him for the duration of the channel.
    • After catching an enemy with Meat Hook, casting Dismember on them with an active Rot can deal tremendous damage to them, and hold them in place for allies to focus them down. The self-heal from Dismember easily counteracts the damage that Pudge takes from Rot, and makes him harder to bring down if the enemy does not have any stuns or silences to interrupt him.
  • The self-heal from Dismember is independent from the amount of damage that Pudge deals with the spell; even if the target has high magic resistance or otherwise takes no damage from Dismember, Pudge always heals for the full amount based on the duration of the channel.
  • Dismember can stun its target through spell immunity, so it is a good way to stop an enemy in their tracks even if it deals no damage. Disabling them can waste the duration of their Black King Bar, and reduce its effectiveness later in the match.
  • Keep in mind that Rot can be toggled without breaking the channel. If Rot was not activated prior to casting Dismember, or it needs to be stopped to prevent Pudge from killing himself, it can still be toggled during an active Dismember.
  • Be mindful that strong dispel can still break a Dismember target out of stun, so abilities like Kraken Shell, Dark Pact, and Aphotic Shield can end the channel prematurely. Choose your targets carefully and time the use of the disable so that it does not get wasted.
  • Dismember provides true sight over the target for the duration of the channel, meaning that it can catch enemies during invisibility fade time. However, keep in mind that they still turn invisible at the end of the channel, so be sure to carry detection when needed.
  • If Dismember was cast on an enemy without using Meat Hook, it can be shift-queued to immediately cast at the end of the channel to finish off a target as a Pure damage nuke. This also applies to active item abilities, which can be used to immediately disable a target at the end of a channel if needed.
  • In a pinch, Dismember can be cast on enemy and neutral creeps in order to restore Pudge's health should the need arise. However, be mindful of the spell's mana cost and try not to use it if you believe that it could be needed in an upcoming gank.

Items[edit]

Starting items:

  • Healing Salve icon.png Healing Salve allows Pudge to replenish his HP from enemy harass, preventing him from being easily harassed out of lane.
  • Tango icon.png Tango heals Pudge so he can keep using Rot.
  • Clarity icon.png Clarity allows Pudge to restore his mana, particularly important as Meat Hook costs a significant amount of mana and being able to cast it more than once in the laning stage allows him to be far more useful.
  • Wind Lace icon.png Wind Lace provides movement speed to walk down enemies with Rot; it builds into Tranquil Boots or Spirit Vessel.

Early game:

  • Magic Stick icon.png Magic Stick gives Pudge burst health and mana. In particular, the mana can allow him to use Meat Hook one more time even if his mana pool is completely empty, which can score crucial kills in critical situations.
  • Boots of Speed icon.png Boots of Speed is important to get early on, as Pudge's abysmal movement speed means he has trouble chasing enemies. It allows Pudge to more easily move into position to cast his spells.
  • Town Portal Scroll icon.png Town Portal Scroll is important to have on Pudge at all times. Being able to globally re-position around the map to react to enemy movements can give him many more opportunities to gank lone enemies or cripple them in teamfights.
  • Observer Ward icon.png Observer Ward gains vision on the enemy, allowing him to position himself to hit them with Meat Hook.
  • Sentry Ward icon.png Sentry Ward helps take away enemy vision, preventing them from spotting his approaches and dodging Meat Hook attemps.

Mid game:

  • Magic Wand icon.png Magic Wand gives Pudge additional attributes and increased charge storage. Both can greatly aid Pudge in granting him survivability and allowing him to more easily cast spells, as a fully-charged Magic Wand can often be all that he needs in order to pull off his full spell combo.
  • Tranquil Boots (Active) icon.png Tranquil Boots are cheap, and give Pudge all the bonuses that he needs. The improved movement speed grants increased map mobility and helps him to position for casting Meat Hook from suitable angles. The HP regen keeps his HP topped up, and most importantly mitigates the HP cost of Rot.
  • Soul Ring icon.png Soul Ring provides mana for Meat Hook, as well as easing self-denying with Rot.
  • Urn of Shadows icon.png Urn of Shadows provides strength for additional HP and base damage, and mana regen to help maintain his mana pool. Charges can be easily acquired through successful ganks, and can be utilized either to heal Pudge and his teammates after successful ganks, particularly to recoup the HP cost of Rot, or can be targeted on enemies as an additional damage over time to increase the odds of success of future ganks.
  • Hood of Defiance icon.png Hood of Defiance grants magic resistance, reducing the amount of damage that Rot deals to Pudge, and extra HP regen to further mitigate its HP cost. It greatly boosts the effectiveness of Flesh Heap, allowing Pudge to easily shrug off magic nukes and make further use of the bonus strength.
  • Aether Lens icon.png Aether Lens increases the size of his mana pool, as well as providing mana regen. Its main utility, however, is in increasing Meat Hook's range up to 1500, allowing him to snag enemies from further away.

Late game:

  • Spirit Vessel icon.png Spirit Vessel, upgraded from Urn of Shadows, grants Pudge more health and movement speed. The active ability damages and counters enemy healing, taking down targets easily in ganks.
  • Aghanim's Scepter icon.png Aghanim's Scepter significantly augments the utility of Meat Hook, greatly reducing its cooldown and increasing its damage. It also provides additional attributes, most importantly more mana to mitigate the strain that repeated casting of Meat Hook places on Pudge's mana pool.

Situational items:

  • Bottle (Full) icon.png Bottle is crucial to purchase early on as a mid Pudge, as he is easy to harass and requires HP and mana sustain. As well, the runes can help him to gank enemies more easily, and refill the Bottle's charges to allow Pudge to roam independently.
  • Pipe of Insight icon.png Pipe of Insight, upgraded from Hood of Defiance, provides teamfight utility to Pudge's team. Insight Aura further boosts Pudge's magic resistance and HP regen, while the active can improve teammates' survivability against enemy magic nukes.
  • Rod of Atos icon.png Rod of Atos improves Pudge's disable potential while providing many strong bonuses at a cost-effective price. The increased intelligence greatly boosts Pudge's ability to cast his spell combo, while the increased HP makes him even tankier. The active's long range allows Pudge to drastically slow an enemy from far away, making them easy targets for Meat Hook.
  • Blink Dagger icon.png Blink Dagger allows Pudge to easily position himself for casting Meat Hook. It should be considered a core item if farm permits.
  • Force Staff icon.png Force Staff is an easily built support-utility item that greatly improves Pudge's mobility while providing useful bonuses. The intelligence helps him with casting his spells, while the HP regen aids in mitigating Rot's HP cost. The active allows Pudge to re-position himself for casting Meat Hook, save allies who are fleeing from enemies, and even break an enemy's Linken's Sphere prior to casting Dismember.
  • Blade Mail icon.png Blade Mail is a useful survivability item on Pudge. It boosts his armor, giving him survivability against physical damage, and boosts his intelligence to give him more mana for casting spells. The active allows Pudge to use his large HP pool offensively during ganks and teamfights, discouraging enemies from casting counter-nukes against him.
  • Ghost Scepter icon.png Ghost Scepter grants attributes and protects Pudge from physical attacks.
  • Drum of Endurance icon.png Drum of Endurance gives Pudge all-around attributes. In particular, the extra intelligence aids with casting, while the aura boosts his movement speed to aid with positioning and chasing.
  • Lotus Orb icon.png Lotus Orb is a very strong survivability and disabling item that allows Pudge to use the enemy's spells against them. It provides HP and mana regen, both of which are very useful for maintaining Pudge's health and mana, while the bonus armor aids in survivability against physical damage. Echo Shell can be cast on allies to discourage enemies from targeting them with spells, or can be cast on Pudge himself prior to Dismember to allow him to reflect enemy disables should they try to interrupt him.
  • Shiva's Guard icon.png Shiva's Guard greatly improves Pudge's survivability against physical damage. The bonus armor and enemy attack speed reduction make Pudge much tankier, while the bonus intelligence greatly improves his ability to cast spells over prolonged periods of time. The active can act as a damage nuke and slow, allowing Pudge to further reduce enemies' movement speed on top of Rot.
  • Heart of Tarrasque icon.png Heart of Tarrasque greatly improves Pudge's strength and HP, making him far more difficult to kill and augmenting the amount of damage that Dismember deals. The passive also allows him to quickly regenerate HP between engagements, and allows him to ignore the HP cost of Rot.
  • Smoke of Deceit icon.png Smoke of Deceit provides aids ganking with additional movement speed and invisibility.
  • Gem of True Sight icon.png Gem of True Sight can be a wise investment on Pudge depending on the enemy lineup. Pudge's inherent tankiness ensures that it does not easily fall into enemy hands, and the detection allows him to de-ward enemy vision and catch invisible heroes more easily.
  • Glimmer Cape icon.png Glimmer Cape can be a useful utility item in Pudge's hands. Improving Pudge's magic resistance reduces the impact of Rot on his HP pool, while the active can aid in invisible initiations and escapes, for allies and Pudge himself. The active also lets Pudge shield himself while channeling Dismember, reducing the odds of enemies hitting him with targeted disables.
  • Crimson Guard icon.png Crimson Guard is a strong utility item that gives Pudge more teamfight contribution. His tanky nature means that he greatly benefits from the damage block and bonus armor, while the bonus HP helps to make him even harder to kill. The active gives damage block to his entire team, useful for increasing their survivability during a teamfight.
  • Guardian Greaves icon.png Guardian Greaves give Pudge increased survivability and teamfight utility. The heal and mana replenishment greatly aid Pudge and his allies in teamfights, and the aura tremendously improves survivability. The active also removes debuffs from Pudge instantly, allowing him to contribute more effectively in teamfights.
  • Scythe of Vyse icon.png Scythe of Vyse is an expensive investment, but greatly improves Pudge's ganking prowess. It gives a great amount of intelligence and mana regen, ensuring that Pudge can cast his disables whenever needed. The Hex allows him to instantly hard-disable an enemy at range, which makes them an easy victim for a follow-up Dismember without needing to immediately expend Meat Hook.
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