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Pudge minimap icon.png Pudge is a fearsome ganker and one of the most popular and renowned heroes in all of Dota. Meat Hook is a great spell that does pure damage and displaces opponents, setting them up for ganks. Rot slows opponents, as well as dealing heavy damage over time. Flesh Heap gives a strength bonus per kill, as well as magic resistance. Dismember disables opponents as well as dealing potentially heavy damage based on Pudge's strength. 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. However, he suffers from low armor and mana issues, and he does not have a lot to contribute to teamfights.
Pros Cons
  • Naturally has a very large health pool that can grow even bigger.
  • Good ganker and roamer in the early game.
  • High strength gain and can gain even more strength if he can get a lot of kills.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Magic resistance can negate a large amount of Pudge's damage.


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
Meat Hook icon.pngRot icon.pngRot icon.pngMeat Hook icon.pngRot icon.pngDismember icon.pngMeat Hook icon.pngRot icon.pngFlesh Heap icon.pngTalent icon.pngMeat Hook icon.pngDismember icon.pngFlesh Heap icon.pngFlesh Heap icon.pngTalent icon.pngFlesh Heap icon.pngUnknown icon.pngDismember icon.pngTalent icon.pngTalent icon.png


Hero Talents
+1.5 Flesh Heap Stack Str251.8x Dismember Damage/Heal
-4 Meat Hook Cooldown20+0.8s Dismember Duration
-16% Rot Slow1510% Spell Lifesteal
+30 Rot Damage10+4 Armor
  • The spell lifesteal talent stacks additively with other sources of spell lifesteal.
  • The spell lifesteal talent heals for 2% from non-hero units. Treats creep-heroes as creeps and does not heal off of illusions.

Tips & Tactics[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 be effective in a lane.
  • Because of his extremely powerful spells and low armor, Pudge is heavily reliant on building up his mana pool and increasing his poor mobility in order to be more 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.
    • Given his strong utility and high damage, Pudge normally is played as a roamer with a lane partner. While he lacks the movement abilities of traditional roamer, he can greatly disrupt and harass the enemy safe lane and also draw the enemy near with his Meat Hook, which uncommonly can get solo kills on the enemy heroes 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
    • Uncommonly, Pudge can serve as a strong utility support in the safe lane. While he is unable to effectively harass the enemy offlaner without his meat hook because his low attack range and movement speed. With his spells, he can dis-position them with Meat Hook and slow them with Rot to heavily harass them and the uncommon chance to get a solo kill, and a very easy chance to kill them during ganks and kill attempts, giving his team early kills to boost their gold gain and increasing Pudge's health pool with his flesh heap stack. He can also safely and reliably obtain more gold and experience through pulling creep camps and hooking the enemy bounty rune, which keeps the lane creep equilibrium closer to his team's tower where he can more easily get in position to hook them under the tower and kill them.
    • Pudge can also be played as a solo mid. While he is generally a weak laner due to being a melee hero and having low armor, judicious and skillful usage 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.


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.
    • It should be generally maxed after Rot, as the range stays the same for all levels, and the mana cost is too high to spam it in the early game.
  • The most reliable way to utilize Meat Hook from a distance is to cast it from the enemy Fog of War, in order to give them as little time to react as possible. Use treelines, choke points, high ground and nighttime to maximize the chance of landing a hook
  • In lane, avoid trying to hook heroes from trees, even if they do not have vision there. Most players expect this and will most likely dodge it. Instead, use Rot to harass and then use Meat Hook at a close distance to secure the kill.
  • Meat hook can be used immediately after Dismember as a nuke. Unless a creep or one of his allies steps too close, Pudge can always hit close-range hooks, which deals a good amount of pure damage. As the game goes on, Pudge is going to have more mana, which allows him to spam it.
  • Try to catch the enemy from a distance following a stun from one of your teammates. This will ensure the enemy cannot dodge the hook and allow Pudge to follow up with Dismember.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 Rot costs no mana and scales well in the early game, it should be maxed out first provided you have a means of healing yourself, such as Tranquil Boots (Active) icon.png Tranquil Boots. Movement speed slow increases with every level, so in combination with Meat Hook it can allow you to get early kills.
  • Rot does not disable Blink Dagger icon.png Blink Dagger and Tranquil Boots (Active) icon.png Tranquil Boots, nor does it dispel Healing Salve icon.png Healing Salve or Clarity icon.png Clarity. Enable Rot before initiating with Blink Dagger and Dismember so that you start dealing damage as soon as possible.
  • 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.
  • Rot's cast animation overrides your attack animation. Use it to hit a creep without the enemy realizing it, e.g. to avoid being disarmed by Decrepify before you can last-hit/deny a creep.
  • 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.
  • Beware that if Pudge is silenced or stunned, 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.
  • 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, as well as extra strength based on enemy hero deaths around him.
  • Flesh Heap, with enough stacks, can greatly increase the effectiveness of Rot and Dismember. 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.
    • However, if Pudge is facing a lot of harassment or using Rot often, an early point or two into Flesh Heap for the magic resistance might be worth it.
  • 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 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 a strong dispel can still break a target out of Dismember's 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 the invisibility's 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.


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.
  • Ring of Basilius (Active) icon.png Ring of Basilius provides mana regen to both you and allies and can be built into Veil of Discord icon.png Veil of Discord later on which increases pure damage in addition to spell damage from your team.
  • 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 always provides mana for one extra Meat Hook.
  • 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 reduces the cooldown of Dismember and also allows him to target allies, healing them for 4% of their max health, which could help an ally survive or let them get back into a fight. The extra attributes, health, and mana are also useful for Pudge.

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 root 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.
  • Veil of Discord icon.png Veil of Discord increase your solo and team fight kill potential as it affects Meat Hook's pure damage in addition to providing a mana regen aura but is difficult to farm. It's advised to first get mobility items as early enemy hero kills and providing map presence are Pudge's main assets.
  • Ghost Scepter icon.png Ghost Scepter grants attributes and protects Pudge from physical attacks.
  • Drum of Endurance icon.png Drum of Endurance gives Pudge attributes. In particular, the extra intelligence aids with casting, while the active 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.