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Pugna minimap icon.png Pugna is a caster whose abilities provide strong nuking power and utilities in various situations. Nether Blast is useful for clearing creep waves and towers, and its wide radius proves useful in teamfights. Decrepify disarms the target and lowers magic resistance, as well as preventing them from being attacked, allowing Pugna to disable an enemy or save an ally. Nether Ward lowers the mana regeneration of enemy heroes, and deals damage based off of how much mana they spend. Life Drain will deal a large amount of damage over time, healing him for the same amount that he damages. Despite all of his spells, however, Pugna has a low strength and agility gain, which leads to him being quite fragile. In addition, he does not have the best attack animation or speed, which can lead to the enemy denying him last hits in the laning phase.
Pros Cons
  • High movement speed.
  • Devastating nukes and slow.
  • Strong pusher.
  • Can disarm enemies or save allies.
  • Low health pool.
  • Low armor.
  • Sloppy attack animation and attack speed.
  • Low strength and agility gain.
  • No hard disables.


Pugna usually prefers the midlane to get quick levels and items as he can use Nether Blast to farm creep waves and deal direct damage to towers. Enemies will have a hard time ganking him when he can use his slow and nukes to turn against them. As a result, Pugna easily claims towers relatively early in the game, creating enormous space for his team to farm and gank. Further into the game, Pugna can choose to build items that enhance his abilities to deal damage through Life Drain.


Pugna's primary strength relies on his devastating abilities that deal great damage to heroes and towers, so he only needs to build items that provide mana to come online. Therefore, he can spend more gold toward aiding team with utilities and vision. In the laning stage, he can use Nether Blast to harass or farm side pulls and stacks, and Decrepify to set up for allies' disables. He can then push down towers with Nether Blast to gain gold and map advantage.

Ability Builds[edit]

Generic Pugna
Nether Blast icon.pngDecrepify icon.pngNether Blast icon.pngDecrepify icon.pngNether Blast icon.pngLife Drain icon.pngNether Blast icon.pngDecrepify icon.pngDecrepify icon.pngTalent icon.pngNether Ward icon.pngLife Drain icon.pngNether Ward icon.pngNether Ward icon.pngTalent icon.pngNether Ward icon.pngUnknown icon.pngLife Drain icon.pngTalent icon.pngTalent icon.png


Hero Talents
+1.5 Netherward Damage Per Mana25+160 Nether Blast Damage
+1.5s Decrepify Duration20+20% Life Drain Heal
+3 Nether Ward Health15-0.8s Netherblast Cooldown
+175 Health10+15 Movement Speed
  • The health talent increases maximum health capacity, and keeps the current health percentage.

Tips & Tactics[edit]


  • With high base movement speed and short cast animation, Pugna can get into position to use abilities more quickly than other casters. Moreover, he often purchases mobility items like Blink Dagger icon.png Blink Dagger to press his advantages.
    • However, his pitiful defense makes him a tempting prey for enemy heroes.
  • Because of a combination of his squishiness and reliance on abilities usage, Pugna benefits most from building items that boost the size of his health pool and provide him with mana regeneration. Because he has the highest intelligence growth in the game, Pugna's mana pool can support his abilities usage comfortably, so obtaining mana regeneration keeps him from needing to return to base too often.
  • Despite his high nuking potential, Pugna does not have any hard disables, thus enemies may escape him either by running away or channeling a Town Portal Scroll. In order to reliably nuke down and kill enemy heroes, Pugna often relies on allied disables, or purchase disable items himself.
  • In general, Pugna requires farm and levels in order to become effective, however, he can also contribute to teamfights with levels alone.
  • Pugna can deal great damage with Life Drain and Nether Blast in combination with Decrepify.


Nether Blast[edit]

  • Nether Blast is a ground-targeted area nuke that deals magical damage within its radius after a delay.
  • Due to its low cooldown and high damage scaling, Pugna should max out Nether Blast first. It greatly increases Pugna's nuking, pushing, and farming potential.
  • The long delay on Nether Blast makes it a hard ability to land on enemies who are watching Pugna's animations in an attempt to dodge the explosion. Try to fake them out with animation canceling once in a while, as dispositioning the enemy can give Pugna more space for last hitting or harass them out of range of last hitting creeps.
  • Use Nether Blast to bring down buildings.
    • Try to use Nether Blast so that it damages buildings right on the edge of the AoE, putting Pugna a safe distance from the enemies.
    • Level 4 Nether Blast deals more damage to buildings than their deny range, completely taking out the chance of enemy denying.
    • If the tower is low enough and affected by Backdoor Protection, Pugna can simply kill it in one shot with Nether Blast without needing friendly creeps.
  • Nether Blast has a short cast range, but a wide radius, allowing Pugna to nuke targets up to 800 range away. Be careful about using the ability to harass, as its short cast range may put Pugna in danger.
    • Try to use the radius to your advantage and catch enemies as close to the far edge as possible, in order to keep as great a distance between them and Pugna.
  • Catch as many targets within its radius as possible. Try using it to last hit creeps while at the same time nuking your lane opponent, or catching an enemy creep wave and tower at the same time during a push.
  • With the +200 Nether Blast damage talent, Pugna can kill entire creep waves (except siege creeps) with one Nether Blast, cutting down the time he shows on the map while increasing push and farm rate.


  • Decrepify inflicts its target, enemy or ally, with ethereal, slowing the enemies while also reducing their magic resistance.
  • Because Pugna deals great magical damage, put early points in Decrepify, as the magic resistance reduction improves his damage output.
    • Leveling up the ability increases its disable and debuff potential, while reducing its turnaround time due to reduced cooldown.
  • Inflicting ethereal on an enemy will disarm them while slowing and reducing their magic resistance, stopping physical carries in their tracks, and open them up to Nether Blast and other magical nukes.
  • Be careful when you use Decrepify on enemies, as ethereal will also prevent allies from damaging them with physical attacks. Using the ability at the wrong time can inadvertently save the enemy, so judge the situation accordingly before committing.
  • Casting Decrepify on Pugna or allies will reduce their magic resistance, but it will also render them immune to physical damage, which can save them from being killed by attacks or physical damage abilities.
    • As with casting Decrepify on enemies, be sure to analyze the situation before committing Decrepify on allies. The magic resistance reduction can also be taken advantage of by the enemy, who can finish off your teammate with a magical nuke.
  • In the laning stage, use Decrepify on an enemy to prevent them from attacking, allowing Pugna to last hit and deny creeps without enemy interference.
  • Use Decrepify as an initiating slow to allow allies more time to move into position to land nukes and disables.
  • When using Decrepify in combination with Nether Blast, try to take advantage of Decrepify's long cast range in order to cover for Nether Blast's delay. Target Nether Blast on an enemy, and then quickly cast Decrepify on them immediately afterward; the target will be slowed and unable to retreat outside of the range of Nether Blast, taking additional damage from the reduced magic resistance.
  • In a pinch, Decrepify can be used as physical damage immunity while channeling spells or items. In particular, casting Decrepify prior to channeling a Town Portal Scroll can prevent enemies from finishing off a target (or Pugna himself) unless they have an interrupting disable.
  • Decrepify can save allied heroes from early game rune clashes, where most of the damage output of all heroes come from physical attacks.
  • Decrepify synergises well with Eul's Scepter of Divinity icon.png Eul's Scepter of Divinity, as the duration of Cyclone matches the downtime of Decrepify meaning Pugna can chain Decrepify -> Cyclone -> Decrepify for 9.5 seconds of disable or invulnerability.
  • Use Decrepify to protect Nether Ward from enemy attacks. You can also protect similar allied wards like Tombstone.
  • Use Decrepify to prevent enemy towers from attacking allied creeps, providing vision and buying time for Pugna to use Nether Blast.

Nether Ward[edit]

  • Nether Ward places a ward that degenerates enemy mana within a wide radius, and punishes enemies for using abilities if they expend mana within its range.
  • Because Nether Ward is dependent on enemies expending mana, it only shines in teamfights and as a counter-spell nuke during ganks. As teamfights do not happen until later in a match and ganks are situational, Nether Ward is a situational ability in the early game and should be maxed out last.
  • Nether Ward is a powerful teamfight and counter-gank ability that can debilitate the enemy team if placed properly ahead of an engagement. Enemies attempting to use abilities and items will take tremendous damage based on the mana cost.
  • As Nether Ward fires its mana flares as magical damage, reducing the enemy's magic resistance through Decrepify can cause them to take increased damage from the flares.
  • If time permits, placing Nether Ward during a gank can allow Pugna to deal nuke damage to punish enemies that attempt to land counter-disables or escape spells. Combine with Pugna's other nukes to finish an enemy off before they can successfully escape.
  • Because Nether Ward fires its flares before the enemy spell takes effect, it can cancel the spell from happening if they die from the flare damage, making it strong against abilities like Laguna Blade, Freezing Field, Finger of Death, and Mystic Flare.
  • Keep in mind that Nether Ward has an extremely short cast range, so Pugna must move himself to the location where he wishes to place it. Try taking advantage of the ward's wide influence radius and place it behind your team or inside of a treeline where it will be hard to get to.
  • Beware that even if the Nether Ward itself is hidden, the mana flares are visible to the enemy team, meaning that they can triangulate its position based on where the flares are coming from. Placing the ward behind Pugna's team can prevent them from easily destroying it even if they determine its location.
  • Decrepify can target the Nether Ward, allowing Pugna to temporarily shield it from damage, extending its survivability for a few more seconds and allowing Pugna to use the ward itself as bait to draw in enemies.

Life Drain[edit]

  • Channel Life Drain to drain health from a target enemy, replenishing Pugna's health and mana.
  • Life Drain acts as a nuking and surviving ability when the enemy cannot disable Pugna during the channeling. By healing himself while simultaneously damaging a target enemy, Pugna negates any damage that the enemy deals to him while dishing out constant damage to an enemy and potentially scoring a kill.
  • In general, try to get as close as possible to an enemy before using Life Drain on them; unless they have a disable that interrupts, their only option for breaking free is to run away.
  • As with Pugna's other abilities, Life Drain deals magical damage, benefitting from lowered enemy's magic resistance. Using Decrepify on an enemy prior to Life Drain will increase the amount of damage dealt and the amount healed.
    • Furthermore, Decrepify lowers the enemy movement speed, keeping them within range of Life Drain for longer.
  • With its low cooldown, Pugna can use Life Drain liberally with enough mana. Pugna can also use Life Drain on enemy or neutral creeps to heal.
  • If Pugna already has full health, Life Drain will instead refill his mana when targeted on enemy heroes.
    • However, using it on creeps will only restore health, not mana.
  • Life Drain destroys enemy illusions upon the first damage tick. When upgraded with Aghanim's Scepter icon.png Aghanim's Scepter, Pugna easily removes multiple enemy illusions in a short period of time such as against Haunt or Phantasm.
  • When targeted on an ally, Life Drain heals them by taking Pugna's health. Thus, Pugna can save a near-death teammate.
    • Additionally, its ability to pierce spell immunity allows Pugna to heal them through activated Black King Bar.
  • Functionally, an ally-targeted Life Drain acts as a reverse-cast ability with the target as the caster and Pugna as the target, though the channel is still focused on Pugna himself. This means that reducing Pugna's magic resistance (such as through a self-cast Decrepify) will increase the flow rate, while increasing Pugna's magic resistance will reduce the flow rate (or outright halt it in the case of 100% magic resistance through spell immunity or other means).
  • Be mindful that the damage dealt to Pugna is lethal, and can cause him to commit suicide. In certain situations, Pugna might find it helpful to keep an ally alive while denying himself.


Starting items:

  • Iron Branch icon.png Iron Branch gives cheap attributes, helping Pugna to some health and mana.
  • Clarity icon.png Clarity replenishes mana in lane to use abilities; Pugna may ferry out Clarity throughout the game as an inexpensive source of mana regeneration.
  • Tango icon.png Tango sustains Pugna's health in lane.
  • Healing Salve icon.png Healing Salve restores large amount of health in the early game.
  • Enchanted Mango icon.png Enchanted Mango gives passive health regeneration and a source of mana when consumed.
  • Null Talisman icon.png Null Talisman gives some attributes, mostly intelligence, to help with getting last hits.

Early game:

  • Magic Stick icon.png Magic Stick provides burst health and mana in a pinch, allowing Pugna to survive and cast more spells.
  • Boots of Speed icon.png Boots of Speed give Pugna movement speed to compensate for his low defense.
  • Wind Lace icon.png Wind Lace offers a boost to movement speed for cheap.

Mid game:

  • Magic Wand icon.png Magic Wand grants additional attributes and increased charge storage for health and mana.
  • Arcane Boots icon.png Arcane Boots increases the size of Pugna's mana pool while allowing him to replenish it. He can disassemble them later to make Aether Lens.
  • Aether Lens icon.png Aether Lens increases mana pool and mana regeneration, facilitating Pugna's spell casting. The increased cast range helps Pugna stay a safe distance from enemies.
  • Rod of Atos icon.png Rod of Atos gives Pugna attributes and a root to hold enemies down for Life Drain.

Late game:

  • Black King Bar icon.png Black King Bar's spell immunity protects Pugna from being interrupted while channeling Life Drain. When combined with a self-cast Decrepify, enemies will find him virtually invulnerable to damage.
  • Linken's Sphere icon.png Linken's Sphere provides attributes, regeneration, and Spellblock to protect against certain single targeted disables that may interrupt Life Drain.
  • Boots of Travel 1 icon.png Boots of Travel gives movement speed and global presence.

Situational items:

  • Bottle (Full) icon.png Bottle sustains health and mana, while giving abilitiy to store runes for later opportunities.
  • Dagon 1 icon.png Dagon provides intelligence and an additional huge magical burst in combination with Decrepify. A full nether blast, decrepify, dagon 5 combo deals about ~1500 damage before resistances.
  • Aghanim's Scepter icon.png Aghanim's Scepter provides attributes across the board, giving Pugna more health and mana to use abilities frequently. The upgraded Life Drain with removed cooldown allows for infinite uptime given enough mana.
  • Kaya icon.png Kaya enhances abilities of Pugna by increasing their damage while reducing their mana cost.
  • Blink Dagger icon.png Blink Dagger greatly improves Pugna's mobility and allows him to quickly get off a full dagon combo and blink out before any enemies can react.
  • Force Staff icon.png Force Staff gives Pugna mobility and escape that works on himself and allies. The increased intelligence boosts the size of his mana pool, while the health regeneration keeps him topped up.
  • Glimmer Cape icon.png Glimmer Cape increases magic resistance which helps with survivability. The active ability provides invisibility for Pugna while channeling Life Drain, or for using on himself or teammates to escape.
  • Veil of Discord icon.png Veil of Discord gives attributes, armor, health regeneration, and a way to reduce enemies' magic resistance, complementing Nether Blast and Life Drain.
  • Meteor Hammer icon.png Meteor Hammer synergies with Nether Blast and Decrepify and even Life Drain if successfully landed a stun.
  • Ghost Scepter icon.png Ghost Scepter might seem to be redundant, since you have Decrepify. However, having Ghost Scepter allows you to counter enemy heroes with dispels, like Nullifier icon.png Nullifier, to dispel a self-cast Decrepify, and it allows you to be bolder when casting Decrepify on allies and enemies alike.
  • Eul's Scepter of Divinity icon.png Eul's Scepter of Divinity grants mana regeneration, mana, and movement speed to keep Pugna ready to fight. The active ability gives further utilities like removing debuffs, setting up kills, and delaying while Decrepify or other abilities are cooling down.
  • Tranquil Boots (Active) icon.png Tranquil Boots provides movement speed, as well as health regeneration which can be passed onto allies with Life Drain.
  • Spirit Vessel icon.png Spirit Vessel gives small bonuses including mana regeneration and movement speed, as well as an active heal and a tool to counter enemy healing.
  • Drum of Endurance icon.png Drum of Endurance provides Pugna with attributes and movement speed for early skirmishes.
  • Lotus Orb icon.png Lotus Orb grants armor, regeneration, and Echo Shell to dispel and reflect single targeted abilities.
  • Scythe of Vyse icon.png Scythe of Vyse gives Pugna more attributes and a hex to further control enemy heroes.
  • Shiva's Guard icon.png Shiva's Guard grants Pugna armor, intelligence, as well as a way to slow many enemies.
  • Necronomicon 1 icon.png Necronomicon aids Pugna and team during sieging, especially with tier 3 tower pushes.
  • Guardian Greaves icon.png Guardian Greaves recovers a large amount of health and mana to Pugna and allies.