Pudge is one of, if not the most popular hero in Dota 2. Even now, his popularity is apparent even if he’s not as used in the Main Stage. He’s involved in some pretty hype moments back in his heyday, and now, it seems like he’s making a resurgence. Today we will be talking a bit about Pudge and how you can play him in Dota 2 7.30b. Here’s the only guide you need to Pudge in Dota 2!
Who Is Pudge in Dota 2?
In the far south of Quoidge, inside the Fields of Endless Carnage, roams an unspeakable figure. The detestable form works throughout the nights while flies roam around bloated bodies in its grisly work. This work is the dissection, disemboweling, and dismembering of the various bodies in the fields. Torn up body parts, limbs, and viscera, all so that the battlefields are clear by the time dawn rises. In the Fields of Endless Carnage, there’s nothing that can decompose or decay, and the fields are piled with endless corpses. The carrion birds see this place as a buffet for them to sink their beaks into, and accompanying them is the Butcher, also known as Pudge.
Pudge roams the endless battlefield, honing his skills in blade work through the careful dissection and cutting of the endless corpses piling in the fields. With each swish and slash of his hooks, he tears flesh and bone apart for an easier time to cut. His blades, already long and sharp before he started his work, grew longer and sharper the more bodies he cuts up. Over the years, however, Pudge has grown a taste for the flesh of those around him. This starts as a nibble from a piece of flesh stuck in bone, maybe a sip of blood from a squeezed tendon. Before long, he’s already eating his way through torsos, as if a dog gnawing at the bones of the dead.
What Are the Skills of Pudge in Dota 2?
Pudge’s Hook is a nightmare for friend and foe alike. The blade’s bloody curve is a reminder to all about the Butcher’s murderous intent.
The Butcher throws a bloody hook in front of him heading towards a unit or a location. When it encounters a unit, it will immediately hook them and drag them back towards Pudge’s waiting hands.
- Pudge’s Meat Hook takes .9 seconds to reach the farthest point of its distance.
- Meat Hook can hit units from the 1400 range. Note that the search radius of Pudge’s Meat Hook is centered on the tip, not on the sides.
- The Meat Hook can only snag units when it’s extending itself. When the hook is retracting back to Pudge and no one was hooked, it won’t hook a unit. Do note that invisible units can be hooked.
- Enemies that are hooked are fully disabled for as long as they’re being hooked.
- If the hooked enemy unit isn’t a hero, ancient creep, or creep-hero, they instantly die through a form of HP removal.
The Butcher’s ever-swelling mass of flesh and pus releases a toxic gas that chokes and disorients all who go near.
Pudge’s bulbous flesh releases a miasmic cloud that chokes those around him. It deals continuous damage as well as slowing enemies around Pudge.
- Rot damages enemies around Pudge by 30/60/90/120 damage per second. With Aghanim’s Scepter, this increases to 130/160/190/220 damage per second.
- Slows enemies around Pudge by 14%/20%/26%/32%. With talents, this is increased to 28%/34%/40%/46%.
- The ability doesn’t stop Pudge when he’s channeling spells or items.
- Pudge cannot deny himself using Rot.
- Both the damage and the slow debuff are provided due to an aura. The Aura debuff lingers for .5 seconds after Pudge toggles the ability off.
- Rot still works even when hidden, silenced, or disabled if it’s already turned on.
- If Rot is toggled on when the player levels it up, the damage is automatically updated. The exception to this is on the slow debuff. Already debuffed units will still be slowed by the same amount as the previous level. However, new enemies that go inside the range of Rot will now be affected by the new scaling.
- Aghanim’s Scepter increases Rot’s Damage, as already mentioned. However, it also increases Rot’s radius and applies a plethora of other debuffs. These debuffs are HP Regen Reduction, Heal Reduction, Spell Lifesteal Reduction, and Lifesteal Reduction.
When it comes to Meat Shields, no one does it better than the Butcher.
Every time an enemy hero dies near Butcher, or if he kills an enemy hero, he gains a stack of Flesh Heap. Each stack of Flesh Heap increases Pudge’s Magic Resistance as well as Pudge’s Strength Stat.
- Flesh Heap is a retroactive skill. This means Pudge can still gain stacks of Flesh Heap even when the skill isn’t given a level yet. However, it’s only when it’s leveled that the buffs become active.
- Enemy heroes that die in a 450 radius around Pudge will immediately put a stack of Flesh Heap. It’s a different case if Pudge himself kills the Hero. In this case, the range is extended to 1600.
- The Magic Resistance that Flesh Heap gives stacks multiplicatively to other items that give Magic Resistance.
- Pudge doesn’t gain a stack of Flesh Heap if the dying hero has Reincarnation or Aegis of the Immortal. He also doesn’t gain a stack if the enemy hero killed is an Illusion, or if he dies before the kill is done.
- Enemy heroes denied within Pudge’s 450 Flesh Heap range also give a stack.
- Meepo Clones are a special case and only gives 1 stack, regardless of how many are near Pudge.
“These Vermin are gonna be great additions to the pie when I’m through with ‘em!”
Pudge pretty much eats an enemy unit alive, tearing chunks of their flesh. This disables the unit in question and deals damage periodically. Every time Pudge chows down, he gets healed for the same amount. Do note that Creeps can be targeted by Dismember, so watch your casts.
- Enemies that are Dismembered are disabled so long as Pudge is still channeling the spell.
- Gives True Sight on the enemy being Dismembered.
- Channeling of Dismember immediately stops if the unit getting dismembered turns invulnerable or hidden.
- Creep Heroes are in the middle ground when it comes to the effects of Dismember on them. They’re treated as Full Heroes when it comes to duration. However, the damage dealt is for non-hero units.
- Dismember’s damage is dealt in fixed intervals spread evenly in its duration.
- If players have Aghanim’s Shard, Pudge gains the ability to swallow allied heroes. This gives him the ability to help teammates escape projectiles, and give a nasty surprise to enemies.
- When a Hero is swallowed by Pudge, he gains access to the Eject ability. This allows Pudge to release the hero he swallowed. However, heroes that are swallowed can get out of Pudge after 3 seconds have passed when he swallowed them whole. Lastly, only 1 hero can be swallowed at a time. If Pudge swallows another hero, he’ll immediately regurgitate the previous hero to swallow the new one.
How to Play as Pudge in Dota 2? (7.30b)
General Play Style
Pudge has several distinct playstyles depending on the role that the player wants to go for. He can be a pretty effective Midlaner, Roamer, and even a Carry. Though that role is pretty recent and only came to pass through good itemization and near godlike play. Anyhow, the usual game plan for Pudge is to gank the lanes and ensure that the enemy team has a hard time. Occasionally they need to farm to get levels and items, but overall, this is their main role.
This isn’t the case for Pudge Carry, however. This time, Pudge needs to be more active on the lanes until Level 6. It’s during this point that Pudge gets Dismember, one of the best hero locking abilities in the game. With a few good ganks and a lot of farm, Carry Pudge can snowball out of control to the point of never dying, ever.
Suggested Skill Progression for Pudge in Dota 2
Depending on the playstyle, there are several ways to approach Pudge’s skills. For one, you can level up Meat Hook first for early ganking potential. This allows Pudge to drag his enemies towards their deaths and can be a way to kill those that flee. Do note that it’s also a good idea to keep a close eye on where the is going as creeps can be used to dodge the hook.
After that, Rot is a good 2nd skill to level as it gives great damage potential to heroes that Pudge has hooked. They’re not only damaged, but slowed down immensely as Rot burns through both theirs, and Pudge’s HP. It’s usually a good idea to use Rot only when the enemy in question is at low HP. However, using Rot when at low HP is also a good idea to some points as it gives Pudge the ability to deny himself. This makes it so that the enemy doesn’t get the gold for killing you, which is great.
Flesh Heap on the other hand isn’t recommended to be picked on the laning stage. This is because it’s usually a better idea to max out Meat Hook, Rot, and Dismember first before getting a point of Flesh Heap. Why? Because it’s retroactive. You can get all of the stacks of Flesh Heap that you’ll get on later levels when you’ve got enough kills and assists in your bag and your other skills are maxed out.
Lastly, it’s always a good idea to get Dismember as soon as possible. This allows Pudge to lock enemy heroes in place for him to kill, as well as for other members of his team to gank. There’s no disadvantage in not getting this early.
Suggested Talent Build for Pudge in Dota 2
Talents-wise, getting -14% Rot Slow is an incredibly powerful way to keep enemies in place. With this, you can pretty much lock enemies down pat and they won’t be able to get away with Dismember. Other than this, getting 10% Spell Lifesteal helps in keeping Pudge alive through Dismember and Rot and would make him tankier. At the level 20 threshold, getting the +0.8s Dismember Duration will allow Pudge to hold enemies longer when he uses his ultimate. This makes it a good pick over the decreased Meat Hook cooldown.
Lastly, players have a choice when Pudge reaches Level 25. They can either go for increased Strength gain from Flesh Heap or increased damage/heal from Dismember. It depends on what playstyle you’re going for, but each has benefits for both. If you’re going for Carry Pudge, it’s usually a good idea to get the increased damage/heal that Dismember will give. However, if you have a lot of stacks in Flesh Heap, getting the latter talent might be a good idea.
Either way, both Level 25 talents are serious power boosts for Pudge, and not to be underestimated.
Suggested Items for Pudge in Dota 2
Now that we’ve talked about Pudge’s abilities and talents, we need to talk about his items. Do note that these are the items that Pudge can use effectively and with a good player. However, It’s up to the one playing Pudge to figure out which items are good for which role. We’ll put ways to use the items as well as which playstyle favors getting the item more in the section as well.
Boots of Speed
Boots of Speed is always evergreen in Dota 2 due to the sheer utility it has. It builds on several unique items that increase a hero’s movement speed while also giving great buffs and item abilities. Getting Boots of Speed is also a good power spike for Pudge as it opens for ganking and support roles later on.
Once Pudge has enough money, he can proceed to get either Phase Boots or Guardian Greaves.
Magic Wand is a good way for Pudge to stay in the fight longer as it gives a decent amount of HP and MP when used. Do note that it needs charges to heal Pudge, and gaining charges requires Pudge to be near enemy and allied heroes when they use abilities. Do note that Pudge’s Meat Hook and Dismember can trigger Magic Wand’s ability to store charges. However, Rot doesn’t.
Hood of Defiance
Hood of Defiance increases Pudge’s Magic Resistance by a fair amount while also giving him HP Regen. In addition, it’s also an item that can be built into 2 late-game items later. These items are Pipe of Insight and Eternal Shroud. Do note that either of these items is effective on Pudge, but it all depends on the playstyle of the player. However, Hood of Defiance does give a lot of good additional survivability for Pudge to keep fighting.
Blade Mail gives Pudge extra survivability by increasing his armor, as well as giving him some boosts to his intelligence. This allows Pudge to spam his abilities, as well as use the item’s active ability, which turns him into a hedgehog. This, combined with his naturally tanky nature gives Pudge a natural advantage as any enemy that attacks him will immediately take damage if Blade Mail’s ability is active.
Urn of Shadows
Urn of Shadows allows Pudge to play semi aggressively while also giving him sustainability in the mid-game. It gives him decent strength, which helps in his damage and HP regen but also has great synergy with his flesh heap. For every hero that dies within range of Pudge, he gets a Flesh Heap stack and a charge for the Urn of Shadows. He can then use this charge to either heal himself, or damage fleeing enemies. All in all, a good pick for a ganking Pudge, not as good a pick for Carry Pudge though.
Veil of Discord
Veil of Discord straight up increases Pudge’s and the team’s magic damage and is perfect for Support Pudge. If you want to help your team in killing enemies through magical means, get this item.
Aether Lens gives a few notable buffs to Pudge’s MP and MP Regen. Its main use however is to increase the range of Pudge’s Meat Hook. This alone makes it a dangerous item for Pudge to have as it extends the range of his hooking capabilities.
This item is only for Carry Pudge players as its main use is to get to fights as quickly as possible. In addition, the added damage given by the item is great for last hitting enemy heroes once they’re out of Dismember’s duration.
Aghanim’s Scepter/Shard/Blessing straight up improves 2 Abilities. Pudge’s Rot and Dismember. The Scepter gives Pudge’s rot extra range and other benefits, while the Shard allows him to swallow allies and heals them while they’re in him. These are great benefits to his gameplay depending on what role you’re putting him under.
Eternal Shroud gives Pudge even more Magic Resistance, as well as Spell Lifesteal and HP Regen. It’s great for Carry Pudge as they’re the types that will charge headlong into a team fight and kill everyone. In addition, the active ability gives Pudge even more survivability as it absorbs any magical damage that hits him, and then converts it into MP.
Vanguard gives Pudge extra HP and HP Regen, as well as the ability to block some damage. For pure survivability, this item’s pretty good. That, and it’s one of the ingredients for getting Crimson Guard.
Black King Bar
Black King Bar gives Pudge extra time to be on the field because it turns heroes Magic Immune. This is great for Pudge as it makes him resistant to most magic-type disables and abilities, allowing him to get his own.
Heart of Tarrasque
Heart of Tarrasque is almost a given if you’re going for a Carry Pudge as it gives him huge HP and HP Regen. It also improves his Strength Stat, which allows him to hit harder.
Spirit Vessel is the stronger version of the Urn of Shadows, and its merit is pretty obvious when taken in that context. However, it also gives Pudge extra stats as well as some armor and MP Regen, which is useful in a fight.
Crimson Guard gives Pudge a metric ton of survivability in team fights. It gives him bonus HP, Armor, and the Guard Active Ability, which blocks some damage from every attack to them. This gives massive survivability to all heroes and buildings in the vicinity and pairs pretty well with a building’s backdoor protection.
Scythe of Vyse
This item is a pretty expensive investment due to how much gold Pudge needs to buy it. However, it gives him a myriad of benefits. These benefits include increased MP and MP Regen, as well as the Hex ability, which turns enemy heroes into slow pigs or chickens. They can then be chased down by Pudge to get a Dismember + Rot combo in and hack them to bits.
Rod of Atos
If you’re not willing to go for the Scythe of Vyse, then the Rod of Atos is your friend. This allows Pudge to root enemies from a distance to get them vulnerable to a follow-up Meat Hook. In addition to the increased Intelligence stat, he can throw his abilities all day, every day so long as he uses them effectively.
Lotus Orb gives Pudge a great way to survive in the middle of Teamfights. Why? Because it can turn enemy spells against them through the use of Echo Shell. In addition, it gives Pudge great amounts of HP and MP Regen, which allows him to stay longer in a fight.
Pipe of Insight
Pipe of Insight is the upgraded form of Hood of Defiance. This item gives Pudge incredible team fight utility as it gives Magic Resistance to everyone on Pudge’s team. Combine that with Insight Aura, and it means that Pudge’s team will never die due to the HP Regen and additional Magic Resistance.
Overwhelming Blink is when you’re pretty much in the lead and you want to just rub it in the enemy team. This gives Pudge extra strength and gives his blinks additional utility. You’re pretty much encouraged to blink INTO enemy groups to screw up their formations and get your attacks in.
Guardian Greaves gives Pudge not only movement speed but also gives him additional utility in team fights. The active ability gives HP and MP to everyone around Pudge as well as him, which helps massively in team fights. In addition, the item has an aura that increases its utility even more.
Assault Cuirass is an item that benefits Carry Pudge more than anything else. It gives him additional armor, but its main benefit is its aura, which increases his allies’ attack speed and armor.
Shiva’s Guard gives Pudge even more survivability by reducing enemy attack speed and increasing his armor. Combine that with the increased intelligence and he can continue casting Meat Hooks and Dismembers all the time. In addition, Shiva’s Guard has a great active ability that damages and slows down enemies, allowing him to chase them down to cut them to bits.
When Do You Pick Pudge in Dota 2?
You pick Pudge if you’re confident that you’re able to hook the enemy all day, every day. Meat Hook is such an integral part of Pudge’s kit that it’s almost impossible to not have the Meat Hook on him. It isolates enemies, helps teammates escape death, is a good finisher when an enemy is low on HP after Rot and Dismember. All in all, if you’re confident that you’ll get the enemies every time you hook, get Pudge.
Heroes Countered by Pudge in Dota 2
Drow Ranger/Bloodseeker/Crystal Maiden/Luna
These heroes have very low HP in the early stages of the game and even beyond. This makes them vulnerable for Pudge to just hook them and then kill them. In addition, the magic damage that CM and Luna deal with their abilities is partially tanked by Pudge’s HP and Flesh Heap. Bloodseeker’s Rupture ability is great for low HP enemies, but Pudge can tank through it no problem. And lastly, Drow Ranger’s Marksmanship only works if she’s far away from enemies. A simple Meat Hook can remove that range advantage, making her vulnerable for a kill.
Pudge’s high HP gives him great leeway for tanking through the mines that Techies likes to plant. In addition, they’re also vulnerable to Pudge due to their low HP. A well-placed Meat Hook can easily kill them with the usual Rot+Dismember combo.
Zeus is a long-ranged hero and prefers to be in the backlines when fighting. However, Pudge’s Meat Hook will turn Zeus into nothing more than cannon fodder. In addition, Zeus wants to burst down enemies with his spells, which is difficult to do with Pudge due to his high HP and Magic Resistance.
Counters vs Pudge in Dota 2
Abbadon can use Borrowed Time to stop Dismember if it’s cast on him. In addition, Aphotic Shield is just straight up cheating when Pudge is involved as it dispels Dismember’s stun, as well as removes its damage. He can also kill Pudge quickly due to the Curse of Avernus, allowing him to chase Pudge down and kill him.
Don’t even think about hitting Bristleback when he’s facing behind you with Dismember. He’d rip you to shreds with Quill Spray. Combine that with Viscous Nasal Goo, and Pudge’s low armor is ripped to shreds, making him vulnerable for a kill.
Legion Commander’s Press the Attack ability partially counters Rot as it gives boosted HP regen. It can also be used alongside Duel to stop Pudge in the middle of using Dismember, though in different methods. Press the Attack removes the disable on the ally that Dismember is being used on. Meanwhile, Duel forces Pudge to attack Legion Commander, letting the Dismembered ally go.
Monkey King is overall a slippery hero to try and get a hook on due to his Tree Dance ability. Meanwhile, Jingu Mastery and Boundless Strike make him dangerous for Pudge to tackle. Combine that with Boundless Strike’s stun, and you’re pretty much screwed no matter what with MK.
Outworld Destroyer can instantly remove Pudge from a fight thanks to Arcane Orb and Sanity’s Eclipse due to their Mana Drain. In addition, Astral Imprisonment can save allies by making them hidden and invulnerable. On the flipside, OD can help Pudge’s hooks by imprisoning them with Astral Imprisonment, though you need great coordination and timing.