Get to know the seminal MOBA’s most-picked Hero of all time with this Dota 2 Pudge Guide
“OI! FRESH MEAT!” — the iconic line, made popular by the iconic Pudge the butcher from Dota 2, is one of the first things many people think of when they think of the seminal MOBA. There are few Heroes in the history of the genre more popular than Pudge, and nobody’s really sure why. Pudge is undoubtedly a lot of fun to play but is also quite a difficult Hero to master, rarely if ever in the meta, and not exactly viable in a variety of roles or fitting in most lineups.
Pudge is a melee Strength Hero that starts off with a decent 670 HP and 267 Mana, and is quite slow with a base movement speed of 280. However, things pick up when one assesses his base damage, which is a massive 70-76.
Once famous for his Mid-lane antics, Pudge enjoyed a brief spell as a Position 1 Carry for the first time in his illustrious history in the patch gone by, but with the release of 7.33 the butcher has gone back to his more conventional supporting role.
To start things off, we’ll take a gander at Pudge’s ability kit.
- Meat Hook – Throws out his hook to pull a unit or Hero (friend or foe) within 1300 range towards himself. This also deals up to 360 damage to Heroes and Ancients, and kills non-Ancient creeps instantly.
- Rot: A toggle ability that allows Pudge to release a miasma which does significant damage and hinders mobility. The damage affects Pudge himself as well, ranging from 30/second to 120/second. This can be upgraded using an Aghanim’s Scepter, which increases Area of Effect, damage, and decreases the health regeneration rates of affected enemies.
- Flesh Heap: Pudge receives marginal protection from all kinds of damage. Additionally, when Pudge kills an enemy Hero or one perishes nearby, he passively gains additional Strength of up to 2.0 per Hero death in his vicinity, which grows from a modest 1.1 as one adds more points to the skill. Any Heroes killed before the skill is taken also count retroactively.
- Dismember: Pudge bites into an enemy unit or Hero for 2.8 seconds, causing damage while also healing him for the duration. This also causes complete disablement of the target. The base damage of 80-120, depending on the level of the skill is boosted by an additional 0.3-0.9 per point of Strength the Hero has. The butcher also drags the target closer, bringing it as close as 125.0 range from himself at a pace of 75.0 units per second. This ability lasts almost twice as much on creeps, healing doubly.
- Eject (Shard Upgrade): When given an Aghanim’s Shard, Pudge can Dismember allied Heroes to swallow them, with the temporarily devoured teammate regenerating 5% of their max Health every second. When this happens, the Dismember ability turns into Eject, which spits out the swallowed Hero.
- Level 10 – -16% Rot Slow or +4 Armor
- Level 15 – +120 Meat Hook Damage or +8% Spell Lifesteal
- Level 20 – -4s Meat Hook Cooldown or +0.75s Dismember Duration
- Level 25 – 1.5x Flesh Heap Stack Str and Damage Block bonuses or 1.8x Dismember Damage/Heal
Dota 2 Pudge Guide – Tips
There’s no doubt about the fact that Pudge is a tank, but he definitely doesn’t start out that way. Early on, Pudge can be extremely squishy — especially due to the fact that his own spell Rot damages him alongside enemies Heroes and creeps. Nevertheless, once Flesh Heap is maxed out and a few items are on board, Pudge can be insanely difficult to take down — especially when he has Spell Lifesteal.
Pudge’s main role is to tank, initiate, and disrupt battles. From hooking enemies from the safety of their position into the midst of a gauntlet of teammates to pulling or swallowing a teammate from inside Faceless Void’s Chronosphere, the Strength Hero’s ability to change the course of a battle can never be underestimated.
As such, unlike some other tanky Heroes, Pudge isn’t the best aura item carrier, with the exception of Pipe of Insight or Crimson Guard. Vladimir’s Offering and Guardian Greaves are niche builds at best, and outright bad ideas at worst. That being said, you’ll want to extend your lifespan as much as possible, not to mention remain uninterrupted while using your ultimate, so sustenance is key.
Dota 2 Pudge – Pros and Cons
Here are some more important aspects of Pudge, condensed.
- Potentially able to reach unkillable status
- Scales well regardless of role
- Can turn the tide of a match by isolating and picking off important enemy Heroes
- Able to heal up quickly almost anywhere on the map after reaching Level 6
- Requires a lot of skill to master
- Can feed a lot if he falls behind as a core
- One of the slowest Heroes in terms of Move Speed
- Weak at laning against ranged Heroes or Heroes with disables/escape mechanisms
How to play Pudge
Here’s a short beginner’s guide to playing this rather difficult Hero.
When playing Support, it’s advisable to pick up a Wind Lace or even Boots of Speed outright depending on your teammates. If you go for the former, it’s important to have a couple of Blood Grenades to enhance the slow from your Rot. Some Tangos are a no-brainer in either case, and a Mango isn’t bad to have on board either.
As a core, you’ll naturally gravitate towards a Quelling Blade, along with which you should focus on Tangos, the components of a Bracer and a Faerie Fire.
Racing for a Tranquil Boots is the best thing to do as a Support, and picking up a Magic Wand and perhaps an Urn of Shadows is also a great call.
On the other hand, core Pudges tend to go for Phase Boots for that extra bit of tankiness, and a Bottle is essential when playing Mid.
Unless a Vessel is important against the opposing lineup, a Support Pudge should focus on getting a Rod of Atos for easier hooks, while a Force Staff or Blink Dagger are also crucial pickups. Moreover, try and convince your teammates to take out the Tormentor in order for you to hopefully avail a Shard to help them with.
A Blink is a must for any Mid or Offlane Pudge, along with a BKB. Everything else is situational, but a good default to abide by is to opt for a Scepter and a Bloodstone/Dagon when going aggressive, and a Pipe and Crimson Guard when you’ve got Heroes to protect.
A Late Game Support Pudge should pick up a Blade Mail in most if not all cases, while a Lotus Orb is also a good idea against Hero-target spells. If needed, even a Linken’s Sphere is a good choice later on as it enables you to protect your cores even further. Lastly, if the match carries on, upgrading your Tranquil Boots to Boots of Bearing or even switching to Greaves will be much appreciated.
Life in the late game can be difficult as a core Pudge, but maxing out a Dagon, getting an Ethereal Blade, upgrading your Blink to the Overwhelming variety on top of your existing items is solid, with picking up a Refresher Orb being the next course of action.
Dota 2 Pudge Counter
Regardless of how powerful Pudge gets, there are always a few Heroes who have an upper hand while playing against him:
- Viper – A complete menace against Pudge from start to finish, a good Viper can be devastating for the butcher regardless of his role
- Necrolyte – Not much point in amassing 6k HP when you’re losing almost 180hp per second just because this guy is around, not to mention the fact that one swing of his infamous Scythe can nullify the last 2700 or so points of that health bar
- Huskar – Any Hero that can wipe out 64% of a Hero’s current HP is a menace, and for a Hero that relies on his HP so much, Pudge suffers
- Slardar – Any low-armor Hero is fearful of this oceanic fiend, and if you’ve ever watched Pudge’s health bar when Slardar casts Corrosive Haze on him and proceeds to connect a Bash of the Deep, you know what we’re talking about.
We have a lot of these Hero guides going, and if you’re relatively new to Dota and want to up your game, they’re exactly what you need to bring a little oomph to your matches — ranked or otherwise.