Pudge is a strength-based melee hero armed with a bloody cleaver used for his amazing ganking abilities. He is identified in game as a durable hero, meaning that he will last longer than other heroes in general. His other role is identified as being a disabler, meaning he has abilities that will disable another heroes ability to use skills. Pudge is able to accomplish this with his Dismember ability, which not only disables enemy heroes but also has a damage over time effect.
Pudge has the following skills:
- Meat Hook – This ability has Pudge cast out a large bloody hook that will pull the first enemy it hits back to him. Its range and damage increases as it is leveled.
- Rot – A poisonous gas will surround Pudge that damages and slows enemies, but will also deal damage to Pudge as well.
- Flesh Heap – A passive buff for Pudge that increases his magic resistance as points are put into it, but the best part about this ability is that Pudge gains strength attributes every time a hero dies. The ability can also gain charges before skill points are put in it so there is no immediate reason to put points into it early game.
- Dismember – Referred to above in his role, Dismember not only stuns a hero, but also disables it and causes damage over time for 3 seconds. Putting points into this skill increases the damage per second, which if given Aghanim’s Scepter, the skill is then multiplied by Pudge’s strength attribute making his ultimate skill benefit from the Flesh Heap skill. This ultimate ability has a very quick recharge time, as it can be used every 30 seconds.
Playing as Pudge
When playing as Pudge it is your goal to get enemy heroes within melee range as soon as possible. By using Meat Hook to drag enemy players, players controlling Pudge can guarantee you will get the kill by combining Rot and Dismember.
Since Pudge has an ability that pulls enemies to him, players will often times try to keep their distance. That is why item optimization is key, mentioned down below, because it will allow the player controlling Pudge to get within range of enemies who try to keep away.
Keep in mind that enemy heroes are also aware of Pudge's capabilities and will do their best to keep him stunned. Pudge will be able to survive most encounters thanks to his large pool of hit points.
Recommended Level Build
2 Meat Hook
3 Meat Hook
5 Meat Hook
7 Meat Hook
10 Flesh Heap
12 Flesh Heap
13 Flesh Heap
14 Flesh Heap
15 Attribute Bonus
It is highly recommended players work towards Aghanim’s Scepter, as it will increase Pudge’s damage output with Dismember exponentially. Furthermore, Hood of Defiance is a must have as it will reduce the self-inflicted damage that Pudge takes when using his Rot skill.
The equipment that I do recommend is:
- 3x Iron Branch
- 2x Tango
- 2x Clarity
- Core Optimization:
- Bottle (if familiar with the use of runes)
- Magic Wand (heroes will be using skills often when they see Pudge)
- Boots of Travel (not completely necessary, but at least get Boots of Speed)
- Urn of Shadows (you will be ganking a lot)
- Hood of Defiance (30% magic resistance)
- Aghanim’s Scepter (must have)
- Heart of Tarrasque (+40 Strength, +300 HP)
- Shiva’s Guard (best used if fighting physical damage heroes, but +30 Int is nice)
- Force Staff for positioning with Meat Hook
- Practice makes perfect, try to link your skills together by casting Meat Hook + Rot+ Dismember. Another suggestion is slowing enemy heroes with Rot as they run, and finishing them off with Meat Hook.
- Rot can be used as Pudge’s own self-inflicted denial. Even though you lose gold, at least the enemies will not get any gold or experience.
- Dismember can be used as a quick way to regain health from enemy creeps.
- Rot can be cast while Dismember is in use. Same with Meat Hook, but only after it makes enemy contact.
Pudge is currently the most played hero in Dota 2 for a reason. His massive amounts of hit points, brutal strength, and punishing skills make him a formidable foe. Understand his item optimization and how his skills work will make him a nightmare to any player in the path of his Meat Hook.