Dota 2
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[DMX] Complete Guide: Pudge
By Maxildan and 2 collaborators
This is a really complete guide for Pudge, The Butcher by DMX (Dach, Max & Xari) for
La version française du guide se trouve sur la partie Française d'Eclypsia[]
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Pudge the Butcher is a very effective strength ganker hero. His ability to isolate his team mates and to kill them quickly makes him one of the best assassins of the whole game.
Moreover, his passive will make him very tanky during late game.
He is a really fun hero, but needs some training to be played properly, which is why we don’t recommend him for the beginners.

Be persistent, make hooks in chain on the battlefield and you will become addicted to this fat meatball!
Pros & Cons


  • Rot has to be taken first, because it is way more useful to try a first blood, especially thanks to its 20% slow.
  • Upgrade the Meat Hook first because it is your main gank tool and it will make its range and damage higher. Then upgrade Rot for even more damage after a hook.
  • Improve Flesh Heap in third, which will take your previous kills into account anyway, so it is not necessary to take it during the early game.
  • Of course, take your ultimate whenever you can.

Meat hook :
Pudge[] launches his hook in the chosen direction up to 1300 range and drags the victim back to him. If the target is an enemy, it will be mini stunned.

  • Goes through Linken's Sphere[].
  • With Black King Bar[], No damage, no mini-stun, but the unit will be dragged back to Pudge[]
  • Invisible units can be caught normally.
  • Meat Hook goes through trees, cliffs, siege units and buildings.
  • Only the end of the hook can catch a unit, the rest has no effect.
  • Meat Hook can catch units under the Cyclone effect (avec Eul's Scepter of Divinity[] or Tornado for exemple).
Originally posted by DMX:
This spell is Pudge’s signature skill it is really powerful because it deals huge pure damage and that its range makes it easier to kill fugitives or to isolate an enemy from his team. You can also save allies by dragging them back to you when they are in danger.

Rot :
Pudge releases a toxic cloud around him that slows enemies in the area of effect. Rot deals damage to enemies and Pudge himself.

  • Rot deals damage to invisible units in the area of effect.
  • Pudge can commit suicide with Rot.
  • Pudge won’t be able to deactivate Rot if silenced or stunned.
  • Rot can be activated during Dismember (Pudge’s ultimate) without cancelling it.
  • Rot damage at levels 1, 2 or 3 don’t cancel a Healing Salve.
Originally posted by DMX:
This spell is very useful to chase enemies and keep them close, it can also be used to farm quickly creeps waves. Use in combination with your ultimate, it will be the perfect way to deal even more damage.

Flesh Heap :
Passive ability giving magic resistance to Pudge and a permanent strenght bonus based on the number of enemy heroes who died next to Pudge.
  • Flesh Heap is retroactive, meaning it reminds all the kills you made before taking the spell and update your strength bonus based on the skill level.
Originally posted by DMX:
Flesh Heap makes Pudge less vulnerable to Rot and very tanky during late game, combining a huge total health points and magic resistance.

Dismember :
Pudge chops an enemy unit, stunning it and dealing damage every second. The spell lasts 3 seconds on heroes and 6 seconds on creeps.

  • If Linken's Sphere[] : Spell blocked
  • If Black King Bar[]: Damage blocked
  • If Aghanim's Scepter[] : Improved damage (see bold text), Pudge heals himself by the total of the inflicted damage.
  • When Pudge uses his ultimate, you can hear him scream on the whole map
Originally posted by DMX:
Pudge’s ultimate allows to stun an enemy, to deal damage and is perfect combined to Rot. It can be followed or preceded by Meat Hook for a perfect combo. Its 30 seconds cooldown allows you to have it ready for each gank you make
[+0.75 x Strength] = Aghanim's Scepter effect
Meat Hook

Meat Hook has different uses:
  • Initiate a Gank/Combo
  • Isolate an enemy from the rest of his team
  • Save an ally
  • Kill a fugitive
Meat Hook is a skillshot, meaning this ability doesn’t aim directly an enemy (you can aim for the exact position of an enemy but will fail everytime if he is mobile).

Originally posted by DMX:
Moreover, it is not an instant skill, it takes almost a second to come at maximal range, which gives your target enough time to dodge it. To avoid this kind of thing, you have to learn about placement and aiming the right spot.
Some basic rules:
  • NEVER click on the hero you wish to catch, always click on the ground.
  • Pay attention that there is no creep or undesirable unit between you and your prey.
  • Don’t click next to you, the farer you will click, the more precise you will be. An interval of a few pixels can cause a very important angle difference if you are close from the source of the hook, meaning yourself, whereas if you’re far from it, it will have almost no impact on the angle.
Avoid clicking on the red areas or you could fail your hooks

How to Hook:
an immobile unit: It is possible for an enemy hero to be immobile while teleporting or farming, in this specific case, you just have to click directly on the hero or just in front of him paying attention that no unit goes in front of you.

a mobile unit: If the target has not seen you, it will probably move on a straight line or just following the surroundings of the map. In this case you just have to evaluate his deplacement speed taking in account his items and eventual buffs, then to click on the spot where you think the hero will be some hundredths of a second later.

A good hook means a good timing
If your target noticed you:
He can try to zigzag (which is at your advantage because he won’t be as fast as you going on a straight line).

The shortest path to victory is a straight line!
He can also wait for your hook to be used in his direction then dodge it. In that case, you have to guess the direction he will take to dodge and aim for that spot (one chance over two), or pretend to give up the pursuit to deceive him because he won’t be on his guard anymore and then hook him

A fifty-fifty chance, still better than Euromillion...
If you can't see your target:
a unit hide in the fog of war: same technique than for a mobile target, you’ll have to anticipate and guess its movement in order to hook it.
an invisible unit or an enemy you don’t suspect to be close: These hooks are generally called “blind”hooks, which means you try to hook without really knowing if there is something you can catch, you just trust your feeling. In that case, there is no specific technique, just aime for the spot where you think something is hiding (Roshan’s den for example, secret shops, rune spots).

Hook Cancel
Hook is a spell that you can cancel if you’re really quick. If you feel like your hook will fail, you just have to press stop or hold quickly after launching it.

You need to be fast, because the hook can be cancelled only during the first frames of the animation.

Hook Spots
Pudge is a hero that has to hide in order to do better hooks, thanks to this skill he can defend efficiently the towers by isolating a hero attacking it for example.
There are several well known positions on the map that are perfect to hook. Hereunder you’ll find a mini map indicating those
Amazing Flash App here[]
How To Use Rot
  • To Last Hit:
    Rot damages proc every 0.2 seconds, which allow you to activate it very quickly to have bonus damage helpful to last hit. The activation/deactivation of this skill must be almost instant in order to lose the least possible amount of health.
  • To (de)push or farm during mid/late game:
    If you have a Hood of Defiance, you can defend or farm thanks to Rot, its good damage and inexistant mana cost make it a good alternative to a simple last hit in order to defeat an entire creeps wave. This trick will still lower your health though, so use it wisely.
  • To slow you enemies:
    Nothing really complicated here, just run after your target to slow it, don’t try to auto attack, except if you are really faster than it, because the attack animation will stop your character and allow your opponent to escape the area of effect of Rot then go away.
  • To commit suicide:
    You can use Rot to commit suicide, enemies then earn less experience points, no gold and your killing spree isn’t stopped. If you are sure to die, try to deny yourself.
    You have to evaluate the damage you’ll take with your own Rot for those damage to be what kills you. It’s easy during the early game because Rot hurts you pretty bad, during end game, the enemies attacks are stronger and your Rot won’t hurt you that much anymore, committing suicide will then be harder.
    Train on this technique as much as you can to master it perfectly and make your opponents rage because they thought they would kill you.
  • To cause damage:
    Dismember can be used to deal high damage to your target, furthermore you can activate your Rot during your ultimate for even more damage! Be careful though, the range of Dismember is higher than the one of Rot, so be sure to be as close as possible of your target when you will activate your ultimate.
  • To stun an enemy:
    Dismember also allows you to stun your target during the duration of the effect, besides, this spell goes through magic immunity, meaning you will be able to use your ultimate on an enemy even if he activated Black King Bar or a spell giving magic immunity (Lifestealer’s Rage, Omniknight’s Repel, Juggernaut’s Blade Fury).
  • To allow an easy suicide:
    If you are in a tough situation, certain to die and chase by only one enemy, you can turn back, activate your ultimate on him then your Rot to deny you without him preventing it since he will be stunned.
  • To heal:
    If you have Aghanim’s Scepter, your ultimate will heal you from an amount equal to your damage. You will then be able to use it to heal. Knowing your ultimate lasts 6 seconds on creeps, you will be healed by a higher amount if you use Dismember on a creep, but choose a full life creep.
  • Hook/Rot/Dismember:
    The basic combo, hook an enemy from a far and while he’s brought back to you, activate Rot to have no damage loss then your ultimate in order to deal as much damage as possible.
  • Dismember/Rot/Hook:
    The reversed combo, if you’re in the melee start by launching your ultimate and activating your Rot, then use your Hook if necessary to finish your enemy (be careful, melee hooks are harder to do successfully because easier to dodge for the opponent).
  • In a general way, don’t use your hook if it is not necessary:
    there is no use in “overkilling” an enemy because you could need your hook a few seconds after your kill and you would be helpless at that precise moment!
Items & Use

  • Starter 1
    This starter gives you a good mana and health regeneration as well as a good HP pool.
  • Starter 2
    Take this starter if you want to rush Bottle when you play mid lane. The gold you saved will be a good way to buy a Bottle in one or two minutes. (Check that your team bought a courier before opting for this build).
  • Starter 3
    This starter allows you to try one or two hooks more thanks to the mana regen it gives. If you’re facing heroes spamming their skills, the Magic Stick will be of help to regenerate health and mana.

  • Arcane Boots
    Perfect for your mana pool, gives you an active regeneration allowing you to spam your Hook. Moreover your total mana bar will be bigger which will be easier to chain your spells.
  • Phase Boots
    Perfect to chase your opponents, the active ability it gives will leave no chance to your opponents to escape the area of effect of your Rot, and you will then be able to finish them more easily. Your auto attacks will deal more damage, which is always a good thing.
  • Boots of Travel
    The only viable boots during late game, these will allow you to have a high mobility, essential element for Pudge who will be able to gank and help his team mates everywhere on the map. Change your early game boots for these during end game.

Core Items
  • After Starter 1 : Urn of Shadow
    This item gives you a heal or DoT depending on kills and assits you make. Knowing that Pudge is a ganker, the stacks of the Urn will reload quickly.
  • After Starter 2 : Bottle
    This item is good if you play mid, since it allows you to regenerate some health and mana between two ganks, moroever, you will be able to stock the runes you find in the river.
  • After Starter 3 : Magic Wand
    Good laning item against opponents often usingtheir spells, it gives you a way to regenerate both health and mana instantly.
  • Hood Of Defiance
    This item is perfect for Pudge because it combines with Flesh Heap and allows you to tank the damage of you Rot, you ca upgrade it into Pipe of Insight if your team needs it.
  • Force Staff
    Force Staff is another perfect item for Pudge: it replaces a Blink Dagger which can’t be bought with this character. Force Staff give some intelligence points that will increase your total mana points and your regeneration, but it’s especially its active that makes this item strong: it allows you to escape crossing trees, cliffs and other elements of the map, but also to catch up with an enemy or creating the surprise by reducing the distance between you and him. It also allows you to reach places normally inaccessible and to drag your opponents there with your Hook.

  • Vanguard
    If the opponent team deals a lot of physical damage, Vanguard is a good option. It will give you a good resistance to auto attacks and a higher health points total.
  • Blade Mail
    If you note that you’re lacking some armor and are often focused during teamfights, Blade Mail is the solution. it gives you some intelligence, armor and an active ability allowing to send the damage back to the enemy.

End Game
  • Aghanim's Scepter
    Aghanim will make your ultimate really powerful during late game. The bonus damage it gives are high and the heal useful, especially since the ability will now have only a 30 seconds cooldown!
  • Shiva's Guard
    This item gives to Pudge everything he needs: mana, armor and Artic Blast, an ability that slows all the enemies in a very large area. In addition, this active ability gives instant vision around Pudge (719 radius), which can reveal an enemy hidden in the fog of war or on a cliff just above you!
  • Heart Of Tarrasque
    If you want to activate your Rot permanently or just be a fat HP stacker, Heart of Tarrasque will give you bonus health and consequent strength as well as an incomparable regeneration.
  • Assault Cuirass
    The Cuirass increase considerably your armor and help your team to push thanks to its attack speed aura and armor malus on the opponents.

Originally posted by DMX:
Pudge depends on his abilities to deal damage, playing him as a solo on mid lane is a very good choice because he will take levels quickly and these will be helpful to gank. However, if you have an ally which combines well with Pudge, you can go with him on the safe lane (bot radiant, top dire).
Early game / (Level 1 - 6)
Just farm without taking any risk until level 3 (except if your opponent gives you the perfect occasion to kill him).

Once level 3, your Hook has a good range and you will maybe be able to try hooks from under your tower, or if you’re full life, you can attempt to go melee directly for your opponent to be at range of your Rot. When he’ll take the damage of Rot, his reflex will generally be to retreat far froms his creeps and it is exactly when you have to take the opportunity to follow him and hook him to kill him. Take care while approaching, be sure to don’t attack your enemy directly or the creeps will protect him and attack you, which could make you lose a lot of health at once.

Once you’re level 6, you can normally kill your opponent if you manage to succeed your Hok by just doing the Hook/Rot/Dismember basic combo.

On the safe lane:
Take position before the beginning of the game to have the vision on the rune spot, because making the first blood with Pudge is pretty easy if you have a good rune.

If you are lucky, you’ll maybe get an invisibility or haste rune, if not, leave it to your ally because he will be the one attacking the target while you slow it.

Hide behind the trees and surprise the enemies by coming from behind. The goal is that you use Rot to slow the opponents meanwhile your team mate attacks the target which you should kill wuickly. be careful though, there is a risk that you lose a lot of health doing this. If your enemies both have a stun or high damage skills at level, don’t do something silly!

One the lane, try to farm without taking too much harass and if you have an opportunity, Hook your target and kill it with the help of your mate. Always focus the enemy who has a control and the less HP first (Crystal Maiden for example is a perfect target).

Once you are level 6, you should be able to kill anybody on your lane pretty easily.

Mid-game / (Level 7 - 16)
Once you are level 7, you will have to move everywhere on the map to gank on other lanes. It’s the moment of the game where Pudge is the strongest because he can kill an enemy quickly. Ensure to be mobile and to always have a teleportation scroll to be able to help your allies.

Late-Game / (Level 16+)
During late game, Pudge is less effective because his damage are less of a problem for the enemies, so he will often become an engage/tank. If you manage to Hook an enemy before a teamfight, you will easily eliminate him with the help of your allies and before going in the fight 4v5.

During teamfights, try to use your ultimate on the enemy carry or on a hero that is especially annoying. Your goal is to deal damage with your Rot and to Hook the fugitives. Your placement during teamfights is capital so pay attention!

  • Wisp
    His Tether will allow you to run faster, to stun your opponent and to use your Rot easily on him. Moreover his ultimat can bring you back to base or be the perfect way to do a surprise gank.
  • Omniknight
    His Repel allows you to leave Rot activated without taking damage and his Heal will deal a lot of damage to a hero you’re chasing or Dismembering.
  • Dark Seer
    His Surge + Ion Shell combo will allow you to catch up enemies in a matter of seconds and to deal huge bonus damage.

Global Allies :
  • Long Range/Duration Stuns: Mirana, Rubick, Beastmaster...

  • Stuns are the best way for you to be successful with your Hook since the target will not move.

  • Special Disablers: Shadow Shaman, Bane Elémental : Their long disables are another good way to Hook, get closer in the melee and to use your ultimate.

  • Lifestealer
    The perfect anti-tank, the more health points you have, the happier he is. The longer the game lasts, the more you will have trouble facing him, and his Rage protects him from the damage of your Hook, your ultimate and makes those of your Rot null.
  • Doom
    This tanky hero is very hard to kill with Pudge. His Doom is dangerous, first of all because it makes Pudge completely useless, silencing him up to 13 seconds. Moreover, if your Rot is activated when you’re doomed, it will hurt.
  • Antimage
    He will be hard to kill because of his natural resistance to magical damage and his Blink. He will also drain all your mana in a few seconds if he starts to attack you.
  • Omniknight
    His Repel will allow him all to suffer no damage you deal to him, and his melee heal deals pure damage so if you Hook him in early game, you will regret it.
  • Rubick
    He isn’t a real counter, but take a real good care to his ultimate, if he manages to steal your ultimate or your Hook, he can become very dangerous. Don’t forget to activate your Rot after each Hook and/or ultimate.

Global Counters:
  • Mana Burn : Antimage, Invoker, Keeper of the light, Nyx Assassin, Diffusal Blade. A Pudge without mana est almost useless, so be careful to avoid mana burners.
  • Silences : Silencer, Krobelus, Bloodseeker, Rikimaru, Traxex... If silenced, Pudge won’t be able to use Hook, his ultimate or activate/deactivate his Rot. He can then take a lot of damage uselessly if his Rot is activated when the silence is launched.
  • Tanks : Centaur, Treant, Undying, Axe. Hard to kill, they can become shields for their team mates, don’t pay attention to them and aim for other targets.
Special Combinations

Other Guides
Complete Guide: Sand King
Guide by DMX
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VIZBOX - 942 Jun 22, 2014 @ 3:17am 
Guide bien détaillé et efficace :D
11AÑITOZZZ Jun 7, 2013 @ 8:03am 
AntoineDR Feb 22, 2013 @ 10:21am 
Très bon guide les gars, continuer comme ça !!
MJ Feb 10, 2013 @ 5:21am 
My kinda style :D
Сын маминой подруги Jan 19, 2013 @ 10:52am 
GroovyBum Jan 17, 2013 @ 10:02pm 
Good quide.
Xari  [author] Jan 17, 2013 @ 3:27pm 
@ NK : We will probably publish a warding guide soon so :). And for the item build we just show some builds that work well but yours is good too.
@PikaPika : thanks :). You can also check our guide for Sand King !
Perfect Jpop Idol Jan 10, 2013 @ 2:03pm 
This guide is so well done and polished. Nice job!
dogshit Jan 10, 2013 @ 7:23am 
Need a section with aggresive warding, item build should be 2 tangos 1 salve and branches.
Marlon Dec 22, 2012 @ 3:12am 
Nice guide, is always very funny play with the pudge. xD