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January 19, 2022 12 min read


Pudge is the most popular hero on Dota 2 and is a very versatile hero. You can play him with almost any role from a support to a core. In this blog post, I will try to give you some infos on how you can play him in your ranked games.

Pudge is one of the most entertaining hero to watch because of his skills or abilities. With his meat hook, he can drag his enemies from far away to just beside him then kill them with his Dismember and Rot.

Basically, his combo is just to hook someone, rot them with his 2nd skill, bite them with his dismember then get some STR stacks with his 3rd skill [flesh heap] which gives him more HP, physical damage and additional damage to his dismember.

The only challenge with this hero is hitting his hook and of course connecting with your team. There are players who’re really good with hitting his meat hook but are often unaware of their surroundings which can be very bad for your team.


Skill 1 – Meat hook:

The butcher basically launches a bloody hook toward a unit or location which snags the first unit it encounters then brings it back to Pudge. Very good for hunting enemies as it deals a good amount of pure damage and can also be used saving/repositioning allies for a better position. The default cast range for the current patch is at 1300 units and has radius of 100 units but it you need to read patches from time to time as they usually update them.

Pro Tip:

1. With the recent patch, if the hook hits a non-hero unit, it kills it immediately similar to Mirana’s arrow. You can basically use this to farm if you have lots of mana and your lane is inactive for fights.

2. Has a stun effect which can cancel channeling spells like when someone is teleporting or casting a blackhole.

3. Can penetrate Magic Immune Units so you can still use this deal damage or reposition enemy in order for your team to connect especially if your team has spells/skills/items that can disable magic immune units such as that of Abyssal blade, Blackhole, etc. or even that of Pudge’s own ultimate which is the Dismember

4. Meat hook has NO manacost when hitting runes or more like your mana is instantly refunded when your hook hits the rune

5. Meat hook gives short vision if the it hooks a unit [normal vision only]

6. Depending on your role or on the game, you can get the Hook Damage talent at level 15 for more burst damage.

Skill 2 – Rot:

Pudge release some toxic stuff around him that deals magic damage to units around him and also to himself. Enemy units affected by this are slowed

Pro Tip:

1. You can get an Aghanim’s Scepter to increase the radius, amplify the damage and also add a debuff that causes heal reduction, health regeneration reduction, lifesteal reduction, and spell lifesteal reduction for the enemy. This can be very good against enemies like Morphling, Timbersaw, Bristleback, Necro, etc.

2. Immediately toggle this off and on after hooking/dismembering when youre playing against Rubick to prevent him from stealing your hook or dismember.

3. This skill previously was lethal to pudge that it can kill him denying his self but its not lethal to pudge anymore with the current patch.

4. Getting more magic resistance can reduce the damage he gets from it.

Skill 3 – Flesh Heap:

This passive skill grants pudge increased magic resistance as well as bonus strength attribute every time he kills a hero or everytime a hero dies near him.

Pro Tip:

1. This skill is retroactive which means you can still get bonus strength from hero kills you had, even if you havent learned it that time, STR stacks you gained will be given to Pudge after learning/putting skill points to it.

2. Try to participate for kills if possible to get STR stacks which give you more HP, normal attack, and additional damage for your Dismember

3. Pudge does not gain STR bonus from illusions, even those with Arc Warden’s Tempest Double and Meepo’s Clones

Skill 4 – Dismember:

Pudge basically butchers or eat enemy units dealing damage to them and causing them to be disabled for awhile. Pudge also gets healed for the same amount of damage he dealt.

Pro Tip:

1. This skill penetrates magic immune units. Very good for heroes with BKBs or heroes like Nai’x

2. More STR, more damage per second. Getting STR items and more Flesh Heap Stacks would definitely increase the DPS of this skill

3. Using it on creeps has a longer duration. Can be used to regain more HP back

4. Items that increases cast range can be very useful especially if you’re against very slimy heroes.

5. Provides True Sight over the target, but only when the target was not invisible or within a fade time upon cast.

6. Buy aghanim’s shard to reduce cooldown and to allow to dismember allied units. This can be very useful to save your allies. A good example is when your allied unit gets dueled by a strong Legion Commander or gets doomed by Doom Bringer. Dismember instantly cancels the duel and gives a healing effect to the allied unit you dismembered.

7. Depending on your role or on the game, you can get the Dismember Duration talent at level 20 for longer duration.

Skill & Item Builds for Pudge:

Depending on your role on the game, you can have various kinds of builds but your core item build will be something that can make you position yourself well, have enough mana to perform combos, and either magic resistance or armor depending on your foes.


Depending on the core you’re pairing with, you will still have the same role but of course you need to consider Pudge’s skills and your allies’ skills.

For laning phase, there are various approaches that you can do, either go for aggression and get some kills or control the lane creeps until you and your core have enough level or farm to get some kills.

- Spam hooks to enemy core [assuming you have high hook rate] to deal damage, make them uncomfortable and make them use their resources like tangoes/salves

- Spam hooks to enemy support. If enemy core is highly mobile or they can get away immediately from you [e.g. heroes with blink] or that can deal more damage to you when you hook them, better focus in the enemy support instead.

- Chill and stack creeps to let your core get more levels until you guys are able to secure a kill with your skills

- Pull enemy creepwaves then bring it near your tower in order for your core to farm it more comfortably [especially for offlane]

- If your lane is kind of free, you can help your mid secure runes. You can even TP immediately if they divin your other lanes. The keyword is ‘if your lane is free’

* If your core is a bit more farm oriented, or doesn’t have skills to disable/slow or deal lots of damage, you can focus on controling the lane wave instead or even stacking. You could invest in early boots.

* If your core has skills that can help you secure kills such as stuns/slows, you can attempt to hook enemies instead and try to secure kills. Hooking enemies near the tower can help you deal more damage so you need to position yourself. You can also take advantage of trees/treelines to trap them especially if your enemies are out of tangoes or don’t have quelling blades.

* Do not constantly hide in the treelines most of the time. If your meat hook is on cooldown, go show yourself in the lane and help in denying creeps or even just to put pressure or to share damages from enemy cheap shots. You need to do all you can to support your core. Buy them HP or mana if you are able to.

* And of course, do not forget to secure vision. After the 10minute mark of the game, depending on the game, you can go get some pickoffs. One thing I really love with Pudge is that he can secure kills solo as long as is he is level 6. You just need to get creative. Either you buy a smoke of deceit and go gank some cores which are focused in getting farms in the lanes or just coordinate to your cores to get some kills.

If it’s already 10 minutes and you still don’t have that level 6, you must find a way to get that experience if you want to play pudge easier. There will be times that you are not able to hit your hook even if you’re the best pudge player in the world so you can just connect with your allied units and just bite people.

From mid game to late game, your role as a support is still the same. Coordinate with your cores and go for objectives. If there’s no good initiator from your team, you need to initiate with your hook. If your team is good in initiating, you can just follow them and reposition them when they get caught or just go with them and bite people as usual. Always be aware on whats happening with the game and be creative when engaging the fights. SOD, true sight, vision will always be a good friend.


Initial Items

- Tranquil Boots for unli hp regen, very practical for any support

- Urn of shadows/Spirit Vessel, a multipurpose item which you can always rely. Can be used to deal additional damage, can heal allies or self to make a turn around play. Can be fatal to enemies with high regeneration capabilities - Soul ring

– for mana problems of course and if your dealing against heroes that burn mana like Anti-Mage and Lion Situational Items

- Depending on your draft and enemy draft, there are a lots of item options you can go for - If your cores need some saving, you would definitely want to get some glimmer, aghs shard + dagger, forstaff, aether lens, lotus

- If your cores are highly mobile, you can just go blink dagger

- If your enemies has a lot of targetted spells, you can go for lotus orb

- If you need to burst enemies, you can even go dagon

- If feel like your team needs more disables, you can go hex

- If you think the enemy magic damage output is too high, you can pipe

- If you think the enemy physical damage output is high, you can also go for greaves or crimson or even blademail

- If they got high regeneration capabilities, Aghanim’s Scepter and Spirit Vessel is probably your best bet

- If there are a lot of silence, or projectiles, you can go euls scepter

- If your having a bad day wherein your hooks are not hittin, you can just buy dagger and eat people, you can also go for euls scepter or even rod of atos

- If you reach late game, of course go for luxury items like heart of tarrasque, overwhelming blink and more


For level 10 – you can always go for armor talent as Pudge’s base armor is low

For level 15 – its up to you if you would want for the hook talent or want the spell lifesteal talent, I personally go for the hook talent if I’m a support and go for the spell lifesteal talent when I’m a core

For level 20 – If you don’t need that much of a disable, you can go for hook cooldown talent, if enemy heroes are too farmed and you really need a long duration fo disable, go for the Dismember Duration talent.

For Level 25 – I always go for the Flesh Heap Stack Talent for more strength attribute.


Just like any other core, in the laning phase, you will always need to secure those farm/last hits. And depending on your support, you will still need to adjust your gameplay. If your support’s skills are not for killing, you can just focus on farming.

But if you have a support that can stun, slow, harass/bully, or is good for killing heroes then you should probably focus securing those kills then get the farms after for Flesh Heaps Stacks.

The only difference this time is that you really need to have farm, unlike when you’re a support.


When playing core heroes, you either go for battlefury, echo sabre or dragonlance as an initial item.

For Pudge, especially if enemy heroes has high magical damage output, you can always go for hood of defiance always then decide later what to build next. Aghanim’s Scepter will be the battle fury for Pudge. This item overall buffs Pudge as it gives you stats and amplify your 2nd skill making it easier for you to farm. Combining Aghanim’s Scepter and Eternal Shroud can be very good initially.


- Blink Dagger – for easy biting of people - Lotus Orb/Shivas Guard – if enemies have high physical damage output

- BKB – if enemies has lots of disable

- Heart of Tarassque – More HP, STR, damage

- Halberd – very good against heavy hitters like slark, ursa, naix, ta, etc

- Sange & Kaya – if you prefer a bit of status resistance and spell amplification

- Ethereal Blade – if you prefer some shotgun plays, save plays and damage amplification

- Radiance – if you want just some burning damage

- Luxury Normal Hitting Items – Cuirass, SangeYasha, etc.


Mid Pudge can be very advantageous since he will be having an early levels which means he can start butchering people as soon as possible. The only problem is the draft and player match up.

Pudge is generally bad against heroes that removes mana, deals high damage output and with high mobility, initially.

An example would be against MK, you would initially be in advantage because of his high damage output, lifesteal, and range. And typically, MK is very good against almost any melee hero. You can play against him by securing ranged creeps with your hooks, aggro-ing the creepwave to get them near you, or you can also make plays like hooking him near your tower. Also use runes to your advantage especially that you can hook those runes and if you are a bottle player.

Another example would be against OD. OD can be one of the most annoying hero you can 1 v 1 mid. So one way to deal with him is to initially get exp and hook him under your tower, or just call for help. So as a midlaner and with Pudge as a very good ganker, you can always check other lanes if there’s a good situation where you can just teleport and kill people especially if you are losing, or not gaining any advantage at mid. There are times that you will make mistakes ang get owned on your lane so you need to go other lanes and still gain that advantage back. If you won your lane then that’s good.

For a good matchup against pudge at mid, playing against a Templar Assassin can be a good matchup. It will still depend on the players playing but there’s still the fact that the rot of Pudge is really good against Lanaya’s Refraction. You will just probably initally need some stats/armor items like phase boots or some bracers as TA can still deal lots of damage.

As a mid player, your role will still be the same, make plays to provide space for your POS1 to farm. It’s up to you to set up your pacing in the game until your carry has enough farm that he can join your team.


Since you’re mostly focused on ganking and not that much of farming, you can initially buy Boots of Travel or Dagger for easy mobility or logistics. This way you can initiate, backup/respond, and farm easily.


- Aghanims Scepter

- Aghanims Shard

- Lotus/Shivas - Ethereal Blade

- Spirit Vessel - Halberd

- Upgraded Blink of Dagger

- Dagon 5

- Sange Kaya

You can go for luxury items like Overwhelming Blink and Heart of Tarrasque and they will usually have a hard time dealing with you. Just a few stacks of flesh heap with your item will get your hp to 5k and more. With this, you can tank, cause chaos during fights.


Offlane can be one of the most hard lane especially if your draft is a bad matchup so you will really need to focus and to not make lots of mistakes. Typically, you need to kind of bully the enemy core if possible.

But a lot of times, that can be hard especially if your draft is bad. You will need to coordinate with your pos4.

But still the concept is the same, if your draft is bad, you will just need to secure some experience until you have your level 5 or 6 to make a play. If you are not able to make a play after getting your level 6, go to other lanes and make some play.

As long as you are not feeding and not let the T1 get destroyed easily, then it would still not be that bad. Ideally, you should win your lane, bully them and don’t let them farm, but not all the time are you able to do that as you are playing with human beings who also know how to play the game.


Ideally, you will just need to get tanky so your team will have a frontliner during fights. So you can always start with either hood of defiance or vanguard then go situational after.


- Lotus Orb

- Dagger

- Aghanim’s Scepter

- Halberd

- Vessel

- Euls Scepter

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