Dota Best Guides


Pudge, the Butcher Guide

Written by admin on May 16th, 2008

This guide was created by Bengal_Tiger. Thank you!

IPB Image

By Bengal_Tigger Version 6.37 — 6.49

I believe nothing major has changed in 6.50…few tweaks to Bottle I think…please notify me if anything is significant…will be checking myself…


Why Pudge?

I’ll give you some more great reasons in a second. But right now, you should take a look at these videos and maybe you will start to understand the excitement of this fabulous Hero.

First Pudge Video Second Pudge Video Third Pudge Video Summary of the First Three Most Recent Pudge Video

Can’t believe your eyes? Can’t wait to start doing that yourself? Great! This Guide can help you a lot, so let’s get started.



1. Description
2. Overview of Abilities
3. Skill build
4. Item build
5. Overall Strategy
6. Specific Strategy
7. Screenshots
8. Placing Observer Wards
9. Best Allies, Weakest Enemies and Toughest Enemies
10. Replays and the Practice Your Pudge map

1. Description

He’s back, and he’s as ugly and fat as ever.
Strength: 25 + 3.2

Agility: 14 + 1.5
Intelligence: 14 + 1.5

625 hp
182 mana
52-58 damage
1 armor

285 movespeed
1.46 base attack time
Attack range of 128 (melee)

1. Fabulous hero-killing combination of abilities
2. High strength, and able to gain more with Flesh Heap
3. Abilities are useful in team situations
4. Simultaneously a tank and an assassin


1. Unimpressive agility and intelligence
2. Low armor
3. Low movement speed and attack rate
4. Melee hero
5. Can become weaker towards the late game

With more cons than pros, why would you play this Hero? Because, frankly, the pros are damn good if you know what you’re doing.

2. Abilities

IPB Image

Meat Hook


Launches a bloody hook at a unit or location. The hook will snag the first target encounters, dealing damage then dragging the victim back to the Butcher.

Level 1 – 400 range, 100 damage.
Level 2 – 600 range, 200 damage.
Level 3 – 800 range, 300 damage.
Level 4 – 1000 range, 400 damage.
Meat Hook was stealth nerfed in 6.46 and now deals physical damage. This means it is reduced by armor, and will deal considerably less damage in the later stages of the game.

IPB Image



Pudge releases the disease and filth inside of him, dealing intense damage to and slowing surrounding enemies while hurting Pudge as well.

Level 1 – 25 damage/second.
Level 2 – 50 damage/second.
Level 3 – 75 damage/second.
Level 4 – 100 damage/second.

IPB Image

Flesh Heap


Pudge is made of innumerable rotting corpses, giving him extra protection against spells as well as the chance to add more to his bulk. Adds 10 times as much “bulk” if the kill is a Hero kill.

Level 1 – 4% magic reduction, .03 Str bonus per kill.
Level 2 – 8% magic reduction, .06 Str bonus per kill.
Level 3 – 12% magic reduction, .09 Str bonus per kill.
Level 4 – 16% magic reduction, .12 Str bonus per kill.

IPB Image



Chows down on a target, causing excruciating pain.
Lasts 3 seconds (on heroes) at all levels.

Level 1 – 75 damage/second.
Level 2 – 125 damage/second.
Level 3 – 175 damage/second.

3. Skill Build

1. Rot
2. Meat Hook
3. Meat Hook
4. Rot
5. Meat Hook
6. Dismember
7. Meat Hook
8. Rot
9. Rot
10. Stats
11. Dismember
12. Flesh Heap
13. Flesh Heap
14. Flesh Heap
15. Flesh Heap
16. Dismember
17. Stats
18. Stats
19. Stats
20. Stats
21. Stats
22. Stats
23. Stats
24. Stats
25. Stats

Meat Hook

This is quite possibly Pudge’s best ability, and by far the most fun to use. It’s what makes the Hero. You want this maxed early so that you can kill heroes with your amazing combination of Hook + Rot + Dismember. I’ll explain how to use it later, but you can get a kill with Hook at level 5 and start owning with the combo at level 7.


This skill serves several purposes. For one thing, you can chase a hero with Rot early and net a potential First Blood kill, and for another you need it to effectively kill heroes at all stages of the game. Definitely get Rot early, though, because the damage is most significant then and you won’t be getting kills without it.

I took Rot at level 1 because level 1 Hook is a piece of crap, but level 1 Rot provides the full 20% slow. A very small issue in any case, but level 1 Rot is more likely to be useful for getting first blood on a stupid enemy.

Note: Some people say to use Rot for last-hitting creeps. One word: DON’T! At least not early on. You don’t have hit points to spare. Rot drains your health very quickly, and it’s easy enough to get last hits with a little timing. I would only start to use Rot on creeps when you have a Heart or something and the creeps start coming in waves of 10 or so.

Flesh Heap

You don’t need this early, because the benefits are minimal. You won’t be farming fast enough early on for the Strength bonus to really come into play, and the spell resistance isn’t as good as it sounds. A 300 damage nuke will normally reduce your hit points by 225 due to Hero spell resistance. With level 4 Flesh Heap, it will reduce your hit points by about 191, a difference of only 34 hit points. More importantly, you need Hook and Rot early to get your kills. That said, Flesh Heap is definitely worth getting later on, as the Strength you can add with it is terrific. It is Flesh Heap that makes Pudge strong late game as well as early.

Why didn’t I start getting this at level 10?

You aren’t doing serious farming at this point, so the unit kill bonus isn’t helpful. 4% magic resistance does almost nothing for you. The only thing you would get is the 0.3 Strength bonus per Hero kill that comes with the extra point in Flesh Heap. There simply aren’t enough Hero kills happening for it to make a difference of more than a point or two to Strength. +2 to all stats is much more useful at that stage of the game, especially for the bonus it provides to your mana pool, which is still quite low. You do want to start on Flesh Heap at level 12, though, because you want it maxed by late game as you will be doing lots of farming then.


This is a great ability. The stats on it are pretty poor – a 3 second channeling disable that deals only 225/375/525 damage, but it’s actually terrific on Pudge. You can Dismember a hero and turn on Rot immediately after, forcing the hero to take a large amount of additional damage. And you don’t even have to turn Rot on beforehand – it can be done while Dismember is channeling. Dismember is essential in the Hook + Rot + Dismember combination and works great to disrupt annoying channel spells like Life Drain and Freezing Field. It’s also very good in ganks, and has a very short cooldown. In short, a multipurpose ability that is essential to Pudge’s combo. Like most Ultimates, you should get this whenever you can.

There is more information regarding the use of these abilities in Specific Strategy, section 6.

4. Item Build

Basic start

IPB Image Ancient Tango of Essifation
IPB Image Circlet of Nobility
IPB Image Chicken

Pudge is not a bad Hero to get a Chicken on. If your allies don’t get a Chicken, you can get one for the team, along with a set of Tangos (you’ll bring more with the Chicken if you need them) and a Circlet, which you’ll turn into a Bracer later. You could instead get 2 Branches and 2 sets of Tangos if you’d like. Not a huge deal in any case; basically saves you a little gold now but costs you a little later. (If an ally gets a team Chicken, then get 2 Circlets and 2 Tangos.) The Tangos provide enough regeneration (hopefully) to get you through the early game until level 7 when you can get your Bottle and start ganking. If they don’t, you can always ferry some more with the Chicken as I already said.

Core Items

IPB Image Empty Bottle
IPB Image Boots of Speed
IPB ImageIPB Image Bracer x2
IPB Image Boots of Travel
IPB Image Observer Wards (get a bunch)

  • Empty Bottle is the first and possibly most important item here. Get this as soon as you can! It’s basically unlimited flasks/clarities, and is easily refilled with Boots of Travel. Bottle lets you kill multiple heroes without much damage to your hit points or mana.
  • Bracers – I have replaced Vitality Booster with Bracers because they provide better bonuses for roughly the same price and can be built with small pieces. It is unlikely that you will complete your Heart in a game, and in any event the Bracers will serve you well for a large part of the game, hence Vita Booster isn’t really worth going for until much later.
  • Boots of Travel is key – good chasing with RoT – no one gets away. You don’t need Boots of Travel to successfully chase with Rot, but if your enemy is smarter than, say, a turnip, he will juke you and he may escape the radius of Rot. Pudge is slow, remember? A little bonus movement speed goes a long way towards making sure enemies don’t escape. The teleport is also extremely useful for getting around the map.

    Note: If you are farming well, you can buy the Boots of Travel before the Bracers. Bracers will usually fit nicely after Bottle/Boots of Speed, but keep in mind that you are not obligated to get them before the BoT.

  • Observer Wards are extremely useful because they can spot unsuspecting heroes for your hooks and Runes for your Bottle. They can also see ganks on you or allies, and are just generally very useful items. You always see them in league games, and there’s a reason for it. Knowing the enemy’s location and the location of Runes are two very powerful things. Make sure to Ward the Runes so you can keep refilling your Bottle. Use Sentries if the enemy has Wards that you’d like to take out.

    Also note that I sometimes get an early set of Observer Wards, right after my Bottle/Boots or sometimes after a Bracer or two but in any case before the rest of the core. This is often worth doing because you are already ganking and you will enjoy the surveillance on the runes. I recommend putting one Ward in the lane of your choice (often mid lane, on the enemy’s hill) and the other on a Rune, or put both on the Runes.

  • You can also add Clarities to your build in addition to the Bottle to get some extra mana regeneration. This is in addition to the Bottle, not instead of the Bottle! The Bottle is your main source of regeneration. I don’t find that I need Clarities much, so they are not part of the official build.

After the Core

IPB Image Platemail
SITUATIONAL: IPB Image Hood of Defiance

Platemail – Pudge has very low armor, so the Platemail will give your Effective Hit Points (EHP) a huge boost against physical attacks. If you are against a team that is going to be hitting you with physical attacks, go for the Platemail as your next item. If they have more spellcasters, you can delay your Platemail until later, but you will eventually want one. I’d say to usually get it right away and go for Assault Cuirass to draw fire, but it’s situational. More on that later.

Hood – Against spellcaster teams, you may want to buy Hood as soon as you can after the Core is complete. ONLY DO THIS IF YOU ARE ALREADY DRAWING FIRE (or if the enemy has an insane amount of AoE, I suppose). This item is very situational. AoE aside, enemy spells will generally be targeted on lower-hit-point, higher-DPS heroes – especially if you’re busy buying all this spell resistance. Please, before you buy this, think about the enemy team and the way the game is going. Are you likely to get hit by spells, or not so much? Against smart enemy teams, Pudge won’t draw much fire.

Hood can now be bought after points have been placed in Flesh Heap, so you don’t need to make such an immediate decision any more.

Note on Shiva – I was considering adding this item in as a tentative option, but if an enemy hero gets near you later on, you still have Rot and Dismember to keep them there. The aura on Shiva is good, but the intellect is wasted – I’d go with an Assault Cuirass instead. Accordingly, scroll on down to the late-game items.

Late-game items

IPB Image Assault Cuirass
IPB Image Heart of Tarrasque

If the game runs long, we can really turn Pudge into a tank. Pudge can get a lot of Strength late game by farming with Flesh Heap. If you already have Platemail/Hood/whatever, Heart is the best tanking item to buy.

But first, I would go for an Assault Cuirass. Buy a Platemail if you didn’t before, and complete this item (assuming no one else on your team already has one). I admit that the attack speed bonus isn’t great for Pudge, but it synergizes decently well with the bonus damage from Flesh Heap and will help your DPS a lot more than buying damage would. Obviously you get armor (from the Platemail) on your Cuirass, and that’s really good for you. Here’s the best part. You’re this huge tank that doesn’t really do much for your team besides initiate fights. Well, guess what – now you’re a big threat! The auras are incredible – a Chainmail for your entire team, a negative Chainmail for theirs, plus attack speed for your team? NICE! So now the enemy team is going to want you out of the picture, and you may end up drawing some fire, which is great because it takes the heat off of your carry Hero and lets him own.

Then buy your Heart.

Honestly, it’s unlikely that you will get either of these items. Pudge spends most of his time ganking and does not wind up with much gold because he hasn’t farmed. That’s okay. If you do a good job assassinating heroes early-mid and keeping the enemy team down, you can easily support your team later on by using Hook to initiate, even if you don’t have good tanking gear.

Accordingly, the item build stops here. In the rare case that a game runs long, just improvise. Butterfly could be good, I don’t know.

Note for 6.42 Aegis – If your team kills Roshan, please let your carry hero have the Aegis. Don’t take it.

Why Bottle as opposed to just sapphire waters, tangos and clarities?

IPB Image




IPB ImageIPB ImageIPB Image

1) Bottle is unlimited. You can and will use it late into the game. Using all three charges gives 600 hit points and 285 mana, or the equivalent of about 1.5 waters and almost 3 clarities, which cost over 250 gold. Using those numbers, Bottle pays for itself after only three refills. And that’s only looking at the amount refilled.

2) Bottle’s regeneration is over 3 seconds. This is huge. It’s very quick, which means you can use it immediately if you notice a vulnerable Hero but lack the mana to turn a combo on him and snag a kill where you would have missed one trying to use a Clarity potion. Furthermore, if you are low on hit points and an enemy has just nuked you, he could chase you until his nuke cools down and finish you with the nuke. But with Bottle, you can regenerate a quick 225 hit points before it’s up and survive.

3) Bottle can also capture runes. I mention that you should get Observer Wards. Put a Ward or two over the runes, and you can use Bottle to grab them. A stored rune can provide a key combat advantage that the enemy will not see coming. Using a Rune also returns 2/3 of Bottle.
What about Gem of True Sight?

IPB Image

You have to make this decision on your own. It’s very difficult to give black-and-white information about when a gem should be bought, and by whom, and who should carry it.
Spell resistance on items and Flesh Heap

It USED TO BE THE CASE that if you buy spell resistance items, you must do so before getting ANY points in Flesh Heap if you want the spell resistance to stack. However, this is no longer the case. This means that if you decide, much later, that you want Hood because the enemy team’s nuking combo is still powerful even late-game, that you can go ahead and buy.

In case you were wondering, the math works out like this:

Resistance with Planeswalker’s Cloak – 36.25%
Resistance with Flesh Heap – 37%
Resistance with Cloak and Flesh Heap – 46.4%
Resistance with only Hood – 47.25%
Resistance with Hood and Flesh Heap – 55.9%

5. Walkthrough Strategy:

Pudge’s role is that of the assassin-support-tank, a rather unique role. He is a predator for a large part of the game, then becomes an initiator support Hero that uses Hook to take out dangerous enemy Heroes before the team fights actually start. He can also help tank in a long game. If he is played well, he will destroy the enemy team early game and practically guarantee a huge late-game edge regardless.
Early game – Levels 1-7

At first, you basically sit in your lane getting last hits. If you’re soloing, it’s probably a pub/TDA game but try to tower hug anyway (or just kill your noob enemies, tee hee). If you’re laning with an ally, use Hook in combination with an ally’s spell to kill enemy Heroes in the lane and chase with Rot for the finish. Very intuitive stuff.

Once you get your Bottle, the lane dynamic changes. Unless you’re laning with an excellent ally, you will likely have been harassed a whole bunch and basically been dominated in the lane. Last hits weren’t easy, but you got enough for your Bottle. Now it’s your lane. You’re low on hit points? Use the Bottle once to pick some up, and a Tango if you have any left. If it’s a solo lane, you’re probably about level 5. Enemies aren’t expecting you to Hook yet. Throw one while the enemy is farming. If you’re solid on hit points and the enemy can’t do much to you, chase aggressively with Rot and try to kill him. If you’re semi-solid, turn on Rot and hit him once, then turn off Rot and back away. If you’re low on hit points, just immediately back up after the Hook unless you want to try to bluff by turning on Rot and hitting him once – which can work great but is risky if the enemy can disable. In any case, the enemy takes some damage and you can begin to control the lane. Another drink from Bottle puts your hit points and mana near full and you can be more aggressive with the last hitting, making it easy to get your Boots. You see, the enemy Hero will have to play defensively now because you can kill him with another Hook and appropriate follow-up. If you can do this, great. Then free-farm the lane until he gets back, and you’ll probably get level 7 and Boots with no trouble. If you can’t kill him, you should still be able to farm your lane pretty effectively.

Soloing: A solo lane is very effective on Pudge. If he hits level 7 when other heroes are still only level 5, his combination will be that much more devastating. If you know you will be able to control your lane, or at least survive until Bottle, try as hard as you can to get a solo side lane.

Usually you can put up a pretty convincing argument for solo. Explain that if you can get experience quickly you’ll be able to get your combo ready that much faster, and you’ll let someone else solo at level 7 or 8. You will, too. At level 7 or a little after you’ll start roaming and an ally can have the lane. People usually mind a lot less if you offer to give them a turn in the solo lane after a certain time.

Not Soloing: Soloing is really for easy games only. Pudge is a melee hero and is fairly awful at lane control, so in a serious game you will be destroyed if you try to solo. In fact, in a high-level game you should always lane with an ally, preferably a disabler or slower because combinations involving Hook will be devastating and preferably ranged because two melee heroes together in a lane is always a bad idea. With a good ally hero, you can definitely start using Hook at level 3 of the ability, or possibly even level 2 of the ability depending on how good your ally is at nuking/disabling/slowing. One small thing: You don’t want to hit level 7 too late, so in a mid-level game you can try to solo and call an ally if you need help later, or start off laning with an ally and have him go gank another lane at level 5 while you get some quick XP to get you to level 7.

Mid game – Levels 7-14

I usually leave my side lane at about level 8 – that is, somewhere between 7 and 9. Depends largely on how well I’m doing in my lane and how big a threat the rest of the heroes in the game can become if I let them farm longer. Anyway, ask your allies if you can have middle lane at this point, and hopefully they will agree. You don’t even need an ally mid to get kills. Basically just camp the cliffs on either side of your first mid tower and hook heroes from the river up to those cliffs, where you can Rot + Dismember for an easy kill. See Specific Strategy section for more about how you go about doing this. The idea is that you are roaming around the map pouncing on low-hit-point heroes. For example, after successfully killing a hero mid, you can leave mid lane briefly, take a drink from your Bottle to refill the health and mana you lost doing your combo (health lost only from Rot, they will usually be dying before they can hurt you) and run off to another lane to gank or backstab a hero. Then return mid for more hooking on the cliffs. I never sit in a lane again until level 16 or so, if I can help it. It’s always running around looking for kills. Also, make sure to repeatedly kill a late-game hero that quietly farms. It’s often easy to overlook these heroes and you’ll pay later on for ignoring them.

What if they have wards?

Well, I’ll get to this in the last section of the guide (counters to Pudge), but basically you have two options. The first is starting Flesh Heap at 10 instead of 12 and spending time farming up Strength instead of going after heroes. This is, of course, boring. So, a better solution is to buy counter-Wards (Sentries, or possibly a Gem that you mostly keep in base when not killing Wards with it) and keep assassinating heroes. Because that’s why you’re playing Pudge. You love killing heroes.

Abuse the runes

This is a good time to reiterate that you should be taking full advantage of your Bottle. In between ganks, travel via the rivers and pick up ALL runes you see with your Bottle (unless a nearby ally could put it to better use, in which case notify him of it). Be sure you use those Wards on the runes to constantly be aware of which runes are where. With runes returning a full Bottle after being used, you may not need to fountain trip for quite a while. (And if you do fountain trip, refill your Bottle, then use it immediately and refill it a second time. That heals you faster and cuts down your fountain trip time.)

One more thing. You may realize at some point that your combo is starting to lose its effectiveness and that you really need your Boots of Travel. Stop ganking and go farm a lane for a bit. If you delay the Boots of Travel and try to do more ganking and supporting your team, you’ll often have trouble getting them at all if things don’t go perfectly.
Late game – Levels 14-18

Support your allies. Use Hook + Dismember to instantly take out the most dangerous enemy before a team fight starts (it’s hard to expect your combo alone to kill them at this point in the game, but your allies can pound the enemy hero during the 3 second Dismember), giving you a quick advantage. It’s important to know who that is. It can often be someone with an AoE ulti or AoE disable, like Enigma or CM. Or, it could be the enemy team’s carry hero – the Clinkz/Viper/whoever that spent all game farming and deals 500 damage per hit. He’s a terrific choice because, like the name suggests, he’s supposed to be carrying his team. If he’s dead right off the bat, the enemy team will lose. Another way to think about it is to imagine all possible groups of 4 enemy heroes and leave the least dangerous foursome alone. Sometimes you will only have an opportunity to Hook one Hero who is NOT the carry or anything, but do it anyway. 5v4 is really good. Anyway, after you do this Hook and quick kill, the enemy team will often not sit back and defend at a tower, but charge in to try to save their ally. It will frequently be too late and your team will win the 5v4 and be able to mount a serious push that you would not have been able to do if the enemy had defended properly at a tower. So, initiate the fights.

Incidentally, you often won’t level past 18. Hence the 14-18. If you level more, then good for you.

In a very long game, you may be able to tank for your team. Tanking is really easy because you don’t have to do any work, so I won’t talk about it. Use Rot if you can, but it has a small radius so don’t get in too far trying to get yourself in melee range of enemies.

Moving on.

6. Specific Strategy:

This is where you find out exactly how to kill a hero, as well as use your skills more effectively.

Rot IPB Image


- As mentioned in the Early Game section, Rot can be used to chase a running hero while causing damage. There is an excellent tactic you can use when doing this. Rot slows by 20%, so you can quickly run next to or slightly ahead of the running hero and attack them once. During this time they will push back in front, but will still be under the effects of Rot. Do not attack a second time, but instead continue chasing until you are level with them again and can attack again. This is an easy way of increasing overall chase damage dealt.

- Rot is also very good for ganking enemies. You can continually slow the target hero while your allies pound him. Just remember not to attack unless you’ve drawn up alongside the enemy hero (or unless you have Boots of Travel), or else he might get out of range.

- Rot should never be used to farm. Repeat: DON’T FARM WITH ROT. In the early-mid game it will drain too many hit points to be worth using – and you are not farming in the early-mid game, you are assassinating. Later on, it will only push your creeps farther into enemy territory, which makes you vulnerable if you keep farming the lane. If you’re killing enemy creeps quickly to protect a tower, that’s different. But for farming, don’t use Rot.

- Rot can also be used to Suicide. If you’re in trouble and think you’re going to die, try turning on Rot, timing it just right so that Rot kills you instead of the enemy. This denies them gold and experience and also frustrates them. Plus, it maintains any kill streak you had. And you get a bonus to Strength if you have Flesh Heap because technically you killed a Hero!

- Doom and Silence prevent you from turning off Rot. If you are caught with Rot on when one of these skills is cast upon you, it can mean taking a LOT of extra damage and dying in a situation in which you would otherwise have easily lived. I recommend not using Rot at all when fighting a Doombringer with his ulti cooled, unless you are sure he is going to be silenced or disabled and unable to Doom you.

Flesh Heap IPB Image


- Allied units used to add strength when killed. This is no longer the case. You only receive strength from enemy units killed.

Dismember IPB Image


- Dismember is a basic element in your bread-and-butter combo of Meat Hook + Rot + Dismember. While chasing with Rot, you can Dismember for bonus damage, making your kill easier and, if used to finish them off, can deny the chance to stun you or Sunder you or something awful. Dismember is also terrific in team situations, providing 3 full seconds for your allies to beat up on the unfortunate hero.

- Dismember goes through Avatar. It doesn’t deal damage, but it does hold the hero for 3 seconds. Extremely useful in team situations when an enemy has magic immunity.
Casting Range

- Dismember’s casting range isn’t actually melee. It’s slightly longer. Why is this important? Well, it means you can Dismember a hero that isn’t RIGHT next to you. This can be useful if you’re trying to land Dismember for allies or something, but it can also be very bad if you are trying to hurt them with Rot because they will be out of range. If you do Dismember them out of Rot range, please notice that they aren’t being hurt by Rot and turn Rot off to save yourself some hit points. But it would be better if you didn’t Dismember them out of Rot range in the first place. So, make sure you chase a little extra with Rot before Dismembering so they will definitely be in proper range. Also, if you Hook an enemy (and they don’t have Blink or a disable of some kind) give an order to chase for a second with Rot just to make sure you stay close to them while you are hitting the hotkey for Dismember.

- Don’t Dismember Roshan. It does practically nothing to him. And “Mmm…Fresh Meat…” can actually be a tip-off to the other team and they will be there before your allies even get a chance to yell at you for being so foolish. That really happened to me once. It was unpleasant.

Meat Hook IPB Image

I will break down this section into subsections for easy reference.

Hooking Stationary Enemies

This is relatively easy to do. The enemy isn’t moving! They need to be unsuspecting for this to happen, so usually you need to sneak up on them through the forest when they’re in a lane to get one of these, although it can also work if they are distracted by, say, an ally of yours that they are fighting.

The Long Range Meat Hook – This is the Hook that you’ll be using for this. It often takes full advantage of the 1000 range. This is best set up by hiding behind trees in a side lane or atop the cliffs near the first middle tower and hooking an unsuspecting hero. Just target the ground near the hero while the hero is busy attacking creeps. You need fast fingers to pull off your combination. Now, while the Hook is coming back to you, turn on Rot. This is important. Turn on Rot before Hook is done. After the enemy Hero is reeled in, chase him for a second with Rot on to make sure he’ll be in Rot’s range for the whole Dismember (assuming he won’t blink away or anything). Then, Dismember the (probably disoriented) hero. If it doesn’t kill him, you can chase with Rot for the finish. If the enemy has a disable and a decent amount of hit points and is likely to survive Dismember, stun you and escape, bring an ally along or be prepared to Hook a second time.

Hooking Moving Enemies

This is why Pudge is especially fun to play. Hooking moving enemies requires you to THINK, and I love thinking.

The Point Blank Meat Hook – Okay, so this is the way to Hook a moving hero for someone who doesn’t want to think. Not that that’s necessarily bad, because if you miscalculate a long Hook you’ll miss. This is often done while you are chasing with Rot and need an extra punch. Meat Hook is almost guaranteed to hit and makes for a nice finisher. This can be worth trying if you are having trouble landing longer-range Meat Hooks for whatever reason, but I find it to be a worse tactic overall. You don’t get the surprise element and the enemy is likely to be near a creep wave, so he could certainly turn the tables on you. Worse, if he runs before you get close to him you have relinquished all advantage and must either give up on the kill or risk missing with Hook. He will be on the lookout and try to dodge, and if you miss then he may be able to really pound you.

Long Range, Moving Hero – Fun, but not always easy. Try to anticipate the enemy Hero’s path and put the Hook where the enemy hero is going to be. You will get better at this the more you play and use Pudge, but the next point provides additional information to help you out with Hooking moving heroes.

Manipulating the Terrain – If you are worried about an enemy juking you, or simply that you will miss because there are several possible paths a Hero could take, wait to Hook until the enemy is at a point where he really only has one option for where to go. The narrow ramps all along the river are perfect. It becomes a lot easier to predict the enemy’s exact path. However, it is not always possible to get a Hook at one of these locations. When it isn’t possible, I recommend waiting until the last possible second to launch your Hook, unless you think you will have time to launch another after it cools down. Enemies often feel safe once they approach an allied tower and they do not think to juke. Furthermore, once they are in a sort of set path back to base along a lane, it is reasonable to assume that they will be running straight towards the base and have no reason to stop. This is even more true if there is an ally chasing them. Letting the enemy hero fall into a sort of “easy escape path” will allow you to land a Hook on them much more easily.

Also, position yourself to try to get the best angle possible when Hooking a moving Hero, especially if the enemy knows you are there and trying to Hook them. If an enemy Hero is running away and you are directly behind them, don’t Hook straight in front of you. Small terrain deformations and kinks in the enemy Hero’s path actually give your Hook a decent chance of missing. Step slightly to the side so you aren’t running directly behind them but rather off to the side a little. Then you can Hook at a small angle. Even 15 degrees is enough to make a difference, and it really does increase the chance that you will connect.

Miscellaneous and USEFUL Advice about Hooking

The Ally-Saving Meat Hook – The good Pudge player is always prepared to rescue his ally from a dangerous situation. If there’s only one enemy, pull the hero attacking your ally to you with a Meat Hook and turn your combo for a kill and a save. However, there may be multiple heroes attacking your ally, in which case your best bet is to hook your ally himself. He won’t take any damage. While he’s running, if you aren’t scared of the ganking heroes, you can try to slow them down with Rot/Dismember and you may even score a kill. If you think they might kill you, though, you’d better do the same as your ally and run.

The Blind Hook – Meat Hook can hit a hero that you can’t see due to invisibility or line of sight. It will still deal damage and bring the Hero to you. Trace the Hero’s projected path in your head. It’s the same sort of anticipation you would use to Hook any moving Hero, but taken to the next level because you can’t actually see them. Aim Hook ahead of the Hero in his imagined path, so it will collide with him as he keeps moving and go for it. There are some screenshots demonstrating this in the Screenshots section. Being able to judge a Hero’s path is something that you will simply get better at as you play more DotA and more Pudge.

Click on the ground, not the heroDon’t click on the hero, especially when trying to hit a moving target. This will result in a miss VERY often. ALMOST ALL THE TIME. Click on the ground near the hero, or if they are moving click on the ground in front of them. If they are very devious, they may try to run in zig-zags or other tricky patterns. There are several ways to deal with this. One, try to figure out where it looks like they’re going to move, and then decide where they will deke to. Basically you are just staying one step ahead of them mentally. However, you can also run directly at them and turn on Rot as soon as you get close. Zig zags and fancy jukes take longer than a straight line, so often you can catch up to them and use Rot to chase for your kill. Plus you can then Hook at point blank range anyway if you need an extra punch.

Click a little short of where you want the Hook to hit – Another thing you should be careful of is clicking ~1000 range away. The Hook stretches that far, yes, but don’t gamble. If you misjudge by a tiny bit and click 1100 units away, Pudge will have to move before throwing the Hook and it will ruin your angle, timing, etc. I usually click about 700 units away from Pudge on a maximum range Hook, or 300 units short of the place at which I want the Hook to connect. Don’t worry if you don’t know how much 300 units is (it’s half of Pugna’s attack range, if that helps). The specific amount isn’t that important, though. Just do it a little short of where you want the Hook to hit and you should be fine. Not only does it prevent Pudge from having to move to make the Hook, it’s also much easier to visualize the angles involved by giving your eye a point in space to use in mental calculations.

What doesn’t Hook hit? – Hook will go across cliffs and through trees. You can’t hook buildings, siege units, Roshan, Syllabear’s Spirit Bear or Chickens. Use this to your advantage! The enemy may feel safe behind his tower, or “protected” by a siege unit.

7. Screenshots

Contents of Screenshots Section

1. Hook Mechanics – Moving Heroes
2. Lane Positions – Mid lane
3. Lane Positions – Bottom lane
4. Lane Positions – Top lane
5. Hook Information – What is the Maximum Range? How much is 1000 units?
6. Hook Information – Small AoE on Hook
7. Hook Mechanics – Blind Hooks
8. Hook Utility – Saving Allies

1. Moving Heroes

I’m going to start the Screenshot section with a perfect segue from my discussion of Meat Hook. I have assembled a few screenshots related to a particular Hook I made on a particular Spectre who was chasing a particularly Lich-like ally of mine. I did a little work in Paint and I think the results will be pleasant.

Spectre is chasing my allied Lich into the tower. Lich is moving slowly and Spectre is moving quickly because she has used Spectral Dagger, and another hit or two will finish off the Lich.

I am in position to Hook, and I have some options. Here is what some people would do:

IPB Image

Notice that I have drawn Spectre’s movement arrow. She is moving. This potential Hook is aimed at her current location, but by the time it gets there she will be farther along and it will miss.


This is a better guess.

IPB Image

It looks good, but it’s still not far enough ahead of the Hero. Don’t forget that Spectre is moving especially quickly because of her Dagger, so this Hook will definitely miss.


This is the correct place to aim Hook:

IPB Image


And here is the actual Hook, for comparison.

IPB Image


Here’s another example of this.

IPB Image

Notice how I aimed my hook at the red circle ahead of the Dragon Knight.

2. Mid Lane Positions

Here are a few spots I like to hook from in the mid lane.

IPB Image

This one is probably the most common Sentinel hooking spot ever. Notice the easy hook on Spirit Breaker in the middle lane. It’s a great spot, but people will probably expect it – so you should move around to different angles in the middle lane. However, if you’re on Scourge, people will expect it less. I recommend using it more often when playing as Scourge.

If you need other spots, though, you could go from the cliffs on the left side instead of the right side. Or you could go from the little alcove area around the Gnolls. (This one is tricky because you don’t have sight on the heroes in the lane. You’ll want to put an Observer Ward in the lane to remedy that.) You don’t need screenshots to show you which spots I’m talking about.


IPB Image

Here’s another good spot in mid lane. This one is while I was playing as Scourge, but it works just as easily as Sentinel. The enemy heroes will simply be facing the other way. It’s a little harder as Sentinel just because the enemy hero’s allies could pin you in because you’re on the wrong side of the river and you’ll have trouble escaping back to base. Not a huge worry for the most part, though.

3. Bottom Lane Positions

Here are a few spots I like to hook from in the bottom lane.

IPB Image

This is a great side lane spot. Notice how my ally chases NA, distracting him from the thought of a possible hook and making him run in a straight line. A little timing, and an easy kill.


Here’s another from the same general area. Notice the view from my point of view, and notice the view from Sniper’s point of view. He actually can’t see me, so that Hook is a total surprise. Look carefully at my location. I’m sort of behind a tree. Take full advantage of that tree when you’re in bottom lane.

IPB Image

4. Top Lane Positions

Here are a few spots I like to hook from in the top lane.

IPB Image

The above is a good way to kill someone tower-hugging on Scourge. Or someone near the tower at all. They do not necessarily have to be hugging the tower. This hook is a good one to use because the enemy feels more secure by their tower and is less likely to expect a hook.


And here’s how to kill someone tower-hugging or near the tower on the Sentinel side. Go to the Sentinel shop. There isn’t actually a hero shown in this one, but you can see how the Hook is aimed at the exact spot someone would be if they were tower-hugging. The Hook shown is at MAXIMUM RANGE. Look closely. That’s 1000 range. It’s important to know the maximum range of Hook.

IPB Image

5. Maximum Range of Hook – 1000 range

Here’s another shot showing a Hook at maximum range. I missed Sniper, but you can still get an idea of how far Hook stretches.

IPB Image

6. Small AoE on Hook

Hook has a little AoE to it. About 100 units. The next Screenshot shows this.

IPB Image

I aimed my hook at the red dot, but it still hit Spirit Breaker. However, do not get in the habit of relying on this AoE to make your Hooks connect. Always assume that your Hook will miss if it is not spot on. This will improve your accuracy.

7. Blind Hooks

Hook can hit even if you can’t see your enemy. Just figure out where they’re going to be and time it. In this shot, Sniper is running up the hill. My hook connects, even though I can’t see him, and I get a kill.

IPB Image


In the next series, I get a kill on Axe. Watch as he starts to run:

IPB Image


Now a Hook shoots out. Here’s my view:

IPB Image

That’s right. I can’t see him. I’m guessing where he’s going to be by timing it in my head.


And here’s his view of the same shot:

IPB Image


8. Saving Allies

Ursa is in trouble. He’s been Purged by Siren and has 4 images hot on his tail. Here comes my Hook to save him. It looks like it’s going to miss, but it just barely gets him. In the lower half, he is shown on the other side of the trees, out of danger.

IPB Image


One more ally saving Hook for good measure; same heroes in the same game, but so what?

Ursa is netted by the Siren, but a rescue Hook is on the way and he is pulled out of trouble.

IPB Image


8. Observer Ward Placement

You’re going to want to place one Ward on the hill by the enemy’s first middle tower. Often ranged heroes will sit on the hill and attack creeps in the middle lane’s river. You’ll want to see them so you can Hook them from places like the Gnolls area. Put another one behind the first middle tower if it hasn’t fallen yet. Between the first two middle towers, that is. That lets you sneak through the woods and time a Hook to catch a fleeing hero who thinks he’s safe. Do the same thing to side towers if you are spending a lot of time in side lanes. I kind of prefer middle myself, but it all works. Also put Wards by the Runes, and in key areas in the woods where fighting is likely to happen. The neutrals are also a good place to put Wards, because you can catch VERY unsuspecting heroes farming neutrals. They’re afraid to be in a lane because of YOU, most likely, so by paying some attention to the neutrals you can cut down almost any attempt they might make at farming.

Also put wards in their base towards the end of the game – outside of the sight radius of the towers. That will let you Hook up into their base and kill a camping defender.

Let me reiterate, with the release of 6.38, the importance of placing Wards on the Runes. Bottle is now refilled completely after a Rune is used, so find and use those Runes.

I had some screenies demonstrating where to place the Observer wards, but some people said they weren’t that useful. They took up a lot of visual space, so they’re no longer in the Guide. However, I have provided a few thumbnails as links to some of the pictures. I did not put links to screenies showing how to ward the Runes, because that is fairly straightforward and frequently done.

IPB ImageIPB ImageIPB ImageIPB ImageIPB ImageIPB Image

9. Best Allies and so forth

Best Allies

IPB Image

Goblin Techies

– Hook an enemy through a minefield. Plus, Dismember gives the Techies plenty of time to get an accurate Suicide.

IPB Image

Blood Seeker

– Rupture and Hook work together really well. Have the Blood Seeker Rupture an enemy. The enemy is now basically prevented from moving or else they will take large amounts of damage. This makes it easier to get an accurate Hook, and once you connect you will drag them 1000 units to your location, causing them to take damage from Rupture as if they had run across that area. Ouch!

IPB Image


– Repel stops you from taking damage from Rot, so you can keep Rot on for up to 20 seconds without receiving any damage yourself. 100 x 20 = 2000 potential AoE damage you could deal in that time.

IPB Image

Treant Protector

– Invisibility allows you to sneak up behind heroes easily and get hooks from any angle you choose. This is really nice. Eyes can help you see enemy heroes so you don’t have to guess with a blind Hook, and Eyes can also see enemy Observer Wards, which are a common counter to Pudge as I will mention in a second.

IPB ImageIPB Image

Nerubian Weaver and Beastmaster

- Watchers give sight on heroes to set up a Hook, and scout for Runes that you can load into your Bottle. Beastmaster’s Hawk is good for the same reason.

IPB ImageIPB Image

Disablers, nukers and slowers.

Especially Disablers. In a serious game, you are going to want to start the game laning with an ally and if your ally has a disable it will pay big dividends. A disable can set up an easy Hook, and any kind of early-game power can provide an effortless kill with Pudge’s insane Hook + Rot damage. I put pictures of VS and CM because they are notoriously good at what I’m talking about. Also note that you want your ally to be ranged. Two melee in a lane is always a bad idea.

IPB ImageIPB Image

Late-Game Carry Heroes

- Pudge can own it up early to mid, but you need a carry hero to win you the game later on. If you’re playing a game with one friend, encourage him to get a carry hero over almost anything else (preferably a carry hero that is also a disabler/nuker/slower early if you are planning to lane with him). Pudge has a lot of trouble finishing the game even if he becomes a good tank, so you need someone to dish out the damage late-game and carry your team. I put in pictures of Viper and Syllabear because they are fairly traditional carry heroes; others include Clinkz (not in -lm league play but in -rd leagues and anything below) and QoP.

Weakest Enemies – any Agility or Intelligence hero, preferably ranged, should fall easily to Pudge’s powerful combo, but Strength heroes will also fall if you chase with Rot. My personal favorites? Lich and Sniper. Lots of fun to kill, and relatively helpless once Hooked.

Worst Enemies

Centaur/Rooftrellen/Leviathan. There are more, but I don’t want to bore you with tons of pictures and explanations because the principle is the same. These guys have so many hit points that your combo will be fairly ineffective, and they all have powerful spells of their own (Stomp, Overgrowth, Gush/Ravage) so they can often defeat you in a fight. Against Rooftrellen, you can Dismember him when he uses Overgrowth to basically negate it (provided he’s alone) but he can cast Invisibility on himself when you attempt to chase with Rot, so it’s unlikely you’ll do much to him, either.

There are very few things more annoying than Hooking a hero only to have them Blink away quickly.
Agility heroes that you don’t properly deal with early on.

If an agility hero farms, you’re probably toast. Pudge can be strong late game, but he just doesn’t compare to heroes that were meant to win late game fights. Make sure you keep the enemy’s threat heroes from farming. I didn’t put pictures, but you can figure out who is likely to be a problem late-game.

If you are Silenced with Rot on, you can’t turn Rot off. That will hurt a LOT. Heroes that are likely to silence you include Doombringer, Drow Ranger, Death Prophet, Silencer and Bloodseeker, although in the last case you’ll be dishing out some serious damage with Bloodrage. Doombringer is the most dangerous – his Silence is targeted right on the Hero, so you can’t dodge it, and it lasts the longest. Plus Doom does additional damage to you. Be very careful against Doombringer; I would avoid Rotting if you know his Ulti is up and he won’t be permadisabled.
Observer Wards.

Not a hero, but a common counter to Pudge. The wards let the enemy see you coming in advance and they will run before you can pick them off.

Combating the problem heroes


- Don’t get caught with Rot on. Figure out when they’re going to Silence you, and turn Rot off. Against Doombringer, don’t use it at all unless he’s disabled or his ulti isn’t up.

Also, with Silencer, his Last Word can interrupt your combination, so I recommend turning on Rot beforehand, then Hooking and chasing until Last Word wears off, at which point you can Dismember.

- Two options. One, Hook them when they aren’t expecting it and Dismember them before they figure out what’s going on. Or, start the fight by chasing with Rot and Hook them back after they Blink.
Agility heroes

you didn’t deal with early on – Self-explanatory. You didn’t shut them down early. Figure out which heroes are going to be late-game threats and hunt them down to make sure they can’t farm up good gear.

- Out-tank them. Do some extra farming with Flesh Heap to build up your Strength. Or, get an ally to help you gank them to make sure they go down. Or, take out their damage-dealing allies. A defensive tank isn’t so fearsome if his Clinkz and Drow allies were shut down and can’t dish out any damage.
Observer Wards

- Buy Sentry Wards and kill the Observer Wards. My build has a pretty inexpensive early game (once you have Boots and Bottle you can kind of rock and roll) so you should be able to afford some. One kill that you otherwise wouldn’t have gotten almost pays for it right there, once you factor in the enemy losing gold and so forth. Plus, you needed Observer Wards anyway, right? Yes, you did. I said to get them. So you aren’t spending THAT much more by upgrading to Sentry Wards anyway.

55 Comments so far ↓

  1. Oct

    Well Pudge Was A Strong Hero But iF he Doesnt Farm Welll HE will Be dead At the Late Game

  2. Oct


  3. Nov

    nice for a noob like me

  4. Dec

    You’re right, Rupture synergize well with Hook, if they doesn’t move when being Ruptured, Hook will make em ‘move’…

  5. Jan

    i suggest build some bloodstone and radiance, bloodstone helps pudge is mana regen and radiance helps pudge in rot, it takes double damage or addtional damage…

  6. Jan

    awesome guide. i love it! thanks alot

  7. Jan

    hood of defiance u take less dmg from ROT, and ofcourse radiance for power rot lolol

  8. Jan

    I love your build, and strat. but your stat build is kind of unwilling. i go (rot,hook,hook,*fleshheap*,Hook,Ulti,hook,*Fleshheap*,Fleshheap,Ulti,Fleshheap,rot, and so on. If you knwo how to cs, you sould ez have over 1200 hp 8-10 mins into game without any strenght items.

  9. Feb

    Pudge is also my favourite Hero. Its hard to be strong in early-game, but in the mittle-game pudge probeply own and pwn the most int and aby heros.

    Try Pudge, and anjoy the fun.

    MFG autPwned

  10. Feb

    Nice pudge play. Im trying to get better with him thanks.

  11. Mar

    rofl man ur a noob pudge user who thinks ur damn pro lmao ur guide kinda suck wif the hood’s a optional item n dun rot on creeps till u get hearts? lmao.. get a life

  12. Mar

    pudge is used to use hood..BoT…2xheart…radiAnce….assault cuirass^^lol

  13. Mar
    Mark Darylle


  14. Mar
    Mark Darylle

    urallnoob is noob i know him

    dont believe in him
    your a pro

  15. Mar





  16. Apr
    pudge tabatchoy

    pudge is the best with manta
    you know why?
    because when pudge rot and manta the illusion take damage into the enemy
    and hook you must take your illusion in your side and dismember then rot
    sure die your enemy

  17. Apr

    suceeding can i ask a question , is mekanism a goo d item for pudge cause most likely i use this item

  18. May


  19. May


  20. May

    well, not bad. same build as well ^__^

  21. May

    hey can s1 say what are the commands to see how much hooks failed and how much were good ?? and how much strengh i get ??

  22. May

    the guide is so useful but i want to know the position where pudge uses his meat hook

  23. Jun


  24. Jun

    Not a bad guide, but you took a long time to say very little.

  25. Jul

    I like this guide. It’s very useful and thorough. I don’t agree with some things but it’s unlikely that two dota players play the same way anyway. I think that Hood should not be situational as it actually reduces Rot damage to yourself. Don’t listen to “dark”. Maybe he’s better than u, maybe not. But he sounds like an arrogant pain in the neck.

  26. Aug
    Hector pinoy

    WOW. MATALINO at MAGALING na STrat. I like it, I am just confuse on using bottle, and what is rune? hehehehe i am noob but i am good with LINA inverse. COOL STRAT.

  27. Sep
    new guy

    tnx alot i needed tis guide i’m going 2 use pudge

  28. Sep
    new guy

    wish me luck

  29. Sep

    garena add for friends- bloodlikezzz

  30. Sep

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.

  31. Sep

    now i have guide how 2 use HEroES in dota^^JOsePH A.

  32. Sep

    and please add me to ur garena boosep111!!!!!!!!!!! dnt forget!!!

  33. Sep

    PUDGE ISA A GREAT HERO!……………………………however….mirana is a best ally for me…..when i hook-dismember-rot……she uses ELUNES ARROW……..and THAT… a SURE KILL….

  34. Oct

    Wow i read it whole and im impreesed :) 2 h of nice lecture, altough it is quite old, still useful :) (1 oct 2009)

  35. Oct

    allo me like pudge lor me no pro pudge

  36. Oct
    Weally Jeffry@BUTCHER

    May be not to fantastic for me, because i was kill pugde with Mirana Nightshade.He Will Kill.BYE>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>……………………………………….

  37. Oct

    Hahahahahhaah pudge, is a ugly so i can kill him with Mirana Nightshade as easy as winking

  38. Oct

    pudge can really not dominate the game

  39. Nov
    Daniel Noye


  40. Nov

    awsum guide!

    thanks a lot!

    @ Daniel Noye…. quote descripton:”He’s back, and he’s as ugly and fat as ever.” ;D

  41. Nov


  42. Nov

    yuck build with pudge very yuck

    this is my build

  43. Nov


  44. Dec
  45. Dec

    Hood (must)
    BOT (optional, for me, i prefer phaseboot, save me a lot of time)
    Taras (must, but only if u can get it from PROs)
    Assault (must, if u are a killing machine)
    I will go for linken and scepter(6.14, ulti upgrade)

  46. Jan

    haha!nice guide!plssssssssssssss add me in garena!ouchiii_17.dudurugin ko kau!^_^

  47. Jan

    i think pudge is one of the best in early soon as your level 3, you can party all the way in mid..level 7 means showtime to pudge.. ^^

  48. Feb

    Good builds
    here are mine for new version:
    -bottle(first build)
    -hood of defiace
    -heart of tarasque
    -blood stone

  49. Mar

    my build is:

    begin game:
    empty bottle

    late game:
    heart of tarrasque
    boots of travel
    double hood of defiance
    linkens sphere

    ok tank u pls.follow my item build

  50. Mar

    my build is:

    empty bottle
    boots of speed
    archanism scepter(for upgrade ulti)
    after upgrade boots of speed in boots of travel
    when i buy radiance(it is usefull if your enemy has invisibility
    and of course the damage per second and the damage per hit)
    But your guide is guide :-)

  51. Mar

    In the last sentence i make i mistake sorry
    the right sentence is:
    But the guide is gut :-)

  52. Apr
    try this

    PUDGE: perfect item for me..

    hood of defiance
    heart of tarrasque
    assault cuirass
    guinsoo’s scythe of vyse
    boots of travel

    wHoOOOoo….. ^_^

  53. Jun

    your weak weak as a weak that weak weak weak but thats weak

  54. Jun

    i love pudge but im not good but still can hook enemies^_^

  55. Jun

    I just got dc in sholar basin..

Leave a Comment