Much Hook! Very Skill! Such Wow!

Alt text I started playing Dota a long time ago - I believe the first version I tried was 6.14b. The game only featured six taverns (you would "recruit" a hero to play from one of them) and the general opinion was that it is "Easy to Learn - Hard to Master".

I had no idea of role differences, lane set-ups or any other things that even the newest of players nowadays are aware of. Nonetheless, it did not prevent me from having a lot of fun and it was not uncommon for me to skip some classes in school and go to a Computer Club instead (to be fair, I was a straight "A" pupil with several math awards - no one really minded the occasional rebellious behavior of a 13-year old boy).

And throughout all this time I've had only one major complaint - Pudge Pudge, the Butcher.

Why?

I often ask myself a question - why is Pudge so popular? Of course there is Dendi - one of the best, if not the best Mid player in the world. He coined the idea of the Pudge as a mid hero and many tried to copy him. There is also a certain "manliness" to the hero - he likes to make everything close-up and personal. But ultimately, I believe that it is the rewarding feeling of hooking somebody.

Statistics I have been gathering for a completely different article only prove my point - since the introduction of Ember and Earth spirit the Pudge's popularity has only risen! Previously Pudge only made DotaCinema's Top 10 if Storm Spirit, Anti-Mage or Queen of Pain were involved. With two more heroes that have extreme mobility the amount of "JackPot!" targets has almost doubled. For some reason people think that if you manage to hook one of them mid-flight you should be given a medal and regarded as one of the best players in game.

Childhood Trauma

New players with low APM's and poor positioning is what this hero preys on. And, honestly, after all these years I still make the occasional mistake of having low map awareness that results in my being Meat Hook Meat Hooked and Dismember Dismembered. However, the higher you climb up the rating and the more experience you get, the lower the threat coming from Pudge becomes.

And there are several reasons for it.

Not a Mid Hero

Dendi might have popularized the idea of a mid Pudge, but be honest with yourselves - you are not Dendi. And even the King of Hooks himself is rarely seen playing Pudge in a competitive environment, especially after the abolishment of Fountain Hook combo.

His low movement speed of 285 and lack of any escape skills makes him an ideal target to gank - even more so in the midlane, considering there are constant threats from both sides.

His starting 625 HP is good, but not amazing and 0.96 armour certainly does not help to mitigate the incoming damage.

Moreover, even in a 1 v 1 situation, his melee range makes him a very suboptimal pick - he can get harassed out of lane with no reliable way to heal himself, while the high manacost and cooldown of Meat Hook Meat Hook makes for a really bad farming tool.

Compare him to Dragon Knight Dragon Knight, Night Stalker Night Stalker and Bloodseeker Bloodseeker - viable melee mid options, and you will understand what I am talking about. These heroes tend to have a comparable, if not superior gank potential (Night Stalker Night Stalker, Bloodseeker Bloodseeker) or can be utilized in a pushing strategy (Dragon Knight Dragon Knight), while having a higher survivability and an ability to farm.

Not an Offlane Hero

It is self-explanatory - no survivability and/or escape means no offlaning. With the changes introduced in 6.79, hardlane (or offlane, if you prefer) is a much safer place - the creeps meet closer to your tower and the pull-camp is weaker. But offlaning Pudge facing a dual or even a tri-lane will probably have very little XP and Gold income. While the latter is not of a big importance, getting level 7 as soon as possible is a must for Pudge.

Not a Jungle Hero

Same as always - no way it is possible to pull off efficiently. You could always try to kill-off small camps with Rot Rot, while stacking the Big/Medium camp nearby to Smoke of Deceit Smoke of Deceit + Rot Rot it later, but believe me, it will never be optimal, efficient or rational. Also, for all the people out there who did not get my point: "Do Not Try This at Home!".

Not a Support/ Not a Carry/ Not a Dual-Lane hero!

Pudge cannot carry a game. Even if he spans out of control and gets a lot of kills, he will still be weaker than most DPS-ers out there. While the extra stats and magic resistance are nice, they will not provide long-term benefits comparable to Legion Commander's Duel Duel, for example.

So, in a Dual-Lane set-up he is left with a role of a Support. Being melee, it will be extremely hard for him to harass opponents, considering aforementioned 0.96 armor.

He can save some carry from a certain death, that is true. But there is a multitude of heroes that are simply better at it. Omniknight Omniknight, Abaddon Abaddon, Dazzle Dazzle or any hero with a disable can do the job better, while creating a possible opening for a turnaround. Meat Hook Meat Hook simply does not provide the extra benefits of dealing damage if used to save, unlike Aphotic Shield Aphotic Shield or Purification Purification.

Not a Tri-lane Hero

That leaves us with a Tri-lane set-up. It does look good on paper - have Bane Nightmare Nightmare someone, land a perfect Meat Hook Meat Hook and finish off with a carry of your choice the opponent out of position. Or any other variety of a reliable disable + Meat Hook Meat Hook + Carry for that matter. But, there is always an opportunity cost - you can simply have a better hero for the job.

Mirana Mirana can land a Sacred Arrow Sacred Arrow on a solo offlaner, without the Nightmare Nightmare being interrupted by an opponent's teammate, providing a much longer disable. Leshrac Leshrac or Lina Lina can simply deal more burst damage - something that will be a lot more useful against heroes with escape abilities, when compared to Rot Rot. There are a lot of other arguments not in favour of Pudge Pudge, but I guess you got the basic idea.

And to top all that, I would like to point out that the Tri-lane set-ups are pretty unpopular at the moment, since the meta-shift to a more aggressive playstyle. A team can longer afford to share huge chunks of XP between three heroes, since the extra gold now allows the opponents to gather faster and hit stronger. You need your skills to be powerful enough to counter it.

It is especially crucial for Pudge, since you want your hook to get really long as soon as possible.

A Hero?

Pudge Pudge was in the game of Dota and Dota 2 for a while, and he is very popular, consistently being the number one in terms of picking frequency. His global win rate, on the other hand is pretty low - 48.16%. Moreover, before Valve decided to no longer transmit the Skill Bracket information, the difference between Very High Pudge Pudge WinRate and a Normal one was almost 4%.

Additionally, I have gathered statistics for ten people from my friend-list (including me). All of us are Solo 4.1k+, with two people in the 4.5k+ zone and one person in the 4.7k+. I have found out that the average win rate against Pudge Pudge for us is 53.79%, with mine sitting at a shameful 52.63%.

Moreover, the probability of facing Pudge Pudge in a game scales inversely with the Solo and Ranked MMR - just giving you guys some food for thought.

Closing Comments

In no way do I try to say that Pudge players are bad, or that the hero itself is bad. If anything, the "legacy" status of Pudge Pudge should invoke some respect for the hero - in a couple of years we will probably see players younger than him.

At the same time, I have a strong belief that in a beautifully designed and complex game as Dota, with an enormous amount of possible variations and team line-ups, having a hero that has a 29+% probability of appearing in a match is really sad. Exploring the game in its full and trying yourself in different roles is a much more rewarding experience!

Moreover, I have tried my best to explain why picking Pudge is not picking a hero to win - it is picking a hero to look good and awesome. For some of you it might be very important and I am in no place to judge you, even if I really wanted to.

That said, I still wish you best of hooks and healthy meals!

Thank You for Reading! Do not hesitate to leave your thoughts in the comment section below - we really appreciate the feedback!

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96 comments
バボーバス!!

    Pudge sucks

    RUSH B

      that won't make them stop picking pudge.

      Jambi

        ^ You suck.

        Coup

          Your reasoning for why he's a bad mid hero is flawed; I think he's a fantastic mid hero. The purpose of why a hero goes mid is something that changes depending on the hero: heroes like Outworld go mid for the secure farm and to beat the other mid out, and heroes like Puck go mid to get the extra solo experience so they can gank early and beat the other lanes out. Pudge would fit into the latter category. You may argue that he farms poorly in the lane, unlike a Puck, and he won't get much in order to gank - something, I would argue, is the centerpoint of Pudge. He requires absolutely no farm to gank thanks to his ability set, just levels. His entire purpose is to beat out the other lanes (which, in turn, either gives more room for your carry to farm, or sets their carry back on farm).

          He scales extremely poorly, so he works much like a Nightstalker in terms of the serious emphasis on ganking early. The only part of him I would say that scales well is his ability to catch people out, especially during pushes. If you catch even a single person out during a five-man push uphill, the enemy team probably won't want to go in already 4v5'ing.

          lightwing

            FUCK PUDGE

            MAXIMUS AUTHISMUS™

              I think this blog post is pretty bad.

              siveZ

                I hate Pudge so much. I'm done.

                forever and always

                  pudge can definitely jungle on radiant. you should do some research before doing blog posts like this.

                  Giant Monster Bird

                    I also have a fact: The chance to see a Pudge in your game is even lower when you pick OD first! :)

                    Aurinko

                      This is my hero

                      Malibu Stacey™

                        Problems with this article
                        1 - it's not in Russian
                        2 - even if it was in Russian, they wouldn't bother actually reading it & understanding the points being made.
                        3 - Smoke jungling hasn't worked in Dota 2 for quite some time.

                        Αερογλωτσά

                          well he might not be a good lasthitter or something at mid but one hook and dismember near the tw and 99% of the mid heroes die . Also during the whole game you are more afraid to leave the tw because of the hooks .. in late game he can be a good disable to heroes who have a bkb , if you have one too so dont look only the cons.. i hate pudge too but he is not as useless as you say

                          Kryptnyt

                            Pudge is perhaps one of the easiest heroes to beat in the laning stage, but as soon as he leaves the lane and goes ganking, and you call him missing, and your ally doesn't back up, you have a game on your hand.
                            He makes plenty of sense on the mid, if only because its a relatively safe place for him to level up. Worst case scenario he can only buy brown boots and can still kill people in other lanes because of his valuable early to midgame skills.

                            aaaaaaaaa

                              They should make all Pudge players lose 100 gold for every instance of: a missed hook, not buying smoke when ganking, flaming/patronising teammates, shittalking enemy players, and asking for wards. If they enforced that, Pudge players might not be so annoying to play with/against.

                              Binkeezy

                                He needs exp to snowball. Saying he's not fit for mid is pretty confusing really. He's excellent mid. As soon as you hit 6, he can roam around the map and gank. The point of this is really.. irrelevant. Pudge is a great hero and a great tank if he gets the kills going.

                                Nuke

                                  Dendi invented pudge mid? Is 6.14b supposed to be a long time ago? You missed like 5 years of dota, including one of the best versions ever - 5.84 - and two of the most hilarious heroes ever - the conjurer and the gambler.

                                  Pudge is absolutely a mid hero and is still very effective in draft games, and fun to play.

                                  AvoNKraD

                                    I don't think there is any pudge player in the world that could pose a threat to me if i get against him on mid lane.

                                    Olaf

                                      pudge is so popular because he looks like people playin on it :D

                                      Rocko

                                        I enjoyed reading this, actually it was the first article I read here.
                                        I'm sad, thought not surprise, about most of the comments.
                                        I played A LOT of pudge when I got my beta key, wich was over a year ago, I was playing after 2-3 months after international 1. And indeed I agree, it's a terrible hero if you're looking for a high rank play. It's easy outplayed by basicaly any hero, perhaps few are weaker (a bad shadow fiend player perhaps?).
                                        Said that, and agreeing with your point, there's that feeling when playing in a lan-house with 9 friends and landing a hook and screeming something like Gotcha! I often found that nostalgia of w3 days when playing pudge with friends.
                                        Perhaps other heroes need more exposure of their mechanics and more spotlight, but a believe it's bound to the tier of the players. Take wisp, visage and chen for example and look the winrate or how much they're played. It does not reflect how awesome they're skills are.

                                        Ice

                                          Pudge mid never been dendis idea .. i've been playing dota for long time and at old versions everyone used to play mid pudge .. also pro pudge is almost undefeated whoever was the enemy

                                          KWLK`

                                            Those retards will still picking Pudge. :D

                                            aj

                                              but hes fun 2 play

                                              Burnice ♥~♥

                                                you don't know how to play him that's why so many people hate pudge becuase they don't know how to play him. lol. he can be in any lane.

                                                Qneetza

                                                  As I see from the comments (and as i predict from the article itself), people are focusing on wrong parts of the post. They tend to focus on
                                                  1) Whether 6.14 as a starting point is far enough to judge. Not really an important thing to argue about.
                                                  2) Which lane should pudge take. Well, let's all agree he is a Playmaker, and 80% of Playes made in Pub games come from mid heroes and expected to come from them. (That's why i hate Exort Invoker Mid even more than Pudge mid)
                                                  What people should really focus on is the simple (and brilliant) idea
                                                  "picking Pudge is not picking a hero to win - it is picking a hero to look good and awesome"
                                                  And there is nothing to do about it, actually. Too many people mistake dota for a game to feel great about themselves.
                                                  All that phrases "Even though that team of dipsticks lost, i had some great hooks/arrows/sunstikes/kills/anything"...You know the drill.
                                                  Dota is about working as a team (even with random people) and winning, eventually. And untill this that way of thinking is gone, pudge will remain one of the most popular heroes.

                                                  Tractør

                                                    All people think that Dendi is the best pudge/ best mid in the world and that makes me laugh because he's not even in Top 50 Pudge list ( http://i.imgur.com/XJl0h4W.png)

                                                    It's just a mainstream that low mind people accept.

                                                    ブガッティ

                                                      guess it's just that fear factor on preying on other weaker players.

                                                      epsik-kun

                                                        All people who think that pub statistic is enough to evaluate pro player make me laugh even harder.

                                                        It's just a lack of common sense.

                                                        Arktomys

                                                          Cancer Doge shit. 0/10

                                                          Катюха

                                                            ya tut seks, pidori

                                                            CHE6yp

                                                              "it was not uncommon for me to skip some classes in school and go to a Computer Club"

                                                              This was written by russian, I can guarantee it 100%

                                                              rovaz
                                                                This comment was deleted
                                                                rovaz

                                                                  A lot of people just play for fun, Pudge is a fun hero to play.

                                                                  Cuckonut (Squad 47)

                                                                    I agree pudge is fun, but it is not fun to get matched with or against him 1/3 of your games. Pudge is easy to dominate in lane, doesn't matter if he maybe gets on kill on you, he will not have any cs nor exp. The only way a pudge can win (unless he isreally good) is if the people he is against are bad-mediocre players, hence we don't see him in competitive dota.

                                                                    IceLovey

                                                                      >pudge not reliable mid hero
                                                                      >bloodseeker reliable mid hero
                                                                      WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT

                                                                      Occi

                                                                        To all of those disputing weither or not Dendi "invented" Pudge mid, you do realize he's been playing profesionally since '06 or so right? We're not talking about only Dota 2 Pudge/Dendi.

                                                                        On a sidenote I'm happy I'm seeing fewer and fewer Pudge players as my rating rises. I really hate meeting that hero, even if he doesn't play well he's a major nuisance (kamikaze playstyle etc).

                                                                        Occi

                                                                          @Alpha.Tractør <3 L
                                                                          >All people think that Dendi is the best pudge/ best mid in the world and that makes me laugh [..]
                                                                          Public stats isn't really that interesting. Performance in tournaments and such however.

                                                                          god 1

                                                                            Holy fucking shit kill yourself and your stupid fucking doge shit

                                                                            mutton masher

                                                                              do you have to throw memes into everything you make you stupid fag

                                                                              KawaiiSocks
                                                                                This comment was deleted
                                                                                蛇鯊

                                                                                  Fuck Pudge and fuck retarded kids who pick him every fucking game !

                                                                                  Bantamu

                                                                                    Fucking memes

                                                                                    zergbong

                                                                                      dumb meme dumb blog post

                                                                                      Spirono🌟

                                                                                        Holy fuck, are you that autistic that you have to put a stupid, irrelevant meme into this shit? Just saying words that other people said doesn't make you funny, you know

                                                                                        maybe

                                                                                          I can nearly feel someone picking pudge and feeding lol
                                                                                          But nice blog.

                                                                                          speyedur

                                                                                            le maymay faec XD
                                                                                            I used to pick pudge a lot when I was a scrub, I regret it.

                                                                                            alfalfa

                                                                                              talk about lacking a clue

                                                                                              Milton

                                                                                                whenever someone on the enemy team chooses pudge, i pick meepo and destroy them in the mid lane

                                                                                                Radio Free Zerg

                                                                                                  Good post.

                                                                                                  silverforest

                                                                                                    Anyone actually remembers the old hexOr Pudge's videos?It was faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar before Dendi popularized it that Pudge became such a hero.

                                                                                                    SomeGuy

                                                                                                      Pudge is good vs bad players, he's also good if you ward enemy jungle (or scout with Beastmaster's bird).