For years, Pudge has been Dota’s most popular hero. No matter how weak or strong the hero is, he’s a frequent sight in pub games — every one in four matches features the Butcher, according to Dotabuff.
But recently, trends have pointed toward the hero as not just a frustrating support, but a phenomenal carry. It’s one thing to ignore a Pudge when all he does is run around and Hook. It’s another when he’s right up in your face, killing your whole team with Rot, while proving unkillable with Flesh Heap.
To prevent that nightmare situation, here are the five best counters to Pudge across a variety of positions. No matter your role, there’s an answer for the fearsome Butcher.
Five best Pudge counters
- Death Prophet
Ursa is perhaps the best counter to Pudge from a carry position. Pudge likes to play up close and personal — just the way Ursa likes it.
It’s nearly impossible for a Pudge to get away from your clutches. Fury Swipes’ stacking damage can take down even the tankiest of Pudges, while inbuilt status resistance in Enrage and the Aghanim’s Shard upgraded Earthshock mean that Pudge will have a far more difficult time eliminating Ursa.
If a hero is unkillable thanks to their pure health, Death Prophet also is. Spirit Siphon’s percentage-based drain is one of the game’s best anti-tank abilities. Every time Pudge gets a Flesh Heap stack, he’s also giving Krobelus more health to work with. Plus, upgrading the skill with Shard makes it almost impossible for Pudge to dismember you, since he’ll be feared away eventually.
The hero likes to play fast and take down towers with Exorcism, which can punish Pudge, who prefers a less frenetic pace. Pudge also isn’t the best tower defender, save for his Hook, and Exorcism’s long range and her innate speed means she can play keep away well.
Magnus has multiple stuns and repositioning abilities that can disrupt Pudge, who wants to stay in one spot and Rot down multiple targets. Skewer and Reverse Polarity are great lockdown tools for the immensely slow hero, while the former doubles as an escape tool.
Pudge doesn’t like it when the game’s pace gets too speedy — so help your allies to get there. Magnus’ Empower helps accelerate cores so that they can get faster and better items than Pudge, who can get outscaled easily, even as a carry.
Timbersaw is the premier strength hero counter, and Pudge is no exception. Pudge likes to stay close, and Timbersaw relishes the opportunity to throw out Whirling Deaths, taking out 10 percent of their strength immediately.
Timberaw’s litany of pure damage and burst spells scales well into the late game as well. Pudge, carry or not, likes to build resistance items. Pure damage circumvents that, letting you deal consistent damage to the Butcher. Burst damage also counters Flesh Heap, which only reduces damage in small increments — good for Rot, not great for Chakram.
The hero also likes to build Hood of Defiance and is rather tanky, a perfect fit for frontlining against Pudge.
Playing support can be a terrifying experience when faced with a good Pudge. It can feel helpless every time you get hooked and bitten, but Grimstroke is an appropriate response if you want to stay far away.
Phantom’s Embrace silence stops Pudge from channeling Dismember. His slow attack speed also means it’s difficult for him to get rid of the phantom, generally forcing him to go Black King Bar earlier than he wants.
Ink Swell lets heroes get away from Pudge or initiate on him with little fear, since the stun will prevent him from retaliating. The spell also gains a dispel once Aghanim’s Shard is unlocked, and can be used to save Dismembered targets.
Soulbind helps Leash Pudge to one spot, even through spell immunity. It’s the cherry on the top for the support hero, who can help his cores lock down the pesky target.