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Most Concise Butcher Alt-Tab Guide
The second of the longest alt-tab guides in existence.
by Melderv

Latest Changes:
  • June 23, 2013 - Updated to 6.78b. It has no Dota 2 counterpart for now. Comment if you want one.


  1. Foreword
  2. Introduction
  3. Playstyle
  4. Butcher's Skills
  5. Skill Build
  6. Item Builds
  7. General Strategy
  8. Counters
  9. Miscellaneous
  10. Conclusion
  11. Replays
  12. Credits
  13. Changelog


This guide was written by an 18-year old Filipino whose native language is not English.

Because we're done with history, let me tell you why I wrote this guide. I used to play Pudge sparingly, but now I play him quite often. I'm in the verge of discovering Heroes that make a difference very early in the game. I never liked full carry Heroes, so I prefer active playstyles.

I did not see many published guides on Butcher, so I decided to make one of my own. Next, I love writing so much! This is the second of my Alt-Tab guide series, which is an intentional misconception, as they are actually full guides without the information nobody really cares about (except history, which is one of the things I really appreciate about DotA). My guides are for both first-timers and experienced players who need to know the stuff that they want to.

Enjoy, and remember, this is just a guide to get you started!

History: This is Pudge's history in a table starting from 6.70.

6.70-6.70cNo changes.
6.71Fixed Flesh Heap gaining STR from suicides (recently reintroduced bug).
6.71bFixed a bug with Flesh Heap.
6.72Rot damage increased from 25/50/75/100 to 35/60/85/110. Fixed Pudge being unable to cast Meat Hook while in Ethereal form. Fixed Meat Hook from wasting Linken's Sphere.
6.72b-6.72fNo changes.
6.73Flesh Heap now has a overhead notification when strength is gained. Added various Christmas-themed effects (Santa Pudge model).
6.73bRemoved Pudge Santa.
6.73c-6.77cNo changes.
6.78Flesh Heap strength bonus increased from 0.9/1.2/1.5/1.8 to 1/1.5/2/2.5.
6.78bNo changes.



This is not a competitive guide for Butcher since I don't have that experience. However, from all my games with him, I've found what seems to be reasonable and what is purely dipshit. This is a pubber's guide on Butcher, but still reliable and trustworthy.

Here are Butcher's key points:

Attributes: Butcher is a slow Hero, with 285 MS (movement speed). He is also Melee, something newer players try to avoid. However, all he needs is confidence and risk to be able to function effectively.

Playstyle: He is STR, but tanking is only his side role. His playstyle is that of a ganker/killer, intentionally targeting Heroes with his deadly skill combo. Early, no one can survive this combo at all.

Dismember: Late game, they might, but Pudge counters back with Aghanim's Scepter, dealing immense amounts of damage to a single target with Dismember.

Item Independence: However, items such as these are generally not bought in a competitive game. Why? Well, Pudge is not a farming Hero. And rightly so, because he is item independent. He only relies on his attributes and combo to kill early, and what Pudge needs to do is keep enemy levels at a minimum so that others can finish the game.

Carry Potential: Nevertheless, a fed Pudge can carry a game well, unable to be killed by anyone. If all skills are focused on Pudge to kill him, there are still four Heroes they have to worry about while their disables cooldown.

Here are a few reasons why to pick Butcher for that game:
  • You like Heroes that make a difference early game. Pudge, with his efficient combo, can make or break that game by killing fragile early spellcasters and carries.
  • You like Heroes that need skill to use. Meat Hook is obviously one of those skills. Countless videos of Butcher have displayed luck and skill with feats like using Meat Hook against invisible Heroes and Heroes hiding in the Fog of War.
  • You like playing gankers/killers. However, unlike most roamers, Pudge does not have a ranged disable. You need timing to use Meat Hook and Dismember is a melee channeling disable. Be careful.
  • You like Heroes that are useful at all stages in the game. Late game, Pudge can tank spells and still be effective with Meat Hook's Pure damage. He can turn Rot permanently with the proper items and deal massive AoE damage, great for pushing and defending those critical moments.



Ganker/Killer: Butcher has only one role in the game. That is to move around the map and start killing Heroes with the help of his teammates, or on his own. This is called a ganker/killer. There's a notable difference between only ganking and killing, because gankers solely depend on team cooperation to kill. Killers, however, can dispatch Heroes on their own, so that's the extent of his playstyle or role.

Tank: Playing Butcher as a full-fledged tank will net you nothing. Although boasting one of the highest STR gains in the game (3.2) and just being STR makes players think that Pudge is meant to be somewhat of a tank.

True, Pudge needs HP and HP regeneration to make use of Rot, and it is true that Flesh Heap only contributes to this fact, but how do you utilize Flesh Heap? By killing, right? And so, Pudge is a born killer that can tank on the side.




Background Story: An undead behemoth seemingly impervious to even the most potent magic, this starving abomination roams the battlefield, continually in search of unwary prey. It is said his victims catch only a glimpse of his monstrous frame as they are dragged them through the shadows, bleeding profusely as a jagged hook etches deeper in their flesh. Wails of agony echo in the distance, only to be drowned out by the Butcher's maniacal laughter as he severs their limp bodies with his great maw. Unspeakable horrors ensue in a deathly silence, a dreadful omen for what is to come.

Strength - 25 + [3.2]
Agility - 14 + [1.5]
Intelligence - 14 + [1.5]

Attack Range:128 (Melee)

Meat Hook - (Active, Point-Target, Any Unit)
____________________Launches a bloody hook at a unit or location. The hook will snag the first target it encounters, dealing damage then dragging the victim back to the Butcher.

 ManaCooldownC. RangeAoEDurationEffects
111014550100N/ADeals 90 damage and drags the victim to the Butcher.
212013700100N/ADeals 180 damage and drags the victim to the Butcher.
313012850100N/ADeals 270 damage and drags the victim to the Butcher.
4140111000100N/ADeals 360 damage and drags the victim to the Butcher.

  • This skill deals Pure damage.

  • You are able to hook invisible units. However, as with advanced mechanics, only the damage is dealt and not the stun.

  • Meat Hook goes through siege units, cliffs, tree, buildings, and other structure.

  • Only the tip of the Meat Hook drags a unit to Butcher.

  • Neither the mini-stun nor the damage is applied when Meat Hook is used on allied units. Only the drag effect applies.

  • The actual length of the Meat Hook is 600/800/1000/1200.

  • The "-st" or "-stats" command can be used to know the accuracy of your hooks through this formula: # of enemy Heroes hit / (# of enemy units hit + number of misses).

Rot - (Toggle, Instant, Affects Enemies and Self)
____________________Pudge releases the disease and filth inside of him, dealing intense damage and slowing surrounding enemies while hurting Pudge as well.

 ManaCooldownC. RangeAoEDurationEffects
100N/A250Until deactivated35 damage per second with 20% slow.
200N/A250Until deactivated60 damage per second with 20% slow.
300N/A250Until deactivated85 damage per second with 20% slow.
400N/A250Until deactivated110 damage per second with 20% slow.

  • This skill deals Magical damage.

  • Being a Toggle-type ability, it may be used while channeling Dismember.

  • Affects invisible units fully.

  • If Rot is activated and Pudge is silenced, he is unable to deactivate it until the silence wears off.

  • Pudge can kill himself using this skill, denying enemies experience and gold.

  • This deals damage per 0.2 seconds (5 instances per second).

Flesh Heap - (Passive, Any Unit)
____________________Pudge is made of innumerable rotting corpses, giving him extra protection against spells as well as the chance to add more to his bulk.

 ManaCooldownC. RangeAoEDurationEffects
1N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A4% spell resistance, +1 STR per Hero kill.
2N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A8% spell resistance, +1.5 STR per Hero kill.
3N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A12% spell resistance, +2 STR per Hero kill.
4N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A16% spell resistance, +2.5 STR per Hero kill.

  • Spell resistance from this skill stacks properly with spell resistance from items.

  • Gains STR pero Hero kill in a 450 AoE, or if Pudge himself kills the Hero.

  • The number of STR added is displayed on top of Pudge after every kill.

  • This ability is retroactive, which means the STR gain is adapted if the skill is leveled.

  • The "-st" or "-stats" command can be used to know how much Strength you gained through this skill.

Dismember - (Active, Single-Target, Affects Enemies)
____________________Chows down on a target, causing excruciating pain. Lasts 3 seconds. Channeling. Can be improved by Aghanim's Scepter.

 ManaCooldownC. RangeAoEDurationEffects
110030160N/A3/675 (75 + 0.75x strength*) damage per second.
213030160N/A3/6125 (125 + 0.75x strength*) damage per second.
317030160N/A3/6175 (175 + 0.75x strength*) damage per second.

  • This skill deals Magical damage.

  • This skill goes through magic immunity.

  • The skill continues to function even if the target turns invisible.

  • This skill is a channeling spell.

  • This skill can be improved by Aghanim's Scepter (* shows the improved values).

  • The improved versions heals Pudge with the same amount of damage it deals.

  • This deals damage at the end of every second.



1. Rot
2. Meat Hook
3. Meat Hook
4. Rot
5. Meat Hook
6. Dismember
7. Meat Hook
8. Rot
9. Rot
10. Flesh Heap
11. Dismember
12. Flesh Heap
13. Flesh Heap
14. Flesh Heap
15. Stats
16. Dismember

Justification: Rot Start skills Rot first, obviously. There are some reasons why this is better. First, you can arrange a first blood attempt. The 20% movement speed slow is constant at all levels, which is, of course, one of the most powerful Level 1 slows. Second, you can avoid a first blood attempt for the same reasons.

However, Meat Hook skilled first for 90 Pure damage with a short range is quite a weird thing to do. However, you may use the disable of a lane partner after snagging a target near a tower for maximum efficiency, rather than relying on a 35 Magical damage/second skill and chasing for nothing. Use this build if you're sure no first blood attempts are happening.

Of course, the end result is maxing Meat Hook first and Rot second.

Flesh Heap is mostly taken at Level 10. Flesh Heap keeps tracks of kills the moment you are picked, so kills before Level 10 are not wasted!

Dismember is, obviously, taken whenever it is available. Its damage scales well, as well as its manacost, throughout the entire game.



Hood Core

Justification: Boots of Speed is the basic need for any Hero. I did not put a specific upgrade, because that is discussed in the third tab.

Empty Bottle is a core item on Pudge, middle lane or not. To make full use of this item, a Flying Courier is recommended. You may or may not be able to capture runes so a Flying Courier will help you manage your health and mana without returning to the fountain.

Hood of Defiance is a cheap and easy-to-build item. You can purchase this completely at the side shops, which makes it more convenient if you're not middle laning (though this doesn't really mean anything, because you have a Flying Courier). Hood of Defiance stacks with your Flesh Heap skill (not exactly, so check out the Miscellaneous section for Spell Resistance). It gives high regeneration, reduces the damage taken from Rot, and is upgradable to Khadgar's Pipe of Insight. Careful, though, getting Hood makes it more difficult to deny yourself when necessary.

How to build it? You can get one Ring of Regeneration directly from the start of the game (if you are on the side lanes), coupled with a few consumables and Ironwood Branches. Follow it up with another Ring of Regeneration, a Ring of Health and then Planeswalker's Cloak and you'll finish it up rather easily. You can decide to get the Cloak first if you're facing hard nukers. If you're moving around a lot, a Ring of Health might do better for the regeneration.

Mid-lane Pudges should focus on getting Bottle and Magic Wand.

The Hood Argument: Hood of Defiance is for noobs. Not quite. Hood of Defiance is a great item for Pudge, despite what other people say. Hood is generally considered viable due to the need of early-game spellcasters and disablers. Also, Hood can be upgraded to Pipe, which is a team item that you can use to contribute. Personally, I don't find myself building Hood that frequently. I build Hood around 65% of my games, even around spellcasters. So don't fret about getting Hood all the time; it is just a fitting item, but you can do without it and follow the next build.

Magic Wand is, of course, one of the most useful and ingenious items in DotA. As you can see, we're aiming for items that both heal HP and mana (such as Empty Bottle) and trying to avoid items like Soul Ring (which is still useful), which sacrifices health for mana.

Check out the Optional Items section to see some items you can still get if you're playing a specific style Pudge.



Middle Lane

I love playing Pudge and getting solo mid. It gives me an extremely early advantage, and there are only a handful of Heroes that can't be killed by his combo at this time. Let's do an assessment of the Heroes you cannot effectively kill.

First, Heroes with an easy escape mechanism. Examples are Queen of Pain, Priestess of the Moon, Faerie Dragon, and Morphling, some common middle Heroes. However, Heroes like Storm Spirit need to get to Level 6 first, so have fun feasting! How to counter this? Abuse them with Rot first near your tower, and gamble a Level 3-4 Meat Hook when they try to escape. Otherwise, rely on harassing them instead. If you've got Dismember, just have faster hands than them.

Second, Heroes with a lane control skill (there's a variety). Ancient Apparition, Netherdrake, etc. comes to mind. However, they are just as easy to kill as others if they don't harass you first. Proper timing is needed. However, with Heroes such as Broodmother, it may be difficult to study her pattern. Anyway, Sentry Wards are a must on Broodmother solo mids, but she usually takes solo on side lanes.

Third, Heroes that drain mana. Silencer (see Counters), Demon Witch, and Nerubian Assassin are all I can come up with. Oblivion does not pose much of a threat since you don't have that much mana regeneration to being with. Having no mana means no combo, and so the only counter is avoiding harassment and killing them first.

Fourth, Heroes with a form of disable. There are many Heroes like this, such as Obsidian Destroyer and again, Demon Witch (if we have to include Heroes like Storm Spirit and Priestess of the Moon, go ahead). Other uncommon middle Heroes are Vengeful Spirit (highly unlikely) and Shadow Shaman.

Fifth, tanky Heroes. Heroes such as Doom Bringer are just as hard to kill as Dragon Knight. Chances are you'll have the proper damage for your combo only when they have some fair items as well. Not only that, they have Ultimates that can turn the tables on you. Doom Bringer can effectively end your life with Doom if you've got Rot on (even without at lower levels) and tear you up with LVL? Death, and Elder Dragon Form is simply a disadvantage according to range. Request help, or be smart and use your tower.

Finally, and probably most difficult, Heroes like Shadow Fiend, Dwarven Sniper, and Tinker. No, I'm just kidding. I eat these Heroes all the time. They're so squishy. No real strategy against them, except that Shadow Fiend and Tinker may have ready nukes to use against you if you're too slow. The only thing keeping them alive against all odds is their skill compared with yours.

Middle lane techniques, begin harassing with Meat Hook at Level 3. You don't know how many kills me and my lane partner have taken with this combo. My lane partner? That's right, my tower. So don't auto-attack because it pushes the lane in favor of their tower. Having more space to chase also means a lot. In my replays, I demonstrate hooking only on my side of the river as an example.

Know the basic tower AI. It attacks enemy Heroes only when they attack you, or if they're the nearest target after killing its current one. Don't Hook if the tower is busy attacking creeps within its range. Time it just right that if the last creep dies, the one you Hook will be the next target of the tower.

Request help if you need it. Sometimes an extra damaging stun is all you need to secure a kill. Never fret!

Watch out for the farming carry who doesn't participate in team fights, farming solo like an idiot while everyone else is enjoying the game. Keep on killing that Hero, he'll make you pay if you don't.
  • Get to Level 7-9 as fast as possible.

  • Use your high base damage coupled with Rot to last hit.

  • Call missing Heroes and be aware if you're known to be missing or not. You're Pudge!

  • Since you buy the Empty Bottle, too, once you have it, you can start efficiently ganking. Don't just gank for the sake of trying. Secure a kill or don't move at all, because you'd let no one defend your lane.

  • After you reach your desired levels, have someone else capable of middle lanes take your lane permanently while you get ready to kill.

Now, check the other tabs back above.


This section is a work-in-progress, specifically the screenshots and a demonstration video. It is not yet complete.

Stationary: Stationary targets are targets who are still for more than a second, due to last hitting or denying, casting animation and backswing, channeling, hiding, and fighting. Also, due to being disabled. I never target the units themselves, but the ground near them where I'm sure the Hook will hit.

Moving: Moving units are units that are moving in a straight path, or a path defined by Warcraft due to terrain. You must be aware of the latter parts, and you will only be after more DotA. Estimate the travel time for Meat Hook, your target's movement speed, whether the unit is under the effect of a movement increasing spell (Spectral Dagger, Surge, Leap, Warcry, etc.), and surrounding units. Never target the unit itself, target the ground where the Hook will go through in a straight line to your intended target.

Juking: Smart players expect a Hook and will try to avoid it with a zigzag pattern. Hooks for these units will require two seconds of studying a pattern at least. Judge a Hook by targeting the next location they will move to, such as when moving from left to right, and the unit has moved right, you target the center-left to compensate for unit turn rate and movement speed. This experiences comes with more Pudge games!

Fog: Fog Hooks are Meat Hooks used on the units hidden by the Fog of War after seeing them as they go in. It is much like the moving Heroes section, except that you cannot see where the target is moving. Imagine the Hero, compensating for its movement speed and hook travel time again, and launch the Hook somewhere short of the intended location. This is to ensure that Pudge will not move to get a better angle unintentionally, due to exceeding the range. Check one of my replays to see if a Fog Hook has been made.

Blind: Blind Hooks are different from Fog Hooks in such a way that you did not see any unit go within that vicinity, and you are judging merely from their skill usage and luck. These hooks are usually associated with maphacks (lol). I have a handful of blind hooks on my replays. This is dependent mostly on luck, rather than skill, but also on experience. I cannot explain this in words.

Invisible: These invisible Heroes will try to juke your Hook if their life depended on it. This is a combination of Juking and Fog sections. It is merely up to intuition this time, and no amount of reading will help you net a hook for this situation. It comes with playing more Pudge and more DotA. However, hooking an invisible unit doesn't make it visible. If it lives, then there's not much you can do except hope that Rot hits (discussed afterwards).

Allied: Meat Hook can save allies. It doesn't deal damage and it doesn't stun them. Meat Hook will drag allies no matter what! Hook them as if you would a normal enemy. If no communication is available, carefully anticipate their movements and launch a rescue hook.

Crazy: Meat Hook can hook things you don't normally expect to be hooked. Countless times I've hooked Waveforms, Timewalks, Leaps, Icarus Dives, etc. Don't limit yourself to anything and anticipate the enemy movement carefully.

Ethereal: You can now use Meat Hook while in Ethereal form (6.72).



All the Heroes and/or skills mentioned are effective counters to our topic Hero, whether a major threat, or a minimum threat. Anything that is a unique detriment to the Hero's presence is covered. By unique, we rid ourselves of obvious counters such as stunners, and whatnot.

Justification: Silencer disrupts Pudge's combo effectively. Not only does it make managing Rot harder by being silenced after using skills, but also using Meat Hook as you normally would will prevent you from using Dismember. Silencer may also cancel a crucial Dismember at any time with a prepared Global Silence. Early, Pudge is quite without mana as a simple Curse of the Silent debuff would be a lose-lose situation for him.



Spell Resistance

Resistance with Flesh Heap (Level 4) - 37%



I hope you learned a new Hero. Pudge is definitely one of the most popular and most fun Heroes to use. Every sane DotA player loves Pudge. The feeling you get when you make a Blind/Invisible hook is just immense. And as an enemy, the feeling you get when you are hooked is a destruction of morale at the very least.

I'm not saying that this guide is absolute, it is just a guide, and it is my personal take on Pudge. However, all these feats I talk about will come only with experience. Don't get discouraged if your Hook Accuracy is less than 20%, just keep learning the Hero and you'll get used to him eventually.

Pudge is a great example of how fun DotA can be. Thank you for reading my guide, and I hope you have some nice games with this Hero. Stay tuned for replays and guide updates. I am open to comments and serious suggestions.

I made this guide in a single day using my free time.

Final Words: My Alt-Tab series of strategy guides are meant to display as much helpful information as possible without the unnecessary portions. They are not meant for Spotlight guides, with their fancy pictures and video tutorials. That is, in my opinion, extremely time-consuming. It deviates from my purpose, which is to have fun while writing this guide to communicate with others in the DotA community. I like to maintain clean and simple updated works which are just as rich in content as most good guides are.



I do not save most replays if I don't find them amusing. I save only unique ones, and I will be saving more just for this guide. I have played Butcher countless times, and there have been many epic moments, but I have to keep this guide up to date with the latest replays from the latest maps, so expect more soon!

I don't have any replays of Pudge in 6.74c. I have been busy, and if I ever were to play DotA, it is usually on Steam using Dota 2.

Standard PudgePublic game. 6.69b, 1.24e. Shop-to-shop match where I played Pudge solo mid. This is NOT my personal item build, but this is a standard Pudge build that I am experimenting on. Here, you can see the benefits of Arcane Boots and Hood of Defiance, plus the contributions of Khadgar's Pipe of Insight against chain nukers. The power of Aghanim's Scepter is also demonstrated. For Hooks: many spammed Hooks, blinds, fogs, invisibles, and plain Hooks. This is an example of the difference Pudge can make in a game. This is not my best play, though, but is the subject of the video posted above. Very old version, too.
Old PudgePublic game. 6.71b, 1.24e. Pudge on new map.
Scourge-Exiled ButcherNon-demonstrative replay. All of the other PDPH group members were on Sentinel. There are a lot of missed hooks in the early game phase, but it gets exponentially more accurate towards middle and late game. Funny PDPH members always make my day. Decent game. -APSO, 6.72c, 1.24e.



I'd like to thank the reader, as always. Also, my friends, dsbn and others coming soon. As usual, the thanks to IceFrog, the Forum Staff, the beta testers and other previous developers, will be given.

Dagguh - for noting that Flesh Heap keeps track of kills at the moment Pudge is picked.



  • November 15, 2010 - Started the guide. Finished the guide.
  • November 16, 2010 - Guide published. WTF. Reworked Skill Build and General Strategy, added more info about Flesh Heap. Thanks Dagguh for the correction.
  • November 17, 2010 - Added more info about Meat Hook.
  • November 21, 2010 - Added a work-in-progress section called Counters.
  • November 23, 2010 - Added a replay.
  • November 25, 2010 - Added a brag screenshot and two replays.
  • November 27, 2010 - Added more info about Meat Hook and Rot. Finished the Counters section.
  • December 13, 2010 - Added N'aix to the Counters section. Added more info about Treads, moved some items around, etc.
  • December 18, 2010 - Added a banner I made for the guide.
  • December 25, 2010 - Updated to 6.70, Merry Christmas!
  • January 6, 2011 - Added a replay from 6.70c just to update. Removed some old replays.
  • January 10, 2011 - Removed a few replays due to lack of quality.
  • January 15, 2011 - Created an entirely new section for Meat Hook under General Strategy in preparation for screenshots soon. Removed Meat Hook Start skill build.
  • April 15, 2011 - Just made a few typo check-ups. I thought I'd just rather make a video to show you the Hooks for the Meat Hook section instead of screenshots, but that'll be a while. Thanks for the comments. Put up a DotA video.
  • May 1, 2011 - Updated fully to 6.72.
  • May 5, 2011 - Updated fully to 6.72b.
  • June 14, 2011 - Updated fully to 6.72c.
  • June 30, 2011 - Added a non-demonstrative semi-IH 6.72c replay. Check it out.
  • April 22, 2012 - Updated to 6.74c. Added 2012 DotA Video section and removed mine.
  • June 23, 2013 - Updated to 6.78b. It has no Dota 2 counterpart for now. Comment if you want one.


Pudge the Butcher
Author: Melderv
Map Vers.: 6.72c

Butcher Alt-Tab Guide

Most Concise Butcher Guide

Date Posted: 11/14/10
Last Comment:11/03/2014
Total Votes: 418
Current Rating: 8.59
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