Let's check out Dendi’s item and skill builds on Pudge in the matches played during the past six months. I also inspected the new talents introduced by 7.07 and the best choices.
Danil "Dendi" Ishutin is undoubtedly the most famous Pudge player in the world. If you want to learn the hero, he is your best teacher and source of inspiration.
For this article, I analyzed the data from the matches played on his main Dota 2 account. Smurfs have not been considered, but note that he could have played more Pudge games on them - subscribe to his YouTube channel for more replays.
We will study his item and skill builds used in pub games during the previous six months, and figure out his preferences.
I am ignoring pro games as the last one listed on OpenDota is dated to April 21, 2016: the game changed a lot along the years, so the data from those matches is irrelevant for our purpose.
In most games, Dendi entered the battlefield with Boots of Speed, Tango, Clarity, and a Smoke of Deceit.
This is an aggressive and roaming intensive choice: he can use the Smoke for an early gank, while the boots help to move faster around the map.
He picked these items both as a roamer and a mid hero. Instead, he went for the Stout Shield in place of the boots when playing in the safe lane.
A roamer should also aid the team with supportive items. In my games, I regularly encounter Pudges that refuse to buy even a single ward. Instead, Dendi often contributed to the team’s efforts and helped the position 5 with both Sentry and Observer Wards.
He never got a Bottle, but instead purchased the Magic Wand in almost all matches.
The Tranquil Boots are his only choice as boots. Pudge can make a great use of the extra mobility and health regeneration. Only in two games, played in the safe lane, Dendi took the Power Treads.
The Urn of Shadows is another popular item choice as Pudge will easily charge it while performing his job as a ganker. There is no reason to skip it, unless someone else in the team already has one.
Blink Dagger or Force Staff
Dendi bought the Blink Dagger in all games. In a few matches, he enhanced his mobility even more with the Force Staff.
Only in one situation, where he was facing a team with multiple AoE skills, he preferred the latter. Otherwise, the opponents would have disabled the Dagger constantly.
Ghost Scepter when dealing with many right-clickers as Pudge can continue using his abilities while avoiding their attacks.
Rod of Atos in a single game where he was against very mobile heroes: Bloodseeker, Dark Seer, and Spirit Breaker. Usually, this is a recommended item for all players that require an extra help to land their hooks. Of course, Dendi’s skills are already flawless, but with the RoA he could easily stop a SB's charge, or prevent BS from going berserk on his team.
Eul’s Scepter of Divinity in a game as well. He clashed versus three heroes with AoE abilities and ultimates - I believe he got it to boost his survivability. Generally, the Eul is a source of mana regeneration and movement speed, and it helps with your hooks as the enemy will stand in place under its effect.
Black King Bar in two matches versus heavy magic damage heroes with lots of disables at their disposal. Pudge is naturally resilient to casters, but sometimes even his passive isn’t enough.
Glimmer Cape as a situational pick. It isn’t just a self-defense item that gives magic resistance, but the invisibility can be a real lifesaver for yourself or your teammates. As a roamer, you should always prioritize the life of the cores over yours.
Dendi got the Aether Lens in three games. I decided to commit a section to it as I have discussed the changes that affected the item in a previous article. You can find the complete explanation in my analysis, here is a quick summary:
Spell amplification lost
Cast range increased
Cast range stacks with hero talents
In my opinion, the 7.07 version is even better on Pudge.
He can make use of the extra 200 mana to roam for a longer time with no need to replenish it.
The cast range boost is a welcomed addition as will make your hooks even more unpredictable and hard to avoid.
There is only one optimal skill build for this hero, and Dendi uses it.
Rot at level one, then priority on Dismember, Meat Hook, and Rot. Level up Flesh Heap only after maximizing the other skills. Often, he took the first talent at level 11 to get Flesh Heap at level 10.
Dendi’s last pub game on Pudge with his main account is dated to 4 months ago - before 7.07 - and meanwhile the talents changed. Let’s study them to have an idea on the best choices of the patch.
+5 Armor - 26.2% pick rate; 52.8% win rate
+35 Rot Damage - 73.8% pick rate; 55.3% win rate
The new level 10 talents are better than the past ones, which granted mana regeneration or strength.
+5 armor is a good option, but +35 Rot damage is the best choice in most games as it corresponds to an extra point invested in the skill, raising the damage per second to 155.
+13% Spell Lifesteal - 85.34% pick rate; 57.5% win rate
+75 Damage - 14.7% pick rate; 54.8% win rate
The level 15 talents changed as well - before they gave movement speed or armor.
If you want to know all differences between the 7.06 and 7.07 talents, have a look at this table. It is updated to the latest patch.
I would take the +13% spell lifesteal in all the games as it works with all your abilities. +75 damage really makes no sense as you aren’t an auto-attacker.
+15% Cooldown Reduction - 37.8% pick rate; 63.2% win rate
+180 Gold/Min - 62.2% pick rate; 60.3% win rate
The level 20 talent is a tough choice. 15% cooldown reduction isn’t bad, and it helps your items as well, but at the same time Pudge doesn’t need it that much. It depends from your game: get the extra gold if your item build requires it.
+2.0 Flesh Heap Stack Str - 52.1% pick rate; 67.6% win rate
+3s Dismember Duration - 47.9% pick rate; 63.4% win rate
In 7.06, the level 25 talent granted +120 Rot damage, but that would be overpowered now.
The choice depends on your goal.
The extra strength from Flesh Heap stacks will increase your survivability, and now this statistic also reduces the time you are affected by disables.
Dismember has a 3 seconds duration, so with the talent you will damage and disable a hero for 6 seconds. It is the best choice to deal with a dangerous hero or partially eliminate him from the teamfight.
In the Dota 2 client you can find any game by match ID: go in the Watch tab -> Replays -> and paste the numerical ID in “Search for MatchIDs” at the top right of the screen.
Please note that old replays from pub games aren't available, but you can still watch the tournament ones and study the data from both.
Dendi’s latest 10 competitive matches with Pudge
|DreamLeague S5||Apr 21, 2016||2310293354|
|Dota Pit League S4||Feb 14, 2016||2152608924|
|StarLadder i-League||Jan 14, 2016||2077303843|
|The Frankfurt Major 2015||Oct 11, 2015||1860038556|
|ASUS ROG DreamLeague S3||Jun 13, 2015||1550018026|
|2015 Rescuer MDL||Jun 4, 2015||1525847343|
|The International 2015||May 31, 2015||1516659568|
|FACEIT Pro League||May 3, 2015||1442717261|
|FACEIT Pro League||May 2, 2015||1439474705|
|FACEIT Pro League||Apr 30, 2015||1434206206|
Dendi’s latest 10 pub matches with Pudge
I hope this article gave you a better idea of the items and skill build preferred by Dendi on Pudge.
Finally, I want to remind all Pudge players to buy wards whenever needed. Even a TI winner as Dendi purchases them to help the team and the main support, regardless of his position in the lineup.