Content of the article: "Wanna climb the brackets as position 4? Play Pugna"
In my opinion, Pugna is a criminally underrated hero. In divine/immortal bracket, his pick rate is 8% (in lower brackets it’s even lower, 6%) with a 52,3% win rate, and from what I’ve seen in pubs, he’s mostly played as mid. Now, what I’m about to tell you works for all brackets under 5k, because that’s the maximum mmr I’ve reached playing him. If you’re above that, ignore the post, just like all the girls ignore my existence. With 400 games as Pugna and a solid 57% winrate (it would be higher but noob cores, lul), I will now go through pros and cons of the hero, itemization and general playstyle.
1. Highest intelligence gain – Pugna gains 5,2 int per level, leaving Invoker (4,6 int) and Outworld Devourer (4,2 int) behind him. Higher mana pool combined with somewhat low mana cost of his skills means you can spam them constantly, even in early game, but don’t forget to pop a clarity or two.
2. Speedy boi – Pugna has a 330 base move speed, which makes him the fastest hero in the game (along with Legion, Naga, Meepo and Kotl). You can block camps, contest pulls, cut waves, chase the enemy couriers or simply run away from a gank.
3. Great nuker/pusher – When maxed, Pugna has a 325 dmg nuke on a 5 sec cooldown. You can use that to secure range creeps, farm camps or simply push lanes. If you’re lvl 6, at least two enemy heroes are needed to stop you from pushing, because you can simply Life drain anyone who comes solo.
4. Has a disarm/pseudosave – Decrepify is probably the best skill in his arsenal. It’s similar to Oracle’s Fate’s edict, which means you can save or grief your teammates if not used properly. It’s basically a castable (is that even a word) Ghost scepter, the decrepified hero/unit can’t be damaged by physical attacks nor it can physically attack, which is a great counter to popular carry heroes like Void, Sven, PA, MK. Keep in mind positioning is extremely important, but as a support, you already know that.
Void has no dispel, uses chrono on your teammate – decrepify Void
Void has a dispel, uses chrono on your teammate – decrepify your teammate
You can even save your allies from aghanim Sven, just make sure to use Decrepify immediately after his stun lands or the skill will be dispelled (pls nerf, Vulvo). The only counter to Decrepify is Nullifier, but that item is rarely bought in lower brackets.
5. Counters all spellcasters – Nether ward is such an annoying, yet overlooked skill. It’s somewhat similar to Undying’s tomb, takes 4 hits to be destroyed, and if placed properly before a team fight, it can do some serious damage. I once got ultra kill all due to the Ward, even though I was killed at the start of team fight. Don’t forget you can decrepify your ward or even deny it so the enemy hero doesn’t get gold.
6. He’s a basically a walking fountain – when you reach lvl 6, you can use your ulti to heal your cores, or even restore mana when they are full HP. All that on a 7 sec cooldown. That way they won’t have to buy clarities/salves and (hopefully) will use the gold for better items.
7. He’s underestimated – I don’t even know how many times it happened. PA jumps on me hoping for an ez kill, while I simply decrep and life drain her, sending her blurry ass back to the fountain, followed by a “?” in all chat. Even in late game, Pugna can dish out some serious magic damage with proper items. The only rampage I ever had in 1000 games was with Pugna support.
1. Has no stun – Probably his biggest flaw, because pos 4 heroes are expected to have some sort of disable. Sure, he can do a lot of magic damage and heal allies, but he can’t stop Enigma’s Black hole or WD’s Death ward. Lack of crowd control also makes Pugna…
2. …a bad ganker – you can maybe rotate to safe lane and go for a kill provided your pos 5 has some sort of disable, but ganking mid is simply of waste of time in early game.
3. He’s squishy and easy to kill – which makes sense, he’s skinny as fuck. All bones, no muscles, lol. But seriously, he has only 2 strength gain per level, which makes him the 3rd worse hero in that aspect (Enchantress has 1,7 str gain, Ancient apparition 1,9). Defensive items are a must!
4. Low team fight contribution – well, except for the Nether ward, of course, but compared to Enigma or Earthshaker kits, Pugna brings almost nothing to the table, especially in late game.
- Early game – starting items depend on the enemy lineup. If I play against a defensive duo (Io+Spectre) I start with boots and a set of tangos. If they have an agressive duo, (Lich and PA) I need sustain, so 6 tangos, a salve, 2 branches and a stick (you can get 2 Faerie fires instead). Tranquil boots and a wand are a must. I never buy null talismans, but I get an occasional bracer if the lane is really hard.
- Mid game – first “bigger” item is Void stone (for that extra mana regen) which builds into Aether lens for that much needed cast range. Next item is a defensive one. Most of the times it’s Glimmer cape, but against certain heroes like Clock or Tusk, Force staff is a better option. Even then, make sure to buy Glimmer cape next, it’s such a good item. You can use Glimmer on your self without interrupting Life drain so the enemy that jumped you, has to back off.
- Late game – since you bought a defensive item or two, you can treat yourself with something greedy. An Aghanim scepter is my to go item, which turns Pugna into a monster. If you can wait for the enemy bkbs to expire, you can kill almost any core with decrep+life drain combo. If the enemy team has a lot of disables, Lotus orb is a better option. Unless cores are noobs, then I always go for Aghs. I once bought Octarine core, paired it with Spell prism so I can put 2 Nether wards at the same time. Not gonna lie, enemy Sky did not like that.
Early game – I try to be an obnoxious little prick as much as I can. That means, pull camps, contest waves (you can Decrepify enemy hero so he can’t pull), just mess with the lane equilibrium. I usually start with Nether blast, in special situations with Nether ward (if I play against Batrider or Sky). Make sure to Decrep the enemy hero every time he wants to kill your range creep, or when the lane is under his tower. He either misses the last hit or is forced to use a spell to secure it which is always good, coz he’s wasting mana. If you did those things correctly, the lane should be under your tower. Now step aside, give your offlaner solo xp, and use your high speed to stack camps in triangle. Try to secure the 4 min rune, but don’t bother ganking mid.
Mid game – By that time you should have your ulti ready and (ideally) Aether lens. Make sure your offlaner is always full health and mana. Kindly ask him “can I suck you <3” before doing that so it doesn’t get weird. You might wanna max your Q, but I personally max Decrepify first. Cooldown is reduced from 15 sec to 6 sec, and to me, that’s more useful than extra damage on your nuke. Basically, every 7 seconds you can do the Decrep+Nether blast+Life drain combo which does a shit load of damage. It all comes to this: if you want to push and create space – max Q. If you want to fight, max W. When it comes to fighting, positioning is real important. Put a Nether ward right before the fight starts and just use your spells accordingly. Being an aggressive player, I sometimes focus all spells on killing the enemy instead of healing my cores, but that’s something I’m working on. No I’m not, lul, screw my cores, me Pugna carry!
Late game – you just do regular support stuff, going along with the team, warding, smoke ganks looking for a pickoff, or be a counter initiate and save your teammates that get jumped on. I once won a game by saving both cores from Chronosphere. Used W on my carry, while healing my mid simultaneously, there was nothing Void could do but unpause the game. Lol, of course I paused after that, what did you expect? Same thing again, basically, just drop the ward, use the Decrep+Life drain combo to kill supports (with Aghs and the +2 sec Decrepify talent you can do it really fast) or heal your allies. Destroy the towers and rax with your Q. Pugna is a really good high ground defender. Place the Nether ward close to the stairs and simply Decrep+Drain anyone that gets close.
That’s pretty much the most basic stuff, if you have any more questions, feel free to ask. Also, I’m open to any suggestions, advices from more experienced Pugna players. As I said I spammed Pugna to 5k, and I think that’s the hero’s limit. Players are more skilled in mid to high divine bracket, and a support with a reliable disable is preferred. But I went from Legend 5 to Divine 1 in just 10 days (first time Divine for me) spamming Pugna, and I’m pretty sure you can do the same, provided you put in the effort to master the hero.
- TL DR Play Pugna bro.
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