Every Dota 2 player surely has his favourite and least favourite out of the 113 playable heroes. For the last three months, Dotabuff has recorded over hundreds of millions of Dota 2 games from all around the globe. From 1 to 9,000 matchmaking points, the ranking of most picked heroes has a very small variation despite the different level of skills but Pudge has been the most popular of all-time. What’s with this hero that everyone loves so much?
Pudge The Butcher
During the last three months, Pudge has a total of 25.5 million matches played, making him the most picked hero in both ranked and unranked games. Pudge has been obviously the favourite of most of the Dota 2 players with an overall 514 million matches played since Dota 2 was released. However, the bracket that picks Pudge the most is the “high skill” or technically players with an average of 3,500 MMR. But why is this fat butcher very popular?
Time for a little butchery!
Pudge is one of the many heroes with a skill shot ability. His Meat Hook requires perfect aim and timing that gives high reward when executed well. The feeling of landing a perfect hook is one of the best feelings in the game, similar to landing a Sunstrike or a Sacred Arrow. Skill shots are very entertaining to play in Dota 2; that’s why heroes like Invoker, Mirana, Lina, and many others, tops the most picked ranking. In the case of Pudge, it is not only the Hook that gives fun but also his different combination of skills – Meat Hook, Rot, and Dismember.
Also one of the greatest factors of why he is being picked a lot is his roaming capabilities. He is not the right-click type of hero or the farming type which gets boring the more often you play it. Once level 6 is reached, Pudge can roam around hooking opponents or saving team mates.
Pudge suits well for both players who seek fun and challenge. His Hook that pulls in enemies, when perfectly executed, is very rewarding and his durability makes it less punishing when things don’t go well. Unlike Sand King’s Burrowstrike or Clockwerk’s Hookshot, Pudge’s Meat Hook pulls enemies towards him which is less risky and thus making him more durable. The suicide mechanic is just a bonus fun to annoy enemies.
The Iconic ‘Fountain Hook’
Another reason of the butcher’s popularity is pro players pick him in pubs and even pro games, particularly Dendi. During The International 3, the iconic Fountain Hook of Dendi has gained massive attention from the community. It was Natus Vincere against TongFu in the Upper Bracket Semi Finals of TI3 when Dendi and Puppey made an unconventional strategy, a combo of Pudge and Chen. Even pro players reacted to this strategy saying that was an abuse and a cheat to the system.
In an interview, Dendi said, “I enjoy Pudge especially in competitive as I think it’s easier for me to hook competitive players than pub players since I can better think about what they will do and predict where they are going. Pub players, on the other hand, always end up just doing some #Yolo move and I’m like: “Where are you going? What are you doing?”
The Butcher by the Number
In pubs games, both ranked and unranked, Pudge has an outstanding win rate despite having high difficulty. This butcher has 50.47% win rate, just little above prominent carry heroes like Juggernaut, Chaos Knight, Slark, and even Phantom Assassin. His KDA ratio, however, is only 2.4 which is around average of all the heroes.
Contrary to his menace in pubs, Pudge is not likely to be picked in professional games. At The International 7 alone, he was only picked once out of 47 games played in the Main Event. At the Kiev Major, Pudge was picked once out of 42 matches, and at Boston Major, Pudge was again picked just once over 36 matches, all in the main event playoffs. Will his pick rate increase or decrease in upcoming tournaments and events? What does that number say?
Pudge is not an ideal pick in professional games regardless of the meta. In a more serious environment where both teams play hand in hand, his skills do not fit in five-man teamfights. But that doesn’t matter in pubs because most of the players have a mindset of “I can pick whoever I want.”
Pudge Arcana Incoming
Pudge’s victory in the Arcana vote in TI7 Battle Pass is a solid evidence of players’ love towards the hero.
Out of 57.5 million community votes, Pudge won over a very small advantage of 8,700 votes against Rubick. In the market, he already owns 18 sets of items plus two weapon packs. Aside from that there are also 13 weapons available in which five are immortals, and other separate items for head slot, right arm, and body armor. Some people asked, “Do we really still need a Pudge item?” And the community answered yes by voting Pudge in the Arcana showdown.
From Dota All Stars to Dota 2, Pudge the Butcher has always been community’s favourite. Regardless of meta, for op-ness and weakness, thru nerfs and buffs, he is definitely that one hero everyone loves to pick.