Pudge the Butcher is a melee strength hero feared for his incredible gank prowess. Though he may not look like it, he is one of the strongest gankers and disablers in the entire game, with his combo of three active abilities proving more than sufficient to kill fragile enemy heroes in the early- and mid-game. His signature ability, Meat Hook, is a grapple that is thrown out in a straight line; if it snags a target, it will drag them back to Pudge, dealing enormous damage to it if it was an enemy.
Although it is difficult to use effectively, it is a very powerful ganking and initation spell due to its abilty to displace enemies, and also has the utility of being able to save an endangered ally. He can then follow up with his ultimate, Dismember, a channeled disable that deals further damage to the target over a few seconds and increases in lethality the more strength Pudge has, while also healing Pudge for its duration. During this period, he can activate Rot to deal even more damage while he is consuming his foe, and use it to slow and finish them off if they survive the initial assault. To supplement his killing power is Flesh Heap, which provides him some magic resistance to reduce the damage he takes from Rot as well as from other enemy spells. The scariest aspect of Flesh Heap though is that it provides him with a permanent strength bonus with every kill that he participates in, making him harder to kill and increasing the damage of Dismember as the game goes on. None can claim that they do not fear the Butcher, and few can survive his onslaught if he gets his hands on them. In the Fields of Endless Carnage, far to the south of Quoidge, a corpulent figure works tirelessly through the night--dismembering, disembowelling, piling up the limbs and viscera of the fallen that the battlefield might be clear by dawn. In this cursed realm, nothing can decay or decompose; no corpse may ever return to the earth from which it sprang, no matter how deep you dig the grave. Flocked by carrion birds who need him to cut their meals into beak-sized chunks, Pudge the Butcher hones his skills with blades that grow sharper the longer he uses them. Swish, swish, thunk. Flesh falls from the bone; tendons and ligaments part like wet paper. And while he always had a taste for the butchery, over the ages, Pudge has developed a taste for its byproduct as well.
Starting with a gobbet of muscle here, a sip of blood there...before long he was thrusting his jaws deep into the toughest of torsos, like a dog gnawing at rags. Even those who are beyond fearing the Reaper, fear the Butcher. Pudge is a fearsome ganker and one of the most renowned heroes in all of Dota. Played skillfully, he can dis-position enemies and set up kills for his team that would be otherwise impossible to accomplish. With his poor base armor and agility, Pudge is quite vulnerable to physical damage in the early game despite being a strength hero, and can be easily harassed down due to being a melee hero. As well, his extremely long attack animation makes him additionally easy to harass by lane opponents, so good positioning and knowledge of creep mechanics is necessary to survive in a lane. Because of his extremely powerful spells, Pudge is heavily reliant on building up his mana pool and increasing his poor mobility in order to be effective in teamfights. Try to build items that grant Pudge additional movement speed and burst movement to aid in positioning, intelligence items to increase the size of his poor base mana pool, and durability items to take advantage of his high strength growth. Given his skill set, Pudge can be played in any number of ways. Traditionally, Pudge is played as a solo mid. While he is generally a weak laner due to being a melee hero, judicious and skillful use of his abilities lets him turn the tables on his lane opponent and score kills to give him an advantage. By being given solo experience and gold, Pudge can get an early level 6 and immediately begin roaming for kills, using his gold to purchase items to aid him to this effect. Given his strong utility and high strength gain, Pudge can sometimes be played as an off-laner, both solo and with a lane partner. While he lacks the survivability and escape abilities of traditional off-laners, he can greatly disrupt the enemy safe lane with Meat Hook, which can get kills on the enemy supports under optimal circumstances. If partnered with a teammate with good kill potential, Pudge can foul the enemy carry's attempts to farm safely and reduce their effectiveness later in a match. Lacking other options, Pudge can serve as a strong utility support in the safe lane. While he is unable to effectively harass the enemy off-laner with his spells, he can dis-position them with Meat Hook and slow them with Rot during ganks and kill attempts, giving his team early kills to boost their gold gain. He can also safely and reliably obtain gold and experience through pulling creep camps, which keeps lane creep equilibrium closer to his team's tower where he can more easily get in position to gank them.