Dota Hero Guide – Pugna The Oblivion

December 28th, 2009 by | This article was viewed 55,335 times.

Dota Hero Guide - Pugna The Oblivion

Pugna has been a really quiet hero these days. I don’t often see Pugna in the field, even if I see people playing Pugna, I often wonder why they do not pawn despite the number of AGI and INT heroes the enemy has. With all the buff on items such as Dagon and Scepter, Oblivion has become a hero that is capable of achieving Godlike easily. And to be honest my method of playing this hero has never changed since 5.84. Thus, my first guide will be on Pugna.

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Table of Content

Prologue of a Dota Player

  1. Pugna in Detail
  2. Skills
  3. Item Builds
  4. Playing Method
  5. Replays
  6. Updates
  7. Conclusion & Comments
  8. Reference & Credits

1. Pugna in Detail

Pugna The Oblivion is one of the easiest hero to use in Dota, especially when the opponent have no stuns or disable skills. From early to mid game, most heroes (except for a few tanks) are food to Pugna. The reason newbies feel it is tough to play Pugna is probably because of his extremely fragile HP. Pugna’s inability to contribute to a team also makes him the least favourable hero to choose during tournaments.

Version: 6.64 | Range: 600 | Movement speed: 315
Str: 17 + 1.45 | Agi: 16 + 1 | Int: 26 + 4
Damage: 45 – 53 | HP: 473 | Mana: 338 | Armor: 1
Hero Effectiveness: Early & Mid Game
Type: Solo Killer
Primary Damage:
Solo-able: Yes
Ease of Use: Excellent

2. Skills

Nether Blast (Active)
Creates a blast of exploding pulses from the Nether Plane, dealing damage to units and buildings.

Cooldown: 5.5 seconds.

Comment: Like its description, this is Pugna’s main skill for early game (At least until you get a dagon). It deals damage to buildings too so the 450 tower gold is easy to obtain. Damage comes in effect after the blast animation.

Decrepify (Active)
Pugna casts a powerful banishing magic on a unit. The unit is sent to the ethereal plane for a small period of time, reducing its movement speed by 50% and rendering it unable to attack. It takes 44% extra damage from spells.

Cooldown: 13/11/9/7 seconds.

Comment: This is Pugna’s best magic support skill. Usually you commence a kill with dicrepify. The 44% extra damage from spells is extremely useful.

Nether Ward (Active)
Summons a Nether Ward that prevents enemy heroes from regenerating mana and can cast Mana Flare, which deals damage to enemy heroes as they cast spells.
Lasts 25 seconds. Each level increases the area of effect of the Ward’s Mana Flare, the Mana Flare damage, the negative mana regen and the hp of the ward.

Cooldown: 35 seconds.

Comment: Not really useful when you are owning, but very useful at later stage of the game whereby you are supposed to support the whole team by punishing enemy as they cast spells.

Life Drain (Active)
Pugna summons a very powerful draining magic that absorbs the life essence of an enemy unit. 
Lasts 9 seconds.

Cooldown: 22 
Scepter Upgradeable: Increases life drain and removes cooldown.

Comment: Basically you just activate this skill and suck HP out of your enemy. Scepter has now made this skill with 0 cooldown which is a very huge buff to Pugna.

2.1. Skill Builds

Max out Nether Blast. You only need 3 levels for decrepify, because 3 seconds is more than enough to cast a blast and dagon. The rest of the skill points should go into Life Drain and stats. Leave Nether Ward until you think that your contribution to the team is declining.

3. Item Builds

Now there are debates over non-dagon Pugna and Pugna with Dagon level 1. I am not going to follow them, I have played Pugna with the same method for 5 years now and my method still works.

Your item should start with (according to priority)

if you think you’re getting nuked badly

Why do I even tell you what item to buy at the start? This is due to the fact that possessing the correct starting item gives you the “edge” over your opponent. The chicken will help you transport all your things over so that your trips to the fountain can be reduced.

Your end item combination as a killer (according to priority) should be

or  or  and 

There are 3 options to choose for your sixth item, to get Boots of Travel before or after the sixth item is totally up to you. Orchid if there are enemy worth silencing, Assault Cuirass if you need tank, Buriza if you need more physical damage. Usually I would go for Orchid because it amplifies damage on the affected hero as well. This increases my ability to support in late game.

The reason I am getting Dagon first is because of the amount of extra damage it provides. At level 1, it is 576 extra damage (when used with decrepify). At level 5, Dagon gives 800 damage, 1152 with decrepify, which is huge amount of damage. If you can complete Dagon level 1 before early game ends, massing up gold for the 4 upgrades (about 1350 * 4) is pretty easy because all you do is kill hero when you see them.

Scepter upgrades your Life Drain (level 3) to 250 HP/s and eliminates cooldown, that’s why it is the second most important item to keep you alive in the game. The last thing any melee hero wants is you sucking up their HP when they are on the brink of killing you.

Guinsoo is just an item I buy for almost every INT hero. For this hero it is delayed.

Heart gives you more HP so that you have time (before you’re dead) to use Life Drain at the end of the game when AGI and STR heroes gets quick in wielding their swords at high damage.

Otherwise, you could go for…

Many people argue that Pugna with Dagon is not a really good choice because of the low HP. I say it is because the opponent has too many stunners and disablers, making Pugna nearly impossible to hunt people even with the HP heal from Life Drain.

In this situation, your best bet is to get as much HP as possible and be a tank + support for your team. Scepter gives you bonus HP allowing you to survive better at early game. As you complete your Heart, life will be easier as you quickly farm for Guinsoo and Shiva’s Guard.

If you farm fast enough for the first 4 items, your support for the team would be enormous, making you extremely reliable given that your opponent’s DPS does not kill you in a few seconds. Not a strategy I would use though, but this is a second option you might want to consider.

4. Playing Method

Like I have said earlier, Pugna is a very easy hero to play but also very soft. Your first item should be Dagon and you should max it at level 5. The amount of damage you can deal is 1152 (Dagon) + 468 (Blast) = 1620. With Dagon’s fastest cooldown at 24 seconds at level 5 and uses only 100 mana. At this stage, nobody wants to go near you during mid game.

However you must bear in mind that your killing window is only about 3 seconds, anything more than that is too dangerous as you might get killed by enemy heroes. The gif image below is how fast you should kill a hero.

If she’s (Mirana) not dead with red HP, you might want to use Life Drain and kill her. If Mirana still has half HP left, you might want to consider escaping because the whole team is coming after you now. Not to mention the double damage being activated by her.

Also as you can see I did not go for Bracers (which I think is a waste of gold) because I know how to spot opportunities. Sometimes weak enemies are baits and should not be engaged using Pugna due to his fragile HP. The idea is to stay alert and don’t rush with Pugna.

Normally it is impossible to decrepify and attack the decrepified hero. However, there is a catch for that skill (is it a bug? I have no idea).

Get a orb effect item such as  and . Other orb effects such as Satanic or Diffusal Blade does not work though, I don’t know why. But if you want to attack your opponent despite him still stuck in the etheral dimension, I suggest including Desolator into your item list. Because at late game this will provide you with the best offensive opportunity after you have used all your skill combos.

4.1 Farming

Nether Blast at level 4 is a very good skill against ranged creeps, the blast will definitely kill them in one go. It is a farming skill that you can definitely spam around with the short cooldown. You can even use it for towers, it deals huge amount of damage so last hitting the tower is fairly easy.

Otherwise, you should always practise last hitting creeps. Pugna gives extremely high INT increase every level ups, that gives you a significantly large amount of damage so last hitting creeps should be fairly easy with Pugna.

4.2 Early Game

Try to solo for early game. This is due to the fact that the time you can kill people is early until mid game. So, try your best to solo and farm for Dagon. Solo gives you the level and farming advantages over all other 4 heroes.

Occasionally you could nuke opponent hero with your high attack damage at early game. This can be done by weakening them to a point that you can finish him with a Decrepify + Nether Blast combo. Nether Blast is your best bet to kill people when you don’t have a Dagon yet.

Also, break towers with Nether Blast so that you get the 450 gold. Most of the time, you want to do that when you are 400 gold away from getting Dagon. Because if you break the tower too early, you are vulnerable to ganks earlier in the game.

4.3 Mid Game

By this time you should have at least Dagon level 1. With that you can roam around with Decrepify + Blast + Dagon, most of the time it will kill AGI and INT heroes even with full HP.

Also watch out for the 40 second Dagon cooldown and don’t get greedy.

4.4 Late Game

By now you should know that your Decrepify + Blast + Dagon (DBD) combo does not work without first lowering their HP to a certain degree. This is when your Nether Wards comes into play, it helps you damage your opponent when they cast a spells under the influence of the aura.

Don’t be surprised, the Ward deals quite an amount of damage that you can never imagine. Having said that, late game is the last place you want to be when you play Pugna. It is always advisable to end the game at 30 – 40 minutes when you are using Pugna.

Sometimes when dealing with DPS heroes such as Phantom Assassin at late game, your DBD combo does little damage to her. At that instant, before doing the combo, you might want to Life Drain first then only do the last blow with BDB combo. Pay extra attention to the huge critical numbers too.

Alternatively, you could also decrepify opponent hero (or yourself, but not advisable) so that they can’t do physical damage on to you. Hopefully in those 3 seconds, you can escape to a place where ally heroes will be able to help you out.

4.5 Backing Up Team Mates

Pugna is a terrible backup. There are only 2 things you can do when your opponent is on the verge of killing your team mates. You can either, kill him with your combo or decrepify the fastest one and run together.

Of course, if skill and HP permits, you can block the enemy like how you block creeps while decrepifying him. In that position he is unable to move beyond your point and is stuck between killing your team mate, killing you and escaping. This throws him into a state of confusion and if he hesitates a tad longer, your other team mates will arrive and back you up, possibly killing the charging hero.

4.6 Things to Watch Out

Stuns, Voodoos, Shackles, Swap and all disable skills. These extends your engage time with enemy which is always not a very good position to be in. Pugna is an “in and out” type of hero.

Any kind of heroes with the above ability should be kept a certain distance unless you are very confident to kill him.

5. Replays

Here’s a replay on how I used Pugna with my Dagon method.

6. Updates

In 6.65, the decrease of time delay of Nether Blast’s damage to come into effect is very noticeable.

7. Conclusion & Comments

As you can see it is a pretty straight forward hero to play. As long as you stay away from trouble and sneak into battle with your Decrepify + Blast + Dagon combo, your opponent will be shocked at the amount of damage you are capable of dealing.

Please note that I am also human and am still learning. Hence, if you have a better method of using Pugna you can share them with me. Thanks for reading my Dota Hero Guide.

8. Reference & Credits

  • Images and real skill names are from
  • Main Pugna photo are from kong113 in Photobucket.
  • Thanks to Rz3r-Sapphire for his invaluable team playing experience and knowledge.
  • Thanks to -Winds- for his brotherly support.
  • Thanks to KahEe for her superb editing.

This is my first guide for Dota Heroes Guide. If you would love to follow up on my updates on other heroes, do subscribe to’s RSS feed.

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6 Responses to “Dota Hero Guide – Pugna The Oblivion”

  1. natureboy15 Says:

    Thank you so much for the tips on Pugna. You know, i’m starting to like Pugna’s power and ability than Nevermore. I’m just a newbie for Dota and i’m really eager to learn the techniques in using such Heroes. that is why i’m very thankful that you publish about Pugna.

  2. AqZen Says:

    yeah.. im become stronger after this tips.. thanks a lot..

  3. Excel Forum Says:

    Hi all video is very great sharing all is looking any great cartoon and also very beautiful share it again by again.

  4. aidanZZzz Says:

    thanks for the techniques and methods on using pugna, i feel alot more confident at using him now!

  5. FireSire Says:

    Well, this is the method for playing Pugna, that is the most usual.
    I myself play Pugna a bit different.
    In opposite to you, i go straight for Mjollnir, there are enough kills to get via nuclear blast in early game, same goes for towers, so this is no real problem.
    2 Null Talismans, PT strength and thats it, Mjollnir is the next item for me to get.
    After Mjollnir, I suggest EoS (EoS ranged stacks on Mjollnir).
    The further on this socalled “bug” works on all items, that cast a spell or have a chance to: Sange, S+Y, Deso, Maelstrom, Mjollnir.
    Having Skadi with you does not take any effect on this, you may still attack astral units.
    But i got another “bug” for you: having for example Maelstrom in your inventory automatically switches your attack to magic if you attack an astral unit. Yet, Mael does not need to be the dominant orb effect.
    The means, having both: Maelstrom/Mjollnir/… and e.g. Satanic in your inventory (while lifesteal is the orb effect with the highest priority) will make your attacks be of type Magic, as well as giving you lifesteal.
    Further on, your magic attacks get the same 40% dmg-bonus like spells do.
    This now means, that if your inventory maybe consists of PT, Mjollnir, EoS and Satanic, you got about … 250 dmg as the basic value.
    Means, you deal about 350 dmg per hit. Activated Satanic grants you 175% lifesteal, means you would get more than 600 hp back each succesful hit you place on an astral unit, while they cant even struggle.
    This is even then quite effective, if you play against heroes with high dmg-output such as Mortred and Troll (Well, they would normally go for Black King Bar, but to be realistic… of what use would Aghanims and Dagon be in this case?)

    This Method is the most effective in a different skillorder: an actually much less complicated one:
    Raise up Nuclear Blast and Decrepify by turns, leave the rest out, go straight for stats (its a nice way to make fun of your enemys if you just use your ultimate to activate lincens (which works in the same way for roshan))
    Keep in mind, that every spell you are gonna cast in the time of Decrepify could be replaced by 2-3 hits. having mjollnir, your foe would get about 450 dmg by nuclear blast but about 900 dmg via just hitting with mjollnir in the time the casting would take. (and now imagine the dmg, your foe would take, if you had Skadi and Buriza in addition)
    That’s why any further spells, with the exception of Guinsoo’s, are absolutely useless.
    (In Addition: 3.5 sec decrepify, another 3 from hex, and decrepify is ready again)

    However: Aiming for an Itembuild consisting of Mjollnir, EoS and Buriza and/or Guinsoo’s is a nice way to own the whole game.
    (And for you’re able to get nearly every tower as well as the easiest lasthit on roshan you have ever seen, this is absolutely possible)

    I know, that this whole thing sounds strange and that many may now call me stupid, as well as I admit, that this might be hard to believe, but I’m offering you are Hero that should be able to win EVERY Confrontation.

    So why don’t you just try it out first?^^

  6. Cthulhuphant Says:

    Punga is now my fav hero after I read this guide. Thanks man, you make me wanna kill them noobs. :P

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