Quinn Questions Pudge’s Viability as a First Phase Hero
Since the release of patch 7.31d a week ago, Pudge has been one of the most talked about heroes in the game. Having hardly been a hero in the meta for the longest time now, Dota 2 pros are actually acknowledging his value as a core hero this patch, with certain teams even picking him first phase. Nonetheless, Quincy Crew midlaner Quinn "Quinn" Callahan dismissed arguments of whether Pudge should be considered a first phase hero. Quinn said that Pudge has his place in the meta, but there are a lot of direct counters to him in the lane, making it unviable to pick him in the first phase.
Quinn feels that Pudge is not a feasible first pick despite the recent buffs
After receiving buffs over the past few 7.31 patches, Pudge is getting quite a bit of attention from the professional community. Such a shift has been particularly noticeable in the North American region, where TSM, arguably the strongest team of the region in Tour 3, even picked it in the first phase to play in the midlane against Quincy Crew.
But the hero didn't seem as effective, and Quinn, following a 2-0 win against TSM, essentially squashed discussions about Pudge as a first phase hero. According to him, a lot of heroes, such as Necrophos, annihilate the hero in the lane, and the recent change in 7.31d hasn't elevated the hero to the position of picking it in the start.
“I think there are games but no way that hero is a first phase hero. I think there are like - four or five heroes that just obliterate the hero to the next dimension in the lane. Necro just happens to be one of them. But I think there are others. I am not really sure what makes this hero a first phase hero. It’s fine, you know, they gave him 3 damage. Did 3 damage really turn the hero from unpicked to first phase? I don’t know.”
“It’s fine, you know. I think the hero has its place but I think it was actually fine in the last patch too in some games but it definitely isn’t first phase,” Quinn expanded on his thoughts about Pudge.
With the release of patch 7.31d, the hero's base damage has increased, his damage block numbers in Flesh Heap have improved, and he has also gained a talent buff. It's been a week since the new patch rolled out, and the response has been mostly positive.
However, as Quinn mentioned, there are some direct counters to the hero and it will be interesting to see how some teams, who truly believe in the power of Pudge in this meta, will draft their lineups around the hero.