How did this happen: Three more of the strongest, most broken heroes from the original DotA

by Daniel Rosen Aug 9
Thumbnail image courtesy of Valve

If you can believe it, last time we touched on broken heroes from the original DotA All-Stars (which is legally distinct from and definitely not a prequel to Dota 2), we didn't even scrape the surface. DotA All-Stars had dozens of busted, stupid, broken heroes. And with The International 2017 in full swing, we'd like to present you with three more from the annals of history.

Pudge, sans hook:

There was a time before Pudge had a hook. Although we now associate the sluggish abomination with devastating hook plays (occasionally from within the fountain), once upon a time Pudge was pudgy because of all the Taurens he carried in his belly. Pudge’s purpose wasn’t about taking an enemy out of the fight with a crazy engage, Pudge was designed to push, push, push and never ever die.

That was all thanks to his Necrogenesis ability, which, at level four, would spawn a dead Tauren in his stomach every 2.5 seconds. That was then combined with another of Pudge’s basic abilities, Stitch, which at level 4 let him raise up to five units from the dead for 75 seconds. That meant that after 15.5 seconds, Pudge had an army of sturdy, brainless mooks who could run at towers for him. Of course, Pudge would have to stand nearby, but that wasn’t that tricky. After all, the Butcher was effectively immortal. His final basic ability, Cannibalize, allowed him to consume one of those spawned dead bodies to heal over time, up to 45 HP per second.

Pudge was a laning monster, able to wipe out towers without taking a scratch and move on to the next one once he amassed enough corpses to go for another dive. Pudge’s Ultimate, Carrion Flies, spawned a bunch of infuriating flies that buzzed around opponents and were nearly impossible to hit. Flies had low HP, but 90% evasion, meaning one in 10 attacks would miss them entirely, and they dealt enough damage to be a continuous nuisance to enemies trying to stop Pudge from pushing down towers with his Tauren army.

These days, Pudge is all about engaging and annoying enemies with his hook, but once upon a time, he was a family man, with a bunch of cow children looking for a home. You just sort of wished he wasn’t looking for that home in the middle of your Ancient.

Astral Trekker:

Speaking of Taurens, this cow isn’t around in Dota 2, but his obscene and infuriating presence in some versions of DotA: All-Stars made him something to be feared anytime you heard him galloping down the lane at you. Despite the name, Astral Trekker doesn’t have any crazy cosmic abilities, and instead preferred to deal with his enemies the old fashioned way: with his bare hooves.

The Trekker’s first basic ability was Entrapment, which was a targeted ability that locked one enemy to a single spot on the map for 10 seconds at level three. His second basic ability is where it really gets fun though, because War Stomp did damage and applied a five second stun at level three. That means that if Astral Trekker even touched you, there was no way you were moving for the next fifteen seconds, which gave him enough time to crush you with his Pulverize ability, which added extra damage to every basic attack.

Now, you’re probably thinking that you could escape if you turned on some sort of aura-based damaging ability, or at least buy yourself a little time from the cow’s stampede of stuns with some sort of silence, but you’d be wrong. See, Astral Trekker also had access to Giant Growth, his ultimate ability, which gave him extra health, armor, bonus damage on every attack and total spell immunity.

Astral Trekker essentially had a guaranteed kill on anyone unfortunate enough to get ganked by him in lane. If he picked a target in a fight, they were dead. If he picked a target period, they were dead. Astral Trekker’s jaunt through space ended around the time Dota added item recipes, but his spirit lives on. The model was eventually reused for the hero that would become Spirit Breaker, who still focuses on ganking but wishes he could have the stunlock capability of his astral ancestor.

Void Demon:

Astral Trekker was a terror when he found you, but theoretically, his slower movement speed meant you had a chance to avoid his brutal hooves. That was not the case with Void Demon, the single strongest, most broken hero DotA ever graced its players with.

Last time we look at DotA All-Stars characters, we talked about the Dark Terminator, a machine gun-wielding, teleporting, untouchable killer. Void Demon was more busted. We talked about GOD, who could take one player out of the game by sleep-locking them behind a tower. Void Demon was more busted. We talked about Gambler, who could endlessly farm gold to drop near-instant-kill nukes on the enemy team and have spare change left over to kit out his team.

Void Demon was more busted.

Void Demon’s insane power starts with Time Void, a targeted area of effect ability that slows everything in the chosen area, deals up to 300 damage at max level, and applies a five second stun just for fun. Eventually this ability became Night Stalker’s Void, but had to be nerfed before reaching its current iteration. Time Void was tough to deal with, but it was Void Demon’s auras that made him scary. Degen Aura decreased any enemy in range’s speed by 24 percent, and lowered their attack speed. It had 600 range, which was a lot back in the day, and coupled with Void Demon’s solid speed, it meant that anyone even close to him was basically guaranteed to get hit by Time Void and slowed some more.

To go along with all of that, Void Demon also had Mass Haste, an ultimate ability with yet another 600 AoE aura that boosted ally movement speed by up to 85 percent and boosted attack speed. Pop that and the Degen Aura before any fight, and Void Demon was guaranteed a couple of kills, if not a total team wipe.

Needless to say, Void Demon didn’t last long. He was removed from the game during the 3.X series of patches, around 2008, and his general concept was split across Night Stalker and Faceless Void. His ganks live on in our hearts, but luckily not in any actual game.

Daniel Rosen is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.