By: LegoPirate

Once a councillor to the Moon Queen, Pestilence
betrayed his people — for as a male, he could never
have come to rule them himself. With his own powers
augmented by the Hellbourne, he is as strong as the
queen he served in the past. But his arts are unholy:
mindless, ravenous insects he calls forth, cruel and
violent skills he deploys.

The defenition for Pestilence is something that is considered harmful, destructive, or evil.

This guide will show you how to take this bug, and turn him into his namesake. Pestilence (Pesty/Pest for short) is an amazing carry, argueably one of the best. He tears through agi carries, str tanks, and int nukers with ease. Played properly, he is quite simply, a pestilence to the other team.

First off, lets go over the basics

Pesty's Skills/Stats

Attack Type=Melee
Attack Damage=51-59
Attack Range=100



Strength=21 (Main Attribute)

Strength per level=2.8
Agility per level=1.9
Intelligence per level=1.5



Pestilence takes limited flight
increasing his movement speed at the cost of taking increased damage.
Level 1 : +10% Movement speed,+10% Damage taken
Level 2 : +20% Movement speed,+10% Damage taken
Level 3 : +30% Movement speed,+10% Damage taken
Level 4 : +40% Movement speed,+10% Damage taken
Mana cost 50
Cooldown 45

Analysis: This is Pesty's chase/escape/movement mechanism. At lvl 4 with no boots, you move at 420 ms. With steamboots you move at 511 (thats 11 under max kiddies). This skill is the one that a good pesty will either always be using, or always be on cooldown. Use it to chase, get somewhere, or escape. An amazing skill, useful in almost any situation.


Pestilence calls on the aid of his underground insect brethren to strike nearby enemies from underground. Enemies are impaled, causing them to be stunned and take damage, followed by reduced movement speed.
Level 1 : Stuns targets in 350 radius for 1 seconds, dealing 50 magic damages and slows movement speed by 20% for 2 seconds
Level 2 : Stuns targets in 350 radius for 1.5 seconds, dealing 100 magic damages and slows movement speed by 20% for 2 seconds
Level 3 : Stuns targets in 350 radius for 2.0 seconds, dealing 150 magic damages and slows movement speed by 20% for 2 seconds
Level 4 : Stuns targets in 350 radius for 2.5 seconds dealing 200 magic damages and slows movement speed by 20% for 2 seconds
Mana cost 80/95/105/115
Cooldown 8 seconds

Analysis: Pesty's stun. The aoe for this stun is actually fairly large, so dont be afraid to use flight and then run into 3 heros to stun them, giving your team a chance to pounce on them. Use it to initiate fights, chase, stun heros to save allies/yourself. Its a utility stun, has a fairly short cooldown, so dont be afraid to use it.

Extra Note: The damage from the stun is physical, so it will go through magic immunity, however the stun does not.


Pestilence gains a chance to stab an enemy unit
with his frontal horn when attacking, causing them
to take some additional damage and be stunned briefly.
Level 1 : 10% Chance to deal 40 magic damage and stun for 1 second
Level 2 : 15% Chance to deal 50 magic damage and stun for 1 second
Level 3 : 20% Chance to deal 60 magic damage and stun for 1 second
Level 4 : 25% Chance to deal 70 magic damage and stun for 1 second
Mana cost n/a
Cooldown 2 seconds

Analysis: A rework of slardars bash, this skill is underpowered. In this guide, I will not get gore untill level 21 in favor of stats. While it isnt a useless skill, the way random chances work in this game, coupled with the fact that it is a very weak bash with low damage, the bonuses that stats give simply work better. If you prefer bash, then be my guest.

Update: As of patch 1.42-44, and the buff to bash, im going to get it at the proper levels now.


Pestilence releases a swarm of locusts at a target,
lowering their armor temporarily.
Level 1 : -5 Armor and Reveals target for 30 seconds
Level 2 : -10 Armor and Reveals target for 30 seconds
Level 3 : -15 Armor and Reveals target for 30 seconds
Mana Cost 25
Cooldown 10

Analysis: This is the skill that makes pestilence an amazing carry. -15 armor late game will reduce most heros into the single digits in armor, if not into the negatives. Coupled with a sheildbreaker, it makes Pesty hit VERY hard. also, a very good anti invisi/tracking utility. Spam it on everyone that has invis skills or people that you want to kill :P. This skill is also useful on initiators, because it makes them get beaten down so much faster when they jump into your team.

Skill Build

1. Impale
2. Flight
3. Flight/Impale
4. Impale/Flight
5. Flight/Impale
6. Impale/Swarm/Flight
7. Flight/Impale
8. Impale/Flight
9. Impale/Swarm/Flight (depending on which one u got at lvl 6)
12-15. Gore/stats
17-25. Stats

Analysis: OMG WTF BBQ YOU DIDNT GET SWARM AT LVL 6?? Yes, and let me explain why. At level 6, you will still be in lane, so you shouldn't be using it to gank. Also, the -5 armor isnt a big bonus right now, because you dont do much damage to capatilize on it. The only time i would get Swarm right away is if there is an invis hero in the game. Other then that, Flight/Impale will serve you more good in the early going. However, always adapt to the situation, so if you need swarm, dont be afraid to get it.

Special Note: The reason you max Flight before Impale is because that at lvl 7, 420 ms is invaluable for escape. I've found that Flight is a more reliable escape mechanism early game then Impale. If you max stun first, you only have 360 ms(assuming you got swarm), which is indeed faster then someone without any type of upgraded boots (minus a few heros with high move speeds), but anyone with Marchers or even potentially Steamboots will be able to catch you. I prefer being able to get away without the enemy getting anywhere near me. Also, stun has a much higher manacost then flight, meaning if you happen to be low on mana when you get ganked, you're more likely to be able to use flight instead of stun.

Extra Special Note: Going stun over Flight or Flight over stun is situational, so think about it before you decide which one you want to max first.

Moving on, we have the Meat of the guide, The phases of the game, and items you get with Good Ol Pesty


Starting Off

Runes of Blight x2 (6 charges)

Logger's Hatchet
Passive Bonuses
+32 Damage vs Non-Hero Units (Melee Only)
+12% Damage vs Non-Hero Units (Ranged Only)
Target Unit Trees
Range 100
Cooldown 15 seconds
Destroys target tree
Logger's Hatchet 225

Analysis: This is all you really need to start off with. Pesty has a decent starting health pool, and a good str gain, so he doesnt really need more hp early game. If you really feel it nessecary, get a couple of Pretenders Crowns or Totems, if you feel u need the stat boost.

Logger's Hatchet: This item is pretty much a nessecity for last hitting. it gives you a distinct advantage over ranged heros, and also any melee who dont have the hatchet. You might say that it slows down the helm, but with the extra CS I'm able to get with this axe, I get it at the same time, and will get Insanitarius faster. This item is a must on any melee hero.

Personal Note: Sometimes I will start off with an empty inventory and rush a Helm of the Victim. This is very risky, and shouldnt be attempted unless you know exactly what your doing, and exactly who you will be up against in lane.

Laning Phase/Core Items

Laning Phase: In General, Pest should NOT solo, as he is required to go top or bot lane. But, if you do get to solo for w/e reason (jungler/leaver), then I would suggest soloing your short lane (top for hellbourne/bottom for legion). Pests laning phase is a bit longer then everyone elses because you want to farm up your core items before you leave lane. With just your core items you become an effective ganker/damage dealer and can gank your way into your luxury items.

Core Items:

Passive Bonuses
+9 Damage
+15 Attack speed
+5 Armor
+3 Health regeneration
Cooldown 10 seconds
Toggles off, removing Insanitarius and 475 Health from self. The Health removal is non-lethal.
Helm of the victim 950
Gloves of the swift 500
Steamstaff 900
Insanitarius recipe 500
Total Cost 2850
Insanitarius effects (Active)
+25 Strength
+31 Damage
+10 Attack speed (This is wrong im pretty sure)
35 True damage a second

Analysis: Insanitarius (and its dota counterpart, Armlet) is one of my favorite items. Its 2850 for 56 damage and extra attack speed when triggered. Plus it gives you a 475 health boost. The uses for this item are almost endless, but in general use it to either a. To kill someone, 56 extra damage early game is ownage. Or use it for b. to survive. triggering the extra 475 health can save you from most nukes if you do it correctly.

Ghost Marchers

Passive Bonuses
+24 Damage
+70 Movespeed
Cooldown 15 seconds
Phased Effects
+12% Movement Speed
Marchers 500
Punchdagger 500
Punchdagger 500
Total Cost 1500

Analysis: The new carry boots. use em. steamboots work really well too. either way works.

Overall Analysis: In lane, you should work towards your Insanitarius. Farm that up before leaving lane. if you manage to get boots too, great, but dont be afraid to go ganking without them. lvl 4 Flight will make you move at 420 ms, which is plenty fast enough to gank. thats all you need to know for this phase. the rest will be explained in the next one .

Ganking Phase/Mid-game Items

Ganking Phase: This is where pest really starts to shine. here are the steps to a gank
1. Flight - move in to go for the kill
2. Swarm - reveals them if they try to invis out, and makes it so u deal extra damge
3. Impale - stuns them, allows you to whack on them for a while.
4. Chase, and stun again, untill dead, or untill you should run.

Note - Another reason to swarm first, even if the enemy isnt an invis hero, is that imaple is a physical damage spell, therefore the armor reduction that swarm gives will make impale do more damage.

Analysis:Ganking will be your main source of gold after the laning phase, but if no ganks are available, feel free to drop into a lane to farm a bit. Just dont make it a habit. Your strength is ganking, so if the enemy disappears for a while, take your team into their jungle for some forest ganks.

Mid-Game Items


Passive Bonuses
+60 damage
On Attack Impact
Applies broken armor to target for 5 seconds
Warhammer x2 1600
Shield breaker recipe 1200
Total Cost 4400
Broken armor effects
-6 Armor

Analysis: Very good damage item, for a fairly low cost (compared to other high damage items). This item has the potential to add more damage combined with swarm then a doombringer with swarm. Not very complicated, just a pure damage item.

Behemoth's Heart

Passive Bonuses
+35 Strength
+300 Max health
+.75% Health per second
Axe of the Malphai 3200
BeastHeart 1100
Behemoth's Heart Recipe 1200
Total Cost 5500

Analysis: Very good item for him. it makes him a powerful tank, while adding a decent amount of damage (+35). also, lets him leave Insanitarius always activated (but dont always leave it on, as then you dont get the regen bonus from it). Not much else to say about it.

Overall Analysis: The only thing unclear is which item to get first, and that is situational. If your team isnt doing too great, or is on an even keel with the other team, get the heart first. if you are destroying the other team already, get the sheildbreaker first. Also, agianst a heavy damage team, heart is better first. Against a squishier team, Sheildbreaker is a good option first.

Endgame Items/Teamfights

Teamfights: Pest is a carry primarily, so use him as such. Disable as many of the enemy heros as you can, and then swarm the most dangerous enemy hero. This will "mark" him as a target to your allies, meaning they will likely focus their attacks on him, killing him faster. Late game you will do major damage to any enemy hero, so if you see any enemies alone, go kill them. If the enemy team is rolling together, then team gank them, and push to win.

Endgame Items


Passive Bonuses
+45/55/65/75 Damage
10/13/16/20% Chance for a 1.8/2.0/2.2/2.4x Critical strike
Punchdagger 500
Broadsword 1200
Riftshards recipe 950*

*Can be upgraded 3 times by buying the recipe again

Analysis: this turns you from a solid carry into an absolute monster. when you get this, you will be critting into the 1000's, and combined with armor reduction will be able to destroy most heros in less then 5 hits. any hero with less then 1250 hp will die in a single crit.

Final Item

Savage Mace

Passive Bonuses
+80 Damage
+15 Attack speed
On Attack impact
35% chance to deal 100 Physical damage to target and stun for 0.1 seconds.
Halberd x2 1500
Slayer 2400
Total Cost 5400

Analysis: Final item, and a very good damage item. Big damage boost, bit of attack speed bonus. solid last item. not much to say.

Overall Analysis: Instead of a savage mace, you can get a doombringer, but i wouldnt suggest it in a serious game, other then that, these items are all damage, designed to make every single hit count.


Portal Key

Value 2150
Target Position
Range 1200
Mana cost 75
Cooldown 18 seconds
If damaged by a player or controlled unit a 3 second cooldown occurs
before the user can activate Portal Key.

Analysis: Get this if your team needs you to initate. your aoe stun has a fairly large aoe, and a decently long stun. also good in chases. Portal key is another favorite of mine, and its never a bad choice, but i dont usually get it, as i let another initiator do that.

Shrunken Head

Passive Bonuses
+24 Damage
+10 Strength
Cooldown 80 seconds
Applies Magic Immunity to self for 10 seconds.After each time Shrunken Head is used, the duration of Magic Immunity is reduced by 1 second and Shrunken Head’s cooldown is reduced by 5 seconds. The duration of Magic Immunity will not go below 5 seconds, nor will the cooldown go below 55 seconds.
Mighty Blade 1000
Warhammer 1600
Shurken head recipe 1300
Total Cost 3900

Analysis: Pest's main problem is disables, and this fixes that. If you feel disables are making you less effective, then get this to stop that. solid item to get, but situational.

Symbol Of Rage

Passive Bonuses
+25 Strength
+5 Armor
Cooldown 50 seconds
Applies Symbolic rage to self for 3.5 seconds
Symbollic Rage Effects
+20 Damage
+150% Lifesteal
Axe of the Malphai 3200
Whispering helm 1850
Symbol of Rage recipe 1100
Total Cost: 6150

Analysis: If you want lifesteal, get this. clearly the best lifesteal item in the game. you only really need it when fighting another carry toe to toe, even then its probably unnessecary, but lifesteal can be useful in some situations.

Daemonic Breastplate

Passive Bonuses
+40 Attack speed
+10 Armor
Applies Enemy Aura to visible enemy units in a 900 radius around self
Aura Effects
Range 900
+15 Atack speed
+5 Armor
Ringmail 550
Platemail 1400
Warpcleft 2100
Daemonic Breastplate 1500
Total Cost 5550

Analysis: This item is useful if you happen to fall behind, as it gives you some surviveabiltity, and a bit of offensive power. I would only suggest this if you feed you are having trouble farming, and need a boost in surivivability against other carries, along with an attackspeed boost.

Overall Analysis: these items are situational. they are good in some situations, but other items can be better, depending on the situation.

Good Allies/Bad Enemies

Good allies:

Jeriziah is Pest's best friend. His magic immunity spell makes pest able to run around and be impervious to disables. No shrunken head needed with him on your team.

Voodoo Jester Demented Shaman

These two work well because they both add to his damage output. Demented Shaman has a slow/stun, a heal, and an ultimate that synergizes your ultimate. -46 armor with him means you will cut through anything like butter.

Voodoo Jester works well because your hard hitting capabilites + cursed ground synergize very well.

The Dark Lady

She works well with Pest for 1 reason. Her Ultimate. Her ult allows Pest to run in, take out 1-2 enemies without the enemy team able to respond.

Blacksmith Glacius

Blacksmith works well because he is a kill INdependent hero, so if they go ganking together, Pest can take all the kills. Furthermore, Blacksmiths buff synergizes with Pest in every way shape and form.

Glacius works well simply because he has a slow, a disable, and his aura makes sure that even the most spamhappy player wont have mana problems.
Other good allies are any hero with a disable or stun. they allow pest to do w/e he wants

Also, Intiatiors like

Magmus Behemoth Tempest

They allow Pestilence to take his carry role instead of being the initator. Also, a good initiator is a great thing, no matter what situation.

Bad Enemies

The same people that can make Pest great can also destroy him. Disables are his main foe on the other team, which is why Jeri/Shrunken is so useful on him.

Heavy Nukers like

Thunderbringer Pyromancer

These heros can quickly get rid of Pest's hp. The only counter to this is to get a Behe Heart. a Shamans headdress is a decent counter, but also doesnt give a big hp bonus or any damage, so Behe heart is much more useful.

He is an anti-tank hero. honestly, with his built in -armor and built in lifesteal, hes one of the few heros that can go toe to toe with Pest and win. Against him, get whispering helm (not SoR or Behe heart). This will make you squisher, but atleast you will have a chance at fighting him.

With Spider Sting and Webbed Shot, she can kite you around all day, even with Flight active. Your best bet against her is to gank her, and avoid getting ganked by her.

Voodoo Jester

Early/Mid game, he can be a problem. If you get ganked by him and a dps hero (Swiftblade for example), he can kill you very easily with cursed ground, especially if he has an extra disable to go along with it. Make sure to be the one ganking, and not getting ganked.

Items to Avoid at all costs

Helm Of The Black Legion

Why: Because his main focus isnt a tank, so dont play him as one. HOTBL has no offensive use, and the hp bonus is fairly small.

Post Haste

Why: Because these are just plain overkill, not to mention very expensive.

Frostburn (need to update picture i know)

Why: Basically because it has the same inherent problems as HnS did (atleast for pest). while slowing someone is great, this is a pricey item (4800), and again, doesnt do any one thing well (other then slow), and the ms boost is unnessecary. its not longer a crime against nature to get it in a pub, but there are better choices in terms of dps/survivability

Elder Parasite

Why: With sprint active (which it should be 2/3 of the time), and this active, you take 20% bonus damage. even with some serious tank items that makes you into jell-o.

Lifesteal is a very debatable topic on pest. He is a carry, so you would assume he needs lifesteal. I build him without it, because he doesnt attack fast enough to use it correctly. also, lifesteal items give minimal damage, which is pest's main strength. With the heart in there you dont need the lifesteal for regen, and against other carries you will simply stun them enough times for them to die (yes, even madman, ive done this one before).

This is also a debateable topic. I started off playing pest just like slardar, leveling bash after stun/sprint. This skill build didnt work too well, so I decided to try and skip bash, and that instantly returned him to playing almost exactly like slardar did. If you feel bash is nessecary, then get it instead of stats. This guide is based off of my knowledge of game mechanics and my personal experiences. I explained why stats are better then bash, and if you dont belive me, then do whatever makes you happy

Update: With the recent buff to bash, I'm now advocating getting bash over stats.

A few people have asked me about bottle. Here are my thoughts: Bottle is NEVER a bad item. however, the question is is it nessecary?. I think not. Pestilence doesnt really have mana problems, his spells all cost fairly low mana, the highest of which is his stun at 105. his insanitarius provides him with ~500 hp on demand, and 3 hp regen all the time. Basically, If you like bottle, go for it. Its not a bad idea, I just don't feel its nessecary.

Thats all i have to say about those 3 topics.

Pestilence is a great hero, if played correctly. He is a rare Strength carry, but also has a powerful disable, making him one of the best carries in the game. His main power is hitting hard, not hitting fast, and his build should focus on that.

Last words: Feel free to post any suggestions or anything that i might have skipped. Or feel free to debate anything I said. This is all learned from experience on both slardar and pestilence, and I hope this guide helps

Good luck