Pudge. It is by far the most viable way to play him in pubs where the Jungle is reasonably safe.How? Stack 3-4 times, then Smoke + Rot. A salve or two goes a long way as well.The problem is, he is a terrible laner. One of the worst by far. While he is often put into mid, usually he won't get any gold, be harassed into the ground, and mediocre XP due to denies. At the same time the opponent (which usually are strong roamers like QoP, Nighstalker or Batrider) gets pretty much free farm. In a sidelane he cannot do much, since he really needs to be level 5 before he can hook well, and with sharing by the time he gets there, his potency has gone down considerably.By putting him into the jungle you give him XP, much needed gold for fast phase boots, and keeping him off the map making ganks even easier. Not sure whether people do it nowadays, but a year ago it slowly became popular.
When Rucks speaks his line, "The Jungle eh? The Wild Unknown," many people think he's making a Bastion joke. Well, I'm here to tell you that it is, in fact, a commentary on the sorry state of jungling knowledge in the Dota 2 populace. With me being a good Samaritan and all, I have decided to do my part in furthering the education of the Dota 2 community with regards to jungling.
I'll go into a few different aspects of jungling in this feature. Yes, I will cover the 'How' of jungling, in both a general and hero-specific sense. More importantly, however, are the Who, What, Where, When, and Why of jungling. What does jungling mean for your team? What should your goals be? Who is actually good at jungling? When is it appropriate? These are all vital questions, and I'll be covering them all in time.
The first order of business is "What is the jungle?"
The jungles are the two circled areas; green for Radiant, and red for Dire. Every minute (starting at 30 seconds, continuing from 1 minute and onward), creeps spawn at each of the green triangles. Each camp has a difficulty assigned to it that dictates which groups of neutral creeps can potentially spawn there. There are also ancient camps, which are the green triangles in the other half of the jungle across the middle lane. This next map shows the difficulties of each camp. Red are Ancient, Orange are Hard, Yellow Medium, and green Easy.
The first thing you'll notice is that each side, while having the same number of each difficulty, has vastly different layouts. This is important to remember! The layouts of each jungle can affect different heroes in different ways, which I'll get into later.
The purpose of the jungle is manyfold. It can be a source of income for players in the mid-late game when lanes are too dangerous. It can act as a position of its own from level 1. It's a source of creeps for dominating with Helm, Chen, or Enchantress, and Doom can eat the creeps to gain their power. It acts as an important place for setting up ganks. It can also help your 'safe' lanes stay even safer.