Pestilence — HoN Hero Guide

Art by Kingaby


Pestilence is a Melee Strength hero in Heroes of Newerth equivalent to Slardar in DotA.  Pestilence is a strong ganker and initiator, tank, and counter to enemy heroes with invisibility.  Here is a look at his abilities:

Flight (q)

Flapping his wings Pest gets increased movespeed at the cost of amplified incoming damage.  At a constant +10% damage (any level) this is almost negligible, while having +40% movement speed at Level 4 is huge.  Use this to quickly initiate battles with your stun, catch enemies in bad positions, and chase them down.

Impale (w)

Insects impale the ground in a radius around Pestilence, damaging and stunning nearby enemies.  Radius is constant at all levels (and large), while damage and stun duration increases with level.  This is the great spell that lets Pestilence initiate onto several enemies at once and disable them so his team can wipe them out.

Gore (passive)

Pest stabs a unit with his horn giving bonus damage and a stun.  This gets more and more important as the game goes on and your attack speed continues to increase, allowing Pest to continuously stun and disable important heroes on the enemy team and effectively take them out of the battle.

Swarm (ultimate) (r)

Pest unloads a swarm of Locusts which temporarily lower the armor of an enemy unit and make it visible.  Needless to say this is the best counter to any hero with invisibility in the game.  The mana cost and cooldown are extremely low (only 25 mana, 10 seconds at all levels) which means you can keep spamming it on every enemy hero, making them die much quicker to attacks.  This also combines extremely well with items that reduce armor like Shield Breaker and Daemonic Breastplate, and heroes abilities that do the same, like Andromeda’s Aurora and Pandaomnium’s Flick.


Recommended Skill Build

  1. Impale
  2. Flight
  3. Impale
  4. Flight
  5. Impale
  6. Swarm
  7. Impale
  8. Flight
  9. Flight
  10. Gore
  11. Swarm
  12. Gore
  13. Gore
  14. Gore
  15. Stats
  16. Swarm
  17. Stats -> Level 25

Explanation: Impale is your main utility and should get maxed out asap.  Flight should be taken before Gore since this allows you to chase down heroes and land Impales which gets you a lot more kills and facilitates ganking early game.  A common noobie mistake is to level Gore instead of Flight which makes you a stronger fighter but with a lot less ability to initiate and make any battles happen where you will actually be able to fight.  At most you could get a single level of Gore early in lieu of a level of Flight which could give you some chasing/initiation speed in combination with the chance to proc an occasional Gore stun for additional killing power. Or get a couple levels of Flight then a couple levels of Gore.  Just remember that Flight is pretty important even though it looks like a shitty skill at first glance.  You might even prioritize it over maxing out Impale.

Early Game

Recommended Early Game items:


An Iron Shield and/or Logger’s Hatchet can help you farm in lane at start of game if necessary.  If farming is difficult then just try to get Steamboots.  If it’s easy you could just go Marchers straight to Portal Key and get Steamboots later.  Steamboots are the best choice of footwear on Pestilence because they give increased hit points for tanking and attack speed for Gore stun procs.

Early game you should focus on last hitting in your lane.  Whenever an enemy gets in a bad position you can kill them with your Impale stun and a few attacks.  Pest works best in a lane with someone like Demented Shaman who can slow an enemy enough (with Entangle) for you to get an Impale stun off, before healing you for more damage onto the enemy.

Mid Game

Recommended Mid Game items:


Portal Key + Shrunken Head

Portal Key is essential as it allows Pestilence to deftly initiate and pick off enemy heroes.  Once you have this item the combination of Portal Key/Flight and Impale makes Pestilence a very effective ganker and initiator for team battles.  Take advantage of this and pick off the carries and puny support heroes on the other team to give your team the advantage.  Make sure to use your ultimate as much as possible to give vision and make enemy heroes die quicker.

A Shrunken Head activated before blinking in to a group of enemy heroes to stun them makes a big impact on a battle if your team is good enough to follow up.  Pestilence will usually survive and be able to chase down any remaining heroes with Swarm and Flight for the Genocide.  You might consider a Shaman’s Headdress instead of Shrunken Head (later turn into Barrier Idol), or even a Nullstone or Barbed Armor in certain situations.

Late Game

Recommended Late Game items:

+ +

Shield Breaker + Daemonic Breastplate + lifesteal

Shield Breaker combines well with the armor reduction of Pestilence’s Swarm ultimate to really accelerate the death of any thing he hits.  Daemonic Breastplate is a great item on Pestilence as it adds armor to a Strength hero making him extremely difficult to kill, attack speed to proc more Gore bashes, and even has an armor reducing aura to further combine with Swarm and Shield Breaker to wipe out enemy heroes in almost no hits.

After this Pest is a fighting machine and the last thing to do is get lifesteal.  If you already have an attack modifier (like Shield Breaker) then you want to get Abyssal Skull because it gives lifesteal as an aura.  Otherwise get Whispering Helm and do it big.


You basically want to Hex or disable Pest in some other way to keep him out of your grill.  Killing him early when he’s saving money for Portal Key is very good.  If he’s able to farm unchecked and get Portal Key and Shrunken Head early in the match then you are in serious trouble and need to follow his position closely on the minimap so he doesn’t pick you off.

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    • Anonymous says:

      hahah is there any reason Pest looks like he’s in a flatten hero in all these screen shots.

      rofl nice comp old man.

    • Anon says:

      Def need an insanitarius with this fella

    • love HoN says:

      You sure pesty doesn’t need deger?

    • pesty says:

      Good guide,but im not sure lifestealing its important to pesty.
      Her’s the item:
      1 ghost macher/steamboot
      2 vanguard
      3 blood chaine
      5 kurias
      6 deger/behemot
      For the blood chaine,you don’t need it in mid game or late gamejust swich it into behemot or deger.
      I like to use my combo,i show you my combo haha:
      1 swamp
      2 flight (if you have deger use deger )
      3 impale
      4 gore (passive)
      5 impale
      6 than cach the hero if he not die.


    The DRD Insult Generator says:

    8 + = 9