Pub players have had a week to experiment with Underlord, the newest hero released in Dota 2. He currently has a win rate of 53.22%, which is one of the most successful among new hero releases. Both Earth Spirit and Ember Spirit dwelled around a 40% win rate during their releases. Oracle wasn’t exempt either. But while those heroes weak debuts could be due to their complicated skill interactions, at least Underlord’s concept is fairly straightforward. An AoE, an area stun, an aura, and a teleport—far from the novel interactions of Oracle’s purges and Spirit remnants.
Underlord’s win rate over this past week
Underlord’s Role In Pubs
Across all skill brackets, Underlord is played the most in the offlane, which is also where he is most successful, at a 53.14% win rate. He is least played in the jungle, where he has the lowest win rate compared to all other lanes, at 46.20%. He’s a hero that needs levels more than farm, so his current natural fit is in the offlane.
Atrophy Aura also activates on enemy denies, which can create favorable matchups against melee carries. Despite a starting base armor of 2, he does have some tricks with Pit of Malice to survive against potential ganks. But even so, he can still retreat to the jungle, since Firestorm can be used to clear stacks, as well as protecting the offlane tower.
Because of the mobility of Underlord’s ultimate, drafts and strategies will naturally center around this mechanic, such as in the case of Nature’s Prophet or Io lineups. With team synergy and coordination being necessary factors for Underlord’s effectiveness, it’s a surprise how the hero has been finding such success in pub games. It’s a testament to the strength of his other core abilities and his function as a utility hero.
Underlord’s most commonly built items
A few of the most common items built on Underlord have some logical sense: Blademail for a hero that wreaks havoc the longer he is on the field, Blink Dagger to give him some catch and an imitation of Io’s Relocate-Save, and Arcane Boots to Guardian Greaves round out the essentials for supports and offlaners.
What doesn’t make sense in his most built items is Battlefury. This seems to be a trend carried over from his Dota 1 days, much like Battlefury on Bounty Hunter, Battlefury on Tidehunter (it’s happened), or Battlefury on Earthshaker. It’s also the residual effect of Valve’s suggested builds on the public.
Luxury Items: Battle Fury, Satanic, Halberd, Heart, Silver Edge, Blink & Moon Shard replaced by Guardian Greaves, Radiance, Scythe, Crimson Guard, Pipe, Linken Sphere and Lotus Orb.
Radiance is hard to ignore as one of the suggested items here. Firestorm is strong enough to clear waves, especially on a short, 12 second cooldown. And Radiance shifts Underlord to a carry role, which boxes him into a playstyle that’s too passive to maximize his utility. He should be making space, rather than taking it. But then again, can you argue against Fenrir, who went Radiance and maxed Atrophy Aura first?
Underlord’s most popular ability builds
The most popular ability builds prioritizes maximizing in the order of Firestorm, Pit of Malice, then Atrophy Aura. The main variations are in the first few skill points. Firestorm is like Midnight Pulse, in that it does high, scaling damage, should you stay in it. At level one, however, it provides little damage and laning leverage. Atrophy Aura or Pit of Malice tends to be the top skill picks for Underlord’s top players in our guides. If you’re in the safelane, Atrophy Aura does have a disadvantage since it destabilizes the lane and pushes it by default, but it’s trivial if you have effective supports pulling.
Underlord tends to be more level dependent than other cores. IO’s tether, at any level, is just as essential as its Relocate, but Underlord’s spells are rather underwhelming at low levels. Dark Rift is also on a very long, 130 second cooldown, so Underlord becomes even more of a high-risk, high-reward hero, if he can’t contribute via his other skills.
Firestorm is easily dodged. Pit of Malice benefits greatly from the cooldown reduction of its levels, where it only has a 5 second downtime at level 4. Then there’s Atrophy Aura, which can be excellent to extract laning advantages, but it requires more levels to provide a discernible impact in a team fight, especially a protracted one.
Though Underlord is still being tinkered with in the grand experiment of Dota’s public games, it won’t be until his release in Captain’s Mode where we’ll see a more definitive role and build. For now, we have the pub meta, and Underlord has found his place.