Our initial impression for the hero was that she is almost definitely a carry, but this impression was wrong. For a couple of weeks a lot of players were finding more success with the hero in a support role, with core Muerta being a sub-45% win rate hero. Slightly less than a week ago, Valve released a small Muerta-specific changelog which addressed the issue by making the hero more appealing as a core. Today we would like to discuss whether it worked as intended.
The changes to the hero were not handled with grace, if we are being completely honest. The changelog essentially reads: less utility, more DPS. Most notably, the Dead Shot fear duration got decreased.
On top of it the level 20 and level 25 talents were switched up a little, granting access to extra Gunslinger proc chance five levels earlier, but the extra two revenants for The Calling five levels later. The end result is a massive DPS powerspike at level 20 with the only real downside being the opportunity cost of not getting the second Dead Shot charge.
The hero also received a BAT buff. Having base attack time go from 1.7 to 1.6 isn’t necessarily massive, but it is a ~6.5% increase in the amount of attacks per second, which is essentially a ~ 6.5% increase in Damage per Second.
The end result is a hero that deals more damage, farms faster, has better scaling, but has slightly worse utility. If we are being honest, theoretically it is a net buff even for a greedy position four, but it is absolutely a massive buff for a core Muerta.
Adapting to the lane
Muerta is currently popular in all three core roles, but for the sake of this post we will concentrate only on mid and carry roles. While technically she can be played as an Offlane hero, she doesn’t really fit into the whole tanky, utility frontline archetype most players will expect from their Offlane in pubs. This in turn will result in unnecessary frustration, so we don’t recommend playing Muerta as a position three, at least not without communicating with your team first.
As a midlaner, Muerta offers good burst damage and long range initiation. We feel like her lack of mobility is definitely a problem and in higher level games she is an easy gank target. That said, her tempo can be pretty overwhelming.
The hero gets a very good intelligence growth, has access to multiple, strong damaging abilities with a massive AoE slow. Her early rotations can be devastating against most heroes, especially when coupled with the best early ganking catalyst in Witch Blade.
By maxing out Deadshot and The Calling you end up with a hero who can teamfight well as soon as she gets her Black King Bar. Later on, going for some extra Intelligence utility in either Bloodthorn against annoying casters or Scythe of Vyse against other heroes should solidify her position as a utility and DPS mix who can quickly dispatch of supports. We would also heavily recommend getting Blink Dagger at some point, as it opens up potential for a lot of different plays.
This one is a bit different and it feels like a lot of players are still figuring it out. When it comes to skill build we can see how one would want to max out The Calling for farming purposes. Prioritised, this ability can deal a lot of damage to a stack and help immensely with acceleration.
However, in games where you don’t necessarily get a lot of stacks because your supports are busy doing something else, we feel like it is perfectly acceptable to concentrate on Gunslinger and get it up and running as soon as possible. Paired with Maelstrom it will greatly increase Muerta’s farming speed and since both Deadshot and The Calling are kept as value points, it is possible to skip Falcon Blade altogether. You don’t need mana regen if you are farming up with your right clicks.
In fact, it is possible to make a case for a 1-1-4-1 Muerta that concentrates on attribute bonuses after level seven. Gunslinger is effectively a 50% double hit and Muerta is more than capable of out-DPSing most cores in the game with her right clicks, at least up until later portions of midgame.
We highlighted it in our initial impressions of the hero — her passive “critical strike” (1.5x or 1.7x with the talent) gives better expected damage value than Juggernaut’s Blade Dance (1.315x) and is very much comparable to level three Coup de Grace (1.525x or 1.77x with the talent) of Phantom Assassin. And it can also crit on top of it for some crazy DPS gains.
This is the reason why getting any sort of critical strike on the hero is very important for her damage output. Personally, we have a soft spot for Daedalus, but depending on the game Silver Edge could be a better option.
Don’t forget about your mandatory Black King Bar as a second or third item slot and Muerta should be a rather straightforward carry hero to play. But if you disagree with some of our assessments, do not hesitate to argue your point in the comment section below.