Underlord has been the focus of Dota 2 attention for a while, and now that he's been released, the community is more excited than ever, looking forward to how he develops in meta game. According to Valve, his role is clear: he's a support and his skill kit does indeed make it quite obvious at first glance. At a closer look at his secondary skill selection though, things become much murkier, and a possible role as a roaming offlaner emerges as well.
Following the TI6 All-Star match teaser, expectations were indeed high in regards to Underlord, and it's safe to say they have indeed been met. What exactly are we dealing with skills-wise though? The first skill is as straightforward as it could possibly be: the Firestorm does exactly what it says on the package. It showers the enemy with waves of fire, which cause damage and burn over a set period afterward.
The interesting stuff begins with the rest of the kit though, starting with the Pit of Malice, which conjures a pit at the targeted location, trapping enemies within and dealing damage to them. To give it some perspective, this skill is like reverse Disruptor Kinetic Field, which essentially denies the enemy movement abilities such as Blink.
The Atrophy Aura is all about late game utility: it weakens nearby enemies, who end up losing a portion of the damage they deal. If one of them is killed while under the influence of the Aura, Underlord picks up bonus damage. At maximum level, the damage reduction of the Atrophy Aura can be as big as 50%. The bonus damage gained by Underlord in case of a kill is 5 for non-hero units and it can be as much as 45 (when maxed out) for hero units.
The Dark Rift is Underlord's ultimate and it is indeed a skill which carries enormous gank potential. What it does is that it opens a dark rift at a targeted friendly unit's location, after which Underlord and nearby friendly units are teleported to that location. This is essentially a mass AoE Relocate and its potential is indeed fairly obvious.
To make a long story short, Underlord turned out to be a very interesting and potent addition indeed. For this reason, his exact meta-game role is yet to be decided, and it will indeed be interesting to see how players make use of his vast potential.
Together with Underlord, a new selection of post-game analysis tools have been released as well, tools which will certainly be popular with those dedicated to improve. More on this in another article though.
Peter Wassenberg has been involved with eSports coverage since 2004, working for the world's top competitive gaming destination.