Dota 2's new hero the Abyssal Underlord (AKA Pitlord, AKA Underlord, AKA Azgalor, AKA Vrogros, AKA the hero with many names) will be arriving very soon in Valve’s battleground for gods, demons and everything in between. But before he makes his Dota 2 debut at the end of August, there’s a lot to catch up on: how Underlord works, his history and when exactly to expect his (and his entire team’s) sudden arrival.
For the rest of the Dota 2 cast, here's our guide to who you should start with.
While hints of his release have finally coalesced into something tangible now, he’s been teased for years and around for a lot longer than that. So for a primer on all the new kid on the block has to offer, here’s everything you need to know about Underlord.
The most important information for any new hero in a MOBA as complex as Dota is what do they bring to the table? What abilities does Underlord have? And how can I use them to effectively destroy the entire enemy team?
Dark Rift - Ultimate (R)
Open a portal transporting you and any allied heroes in a 450 radius to any allied unit or structure on the map.
- Delay before teleport: 5/4/3 seconds
- Cooldown: 130 seconds
- Mana cost: 75/150/225
Underlord is a strength, melee support, but has one of the most powerful ultimates of any character in the game. Dark Rift is a mass team teleport with little risk, and think of the number of times that could have saved you or even pro players who have forgotten to carry Town Portal scrolls.
Pit of Malice - W
Deals damage in an AoE which persists for 7 seconds while rooting any enemies entering the pit.
- Damage: 100
- Root duration: 1/1.5/2/2.5
- Cooldown: 21/18/15/12
- Mana cost: 100/115/130/145
One essential ability is derived from his original name of Pitlord, before the need to get away from Blizzard's naming conventions kicked in; Pit of Malice. Underlord sets a trap pit up to 750 units from himself, with a mid-sized radius of 275. Any enemy walking into that pit, or caught in it when it is cast, gets rooted – not stunned, they can still cast spells and attack but not move or use movement spells like blink.
Firestorm - Q
Every second, six AoE waves of flaming meteors do damage and apply a DoT debuff.
- Damage per wave: 25/40/55/70
- Damage per second: 5/10/15/20
- Burn duration: 2 seconds
More area of effect madness comes in the form of his Q ability, Firestorm. It’s fairly self-explanatory, Underlord makes it rain meteors in a huge 400 radius area. Combine with the pit to ensure they stay in the middle of the storm for a decent period and these are some heavy teamfight abilities.
Atrophy Aura - Passive
Reduces enemy damage and boost Underlord's attack per unit death.
- Enemy damage reduction: 18%/26%/34%/42%
- Bonus attack damage per Hero death: 30/35/40/45
- Bonus attack damage per Non-Hero death: 5
- Bonus duration: 25/40/55/70 seconds
His brawl-ish toolkit is rounded out with a third, passive ability called Atrophy Aura. As that suggests, this is an aura, affecting enemy heroes in a 900 radius (massive total 1800 diameter) reducing their attack damage while boosting his own damage per unit death (hero or non-hero). This was kind of extremely broken during his 10v10 All Star debut due to all of the death all of the time, but it's still a fearsome passive.
Underlord Item Builds
It’s entirely safe to say that Underlord excels at team-fighting, and the terrifying ability for him and his whole crew to just drop in on you almost anywhere on the map will make global presence drafts all the more scary. Imagine if Io didn’t just take a Tiny or a Chaos Knight across the map and everyone else had to run there. And now imagine if once Io got there, it wasn’t just hiding behind the big heroes and was actually jumping into fights, doing insane AoE damage and also hitting like a truck once two heroes were dead.
Now that he's out and you're playing him, build literally any strength items, preferably with ally auras too. Crimson Guard is good, increasing your own attack damage, making you a giant tank and also doing your job of supporting the rest of the team with more damage block. BKB also gives you good strength and prevents you getting bursted away during fights, as the longer you hang around the more problems you cause.
One of his biggest issues is mana, so any mana regen or int boosting utility items are useful as well. Eul's Scepter can help with that as well as letting you set up easy kills for your team, keeping an enemy in place with the tornado, then the pit of malice. Mobility items like Force Staff can also help with mana, as well as giving you a surefire way of getting close to team-mates that need immediate withdrawal from a sticky situation by casting Dark Rift then forcing across to them just before the teleport delay ends. Earlier on though an Urn of Shadows gives you some nice regen and a way of sustaining you and your pals, or offensively urning fleeing enemies.
As mentioned earlier, Underlord has been around a long, long time – just not in Dota 2, until now. In the original Dota, the Warcraft III mod, Azgalor the Pit Lord (a member of the Pit Lord race from the Warcraft mythos) obviously had quite the fleshed out back story. Sadly, in the messy extraction of Dota from a Blizzard property to a Valve one, some things had to go. One of these things is the name, obviously, but some vestiges of his past have hung around.
For example, Legion Commander’s bio refers to a ‘leader of the abyssal horde’ who appeared in one of the towns she protected through a ‘stygian portal’.
“Enwrapped in a corrosive shimmer, the leader of the abyssal horde swung its massive blade, cleaving a legionnaire in two as his flesh began to spoil. Tresdin lifted her blood-stained sword and settled her sights on the beast. It turned, smiling at her through a maze of teeth.”
However now that he's out, he has his own refreshed backstory, so here's how the Underlord came to be:
"Deep below the surface of the world lay unknown wonders and horrors. Down and down again, well beneath the slithering magma fields and simmering roots of dormant volcanoes stands the obsidian city of Aziyog, its incomparable stonework spanning an endless cavern. Within honeycomb walls mortared with the bones of countless slaves lies the domain of the Abyssal Horde, and their brutal underlord Vrogros.
"Armed by the monstrous forgemasters of his kind and well-practiced in the arts of the Dark Rift, Vrogros is able to conjure forth flame and crippling malice through the twist between worlds. He seeks always to expand his holdings, destroying or enslaving all he encounters. Yet the lands offered by the subterranean realm are few, and so his sights have turned upward.
"By his command the first waves of abyssal invaders have already marched through the rift, a few doomed legions meant merely to test the might of nations above. Now, as his full force readies itself for unending conquest, Vrogros himself steps into a sunlit world to announce his coming reign. Those who face the Underlord will bow and pay tribute, or be crushed where they stand."
As for how Valve finally chose to show him off, the all-star game at this year's International tournament proved the best ground for it once again. In another 10v10 match, the crowd was initially confused when normal heroes were picked before, well, this:
That's everything there is to know about Dota 2's next hero - we'll keep this updated if he happens to change massively now that he's in the real world.