Dota Underlords - Valve's Auto Chess

The game is at least 300% better than it was at release. The latest patch fixed most of my complaints. There aren’t any heroes that you take every time in any possible team composition, almost every item seems viable (only the Humans count as Heartless seems like a no brainer pick in most comps), the Shadow Shaman is probably the last hero I would never take unless a 2 star just landed in my lap, and the free rerolls on losses make the game feel a lot less hopeless and snowbally when you get a rough RNG start.

Edit: not to mention the head to head makes it so much better. Before this patch you could win on your screen, and they could win on their screen, and no one would lose any life and it just felt weird. Now you know when you hit someone for a bunch of damage, they actually take it.

I’m a big fan of the built-in brawny alliance now (juggernaut, axe, disruptor and beastmaster)

It’s fun to see a character with 6000 HP at the end of the game.

Yet, it’s often found in the strongest teams because the 6-knight 4-troll 4-heartless combo is incredibly strong if you manage to roll it.

Has anyone tried grouping with friends?

Yes, it’s fun to yell at each other for taking each other’s pieces.

Finally got to Boss level in ranked after 6 weeks in lieutenant. I’ve had to resort to builds from reddit because im obviously a moron

Anyone been following the updates about the BIG UPDATE that is coming very soon? Lots of new heroes and reworked alliances.

Still to come:

  • Duo Mode
  • ???

The jail thing sounds great. It lets them add as many heroes as they want. I honestly wouldn’t hate a hero rotation that changed every game as opposed to daily, but I understand how that might be too overwhelming for some people. But a daily meta is interesting because otherwise these style of games get solved very quickly and become boring.

I completely agree! I think a per-game jail would be too overwhelming for the serious players, as they would need to study the list prior to each game starting in order to be competitive.

I don’t think there is an overwhelming amount of information to absorb for a serious player. Everyone is playing the game on equal terms, with equal resources. It simply adds an additional skill requirement of improvisation. I’d argue that from a competitive vantage, the game is more difficult when the draft availability changes every round. I’d think serious players would welcome the extra layer of complexity.

Now, you could make the argument that it would simply make the game feel too different than the game it is now, because with daily jail as long as you sit down for a few minutes before joining a game and make notes about the banned list, you can then play all night without thinking about it again. I’m not sure that I would necessarily agree, but I can definitely see how it could be a turn-off for some.

Edited to add: I think either version of jail is a great idea. I just personally think the idea of a game mode where draft availability changes every game would be very cool.

I think the trouble is that experimentation is the key in developing your own meta-strategies. It’s hard to experiment and see what works and what doesn’t when the “theoretical meta” is changing ever round. You have to improvise already by crafting a strategy that is based on what the game actually gives you in the early rounds.

It’s a balance, and I think daily jail hits the perfect spot as it isn’t an always moving target, yet also keeps the meta very fresh everytime you sit down for a session. We’ll see how it goes!

This update is going to kick ass, very excited:

Been really looking forward to Duos mode, it just adds another layer of strategy and coordination. Freestyle mode is a big surprise and because it was an idea I had in the shower a couple of months ago, you can all thank for me for it being implemented in the game.

I mean there is supposed to be single player city-crawl mode or something as well. They are really trying to get something for everyone in here.

And the titular Underlords themselves!

I haven’t been this hyped for a game in quite awhile, and it’s… checks notes… free?

Hopefully we’ll get to hear more about the underlords tomorrow. Do they help your team fight? Do they just apply passive effects that alter how you play? Maybe one guy gives you a 6th draw and extra bench space or something? Stay tuned I guess, cause I have no idea.

Yeah I have no idea either. I hope that they don’t give buffs to particular alliances or heroes, as all that will do is make you railroad a certain strat going into a match and discourage improvisation.

Totally agree. I really hope they aren’t something like “reduce the cost of all elusive units by 1”. But I could easily see it being something like that. Fingers crossed it’s more interesting than that.

I doubt they would do that, as awhile they got rid of the early-game alliance items that force you into a particular strat for the same reason.

I didn’t expect this at all! Underlords are a unit on the field that has upgradable talents and so on, more resembling an actual DOTA 2 hero.

When I said “help your team fight” I actually meant as a unit on the board, so it isn’t a big surprise to me. A game dev friend and I were actually out for a couple beers a few weeks ago and talked about how auto-battlers were basically the next logical step of card games, and some ideas of how we’d do one of these games, and having your guy on the board was actually one of the big things. It kinda makes sense.

The talent customization is a pleasant surprise though. I wonder if the next phase of testing will feel weird/overly same-y with only 2 underlords. But hopefully they’ll be able to phase some more in relatively quickly.

The patch just dropped. The Big Update (overview link).
(Changelog link)

Short summary of the biggest new things::

  • The eponymous Underlords. Two available right now. They are a unit on the board and you get upgrades to their abilities via traits.
  • Duo mode for coop battling.
  • Additional heroes and alliances.
  • Rework and rebalancing of almost all old heroes and alliances.
  • Jail. Each day 8-12 heroes are banned, preventing too stale or too predictable a meta (great addition IMO).
  • New UI (meh).

Among the stat changes is a doubling of all health values while abilities and damage did not get buffed at the same rate. This means fights are slower and less bursty.