The Dota Underlords' Big Update has been out for a few days already and the meta has started to settle in. Although we're not just ready yet to completely revise our tier lists, as people are still experimenting with the new Alliances, heroes, and Underlords, it's been enough time to get a tentative ranking for the 12 new chess pieces.
In this article, we're ranking the new units on a 10-point scale: 10 being equivalent to the very best heroes in the game, and 1 being Shadow Shaman level.
On the bottom, we're also looking at each of the four new Alliances and how good they are in a vacuum.
Io - 9/10
- Massive impact on the game!
- Tether is great on carries like Troll Warlord, Lifestealer, and Savages
- Relocate is game-breaking in long fights
- Druid Alliance is great, but Primordial is fairly useless
Bristleback - 8/10
- Can absolutely carry a fight if it goes long
- Quill Spray will shred the enemy if left unchecked
- Pair him with Octarine Essence for more casts
- Pair him with Io for more protection if you can't build Brawny buff earlyNyx
Assassin - 8/10
- Break, bonus damage on first hit
- Spiked Caparace is very strong
- Insect Alliance is great defensive tool for Assassins
- Core Assassins in every Assassin build
Dazzle - 7/10
- Great Alliances, allows completion of 4-Troll early
- Troll and Healer pair well with Knights
- Shadow Wave is great at healing many melee units due to the damage component.
Lifestealer - 7/10
- Very strong Alliances in Heartless and Brute
- Ability makes him a dangerous late game unit
- Must-have for Brute builds
Faceless Void - 7/10
- He's more appealing outside Assassin builds, as Chronocube harms Assassins
- Much better fit for Mages and Hunters.
- Great with Octarine Essence at ★★
Shadow Demon - 7/10
- Strong with Anessix
- Powerful ability that crowd controls enemy units
- Not the best of Alliances (Heartless = Good, Demon = Average)
- Not so great with Hobgen
Broodmother - 5/10
- Middle of the road unit
- Main appeal is Insects Alliance, but Sand King remains the better 4-cost Insect
- Ability not too impressive either
- No reason to play her outside Insect build
Magnus - 5/10
- Not great, not terrible
- Part of the strong, Brute Alliance
- Shaman Alliance makes him weaker than other Brutes
- Empower is super strong when you get Magnus to ★★★
Weaver - 4/10
- Very evasive and hard to kill
- Low damage compared to other Hunters
- Main appeal is Insect Alliance
- There are better Hunters than him for Insect-less builds
Sven - 3/10
- The Ace effect goes against the Knights design philosophy of durability + healing
- Sven probably weakens your composition late game
- Cleave and God's Strength are strong and appealing, however
- Good if you need Scaled, especially at ★★
Legion Commander - 1/10
- Duel can make her a late-game menace
- Stats are very low, both DPS and HP-wise
- This makes winning Duels difficult
- Needs stat buff to become meta
The Healers have in some sense replaced the Warlock Alliance as the premier healing Alliance. Necrophos is no longer a Warlock, but his ability and Heartless Alliance are tremendously powerful in a variety of builds. The most common build is a Knights build with Dazzle, Omniknight, and Necrophos, along with Batrider for Trolls, and Abaddon for Heartless. If you plan on using Healers, you really want to use Anessix as an Underlord, since her Martyr’s Boon ability is amplified by the Healer Alliance.
This Alliance is very impactful, summoning a swarm of little insects to constantly attack enemies. Each Insect deals 9 damage, but attacks 2.50 times per second. That is a total of 270 DPS from all 12 combined, affected by armor. That is a reasonable offensive power, but also causes enemies to miss 30% of their attacks, giving you some defensive utility as well. It can be countered, at least temporarily by constant AOE effects like Alchemist’s Acid Spray, or Enigma’s Midnight Pulse.
This Alliance is best paired with either Assassins or Hunters to make best use of Nyx Assassin or Weaver respectively. It can also be paired with a Warrior/Warlock/Savage composition by using Nyx Assassin, Sand King, and Broodmother in the late game. That is less consistent though, since it relies on getting both of the tier 4 Insects.
As discussed above in the Legion Commander section, this Alliance is great. It has a ton of potential to get bonus offensive and defensive capabilities turning Champions into amazingly strong units. The problem currently is that Legion Commander herself is quite weak, and that makes the Champion Alliance quite weak, since she is the only member.
Brutes are a core Alliance that reduce opponent’s damage output and increase your own. This means that if you want to play 4 Brutes, you probably do not need any other primary Alliances like Warriors, Knights, Hunters, Mages, or Assassins in order to win fights. They are best complemented with secondary Alliances like Heartless, Druids, and Demons. The 2 Brute Alliance can also be splashed into other compositions, primarily with Lifestealer plus Axe, Doom, or Treant Protector.