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Dota 2 Welcomes The Artist Formerly Known As Pit Lord

He's the pits...

The All-Star match at The International 2016 saw the reveal of new Dota 2 [official site] hero, Underlord. We wrote about it in our TI6 daily recap but he's been so long anticipated that he deserves his own post.

Vrogos, the Underlord - formerly known as Azgalor, the Pit Lord in DotA and Warcraft thanks to DotA's origins as a mod - will be added to the game from 23 August. Underlord completes the Dota 2 roster in terms of heroes also present in DotA so from then on we're entering uncharted territory in terms of the Dota 2 roster and whether/when further heroes will be added*.

I'm sort of torn between referring to him as Underlord (probably better for SEO from this point onward AND avoiding the legal chit chat that comes with the fact pit lords are a warrior species/race/other in Blizzard's Warcraft-iverse) and just persevering with "The Artist Formerly Known As Pit Lord." I think I managed to keep "The Artist Formerly Known As Kate Middleton" going for ages when I worked at AOL when she became Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

Who or what is The Artist Formerly Known As Pit Lord?

Short answer: He's a six-limbed melee strength hero in the form of a big demon with a big blade.

The longer answer is where I explain his abilities based on the data currently out there thanks to people delving into Dota 2 files BUT with the caveat that this stuff might change a bit in the time before launch because tweaking and so on (one of the ability mouseover explanations in-game still had him referred to as Pit Lord, for example). I think the Dota 2 Gamepedia wiki has the most up-to-date info:

Q: Firestorm

Calls down waves of fire that damage enemy units in the target area, and continues to burn them for additional damage over time.

W: Pit Of Malice

A deadly pit is conjured at the target location; any unit that enters is unable to move for some time and takes damage. Each enemy unit can only be affected once.

E: Atrophy Aura

Nearby enemy units are weakened, losing a portion of their base damage. If it dies while under this effect, Underlord gains bonus damage.

R: Dark Rift (ultimate ability)

Opens a dark rift at the targeted friendly unit's position. After a short delay, Underlord and all nearby friendly heroes are teleported to that unit's location. Dark Rift can be cancelled at any time during the cast. If it is cancelled in this way or the target unit dies before the spell becomes active, Dark Rift goes into cooldown.

A custom novelty 10v10 match isn't going to be the best place to see whether the hero is broken/OP/useful (although, y'know, VOLVO NERF PLS, PIT LORD BROKEN etc etc). When first watching the match I was mostly imagining that the horns and green glow of the hero's head were a fascinator and he was off to Ascot. Also, if you're not used to Dota heroes I feel like the presence of Magnus (four legs, two arms, clutching a spear) and Centaur Warrunner (four legs, two arms, clutching a gigantic axe) it might be a bit difficult to pick the four-legged, two-armed demon carrying a big blade out of the throng.

BUT! here's a gif I've made from the game - you can see The Artist Formerly Known As Pit Lord in the top right casting his ultimate which is the thing that then transports a cluster of heroes deeper into the Radiant base, then you see the scorched ring on the ground which marks where he's used Pit Of Malice:

*The omens are good given the anonymous developer, Icefrog, has added several new heroes into DotA and Dota 2 since the latter came into being - Oracle and Earth Spirit, for example. But the final inclusion of Pit Lord in the game does feel like an important milestone for Dota 2.

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