It's gone a bit quiet down in Dota Underlords. Valve's autobattler hasn't received a chunky update for a few weeks, with team-battle tacticians left to twiddle their thumbs while the meta stagnates. Last night's patch made Arc Warden a bit weaker and poked at a handful of other numbers, but I'm more interested in Valve's explanation for why update's have slowed down a tad. It's apparently because they've got "The Big Update" penned for the first half of October, which will bring "2 playable Underlords, the Duos team mode, 6 new Heroes, 3 new Alliances, and an updated user interface."
"Underlords" are not currently a thing in Dota Underlords, and there is next to no information about what one is. Intriguing.
A few weeks ago, Valve said they were going to introduce Underlords in a few weeks. "Underlords are a core part of the game", they said, that will "add a layer of fun and strategy to every match." Presumably, your choice of Underlord will makes certain builds stronger or weaker. It's vague, though, and impossible to get a firm grasp on. Let's go abstract.
On one level, more strategy sounds appealing. As I said in my Dota Underlords review, the game's main problem is determining when failure is down to your decisions or random chance. Dunderlords is about prodding at a slot-machine, cajoling it into giving you the best results while accepting that sometimes your opponents will simply be luckier. Another layer of control is welcome, but with so many variables in play at once it can be hard to determine which parts of your plan are working. More layers could well muddy that further, but paradoxically it's the only possible way of making the game substantially better. We'll see!
Duos mode sounds like a lark, mind. Details are thin, again, though Valve do mention you'll be fighting against three other teams. I like the idea of using the mode to introduce friends to the game. The appeal isn't immediately obvious, and I know some might have a better time easing themselves in when they're not just fending for themselves.
Here are the full patch notes for last night's update.