The Big Gameplay patch might not be here, but we have a whole new hero to keep us entertained and for the first time in a very, very long while we got an actual new carry in the game. One that looks promising, but might need some serious buffs, from the looks of it.
We think it is very much possible to flex Muerta into other roles, but she is a carry first and foremost. She might not have the strongest of steroids or the best farming tools, but she can dish out very serious damage, as long as she has the gold for it.
On top of it, her stats are among the highest for an Intelligence hero. Most notably, she has a 3.0 Agility Growth — the second highest growth in the game for Intelligence heroes. Her Attack Speed and Armor in the late game are well above average. She also has a very respectable 3.3 Int Gain and the only stat she is lacking in is Strength, with only two extra points per level. But who needs tankiness, when you can be Invulnerable?
Well, technically, Muerta is not invulnerable, but it is a hero that breaks the axiom of Spell Immunity and Ethereal Form not being stackable. With her ultimate, Pierce the Veil and Black King Bar active, Muerta can be impervious to both physical and magical damage types.
She can still be stunned by BKB-piercing abilities, like Primal Roar, and she can still take Pure damage from abilities like Sonic Wave, but for most intents and purposes she is, in fact, unkillable. At least for a period of time.
Moreover, in Pierce the Veil we also get the return of a very old classic: transformation projectile dodging. Back in the day, it wasn’t just Manta Style that allowed you to dodge spells with invulnerability. Lycan’s Shapeshift, Dragon Knight’s Dragon Form, Alchemist’s Chemical Rage, Lone Druid’s True Form and Terrorblade’s Metamorphosis could all be used to dodge single-target projectiles. This was removed some time ago, but with Muerta’s Pierce the Veil reintroducing this mechanic to the game, there is a chance it makes a full comeback on a whole roster of transformation heroes.
All of the above might sound a little too broken, but we don’t think it is. Very few players knew it, but purchasing Ethereal Blade, using it on yourself and then pressing BKB would give you the same Invulnerability, even in the last patch. Actually, it worked like that for quite some time now. This wasn’t particularly abused, because it isn’t necessarily that strong.
There are two big distinctions in favor of Muerta, though: the duration on Pierce the Veil level three is double the duration of the Ethereal Blade and, more importantly, Muerta gets to attack you.
What are the main characteristics that make for a good carry hero? Some might say it is the damage output, some might point to farming speed, others will concentrate on survivability and macro aspects.
The reality is — right now there is no easy definition. Heroes like Nature's Prophet who don’t really have a steroid can carry off the back of their farming speed and pure attribute gains, while heroes who can’t really farm, like Ursa, can make up for it with farming-oriented items. Essentially, the game is free-form and sandbox enough to allow for many different types of carries, so for the sake of the Muerta discussion we are just going to define DPS core heroes as “heroes who simply don’t do enough to be a support”.
Sure, she has a very interesting and extremely versatile ability in Dead Shot. Even without the talent it has an insane reach for some backline poke. It can also be used to force people to run away from you, or, even better, force them to run towards your team. The potential for creative play is very high, but we feel like it isn’t reliable and consistent enough to warrant support play.
Not even the full range of Dead Shot
The Calling is an interesting and seemingly powerful tool, but we feel like the counterplay potential against it is very high. With a 30 second cooldown it is also very restrictive in how it can be used in a fight, but at level four of the ability it can deal up to ~1000 magical damage to a group of targets, so it can be very interesting as a stack farming tool.
At the same time, Gunslinger is definitely a very strong steroid. It is essentially a 50% (70%) chance to attack twice in a single animation. It is great in a teamfight, but it truly shines in a 1v1 duels. Because Muerta can, in fact, hit the same target twice with both pistols. So for the start of a fight it is an extra chance to proc items like Gleipnir on secondary targets, while by the end of the fight it is, essentially, a 50% (70%) 2x Crit. That can Crit itself and provide other benefits like Lifesteal.
Muerta at level 30 has higher base auto-attack DPS than both Juggernaut and Phantom Assassin
The added magic damage on ultimate is just a cherry on top, one that can come in very handy when playing against high armor targets. It can be quite confusing to use against BKB targets and could be on of the reasons Muerta isn’t doing too well right now, but in theory it is exceptional against heroes like Morphling and Terrorblade, as long as you engage after they’ve used their BKBs or you have enough lockdown.
Muerta release is definitely soured by the absence of a long-awaited major patch, but at least we have a new hero to play with. One that is filling a niche that hasn’t seen many new releases in a very long while, while also introducing something new to the game.
All in all, we are probably as disappointed as many of you are. Perhaps even more so, since writing interesting content for Dota is problematic when there are no changes to the game for so long.
At the same time, we remain cautiously optimistic: there has to be a reason for the big patch to be delayed and it will most likely be worth the wait. In the meantime stay tuned for mini-patch trend blogs and Muerta discussions.
Finally, a carry and, a range carry hero! She is an excellent addition to the hero roster. I would argue that she also can be played at mid and offlane with some fancy items and skill builds. Support is probably a no-go with Calling having a huge cooldown and actual dependency on some items to shine.
Gunslinger passive is pretty basic but satisfying. Same as Dead Shot - simple vector ability, but has enough depth. In general, an excellent example of a casual, but fun hero design (ahem, ahem, League of 200 years). And art direction is also great. GJ Valve.
" writing interesting content for Dota is problematic when there are no changes to the game for so long. " indeed.
Makes for a decent 4, but so can any hero
No she is NOT a carry.
Valve tried really hard to do a carry, while doing an interesting kit, but she's definitly not a carry.
Prolly a mid (if she wasn't loosing all matchup from what mid players told me)
or a P4 (but then why not pick willow ?) -not to mention that p4 players told me that she was doing decent as p4 cause of the support item they were buying and not really due to the kit.-
A carry need to be able to farm decently fast (or have an insane scaling even with low farm) & deal a constant stream of damage and deal with map creep's equilibrium.
She's way too slow, is completely stopped by bkb, and so squishy despite low mobility that she'll never be able to ever deal with creep waves on the map.
She however, has the constant stream of damage if opponents forgot to order a brain at birth and don't buy bkb.
Basically, all she has for herself as a carry is great single target dps (especially against none magic immune and lone target). I could literally pick willow p1 and have the same impact ingame and willow is obviously not a p1
I agree, I am looking at the stats for the hero in higher level games and it seems players are not finding success with her as a carry at all. Her main DPS passive still looks incredible, but I overvalued it compared to utility from Dead Shot/The Calling. Wondering how Valve will react to it since they obviously wanted to make a carry.
It’s because people don’t max passive and build EVERYTHING but carry items. They also don’t know how to play and position as this kind of marksman, probably never played LoL.
In almost all games I’ve seen people build her as support and max 1-2 instead 1-3. Then they build something like Mjolnier, or even worse - Force Stuff/Lense.
But she is useless in that build, her kit scales only with pure damage and attack speed. She farms a creep pack very fast with 1+3, she scales well with Daedalus, BKB, MKB, Satanic.
I played her mid via this build and it’s very strong and comes online faster than Drow Ranger, for example. She can also build something like 2 Falcon Blades and be very strong early as well.
She is a carry and nothing else, trying to build her differently is autolose.
That was very much my initial impression as well, but looking at high level pub games, she is doing surprisingly well as a four. Technically any hero can be played as a four, but still.
I think her time as carry will come. Her passive is just way too strong in theory to be ignored. But I agree that her ultimate can be counter-productive when dealing with BKB targets
I agree. She has her weak sides, definitely, just like any other carry hero. But, with the correct min-maxed build, she is very strong, and I think people still sleep on her - I'm 100% sure her win rate will grow with time.