A few weeks ago, Valve announced that it’d be making its own version of the massively popular Dota 2 mod Auto Chess. Today, it revealed that it’s called Dota Underlords, and it’ll go into open beta in “approximately” one week. And if you’ve purchased the Dota 2 International Battle Pass, you can already start playing Valve’s spin on the deck-building sensation that’s sweeping several nations.
Valve describes Dota Underlords as “a new stand-alone game that pits you against seven opponents in a battle of wits that will have you building, combining, and leveling-up a crew in a battle of dominance for the city of White Spire.” So basically, you purchase heroes and pit them against each other in automated battles in which combos, counters, and synergies rule the day.
The stress test open to Battle Pass owners, which begins today, will last for about a week. After that, Underlords will enter open beta, at which point it will be free to everyone on PC, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. Once the open beta begins, Underlords will also have ranked matchmaking and progression.
Valve says that it’s sharing Underlords with players “fairly early in development,” so probably expect some unpolished elements.
“While we intend to constantly be updating the game and adding features throughout the Beta Season, your feedback is critical to help the team know what issues are important to you,” Valve wrote in the blog post announcing the release.
Here’s hoping the second time’s a charm, and Valve is prepared to listen better than it did when it was testing Artifact. Even in a vacuum, there’d be reason for skepticism, but Underlords is also up against some stiff competition in the form of a League-of-Legends-flavored version of Auto Chess as well as an Epic Games Store variation on the theme created by—dun dun dun—the studio behind the original Dota 2 Auto Chess mod.