Noticing the popularity of the Auto Chess mod that was gaining ground with Dota fans, Valve decided to create an official version and capitalize on the market with Dota Underlords. The game has eight players go head to head tournament style on boards similar to chess. Players win by buying and upgrading heroes, using items, and implementing clever strategies.
There are some differences from the Auto Chess mod and general strategies that are important to keep in mind when playing this addictive game.
10 Synergy Is Key
A key strategy to doing well in Dota Underlords is to understand the various synergies and develop strategies that allow you to have multiple factions that utilize the synergies to keep everyone alive.
For instance, Brawny units are almost always good to have as they earn an HP bonus, they can then help keep your Hunter units alive who get a chance to perform multiple attacks against the enemy. Mages also make the enemy weak to magic attacks which a faction like Dragons, which start combat with full mana, can exploit.
9 Lose Or Win = Profit
The game is very forgiving for players who are struggling as it rewards you regardless of how well you perform. For instance, if a player loses multiple rounds in a row they achieve a gold payout to help them win the next round.
Also if the player loses in the creep rounds, they will still get an item it will just be randomized. The game is designed to give players a boost when they need it and crafty players can utilize this kindness to give them an edge in later battles.
8 Try To Win
Now having said that the game is forgiving to losers doesn’t mean it’s a good strategy to lose. An argument could be made for gold farming in the beginning, but other than that it’s typically in your best interest to win every round you fight in.
For instance, winning nine rounds in a row will give you three gold and if you successfully beat the creep rounds you get to pick the item that you want instead of relying on the gods of RNG to save you. Losses aren’t the end of the world, but winning is how you, you know, win.
7 Tanks First
The best heroes players can start with are tank units that have lots of hp. Even many of the high-level players start out with these damage sponges because it’s the best way to protect the glass cannon units and buy time to implement more complicated strategies later on.
Some good starting heroes are Axe, Tiny, and Tusk. Axe belongs to the Brawny faction which means HP bonuses and the Warrior faction which grants increased armor. Tusk is a Warrior as well and also belongs to Savage which grants increased attack damage. Tiny is also a Warrior and belongs to Primordials which have a chance of disarming opponents. Find a good starter tank that feeds into later synergies and you’re good to go.
6 Don’t Refresh The Shop
In the beginning of the game it’s tempting to refresh the hero shop if you’re not finding heroes that you like. Gold is going to be a scarce commodity in this game and refreshing the shop costs two gold. It’s better to have back up strategies if you aren’t finding the heroes you want in the beginning rather than spend the needed gold.
Once you have a surplus of gold built up then you can justify this expense, but when money’s tight in the beginning it’s not a great idea.
Speaking of gold, the best way to accumulate a pile of glittering coins is to rely on interest. For example, when a player has 10 gold they generate 10% interest at the beginning of the round, meaning one gold coin will be rewarded after the round.
If players can build this up to 50 it generates five gold coins which is the maximum payout. So a solid strategy is to build the stores up to 50, maintain that amount, and then spend any additional amount. Then in the last round go crazy in the stores with your 50 gold.
4 Upgraded Heroes Stay Alive Longer
One of the most important expenditures of gold is to upgrade your heroes. Upgraded heroes have better stats which allows them to live longer and deal more damage. To upgrade a hero you need to have three carbon copies of that hero in your reserves then sacrifice those heroes to upgrade the one.
Most of your gold will go towards scooping up heroes you plan on upgrading down the road. If you can swing it, having upgraded heroes in the early rounds is a great way to win and give yourself an early edge.
3 Get Your Men Ready
Similar to real chess and squad RPGs positioning is key to succeeding in this game. It’s very important to have your units positioned properly so they can provide support and protection for each other.
Tank units need to be up front to take the brunt of the damage while you’re weaker magic and damage dealers need to be in the back to stay alive. Knights get beefy damage resistances if they’re standing close to each other so it’s important to keep them spread enough to protect weaker units, but clustered enough to get the bonus.
2 Use Items Wisely
There are a lot of different items in this game with varying tiers of power. The only way to get these items is to beat the creep rounds that pop up between matches. If you win you choose the item you want if you lose you are given a random item.
Some items have effects that benefit you as the player, such as the Friends and Family Discount item which drops the price of all units by one gold. Most items are equipped on specific heroes and grant powerful bonuses like the Black King Bar which makes the hero immune to magic. It’s important to equip the right items with the right heroes to get the most use out of them so choose which item you want and which hero you equip it on wisely.
1 Mind The Curve
Like any game there is a learning curve and Dota Underlords’ is steep. Not to say it’s a difficult game to play, it’s just a very difficult game to master, especially with it being so new. There’s going to be a lot of testing and experimenting as players try to find the most powerful strategies to win and even those are temporary as other players will find ways to counter those tactics.
Be patient, dive in, try new things every once in a while. When you find something that works find ways to augment and adapt it as other players respond.