Dota Underlords: Best Strategies and Combinations Guide
In this guide, we analyse main alliance tactics that should bring you to the first place in Dota Underlords
Currently, Dota Underlords is in beta, and the game is actively changing. With each update, popular tactics from the original Auto Chess fade into background and new interesting combinations emerge. In this guide, we will look at the most successful combinations of alliances and items which will bring you victory in Dota Underlords.
Before we look at specific combinations, you should remember a few simple rules for collecting heroes in Underlords.
- The number of heroes’ copies is limited. Players grab copies of heroes from the common pool. There are 45 copies of first-tier hero, 30 copies of second-tier hero, 25 copies of third-tier hero, 15 copies of fourth-tier hero and just 10 copies of fifth-tier hero.
- After the player is out of the game, his copies return to the common pool and could be bought out. If you sell the copies of unnecessary heroes, they also return to the common pool.
Thus, one of the key skills of Dota Underlords player is to monitor the boards of his opponents. In order to understand which alliance you should collect, you must know what is collected by your opponents. Of course, chance also plays a material role in the game, but army composition is more important. Having understood your options and having allocated your resources correctly, you’ll be able to win the game with almost any army composition.
Main and secondary alliances
Several most popular key alliances have already been formed in ‘’chess’’. Typically, this is based on a strong bonus and a large number of heroes belonging to the alliance. Usually, they serve as the base of your army, that is, they require you to collect six members of the alliance to activate the second or third level of the bonus. More info about the latter can be found in our guide.
Main alliances are Warriors, Knights, Mages, Hunters and Assassins. They have at least 6 characters, and their basic characteristics allow you to materially strengthen your army. Sometimes, Warlocks and Demons can be your main alliances, but such composition is a rare case.
All other alliances are secondary. For example, Savage are among them – they have six heroes, but the bonus is too weak for the late game.
The latest update provided a material boost to Knights. From now on, their bonus always works and is additionally increased when they stand near each other. This allowed Knights to get into players’ favorites. There’s a big chance that you’ll see the army composition discussed below. As the alliance has only 6 characters, we’ll analyze two army compositions that best complement the Knights.
Knights — Trolls
At the beginning of the game, you should take Batrider as fast as you can as he is both a Knight and a Troll. After this, pair him with Chaos Knight, Luna or Abaddon. At the initial stage, when you do not have 🌟🌟-star heroes, you should take tanks in your army. For example, you can take Pudge who will provide you with the Heartless bonus (-5 armor) together with Abaddon.
In the middle of the game, you should have 🌟🌟-star heroes that have been mentioned above and get a bonus from four Knights and two Trolls. The most useful is Troll Warlord but you can also take Witchdoctor if you cannot find him. The latter will provide you with more control, and it will be easier to collect his copies. Then, you should find Dragon Knight or Viper who activates his second ability (Dragon form at the beginning of the battle). Dragon Knight is very powerful after 🌟🌟, so try to raise his level as soon as possible.
In the late game, you should collect all knights of at least the second level. 🌟🌟🌟 are obligatory for Luna and Chaos Knight who deal the most damage. If you can get a Batrider with 🌟🌟🌟, that’s good, if not – the main thing is that Troll Warlord gets 🌟🌟. Ultimately, you will have used 8 cells, and you’ll have one place for some strong character with good control like Disruptor, Tidehunter or Enigma. You’ll end up with an army with good defense from physical and magical damage and a huge damage per second thanks to Luna, Chaos Knight and Troll Warlord.
- It’s difficult to get Dragon Knight who is the key Knight piece.
- The loss of health at the initial stage due to weak starting heroes (Knights and Trolls have poor health). To avoid this, you’ll have to play with tanks and remove them later in the game.
- If you do not collect the above-mentioned heroes at 🌟🌟🌟, you may not have enough damage to break Warriors or more successful Knights.
- Coordinated Assault. If you were lucky enough to find this item at the early stage of the game, you may play without the second Troll for some time.
- Age of Chivalry. This global item may be useful if you haven’t found something better (Blade Mail, Mask of Madness, Brooch of the Aggressor).
- Dragon’s Hoard. You can consider this item as you’ll have to get two Dragons in the team anyway. The bonus is useful, but a strong item may be better. For example, the Eye of Skadi and Sacred Relic for attackers and Mekanism and Vanguard for tanks.
Knights — Mages
This combination is similar to Trolls, but it is more flexible and can change depending on which heroes you get. You may get six Knights plus three Mages as support or make a turn towards Mages, collecting six of them and using strong Knights as support.
At the beginning of the game, you can take Ogre-Magi as tank as you won’t be provided with good Knights. From Mages, take Crystal Maiden, Puck and Razor. You should first raise the level of Razor. Ogre will help you quickly get the bonus of Mage alliance, but you’ll have to drop him in the middle of the game. Take only strong Knights – Luna and Chaos Knight are a priority in the early and middle game.
By the middle of the game, you should have an alliance of at least three Mages: Puck, Razor, Crystal Maiden. Ideally, you should have 🌟🌟 for each of them. You may have a couple of Razors with the second level. Also, you need to find four Knights (ideally, Dragon Knight, Luna, Chaos Knight and Abaddon) who will provide you with the second level of alliance. Later, Abaddon will synergize with Lich if you go up to the tenth hero. Puck and Dragon Knight will get powerful abilities while the remaining Knights and Mages will take main damage or tank enemies while Luna and Razor eliminate the enemy army.
In the end, you’ll have an army with good defense in the form of Knight bonus and a couple of strong DPS. Depending on whom you have collected first, you should decide whether you’ll try to get six Knights or six Mages. This decision should be impacted by whether the enemy has Scaled who may materially decrease the damage dealt by your Mages. If you get too much damage, you should limit yourself to three Mages and collect the combination of Knights. If you don’t deal enough damage yourself, focus on Mages and use Knights as support. Do not delay this decision until the late rounds of the game. Unless you have a series of victories, you won’t be able to change your tactics.
The downside of this combination is the cost (Mages and Knights are very expensive, especially key pieces – Razor and Dragon Knight). In this regard, we recommend using Knights – Mages only if you have a series of victories. The other disadvantages are the same as in the previous combination.
The useful items are also similar to the previous combination. If you get the Final Flash in the middle of the game, you should seriously consider collecting six Mages. In general, we recommend collecting items that boost damage and durability.
Warriors — Trolls
This combination has almost eliminated the classic combination of nine Warriors as the latter’s cost is simply monstrous. It is almost impossible to find nine Warriors and increase their level, which cannot be said about a couple of Trolls and six Warriors.
At the beginning of the game, you should focus on quickly getting the first level of the alliance. The best Warriors for the start are Tusk and Tiny. Juggernaut or Axe may take the third place, but they quickly lose their relevance in the late game. Thus, do not invest many resources in them. However, it will be great if you quickly get the second level. Also, Lycan is useful at the beginning of the game. In combination with Tusk, he will provide you with Savage bonus (+10% damage). Lycan is very strong, so the faster he gets the second level, the better.
In the middle of the game, you should find six Warriors while you can keep a Troll ready to pair with Troll Warlord who may be hard to get. His best pair is Witchdoctor. In the middle of the game, you’ll likely have Warriors Tusk, Lycan, Tiny, Pudge, Slardar. Troll Warlord should be the sixth piece in the pack. If you haven’t found him, feel free to take Kunkka or Doom who are the strongest Warriors and are key figures in the late game.
At high levels, you should abandon weak Warriors (Axe, Juggernaut, Tiny). You can get Tusk to the third level, but a better idea is to sell him as the Savage bonus won’t be material in the late game. Ideally, you should have Pudge (🌟🌟-🌟🌟🌟), Slardar (🌟🌟-🌟🌟🌟), Lycan (🌟🌟), Kunkka (🌟🌟), Doom (🌟🌟-🌟🌟🌟) and Troll Warlord (🌟🌟-🌟🌟🌟). The latter couple provides you with the best damage, so try to get at least one character to the third level.
Ultimately, you will have seven cells occupied, so you’ll have three more slots for other heroes. For example, Disruptor, who will switch off Mages and Assassins with his ability. Also, you can take Tidehunter to provide your army with resistance to magic, or Necrophos who will decrease the enemy’s armor (Heartless bonus in combination with Pudge) and heal allies with his ability.
- High cost. You must have three heroes of the fourth tier. It will be expensive to raise levels for everyone.
- Warriors are very dependent on items. Without good defense, they will lose to Mages and Hunters.
- Without Troll Warlord, you may lack the required damage to deal with Knights or more powerful Warriors. The situation may be corrected by a parallel development of a strong hero, for example, Shadow Fiend, who may provide you with stable damage for the first time. You may even stay with him in the late game as Warriors – Trolls have free slots.
- Forged in Battle. If you have found this item early in the game, you may consider taking Axe and Juggernaut to the late game as by round 30 they will boast a huge amount of health.
- Unstoppable. Victory is one step closer once you have found this item. A couple of additional seconds is a very important advantage in Underlords. After the bonus is triggered, the enemy stops attacking your Warrior, but he can use his ability or deal damage. Finding several copies is big luck – a combination of nine Warriors becomes attractive again.
- All standard items for defense and fast mana accumulation: Brooch of the Martyr, Chainmail, Vitality Boost, Blade Mail, Vanguard, Mekanism.
Hunters — Deadeye
This combination has hardly changed over time. Hunters – Deadeye have the best damage in the game. With proper upgrades, they will shoot Mages before they can use their spells.
At the beginning of the game, you should take Drow Ranger and Beastmaster. The archer needs to quickly get to the second level, while the Beastmaster is very strong and deserves the third level. In the first rounds, it’s a good idea to pair Pudge with Drow Ranger to get the Heartless bonus. At first, Beastmaster and Pudge will be sufficient enough to defend your Deadeye. We also recommend taking Sniper to the team as soon as possible to get the first Hunters bonus. Later, Sniper will be one of the best Deadeye in your army.
In the middle of the game, you should focus on getting upgrades for Hunters. Take Wind Ranger and start searching for Medusa copies, and at least one Mirana. The latter is needed to get the Hunters bonus before you get Tidehunter who may replace one of the initial tanks.
In the late game, all Hunters should have at least the second level. Characters like Sniper and Beastmaster should preferably be maxed out. To complete the combination with Deadeye, you’ll need Gyrocopter (🌟🌟) who will make Sniper even more dangerous. Try to get 🌟🌟 or even 🌟🌟🌟 for Medusa who is also a key character for Hunters. Mirana has good damage but is too expensive. Without the second level, Tidehunter will suffer from enemy attacks, so make sure that he has some survivability item or do not put him on the board ahead of time.
Ultimately, you’ll get an army with huge damage, protection from magic and a couple of slots for tanks or support who will cover the main forces. The best characters for this role are Druids Treant Protector and Enchantress who will not use a lot of resources during their upgrades. If you have enough gold, you can supplement your army with Doom or Disruptor.
- Hunters are popular, so there’s big competition for the pieces.
- Without strong tanks, Hunters get much damage and lose. You will have to invest in heroes from other alliances to continue a series of victories.
- Hunters are highly dependent on damage-related items. If you don’t have many of them, you’ll have problems against enemy combinations.
- Hunter’s Focus. The best bonus for Hunters which materially increases the damage of all shooters.
- Mask of Madness. Great for Drow Ranger. Finding the Mask in the early game is big luck.
- Coordinated Assault. If you have been lucky to find this item in the early stage of the game, you may put a Troll in your team to increase attack speed.
Another classical tactic which involves building a combination of six Mages out of seven that are available in the game. The maximum bonus of the alliance provides -100% magic resistance for enemies which allows dealing with even such strong groups as Warriors and Knights. A good combination of Mages needs only one round of spells to send enemy heroes to the fountain.
At the beginning of the game, consider Ogre-Magi and Warlock. The first one is a necessary piece at the start to quickly activate the first bonus of Mages alliance, while the second one plays the role of a tank who can later synergize with Shadow Fiend who is very strong with Mages. Tiny is also a good tank as he deals mass magic damage. At first opportunity, find and get the second level for Razor and later for Crystal Maiden. Do not invest much in Ogre-Magi as you’ll have to say goodbye to him in the middle game.
In the middle game, you should collect copies of Puck and Lina who need a second level. Continue collecting copies of Razor as you should ideally get him to the third level. If you have no luck with this, try to collect Shadow Fiend who has a similar combat potential. Finally, your main goal at this stage is the Keeper of the Light. You should find at least one copy to have six Mages and get the final bonus. Be careful with putting him on the board too early if your army has a weak defense. To strengthen your army, use Doom or Kunkka. With good items, they will be difficult to defeat even at the first level.
In the late game, you should hunt for Lich. Ideally, you should get him to the second level and sell Ogre-Magi if you haven’t done this before. All mages are not required to get to the third level as with proper upgrades they’ll have enough damage. The most difficult opponents are Knights, especially if they are paired with Scaled. In this case, you will have problems without proper upgrades. You’ll need to improve your control by taking Medusa and Tidehunter who may detain the enemy and provide your Mages with times for another shot.
- Vulnerability for control. Mages are usually located close to each other and easily fall under Disruptor’s ability.
- Weak against Assassins. The latter are ideal against Mages as they quickly jump to the last rows and eliminate them. Choosing a box-shaped position in the corner may help your Mages but not much.
- Long development. When other combinations get stronger, the alliance of Mages cannot improve materially because you must collect as many as six heroes while protecting your front line.
- Final Flash. The best bonus for Mages as it allows to quickly cast a spell after 30% health.
- Brooch of the Aggressor, Arcane Boots. These fast mana items will materially improve your chances in the early game.
- Octarine Essence or Refresher Orb will come in handy in the late game for Shadow Fiend and Lich so that they can cast their spells several times.
Very popular among novices. The members of the alliance deal huge damage in the early and middle game, but they have problems holding the lead in the late game. Assassins are very dependent on levels and items, so it may be hard to win playing with them. You will have to spend gold and search for copies early enough. Also, it is likely you will not be able to get all nine Assassins. In this case, you should take solid Warlocks, Warriors or Druids who can detain enemy tanks.
At the beginning of the game, you should take Bloodseeker or Bounty Hunter, collect their copies and increase their level as fast as you can. Assassins must exceed the level of their opponent and require upgrades of damage and attack speed. Another great Assassin that is worth taking at the start of the game is the Queen of Pain. She has huge damage and is worth upgrading to the third level, while you’ll later have to abandon the services of Bloodseeker and Bounty Hunter. Do not take Morphling in your team as he is too weak. At first, Assassins can play without tanks but later you should take Slardar, for example. First, he will decrease the armor of your goals. Second, he will provide you with a bonus to magic resistance in combination with Slark.
In the middle game, you should strive to collect Slark and find Templar Assassin and Phantom Assassin. These are three key attacking heroes, so upgrading them is your top priority. As for Sand King and Viper, they are objectively weaker but should be collected in order to have a combination of six Assassins. If you haven’t got Bloodseeker or Bounty Hunter to the third level by round 20, you can safely say goodbye to them.
In the late game, Assassins have trouble staying in the lead. You should keep the pace and find the copies of your creatures faster than your opponents. Your goal is to get the third level for more characters. Against solid armies with Warriors and Knights, you should use heroes with powerful control and damage to armor, like Slardar and Alchemist. Other Warlocks are also good with Assassins: Enigma, Necrophos, Disruptor or, if there’s nothing better, Witchdoctor.
- The high pace of the game which can be difficult to keep with. Often, instead of a stable economy, you have to spend gold to update the list of heroes as you must constantly upgrade your army.
- Assassins are vulnerable to control. You will have to increase damage at a frantic pace so that your enemies do not have the time to use their spells.
- Pocket Sand. A useful bonus which provides all Assassins with some control at the very beginning. However, if you have to choose between the Eye of Skadi or Sacred Relic, you should prefer items that increase damage.
- Mask of Madness. The best item for Slark and many other Assassins. Just grab it.
- Big-Time Contract. If you get this item at the beginning of the game, you may perform a fierce combination with Bloodseeker, Ogre-Magi and Warlock. Give the item to Bloodseeker and put the rest in the very center so that they are quickly killed. Bloodseeker will get +200% damage and eliminate the entire enemy army on his own.
Demons and Demon Hunters
One of the most difficult combinations whose success is highly dependent on the early game. All Demons are very powerful heroes on their own, but for the alliance bonus to work with a large number of them, you’ll need Demon Hunters: Anti-Mage and Terrorblade.
At the beginning of the game, you should collect Anti-Mage faster than the other players and hunt for Terrorblade. While it’s enough to get Anti-Mage to the second level, Terrorblade has one of the best attacks in the game, so you must get him to the third level. At the early stage of the game, you will also get Queen of Pain and Chaos Knight, powerful Demons who can be useful to your army.
In the middle game, you should focus on finding Shadow Fiend who provides huge damage on the second level. The advantage of Demons is that their bonus is stable. You can keep several 🌟🌟-star heroes on the board, and each of them will get +50% pure damage. Thus, you’ll be able to unload some pieces from the bench while you are waiting for copies of the desired Demons.
In the late game, you should have a third-level Terrorblade. Without his damage, you’ll have material problems. Make sure that at first, he has a solid shield in the form of Doom. You can provide both of them with defensive and attacking items depending on the current situation. Another advantage of Demons: you may get anyone to support them. Of course, it’s better to consider strong Warlock characters (Necrophos, Alchemist, Disruptor) but you can also get more control (Medusa, Tidehunter, Kunkka). It all depends on your preferences and enemy armies.
- It’s hard to collect Terrorblade. The enemies will most likely buy his copies to slow you down. Also, almost every third player wants to play with Demons, so the competition is fierce in the early game.
- Demons have a better survival rate than Assassins but killing them is realistic. Make sure to have defensive artifacts.
- Demons are vulnerable to control. Put heroes with powerful control into your army to provide your Terrorblade with time.
- Strange Bedfellows. The bonus is not felt at the early stages of the game but, if you can collect many Demons, Terrorblade will deal huge damage.
- Demons need both defensive and attacking items like Vanguard and the Eye of Skadi. The first one is a great purchase for Chaos Knight, while the second one suits Doom. Terrorblade needs Moon Shard so that the hero turns into a demon as soon as possible.