In Auto Chess, everything can work. If you follow some positioning, economy, and bench management common sense, and importantly - if you are a little bit lucky with your shop rolls, you can win with any strategy.
However, in order to consistently reach a top spot in your lobbies and increase your rank, you need to be aware of the meta. Because of this, with the help of Matt from Mattjestic Gaming (a Queen player on multiple accounts and one of the most consistent guide creators for Auto Chess!), we created this strategies tier list that will hopefully help you out!
/This Auto Chess strategy tier list was created in April 2019. We’ll update it once the meta changes significantly/
To increase your rank, you need to consistently get top 4 in your lobbies. Because of this, strategies have two criteria:
Bear in mind that most builds perform poorly when 3 or more people contest the same hero pool. This means that if you see multiple people going for one of the Tier 1 strats, it’s not a good idea to go for it as well. It might be better to choose one of the Tier 2 strats that isn’t getting contested and is a good counter.
Knight lineups give the best of both worlds - good consistency, but at the same time quite good late-game potential because of Dragons/Hunters/Trolls. They are also great against Mages, who are currently common.
Mage lineups, in general, pack the hardest late-game punch, but they are fairly inconsistent. Because of this, (3) Mages as a secondary synergy is easier to make work than trying to fully commit to Mages and possibly failing in the mid game.
Hunters are also strong in the late game, but they are a little bit more consistent than Mages. It's easier to build (6) Hunters because Medusa + Tide are great utility units that you would want anyway for the late game. Moreover, it's quite viable to stay on (3) Hunters if you find yourself in a bloodbath in round 21-26 and need more frontline and utility quicker.
Warrior lineups are very consistent, but they lack end-game strength. The best Warrior lineups transition into another synergy and don't commit fully to Warriors (keep only 3-4 Warriors, replace the early-game warriors with Doom/Kunkka, they are still two of the best units in the game). Orcs are also important to utilize - the extra HP, unlike the armor, is useful against magic damage. In fact, Orc-Warrior is one of the best starting points for Hunters.
Assassins are a bit low on the list simply because their consistency score suffers from the fact that they are heavily contested in most games. Three Assassin players in the lobby will make it very hard to get the three-star upgrades you need to place high (or win). If they are not contested in the lobby, they are quite consistent, and they would easily place you top 4 (so their overall place on the tier list will rise).
Goblins and Gods are unique in the sense that they need a specific legendary unit to work in the late game. This makes them inconsistent. They are easier to make work in lower-skill lobbies, where you can afford to be a bit greedier and to reach higher levels faster.
Take into account your lobby skill level as well. It changes the viability of some strats!
Knights are the most balanced out of the Tier 1 strats. They have a great gradual power curve. CK + the Knight bonus will carry you in the early game, (4) Knights ideally with (2) Undead bonus will carry you in the mid game, and Dragons/Trolls/Hunters will carry you late.
Dragon + Knights lineups are Tier one and unlikely to fall off for two simple reasons:
The core of the lineup is (4) Knights + (3) Dragons + ideally Necro & Aba for the armor reduction and sustain. Everything after that is a luxury. Since you're trying to get DK to three stars, it's a great idea to put two two-star DKs in the draft in the late game until you're able to reach three stars (if you are).
The problem with the strat is that not getting a fast two-star DK could lose you the game, and DK is a relatively commonly contested unit. The difference between a Dragons draft in the late game with e.g. two two-star DKs (or a 3*) and a Dragons draft without a two-star DK is game-breaking.
Knights are versatile, so countering them is actually pretty hard. The best you could do is to have multiple control units (Medusa, Tide, etc.) to prevent the DK from freely auto-attacking for as long as possible. Spreading out is also a good idea in order to avoid some of DK’s splash damage.
variation is much more defensive. Most people say (6) Knights is an over-kill
and (4) do a good enough job, which is true, but (6) Knights shouldn’t be underestimated
when you’re playing against Mages. The extra chance to have the magic
resistance on when the enemy spells go off is very valuable. Moreover, (6)
Knights + Necro (sustain + (2) Undead) is a very solid and consistent mid-game lineup. It relies less on getting the two-star DK - you
have the luxury to wait for it much longer.
(4) Knights + (4) Trolls is a classic and easy combo. You need only 7 units and you have a very solid mid-game lineup – both tanky and deals solid damage. Your 8th unit should be Disruptor because he’ll give you some control + the powerful (2) Shamans bonus, which is absolutely great for PvE rounds.
In the late game, you have two possible choices:
Likely the strongest secondary synergy in the game because of the (3) Mages bonus, which buffs the spell damage of many high-tier non-mage units like Shadow Fiend, Kunkka, Disruptor, etc.
We already mentioned that Mages (especially when 6) have the highest Strength score, yet are quite inconsistent. Warriors, on the other hand, are consistent but weak late, which makes the combination of the two classes natural - they compensate for each other's weaknesses.
The great thing about Mages with Warriors is that you can go for Humans as well - the silence is very powerful in the late game.
This 9-unit lineup is relatively standard for this progression:
If you add both, you have 5 Humans and you can possibly add an additional one to get the (6) Humans bonus if you really feel you can use Silence to win (e.g. in the place of Axe).
Alternatively, you can sell one of your early-game Warriors and add two additional Mages (Lich + 1) to get the (6) Mages bonus, which is likely the more standard option with the highest possible ceiling if you have the luxury to hit lvl10.
The core of the lineup is (2) Elementals (Razor + Tiny/Morph), and (3) Mages (Razor + CM and one more). This leaves you a lot of space to maneuver in the early and late game, which makes the lineup more consistent than most Mage lineups, yet still with a high ceiling.
You can start either with (3) Goblins or as in this example - (3) Warriors (one of which Tiny). You get Razor + 1 Element and two other Mages (preferably CM + KotL for the (2) Humans bonus and strong AoE damage, but other options are possible). Add Shadow Fiend to increase your damage output.
At this point, your mid-game lineup is set with 7 units, and you need to make a decision:
Try to upgrade Morph to three stars if you can and give him survivability and regen items. He is a great frontline hero in an Element Mages lineup (even with only (2) Elelemnts) because he is hard to kill. Once he uses Waveform, he looses the aggro and most likely will be able to use his spell a second time.
Try to replace your cheap early-game frontline units. The idea is to let your Elements tank. In this example, Kunkka replaces the ealry-game Warrior (e.g. Axe). If you started with (3) Goblins, sell all of them sooner rather than later to make space for the Elements + Mages + Utility units.
The biggest strength of this lineup is that it is easy to build. The early (3) Warriors + (2) Orcs gives you a strong frontline. Thanks to Beastmaster, you need to add just two Hunters to get the (3) Hunters bonus, which gives you the damage you need.
The last “core” unit you are searching for is Disruptor for the (4) Orcs bonus and great control from his spell. The silence from Disruptor, the tankiness of the (4) Orcs and (3) Warriors, and the damage from the (3) Hunters gives you a powerful mid-game lineup, and only in seven units.
From then on you can decide what you want to go for:
In this example, we replace the third early-game Warrior (Tusk/Tiny) with Doom, which is usually a good idea (Kunkka is another alternative if you want more control).
(4) Knights (one of which Aba) + Drow is a great early-mid game combo thanks to the (2) Undead synergy. From there you can add two additional Hunters to further increase your DPS.
Your last three units are situational:
Gods are the newest and strangest synergy in the game because of the Species restrictions (in order for Gods to work, you cannot have any other active Species synergies). Nonetheless, they quickly became one of the strongest mainly because the cooldown reduction works wonders with some units – Necro, Razor, CM, Veno, Timber, etc. The (3) Mages magic resistance reduction bonus is also great on a lineup that relies on spamming their spells to win.
God’s are probably the strat with the highest ceiling on the list (can beat anything if you manage to get a good late-game lineup), but they are also quite hard to make work. Because of the specific units that you need (and the inability to use other combinations because of the Species restrictions), Gods are likely to place you either in the very top or the very bottom of a competitive lobby.
The above lineup you use Puck for the quick (3) Mages synergy, which later on gets replaced by Zeus.
In the late game, it's possible to sell your Clock (or whichever early-game tank you're using) and replace it with a better late-game tank - Tide, two-star Medusa or Lone Druid.
Goblins are the opposite of Gods in the sense that they are a very straightforward strategy. They are extremely strong early on, which helps you ride a winning streak in the early-mid game. They are most vulnerable in the mid-late game when their (3) Goblins (2) Mech synergies start to fall off and you still can’t find Techies. Once you do, however, you are again on a power spike, which gives you a chance to secure the game.
The reliance of the strat to get Techies (i.e. you are a bit at the mercy of RNG) means it's hard to take a top spot with Goblins consistently in high-rank lobbies. That said, Goblins give you the best possible start, which is very helpful for low-to-mid tier players.
Goblins are quite good in the late game thanks to the latest buff: Nanobots now work on all allied heroes, not only on Goblins. This makes important late-game heroes like e.g. Tide/Medusa/Disruptor/Enigma really tanky and guarantees that they will cast their spells even if they get focused.
The fact that Alchemist got buffed recently (they gave him back armor reduction) also helps.
Mages are the best secondary synergy for Goblins for two simple reasons:
Goblins have Armor and Regen, which makes them vulnerable to Magic burst damage – Mages. The easiest counter, however, is to try to block the Goblins player from getting Techies fast. If you’re fighting with a Goblins player for the top spots, try to buy every Techies you see even if you don’t use it. This will decrease the chance that the Goblins player will get it, and even delaying it with a few rounds could cost the Goblins player a lot of health.
If you’re able to upgrade multiple Assassins to three-stars and you get a bit lucky with the items (most notably with Battle Fury, but other high-tier items area also great), you can easily snatch the first place in the lobby.
Moreover, Assassins are quite decent vs Mages (they can snipe them before they cast spells), which are currently very common.
That said, Assassins are not that consistent because if the circumstances above aren’t present, you are actually not that strong in the late game and you get countered by tanky lineups (Warriors, Knights, Goblins, possibly Elves) and good positioning. To win with Assassins, you need to snowball in the mid game. And if other players are going for Assassins, it's much harder to get the three-star units you need.
That said, if other players in the lobby are not going for assassins, the "consistency score" above will drastically improve along with the average.
This is the standard Assassins buildup. You start with (3) Goblins with the Bounty, and later on, you sell off your other two Goblins and replace them with the two Druids, who are extremely tanky frontliners.
Usually, you want to stay on lvl8 and try to find three stars ideally on both PA and TA as well as your two Druids (and possibly even other Assassins, if lucky).
If you reach lvl9, you usually want an additional unit with control, like Tide.
This is likely a bit controversial, but Matt believes Elemental-Assassins are a bit more reliant than the standard build:
"I feel that having two-star Tiny and Morphing and later possibly swapping for Razor can allow us to find 3/6 assassins with less early game gold investment into other frontliners. This is because of the new Tiny toss that has a high chance of stunning enemy grouped units. Even at 1 star, Tiny can be a 1 cost Tide. In comparison, Elves + Assassins need PA, TA + another Elf (can be two-star AM or usually three-star Treant). This comes much later in the game in comparison. The ability to use Goblins initially works for both Elemental and Elves Assassins, so it is hard to say it’s a plus for the standard Elves."
In the late game, going for (4) Elementals is optional, but it's only good versus lineups with a lot of melee Heroes like Warriors.
The alternative is to use the free hero slots to place multiple two-star Assassins for the units you're trying to get to three stars. This is a great way to dominate the mid-late game because a very little fraction of your gold will stay on your bench.
Going for (6) Warriors into (4) Trolls is a viable strategy, but it has two big drawbacks: it gets fully online on lvl9 and it relies too much on armor (which is bad versus magic damage).
The (arguably) better option is to go for (3) Warriors directly into (4) Trolls. This means you'll hit a stronger mid-game timing. Instead of relying on the (6) Warriors armor to keep you alive, which wouldn't happen against Mages, you rely on your quicker Trolls to kill the enemy lineup faster.
Tiny and Slardar are great early-game Warriors to have in your lineup because Tiny is tanky and provides some control, while Slardar allows you to get the (2) Nagas bonus sooner with just Medusa (you don't need to find Tide, unlike other players). Replace your weakest early-game Warrior with Kunkka whenever possible for more control.
In this example, you go for (3) Warriors and quickly reach (4) Beasts with the help of Lycan, Tusk, Veno, and Enchantress.
From then on, you can grab Shadow Fiend + Necro, which will give you a lot of sustain from the (3) Warlocks bonus and the ult of Necro. SF will also give you even more damage with the (4) Beasts bonus.
Once you get a two-star Lone Druid, replace your Enchantress.
This way you will have Lone with (4) Beasts, (3) Warlocks, and (3) Warriors only with seven units, which is a very solid mid-game draft.
Afterward, you can get Medusa – if one of your starting Warriors is Slardar, this will give you quick access to magic resistance versus mages.
Your last unit is Death Prophet – the (2) Undead bonus synergizes well with (4) Beasts.
Elves are actually not a bad strat because they are tanky and they easily branch into a secondary strategy (Assassins, Hunters, or both). Moreover, the Druid Elves are easy to upgrade to three stars and give you access to a three stars Lone Druid, who is a great standalone unit.
The drawback of this strat is that:
Demon Hunters + Demons are theoretically strong, but practically very hard to build. Moreover, Demons are relatively squishy, which means unless you manage to upgrade them relatively fast you’ll have troubles in the mid game when the lineups of most other people start to come online.
If you go for Demons, make sure you have some kind of decent frontline and try to build Medusa + Tide in the late game for control and magic resistance.
The (3) Warlocks bonus is quite useful in the late game. Yet, building a strat aiming to get to (6) Warlocks is very awkward. Because of this, planning to go for (6) Warlocks will usually create mid-game problems for you and get you eliminated before the late game. Moreover, sustain from the lifesteal is not great in a meta where Mages or Assassins are usually bursting you down.
Nonetheless, the above lineup is theoretically possible. You should consider swapping out your weaker early-game Goblins (most likely Clock and Tinker) for tanks with more control – Doom, Kunkka, Lone Druid.
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed our strategy tier list and found it useful!
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