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 updated on the 4th of June 2019. We’ll update it again 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.
Below you can see a table with data from 900 Queen rank games. The data was assembled by Hemitate, you can see the original Reddit thread here - the effort on his side to assemble it is quite astonishing, so he deserves all the props he can get.
The table shows the most common (simplified) strategies in the game and how they performed. To evaluate the success of the strategies, we created two scores:
Elves are not the strategy with the highest expected score, but they are the most consistent by far (especially if you add up the two variations - Elves + Hunters and Elves + Assassins, which will give Elves twice as many top 4 finishes as the 2nd most played strat). The (6) Elves bonus gives great survivability, the (3) Hunters or more commonly (3) Assassins - decent damage. Even though at first glance it seems Elves are countered by mages, the high HP pool of their three-star units (Druids) and especially Templar Assassin means an Elf comp actually deals pretty well with a mage comp.
Warrior lineups are the second most consistent. There are two major successful variations. The first one is (6) Warriors + (2) or (4) Beasts, which is the most common and reliable Warriors strat. The second one is (3) Warriors + (3) Hunters which utilizes multiple secondary synergies - (2) Beasts, (2) Undead, (2) Human, etc.
Knights are a bit harder to make work after the (3)-(6) Knights synergy change, which pulls back on their consistency score. (6) Knights, however, is stronger than before, and as seen on the table (6) Knights + (3) Dragons is one of the highest tier strategies in the game. It's a very well-rounded lineup and the best counter to Mages. Bear in mind that the data was collected before the Winter Wyvern patch. His addition might make Dragon strats more consistent. (3) Knights is less popular, but it can work with (4) Trolls very well combined with (3) Warlocks.
Mage lineups, in general, are the most diverse. (3) Mages is still one of the most popular synergies in the game and unlike most other strategies in the table (3) Mages can work in numerous variations (Warriors, Orcs, Elementals, Gods, etc.). All you need to make a good lineup with (3) Mages is a strong frontline and AoE and magic damage units in the late game (Kunkka, Disruptor, etc.). (6) Mages is also possible, but much harder to pull-off successfully.
(6) Hunters are very unpopular in the Queen players' meta. To build a successful (6) Hunters lineup you need a high courier level, and the best strategies in high-level lobbies are ones which have a mature lineup on lvl8 at the latest. Because of this (3) Hunters is are what is used most often usually in combination with Warriors or Elves for a frontline. That said, in low-level lobbies where you can afford to play greedier (6) Hunters could be a more viable strategy.
(6) Assassins are a low on the list because their consistency score suffers from the fact that they are heavily contested in most games. Bear in mind that the two most important Assassins (Templar and Phantom) will be contested by Elves players as well! This 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. Hence, they have a high expected score if you manage to get Techies or Zeus, but low nominal score because it's difficult to get the Legendary you require in a lot of games. 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.
Detailed Strategies Data:
Take into account your lobby skill level as well. It changes the viability of some strats!
The idea is that CK + the Knight bonus will carry you in the early game, (3) Knights ideally with (2) Undead bonus will carry you in the mid game, and Dragons/Trolls/Hunters or/and (6) Knights will carry you late.
Knights are a bit less consistent after the rework. (3) Knights is weaker than (4) Knights and not much easier to get, which makes Knight lineups a bit weaker in the early-mid game. The (6) Knights bonus is stronger than it was before and if you're going for Knights, it's often a good idea to plan to get (6) Knights in the late game.
Dragon + Knights lineups are Tier one and unlikely to fall off for two simple reasons:
The core of the lineup is quite simple (6) Knights + (3) Dragons. Yout highest upgrade priority is Dragon Knight - it's not uncommon to run two two-star DKs in the late game ot increase your DPS.
The additional units you can include are dependent on the situation.
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. The (2) Shaman combo is great in this regard - DK is likely to be the highest tier unit on the enemy lineup, which will get him hexed. Spreading out is also a good idea in order to avoid some of DK’s splash damage.
(3) Knights + (4) Trolls is a classic and easy combo. You need only 6 units and you have a very solid mid-game lineup – both tanky and deals solid damage. All additional units allow you to get secondary synergies which help out a great deal.
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.
The Warriors into Mages is a pretty solid opening since it takes care of a tanky frontline and damage-dealing backline. Going for (4) Orcs is a great idea because it makes the frontline even tankier and Disruptor is an amazing frontline hero in Mage lineups - he becomes a decent damage-dealer and thanks to CM he gets his ultimate off very fast. Jugg is also a good unit in a Mage lineup - his ultimate deals magic damage.
Since there are two Warriors in which are also Orcs, you usually want a third Warrior one to activate the armor bonus. It's best to chose among Doom and Kunkka. Doom has a bit better stats and deals more attack damage if you don't have another demon (it's possible to have Shadow Fiend in this lineup). Kunkka is a Human (he can silence), and his ultimate deals more magic damage and provides more AoE control. Both choices are fine.
In the late game your options are fairly open. If you have Kunkka, CM and KotL, it's a great idea to get another human for the (4) Humans bonus. If the game goes super late and you're fighting for the 1st spot, you might want to swap Beastmaster and Axe for more impactful units (e.g. two-star legendaries, (6) Mages, etc.).
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). You usually want to add Shadow Fiend to increase your damage output and to replace your weakest Warrior (not Tiny) with Kunkka for control, the Human synergy, and additional magic damage.
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 are using him and give him survivability and regen items. He is a great frontline hero in an Element Mages lineup (even with (2) Elelemnts) because he is hard to kill. Once he uses Waveform, he loses the aggro and most likely will be able to use his spell a second time, which in turn gets buffed by the Mages magic resistance reduction.
Warrior-Hunters is one of the most diverse openings, which makes it one of the most consistent if you play your hand right. At the same time, the possibility for multiple secondary synergies gives the strategy a very high ceiling (it has the highest score normalized for a number of games out of the top strategies).
The core of the lineup is (3) Warriors + (3) Hunters, but the strenght comes in the easy of building secondary synergies. Slardar + Medusa give you a very fast (2) Nagas bonus. Tusk + Lycan (later you can swap out tusk for a higher tier beast if you want) gives you (2) Beast. Drow needs one more Undead for the (2) Undead bonus. Kunkka + Lycan give you (2) Humans.
The lineup above is a great example of a mature 8-hero lineup, but you can reach it in different ways. For example, you can open up with (2) Orc (3) Warrior (3) Hunter thanks to Beastmaster. Later you can sell your two Orcs to replace with higher value units like Medusa and Kunkka, to increase the late-game potnetial of the lineup.
The above lineup isn't included in the tier list because the data was collected before the Lich + Sven patch hit. We believe, however, that after Lich got introduced into the game the above 8-unit draft because very strong because you can consistently reach (4) Undead.
The logic is pretty simple - you get (3) Knights (3) Hunters (2) Undead because of Abaddon + Drow Ranger, and then you get Necro + Lich to get the full (4) Undead bonus.
If you mange to reach lvl9-10 you can make the draft even stronger. A Tide will give you the (2) Nagas bonus against Mage drafts. You can also replace Lich with Death Prophet and add another Warlock for the (3) Warlocks bonus in the super late game.
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 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 improve.
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.
The core of the draft is (6) Warriors + (2) Beast, which you can achieve in 6 Units. Your 7th and 8th unit could be Veno + Lone Druid for the (4) Beast Bonus, and Medusa for more CC and the (2) Nagas bonus. This is the variation with the higher ceiling, but the drawback is that you need lvl9 to get a mature lineup.
There is an alternative - instead of investing in the two additional Beasts, you can get a Dazzle for the (2) Trolls bonus and get Medusa for the (2) Nagas on lvl8. This will give you a mature lineup on lvl8 and the Priest bonus will keep you in the game for longer if you are losing rounds, which will increase your chances to get into top 4 (but it will be slightly less likely that you get 1st place).
Elves into Assassins is the most consistent strategy in the meta right now. It is well-rounded (tanky with enough damage), relatively easy to build, and thanks to the (6) Elves power-spike it is one of the best comeback strategies in Auto Chess.
The key units are Phantom and Templar Assassin - with the (6) Elves and (3) Assassins bonus, with some bonus damage from the (2) Beasts, and hopefully, with good items, they will carry you to a top 4 finish quite easily.
Because of the Evasion, Elves are pretty great against most physical damage comps. However, even though at first glance they should get countered by Mages, they actually deal with Mages quite well. The HP pool of most units (especially the three-star Druids) is pretty high, and thanks to her ult Templar Assassin takes 0 damage from the nukes and proceeds to kill the quishy backline of the mages lineup.
The Elves into Hunters variation is a bit less consistent than the Elves Assassins, but with a higher ceiling. The reason is that the core lineup (on lvl 7-8) is a bit weaker, but if you roll Tide from lvl8 to 10 (hopefully before lvl10) you have a big power spike and could easily take 1st pace in the lobby. The (2) Nagas bonus protects you from magic damage further, especially when combined with the high HP pool of your three-star units.
The core of the lineup is (6) Elves + (3) Hunters (Mirana, Windranger, Medusa), which is 7 units. On lvl8 and 9 you can put in a three-star Lone Druid and Enchantress for more tankiness and a damage boost from the (2) Beasts bonus. Your last luxury unit is Tide - he gives you more control, but more importantly the (2) Nagas bonus. Put him in as soon as you get him - he's a higher priority than Lone and Ench.
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed our strategy tier list and found it useful!
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