In order to be really good at Dota Auto Chess, you need to be flexible. Having a plethora of strategies in the back of your mind is vital, as it will allow you to adjust situationally based on the shop draws you are getting as well as the lineups of your opponents.
Warriors have very high-quality units, so your frontline will often give you not only tankiness, but also great utility from Chess pieces like Axe, Kunkka, and Doom.
In the mid-late game, you can steadily transition into a secondary synergy which will complete your strategy – Trolls or Hunters for physical damage, Mages for magical AoE damage, etc.
Mages are probably the most underrated synergy by beginner to intermediate players and at the same time the most important one to get a good understanding of once you grasp the fundamentals of Auto Chess strategy.
The reason is quite simple: Mages are the only synergy that directly counters three of the most common DAC strategies – Elves, Warriors, and Goblins.
Elves is a strat that you should definitely have in your arsenal. They are one of the most versatile tribes in Dota Auto Chess, which makes them a strategy that you can implement quite often with good results.
The goal of the strategy is to get the (6) Elves tribal bonus in the mid-late game. Remember that for almost all lineups most damage comes from auto-attacks, so the evasion that the Elves receive makes them very, very tanky.
Knights are one of the most dominant mid-game strategies. Their shield (which can stack with itself) gives them 75% magic resistance as well as 30 armor, making them extremely durable against all kinds of lineups. Thanks to the possibility to branch into secondary synergies like Dragons, Trolls, or Undead, they have a lot of late game potential as well!
Assassins are some of the most unique and fun heroes to play - who doesn’t love huge crits! With a bit of luck, your Assassins will nuke down important enemy casters before they have any chance to use their abilities.
Assassins are a very strong mid-game lineup and could help you snowball your way to victory before the true late game comes.
Hunters are a very underestimated strategy. Unlike other lineups that rely on overwhelming the opponents with extremely high attack damage (i.e. Assassins), Hunters are actually very strong in the late game due to two main factors:
Goblins + Mech are objectively the strongest early-game synergies and consequently - the most popular in the game. It helps you start off on a winning streak which boosts your economy. Since you need only three units in the early game, it’s relatively easy to start building a secondary synergy from early on or even to fully transition out of Goblins (since they are not great in the mid game).
If you stick with Goblins, however, this allows you to go for the (6) Goblins bonus, which makes them quite strong in the late game.
God’s are the newest and most unique synergy in the game. Although they can be very fun to play and can feel extremely overpowered if you make them work, they are actually relatively hard to build and it’s easy to lose games before your lineup “comes online” because of the Species restrictions and because it requires a specific Legendary unit (Zeus) to reach its full potential.
you’ve got all of the above strats ready in your head. What to do now in order
The first thing every good DAC player will tell you is not to force any strategy. The reason is quite simple: If you’ve decided beforehand that you’re going for e.g. Warriors and the game simply doesn’t give you enough Warriors, if you don’t change your mind fast enough you will simply lose.
Auto Chess is a game of chance and the No.1 skill you need to learn is to play the hand you are given.
Enter the game with an open mind. Buy the things that you see most often in the shop, then buy things that go well with them.
Moreover, don’t be afraid to buy a lot of different things especially in the early-mid game. Auto Chess is played with combinations from the units.
You are selling units for 100% of their price, so the only thing you are losing when buying units is potential interest gold. In the early game, you are unlikely to have a high interest income, so filling your bench with potentially useful units will increase your chances to find a key pieces for your potential strategies. Your bench space is a resource, use it! More units on the bench mean more potential high-roll possibilities for the shop.
You can always sell off the units that become obsolete or when you run out of bench space – the units who you are least likely to upgrade or use.
If you’ve played or watched enough Auto Chess, however, you know that there is more to top-level play than simply playing the hand you are given.
There is a reason why e.g. in the last Twitch Rivals Auto Chess showdown most players went for a Goblin/Mech opening into a late game lineup with Mages.
In Auto Chess, as in every PvP game, there is a meta. Some strategies are simply stronger than others (of course, this changes as the game gets patched). Being up to date with the meta will help you a lot because it will allow you to lean towards the stronger strategies when making choices among the units you are offered.
At the time of writing this, Assassins are a bit underpowered. Going for a full (6-9) Assassins lineup would be very risky even if the shop is giving you lots of Assassins. They are simply not strong enough in the late game, and in a lobby with good players, it will be hard to get into top 3 with Assassins.
Mages, on the other hand, are very strong and in the late game (when the top positions are decided) they beat most other strategies.\
This means that, currently, while building your lineup it’s a good idea to lean towards Mages and away from Assassins. I.e. if you get offered a Razor in the early-mid game, don’t ignore him. Even if you don’t have a spot for him on the lineup, you can keep him on the bench for a while to see if you’ll get an upgrade and other Mages.
At some point (usually in the mid game, courier level 6-8) fully changing strategies will become too costly – you would have too many units of a given synergy to swap all of them easily. At this point, you usually want to stop searching for alternatives (even if the shop is offering them to you) and instead to start searching for upgrades and missing key pieces for your current strategy.
You need to visualize your ideal late-game lineup in order to know what you are searching for and to slowly build towards it.
Auto Chess is a game of chance. Yet, you have a couple of mechanisms at your
disposal to help you manipulate the shop RNG.
You have a different chance to see different units in your shop depending on your courier level. For example, the chance to draw a 1 Gold unit falls from 45.45% on lvl1 to 8.64% on lvl10.
The highest chances to roll units with a particular cost are as follows:
What this means is that if you are searching for a particular unit for an update, you need to consider your courier level.
For low-cost (1-2 gold) units, this might mean delaying your courier lvl-up for as long as possible. Rolling the shop so early on in the game might be an over-kill, but it is also possible (one strategy making full use of this mechanic is the so-called “Chinese gambling strat” in which you want to upgrade your early-game Mechs as fast as possible by investing all your gold in rerolling early on).
For 3 Gold units, this might mean staying in the “mid game” (on lvl 6-8) for longer and even rerolling if you can afford to.
For high-cost units (4 & 5 Gold) this usually means getting to the high courier levels sooner rather than later. If your strat depends on a 5 Gold unit(s), then you better make sure you have a good economy and you are able to reach lvl10.
The chance to roll a particular hero also depends on the number of units on the field because all players are buying from the same limited unit pool.
The hero pool sizes are as follows:
What this means is that if many people are
going for a particular unit it would be harder to upgrade it.
The effect is not that strong for cheaper units, but they could still be felt. If for example, two other players are going for the same synergies as you, this will make it significantly harder for you to find upgrades (especially the three-star ones).
For 5 and 4 Gold units, however, it’s pretty strong. For example, since a lot of players will be going for Medusa, it might be almost impossible to get her to 3 stars. Since a lot of people are going for Tide, it could be hard to get him even to 2 stars.
There are ways to use this mechanic to your advantage. If you are searching for a particular 5-cost unit, you can buy the ones you don’t want to reduce the overall 5-Gold pool size and increase the chance you get the particular unit you want. Buying one unit you don’t want increases the chance you'll get the unit you want in the next rolls by 2.7% (10/60 vs 10/59). You can always sell the units you don’t need after you finish rolling to get your gold back.
Last but not least, you can use this mechanic to counter players. For example, if you know your opponent is searching for a particular unit (e.g. Techies in a (6) Goblins strat), buying it to deny it is a good idea. This will make it more time and gold consuming for your opponent to find it.
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Good luck with your shop draws!
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