Dota Auto Chess Goblins Guide
Artist: Valve
Date: 03/2019

Goblins Overview:

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.

Goblins Strategy Summary:

Almost all early-game Goblins are also Mechs, which is one of the main reasons why they are so strong in the early game. With only three units you get both the (3) Goblins (Armor and HP regeneration increased by 15 for a random ally) and (2) Mechs (HP regeneration increased by 15 for all Mechs) bonus, which makes your units extremely durable. Even though the Mech synergy regeneration falls off fast, in the early game enemies would lack enough damage to burst your units down, which means they’ll have plenty of time to regenerate and continue fighting.

In the late game, your goal is to get to the (6) Goblins synergy (Armor and HP regeneration increased by 15 for all units). This will make your lineup extremely durable - it gives comparable armor to the (6) Warriors bonus, but to all units, with the added bonus of a lot of HP regen (including the (4) Mechs bonus), and the huge AoE damage of Techies. Moreover, you’ve got 4 free slots for additional synergies or powerful control heroes.


  • Extremely strong in the early game
  • Durable frontline
  • Strong in the late game
  • Gives you the option to sell them off after the early game to switch to another synergy or to commit to (6) Goblins


  • Weak in the mid game
  • Countered by magic nuke damage in the late game
  • Often highly contested early on, which might make it hard to get three-star units if multiple people commit to Goblins

Goblin Heroes:

Bounty Hunter

Bounty Hunter: 1 Gold, Goblin, Assassin

Arguably the best early-game unit. Very few early-game lineups can contest a two-star Bounty. If he gets the Goblin Nanobots, beating him early on becomes almost impossible. He falls off in the late game (unless you go for an Assassins strategy), so upgrading him to three stars is usually not a priority (it’s still not bad – it’s quite cheap, so go for it if you have the bench space).


Clockwerk:  1 Gold, Goblin, Mech
The “generic” tank in the Goblin lineup. Durability and regen items are great on him because the longer he survives, the longer he’ll be able to deal damage with Battery Assault. He doesn’t have great DPS so he’s usually one of the first units you want to sell if you are transitioning out of Goblins.


Tinker: 1 Gold, Goblin, Mech
He has slow attacks, which means he generates mana slowly. Because of this and because of the Goblin/Mech synergy bonuses, you usually want to put him on the frontline to enable him to cast his Rockets fast enough (they deal great damage). If you find a Void Stone (and possibly attack speed items), however, it is usually better to move him to the backline to enable him to cast his rockets more than once per round. Since his spell deals good magic damage, he works well with the magic resistance reduction from the Mages synergy.


Timbersaw: 2 Gold, Goblin, Mech
Timber is a very valuable hero because he is both very tanky and deals great (pure) AoE damage thanks to his low-CD ult. Upgrading him to three stars is a priority if you’re committing to Goblins in the mid-late game.

Alchemist hero icon

Alchemist: 4 Gold, Goblin, Warlock
Extremely tanky, especially when you combine the Goblin synergy with his ult. Remember that Chemical Rage gives him increased attack speed, so putting DPS items on him is not a bad idea if you don’t have better units to put them on (which isn’t rare in Goblin strats).

Techies Portrait

Techies: 5 Gold, Goblin, Mech
Your “win condition”. He’s a 5-gold hero, so make sure you have a good economy and are able to get to lvl9 or 10 to increase your chances of getting him. He is crucial not only for the (6) Goblins synergy but also for the damage he provides. If you don’t get him for a long time, you risk losing too much HP in the mid game.

Gyrocopter: 5 Gold, Dwarf, Mech

Technically not a Goblin, but a Mech. He’s not required for a late game Goblin strat, because the six Goblins already have four Mechs for the synergy. That said, he benefits from the Mech bonus and if you’re going for Mages as a secondary synergy, he benefits a lot from the magic resistance reduction because of his ultimate.

Making Goblins Work:

Early Game:

The early game with Goblins is quite simple. Get three Goblins (and two Mechs) ASAP and if lucky - upgrade them to two-stars. This in itself should secure you the first few PvP rounds. At that point, however, you have a decision to make. Would you commit to Goblins or transition out of them in the mid game?

You can delay this decision until the actual mid game to see what you’re getting in the shop, but if you’re getting a lot of Goblins early on there is a benefit to making this decision right away - you can go for the “Gambling Strat”:

Gambling Strategy with Goblins

This strategy abuses the fact that you are more likely to get more Goblins while you are on a low courier level (because they are all 1 and 2 cost units). Because of this, instead of playing “standard” and trying to slowly build up your economy, it’s a viable option to start rerolling early without leveling up in order to upgrade your Goblins as early as possible and get a win streak going.

  1. You want to start rerolling to search for upgrades from Round 4 to Round 13 without upgrading your courier and saving gold.
  2. After Round 13 keep rerolling, but also try to keep Mages (or another secondary synergy).
  3. After Round 17 stop rerolling entirely and play an economy game. If you get the three-star upgrades you are searching for earlier, start playing standard earlier (this will increase your chances to win).

It’s called a gambling strat because it’s all-in: if you don’t get the upgrades you are searching for, you will lose. That said, you can get those upgrades pretty reliably and it could be argued that this is the “better” way to hard-commit to Goblins. The obvious drawback is that you need to make this decision pretty early (~ Round 4).

Mid Game:

Since Goblins are durable but don’t deal lots of damage by themselves, it’s a good idea to start building a backline. Units like SF or Razor could be of great help in the early-mid game because your Goblins will slowly start to lose their power.

  • If you are fully transitioning out of Goblins, start replacing them with better units. Generally speaking, once you sell one of them it’s a good idea to replace the other two ASAP because you lose the synergy anyway. If you have an upgraded Timber, keep him for last (it’s possible not to replace him at all if you don’t need the unit slot for another synergy, but you most probably will).
  • If you are not (i.e. you are aiming for the (6) Goblins in the late game), continue trying to upgrade them, but don’t ignore the second synergy because it’ll be your main source of damage in the mid game. (3) Mages are your best option because most Goblins deal magic damage with their ults.

Late Game:

It’s all about getting Techies ASAP. You need to have a good economy and to reach lvl9 relatively fast to increase your chances to get Techies early.

Once you get it, you have a decision to make:

  • You usually want to keep playing the standard economy game until your HP starts dropping and you are forced to all-in reroll for upgrades.
  • If you are playing against a strong Mages lineup, however, it might be the better option to all-in on lvl9 to peak faster and to (hopefully) eliminate your opponents faster with decisive wins. A fast two-star Techies and three-star Tinker + Timber makes a huge difference. The reason for this is that you are unlikely to win a very slow game against Mages – they don’t care about the armor and even the HP regen isn’t great against their nukes, so an upgraded 10 vs 10 favors the Mages. (Also, get Naga + Tide for the (2) Nagas if you can in such situations.)

Example Goblin Lineups

Goblins & Mages:
Techies Portrait
Alchemist hero icon
Bounty Hunter
Crystal Maiden
Keeper of the Light

Frontline: Clock, Timber, Techies, Alchemist
Backline: Tinker, Bounty, Razor, Maiden, Keeper

Synergy(6) Goblins, (4) Mechs, (3) Mages, (2) Humans

Mages are arguably the best combination with Goblins in the mid-late game because of two reasons:

  1. Tinker, Bounty, and Clock deal magic damage with their ults. This means the (3) Mages bonus benefits them a lot (especially Tinker). Moreover, Goblins lack damage in the mid game, which makes units like Razor very valuable.
  2. In the late game, your main source of damage is the AoE nuke of Techies. Mages give you even more AoE, which helps you wipe the whole enemy team.

If you get Crown or Void Stone, make sure to place them on your Tinker and to move him to the second line of units. This, combined with the (3) Mages bonus (and ideally Crystal Maiden), will increase his DPS a lot because he will be able to cast his Missiles multiple times per round.

In this comp, you have 9 Units. Usually, for your 10th you’d want Tide or Medusa for some CC, but if you don’t think you need control you can add more AoE damage instead (e.g. Lich or Gyrocopter).

Bear in mind that Techies deals physical damage with his ult, which means getting the (2) Undead bonus in the late game is not bad. You can swap one of the mages for a Lich and add Necro/Death Prophet to get it.

Goblins + Dragons + Assassins:
Techies Portrait
Alchemist hero icon
Bounty Hunter
Queen of pain
Puck Portrait
Dragon knight

Frontline: Clock, Timber, Techies, Alchemist, Tinker
Backline: Bounty, Queen of Pain, Viper, Puck, Dragon Knight

Synergy: (6) Goblins, (4) Mechs, (3) Assassins, (3) Dragons, (1) Demon

In the mid game, you combine Bounty with Queen of Pain and Viper to get the (3) Assassins bonus. This will provide you with a backline that deals damage – QoP is especially valuable because she is your only Demon and can carry you in the mid game.

In the late game, you go for Dragons. You already have Viper, so you only need DK and Puck. If you have the Dragons (ideally with lvl2 DK) but you are lvl9, swap out the Queen of Pain – the (3) Assassins synergy is not that crucial in the late game.

The AoE damage of Dragon Knight synergizes very well with the AoE burst of Techies.

Goblins + Warlocks + Undead
Techies Portrait
Alchemist hero icon
Bounty Hunter
Shadow Fiend Portrait
Death prophet

Frontline: Clock, Timber, Techies, Alchemist, Tinker
Backline: Bounty, Shadow Fiend, Death Prophet, Necrophos

Synergies: (6) Goblins, (4) Mechs, (3) Warlocks, (2) Undead

Goblins don’t really benefit that much from the Warlocks bonus because they don’t deal too much auto-attack damage and they already have good sustain and survivability – what you’re searching for is usually damage. There are two reasons this lineup is not bad, however:

  1. You can get Shadow Fiend from early on – he will be your main damage dealer in the mid game.
  2. You can get the (2) Undead bonus from Necro + Death Prophet. It is very valuable because Techies deals physical damage. Moreover, a two-star Death Prophet with the (6) Goblins bonus will survive for long and deal very high damage. 

The lineup above has 9 units. If you have a good enough economy, you can grab Enigma as your 10th – he will increase your overall DPS even more. Alternatively, you can grab Tide if you feel you lack control.

Thanks for reading! I hope you found this guide useful and enjoyable. If you did, you can check out our other Dota Auto Chess content in our blog or in this Auto Chess guide collection.

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Kyril "MrNiceGuy" Kotashev

Esports and gaming enthusiast since forever and founder of Dotahaven.

Has been playing Dota since 2005 (5.84). An Ancient player in Dota 2.