- Gradual power curve: decent (not bad, not great) during all stages of the game.
- Easy to execute.
- Very tanky against physical damage. In the early and mid game, almost all damage is physical.
- High utility from Axe, Kunkka, and Doom.
After our chronological Dota Auto Chess strategy guide which talks about opening and transition strategies, I thought it’s a great idea to speak more in depth about the individual archetypes and the strategies around them.
This is part one, where we focus on Warriors: one of the most beginner–friendly strategies in the game!
The goal of the strategy is to build an incredibly durable frontline from the Warrior (6) bonus, which gives a total of 12 armor to all your Warriors [5 from the (3) bonus, 7 more from the (6)]. It’s even possible to hard-commit to a Warrior strat for the (9) Warriors bonus, which adds an additional 9 armor (for a total of 21) and is amazing versus physical damage heavy lineups - Assassins, Knights, Druids, etc.
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 for a physical damage boost, Mages for magical burst, Warlocks for sustain, etc.
Tiny: 1g, Elemental, Warrior
Great chap crowd control. He deals low damage, but is quite tanky, especially if you give him the Warriors and Elementals synergy bonuses. Because he is an Elemental, he works great with Element/Warrior Mages lineups.
Axe: 1g, Orc, Warrior
A key unit in a Warrior stat. He will be one of your starting units, your main tank and a great source of control. The Orc tribal is also great because there is another Orc in the Warrior lineup – Jugg. This pretty much guarantees you’ll get the (2) Orc HP bonus, which is very useful on a unit with a Taunt mechanic.
Tusk: 1g, Beast, Warrior
The third Warrior starting unit. He is not as tanky as Axe, but has higher DPS. He falls off in the late game, so he’s not a top upgrade priority after two stars. His species tribal (Beast), however, is very useful because there is another Beast in the Warrior lineup – Lycan. This makes the (2) Beast bonus very easy to get, and the (4) Beast bonus possible when combined with Druids. Beasts are one of the most intuitive ways to increase the DPS of your Warriors lineup.
Mars: 1g, God, Warrior
One of the best tanks in the game thanks to his passive skill, and a decent damage dealer if you have the Gods bonus active. He is not a common unit to get in a full Warriors draft, but he works great as a frontline tank to various midgame lineups. In the late game keep him only if you're going for a Gods strat.
Slardar: 2g, Naga, Warrior
Very good stats, and an ability that could synergize well with the high physical damage coming from units like Troll. Slardar is instrumental when you are playing against mages because he allows you to get the (2) Naga tribal bonus much faster compared to lineups relying on finding Tide for it.
Juggernaut: 2g, Orc, Warrior
A good source of AoE magic damage in the Warrior lineup – something that your other units lack. Even more importantly – an Orc, which helps you get the Orc tribal bonus easier together with Axe. He deals AoE magic damage with his spin, which makes him a great frontline hero in a Mages lineup.
Lycan: 3g, Human/Beast, Warrior
The second Beast in the lineup, making it easy to get the (2) Beast physical damage bonus. Lycan’s summons are powerful in the early-mid game but fall off in the late game. If you are on a win streak, however, the two additional units are great for punishing your opponents, because they cost them more HP. It’s vital that Lycan casts his ultimate before dying, so upgrading him at least to two stars is very important.
Kunkka: 4g, Human, Warrior
Good stats and one of the best AoE control (and damage) abilities in the game. Kunkka is good enough to use in lineups without much synergy, which makes him even better in a Warrior lineup – he has no drawbacks. Moreover, he is a human, so getting the (2) Humans or even (4) Humans synergy in mage drafts is possible. The silence is quite powerful.
Doom: 4g, Demon, Warrior
If you don’t have another high-level demon you need, Doom is a must. His ability is amazing against high-level spellcasters. Moreover, he has great stats – tanky and deals very high damage.
Troll: 4g, Troll, Warrior
The main damage-dealer in the Warrior lineup and the only ranged unit, which makes him very valuable. He makes the (2) and (4) Troll synergy possible, which is pretty much the best secondary synergy you can get for the Warrior lineup.
Sven: 5g, Demon, Warrior
Sven is the 2nd Demon in the Warrior lineup and the only Legendary unit. He is designed to fit a Demons strategy perfectly, but he is good enough on his own to fit in certain Warrior drafts. Thanks to his Cleave and God's Strength (damage buff), he can deal very high DPS.
As we mentioned, Warriors is probably the most beginner friendly strat exactly because it’s easy to make work – just buy more Warriors and upgrade them whenever possible.
Following this very simplistic strat will net you some results initially, but against better opponents, it will not be consistent. The reason is that you cannot rely on getting the upgrades on your units consistently - bad shop draws can ruin your plans. As a result, sometimes your army will be great if you are getting a lot of Warriors in the shop, while others – it will be under-upgraded in case you are not getting them.
To avoid this, you usually want to change your mindset. Go for (3) Warriors initially and then see what you are getting from the shop. Buy the units you are getting the most and try to string together a strategy from there situationally. If you are getting a lot of Warriors – great, go for the (6) bonus. If not – go for other synergies. Warriors works great with Mages, Hunters, and Trolls. You can always go back for the (6) Warriors bonus in the late game because of powerful late-game warriors like Doom, Kunkka, and Troll, but it is not a must. Warriors can just be your opening strat.
It’s important to note that (3) Warriors is not the strongest opener in the game. It usually loses to Goblin + Mech or to someone with quick two-star Druids. That said, a couple of early-game losses shouldn’t discourage you. They are not costly, and you could quickly stabilize in the mid game.
Usually, you get the (3) Warrior, (2) Orc and (2) Beast synergies. This is possible to do only with Warriors thanks to Axe, Jugg, Tusk, and Lycan. Then you want to reach the (6) Warriors bonus for the mid game armor boost.
Having Slardar at this point is useful because later on, you’ll be able to combine him with Medusa or Tide for the (2) Naga bonus, which is amazing versus magic damage lineups (Warriors’ main weakness).
Last, Doom is an amazing unit especially when you don’t have another Demon. Swapping a low-level warrior for Kunkka at some point is a great idea (you usually want to include him sooner rather than later, he's an important source of AoE magic damage that you otherwise lack).
P.S. getting (6) Warriors on the 7th/8th level rather than on 6th is not a bad choice if you are doing it to include powerful backline damage-dealers like Shadow Fiend, Queen of Pain, or try to get to (4) Beasts, etc.
As mentioned, the (3) Warriors + secondary synergy strat depends mostly on what you are getting in the shop.
In this example, we combine them with the Orc synergy and Shadow Fiend. The Orc synergy is an easy one to go for because two early-game Warriors are also orcs (Axe + Jugg). This makes your frontline even tankier and gives you AoE utility from early in the game.
The problem with a Warrior + Orc opening is that it is very tanky (armor + HP), but it doesn’t deal a lot of damage. Shadow Fiend is one of the best units to balance the lineup a little bit – the tanky frontline will buy SF a lot of time to deal damage with attacks and his ult.
In the late game, this opens the doors for the (3) Warlocks synergy for even more sustain and tankiness. Necro + Enigma would be great for this purpose. Enigma will become the biggest damage dealer on the lineup in the late game – the tanky Warrior + Orc + Warlock lineup will buy a lot of time for Enigma’s ultimate (Midnight Pulse) to deal damage.
P.S. don’t feel pressured to chase the (4) Orc synergy as fast as possible. If you’re not getting the draws it’s better to invest in other units first. You can always stay at (2) Orcs and go for (4) in the late game.
Tiny, Axe, Tusk, Slardar, Jugg, Lycan, Kunkka, Doom
Synergy: (9) Warriors, (2) Beast, (2) Orc, (2) Human, (1) Demon
The obvious strength is a lot of durability vs physical damage. 9 Warriors obliterate e.g. Assassins. The drawback is that the armor is useless versus magic damage and that your overall lineup damage is below average. To address these problems, you either want to buy Enigma as a 10th unit (he has the highest late-game damage potential in a single unit), or you want to buy Tide or Medusa for the (2) Nagas magic resistance bonus.
P.S. Don't commit to (9) Warriors if you see other Warrior lineups on the board because you might have trouble getting the three-star upgrades. Also don' commit if you see powerful corner turtling lineups, especially Mages.
Backline: Troll, Witch Doctor, Shadow Shaman, Dazzle
Synergy: (6) Warriors, (4) Trolls, (2) Beasts, (2) Humans, (1) Demon, (1) Priest
The 6 Warriors + 4 Trolls is not only tanky, but it has very high damage output because of the (4) Troll bonus.
Usually, you want to build (4) Trolls and (3) Warriors. In the late game, you have a choice - whether to reach the (6) Warriors or for a secondary (tertiary) synergy like Warlocks. Committing to (6) Warriors is a good choice when you are facing primarily physical damage lineups.
Alternatively, you can open up with straight (6) Warriors (with (2) Bests) and get Troll Warlord + one other Troll (Dazzle or Witch Doctor) to increase the Troll's DPS.
The 10th unit would usually be Medusa or Tide for the (2) Nagas bonus. If you don't have a high level Doom, you can swap him out for Sven.
Backline: Necro, Troll, Shadow Fiend, Witch Doctor, Shadow Shaman,
Synergy: (4) Trolls, (3) Warlocks, (3) Warriors, (2) Beasts, (2) Humans, (1) Demon
This is an example of a (3) Warriors opening in which you don’t commit for a (6) Warrior strat. It’s a mix of the (3) Warriors + Shadow Fiend opening and the Warriors + Trolls strategy from above. This is a powerful late game combination because the (4) Trolls synergy buffs the DPS of Shadow Fiend a great deal. Moreover, the high auto-attack DPS because of the (4) Troll synergy helps all units life steal a high amount thanks to the (3) Warlocks synergy. The (3) Warlocks synergy is easy to get because one of the Trolls (Witch Doctor) is a Warlock.
The 10th unit, in this case, should be Disruptor because he gives you the (2) Shaman synergy and a very useful late game silence that provides your Trolls + SF with enough time to kill enemy units before they are able to cast their ults.
Since you have four Warriors and you only need three for the synergy, you can afford to sell one of them (ofc. not Troll) in order to get a higher impact unit. You can e.g. swap Tusk for a Lone Druid if you want to keep the (2) Beast synergy.
Backline: Razor, Lina, Shadow Fiend, Crystal Maiden, Keeper
Synergies: (4) Humans, (3) Warriors, (3) Mages, (2) Elements, (2) Orcs, (1) Demon
Warriors + Mages is a good combination because the two synergies complement each other - a tanky frontline and a squishy, high-damage backline.
The units that usually show you that you can go for such a unit composition after a Warrior opening are Razor and CM. Razor is a great source of AoE damage to place behind your tanky frontline, and CM provide your lineup with the needed mana to cast ults fast. After that, you simply need to get a third mage for the (3) Mages magic resistance reduction bonus. Any mage can work, but in this example, we use Lina because she synergizes with Kunkka and CM - the (2) Humans bonus gives her some utility.
If you know you are going for (3) Mages, make sure you prioritize Warriors that also benefit from the magic resistance reduction. Juggernaut and Kunkka are the best examples. Shadow Fiend also benefits a lot from the (3) Mages bonus.
In this lineup we have Tiny for the (2) Elements bonus - a good early-game combination with Razor, as it makes Tiny tankier (and even Razor, especially when playing against Assassins).
KotL is a great additional unit to get because he helps you reach the (4) Humans synergy and works great with CM (she allows him to cast his spell very fast).
Thanks for reading! I hope you found this guide useful and enjoyable. If you did, you can check out our full Auto Chess archetype guide collection.