- 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: popularly referred to as the worst unit in the game. Only get him when you intend to go for the (9) Warrior synergy. The Element synergy is bad in a Warrior strat (unless you are fighting against another Warrior strat, which is very situational), but you can still get the (2) Elements if you have a high Razor and are going for Mages as your DMG dealers.
Axe: 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: the other 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.
Slardar: 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.
Juggernaut: 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.
Lycan: 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: 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.
Doom: if you don’t have another high-level demon, Doom is a must. His ability is amazing against high-level spellcasters. Moreover, he has great stats – tanky and deals high damage.
Troll: 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.
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 as fast as possible. If not – go for other synergies. 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, 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, Batrider
Synergy: (6) Warriors, (4) Trolls, (2) Beasts, (2) Orcs, (1) Demon
The 6 Warriors + 4 Trolls is not only tanky, but it has very high damage output because of the (4) Troll bonus.
Shadow Shaman and Batrider have a very low damage output, which is not good in a Warrior lineup. Because of this, you usually want to keep them on the bench until the very last two slots. Troll is your main damage dealer, so even the (2) Troll bonus is useful – keep only Witch Doctor with him if possible. Even the (3) or (6) Warriors + (2) Trolls synergies are very decent initially especially with damage items on the Troll.
Going for (3) Warriors straight into (4) Trolls is possible, but very risky unless you get a very early Troll to deal damage. The other three Trolls are very weak combined with Warriors in the early game – your lineup will have too little DPS.
The 10th unit would usually be Disruptor – he provides the (2) Shaman synergy and gets bonus HP from the (2) Orc synergy. You usually want to swap a low-level warrior for a Kunkka when you get him in the mid-late game.
Backline: Troll, Shadow Fiend, Witch Doctor, Shadow Shaman, Batrider
Synergy: (4) Trolls, (3) Warlocks, (3) Warriors, (2) Beasts, (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 Axe with Kunkka/Tide (to keep the Beats synergy) or Tusk/Lycan with an earlier Disruptor (to gain the Orc synergy), etc.
This lineup is very strong in the late game, but it has a timing problem in the mid game because both the 4 Troll and 3 Warlocks are late game synergies. That said, Shadow Fiend and Troll + e.g. Witch Doctor combined with a decently tanky frontline could carry you until you reach the late game. Be smart about what you put on the board and what you keep on the bench based not only on synergies but on which units are higher level and more useful individually. A 6-unit lineup with e.g. Bat Rider/Shadow Shaman on the battlefield will usually fail, save them for later when you have all 4 Trolls.
Backline: Razor, Lina, Shadow Fiend, Lich
Synergies: (3) Warriors, (3) Mages, (2) Elements, (2) Humans, (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).
If you have (3) Mages, you want to get Lich in the late game - try to get him to two stars. He deals amazing damage. If you get him earlier than expected, you can swap him with one of your other mages (ideally the lowest-level one).
Thanks for reading! I hope you found this guide useful and enjoyable. If you did, you can check out our last archetype guide: Dota Auto Chess Assassins Guide