- Extremely high nuke damage.
- Focus down the backline first.
- Some of the best carry heroes in the game – Phantom Assassin and Slark.
Assassins haven an offensive Alliance bonus that has a few important unique features which help build unique strategies around them:
(3) Assassin Heroes: Assassins gain a 15% chance to Critical Hit for 300% Damage. On a crit, the target is WOUNDED and healing taken is reduced by 50% for 3 seconds. (30% DPS increase on average)
(6) Assassin Heroes: Assassins gain a 25% chance to Critical Hit for 400% Damage. On a crit, the target is WOUNDED and healing taken is reduced by 100% for 3 seconds. (75% DPS increase on average)
The goal of an Assassin strategy is to get either three or six Assassins as your main carries. They are high-priority for upgrading to three-stars and receiving high-tier offensive items. The rest of your strategy usually needs to provide utility for your Assassins, usually in the form of crowd control or possibly healing.
The fact that you want multiple units on a three-star level means that Assassin strategies rarely want to go to lvl10 – you need gold for rerolls, and your highest priority Assassins cost 3 gold, which means it’s most likely to find them when you are lvl7 or lvl8. I.e. Assassins are an upgrade value strat.
That said, since the introduction of Void, it's a great idea to try to reach at least lvl9 after finding one or two key upgrades on lvl7 and 8. This will increase your chance of finding the Assassin Ace, which makes a big difference in the late game.
Opening with Assassins, unsurprisingly, usually uses (3) Assassins as main damage dealers. There are plenty of cheap Assassins in the game, so this shouldn’t be too difficult to do.
In the early-mid game, you either attempt to get to (6) Assassins ASAP (on lvl6), or you stay on (3) Assassins + a frontline (e.g. (3) Assassins (4) Scrappy on lvl6).
Bounty Hunter on two stars could give you a great start with Assassins. He has good stats, and finding Timbersaw will give you the (2) Scrappy bonus. Out of that opening, you can easily go into a Scrappy/Assassin strategy, although it's not necessary and you could sell the Timber later on in favor of another Asasssins strat.
Anti-Mage is a very strong early game hero. When the enemy has just a few units on the board, burning their mana can make a big difference. He is one of three Elusive Assassins, so if you intend to run all three of them it's a good idea to try to upgrade AM to three stars.
Nyx is extremely useful in an early game Assassin opening: thanks to Carapace, he could be used as a frontline hero, which is very useful when you're running only Assassins in the early levels. He's the only Assassin in the game with a source of crowd control (aside from the 5g Void), which makes him a very useful hero even later on in the game.
Six Assassin builds focus mostly on very high damage output from the Assassins and getting as much utility as possible for the two or three remaining hero slots. Because of the few remaining slots (especially bearing in mind you usually don’t want to go to lvl10 when you’re running Assassins), six-Assassin builds are actually more mid-game focused compared to three Assassin builds. This means they are great at snowballing and playing on a win-streak, but they are generally weaker in the late game and in order to win you need to get your three-star upgrades and end the game sooner rather than later. Because of this, six Assassins perform very well in fast-paced metas and struggle a bit in late-game metas where most top builds go to lvl10. At the time of writing this, three Assassin builds usually out-perform six Assassins.
This build is arguably the most popular and standard (6) Assassin build since the Big Update. The (6) Assassin bonus gives you a lot of DPS, while the secondary bonuses - Scaled (magic resistance), Insect (miss chance), Elusive (evasion), even the Void Ace effect (backtrack), makes your Assassins much more durable.
The build has plenty of control (Sand King, Tidehunter, Nyx, Void), so your damage-dealers should have plenty of time to kill the enemy team.
Your main carries are Phantom Assassin and Slark, and MoM (lifesteal) and three stars on them makes a huge difference. Good items and high star levels on your other Elusive Assassins are also impactful.
Scrappy Assassins are a classic combination and you can run them both ways - (3) Assassins with (6) Scrappy, or (6) Assassins with (4) Scrappy.
This is the more offensive, (6) Assassin variation. Its downside is lower survivability on your carries, while the benefit is higher damage. Moreover, Alch is very synergistic with the Assassins because of the AoE armor reduction without the need to invest in Heartless heroes.
Three Assassin builds focus on buffing your main carries (usually Phantom Assassin and Slark) as much as possible through other Alliance bonuses. This mostly means improving their survivability, which is extremely valuable when they are your win condition heroes.
As mentioned, three Assassin builds are in general stronger in the late game because of the other “main” synergies they have.
Arguably the most consistent Assassin build is (6) Scrappy (3) Assassins. The reason is pretty simple - the super carry Assassins (Slark and PA) benefit a great deal from the (6) Scrappy survivability bonus. A three-star Slark + Mask of Madness + the (6) Scrappy bonus is almost unkillable and arguably the strongest carry in Dota Underlords.
The exact hero composition above isn't set in stone. You could easily remove Shadow Fiend in favor of another Assassin (usually PA) - this way you'll lose the sustain from the (2) Warlocks, but you'll gain an additional source of damage and you'll rely on two instead of one carry.
(6) Elusive (3) Assassins pretty much follow the same logic as (6) Assassins (3) Elusive – the build buffs PA to be your main carry with the (6) Elusive evasion and attack speed bonus. This variation loses a bit of critical hit chance/damage, but it gains a lot more survivability. The Elusive bonus is incredibly synergistic with Assassins because unlike other Elusive damage-dealers (Hunters), Assassins are very likely to get hit by the enemy team right from the start of the fight. Consequently, the bonus increases their survivability a great deal.
This was the strongest late-game Assassin build in our Best Dota Underlords Builds test, but it is also the hardest to built for a simple reason - the Elusive hero lineup lacks any frontline heroes, which means you have to rely on temporary frontline heroes until you are able to reach a higher level and the full (6) Elusive bonus.
Good single target DPS in the early game from his attacks and nuke. Makes it easy to get the (2) Scrappy bonus in the early game with Timber and also makes it possible to go for a Scrappy/Assassin build. If you're not running Scrappy, he is a low-priority Assassin and usually you want to replace him with something better.
A good frontline hero if you're running only Assassins (thanks to Carapace) but works great if you place him on the backline as well (thanks to Vendetta). He is food-enough to include in most Assassin builds, but he is most useful if you want to build Insect Assassins.
The first of three Elusive Assassins, which makes the (3) Elusive bonus one of the easiest ones to get in any Assassin strategy. He is very strong early on, but he shouldn't be underestimated even in the late game if you get him to three stars and put a good item on him. He does very well with Mask of Madness, but since there are more important heroes that also want MoM, the most realistic and important item for AM in the late game is Assassin's Veil. Focusing the enemy Underlord with AM is more impactful compared to other heroes because he drains their hype with his Mana Burn and reduces their impact even before they die.
Being the only Demon Assassin, QoP deals very high DPS both with her attacks (because of the Demon damage buff) and her ultimate (which is an AoE nuke). This makes her a very valuable pick-up in the early game and she is often your main carry until you are able to find and upgrade PA and/or Slark. Getting her to three stars is not a bad idea, but usually other heroes take priority and you don't have the bench space to do it.
Slark: 3g, Scaled, Assassin
Slark is one of the strongest hard carries in the game - once he gathers enough attack speed from his passive, he can easily win rounds even in 1v3 situations. The tricky part is getting him to this point because he's fairly squishy. He needs a high star level + a good iteam (MoM, Moonshard) to be efficient, and any Alliance bonuses which make him harder to kill (Scrappy/Warlock/Scaled) are a big benefit. He is Scaled himself, which makes it easy to get the (2) Scaled bonus with Tide.
The hero with one of the highest damage outputs in the game is, unsurprisingly, one of the main carries in the Assassin hero roster. She is almost always a top three-star priority and she works best with good DPS items like MoM & Moonshard, possibly Battlefury/Sacred Relic/etc. She shines in Elusive/Assassin comps becuase she gets the evasion and becomes much more survival than usual. Survivability is important for PA because she tends to jump faster than other Assassins, meaning she often gets focused by enemies first.
Templar Assassin: 4g, Elusive, Assassin
The third Elusive Assassin, making it relatively easy to get the (3) Elusive bonus. She is also one of the most survivable Assassins because her ultimate has both an offensive and a defensive side. Even though she is strong, getting her to three stars is very hard and usually not worth the effort because she is a tier-four hero. That said, if you reach lvl9 earlier than expected and you already have your other important upgrades, upgrading her is possible.
Void: 5g, Primordial, Assassin
The Assassin Ace, Void is extremely impactful in an Assassin lineup for two reasons. First, he gives your Assassins a little bit of bonus survivability, which is always useful. More importantly, however, he provides an amazing crowd control spell (Chrono Cube), and control is something that the Assassin lineup lacks. It's possible for him to trap ally Assassins in the Cube, but they are programmed to jump out of the range just before he casts it, so it's not that common. Often, at least some of your Assassins will be able to hit during the Chrono duration, which especially valuable on Slark.
Hogben: there isn't a clear-cut better Underlord with an Assassin lineup. If you're running Hobgen, you want to emphasize a lot on his Overcharge skill because it synergizes with Assassins amazingly. It increases their DPS significantly, but it is also an amazing source of survivability once you get the Fire Break talent on lvl10.
Anessix doesn't have such an obvious synergy with Assassins, but her heals are simply extremely useful because in an Assassin strategy your main damage-dealers are exposed to danger right from the start of the fight. Emphasizing on the healing and utility talents is the typical choice in an Assassin strat.
Helm of the Undying: extremely good on Slark and Bloodseeker because it allows them to deal extremely high DPS in the 5s duration before dying. The armor is also great - makes them tankier.
Blink Dagger: one of the biggest weakness of Assassins is that they expose themselves to danger by jumping directly at the enemy team (i.e. they don't stay behind the tanks). Blink Dagger is a great way to take a powerful tank with them, and the 50 mana gain will help the Blink tank cast its crowd control spell sooner. Axe, Tide, Tiny, etc. are all good candidates to bring along with your Assassins to draw some of the enemy fire power away from your squishier Assassins.
Big-Time Contract: running a single Ogre or Warlock on the frontline makes the item extremely valuable on any Assassin because of the huge DPS increase once the Blood-Bound dies. The bonus HP is also useful in the early game. That said, in the late game it's hard to find the extra board space for the Bloodboud hero.
Target Buddy: six Assassin builds have a frontline problem, so a "free" additional tank is very useful. Less useful in three Assasin buils unless you're able to find Blink Dagger and equip it on the Buddy.
Mask of Madness: hands down the best item on a three-star Slark or Phantom Assassin. The attack speed is great, but the lifesteal is even better and helps them survive for much longer (they deal very high DPS
Assassin's Veil is the best possible item on an Anti-Mage. Forcing him to focus the enemy Underlord effectively makes them useful until Anti-Mage is alive and hitting them - he drains Hype both from the item and from his own Mana Burn.
Bracers of Desperation: an amazing item on Sand King, allowing him to cast his AoE stun at least two times in a fight. Also quite useful on Morphling for the same reason.
Sacred Relic: because of the crit, Assassins use flat damage increases better than other heroes.
Moonshard: the biggest DPS increase on three-star Assassins, who already have good damage but lack attack speed.
Pipe: very valuable on six Assassins versus corner strats, Mages in particular.
Desperate Measures: in a six Assassins build almost all heroes are damage dealers, which means Assassins utilize Desperate Measures more efficiently then most other builds.
Assault Cuirass: the armor reduction and attack speed increase auras are extremely useful especially in six Assassin drafts.
Special thanks go to our sponsors, EGB, who make publishing free content like this possible for us. If you are into esports betting you should visit them - they offer great live odds and many bonuses on professional Dota 2 matches as well as all other popular esports titles!
Особая благодарность нашим спонсорам, EGB, которые делают возможным публиковать бесплатный контент, подобный этому. Если вы любите делать ставки на киберспорт, вы должны посетить их сайт. Они предлагают отличные коэффициенты в реальном времени и множество бонусов для профессиональных матчах Dota 2, а также на все другие популярные киберспортивные игры!