- Very durable against physical damage.
- Good offensive potential.
Elusive has been the least-popular defensive Alliance in Dota Underlords for a good reason. It works like the Warriors bonus in the sense that it protects you against physical damage, but it is a bit inferior because of three reasons:
While the Elusive Alliance has worse utility heroes than Warriors, its biggest selling point is that it has pretty good offensive heroes (two Assassins, two Hunters, one Demon Hunter, one Mage). This allows you to use these offensive synergies in a (6) Elusive draft pretty naturally: Usually Elusive/Assassins, Elusive/Hunters, and since the Natures Prophet change – Elusive/Mages.
(3) Elusive Heroes: All Elusive units gain +25% Evasion.
(6) Elusive Heroes: All Elusive units gain +50% Evasion.
Elusive openings are quite versatile but usually revolve around the (3) Elusive bonus and these units:
Anti-Mage: as the only 1-cost Elusive, Anti-Mage is the obvious hero to talk about. He is actually extremely strong in the very early game because he deals decent DPS because of the passive and doesn’t allow at least one hero from the enemy team to cast its spell. This makes a big difference when there are just a few enemy heroes as – Anti-Mage effectively nullifies a big percentage of the enemy lineup’s potential.
Enchantress (Druids): Druids, Nature’s Prophet and Treant, in particular, is the second extremely important part of an Elusive opening and pretty much the core of an Elusive build. Since Treant is a 3-cost unit, you’ll have to run Enchantress as a temporary replacement together with Nature’s Prophet. She is actually pretty good in the early game and if you couple her heal with the (3) Elusive evasion bonus your lineup will become quite durable. You can also utilize her Savage Alliance by e.g. including Tusk in your opening lineup temporarily – he will increase your DPS and at the same time serve as a tank.
After the opening, your goal is to reach the (6) Elusive bonus ASAP. It’s a big power-spike in the early-mid game when most enemy lineups deal damage with attacks (Mage lineups aren’t online yet and there are very few high-tier AoE damage heroes). Use this timing to give yourself a good mid game and economy. What Elusive heroes you go for depends mostly on the shop, but you should always keep in mind what final build you’re aiming for especially when it comes to decisions which units to three-star.
If you plan to go for a (6) Elusive build, you generally have three main options:
The oldest and arguably strongest of the Elusive builds might be considered the “core” build. The reason it works well is quite simple: two of the strongest Assassins in the game are also Elusive (Phantom Assassin and Templar Assassin). This means that they benefit from the (6) Elusive evasion bonus, making them much more survivable than they are in theory. A three-star PA with the 50% evasion and ideally Mask of Madness is one of the hardest carries in the game.
What third Assassin you go for is situational. The option above is relatively standard because:
So, the Slark + Tide (2) Scaled bonus and the AoE stun of Tide are extremely welcome in an Elusive draft.
The build doesn’t require you to get to lvl10 (or even lvl9 in some cases) – three-star upgrades are more important – the first priority being PA followed by one of the Druids, Slark, and in longer games even TA. Theoretically, you could go for Viper (with Puck) or Sand King for more control.
In case you get to lvl9 or 10 you have different options. The easiest one is to go for Medusa and the Scaled Ace bonus, possibly even (4) Scaled on lvl10. This will also allow you to get (3) Hunters with Medusa, Wind, and Mirana:
Another option is to include (2) Demon Hunters if you were lucky enough to get a fast three-star Anti-Mage in the mid-game (if you don’t it’s best to swap the two-star AM for something more impactful):
That said, Elusive + Demon Hunters isn’t as strong as it used to be because your main carry (Terrorblade) doesn’t benefit from the Evasion bonus. This means that upgrading PA is definitely a higher priority even when you have TB.
Elusive Hunters is arguably the weakest variation because of a few problems:
Because of this, Hunters are more commonly played as a late game tetriary synergy with Medusa for an Elusive draft. That said, if you want to play Elusive-Hunters from the start your mid game lineup will look similar to this.
Elusive Hunters Early-Mid Game:
Unlike Assassins, Elusive-Hunters don’t benefit from three-star upgrades as much, so the goal would usually be to reach lvl9 and ideally lvl10 for a super late-game lineup like in the example below.
Elusive Hunters Late Game:
Even though going for (6) Elusive (6) Hunters is possible on lvl10, we wouldn’t recommend it because of the flaws mentioned above. A more diverse draft like the one above is generally more versatile and stronger. (If you don’t have the luxury to reach lvl10, you can sell the Drow Ranger to include the Sand King on lvl9.)
Elusive Mages were theoretically possible before the latest patch, but they were an underwhelming build. Since the change to Nature’s Prophet, however, Elusive Mages are quite viable – he deals extremely high magic damage with his new skill Wrath of Nature and benefits a lot from the Mage magic resistance reduction bonus.
The early-mid game core of the build is (3) Elusive (3) Mages with Treant and NP:
CM is the important non-Elusive Mage because you really need the mana regen aura. In this example, Lina gives you the (2) Humans synergy, but in the late game you would usually want to swap her for KotL (unless going for 6 Mages). The most important Elusive hero in this build after the (2) Druids and Puck is Windranger for the simple reason that she has a nuke that deals high magic damage.
Early-Mid Game Example:
You have two options from that point – to go for (6) Elusive + (3) Mages or (3) Elusive + (6) Mages.
(6) Elusive (3) Mages:
In the build above the spread-out positioning is good vs other AoE builds. If you’re fighting Assassins it’s better to box-up in the corner.
Out of the units above Luna is the least important. Her main job is to give your DK some damage reduction, but you can easily do fine with any other sixth Elusive hero.
The best 10th hero is Medusa for the (3) Hunters synergy (especially if you have a three-star Wind) or Lich for the Mages Ace effect and additional magic damage.
This lineup runs PA instead of Luna – with MoM and a three-star upgrade she definitely presents a real threat even without the Assassins bonus.
Another example with (3) Assassins instead of Hunters:
Here the lack of KotL (or good items) is not great, but the (3) Assassins bonus helps. Giving crits to PA and TA is good, but the main idea is to benefit from Viper’s passive thanks to already running other Dragons – it deals magic damage and benefits from the Mage debuff a great deal.
(6) Mage (3) Elusive:
As mentioned, going for (6) Mages is also possible as shown above. A three-star Nature’s Prophet will deal extremely high damage with the (6) Mages bonus, but bear in mind this build severely lacks control which is much more noticeable when most of your lineup is squishy. Because of this, it’s fair to say this is not the strongest (6) Mage build in Dota Underlords right now.
Anti Mage: 1g, Elusive, Demon
Very strong in the early game thanks to the mana burn. Moreover, later on you can combine him with Terrorblade to increase his DPS. He is squishy even with the evasion, so try not to expose him to danger directly (which is easier said than done – Elusives lack enough frontline heroes). If you keep him in the late game, try to position him in front of important enemy frontline utility heroes like Tide/Disruptor/etc. to benefit from his mana burn.
Luna: 2g, Elusive, Knight
The fact that Luna has two defensive Alliances means that she is harder to fit in Elusive drafts than most other Elusive heroes. Consequently, she rarely takes upgrade priority and often gets replaced by another higher-tier Elusive hero in the late game. If you decide to keep her, it’s also a good idea to run Puck and DK for the (2) Knights and (2) Dragons bonus.
Nature’s Prophet: 2g, Elusive, Druid
One of two Elusive Druids, making it standard to include both heroes in any (6) Elusive draft. NP himself deals high Magic damage, so he fits best the Mage/Elusive drafts. That said, he’s useful enough even if he’s there just to give Treant three stars cheaply.
Windranger: 2g, Elusive, Hunter
One of two Elusive Hunters, making it easy to get the (3) Hunters synergy bonus. She has relatively high physical DPS in addition to a high-damage magic nuke. She is squishy, so try to position her away from danger. Moreover, keeping her on the edge of the board is a good idea because this way she is more likely to fire her Powershot diagonally and hit multiple enemies – while Powershot’s range is very high, the AoE is pretty narrow.
Puck: 2g, Elusive, Dragon, Mage
A central unit in an Elusive/Mage draft. He deals high AoE magic damage, and he allows you to unlock the Dragon synergy abilities of DK or Viper. In such a strat it’s a good idea to get him to three stars if you can, especially if you have Octarine Essence to put on him. He is very survivable with the Elusive evasion and the Dragon synergy Phase Shift and he casts his Orb very often, providing a lot of AoE DPS.
Treant: 3g, Elusive, Druid
A three-star Treant with the (6) Elusive synergy is one of the best tanks in the game. He doesn’t have good control, but his huge EHP combined with his heal make him extremely hard to bring down, which buys your other heroes a lot of time. What makes Treant even more valuable is the fact that there aren’t many good Elusive frontline heroes. That’s why getting either one of your two Druids to three stars is generally a good idea.
Phantom Assassin: 3g, Elusive, Assassin
One of the best Assassins in the game. With the Elusive evasion and a good DPS item, she becomes one of the best carries in the game. Getting her to three stars in an Elusive draft is a great idea, and she’s good enough to include even if you aren’t running (3) Assassins. The best item on her is Mask of Madness, followed by other DPS items like Moonshard or possibly Battle Fury.
Templar Assassin: 4g, Elusive, Assassin
The 2nd Elusive Assassin, making it easy to get to the (3) Assassins bonus. Her ability has a defensive aspect, which makes her extremely hard to kill with the (6) Elusive evasion bonus. If you are rolling on lvl9/10 in longer games it is viable to get her to three stars.
Mirana: 4g, Elusive, Hunter
Even though it’s counter-intuitive, she is one of the better Elusive heroes to expose to danger. She has a low mana pool and when she casts her Arrow she leaps away, disengaging enemy heroes. She has decent right-click DPS and her Arrow has a long stun. It’s pretty unreliable, but it is still pretty useful most rounds.
For more general tips about which items to pick you can check out our Dota Underlords Items Tier List.
Hood of Defiance: Elusive heroes are vulnerable to magic damage and don’t have an easy way to get the (2) Scaled bonus, so the Hood magic resistance is usually more valuable than in other strategies.
Barricade: even though Elusive drafts are survivable by nature, they also lack enough frontline heroes. This means that Barricade is extremely useful to keep in front of your ranged Elusive heroes while your Treant tanks most of the enemy damage.
Target Buddy: the same logic as Barricade. Moreover, you are vulnerable to Assassins, so sticking the Buddy on your backline is usually a great idea.
Brooch of the Aggressor: fairly useful on Nature’s Prophet or Puck – you want them to cast their abilities as often as possible.
Mask of Madness: extremely valuable because you are very likely to have Phantom Assassin in your lineup. It’s the best item for her because it increases her DPS while allowing her to sustain herself.
Octarine Essence: there are plenty of Elusive heroes that could benefit from the CD reduction: Puck, Windranger, Nature’s Prophet, even situationally TA with Refraction.
Maelstrom: great on Windranger or Mirana especially if you have the (3) Hunters bonus. It deals magic damage, so it benefits from the Mages bonus as well.
Bracers of Desperation: great on Tide if you have him. If not, it could be decent on three-star Druids (especially NP) and possibly TA/Mirana.
Battle Fury: a decent item on PA if you don’t have MoM or Moonshard. Possible to put on a three-star AM as well, but not game-breaking on him.
Daedalus: decent on most of your Hunters or Demon Hunters, especially Terrorblade if you’re running him.
Moon Shard: the highest DPS increase on most three-star heroes, including PA/TA/Mirana/Terrorblade/Slark/etc.
Tombstone: as mentioned, you lack enough tanks, so Tombstone can act as another body on your frontline.
Pipe of Insight: the best defensive item in an Elusive draft – you don’t have any natural magic damage protection and it’s hard to get (2) Scaled, so it’s very useful in most games.
Refresher: great in Elusive/Mage drafts, mostly useful on a three-star Nature’s Prophet or powerful Mages like Lich.
Eye of Skadi: great on Medusa if you have her. If not, it’s useful on any hero whose EHP you want to increase.
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