- Very high physical damage amplification for your whole lineup.
- Don’t have to commit for the full bonus, can comfortably run (2) or (4).
Heartless is an Alliance bonus that’s synergistic with physical damage because it reduces enemy armor. Running (2) Heartless is very common in a lot of physical damage strats (Warriors, Knights, Hunters) because it’s very easy to get. Getting higher ranks of the Alliance bonus, however, is another question.
The unique thing about Heartless is that there are only 5 Heartless heroes in the game, which means you cannot reach the (6) Heartless bonus without a specific item:
Fall from Grace: Human units count as Heartless instead when counting Alliances.
(2) Heartless Heroes: All Enemies lose 5 Armor. (25% more physical damage vs heroes with 5 armor)
(4) Heartless Heroes: All Enemies lose 10 Armor. (50% more physical damage vs heroes with 5 armor)
(6) Heartless Heroes: All Enemies lose 15 Armor. (75% more physical damage vs heroes with 5 armor)
Without Fall From Grace, the Heartless Alliance doesn’t really deserve a guide of its own. The general logic is that you almost always want (2) Heartless in Warriors (Pudge + 1), Knights (Abaddon + 1), and Hunters (Drow + 1). The additional Heartless is usually Necro because he also allows you to get the (2) Warlocks bonus along with the (2) Heartless bonus, which makes him an extremely efficient hero for one slot.
If you get the Fall from Grace item later in the game, there’s nothing too interesting you can do. You are already running a certain strategy. If it has humans and deals physical damage (most commonly Knights and Hunters), you get the item. If not – you don’t.
If you get Fall from Grace early in the game, however, you can unleash your creativity.
Drow: 1g, Heartless, Hunter
The main reason it’s easy to get the (2) Heartless bonus in a Hunters draft. Since Hunters deal very high single target physical damage, the armor reduction is very valuable for them.
Pudge: 2g, Heartless, Warrior
The Pudge + Necro combo is arguably the main reason why Warriors + Warlocks are arguably the strongest build in the game right now. Pudge is very cheap, but he is also one of the tankiest units in the game especially with the Warriors bonus. Necro, on the other hand, is a Warlock that provides a multi-hero heal from two sources: his ult and the Warlocks bonus. This, combined with the tankiness of a Warriors draft, is extremely valuable. The (2) Heartless bonus that the two units give is just the cherry on top.
Abaddon: 3g, Heartless, Knight.
The usual reason Knights get the (2) Heartless bonus easily. Knights, however, have two humans, which means that with Fall from Grace Knights need just one more Heartless/Human hero to get the (4) Heartless bonus (usually Necro).
Necro: 4g, Heartless, Warlock
Arguably the best Warlock in the game. He provides sustain with his ultimate and even more sustain with the Warlock synergy, which means he can keep your army alive for a very decent duration. All of this makes Necro the most commonly used hero to get both the (2) Warlock or/and the (2) Heartless bonus.
Lich: 5g, Heartless, Mage
Lich is the hardest unit to fit in a Heartless draft. He is the Mage Ace and deals primarily magic damage, which doesn’t synergize with the Heartless armor reduction bonus. Mages have three Humans (Lina, Crystal Maiden, Keeper of the Light) and one Heartless (Lich), which means it’s theoretically possible to get the (4) Heartless bonus just with (6) Mages without any additional units. That’s usually a bad decision, however, because Mages as a whole benefit a lot more from the Human synergy than the Heartless synergy for the simple reason they deal very little physical damage.
As we mentioned, the Alliances that benefit from Fall from Grace the most are Hunters, Knights, and Warriors for the simple reason that they have both Heartless and Human heroes in them while dealing primarily physical damage (Mages also have Heartless and Warriors, but they deal magic damage).
Above you can see the most standard (6) Knights build, which is also the standard Knights fall form grace build. It has been one of the strongest builds for ages.
That said, if you get Fall from Grace early in the game and you’re bored from playing standard Knights, you can go for Knight Hunters:
Your main damage dealers are CK, Sniper, and Lycan in this case, so they are your top upgrade priority.
Alchemist is the best possible second Warlock because he gives you even more armor reduction, amplifying your physical damage even more.
If you have a good game, you can push for lvl10 before you start rolling for upgrades. This might allow you to get Viper to activate your Dragon Knight. If you have only a two-star Sniper, replace him with Medusa for the Scaled Synergy and you’ll end up with this super late-game composition:
If you get Fall from Grace with a Warrior opening, the logical thing is to go for Hunters:
This is the core build and it gives you a lot of flexibility. You can stay on lvl6 or 7 for a long time, searching for three-star upgrades on your cheaper core units. Alternatively, you can also push for upgrades if you’re having a good game. If you do so, you need to decide what to go for. The standard would be (6) Warriors or (6) Hunters, but in this meta, the (6) Warriors option is objectively better.
With (6) Warriors, your late-game lienup will look like that:
You have 4 Hunters in total, so if you don’t have the luxury to push for lvl10 you can play on lvl9 without one of the Hunters.
This lineup, like the Knights lineup, is relatively standard and quite useable even without FFG (you’d usually have Beastmaster and Axe instead of Lycan and e.g. Slardar). If you have FFG early and you want to play something different, however, you can cut the (6) Warriors and go for a (6) Heartless strategy:
Here we once again use the Necro + Alchemist combo to get (2) Warlocks with (6) Heartless with an additional source of sustain. The 6th Heartless hero we go for is Bloodseeker simply because he gives Sniper the Deadeye bonus.
Once again, if you don’t have the luxury to push for lvl10 you can play without Medusa (or cut Sniper for her if he’s not three stars). If you don’t have Sniper, it’s better to go for a different Heartless instead of Blood – e.g. Lich.
Arguably the most interesting and unusual way to utilize Fall from Grace would be with Assassins. They are the highest physical damage dealers in the game and benefit from the armor reduction a great deal. Moreover, Bloodseeker is a Human/Assassin.
One of the best possible options if you get FFG early and you want to go for Assassins is to start with Hunters (Drow, Sniper, Lycan) + Pudge and Bloodseeker, which will give you the (4) Heartless (3) Hunters and Deadeye bonuses from early on. Afterward, you can start building towards (3) Assassins and (3) Warriors:
Build demonstrated by Bebe: https://youtu.be/dclpZUYtT_Y
The lineup above has plenty of control in addition to plenty of physical damage with the (4) Heartless, (3) Hunters, (3) Assassins.
(6) Heartless is much more difficult to do with (3) Assassins, but not impossible:
For example, this (6) Heartless, (4) Knights, (3) Assassins, (2) Dragons build took an extremely comfortable first place in a high BB lobby. That said, this example happened before the Viper change. With the Viper change, it’s more difficult to combine Knights and Assassins because you’ll need lvl10 to include Viper while also having (6) Heartless. Right now the FFG Knight/Assassin build would likely try to run something like that:
The problem with this build is that it runs expensive units and at the same time is upgrade and item dependent (you want Helm, Mask, and PA and Blood on three stars). This means it’s likely to struggle if things don’t go your way.
With high Heartless levels, the obvious item choices would be physical DPS items and armor reduction items. Of course, items that buy time for your units to deal damage (i.e. tank items for your frontline) should also not be underestimated.
Blight Stone: stacking additional armor reduction amplifies your damage output further. Extremely valuable in Heartless/Hunters.
Fall from Grace: just in case you forgot. FALL FROM GRACE!
Helm of the Undying: amazing on Bloodseeker even without Heartless, even better with Heartless.
Mask of Madness: the lifesteal is even stronger combined with the very high armor reduction simply because the hero deals even more physical damage (hence steals more HP).
Sacred Relic: any item that increases your physical DPS is more valuable when you have armor reduction. Great on Hunters because of the bonus attack.
Battle Fury: awesome on melee Assassins like PA. The huge crits with armor reduction will deal AoE damage.
Black King Bar: if you’re running Heartless/Assassins, you already deal enough damage, but control can ruin you. BKB on a key Assassin can be game-saving.
Moonshard: amazing DPS increase on any carry hero.
Daedalus: put it on a three-star Hunter and see enemies melt.
Assault Cuirass: even more armor reduction is never redundant.
Desperate Measures: the Heartless bonus amplifies the damage of your whole lineup. So does Desperate Measures.
In conclusion, FFG might be one of the most impactful items in Dota Underlords if you get it early enough and plan for it! Have fun experimenting with it!
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