- Great DPS output.
- The ability to focus-fire important heroes on the enemy frontline.
- Quite versatile – a wide range of viable Alliance combos.
Hunters are currently one of the strongest strategies in Dota Underlords. The introduction of Medusa as their new Ace increased their late-game strength significantly. At the same time, they are extremely reliable and consistent. In fact, you could easily make the argument that the Warrior/Hunter Alliance combination is the most consistent (and one of the most flexible) opening strategies in the game.
(3) Hunter Heroes: All Hunters have a 25% chance of quickly performing 2 attacks.
(6) Hunter Heroes: All Hunters have a 40% chance of quickly performing 2 attacks.
As is the case with every strat, with Hunters your first concern is the frontline. You generally have a few possible options: Warriors being the primary one, and secondary less popular but still possible options like Heartless, Knights, Scrappy, etc.
Warriors: You get three Warriors, one of which Pudge. This allows you to include Draw Ranger and get the (2) Heartless bonus as well. As you proceed toward the mid game, you get two more Hunters. Warriors is the most consistent and flexible opening for a Hunters strat.
Heartless: The (4) Heartless armor reduction bonus has amazing synergy with the high physical damage output of Hunters. (4) Heartless is a big upgrade over (2) Heartless, so it's entirely possible to try to get to four right away. Since you're also running (3) Hunters, the most valuable heartless are the tanks - Pudge and Abaddon.
Scrappy: Scrappy + Hunters is possible mainly thanks to Timber + Sniper as a strong frontline/backline early-game combination. It usually leads to a (4) Scrappy + (3) Hunters core draft, which leaves space for different late-game variations.
Knights: A Knights opening functions similar to a Warrior opening but the two key units are Abaddon and Drow for the Heartless bonus. Since Knights are a bit more expensive, they would usually require you to replace some temporary starting units (e.g. Tiny) with the Tier 3 Knights in the early-mid game. The mid-game core of your draft is (4) Knights + (3) Hunters + (2) Heartless, achievable with 7 heroes. This is arguably the weakest Hunters strategy (out of the viable ones) right now because it requires a heavier gold commitment into the frontline while not providing any crowd control.
Making a Hunters build work: Hunter builds are strictly not level or upgrade value builds - they don't require you to go to lvl10 at all costs, and at the same time there isn't a single hard-carry that you want to get to three stars by all means. This means that most of the time you go for a combination of the two philosophies. You try to get at least a few three-star upgrades (e.g. a three-star Terrorblade, Sniper, or Windranger, could make a big difference). At the same time, you want to get to lvl9 sooner rather than later because finding Medusa is quite crucial for your strategy. A two-star Medusa is also a big power-spike. Going to lvl10 is possible, but usually rolling on lvl9 for additional upgrades is the safer play (an additional minor Alliance doesn't make such a big difference as an additional three-star upgrade on one of your Hunters).
We need to start the list with the Hunter + Warrior variations since they are the most consistent and arguably the strongest Hunter builds in Dota Underlords right now.
The whole idea behind the combination is that Hunters give a high-DPS backline, while Warriors give a tanky frontline with very good control (can buy the backline Hunters a lot of time to deal damage). How much you invest in each Alliance (three or six Hunters/Warriors) and how much you invest in tertiary Alliances determines the variations.
Six Warriors Three Hunters is the variation that performed best in our late-game strength test (you can check the results in our Best Dota Underlords Builds Tier List article). It emphasizes mostly on survivability (the full Warrior bonus, a lot of crowd control, the (2) Scaled magic resistance bonus). At the same time, the backline of Medusa and Troll buffed by Drow deals good damage. With this variation you want to get to lvl9 ASAP - staying on lower levels and rolling is generally a mistake because you want to find Medusa and Troll sooner rather than later. If possible, pushing for lvl10 is also not a mistake.
This variation is the exact opposite: Six Hunters, Three Warriors. It emphasizes on DPS while retaining a decently tanky frontline with good control. Unlike the above variation, you rarely want to go to lvl10 and instead, you want to roll for important three-star upgrades (Terrorblade, Windranger, Sniper). That said, reaching lvl9 sooner rather than later is still important in order to find Medusa.
It's important to note that going for the full Warrior or Hutner bonus is not the only option. You can stay in (3) Hunters/Warriors and use the extra board space to invest in other synergies. (4) Heartless is the obvious option (you already have two in Drow and Pudge), because the armor reduction is impactful with a Hunters backline. If you're running (4) Heartless, it's a good idea to run Beastmaster as one of your Hunters because his ult (the AoE Axes) deals physical damage and gets amplified by the armor reduction.
It's possible to go for a Heartless/Hunter build rigth from the start of the game without a Warriors frontline - the tanky Heartless heroes (Abaddon, Pudge) and the melee Hunters (Beast, Lycan) can serve as a good-enough frontline. The complete (4) Heartless (6) Hunters lineup is likely one of the builds with the highest physical damage output. That said, it has a much weaker frontline than the Warrior variations (no control and less tanky).
That said, investing in the full (6) Hunters synergy is not the only option. If you stay at (3) Hunters you can use the extra hero slots to improve your frontline significantly. If you're not doing that with Warriors, one of the best options is Brawny/Brute. An early two-star on Axe and Beastmaster can help you accumulate a lot of kills on them. Reaching the full (4) Brawny bonus will turn them into an extremely durable frontline, especially if you find items with bonus armor.
The build above is relatively flexible, but Beastmaster and Brisstleback are great heroes to combine with the (4) Heartless bonus because both of them deal very good AoE physical damage.
Scrappy is another option for a decent Hunters frontline. Above you can see the relatively standard build of (6) Hunters (4) Scrappy. Hunters have a great synergy with Alchemist, whose AoE armor reduction on two stars is equivalent to the (4) Heartless bonus.
The Scrappy frontline is quite tanky (especially if Timber or/and Clock reach the three stars upgrade), but the big downside is that it doesn't provide any good crowd control.
Again, investing in the full six Hunters bonus isn't the only option and there are other possible variations, like the one above which utilizes the (3) Elusive bonus combined with the (3) Hunters and (3) Assassins.
Knights + Hunters uses the same philosophy as most other Hunter strategies - a tanky frontline and a damage-dealing Hunter backline. The interesting thing with Knights and Hunters is that you can easily get the (3) Elusive and (2) Heartless bonus.
In the variation above you go for the full (6) Knights synergy, but bear in mind that staying on (4) Knights and including additional minor Alliances is also possible:
Drow has a good proximity aura giving your other ranged units a DPS boost (because of this reason you want to keep her next to your other ranged damage dealers, usually in the middle of your army). Also, she has the Heartless Alliance, which makes it easy to get the (2) or even (4) Heartless bonus for a further DPS boost. Give her Mask of Madness if you have it – she has only passive skills. It’s cheap to upgrade her to three stars – try to do it if you have the bench space.
Beast is a frontline unit, but also a damage-dealer. Try to put him on the edge of the board so that he doesn’t tank most of the enemy damage – you want him to survive for longer to be able deal damage for longer. Moreover, by positioning him at the side he is more likely to throw his Axes diagonally and hit most of the enemy army. Beast is absolutely imba if you get him early on with the Brawny Alliance bonus. He gets kills regularly, which allows him to accumulate a huge HP pool and carry you in the late game.Prioritize getting him to three stars to increase his DPS.
One of two Elusive Hunters, making it easy to combine the two Alliances 6-3 or 3-6. She has good physical DPS for the cost combined with a relatively powerful AoE nuke. If you’re not going for the Elusive bonus, however, you could skip her for the higher-tier Hunters.
The newcomer in the Hunters lineup. Once he transforms, he becomes an amazing damage dealer. He has a crit in his Wolf form, which works great with the Hunters double attack. Because of this, you want him to transform with enough HP left to deal damage for a while. This means that, like Beast, it’s a good idea to put him on the edge of the frontline or even to move him back if he’s too squishy. He is a Savage and a Human, which makes it easy to get the Savage bonus or the (2) Humans silence. The Human Alliance is great in Hunter lineups when you have Fall from Grace.
Sniper has an amazing range, which means he usually stays in the backlines. He deals good attack DPS: he has very high damage but not that high attack speed, so he benefits a lot from staying next to Draw and from attack speed items. He also has a powerful single-target nuke, although the casting animation is very long and sometimes he wastes a lot of time switching targets before he casts it, which makes him a good Madness hero after two stars. It’s not a bad idea to combine him with Gyrocopter to activate the Deadeye synergy, which makes the two of them focus down low-HP enemies very efficiently.
Terror is one of the Hunters with the highest damage-potential thanks to the Demon bonus. This makes him a great target for a three-star upgrade in most Hunter drafts that use him. That said, if your lineup lacks a good frontline with enough control, he might end up dying too quickly to have a big impact.
Mirana received a couple of considerable buffs, which made her a playable unit. She is not amazing, but she has very decent stats, which is usually good enough for a Hunters lineup. Her ultimate is still not amazing (she Leaps out of the range of your proximity auras (which reduces her DPS and she often hits non-important units with the Arrow). That said, her ability is great versus the creep waves and sometimes she wastes the time of Assassins that focus her by leaping away.
The strongest physical AoE damage dealer in the game. It’s important to know that modifiers from items work on her split shot. This means that putting a Daedalus or Maelstrom on her is much more efficient than on most other heroes and at two stars she can easily become your main damage dealer. The Ace effect is also great because your ranged Hunters often focus the same frontline target and get a damage boost. As if her damage is not enough: she also has a crowd control component in her ultimate – Stone Gaze. (She is also great for getting the (2) Scaled synergy versus Mages.) Obviously, the drawback is that she is a rare Ace hero.
Anessix is arguably the better Underlrod in most Hunter lineups because her heals can keep the frontline alive for longer and buy time for the Hunters to deal more damage. The emphasis should fall on her heal and utility talents (break, etc.). The Hunters themselves provide enough damage.
Hobgen doesn't have amazing direct synergy with Hunters. That said, his Super Charged can increase the DPS of a hero noticeably, and in the late game, he can bring very decent utility with his ability to put the enemy team on fire and provide silences. Don't invest in his magic-damage spells and talents (they don't synergize well with Hunters) - focus on the utility talents centered on the heroes-on-fire mechanic.
Blight Stone: it gives more value in a Hunters lineup than in
most. The armor reduction makes a huge difference when multiple Hunters are
focus-firing the same unit.
Madness: an alright item for Drow Ranger. If you have a three-star Windranger or Sniper, Madness is an extremely high-value item on them as well. Their ultimates have a very long casting animation, so the silence (combined with the attack speed) actually increases the total damage output of the hero.
Maelstrom: the double attacks from the Hunters Alliance bonus means more chances to proc the lightning. Extremely good on Medusa.
Target Buddy is imba with Hunters. It allows you to commit to (6) Hunters sooner rather than later without worrying too much about your frontline because it gives you a "free" frontline hero. Even if you don't intend to do that, you have a vulnerable backline full of squishy damage dealers, so putting it next to your backline to protect against Assassins (and other units once your frontline falls) is also invaluable.
Barricade is not as universally good as Target Buddy, but it is still extremely good on Hunters. You have long-range squishy damage dealers. Putting your high-level Sniper + Drow in the corner and Barricade in front of them will make it much harder for the enemy damage-dealers to reach them.
Mekansm: the AoE heal is very valuable versus lineups with AoE damage – your units are squishy. You usually want to put it on one one of the units in the center (e.g. Drow).
Pipe: the same logic applies to Pipe, but it’s even
better at countering AoE magic damage.
Battle Fury: great on Lycan or Beast because of the double attacks. Try to get the unit who is carrying the BF to three stars.
Radiance: great on Pudge in a Hunters Warriors lineup, or any beefy Brawny hero.
Daedalus: the double attack of Hunters means more procs and more value from the raw damage increase. One of the best items on a two-star Medusa.
Assault Cuirass: put it on a frontline hero, and the armor reduction aura will increase the DPS output of your whole lineup.
Thanks for reading! I hope you found this guide useful and enjoyable. If you did, you can check out our other Underlords content in our Library! To get a good grasp of the current meta, you can check out our Underlords Strategies Tier List with information about all the most popular strats in the game!
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