Dota Underlords Knights Strategy Guide
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Author:
MrNiceGuy
Date: 06/2019
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Knights Overview:

From zero to hero in a patch.

Knights were objectively the worst strategy in Underlords (especially compared to their success in the Auto Chess meta) and they severely needed a buff.

Well, they got it. But it might be the case that Valve maybe, possibly, just slightly over-tuned them. Because right now they are all you are seeing in high-level games. All three major variations of Knights drafts were voted as A-Tier strategies in our Dota Underlords Tier List which covers Alliances and Strategies.

The dominance of Mages was a plague on the game, but Mages are a bit harder to build and theoretically counterable. Knights, however, are very simple conceptually. You just buy all of them, put them next to each other, and try to upgrade them, and you’re pretty much good to go. More critically – they are quite a lot harder to counter.

At the time of writing this, if you want to climb in rank, you’ve got to try to force Knights more often than not. I’m sure that they will get nerfed sooner rather than later, so this might change, but I doubt they will disappear from the meta completely. If you like playing beefy lineups, read on:

Knights and Dragons Strategy Summary:

The goal of the Knights strategy is pretty simple – you get more Knights in order to create an extremely tanky frontline. The Knights bonus gives damage reduction that works against both physical and magical damage, which in most cases makes it superior to the survivability bonuses of Alliances like Warriors and Elves (which help only against attacks) or Scaled (which help only against magic damage).

The trick, however, is that you need your knights to stand next to each other to get the whole buff:

  • (2) Knights: 15% damage reduction + an additional 15% when standing next to another Knight
  • (4) Knights: 20% damage reduction + an additional 20% when standing next to another Knight
  • (6) Knights: 30% damage reduction + an additional 25% when standing next to another Knight

You usually want to get to six Knights not only because the buff is stronger, but because it makes it easier for your army to maintain the proximity buff.

Dragons, unlike Knights, are a secondary synergy. They have a very interesting mechanic in which once you get (2) Dragons, each Dragon hero unlocks new skills. This means they could be used creatively in different comps. In Knights, they are used to turn Dragon Knight in your main source of damage. (In this guide we’ll explore a few additional uses of Dragons).

PROS

  • The tankiest synergy in the game: the Knights damage reduction applies to both physical and magical damage, unlike all other survivability synergies which provide tankiness against only one damage type.
  • Dragons are flexible and could be included in various strategies for a different reason. EG DK is the main Damage Dealer in Knights + Dragons, but he could be a tank in Humans + Mages.

CONS

  • Low damage output and little space to include damage synergies if you’re going for all (6) Knights (which is standard).
  • The Knight buff is much stronger at proximity even after the patch, so spread-up lineups that drag your units away from each other could be problematic. Moreover, since you want to clump your units up, you are more vulnerable to AoE spells.
  • Expensive units: hard to get upgrades without a very good economy.

Heroes Info:

batrider_icon_underlords
Batrider: 1g, Troll, Knight

The cheapest and weakest Knight, Batrider has two things going for him. First, he is a very decent damage dealer in the very early game thanks to Napalm (he falls off later on unless you get the Trolls buff and a high star level on him). Two, he makes the Knight-Troll combo easy to get, and arguably it’s one of the best strategies in Dota Underlords right now.

Luna_icon_underlords
Luna: 2g, Elusive, Knight

The Elusive Alliance is relatively useless in a Knights strat because you don’t need additional defensive synergies – you need damage. That said, Luna is actually one of the best damage dealers in a Knights draft. Since in Underlords you cannot put more than one item on a hero, Luna will be one of your main damage dealers in both Dragons + Knights and Trolls + Knights strategies. This also means she has high upgrade priority (Chaos Knight and Luna are the most cost-efficient pieces to take to three stars).

Chaos_knight_icon_underlords

Chaos Knight: 2g, Demon, Knight
Your early and mid-game carry. CK is both tanky and a very decent damage dealer. Put him in the frontline but to the side so that he doesn’t take a lot of damage right away, which would give him more time to auto-attack and deal damage with the Demon Alliance bonus. Later on, he falls off slightly, but getting him to three stars is a great way to keep him relevant.

Omniknight_icon_underlords

Omni Knight: 3g, Human, Knight
A good tank with a heal that can deal decent AoE damage. Together with Abaddon, Omni is the backbone of your frontline. One has a shield that deals AoE damage, the other – a heal that does the same. This makes one of the two a great Radiance carrier (one of the best items you can have on Knights – your units survive for very long, which allows Radiance to deal very high damage). The Human Alliance is useful especially bearing in mind Dragon Knight is also a Human, so it’s pretty easy to hit at least the (2) Humans bonus (and ideally transform it to Heartless with Fall from Grace).

Abaddon_icon_underlords
Abaddon: 3g, Heartless, Knight

Your main tank, and since his shield got buffed, he deals cement AoE damage. His most important quality is that he is Heartless. This makes it easy to get at least the (2) Heartless bonus with heroes like Necro or Drow. The armor reduction is extremely helpful on a Knights strategy, which usually lacks damage.

Dragon_knight_icon_underlords

Dragon Knight: 4g, Human, Knight
Your main damage-dealer in a Dragons-Knights strategy thanks to the ranged Dragon form. He deals AoE damage on two-stars and slows on three stars, so he is a very high upgrade priority, although getting him to lvl3 is pretty hard. Even if you don’t manage to get him to lvl3, however, you can easily include two two-star DKs in your draft – they will deal very serious damage. DK’s main problem is his low attack speed. To increase his DPS most efficiently you usually want attack speed items (or auras – Drow, Troll with Coordinated Assault, etc.) on him, although damage items like Daedalus are also not bad, of course.
Outside of a Dragons draft, he could be a decent tank – he has high HP and in-built 10HP regen, and his nuke applies a damage reduction debuff, which helps your frontline survive for even longer. He is Human, so he can help you get the Human synergy (or Heartless with Fall from Grace).

Puck_icon_underlords
Puck: 2g, Elusive, Dragon, Mage

Puck gains Phase Shift from the Dragons synergy, which makes him slightly harder to kill (especially with high-damage nukes). It’s not particularly useful in a Knights lineup, but it could be good if you can activate it in an Elusive/Mages lineup.

Viper_icon_underlords
Viper: 3g, Dragon, Assassin

Viper gains Corrosive Skin from the Dragons Alliance bonus, which gives him considerable magic resistance and a damage over time debuff that gets applies to all heroes attacking him. Because if this, he is the more useful of the two secondary Dragons in a Knights strategy and also a decent Assassin to run against high magic-damage comps.


Items:

Indomitable_will_icon
Indomitable Will: Debuffs last 50% as long on Human units.

This item easily flies under the radar but is actually quite useful on a Knights + Dragons strategy. DK is your main carry and you might even run two copies of the hero. He will be your primary source of damage by far. If he gets stunned or Hexed for a long time, this creates a problem for you. The 50% shorter debuff duration is very valuable in this regard – it helps your DK auto-attack for longer in a fight.

Fall_from_grace_icon
Fall from Grace:Human units count as Heartless when counting Alliances.”

Arguably the most important item you could possibly get in a Knights strategy. The reason is that Knights already have one Heartless and two Humans, which means you are just one unit away from the (4) Heartless armor debuff. Since Knights lack damage in general, getting the Heartless synergy makes the strategy miles better (at the same time, the Human silence is usually not that important on Knights – you can tank most nukes and last longer than most disables).

107px-Age_of_chivalry_icon
Age of Chivalry: “Non-Knight units get 10% damage reduction for each Knight unit 1 cell away.”

Not that crucial in Dragon-Knight comps because your non-Knight units aren’t that important (they are there just for the Alliance bonuses). In Knights + Trolls or even Knights + Hunters, however, this global item could be impactful. The buff is also useful if you’re using non-Knight units on the frontline like Enigma, Techies, Tide, and Disruptor.

107px-Dragon's_hoard_icon
Dragon’s Hoard: “Dragon units gain 1% Attack Damage for every gold you own at the beginning of combat.”

A “win more” item. If you’re comfortable in the game on high health with a stable bank of 50 gold and Dragon Knight is your main damage dealer, it is a good item to have. You don’t want it in any other situation. If you’re struggling you will be forced to spend your money sooner rather than later and you want to be strongest exactly when you’ve committed and spent your gold, so the item will stay dead in your inventory.

107px-Coordinated_assault_icon
Coordinated Assault: Troll units give +25 Attack Speed to alliance 1 cell away.”
A great item to have in a Knights strategy. You already have Batrider, and it is also possible to go for all (4) Trolls. Even if you’re not going for all four, you can just put Batrider and Witch Doctor next to your Dragon Knight to increase his attack speed substantially. Coordinated Assault stacks with itself.

In my subjective opinion, the Knights + Trolls comp is the strongest strategy in Underlords right now (especially after the last few DK nerfs), and Fall from Grace + Coordinated Assault increases its power level a lot.

107px-Moon_shard_icon
Moonshard:  “+80 Attack Speed”

The main problem of Dragon Knight is his slow attack speed, so Moonshard is the item that can increase his DPS the most.

107px-Radiance_icon
Radiance: “Burns enemies up to 2 cells away for 60 damage per second”

Arguably the most important non-global item in a Knights lineup. Your strategy lacks damage, but it is extremely tanky. This means each fight usually lasts long. Consequently, your Radiance carrier has a lot of time to burn down enemy heroes. Put the item on your tankiest frontline Knight (usually Omni or Abaddon, possibly Chaos Knight). Typically, your Radiance carrier will be your second highest DPS hero after your main carry (DK, Troll Warlord, etc.).

Making Knights Work:

Early Game:

In the very early game Batrider is actually a good damage dealer, especially on two stars. It’s important to know that two copies of Bat both apply the Napalm debuff and benefit from it, which means very early on you can easily keep him on the board twice (ideally on your backline).

Bat aside, Chaos Knight is your most important early-game unit. He is tanky and deals very high damage thanks to the Demon synergy pure damage. Don’t forget that you can also keep two copies of CK on the board without removing the Demon bonus damage – two of the same Demons count as one when Alliances are calculated.

Abaddon is also an important hero because 1st –he’s tanky and deals decent AoE damage with the shield, and 2nd – he gives you easy access to the (2) Heartless synergy. Getting to (2) Heartless bonus from early on is a good idea because Knights lack damage, and the armor reduction helps out in this regard.

You usually want to hit (4) Knights ASAP because it’s a big jump in survivability.

Mid & Late Game:

In the mid game, you want to hit a mature draft by lvl8 and focus on economy. (6) Knights and another two synergistic units are standard, but you can also e.g. go for (4) Knights + (4) Trolls, etc.

Don’t focus on upgrades in the mid game, your synergies should be able to carry you. Focus on economy as much as possible. Knights are expensive, so you need to have a good economy to be able to afford upgrades in the late game. Rolling from early on and having a lot of gold sitting on your bench is simply not an option if you want to place highly in the late game.

The late game plan is pretty simple. Play a standard slow-paced economy game and search for upgrades. Only burn the bank for rerolling only when things get critical – the more time you stay on 50 gold, the more total gold you’ll have in the game, and usually to upgrade multiple Knights you’ll need all of it (just getting DK to lvl3 costs 36gold, and this doesn’t include the reroll cost).

Positioning:

In terms of positioning, you don’t have a lot of choices. Your Knights need to be next to each other, so you usually want to keep all your melee Knights on the first row and the ranged knights (Luna, Bat, DK if you have Dragons) immediately behind them on the 2nd roll. Non-Knight units need to be protected behind your Knights frontline.

Try to position your lineup directly in front of your opponents. This will make it least likely that your Knights will break formation. The worst scenario is to have your Knights walk from one side of the map to the other diagonally.

Dragons Underlords Positioning

In the example above, Chaos Knight is “locked” in the last row to protect the backline heroes (Dragon Knight, the two Trolls, and Luna) against Assassins. In a normal scenario, you’d usually want to put him on the spot of Viper and move the whole lineup one tile forward to engage the enemies quicker.


Example Knights Strats:

Knights + Dragons
batrider_icon_underlords
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Luna_icon_underlords
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Chaos_knight_icon_underlords
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Omniknight_icon_underlords
4
Abaddon_icon_underlords
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Dragon_knight_icon_underlords
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Viper_icon_underlords
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Necrophos_icon_underlords
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Units: Batrider, Luna, Chaos Knight, Omni Knight, Abaddon, Dragon Knight, Viper, Necro
Synergies: (6) Dragons, (2) Dragons, (2) Humans, (2) Heartless

This is the most common Knights strategy. It utilizes the (2) Dragons synergy to turn your Dragon Knight into your main damage dealer. You can use either Viper or Puck as your 2nd Dragon, but Viper is a better option in this composition simply because he’s a bit tankier and deals more damage with Corrosive Skin. The elusiveness of Puck is relatively useless in a Knights draft.

Necro gives you the (2) Heartless bonus, which is important. If you are lucky enough to get Fall from Grace, you will instantly unlock the (4) Heartless bonus.

You can use Drow instead if you’re not getting Necro, but he is superior because he provides a lot of sustain: not only with his heal but with the (2) Warlocks synergy you can unlock with just one additional unit.

Late Game:

In the late game, you usually want to include your 2nd Warlock, the best option being Enigma. Not only will he give you the synergy bonus, but he’ll deal very high damage with his ultimate. Rounds last long when you’re playing (6) Knights, so Midnight Pulse will have a lot of time to melt the enemy lineup.

Since you’ll be going for a three-star DK, you usually want to include your 2nd two-star DK on the board when available. This will increase your Damage output a great deal and it means that buying additional DKs is useful even if you don’t manage to get him to three stars.

If you have Fall from Grace, you have the possibility to go for (6) Heartless in the late game by including two more Heartless/Human units like Lich/Kunkka/Crystal Maiden, etc. instead of Enigma + one.

Knights + Trolls
batrider_icon_underlords
1
Chaos_knight_icon_underlords
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Abaddon_icon_underlords
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Omniknight_icon_underlords
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Witch_doctor_icon_underlords
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Troll_warlord_icon_underlords
6
Shadow_shaman_icon_underlords
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Necrophos_icon_underlords
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Units: Batrider, Chaos Knight, Abaddon, Omni Knight, Witch Doctor, Troll Warlord, Shadow Shaman, Necro
Synergies: (4) Knights, (4) Trolls, (2) Heartless, (2) Warlocks

Since Dragons are getting slightly nerfed, this is arguably the strongest Knights strategy right now.

It is more inconsistent than the (6) Knights + (2) Dragons because finding the (4) Trolls is more difficult, but the damage output potential is higher, which means you’re stronger in the late game.

You prioritize leveling up Batrider because until you get all (4) Trolls he’ll be your main damage dealer. You can even put two two-star copies of Bat – with the (2) Trolls bonus, they’ll deal very high DPS in the early and mid game. The Napalm debuffs from both Batriders stack with each other.

You can also use Luna instead of Omni in the example lineup above. She will deal very high DPS with the (4) Trolls buff, especially if you give her a damage item. That said, this will make your frontline a bit weaker.

Late Game:

(6) Knights: You have the possibility to go for (6) Knights in the late game if you feel you need more survivability.

Heartless: If you have Fall from Grace, you can easily reach the (4) Heartless bonus (you need to include e.g. Dragon Knight) while going for (6) Knights. It is even possible to get to the (6) Heartless bonus with (4) Knights, but it’s a bit harder because it’ll require you to swap out CK for DK and get two additional Humans or Heartless (Kunkka, Lich, etc.) – example lineup in the screenshot below. That said, (4) Trolls + (6) Heartless is one of the comps with the highest possible physical damage output.

Shamans: Disruptor is a great 9th unit because he’ll give you the (2) Shamans instant Hex Alliance bonus. Great comps who rely on a single powerful unit. You can also include a second two-star Troll Warlord while you’re trying to get him to three stars.

Warlocks: You can also go for (4) Warlocks – the lifesteal is very significant and your high DPS units like Troll, CK, and Luna will sometimes be able to over-heal enemies. Your ideal 3rd and 4th Warlocks are Enigma + Alchemist (his armor reduction synergizes well with the Trolls DPS and the Heartless bonus).

Trolls Knights Heartless Screenshot

Above: a (4) Trolls, (4) Knights, (6) Heartless lineup with the Fall from Grace global item.

Knights + Hunters
Chaos_knight_icon_underlords
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Omniknight_icon_underlords
2
Abaddon_icon_underlords
3
Luna_icon_underlords
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Drow_ranger_icon_underlords
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Medusa_icon_underlords
6
Windranger_icon_underlords
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Units: Chaos Knight, Omni Knight, Abaddon, Luna, Drow Ranger, Medusa, Windranger
Synergies: (4) Knights, (3) Hunters, (2) Heartless

This is arguably the weakest variation of a Knights Strat. The problem is that Knights work better with Trolls and Dragons, while Hunters work better with Warriors. Nonetheless, it is still decent.

The general idea is that Knights give you a strong frontline and Hunters give you a damage-dealing backline with very easy access to the (2) Heartless synergy for additional damage thanks to Abaddon and Drow. Medusa is your main damage dealer, so including two two-star copies of her is not a bad idea.

Drow will give additional DPS not only to the Hunters but also to Luna. Ideally, you want to position this draft in a 3x3 formation.

Late Game:

This draft matures at lvl7, so you have plenty of options for the late game. You can go for (6) Hunters until but you need lvl 10. This will also give you the (3) Elusive synergy thanks to Luna, Wind, and Mirana. The main benefit of this is that it makes your Luna stronger and it’s a viable strategy to try to get her to three stars along with Medusa – your lineup will deal plenty of AoE physical damage.

It’s also possible to go for (6) Knights and if you’re able to reach lvl10 – even (2) Dragons. Putting DK next to Drow will increase his DPS significantly. You can use Puck as the 2nd Dragon to give Luna, Wind, and Puck the (3) Elusive passive.


New Dragons Strats:

Humans + Dragons + Mages
Dragon_knight_icon_underlords
1
Omniknight_icon_underlords
2
Crystal_maiden_icon_underlords
3
Keeper_of_the_light_icon_underlords
4
Lina_icon_underlords
5
Kunkka_icon_underlords
6
Puck_icon_underlords
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Razor_icon_underlords
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Lich_icon_underlords
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Units: Dragon Knight, Omni Knight, Crystal Maiden, Keeper of the Light, Lina, Kunkka, Puck, Razor, Lich
Synergies: (6) Humans, (6) Mages, (2) Knights, (2) Dragons

The above lineup is a variation of a more standard (4) Humans (6) Mages draft, but it utilizes the two Human Knights to get the full (6) Humans bonus. With the changes to Dragons, it’s a good added benefit to combine Puck and DK in this draft. Remember that DK has an AoE nuke now (Breathe Fire), which benefits a lot from the magic resistance reduction coming from the (6) Mages. Puck also becomes slightly more survivable.

The drawback of this lineup is the weak frontline, but the super-high nuke damage and guaranteed silences compensate.

Elusive + Dragons + Assassins
Nature's_prophet_icon_underlords
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Treant_protector_icon_underlords
2
Puck_icon_underlords
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Viper_icon_underlords
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Phantom_assassin_icon_underlords
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Templar_assassin_icon_underlords
6
Anti-mage_icon_underlords
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Units: Natures, Treant, Puck, Viper, Phantom Assassin, Templar Assassin, Anti-Mage
Synergies: (6) Elusive, (3) Assassins, (2) Dragons, (2) Druids

The above lineup is a variation of the (6) Elusive + (3) Assassins lineup which makes use of the Puck + Viper Dragons synergy. Viper used to be one of the worse Assassins in Dota Underlords, but the Dragons Alliance bonus buffed him a great deal. The damage over time is great, but the magic resistance is even more important when facing e.g. Mages.

This core lineup consists of only 7 units, so you have different options to go for in the late game. One of the easiest options would be to go for the other two Druids.



Thanks for reading! If you found this Dota Underlords guide enjoyable, you can check out our other content about the game in our Library! To get a good grasp of the current meta, you can check out our Underlords Tier List with tips and information about all heroes in the game!

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Authors:

Kyril "MrNiceGuy" Kotashev
Author

Esports and gaming enthusiast since forever and founder of Dotahaven.