Although this article is perfectly suited for new players, if you are entirely new to the game and genre you should first check out our Basics of Dota Underlords article.
The article will start with a disclaimer: hero tier lists are a very flawed concept in all Auto-Battler games, Dota Underlords included, simply because units work off of each other thanks to the Alliances. For example, Keeper of the Light is arguably the strongest hero in the game right now. Yet, he is absolutely and completely useless outside of Mage strategies. Tide, however, is pickable in pretty much every draft. Moreover, one is a 4-cost, the other is a 5-cost unit. So how do you objectively compare them to a 1-cost hero? As you can see, there are multiple problems with tier lists.
That said, a list of all heroes with some tips is a very useful thing for new players, so it doesn’t hurt to order the list in some kind of subjective but useful criteria that would help new players get a general intuitive feeling of what is good and why.
This article goes hand in hand with our Dota Underlords Strategies Tier List that will hopefully help new players develop a full picture of the meta – what is currently good and why.
So, don’t take the hero tiers too seriously. Take a look at them to get a general idea, but be sure that you can easily move half of the heroes around and you’d have a point. The top and bottom units are there for a reason, but pretty much everything else is very debatable.
The true value of the article is in the actual tips about every single hero, so – dive into the details if you’re a new player!
In each tier, units are arranged according to their cost. This way 1-gold heroes shouldn’t directly clash with 5-gold legendaries.
Heroes who define the meta by making their strategies top tier. Also, heroes who are good enough to include in multiple top-tier drafts.
Drow Ranger: 1g, Heartless, Hunter
The main hero who makes Hunters a top-tier strat right now. Her proximity aura is ridiculous with ranged heroes who can easily stick next to her during the whole fight. It increases their DPS a lot. Moreover, her Alliances are also great – it allows Hunters to get the (2) Heartless armor reduction by adding just one additional Heartless unit.
He is one of the tankiest units in the game and he costs only 2 gold. This is very valuable in itself because most strategies need a good frontline. It also makes him a great carrier of items like Radiance and Blade Mail. More importantly, however, he is Heartless, which makes the armor reduction bonus easy to get out of a Warrior opening (something you couldn’t do in Auto Chess). His ability is a bit underwhelming unless he manages to grab the enemy Drow/Medusa/Keeper, in which case it’s absolutely great.
CK and Knights, in general, got buffed significantly, which made him one of the most desirable units in the early game. He can carry you early on with even just one additional Knight, and if you decide to commit to a Knights strategy you usually want to prioritize getting him to three stars – he has pretty good stats especially with the added pure damage. If you’re not committing to Knights, you usually want to sell him in the mid game for something else that fits your strat (unless you’re going Demons).
Medusa: 4g, Scaled, Hunter
The second hero that makes Hunters a top-tier strat. Her crowd control ultimate is very strong, just as it was in the original Auto Chess. However, in Underlords she gained a passive multi-shot, which makes her a top-tier damage dealer. She works great next to Drow and with Skadi, she is outright broken (she applies the slow to three targets from a long range). To top all of this off – she is Scaled, which is the most valuable Alliance in the Mages meta.
Kunkka: 4g, Human, Warrior
Warriors are the most versatile and pretty much best opening strat in the game, and Kunkka is the best Warrior out of all of them. You need him in your draft if you have Warriors, and even if you don’t you can just take him for the Crow Control. He has good stats and the Ghost Ship is amazing – it has great AoE, stuns for a decent duration and deals good damage, especially when combined with the Mages magic resistance reduction. His other tribe (Human) is also pretty useful especially in the late game when you want to silence the enemy frontline crowd control units. Kunkka hitting the enemy Tide can prevent him from casting Ravage (if you have at least one more Human).
Try to put him on the frontline to ensure he casts his ship sooner rather than later. Refresher is great on the hero – the two Ships pretty much perfectly overlap so that you stun the enemies for a very long time.
From zero to hero - after the buff, Knights turned from the worse strategy in the game into arguably the best (even after the few quick nerfs). DK is the centerpiece of the very dominant Dragons + Knights strategy, which makes him a meta-defining hero right now.
Give him attack speed items and auras to maximize his damage output.
You can check out more details in our in-depth Knights guide.
Tidehunter: 5g, Scaled, Hunter
He was the best legendary hero in Auto Chess, and he still is in Underlords (arguably even better). He simply has the best crowd control in the game, and if you manage to get him to two, he is also very tanky. Items also help him a lot. Refresher is much more common in Underlords than it was in Auto Chess, and a Refresher Tide can single-handedly win you fights.
He is great in Hunter comps because he helps you get the (6) Hunters bonus. He is great in Mage comps because his damage output gets buffed a great deal. He is also great against Mage comps because he is Scaled. The hero simply doesn’t have drawbacks and you would rarely find yourself in a situation in which you don’t want to pick him.
which are very important for their intended strategies, yet don’t feel broken.
Some of these units are fixed to their strats, others are a bit more versatile.
Warriors are the most versatile opening, and Tiny is one of the most versatile Warriors thanks to his Primordial alliance. Primordials are pretty strong in Mages or Assassins, but you can also play him successfully without other Primordials in a Warriors strat. His skill is great – against clumped-up formations he works like a 1g Kunkka. His spell is nowhere as strong, but he can cast it a couple of times in a fight, which could win you the battle. He is also pretty tanky and easy to get to three-stars if you want to keep him in your final army composition.
Batrider feels a bit better individually than in Auto Chess (uses his Napalm a bit more often as it costs 20 mana). He is not an amazing unit, but right now he is the starting part of one of the strongest strategies in Underlrods - Knights + Trolls.
The main tank in an Elves draft. He is easy to get to three stars because of the Druid synergy and he has a very good HP pool, which synergizes great with the evasion bonus. His ability is also great if he manages to cast it while on decent HP because the heal will help him survive for even longer. You can also use him as a “temporary Druid” – i.e. you can keep him together with Enchantress and later on replace him with Lone Druid in a Savage strats.
The hero has very decent stats which make him good, but the main reason he is in this tier is that the (4) or at least (2) Scaled bonus is in very high demand in a Mages meta. Otherwise, he’s nothing too special.
Shadow Fiend is a little bit nerfed in Underlords, which makes Queen of Pain useful outside of Assassins as well – you can put her in a Mages draft. Her Scream of Pain AoE nuke has a huge AoE (bigger than in Auto Chess) and very decent damage. That said, she will rarely utilize her whole AoE because she has a long range and usually blinks a few tiles away from her target. Unlike in Auto Chess, you cannot trick her to stay put behind your frontline, which is a drawback.
Brawny (Orc) has one of the best global items in Underlrods – if you get it and go for (4) Brawny heroes as a frontline, you can reach ridiculous HP levels in the late game. Moreover, he is a Hunter, which is great because Hunters are one of the top-tier strats right now. Put him on the frontline but further to the side – this will help you maximize his Whirling Axes damage because he will throw them diagonally and hit most enemies.
The best Scrappy/Inventor unit in the early-mid game. Good tank, but also deals high DPS because of his AoE nuke with low CD. He can cast it multiple times if he survives for long enough. He’s usually a top priority for three stars if you’re going for Scrappy heroes. Having two 2-star Timbers is usually pretty good in the mid game. Of course, it’s also possible to get him as one of your three scrappy units in the early game and sell him off later when you transition into something else.
She is absolutely crucial in (3) or (6) Mage strategies - the top tier strats right now. Her aura is what allows your Mages (especially a low-damage hitter like Keeper) to generate mana as fast as possible and cast their nukes. It also allows your frontline control units (Tide, Kunkka) to cast their spells before the frontline control units of your opponents. The fact that she is a Human is also useful in the late game – the Human synergy might allow her to silence an enemy crowd-control frontliner. She could be used outside Mage comps as well if you have spellcasters that need to get their spells of fast (e.g. She's great with Arc Warden).
Luna is the most-important Knight damage-dealer aside from DK. If you’re going for Knights she is another unit you usually want to three-star. You also want to give her a heavy DPS item – she deals AoE damage, so additional damage skyrockets her DPS. She is also possible to include as the sixth unit in an Elusive draft, but usually, you want other units to hit the Assassins and/or Hunters synergies, and she is a Knight.
He is a key unit in a Knights draft because he makes it possible to get the (2) Heartless armor reduction very easily and he is the tankiest Knight with the help of his shield. You can also use him to get the (4) or even (6) Heartless bonus in other random strategies.
Key in (6) Hunter strats, but skippable in (3) Hunter strats because Drow and Medusa are the key units and Sniper could be able to deal a bit more damage than Wind. That said, Wind is Elusive, which is very useful if you are going for some kind of Elusive/Hunters combination. Her AoE nuke is actually pretty strong. The drawback is that the AoE is pretty narrow, but the damage is high. Put her in a corner to ensure she fires her Powershot diagonally across the enemy army.
Great range and high DPS especially next to Drow. He is key in (6) Hunter strats and you usually don’t want to skip him in (3) Hunters as well. Deadeye doesn’t come into play until the late game, but combining him with Gyro to make his targeting smarter is actually pretty decent and could allow him to pick-off damaged enemy heroes much faster and decrease their impact.
Lycan gets an A-tier simply because of his three Alliances, which makes him useful in all kinds of Warrior drafts. You can use him to get the Human synergy in e.g. a Mage draft, or the Savage synergy in a Warriors/Savages draft. The wolves are also Savage, which means he works great with the Tooth and Claw global item (stackable bleed) – he provides three units to apply the debuff. He falls off in the late game.
He is a strategy-defining hero in Auto Chess, but here he suffers a bit. His AoE is lower, which also decreases his potential DPS. If you are going for (3) Mages, you can even skip him in favor of another Mage (something you wouldn’t do in Auto Chess). That said, his Primordial Alliance is also pretty useful if you are going for Primordial Mages or any other (4) Primordials draft and he can be used as a frontline unit especially with the Final Flash global item.
Omni is a great unit in Knight strats in Underlords (his heal deals very high AoE damage). Unless you are trying to get (6) Humans (which is very unconventional, usually (4) Humans is good-enough in Mage drafts), he is not used outside of Knight strategies.
Viper is the usual 2nd Dragon in a Knights + Dragons strategy because the 2ndary skill that the Dragons Alliance unlocks is pretty powerful. He gains a decent DOT and a significant amount of magic resistance. This also makes him one of the more valuable Assassins.
He got nerfed compared to Auto Chess because his Requiem of Souls does flat damage in Underlords (it doesn’t do more damage to units closer to him). This makes him considerably weaker versus melee drafts that clump up near him (especially Assassins). He is still pretty useful in a Mages draft, especially if you want to get the (2) Warlocks synergy, but he is also not mandatory and could even get replaced by Queen of Pain.
In Auto Chess, he is an S-tier unit for sure, but here the strategies where he is useful are not currently top tier and more importantly – you cannot easily get him to three stars without using other druids in your draft to include him in random strats, which decreases his value compared to Auto Chess. That said, he is still a very powerful unit. The fact that he usually summons his Bear after most enemy heroes have used their ults means that the Bear (which is very strong on its own) can sometimes clean up and win you the round 1v2 or even 1v3. He is key in Savage strategies and pretty good in Elusive drafts, but otherwise, you’ll find it hard to include him. Put him on the frontline unless the enemy team has the Human synergy.
The second best warrior after Kunkka. He has great stats and his ultimate is great against drafts who rely on the ult of a high-level unit. E.g. he can reliably cast his silence on the enemy two-star Techies or Enigma if he’s on the frontline because he’ll get mana pretty fast. You want him in most Warrior strategies (and in Demon strategies, but they are a bit sub-par currently).
Necrophos: 4g, Heartless, Warlock
In Underlords you need just two units to get the first part of both the Heartless and Warlock buffs, which means they are very common in a lot of strategies. This makes Necro one of the most versatile heroes in the game. Besides his Alliances, however, he’s nothing too impressive. Unlike in Auto Chess, spell damage here doesn’t give mana, so he can’t cast Death Pulse on cooldown as easily.
Keeper of the Light: 4g, Human, Mage
He has terrible stats, and he needs hours to charge his spell. But when he does, he simply wins the battle. The damage of Illuminate is absolutely ridiculous with the Mages magic resistance bonus, and with the help of Crystal Maiden (for mana) and some CC units on the frontline (to buy time), it’s pretty sure he’ll manage to cast his spell in time.
Put him in the absolutely safest place where you can find for him (he needs to survive before he casts at all costs), and ideally diagonally from your enemy, so that he has the best chance to hit all enemy heroes with his blast.
The strongest Troll and the main damage dealer in Troll and even some Warrior strategies. That said, Troll strategies are a bit underwhelming in Dota Underlords, so you usually see him in (6) Warrior drafts. Like PA, he suffers from the fact that you can only put one item on him.
The strategy-defining unit in a (6) Scrappy strat. He is not S-tier simply because the (6) Scrappy strat is not S-tier itself – it’s too unreliable exactly because it needs a 5-cost unit to function. Techies deals pretty massive AoE damage, so if you have a free slot you can easily include him in other strategies as well. Usually, you want to use him as a frontliner, and if you have him it’s pretty important to try to get him to two stars because otherwise, he’s not too tanky without the (6) Scrappy armor buff.
The unit with some of the highest damage potential in the game because of his percentage-based AoE damage. He is also a Warlock, which makes him useful in various drafts because of the possibility to benefit from the lifesteal with just two Warlocks. The fact that he is Primordial is also useful – it allows you to sell your least-useful primordial and replace it with Enigma if you’re running Primordials.
A her you need in the (6) Mage draft (also good in (3) Mages) to reach the final potential of the strategy. Chain Frost works great with the magic resistance bonus, and a two-star Lich with Refresher is a powerful damage dealer. The Heartless Alliance is good, but it’s not that useful in Mage strats where the majority of the damage is magical and doesn’t benefit from the armor reduction. If you’re running (6) Mages and you’re struggling to find enough units to form a frontline, Lich is a good hero to put on the outside especially with two-stars: he’s decently tanky and getting off his ultimate faster helps. Mages are all about nuking their opponents as fast as possible.
heroes are not strategy-defining and sometimes could be substituted by other
units, but they still work well in their respective strats.
One of two Warriors which allow you to get the Savage bonus. This makes him good in (6) Warrior or in Savage strategies. Otherwise, you usually would replace him for a more powerful Warrior sooner rather than later.
A top-tier starting unit in Auto Chess thanks to the dominance of the (6) Elves strategy, in Dota Underlords Anti-Mage, is a bit less popular. He is still a very strong early-game unit thanks to the mana burn and he is still key in Elusive and Demon strategies, but those strats are simply not top tier in Underlords right now.
Ench is one of two Savage Druids, which makes her a very common pick in Savage strats or e.g. Elusive strats which use all (4) Druids. Outside of these, however, she isn’t particularly useful. Unlike in Auto Chess, her heal doesn’t persist after death, which makes her gradual heal much harder to utilize.
One of the best starting units especially if you manage to grab (3) Scappy heroes as fast as possible. You keep him only in (6) Assassin or (6) Scrappy drafts, however, and both strategies are not top-tier right now.
Similarly to BH, a great starting unit with (3) Scrappy heroes. Also like Bounty Hunter, you usually replace him in the mid game unless you aim to go for a (6) Scrappy strat.
An interesting new Assassin who loses HP over time while increasing his attack speed and healing himself from kills. This makes him good in Assassin strategies with both DPS (e.g. Daedalus) or survivability items (Black King Bar). He also benefits from the Warlocks lifesteal a lot because it allows him to compensate for the lost health without relying entirely on hero last-hits.
All of this in mind, he is rarely useful outside of Assassin strategies in the late game. Moreover, Assassins are pretty bad in the Knights meta.
In the early game, however, you can keep a two-star Bloodseeker in your draft simply because he's strong on his own and later sell him when you need the slot for another synergistic unit.
The “good” utility Troll, his stun is pretty decent. His Warlock tribe is also good because you need to combine him with just one other Warlock for the (2) Warlocks lifesteal bonus. Last but not least, if you get the Coordinated Assault global item (attack speed proximity aura on Trolls), you can surround him with ranged damage dealers to buff their DPS. All of this sounds good, but Trolls are a bit underpowered right now as a whole and usually he gets nudged out by more versatile/powerful Warlocks if you just want the Warlock bonus.
You could argue that he is A-tier because he is key in (4) Primordial drafts (both in Mages and Assassins). The reason is that in Assassins his attack damage gets buffed, while in Mages – his AoE nuke. Unlike in Auto Chess, however, it’s harder to use him as frontline because he’ll often jump to the enemy backlines before enemies are able to focus him, which means that he is a bit worse as a frontliner – the theory is that as a Primordial he is tanky and once he reaches low HP he disengages with Waveform, but this is unreliable if he “abandons” your frontline right away and enemies are able to reach your other units faster.
Quite good in Elusive drafts – you would usually run both him and Treant to get two easy three-star Elusive heroes. He could also be used in (3) Elusive frontlines, but these are rarer. You could argue he’s the same tier as Treant, but we decided to put him in B simply because he is a worse tank. The summons are nice, but they very rarely decide fights (unlike e.g. the Bear).
He could be used in (6) Mages when you have Furion and Treant Protector as frontline because he gives you the (3) Elusive evasion bonus. He could be your secondary Dragon because Phase Shift makes him elusive and he could waste some time and mana of the enemy team. He is decent
TB, like all “super carries” suffers from the fact that you cannot put multiple items on him. Moreover, the Demon strategy that he is obviously designed for is not top-tier, which means he rarely sees play right now. If Demons get buffed, he is a strategy-defining hero for them, so his tier will rise.
She is an OK Mage, but she is not mandatory. Her problem is that she does single target damage, which doesn’t synergize incredibly well with the AoE nuke playstyle of the Mage strategy. Nonetheless, both her Alliances are pretty useful and if you’re going for (6) Mages you usually want her in the draft to get the Humans synergy. She works well in the mid-game with the CD reduction item, because she could snipe a few enemy units.
Veno is used in Savage drafts often because he also allows you to get the (2) Warlocks synergy pretty easily. His wards are also Savage, which means that he is pretty good with the Tooth and Claw bleed debuff global item. That said, he is a bit worse than in Auto Chess because his Wards are not magic immune. This is a big nerf in a Mages meta because his summons die from the AoE damage very easily. Moreover, if you’re not going for all six Savage units, he might be a bit hard to squeeze into the draft because the two Warriors (Tusk and Lycan) and the two Druids (Ench and Lone) are the easiest four Savages to get.
On theory his AoE stun and debuff sound great, but the AoE is long and very narrow, which means that his ultimate is very hit or miss. He is still alright in (6) Savage or (6) Assassin drafts, but he is not mandatory in Assassins.
In Auto Chess she was a key piece in some of the top-tier meta strats [6 Elves (Elusive) into (3) Assassins], but here these strats don’t feel as powerful and PA herself is a bit underwhelming simply because you cannot stack multiple items on her as you can in Auto Chess. This definitely makes her less impactful and it could be argued that she isn’t a top three-star priority even in Assassins.
He is key in Primordial drafts if you’re aiming to get the (4) Primordials bonus. Unlike Auto Chess, where you need Enigma to get it, here you can do it with Tiny, Morph, Razor, and Arc. This means he’s mostly useful in Primordial + Mage or Assassin strats. Thanks to his Tempest Double and Primordial disarm bonus, he is a great tank combined with survivability items. He could also possibly work well with active DPS items like Dagon or Bloodthorn on the backlines. There is also a gimmick with Refresher Orb where you can make multiple Tempest Doubles in a single round (the Double resets the cooldown of the Orb). It’s fun and could be strong, but doesn’t work well versus Mages or Hunters.
The main selling point is his Scaled magic resistance Alliance bonus. In other strats, you pretty much buy him just to get the bonus, but in Assassins, he is also a pretty good carry and damage dealer. If he doesn’t get focused for a long time (you don’t have a lot of control over that, sadly) his attack speed will become ridiculous and he might 1v3 the enemy team by the end of the fight.
Decent tank and a good way to get the (2) Warlock synergy in physical damage drafts (his armor reduction is useful if your units deal physical damage). Nonetheless, if you’re not going for more than two Warlocks, he often gets nudged out by alternatives with a better secondary Alliance. He is also key in (6) Scrappy drafts, but these are not top-tier.
A great frontline unit if you have other Brawny heroes (he’ll get bonus HP and survive to cast his AoE silence almost instantly). This is very powerful in any strategy, but it is extremely useful in Mages who increase his damage and use the AoE silence to cast their devastating spells before the enemy team (especially strong if the enemy team also consists of Mages). His secondary Alliance (Shaman) is also good – it’s easier to get than in Auto Chess because of the addition of a third Shaman – Arc Warden.
Mirana is a bit underwhelming for a 4g unit, especially when compared to hunters like Medusa and Drow, but her Alliances save her – she is useful in both (6) Hunter and (6) Elusive strategies (and along with Windranger allows for the combination of the two Alliances 3-6 or 6-3).
Arguably the most important unit in Elusive and Assassin drafts. Upgrading her is a priority and damage items work great on her because she has in-built survivability. You usually want to utilize both of her Alliances to make her into a powerful carry. Refraction means she can easily tank a couple of enemy nukes if she casts it in time (great versus Mages). She is much more vulnerable to strategies that deal damage fast in small instances because they remove her refraction faster (Hunters, Trolls, etc.). She is in B tier simply because Assassins are pretty terrible in the Knights meta.
Decent last unit in Hunter strategies. Combined with Sniper they both get the Deadeye passive which helps them snipe low-HP targets. That said, Deadeye is not game-breaking and often you might need to give him up for more important synergistic pieces (e.g. if the Hunter is trying to go for (4) Scaled because he’s facing Mages). He could also work alright in Mage drafts because he deals decent AoE magic damage, but there is rarely space for him – heroes with better Alliances usually take priority.
heroes in this tier are not members of top-tier strategies and often they are
not particularly useful outside of their intended strats.
For the third time – a good starting unit if you get three Scrappy heroes. He deals very decent magic damage with his Missiles, which means he is great if you get (3) Mages as a secondary synergy. That said, you’ll likely replace him later on for something else unless you’re going for a (6) Scrappy draft, which is unreliable and even quite weak in this meta.
Tanky unit with decent stats. His Blood-Bound passive could be useful in the early game combined with (multiple) Warlocks and possible even Ogres. Later on, however, it becomes quite useless, which means you only keep him if you need him for the (6) Mages, and even then he is the least desirable option.
Tanky frontliner with OK crowd control. Good starting unit in a Warrior opening especially when combined with another Brawny hero for the bonus HP (Jugg or Beastmaster). That said, unless you are going for a (4) Brawny frontline (which is very decent with the global item) or you need him to reach (6) Warriors, you would usually sell the Axe off for a better late-game Warrior like Kunkka or Doom. Unlike Beastmaster and to an extent Jugg, Axe rarely gets kills (low damage), which means he doesn't benefit from the Brawny Global Item a lot.
He could be useful in the early game when combined with Ogre, and he is the most easily available hero to get the Warlocks synergy, but unless you are playing some kind of creative (4) or (6) Warlocks draft, you are certain to sell him for a more useful Warlock.
Needed for (4) Trolls, but Trolls are a bit underwhelming in Dota Underlords unless you play them with Knights. You could use him to get the (2) Shamans synergy, but unless you’re going for Trolls you usually want to swap him for one of the other two Shamans, which are simply individually stronger.
Arguably you can put him in B-tier as he is an alright Warrior and is needed for the (4) Brawny synergy. That said, he is worse than in Auto Chess – his Bladefury AoE got reduced (only adjacent units take damage), which is a huge hit to his damage output. He is a decent early-game Warrior together with Axe, but unless you’re going for the (4) Brawny heroes you usually want to replace him with more useful Warriors.
you for reading! We’ll make a Dota Underlords Strategies Tier List soon enough to
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