- Durable frontline – HP and bonus armor.
- Good utility and control.
- Very flexible – plenty of viable Warrior heroes.
Warriors are without a doubt one of the best strategies in Dota Underlords in the current meta for two major reasons:
Because of this, it’s a great idea to learn how to play Warriors. Moreover, even if the meta shifts, the fact that the Warrior opening is one of the most flexible in the game means that you would always be able to utilize the knowledge you have about Warriors.
(3) Warrior Heroes: All Warriors gain +10 Armor.
(6) Warrior Heroes: All Warriors gain +20 Armor.
Warriors are one of the most versatile Alliances because of two reasons:
The general idea with Warriors is to build a durable frontline with the help of the good HP of the Warrior heroes in combination with the bonus armor and decent utility they have (AoE control, etc.). How the lineup deals damage depends mostly on the secondary synergies you get.
Warrior openings are very versatile because there are a good number of cheap Warriors. The idea is to get to the (3) Warriors bonus ASAP to build a durable frontline. Where you go from there depends on your opening, but of course, selling your starting units and transitioning into something else is entirely possible.
Axe: buying him from round one is a good idea because he can start accumulating kills. If you find a quick two-star upgrade, he is a great opening for (3) Warriors into Hunters with the Brawny secondary synergy. (Key extension units are Beastmaster, Pudge, Drow Ranger)
Tiny: good utility in the early game. The Primordial secondary synergy is very useful if you intend to go into Assassins and Mages thanks to Morph and Razor.
Tusk: Warriors + Savages are pretty much the best early-game composition in the game and Tusk is the key unit that enables it together with Venomancer. Slardar and Pudge are the common Warriors that work great from this start because you might end up not selling them in the late game to make use of their secondary synergies (Scaled with Tide, and Heartless with Necro).
Warriors are extremely diverse. In general, it’s possible to combine them with any of the damage-dealing Alliances (Hunters, Mages, Savages, even Assassins) to create a decent build.
Right now, however, by far the most dominant Warriors build is Warriors + Warlocks, or the so-called “good stuff” build.
Since the best way to play it includes a transition in the mid game (which is a bit harder to grasp for new players), we’ll break this strategy down in more details than usual and go through the different stages of making it work.
Before we start, the general principles of the strategy are:
The units above are all cheap and how you get to this comp, of course, depends largely on what the shop gives you. In general your priority is to have a (3) Warrior frontline with a Savage damage-dealing backline.
Ench is the weakest unit in the comp, so it’s possible to substitute her with Sand King if you get him. That said, bear in mind that in most cases you plan to sell your Savage units by the late game anyway.
As mentioned, trying to three-star units is generally a mistake. With (4) Savage (3) Warriors (and ideally (2) Warlocks) you are strong enough and you should prioritize getting a good economy and buying experience. This is not only important because you need more hero slots – the final composition consists of a lot of expensive units and at least two Ace heroes, which means that the earlier you get to a high level, the earlier you will be able to find them, upgrade them to two stars, and replace your early-game Savage units.
Corner Case: if you get Summoning Stone (or two), it’s possible to plan to keep Veno and Lycan in the late game, possibly even to invest in Ench + Lone Druid. This, however, is a different strategy then the one we’re currently discussing (Savage-Warriors), it just shares the same opening.
As you see, we are starting to slowly transition out of Savage and into the core of the build, which is in fact (4) Warlocks.
We sell the weakest Savage unit (usually Ench or one-star Sand) and include Necrophos + Alchemist. They give us the (4) Warlocks bonus, but equally importantly they synergize with each other very well. Necro + Pudge give the (2) Heartless armor reduction bonus, while the ultimate of Alchemist (Acid Spray) reduces the enemy armor further, buffing the physical damage output of your lineup significantly.
The transition continues. We are starting to buy the more expensive units as we approach lvl9 and 10. Venomancer gets replaced by Disruptor for the (4) Warlocks + Ace bonus, while Lycan gets replaced by some of the high-tier Warriors (most likely Tide + Doom, ideally on two stars).
At this point, you have Tide + Slardar, which gives the (2) Scaled bonus. This is extremely important in the late game when Mage builds start to come online (and most other comps start dealing good AoE magic damage as well). The Warriors bonus by itself is good only vs physical damage, so the magic resistance from Scaled is very synergistic and makes the whole army very tanky, especially when combined with the sustain of Warlocks.
The standard late-game build is pretty simple: (6) Warriors, (4) Warlocks with Ace, (2) Trolls with Ace, (2) Scaled, (2) Heartless.
The build is extremely tanky and survivable – high HP units, high armor from the Warriors bonus, good magic resistance from (2) Scaled, and extremely high sustain from the (4) Warlocks + the Disruptor Ace effect. Moreover, even though the DPS output isn’t amazing, it’s pretty good with (2) Heartless and (2) Trolls with Troll Warlord.
Once you are at lvl10, your first upgrade priority, of course, is to get everyone to two stars. Afterward, the best unit to try to get to three stars is Doom (and Troll in exceptionally long games). Doom is not only a tank but also one of your main damage-dealers together with Troll.
If you have extra copies of Slardar and Pudge from the early game, you can also try to get them to three stars as well. Slardar has good stats and decent DPS.
In a super-late game scenario, you can think about breaking the (6) Warrior synergy, especially if you are facing a lot of magic damage. A second two-star Troll Warlord or Doom in the comp is going to help you more than a two-star Pudge with the (6) Warriors bonus (this, of course depends, on the matchups).
Because of the fact that the (6) Warriors bonus not being that useful in the super late game, the final lineup has different variations. Above, for example, you can see a viable build that cuts two Warriors in favor of Medusa (for another source of control and the Scaled Ace bonus) and Arc Warden, who is an outstanding stand-alone damage dealer and increases the DPS output of the comp.
Currently other (6) Warrior builds are rarer because Warriors simply works extremely well with Warlocks. That said, this doesn’t mean it’s not possible to make something more unusual work:
This, for example, is a Brawny/Warrior/Hunter opening that committed to (6) Warriors instead of Hunters. This allowed the player to get (2) and eventually (4) Scaled in the late game with the Medusa Ace bonus which is very useful against Mages but also increases the damage output of the whole lineup.
Axe: 1g, Brawny, Warrior
As a Brawny, Axe is a good start for a Brawny/Warrior/Hunter build. Otherwise, he is a good tank in the early game, but falls off later on and is usually sold for the higher-tier expensive Warriors. His Taunt is very useful with Blade Mail especially if he has bonus HP from Brawny, which makes him a great unit to protect the backline from Assassins or Blink carries. That said, he deals very low DPS, which makes it hard for him to accumulate enough kills for the Brawny HP boost unless he has a star-level advantage.
Tusk: 1g, Savage, Warrior
As mentioned, Tusk is a pivotal starting unit for the very strong Savage + Warrior opening. He has good stats and deals decent DPS, but like most cheap Warriors he gets out-shined by his more-expensive counterparts and usually gets sold in the late game. If you are committing to a (6) Savage draft, you might want to three-star him, but even then he’s not a big priority.
Tiny: 1g, Primordial, Warrior
Tiny has a great ultimate for a 1-cost unit. He has an AoE disable that even deals decent AoE damage. This makes him one of the best starting units in the game, especially when you utilize his Primordial Alliance bonus, which is also pretty strong in the early game. He is a great opening unit for a Primordial/Assassin/Mage strat. His high utility also means that it’s more viable to keep him in the late game compared to the other cheap Warriors and even to try to three-star him. That said, with the current trend of chasing lvl10 instead of three-star upgrades with Warriors, this also happens rarely.
Pudge: 2g, Heartless, Warrior
Pudge is the most cost-efficient tank in the game as he has a huge HP pool for and he’s quite cheap. That said, he compensates by dealing pretty bad damage. His utility is also not great but could be useful against corner comps like Hunters and Mages. A three-star Pudge, however, is not a bad choice in some situations simply because he serves as a huge meat-shield. This is most often used in (3) Warrior strats with a more vulnerable backline, like Hunters. His huge tankiness isn’t that useful when your whole draft is very tanky (as in all (6) Warrior comps). His other main selling point is his Heartless Alliance – he makes it very easy to get the (2) Heartless bonus with heroes like Drow or Necrophos.
Slardar: 2g, Scaled, Warrior
Slardar is the first of two Scaled Warriors (the other one being Tide), which makes it very easy to get the (2) Scaled bonus in a Warriors build. This is a big benefit because the Warrior Alliance bonus armor protects only against physical damage. Scaled increases the survivability of your whole army against magic damage by a considerable margin (Warriors already have good HP), which is very valuable in the late game. His stats are also good and his low CD ultimate is a nice added bonus.
Juggernaut: 3g, Brawny, Warrior
Jugg used to be one of the worst heroes in the game, but he went through a lot of buffs and is currently quite decent. He is a good unit to include in a Brawny lineup and his ultimate makes him great against Mages (he is spell-immune while spinning). That said, outside of Brawny lineups there is rarely a place for him in the draft because of the better 4 and 5-cost Warriors.
Kunkka: 4g, Human, Warrior
Kunkka used to be one of the best heroes in the game, but after a few nerfs to his ultimate he got bumped down a tier. He is still a good unit, but he is a lower-priority than the other two 4-cost Warriors. His Human synergy is very useful inside of a Warrior/Mage draft but is much harder to utilize in the currently more popular Warrior/Warlock.
Tide: 4g, Scaled, Warrior
A good tank with a great AoE disable. That said, the disable is much, much weaker on lvl1 compared to lvl2 and 3 because of the smaller AoE, so getting him to two-stars makes a big difference. He is the second Scaled Warrior, making it easy to get the (2) Scaled bonus, as explained above for Slardar. Usually, you want him to be the first hero that enemies hit in order to trigger his stun as fast as possible. He is tanky, so it’s unlikely that enemies will kill him before he casts (unless he’s silenced). Bracers of Desperation and Refresher work wonders on him.
Doom: 4g, Demon, Warrior
With the Demon damage buff in mind, Doom is pretty much the hero in the game with the best stats. This means that he is both a tank and a damage dealer, which is extremely valuable in any Warrior lineup. He often deals the second or third highest damage, which is extremely impressive on a tank with an ultimate with great utility. His spell targets the strongest enemy units and silences them (including their passives), which is extremely strong versus lineups that rely on one or two key units.
Troll Warlord: 5g, Troll Ace, Warrior
Troll Warlord is the main damage dealer in the Warriors lineup and the Troll Ace. He makes it easy to get the (2) Trolls bonus in a Warriors lineup with the help of Witch Doctor, which in turn synergizes with the Warrior/Warlock lineup since Witch Doctor is a Warlock. Getting a two-star Troll makes a big difference in terms of DPS, which is also a major reason why Warrior lineups prefer to play on lvl10 rather than e.g. lvl8. The Ace bonus is nothing amazing (5% chance per Troll Alliance level to mini-stun for 0.25 seconds) but is still quite useful because it applies to the whole lineup and could interrupt long cast-time ultimates.
For general tips about which items to pick you can check out our detailed Dota Underlords Items Tier List.
Globes of Haste: Warrior lineups lack damage, so Gloves is quite valuable even in the late game on a unit like e.g. Doom who hits hard but slowly.
Chainmail: not as great as in some other lineups whose frontline is desperate for armor, but still good enough to pick most of the time when offered. You can put it on non-Warrior frontline heroes like Alchemist later on to help them survive for longer or simply on a Warrior that you want to make even more survivable - e.g. Doom.
Hood of Defiance: not S-Tier, but provides a lot of EHP in a Warrior lineup because the units already have good armor and HP. The regen is also decent because Warriors are tanky and stay alive for relatively long.
Tranquil Boots: as mentioned above, the regen is useful because Warriors are tanky and stay alive for long. The movement speed is not amazing, but it could be useful in a Warrior lineup where almost all heroes are melee and need to move to reach their targets.
Blade Mail: more useful compared to most other strategies, especially on a high-HP Brawny Warrior. A good counter to Assassins and hard-hitting carries like Terrorblade.
Blink Dagger: good on Warriors with good utility spells that want to cast their ability faster (Axe, Tide, Doom, etc.). Also helps you reach the enemy backline versus comps like Hunters or Mages, which could be situationally useful.
Fall from Grace: with one Heartless Warrior (Pudge) and one Human Warrior (Kunkka), Fall from Grace makes it possible to reach the (4) Heartless bonus, especially in a Warrior/Hunters lineup.
Bracers of Desperation: extremely good on units with strong utility spells – Tide, Kunkka, or even Doom.
Healing Ward: currently an underwhelming item, but conceptually it should work with Warriors because they survive for longer and buy time for the Ward to give value (pick if buffed).
Mekansm: decent in a Warrior lineup especially with Warlocks because it makes your heroes even harder to kill. Useful versus strong AoE lineups – mostly Mages.
Octarine Essence: there are a few Warriors with a low-enough cooldown to realistically benefit from it, but it’s most valuable on Doom. With Octarine, he can reliably cast a few ultimates in a prolonged fight, which is extremely valuable.
Mask of Madness: great on Troll Warlord. If you don’t have him, you can also use the item on a three-star Slardar or Tusk as they have good DPS while their ultimates are not that impactful. The lifesteal is quite useful on a Warrior. Putting it on Slark, of course, is the best option if you’re going for (4) Scaled + Warriors.
Battle Fury: best on Doom, but also decent on three-star Warrriors like Slardar, Juggernaut, Tusk, etc.
Black King Bar: again, best used on Doom. Helps him survive the initial volley of spells against Mage lineups and beat them down afterward.
Refresher: extremely good on the utility Warriors: Tidehunter followed by Kunkka and Doom.
Pipe of Insight: a very powerful late-game item versus Mages. That said, Warrior lineups are usually positioned spread-apart from one another, so it’s not that easy to get the maximum utility out of the item. Still good enough to pick it every time of you’re facing Mages.
Moon Shard: the best boost in DPS for the slow-hitting Warriors. Most valuable on Troll Warlord followed by Doom.
Assault Cuirass: the attack speed and armor reduction are a big boost to DPS to your whole lineup.
Heart of Tarrasque: will make one of your Warriors extremely tanky, but this is best when the carrier also deals damage, making it yet another item best used on Doom.
Radiance: a not-that-good Tier Five item, but Warrior/Warlock lineups tend to live for very long, so it can provide great value on a very tanky unit like e.g. a three-star Pudge or Brawny Axe/Jugg.
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