New to Underlords? Having trouble keeping up with the current meta? Wondering why you're losing even when you have more 3-stars than that other guy? Well you're in luck pal, because this here is everything you need to know about Dota Underlords.
Other Dota Underlords Guides:
- Beginner's Guide.
- Basic Tips & Tricks.
- How to Enable Developer Mode (Cheats).
- A Basic Tier List for Items, Synergies and Units.
- How to Win Early / Mid / Late Game.
- Game Mechanics / Tips & Tricks.
- Victory Combinations and Tactics.
- How to Win Using Bloodbound.
- Top Current Meta Builds!
- Introduction to Alliances.
- High Win Rate Guide.
- Basics of Consistency.
Dota Underlords is a fast-paced game modeled after the community developed Dota Auto Chess. It's gained a significant amount of attention and popularity lately and I've decided to create this guide to help the incoming player base with navigating the ever changing game. But before we get into the specifics, there are a number of things that every new player should always keep in mind when playing Underlords.
Watch Your Econ
Economy is easily the most important component in Underlords, every game revolves around each players gold count and their ability to utilize it in the most effective way. So the question is, how do you get the best bang for the buck? Well, I'm glad you asked. In the game, for each 10 gold you hold, you will receive 1 additional gold in the following round as interest. Accumulating as high of a total net worth during the early game is crucial to winning the end game. Therefore, holding gold instead of buying out the shop as soon as the game starts is a game-changing tactic that most seasoned players will exploit. However, you can only receive a total of 5 interest a turn. So don't go crazy with it and make sure you still buy a reasonable amount of heroes from the store. Note that interest is calculated based on your gold count by the end of each preparational round. Meaning that if you buy a hero from the store after a battle round starts, your interest for the coming round will NOT be affected.
Never Force A Build
Yes, it's always a good idea to keep a number of builds in mind so that your team isn't a mess but that does not mean that you can run the same team every game. If the game fills your shop up with knights. Go for six Knights. If the game decides it's going to give you Primordials. Four Primordials it is. The point is, there is a lot of RNG in Underlords and you simply have to play whatever you're given. If you try to force the same build every game I guarantee you that you're going to lose almost every game that you play. It's good to have up to 4 teams in mind that fit the current meta. Which reminds me that it's also important not to commit too early on. There's simply no point deciding that you're going to go four brawnys after picking up a one-star Axe on round one. Again, you have to allow the store to pick what kind of build you go for.
No Rerolls Until You Cap Interest
Rerolling early on is always just a bad idea. For every gold you spend during the first few rounds can end up costing you 5+ if you'd only just saved it. Making sure that you gather as much gold as possible early on can make a significant impact on the game. Besides, every time you lose, you get a free reroll. There's simply no excuse to roll down before your gold count is at 50+, and even then you'd want to stick that into xp points to level up and get more heroes on the board.
Keep An Eye On The Scoreboard
Believe it or not, all units are in a shared pool. That means if someone else buys a lot of Batriders, there will be less Batriders in the shop. Try not to go for the same builds as others. For example, you can never have more than two people going for knights. If there are ever more than two, all three players will be unable to get their three-stars and will fall out of the game very early on. The same applies to most builds that require the same few characters in order to be strong. This will also help you in deciding which heroes are the easiest for you to get to three-star. There are a few units that are contested almost every game. It's generally always important to be watchful of the scoreboard and what your opponents are going for to better increase the odds of building your team successfully.
Loot Rounds appear in each game session and provide players with the choice to pick between a vast number of items, equipment and contraptions to better your team and help you win fights. But as with every game, certain items are obsolete and others can be extremely powerful when you play them correctly. In this section of the guide, I'll walk you through what you need to know about loot rounds to make the most out of your game.
- Round 01 - Warmup
- Round 02 - Sparring Match
- Round 03 - Gear Up
- Round 10 - First Intermission
- Round 15 - Dog and Pony Show
- Round 20 - Bear Trap!
- Round 25 - Survival of the Fittest
- Round 30 - Big Dinos, Big Rewards
- Round 35 - Things are Heating Up
- Round 40 - You're about to be Trolled
- Round 45 - We've reached the Endgame
- Round 50 - Correction, NOW we've reached the Endgame
Rounds to look out for:
Round 15 - Dog and Pony Show: You're gonna want to move your tanks to the back. The wolves jump behind your team and take out all your dps right away. But if you swap your tanks with your backline preemptively, you'll have a much better chance at beating the loot round.
Round 20 - Bear Trap!: Tomato has a 25 armor but Potato has 0. This means that Potato will almost always die long before Tomato does, and with their Mega-Bloodbound alliance thing going on, that means Tomato will gain +500% attack damage and start one-hit killing your entire team as soon as his buddy drops. To prevent that from happening. You'll want to shift your entire team to the right so that they all target Tomato first, that way both bears die around the same time and prevents them from going on a killing frenzy.
Round 25 - Survival of the Fittest: Both of the birds have the Mega-Elusive alliance. Which means they get 75% evasion from all of your attacks. They also dish out a mean about of damage, there isn't a specific layout you can position your team to counter the birds but generally, Tanks and high health characters are strong against them because the birds tend to target the backline. If you're running knights, you'll almost never have a problem defeating them.
Round 30 - Big Dinos, Big Rewards: You'd have to either kill them right away or out-live them and play the long game. They get an insane amount of healing from their Mega-Warlock alliance and even if you're able to bring them to a sliver of health, they heal back to full not long after the round begins. If you're unable to take them out right away, their healing is limited and after about 30 seconds they don't have heals any more. Certainly one of the stronger AI rounds.
Round 35 - Things are Heating Up: Dragon deals AoE, spread all of your characters out so he can't target all of them at the same time, generally having one or two strong tanks in the front to pull him right away is the best way to go about defeating the dragon.
Round 40 - You're about the be Trolled: Troll units have the Mega-Troll alliance, so they all attack 50% faster. There are also multiple enemy units so trolls are always a pain to defeat. The good news is, most games end before you get to round forty.
Round 50 - Correction, NOW we've reached the Endgame: It's Roshan, you can't win. You're up against a god. Resistance is futile.
Loot Rounds Drops (Equippable Items)
Tier One Equippable Items
Chainmail is by far the best Tier One Equippable Item in the game. 10 Armor goes a long way especially since most of the Tier One items fall off by about Round 10-15 and become almost completely useless.
Other Tier One items to look for include: Gloves of Haste, Hood of Defiance, and Brooch of the Martyr. In that order. All the other equippable items really just don't cut it. Vitality Booster for example may sound strong because 250 is a large number but 250 hit points becomes nothing after a players start getting two-star heroes.
Tier Two Equippable Items
Tier Two offers some good items. But the best ones are probably Helm of the Undying and Brooch of the Aggressor. Helm of the Undying is especially strong with a hero like Bloodseeker because he deals more damage the less health he has. But you could put the helm on pretty much anybody, even tanks can benefit from it. Often times the extra 4 seconds is enough for a hero to get their ability off an additional time.
The Brooch is also very strong, the +100% Mana gain can very well make the difference in the outcome of a battle if you're able to get a strong ability off early. The Mana that heroes gain is calculated by the amount of damage they deal divided by 7.5 and capped at 10. The Brooch increases their Mana cap to 20. Shaman, Mages and Warlocks however are by default capped at 20, so with the Brooch, their Mana cap is increased to 30.
Most of the other Tier Two Items are very situational but when played correctly can still be effective. For example Axe deals very little damage and usually falls off pretty soon but stick Blade Mail on him and he's guaranteed to carry your team.
Big-Time Contract is great if you're running another Bloodbound unit. Since you're able to pick the character that you place the contract on you can get a lot of value on heroes with high dps or pretty much any carry that you're running.
Arcane Boots are extremely strong on Batrider, his mana bar fills up really fast and usually within seconds of the start of a round. You can definitely get a ton of value off of the boots with Batrider but the only problem is that no one really runs Batrider unless you plan on going for six knights.
Tier Three Equippable Items
Tier Three offers game-changing items. All of them are playable and most of them are extremely strong. Mask of Madness is easily one of the most broken equippable items in the game. Lifesteal is overpowered in this game and can win you battles that you should never even have dreamt of winning. You'll want to stick it on a high dps hero that has a passive ability. Slark, Phantom Assassin, and Luna are all extremely strong with the MoM. If you have the mask on a three-star Phantom Assassin, Slark or Luna. They basically cannot die. It's like entering god-mode with one of your heroes.
Skull Basher is also very strong because of the 25% stun chance. Yes, 25% is not a very high percentage but we're talking about every single attack the equipped hero makes. Overpowered would be an understatement. You can also gain additional value with a hero like Arc Warden because his summons also gain the effects of the Skull Basher.
Octarine Essence is a godsend with it equipped on Morphling, you'll find him zipping and zooming all over the map like a god damned roadrunner. You really can't go wrong with this item. Even if you're not running Morphling, it's strong with most heroes.
Maelstrom is just a lot of extra damage. Like the Skull Basher, there's only a 25% chance of it going off but with it being applied to every attack the equipped hero makes. A lot of enemy heroes are going to be taking damage. Note that Maelstrom deals magic damage, meaning that it will be even more effective if you have an active mage alliance.
Sacred Relic and Vanguard are also strong items. Extra Damage and More Health. Where could you go wrong with that. Poaching Knife is also decent, you'll get the most value with it equipped on Deadeyes because they steal kills, if you aren't running any Deadeye just check the kill count on your heroes to see which heroes are stealing all the kills. The only Tier Three item that I would avoid is Mekanism. Yes it sounds pretty good but 250 health will literally do nothing in the late game when you really need to count on your items. It's best to just pick the other Tier Threes.
Tier Four Equippable Items
For the most part, Tier Four Items are all strong. Look for Refresher Orb if you have heroes with strong abilities and long cooldowns like Lone Druid or Keeper of the Light.
Moon Shard is great in almost every build so don't hesitate to grab that either. The other Tier Four Items are generally playable with most builds and work well with most heroes.
Tier Five Equippable Items
Like Tier Four Items, Tier Five Items are also all strong. However, in most games you won't come across many Tier Five items so you can't rely on grabbing any of these to help strengthen your team.
The only item you'll want to think twice before choosing is the Divine Rapier, Yes +330 Attack Damage is extremely strong but if you somehow lose a round, your opponent gets it and that's just a no-go.
The Strongest Tier Five equippable would probably be Shiva's Guard. The slow is really strong and usually hits a lot enemies.
Loot Rounds Drops (Global Items and Contraptions)
There are quite a number of Global Items and most of them are game-changing. Embarrassment of Riches and Smuggler are great picks if you can get them by Round One or Two because of the value you receive from the following loot rounds.
Fall from Grace is good to choose if you have an active human alliance or if picking Fall from Grace will activate your Heartless alliance because the Human alliance doesn't do much and Heartless alliance is very strong.
Summoning Stone is good especially if you go for Druid/Savage alliances with Nature's Prophet, Lycan and/or Venomancer. It also scales well into late game because Lone Druid summons will also gain stat buffs from the stone. Generally, it's good to just grab it because there are a lot of units with summons. Arc Warden clones for example also count as summons and gain the stat buffs too. Not to mention if you have an active Primordial alliance, every Eidolon spawn also gain the effects of the Summoning Stone.
Dawning of Ristful isn't the best Tier Three Item to pick but can come in hand especially if a strong opponent has an active Warlock or Druid alliance. Note that picking Dawning of Ristful twice will stack and prevent either team from healing at all.
Friends and Family Discount is probably one of the strongest items you can have in the game. It works particularly well if you grab it before rolling down and take advantage of the item to pull all the heroes you need to get your three-stars.
A Higher Class of Criminal is probably the only Global Item that really isn't worth getting. As a Tier Five item, it just doesn't hold a candle to any of the other choices and picking it up won't transform your team or make a significant change like any other Tier Five Item will do. Back when it was a Tier Three item it was easily the strongest item in the game but nerfs exist for a reason ig :/
Desperate Measures and Expanded Roster are the two strongest items in the game and will almost always guarantee you first place. They should both be priority picks should you come across the opportunity to pick one of them.
Contraptions are still pretty new to Underlords. Since they've only just come out in a recent patch, they're bound to get nerfed and buffed as Valve figures out how strong or weak certain Contraptions are. But as of right now, Tombstone is extremely overpowered and desperately needs a nerf. It summons melee zombie units that fight for you for every hero that dies, and the health of the zombie summon scales with the level of the fallen hero. Meaning you'll literally have a handful of three-star zombies roaming the battleground. You don't even have to worry about it getting broken before summoning zombies because it also has 2,000 health. It's just absolutely broken in every way in the current meta.
Target Buddy is pretty great too. It's a Tier Two item, meaning you can start pulling him by Round Two. He acts as pretty much an Axe with its ability to taunt enemies and it's the only Contraption that you can equip items onto. So if you get a Blade Mail, Target Buddy will become a force not to be reckoned with.
Barriers are kind of on the fence as of the time being. On the one hand they don't really bring enough to the table to be playable, but on the other it's not completely useless. Barriers do exactly what they sound like they do. They each block one tile of the owner's choice. The thing is, you only get two and it's really not enough to be strategically effective.
The Healing Ward is just terrible at the moment. It only has 200 health, so it gets destroyed by literally any AoE attack and the health regen that it does provide isn't nearly enough to make it as strong as almost every other Tier Three Item in the game. For the time being just avoid this Contraption and pick other items instead.
Current Meta Strongest Builds
With the new patch, certain builds have dropped off from the current meta but at the same time, new builds are coming to light with all the new Ace Tier Hero effects in play. Here's a look at which builds are winning the most games as of right now.
Primordial Mage is looking the strongest at the moment. Even before the recent patch, this build proved to be one of the strongest late game builds that you could go for. With the new update, we're now able to add Ace Tier Heroes to the build and make it even more powerful than before.
Note that this is the standard team that you want to go for, Queen of Pain is your flex spot, so feel free to replace her with Phantom Assassin, Slark or any other high dps hero if you prefer them better.
If you plan on going to level 9. I'd put Dragon Knight in just because he's a carry and since you already have an active Dragon alliance, he'll dish out a stupidly large amount of damage.
In order to take maximum advantage from the Ace Tier perks, you'll want to grab Lich and Enigma when you get the chance. It's very important that when you receive the Ace Tier Heroes, you replace Tiny with Enigma and Puck with Lich. You cannot replace any of the other heroes or this build will crumble.
With a total of six knights, your team hardly takes any damage. It's no wonder that Knights has always been among the top builds in every patch. There is, however, also a decent bit of leeway with this build because you could run Troll-Knights, Dragon-Knights, or a little bit of both. The standard build for knights in the current meta consists of:
Note that when running Knights, six Knights is core, and you can't cut any of them but apart from that you have the choice to pick and choose the rest of your build.
I've found that the most effective way to go about a Knights build is with Witch Doctor (activates Troll Alliance), Viper (activates Dragon Alliance and turns DK into a force not to be reckoned with), and if I have the room, Necrophos (activates Warlock AND Heartless Alliance). All around Knights are a very consistent build and can reliably get you wins.
(This is how I tend to position my team when running a Knights build).