Beginner’s Guide to Dota Underlords: Learn the Basics

Beginners guide to Dota Underlords basic gameplay and game mechanics

This guide will teach you the basics on how to play Underlords and will get you up to speed on becoming an Auto Chess Grandmaster!

Basic Gameplay

Underlords is the stand-alone version of Auto Chess, the recently popular Dota 2 custom game and it’s coming to Steam/PC and Mobile soon!

In Underlords, you’ll be playing against 7 other players (total of 8). Unlike MOBA games, Underlords is a strategy game and each player will be playing on an 8×8 chessboard.

Dota Underlords hero units on auto chess board

You can buy Dota heroes (a.k.a. chess pieces) from a shop and put them on the board. Here’s a list of all Dota 2 heroes available on Underlords right now.

The game takes place across several rounds. Each round, your units will automatically fight against AI creeps and other player’s pieces (PVP).

Dota Underlords heroes battling other units in the board

If you lose the round, you’ll lose health points (HP) based on how many units your enemy has left. The stronger the units, the more HP damage you’ll take.

You’ll be eliminated from the game if your HP reaches zero.

The goal of the game is to be the last man standing.


Preparation and Battle Phase

There are two phases per round: preparation and battle phase.

A round starts with the 30-second Preparation phase where you can:

  • Buy and upgrade heroes from the shop
  • Sell heroes
  • Deploy/Remove heroes on the board
  • Move heroes around the board

During the Battle phase, your pieces on the board will automatically fight enemy units based on their AI and behavior.


Building your Army

At the start of the game you’ll choose a starting hero from a pool of 5 random heroes.

Dota Underlords buying hero from shop selection

Each round you can buy more heroes from another random set. You can lock the current set if you want to reserve them for the next round.

Hero Limit

You can only deploy a certain number of units on the board (population limit). This limit can be increased by leveling up.

You can level up by gaining experience each round, or by spending Gold to instantly gain experience.


Make your army stronger by Upgrading your units. You can combine three heroes of the same star level to upgrade them:

  • Three 1-Star heroes —> One 2-Star hero
  • Three 2-Star heroes —> One 3-Star hero

Related: How to Combine & Upgrade Heroes

Higher level heroes are more powerful and have the benefit of occupying only one slot in the board. So one Lv 2 hero is basically three units of Lv 1 heroes. Talk about efficiency!

Alliances and Ability Synergies

All heroes in Dota Underlords belong to at least 2 Alliances, and have an Ability.

If you deploy several heroes of the same Alliances, you’ll get Synergy bonuses. For example:

  • 2 Heartless units will decrease your enemy units’ armor
  • 3 Warrior units will increase their armor by a certain amount

Basically, units of the same class and/or species are more powerful than the sum of their parts.

Ability synergies are a little complicated and not too explicit. An example of a great Ability synergy is Crystal Maiden’s aura that gives bonus mana regeneration, which is great if you have SP hungry spell casters on the board.


Gaining Gold

Full Guide: How to Earn Gold + Gold System Explained

Gold is one of the most important resource in the game. You’ll need Gold to:

  • Buy more Heroes
  • Reset the random pool of Heroes during selection
  • Gain instant experience to level up fast

You can earn Gold from:

  • 5 Gold per round
  • 1 Gold for winning a round
  • Up to 3 Gold for a winning/losing streak
  • 1 Gold for each 10 Gold you currently have (a.k.a. interest), max of 5 Gold


Item Drops

Full Guide: How to Use & Equip Items in Dota Underlords

As you kill enemy units on creep rounds you’ll obtain items. You can equip them to your heroes to give them bonus stats and effects. Most items have similar names and effects to the original items in the Dota MOBA game.

How to use and equip items to your heroes in Dota Underlords

Certain items are better on specific hero types. For example, you’ll want durability items on tanks, DPS items on damage dealers, and mana/magic items for mages.


Leveling Up

Full Guide: How to Level Up in Dota Underlords

As the game progresses you’ll gain experience points and level up.

Leveling up has two benefits: you’ll be able to deploy more units on the board, plus you’ll get higher chances of getting more powerful heroes from the Shop.

Dota Underlords how to gain exp and level up fast guide

You’ll gain EXP at the end of each round, or you can buy instant EXP by spending 5 Gold any time.



Hopefully this quick guide will help you jump start your journey to becoming an Underlords chess master!

This is just the tip of the iceberg though. Stay tuned as we publish more guides, advanced tips and strategies on this blog!

3 thoughts on “Beginner’s Guide to Dota Underlords: Learn the Basics

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