I have been playing a lot of Dota Auto Chess recently and since there isn’t much information about the game on the Internet, I decided that I will start making analysis articles for all the upcoming major Auto Chess updates, starting now. In this article I will be discussing the most important changes that came through in all the recent updates.
Also, since many of the update notes had a lot of typos in them, I tried my best to fix them all. Now, let’s get right into it.
- Terrorblade now uses Sunder while activating Metamorphosis. Sunder will be cast on the unit which has the highest HP% on the team at that moment.
This is a magnificent buff for TB. Previously, he was completely useless as a 1-star unit because he would die as soon as he casts Meta. Now he can swap his HP back to 100% and do massive damage. Needless to say, this buff is extremely beneficial for 2-star and 3-star TB as well.
- New chess pieces added: Riki (Satyr Assassin) – Cost 3$, Mirana (Elf Hunter) – Cost 3$, Death Prophet (Undead Warlock) – Cost 5$
- Added new species – Satyr: Demonic species risen from twisted elves, expert at concealing themselves in nightmare, and fanatic in spreading blood and agony.
- Satyr species combo is Concealment: Active when there are Satyrs in your waiting bench. Hides your bench from other players’ vision.
Let’s have a look at all the new units.
Riki (Satyr Assassin)
Riki is a 3$ Satyr Assassin and starts of with 500 HP, 50 damage and 0 armor. His ability is Smoke Screen.
Smoke Screen: Throws down a smoke bomb at Riki’s current position, silencing enemies within 2 grids and causing them to miss some of their attacks.
Miss Chance: 30%/40%/50%
Riki is the most worthless unit among the 3 newly added ones. The Satyr species combo ‘Concealment’ is almost useless. Although the concept of hiding the units on your bench sounds cool, it is not very useful currently, since you have to put a useless 3$ Riki on your bench.
As a hero, Riki is absolutely worthless, even when you upgrade him to 2-star. I am absolutely baffled that he costs 3$ gold. He is a 0 armor, 500 HP unit with 50 starting damage. Those are by far the worst stats for a $3 gold unit.
Although Smoke Screen seems useful on paper, it feels very underwhelming in-game. Moreover, it has a cooldown of 15 seconds which is absolutely ridiculous. It is very hard to get it off in the first place because getting 100 mana with 50 damage and 500 HP is close to impossible.
The only redeeming quality of Riki is that he is an assassin. If you are going for 6 assassins, Riki can be used as a place-holder until you have a better assassin. He might even get his spell off due to the crit bonus from assassins’ combo.
- Duration of Riki’s ability increased by 1s (27th Feb)
Makes the unit a little better, but Riki is still quite worthless.
Mirana (Elf Hunter)
Mirana is a 3$ Elf Hunter and starts off with 600 HP and 0 armor. Her ability is Sacred Arrow.
Sacred Arrow: Fires a long-ranged arrow with deadly precision to an enemy chess unit in another chessboard currently under attack/defense from friendly chesses, dealing damage and stunning the target. Damage and stun duration increase with range.
Minimum damage: 50/75/100
Maximum damage: 500/750/1000
Damage type: Magical
Minimum stun duration: 1/1.5/2
Maximum stun duration: 5/7.5/10
Maximum potential travel range: 6000
Although not as bad of a unit as Riki, a unit that can potentially use her spell onto another chessboard instead of your own is innately going to bad quite bad. Personally, I dislike this mechanic. It multiples the RNG factor in the game to the max and it is just very unfun to begin with.
Apart from that, Mirana seems like a decent Elf Hunter unit and can be useful as a combo fulfiller.
It can also be a useful unit if your intention is to ruin someone else’s game.
Death Prophet (Undead Warlock)
Death Prophet is a 5$ Undead Warlock and starts off with 950 HP and 0 armor. Her ability is Exorcism.
Exorcism: Unleashes evil spirits to drain the life of nearby enemy units. At the end of the spell’s duration, Death Prophet is healed in proportion to the damage dealt.
Number of spirits: 10/15/20
Heal: 25% of damage dealt
Spirits damage: 100
Damage type: Physical
Pierces spell immunity: Yes.
Death Prophet is easily the best unit among the 3 newly released ones. But as a 5$ unit, she has some issues.
She is the perfect definition of a glass cannon. She has low survivability but the damage from her ability is amazing.
She might be one of the weaker $5 units though. The best part about all the 5$ units is their ability. As long as they get off their ability in a round, its fine even if they die after that because their abilities are extremely destructive. In Death Prophet’s case however, she needs to survive even after getting off her ability.
This is only possible in the late-game if Death Prophet has good survivability items. She also has to be a 2-star unit to be able to sustain the damage. Although, if the perfect conditions are met, she is an absolute beast in the battlefield.
- DP’s attack damage increased by 10 (27th Feb)
And her damage was recently increased, which is good for her but I doubt its going to affect her a lot.
- Added species trait and class perks: (9) Elf: Evasion, (9) Assassin: Coup de Grace.
Although it’s not properly mentioned in the update notes, Assassins’ got nerfed. Previously, the bonus for (6) assassins was 20% chance to crit for 400% damage for all friendly assassins. Currently the (6) assassins’ bonus is 15% chance to crit for 400% damage and the (9) assassins’ bonus is 20% chance to crit for 500% damage.
For elves, they just added a new bonus for having (9) elf units – a total of 75% chance to miss on all friendly elves.
I like that they are adding (9) unit synergy bonuses but I rarely see them in play and I doubt its good to go for 9 of any class/species.
- Slark reworked: Replaced Shadow Dance with Pounce. Cost reduced from 3 to 2.
- Slark’s attack speed increased by 0.1 (27th Feb)
This is a giant nerf to Slark. Previously, Slark was not the most popular unit, but atleast he was somewhat of an annoying niche pick. Especially if you are playing assassins and/or got a 2-star Slark. If given a few regen items and perhaps a morbid mask, this unit was quite hard to kill because Shadow Dance had a low cooldown of 10/8/6 and would keep popping over and over, keeping Slark alive for a hefty duration. A 3-star Slark was a total menace and the only way to kill him was massive AOE damage through $5 gold legendary units.
Now, Slark is an extremely pathetic unit. 1-star Slark is extremely weak with a measly 500 HP, 5 armor and 50-60 damage. He gets decent at level 2 with 1000 HP, 5 armor and 100-120 damage but Pounce is nowhere near as good as Shadow Dance was. Currently, his only redeeming quality is that he is a Naga. I will talk more about why Nagas are so good right now, later down the article.
- Alchemist reworked: Replaced Acid Spray with Chemical Rage. Attack rate decreased by 0.3.
- Alchemist’s attack damage increased by 5 (27th Feb)
Poor Alchemist. He was one of the godliest heroes in the game before this change. Acid Spray was one of the best spells in the game. It was a 400 radius, 15/25/35 DPS spell which reduced the armor of everyone affected, by 5/8/11. Moreover, the duration of the spell was 10 seconds and the CD was also 10 seconds so it had 100% uptime.
Now, he has dropped from an S-tier character to an F-tier character. Chemical Rage is nowhere as good as Acid Spray. Yes, it will keep him alive for longer, but that was never an issue for Alchemist due to the synergies that he provides. Going for Warlocks and having armor reduction on all enemies through his ability, used to healed up a deck like crazy due to the extra damage. But now he provides nothing for the deck and only provides himself with some extra attack speed and regen which is very underwhelming. At first, I was excited about the change and expected him to be unkillable with Chemical Rage, but in-game it turns out to be very disappointing.
- Decreased Horror (Undead combo) Armor reduction from -5/-7 to -4/-6.
Undead synergy is very easy acquire in many different kinds of decks. This is because all the units of the Undead species are very good. Currently there are 5 Undead units in the game – Drow Ranger, Abaddon, Necrophos, Lich and Death Prophet. All of these are great units and getting an incredible synergy bonus for having them on the deck was just too good and easy. This nerf is very minor but well deserved.
- Decreased Hunter’s Pack (Hunter combo) bonus attack damage from +30%/+30% to +25%/+25%.
Hunters has been one of the more popular class choices in Auto Chess for a long time now, hence this nerf is not unexpected. 5% less damage with 3 hunters and a total of 10% less damage with 6 hunters will definitely make a difference in-game. Perhaps this change will persuade players to drift away from the Hunter popularity in the game currently.
- Increased Power of the Wild (Beast combo) bonus attack damage from +10%/+15%/+20% to +15%/+20%/+25%.
Personally, I feel the beast combo has always been very underrated. Any class/species synergy that benefits the entire deck, should not be taken lightly. Perhaps we will see more players going for Power of the Wild synergy after this buff.
- Balanced Scale Armor (Naga combo) bonus magic resistance from +20%/+40% to +30%/+30%.
This was exactly the kind of buff that Nagas needed. The Naga combo is very niche and players never built it previously unless there was a reason to. The main reason to do it generally are if someone is going for the 6 Mage synergy. But getting a measly 20% magic resistance for having 2 Nagas on the board was way too underwhelming. Now, you can have 30% magic resistance right away, which might motivate the player to go for 4 Naga later on and get a massive 60% magic resistance bonus on all the units on deck.
Nagas are very good right now because of 2 reasons. Having 2 Nagas casually, like a Slardar and a Slark in the early-game is very beneficial against heavy AOE magic damage units like SF and Razor. Although Slark is a bad unit, Slardar is a very popular unit in the early-game because of how good warriors are in the beginning. If you already have a Slardar, getting a Slark is not very bad, specially if you manage to get him to level 2, since all your units will be getting +30% magic resistance.
Secondly, having magic resistance in the late-game is inexplicably beneficial. Most of the late-game fights end very quickly due to the massive AOE magic damage that 5$ units provide. Having 4 Nagas in a scenario like this will make the fights very easy. Moreover, Medusa and Tidehunter are 2 of the best units to have in the late-game and they are both Nagas.
- Decreased Battle Hardened (Orc combo) bonus HP from +250/+350 to +200/+300.
Looks like the developers of Auto Chess have learnt a great deal from Icefrog, since their balancing patterns appear to be very similar. They are nerfing the popular combos by just the right amount and buffing the weak combos at the same time, to make them more appealing.
Going for the Orc/Warrior or Orc/Hunter combos in the early-game is very valuable because of how good and common, Axe and Beastmaster are. This nerf is definitely going to hurt these combos, but not too big enough for people to stop playing them.
- Decreased Razor’s Plasma field AoE from 400/500/600 to 400/450/500.
One of the best units in the game, getting a nerf that he deserves. This nerf is not very bad for Razor though and will definitely not disrupt his current popularity.
- Decreased Beastmaster’s base attack rate by 0.2.
Beastmaster has been getting a lot of nerfs and I’m afraid he’s not as god-like of a unit as he was before. Now he is just an ordinary and balanced unit, just like all (most) of the rest.
- Improved Lina’s base attack rate by 0.3.
- Decreased Lina’s Laguna Blade cooldown from 13/10/7 sec to 10/8/6 sec.
The main reason to pick up a Lina previously was just because she is a Mage. Now, she has the qualities to make her a good casual pick-up if you get her early on. Personally, I think she’s at the right spot now.
- Increased Witch Doctor’s Paralyzing Cask number of bounces by 1.
In my perspective, Witch Doctor was perfectly balanced, but apparently he needed a small buff. An extra bounce on Paralyzing Cask is nothing to scoff at, especially because it deals damage along with stunning the target.
- Increased Tinker’s Heat Seeking Missile damage by 50 per missile, balanced cooldown from 7/6/5 sec to 8/6/4 sec.
I always felt that Tinker was the weakest among all the Goblin Mech units in the game. If I wanted to go Goblin Mech early-game, I would prefer to go for Clockwerk, Timber and Bounty Hunter. Although I would still prefer those 3 units over Tinker, I wouldn’t feel so bad anymore if I was forced to pick up Tinker for the synergy bonus.
- Decreased Disruptor’s Static Storm maximum damage from 100/200/300 to 100/150/200.
I wonder why this hero is still being nerfed. I am guessing that Orcs are still very popular right now. This unit was already balanced when they reduced the duration on his ability a while back.
- Early Termination: During the first 2 turns of a game, you can use a button at bottom right to propose an early end of the game. The game will automatically end if more than half of the players have either made proposal, failed, or disconnected.
A handy feature for regular chess players. Previously if few of the players got disconnected, or if a player was being extremely annoying in-game by spamming in all-chat for example, rest of the players had to go through that for the whole game unless he/she didn’t care about their rank dropping low due to abandoning. Now you no longer have to abandon if more than half the players want to leave the match.
- Added a “total gold involved in the game” display in post-game stats, and a report button. (Only for reporting hacks, cheating or improper language. Please do not abuse the function when losing a game or having a bad luck)
The “total gold involved in the game” stat is a great feature for serious players and statisticians. I’m ready for some graphs to pop up on Reddit any time now.
I’m very impressed by the developers for adding the report feature. I did not expect them to be able to implement it correctly. As far as I have seen, the report feature has mostly been a success. Although I have heard of a few innocent players getting banned, the general consensus currently is that most of the bans are legit.
- You can no longer give items to chess pieces during the cheering stage after winning a round, to prevent bugs that can cause game to crash or make your items mysteriously vanish.
Reading these kind of changes makes me feel very nostalgic. In Dota 1, we had many erratic features in the game, just because of the engine limitations of Warcraft III. The same thing is happening in Dota Auto Chess now. Valve, forget about Artifact and acquire Chess already. I would insta-buy a Valve made Dota Auto Chess game.
Getting back on topic, although it’s very annoying that we cannot give items to units after the round has finished, I would rather accept this change than lose my refresher orb because of a bug. I guess “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” is not just a meme.
- Mask of Madness bonus changed from +10% lifesteal, +30 attack speed and -10 armor to +10% lifesteal and +40 attack speed with self-silence.
I am very skeptical about this change because this item is currently very bad on many units which benefited substantially from it before. Many units like Terrorblade, Juggernaut, Queen of Pain and Templar Assassin cannot use their ability anymore if they have Mask of Madness, which makes the item worthless for them.
However, it is extremely good on physical DPS units with passive abilities like Drow Ranger, Troll Warlord and Luna.
I have also found it very effective on units with high base damage and an underwhelming active ability. Tiny would be the best example for this. He has high damage and he greatly benefits from the attack speed because he has very low AS naturally. The lifesteal is also good because he hits really hard. I have always felt that Toss was a useless spell, but maybe that’s just my opinion.
Be careful not to combine your Quarter Staff and Morbid Mask into a Mask of Madness unless you intend to.
- Blade Mail’s return-damage increased from 10% to 20%
I guess I won’t feel so bad anymore if my items combined into a Blade Mail by mistake. 20% return damage seems quite appealing. I can’t believe it was 10% before. Now it is quite a good for tanky/heal units like Enchantress and Necrophos.
- Venomancer got the prize for least wins in all chesses recently.
- Plague ward can now add a debuff of -0.3 attack speed on hits
I wasn’t surprised that Venomancer got the award for least wins among all the units. I am not very fond of him.
Although the 0.3 AS reduction sounds amazing, I have tested it in game and it barely makes any difference.
I will be doing these analysis articles very frequently, stay tuned for more to come. If you like Auto Chess, check out the advanced guide I made for Auto Chess. Also, I’d love it if you followed me on Twitter and Facebook . Thanks for reading.