Our Dota Auto Chess positioning guide breaks down how to position your pieces to get the most out of them.
Dota's Auto Chess game mode is a complex beast as there are a lot of mechanics to take in and master. You've got all sorts of pieces, with many different skills and abilities, which can combine to form stronger pieces. Slap more units on the board and you'll earn race bonuses, oh, and you'll need to harbour a thriving economy and keep an eye on your courier level too - you get the picture.
Manage to get the hang of all this and you’ll likely do alright in the world of Auto Chess, but there’s one crucial element which many players forget about. It’s called Auto “Chess” for a reason, and as pieces move around on a chess board you’ll want to position them in smart ways to overcome your opponents and make the most of your units.
Positioning your pieces is something that's easily overlooked, but is perhaps one of the most important aspects of Auto Chess. Below we’ll take you through the basics of positioning your pieces and provide a smattering of general advice too.
If there’s anything we’re missing from this don’t be afraid to let us know in the comments section below, and we'll cover it in the next update.
Dota Auto Chess: Basics of Positioning
Here are a few basic pointers to help you get started with positioning:
If you’ve got warriors or tanky melee units, more often than not you’ll want to place these on the frontline. You can either go for a simple straight line formation, or place individual units in front of your more vulnerable spellcasters or ranged units.
By placing your warriors, bruisers and tanks on the frontline, they’ll engage the enemy right from the get-go, and draw aggro away from your vulnerable backline pieces.
Sometimes it’s worth placing a melee unit (or two) on the backline, but in front of a piece you really want to protect. You could have a spellcaster with a powerful ability which keeps getting jumped on by enemy assassins, but by positioning your tanks around it, this’ll give it a chance to breathe.
In general, we’ve found success by placing assassins in the backline or to the sides of the board. This means they’re unlikely to get aggro’d by an enemy straight away, and are free to jump to the enemy’s backline and start laying down big damage.
Just remember that you'll want a fairly strong tank/frontline setup before you go ahead and start purchasing a whole bunch of assassins. Otherwise they'll jump in, get targeted by too many enemy units and go down very quickly.
Think of Assassins as glass cannons. They deal huge amounts of damage, but go down very quickly. With this in mind, you always want to position them in a way which will increase their mileage and keep them dishing out pain for as long as possible.
If you’ve got mages, healers, archers and the like, you’ll want to place them on your backline. This means they’ll be protected by your tankier units at the front so they’re free to rattle off damage unhindered.
You can also bunch your units together in a corner, almost like an egg. Place your tankier units on the outside of the circle (the shell, so to speak), followed by your squishier units on the inside.
By doing this, you’ll not only force the enemy to cover some ground to get to your damage dealers, but also force their way through the “shell”, all while taking big damage in the process. Even if they just about manage to crack the shell, you've done what's needed: drawn aggro and weakened the enemy offense enough that they'll be sure to go down.
Essential Auto Chess Coverage
- Auto Chess Guide - How to get started with the game mode
- Auto Chess Tier List - A work in progress evaluation of the strongest units
- Auto Chess Starting Strategies - Tried and tested opening gambits
- Auto Chess Upgrades - Upgrading and combining chess pieces over time
- Auto Chess Levelling - How levelling and XP works in Dota Auto Chess
- Auto Chess Free Candy - How to earn Candy and what you can spend it on
- Auto Chess Gold - How to make more gold and spend it efficiently
- Auto Chess Item List - All the in-game items, with stats and combinations
- Auto Chess Ranks - How the ranking system works in Dota Auto Chess
- Auto Chess Download / Install - Setting up for Auto Chess
To get this section started, we’d highly recommend watching Amaz’s Auto Chess Positioning Guide. It’s a great primer and he does a great job illustrating a whole host of valuable points.
One of the biggest takeaways from the hours we’ve spent with the game, as well as watching top players, is the importance of maximising how your pieces play.
For example, you generally want to position your units on the board so they are “active” right from the very beginning of each round. Stick your melee warrior on the backline and they’ll need to jump a few spaces before they’re even dealing damage, drawing aggro or using an ability. Essentially, you’ve rendered them useless for a good few seconds due to bad positioning.
Instead, place your warrior on the frontline and it’ll draw aggro as soon as the round starts and fulfil its role without any time wasted - perfect, you’ve maximised usage of this unit.
It can be quite a complex affair with so many heroes and combinations, but for those just getting started with positioning, we’d recommend hovering over every skill your purchased heroes come with. This’ll give you a hint as to how you can get the most out of them.
Do they have a taunt? Stick them on the frontline, or in front of vulnerable units. Do they have an AOE ranged ability? Place them just behind the frontline so they can begin auto-attacking easily, start building enough mana to use the ability, and when they do so, catch as many of the enemy team as possible.
Consider your most powerful Ultimate ability.
Some heroes come with extremely powerful ultimate abilities which can alter the course of a round. As the game progresses and enemy players become stronger, it's likely you'll want to get these off as soon as you can to gain a hefty advantage as early as possible.
To do this, sometimes it's good to position said piece further up the board. You're essentially sacrificing them for the greater good. They'll take aggro, earn mana, use their ultimate, then perish. Sure, you'll lose the piece, but it'll have used a game-changing ultimate which could ultimately win you the round.
Consider what compositions your opponents are running so you can decide which ultimates to prioritise and take them by surprise.
Counter your opponents.
It goes without saying that you should be paying attention to what formations and pieces your opponents are rocking. Adapting your positioning to counteract theirs can win you rounds, especially when the differences between pieces is minimal in the late-game.
For example, you may have noticed your opponents have an AoE composition. If this is the case, you could split your formation into two groups, so the enemy's AoE can only affect one group, not all of your heroes.
Perhaps you could position your assassins in such a way that they'll gang up on the AoE hero on the opposing side, eliminating them from the fight early and giving your team the best possible chance of winning.