The following are the 5 things you need to learn to place 1st in auto chess or at least place top three to climb mmr. I’ll talk about other things after the major 5 lessons in the 2nd section addendum, so this might be a long read.
Also, if you messed it up bad in a game, are playing from behind or you genuinely got a lot of bad draws, you should always try to hold on and try your best to place 4th so you don’t lose mmr. The following are ordered in level of importance. Number 1 being absolutely essential and number 5 being less important compared to the rest:
THE 5 MOST IMPORTANT THINGS TO LEARN IN AUTO CHESS
1. Getting high levels on the board matters the most
If you want to win consistently, you can’t be stubborn and you need to be able to change your strategy ahead of your opponents trying to counter you. You also need to know when to quit on a bad strategy or bad pieces. You can have a good strategy but it won’t always work out. But the main thing you need to know is that LEVELS MATTER on the pieces you are using. You may love your lv 1’s thinking that they are a part of a perfect class combo, but replacing them or swapping them with higher level alternatives will actually keep you in the game. Drawing a 3 and using a 3 is the same as combining 2 lv 1 pieces together at once. Don’t discount that.
What this means is that even if you have a set strategy or composition you are working with, if a higher level piece pops up, whether they be lv 3 4 or 5, half of the time you should strongly consider buying it and use it, especially when pivoting if your strategy isn’t working. Are race combos and class combos important? Yes, they are. But higher level pieces will always be stronger than a combo of lower level pieces in all scenarios. We will talk about this more later on, but its worth mentioning that you don’t lose anything by selling away your lv 1 pieces, because its a full refund and you can always draw them back again later.
If you see a strong piece pop up early on, you should strongly consider buying it and using it. It might even encourage you to change up your composition as well. Holding onto important pieces you may never even use can be important late game as well, but I’ll explain why in the following segment.
This goes without saying, but lv 5 pieces can straight up win the game for you and close it out once they start entering the pool. This is why spending some money on leveling up your courier is important, because being able to draw them can straight up win you the game in most situations. When in doubt, swap your lower level pieces out just to get a 5 in there, especially if you are eventually able to upgrade them to 2 or 3 stars.
2. Being aware of what units the enemies own because you can’t draw them.
A lot of people don’t know this, but when you draw a round of pieces, it draws from a public pool of pieces. Meaning that there is a finite amount of each piece in the game at play or in the pool at any given time. The reason why many players end up getting dumpstered into 5th-8th place is because they get stubborn and do one of two things. They either wait for more of their piece to appear and keep drawing over and over or they just stick to their first strategy and try to make it work when its failing. Then they keep losing and losing then they go cry about it and complain about how bad RNG is keeping them in the pawn trench. What they don’t understand is that there are only so many pieces of one type you can draw.
What this means is that if other players have some of the same pieces you are using, you will never draw those pieces until those opponents either lose by getting knocked out of the game completely or until those players sell those pieces. This is a HUGE part of this game’s strategy and it can be difficult to keep track of who has what and also process all of that information at any given time.
For example, if you have two 2 star jug pieces in your roster, but the enemies are also using juggernauts as well, you need to acknowledge that instead of dumping double digit amounts of gold in trying to draw more jugs. You either keep what you have or sell it off and try a different piece or strategy. OR you could wait until a player that is using them gets eliminated or sells them.
This is also why players that are leading all game can suddenly crumble and lose their advantage. It’s not just because the leaders aren’t playing attention to the underdogs. It’s because in some games, the losing players can make a comeback or fight till the end and ultimately keep many of these pieces tied up and undrawable.
One example of how you can use this mechanic to your advantage is by taking a quick glance during the 1st level or early levels of the game and identifying what your opponents are picking. The first few levels are a cakewalk but you can use this period to identify what your opponents are planning. Do you see a few opponents bringing demons into their roster? Well now you know that those pieces will be in limited supply and avoid picking those units. Plus you could even pick an antimage to nullify their demons bonuses right off the bat at round 4.
You may even want to lose one of these first three levels on purpose because you are given the opportunity to draw multiple copies of the same piece and level them up very quickly in time for round 4. I got 1st place in a game recently because I lost round 3 on purpose in order to get a quick 2 star drow with other 2 and 3 star units early on. Your opponents may think you are a big noob losing to creeps and you may lose a possible item, but losing 2 HP’s early on means absolutely nothing if you can lead the entire first half of the game.
This can also be important in knowing what class combos to pick as well. Are many opponents picking mechs? Well then maybe avoid picking mechs and goblins and pick other classes with a bigger supply of pieces instead.
3. Gold Management
In the above guide I linked, the author was very helpful and explained that economy and gold management is very important to getting a strong position during the end game.
To put it bluntly, if you make it to the finals stages of the game and you are now only facing 1 or 2 other opponents, having 50+ gold is always better than scrapping by with less than 10 gold every round. Why? Because at that stage, you may already be at max level (lv 10) and gold (aka your mana) can be used to continuously draw hands over and over and over during the last few fights. You can pick up duplicate lv 5 heroes or new heroes to finish upgrading your forces to end the game and close it out. Keep in mind, you can draw and buy units even while your units are fighting, as long as you have space in your reserves and you have the gold.
As a general rule of thumb, you should avoid spending gold and bringing yourself lower than intervals of 10 (10,20,30,40,50, etc) before the end of a round. When the fighting phase ends and a new round begins, you get 10% interest on whatever gold you are holding onto and it rounds down. Meaning that if you have 57 or 52 or 50 gold, you will get an extra 5 gold the next round. It doesn’t mean you can’t spend though, and I encourage spending if a good piece pops up.
For example, if you have 47 gold, you may consider using a level up for 5 gold (especially if you are leading.) Then when you have 42 gold, you can consider spending that 2 gold to see another hand of pieces. If you see something you love, grab it. If not, then just sit on the 40 gold for next round. Also, keep in mind that you should avoid reaching 100 gold at all costs. 50 gold tends to be the sweet spot because of that clean-cut 5 gold bonus.
One reason people end up losing games is because they may get obsessed trying to upgrade what pieces they have and keep spamming draw over and over. They continue to spend 2 gold over and over and over and more often than not, they end up finding themselves not getting what they want and keep losing. That’s just wasted gold you will never get back.
On the flip side, spamming level up for no reason can wipe out your entire gold supply and then you might find yourself with a lot of piece slots but not have any strong or high level pieces to fill them with. Then suddenly you keep losing and have very little gold for the end game.
You need a little discipline and some balance to make it to the end game with a healthy supply of gold. And you also need to know when to spend big and take risks. If you are dropping and only have 20 HP’s left, you might as well go all in and spam level ups. The same applies when you are about to win and spam draws.
It’s worth mentioning that when you reach lv 10, as far as I’ve tested it, you DO NOT get extra chance to draw lv 5 pieces if you continue to spend money on level ups. I didn’t go hardcore is buying additional levels to test this, but I’ve never seen an increase in drop rates meaning its a waste of money and a useless button. I COULD BE WRONG. You can see your drop rates at any time by reading the buff tooltip on your courier to see what your draw chances are.
4. Learning and using race and class combos.
Most beginners, when they are struggling to learn how to play and understand the interface during their first few games, don’t know or understand race or class combos. Once they find out about them, it’s a pretty huge deal and they get excited and start winning a lot more rounds.
The reality is that everything i mentioned above is more important than learning combos, simply because combos are easy to learn. Combos are essential but they alone won’t win you games against bishop and castle players.
If there’s one thing you MUST understand, it’s this. you must have UNIQUE pieces to activate most race and class combo. What this means is that you can’t have 2 axes and a jug on your front line and activate the warrior bonus. You must have unique pieces, like 1 tusk 1 jug and 1 axe to activate the class combo. There are some different or weird exceptions like Ogres or Druids (druids have no actual buff benefit.)
I’ll go into detail about pieces and combos after this first big section, but a general rule of thumb is that, during most stages of a match, you’ll need a front line. You’ll need pieces that can tank some damage in the front and you’ll need a back line of supports or damage dealers behind them. Meaning that you should get at least 2 mechs, 2 knights, or 3 warriors in the front to take advantage of their first level of class bonuses.
Race bonuses can also give you a big edge in the early game and also solidify your dominance during the late game. In all honestly, race combos aren’t as important as class combos and they aren’t a big deal during the mid game. Why? Because if you are against smart players, you may never get the perfect pieces you want. And you can’t do shit about it most of the time until they get eliminated. Watching to see what pieces failing opponents have will give you an idea of what races or classes will become available the moment they get eliminated.
One example i’ll give is that one time I saw one skilled player go heavy mage out of the gate before I fought him by looking at what was happening on his board before round 5. So what did I do? I picked up slardars and slarks etc etc. Nagas. By having only 2 or 4 nagas on your team, your entire army has more magic resistance. I stream rolled through him the moment I faced him and plowed down his mages.
If you have the smarts and some luck on your side to snag a whole army of mostly one race (4 or 6 race bonuses) while also having two key class bonuses, good for you. You’ll probably win. The reality is that this won’t always happen so you need to play well with whats given to you and know when to sell off and when to pivot as well.
5. Outsmarting Opponents (Positioning and countering)
This may seem obvious that positioning pieces on the board can be important and that countering opponents is smart, but it’s still much less important than everything we covered above. Why? Because if you master the first 4 lessons, you can position your pieces poorly can still steamroll lesser players in every fight. It’s just a fact. If your standing composition is killer, it will slaughter the opponent’s every time. With that being said, lets talk about positioning.
You can only place units on your bottom 4×8 side of the board. This mean that, most of the time, your front line should be in the front row, either in the center or slightly towards the left or right depending on where your opponents tend to place their pieces. You do this for a few reasons. You do it so your tanks don’t have to move much and just start fighting their front line as soon as possible and tank damage. But more importantly, you do it so your ranged units behind them don’t have to move AND so that the enemy units don’t move around during the few few seconds of the round. Why? Because your ranged units may miss attacks if the enemy is moving out of those squares while hopping around.
Supports or units that have some range or spells that prefer the center of the map are place behind your front line on the 2nd row. You may also want to put melee units with important spells in the 2nd row and off to the far sides. This way, those special units can hop forward at the start and not aggro the entire enemy army. If those units die before they engage and get their spells off, they are a total waste.
Ranged dps and mages are typically in the 3rd row or in the 4th row if their range is very large or their spells have a wide range. This obviously keeps them protected in the back.
But you also may want to put one unit back there or off to the far side of where your fragile units are, to protect them from enemy assassins from hopping straight to the back lines and murdering them and/or casting nasty spells from behind. What’s a great example of a good defender unit? Antimages. Why? Because not only can a decent 2 or 3 star antimage holds his own against assassins, but he can rain their mana as well. Even if your antimage cant kill them, delaying them from casting their spells on your back line is a huge advantage and a big victory.
Assassins should start along your side borders or back corners. The moment the fighting phase starts, they will hop to the enemy’s back rows immediately and you position them depending on what side you want them to attack or from what angle. You’ll get a feel for it over time.
In some instances, you may want to shift your front line left or right. Be sure to put your strongest tanks either dead center or on the end of where the fighting usually starts. Avoid putting them on borders so enemies can have room to wrap around them and focus them. Picture giving axes some extra spaces around him to taunt enemies and you’ll see what I mean.
In some rare instances, you may want to shift your entire army back one entire. Especially if you mostly have ranged units, tanky or not. This will cause the army to waste time hopping towards you.
Also, you may consider stacking your whole army in the entire left or right corner of your board in some rare instances where you are paranoid of a heavy assassin team. This can be a double edge sword though. I personally don’t like this strategy, because it will make it easier for your opponent to surround you, even though his assassins will be funneled to one side.
Countering is pretty straight forward and I’ll talk about it more in the 2nd section. But typically in general winning any fighting phase in this map boils down to making very basic and pragmatic adjustments to counter the enemy. You don’t have to overthink things.
When you lose a round to a specific player (or all of them if you are getting dumpstered) what do you need more of? Do you need a stronger front line? Then replace, upgrade or straight up scrap your entire front line for something different. Do you need more magic damage? Then bring in new units like mages. Do you need something to prevent them from casting key spells? Then get some assassins or supports with silences or stuns to buy you time. That’s really what it boils down to. Getting what you need to adapt and improvise.
The following is just random advice that is loosely organized in no particular order. I might forget some things or just not talk about them. Read on if this wall of text hasn’t bored you yet:
THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW
You can hold your draw – There’s a lock button on the bottom left of your draw window. If you get a draw of a ton of pieces you want, you can buy some then lock it for another turn then buy more the next turn. One time I saw a draw of 4 tinkers and 1 drow on round 1 and I forgot to hold it. I’m still curious about how that game would have turned out if i didn’t forget. just don’t forget to unlock it after you are done.
Space bar brings up the draw window – Yep. Hitting the space bar toggles the draw window. Very cool. Use it to speed up your combine management in between rounds.
You can only get 10 candies a day – If you are winning a lot, keep in mind you can’t get more than 10 candies a day.
You can equip your custom courier skin at the loading screen – If you spend candies on unlocking different skins, you can select which one you want to bring into the game at the loading screen. The menu is in the center of the screen.
You don’t need all four druids to 3 star a druid – I’ll mention this later on but its a common misconception that you need enchantress, treant, furion and lone druid to finish 3 starring any druid unit of your choice. if you only have ONE type of druid (very unlikely) you can still 3 star him with 9 units. Even if you only have 2 types of druids, you can still 3 star one of them with just 6 units. You don’t have to wait for lone druid to appear, but if you do and hold onto him and the others, you can 3 star a druid with only 4 units.
Don’t stack items – Don’t ever stack the same items on the same hero. Mostly because items like staff of wizardry won’t provide multiple debuffs or stack when the user auto attacks.
Be careful with combines – You may make an item you don’t want if you aren’t careful. Kaya is a decent example of something you didn’t plan on using.
Save or equip? – Some players collect items and drop them on the bottom side of their board and horde them for later for efficient combining. Others throw them on whoever they think can benefit from them the most immediately. I’m in the later group, mostly because you will never know what items you will get and you may not always win every npc round perfectly. Also, you can and most likely will sell pieces to de-equip the items and recycle them.
Crowns – Very useful items that you might be able to combine later on, BUT you typically want to put them on tanks or units with great spells that tend to take damage.
Void Stones – Put them on units with great spells, especially units or casters that have faster attack speeds. More attacks = more mana.
Damage items and life steal – Put them on assassins, hunters and certain warrior/knights that are more offensive (jugs, trolls, etc)
Hyperstones or attack speed – You can put them on damage units to increase dps or units that you want to attack faster to generate a little more mana. OR you can put the hyper stones on tanks with the other required components to craft AC.
Stout shields, cloaks, armor and vit booster – Put them on tanks or mechs of any type that might soak some damage for you. Be mindful of what items make a vanguard or hood or even AC.
Regen items – Put them on tanks almost always OR put a little regen on your assassins. If you find that they are only taking moderate damage behind enemy lines, with a little extra regen they can last quite a bit longer. OR you could even put a little regen on specific hunters or mages in your back line if they are taking moderate damage from enemy assassins.
Ogres – In some rare scenarios, you may consider stocking up on ogres early game. If you do, having a pair or more of ogre magi dramatically increase their hit points. They literally become tanks and then open you up to good mage options for the first half of the game.
Goblins – A simple combo that can be good at any stage of the game. The random buff you get can turn a fight in your favor more often than not.
Orcs – Another great opening typically if you are running warriors. The extra hitpoints can win you the early game but you might consider replacing them by mid game depending on what you draw.
Naga – A very strong race combo i mentioned before, only because it completely counters mage lineups. The magic resistance you get for your whole army is huge. Plain and simple. Nagas can be useful going into the late game as well, but only if you can fully upgrade them to 2 and 3 stars. Even just having two of them can make a big difference.
Trolls – Imo, they are more difficult to use from start to finish, mostly because you are either dependent on getting good draws to fully upgrade bat riders (for knights) or even just drawing multiple trolls during the mid game (for warriors.)
Humans and Elves – If you can line up 2, 4 or even 6 humans (more mage oriented imo,) disarming certain enemies and creeps in specific situations can be pretty strong. The same goes for 2, 4 or 6 elves (good luck because elves are spread out across many classes.) Simply because the mass dodge buff countering physically damage lineups is similar to having nagas countering heavy magic damage.
Demons – Demons are straight forward. If you can pick a 2 star demon up in round 2, most of the time it’s a strong option and it should be taken. Don’t don’t forget that if you commit to one demon, you should never bring in another type of demon. Either sell it off and move on or fully commit to that specific demon. Watch out for antimage being used and use one for yourself if you want to counter enemy demons.
Beasts – The damage buff you get is nothing to sneeze at. Occassionally lining up beast combos is pretty effective at all stages of the game, even if you have to bring in a weird hero out of left field. It’s worth mentioning that all of your beast summons also get the beast damage bonus. Plus I’m pretty sure summons count against the enemy team when they lose so they lose more lives on defeat.
Undead – Very strong in physical damage lineups like assassins or hunters. Especially hunters. Why? Because you can start right off the bat with drows and then build a hunter composition that goes all the way to the late game with nagas and tidehunters. The trick is to throw in various undead of other classes to keep the ball rolling.
Dragons EDITED – I had to rewrite this part because honestly I have more experience now. Pretty much everything else in this guide holds up even with the recent changes to the map. But it’s worth mentioning that 6elf/3dragon is a very strong strat that holds up in almost every match. You should consider using it if you see you are drawing multiple enchantress in the first rounds (you will sell her later once you use your LD to finish nessecary combines.)
You can use a temporary front line very early on then bring in your treant. I highly recommend a knight like omniknight during the mid game to match with your luna until you can draw a dragon knight. By the time you draw dragon knight, you can complete your dragon bonus or even both combos at the same time.
On its own, its still decent. I will also say that 3 star pucks do bring plenty of magic damage on a low cooldown even on their own though.
Elements – To me, they feel limited because I feel like there are only a small handful of them. Are enigmas amazing and great against both players and creeps? Yes. Are razors decent? Yes. Will you actually have a team of elements by the end of the game? Probably not.
Warriors – Standard front line. Dependable. Some might say that they are too strong overall. But they have one major weakness. Magic damage. Bring in mages or more magic if a player steamrolls you with a warrior lineup. Ironically, warriors go pretty well with mages as well.
These guys are versatile and can almost win in every back line mashup you can think of. Just pick your offensive and defensive options accordingly and try your best to aim for the 6 bonus.
Knights – Useful but harder to master. You need at least several games under your belt to understand and use knights properly. You can get away with only having a small number of them but you need to know how to build around them. They handle burst damage (laguna blade for example) and aoe spells pretty well because of their random shields. Matching them up with the appropriate race combos can be more difficult though. It’s hit or miss.
Mechs – Easy to use. I don’t like them because of how easy to use they are. Pound for pound, timbersaws may be the best overall tank in the game. You can pile more goblins on top of them and they also go great with druids. Druids basically pile more regen on top of mech’s already strong regen, along with being able to upgrade faster and cheaper than other classes.
Druids – Maybe they are a little difficult to understand how to make them work in the early game, but they can be and are effective and efficient. Their mid game goes pretty fast and (like I mention above,) go great with mechs. Keep in mind you don’t need to wait for a lone druid to appear to 2 star a druid. If you have enough of that specific druid to upgrade, you can do it like you normally would upgrade other classes (sets of 3.)
Druids bring a lot of options that increase the sustain of your army and prefer to drag a fight out as long as possible. Even lone druids provide a spell that spawns a bear that straight up roots and drags out the fight even longer. The trick is to figure out how to facilitate them in order to make sure the fight gets dragged out to guarantee a long slog for the enemy. Imo, putting items on pieces like nature’s prophets, enchantress and lone druids may be necessary early game to jump-start their slow spells.
I personally dislike them, but I dislike them less than I dislike mechs, not because I think both are weak, but because of personal bias and my playstyle. I think furions are trash and definitely one unit that MUST be upgraded to be useful or maybe even require gear to be useful. It’s possible I just need more practice with druids overall.
If you want to win late game with druids, you need to upgrade them fast and upgrade them hard and keep a bunch of them on the board or in yoiur reserves at all times. If the enemy is using too many of them, don’t even bother. You need to get as many 3 star druids on the board as possible to win it all.
Hunters – Your typical ranged dps (well mostly ranged.) Very dependable. They are very bread and butter and don’t really have big weaknesses. Plus they deal with most threats pretty well. You can usually get away with just using the 3 unit bonus, which means they fit well with most front lines, big or small.
Assassins – Some players don’t take them seriously but they are situationally very good. They really shine early on if you can draw multiple qops for that early 2 star with demon bonus or even line up three 2-3 star assassins very quickly. Can you win a game with them from start to finish? Sure. But what makes or breaks a good player using assassins is knowing when to replace them, leave them at the 3 unit bonus or when to go crazy and all in on the 6 unit bonus.
You will lose the game if you make the wrong calculation, but learning that comes with experience. More often than not, 6 unit is still risky and time consuming, but that typically depends on how strong your front line is.
Its worth mentioning that sand kings are pretty good in all situations and their stun is very useful. It’s strong especially during the mid game when you haven’t gotten your big aoe lv 5 units yet, like tide. You can always easily replace them with those bigger units, especially if you aren’t running a beast combo.
Mages – Some may say they were recently too strong overall. Getting the 3 unit bonus up as fast as possible is pretty important, which can be done more easily if you open with ogre magi.
You may consider having one unit of any class in the back line to defend them in some situations. I mentioned having one oddball antimage defending them above was a great idea. Stacking mages with the appropriate race combos is key though so don’t get lazy in that department.
Warlocks – A strange class that has some useful units you can use on their own or to synergise their class combo with physical damage lineups (especially hunters.) Throwing that lifesteal buff on top of your dps along with guys like alchemist that provide an armor reduction spell is pretty good stuff.
They go even better with trolls if you get a little lucky and are able to fully upgrade witch doctors, which will provide stun and the troll combo alongside the lifesteal for even more right click damage.
Game Winning Combos
The following are combos that are pretty notorious and are game winning. Are there many combos that can win? Sure, but these are pretty strong and dependable. I might add more as time goes on.
El Classico (6 warriors + 3 mages) – It’s recently been nerfed but warrior mage is still pretty decent. You fight fire with fire since even though mage is your biggest weakness you can throw some magic damage back their way. Plus if you have a CM she helps warriors get their spells off very fast and lycan can help supply a human combo for disarms. Even though knights might shrug off your magic damage, warriors tend to beat knights in a head on fight anyways. Just be careful of assassin strats that can rip apart your mages.
The SingSing (6 Elves + 3 dragons) – I’ve heard that singsing has stated that this is the unbeatable combo. It’s pretty brutal and I’m not sure why they haven’t slightly nerfed elves’s dodge rate yet. I’ve used it a handful of times when I see myself drawing many enchantresses early on which helps get the balls rolling on this one. A few comps can beat it but this wombo combo is super realiable.
The Double DoubleU (6 warriors + 3 warlocks) – This is my friend’s signature move and it’s strong. The life steal on top of an offensive warrior front line with 10 armor is no joke. On top of that you can take advantage of troll witch doctor and troll warrior complimenting each other and boosting that warrior’s axe chucking dps. Throw a Mjollnir on him and watch the fireworks. Alchemist is an good option since he can help increase physical dps with his spell and Enigma easily fits into the lineup later on.
Human Mage (6 humans with 3 warriors, 2 knights and 3 mages) – Sometimes if your draws aren’t giving you a clear confirmation on what your front line will be, but they are handing you many mages, this is the comp for you. By having lycan, omniknight and eventually dragon knight, along with the 3 human mages, you will suddenly have a decent amount of magic damage but also have high disarm chance. This comp trivializes creep levels while also making it much harder for the enemy teams to defeat your typically weaker front line by mass disarming them. Be sure to put a guard unit like omniknight behind your mages in case you deal with enemy assassins.
Goblin Mech (6 goblins + 6 mechs) – If you happen to go full mech early on and you use druids to make it to the end game, the perfect way to make sure you are about to close it out is by collecting all of the goblins. If you can collect bounty hunter, alchemist and then goblin techies, you will suddenly have all of your mechs with massive armor and regen. Finish it off with a gyrocopter and suddenly you have good aoe damage as well. If you can finish this comp, the only thing that can stop you from winning will be bad draws preventing you from ranking up all of your units. if you are able to rack up a bunch of 2 and 3 stars, you will close it out.
And that’s all I can think of right now. If people actually respond to this I can add more and answer some questions if needed.