Play Dota Auto Chess: A beginner's guide

Dota Auto Chess is a custom game built in the Dota universe. Eight players do battle, with pieces that are Dota 2 heroes, which start with 100hp. The aim of the game is to be the last hero standing.

The game is not quite chess, and not quite Dota, though, unsurprisingly, it has elements of both games. It is highly strategic and managing economy is very important.



How to play Auto Chess

Dota Auto Chess is playable through Dota 2 as a custom map or available via Steam.

There are 3 vital aspects to take into consideration when you play Dota Auto Chess:

  • Your economy
  • Your heroes synergy
  • Your heroes placement on the board

Dota Auto Chess: The basics

In Dota Auto Chess, the chess board is 8 x 8 squares and players can place pieces in their 4 x 8 section of of the board. The maximum number of pieces you can have on board is your chess count (population) at the time. There are also eight reserve slots for you to store pieces you bought but not currently in use. The reserve is used to build class and species combos for your on-board population.

Play a few rounds and get familiar with your favorite heroes and combinations. Most basic combos would start from a Warrior, Hunter or Mage base but being innovative on combos will definitely be a major part of your final victory... along with good gold management. As a general rule of thumb, it is understood that Warriors are stronger in early game but do fear Mages late game for instance. More strategic details at the end of this guide.

Managing your economy is very important in Dotga Auto Chess if you want to stand a chance late game too and the gold interests you get every round is paramount in that respect.

Your first minutes playing Dota Auto Chess

Dota Auto Chess controls could be more intuitive, it is not that easy to go there as a beginner, play and place pieces on the board correctly from your very first game. For beginners, it requires a game or two to get acquainted with the processes. It is particularly true as you only have 30 seconds to possibly pick new heros in accordance to the ones you already have, place them on the board and possibly attribute them the items collected by your courrier during fights. That's a lot to think about in a 30-second time span. As such, you should use the fighting time to think about your next move, do not get distracted by your pieces getting rekt on the board. You have better chances to make it up if you focus already on the next round.


When you buy a piece, it is put in your reserve by default, you need to press Q, then select your piece and finally select a square on the board to place it. You must do it with every piece you buy, so you'd better get acquainted to the process quick as you are going to do it a lot.


If you want to withdraw a piece from the board (to add a more relevant one to your on-board population), you should press W, select the piece you wish to withdraw and it will instantly go to your reserve.


Equally, you can sell pieces you don't need to polish the very important gold interests you get every round. To do so, press E and select the undesirable piece amongst your heroes. It does not matter if the hero you picked for sale is in your reserve or on the board.


Pressing F, will transform your gold into XP which in turn allows you to increase the number of pieces you can put on the board.


This icon is very important as it allows you to reroll the random heroes selection you get every round. Do not abuse it as it will cost you 2 golds every time you reroll but it can turn out to be vital if you are after that last one Mage needed to upgrade your hero to Level 3.

Dota Auto Chess economy

There are three ways to earn gold in Dota Auto Chess:

  • The base gold. 1 gold for beating your enemy or losing against him.
  • The bonus gold you get for winning or loosing streaks, up to 3 gold total with the base gold. In some cases, it is smart to lose to take advantage of the gold given by a losing streak. This is called "selling your blood".
  • The gold interest you get every round, for 10 gold in your balance, you get 1 gold interest every round. With 30 gold, you are already getting interest equivalent to loosing and winning streaks.

Dota Auto Chess Heroes

In this section we will cover heroes and the significant impact of your picks on the outcome of the game.

You will be indicated how many heroes of each classes and species you have with small colored circles above your bottom control panel

Auto Chess Levelling system

  • You need to place 3 of the same level-1-hero on board to get 1 of that same hero but level 2.
  • You need to place 3 of the same level-2-hero on board to get 1 of that same hero but level 3.
  • (The Druid class only needs 2 of the same level hero to get 1 same hero of the next level)

Placement on the Auto Chess board

  • To level up a hero, you need to place the required number of pieces on the board, your heros won't level up if they stay in your reserve even if you have the required number to do so. Three level-1-Axes placed on the board will transform automatically into one level-2-Axe.
  • Do not place more pieces than available spots on the board or any number of pieces on top of available spots will be withdrawn at random. Too bad if it is your new level-2-Tusk. As such, make sure to withdraw weaker pieces out of your on-board population before the fight starts to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Auto Chess Heroes species, classes and synergy

  • The strength of your heroes depends on the number of heroes from the same class or species present on the board. Use class and species to boost your population with your chosen skills.
  • Combinations of pieces of the same class give unique advantages to the pieces of the class in question and for some class, it gives an advantage to all allies or a disadvantage to all enemies like the Warlock class for example.
  • Same goes with species, they give certain assets to the species in question or all allies or a disadvantage to enemies like the Undead species for example.

The challenge in synergy is to find the right equilibrium between the advantages brought by your classes and your species. The even trickier part is to adjust that balance to the different game stages and the hero population you already have.

Prepare your favorite Dota Auto Chess combos thanks to u/Boat__'s guide on Reddit.


"WARRIORS: +7 (3), +8 (6), +9 (9) Armour for Warriors" Means that all warriors will get +7 Armour points when 3 Warriors are present on the chess board. +8 Armour points to all Warriors if 6 are present and 9 more Armour points if 9 are present.

Dota Auto Chess strategy basics

Once you are familiar with the above, you can perfect your Auto Chess strategy and heroes combos with the countless tutorials available online. The possible combinations present in Dota auto chess are numerous enough to give it a surprising depth and fun for a custom side game. Reddit is one of the best sources to get better at the game with several fan posters contributing to the community. Have a read at the few strategies u/growling-bear pointed out in another Reddit post.

It would surely be too long to explain all the possible combos and strategies around them, so after reading this guide, we strongly advise you to watch those video tutorials as they will allow you to take it to the next level. Don’t let any guide, including the one you are reading right now, prevent you from being innovative. Use them as a basis to evolve from.

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