Dota Underlords Advanced Guide: HOW I FINALLY REACHED LORD & You Can Too! Heartless Trolls! Standard
Hello everyone, and welcome to this humble abode of gameplay and memes! Today, I present to you something special, something that rarely appears on this channel, but may show up a lot more in the future! This, my friends, is going to be a tutorial, or a guide video, on how you can reach the prestigious rank of Lord of White Spire in the Ranked Standard mode of Dota Underlords, in just this week! Well, results may vary depending on your current rank and how much time you have to spare, but… you get the idea You may be confused and bewildered: “Hold on a second… who are you?! Why have I never heard of you before? Why do you think you’re qualified to give this kind of advice?” I’m glad you asked, and those questions are perfectly valid! You see, I am someone who has been playing this game since early beta, that is to say, since it became publicly available (as opposed to only being accessible through the 2019 Dota 2 Battle Pass) I have also been uploading videos here on YouTube about this game since October 2019 In that timespan, I’ve accumulated roughly 470 hours of play time, and reached Lord of White Spire thrice: once in September, which is when I started uploading (first video was on October 2nd), the second time in February 2020, and the third time just last month, June 2020 You may say that those stats don’t look very impressive for a gaming content creator, in particular, the play time is relatively low But that’s the point! I am not a streamer who plays (or rather, used to play) this game all the time! I rarely even get to play 10 games a week! I don’t have all the time in the world to spend on it! And even so, throughout these months, I’ve managed to stay at relatively high rank and achieve those significant milestones And if someone like me, who not only can’t afford to play games full time, but also shoots himself in the foot by spending additional hours editing those videos, can still achieve the prestigious Lord title, then so can you! As for why you’ve never heard of me, well… I think that question should be addressed to Youtube and not me Now that the introduction is out of the way, let’s get to the guide itself! But before we do, just a quick fair warning: this guide assumes you are aware of basic game mechanics, such as hero abilities, hero tiers and upgrades, items, alliances, hotkeys, interest and winning or losing streaks This is not a beginner’s guide, but one for people already familiar with the game itself I might eventually make a beginner’s guide myself, if the game doesn’t die completely, but for now, there are already plenty of those out here on YouTube by players of higher skill (or at least following) than yours truly Also, if you enjoy this video, or find it helpful, don’t forget to leave a like and subscribe for more Dota Underlords content in the future! I know I said I will make guides if the game is still alive, but regular gameplays with informative commentary and wacky editing will keep coming regardless, at least in the next few months, and I will be playing a lot of other games that might interest you in that time as well Just like anyone else, I started playing ranked (when ranked was the only available mode) from the bottom Climbing in lower ranks was a breeze, I could do pretty much whatever I wanted, and as long as I paid attention to things like interest, streaks and positioning, I was able to comfortably go all the way up to Lieutenant without much of a hassle However, that was in summer of 2019, and I have little idea of what’s going on down there now The point is, once I reached Big Boss, I would always hit a brick wall, where I would climb up to BB4 or even 5, only to get knocked down to 3 or even 2 in the next few days The solution I found was to limit the amount of team compositions I would choose from, making sure that, while I always had multiple options to fall back on, there were always compositions I knew I would prefer and try to force, as long as I found some of the necessary pieces I was never a fan of strictly following the so-called metagame in any multiplayer title, but I have to admit that, as long as you have enough experience playing those effective compositions and stay somewhat flexible, this kind of play style will yield the desired results In September, my preferred composition was 4 or 6 Knights In February, it was Scrappy Inventors or Brawnies In June, it was the composition I am going to discuss today: 4 Trolls with 4 Heartless I first found this composition on the Underlords subreddit I might have seen it before in-game, but never paid much attention to it, thinking of it more as as someone experimenting or fooling around, rather than a valid, tried-and-true build that could be reliable at high ranks After the discovery, I decided to give it a shot, and the results were amazing! I managed to advance from Big Boss 4 and finally hit Lord in just two weeks, with 20 games
played in total! What impressed me the most, however, is the way this build exerts its dominance: it isn’t nearly as bone-crushing as I remember knights being in summer-fall 2019 or scrappies in winter 2020 The Heartless Trolls composition is a *lot* more subtle, requires more finesse, decision making and knowledge of the game than the previous popular builds Why? Because you can’t really start going for this build right away, and even forcing a losing streak, which is usually an easy way to collect any composition you want, doesn’t quite work here Moreover, you rarely get to reach your greatest power spike, instead gaining advantage in small increments, and somewhat depending on the matchups you face You are by no means guaranteed a first place or even a top 3 finish when using this composition, but its real power is the fact that even in dire situations when the RNG wants you dead and gone, you still can very often worm your way into top 5 and take a deep breath of relief because you didn’t just lose all the rank points you’ve gained from the last 3 games More on that later though, because first, we must take a look at what this build consists of and then work from there Since there is no hero who would be a member of both Heartless and Troll alliances, the core of this composition is 8 units Your final build should include Pudge and Abaddon on the front line, the Witch Doctor – Dazzle – Necrophos trifecta of Warlocks and Healers, and Troll Warlord, who will have the highest DPS output The fourth heartless could be Lich, who has the highest value of them all, Lifestealer, who has amazing DPS of his own and can hold Mask of Madness when Troll Warlord isn’t around, or Shadow Demon, who provides a powerful crowd control effect capable of shutting down important enemy heroes even in the late game I would not recommend Drow Ranger, because she just does nothing in the mid-late game, and while it is possible to include Vigilant Hunters into this build, Drow is just so low value that I’d rather use Antlers or refrain from using Hunters altogether than see her in this composition The fourth Troll to include is largely up to you You’ll most likely manage to collect all other trolls before Warlord shows up and then make a choice to drop one when he finally does I usually leave Shadow Shaman in while giving Batrider the boot because of the value difference, but if Shaman is contested and just refuses to upgrade, you can sack him instead Batrider isn’t useless, you know! He increases Abaddon’s survivability, and in the late game where his DPS is no longer significant, you can feel free to put him closer to the frontline and provide full benefits to Sir Edgelord the Foggy I usually go for level 9 with this composition, even 10 if I can, as this gives you a plethora of options to further enhance the line-up Tidehunter is one of the best heroes in the game, and here, not only will he provide your team with his overpowered crowd control ability, he will also increase your survivability with the Warrior bonus, and then you can add Slardar, Sven or Medusa on top to protect yourself from magical damage! Disruptor also works great as another warlock and incredibly powerful crowd control ability, and at level 10, you can add Broodmother, Shadow Fiend or even Mr. Warlock to complete the 4 Warlock bonus and get even more healing, allowing you to outheal high burst compositions like Void Hunters or Mages As already mentioned, it is possible to include Hunters into this line-up Aside from the… less favorable option of Drow, you can find Antlers, and then complete the alliance with Mirana and Medusa, both high value units that provide even more damage and crowd control, as long as you can shove them all onto your board Of course, having two free slots also calls for inclusion of Dragon Knight and Viper, with DK usually being completely uncontested and Viper providing more survivability and utility, but I haven’t quite tested that one out If I manage to reach level 10, my choice is usually Tide and another Scaled, because, while you can’t always rely on finding a tier 5 hero or a specific item, you can virtually guarantee that you’ll be facing Mages or Spirits in every match Your progression through the match, in my opinion, is the most skillful part of playing this composition Like I said before, while it is definitely possible to force, how you do it is extremely important This build has two tier 1 heroes at most, and most of the low-cost heroes you’ll use, including Batrider, Pudge, Witch Doctor, Shadow Demon and Drow, are highly contested, which means in the early game, you won’t collect too many upgrades It also doesn’t include any defensive alliances, except perhaps Knights with Bat and Abaddon, so in the early rounds you will get overwhelmed by compositions with high damage output (such as Bloodbounds and 2-star Mages) or sustain (such as Druids, Summoners or Warriors+)
All of this could result in a lot of early losses and running out of health extremely quickly With this in mind, it would be tempting to just give up and go for an early losing streak, increasing your chances of collecting everything you need From my experience, this is a trap For the aforementioned reasons, you won’t find too many upgrades from the free rolls, and since you need a lot of tier 3 and tier 4 units, as well as Troll Warlord, the most comfortable roll timings are levels 7 and 8, which you won’t reach just off the back of a losing streak Moreover, your success depends on matchups greatly Brawnies might be easy to beat in the early game, but will become a major problem in the mid game as they start accumulating a critical mass of kills and upgrades Knights can completely steamroll you at any point in the game, depending on who has more significant upgrades, with the same principle applying to Hunters, Assassins and Demons A few rounds against mid-late game Mages will spell your doom, unless you’ve managed to prepare for them with a Pipe or two, and upgrade literally everything to 2 stars As you can see from these examples, losing a lot of health in the early game will make your survival in the mid game highly luck-dependent, which is not something you want to deal with in an already RNG-heavy game For this reason, I propose the opposite course of action: try to win early rounds as hard as possible Collect some Savages with Druids, or Bloodbounds, or Insects, or even some 2-star Warriors As long as they’re cheap and easily upgraded, having alliances that win early, or at least reduce the health loss, will improve your long term prospects greatly Got a win streak? Great! No streak at all? Too bad, but not catastrophic by any means! Of course, reaching maximum interest should still be a top priority, so don’t sacrifice everything just for some early wins, but passing up a single interest point to keep up a streak is always a consideration A good practice to predict whether or not you’re going on a win streak is to constantly look at what your opponents have If you’ve got a +1 gold streak already and have a bunch of upgrades, it is most likely a good idea to level up and add another alliance or two, but if you see someone with even more upgrades, I say the risk outweighs the reward Pay especially close attention to Druids: they upgrade each other, but on the Tab menu, you will only see the heroes who are at 2 stars already, so Druid alliance upgrades might fly under the radar because they won’t show up there And in the early game, they matter a lot, even Magnus and Prophet! The optimal Underlord choices are Damage Support Anessix and Support Damage Hobgen Your composition wins by inflicting high, consistent, physical damage with their regular attacks, and both of these options enhance those attacks directly Enthrall stands out because its armor reduction combined with the Heartless bonus causes one enemy to be deleted instantly and join your ranks, however, my favorite is the Hobgen option because he can save himself, has a stun, and does more damage overall with his own passive ability If you don’t have either option, any other Underlord works, but the best options, in my opinion, are Jull (both types) and Rabid Furball Enno Healing Anessix and Doctor Enno don’t quite work because fights don’t last long enough, while High Damage Hobgen has no Mage bonus and the frontline isn’t fat enough for him to hide behind long enough to matter By contrast, Jull provides a few extra seconds of survivability and Enno’s All Out Attack offers an extra crowd control ability, with either option allowing the Trolls just enough time to kill a few key targets and turn the tide of battle As you advance into the mid game, your focus should be on continuing to level up Remember, your composition needs 8 units just to work, and then the ninth unit expands available options greatly Do not sacrifice interest in favor of levels unless you’re already below 20 health – you will need all the gold you can get in order to buy all those expensive heroes and get high levels ahead of everyone else to have the highest chance of finding Troll Warlord Keep collecting the necessary pieces, but do not rush to switch from your early game composition too quickly: you want to start selling those when either they stop working, you run out of bench space, or you upgrade everything and are ready to put 4 Heartless and 4 Trolls right in To summarize, keep calm and collect your Discount Exodia Most importantly, do not attempt to roll for 3-star upgrades, unless you know that your unit is not contested AND you’ve just happened to roll into a double 2-star of it naturally The beauty of this build is that it does not rely on 3-stars at all, and while they can win the match, they can just as easily cripple your economy and limit your options in the late game If you did commit to them, the only time to roll would be level 8, when you can deploy all the 8 core pieces, still have a decent chance for tier 2 and 3 heroes and above-zero
chances of finding your Troll Warlord Your items, meanwhile, should provide either survivability, damage, or both Talisman of Evasion, Chainmail, Vanguard and Target Buddy will make your frontline last a lot longer in the early rounds, while Gloves of Haste, Desolator and Crystalys will provide reliable DPS that will still have great value at all stages of the game Utility items, like Void Stone, Barricade or Mantle don’t really do much for this build, and while Orb of Venom works great with both attack speed and armor reduction, there is almost always a better option Arcane boots fall into the same category as Void Stone, however, note that having a Batrider on your team means you can activate Boots almost immediately, causing all your spells to be cast before the opponent’s, which can provide quite a significant advantage As the game progresses, Mask of Madness, Silver Edge, Basher and Maelstrom are all great DPS options, while Pipe of Insight and Octarine Essense can enhance your team’s survivability Blade Mail doesn’t work quite well, since your frontline isn’t all that sturdy As mentioned before, Antlers can allow you to add Hunters to the line-up, either through Drow or Medusa, but that should only be attempted when you’re quite far ahead in terms of economy and health so you know you will reach level 10 Battle Fury has no good carrier in this composition, and utility items are, once again, not what this build needs Come late game, pretty much all tier 4 and 5 items are great, but the absolute top priority should be given to Refresher Orb (best item in the game in my opinion), followed by Moon Shard, Butterfly, Bloodthorn and Vladmir’s Offering, in no particular order Dagon can help secure kills, Heart of Tarrasque can give you a single really hard to kill frontline unit, Scythe and Skadi can decide the outcome of a round on their own, but DPS and survivability are still more important I would also try to avoid Radiance and Shiva’s Guard: if you have big crowd control spells, you want them to trigger before the opponent’s spells do, and both of these items will cause the opposite to happen Also, Tombstone is probably the worst option at tier 5, since you don’t have any 3-stars in your build, however, it may still work great if your remaining opponents have those In terms of who receives these items, and in case you’re wondering why I’m so insistent on having a lot of DPS, this is a very interesting case Of course, Tidehunter will get your Refresher, Pudge and Abaddon will receive whatever tank items you’ve managed to find, and Lifestealer gets either Mask of Madness, Silver Edge or Butterfly At the same time, note that you only have a single backline auto-attack DPS hero: Troll Warlord He should get items like Moon Shard, Mask, or Bloodthorn for maximum damage output, with attack speed taking precedence over attack damage – he already hits hard enough, especially if upgraded This is still very few true DPS heroes, so then what do we do? That’s right! We equip other Trolls with DPS items of their own! Since they will be attacking super fast, having Maelstrom or Basher on one of them can allow that troll’s DPS to overshadow even the Warlord Desolator is best used on a hero who survives the longest, while Kaden’s Blade can allow even Dazzle to shred those Brawnies and Knights like a demon If Batrider has Maelstrom, the chain lightning will also trigger Sticky Napalm bonus damage on all targets who have been lubricated Do also note that all Troll heroes have different attack damage and speed, and based on these factors, it might be beneficial to switch those DPS items between them as they are deployed and upgraded Octarine Essence should go to Necrophos or Witch Doctor, so they can keep your team alive, or on Shadow Shaman to summon his snakes twice a round One of the Trolls should get a Pipe, if you have it It’s more important for your backline to survive the magic burst than your frontline Dagon or Bloodthorn could also go on Necrophos if he is upgraded, because he survives the longest thanks to his ability and Warlock alliance Positioning, while trivial, is still important In the early game it doesn’t matter too much, but it’s worth noting that if you start with Warriors, Druids, or some combination of Trolls and Warlocks, it might be beneficial to line them all up in the front row in order to spread the damage evenly Predicting how the damage will be distributed can be hard when you’ve got seven opponents with completely different builds you could potentially face, but with a bit of practice, you can have some degree of control over it As your final lineup is put in place, remember that the damage output of your individual units isn’t that significant, besides Troll Warlord of course You want you enemy to come to you one by one, so you can kill one unit and move on to the next This invites a corner composition, where you will somewhat keep your formation, while the
enemy can’t just easily break your ranks and target an important hero who’s been exposed Corner composition also protects you fairly well against Assassin and Spirit builds, but beware of an Ember Spirit with a Battle Fury, as well as Faceless Void in the late game If you’re facing a strong Assassin lineup one on one, it might be wise to split your forces between two corners instead If your Underlord is Hobgen or Anessix, they should not, under any circumstances, be targeted by Assassins or a Pudge hook Place them in the middle row, so that they avoid all those nasty things while also not getting hit in the face by the enemy’s frontline or hunters Similarly, you want to avoid your Troll Warlord, Necrophos or Witch Doctor getting targeted, so the furthest units from the frontline should be those who can be sacrificed without too much regret, such as Dazzle, Shadow Demon or Shadow Shaman The former is useful as a healer, but in the late game, either Necrophos or Witch Doctor will accomplish more, and Dazzle simply cannot match them in value, while the latter two only need to use their ability once to be impactful Frontline is pretty self-explanatory Position your big crowd control abilities, like Medusa or Tide, to hit as many enemies as possible, while Pudge should go off first and hopefully help you burst down a single important enemy before they can have any impact on the fight Abaddon and Jull (if you choose him), while still taking damage for the team, should not take too much too quickly – their survival for an extra few seconds will allow them to use more abilities that can mean all the difference between winning or losing a round Also, in the late game, you might want to put all your trolls (and possibly Hunters) closer together, so they can focus individual enemy targets more efficiently Speaking of Hunters, if you have a Mirana, put her in a position to get hooked or jumped – she will escape the predicament easily and still have some impact with at least one Sacred Arrow Finally, Lifestealer should be placed in such a way that he joins the fight late enough to not be targeted and burst down, but early enough to do significant damage Be careful not to trap him with your ranged units, most importantly Anessix and her archer companion: you don’t want him to sit the entire fight out You just want to limit the amount of damage he takes This pretty much covers everything I wanted to talk about in regards to this composition I hope this guide is helpful, and while it may not stay relevant very long, I think a lot of the points I made here, or at least the logic behind them, should still boost your performance even if you prefer different builds Making this video was an important learning experience for me, so, in the worst case scenario, at least now I know how to create these, so in the future, I might make them better, and faster Thank you for watching and listening, don’t hesitate to ask questions in the comment section below, like I said before, if you find this helpful, don’t forget to like the video and subscribe to the channel Good luck out there on the foul streets of White Spire, get your ranks going, and I’ll see you all in the next one, so goodbye and take care everybody!