Dota 2 Auto Chess Guide to Playing Pubs

by fyawm

Why Pubs?

Short for public, pubs are where you play with random players. Ever since dawn of man, winning has been a thing. It’s fun to win games, and pubs is where you have the easiest competition. Sure you can play more competitive Bishop only lobbies, but not everyone enjoys the stress of competition. If you just want a chill game after work where you’re not panic rerolling by round 25, pub stomping is the way to go. Dota Auto Chess makes this particularly easy since the matchmaking doesn’t take MMR into account.

Early Game (levels 1 – 6):

Easiest synergy by far to work with is Mech. If you can’t get an early 2* unit, Mech is the way to go. If your team is weak (that is, 1* units only), it’s worth holding on to your Mechs for longer and trying to get them to 2* instead so you don’t lose every round. Clockwerk is good and Timbersaw is still great even after the nerf because of the huge pure AOE damage and even scales into late game. Special mentions goes to Bounty Hunter for being the strongest $1 unit to level to 2* early and also for completing the 3 Goblin synergy which can be good enough to carry you to mid game.

Always always look for opportunities to generate extra income via interest gold. You may or may not win a fight, but you can guarantee that extra income with interest and sometimes may even win a fight on top of it to that player who disconnected.

If I don’t have anything I want to keep on my bench, I typically level up to 5 and 6 early provided I’m not losing extra income. A quick tip, if you level up to 7/8 EXP for level 6 early, you get an extra roll at level 6 which gives you a higher chance at a $4 unit.

An early Abaddon means you should be able to grab a Drow for an early Undead synergy. It’s worth it even with a 1* Drow because your whole team can do about 25% more physical damage, which is much more than the beast synergy for the same cost of 2 pieces. Undead synergy can be worthwhile even in mid game and late game provided your opponents aren’t going Warrior strategies since +armor counters -armor.

Shadow Fiend, Razor, and Beast Master are the three pieces you’re looking to pick up early regardless of synergy. Shadow Fiend especially is probably the strongest piece in terms of DPS throughout the game for its cost, and the Warlock synergy is just the cherry on top. Queen of Pain, Chaos Knight, and Lycan with Warrior synergy and/or items are also decently strong as 1* units and can serve as fillers until you find better units to replace them.

Mid Game (levels 7 – 8):

By now, you should hopefully be transitioning out of the Mech strategy if you’ve gathered some 2* units, but if not don’t panic reroll just yet. Since it’s a pub, the fights aren’t as competitive and you can afford to wait some more rounds for that $4 to build your team around.

Some build around me $4 units are: Lone Druid, Troll Warlord, and Dragon Knight. When in doubt, Kunkka out (on the board). Medusa is also great to pair with Tide Hunter later in the game for that sweet Naga synergy.

Sell the extra units you aren’t using for the extra gold and try to plan ahead based on what you currently have rather than what you may have in the future. I see people buying Viper and Puck early, and they don’t even have a Dragon Knight? If you’re holding $15+ worth of units on your bench, you need to pick something that works RIGHT NOW rather than what you may be potentially offered in the future. I strongly favor economy builds in pub games because A) you’re not guaranteed to win every fight, someone out of the 7 other people is going to get lucky with their picks B) games last longer, so whoever has the most gold saved up with the highest level will be strongly favored come end game when the 2* $5 come online.

One of the questions is when to level up and when to chill. I would say if you’re on a win streak, it’s worth investing 1-2 gold that you would gain from interests in leveling up earlier, especially if you’ve a strong unit to put in like a piece you’ve already upgraded to level 2 OR a piece that would turn on one of the stronger synergies like Warlock, Troll, Orc, or Mage.

Mid game is where you need to start considering what composition you want to have for late game. Do I need Naga synergy? Check what the top players are running. How will I fit Tide/Kunkka/Disruptor in my lineup? Mainly dependent on synergy. Is it possible to squeeze in Mage or Warlock synergy? Physical damage vs magic damage. What units will I be selling to make space for my late game units? Not all synergy are created equal for different parts of the game.

Late Game (levels 9+):

Disruptor, Disruptor, Disruptor. Builds that can naturally incorporate Disruptor into its build like Orc and Troll are more powerful for this reason, it’s another reason why Beastmaster is one of the best pieces and Axe is more playable than people give credit for. Even after the nerf, 3 seconds is usually enough to take out a piece or two on the other side and that tips the fight in your favor. I could be wrong but I think including Disruptor in almost any build is still worth it.

Late game is when positioning starts to really matter. You almost always want your big AOE heroes in the front provided they can survive until their ultimate, and likewise an Anti-Mage late game can really mess up your opponent’s ult timing. You typically want to place your carries on the left and right sides since you don’t want them to be dealing damage to the opponent’s AOE mains in the center, and if they’re on the sides, they tend to get hit by fewer AOE’s. Against Assassins, it’s better to have some tanks in your back line rather than going in a corner because A) you’ll get wrecked by AOE cornering yourself B) you can bait certain spells to go off early C)

Sell the units that aren’t good anymore. I see way too many people keep their 2* Tusk and Knights, Druids, and Mechs into late game when they’re long past their use. Warrior synergy is not as good late game because a huge portion of the damage is dealt is magical, and most of the Warriors don’t scale well into late game outside of Axe, Kunkka, Doom, and Troll Warlord. A 1* Tide Hunter, Gyrocopter, and Techies that goes off can easily swing the fight in your favor.


Rerolling is a topic that deserves its own post. Generally speaking, rerolling is a gamble that may or may not pay off, and you should only gamble if you’re behind and have no other way to win because rerolling and missing will put you further behind. HOWEVER, there is no hard rule that you shouldn’t reroll as early as level 6. I find that pub games you don’t need to reroll as much since fights aren’t as cut throat early on and people prefer to go more economy builds and have lots of pieces just sitting on their bench. Rerolling is HIGHLY dependent on the pace of the game among other factors. It’s akin to the Prisoner’s Dilemma where no one really wants to reroll, but if others reroll a lot, you need to reroll so that you can keep up.

I think most players hold on to too many units on their bench in the early and mid game and lose out on too much interest. This is also one of the reasons I’m not a fan of the Knight strategy because it’s often difficult to complete a $3 2* Knight like Omniknight or Abaddon and they hog a lot of interests that you could be getting when you’ve $10+ sitting on your bench. In addition, Knights are only great during mid game and don’t really scale well into late game (Dragon Knight and Luna are the exceptions), so grabbing Knights and holding on to Knights can really hurt your late game. The same is true for trying to get Assassins to 3* because many of them are $3 units. I think $2 is really the sweet spot for units to try to get to 3*.

Not all pieces are worth getting to 3*, so plan to use your bench accordingly. It’s best to check which players are grabbing which pieces to see which are the least contested pieces. Also, keep in mind which ones best scale into late game because you likely won’t get to the them until late game. A Bounty Hunter might be able to carry you mid game, but come late game it’s not worth a lot and you could be getting $5 pieces that do more damage and doesn’t hog up as much of your bench AND have better synergy with your team. Some of the low cost pieces that scale into late game are: Axe, Crystal Maiden, Timbersaw, Beastmaster, and Luna. For only 18 gold, these units can do a ton of work.


Mage: I think the best 3 pieces for late game composition is Crystal Maiden, Razor, and Lich. 6 Mage synergy is very meh since you’re only getting a little more -magic resistance and you have to include weaker Mages like Puck, Lina, Keeper of the Light, and Ogre Magi. Crystal Maiden is somewhat controversial but getting your AOE stuns/silences off earlier wins fights, and the Human synergy can be very relevant for creep rounds. Generally speaking you’re an AOE lineup that wants to end the game before the opponent can get their $4 units to 3*. Kunkka, Tide, and Disruptor are key to adding more AOE burst potential, you probably want Shadowfiend over Doom for that extra AOE damage.

Orc: In my experience, I agree with TidesofTime that one of the strongest build is probably Orc. Axe, Beastmaster, and Disruptor are strong early game through late game, and Juggernaut has spell immunity I guess. An early 2* Beastmaster can carry you through early and mid game all by himself and is worth placing defensive items on as he can be your tank and DPS. An early Disruptor can be game winning if you assemble the Orc combo early for that sweet 600 HP to 4 different pieces. One more Warrior gives you the Warrior synergy, which also gives you a great front line so that the rest of your lineup can be spent towards upgrading your DPS.

Troll: Incidental Warlock, Knight, and Shaman synergy are strong, it’s also worth considering Undead synergy since you’ll likely grab Necrophos for Warlock synergy anyways or similarly Alchemist also for the -armor. Troll strategy is strong throughout the game since you can grab early Warriors and Disruptors for end game. Another consideration is whether you build towards 2 Trolls or 4 Trolls. I think if you’re able to grab Troll Warlord early, it’s worth picking up the three other Trolls, but if it’s late it’s probably best to pick the Troll that gives you the best synergy, Witch Doctor for Warlock or Shadow Shaman for Shaman. Trolls also pair well with casters since attack speed gives you faster mana generation and also Humans for a higher chance to proc the disarm, it’s a very versatile build that only drops off in power very late in the game. Against AOE lineups, you really want to get Troll Warlord to 3* so that he survives all the AOE and solo’s the opponent’s entire lineup.

Dragon: Not much to write here but Dragon Knight can win fights on its own. It’s much better to pair Dragons with Knight synergy than Assassin synergy since you need the extra tanks for Dragon Knight, Elf and Mage synergy are other considerations that can work, since Elf makes your pieces last longer against physical damage and Mage’s AOE damage synergizes with Dragon Knight. Similar to Razor for Mage strategy and Shadow Fiend, it’s worth collecting more Dragon Knights after you’ve completed your first 2* Dragon Knight for that extra splash damage.

Assassin: You generally want to end the game earlier before the late game 2* $5 units comes online since most of the Assassins are $3. Although the 6 Assassin synergy was buffed recently, the nerf to Templar Assassin really hurt. Only go for this strategy if no one else is going for it, which will usually be the case since other strategies are more consistent and fare better late game. Assassin and Elves are some of the most restrictive late game builds because of how many spaces they require, which tends to hamper the number of $5 units you can incorporate.


Sell the pieces you aren’t using, try to plan ahead. Go as hard as you can on economy without getting blown out. Commit to strategies based on which $4 you’re offered early (Dragon Knight, Troll Warlord, or Lone Druid).

Do you have any tips that works for you in pubs? What are some of your favorite strategies? Comment below and discuss!

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