Dota 2 Auto Chess Reaching Bishop and Rook Rank Guide

by onizuka_chess

Hey everyone, I’m onizuka (King rank ;) – and I thought I’d build a walk-through to help you achieve your auto chess milestones. You might have seen me on stream with BSJ/TidesofTime. It’ll be separated into two parts – the first: getting to bishop, the second – getting to rook. If you’re already bishop, you can probably skip straight to the getting to rook section.

This guide won’t spell out the complete basics of the game, that will be assumed knowledge. I will assume you know what each unit does and what their abilities are (but not their respective strengths at specific timings)

Getting to Bishop

The most important thing to understand getting to bishop are two things:

  1. Knowing the strength of each unit, and which units are strong together and keeping options open early.

Please refer to the tier list, for which units are currently the strongest.

You really need to understand which units are strong, not only by themselves but with other units. Things like having Jugg and Axe together will give +250hp to each unit. Having a level 2 star Beastmaster, Axe and Jugg, is better than any other combination of tier 2 level 2 warrior synergy (+7 for armor for each unit). Knowing that having Abaddon and Drow will reduce the entire enemy armor by 5, and having these at level one might be better than having a different level 2 unit on the board. Knowing that Shadow Fiend by itself is superior than a Queen of Pain (provided both level 1) because it does much higher physical damage, AND it has an AOE ult which damages EVERYONE on the board, not just people in a 2 square radius (sometimes Queen ulti’s nothing.. – unless there are 4 players with bounty hunter lvl 2). You need to know 3 goblins give one unit on the board +15 armor (you’ll see in Rook+ only lobbies, 5+ out of 8 people will pick clock, tinker or bounty hunter in the first round – just for this combination at round 4 start). Know that Ench and Tusk give a beast bonus (+10% damage for your whole team), but a level one ench is completely useless, don’t ever place a level one ench on the board (round 3 and below is fine). Timbersaw 2* is a very strong unit, even by himself. So is Beastmaster, Shadow Fiend, Kunka, templar assasin, techies, gyro (situational), tide & especially disrupter.

Understand that you need a front line, and a back line (most of the time, unless running 6 warriors, which is pretty rare in high ranked lobbies). A lvl 2 Lone Druid is a fantastic front liner, regardless of synergy. And you only need 2 lone druids, + 1 other druid to make this happen. Put him in the front so he takes damage and gets his bear off.

Analyse your composition and ask yourself: what is it lacking? Sometimes you get caught going into a warrior strategy, and you are tanky but have no damage. Maybe you need CC (crowd control), a medusa, disrupter, adding undead synergy (for armor reduction). It’s not always about going for synergy, but going for the unit that fills what your composition is lacking. FYI all late game rook lobbies will have a lvl 2 disrupter/tide at the very front, and whoever gets it off first often determines who wins the fight.

Why are these things so important?

You have 30 seconds to pick your units. When you pick that Ogre Magi because you think mage synergy is cool, and that’s what you want to do, this kind of mindset will have you losing. Lvl 1 puck is actually one of the most trash units in the game, and I would only ever put it on the board for dragon synergy or needing mage synergy.

You can win pubs by understanding which heroes are strong, even if there’s no synergy. Drill this into your brain: Level 2 Units are better than level 1 units that synergise (early game). Especially the higher tier units (beastmaster, timbersaw, jugg/axe). Focus on getting level 2 units early, buy multiple units pre- round 10 that give you options, don’t try start building your interest and locking in a strategy before you have some collection of level 2 units.

Early game

  • The most simple and strongest composition to open is either Gob/Mech or Warriors with a backline damage dealer like SF (Shadow fiend). If your first 5 units are bounty hunter, clock, axe, enchantress and ogre magi, I’d pick up the BH or Clock, then Axe (in order of preference). If my second round has 0 goblin mechs, then I’ll likely go into warrior/orc (pick up a jugg, second axe, or beast master). Timbersaw, clock and Bounty hunter is a MUCH stronger 3 than anything with tinker in it (tinker is the worst of the goblin mech combo, despite having 10 armor). An early Lycan is a good pick up too, and remember not to get locked into a strategy. For example, let’s say you have a 2* clockwork by round 3, and you are presented with a lycan. Lycan doesn’t synergise with Clock at all, but he’s a good unit and opens you up to have a lone clock 2* with a warrior frontline.

Pre-round 10 you should always pick up an SF, UNLESS you have a 2star demon already (chaos knight, QOP- Queen of Pain for example). It is single handedly the strongest damage dealer early game (and even in rook lobbies people have level 1 SF’s until round 20 because 6 people are going for a 2* shadow fiend.

Heroes to that are weak in comparison to other better picks early game: tinker, Crystal maiden (CM), Tusk (situational but one of the weaker warriors, but a level 2 tusk is still worth getting, OR if you have a lycan or level 2 enchant for beast synergy), Furion/Natures Prophet (hero is mostly garbage), Treant Protector (he’s OK if you need the Elf synergy/ don’t have any other front liner), Bat rider (without troll synergy, he is a horrible, horrible unit), Terrorblade (a level 1 TB dies to a sneeze), Lina (yuck), Puck (one star or without mage/dragon synergy) is garbo, Mage synergy early without a decent front line will have you bleeding.

Heroes that are strong and work mostly in any composition early game: Shadow Fiend, Timbersaw (2 star), Bounty Hunter (2* – snipes backline damage dealers), Kunka, Beastmaster, Any Orc synergy (Beast/Axe/Jugg), Clock (2), Queen of Pain (2), Razor (2mid game), Luna (ONLY 2. 1* is poop, and with another knight). Alchemist is a great 1* unit.

This list is not exclusive, you can make other combinations work, you just need to identify when a unit works with your line-up.

  1. ECONOMY. You can win pubs just by having a good economy. But be smart about it

Do not re-roll unless you are dying, like really dying. Don’t worry about saving in the first 10 rounds. Work towards 50 gold, gradually, but don’t be super stingy and forego possible units that could strengthen your composition later down the track. Look at your bench, and how much gold you have. If you’re on 17 gold and you have a sniper (3 gold) sitting there, and it’s not realistically offering anything, sell it to get 20 gold (so you get +2 interest) before the round ends. Money is a resource. But so is life. You need to balance both resources. Sacrificing too much life for economy is bad, because while you’re consistently losing but saving, someone else with good rng is consistently winning and saving. Re-rolling once or twice will not break the bank at round 20 if you need one or two upgrades/units to give your army a big power boost. That’s my attitude, anyway.

You’ll notice players like Tides who are excellent at saving and losing the least amount of life. He does this because he understands point 1 very well (he builds compositions that while may not win, he loses minimal life in the process). He typically gets to 9/10 units faster than anyone else, and utilises the increased % probability of higher costing (and stronger) units to strengthen his composition.

Losing a bit of life here and there is no big deal. You don’t need to win every single round to win the game. Certain synergies spike in strength at different times in the game. It is super rare in rook+ lobbies that someone goes 100% the whole game like in pubs. It just doesn’t happen.

Identify when you should sacrifice economy to maintain a win-streak. If you have 40 gold and are on a win-streak, and need to upgrade your courier twice to get 8 units on the board, spend the 10 gold, get another unit on the board to maintain the streak. You’re only losing 1 interest, to highly increase the probability of another +3 gold win streak. Even if you lose, you still have +3 interest to work with. You need to remember, interest is guaranteed, but a win streak is not. This statement kind of contradicts my point, but if you understand the context, sacrificing 1 interest to maintain a +3 gold win streak is worth it.

Only ride loss streaks if you know what you are doing, and aren’t losing in excess of 10hp every round. As mentioned before, life is a resource just like money. Balance the two carefully.

Getting to Rook

Ok, it gets harder here. First thing you do is abandon pubs and join Bishop+ only lobbies. Go to this discord: go to the chess-bot. and type !cb rank. You’ll have access to the lobbies in line with your rank. Intermediate (Bishop 1-6) Advanced (bishop 6-9) Expert (Rook 1-3), and Masters (rook 4+). Every time you meet the next threshold, play in those lobbies.

At this point you’ll know about interest, relative strength of units, maintaining an economy, but you’ve noticed Bishop+ only games are a different ball-game compared to the pub-stomping you’ve been doing for the last week. People know what they’re doing. You can’t get away with shitty units and saving 50 gold by round 16 , coz you’re down to 30%hp already.

Early Game Compositions

You need to get this down really well, so you can minimise HP loss (with average to poor RNG), while maintaining an economy. Rook+ games everyone will have 50 gold with 8 units on the board. Everyone will also have between 30-80% life remaining (SOMETIMES there are exceptions).

Goblin Mech is the most favored, and probably strongest. 2* clock, bounties, and timbersaw, are excellent units. In round one, A bounty or Clock is first preference, then Axe if you have no gob/mech, other than that pick whatever you want. Get ANY unit to level 2 pre round 3 at any opportunity. Anti-mage 2* is strong now. Pick it up if you can. It’s just safer to open with gob/mech.

Second best is Orc synergy. Axe/Jugg/Beastmaster open is strong. That’s 250+ hp for each unit. 2 Beastmasters and an Axe. 2 Juggs and a beast master. At the very least, you’ll kill one or two units (unless u face a clock 2* with living armor). Beastmaster 2* is probably the strongest 2* $2 unit in the game. Actually, not probably, it IS the strongest (by ITSELF, gob/mech $2 2* timber doesn’t count).

Shadow Fiend. Almost always a pick up. No unit in the game compares with it’s damage output.

QOP 2*. Position ONE tile behind your front liners, so she doesn’t pepega jump to the backline and scream the air after killing a unit with auto attacks. Then move it back if you want it to leap and snipe their backline.

Do NOT be afraid to run NO synergies, and STRONG 2* units in isolation. A 2* Chaos knight is strong AF early. KNOW which heroes are strong, and whack them on the board together. Worry about synergy later.(By round 10-15 you should start having an idea which direction you are going)

Warriors – Lycan is good. 2* is really good. Tusk is average. Axe/Jugg are good. Kunka is really good. Slardar is average. My ideal 3 2* opening is 2* Jugg, Axe, and Beastmaster. I don’t even care I don’t have warrior synergy, because they are strong af units by themselves. When a disruptor comes, i have + 2400 hp across all 4 units. That’s a LOT OF HP. A problem with warriors is their damage output. Don’t get stuck with just a warrior front line because they have shocking damage collectively, so find any unit that does a lot of damage to sit behind them (SF, 2* QOp, 2* razor, maybe even a necro/abaddon + drow in the backline, if that’s what comes your way) Alchemist works well too, he reduces a lot of the enemy armor. He doesn’t synergise with warriors, but who cares. It works.

Mages – Don’t go mages unless you already have a SOLID front line, and actually good mages. No linas, no 1* cm’s, no 1* kotls. The best mage combo is 2* SF, 2* razor, 2* ogre and 2* puck/something else with AOE dmg. 2* kotl is OK but he just takes so long to ulti, most of your team is dead before he even uses it (even with CM on the board). You want burst. Lots of it, and all at once. Razor and Sf do this perfectly, and usually around the same time.

Hunters- Garbage without a 2* beast master and without undead synergy. The %+ bonus damage is shocking compared to other buffs. Super weak early. Hunters are something you can transition into. But it’s VERY situational.

Knights – Expensive and low damage output. Don’t get trapped into running 2 2* knights, and 2 1* knights for the 4 knight shield buff, when none of the knights do any real damage (omni is OK, abaddon is pretty bad by itself w/o undead, CK falls off a lot mid game, a 1* dragon knight is no better than round 3 melee creep). Knights are hard to pull off. It can work with dragon synergy. I’ve also won a couple of games in rook+ with 6 knights, but I had 2* sf and 2* necro behind it (to mitigate the lack of damage). This class is just very difficult to get off the ground. You just lack damage, you have no burst, your sustain is RNG based.

Demons – Forget all about it for now. You won’t get rook running demons.

Mid game & Late Game

Most Bishops probably understand this part of the game the least. Things can get wierd mid-game. I won’t go through unit synergies but I’ll go through other important things.

know when you can’t win, and all in on 8/9 units for a 4th+ placing

Sometimes you just won’t win. You know it. Your line-up is mediocre, and the winning player has 2 3* units and is counting his benjamins between rounds. So don’t stick to the economy game because the rule is maintain 50 gold. Forget all that. Blow all your money to get 9 units, and re-roll as much as you can to not die. Usually there are 3/4 other players dying too. Get your DK to 2* because it’s round 30 and it’s still 1*. Get your disrupter level 2 coz that unit is broken, and put him in charge of your army in the very front so he pops his ulti and dies straight after. Same with tide. Look at your composition, and ask yourself WHAT can you do to lose the least amount of HP or scrape a win against the weaker players.

Coming last is brutal. 4th place is either a slight increase, or at minimum maintaining your mmr (against similar ranked players – which is where you should be).

learn to position yo damn units properly

Map in your brain where your units should go. Some units just exist to use a spell, and die. Those ones go straight at the front. 2* disrupter, I literally put every single unit behind it, sometimes 2 tiles behind, so every one of their unit attacks it, it ulti’s and dies. Same with tide. Sometimes tide 1* sits next to disrupter, because 1* tide is weak AF and can get bursted without ulti. Change your positioning until you’re satisfied with how the fights are turning out. If you have an antimage, and someone else has a disrupter at the very front, what do you do? You mirror it. Put the anti mage at the very front so he burns the mana of tide/dis at the start of the round. And if you have a disrupter and someone else has an anti-mage, don’t put it right in front of the antimage. Common sense here.

AXE – Axe can counter front-liners getting their ulti’s off with call. Put him at the very front, and the others checkered behind him, so they attack him, he calls, and your units kill his front line before they ulti.

Medusa – 1* Medusa never at the front. 2* Medusa you want to take a little dmg, or if she has a void/stone perserverence she can sit further back.

Don’t clump your units against AOE. Enigma pulse does so much damage. Checker all your units, one in each back left and right corner.

Positioning is really hard to explain and situational. But just imagine how a fight should progress. Units at the front get attacked first. Those units get their abilities off first. Assasins can sometimes trick heroes like enigma/disruptor into ulti-ing them alone and their own back corner. Sometimes a lone assassin is good just for this reason (mainly only a 2* TA is worth having).

Late Game

This is where rook players shine so to speak. Synergies go out the window for AOE. Tide hunter, Techies, Enigma, Lich, Gyro, are all in their own right, very strong units. You need to learn to just throw your synergies out the window, and have a collection of $4 and $5 units on the board. Medusa and Techies are very strong. a 2* techies will almost delete an entire team. The damage is physical, not magical. Put 2* techies at the front, near your tide. Put gyro in back corners. Lich in back left/right hand side corners. Enigma closer to the front. 2* tide is 2k HP with a 2? second stun that pretty much covers the whole map. Medusa and Tide give Naga (magic) resistance, which is very important late game. Watch TidesofTime, he is the best late game player I’ve seen yet. Your +7 armor bonus from warriors is worthless. Sell the 2* lycan you’ve had all game.

Economy is really important in rook games. Because the person getting fastest to 9/10 units has access to the strongest units in the game with the highest probability. They are $5 for a reason. You just need to get a feel for how this works, it’s really hard to guide it.

You will get to rook managing your economy and health points effectively, and getting to late game with strong units. You will also get to rook by not coming last, and knowing when your RNG isn’t good and your line up sucks, so you all in to get a top 4/5 placement. And when your RNG is good, you can win.

A point on re-rolling

Do NOT be afraid to re-roll once or twice here and there if you are bleeding and a unit/upgrade will stop it. I don’t play very conventionally (like all the streamers I watch), I’m not afraid to roll much earlier than the others. I roll pre-round 10 sometimes, but I don’t recommend this in bishop lobbies because chances are you can get away with weaker compositions than in rook lobbies.

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