After a flurry of patches, adjusting the unit odds, tweaking Alliance bonuses, adding in new Contraption items, and the Ace unit effects, the meta has been jumbled up a bit. In this guide, we will cover the best builds that top Lord of Whitespire players are using in this meta to climb the ladder and dominate their games.
There are some notable builds that did not make the list. The previously popular Brawny build is still viable, although it took a major hit when Distruptor, the key 4th Brawny unit, was moved to 5-cost. That made it much less consistent to complete the Brawny Alliance, especially when they prefer to reroll a lot at level 7 rather than 8 or 9. An early 2-star Beastmaster or Juggernaut can still make Brawny builds work, but they are not nearly as dominant as before.
Elusives are also absent from the list. The change to their Alliance in the Contraptions patch removed the 9 Elusive tier, which was a big part of their strength. While they were buffed at the lower levels, it does not make up for the loss of their late game power. They are almost never seen in high ranking Lord games.
Now, on to the best builds you should be playing in Dota Underlords right now!
- Core of 1 and 2 cost units makes it easy to start building right away
- High initial burst and sustained damage output
- Scales well into the late game, with Enigma and Lich Ace effects
- Reliant on Summoning Stone to reach maximum potential
- Weak to AOE since it uses so many summons
- Few defensive abilities or Alliances
Primordials are still at the top of the meta, although the optimal build has evolved slightly over the past few patches. The build combines the magic burst damage from Queen of Pain and Morphling with the Mage Alliance to quickly burst the opposing lineup down. Those that survive the burst still have to content with consistent damage output from Arc Warden, his copy, Viper, and the summoned Eidolons.
It is a strong build at all points in the game. An early ★★ Morphling or Queen of Pain can get you on a nice win streak. Completing all of the main Alliances, Primordial/Assassin/Mage, in the midgame is another strong point. By the time you make it to late game, picking up the Ace effects from Lich and Enigma are great options, as are upgrading Viper, Morphling, and Queen of Pain to 3-stars.
The main downside of this build is that it needs Summoning Stone to reach its full potential. Summoning Stone buffs Arc Warden copies, Eidolon summons, and even the Zombies from the new, very powerful Contraption, Tombstone. It is still playable without Summoning Stone, but you need to highly prioritize one if you are playing this build.
4-Cost good stuff
- Does not require many ★★★ units to be effective
- Can be transitioned into later in the game
- Very flexible and diverse
- Getting 4-cost units to ★★★ is hard, limiting late game scaling
- Weak until several key 4-cost units are upgraded to ★★
This build is very diverse, and as the name implies, it is essentially a group of really strong individual units, most of them 4-cost. It is made viable by the recent increase of the amount and drop chance of 4-cost units.
Of the 4-cost units, three of them are Warriors — Doom, Kunkka, and Tidehunter — and another 2 are Warlocks: Necrophos and Alchemist. This makes a natural pairing and this build will use most if not all of them. The remainder of the build is filled out by completing relevant Alliances, such as the Heartless by using Pudge, or perhaps Scaled via Slardar, Slark, or Medusa.
The entire build is very flexible, and the correct choices depend heavily on what you have available, and what your opponents are taking. The items are also flexible, although the ones that enable additional casts, like Refresher Orb and Bracers of Desperation are great on Tidehunter and Kunkka, while damage items like Daedalus or Big-Time Contract with a sacrifice unit are great if you go for Arc Warden.
- Best defensive Alliance in the game
- Easy positioning
- Very linear build path, with little flexibility
- Low damage output without proper items and Luna
The more the meta changes, the more the Knights stay the same. They were not really affected much by the past several patches, as they do not rely too much on 4-cost or Ace units, and the individual Knights themselves were not changed. The optimal build at level 8 is the 6-Knights along with Witch Doctor and Necrophos, to complete the Heartless, Troll and Warlock Alliances. Leveling up to 9 allows you to add in Viper or Puck to enable Dragon Knight to transform, or add in Troll Warlord who is strong on his own.
They are not dominant by any means, but they are a solid option if you manage to find an early ★★ Chaos Knight or Luna. Without one of those however, they may struggle to win the early game, and lose too much life before stabilizing. They also require some strong items. Fall from Grace is particularly important for the extra level for the Heartless Alliance. Mask of Madness for Luna as well is a very high priority, or alternatively, Big-Time Contract with another Bloodbound unit as a sacrifice. Without some of these items, the damage output falls a bit flat compared to other builds in the late game.
- Good mix of offense, defense, and CC effects
- Units can be flexed into several other builds
- Very strong when ahead
- Weak to the Magic damage
- Weak to Assassins
It has been a while since 6 Hunters have really been in the limelight, but in the recent patch, they were slightly buffed. This buff on its own did not bring them back — easier access to 4-cost units like Mirana, Doom, Kunkka, and Tidehunter also helped. Because of this, they pair extremely well with 3 Warriors, who can provide a solid frontline and some CC effects. The new tier 2 Contraption items, Target Buddy and Barricade, help them as well, to protect their relatively squishy backline from pesky Assassins jumping in.
This is far from the most popular build, but it is certainly powerful if it can get ahead early. Hunters are great at pushing advantages since they focus fire down weaker targets quickly, and have great ★★★ options like Lycan, Sniper, and Beastmaster to scale later into the game. Even if going for the full 6 Hunter does not pan out, you can easily pivot as most of the units are transferable to other builds, such as 3-Hunters/3-Warriors, Brawny with Beastmaster, or summons/Savages build with Lycan.
- Very strong late game scaling
- Explosive damage output, fueled by Techies
- Reliant on Techies for late game
- Weak to burst Magic Damage
Techies got an upgrade! As the Inventor Ace, Techies makes all of your Inventors start a Chain Reaction when they die. If their normal death damage would kill an opposing unit, that unit itself also detonates, potentially chaining throughout their team. Since this explosion deals Magic damage, it is strong to pair it with the Mage Alliance to amplify the damage.
Of course, you will not have Techies for the majority of the game, and so you must make do with a 4-Scrappy build until then. This can involve support units other than Mages. For example, Hunters and Assassins are great to pair with 4-Scrappy in the mid game, but come late game, it is often better to switch to Mages to make the best use of Techies and Lich. The Mage Ace effect from Lich should not be discounted either, giving a little extra mana to the very mana hungry Inventors like Tinker or Gyrocopter.
There are plenty of options for how to fill out the build in the late game, and anything with lots of AOE and Magic Damage will be a good fit, such as Disruptor, Dragon Knight, Puck, or Shadow Fiend. Despite dealing lots of Magic damage, they are also weak to Magic damage, so prioritize items like Pipe of Insight or BKB if opponents also have the Mage Alliance.