You may have seen the name ‘Auto Chess’ doing the rounds these past few months and wondered what all the fuss was about. Spawning a new ‘autobattler’ genre, Auto Chess has been taking the PC by storm during the first half of 2019, but now the mobile versions have arrived and the genre is reaching new audiences. Many might not have come across this fledgeling game variant before, so we’re on hand to try and help you make some sense of it all.
What is Auto Chess?
You play against 7 other players. Upon entering a game you will have a board in front of you, the half closest to you being where you place your creatures. You buy creatures from the shop with gold. Each round you get a default amount of gold and some bonus gold depending on win/loss streaks. All creatures start on 1 star, and when you have three of the same tier of the same creature they level up (e.g. combine three 1 star creatures into a single 2 star).
Every creature comes with traits. If you get a few creatures with the same traits on the board you will get a buff associated with that trait. These can range from increased attack speed to magical resistance to bonus effects to other traits, so there’s a lot of learning to dig into and this is where much of the strategising comes from.
Each round you have a set amount of time to tinker with your line-up, buy new creatures, level them up and level yourself up. Your level directly reflects the number of creatures you can place on the board, so when you hit level 3, you can place 3 creatures, simple enough.
Then the ‘auto’ part of the genre kicks in. Your board will be ‘invaded’ by one of the other players. Their creatures will fight yours to the death with no interaction needed, sit back and watch the brawl. If you win, good times, wait for the next round to start.
If you lose, you will lose health equal to the star level of the remaining enemy characters, so if they have one 2 star and one 1 star left standing after kicking your ass, you’ll lose 3 health. Everyone starts at 100hp. Last player standing wins.
And that, in a nutshell, is Auto Chess.
Where did Auto Chess come from?
Auto Chess started life, as many a breakout PC hit before it, as a mod for another game. In this instance DOTA 2, Valves League of Legends competitor. The DOTA 2 Auto Chess mod arrived on 4th Jan 2019 and in a month and a half racked up 4 million players. By May it had more than doubled to 8.5 million.
The developers of the original mod, Drodo Studio, obviously caught the attention of Valve and were flown over to Valve HQ to discuss being made a part of the company to work on a standalone version. Talks didn’t pan and Drodo declined the offer, but not before giving their blessing to Valve to make their own version, which we now know as DOTA Underlords.
After leaving Valve to their own devices, Drodo Studio partnered with Chinese production company Imba TV and Long Mobile to develop a standalone version of the game titled “Auto Chess Origin”. Initially released on mobile, they have announced a PC version coming to the Epic store in the near future.
In June 2019, Riot not wanting to be left out, announced “Teamfight Tactics” a new game mode within League of Legends, based on the Auto Chess formula. It features a few tweaks and differences but the essence is the same.
How can I play Auto Chess?
At the time of writing, there’s plenty of options to get you started on your Auto Chess journey.
On PC you can still play the original mod by downloading the DOTA 2 client from Steam and, with Steam also naturally being the home for DOTA Underlords. Grab the League of Legends client if you fancy someTeamfight Tactics instead since it rolled out on the 26th June.
On mobile Drodos standalone Auto Chess Origin, and Valves DOTA Underlords are both now available for free download on iOS and Android.
As yet, no one has announced console versions, but it can only be a matter of time before an Auto Chess variant makes it way to the platform.
What does the future hold for Auto Chess?
Aside from more developers jumping on the ‘autobattler’ bandwagon, Esports is firmly in the future of the genre.
The ESL recently announced a DOTA Underlords tournament at their event in Hamberg in October, featuring a prize pool of €5,000.
Drodo Studios are going in big with their Esports offering, announcing via a post on Facebook plans for a $1million invitational later in the year, with several qualifying rounds preceding it.
So there you have it, your whistlestop tour of everything Auto Chess, you can now go forth and ‘autobattle’ your way to victory!