Auto battler

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An auto battler, also known as auto chess, is a subgenre of strategy video games that typically feature chess-like elements where players place characters on a grid-shaped battlefield during a preparation phase, who then fight the opposing team's characters without any further direct input from the player. The genre was popularized by Dota Auto Chess in early 2019 and saw other games in the genre released soon after by more established studios, such as Teamfight Tactics , Dota Underlords , and Hearthstone's Battlegrounds.



Dota Auto Chess (2019) was the codifier of the genre Auto chess gameplay.jpg
Dota Auto Chess (2019) was the codifier of the genre

Auto battler games typically feature multiple players competing against each other as individuals, similar to a battle royale. Each player fields a team of units, sometimes called minions, with the player being tasked to assemble the strongest possible team. Once each player has selected some initial units, players are paired off randomly for a series of 1-versus-1 battles. In combat, both players units are placed on the board and automatically battle each other, typically without player input. When one team is completely defeated, with none of that player's units being able to continue fighting, the loser takes a penalty to their hit points, and the game moves on to the next phase. [1] [2] After the battle phase, at the start of each round, players buy units, which can be combined to make stronger versions of the same units. Units may be divided into multiple categories, with combat bonuses awarded for stacking multiple units of the same type. If a player loses all their health, they are eliminated from the match. [3]


The roots of the genre can be traced back to "Pokemon Defense", a custom tower defense mode in Warcraft III. [4] However, the codifier of the genre is Dota Auto Chess, a custom game mode for Dota 2, which was released by the group of Chinese developers known as Drodo Studio in January 2019. [5] The popularity of the mod, with it having over eight million players by May 2019, led to the proliferation of the genre after the unique gameplay of "Pokemon Defense" and other similar custom maps of Warcraft III's heyday had been largely forgotten. [4] [6] The first full-fledged games of the genre were initially developed as game modes for already established video games, such as Teamfight Tactics from Riot Games, released within their MOBA game League of Legends . [7] [8] Later in 2019, both Drodo Studio and Valve developed their own standalone versions, Auto Chess and Dota Underlords, respectively. [9] [10] In November 2019, Blizzard Entertainment introduced their own take on the genre, Battlegrounds, in their card game Hearthstone . [11] [12]

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Dota Auto Chess is a strategy video game mod for the video game Dota 2. Developed by Drodo Studio and released in January 2019, the game features elements of chess and supports up to eight players. The popularity of the mod, with its having over eight million players by May 2019, led to the creation of the auto battler genre that had a number of other games being released. Later in 2019, Drodo Studio developed a standalone version known simply as Auto Chess, while Valve, the developer of Dota 2, developed their own standalone version known as Dota Underlords.

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