Dota Underlords’ Assassins have seen their fair share of balancing patches. They were extremely good, then bad, now somewhere in-between. At this point, it basically matters how well you pair them off, as well as whether you get enough upgrades to prevent more durable compositions like Knights variations or Warriors from steamrolling you in the beginning.
Assassins are actually one of the good ways to that nasty Elusives setup, since their crit happens to go through dodge. You will need at least six strong Assassins on your board for this be the case, though.
In this article, we’d like to give you the rundown of why Assassins are still a strong choice you should, by no means, cast aside. Then, we’ll give you an example of several compositions you can aim for in the mid and late game.
Your Sneaky Buddies
Since there are two 1-cost and two 2-cost Assassin units, you can easily get their early alliance synergy if you’re lucky with your draws. Their major drawback is that you need to get to level 6 quite fast if you don’t want to lose a lot of health because 10% chance to crit is just not enough. Until then, it’s best to complement your Assassins with a couple of durable frontliners.
Getting a quick 2-star Bloodseeker can carry you through the early game. He loses HP over time while increasing his attack speed based on the percentage of health that he’s currently missing. Items like Helm of the Undying or Daedalus really shine on him. Once you hit 6 Assassins, though, he’s rarely worth keeping around unless you know you’re going for the full 9 squadron.
Unlike BS, BH is actually a reasonable starting unit with strong stats. His only problem is that he’s not that good in the mid/late game, which is why you’ll want to replace him with something stronger. You should hang on to him only if you’re aiming for a composition that has other Scrappies or 9 Assassins.
Morph is a core unit in Primordial, Mages and Assassins drafts because he’s one of the best 2-cost units in the game. He can easily occupy the frontline since his Waveform ability lets him charge right through the opposing side. However, his immense utility means he’s frequently contested.
Queen of Pain
Many tend to underestimate the strength of the 2-cost QoP. Her ultimate deals a fair amount of magic damage in a large AoE, which means that she’s also something that can easily fit into a mage setup, much like Morphling. Other than that, her auto-attack has quite a big range, so she’ll often be out of harm’s way and last all the way to the end of the battle. Unlike Morpling, she’s not nearly as contested.
This hero reveals the true strength of Assassin comps. If you have a couple of strong fronliners, he’ll get to the enemy backline and make quick work of whatever squishy units your opponent is trying to protect. The longer he stays alive, the faster he attacks, the deadlier he is. He can be almost unstoppable with a Mask of Madness.
The buff to Assassins’ synergy made the 3-cost PA one of the best units in Underlords. Her DPS basically makes her a monstrous carry. She’ll wreck anything in her path with MoM, but also do quite well with damage amplifying item. Highly contested for Assassin and Elusive comps.
He’s not as strong as the other 3-cost assassins, but he can definitely be a force to be reckoned with if you decide to also take Dragon Knight as a frontliner. His damage is decent, but the Dragons synergy unlocks his Corrosive Skin, which is what really makes him shine on the battlefield.
This 4-cost unit is a must have in any Assassin or Savage composition. With the extra stats and tankiness he got recently, SK can easily sit in the front. Much like Morphling, his Burrowstrike makes him go through the enemies in front of him, but he also stuns and displaces them. If he happens to kill anybody, Caustic Finale also kicks in. He hurts. Badly.
The last Assassin you can get is TA. She’s not as good as SK or most of the 3-costs, really, but she does have a bit of survivability because of her Refraction.
Ways to Complete the Build
Now, you might not get to do 9 Assassins all the time. Don’t worry too much about it, because this is, after all, 9 units who each need to be upgraded. In the late game, when you’re trying your hardest to get them all to 3-stars, it can be a mess. Really. So, what you can do is restrict yourself to a 6 Assassins comp and find replacements to complete the build in a neat manner.
One way to go is the Scrappy route. If you happen to have Bounty Hunter, adding Clockwork, Timbersaw, and either Tinker or Alchemist (if you happen to go up to 9) will give you the extra tankiness you need to keep your smooth criminals safe long enough for them to do their job. Another option is to do Scaled, since Slark has this alliance already.
Both Slardar and Tidehunter fare pretty well in the frontline, especially since the latter also has a disable. Unlike Scrappies, the Scaled synergy gives everyone on your board 30% magic resistance with just 2 units. Sometimes, that’s all you need to finish off your opponents. Last, but certainly not least, there’s the Dragon Knight.
We wouldn’t normally use the DK, but if you happen to have Viper in your comp, it’s totally worth it. The former’s Corrosive Skin coupled with the latter’s Dragon form can pack quite a punch. Not to mention the fact that they can both tank like two bosses when paired.
If you manage to get several of the best Assassins up to 2-stars early on, you should not hesitate to go for a 6A + filler composition. Don’t go for a full 9 Assassins squad unless you’re on a winning streak and nobody else is going for them. Be careful, though, because Elusives also take two of your units (TA and PA) away.
Good players won’t hesitate to pick up an odd Assassin if it’s a good unit and they happen to have a free spot. The trouble is that PA and Slark are core carries you simply must get to 3-stars if you want a full win. It’s possible to achieve an Assassins win without getting anybody fully golden, but, most of the times, you’ll be facing strong opponents who can stand a beating.