The 6-Knights alliance is currently one of the strongest in Dota Underlords. Its power is that when Knights are positioned close together, they can withstand a serious storm thanks to their damage reduction alliance bonus. It doesn’t matter if you’re up against magical or physical damage because these heroes mitigate both.
There are two somewhat related issues (or weaknesses) with any comp that relies on Knights. The first is that Knights are not extraordinary in terms of damage. They are very resilient, but most of them also do little or slow damage. To counter this problem, you need to pair Knights with specific units, which we’ll deal with in a bit. You also absolutely need to have some of your Knights upgraded to 3-stars. Here, we’re talking Omni, Abba, and Luna – for starters.
Which brings us to the second potential weakness of Knights: being contested. This is a pretty straightforward, but powerful build that is easy enough for anyone to use. As such, it tends to be highly popular and more than two people might try to go for it during a match. Yet Knights fall off miserably if none get upgraded to 3-stars by the late-game. And when three people are all looking for the same upgrades, it is as certain as the 8th place in a lobby that not all will be able to get what they need from the shared heroes pool. Bear that in mind when you decide whether you should commit to this build or transition into something else.
Know Your Knights
While it is possible to go for 4, rather than 6 Knights, the build is much more powerful when it is complete. In other words, you have to find and upgrade all 6 heroes below:
Likely one of the first Knights you will see in the shop, as well as the only 1-cost Knight, Batrider can carry his weight in the early-game if you upgrade him to 2-stars quickly. However, he does need a strong frontline to have enough time to make use of his Napalm stacks. He tends to fall off later in the game even if you bring him up to 3-stars, but he is absolutely essential to form an early 2 Trolls alliance (with Witch Doctor) and a late 4 Trolls alliance (with Shadow Shaman and Troll Warlord).
She is your main AoE damage dealer throughout the mid- and late-game. In addition, she becomes a beast at 3-stars, which makes her upgrade an essential component of your win condition. She is also great with Mask of Madness or any item with big damage, since her buffed glaives hit more than one target at a time.
One of the strongest Knights for the early game, he has great survivability and significant damage even at 2-stars. He is not as amazing during the late-game, but if you can get him to 3-stars without sacrificing other important upgrades, he can definitely bring a decent contribution to your team’s DPS and CC potential.
You won’t see many players picking Omniknight outside of a Knights build, but he is absolutely necessary for this build to succeed. His heal and AoE damage receive a massive buff when he is upgraded to 3-stars, at which point he greatly improves the survivability of your entire team and makes a fantastic tank. If you’re committed to Knights, then you should never skip on or sell an Omni, regardless of what this might cost you in terms of economy or bench space.
Like Omni, Abbadon is a keeper. At 3-stars, he becomes a win condition in most Knight games, mainly because he makes such a fantastic tank. He can both help the survivability of your team and deal significant damage with his shield and he becomes virtually immortal at 3-stars in a Knights comp. Put an Octarine Essence on him and enjoy the fireworks.
The only 4-cost hero in the Knights alliance, he becomes a DPS monster at 2-stars when paired with another Dragon. Since you will often stop at level 8 in a Knights game, though, you might have a hard time finding him in the shop, especially if other players are looking for him as well. Dragon Knight is considerably weaker at 1-star, so you might want to forgo the Dragon alliance if you cannot find an upgrade. Otherwise, his splash damage is a beautiful thing to see and can be improved even further with an Attack Speed item (like Moon Shard).
Ways to Complete the Build
We mentioned before that Knights might find it difficult to output enough damage during the late-game, particularly when you haven’t been able to obtain enough 3-star upgrades. The other units you include in a Knights comp should focus on solving this problem either through direct damage or by buffing the Knights themselves.
Batrider makes a Troll alliance plausible from the first 10 turns of a match, when you can easily combine him with Witch Doctor. Knights + Trolls is one of the strongest comps in the game because Knights benefit greatly from the added attack speed, while Trolls (and Troll Warlord, in particular) are free to do their thing behind powerful tanks such as Abba or Omni. You can go with 6 Knights + 4 Trolls in a level 9 comp or you can go for 6 Knights + Troll Warlord otherwise.
Meanwhile, a 2-Warlocks alliance is also easy to obtain if you’ve included Witch Doctor for the early Trolls buff. The best second Warlock to include is Necrophos because he can also pair up with Abbadon for the 2-Heartless alliance. If you manage to find Fall from Grace during loot rounds, Necrophos is even more valuable since he can contribute to a 4-Hearless buff and greatly enhance your DPS.
If you find a 2-star Dragon Knight, you can use him as your main source of DPS by adding another dragon to your comp. Although we prefer Viper in most situations, you should pick Puck instead if Viper is contested by other players. Remember that this is a 3-star meta so while it isn’t necessary to bring either of these 2 Dragons to 3-stars in order to win, it can help during clutch fights. As for DK, unleashing his Dragon alliance skill at 2-stars can take him from 3k to 8k DPS with the right items.
Overall, the Knights alliance is wonderful for beginners and a favorite among pros. If you manage to bring together all the right heroes and upgrades, this comp will never let you down, which says a lot in a meta that is as balanced as Underlords right now. Just remember not to commit to Knights if several other players look like they plan to do the same thing. Unless, of course, you’re that lucky turnip who finds a 3-star Luna by round 20.