The wait to get into a match of Teamfight Tactics is excruciating. Some Reddit users have started sharing their queue times — which can get as high as triple digits — in a sort of support group effort. And while it’s possible to use that time creatively and productively, most of us just want to play some quality autochess.
Here are some worthy and no-so-worthy Teamfight Tactics contenders to keep you occupied while waiting!
After Valve reportedly failed to strike a deal with Drodo over its breakout hit Dota Auto Chess, each party went its separate way to make its own game. Valve’s progeny, Dota Underlords, is already available for free in the Steam store.
A lot less cartoony than the original Auto Chess, Underlords has a slightly darker feel. Yet it is undeniably a familiar game. Valve has not added much to the original formula, instead choosing to refine it with a great variety of units and items. So far Underlords seem very well balanced and shows good promise.
The game is still in beta and it shows a little bit. Players will notice placeholder code in place of some ability descriptions, and a stripped down home screen. While some features are still on their way, the gameplay is smooth and fun and the art direction is great. Underlords has one other huge advantage over Teamfight Tactics: You can hop in a match right now. Wait times take seconds.
Dota Auto Chess, now just called Auto Chess and developed by Drodo and Dragonest, can be played both on PC and mobile. The mode to start it all has been available in the Google App Store for a couple of months now in its intended form, free of Valve’s IP. Now the game — which is basically the same as it was in the Dota 2 client — is also coming to the Epic Games Store.
If you love any autochess games, you love this one. Having invented and fine-tuned the key gameplay mechanics you will find in Teamfight Tactics and any other autochess titles, Auto Chess is the most pure experience in the genre.
This next offering is a spinoff of the single lane strategy game Art of War: Red Tides. Itself a product of the Nexus Wars era of games popular back in 2012 and 2013, Art of War is another enduring example of what can happen if you make a hype new genre and make it your own.
The studio behind it uses the same methodology with their autochess game, Arena of Evolution. It stands out from the pack in a number of ways. First and foremost by not having a generic fantasy setting. While there are certainly a few fantasy-ish and offbeat art choices, the game is set in its own and very distinct sci-fi universe.
Arena of Evolution also spices up the already-monolithic balance conventions of the genre. The game’s variety of aggression-focused classes offers some build choices you won’t find in Underlords or Teamfight Tactics. Arena of Evolution is currently available on mobile, with a PC release likely coming in the future.
The success of any game leads to a tsunami of hastily slapped-together ripoffs, and Auto Chess is no exception. The first wave of autochess clones is exclusively for mobile, naturally. While some of them are technically fine in their own right, they offer nothing compared to the titles we list above.
And then there are plenty of autochess clones that frankly don’t seem to have any reason to exist. Waiting the 106 hours it took some players to get into a match of Teamfight Tactics might be worth it to avoid playing them.
Games player and write-abouter from Ottawa. Doom basically raised me.