|Part of a series on:|
|Strategy video games|
An auto battler, also known as auto chess, is a subgenre of strategy video games that features 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. It was created and popularized by Dota Auto Chess in early 2019, and saw other games in the genre by more established studios, such as Teamfight Tactics, Dota Underlords, and Hearthstone's Battlegrounds, releasing soon after.
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 beard 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. 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 player loses all his health, he is eliminated from the match.
In January 2019, a group of Chinese developers known as Drodo Studio released Dota Auto Chess, a community-made custom gamemode for Dota 2. The popularity of the mod, with it having over eight million players by May 2019, led to the creation of the genre that had a number of other games being released. The first games of the genre were initially developed as a game modes for already established video games, such as Teamfight Tactics from Riot Games, released within their MOBA game League of Legends. Later in 2019, both Drodo Studio and Valve developed their own standalone versions, Auto Chess and Dota Underlords, respectively. In November 2019, Blizzard Entertainment introduced their own take on the genre, Battlegrounds, in their card game Hearthstone.
- Cox, Matt. "Spawn Point: What on earth is an auto battler?". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Archived from the original on August 3, 2019. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
- Goslin, Austen (2019-11-01). "Blizzard announces Hearthstone Battlegrounds, a new autobattler set in the Warcraft Universe". Polygon. Retrieved 2019-11-09.
- Grayson, Nathan. "A Guide To Auto Chess, 2019's Most Popular New Game Genre". Kotaku. Archived from the original on July 3, 2019. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
- "This new Dota 2 custom mode is way more popular than Artifact". PCGamesN. Retrieved 2019-11-23.
- "Dota Auto Chess player count tops eight million". PCGamesN. Retrieved 2019-11-24.
- Gilliam, Ryan (2019-06-10). "Riot Games is making its own League of Legends Auto Chess game". Polygon. Retrieved 2019-11-24.
- Gilroy, Joab. "An Introduction to Auto Chess, Teamfight Tactics and Dota Underlords". IGN. Archived from the original on July 4, 2019. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
- Gilliam, Ryan (2019-06-10). "Auto Chess creators bringing stand-alone game to PC later this year". Polygon. Retrieved 2019-11-24.
- Yin-Poole, Wesley (2019-06-14). "Valve releases standalone version of Auto Chess called Dota Underlords". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2019-11-24.
- "Hearthstone Battlegrounds Is Just What The Game Needed". Kotaku Australia. 2019-11-12. Retrieved 2019-11-23.
- "Valve's 'Dota Underlords' Has Finally Arrived on the App Store and Google Play with Cross Platform Play and Progression". TouchArcade. 2019-06-20. Retrieved 2019-11-24.