Hi, this is my first guide and reddit post. I hope it is helpful! Dawn of War is a really cool Dota2 custom game, and I hope this guide makes playing easier and more enjoyable. Special thanks to Yark Pae Jung-Hwa, whose YouTube channel has taught me lots. Without further ado:
In DoW, players recruit, level up and itemise a team of heroes. Each round, 4 players from a total of 8 are picked to face off in a 2v2 auto-battle where the winner gains gold with which to strengthen their team of heroes. The looser takes a health penalty which increases relative to the number of enemy heroes still alive. Health is visible on the left of the screen under the player name as a %, where 100% is full health, and 0% is game over. Aim of the game: Win battles, spend money, get strong, repeat until last player standing.
Controls, Interface and Resources
Board: where your courier and team of Heroes sit between battles. Looks like a chess board.
Hero Pool: Accessed by clicking on the 3 horizontal bars on the top left of DoW. The hero pool is picked randomly from all Dota2 heroes each game.
Recruitment/Bench Panel: Show/hide the recruitment/bench panel by pressing spacebar. The Recruitment panel is a random pick of 5 heroes from the Hero Pool. Heroes can be bought with gold. The Bench panel holds heroes that have been bought then sold by the player, holding up to 5 heroes. Switch between the two panels by pressing TAB. The price of certain heroes becomes more expensive for you when other players buy them. Keep heroes that are not currently on the board by selling them to the bench panel.
Gold: Used to buy items from the store, buy heroes, refresh the recruitment panel and upgrade the player’s Elf. Important!
Elf: the courier which sits on a player’s board and moves around with left mouse clicks. The Elf can move heroes across the player board, give/take items, sell heroes on the board and level up. Leveling up increases the supply cap of a player. It also gives access to Elf tree talents which are unlocked at levels 10, 15, 20, 25.
Press key ‘2’ to level up Elf, and key ‘1’ to refresh the recruitment panel.
Supply Cap: The cap on the number of hero levels a player can have on the board before they take a gold penalty for going over the supply cap. E.g. playing with 14/13 supply cap has a 100-gold penalty each round. Higher levelled heroes take up more supply than lower levelled heroes.
Heroes level up by combining duplicates of the same hero at the same level on either the board or the bench (e.g. lvl.5 Sniper + lvl.5 Sniper = lvl.10 Sniper; lvl.20 Puck + lvl.20 Puck = lvl.25 Puck). Heroes can be upgraded from lvl.25 to lvl.30 buy using limited Tome of Upgrade.
DoW can be split into 3 stages. The early, mid and late game. I am going to give steps for playing each game stage but take from them what you will. No formula is flawless. Mine is a couch potato.
Early Game: Rounds 1 to 15 or Whoever has the most levels wins
Hey you! Go get paper and pen. You got a game of DoW to win.
Buy all the heroes on the recruitment panel, sell them all to the bench. Press 1 to refresh the recruitment panel. Buy all the heroes. Press TAB to switch to the bench and buy duplicate heroes to level up that hero from lvl.1 to lvl.5. This will give you time for the next step.
Open the Hero Pool. Pick 5 or 6 heroes you want in your party, write them down (if you are a DoW VIP, you can highlight them in-game). Spend the next 15 rounds madly recruiting these heroes.
At the start of each round, upgrade your Elf, leaving more than 500 gold for hero recruitment. Clear your bench of unwanted heroes and sell wanted heroes to the bench when you do not have the supply cap to keep them on the board.
Rinse and repeat. More levels = more power, at least in the early game.
Mid Game: Rounds 16-30 or Money Money Money
Yes you! Play some ABBA. You got dreams to dream, gold to spend. Items to buy.
Entering Mid game, your Elf is likely lvl.15 to lvl.20, and hopefully some of your heroes are lvl.25, with at least 1 hero stored on the bench. If not, welp. Change the music?
Itemising, as a distribution of wealth, can be split into distinct economic systems:
a. Capitalism or “war and peace are nothing but Dotes”. This system of itemising is suitable for giving a balanced team of four lvl.25 heroes lots of items, so that they may crush your enemies with impunity. For example, rushing to six slot your Axe so that he can occupy the whole enemy team while your buddies clean up. Pros: “IT’S OVER 9000!”. Cons: You’re a one trick pony.
b. Socialism or “Why don’t we have both?”. This system of itemising is suitable for a team of 5-6 heroes (some of which may not be lvl.25), where one or two cores are bought several important items and supports might get an Aghanims Scepter or Aeon Disk. For example, your carry has a Daedalus, Moon Shard and Satanic, while your supports and tank(s) have a mixture of cheap defensive items and Aghs. Pros: You get both soft- and hard-shell tortillas. Cons: Getting the right balance of crust on your carries and filling on your supports is difficult. Unless you're a gourmet.
c. Communism or “The abolition of greedy carries”. This system of itemising has its own Rule of Thumb! Purchase these items in order, for suitable heroes: Aghanims Scepter, for all heroes on which it is impactful (see dotabuff for item win rate stats by hero); BKB’s for right click or channelling ability heroes; Aeon Disks for squishy supports. You must have the -5 supply cap penalty and a party of 7 to 8 heroes to be a true communist DoW player!
d. Personally, I’m a socialist. Having a hero or two advantage over the enemy is often worth more than having an extra item or two on a carry in a capitalist team (I think). To go full communist, you need to be winning lots of games, and getting lots of money. However, the Rule of Thumb applies to all players. Experiment, and find your own style! Playing with less heroes can be easier for beginners and is no less effective. See Yark Pae Jung-Hwa’s channel for cool 4 hero wins.
- You can stop mashing refresh on the recruitment panel and upgrading your Elf. Its time to itemise your team. Have a look at what other players are doing. Are they capitalists, socialists or communists? And how will you break them? I suggest you take note of your successes.
On drafting a team, and scaling heroes:
There are four rough roles for heroes in DoW:
Initiator: your semi-suicidal Sandkings, Pucks and Axes that dive into enemy lines, and whose primary role is to do lots of damage within a short amount of time. And not die.
Tanks: some tanks double as initiators, as they are often the first hero to clash with the enemy. E.g. Tidehunter, Axe, Centaur. Their goal is to disable the enemy and soak up damage. And not die
Supports/Spell Casters: magic damage, disables, buffs, nukes. You name it, they have it. Its worth giving them an Attack-free medal. So they don’t die.
Carries: right click damage. Ranged carries seem to have an advantage in DoW. As long as they don’t die.
· Yep. The path to victory in DoW is often not dying.
· Don’t pick a team of carries and then be surprised when you get your ass whipped. Supports, especially ones with Area of Effect skills, are overpowered.
· Its effective to have one tanky frontliner, possibly with an aeon disk, to take the initial heat of battle without dying. Ranged carries seem to be favoured in DoW, due to avoiding the initial explosion of abilities as each team meets in battle over the river.
· Look for strong duo’s or trios of hero combinations: e.g. Io with Legion Commander/Slark/Gyro, Dazzle with Huskar, Vengeful Spirit with any ranged carry (Venge is overpowered), Medusa with Chaos Knight etc.
· I’m sure you’ve seen them in guides and your own games. That “infinitely scaling hero” (Slark/Lion/Legion Commander/Silencer/Pudge) which reaches unparalleled levels of overpowered-ness that all must bow down before its might!? Slightly misleading, in my experience. Lion, Silencer and Pudge can be comfortably played as supports with minimal items, and still be very effective. However, should the player decide to “all in” on this “get rich quick” strategy, think again. These three heroes don’t have the damage/stat stacks to carry until late game. As for Slark and Legion Commander, they can become hard carries by mid/late game. However, making drafts centred around Slark or LC requires the ultimate form of capitalism, “the Free Market” (read The Wealth of Nations for further inquiry). Your first priority is to 8 slot that one hero and draft your team around enabling them. E.g. Io, Ogre, Dazzle, Solar Crest and other buffs. When it works, nothing is more awesome. But when it fails, which is often so, you’re the first to game over.
On Elf talent trees:
For each tree talent, ask yourself this: “Am I winning?” If the answer is “no” or “WTF is going on”, pick the safer talent. If the answer is “yes???”, then go for the riskier talent. Talents and all other mechanics of this guide are subject to change. Terms and conditions apply 😉.
On itemising in the mid to late game:
· Upon opening the shop and going to the upgrades tab, you may have noticed that Stygian Desolator, Apex, Trident, Falling Sky and Pirate Hat are neutral items. When bought, these items take up a normal item slot. There is no limit on how many you can buy. Ignore them until reaching the late game. They are incredibly costly and are not as effective as buying two or three aura items that will assist the whole team, not just your carry.
· BUY AURA ITEMS! Items such as Pipe, Crimson Guard and Vladimir’s Offering are cheap and can be incredibly effective. Likewise, cheap items such as Veil, Solar Crest and Spirit Vessel can help enabling your team and disabling the enemy.
· Don’t bother buying boots. It’s not meta, bruh.
· Blade mail and lotus on carries is a great idea. If anyone asks, we never had this conversation. Never.
· Neutral Items drop at specific rounds (after round 20 I think). You have the option to replace them with another neutral item of the same tier, or to sell them (please don’t, it’s an extra item slot!). Save your 6 free neutral replacements for higher tier (T4 or T5) neutral items and pray to the RNG gods for a good item. Note that replaced neutral items won’t roll again.
· Like neutral items, Tomes and normal shop items drop at specific rounds. Use the tomes on your key heroes (not always you carries). If the item isn’t suitable to any of your heroes, disassemble it for usable parts and sell the rest.
· Also, there are a few cool items hanging around the shop that aren’t visible unless you search for them. For example, an upgrade to aether lens or BKB. One of them even has a chance of destroying an enemy’s item upon kill. Investigate at your own risk.
· If the opponent’s Aeon Disks are getting in the way, buy a Null Talisman.
· Decide if your carry needs stat items because it takes a lot of damage and needs survivability or if it needs damage items. E.g. Spectre and Medusa need stat items, Sniper and Clinks need damage items. Stat items: eye of skadi, trident, apex, butterfly etc. Damage items: pirate hat, stygian desolator, Daedalus etc.
Certain sites like Dotabuff provide stats on which items are effective on which hero, and which heroes have a good win rate and their timings. While Dawn of War has its differences, these stats can be helpful. Especially synergies between heroes, which become important mid to late game.
Late Game: Rounds 31 + or “You’ve just activated my TRAP CARD!”
Quick, go get your reflective glasses. You got noobs to out play.
When there are 4 players left, battles become 1vs1.
Late game comes down to whether your heroes are chosen and itemised well for late game, and tactics. Tactics include, but are not limited to:
a. Looking at the big brained plays your enemies are plotting, then foiling their plans.
b. Using smoke of deceits pre battle to disguise tactics like repositioning and swapping out heroes, and applying medals like the Attacker-Free, Assassin and Delay medals (which can be bought in shop).
c. Assassin medals are good to put on initiators to take down key heroes on the opponent’s team. E.g. Give your Phantom Assassin an Assassin medal and send it after that juicy Bane/Warlock/whatever you wanna mess up on the enemies’ team. How to counter? Assassinate your enemies’ assassins.
d. Delay medals are good for preventing your squishy and/or targeted heroes from being killed off in the initial cluster fuck unique to DoW battles.
e. Attack-free medals are good for stopping your supports/spell casters from running into the think of battle and dying without having cast many spells.
- Also, you get 5 extra supply cap for an extra lvl.25/30 hero. Make sure your Elf is lvl.25.
So yeah, that’s my guide to Dawn of War. Hope you learnt something. Thanks for taking the time to read up until here, it means a lot to me. There’s a lot I’ve missed, but hopefully the strategies outlined will remain relevant for future updates. Have a good day!
Yark Pae Jung-Hwa’s channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCywDgi70dN4_u5f_GUBv4Zg
- When to get Butterfly Discussion
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More about Dota 2Post: "Guide to Dawn of War, a fun Dota2 Auto-battler custom game" specifically for the game Dota 2. Other useful information about this game:
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