(Photo courtesy of Drodo Studio)

In a similar vein to how the MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) genre formed, a mod for the popular game DOTA 2 took the internet by storm with its addictive gameplay and hard-to-master concepts. So what exactly is Auto Chess?


Auto Chess is a mod for DOTA 2 that pits 8 players against each other on their own separate “boards”. Each round players choose from a pool of heroes that cost gold and fight random players each round with their board setups. Losing rounds decreases you HP and when you get to zero you lose. With its highly successful release in early 2019, it proved to be a strong game mode that was easy to pick up yet hard to master. Seeing the success, Valve, Riot Games, and the original developers of Auto Chess, Drodo Studio, are all creating their own standalone titles. Hoping to see the success that the original DOTA had on the video games industry. But what does this mean for esports?


Teamfight Tactics product lead Richard Henkel says that for Riot Games,

“We’re focused on making the best game we possibly can for PC with no compromises. And once we make the best game, I think then the community will really tell us if esports is a thing. If they want hardcore competition for TFT, I’d say it’s absolutely on the table.”

With Riot Games being a multi-million dollar company; a successful new addition to their pre-existing library could turn out well for them in an esports landscape. The complexities and strategy that go behind the auto-battler genre can provide an interesting new entry to Riot’s catalog.

For Valve Software, it seems like their esports scene might already be getting started. Today, (June 19th) ESL announced a five thousand euro prize pool tournament taking place at ESL One Hamburg 2019 for Valve’s Dota Underlords, which is their take on the auto-battler genre made within their game.

Despite being only a side tournament for the game, if successful it could be a sign of things to come for Valve and the genre as a whole. As of right now, it’s a contest from the three studios to be first and best in the market. Though for the last developers, Drodo Studio, the original makers of the Dota 2 mod, there has been relative silence from them besides their announcement at E3 2019, and the release of their mobile rendition of Auto Chess.

It’s safe to say that in terms of esports, Valve is ahead with their game heading to be first out to market, and with a tournament already planned. Though we could have a similar battle to what we have now between Dota 2 and League of Legends with their respective Auto Chess renditions, the genre is still new and has an interesting future ahead of itself. You can read more about Auto Chess gameplay itself here!