Since Dota Auto Chess’ success earlier this year, the two biggest MOBA franchises in the world have spun out their own competing autobattlers. Both Teamfight Tactics and Dota Underlords are in beta and will certainly continue to grow and change. However, each game has already shown its own distinct personality and selling points. Today we compare the two to determine which one is overall better!
Let’s be blunt: Both games exist strictly because of the success of the Dota Auto Chess mod. Yet, despite the questionable motivation to create them, it is clear that both Valve and Riot have put a lot of fresh effort into each game. And both Teamfight Tactics and Underlords are carried by the strength of their preexisting fantasy settings.
However, there is still a clear winner, and it is Teamfight Tactics. League of Legends’ setting, as ill-defined as it may be, is way more original than Dota’s. Dota is after all based on a mod in Warcraft 3. We can go even deeper (Warhammer Fantasy Battles, anyone?), but we won’t.
Teamfight Tactics also appears more willing to innovate within the genre. It is the first autobattler game to move away from the eight-by-eight chess board and into a hex grid.
While both games are consciously sticking with Auto Chess’ winning formula, they each have introduced some new mechanics. Teamfight Tactics brings the item recipe system from League of Legends to the table. It’s also the first autobattler with a free champion round, which is a fun and interactive catch-up mechanic.
For its part, Underlords has the global items and its focus on strategic placement. Much like Teamfight Tactics’ item recipes, these mechanics reward thinking ahead and add a new level of strategy to the classic formula.
We wouldn’t say that either title is more fun or has better crafted gameplay than the other. This round is definitely a tie.
Until yesterday, Underlords was the clear winner for how easy it was to get in a match. Teamfight Tactics was only available to players with access to League of Legends’ public test realm server. Even then, actually playing it hinged on waiting for hours or even days before the queue opened up.
With all that in the past, both games are free and available to all, and getting into a match is a breeze. Underlords is still somewhat more accessible, however, because it is also available on mobile. Furthermore, players can connect their Steam accounts to the mobile client for the sake of progression and a larger pool of opponents.
Which game is better?
Neither, actually. Teamfight Tactics and Dota Underlords are two very different yet equally good takes on the odd new autobattler genre. And they share enough common points for most players to be able to enjoy both!
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