How to level up heroes in Dota Underlords

Buy, buy, then buy some more.

Image via Valve

Playing Valve’s autobattler game Dota Underlords may be intimidating at first since there’s a lot to worry about when you’re learning the basics. But one of the most essential rules of the game that you must master is how heroes level up.

If you’re coming from Dota 2 or any MOBA game, you might have noticed that unlike in those titles, there are several copies of the same heroes in Underlords. In Dota 2, you can have at most one copy of a hero per competitive match. But in Underlords, there are 10 to 45 copies of each per match, depending on how rare they are. Tier-one units, the most common ones that cost one gold, have 45 copies each, while tier-five heroes that cost five gold have 10.

Related: All about Dota Underlords’ shared hero units pool

Since there are many units, Underlords automatically combines copies to level up a hero and make them stronger. You can level up a one-star hero if you buy three copies of them, forming a two-star hero. If you then make two additional two-star copies of that hero, the three of them will level up and combine into a single three-star hero. A three-star hero is the highest level you can reach.

That means if you find Tiny three times in your unit shop and buy it, you’ll see the three pieces vanishing to become a two-star Tiny. But now, since you bought a few Tinys from the shop, that means there are fewer of them for you to buy. This will make it harder for them to appear again in your shop to let you buy another six to combine into a three-star Tiny. Since there are 45 of them in a match, it can happen somewhat often, but it’s highly unlikely with a tier-five unit like Enigma.

So you need three copies of the same hero to have them hit level two and nine copies for level three, which is the cap. The game combines and levels them up automatically, which means you can’t choose to have nine one-star Tinys in your match. They’ll combine to form a three-star Tiny no matter what.

That’s the only way to level up heroes in Dota Underlords. Remember that units in the shop are always one-star units, which means looking for level two heroes there is a waste of time and gold.