As Artifact flounders, DOTA Auto Chess hits seven million subscribers

As Artifact flounders, DOTA Auto Chess hits seven million subscribers

Update - 29/4/2019: Dota Auto Chess now has eight million subscribers. 

As spotted by, the mod has added an extra one million users in less than one month. Not only thing, the game has over 176,000 concurrent players. 

Original story - 2/4/2019: Inscrutible workshop mod DOTA Auto Chess has been subscribed to seven million times.

The DOTA 2 mod, that has very little to do with either DOTA nor Chess, has nonetheless broken onto the scene in a big way. Since launching in mid-January, the custom game has quickly racked up the subscribers (Steam Workshop’s way of tracking who’s actively downloaded an item).

It’s become popular enough that creator Drodo is dropping the DOTA branding and bringing the game to mobile. It remains to be seen if a DOTA-less edition makes its way back to PC - or does what the original lane-pusher did years ago by spawning a new genre from modded roots.

Growth is slowing - esports outlet Inven Global reports it took almost a week longer to go from six to seven million subscribers than it did to go from five to six million. But it's still a staggering climb for a small mod to make in little under three months.

Not all DOTA spin-offs are created equal, however. Despite vastly superior resources, polish, and the backing of Magic: The Gathering creator Richard Garfield, Valve’s own Artifact has been put on hold after an exceptionally rocky launch.

It was never the aesthetic of DOTA players wanted, pushed into an infuriatingly monetised card game. Auto Chess appears to have taken the multi-faceted number-crunching core of MOBAs and crafted a wholly new genre to explore.

Staff Writer

Natalie Clayton is an Edinburgh-based freelance writer and game developer. Besides PCGamesInsider and, she's written across the games media landscape and was named in the 2018 100 Rising Star list.