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The Best MOBA Games For Android [November 2019]

Posted by William Sattelberg on November 27, 2019

Though they may no longer be the newest gaming craze sweeping the world, MOBAs continue to be one of the most popular genres for competitive play online. In fact, MOBAs helped build the Esports scene from an underground community to a major platform that receives coverage on networks as large as ABC and ESPN, awarding multi-million dollar cash prizes at top conferences for games like League of Legends and DotA 2. While both of those games are the most popular examples of the genre, dozens of different MOBAs have since arrived on the scene, on systems like PC, Mac, consoles, and even iOS and Android phones.

If you’re unaware of how these games work, allow us to fill you in with a quick guide to the basic guidelines of this genre. For those who are experts in the field, understand that this is a basic explanation, with plenty of missing pieces. The MOBA, or multiplayer online battle arena genre, is a competitive team-based online game in which, in typical standard matches, teams of five face off against each other on a large map. Each team member chooses a separate character, and that character fulfills a necessary role on the team. Like with any competitive game, most players have a standard character type they play, and MOBAs are no different. Players usually fall into one of several archetypes. The AD Carry and AP Carry are typically the main damage dealers of the game, with the AD focusing on using melee and physical attacks, while the AP uses magic and spells. While these two character roles typically claim the most kills, they’re also susceptible to the most deaths in the game, as their defense is often quite weak.

That’s where two more roles come in: the tank and the support. The tank is the opposite of a carry; while his attack and magic powers are often quite low, he specializes in defense and absorbing hits without dying. A good tank can defend his team in a face-off and live to tell the tale. Meanwhile, the support typically sticks by the AD Carry’s side for the first half of the game, healing and applying buffs to boost their carry’s power. For the second half of the match, the support extends their powers to the entire team, healing and buffing as needed. Though it’s often an unpopular role to fill, the support is one of the most important aspects of any team. Finally, there’s the jungler, but to explain their role, we’ll have to first explain how the game is played.

Map_of_MOBA.svg

In a standard, basic match of the average MOBA game, each team of five begins on either the lower-left or upper-right corner of the map. The map is divided into three lanes, all spawning from the base. The tank typically goes to the top lane, the AP Carry heads to the mid lane, and the AD Carry and his or her support head to the bottom lane. Each lane has two “towers” per team (four total), represented by the dots above. The towers act as defense, damaging enemy team members that get too close to the tower. In addition to the lanes, there’s also a “jungle,” which is where the team’s fifth member, the jungler, comes in; they spend their time in the jungle destroying high-powered creatures for buffs, and sneak around to different lanes to help catch the enemy members in a surprise 2v1 or 3v2 match-up.

Each team’s goal is simple: use your respective creeps—small creatures controlled by the AI and easily killed—to work towards destroying the enemy team’s towers in each lane. Once the lane is cleared, work toward getting to the enemy’s spawn area, and destroy the target—sometimes called the “Nexus” or “Ancient,” depending on the game you’re playing—inside the base of your enemy. If you have a high-functioning team, with each player playing their role correctly and working together, you can almost always overcome your enemy and win the match. Of course, as with any multiplayer sport, if your team falls apart, so do your chances of winning.

With its infinite replayability, high-stakes competitive plays, and the rewarding feeling of success when your team triumphs, it’s no surprise MOBAs have set the world ablaze. They’re easy to learn, difficult to master; quick to get into, but easy to feed thousands of hours of your life. The two established leaders of the genre, League of Legends and DotA 2, have been around for nearly a decade and feature some of the best, most experienced players in the game. If you’re trying to dip your toe into the genre without giving your life away or getting crushed by a player who understands the game better than you, you might be interested in checking out some mobile MOBAs available on your Android device.

While standard MOBA games can be difficult to learn and master, mobile MOBAs (try saying that five times fast) allow you to try the genre out for yourself from anywhere, without quite as much of the competitive nature or flaming that can be brought on by standard MOBAs on PC or Mac. Today, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best MOBAs you can download on Android. For our comparison, we’ll be looking at the controls, graphics, and community for each title to bring you the best the Play Store has to offer. Without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Everyone else

Heroes of Order and Chaos has a lot going for it. It’s developed by Gameloft, a legendary developer team in the mobile space that has made mobile versions of console games, offering titles like NOVA, in the theme of Halo, or Modern Combat, in the theme of Call of Duty. The games are generally well-made takes on making a console experience into a mobile game, and in 2012, they had done the same for the scene dominated by Dota 2 and League of Legends, creating Heroes of Order and Chaos out of the husk of their discontinued World of Warcraft-esque game, Order and Chaos Online. The game is similar to several PC MOBAs, using three-lane layouts that are relatively standard when it comes to basic MOBA gameplay, and with most matches clocking in at about thirty-five to forty minutes instead of the shorter matches offered by some mobile MOBA titles.

Unfortunately, there were some problems when testing the gameplay. In a mobile ecosystem where both Arena of Valor and Vainglory offer top-tier mobile experiences, Heroes had problems in our tests with both the controls and the framerate. They weren’t bad necessarily, but you could tell that both were a bit of a step down from what we expected out of a MOBA after testing both Arena of Valor and Vainglory, Instead of using a virtual joystick like Arena, the game requires you to tap around the display, similar to Vainglory. However, tapping around the display just doesn’t feel as good as it did in Vainglory, and the frame rate drops were unfortunate. Same goes for the online server support, which made connecting to a game difficult. Not helping matters as far as support goes: the game hasn’t received an update since October of 2017, more than half a year ago. Overall, there are plenty of reasons to still check out Heroes of Order and Chaos, but largely, if you want a League clone for mobile, you should absolutely check out Arena of Valor.

If Paladins is Hi-Rez Studios’ efforts to create a free-to-play version of OverwatchPaladins Strike is their efforts to create a MOBA from the existing universe of Paladins characters. For the most part, they succeed, offering gamers a brand-new way to play their favorite Paladins heroes on mobile displays without having to play with standard mobile FPS controls that can often be so bad on smartphones. Paladins Strike includes multiple forms of gameplay, all focused around an isometric camera like you would expect from a MOBA entry. The game has more than 15 characters to choose from, a smaller amount than many pre-existing games, but considering the title hasn’t even reached its first anniversary, there’s no doubt that more features and more entries into the game will come soon enough.

The main game mode uses two teams of five players, but instead of using a typically MOBA goal of destroying the other team’s base, Paladins takes influence from both that game and Overwatch and adds a payload. To win, you’ll have to push the payload into the base of the other team while defending your own side of the map, and you need to do it in a specific time limit before the game goes into sudden death. Other game modes exist, including a practice mode that allows you to battle it out in longer and shorter matches, and a practice mode. Paladins Strike isn’t groundbreaking in any real sense, but the shorter 5-to-10 minute matches make the game ideal for playing on road trips or in quick commutes to work. Some have complained about the game’s in-app payment structure however, and some rebalancing may need to take place to make Strike less of a pay-to-win game than it is currently before we can give it a stronger recommendation.

While Arena of Valor is a game from the company that owns League of Legends, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang—an admittedly terrible name—is so much like League of Legends that Riot Games actually sued Mobile Legends in July of 2017 for trademark infringement, thanks in part to just how close to League of Legends this game looks. But like with Arena of Valor, this might be a benefit to plenty of gamers looking for a mobile take on League, especially one with a more established fanbase than what we’ve seen from Tencent’s new North American port. In Mobile Legends, you take up the role of one of several champions, fighting down one of three Rift-like lanes to reach the enemy base. It’s all familiar stuff, reconfigured for shorter ten minute matches to help mobile users pick up and play the game a bit easier.

Similarly, Mobile Legends and developer Moonton boasts about most players only having to wait up to ten second to join a game. A virtual joystick allows you to move around the battlefield, and thanks to the addition of smart AI control, it’s easy to rejoin the game if you ever get disconnected without being completely slaughtered in the game. Mobile Legends has some interesting ideas on how MOBAs on mobile should work, and with over 50 million downloads, it also has a strong playerbase behind it. All that said, it’s also worth noting that some MOBA fans have complained about the inclusion of pay-to-win tactics, including real-money skins that give actual, tangible in-game advantage to players willing to pay for it. Overall, Mobile Legends is a solid offering, but there are plenty of options on this list that might be worth your time—and very possible, money—over Moonton’s take on League of Legends.

Our final suggestion is one more MOBA alternative that’s doing things a bit differently than your typical entry into the genre, and it comes from a mobile developer you’ve probably heard of. Battle Bay comes from Rovio, the developing team behind Angry Birds, and since its launch in 2018, has already managed to build an audience of over ten million players because of its unique gameplay, fun and colorful graphics, and, of course, its name recognition. But just like the dozens of Angry Birds spin-offs, Rovio knows what they’re doing here, and they’ve built a mobile MOBA that isn’t a direct take on League of Legends or Dota 2. Instead, Battle Bay reminds us more of Overwatch or Smite, the popular third-person MOBA alternative on PC.

In Battle Bay, you control a boat on a team of five, and your fight takes place on the roaring sea, as opposed to another evergreen forest or scorched-earth battlefield like we’ve seen so many times before. The camera is set behind the boat, as opposed to over top the ocean, and controlled with a dual-joystick layout that, while perhaps not the most comfortable layout we’ve seen in the MOBA world, lends itself well to the gameplay. Rovio surprised us with this release: not only did they leave out their infamous birds, but there’s actual depth to the strategy in their 5×5 arena. You build and equip your ship with weapon layouts, so much like more mainstream MOBAs, you can have different offensive or defensive classes for each battle.

Most interestingly, the ocean-set battlefield has waves, making your attacks more difficult to land without proper consideration. If you’re looking for something new and unexpected from a mobile genre quickly becoming oversaturated with League of Legends clones, Battle Bay is a great, relatively-new entry to the field.

4 thoughts on “The Best MOBA Games For Android [November 2019]”

tbkkent says:
heroes evolved the best moba
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sparda says:
haha, mlbb is worst moba game, too money hungried.cheating games, in mlbb, you are forced to buy new hero forever and too many afk and nubs. mlbb player penalty system is worst of all mlbb, they don’t care how you played well.They want more players coming attracting, bully game. I play Mlbb up to epiv 2 3 star ranking. Now I am playing aov .Aov is best of all moba android.
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jungle_mole says:
btw, i like Twisted Treeline map in league of legends the most. actually i play almost only TT. 3×3 ftw. 5×5 without voice communication sucks balls
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heynekko says:
Mobile Legends : Bang Bang is the best and the leader of Mobile MOBAs.. Vainglory has the biggest community? With only 5 million downloads? Seriously? That’s like 1/10 of Mobile Legends 50 million downloads.. Vainglory is limited to 3v3 and a SINGLE lane!! Mobile Legends captures the essential 5v5 3 lane essence and translate it beautifully for mobile game reducing the match time to within 15 minutes and simplifying the controls to on screen analog with assisted targeting.. Vainglory only works on iPads.. Impossible to play on compact devices.. Meanwhile Mobile Legends can be played on all devices big or small.. Hence Mobile Legends is KING hence the 50 million and counting downloads.. If you want to experience real MOBA go to LoL or DoTA.. If you want to play MOBA on the go go for Mobile Legends.. There is no point of Vainglory being somewhere stuck between mobile or full fledged MOBA
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Ivan says:
uhmmm,… are you nut?
Reply
jungle_mole says:
i’ve played vailglory on xiaomi mi2 without any pain.. by dimensions it’s close to iphone 4

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