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Thread: Strategy Guides

  1. #1

    Default Strategy Guides

    This thread was originally created by zzzaacckk on Legends Forums, and with the help of many other TAO vets.

    With the possible comeback of TAO, i thought it would be great to have a thread like this up.

    If anybody has more to add to this, please go ahead and add your strategies/guides.

    I'd like to keep this thread discussion free (makes it much easier to read through all the guides).

    If any posts have mistakes or needs updates, etc... please let the user who posted it know (By PM or by other means, but not by posting on this thread, please).

    Quote Originally Posted by da1n
    Damage Chart

    Scout LOS Chart
    Quick's Strategic Advice (Unfortunately incomplete, but there's still some good stuff.)
    Quote Originally Posted by QuicksandSlowly
    Welcome, new players (n00bs), Veterans, and all others in between. This topic will hopefully give you the tools to become a master of this game. Within it I and other skilled players will post our strategies and winning techniques as well as other useful information that pertains to this great game.

    Index of completed Strategical Essays:

    1.1 Damage Evasion

    1.2 Scout Line of Sight Tactics

    1.3 Cleric Placement (Theocritus)

    Currently I am planning posts on:

    -Building a Mage Bomb and burning your foe to death

    -Building a Turtle and playing defensively/offensively

    -Knight Walls: offensive/defensive combat

    -Enchantress Mind Games

    -Ward usage and placement

    Anyone who wishes to add to this post should start a new thread and write their own ideas and/or essay within it. All submissions will be routed through me.

    I play my game from this standpoint: Damage evasion is better than dealing damage in many cases. If you have a unit that is about to be overcome by enemy forces, attack and retreat or just retreat if attacking would be foolish. Then the enemy will have to follow you in, and you will possibly kill his attacking unit. Damage evasion is also killing units that can do the most damage to you, like Witches, Dsm's/Pyros, and units that are in a position to deal deathblows once they recover.

    This concept works very well for all you Furgon people. The point here is to avoid damage until you can heal it all back. Shrubbery protection is excellent to this effect. If your enemy has to chop through shrubs to get at one of your units, then they can't hurt your damaged unit. You now have time to heal and retreat the unit further out of the ranged units attack influence.

    The Furgon/retreat strategy also forces your enemy to either pursue, or spread their damage around. If they elect to attack something else, they merely make your healing more effective. Damage evasion also means moving your units out of vulnerable places before they can take a hit. If your Scout is next to a Witch at the beginning of the game, don't leave him there. He's going to get nuked. This is also why Barrier wards + Mages or Scouts are very effective.

    You can prevent damage by killing units that are likely to hurt you the most. Suicidal Witches, Dsm powered Pyros, and Dragons. Situation: Mage Bomb with two Pyros in front of your L Ward and the Dsm in the back. One Pyro is directly in front of your ward, and the other is to the side of it. The one on the side could pentrate deep into your formation, and kill your Cleric. The one in front of your Ward is limited in movement and striking capability because of your L Ward. Which one do you kill? Obviously the one that could get at your Cleric. By doing this you remove your opponent's ability to hurt you most.

    I love to prevent damage by freezing. Always make sure that if you're going to freeze something, your focus won't be broken next turn. If that is the case, don't do it at all and try to eliminate one of the sources of possible damage instead. If you freeze it and your enemy can un-freeze it easily, all you've done is given your enemy a free shot at your Frosty.

    Try not to move your units into compromising positions either. Unless you have two Clerics and/or a Stone Golem supporting you, you won't be able to win in such a situation. I've seen many players run their stoned Scout right up to an L Ward and a Dragon so they can take out their opponent's armor. These people think that he's got enough hp to take a Lightning Bolt, Fireball, and possible Scout or Knight hits. Newsflash, unless sacrificing that Scout is really worth it, don't send him in. Your enemy can always retreat and stone up again, whereas your Scout is now gone forever. This goes for Beast Riders and Mud Golems too. Charging in with your Golem right at the beginning of the game doesn't work unless you've got units in good position to capitalize on the situation. Stoned Muds will die eventually, especially if there's a Frosty right there holding them down.

    Preventing damage by making "pockets" within your formation for damaged units to retreat into is also very smart. If your enemy doesn't have range, then they have to kill one of your outside units first, again, spreading damage around and making your healing more effective. By pockets, I mean a cross shaped grouping of units, without a unit in the center. Since your piece is able to move through these four other units at will, you can hide him in there where your enemy won't be able to get him. If he attackes one of the units on the perimiter of the pocket, heal and you've just done twice as much healing as you would have before. The unit attacking your pocket will probably be swarmed by your five or so guys if he persists in trying to crack the proverbial safe that you've hidden your damaged unit in.
    Crip's Strat Guide
    Quote Originally Posted by crip_in_the_block
    i dont feal like saying lot of the fing's but 1 of the fing's like in chesss alwes make sure that everyfing is protected by somefing or lured like if the atack's it his ganna die or doying a run escape like atack and hide back the most of the unit's that r used to block other unit's r like knight or unit's with a lot of hp like rock golem forgot his name or try to alwes make him be 1 scare in back of the atack if a guy try's to do the assasin trick the best way to kill it befor he does it its use the dragon or risk a scout hit if u dont wanna waist ur time to get ur assasin low just use the poison wisp -.- and dont put any strategie with the scout special aatck and golem because weery 1 in this lan know' s sit and its posted everywhere so try to put somefing original i dint axely put some good stuff on =.= and dont use rushe's because whwen it come's up that the guy wass a realy good defence he will get on healing and killing you slowly 1 at the time
    Metal_Monster's Guide
    Quote Originally Posted by Metal_Monster
    hello ppl!!!!
    the reason i made this tutorial was the newbies that haven't got a lot of experiance on this game..... i will tell you my tactical opinions and i hope those will help...

    1. Attacking at the beginning of the game is a bad idea-
    when you attack your enemy you actually send 1 unit against a whole bunch of units, no matter how much units you are sending, the enemy has more.... so i think you should attack only when you have at least 4 units advantage
    2. Use your enemy units recovery time to finish them quickly, so ranged units with high HP and armor (scout) shouldn't stay far behind
    3. Place spellcasters behind knights- i saw some formations with witches on front designed to kill the cleric if he has nobody standing 5 sqares ahead of him, but those formations will be only effective if the opponent doesn't have anyone standing 5 squares ahead of him
    4. you should have a unit standing 5 squares ahead of the cleric....why??? (Hint:dark magic witch) yes!!!!! your right! the witch can kick his ass!!!! newsflash! the witch will kill your healer in one hit!
    5. dont make a too spreaded formation cuz your nice enemy will vanish your little spellcasters
    6. DON'T RELY ON THE FUCKING KAMIKAZEE TRICK!!!! i played with someone who attacked his assassin with the pyromancer and then sent the assassin away HOPING i will be dumb enough to hit it with the knight, but i had a witch standing there.....
    NEWSFLASH-most people know the fucking kamikazee trick
    7. memorize the lighting ward range so you wont accidently send a unit into there
    Ape Advice
    Quote Originally Posted by Congar's Eck0
    Ok, herrz some tactics which will hopefully help you to become a better defender. I'll add more later on.

    I usually play defence, even though its kidda hard these days with the busher, wisp, plus the shit load of mages that we already have to worry about.

    Defend Against Turtle Rushs (DIFFERENT SIDES)----

    MOST rushing units takes 2 or more turns to get to a place where it can threaten your units, i.e. break focus/dmg cleric, so I just use my ranged units such as Scout, Dragon, Mud...and maybe the Wisp to start damage them slowly before they reach my main formation or the most sensitive part, the ideal choices to pick off are the Mud, Busher, Wisp and mages, since they cant block, have less armor, and long recovery...your Frost and Wisp can handle the on coming BR and Scout later on. By the time when they gets to where I am, their HP are alrightly 1/4 of the way gone(on average), so then use the heavy power units such as Knights, LW, and Dragon to finish it off, if extra hit is needed for the kill before they can recover and do further damage, use Frost and Wisp to delay, but be sure to place them in a position that their focus wont be broken right after they cast their spell. Furgon and the placement of your units can help, using shrubs or your own units limit their move space or to block the enemy's attacks, such as the Scout's LOS, Mudquake and the BR "poke". And if you absolutly cant prevent some of your units from dying on your next turn, be sure to make use of them while you still attacking with them (unless they cant move, or you only can kill the enemy with one of your higher powered unit). Here is a very important law that applies to all good defenders----ALWAYS save your Frost rather than your Cleric, because the Frost is just far more useful, they can assist you in delaying/ fast killing your opponent.

    Defend Against Turtle Rushs (Same Side)----

    These are very annoying and more difficult to defeat, since it will take less time for the focus breakers to get to where you are. Since you know that your Stone's focus is gonna be broken anyway, why not use it as a lure, stone first, move around a bit so you can protect Cleric and Frost from the already existing flaws in your form such as the vulnerability of los. Most peoples sents in the Mud for the focus break, and this is when you freeze'em. If you find that you focus is going to be breaked by the Scout, you can always freeze without moving, since Frost only have to wait one turn while Scout have to wait two. Then try to use the Furgon or other units to limit movement or attack. Furgon + Frost is a good combination for countering rushers. Freeze frist with the Frost (make sure that focus wont be broken in the next turn), then using the Furgon to block all possible los attacks so forcing your opponent to move in BR, Knights and such. I noticed that all players have the tendency of charging in units to break the Frost's focus even when they already know that the frozen unit is dead meat. The defender can take great advantage of that behavior, quickly finishing the frozen units off then freeze another one.
    -----Additional Strat----- Another flaw I noticed is that rushers only charges in units with high movement or range, which means less armor or hp, but if stoned they can be hard deal with. As they are coming move your focus breakers + backup (Scout, Mud, Knight, Dragon, Wisp?, Busher?, BR) closer to places where you can break your opponents stone. Dont make it look obvious, thus your opponent wont retaliate. i.e. if you know that it takes five spaces for your Scout to get into a place where it can break the Stone's focus, dont move four spaces right off, move one, then four. In certain situations, these focus breakers are sacificed, but for a greater cause. After the focus is broken, start pummeling with Dragon, Knights, LW or Mud. After all the focus breakers are gone, your opponent will start sending in the Knights as a natural reaction, simply freeze one, kill it and freeze another until opponent runs out of attack force.
    -----Which units to kill----- If the Ambusher is up front, KIIILLLL ITTTT FFIRRSSTT!!!! Then Mud if it charges in, follow by the Scout and Wisp (they are tied), BR and Knight.
    ----Protecting Cleric While Playing Same Side Ambusher Turtle Rushes----
    -----Frontal Amushers-----Hate these mofuckers, they are the official Turtle Killers!!! >:S And thank you White for the brilliant invention ....Anywayz, assuming that your opponent is going to heal the Ambusher, it'll have 72 hp (60+12=72), you can get 4 hits off of it due to its recovery time, BUT you'll need ALL four hits unless you use a Dragon(Dragon blast+ Knight slash+Knight slash) or LW(LW bolt+Knight slash+Knight slash). If you have the extra turn, try set some sort of barricade(i.e. shrubs and unit blockage) inorder to protect your Cleric. If you dont have the extra turn, try to move the Cleric out of the way(out of the turtle) of the oncomming attacks if you want to save it that is. Then set of blockages. Furgon, Frost and Wisp are the best way to go in situations like this, but they can only delay, so you have to kill the Busher fast while the other tries to get their share of your Cleric. And dont forget stoning the Cleric...can make it last a bit longer, that bit might be enough time for you to kill the Ambusher and hold off the others.
    -----Ambusher in the back-----
    No worries until later, thats if it will have a later. Start picking it off with the Scout(If you like, bring Mud for back up in cast of Frost and Knights to hide behind) to force it back, if it gets up to the front pound it with LW, Dragon and knight, even if its stoned, it'll die fast, hopefully fast enough. While all this is happening, use your own Frost and Knights to slow down on comming units(if possible do it when the ranged units are recovering). If all else fails, make the Cleric run.
    Last edited by Madamos; 04-15-2020 at 07:39 PM.

  2. #2



    Quote Originally Posted by zzzaacckk
    By: zzzaacckk

    This is my, zzzaacckk’s, compilation of strategy. For those who remember a truly great player this post was originally in black in honor of the great strategist TCBB. This compilation will include both grey and gold strategies as well as unit discussion and most other topics relating to game play on Tactics Arena Online. I hope this help everyone because as a veteran I feel that it is my duty to pass on my knowledge of the game to all players new, old, and somewhere in between. On that note let us begin!!!


    Knight- Knight

    The Knight is the tank of this game. It has great blocking abilities and should generally be used at the beginning of the game as a wall or to block key positions. He can also be used as a mage killer. In grey turtles they are used as a perimeter along with the lightning ward generally. Knights are also found during end game generally due to their high amount of amour and HP. Knights are also excellent deterrents. They can deter units from leaving the range of their barrier ward and risk being torn apart especially units with high recovery times. They are excellent scout killers along with witches. In grey rushes I recommend all 3 Knights as they will be your longest lasting unit and is excellent for killing units such as mages and Enchantresses that can really get in your way. You can move 2 in together and flank an opponent you can do extreme damage, even take out their cleric. While they are still killing off the Knights it gives you the opportunity to add to the chaos and move your scout in and start killing your opponent from 2 sides. The main weakness of Knights with grey on grey combat is the enchantress. Since the Knight is not a ranged unit one must be very careful when maneuvering a Knight near an opponent’s Enchantress. Remember that you should always have at least 1 ranged unit supporting you knights if it is at all possible.

    For golds a stoned Knight is a mighty foe. They have excessive amour and are a mighty force within turtles. Knights have blockable attacks and relatively small movement range. One must take advantage of that to defend against them. The best way in turtles to defend against a Knight is the Frost Golem and the Furgon. In turtles Knights may also be used as a deterrent for people to send in their mud golems and de-stone you or as a mini rush before they are able to setup their men in the first couple of turns. In rushes the Knight is also an invaluable unit. It takes out golems well. Its only weakness is to the frost golem but as long as you have a mud golem or scout to support your Knights with you can reek havoc with relative ease. Knight rushes are surprisingly effective. Never underestimate them.

    Pyromancer- Pyromancer

    The Pyromancer is a mage unit. It’s damage is unblockable and is therefore a good tool to have. The Pyromancer has low blocking (some people disagree) and HP and no armour. This makes the unit susceptible to knight, scout and other mage attacks. The main mistakes that are generally made with Pyromancers are putting them in the front row near common Lightning Ward positions and moving them within range of a lightning ward that is fully recovered. Generally this is a bad idea unless you want the lightning ward to shoot and kill your Pyro therefore giving you and advantageous position. The Pyro’s does immense amounts of damage when it attacks especially many units as it is capable of. The only problem is that the damage is spread out and is therefore easily healed. The Pyro also needs support units due to its lack of defense and high recovery time. The key to good Pyro use is to take full advantage of its ranged attack and to keep it behind a wall of units as much as possible or Barrier it. The Pyro is not a must in grey formations. It is a solid unit. The contribution of the Pyro grows immensely after the enemy cleric is dead. At that point the damage of the Pyro adds up fast and cannot be healed. All mages are also good for grays because they can be instrumental in taking out the enemy’s Lightning Ward. The lightning ward generally is the heart of your opponent if they are using a turtle setup and if you can get rid of it you have ridded your opponent of its best deterrent and at that points you can begin to penetrate their setup without the risk of being blasted for 30 damage. In my opinion the Pyro isnt a must but is very helpful to grays as long as they know what they are doing.

    For golds the application of Pyros is a little bit different. They Pyro can now be used in conjunction with the DSM and Dragon to be a formidable force. I only suggest using Pyros and DSM’s in rushed and mage bombs. In a turtle situation they just don’t work so well. A mage bomb in my opinion is constituted by a 3 or more mage units in a setup other than if they are being stoned in the back row. Mage units include the DSM, Pyro and Witch.

    Cleric- Cleric

    The Cleric is the only healer in the game. There are very few forms that do not use one. I highly suggest it. The cleric is always placed in the back row generally in a corner or in the center. It is wise to have a Lightning Ward 5 spaces in front of your cleric so that your cleric cannot be blasted by a witch and killing it. If you cant have a lightning ward then put a different piece there instead. The cleric generally should be protected at most costs. If you see that your cleric cannot be saved then don’t try and save it. I recommend an all out attack on your opponent and go for their cleric.

    Same recommendation applies to golds. There isnt much to say except don’t heal unless you need to and don’t heal and move unless you are in danger of being attacked!!! There is no need to move the cleric unless it is in extreme danger of dying because otherwise you will not be able to heal for 5 full turns. The leading cleric killer now is the golem ambusher you must watch out for it. If a Golem Ambusher attacks your Cleric heal because you can be assured that the mud golem won’t be far behind. Do that and then shrub up if you can to prevent the Golem Ambusher from making the same move. Another option is to freeze the Ambusher and use shrubs to protect your Frosty. This is also another situation that the Barrier Ward is handy for.

    Scout- Scout

    The scout is my favorite unit in the game. It has immense range and movement. The scout fires arrows at its opponent. These arrows follow something called line of sight. Once you have learned this you can now master the scout. The next step is to use this new addition to your strategy and begin to see where you can use it. The scout is a very important piece especially when your opponent is using an enchantress. It has the largest range of all grey units. It is crucial at endgame. Make sure that it has a knight with it generally to support it and in the beginning of the game save it at almost all costs. It is in some people’s opinion more valuable than the cleric. I put it slightly below as long as you still have your Pyro/s or witch or your opponent has no Enchantress. It is excellent at picking off units at long distances and great at getting rid of mages and disrupting focus. You can never underestimate the scout. The scout is also a good cleric killer and is excellent at hitting units as they are retreating to heal.

    For golds that like to turtle I strongly recommend that you stone BOTH Scouts because un-stoned scouts are very susceptible to Dragon Tyrants. In addition Scouts along with Mud Golems and Golem Ambushers are great tools for ridding your opponent of the most crucial unit in the turtle setup, the Cleric. The Scout is also an excellent tool for hitting units from behind shrubs using line of sight. The Scout also has great movement range and therefore can be retreated with relative ease. In rushes the Scout is also very useful. It can be used to flank enemies and take out Golems from long range before they can do major damage. Scouts generally are not used in mage bombs as long as you have enough mages to fill out your field. The Scout is most vulnerable to Dragons, Witches and Knights.

    Assassin- Assassin

    The Assassin until 2 weeks ago was the most underestimated unit around. I have always used it in my setup and the new attack gives me all the more reason too. This attack is done by having only one Assassin on the field and it must be below 5 health (4 and below). You move the Assassin to its desired location for attack and then go into "attack mode." Once in attack mode hold the mouse button on the Assassin for 3 seconds and release. The Assassin should kill all the units it attacks and self-destruct. The tricky part of this operation is getting your Assassin below 5 health and being able to attack with it. My recommendation is to have a Barrier Ward in your setup to help the Assassin out if it is recovering. The Assassin is a great unit in general. It has great movement range and the ability to attack multiple units at the same time. This makes is an effective Mage or Cleric killer. Its main weakness is its low health but as long as it’s healed the Assassin should be able to penetrate the enemy and attack, recover, attack again and retreat. The Assassin is the grey surprise attack unit.

    There really isnt so much of an application for the Assassin in gold setups. It could be used in a rush but the Beast Rider is basically an upgraded Assassin so there is really no point in having it. This unit is generally not used by golds but should definitely be considered by all grays because of its ability to attack multiple units and to carry out a surprise attack.

    Enchantress- Enchantress

    The Enchantress is in some people's opinion the best gray unit. It has the ability to freeze up to 12 units. The Enchantress is a terrific end game unit especially if our opponent does not have any ranged units left. A Barrier Ward along with an Enchantress is a dynamic pair. Strategies include letting your opponent come towards you. You then freeze it with your Enchantress and then before they can attack you you Barrier Ward the Enchantress. Make sure your Enchantress is near your Barrier Ward but not freezing it. A frozen Barrier Ward can do you no good. When a unit is frozen it has no blocking ability therefore freezing a unit such as a knight is advantageous because you no longer have to worry about him blocking and you can even hit him from the front worry free.

    Generally golds do not use the Enchantress and instead use the Frost Golem. This is because with the Frost Golem you don’t risk freezing your own units. Generally Enchantresses are used only in gray turtles and not rushes because they are very vulnerable with their low HP and no amour. The Enchantress is very vulnerable to ranged units such as the Scout, Pyromancer, Witch, Golem Ambusher Mud Golem and Poison Wisp. When using the Enchantress keep these in mind and make sure that they cannot unfreeze you before you can protect the Enchantress by either blocking the ranged unit's path or Barriering the Enchantress. Another strategy is to freeze the ranged units and then Barrier so that they are stuck. Sometimes you won’t need to barrier because you draw non ranged units in close to your Enchantress and then you re-freeze. This is very fun but doesn’t work against experienced opponents because they won’t let you freeze their ranged units especially the Scout.

    Dark Magic Witch- Dark Magic Witch

    The Witch is the second of three Mage units. As do the other Mages the Witch has the ability to inflict major damage over multiple units. It also has low HP and blocking. The witch can be killed in one hit by both the Dragon and Lightning Ward. The Witch has more power then the Pyromancer and DSM but has less blocking and HP. For grays this is a crucial unit. It has the ability to kill the Cleric in one hit. The Witch is used most effectively with a Barrier Ward and is also adept to taking out Lightning Wards so that it can get to the Cleric. Generally Lightning Wards are placed 5 spaces in front of the Cleric so that it cannot be blasted by the Witch. The Witch is also great at killing Scouts. It has a long range attack and when coupled with a Knight, Scouts in the area are in peril. In addition an army of Witches can take out enemy turtle setups with ease. There are too many to blast with Lightning Wards and therefore they survive to attack multiple times. This kind of setup is referred to as a mage bomb. The Witch is an all around power unit that requires extreme security measures to keep it safe. Although the Witch does block what seems like a disproportionate amount of times.

    Golds generally do not use the Witch in setups other than "Mage Bombs." A "Mage Bomb" is 3 or more Mage units that aren’t being stoned on the back row in one setup. This setup destroys most other setups but is generally considered frowned upon because the winner in a battle of Bombs versus each other basically comes down to who goes first. Anyone can master the art of Bombing rather easily. It is not advisable to waste turtle space with a Witch or to put it in a rush where it can be killed by a Dragon in one hit.

    Barrier Ward- Barrier Ward

    The Barrier Ward is a very underestimated piece. It is not an offensive piece and will not do damage to any unit. It protects any unit that it "attacks" from all attacks including unblockables. The only attacks it does not protect against are paralyzing attacks and the Poison Wisp. It is excellent for use with mage units who can attack and then be barriered. They can then recover in safety and finally attack and retreat. The only problem is that healing spells cannot penetrate the barrier so healing barriered units is useless. The Barrier Ward is most commonly found in turtle formations and is used with the enchantress due to her need to remain focused. The Barrier Ward is also a focus unit. It cannot be damaged when it is not barriering a unit by mele attacks but as soon as it barriers a unit it becomes vulnerable to all attacks. It is excellent for units who have high recovery times and low HP. This unit is a terrific tool and can reach up to 6 spaces away. This is an ideal unit for turtles.

    There aren't many gold applications for this unit. It is best used in a turtle in conjunction with a Frosty. It can also be used to protect a Stonie that is open to attack. In my oppinion the furgon can do this job much more effectively and can be used for other jobs as well. The problem is that a single Dragon attack on the Barrier Ward will reduce it to only 4 health and that begins a long healing process in which the barrier cant do much because of its vulnerability to a Scout hitting it.

    Lightning Ward- Lightning Ward

    The Lightning Ward is an essential for all grey turtles. It is generally used as a perimeter defense tool. The lightning ward is traditionally placed in the front row 4 spaces in front of ones Cleric. This provides protection from mage attacks, generally Witches from moving forward and killing your cleric in 1 turn. Having your LW in the front row also provides a devastating first move kill against any opposing Mages that might be in the front row waiting to rush you. The best use for the LW is to use it as a deterrent and to use it only when necessary. Its long recovery time lets gives your opponent plentiful time to make an attack and retreat (especially with knights or Scouts) Another application for you LW is to use it to hit you opponents LW and with the help of mages kill it. This will leave a gaping whole in your opponent's defense which he must cover. This will give your scout more holes to shoot through.

    For gold accounts the LW is still sometimes used in turtles and sometimes in anti rushes. The problem is that there are less advantages in blocking Scout LOS and mages due to the advent of the Golem Ambusher. The LW still affords some protection and is still a good deterrent against mages. If I knew I was facing a Mage Bomb I would really consider using a Lightning Ward. When attacking with the Lightning Ward just remember that it has a long recovery so make sure to attack the unit that is of the most immediate threat to you.
    Quote Originally Posted by TCBB
    I have been selfish not to advise anyone outside my clan about strategy.(I understood all LOS tricks on 12/5, but I kept it as a secrect. I remember that because it's the friday night before my finals). Now I see a need to help experienced players to mature in to lethal killers, so I will have more fun when I return. also, I am bored to death, so it's not a big waste of my life to write this. Excuse me if I don't explain things clearly.

    Note: focused on turtle VS turle, sufficient math skill and LOS needed.

    I) view blocking and armor as bonus to life.
    1When turtle VS turlte, the luck element of blocking is minute. It will be easier to view it this way.My Way of Calculating real life and regeneration:
    L=life, ar= armor, sb=side block. #m=number of mages, #a=number of attacker. H=healing
    real life= L/(1-ar)/(1-sb(1-*#m/#a)). (#m/#a usually 0.4 close to 3/7).
    regeneration: 12/(1-ar)/(1-sb(1-*#m/#a))
    Here is what I get(real life/ regeneration)
    Knight:___ 88/21

    2.How is real life and regeneration useful?
    Real life will help you get a general idea of how vulnerable the units really are. So you can make a more precise decision which unit to take down first, and how much danger you should put your units into. regeneration will tell you how concentrate your attack should be. When your primary target is hard to hit, it's always good to hit a golem as a subsitute, since it's regeneration is very low. Understand this will help you understand the following points.

    3)Breaking the focus of stone golem isn't very important after your opponent's cleric dies.
    You need to do the math yourself, base on the situation to decide if it's worthy to risk your scout on the mission. Usually without the great regeneration, armored knight and Dragon are easy to kill. Once grey VS inexperienced gold. I sacrificed my scout to kill my oppoent's clerics. Then I killed all three of his armored knights and a dragon with my pyros.

    4)Don't try to kill an armored knight, with the huge regeneration, you are doing 40 damage every 4 turns( one cleric). with real life 146, it will take more than 10 turns to kill it. During that time, his archer will tear you down.

    5)Heal whenever possible.
    With 2 exception:
    -if you perceive your opponent is going to focus on an unwounded unit.
    -your cleric is in danger, and may need to move.

    6)furgons aren't innocent little creatures.
    Just because killing it doesn't have immediate effect to the war isn't a reason not to kill it. place it to a higher position on your attack list. They are easy to kill from side, and only take 4 shots even get healed.

    7)Dragons in armor aren't unkillable.
    When both your opponent's dragon and archer are nearby, most player will prefer to aim at the archer. They think that they won't be able to kill the dragon in a few turns, and the dragon can always escape and heal. But remember this:
    i) When a seriously wouded dragon escape to the behind, your front shot have 60% chance of hitting it, that's 1.5 as likely as hitting a scout.
    ii) Dragons have similar regeneration as scout

    II)You don't have to attack a target every turn.
    Many players have the believe that if you don't attack something, you are wasting a turn. IT'S VERY WRONG.

    i)Plancing your units in a strategical position is crucial for the game. For example, when two turtles are facing, take 1 turn or 2 to move your scout to the bottom line away from your opponent's base when you can spare the time. It will be a big threat to your opponent. I will talk more on how to place your unit Strategically.

    ii)When your mud golem moves to a good position to shake, hold there and use your scout or other unist to force your opponent to heal before attacking. and you can attacking 2 times in 3 turns without your opponent's cleric's heal. Hopefully, your opponent's cleric will never have a chance to heal again.

    iii)advance your dragon to a position that it can threaten cleric.

    iv)end of game knight duel, go to your opponent's behind rather than risking a block.

    v) attack a full healthy unit, which will immediately healed is a waste of turn.

    III)How to position and use your units stategically.

    move both your scouts to positions that can move to positions to hit your opponent's cleric and stoney, then stay there. Don't leave unlesss seriously wounded. If one of them wounded, retreat and use the other to attack. Even if all LOS is blocked by units or shrub, just by staying there is a great threat to your opponent.
    here are elements that will make the position more favorable.
    out of reach of your enemy's knight: very prefered.
    out of reach of your enemy's dragon: prefered.
    hard to shoot from side: prefered.
    can be barriered: prefered.

    ii)Beast Raider:
    The beast raider is the surprise attack force of your army. It's more vulnerable than scout, since it has to melee attack. use it when your opponent is focusing on killing your scout and his force is very spread out. Don't get down the bottom line easily. Since versatile is its greatest asset. It will bring chaos to an already chaotic situation.

    iii)mud golem:
    The mud golem is the ultimate spell breaker, but it's extremely vunerable, with low regeneration. Often, it could be taken down by scouts before it's put to good use. The key to use it is to protect it. Have a dragon in front of it so that any scout who dare to come near will be retaliated. Don't come near to knights and don't shake if cleric can heal easily. It should be acompanied by other units, and do what scouts can't accomplish.

    The knight is too slow for an attack force. It's path can be easily blocked, so it can't be use to hit vunerable units. It's greatest strength lies on it's defense. a knight is hard to kill, so you hardly need to move it around. Place it around the middle of the board to stop golem and scouts.

    with mud golem's new attack, not many people use Furgon any more. In fact, furgon is still pretty powerful. It will provide you the valuable time to regroup your force. If you know that you can't kill mud golem before it strike again, you can shrub your frosty and use use your frosty on the mud golem.

    IV)The dynamic of war
    How to balance your attack and defense is hard to describe here, and varies from battle to battle.
    One general advise: never go all defensive unless your opponent has lost both cleric and focus of stoney.

    I will talk more about it when I feel like to.

  3. #3



    Quote Originally Posted by Wayfaerer
    From the depths of the SW forums, enjoy 8)

    Poison Wisp

    Quote Originally Posted by Stone
    Poison wisp is one of the units that's underestimated by most vets among TAO community. For that I strongly disagree.

    Poison wisp in a average HP unit with long movement and average recovery time. Its attack from is very interesting. For every time one of the players ends the turn, the poisoned unit will lose 4 HP. Also the wisp does 4 HP intitial dmg. The draw back for the attack is that they cant kill the unit. sometimes a unit such as knight can escape the poison next turn easily and just hit it back the turn after.

    The reason for most people to underestimate this unit is the Cant-kill draw back and its HP. In my opinion, this is not a fighting unit. This unit is design to work as a trap unit. Note when i say trap unit, it does not mean freezing units.

    Poison wisp alone can play several roles in a game. The lure, the Rush and the Trap.

    The Lure--Since it has a low HP. It's probably the juiciest meat for most golds. They throws everything at it until they realized they went too far. I have my wisp near the center. My opponent usually shoot it with the scout the first attack if on the same side. Then i simply move 1 block back. As soon as he put out the ambusher, i heal and withdraw the wisp, or rushes in if the situation's right. Then i'll just sit back slaying the ambusher. I used this to lure ambusher because that unit's getting more annoying everyday. It can cause major damage to all double gold turtles. If they attack you with something else. I usually either run and hit with other units (such as knight), or rush in and take my chances for that 8HP on attackers.

    The Rush--the most straight forwarded way of using the wisp is to rush in with all other units and create a fortress of its own. since it has 6 movements. You should hide it behind knights or LW while rushing all other units in (scout, mud, beast, bushy, etc). when the right time comes, just rush them all in. Usually your opponent will try to break free. Then you should just go after the cleric while he/she's trying to finish off the wisp. After that if ur wisp survived u can just simply cast again. I use this technique to finish the cleric. Never fails.

    The Trap--the most sophisticated way of using this unit. This move involves some psychological tricks such as distraction. I just had a game with Niwa-tori. He was doing a physical rushing while i was turtling. I used my cleric as the distraction to get him to move his bushy, scout and mud near my area. I kept pissing him off with my scout and bushy on his mud. Then after he got everything ready and put the bushy further in. I quickly poison those 3 units, and i also paralized the scout just in case he got the chance to run. After that, with only knights and dragon, there's no way for him to win.

    Unit Combo:
    Wisp+Muddy. Since wisp is flying, mud's quake will not affect the wisp in anyways. Therefore, it is always helpful to poison several units then start quaking at them. Sooner or later they will die because mud can actually kill 8)

    Golem Ambusher

    Unlike the wisp, GTA is way more popular among rushers and turtlers nowadays. The reason to that is GTA is a range unit. Although the movement and no blocking&armor brought it down a bit, the LOSless advantage made it the most lethal cleric killer and focuz breaker.

    The LOSless attack pattern allows it to attack a unit as long as it's in range. This move limited the furgon freezer's abilities greatly. Most furgon+frosts user will a hard time keep up the fortress if the GTA's in the game. One of the general strategy to use furgon and GTA together is to grow weeds so scouts cant get GTA while it can still shoot. I think this strategy RARELY worked because c'mon, a mud can probably take on the whole forest, and since GTA doesn't have melee abilities, wat chances doe it have to survive? This strategy will work only if u have 2 or more freezers on ur side. Once the mud is in, grow trees again, then double/single freeze the mud. Otherwise, it's suicide.

    I favor my GTA as the Death of Clerics. I have it on the second row from the center, so if on the same side, it'll be albe to throw at the cleric and with the help of wisp or mud the cleric has no escape.

    NEVER move ur GTA in wihout armor/backup. It's one of the slowest unit besides stony, and it doesnt come with armor naturally. It will die without armor in 3-4 turns even when healed. And that's about the length of its recovery time. Unless u gonna go suicidal and push it up with a bigger plan, dont move your GTA too far from ur army.

    Here I'll teach some tricks I know so far that can nub a number of ppl.

    Cleric Killer
    Easy and straight forward. Have it on the second row from the board and it can usually reach the cleric on the same side. You can put armor on it then go OR attack with backups (scout, mud,wisp). It alone can't kill a cleric..unless ur opponent's a complete nub XC. If unfortunately ur opponent's on the opposite side, u should go for the next strat.

    The Artillery
    Try to push ur GTA to the center of the board with 1 or 2 knights guarding it. From there, it can attack almost everywhere on the board. Usually by the time GTA's at the center, ur flanking units (scout mud wisp beasty) should already arrived at ur enemies' base. BASH' EM ALL

    Those above r for Turtlers.
    Now let's talk about rush.

    Personally I dont like to use GTA for rush. Instead i rather choose a mud. Because mud's faster, has area dmg, and can do melee.

    If you are insisting of using GTA for rush. I suggest you put it on the second row, NEAR the center. Not at the center because it'll take GTA 5-6 movements to ambusher cleric or others (unless the cleric's in the center). Once it achieved its objective. Retreat it far away from ur enemies as u can. Because from there u can fight with ur melee units and GTA without threatening it.

    I perfer physical rush with GTA. Magical rush with GTA only works when ur right in spot and got lucky XC.

    Quote Originally Posted by TemplarX2
    Part of the guide that was preserved from digitalin. The guide is mostly for new players, refer to zzzackk guide for units missing in my guide.

    The most versatile unit on the battlefield. Movement and attack combined make him the unit with the longest reach. This is the major strength of the scout.

    unit against which the scout is strong includes: The witch, the pyro and most units that have low block and low armour.

    Scout is vulnerable against witch's and dragon's attack. Sending a unit like an assasin or a knight for a successful flanking or back attack followed by a witch is a sure sure way of killing a scout despite you healing once (the flanking unit will get at the back of the scout to finish him after the healing).


    Knights are tough as nails, they are the tanks of the battlefield. They are almost unstoppable killing machines when supported by clerics, BW and stone up. well almost unstoppable until they meet the enchanteress and Mister frost. so basically the knights iare strong against most units but weak against the enchanteress and frost golem due to restriction in his movement. The low recovery time is another great strength of the knight. Fielding all 3 knights is always recommended (there are exception of course), they provide excellent cover or barrier for weaker units and can be deployed in the most dangerous situation usually managing to survive the most severe beating. In term of absorbing damage the knight is only second to the dragon. But the Dragon become a sitting duck after he attacks, and can be bashed 4 time before he can moved whereas the knight will recover faster after he've attacked not to mention his formidable blocking ability. If you have 2 clerics sometime it is good tactics to send the knight as a flanking unit to try to get a cleric or a weak unit and thus opening the game. Always follow your knight with a scout or a mud for assistance or to go follow the kill of a wounded unit.

    Beast rider

    Beast rider can be called the noob magnet. usually it attracts a lot of attention. Contrary to appearance the beast rider is not a powerful unit by itself, but it is how you use it that is most important. The beast rider is best used as a rush unit. Position it at the centre of your front line.
    Place a mud golem 2 squares to his right or his left depending on the trend whether the opponent cleric is placeing him on the left or on the right (observe the trade but usually you can shift the mud during the game if need be to reach to the cleric since the beast rider is central he doesn't need shifting normally). A scout and ambusher should be nearby for further backing and greater efficiency (caution need to be taken against the frost always position a unit to defocus the frost or enchantress). As the match start move the beast rider deep into enemy territory. A clever opponent may block your path to the cleric but usually their setting is not adapted to the beast rider rush. Once the opponent turn is over, move the beast in to attack the cleric. If the opponent doesn't heal move in the mud to smash (if he heals try to follow it with a scout or ambusher instead). The beast rider does 19 and the mud weakest is 5, a total of 24, the perfect cleric killer. This strategy doesnot guarantee success but is very efficient against single and double cleric (that can be attacked at the same time by the beast rider). this strategy makes the beast rider a one trick pony and an expendable one but it usually kill the game or at least shift the game greatly to your advantage (you can however still lose). But again the beast rider attracts a lot of attention for some reason, and they have curious blocking pattern, sometime you may even be surprise to see the beast surviving the process. If you are relatively new and you have a beast rider and a mud try this strategy with your clan mates first. Note this is basic description, where the opponent take the bait, but against good players you'll have to adapt, for instance you may need to attack a BW or a frost to get though. Always have your scout and ambusher ready to back your beast rider, and always have the mud withing range before assaulting the opposition.

    Dragon Tyrant

    The dragon tyrant is to tactics arena what the knight is to chess. Most people used them carelessly. In fact the dragon is a unit that should be delpoyed at the crucial moment, it's pattern of movement allow it to finish escaping units despite them having a decent amount of hit point remaning. The dragon having such a large amout of hit point can also be permitted to act as a defender at time, protecting important unit like scout and cleric by blocking the opponent movement.

    The dragon can be problematic: it takes 2 units, has a high recovery time and is restricted by LOS. Dragon is extremely effective against most units, andt witches and cleric have absolutely no resistance to the dragon, being kill in one shot only (assuming they are not stoned up). Dragon shows some weakness against the knight and take considerable damage from the witch. One on one a full health knight will usually win a battle against a full health dragon killing the dragon in 4 attack (72 damage total) although the dragon can kill a knight in 3 attack (even with one heal), the dragon take more time to recover.


    They are as soft as toilet paper but they pack such a punch. witches if carefully used (especially defensively) can be formidable assets. Use her with a BW and the potential of the witch is magnified. The witch attack is strong against everything, but weak against most unit. The witch is extremely vulnerable to scout.


    The enchantress is the least feared unit by noobs but scared the hell out of experience players. The enchantress is a very complicated unit to use, used offensively the enchantress is practically worthless against an experience player but use defensively the enchantress is one of the strongest flank protectors in the game. As a matter of fact the enchantress should also be used with a barrier ward, however never use an enchantress if she is going to be defocused on the next turn. Also it is advisable to let an offending unit to come within one square from the limit of the board and them freeze it by placing the enchantress just in front of him. Usually the offending unit act as a protection for the enchantress and there is fewer position that the scout can use to defocus her. Placement her in a position where she has the minimum exposure to the enemy fire, even if that means you have to freeze one of your unit. If one of your unit is paralysed in the process to liberate the unit you just have to rotate the enchantress without wasting any more turn, the enchantress doesn't need to recover from a rotation. Using a corner give great advantages to the enchanteress since it reduces the number of positions where an opponent can assault her sometime forcing to move around giving the enchantress enough to recover or to use your unit to block the way of the opponent. When facing an enchanteress and frost combo, usually it is ill-advised to try to retrieve the frozen unit, you have to immediately direct assault elsewhere and try to gain something in the battle of attrition. Usually it is wiser to abandon the frozen unit rather that trying to retrieve it, unless you know what you are doing. Best way to deal with the enchantress is to have your scout covering you in all possible ways.

    Enchantress are weak against range unit (the scout being her worst nightmare) but strong against melee unit, knights are can be easily ensnared by the enchanty.

    to be continued....
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Shinok
    Most of the players uses BW to protect their dying units and their enchantresses when they are paralyzing their opponents.

    In my grey games, I don't just use my BW to protect my units, I also use it to prevent my opponents' dying units that's nearby my turtle.

    For example, my oppoent's knight is on 14hp and is near my turtle, in next turn, the opponent will use the cleric to heal the knight back up but I would use my barrier ward on the knight to prevent him from doing that. Helps alot, I do that in some of my grey games.

  4. #4



    Quote Originally Posted by Bottle
    I know there's been a lot of these recently, but many of them have had inconsistencies or things that I don't agree with. Now I would humbly say that I am probably amongst the best greys on FPS (as shown by my inclusion on the now defunct FPS team to take on legends), so I thought I'd make one too. I might add that with this strategy, I have gone unbeaten grey-to-grey for 3 months with my no-drop setup, apart from one game against a good player with good luck, and have an unbeaten 18-match run against golds. So listen up.

    My take on all the grey units.


    Many newbs consider the knight to be the only way to way a grey game. I've lost count of the number of 900-rated-or-so greys who've taken out my knights at great cost to themselves, because they believe (as I did once) that whoever has the most knights in the endgame wins. They are wrong. The knight is not an endgame unit, except in particular circumstances, but rather a powerful weapon to throw out early in the game.

    The knight has many strengths, and few weaknesses. Its main strength is for dealing with lightly armored units with a high recovery, such as the scout, pyro, witch and cleric. A common and effective tactic for knights is to move into attack range of a mage, take the hit, move in and attack, heal, then attack again and retreat. A knight will kill a cleric, pyro or witch in 2 hits regardless of healing, and since the knight recovers before the mage does, he can attack twice and then retreat to safety. This means you end up a unit up, and your knight is in a safe knight wall on about 30 HP (depending on what happened between his attacks), which can easily be healed.

    The knight is also the best way to kill the scout, which if you can do without losing too much of you own stuff, will win you the game 90% of the time. A good player will keep his scout away from the knights though, so you'll need to be bold and charge in. I would gladly swop one knight or even two to get the enemy scout, so long as my chanty is still alive.

    Knights are also vital in same side turt matches, where they make a solid wall from which you can spring attacks on weak spots in your opponent's formation. Just be careful of mages hidden behind the enemy knight wall, which can chip away at your knights faster than you can heal. If possible, try to use your knights to take a LW hit. Ths then renders the enemy's LW useless for 4 turns, in which time you can get your other 2 knights through a hole and close to your opponent's cleric.

    Only one thing can stop a lone knight with 2 cleric backup, using the attack-heal-attack-heal technique, and that's a chanty. But we'll come to that later. Just make sure that you don't send your knights into freezing range while your scout is in recovery, because if you do, it's basically a one-shot kill if your opponent knows what he's doing.


    The third most important unit in the grey game for defense, and most important for attack, is the scout. With its massive range of 10, this guy will save you life against a good player and cause havoc against a bad player.

    As mentioned already, the scout has one major weakness; its susceptability to knights (and witches). Don't take your scout into range of a witch unless it's absolutely necessary, or if it will win you the game as a result (eg. to kill a chanty, or cleric if the chanty is dead already). It should be moved into a safe, but threatening position at the start of the game, and stay there. It should NOT be used to attack anything until the chanty is dead, unless you haven't got your knights in close yet. Don't leave it isolated either; a determined knight can reach it even with its long movement range. And at all costs, DO NOT MOVE IT INTO CHANTY RANGE. Remember, a chanty that just moves, waits, then moves again has a range of 8, and will freeze the scout before the scout recovers. If you have to move the scout within 8 spaces of the chanty, ensure that the chanty will then be either out of BW range or attacked by another unit before it can be barriered. This cannot be stressed enough. You get your scout frozen and the offending chanty barriered, and you can say goodbye to the game.

    Now, the scouts strengths. If you don't know LOS, you're wasting the potential of one of your best units. It is vital knowledge, not least for when you want to defend against an enemy scout. No cleric will ever be safe again once you've memorised this. (View first post for Scout LOS)

    Another strength of the scout is when you don't have time for your knight to make 2 attacks on a witch. A knight/scout combo will kill a witch regardless of healing, but not a pyro. Pyros are better dealt with by the knight alone, or the scout alone. A scout takes 3 turns to kill a pyro, even when it's healed once. This is quite difficult to pull off, so I'd recommend using a knight to take pyros if you can.

    Finally, don't expect the scout to block everything from the front. Look at it this way; would you expect a knight to block a side shot? No? In that case, don't expect a scout to not miss a front block. It's exactly the same chance.

    In summary, the scout is very much a focus-breaker and finisher-off of weakened units in the grey game, and as such should be kept well out of the action. Keeping it in BW range is recommended if the enemy is close to you.


    One of the most targeted units in the grey and gold game, and with good reason. If you can swop anything other than your scout or chanty for the cleric, do so. If you have have enough units left to make a solid defense, and can outlast the opponent, then getting the cleric should win you the game.

    The cleric is very specifically designed not to be able to heal a critically injured unit very fast. It's a fact of the game, and one you need to use to your advantage. Many flawless wins are due to a player not understanding how a cleric works. If it heals 12 points to every unit, then make sure damage taken on your units is spread around. Similarly, focus on one enemy unit at a time to prevent the enemy cleric's full effectiveness.

    12 may not sound much when the biggest attack on the game is 30 and the minimum is 15, but factor in the 3 recovery (you should never move your cleric around, unless it's about to die anyway) and give yourself a cleric drop, and you can heal 24 HP every 4 turns. But don't get obsessed with healing, because that only leaves every other turn for an attack. If you're not attacking, your opponent has free rein to move and attack as he wishes.

    Don't look at a 2 cleric formation and think "oh god, how can I beat this". Or rather, do. The answer is simple; still concentrate on one unit at a time. To save a mage from the knight's attack-heal-attack routine, you'd need to heal twice, and the mage will still be on less than 10 HP and the enemy's clerics both in recovery. In a game like this, your enchantress will be of even more use, because to *kill* a unit, she doesn't inflict damage. See the chanty section for help with this. Don't try and kill a knight when the enemy has 2 cleric, because it's a waste of time. The enemy will wreak havoc, retreat once the knight is on about 20 HP, and heal it back up to full health. Use a chanty instead, r better still, go on the attack and aim for the weaker units. And remember, 2 clerics means one less attacking unit, which means one less person to get in the way of you killing the chanty and cleric(s).

    A turtle should always have a cleric in the corner, and often have a BW on one side of it or just in front of it. Defending the cleric is a lot easier if the BW is next to the cleric, because knights can't get through. Of course, if you're using your BW, then the knights can break through it, so be careful. And putting a BW next to a cornered unit means only one route of escape too. But with the cleric, this is of little consequence, since moving the cleric is usually a waste of time.


    This section is vital. The chanty will only get involved in about 50% of your games, but of those 50%, she will singlehandedly win about 25% of them. She's just that good.

    Since nads' chanty site section is down, I'm going to have to write the chanty tactics section out myself. It's going to be the biggest one, too. *grumble*

    Now, the chanty is a mighty weapon, but has one major weakness: the scout. If she gets attacked by a melee unit when she is not recovering, she can simply freeze the offending unit, be healed, and barriered again, and you have another unit trapped. The chanty is only of any real use when you use her in conjunction with a BW, because if she gets attacked while she's still recovering, you can say goodbye to her.

    When using the chanty, you have to take down the ranged units first (see the tactics section). After that, if you've got enough units left and the chanty and BW still intact, you should never lose the game. Imagine it's your cleric, BW, chanty scout and knight vs. 3 knights and assassin. The enemy has to attack you, or get picked off slowly by the scout. So you draw in one knight to freezing range, make sure that no other knight/assassin can attack you where you are moving to, and freeze the knight, being sure that you don't freeze your BW at the same time. (Freezing one of your own units doesn't matter that much; indeed, it makes opponents more likely to attack them, meaning that they can be frozen too.) When another knight charges up to attack the chanty, you barrier. 2 turn recovery left. The knight attacks the barrier, and you heal. 1 turn recovery left. The knight still has to wait, and maybe moves up another knight. You snipe the frozen knight with your scout, so the enemy is more desperate to get the chanty. 0 recovery left. The recovered knight attacks the chanty... and you refreeze. Now you have 2 knights.

    The enemy, by now, will be desperate. He'll send in another knight. As soon as he gets within striking distance of your chanty, you barrier her again. (Heal if possible before barriering.) He will attack the barrier, killing it if he is using a knight. By now though, both your cleric and your chanty should be recovered. Use your cleric, and move him up next to the chanty. If the enemy attacks the cleric, you freeze the knight that does it as well, and now you have 3 knights trapped. If he attacks the chanty, the chanty freezes again. The chanty is then surrounded on all sides and unable to be attacked. You can then pick off the assassin with your scout and knight.

    As you can see, a seemingly weak position (4 attackers vs. 2) has been won by the chanty.

    The other main use of the chanty is against 2-cleric formations. It takes a heck of a lot to kill a knight backed up by 2 clerics. The answer? Don't play to your enemy strengths. If there's no easy way to kill the units, don't kill them. Use your chanty to freeze the knights, as shown above, and you don't need to worry about the double clerics.

    Remember that a good player will know the potential of the chanty, and deal with it. Send in 2 knights and have a scout hanging around, and even the best chanty/BW formation will have serious problems. If the scout is not recovering, the chanty will be shot before she can be barriered, and then she has 3 recovery and a few angry knights next to her. Not good news. For defending against this, you'll need knights and assassins for your chanty to hide behind. But the danger then is that a witch will move up through the area where the enemy knights are, you'll be unable to send out knights to kill her without being broken through, and you'll lose your cleric. Then you're in trouble.

    Surprisingly, a chanty form is best suited to attack, similar to the furgon. But that will be covered in my Tactics section.

    Barrier Ward (BW for short).

    The most underrated unit in the game is undoubtably the BW. It's got a lot of potential, and not just as a defensive unit.

    In defense, though, it's incredibly useful. With the chanty, it can *kill* 3 knights without a problem. It can be used to barrier a precariously positioned unit and give it the chance for another attack, or for it to retreat and be healed. It can be used as part of a defensive wall of knights. Although, as stated above, even it can't save you from a witch kill on the cleric if you're playing all-out defense.

    In attack, you need to be more careful. If it's positioned at the back rank, flanking the cleric, its atacking potential is limited. But if it's close to the LW, near the front but not so close as it's easily targeted by a scout, it's very useful. When the enemy has just used his LW, send up a mage and attack. Take a hit on the mage and barrier, wait until you've recovered, and attack with the mage again and retreat and heal. BWs are the only thing that can stop the old knight-kills-mage routine.

    You should position your BW either on the back rank, or 2 spaces behind the LW. That way, knights can't attack it without entering LW range, scouts have difficulty getting it, and mages can't attack it without flanking or moving into LW range either. They have more attacking potential when behind the LW, but they are also easier to snipe and don't protect the cleric as well. It's up to you, but I prefer to put mine next to the cleric.

    Lightning Ward (LW for short).

    While we're on the subject of wards, let's talk about the often-misused LW. People always seem to use it on my knights in a same-side turtle match. Why? My knight still has 27 HP left, and your LW is useless for 4 turns. Even worse are the people who use their LW on my LW. You can go on and on about how a witch-LW-pyro combo kills a LW, but I don't care about that. You waste a few turns doing that. Meanwhile, I'll send my knights in to kill a couple of your mages. If I feel like it, I'll barrier the LW when it's on about 10 HP, so you still can't move your mages past it and you've wasted time trying to kill something that isn't going to die.

    Now, how to use a LW PROPERLY. Answer: don't use it.

    It's going to be a threat unit, and a wall unit. As a wall, it's immensely useful; it can block the witch from getting your cleric (but from only 1 direction, remember... a flanking witch will still get you), and it blocks knights from getting through. That's all its use will be, though, if you insist on using it on knights or other LWs. The threat is gone as soon as it's used. You may find that you zap a knight, and then get 3 or 4 mages in your face, walloping your knight wall all over the place, and you can't do anything about it. Even if you save it, you can only use it one 1 mage, but the THREAT is still there. People won't mind losing a mage in a few turns time, but for some reason, they won't send in a mage as bait for the LW and then charge with other mages. So capitalise on this, and keep your LW ready to fire.

    In an opposite side turtle match, the LW often does absolutely nothing. But it still makes people go around it. It's a psychological weapon, and often nothing more. But even psychological weapons can be useful. If it makes your opponent waste a turn going around it, use that extra turn to full advantage.

    Finally, don't move a mage into LW range immediately after the LW as attacked. While your mage will indeed recover first, it will only do so one turn before the LW does, so you have to move it out straight away or it'll get zapped. If your opponent has moved a knight up next to your cleric in the meantime, you often have to choose between saving your cleric and saving your mage.


    Any unit which has another attack added to it was obviously not strong enough beforehand. This is the case with the assassin. While it makes a useful flanker, it dies in 2 hits from a knight or knight/scout, and also from a LW/witch hit regardless of healing. Therefore, you need to keep it out of range of high-powered units, although with it being a melee unit this is often very hard. And similar to the knight, it gets stopped dead by the chanty too.

    The new attack, dubbed the "ass bomb", is interesting but often not used. Again, it's a potential threat. People will waste time killing the assassin, being careful not to reduce it to 5 or less HP. You have to use that time wisely. Once someone has been got by the ass bomb once, they won't let it happen again. So the only advantage it has is to make your opponent worry.

    I use my assassin as a wall unit. Its superior blocking make it useful for this, and also handy for breaking focus when my scout isn't able to. That's about all it does. With 18 power, little HP, and the need to be close to attack, it's too easily killed and not strong enough for my liking. It's the first unit to take out when you get a cleric, chanty or witch drop, after the pyros.

    Dark Magic Witch (DMW or witch for short).

    This is a difficult unit to use well. It has so little blocking and HP that 2 hits from virtually anything will kill it even with healing, and 3 most certainly will. So you need to protect it.

    This is best achieved with a BW, using the technique described above. If you take a hit but aren't threatened by anything immediately after attacking, heal and THEN barrier. This will give you more HP to play with after you de-barrier and retreat.

    The witch, in the opposite corner turtle game, is either a flanking unit (if your opponent is defending) or as a unit for dealing with anything that gets through your defenses (if your opponent attacks). It's very, very useful for taking on attacking, unsupported scouts; take a hit, attack back, heal and barrier, and the enemy scout is on 18 (or 30 if they heal), your witch is on 22 and safe, and the enemy scout then has to retreat. It's also good for finishing off any knights that have got through your defensive wall, and preventing that cleric kill. And if you can do it, your opponent will too, so when you're attacking a defensive form, try and take out the witches if you can. This will stop your knights from being killed before they can get the cleric/chanty.

    In a same side turtle game, the witch is far more useful. A LW/witch combo kills anything grey and mobile in the game except for the knight (which is left on 9). It also virtually kills a scout, even if the scout is healed. A common tactic is to barrier your injured knights, and use you witch to attack through the barriered knight to get to the enemy knights, without exposing your witch. You can also attack through your own full health knights (so long as there's nothing else threatening them) to kill any weakened units, and then heal later. And of course, if your opponent uses his LW, you can move up, do the BW trick, and just leave the witch there. It's a constant threat that way. Threats are everything in this game; they stop your opponent doing what he wants, and that gives you a chance to do what you want instead.

    Witches are also good in rushes, but since I don't use a rush, I won't go into that.

    Pyromancers (pyro for short)

    I don't like pyromancers. I'll get that straight right now. I think they're underpowered, easily killed, and their attack pattern doesn't get used enough.

    Anyway, now for the strategy. I've actually already made a post about this elsewhere on this forum, so I'm going to copy and paste it. Apologies in advance for that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bottle
    Firstly, don't stray too close to knights with them. Two knights hits kills a pyro even if healed once. A common mistake for newbs is to burn a knight first turn. I simply move up my knight and attack, he heals, I heal (negating the damage I took), he maybe takes a swing at my knight, I attack his pyro again and retreat back into my knight wall. Result: 17 damage (maybe) on my knight, 2 turn recovery on my cleric (both of which are irrelevant unless there are more pyros and witches around, because my knight wall is pretty solid), and I'm only facing 9 units.

    Secondly, you can't put them near the front line and not expect them to come under heavy scout fire. Anyone who knows scout line of sight will just shoot straight through your knight wall and hit the pyro, and again, 3 hits kills a pyro even with one heal.

    Thirdly, many people think "Oh, that LW is in recovery, I can move my pyros past it." You can't. Pyros have 3 recovery, LWs have 4, so ONLY if the LW has ONLY JUST acted can you move past it and attack. Otherwise, your pyro will still have recovery when the LW is ready for another shot. And even if you do move the pyro past it straight after the LW blast, there's always the chance that a good player will then move up a knight or scout to attack an undefended piece like the cleric, so you have to spend time protecting it... and if you don't move the pyro as soon as it has recovered, it will die from the LW shot... so you may end up having to choose to lose your cleric or pyro.

    The main strengths of the pyro are that they can finish off very weak units without fear of blocking, and their long attack range (7 spaces). This makes them the only focus breakers you have, other than your scout. If the enemy is using a chanty, they will be useful if kept back and saved for the endgame, especially if your scout has been killed. As abyaly said, you can use them to force an opponent to heal and waste his cleric, but always consider the fact that a good player may well think that a knight on 39 health will still be able to take several hits before dying, and choose to go for the pyro instead of healing. The best way to force the opponent to heal is to do damage to weaker units like the scout, assassin, mages and enchantress, because they will die in 1 or 2 more hits unless healed immediately.

    As you can see, I've already made most of these points here, but that should reinforce them.

  5. #5



    Quote Originally Posted by Bottle
    Right, now that I've covered the individual units, I'm going to expand on the strategies I've hinted at so far.

    I'm not going to cover rush grey matches, because those commonly depend on opening position and who gets first turn anyway. A good turtler, however, will beat a good rusher (in the grey game) 80% of the time.

    Before I get going, I'll give my definition of a grey turtle. It is this: A turtle is a formation which has a solid defensive wall, with the ability to break out and attack. It is usually clustered in one corner or (occasionally) in the centre. Therefore, a same side turtle match will commonly have two knight walls facing each other, maybe a few mages behind it, and a LW in the middle of the wall, and a cleric or two at the back. An opposite corner turtle match will have two formations a long way away from each other.

    Tactics section: how to play the game.

    Miscellaneous tactics.

    1. I said earlier that scouts will shoot a chanty before she can be barriered. This is not always true, and this is why you should not actually use your scout until the chanty is dead. If you move or attack with your scout while the chanty is still alive, and your knights are nearby, then the chanty will freeze the knights and barrier before the scout has a chance to recover and break the focus. In other words, the scout may as well not have been there. You can use this to your advantage too, if you are ever in the position of being attacked by knights; offer a unit as scout bait, get your opponent to use the scout, and then freeze and barrier.
    2. Don't go after a unit unless you think you're 99% sure you're going to kill it. There's no point in reducing a knight to 1 HP while it devastates your formation, only for it to retreat into a knight wall and be healed back to full health 16 turns later, while you take potshots at it's front hoping for a lucky hit. Similarly, if you can do this to an opponent, it's a good way of annoying them.
    3. Try and think about what your opponent is planning. This is not necessary against a bad player, who often has no idea what they're doing anyway, but against a good player look at the game from his perspective. See what you would do in his position (which is often what he's about to do), and move accordingly. If you can stop him making the move he wants to, that's always useful; it throws out his battle plans and makes him think higher of you. If he thinks he can't beat you in attack because you block his moves, he will defend. Then you can attack him where you choose, rather than where he chooses.
    4. A master of LOS rules will not only use them in attack, but also block them in defense. Without a furgon, this can be difficult, but when using a chanty it's often helpful to stay on the back rank with a unit just in front of you, as this blocks off the *aim for the square behind* LOS shot. This is far more pertinent in a gold game, but it's useful in the grey game too, if you can pull it off. And be sure to block all LOS shots to the cleric if you can. Putting him in the corner helps this a lot.
    5. As stated above, don't play to your opponent's strengths. If he has 2 clerics, you're not going to be able to beat him in a straight battle. You either have to kill the clerics (recommended, but not always possible, despite there being 1 less attacker to defend them) or freeze the tough units (knights) and pick off the weak ones (scout, mages, chanty) before they can be healed.

    Opposite side turtle matches.

    You'll find many variations on turtle formations. Some players who haven't tried the chanty before will use 2 pyros instead of the chanty/BW, or even a witch drop or two if they have one. Some will have a second cleric instead of the chanty. Some will have the chanty, and no pyros. Whichever formation you are facing, your tactics should always be the same; attack.

    Look at it this way. Would you rather be worrying about how to guard your cleric the whole time, or making your opponent worry about how to guard his cleric the whole time? That's what I say to people who say, "ah, well greys don't have enough firepower to attack". Greys do have firepower, and they are called knights. People just don't seem to be willing to risk them.

    So many formations that you play will defend against you. That's fine; it allows you to strike where you want. And the place to strike is the enemy's weakest point, which is commonly the flank. There's no LW there, and usually no knights at the start. So move your 2 knights from your knight wall up, and put your scout in the corner opposite your opponent on your opponent's side of the field; well away from any attackers, but with the ability to move in and attack any space in the opponent's corner of the board. The threat is what matters. Leave the scout there, and move in with the knights.

    Bad opponents will leave holes in the defensive line, thinking that if your knight comes through the hole, he'll be killed/frozen. Call their bluff and march through with both knights at once. Aim to kill any chanties first, since they die in 3 hits from knights even with 2 healings (the last hit can be made with the scout), and that then frees up your scout. Use the scout and the knights that are left to reach the enemy cleric. (Even if the cleric is barriered, you have a scout to break the barrier's focus.) You should be able to kill the chanty and the cleric before you lose both knights. When you have achieved this, retreat your scout and any surviving knights, and heal up.

    Your opponent will be shellshocked (hopefully) by this. Now is the time to strike with your other knight, assassin, and witch. Take out the enemy scout (now that the cleric is dead, it only takes 2 hits from knight/witch, and retreating the scout into the knight wall will only delay its death). You should now be left with 3 knights, an assassin, and mages (which can be sniped by your scout) to deal with. Roll on the chanty, as mentioned above.

    If your opponent doesn't use a chanty, even better. This gives you pretty much free rein to use your scout as well as your knights right from the off. Go for the mages first, as they will be the main problems to your knights, being unblockable. Then go for the cleric. You'll then be in the same position as above, and you'll most likely still have one of your attacking 2 knights left.

    You may find a good opponent will move knights across to cover the flank when you attack with your knights. This is where the assassin comes in handy, as a flanker. Move her over to the other flank, that the enemy knights have just vacated (near the LW), and move past the LW without entering it's range using her superior movement. The enemy will send over a knight to kill the assassin or face losing their cleric, and you get in through the hole left by the knight with your own knights, as above. If the enemy uses mages to kill the assassin, it might be a good idea to send a knight over there too. Remember, knights beat mages once they get stuck in, because they can take a good few hits before dying. Moreover, the enemy mages will get no support from their own knights, who are holding the flank.

    So in summary, to beat an opposite corner turtle, attack the flank with knights and have a scout as support, and get the cleric. Kill the scout and mages, and mop up the melee units with your chanty when they attack you.

    On the other hand, you might be playing someone as good as you, who has also read this strategy guide and wants to attack you as much as you want to attack him. In this sort of game, whoever gets in amongst the opponent first will win, there not being enough defenders to stop them. (If you decide to defend, what I've said above will happen, only it'll happen to YOU.) So you need to get your knights in there quicker than they get theirs in.

    Sometimes, a good way to do this is to attack one of the knights before they get into position. Using your witch on one knight and then barriering it, then maybe taking a side shot with your scout as you move it up will reduce a knight to 18 HP, enough for the witch to finish it off. (If the enemy heals this damage, they're wasting time which you can use to attack yourself or to deal more damage to that knight. Concentrate on one unit at a time, remember?) This may make that knight retreat, and the second that it has to retreat, he has lost. He will have his scout and one knight stranded, another knight injured and pulled back, and your knights and scout ready to charge his flank which has 1 knight left to defend it.

    This is the best thing to do if you have second turn. If the enemy has first turn, they will usually get to you before you get to them. If you get first turn, you should be able to do likewise, although it is possible that the enemy may go for broke and kill your cleric while you're killing his. Then it's a free-for-all, which can't be helped by any tactical talk from me, but improvised as you go along.

    Same side turtle matches.

    This section is the hardest to write, as a lot depends on exact positioning of frontline units. However, I do have one excellent tactic that allows me to even beat people who have extra pyros, who are therefore at a massive advantage by being able to break down the enemy front line easier.

    First move, blast their knight which has its flank open with your LW. Don't waste your time going for the enemy LW; it will just get barriered when it gets low on health, and you don't have the unblockable units to kill it anyway if you're not including a pyro. Hopefully the enemy will fall for the trick, and use his LW as well. This leaves your witch open to advance in front of your own row of knights, blast the same knight (leaving it on 9), and barrier the witch next turn.

    If he moves the knight back, the path is open for a witchburn on his cleric. If he leaves it there, use your flanking scout to shoot at its flank or move up your own knight to attack it. If he barriers it, his BW is now occupied- you can go for another unit with your LW, and when your witch has recovered, retreat it again.

    Be careful in using your BW. Once you've used it, that unit can't be healed and often can't retreat either because it risks dying. Try not to commit your BW early, except if the enemy focuses on your LW (which can't retreat anyway). Try to keep your scout options open, so any injured unit that does retreat can be shot at. Go after the enemy scout first as usual, if you can; it's still the most important unit on the field, and 60% blocking isn't that much. By the same token, don't let your own scout become the focus of enemy attacks, especially by mages.

  6. #6



    Quote Originally Posted by Madars
    The LW is the games most powerful unit not including the assasins self destruct move.In my oppinion this is a turtelers best friend and is a must if ur grey.the only sucky part about the LW is it cant move and its slow recovery time,but if someone gets too close with there wich or pyro u can kill them in one one of the most common places to put the LW is 4 spaces in front of cleric so a rusher with a wich cant kill ur cleric on its first move.and one stupid thing i see noobs doing a lot is putting there LW in a rush and i wouldnt suggest doing that.ok i hope this helped some of u n00bish ppl,peace and good luck with ur new LW strategy.

    Madars 8)
    Quote Originally Posted by Essence
    Observation 1: People almost never attack with their Knights if you provide a valid threat with your opening move.


    1a) Lightning Ward + Barrier Ward + Knight is all the defense a Cleric needs. *Placing an LW 3 squares in front of the Cleric (not 4!) and a Knight in front of that allows you to off any non-Knight offender that might wander up to slay your Cleric. *First move in with the Knight and strike. *If you hit, don't stress -- the LW will finish off whatever it might be if it sticks around to injure your Cleric. *If you miss, BW the Cleric and Knight again. *Most units will take the second hit, and which point even if they've broken Barrier, again, the LW can finish them off if they attack the Cleric.

    (If you have a Muddie, it gets even better, as the Muddie can be 3 squares away from the LW and still teleport close enough to kill off any non-Knight that the LW has hit with a Ground Pound.)

    2a) Place your other Knights on the front line in the middle, so you can flank a turtle on either side, or break a rush (they usually have their most fragile units in the middle to avoid being broken by a side turtle). *In either case, you've provided valid threat from the get-go, and in 90% of games, the opponent won't be willing to commit his Knights to the offense.

    Observation 2: A Cleric, a Chanty, and a BW is almost always a win against 3 Knights.

    2a) Don't even try to kill an enemy Knight unless he makes it really easy. *Go for the Cleric, Chanty, Scout, and Casters in that order -- and use your Knights to do it!

    2b) Don't be afraid to let your Chanty take a hit if it means nabbing another Knight in her web. *As long as you can Cure before you Barrier OR the enemy Knight and your Chanty are more than 4 squares away from the BW, you've got the game in the bag as soon as you get the second Knight. *(For this reason, keep the Chanty on the outskirts of BW range.) *

    Observation 3: Many people quit as soon as you prove that they can't save their Cleric.

    3a) Agress with both Knights and your Scout. *The Scout can break Chanty/BW focus if they get involved, and more importantly, once your opponent is caught up in dealing with the Knights and has broken formation to do so, you can almost always find an in-road with your Scout to off their Cleric. *Once it's obvious what your intention is, they WILL come for your Scout -- and that's when you swing the Knights into a position to step up to the Cleric. *I win 30% of my games by submission as soon as that point has been reached.

    3b) Don't do that! *If someone kills your Cleric, it sucks -- but the game is far from over. *Pull back as quickly as you can without exposing yourself. *The unit that killed the Cleric shouldn't survive the attempt (see 1a, above). *Above all else, kill their Scout, because once your Cleric is down, a lot of the win is going to be on your Chanty. *You have to pin down their Knights to draw their casters into the open.

    Observation 4: Lightning Wards almost always appear in the center row, or 4 squares in front of a cornered Cleric.

    4a) Don't EVER put any unit except Knights and Wards on the front row except on the very edge. *Every other square might get LWed on the first turn, and really put a hurting on your offense. *Similarly, don't put anything on the second row on any column where a LW would frequently get placed, for the same reason.

    Observation 5: Pyros are crap unless and until you have killed the enemy Cleric.

    5a) Unless you are very proactive and have a good plan to kill the enemy Cleric quickly (i.e. you are God with a Scout and/or have a Muddie at your disposal that you're willing to sacrifice to get the job done), don't bother with Pyros.

    5b) If you see an enemy with multiple Pyros, immediately start watching his moves against your Cleric closely. *His Pyros will get really scary pretty fast if you suddenly find out that they're doing 15 damage (not 3) per unit hit.

    Final Note: Units that can serve multiple functions over the course of a game are particularly valuable.

    For example, BWs can serve in the early game to make a rapid Scout sortie into enemy territory a much more viable tactic, and in the late game, they can be the game-clincher when it's down to 3 Knights vs. your Chanty. *They also make good wall components, serving, with the LW and your Knights (and sometimes Assassins, but that's not always the best idea) to buffer against enemy meleers/Scouts.

    Similarly, Witches are often best for threat value in the early game -- smart opponent's just won't place their Scout within easy reach of a Witch. *But in the end game, when there's just a few units left, a Witch can often slowly, over several turns, kill an LW from outside of it's range, removing the last great defensive bulwark from an opponent's side.

    Overall, in my experience, it's best to LOOK like a turtle, but PLAY like a rush. *It provides you with a slight psychological advantage, but most importantly, if you set up like you're going to play a turtle, you'll have in mind exactly what your responses will be to the major threats (specifically Scouts and Witches), and of course, because you know what your plan is, those responses won't involve the units you've committed to making your foe's life miserable.

  7. #7



    Quote Originally Posted by Essence
    How to build your own form and not suck with it.

    Article 1: Universal concepts and ideas behind building a non-sucky form.

    General Rules:

    Rule #1: Know how you're trying to win.

    Really, everyone in TAO is trying to accomplish the same thing: kill and/or paralyze all of your opponent's units without getting all of your units killed and/or paralyzed along the way. But each form has strengths and weaknesses about how it's going to accomplish that goal. Some forms have no method of paralyzing foes, and thus are weaker against hard-to-kill units like Knights and Dragons. Some forms have no magical offense, and thus are weaker against high-blocking units like Knights and Assassins. The point is, if you start with a goal in mind, like "I'm seeing a lot of grey turtles dominating the field; I want to make a form that can whup up on a grey turtle," the general structure of your form can coalesce around that goal.

    Rule #2: Every piece should have a specific purpose for being where it is.

    Lots of forms have specific reasons for many of their placements. The standard Scout-Knight-LW-Knight-Knight front wall is a perfect example - the arrangement puts a lot of high-Blocking units in an arrangement where the only obvious attack with a reasonable chance of succeeding (a Knight side shot) is against a unit that won't be crippled by it AND puts the attacker in LW range.
    But most forms also have a few units that get put down somewhat thoughtlessly at the end. When you've placed your Cleric, your front wall, and maybe a Chanty/BW combo, how do you decide where the last couple of units go? The answer is "read Rule #1." Make sure that every unit you place has a role in accomplishing your goal.

    Rule #3: Give your form a chance to evolve.

    Putting the last piece down and hitting the Lobby button is just the beginning of your new form's life. You will learn, as you play it, that you may have failed to take something into account. You may, in fact, learn that your fundamental idea of how to win has a flaw (which is almost the only case in which you should promptly start over with Rule #1 and a brand-new form.) Often, for example, I forget entirely about Mud Golems when I build my grey forms, and I suffer because of it.
    Point being, try your form out for at least a dozen games and make changes to it as you notice correctable problems with it. Just don't lose sight of your goal, and remember that every change you make causes your old idea of the unit's function in your 'how' to become invalid - so don't make those changes lightly unless you made the original decision lightly.

    Rule #4: Keep your enemy in mind.

    Build every form to be able to handle the types of offense that you see most often. If you seem to play a lot of Knight-Knight-Scout flankers, be prepared to thwart them. If you see mage bombs a lot when you're online, plan an aggressive response. Regardless of your goal, your enemy is going to have a plan, and part of building your form is understanding how to disrupt HIS plan in the chance that he happens to be able to prevent you from enacting yours.

    Specific Steps:

    Step A: Ponder the entire board before you start.

    There are several 'generic' setups out there, and the logic behind their creation is powerful. It's so instinctive to corner your Cleric that most people don't stop to consider that centering your Cleric has advantages, too. Look at your goal, and decide whether it's best accomplished by starting on a side or by starting centered, or by starting halfway between the two. Generally, defensive goals are furthered by starting on one side, while offensive and deceptive ones are furthered by starting in the center or slightly off-center.

    Step B: Place your most vulnerable units first.

    This includes your Cleric, and may or may not include Enchantresses, Golems, Witches, and Wisps. These units need to be placed with a specific idea of how they're going to contribute to your goal, or they won't do so as well as they can. Also, once you know where they're going to end up, you'll know where the more survivable units need to be placed to protect them. Because Scouts are so critical to most games, you may want to consider your Scout to be a 'vulnerable unit' because it draws a lot of fire.

    Step C: Protect the assets most critical to your goal.

    Many forms seem built entirely to protect the Cleric, and they lose sight of the fact that the Cleric is not the unit most important to their goal. If your goal is to force a long-distance war by pinning the opponent in place with a Furgon and then sniping with an Ambusher, you need to build your form with the purpose of keeping your Ambusher alive. (Now granted, that's a questionable goal, but I'm making a point here.) In almost every case, a form needs to be able to defend it's Scout, it's Cleric, and possibly an Enchantress or Frost Golem. If your goal requires a particular unit to accomplish, then you need to make sure that that unit isn't put somewhere that it may be easily killed in the early game.

    By following these rules and steps, you will create a form that, even if it doesn't look anything like "normal", you will understand and be able to use well. With luck, it will stand the dozen-games test and lead you to a new style of play. If not, you will have at the minimum learned why that form doesn't work and how you can create a form with a similar goal that's more effective.

    Next time: An examination of some of the goals that some popular forms have and how those goals interact when the forms collide: Wall turts, Cluster turts, Flankers, Rushes, Bombs, and Snipers.

  8. #8



    Quote Originally Posted by Essence
    How to Build your Own Form and not Suck With It.

    Last time: Universal concepts and ideas behind building a non-sucky form.

    Article #2: The most successful 'goals' to have in mind while form-building, and how they interact with each other.

    Why does a form work?

    Every form that works well does so because the pieces are in position to further the accomplishment of a goal. The interaction between your objective and your opponent's objective is, on a strategic level, what decides the actions that occur on a tactical level.

    If your form has a goal that is defensive in nature, and you play another form that is defensive in nature, the game will proceed very differently than if you play a form that is retaliatory in nature. The best forms work because they can stand up on a strategic level against a variety of other form's goals, either by adapting their play style (and, essentially, their goal), or by simply stand up well under more circumstances than another form.

    In my experience, I've come across six recurring 'types' of form, each with it's own basic goal. Keep in mind, there are lots of other ideas and forms out there that I couldn't possibly cover; this is just a look at what I see most often.

    1) The Wall Turtle:
    Keep my vulnerable units away from his attackers, and leave a place to retreat to and heal up.

    Definately the most-often occuring form in TAO today. Mostly grey and single-gold, the Wall Turtle has an essentially defensive goal. It is a very successful goal, however, because it is surprisingly flexible. If an opponent comes up with a Bomb, the Wall Turtle generally has several powerful attackers right at hand to 'go aggro' on the weak casters. If an opponent is playing another Wall Turtle, the Wall Turtle can generally spare a Knight and Scout to make a flanking run without sacrificing it's ability to achieve it's goal.

    The Wall Turtle's weaknesses are against Flankers, which are custom-made to overcome Wall Turtles, and Cluster Turtles, because the Cluster's superior unit defense and patient style of play often force all but the best Wall Turtles to overextend and lose one or both parts of their goal.

    2) The Cluster Turtle:
    Attack cautiously; use high-armor units and/or high-range units to maintain a HP/healing advantage, and play the slow game.

    Mostly double-gold, the Cluster Turtle has a very defensive goal. Possibly the most dominant form on the field today, the Cluster Turtle isn't flexible like the Wall Turtle, but it can stand up on a strategic level to almost any other goal. Only Bombs (which can break focus fast and then take advantage of the unarmored units' moment of vulnerability) and the best of Snipers (which can negate the Cluster's range advantage and lure a Mud Golem or Pyro near enough to trap and kill) can consistently stand up to a Cluster Turtle if played well.

    3) The Bomb:
    Kill everything fast with unblockable, high-damage attacks.

    Bombs show up across all levels of TAO play except dropless. Many people hate Bombs with a passion, because Bombs 'change the rules'. Most TAO play is about careful planning, and taking advantage of LOS and Blocking to protect your vulnerable units. Bombs toss those rules out the window, caring nothing for LOS or Blocking, and just laying down painful pain after painful pain on everything in sight. Unfortunately for Bombs, they just can't really adapt. What they do is so extreme that most players have a hard time compensating for their sheer power, but if an opponent can survive the first wave of assaults, the game is basically over for the Bomb.

    On a strategic level, Bombs often lose to Wall Turts, Flankers, and Rushes, primarily because those forms can often kill a Witch or Pyro before it's acted, negating a significant portion of the Bomb's damaging ability. Cluster Turts and Snipers are generally significantly weaker against a Bomb than other forms.

    4) The Rush:
    Kill the Cleric before it can be useful, then use hard-to-kill units and the healing advantage to clean up whatever's left.

    Rushes generally aren't grey, because grey units just don't have adequate Cleric-killing abilities. Many people hate Rushes because they can't stand the pressure on their Cleric from move one, and it's just plain demoralizing to have to play without healing, especially for a Wall Turtle or a Sniper, where healing is a fundamental part of their goal.
    Rushes most often lose to Cluster Turtles, who can often keep the Cleric alive despite the pressure, and Snipers, who can defend well enough without a Cleric to immobilize a significant part of the rush and then wear down the rest with ranged fire.

    5) The Flanker:
    Get to the enemy's backfield fast, and eliminate the chaff. Let the paralyzers worry about the enemy's hard-to-kill units in the endgame.

    Flankers, almost always grey, are a direct response to the Wall Turtle's all-too-frequent appearance on the field. By placing fast attackers on either side of the field, the Flanker will always be able to put pressure on an enemy Wall Turtle to collapse for it's own defense. If the Wall Turtle collapses to prevent the flankers from killing the weaker units, the Flanker busts out the ranged fire and wears down the Wall Turtle that way. If it doesn't, the Flanker dances through the backfield, cleaning house and letting his attackers die so long as it nets him the enemy's range. Once the enemy's range is down, Miss Chanty comes out to finish the job.
    Flankers can't stand up well to Rushes, who abuse the flanking team before it can get wher it needs to be, or against Cluster Turts, who effectively don't have a backfield in the first place.

    6) The Sniper:
    Let them come here, and then pin them down and deal with them slowly. If they won't come, send out a single well-defended range unit, and deal with them slowly until they realize they need to come here. Keep the attackers healed up at all times to prevent an offensive lapse.

    Snipers are by far the rarest form type worth mentioning, but they're still common enough in my experience to mention. Snipers appear across all levels of TAO except dropless, because the key units are grey. Most snipers use a Furgon both to defend and to trap attackers on the Sniper's side of the field. Once there, the Sniper's Frost will pin down the most annoying attacker while the offensive units work over the other(s). If the enemy won't attack, the Sniper will send out a Scout (always within BW range and outside of opponent's Frost range) or, in extreme cases, an Ambusher or Witch, to attack from afar and get Barriered up before any damage can be done. Eventually, the enemy will figure out that it needs to attack.
    Snipers lose horribly to Cluster Turtles (who have equal range but harder-to-kill units) and honestly don't fair that well against most other forms -- but they shine against Wall Turtles and, oddly, Flankers -- the latter falls right into it's "come here" trap, and the former into it's "no, really, if you don't, I'll kill you from over here" trap.

    You can see by looking at the complicated interactions not between the units, but between the goals of each form, how the form is determined by the style of play, and it's the conflict between styles of play that will determine the victor.

    So what does this all mean?

    It means that building a form will never guarantee you wins. What it will do it set you up to be mentally prepared to accomplish your goal, and through that goal, to win. It means that the more you design your own forms and attempt different goals, the more you will understand by looking at an opponent's form what his goal is, and thus how to thwart it. It means that building your own form and not sucking at it is not a simple process, but it can start in a simple manner.

    It also means that you can look at what kinds of forms you see most often when YOU play, and you can start your design process by picking a goal that stands up well to those forms. It's this kind of strategic thinking that seperates the masters from you and me.

    Next time: OK, so I have a good idea...what now?

  9. #9



    Quote Originally Posted by Essence
    How to Build your Own Set and not Suck With It.

    Article 3: OK, so I've got a good what?

    Last time: The most successful 'goals' to have in mind while form-building, and how they interact with each other.

    How your Goal should Look on Paper

    Trying to translate your idea into a new form that's you-exclusive seems hard. It is, but it's worth it. Here are a few generic steps that all form-builders should go through, complete with a trio of examples for each step. The three example 'goals' that I'll pursue through the entire form-building process are:

    1) The Tsunami: "Set up to crush, but be prepared to drop back and armor up to keep the crushers alive before rejoining the attack." inspired by Gypsy's Flex form. Ask him, maybe he'll tell you.

    2) The Porcupine: "A lone Scout can outdamage a Cleric's healing ability, so in the long run it's all the offense I need. Keep out of the enemy's range, keep that Scout alive, and be prepared to punish the enemy hard for coming to me."

    3) The Steamroller: "Mount a slow offense of hard-to-kill units and outmelee his toughest defenders. Then sweep in with hard hitters and take out the weak units in back."

    I'll look at each step from the perspective of all three of those goals, and try to get the idea across through the examples.

    Step 1: Where does this set belong on the board?

    Because all of your units begin the game facing the centerline, the game necessarily aligns itself along the vertical axis of the board. It seems intuitively obvious that there are a pair of valid "options": the corner and the middle.

    The corner prevents a couple of trick Scout shots that the middle doesn't, and is more defendible against melee attacks, as there are fewer sides for your form to be attacked from.

    The middle provides an instant flanking opportunity against forms on either side, and prevents opp-side games which take a long time to resolve. It also provides more opportunity for escape, as a centered unit can make it to either side in a single move, increasing the distance between your opponent's form and your vulnerable units dramatically.

    The 'hidden' third option is to align yourself between the center and the middle. It seems counterintuitive because you don't really gain the protection of the corner, but neither can you meaningfully escape to the corner, and you're less able to flank cornered forms on the side you're near. The advantages of the middle option are deception and irregularity. By placing your units in nonstandard positions, you can often catch people who have carefully placed units to avoid 'standard' threats in an uncomfortable position (though this doesn't happen often enough to be a huge factor in most games). More importantly, you can use the position to lure same-side forms into trying to 'flank' your outside edge - which, of course, you can prepare for. Both of these advantages are slim, and neither has the powerful logic of the corner or the center -- but it's lack of apparent sense can be an advantage in and of itself. Making people think you don't know exactly what you're doing is a strategy, too.

    (Of course, there are other alignments to consider as well - the "Default" alignment, where all of your units are along the back wall, and the "Spread" alignment, where all of your units are scattered across the board. The Spread alignment is good only in freezer forms (where the goal is "Paralyze first, ask questions later"), and the Default alignment is one I have never seen used well. Feel free to PM me if you feel the need to correct me on either of those statements.)

    So, look at your goal, and ask yourself which basic type of strategy (offensive, defensive, or deceptive) is going to further your goal best. The answer isn't always as simple as offensive=centered/defensive=cornered/deceptive=middle, but it's a good start.


    Goal 1, "Tsunami" - cause it crashes out, then falls back, then crashes out again, is probably best served in a centered position. The goal is to come at the opponent guns blazing if need be, and fall back when necessary - that sounds like a centered form to me.

    Goal 2, "Porcupine" - 'cause it's like a turtle that defends itself with pain rather than armor - seems like it would be best cornered, except that the Scout needs to be able to hit anywhere on the board from within Barrier Ward range, which is going to force the form into a middle alignment.

    Goal 3, "Steam Roller" for obvious reasons, could be logically placed in the center, as it's essentially offensive, or cornered, because it's intended to keep the more vulnerable hard hitters aside for later, which means they need protection. I'll corner it just to have an example form in each of the major positions.

    Step 2: What are your Core Units and where do they belong?

    Every goal is going to immediately call a few units to mind. If you're Corner Turtling, you have to have a Stone Golem, a Cleric, and a Scout at the minimum. If you're Sniping, you need a Furgon, a Frosty, a Cleric, and a Scout. In order to start building a form, you need to understand which units are actually critical to your goal. If your goal doesn't involve healing, you may not actually have a Cleric in your core units. If your goal doesn't involve range or focus-breaking, you may not actually need a Scout. Most forms will end up with both because it's a good idea, but that's not the purpose of this step.


    The Tsunami: Needs a Stone Golem for armor, a Cleric to keep the crushers alive, and some crushers. Because the specifics of the crushers aren't important to the nature of the goal, we'll leave them unnamed as of yet.

    The Porcupine: Needs a Scout, a Cleric, a Barrier Ward, and some painful pain that will go unspecified.

    The Steam Roller: Needs three Knights, a Cleric, and some hard-hitting backup that will go undecided.

    Once you have your Core Units and an idea of where on the board your form will be aligned, you're ready to place them.

    How your Goal Should Look on the Board

    Step 1: The Core Units

    Remembering back to Article 1, we know that each piece should have a specific reason for being where it is. This is true of all of your units, but doubly so for your Core Units. In order to translate your goal effectively into a form, you must know why everything is where it is, because the why will lead to the what (as in "what do I do this turn?")

    As long as you can answer the question "Why is this unit where it is?" to your own satisfaction, you are doing a good job building your form. Stick with it.

    Step 2: The Vulnerable Units

    Again remembering back to Article 1, it's wise to place the vulnerable units before the tougher ones, so as to better defend them with the tougher ones when the time comes.

    The Tsunami really isn't going to have a terrible number of vulnerable units besides the Cleric. A Mud Golem and a Scout for focus-breaking purposes should do it. We'll put the Mud Golem in immediate Stone range, but the Scout we'll put up front in a position to easily drop back into Stone range or step 4 squares forward and get a shot off at a Cleric in the opposite corner.

    The Porcupine wants to have some severe pain and some attack-enders in it, so a DSM, a Pyro, and a Frost all need a place to hide until needed. The DSM will go in a semi-defensible position; the Pyro, not so much. The Frost can stand out in front a bit more.

    The Steamroller wants an extra Cleric to do it's job well, and needs focus-breakers (Scout) to keep it's offense alive. Also, the game's 'heavy hitters' (DSM and Pyro) tend to be fragile, so they go in at this step, too. I realize, too, that a DT is a necessity, and in order to conserve space, I have to switch out a Knight for the DT.

    So, now each of my example goals has their Core Units and their weakest units placed. It's time to polish things off.

    Step 3: Defend the Weaker Units

    Of course, now that you know where the vulnerable units are going to sit, you're going
    to want to keep them alive long enough to perform their duty. Each setup will require a modicum of defensive thought in order to keep the weaker units alive, even if the question is simply "where on the front line should I place this unit so as to keep my Cleric alive for as long as possible?".


    The Tsunami:

    With the Tsunami (like many rush-ish forms), the offense and the defense are mostly the same units. A simple spread of tough units set up to block basic LOS and easy paths to the Cleric, Mud, and Stoney, with a few points in the setup: first, we kept Scout side shots to a minimum by placing units that will probably move after the Scout next to it; second, all of the units are within a single move of Stone Golem range.

    The Porcupine:

    Unlike the Tsunami, the Porcupine wants to encourage Scouts to close and try to pick apart it's weaker units, so, like a noob, we'll put the defenders right up near the painful pain. A Lightning Ward out front is threat enough alongside the DSM to prevent most non-Knight frontal assaults, anyway.

    The Steam Roller:

    With no spaces left, the Steam Roller looks like it's hit a wall. It's not a terribly defensible form, and the main defenders (the Knights) are going to leave and attack according to the Steam Roller's 'mission statement'. Now, I am willing to take out the Mud Golem if I can find a phenominal defender. Fortunately, one exists. A well-placed Furgon can delay an aggressor or three long enough for the DSM and Pyro to really put the hurt on it while the Knights are doing their job.

    Now, if by some miracle, your form has spots left after these three steps (mine never do), you may have a fourth step: "Place remaining attackers for maximum disruptive effect". I hope most of you can figure out how to do that part on your own by now.

    Hopefully, these ideas and examples have conveyed the basic structure behind building a form that you won't suck with. Am I saying that any of my example forms are game-dominating? Absolutely not - because the 'goals' they're built to support really aren't all that strategically viable. They're supposed to be examples, not templates. ;p I'll leave the creation of strategically viable goals to all of you.

    Now, if you've followed with me, you'll know enough to take your new form out into the field and test it by playing a dozen or so games, finding out your form's weaknesses, and trying to cover for them without losing sight of your goal. Be creative, be original, and above all have fun.

    Next time: By special request - a basic look at what strategies fare well and/or poorly against which other strategies, a.k.a The Jinmaster Chart.

  10. #10


    These Strategies and Ideas were originally posted on the Wolf Clan website. They were made by zzzzaacckk, Bottle, M_A_D, Quicksandslowly, Soudeus, Apt142, Hyperlink, Tcbb, AasumDude

    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf Clan Website
    Newbies Guide on FPS

    1. Cleric

    Good news:
    The Cleric is able to heal every five turns - or every three turns if you don't move it. In perfect conditions, the Cleric could heal 120 HP worth (12 pts on each unit, assuming all are still alive and have taken at least 12 HP of damage to heal). Nothing (at least nothing Grey) can match that. It's also the only way to regain HP, so taking a Cleric to your formation tends to be widely considered a good idea.

    Bad news:
    The Cleric has no armor, no blocking ability, low HP, low mobility, and high waiting time. It can be killed with a single attack by the Witch, and most other combinations kill it with two attacks even if the Cleric heals between the attacks.

    The Cleric should be on the field, and well out of harm's way. Typically this means putting the Cleric in a back row corner. Locations other than the back row are risky, as there is no way to protect them from witchburn. Any back row location can be protected from witchburn by putting something four spaces in front of the Cleric.

    Locations closer to the middle of the back row are possible as well. this allows the Cleric to escape to either side if attacked, but also doubles the possible routes to attack the Cleric. As the Cleric is rarely moved - never moved, if possible, as a Cleric that moves takes five turns to recover whereas a Cleric that only heals recovers in three - it makes sense to put something that does not need to move much to protect the Cleric. Some use a Knight. A Lightning Ward is the most common choice, as this way its inability to move becomes almost irrelevant in the early stages of the game.

    2. Lightning Ward

    Good news:
    The Lightning Ward does more damage per hit than any other Grey unit. It also has the most HP, second-best armour amongst all Grey units, 100% blocking on all sides which makes it immune to swords, daggers, and arrows unless paralysed. It has a nice range, and can kill Pyros and Clerics with a single shot. LW attacks are unblockable.

    Bad news:
    The Ward cannot move. It can be gradually murdered by Pyros and Witches as they outrange the LW. An Enchantress can paralyse the LW without getting attacked in return as its combined range + movement total more than the LW's range. As the Ward is immobile, the opponent can win without ever touching it. The high damage attack is meaningless if the opponent goes around it. The Lightning Ward only acts rarely.

    The Lightning Ward is basically a deterrent - a mine field. It makes it perilous for an opponent to come close, so most steer clear and go around. Consequently, the Ward is typically available when needed, and the opponent keeps going around it. It can provide a haven for your units to retreat to. It can stand a long time even under an all-out assault, so placing it in the front row can protect the Cleric from Witch attacks during the early stages of the game. The Lightning Ward is probably the main reason why Clerics die typically of hazards other than witchfire.

    A foolhardy spellcaster that comes even close is likely to be blasted off the map after her (or his, with Pyro) first shot, which has no real effect as front row units have enough armour and HP to survive the damage until healed. Gold accounts, however, have the means to make a spellcaster (or even a Cleric) survive a (single) lightning hit.

    3. Knight

    Good news:
    Knights are awesome at melee. They are even more durable than the Lightning Ward as their armour reduces all incoming damage by 25%. Knight blocking ability is the best amongst non-constructs. They stop almost all blockable frontal attacks, and even their side blocking is better than the frontal blocking of Pyros and Witches. A movement of three spaces is considerable, especially in the endgame when there are fewer obstacles to go around. With a waiting period of 1, a Knight that does not attack can march every turn, which makes it hard to anticipate and even harder to stop. A Knight therefore has a reasonable chance of making it through the enemy lines to take out a Cleric with insufficient protection. Two Knights attacking together is even better - Knight A moves and attacks; on the next turn Knight B moves and attacks; then A again. As both members of the tag team are likely to be attacked, the Cleric can then heal them both, undoing 2 * 12 / (1 - 25/100), or 32 points of damage.

    Bad news:
    The Knights have the most limited attack form of all units, hitting only one adjacent space. They, like the Assassin, are very vulnerable to Enchantresses, and may have trouble when a Barrier is used against them. As the Knight attack is blockable, Knights can't damage Lightning Wards or inactive Barriers. They also have a hard time getting past the frontal defenses of another Knight (20% chance of a hit), Assassin (30%), or Scout (40%).

    Early on, the Knight is a defensive unit. Knights standing side by side are not likely to be hit from the flanks or the rear, except by arrows. Knights are good for attacking units with high waiting times and low blocking chances such as the Witch or the Pyro (and in the right circumstances, the Enchantress or the Cleric). They can weather out a spell hit well, and recover to attack again significantly faster than a hostile spellcaster can.

    The turn after the Knight attacks can well be used to heal the Knight, which completely undoes the effects of a Pyro attack, and heals all but 5 HP of a witchfire blast. Knights in the endgame are very difficult to kill, and can take out most other units because they can walk twice on consequtive turns and then attack a unit that was seven spaces away. Seven spaces, incidentally, is more than the maximum range of a Scout arrow. It is also enough to hit a unit up to four spaces away in the flank, or rear if not in the same line or row as the Knight. Four spaces is the maximum range of spellcasting units, whose recovery times are so long that the Knight can perform the forced march to score a rear shot. Of course, spellcaster blocking chances are so dismal that a flank shot is often good enough. At a duel, a knight kills a pyro or witch almost certainly.

    In a Knight vs Knight duel, as was spoken in an excellent article in the Strategy forum, it can be a good idea to go around the hostile Knight and attack from the rear rather than take the immediate opportunity of hitting from the flank. This, of course, depends on the circumstances. Let's consider a to the death duel between two Knights. For simplicity, let's say that the board is large enough so that the edges are irrelevant, and there no other units onboard.

    Flanker vs Backstabber: F: Attacks B in the flank. (60% chance of 17 HP damage) B: Walks around the enemy knight. F: Wait: 1 B: Attacks F in the back. (does 17 HP damage) F: Attacks B in the flank. (60% chance of 17 HP damage) B: Wait: 1 F: Wait: 1

    Flanker acts four times, backstabber three times. Two flank attacks vs one rear attack. Which is better?

    36% of the time, F hits twice. 48% of the time, F hits one and is blocked twice. 16% of the time, F is blocked twice. 100% of the time, B hits once.

    Expected amounts of damage:

    Flanker: 36/100*34 + 48/100*17 + 16/100*0 = 6.12 + 8.16 + 0 = 14.28 HP

    Backstabber: 100/100 * 17 = 17 HP.

    Of course, the issue is usually not how much damage is caused, but how likely it is that the hostile Knight dies first - but for a simple analysis, it is enough to say that in the long run, a strategy of backstabbing is more likely to do more damage per turn than flanking. Backstabbing might not be possible though, as a skilled player may find ways to deny it - using the edge of the map for example, or placing the knight's back against a friendly unit.

    4. Assassin:

    Good news:
    Besides the Knight, the Assassin is the only very fast unit. With Wait: 1, the Assassin can move every turn. Decent HP and light armour give her quite a bit of durability, and 18 power makes her a power to be reckoned with; enough to take out the Cleric with two units despite a heal between the attacks.

    The hit in all directions attack makes her a guerrilla that under the right circumstances can wound two (or even four!) units at a time, forcing the opponent to either choose which one to evacuate at the cost of the other, or to heal. If the opponent doesn't have the ability to heal, it can even make an attack hitting frontal shots against skilled blockers worth it, as the several attempts makes it relatively likely to score at least one hit despite bad odds (for example, the chances of scoring at least one hit when hitting a frontal shot vs a Knight and another Assassin is better than a chance to hit a Scout from the front (44% vs 40%).

    The Assassin's main strength however is her running speed. No unit can match the ability to move four spaces per turn - every turn. Even the fastest Gold unit pales in comparison (5 spaces teleport every other turn.) This may well allow her to go behind enemy lines to attack the vulnerable support units (that is, the Cleric) and only be attacked once while at it. No Grey unit can stop the Assassin with one hit, except of course the Enchantress.

    Four spaces is also enough to enable the Assassin to start a turn face-to-face with a unit, and end the turn stabbing that unit in the back.

    Bad news:
    The Assassin has the same main weakness as the of the Knight; low reach, blockable attacks. It also has worse blocking ability and way less HP that the Knight.

    The Assassin works well as a behind-the-lines unit, seizing opportunities, finishing off vulnerable units, and often, living to tell the tale. It can also function as a defensive unit almost as well as the Knight.

    In a face-to-face bout with the Knight, the Assassin does roughly as much damage as the Knight using rear attacks. Due to the Assassin's lighter armour, the Knight does 20HP of damage per hit, which happens once per three turns; the Assassin does 13HP damage every second turn. That's 40HP damage vs 39 damage per six turns.

    Alternatively, the Knight can attack every other turn, using flank attacks, matching the attack pace of the Assassin. 65% chance a flank hit gives an expected amount of damage of 13 HP per hit - exactly what the Assassin is guaranteed to do to the Knight with every rear attack.

    The Knight has the asset that it can survive 39 damage while the Assassin is killed before reaching 39 or 40. The Assassin, on the other hand, can outrun the Knight, giving her the choice of the conditions of the duel - quite likely including the first strike.

    5. Scout

    Good news:
    The Scout moves far, and shoots farther. Unless something gets in the way, it can hit targets up to 10 spaces away by first moving four spaces towards the target and then firing to maximum range. As the greatest distance on the map is 16, this means that a Scout near the center of the board can fire an arrow towards any space onboard. At 18 damage per arrow, the Scout can kill a Cleric with two arrows, even if the Cleric does first aid on himself.

    Bad news:
    While the Scout is probably the best available to Greys, there is only one. Golds have two, but this is not on the list of unit drops. Scouts are relatively fragile, amongst the top two priorities for most opponents to kill (the Cleric, of course, being the other top priority target). Despite 40 HP and 60% (30%) blocking, Scouts are fairly fragile. Arrows can be blocked, and require line-of-sight.

    Learning what shots are doable and what are not is something a player really needs to know. There's an excellent thread about it in the Strategy forums, which is as close to a must read as any in the forums.

    As the Scout can move up to four spaces, it is mostly possible to hit any target up to eight spaces away from some angle. However, some of the shots can be suicidal for the Scout. Knowing exactly what is doable and what is not, what counts as a frontal / flank / rear shot and what does not, is information that for me more than once has meant the difference between a won bout and a lost one.

    There is only one real trick shot to learn; a target one space to the side and four to the front can be hit even if there is a blocker in front of it - by aiming at the space behind the target.

    The Scout needs to be kept alive (and preferably well). This can at times be hard. Knights can rush a Scout from up to seven spaces away - moving two turns in a row, they reach the Scout before it can act again after a shot, even if they start the first move from outside a bowshot range. Spellcasters and hostile Scouts are threats as well, and an Assassin can reach a Scout from eight spaces away. The Barrier helps keep the Scout alive, as do blockers, threats against potential attackers (such as a Lightning Ward or a friendly Enchantress near the Scout).

    Golds can make the Scouts more durable by giving them Rock Golem's focus armour. Two armored Scouts are imo amongst the deadliest threats that any Gold can attack with.

    6. Barrier

    Good news:
    The force field that a Barrier can project makes a unit proof against any attack, blockable or not. The Barrier has a range of six, the same as a Scout, which allows it to target most of your units - only those who have gone deep into enemy territory are outside its range. Unlike the Scout, the Barrier needs no Line of Sight, so it can be kept far from the frontline. When inactive, the Barrier has 100% blocking.

    Bad news:
    Barriers are relatively fragile, having only 32HP. The protective field is likely to be disrupted by Scouts. If the Barrier is in use, it can be attacked normally - and typically dies with only two or three hits. A protected unit is safe also from the Cleric's heal, so the very unit that would often need healing the most does not benefit from it. A unit protected by the Barrier force field can still be paralysed, even though it can't be damaged.

    The Barrier requires some finesse to use. When used correctly, it can be awesome. On the offense, it allows a unit to rush towards the enemy to perform an attack, and then be safe from deadly retaliation. On the defense, it can keep a vulnerable unit alive. The Barrier - Enchantress combo is notorious enough to merit its own thread in the Strategy forum. The Chanty keeps the hostile units frozen, and the Barrier protects the Enchantress until she's ready to freeze even more hostile units.

    7. Enchantress

    Good news:
    The Enchantress is downright awesome. Unblockable, barrier-penetrating, focus-breaking, and able to totally neutralize one more units regardless of how many hit points they have. In a one-on-one fight, the Enchantress can only be defeated by one unit type (the Frost Golem).

    Bad news:
    Chanties take some practice to be used well. They have no blocking ability, and though they have 35 HP, they can be taken out with two arrows.

    This one is definitely my favorite unit. It can freeze one or more hostile units in place. If a Knight or an Assassin is sent to rescue the trapped ones, the Enchantress can freeze that unit too without releasing her earlier prey. On the other hand, the Enchantress is helpless against ranged attacks. Keeping her as the last line of defense until the ranged units have been eliminated, and then using the Enchantress to trap the remaining units makes a sensible strategy.

    Enchantresses and Barriers work very well as a combo. The Barrier gives Enchantress time to recover after freezing hostiles - the very thing that the Chanty needs against melee troops.

    8. The Dark Witch

    Good news:
    Mobile, powerful, unblockable. Often surprisingly lucky in blocking. High range.

    Bad news:
    Too slow to get around a friendly unit, too clumsy to shoot around it. Low HP, dismal blocking odds. Wait: 3 makes it difficult to use her safely.

    The Witch is excellent for finishing off wounded targets, being even more powerful than a Knight, and unblockable for good measure. The Witch can kill an unarmoured Cleric from full HP with a single shot if the opponent has not put an obstacle where she can perform the attack. As the Witch is slow and fragile she needs friendly units to keep her alive.

    The Witch works very well with the Barrier - perhaps used so that the Witch moves forth, burns, is attacked, then saved by the Barrier until she's ready to either withdraw or to die in exchange of making a crucial high priority kill (e.g. a Cleric or a wounded Scout). Alternatively, the Barrier can be used to protect a unit that the Witch shoots through.

    9. The Pyromancer:

    Good news:
    Quicker to act again than a Witch. Able to hit several targets at once. Unblockable. Nice range. Can fire over friendly units. Boosted significantly by the Dragonspeaker Mage (a Gold unit).

    Bad news:
    Low HP and low blocking ability, though both are better than those of the Witch. Sadly low damage potential - 15 HP, reduced to 12 by Knight armour, makes it a wasted effort to attack a wall of knights as a Cleric can undo all that damage with a single heal.

    Pyros are great if your opponent can't heal for some reason. 15 HP attacks on several targets do add up rather fast. Pyros can overload a hostile Cleric, making it necessary to heal. Still, it is usually sensible to heal often anyway, so creating the right circumstances can be a challenge.

    There are those who really like the Pyro, and others who agree that in the right hands, a Pyro can be awesome. Others still consider a Pyro a waste of space. That concludes the set of units available to a Grey.

    The formation in which those units, and the way they are used, makes the difference.

    The first unit in the formation is the Cleric. While I've seen some without a Cleric on the field, more often I've seen those with two. They tend to be difficult to defeat, but slightly more vulnerable to Enchantresses as they usually have one ranged unit less. Clerics heal so much damage during a bout that it is hard to imagine a unit that could do as much damage to the opposition.

    The only place where a Cleric is safe from a frontal Witchburn is the back row - with a unit at the matching position in the front row to keep the Witch from getting where she'd need to go to be able to attack. This for all practices prevents the Cleric from being killed with a single shot.

    The unit far in front of the Cleric should be something that benefits from being close to the enemy lines from very early on, and is durable enough not to be forced to leave that position while the risk of the hostile Witch remains. Knights and Lightning Wards provide both benefits. A LW can get off a lucky shot from the front row, taking out an aggressive spellcaster immediately.

    With the Cleric safe from witchburn, the next likely causes of death are a knight rush or scout arrows. Scouts require a line of sight, so a row of burly knights in the front makes life hard for them. Enemy Knights need a path into their target, and this can be denied by a friendly Knight who camps in the path of the enemy. Knights are awesome units, so while a decision not to use all three is possible, it needs careful consideration. Knights only take 75% of the damage done to them, and have 50 HP, so they are definitely durable. They also have strong attack and low range, which adds a reason to putting knights close to the front line.

    The Barrier is a nice unit in the middle of the friendly forces. If not active, it prevents a unit from passing or hacking through. Its combo potential is excellent, and range sufficient to allow it to be used for frontline support as well.

    The Scout is the best unit there is. A definite addition. However, the choice of where to put it is less clear. On one hand, it can pose a threat of arrows in the back so having it flank the enemy is a welcome prospect. On the other hand, having one's Scout killed is a major setback, so it should never be left defenseless. For starters, it should be at a place where the Barrier can, if need be, protect I.

    For endgames and emergencies - the Enchantress. To be placed somewhere safe so that she will still be available when required.

    The last two positions are for unit drops acquired before (e.g. a second Cleric), Pyros and/or Witches, or possibly an assassin or two. These are more durable than Clerics and Chanties, and less deadly to lose than the Scout. Semi-safe positions behind the Knights and the Lightning Ward are a possible place to put this kind of units. The high blocking ability of the assassin makes it reasonable to treat her early on simply as an extra knight. The exact choices depend on preference, style, strategy, and availability of units.

    In gameplay, some rules of thumb may be called for.

    When attacking with a unit, know **why** you are attacking. Forcing a unit to retreat is a valid reason to attack it. is forcing a heal but ONLY if there's a follow-up plan to make the most of the time when the hostile Cleric is gathering his strength again - that is, eliminating a unit that is currently at full HP (and thus does not benefit from the heal) before the Cleric can heal again. So is forcing the opponent to defend a unit with a Barrier. And most of all - the best reason to attack is that there's a reasonable expectation that the attack leads to an enemy casualty is a very valid reason to attack. If these conditions are not met, don't attack; move so that the conditions are easier to meet on the next turn. If your unit moves without attacking, it's waiting time is reduced to one half, rounded down.

    Causing damage for the sake of causing damage is not a sufficient reason to attack - at least, it is not while the opponent can heal. The first 12 HP of damage that an unwounded unit takes are not really damage. The Cleric heals every unit, so if three instead of one unit has taken damage, this merely makes the Cleric look good. The Cleric, however, can't bring back the dead, so concentrating fire on a single unit is preferable to widely spread havoc.

    Focusing on softer targets first makes sense.. if the position allows it. Ranged units are often softer targets than melee units and contraptions. They tend to recover slowly after a move or especially a move+attack, have less HP, worse blocking odds, and little if any armour. This makes pyros, scouts, and witches more inviting targets than knights and lightning wards - the latter of which mostly need not be attacked even once during the bout. When the fragile targets are out of the way, the Enchantress can freeze the knights into table ornaments so that the victory celebration can commence.

    Wasting units is a loss, but exchanging kills is not. A vulnerable, badly wounded unit deep in the enemy territory is fairly cheap to lose as this eliminates the expenditure of keeping it alive (e.g. maintaining it indefinitely under a Barrier). Therefore, attacking with it so that it takes down an enemy units as it falls makes sense. You lose a unit that at the time is relatively worthless; the opponent loses something good.

    Sometimes it is not possible to save a unit, but as its last action, it can ensure that the opposition also loses a unit. A tradeoff is often not a loss, especially is the rate of exchange is good.. e.g. a knight that kills the enemy Cleric at the cost of its own life (or even wounds the Cleric so that the Scout can finish the Cleric off with an arrow and live to tell the tale) is quite a bargain. Knights can take so much damage that they nicely often can drag another unit to the grave with them as they fall. Scouts, however, are easy to lose after even one careless oversight, as they vulnerable against an attack by nearly anything else.

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