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You have a weakness for pillaging, raiding and superior firepower? You like a risk-reward playstyle and disregard healing spells as a cheap method for the weak?  You think your units are throw-away assets that should just do their job and do it well? You always wanted to create explosions of the size of tactical nukes to eradicate enemies from existence? You want all of this in in your Battleforge deck?

If the answer to these questions is yes, then look no further! This thread serves as introduction to playing pve as a Bandit player and shows how to reap the best fruits from fire and shadow alike. Playing Bandits is a very rewarding and unique experience as it is a finesse oriented deck that requires the right use of spells and abilities at the right time. You cannot simply throw units at the enemy and add some heals if things go bad. To master this deck, you need to think ahead and play with concentration and micro. However, once mastered, Bandits have several of the strongest card combinations in the game and are among the strongest late game factions.

This guide does not provide any map-specific details but instead, helps beginners with a range of tactics and unit overviews for each by tiers. It focuses on each card individually and how it synergizes best with other cards. The goal is to provide you with enough information that you can pick the right cards for the right job. This guide is structured into tiers and each tier has a smaller summary attached to it that provide an overview of the most important things there are to know. Some cards are considered "core cards", which are greatly beneficial and need to be in a deck most the time (that is, unless they are really not needed for a specific map).

Tier 1

Tie 1 does not have any Bandit specific aspects to cover, but instead I'll cover the most basic fire cards. Most of my exerience is from starting with fire, so I will neglect shadow T1. However, this does not mean that a shadow T1 is not effective, but the general consensus is that fire T1 requires less cards to pay successfully.

Sunstrider (core card)
Sunstriders are an utmost necessity as they are your only ranged T1 unit and only source of reliable anti-air. Among all T1 archers, they have the highest damage/cost but need protection from frontline units such as Nomads or Thugs. Furthermore, their ability to suppress towers minimize losses from fortifications early on.

Nomad (or Thugs)
On bigger maps, Nomads are a must have to swiftly traverse the map early on. I recommend the green affinity to let Nomads heal up fully between fights. With them, you can withdraw from bad engagements and let them heal up. While the red version is effectively 50% stronger, you will waste time by standing near buildings to heal them between fights. Due to their speed, Nomads greatly excel with Mine (see below). Nomads get an anti-air attack once you upgrade them, but since it costs power and has a cooldown it is not a realiable source of anti air. Nontheless, if you know a map only has a handful of T1 flying enemies, you can consider removing the Sunstriders from your deck.

Thugs (or Nomads)
Thugs are often overseen but when used correctly can achieve remarkable results. While they cost more than Wraithblades or Northguards, they will generate power from killing units and buildings. When used as the primary T1 force they can easily produce about 45 units of power within a minute or two and provide a headstart into T2. They are also your only S counter and can be used in a heavy foot-slogging army of Thugs and Sunstriders. Often, you will face other S creatures that are backed with a healer and in this case your Sunstriders can snipe the healers, while Thugs will crush the frontlines. If you don't need the speed of the Nomads, I recommend taking Thugs instead.

Mine
For a T1 card, this is a weapon of mass destruction. Place the mine preemptively and lure enemies into it to remove a squad of 3-5 enemy units. Not only will the Mine deal devastating damage, but it will also knock back small units, making them susceptible to other units. When attacking a small output, you can use Mine to kill the forces and suppress the towers of the base with Sunstriders.

Other T1 cards worth mentioning
Firesworn are your best answer to early aggression from L-creature (and best used with Thugs that serve as meatshields at the front), their knockback also provides a lot of utility but most the time you will achieve similar results with Nomads and Mine. Similarly, Sunderers can rip through walls easily but they cost a lot and are easily killed. If you need strong anti-structure firepower, consider red Nomads with Sunstriders suppressing the towers. Furthermore, if you face a lot of air units, you should consider getting the Blaster Cannon. With its red affinity, it becomes a formidable anti-air card that gets stronger the longer it attacks and keeps being useful up until T2.

T1 Summary (TL;DR)
The savest selection of cards is: Sunstriders, Nomad, Mine. Mine will kill most early enemy waves and Nomads can reach other points on the map very fast. You can replace Nomads with Thugs if speed is not important and you prefer having a bit more power available throughout the time. You will also find it easier to kill S-heavy enemy waves with Thugs in your deck.

Lastly, Sunstriders are necessary as they are anti-air, anti-tower and can be put on walls. However, if you don't need those 3 roles you can omit them and make a "Nomad, Mine only" list.

 

Tier 2

Once you are in T2, you can finally call yourself a "Bandit player". T2 provides you with various buffs and as a Bandit player you have one of the best defensive capabilities of all T2 decks. However, T2 is also the weak spot of a Bandit army as fire and shadow cards don't synergize that well at this point yet.

Lavafield (core card)
It is an amazing splash damage spell that decimates masses of medium and small sized units. A core card for every fire-splash deck.

Offering (core card)
This is your "go free out of jail" card. With this card (green affinity), you sacrifice an own unit to restore the cooldown of all cards with the same tier. For example, after playing Lavafield you have to wait some time before you can use it again. However, if you use Offering on a Darkelf Assassin, you can use Lavafield again immediately and play it twice in a row. This is a massive game changer and allows you to play your most powerful spells twice in a row.

Moreover, this card also has a second role as it also restores charges. Especially for beginners who have only 1 type of each card, this is a massive advantage as you can summon twice as many units as you could normally do. In general, this card is best used on units that are cheap or have little health left. Why bother with an almost dead unit when you can summon a new one?

Unholy Power (or Life Weaving)
This buff remains useful until the end of the game as the given unit will receive 50% less damage (meaning it will live twice as long) and do significantly more damage. You can use the card offensively (preferably Spearmen, Windhunter or Skyfire Drake) and defensively (Commandos, Shadow Phoenix). Especially when combined with healing (or life stealing) affected units become extremely difficult to kill on top of dealing more damage. And with upgrades the cost of the card goes down to 80.

Especially in T2 you might struggle against (flying) L creatures, but if you use Unholy Power with Windhunter you will make work of such enemies. A clear must have.

Lifeweaving (or Unholy Power)
An alternative buff to Unholy Power is Lifeweaving, it is similar in role but has two significant differences. First, it costs less power and second, it does not increase the damage of the buffed unit. Like Unholy Power the buffed unit receives 50% less damage, however  the other 50% will be evenly distributed among all enemy units around. Both of these buffs remain useful until T4 because of this 50% damage reduction, but Lifeweaving will outperform Unholy Power later on because of the extra damage from reflected attacks. Therefore, it comes down to the decision whether you want to have a stronger buff in T2 or reinforce your T4 slightly with this.

Rioter's Retreat (green affinity)
This card is what makes Bandits arguably the best T2 defenders apart from Frost. The green affinity will heal 70 HP of each Bandit model. So, while a Bandit Sorceress will heal by 70 HP a second, Commandos will heal 420 HP (!) per second. This is because Commandos is a squad that consists of 6 models (to put it into perspective, Commandos have 660 HP on U3). It is almost absurd how strong this is.

It's also a very powerful tower on it's own as it attacks 3 different targets on U3, but compared to its unmatched healing abilities this is just a side note. Nonetheless, if you have a defensive mission it is worth considering going Bandits just because of this card.

Commandos (or Darkelf Assassins)
Commandos are expensive and best used along with Rioter's Retreat but they are strong even on their own. When fortified, they have 50% life stealing which makes them an ideal target for buffs like Lifeweaving or Unholy Power and make great garrison troops on walls. They are an amazing M-counter because not only will they deal high damage, but also heal themselves by a huge margin in return as well. And if you face a lot of human units (like in the Renegade campaign) they will hard-counter everything as they deal twice as much damage to humans (and strong damage means strong healing).

Darkelf Assassins (or Commandos)
While Commandos are a strong and versatile choice, Assassins excel in their cheapness and synergy with Offering and most of all are your only good S-counter. Along with melee tanks, like leftover Thugs from T1 or Spearmen they make a formidable force (Assassins counter S, while Spearmen counter M). Furthermore, due to a bug their DPS increases substantially when using their ability despite being paralyzed for a few seconds. They are an excellent unit if you know what you are doing, but Commandos are always the safe choice.

Windhunter (or Gladiatrix)
This is your T2 superweapon. Usually, your T1 units are enough to progress to T3. However, if you face some powerful resistance such as Stone Warriors or Lost Vigils, Windhunters are the weapon of choice to eradicate them. When buffed (preferably Unholy Hero), Windhunters absolutely murder L sized creatures and because it is a flying unit, it is often unaffected by incoming fire. Windhunter is one of the best tools you can have to break a powerful Lost Soul base in rpve or just for a powerful air raid in campaign missions.

Personally, I find Windhunter + Shadow Phoenix to serve as perfect addition to a strong T1 army. The Phoenixes serve as shock troops to kill bases and finish off enemy waves, while the Windunter deals with stronger opposition. You should also consider taking Rioter's Retreat, as it allows you to fully heal your Windhunters in mere seconds.

Gladiatrix (or Windhunter)
The Windhunter has a big weakness (apart from anti-air): It cannot capture points. If you chose Thugs in T1 and need mobility in T2, it is worth considering to take a Gladiatrix. Since, apart from Nomads and Lancers, Gladiatrix is your only fast ground creature. It is cheap and stat wise, it is similarly strong to Windhunters on a per-cost level. However, because the unit is weaker individually it means that buffs do not excel as they do on Windhunters.

Bandit Spearmen
While not a good card for rPvE, the Spearmen are certainly worth taking for PvE. The appealing fact of this unit is its potential ATK of 2000 (!), which results from a base ATK of 900, a 50% bonus damage against M creatures and a 50% bonus against melee creatures. However, with 70 energy, they are a bit pricey. Nonetheless, once Spearmen made it into combat they will hold on for a long time due to life stealing (especially with buffs). They are well suited for defensive and offensive missions alike and like to have range support from Commandos or Darkelf Assassins. They are perfectly suited as frontline shock units and will deal with close combat melee creatures exceptionally well. Consider also taking Rioter's Retreat to quickly heal your Spearmen.

Bandit Sorceress
The Sorceress is worth mentioning because of her amazing ability. She can enter a tower to basically double its range. This includes Blaster Cannons, Rioter's Retreat, Necroblaster or Artillery. Her red affinity synergizes especially well with Rioter's Retreat (30% more damage for surrounding units).

I would not classify her as a T2 unit, but see her as an investment for all tiers that excels for defensive missions. It is not worth using her as an S-counter because her attack is bugged and Phenomic never bothered to fix her. Her attack splash is so small that it will only ever hit a single enemy model and only do a fraction of the damage she is supposed to do. Sadly, the same applies to other Bandit cards as well.

Other T2 cards worth mentioning
Because T2 should be kept concise there are a lot of good cards that I did not talk about that can have their use on particular maps. For example, the Skyfire Drake has bettter stats than a Windhunter, however, Bandits have a range of other good M-counters already. Also, for most shadow decks the Furnace of Flesh is the central building for gaining void energy back but is inferior to the T3 Shrine of War.

In rpve, the Shadow Phoenix is arguable your best T2 unit because it can kill buildings and units very fast. But in normal pve it is better to build a steady army and sniping buildings is less important. Ravage is another great T2 buff that allows your units to stay in the fight substantially longer, but unlike other buffs Ravage does not scale well with T3 and T4 and in most cases Unholy Power will work equally well.

Also, Time Vortex is a very powerful T2 tower but simply doesn't come close to the power of Commandos + Rioter's Retreat. Stone of Torment has its uses on some maps as well and with the Bandit Sorceress, it can teleport enemy units to itself from very far away. It's a strong combo, but not needed on most maps. Motivate is also a good buff if you have a deck to support it, but that excels mostly when starting with a Shadow T1.

T2 Summary (TL;DR)
Commandos and Windhunters are always save choices. For defensive missions, Commandos + Rioter's Retreat can even defend waves of T3 creatures whereas Windhunters can go on the hunt in offensive missions and kill crucial units/buildings with ease when buffed. Either way, Lavafield, Offering and Unholy Power can have a huge impact when used correctly.

For additional fortification, Bandit Sorceress will improve your defensive capabilities considerably. When time is of essence, a Nomad or Gladiatrix with Mine + Lavafield will be able to kill most T2 camps. But if you opt for a more sturdy gounr presence, Spearmen will be the unit of choice.

It is important to understand that playing Bandits means that your troops are expandable.

is primarily about using your spells and abilities correctly, whereas your units come last. You are the warlord who decides on who dies and who remains useful. Do not hesitate to use Offering on weakened units, as dead units will return 90% of their energy over the course of the game. Killing units and getting their energy back due to Void Manipulation is a crucial aspect in T3 and T4 when you start getting the big toys.

T2 is easily the weakest part of a Bandit army, but that only becomes apparent when playing expert maps or in pvp or iin rpve 10. When played right, Bandits are among the fastest decks and can deal crippling damage in a short amount of time due to buffs, strong abilities and powerful direct-damage spells.

 

Tier 3

This is where things are really getting interesting. On their own, Shadow and Fire already have some of the (arguably) strongest T3 cards and now you are going to harness their full power and put some excellent Bandit cards on top of it. The problem in T2 is the lack of a powerful frontline unit, but now you can get them in spades and make them even stronger with buffs and support from several Shadow cards. Once you reached T3, you will find yourself in a very comfortable position and the deck starts to take on an own dynamic thanks to Voidmanipulation and an amazing range of spells.

Soulshatter (core card)
This is an absolutely crucial card that remains useful up until T4 and is best utilized against a big horde of weakened enemies. Soulshatter is a direct-damage spell that does extra damage for every unit it killed, which can result in phenomenal chain reactions. With the initial blast, you might only kill 1 or 2 units, but the extra damage from those killed units might be enough to kill other units and trigger further explosions. It is hard to overstate the work this card can do, even more so when you have access to fire spells. Because if the initial blast did not kill any units, you can try to finish off weaker units with a Lavafield and force-trigger secondary explosions. 

In general, this spell is best used to finish off weakened groups of enemies or in combination with other powerful direct damage spells such as Inferno, Cluster Explosion or Fire Sphere.

Soulhunter (core card)
While there are other strong and fun to use creatures in T3, Soulhunter is hands down the most powerful of all. It is your only XL creature in T3, has amazing stats, conveniently counters L-sized units, has a powerful active ability and life steal. Let that sink in for a second.

It is a primary target for buffs such as Lifeweaving or Unholy Power. Soulhunter is the perfect frontline unit not only because of those buffs, but because life stealing will make a noticable difference on a hut that has 4500 ATK. Further, its mine-field ability can kill hordes of M-sized creatures with easy and can be coupled with Soulshatter for maximum efficiency. In general, it is advised to take only 1 unit in T3, but why would you want any other units in T3 when you have this guy?

Shrine of War (core card)
While this card might not be suited for beginners deck, it certainly is a must have for everybody who wants to master this deck. This is clearly the best card at Voidmanipulation as it returns 12% of your Void Energy immediately. And with all the powerful spells and units you have at this point, killing enemies is not the problem. In fact, it encourages a fast and aggressive playstyle as killed enemies will provide you with energy when this building is activated.

You might be wondering what void energy is, if so let me explain: Every time one of your unit dies or when you use a spell, 90% of the card's energy cost is added to a seperate energy pool. Similar to power wells, energy is slowly coming back from this pool. Energy coming back from this pool is called "Void Energy". Therefore, Shrine of War allows you to play cards in a very quick succession. You can sacrifice weakened units and use voidmanipulation to gain back a huge amount of their energy in a short time, allowing you to summon new units instead. Same applies to spells, as they return 90% of their energy into the void pool.

The disadvantage is that you need to start the effect of the building manually and it is only 20 seconds long (+10 seconds from the first upgrade). So you will want to build 2 Shrines of War and always have at least one available when you need it. This means a cost 300 power, but it really is worth the investment. My tip is to use access the ability via shortcuts. When you first start with Battleforge, I would not recommend this card as it requires some insight in how the power system works. However, this card is so hugely beneficial that it should be a goal to learn how to use this card at some point.

Inferno
Some say this card is not worth the 300 power price tag and I agree. However, when we use Shrine of War we don't really pay 300 power, as Inferno is powerful enough to give us most if its energy back right after casting it. It summons several meteors to deal massive damage in a medium sized area. If all meteors hit, they deal 2400 damage to a single target which is enough to kill everything that is not of size XL. It can even be used in T3 to deal a nice bit of extra damage if you have the spare power. And if you use this card correctly along with Shrine of War, you get most of your spent energy back in no time anyway.

Bandit Lancer
Even-though Soulhunter really is your best T3 card, Lancers are still worth mentioning. What speaks for them is their fast movement, a strong ability and that they are dirt cheap. Their stats aren't the greatest thing but they are supposed to be a support unit and actually make a decent L-counter. In my opinion its strongest aspect comes from its 60 power cost, which means that you can use Offering on it to recharge Soulshatter, Infect or Inferno. What makes this unit a good supporter is its "mark" ability, which allows almost all ranged units to hit "marked" units from further away. I am saying "almost" because some units like the Bandit Gunner have a bugged attack and do not benefit from this attack. It's worth noting that this ability also works with the Shadow Phoenix charge.

Infect
What is better than having spells of mass destruction at your disposal? I tell you: Spells of mass destruction that turn killed enemies into Nightcrawlers! That's Infect in a nutshell.
Sadly, the orb requirements make you choose whether you want to pick Inferno or Infect in your deck. Therefore, it is a matter of taste which spell you take. Nonetheless, with Soulshatter, Lavafield or Minefield you clearly have enough firepower to make Infect work. On U3, 3 NCs will spawn per killed unit and the effect has a very long duration of 30 seconds. The card is good to have, especially if you have Motivate in your deck. You can even use it in T4 to feed your Tortugun.

Frenetic Assault
This card provides you with the thing you lacked up until this point: Crowd Control. This card has two effects: You select an enemy unit, which will subsequently be attacked by all surrounding enemy units. Further, all units affected by the spell go amok and attack your and enemy units alike. It's greatest strength is in dealing with enemy paralyzers from afar. Just sit back and watch the show!

Undoubtedly, this card is a great asset that remains useful up until T4. However, the real question is whether you should take this or wait until you get Amok in T4.

Necroblaster
Among all T3 towers, Necroblaster arguably does the most damage to a single target and with 100 power, it is cheap enough to guard several passages. But the disadvantage is that it needs to absorb souls before it can be fired. But sacrificing units is not a big deal in this deck anyway and once you fed it enough souls it will probably never run out of souls again, since it is powerful enough to deal with units swifly.

Other T3 cards worth mentioning
Especially for beginners Backlash can be a very powerful direct damage spell that deals more damage the more void power you have at the moment. Assuming you have 1000 void power, it will deal 3300 total damage and cost you a measly 120 power. But the more you master voidmanipulation, the more useless this card becomes.

On another note, Corsair is a great card... visually. In practice it is too slow, cannot capture points, does not counter aynthing and has several attack bugs. It's actual damage is around 2200 ATK (opposed to the 3000 ATK stated on the card) and sometimes the main cannon will not fire because of an animation bug. And while it can summon Bandits/Commandos, they cannot capture points either. It does slightly buff human units around it, but that is not enough to make it viable. Competitively speaking, this card it is utter garbage.

Sandstorm used to be an alright card with a fun purple ability, as it combined a damage spell with Aura of Corruption (and even worked against buildings). And then they nerfed it. So, don't bother with it, as it is an expensive card that does too little damage and the size of its passive ability is so small that you will never trigger the effect.

Unity is a nice spell that allows your units to share incoming damage and makes them receive less damage. Sadly, life stealing/healing isn't shared by units and in general, it does too little, affects only a few units at once and is somewhat expensive.

I have no experience with Church of Negation, but saw it used with great effect along with building support spells. Sadly, we don't have building support spells and without them the Church will kill itself faster than its targets.

Gunner used to be my primary T3 unit... until Soulhunter was released. It's a fun card with fun voice acting, but simply cannot match the power and buffing potential of a Soulhunter. Sadly, their attack is also bugged and they deal less damage than is stated on the card. Finally, their attack range is fixed and they do not benefit from the Lancer's active ability. In numbers, they can be very good because they will constantly knock back M-sized creatures before they can reach your Gunners. But at this point you could probably afford 2-3 Soulhunters.

If you want a somewhat unique deck, you can try to work out a spam-list that resolves around Bloodhealing and Motivate. In theory, it should work out with units such as Bandit Lancers or Giant Slayers. So, if you feel like it, give it a try. Bloodhealing can also be used to kill Tortuguns in T4, so that is a plus as well.

T3 Summary (TL;DR)
Despite having Soulhunter, the two most important dynamics in T3 is void manipulation and damage spells. With spells like Lavefield/Inferno + Soulshatter you can decimate whole groups of enemies in a short amount of time. Those spells come at a hefty price, but because their impact is so powerful you will get back the majority of your energy back in an instant due to Shrine of War. "Mastering" shrine of war is crucial for mastering a bandit deck.

The rest is actually rather straight forward. Use Soulhunter (or other unit of preference) as your main frontline unit and beef it up to 11 with buffs. Try to combine different damage spells with Soulshatter to maximize the damage and capitalize with Infect if you wish. For a fun list you can try out different T3 units and see what works best for you, but powerful spells and Shrine of War are a must have.

You won't have enough firepower to kill a big T4 base, but then again... who has it?

T4

Bloodhorn (core card)
Like Soulhunter, this card is among the best of its tier. With 5800/5000 on U3, 15% life steal and stampede it is not difficult to see why this card is a must have. The real question is which affinity to use, as people still debate over which one is stronger. Purple affinity sacrifices health to deal twice as much damage and along with Lifeweaving/Unholy Power and Unholy Hero this allows you to kill bosses with a single Bloodhorn. Normally, attack buffs do not stack but Unholy Power and the Bloodhorn ability are exceptions to this rule. However, people also like the red affinity which sacrifices a Bloodhorn's health to make it immune to debuffs for 15 seconds. This is extremely useful when facing mass-CC towers in rpve, where a Bloodhorn can kill a building easily with its stampede.

It is also importent to note how useful stampede can be in the right hands. My experience is that stampede is (positively) bugged and it will always kill two buildings when they are hit simultaneously, even if that exceeds the limit of 9000 damage. Furthermore, for some reason life steal is far stronger when used with stampede and you can fully heal-up a Bloodhorn when it kills 2-3 buildings with its ability. Even if the Bloodhorn is nearly dead.

However, as a pure Bandit player you won't have spells to heal your Bloodhorns when they are critically injured. The best use of a nearly dead Bloodhorns is to use Offering and summon a completely new one instead! This has the nice side effect of restoring the charges and cooldown of all other T4 cards as well. With Shrine of War, you dont need to worry about killing your units, as you will get back the majority of their energy cost in an instant.

Unholy Hero (core card)
This card is massive. On U3, this card gives a unit 300% (!) more attack damage and costs merely 80 energy. However, if the affected unit gets hit, all allied units will get damaged as well (125% of the original damage). But that is not a big problem if your Tortugun is 50m away from the frontline, right?

Rifle Cultist (core card)
Rifle Cultists are good units on their own and they can deal massive damage with their secondary ability. You can build decks around this card, but for Bandits this is the most efficient way to restore T4 charges. Out of Bloodhorn charges? Summon some Rifle Cultists and use Offering on them. Want to cast Earth Shatter twice in a row? Or Amok or Unholy Hero? Just use offering on Rifle Cultists.

Tortugun (red affinity)
Not only has this card the highest attack power in the game, it can also be a target for the best offensive buff in the game. With Unholy Hero you can boost the ATK to 24000 (!), which translates to 2000 damage every 2 seconds. The red affinity is clearly superior as it gives the Tortugun 50m attack range.

No doubt, this is one of the most powerful units in the game, but it also comes with a big drawback as well. Tortuguns have a "hunger bar" that slowly depletes and once it hits 0, the Tortugun goes amok. Once it goes amok, it cannot be controlled anymore (also not sacrificed) and will kill your nearby units to increase its hunger bar. Therefore, Tortugun needs to be managed and the most effective way to dispose Tortugun is to sacrifice it with a spell. For this, Offering, Bloodhealing or Motivate. At this point you should be aware how important sacrificing units is.

Summoning units for food (like Boom Brothers) is simply not effective, however you can use summoned units like Nightcrawlers from Infect or the Insects from Grim Bahir to restore the hunger bar. What I also recommend is summoning 2 Tortuguns and once one goes amok, one will just cannibalize the other to restore a lot of the hunger bar. To put things into perspective, a Tortugun has 4000 HP on U3. Furthermore, a Tortugun has a max hunger pool of 5000 HP and depletes 50 HP persecond. Therefore, killing another Tortugun almost fully fills up the and you have one less Tortugun to worry about. FYI, Tortuguns start with 2500 HP in the hunger pool.

Especially in the beginning it can be hard to manage Tortugun, which is why I don't consider it a core card. However, apart from Batariel decks this is the most damaging card in the game. Once you learn how to play with this card it becomes an incredible asset and is a reason why Bandit decks are so powerful in T4.

Amok (red affinity)
Most people consider Frenetic Assault to be better, but I bed to differ. This card has 25m radius (opposed to 20m) and can be used every 30 seconds (opposed to 50 seconds). And unlike Frenetic Assault, this card does not need a target and you can cast the spell directly in the middle of an enemy base to cover as many units as possible. However, this card also affects your own units as well. Amok also has an edge, as you will use Offering regularly and Amok will capitalize from this as well. When casting Amok twice, you affect huge amounts of enemy monsters that will be fighting each other.

Cluster Explosion (red affinity)
Ever wanted to see a whole base getting annihilated within 5 seconds? This card has an infectious kind of attack which comes in 3 waves. On U3, the first wave deals 435 damage spread among 3 targets, those 3 targets further damage 9 other targets (same damage) and final wave can affect up to 27 targets. What might not sound devastating can severely cripple an enemy base and I haven't mentioned the best part: Soulshatter.

When Soulshatter is applied just before the final wave has hit, every killed unit will deal another 400 damage on top. This is massive and when used on a tightly packed map you can kill everything in a base with exception of a few XL units still standing (which are heavily damaged). And with Shrine of War, you will often get back ALL of your void energy in an instant.

It is almost unfair how strong this when used with Soulshatter.

Artillery
Like with T2, Bandits have an excellent tower that is awesome for normal pve. It costs only 190 power, deals 5600 damage and has a long range of 50m. Furthermore, if 4 or more units are approaching, this card will throw an additional mine. Once the mine is triggered, the red affinity creates a flame field with 25m diameter is created, dealing 70 damage to all enemies within (no damage cap applies). Mines from the purple affinity will simply deal 1000 damage, up to 3000 damage.

Earthshaker
In rpve, this card is a must have as you can kill spawn buildings or mass-CC buildings safely from afar. If you read this and don't consider this card to be strong, just wait until you encounter huge bases with multiple paralyzer units, spawners and mass-CC buildings. It can also be usedful for more difficult pve missions, but when you are doing easier maps this card is not a must have.

Grim Bahir
While nothing special by itself, this card has good synergy with Tortugun that is worth trying out. Attacked units get infected, which turn into stronger Nightcrawlers when killed. Grim Bahir is a bit lacking in stats, but since it flies it can avoid incoming damage rather well and you have other cards that serves as main damage output. This card is worth checking out especially if you are short on Bloodhorn/Tortugun charges to bring more XL monsters to the table.

Other T4 cards worth mentioning
Surprisingly, there are no other T4 cards that are really interesting. Many excellent T4 cards like Death Ray require 3 orbs of one colour, while other cards like Plague are simply overshadowed by other cards. There are other XL creatures like Overlord or Fire Worm, but most of these are either weak or get overshadowed by Bloodhorn. Yes, Bandit T4 is really this good.

T4 Summary (TL;DR)
Once you reach T4, you will find that the game shifts greatly into your favour. Not only do you have access to some of the strongest cards in the game, but you can capitalize further by their great synergy. For normal pve, Bloodhorn and Tortugun can deal with almost everything a campaign can throw at you. And with Artillery you even got a nice T4 tower.

For rpve, Bandits is among the fastest (if not the fastest) pure deck as you can put out significant damage with Cluster Explosion + Soulshatter. It also cannot be overstated how powerful a Tortugun can be when buffed. And yes, Tortugun can be a pain to manage but there are enough ways to make it work. And at this point, you will kill units so fast that you will find your void energy coming back almost instantly after spending it due to Shrine of War.

T4 is where everything comes together, as each card has its function. Bloodhorn is a frontline tank/boss killer, Tortugun is a hard counter to L creatures and when these units are buffed there is little they cannot do. With Offering + Rifle Cultists you will never run out of charges or you can mass-CC enemy bases by casting amok twice in a row. Earthshaker will kill enemy buildings surgically and it is hard to overstate the milage you get from casting Cluster Explosion + Soulshatter.

Edited by ImaginaryNumb3r
Some spelling fixes

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I think this thread is in the right section. I think even experienced players can learn something from this. Especially some combos are rather advanced and i doubt most players will ever think about those. That is especially true as most players probably go for the easier choices with heals and don't play a "standard bandits deck".

Especially your explanations on the situational use of cards is probably extremely valuable to new players and even to players who are just new to the faction as bandits have a very distinct playstyle similar to Lost souls as both can not rely on conventional healing spells and the use of units and spells is getting vastly more important.

So far great job. I am looking forward to the t3 and t4 section. I also hope you can do some examplatory decks in the end for different types of maps - like standard, defensive, offensive and rPVE. I'd also like to get a small summary of how to play those decks in a so to say compressed form. Like a few sentences on which card combos are generally the key to success in thos decks specifically. In addition maybe a difficulty ranking would be nice :). I am not sure if you wanted to include those anyways but i think those things could be usefull.

If you need any help with something feel free to contact me :)

Great job so far.

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Thanks for the positive feedback :). I really wanted to have a central point of entry instead of telling everybody bits and pieces of what makes a Bandit deck and what you can do with it. I don't really have much time right now and I just write my posts incrementally when I can. Even-though there is not much demand right now and most people of the community are dormant, I see it as an investment in the future.

But sure, if you could maybe make a sample video of some missions with a Bandit deck, that would be awesome. I must admit that most of my knowledge resolves around rpve and beginner/advanced maps and I am quite rusty (given the long time it has been). Any input is welcoem.

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On 21.8.2017 at 0:50 AM, Mental Omega said:

Rioter's Retreat
This card is what makes Bandits arguably the best T2 defenders apart from Frost. The green affinity will heal 70 HP of each Bandit model. So, while a Bandit Sorceress will heal by 70 HP a second, Commandos will heal 420 HP (!) per second. This is because Commandos is a squad that consists of 6 models (to put it into perspective, Commandos have 660 HP on U3). It is almost absurd how strong this is.

Its always kinda surprisingly that you can still learn more about this game. :D

I really appreciate your guide so far, some nice ideas and tactics behind. Looking forward to t4, I'm curious if you are using tortugun, i was never good at using that one :P

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34 minutes ago, Riviute said:

Its always kinda surprisingly that you can still learn more about this game. :D

I really appreciate your guide so far, some nice ideas and tactics behind. Looking forward to t4, I'm curious if you are using tortugun, i was never good at using that one :P

Hehe, managing Tortugun was always my speciality :D

Glad I could be of use! ^^

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Old thread but just had to comment on how ridiculously powerful this deck is. I would actually rate this top tier considering how efficient and fast it is, atleast for rPVE. I haven't tried 10 yet but farming 9 is a breeze using this deck. 

The synergy of Shrine of War + Spells is absolutely bonkers and, despite the slightly higher skillfloor required for this deck, allows for a lot of mistakes, especially considering how strong/fast the early game already is using Nomad + Mines. All you have to keep in mind really is to hotkey your shrines + turtles and keeping them well fed.

 

 

Another (pretty OP?) thing I found is that you can abuse (preferably U3) Thugs to generate extreme value. Thugs only have to hit the enemy for ~2 seconds to generate around 10 Energy. This energy isn't taken out of your void pool or power well, but is actually generated out of nowhere. Realistically, they will always end up generating more than they cost, and that's not even considering in that you get 90% of their cost back as void when they die anyway. By making clever use of these, you can considerably speed up your power gain, and thus your game.

So one should always let Thugs do the cleanup work for towers or units, that way you can abuse their passive to get absurd amounts of energy, which in turn accelerates the entire expanding process again. Obviously the exception for this are spawn-buildings which should always be rushed down. But, for example, the bandit arrow towers, anti air buildings, waystations etc can all be abused with 0 risk and maximum power gain.

Another trick is to use a (preferably non-upgraded) Makeshift tower to defend use thugs to defend alongside it. The tower will provide some form of crowd control which prolongs the lifespan of the thugs, thus allowing them to hit for longer and again, generate more energy.

Though it might appear like a slower strategy to place Makeshift towers and Thugs, it will pay off in the end, since as soon as you hit T3, the drawback of Void-Energy is basically non-existent thanks to the Shrine of War.

 

Works not only for rPVE. Basically any mission where you have leftover buildings can be abused with thugs to generate extra energy, especially Anti-Air! So always let thugs take care of those and don't let any other unit hit their target to maximize the power gain.

Since it's based of the current HP value of the target, buildings will end up granting a TON of energy, due to how little damage thugs deal and how much HP even smaller buildings usually have. You can probably get a solid 150~ energy (need testing) out of an anti-air turret with one squad of thugs.

 

Anyway, thanks for the deck. I've really grown to like it since it's a bit more intricate than your standard T4+Heal Spam deck. The Thugs, Tortugun management and shrine add some nice depth to it.

Again, really really fast clearing times, very strong T1, T2 and T4 in rPVE and still very safe to play once you get behind the mechanics of the deck. 

Edited by ManGa

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@ManGa it absolutely is a top tier deck. As a general note, I was writing this summary when I couldn't access to the game. But now that I figured out things again rpve is a true breeze, even against Lost Souls. Glad I sparked some interest in this deck.

I think I will rewrite some units to make it a bit more concise and add some extra infos to it.

Also, your observation on Thugs is absolutely spot on. I still prefer Nomads in pve, but in rpve Thugs truely shine. It's not only the power generation, but also the anti-S that is an absolute boon.

 

Edited by ImaginaryNumb3r
ManGa likes this

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