More benefits, more surprises
*Special thanks to an anonymous player for contributing his game guide to us!
Hate getting attacked by other players and losing your lord, your troops, and your resources? Thankfully, defense in this game is relatively easy to learn. It is an essential skill as you progress in the game. But, in order to defend properly, you need to know what you are defending against. So first we must ask: what are people trying to get from your hive and what tools do they have available to do this?
Why people attack
• Fun (this is a war game)
• Revenge (see #1 above)
• Regular resources (stone, wood, etc.)
• Troops for lord experience, merit, or kill count
• Lords for the Hall of Faces Buff
Once you know what the attacker wants, you can think about how to defend against it. There’s nothing you can do to prevent the attack from someone who wants to have fun – they’re going to hit you regardless. Same for revenge – although maybe don’t be a jackass and that will happen less. But even if someone is attacking for these two reasons, the strategies you use to defend against the three main reasons will help you out in defending against these two reasons.
High-level players almost never attack for regular resources – they get enough through gathering, resource packs, etc. Most alliances have alliance banks with these resources as well. Mid-range players might attack for these regular resources, especially if they need to build a lot of hospitals (they need a lot of wood). But generally, regular resources are a minimal reason for attacking.
The next three are the main reason higher-level players attack.
Gold is one of the biggest roadblocks in the end-game, as high-end researches require upwards of 20 million gold each. There are very few gold mints in the game, and gold packs are rare and expensive. Attacking other players is thus one of the main sources of gold, and a frequent reason for attacks. Conclusion: players want to take your gold.
Troops for lord experience, kill count, or merit is equally as important as gold. Once you get to lord level 55, you need absurd amounts of experience and attacking other players is the best source of this experience. You get experience from killing and wounding their troops. Killing or wounding 100,000 troops gives you about 100,000 lord XP, which is significantly more than even what high-level researches give you. In addition, players may want to kill your troops – for kill count or for merit. Once you get above 30 million power, you need to begin killing T3 troops to gain “merit” and advance to a higher knight level. You get 1 merit point per enemy T3 killed from a player above 30 million, and .25 points per one of your own T3 troops killed. Conclusion: players want to kill or wound your troops.
Hall of Faces buff is also very important. If you have the Hall of Faces and capture and execute another player’s lord, you get a significant combat buff. This is the only way to get the buff. Conclusion: players want to capture and execute your lord.
Taken together, there are thus three things attackers want from you, and which you want to protect: gold, troops, and your lord. Thankfully, the game gives you plenty of ways to protect these.
How to protect your gold, troops, and your lord before an attack?
There are many ways to protect yourself from an attack.
• You can bubble
• You can shelter
• You can pay attention to your troops and resources
Bubble (truces) are the easiest way to protect yourself. No one can attack your castle while bubbled, and we prohibit tile hitting (attacking troops on a resource node) in most circumstances. So, if you are bubbled you are 100% safe. A 24-hour bubble is 1,000 diamonds and protects you entirely from attack.
Shelter is the next best option. Your shelter protects up to 200,000 troops and your lord, and can eventually protect even more with a research. With troops and lord in the shelter, you eliminate two of the three reasons players attack you. You protect your lord and your troops, which means attackers get no HoF buff, no merit or kill count, and no lord experience. This leaves your resources as the only thing left someone could want. You have now made yourself an unattractive target, and even if someone attacks you, you lose nothing but resources. You can shelter for up to 12 hours, so if you login twice per day, you are completely immune from attackers.
Pay attention to your troops and resources. Shelter completely protects your lord and troops, leaving only resources left. Spend your resources. Plan your researches and buildings for when you have big resources. If at all possible, do not have any resources on hand other than your packs. You have a certain amount of resources which are “protected” based on your resource buildings and research. To check this, hover over your resource (like wood) and see your “capacity” and “protected” resources. Unprotected resources go to attackers if they beat you. Protected resources can never be stolen from an attacker. If you notice, all your resources are protected to an extent – except gold. The only way to protect your gold is to build storehouse level 25, which protects 2.5mil gold. That is HUGE. Think about it – if you have lord and excess troops in shelter, and no resources above your protected limit, why on earth would someone attack you? A variation on this is to have an alliance bank to send all your unprotected resources to. Yes, you pay the merchant tax, but the resources stay in your alliance rather than being taken by attackers.
We discussed troops above – shelter them. But you obviously need to gather resources as well. This is why you should pay attention to your troops. If they will be out for 8 hours, and you are not bubbled, you should come back in 8 hours and send your troops back out to gather. Otherwise, they sit in your city as a juicy target for XP, kill count, and merit. Generally, if you are in production talents – like building and research and gathering speed – rather than military talents, you should NEVER have a troop in your base that is not in the shelter. Your troops should either be gathering, in the shelter, or sitting behind a bubble.
Hospitals are the last-ditch protection for your troops. If someone attacks your troops, they are wounded and go to the hospital. Any troops above your hospital capacity are killed permanently. Because it is much cheaper to heal a troop than build it from scratch, you want to build your hospital capacity as high as you build your troop count for as long as you can.
If you are bubbled or gather and shelter and pay attention to your troops and resources, enemies have NO reason to attack you other than for fun or for revenge. Most likely they will scout you and then just move on without attacking since they gain nothing from the attack. Make yourself as unattractive target as possible. And it doesn’t take $$ - just login and constantly send our troops to gather, or shelter them twice a day, or throw on a bubble. And please build hospitals to cover your mistakes (or laziness).
How to defend your hive during an attack
Ok, your alliance leader has told everyone to bubble or shelter. EVERYONE has told you this. And yet, half your alliance has a million gold, 200,000 troops, and their lord just sitting in their city, while in production talents and gear, and now you are being attacked. How do you defend as a hive? You have several options.
• Single attacks
• Reinforce and garrison
• Trap castle
• Reinforce a bubbled player
Bubble. Simple – if the attacker is much stronger than you, and your alliance isn’t coordinated and practiced enough to do the below, just bubble instantly (even with just 4 hours). You’re then invincible. If you are a T3 hive defending against a T4 attacker, just bubble. Unless you are quite advanced as an alliance (and you would know if you are), there is very little you can do there.
Alternatively, if you have strong military research, switch to military talents and gear, and withdraw your troops to your castle. You will get attacked but may do good damage to the attacker.
Single attacks are almost always the wrong answer, unless you are much stronger than the attacker. By single attacks I mean you, as someone in the hive, scout and then send your army to attack the attacker solo. This is usually a bad idea. Why? Because as long as the players have enough hospitals, the attacker always gets up to 40% of their troops KILLED, while the defender gets 100% of their troops WOUNDED. This means attackers are at a significant disadvantage (which is why attackers only attack you for one of the above three reasons – it needs to be worth killing their troops). And if someone is attacking you, they are probably all geared out and well-researched, in the right talents, with the right commanders. That means they will be tough to beat. Additionally, there is a MAX to the number of troops you can send on an attack, based on your castle level, commander level, and a few other things. But there is NO max for the number of troops you can have in your castle. Thus, you might be sending your 200,000 troops against an attacker with 600,000 troops in their castle, and you are going to die.
The two exceptions are (1) you are MUCH stronger, or (2) you have scouted and know the attacker’s number of troops and you attack while they are out. If the attacker sends their troops out, and has a small number of troops in their castle, if you send your troops to attack them and succeed you get the resources from their castle and you release any lords they hold. So, it might occasionally be a good idea to send a large attack while the troops are out. You might just want to make sure you use marching boots to ZOOM your troops in so the attacker can’t bring their troops back to the castle faster than you and win the fight.
Reinforce and garrison are your two main tools to defend. There are three main differences between the two. (1) A player can get reinforcements up to their Embassy level, while they can have only ONE garrison. (2) Reinforcement troops use the research, gear, and commanders of the reinforced player, while garrison troops use the research, gear, and commanders of the person who is doing the garrison. So, generally, if you are stronger than the person being attacked you should garrison but if you are weaker you should reinforce. One caveat: even a strong player has weak troops if they are in gathering/research/building talents and gear, so if you are in military spec you might actually want to garrison. (3) Reinforced troops appear inside the castle, while Garrison troops are outside of it. That means if you garrison, you will take the brunt of the enemy’s attack on your troops without the benefit of the defender troops (except archers).
The benefit to garrison and reinforcing castles is linked to what I said above: attackers have a maximum attacking army size, while defenders do not. So, a defending player can have, say, 200,000 of their own troops, up to 1 million troops from Embassy reinforcements (level 25), and say, 200,000 more troops garrisoned in their castle. So even this player with few troops can have 1.4 million troops in their castle. That will generally decimate any attacker, who is sending between 200,000 to 500,000 troops in a single attack.
Just for example: I have Embassy 25 which gives me 1 million troops in reinforcement. Twice, now, I have been rallied by a defending alliance and beat the rally – a 1 million troop rally and a 2 million troop rally – killing over 200,000 of the alliance’s troops without losing a single dead troop of my own. How? I had almost 2 million troops in my castle because of my embassy and reinforcements.
A smart player will be aware of the above and will cancel any attack against a strongly-reinforced castle, or else will use troop speedups to get there before your reinforcements arrive. Fine. You’re wasting their time and diamonds and frustrating them to where they might just leave.
Just beware of who you are reinforcing. If the defending player has maester or builder gear on, there is a good chance they are in production talents and not military talents. Your troops will thus take on THEIR research and talents, aka they will be very weak, so you might be sending your troops to a death sentence. This is why if you are in production talents/research, your FIRST line of defense should be above – shelter your troops and lord and spend your resources. I would never reinforce a player who didn’t follow this advice first, although I might garrison them.
Rally. If you have a strong player with good research, gear, and commanders, you might wish to rally the attacking player. This is kind of like the reinforcement idea, but on offense. With a rally, you can combine your armies up to 2.2mil troops (with bannerman hall 25), after a minimum wait of 5 minutes. This means you can potentially send 2.2million well-equipped troops to attack the attacker, killing and wounding many of their troops, getting your resources back, and releasing all lords. Against an unskilled attacker, rallies are often your best bet since you know your troops will be strong (rather than reinforcing a weak player).
The problem is that rallies are very easy to dodge, owing to the fact that the rally march time is fully choreographed. A player has 5 or more minutes to teleport away, or they can shelter their own troops or send them on an expedition so there are no troops in the city when your rally hits. This means their troops can return to the castle quickly to continue with the attack. Yes, your rally will win and get your resources and gold back. But if all the attacker wants is to kill your troops for lord xp, kill count, or merit points, they don’t care. Thus, rallies are only effective at defending against someone who is coming for gold or lords, and not for defending against someone there for troops.
Another problem with rallies is you might not like the result. Just because you have bannerman hall 25 does not mean you have a good rally. If you send 2million troops with crappy commanders and crappy research, and the attacking players has good commanders and good research with 1 million troops reinforcing him, you might lose and lose BAD. Since you are the attacker, you get dead troops and he only gets wounded troops. This is especially true if the attacker has T4 troops and you only have T3.
Trap castles, like rallies, are a good tactic to use against an unexperienced attacker. A trap castle is this: you make a castle very juicy looking (maybe they have a lot of lords and they are in maester research gear which suggests their troops are weak). You then reinforce and garrison that castle, have that player put on military talents and counterscout, and hope the attacker attacks this castle. When they do, they send their small attacking army against over 1 million troops, resulting in many wounded and dead troops. Counterscout is essential – any good player will scout every castle they attack, and the scout will reveal the reinforcements in the city. But this also reveals the weakness of trap castles – any good player knows this is a possibility and won’t attack a castle with counterscout on (with some exceptions). Because your trap castle is entirely passive – it cannot attack – you are depending entirely on the attacker to attack it. And a good player won’t do that. Additionally, your troops are tied up in the trap castle and can’t be used for reinforcement, garrison, or rallies. Still, a trap castle is better than having your troops in a weak castle doing nothing. And, you can even use counterscout to bluff against a good player – because of the risk of a trap castle, good players usually won’t attack a counterscout castle, so you might bluff them into moving on. Although a really good player knows how to get around this bluff.
Reinforce a bubbled castle. This is similar to sheltering your troops. Remember, a bubbled player can’t be attacked, so if you reinforce a player in your alliance who is bubbled your troops are immune from attack. Just send your lord along with the troops, or shelter your lord, and there are then no troops or lord for the attacker to get. You might also consider transporting all your excess, unprotected resources (although they should have been spent in the first place or at least sent to the alliance bank). If you do this, you make yourself an unattractive target for attackers.
P.S.: This was first published on 2019-12-04.