I thought it would be fitting for me to write a beginner guide to the Gem of War Arena, seeing that this is the mode I actually play the most.
What is the Arena?
Much like in any CCG/TCG game, the Arena is a place where the player has to go against other line-ups with cards drafted from a selected pool. In GoW, you will go to battle with your hero (and the weapon of your choice amongst those you already own), and three cards: a common, a rare and an ultra rare. You might play with cards you do not currently own (and are offered a choice to buy them with gems at the end if you’re so inclined).
Where do I start battling?
To be part of this elite gladiator group, you need to get to Broken Spire (I suspect Luther and his attacking obsession are behind the whole fight-to-the-death operation).
Thanks to the following wonderful screenshot, you can see that the Arena can be found at the bottom right of the city screen.
Pay the gladiator fee – a 1000 gold – and prepare to crush your opponents!
The fool let me in! What do I do now?
Good job, fellow fighter.
The game will now propose you nine cards: 3 commons, 3 rares and 3 ultra rares. You will have to pick one of each in order to create your line-up.
I will advise you to pick according to colours, so that you cover all of them. For instance, if your first choice is green, the second could be purple and red, and the third could be blue and yellow. Then, you can choose a weapon for your hero that is brown, and you get the full spectrum without any overlap! Of course, you can’t always get a perfect rainbow, so choose wisely.
Note that you don’t have to play the arena in one sitting, you can close the arena and come back to it later.
The point is to get as far as possible in the arena, up to 8 wins. The arena masters are nice enough to let you lose a battle and still carry on. Which means you can get to 8 wins, even if you screw up once. However, the second loss means that you are eliminated. It’s ok though, Luther will always welcome you back later on.
I should add three points:
1/ You can switch the places of your cards just like in classic invading mode.
2/ You can change your home kingdom if you wish, the mana bonus will then be applied to your arena just like in classic invading mode.
3/ If you close the arena before your first fight, and if you have changed your weapon, chances are you will have to change it again before your first fight. I don’t know if that issue exists for everyone (I’m a bug magnet), but I know the game never remembers it when I do it, so be careful if the weapon you currently use is not the right colour for your arena!
You suck at explaining, show me how it’s actually done!
Ok, here is a breakdown of my last arena.
This is my first choice, the common cards. I have to pick between the Orc, the Dwarven Miner and the Zombie.
I’ve decided to set up for the Orc. I think this card is actually useful, and I believe that the Miner and the Zombie are more situational. The first colour I need to avoid then is red, since this is the Orc colour and I want to avoid overlap as much as possible.
My second choice, the rare cards. I have to draft either the Acolyte, the Warhound or the Archon Statue. This is good, since none of them uses red, which means I can pick any card I prefer. I will pick the Archon. All three are actually useful in the Arena, so this is really a matter of preference. The Archon is one of the very first cards I got when I started playing, so I’ll always love it more than I should.
The final choice, the ultra rare cards. The choice is between the Flame Cannon, the Drake Rider and the Treant. No matter what I pick, there will be an overlap, since I already have cards using red, brown and green. I settle for the Rider since it’s a new card and I’m curious to see how it fares in the Arena (pretty well, actually). To be honest, I’ve been lucky: all three cards are really good. The Flame Cannon damages everyone, the Dark Rider is like an upgraded Rhynax and the Treant is just generally awesome in my opinion.
Now, it’s time to pick a weapon! As you can see, the previous weapon I had was yellow and green. I already have green in my line-up with the Archon, and I need both yellow and blue. Let’s pick a new one!
Much better. The soul blade gives me both colour, and this is a really good Arena card: 11 damage means I can usually kill any common troop, and seriously damage the others. I’m almost ready, but let’s switch the line-up now…
My home kingdom will be Zaejin, with its sweet brown and green bonus. I decide to switch the Rider and the Archon, since they both benefit from the brown bonus, but only the Archon gets to benefit from the green one. Therefore they will both fill quickly enough.
First battle: I won! The line-up works really well, and I’m happy.
Time to get some rewards now! I like that new troop in the Arena, 10/10 will pick again.
And what do I get for my valiant efforts?
Ah, the sweet taste of victory…
Here is the breakdown of all the bounties you can proudly bring home:
- 1 victory: 500 gold
- 2 victories: 1000 gold and two trophies
- 3 victories: 1100 gold, 3 trophies and 1 key
- 4 victories: 1200 gold, 4 trophies, 1 key and 25 souls
- 5 victories: 1250 gold, 5 trophies, 1 key and 50 souls
- 6 victories: 1300 gold, 6 trophies, 1 key and 100 souls
- 7 victories: 1400 gold, 8 trophies, 2 keys and 200 souls
- 8 victories: 1500 gold, 10 trophies, 2 keys and 400 souls
Please note that the arena rewards will be adjusted according to your armour, if you do have one (but come on, what kind of gladiator goes to battle in rags?). So the deal is even sweeter for the gem hoarders amongst us!
Any advice on troop picking?
I’d say first and foremost, pick troops you are comfortable with. We all play differently. For instance, I know a player who really dislikes any troop that removes gems, so even if a troop doing it is great, picking it will not be fun for him. You have to choose troops you have fun with.
I’ll give my opinion on some troops, but beware that these are my personal observations, and not guidelines.
In general, I avoid troops that are too situational like the Dwarven Miner, and love troops that have some strong effect on the board, whether through high damage (like a Banshee) or through useful abilities (like silence/mana drain).
There are a few troops I advise you to avoid though:
- Black Beast: although it is a pretty good troop, chances are you won’t get to use its abilities very often in the Arena. And once the Beast is alone, you can only count on skulls to end the game. It’s not a bad choice per se, but you can probably get a safer choice.
- Dire Wolf: on paper, it looks good. Fills up fast and the effect is super nice. But the effect might only last a turn or two, and you’re not guaranteed skulls while it’s active. Not a bad pick, but you can probably get a better choice.
- Dwarven Miner / Peasant: very situational. I do pick them when they’re together with Fortress Gate (the worst choice EVER, but it does happen regularly :P), but frankly, even if they can set up the board, it’s very situational. You can do better, promise.
- Fortress Gate: just don’t pick it. Never. Even if you’re under duress. Nothing can force you to. You need to build your self-esteem, you can’t do that to yourself. Seriously. Pick the Miner. At least he’s semi-useful. I beg of you. I love you.
- Golem: unless your other choices are the Peasant and the Fortress Gate, don’t pick it. It fills fast, but Arena troops don’t have a ton of armour, so its ability is not overwhelming. It’s not the worst choice, but chances are the two other cards are better.
- Priestess: she can actually be good if you have a Paladin or pretty low life troops. Otherwise, you’d rather kill off your opponents than buff a troop once in a while. Not bad per se, but not a first choice.
And these are the troops that you should totally pick given the chance:
- Archon Statue: good stats, fills fast enough with some mana bonus, does a decent amount a damage, and becomes a killing machine once wounded. Yeah, I love him.
- Banshee: good stats as well (well, minus the attack, but she’s never at the top anyway), does a great deal of damage, and can let you play again if you set her up to create 4+ combos.
- Berserker: amazing stats, insane attack damage if he can do his spell once or twice. If you equip the bullroarer or any troop/weapon that buffs his life and/or his armour, he’s the king of the world.
- Boar Rider / Goblin / Satyr / Goblin Rocket / Hobgoblin: fill super fast, do decent to great damage, give you an extra turn. You just got to love these little guys.
- Druid: I actually think he’s overpowered at the moment. Just pick him. You’ll thank me later.
- Frost Giant: one of the best DPS in the game. ’Nuff said.
- Grave Knight: because screw the Sacred Guardian and the Templar line-ups! Seriously though, pretty cool stats and his ability is awesome.
- Herdmaster: because even after their nerfs, the exploding troops still rule GoW.
- Owl Bear: fills up fast, does great damage AND laughs at your opponent’s ridiculous attack power.
- Paladin: excellent IF you can buff him / protect him somehow. If his armour is gone, he’s useless. But in combo with the Templar, the Priestess, or any armour-buffing weapon, he’s just amazing.
- Pride Hunter / Spider Queen / Blast cannon: just a nice moment of quiet around here.
- Rock Worm: once it starts playing, it never stops. Quite selfish, but so good.
- Sacred Guardian / Treant: great stats, and both have abilities that make them even more durable.
- Templar: he makes everyone tanky and gives you the board. Awesome in the Arena.
- Vampire Lord / Wolf Knight / Wight: because true damage cannot be overrated in this mode. If you can keep them alive, they will be your MVPs. You will laugh at the Templar and his little friends who think they’re safe from you.
Notable mentions: any troop that change or create colour (like the Valkyrie or the Alchemist), excellent in combo with your other troops or weapons, and the War Sphynx, whom I find super useful in Arena and has decent stats.
Any advice on weapon picking?
In general, I pick my weapon according to the colours I need. A few are particularly good though. I will not
list Summer’s Fury in this list, even though it’s really popular and most of my opponents seem to use it, since I usually have time to kill everyone before the weapon is used, so I think it’s overrated. But I understand why people love it.
Here are a few weapons which I think are good in the Arena:
- Any 6 or less mana weapons: they fill so fast, you can use them all the time
- Any true damage weapon. No, really, they’re amazing in this mode.
- War and Peace / Sun and Moon / Fire and Ice: they deal damage to all your enemies AND they buff your troops, so it’s all good.
- Staff of Madness / Eye of Xathenos / Bear Totem: does great damage and buff your hero.
- Soul Blade / Death Knell / Arrow of Slaying: a lot of damage for a decent price. Can burst most common troops.
- Prismatic Orb: it just works with everything, provided you put your hero at the bottom of your line-up in order to fill up your troops (for instance if you have a tanky troop top, like a Treant).
- Pan’s Lute: mana drain + buff your troops. I really like it.
- Eggsplosion / Mountain Crusher: exploding gems feels so nice.
- Cauldron / Anvil of Might / Bullroarer: excellent buffing cards. Seriously, they’re awesome.
- Skullblade: the best DPS weapon, by far.
As with everything, just try them and see what fits you the most.
Any parting words? I want to fight now!
Crush them all!
(Edit: forgot to add my invite code - ARCHENASSA. Oops.)
Edit 2: Wight and not Wraith. I swear I proofread it. (