Arena Guide for Beginners

Hello everyone!

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. :slight_smile:

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. :slight_smile:

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. :slight_smile:

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.:frowning: (


I would like to add that it’s possible to use a different costume for playing AND for collecting the rewards. Since you’re not getting much in terms of gold and souls, I suggest playing with the Lion armor to get as much XP as possible. When all is done and 8 battles are won, I slip out of Arena mode, change costume to Celestial and collect no less than a whopping 800 souls and 2250 gold!
For fights in kingdoms (relevant again now that we have Grosh-nak) I also use the Lion armor for the quests and the Celestial for fighting challenges.
For pvp i use the Dragon armor, but I realize this is not for everyone given the huge amount of gems you need to buy it. :wink:

1.) It is the Wight, not the Wraith in the Vampire Lord/ Wolf Knight/ Wraith part.

2.) You give a lot of troops to pick as really good picks, however, some of your picks are off point. First, I don’t believe you can get Goblin Rocket or Hobgoblin in arena yet (only cards that you can get in packs are available.)
Second, there are a lot of troops here I have to disagree with:

Golem: I understand you might not like the Golem, but its actually not bad at all. Explosion helps a bit, early game it can do 3 damage sometimes to all troops, that great value for a common, and a lot of commons suck. The explosion nerf hit this a bit, but its still low end Tier 2… maybe high end tier 3.

Berserker: Say hello to the most overvalued troop in arena. Sure it has great stats, but it loses them with its ability. If this thing is focused at all, your life sucks, because it may not even get to use its attack (and other things buff better than it.) Lastly, its ability does 3-12, while 12 sure is nice, 3-5 often means you won’t kill your target, and this can be a difference maker. I thought this was great too, then I used in for four arenas and figured out its overrated. Its still Tier 3, but not even close to Tier 1.

Grave Knight: Just no. You are talking about a troop that takes awhile to charge, all for 3 + armor. 11 damage is generally the most optimal case I see. Sure there are Templars and Sacred Guardians, but otherwise you aren’t getting much value because much of the high end tier minions are more life dependent than armor (life is also the better stat than armor by a slight margin, to also avoid things like Blade Dancer, which is actually really strong because it doesn’t fall off too much (7 damage to one target is nice.) Speaking of falling off, that’s this troop’s biggest downfall. Worse case you charge this up a lot for… 3 damage… boy this is unusable at that point. It also has a low life pool of its own, meaning some true damage troops can one shot it. It has great potential, but its too inconsistent and we prefer consistency in our arena cards. Middle of Tier 3 is where I put this card. As a note as well, the hero generally has a TON of armor, however, you are unlikely to get the full effect of that reduction as you likely will get skull matches to wear out that armor before you get the chance to use this ability.

Paladin: Exactly what you said, excellent IF you can buff him. HOWEVER, it is very hard to buff Paladin. Its biggest helpers are Templar and epics, both of which you can’t pair this with. So we are looking at 10 damage that goes down if it gets focused at all! This troop is all about synergy, which is why its good in constructed. In arena we don’t draft for synergies. This card also VERY overrated in arena. Middle of tier 3… some upside if you have and use the armor Hero weapon, but you better draft accordingly to use that weapon.

Treant: This ability is not great… this is one of those troops that when arena came out many people put it in tier 1, then as time went on, almost everyone dragged him down some tiers. The problem is that he buffs himself… that’s it. OK, so you get more tanky and get a lot of attack… if it gets focused though, it doesn’t matter, it will still die. Gloom Leaf is good because it gets more and steals it, so even if it dies it cripples the enemy team. Treant does none of that and should not be drafted any higher than a tier 3.

Templar: I’ve had trouble putting this between high tier 3 and low tier 2, but its not amazing tier. This card is all support, turns red to green so you need a strong green troop (the druid coming to life did help out this troop.) If you want an ultra rare with red, its value goes down due to this. It gives armor to all troops, but its not quite as overbearing as in constructed. You can’t have more than one support (non-damage) troop in arena as well or your team’s value goes way down. In the best case, this card rocks, however the best case does not always come in arena… and without the best case this card is just decent.

1 Like

Nice work @Archenassa, 15 Gems in bound!

Grave Knight is great up until the point it is faced with a true damage build or another Grave Knight. Its ability, if it manages to fire it off, can seriously hurt the opposing hero and it is a great counter for the ever so popular Sacred Guardian. But true damage goes through it like a knife through hot butter.

Alchemists, Valkyries, Goblin Shamans and similar troops are my prefered picks as they can then be teamed up with a great weapon such as Soul Blade.

I totally agree, this is one of the troops I dislike the most. Well I guess it has to do something along with my play style since I always draft the troops around my Sun & Moon weapon, but overall, the troop is quite bad in arena.

Hey Emoxes!
Tahnks for the Wraith catch-up, I’ve changed it. I had re-read it twice and didn’t see it. Grr. There are a few troops and weapons I always call differently for some reason and mistakes like that are bound to happen. :frowning: - like I call Fortress Gate Stone Wall, the Bullroarer Cornucopia, etc. So thanks, it’s modified now.
As for the troops, I did say they were personal preferences and not guidelines, since I am aware will all judge them differently.
For instance about the Berserker: although I have seen it kill a 10 life troop, you don’t pick him for the damage of his spell, but for his insanely high attack damage. I usually play him at the top, and equip myself with a bullroarer or Fire and Ice when I play him. You can quickly get him to 15+ attack all while buffing his life. As I said, personal preferences!
Same goes with Treant and Paladin, I only pick them when I can buff them. So for instance, I’ll only pick the Paladin if I can use a weapon like the Anvil of Might. Usually, he’s the MVP with over 20 armour and as much in attack. So basically he one-shots everything. But I get why you don’t like him that much. I really really love him though.
The Grave Knight, I just find him awesome. He actually fills quite fast with a mana bonus, and seeing how popular the Sacred Guardian is, he’s basically an excellent counter, especially since he applies his damage after breaking the armour, which means even if the creature armours up again, it’s going to die super fast. I get why you don’t like him, but I really do.
As for the Templar, I have to disagree. Only 3 troops deal true damage, and most heroes don’t equip true damage weapons. He can carry it all for you, and with him on your team, you can afford some expensive green weapon or green ultra rare without a care. If you equip something like Order and Chaos, you don’t mind about the red disappearing, and will fill up all the time. Sweet deal the way I see it. :smile:
Also, I know all the goblins I’ve quoted are not yet in the Arena, but they will be, dammit! :slight_smile:

So I see that you say that a lot of these are awesome IF you can buff them. Many of these troops, (I.E. Berserker, Treant) are good ONLY if they get to use their attack damage. The problem being that if you put them in the first spot, they are less tanky and if your opponent can kill them quickly, you will be at a severe disadvantage. The other is if they are not in the first spot, they get worn down and if they get targeted… well you may not even get the full extent of the minion before it gets to attack with skulls. Also, you should NEVER combine Berserker with Fire and Ice, as they both use the same two mana types.

Paladin is IF you can buff him, like I said, he can be good with some of the new hero weapons (like Anvil of Might), but you have to draft accordingly so you can use those weapons w/o too much overlap. Even then, the Anvil of Might takes awhile to charge, and if your paladin gets targeted before this happens life kind of sucks for the paladin… and finally, you made an arena guide for BEGINNERS… I don’t think any beginner to the game is going to have anvil of might :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Grave Knight exactly what I said, he can be awesome, but he’s situational… there are a lot of strong cards in the ultra rare spot that you should consider over him… he is not bad, and yes, his ability should not be underestimated, but consistency is key in arena, not circumstantial cases.

Templar… yes, he can be good, but he’s all utility, the thing is you can’t really spam him ability either, else you get less armor each time. If you draft another minion that can’t deal damage, his value goes way down. Also in any format if one target dies you are left at a big disadvantage if they still have all of theirs, even if yours are more tanky, you may fall further behind. But I do agree, this one is one that can be very good, and I understand your reasoning for this one.

All in all though, the main issue with judging cards right now is that the AI is easy to beat and not that intelligent. It knows to block some of your mana sources, but it doesn’t know who to target with abilities, or to charge up some of its own… or sometimes holding off on abilities when they should just use them… thing is IF the AI smartens up, the things that I stated will have a bigger impact on decreasing the value of these cards.

Good points, especially about the weapons. It’s true that I’ve unlocked all weapons a while ago and I do not always realize that not everyone have access to the likes of Anvil. But there are quite a few of buffing troops and weapons, fortunately. :smile:

All in all though, the main issue with judging cards right now is that the AI is easy to beat and not that intelligent.

As for the AI, I completely agree, but I have to take it into account anyway. Players starting in the Arena will not be facing real humans but the same incompetent AI, and they should fully take advantage of it while it lasts. :slight_smile:

Is it possible to change the troop you choose at all? I didn’t understand it when I started it; I presumed you chose a troop for each match…but it seems you’re stuck with what you chose first time round.

No, you have to complete the whole arena with the troops you chose. But you will be offered new choices every time you start a new arena. :smile:

Good, because I chose Ettin first time round and he sucks.

Also, I notice it doesn’t give you all the awards it claims to give for each tier.

That must be a bug on your end, because I’ve always gotten all my rewards correctly.
Note that if you have an armour, the rewards are adjusted accordingly.

Which rewards were missing for you? Please note that you only get the rewards for the tier you ended up at, not for all tiers you passed through.

I thought that you got everything you passed through. I have no special armour either.

I accidentally clicked a monster I didn’t want so I restarted the game thinking it would let me restart arena but it has ended up choosing the hand for me and their all non attack. Awful.

I can’t believe I hadn’t +1 Liked this awesome guide. =)

Thanks a lot! :blush:

+1 like for me too. I don’t play arena much, but I’ve been meaning to play more of it. While I’m familiar with how it works, a review of basic strategy was nice to read :3 Great joerb!

Thanks! :smile: