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Counters not nerfs? Let's at least have them work

Wall of text ahead, here goes. Many a thread currently bemoans the Metacore and Broken Dragon PvP end-game problems. Not re-opening that debate here, plenty of threads on those.

Let’s assume that for some illogical reason Metacore and Broken Dragon aren’t getting nerfed / fixed any time soon. So the trend is instead to contrive some counters, like we had Spirit Fox as a counter to Mercy, rather than just sensibly nerf Mercy, and some experiments with counter traits (upgrading Impervious even more, and the amazing Indigestible trait which is on one troop that no one uses) before The Great Maw was finally calmed down.

So we get hard counters. Can we at least please have counters that work?

Metacore / Mantibore
Apparently Wayfinder is a purpose-built counter? Hmm, no, not really. Mantibores aren’t that hard to kill. The problem isn’t killing them, the problem is them repeatedly draining your mana, starting Empowered, and with a daftly under-costed spell, and in particular stalling you long enough for a Broken Dragon to fill and one-shot half your team. Wayfinder doesn’t stop the mana drain - and halving attack doesn’t help a huge amount when the board fills with skulls. Plus Wayfinder isn’t even good at killing them in the end-game - I face Mantibores with 95+ total HP. My Wayfarer with every Magic stat gain there is deals 22 base damage, so will need three casts, or two plus something else dealing damage, to kill one. And they usually appear in pairs.

I’ve managed it a few times with Wayfarer/Mercy/GreenSeer - with a good starting board - but then if you can loop that you may as well loop Hellcat and Alchemist and just grind away that way - i.e. Wayfarer contributed nothing as a counter, the non-counter loop team still works better. I would be delighted if someone has a Wayfarer team that actually hard counters Mantibores. Without (1) getting stomped by Broken Dragon every second game and (2) taking three times as long to finish a match because the team itself isn’t that viable - video evidence in end-game PvP please, no theorycrafting from lower tier players, sorry. If someone can show me this masterpiece, I will (somehow) get the devs to give you 10 traitstones of your choice from my stocks.

So what to counter Mantibore instead?

  • Wayfarer to deal true damage? Nope, those end-game Mantibores have 55+ Life (lower Armour) so a true damage snipe won’t work. Maybe do that plus a Spirit Fox?
  • Wayfarer gains a status effect on spell? Nope, Mantibore has the best trait set in the game with Impervious too, remember.
  • Wayfarer gains an extra turn? would help a little. Maybe gains a conditional one if the enemy is a Monster?
  • Wayfarer damage gets boosted? Maybe double damage to yellow mana too? So quad damage to green/yellow Mantibores?
  • Wayfarer gets a mana drain too? Not sure that improves anything… maybe a conditional one on Monsters? or on green troops?
    …whatever we do, we end up with something way too strong for an Ultra Rare… and likely to be mana costed up higher, unless we accept even more powercreepery…

Ideas please, how to counter Mantibores? Spells or traits?

Broken Dragon
Hmm, no hard counters to this yet. And with high end legendary stats, they’re damned hard to kill off before they cast their only 14 mana to kill two troops spell (do see my previous post about cheese). But we can’t touch that - so how to counter it?

Avina might help? Give her Fast and a damage boost? Maybe true damage? I am looking at Broken Dragons with c. 45 Life and 55 Armour, so her 24 x 3 damage doesn’t cut it. Maybe switch to true damage and doubled to undead not tripled? Then teaming with Soothsayer and so on makes a good hard kill option (like the oddly-similarly-named Amira does so well with blue enemies).

Defence against the screen full of skulls? Not even a maxed Gorgotha survives often, especially against an Attack-boosted Mantibore, and especially if also stunned (did we mention Mantibore does that too in its little 9 mana package of joy?)…

So we need a trait like Ethereal: immune to skull damage but take double damage from spells. Maybe that works. Can’t have skull immunity with no downside… But even with such a downside - I suspect it might break the game, or lead to lots of rage-quits. Mind, so long as it wasn’t Impervious too, it could be stunned off and then smacked… so would be manageable on defence teams - but the AI wouldn’t cope… does that make the game too easy? well it’s not often hard anyway, and most players care more about (1) fun playing and (2) winning and farming quickly and not so much about (3) not losing, so far as we can tell from conversations here…

Thoughts about countering Broken Dragon? what would you add or design?


  • no viable counters yet to the two most often cited PvP unbalanced troops
  • ideas welcome for making counters that work
  • a prize in traitstones for anyone posting a video of a reliable team using Wayfarer to easily beat MMDBBD

Thanks for reading (if you did). Cheers


The only real counter to manticore builds - don’t play them.

At this point if I see a double manticore in the 3 trophy slot i will fight the 2 trophy instead. It simply isn’t worth the frustration.

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Mmmm, that doesn’t count :smiley:

That may well go for very many of us. Though the 2 trophy match often has a Mantibore and Broken Dragon too. Welcome to my life.

That’s also tacitly accepting a serious nerf to your gameplay rewards for each match - might be compensated a bit by winning faster in the ‘easier’ match - but if no one bothers with the 3 trophy match why offer them?

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Yeah, it stinks. But as Joshua said, “Strange game, the only winning move is not to play”

I figure if I don’t feed the mantibore people defense wins, that is a “win” for me :slight_smile:

For me the best against Manticore is another Manticore. With Korvash in first place. And Crimson in some part of the build. I usually defeat this bone dragon team also. More difficult is if they have courage.

Only try to bone dragon not get full mana and usually win also.
But when the screen get full of skulls and multiplied his attack , the match is already over.

That´s why I usually always wear something with deathmark. It´s goes better than many people think sure.

But is really powerful to any troop to broke a entire armor ( we are talking sometimes about more than 50) and get a full screen of skulls is excessive.

I only fight 3 trophies option. So a lot of this and Great maw for me.

“Metacore” sounds like a genre of music. Awful music. But music.

Anywho lets talk countering Manticore.

Spirit Fox has a strong mana drain on empowered as well. But it doesn’t resist status effects like Manticore does. Know what it does resist? Being targeted. Manticore can’t touch it, it’s on the same cost plane, for nine mana, and it completely shuts off Manticore. Additionally, if your problem is empowered mana drain, how about empowered stealthy mana drain? That also deals true damage? Oh what’s that? Because it removes yellow from the board and your team uses yellow? Guess what? You just denied out half of Manticore’s mana, too.

Spirit fox counters Manticore. Hard.

If that’s not enough, I have another little strategy for you that I use.

They have double Manticore? Take mana to fill a “nonessential” troop. One where it doesn’t matter if it gets stunned. This also pulls its attention away from things like Valk and leaves mana on the board for your mana generators to fill up to let you get started. Furthermore, you can do this with a troop to deny out one of the colors your opponent needs by making it so that they can’t take it while they waste their turn draining and stunning a troop you don’t need immediately.

Manticore is suddenly not a problem.

Now lets look at Bone Dragon.

Fourteen mana puts it at the same price point as Khorvash. And I think it balances FAIRLY WELL against Khorvash, maybe a tad weaker because you can block its damage with a Gorgotha pretty effectively. “But what if Gorgotha gets stunned by Manticore!?” Stop acting like Manticore is controlled by RNGesus for f*ck’s sake. It targets whatever you have with the most mana, prioritizing things that can make more mana, then probably by threat level determined some way that doesn’t matter because you SHOULD be misdirecting it with the above strategy. You will find a Gorgotha more than enough to tank a Bone Dragon’s spell ifi it’s not stunned and you’re not stacking armor.

Am I saying that Bone Dragon is in line with where I would like to see troops being balanced? Hell no. I’m actively for nerfing Khorvash. Should Bone Dragon be nerfed, with a spell that powerful on only a 14 mana cost? Probably. Is it way far ahead of every other troop in the game? Maybe, maybe not. Is it uncounterable, like a two troop stun, drain, and 25 true damage? Hell no.

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Actually I have noticed recently that Manti does NOT necessarily target the most mana - and where once you could bait him in to hitting a troop he now doesnt, and often for consecutive turns.
(I am level 1090)


I m agree with you in many things, but Korvash?

25 true damage (with all bonus) and two stunned troops, for me cannot be similar to an entire armor broken, and instant kill of skulls and a extra turn with more skulls.

I´m disagree in that point. Bone Dragon is so powerful for me.

Did your Valkyrie or other mana generator have six or more mana? Would she be what was targeted? That would be why. I still have no problem misdirecting Manticores. Most of the problem people have with Manticore is early in the game when most of your troops (save for Empowered ones) have no mana. So misdirecting it at that point of the game is no issue at all. If you’re having trouble after the first two enemy turns, then I suggest you start running something like Valk or Deep Borer with a banner to get them up in as few matches as possible.


  1. Build as if you were countering true damage. Higher life, lower armor.
  2. Lead with either Gorgotha or a troop that has Armored to reduce the damage taken
  3. Deny out its mana. Take Brown off the board. Deep Borer WILL miss on a board devoid of brown.

Furthermore, my point was not that it doesn’t need a nerf. I was comparing it to something that I think does need one. In the case that it is more powerful than I stated, which is a subjective opinion and I respect your right to believe, then my point that fourteen mana troops with spells that strong should be nerfed. Period. Currently the only things sitting in that tier are Khorv and BD, that I can think of off the top of my head

No nothing to do with Valk.
I have no problem at all against 2 x mants, BD, borer using gorgs,bat,crescendo,mercy but my statement re mants not being baited lately still stands - and I found that Wayfinder is a useless counter against the mantis for the same reasons Jainus states.

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yes solutions are many. I don´t need them I say I defeat this Bone dragon teams.

I only said that: Korvash is really great yes so much true damage and also stunned.

But tell me one troop that kills in one hit ( without be empowered). Korvash need minimum 2.
I said. Bone dragon broke an armor entire (if you have hero in team usually this is the one), Make a full screen of skulls (I have korvash in first place on team and without damage before is instant kill with this), but also it has extra turn with usually another extra turn of skulls. I think there ´s nothing similar at the moment.

The best I see is death with a full combo (I made it one time) 4 kills with spell. ( but this is really improbable).

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I disagree. Spirit Fox isn’t a great counter. Please do prove me wrong. Show me a Spirit Fox build that reliably and quickly runs through Mantibore dominated teams. Fox’s damage isn’t great, and it’s a stall troop. Show me your masterful build that works… and credit me with enough wit to bait Manticores to mana drain something else

I have played enough matches with Gorgotha receiving those hits to know that this is very hit-and-miss. A 40+ Attack Mantibore launched by a Bone Dragon can easily take down my maxed traited Gorgotha. I am level 1000+ and every troop I own pretty much 40+ armour.

Me too, but that’s not what this thread is about. And I personally find Khorvash far less of a nuisance than MMBDDB teams - I’d never skip a Khorvash/Valk build enemy.


I can build around Khorvash by putting my mana generator in 3rd slot. Then just hold till he drains my front troops, cast my converter to refill, and go to town. Smart play can, usually, take out Khorvash. Smart play alone is not enough for MMBDDB, it also requires luck. If he gets a purple/brown cascade, he casts BD and you lose. If he gets a skull cascade, attack buffed manticor chews you up and you lose. If he gets extra green/yellow, he stalls you with drains, and then you lose. Your only real play is to bait him with skulls and hope you get your “win” combination before he gets through your front troop.


I edited my post to further elaborate on a couple things. Predicting Manticore moves is not an exact science, and more of an art. I still don’t have a concrete understanding of it, I just know what has been working for me and a few basic rules that it usually seems to follow.

No argument there. It’s about as effective for countering Manticore as Soothsayer is.

Which is not to say not at all. Sooth makes a good turn one troop for it to target, but that DOES NOT get rid of the problem, or even help it very much at all.

Assassin class, Archer class, Kerberos, Black Manacles, Sand Shark, Great Maw, Black Beast, “Cruncher” troops, Dwarven Slayer (hypothetically), Keeper of Souls, Kraken, Kruarg the Dread, Mimic, Famine, and Amira when used against Khorvash. Oh and Death, if you feel like being slow.

Lightly taps the chess clock on the table to switch the timer

Now on to @Jainus

I’ll start by saying that Khorvash was a point of comparison, as it is another powerful troop that only costs fourteen mana. My intent was not to make the thread about that in particular. My apologies if that derailed it slightly.

With that out of the way, allow me some cynicism on behalf of the fact that I can not judge everyone on the internet individually and instantly. My default assumption is that people do not do the obvious thing. Tech support (“Did you turn it off and back on again?”) and various forums over the years have taught me to address the most simple possible solution first because not everyone tries that. I apologize if my assumption offended you. I have never needed anything more than a bit of misdirection to make Manticore completely negligible.

Every single one? I’m not doubting you here, I’m just honestly surprised. I don’t have my Armor kingdoms five starred, so I wouldn’t know. I’m also guilty of not looking at my opponent’s stats, and just “Hit 'em 'till they’re dead”. I’ll try to be more observant.

That could potentially pose a problem. 25% of 40 is still 10, and your Gorgotha has how much HP? Hold on, I’ll go boot up the game and check mine then add the bonuses I don’t have so that I know what I’m dealing with

In the mean time, I will also mention that freezing troops makes skull spam a lot less of a problem and makes it so that you can get some counter-hits in on Manticore. I kinda took Mab’s third trait for granted here and forgot that they were getting extra turns. So you may wish to try that.

My Gorgotha has 34 HP and 31 armor, is legendary. Adding the ascension is another +2 life and +1 armor, level 20 is +3 life and +2 armor, so that’s 39 HP 34 armor, plus assuming five starred kingdoms, another eight life and eight armor, giving it 47 HP and 42 armor. Are these stats correct?

Assuming Bone Dragon breaks its armor first, a 40 attack Manticore will deal 42*0.25 (10.5 rounding down to 10) damage (same as a three match but whatever). You will need to do this five times to kill Gorgotha. Skull chains over five do not (usually seem to) deal additional damage (can provide proof via Warlord 4 stat boost on enemies and using Bone Dragon), so that’s not a factor. Your opponent would need five individual skull chains that do not link up.

42 armor will produce thirteen skulls. Meaning that only two need to be on the board beforehand for it to have potential to kill Gorgotha. But that’s an ideal situation for the enemy team, and assuming that ALL of their matches are of three skulls and not connecting. That does not ever happen. In my experience, at least.

Will Gorgotha be oneshot? No. Not very likely. Will it be hurt? Oh hell yes, that will sting. But it’s not the end of the world. Will they kill it if they have an extra turn? Probably. As stated above, thanks to Mab’s third trait, I had completely discounted this factor and failed to include it prior. But I’m not going back in this huge textwall and rewriting it now.

However, that is Gorgotha dead. He did his job. He tanked a lot of damage. Then you have the rest of your team that has been setting up all game to take care of the enemy team which is likely left completely manaless.

Also, I should probably state that this is in the case that it casts. You can still deny out its mana fairly easily, and cause Deep Borer to miss its cast. while baiting out Manticores away from your Gorgotha onto probably something like Justice. This also assumes that Bone Dragon targets Gorgotha first. I don’t have as much experience predicting BD armor breaks but it doesn’t seem to hit mine very often

Your “Win combination” is likely a single cast of a troop that generates mana for the two that aren’t your tank. Which costs ten mana for Valkyrie, Alchemist, and Green Seer… Nine if you use Deep Borer. Twelve if you’re using Hellcat or Apothecary. Nine again if you’re using the new Mantis troop. Which, with a plus one banner and even a single surge is two gem matches for most teams.

Finally, I don’t want to seem like I’m avoiding the Spirit Fox topic, but I am simply stating that it is a direct, one to one counter to Manticore. You don’t need a build for it. It is a mana drain on nine mana and empowered (gee that sounds familiar) and can’t be drained in response. Use Spirit Fox. Drain Manticore. You can fill it just as fast as they can fill their Manticore. That’s the “If you can’t beat 'em, join 'em” route. I don’t personally use it because I find just making Manti drain Justice far, far more effective.

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yes all devours. and of course the one I hate more: the assassin class (with a 15% of death by skull) this is a joke, every battle I play against this class, with it first skull kills. (I don´t believe more in 15%) - but of course perhaps I be the most unlucky player.

Famine only if many troops have gain mana. And deathmark is also probability. Make sure BD is not probability. Black Beast need to eat something first I think. Dwarven Slayer need more power to instant kill with armor.

So with all these ones still thinking Korvash needs a nerf? (Some guardians need a nerf maybe).

only talking about Korvash nerf.
For me still don´t need it

Er, Mantibore is Impervious and cannot be frozen… Mab’s trait is no defence against that skull spam wave of attacks…


…which doesn’t work on Manticores…

Nah that doesn’t help people. While you drain the Manticore over and over again, you aren’t draining Bone Dragon or Deep Borer, and you can easily get slammed. Fox doesn’t do enough damage to be viable other than as a gimmick counter to Mercy or emergency counter to a Great Maw…


I sent an idea to Sirrian the other day of a troop that destroys all allied AND enemy armor when it gets an ability kill.

This would fix Rowanne, Paladin, Gard’s Avatar, and Bone Dragon. Tearing this much armor wouldn’t be overpowered since it will have the condition of killing an enemy with it. That way at minimum it will tear 4 allied armor and 3 enemy armors.


Noone is saying Bone Dragon is unbeatable, far from it even. And yeah no shit a dedicated anti skull damage legendary softcounters it(very mildly at best) but BD is still objectively very clearly overpowered, as it vastly outclasses other skull generators and needs to be brought in line, that is all that matters.


Yes I still think Khorvash needs a nerf.

DEFINITELY. I’m editing this to apply more emphasis. Guild Guardians are why I uninstalled Gems for a week and will never be able to play in a top 10 guild again

That would explain why I didn’t think about it before. As I said at some point earlier today, either in this thread or another one, I still haven’t had my coffee. xD[quote=“Jainus, post:16, topic:15907”]
…which doesn’t work on Manticores…

Yup I’m an idiot. Third time’s the charm and maybe I’ll start the pot this time, so I’ll say it again. Coooooooffffffffeeeeeeeee

And that Manticore isn’t draining your other slots either. If it’s not filling, you don’t need to fill your Fox. I think I mentioned at some point that most of these strategies are meant for earlier on in the match, anyway. Once you get past the initial double drain, you still have turn advantage and can start filling your mana generator before they can touch mana, themselves.

Nope, mine’s 46 Armor, 55 Health. One of the issues is how skull matches are considered on a BD spam. 20 gems could be attack + 1 damage or more than 6x attack damage.

So on a 40+ attack Manticore, which I see almost always after one Manticore cast, Gorgothra could be seeing around 12 damage, or could be seeing well more than 60.