Team Construction Tips For Beginners##
Hi all, welcome to my first guide on how to create a team that, at the very least, doesn’t trip itself up and get in its own way. I’m not the most experienced guy in this game (only level 54 at the time this is written) but I’ve certainly made my fair share of mistakes, so I’d like the opportunity to let you learn from them as well as I have. This isn’t going to be a step-by-step structured guide on how to turn your army into absolute murder machines (not only would that be impossible as you’ll soon see, but also against the creative spirit of the game in my opinion), but rather a loose list of tips and tricks, pitfalls to avoid, things to keep an eye on, and other such general fare. My Invite Code is Ordannus, just in case the devs are still tossing out Gems for these guides.
There Is No One Solution
Every player is going to have their own play style that evolves from what they enjoy in the game. Even with all the hints at my disposal, this one goes first: the way to win this game is to have fun, and if for you that means building a team of legendary cards and obliterating your opponents, so be it. But that doesn’t mean that the next person doesn’t have just as much of a blast throwing a bunch of commons together and seeing if they work. The point here is if you find something that works for you, even if it flies in the face of literally everything you read on the forums or whatever you hear from other people that play the game, roll with it. Your enjoyment is more important than anything.
A Little Help
Trust me on this. Next time you start up Gems of War, tap the little gear on the right-hand side of the screen to enter your Settings, and check the box marked “Detailed Help.” It’s not a feature to hold your hand, it’s not annoying tooltips at every turn, it’s a feature that shows how much Mana every troop has collected, and how much they need to use their ability. If you’re like me, you’ll wonder why this wasn’t on in the first place.
Troops in this game are divided into five rarities: Common (White border), Rare (Green border), Ultra Rare (Blue border), Epic (Purple border), and Legendary (Orange border). As a vast generalization, this is a measure of both how difficult the troop is to come by, and how powerful their stats and effects are. What Troop Rarity is NOT a measure of, however, is that Troop’s actual effectiveness in a game. As you’ll see in some later examples, a team comprised of four legendary cards may be intimidating, but it is certainly not guaranteed to be a good team (though it would be fairly hard to be a really bad one). The point being, don’t get discouraged if the keys you use to get more Troops only give you Commons and Rares. There’s a winning team in there somewhere, it’s just up to you to find it.
One tip that I will stand behind every time is to make sure that your team has a way to capitalize on all six colors of Mana (Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, Nature, and Magic (Sorry, not Heart for you fellow 90’s kids)). The reason for this is that when you are in a game, the Mana you can generate is limited by whatever colors you can match at least three gems of. Mark my words, there will be times when the game will only seem to set up possible matches in your least favorite color. You can have a board full of every gem out there and skulls-a-plenty, but the only one you can drag into place will be Yellow. If your troops can’t somehow benefit from you matching that Yellow, you’re already in for a bad time. While I’m sure the actual math is far more complicated than this, keep this in mind: there are seven types of gems you can match on the field, six colors and then skulls. For every color you cannot benefit from, your team is at least 14% less likely to come out on top. Now, am I saying it’s not possible to win without a six-color team? Absolutely not. There are a lot of ways to fix a color deficiency through the game’s spells. But if you’re just starting out, filling your color spectrum is good business.
Double Your Colors Double Your Fun
But Mr. Anonymous Writer on the Internet, how do I fill six colors with four troops? Simple: plenty of troops out there have not one color, but two. This actually means quite a bit. First of all, these troops benefit from matches of either color. For example purposes, let’s take the first dual-colored troop you’re likely to encounter, the Ettin, who counts as both an Earth and Water. Matching Blue? Ettin says thank you. Matching Brown? He still loves you for it. This also works for other effects. For example, the Siren’s ability replaces random gems on the field with the color of the enemy she uses the ability against. If she were to cast her spell at an Ettin, the game would randomly choose Blue or Brown, and replace all the randomly selected gems with that color. Also, the character weapon Fiery Claw does double damage to Blue troops, so it would do double damage to the Ettin as well.
In Gems of War, your Troops and the enemy’s troops are aligned vertically down the sides of the field. This is important for a couple of reasons. First of all, any Skulls matched by one team will result in damage dealt to whoever is in the highest position on the opposing team (the First opponent, as the game calls it). Then there are some less common effects that specifically target the Last opponent, or the opposing member on the bottom of the enemy team. This is a good thing to know because most of the enemy damage will be coming at you from the top down, with less of it coming from the bottom up. Likewise, all your Skull matching damage is going to come from the top of your team. So keep a tough troop or one with a high attack score at the top of your team to prevent really important parts of your team from being taken out early on, or do more damage from Skull matches. If possible, put a little meat on the back end.
What’s just as important as where damage gets assigned to is where Mana gets assigned to. When you match any color, the Mana is given to the first troop on your team that equals the color matched and isn’t already full on Mana. This is easier to illustrate with examples. If you have one Ogre (Blue Mana) above one Ettin (Blue and Brown), and you make a blue match, all the Mana stemming from that match will go to the Ogre first, until it’s full. If it was full already, it will skip right over the Ogre, and go to the Ettin. If your Ogre was almost full, it will take what it needs to fill up, and then give the rest to the Ettin. Of course, if you match Brown instead, it will completely pass over the Ogre who can’t use it, and go directly to the Ettin. This seems like a lot of detail to go into, but I promise it’s for a good reason.
The reason is this: when constructing your team, try as hard as you can to not cut off any troop from its Mana supply. If you have a Fortress Gate fueled by Brown Mana, followed by an Ogre fueled by Blue Mana, and then followed by your Ettin, you have to fill up at least one other troop to full before your Ettin can even get started. Similarly, if your Ettin is in front of either of these other two troops, you have to fill it up before your Ogre or your Fortress Gate can get anything themselves. This is quite inefficient in most cases: specifically, troop abilities that are not being used is just Mana going to waste, but in order to fill up your troops that are underneath troops of the same color, you have to let that Mana sit there.
Of course, if your team completely eliminates color overlap, you’ll never have to worry about the above tip, but sometimes it’s the price you pay for a powerful team. I never run with more than two troops of the same color, and never more than one single-color troop of the same color. I generally favor placing single-color troops above dual-color troops, as they don’t completely block the troop below them. Also, single-color troops tend to cost less Mana than their dual-color comrades, so they’re easier to fill up and pass the remainder on to the troops below them. Just as with my advice about running a six-color team, it’s not always a terrible idea to run multiples of the same color, but it sure does run quite a bit smoother.
Heroism Not Required
Your Hero is a versatile troop, with high hit points, high armor, very respectable attack, and the ability to change their ability to any color, with a variety of effects. They also level up higher than any other card in the game, meaning that later on, they’ll be a force to be reckoned with. The balancing factor on this is the fact that most of their abilities are on the upper-end of the cost scale, and are fairly slow to activate. At the beginning of the game, when you’re still fairly low level, your Hero may seem woefully under-powered, especially if you venture into PVP or the Arena. Don’t worry about gaining experience for your Hero, you do that whether you’re on the field or not. You may safely replace them with any other troop choice as you like, which is nice because some teams just need four pieces of the puzzle to operate better.
Synergy is Winergy
Remember how I said that a team of four legendary cards might be imposing, but isn’t guaranteed to be good? There are some very compelling reasons for that. On their own, Troop vs. Troop, a Legendary card will probably stomp all over a Common, as they tend to have higher attack, far higher armor and hit points, and mean abilities. On a team, however, Legendary troops sometimes can be counter-intuitive. Their abilities may be powerful, and their stats are nothing to scoff at, but a lot of times they have poor synergy. For example, The Silent One has the effect of Silencing the entire enemy team and himself. Now that’s pretty powerful. Then the Shadow Dragon (or Everynight as I like to call it, since I seem to run into it every night in PVP) poisons all your enemies and deals True Damage (bypassing armor) to a random one. Also powerful? Definitely. But it doesn’t have a darn thing to do with The Silent One. Now, take a Common and a Rare for example. The Alchemist picks a single color on the board and turns it Yellow. Then the Pegasus deals damage to your opponent’s bottom Troop, removing all the Yellow on the board to boost the damage. Now that’s a powerful synergy, and at a total cost of 18 Mana, compared to the Shadow Dragon’s 14 Mana cost alone. Plus, removing most of the board that you’ve transmuted to Yellow can slap together all sorts of matches that had Yellow Mana in the way, fueling your Alchemist, Pegasus, and any other troops you brought to the party. So moral of the story here is that yes, rare, powerful troops are incredibly helpful, but they can’t stand up to good synergy. The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant is insignificant next to the power of The Force.
Home Field Advantage
There are other guides on this site that go into the specifics of choosing your home kingdom, the right banner, and effectively leveling up your troops, so I’ll just post a reminder to do just that. If you think you’ve found good synergy with level one troops, just wait until they’re all level fifteen. And if the linchpin of your team works well by getting three Mana per match, watch how well they work when they get four or five. It really pays off to invest in finding the country that works for your team and dialing it up to eleven.
Get Out There And Match
My library of knowledge is far from exhaustive, but now that you know what I know, I’d like to bring this guide full-circle. Don’t ever forget that your own enjoyment is paramount to doing what other people consider effective. So you win on turn twenty instead of turn fifteen, or you go home with twelve gold instead of fifty. As long as you get that smirk on your face when you see an empty field on the right side of the board, you did the right thing, and I can only hope I’ve helped you do that in some way. Have fun playing Gems of War!