Armello – Horace Guide / The Iron Brainlet

How to play Horace: the easiest, and dumbest hero in Armello.

Other Armello Guides:

Stats and General Strategy

Armello - Horace Guide / The Iron Brainlet

The Good

  • Despite his apparent lack of height and muscle, Horace is tied for the highest starting fight and body stats of all heroes along with the likes of Magna and Fang. This solidifies him into the fighter archetype – a hero who kills things, kills them hard, and doesn’t do much else.
  • His ability, 9th Knight, lets him swap places with the king’s guards instead of fighting them. This allows him to easily and quickly navigate the board as long as there aren’t too many perils around.
  • Mainly, Horace is extremely easy to play. The length of this guide might make you think otherwise, but that’s just because I want to cover all the bases. You only have to manage 3 cards at a time, and don’t really need to worry about planning routes to your quests because you can walk over mountains, through king’s guards, and kill almost anything else.

As a bonus, he finally gives some representation to the angry-short-guy personality type. Props to LoG for being inclusive.

The Bad

  • Like most aspiring poets, Horace has never actually had an original thought. I’m pretty sure the poetry thing is just something he does to hide from the fact that he’s a dumb, unoriginal murderer. His 3 wits and 2 spirit are (again, like Magna and Fang) tied for the lowest stats in the game. You are not going to defeat perils while playing this hero, so it is imperative that you either complete all your quests, or defeat the first hero to breach the palace in order to take their place.
  • Also like most aspiring poets, Horace is completely broke. You will have to manage your gold carefully in the early game to ensure you get yourself a full set of equipment.

You could try to mitigate your weaknesses with amulets and quests, but you’d likely be giving up your quest rewards in doing so. If you want to minimize weaknesses, go play a jack-of-all-trades character like Amber. Horace is for BRAINLETS. MASCULINE BRAINLETS.

The Ugly

  • Experienced online players are going to throw every spell and trickery card your way, and there’s not much you can do about it. Just run to your quests.
  • Your ability can be nullified by a bounty. This isn’t a huge issue because your high fighting stats mean you can usually kill the guards anyway. This might make you wonder why his ability is useful at all, but remember that more guards on the map means your rivals will have a tougher time getting to where they need to go, which can buy you precious turns.

The Plan

It’s simple. We, uh, kill the king.

  • Always be marching towards your quests, and try to get to them in as few turns as possible. Only take detours for things like spirit stones, towns, or walk around perils if they won’t increase the total number of turns it takes to get to your quest. Actually, just ignore all detours completely. The moment you step off your path, someone will play an AP-reducing card to you and waste one of your turns. It happens every time.
  • Only choose Fight and Body quests. You want to pump these stats up faster than a frat boy getting ready for spring break. You should also almost always roll for the bonus reward, especially if that reward will help you in combat. Combat-related treasures and followers will be a huge boon since you’re going for a kingslayer victory. Even rot-related treasures are good to roll for: A Bane Blade, Reaper’s Trident, or Poppet can be a huge help, and your large body stat will help you deal with the damage every dawn. Just try not to accumulate too much rot – you don’t want to give the king too many bonus dice, and you don’t have the card draw to surpass his rot. Do not bother with non-combat related treasures like Winged Boots and Royal Pardon. Royal Pardon might SOUND like it’s good on Horace, but it won’t help you in your fight against the king, and you can just kill the king’s guards should they harass you anyways. Spirit Stones are good to try and get regardless, because sometimes the game will just throw them at you and being a spirit walker never made anyone’s life harder.
  • Try to get one offensive item and two defensive items. Your low gold and card draw is going to heavily limit your choices, so you may just have to take what you can get. If you manage to become a spirit walker, go full defense.
  • Burn or play your starting spell card, and burn your starting trickery card. Draw mainly from the item deck for the rest of the game. You’re too much of a fedora-tipping atheist to play spell cards, and don’t have the finances to play trickery cards. Unless you do. See the Hand Management section for more tips on this.

Loadout Options

Recommended Amulets

  • Scratch (+1 Fight) is what I bring to most games. Killin’ stuff is fun.
  • Soak (+1 Body) is useful when playing against 3 spellcasters. Keeps you alive a little longer.
  • Think (+1 Wits) makes your hand size a little larger. It helps keep the cards flowing, but in my opinion isn’t really necessary for Horace since he doesn’t play too many spells or trickery cards. Some people refuse to play with anything less than 4 though, so you do you.
  • Watch (Guaranteed first symbol match on perils) makes it slightly easier to deal with perils. Still usually not good enough to save you though.
  • Resist (+1 Shield in Battles and Perils) helps you with those pesky perils while also being useful in combat. My second favorite Amulet, but it takes a while to unlock, and it invalidates Leather Armour.
  • Intimidate (Ending your turn next to a creature gives it -2 die in combat until the end of its next turn) is fun to play around with but unreliable. Usually you will be the instigator for combat, but Intimidate can keep you on track during games with lots of brawny opponents.

Sprint gets an honorable mention for the rare case where you didn’t decide to pick Celestite as your ring for some reason.

Recommended Rings

  • Celestite is your best bet and your most reliable option. It means one less thing to worry about while you run to that glowing tile.
  • Pink Topaz can completely alleviate your money problems. This is even more effective when you use 9th Knight to put guards on top of your claimed settlements. The downsides are that you can’t always count on having guards in convenient positions (don’t waste your AP on defending settlements) and sometimes you just won’t get any settlements at all. Personally, I really start to miss Celestite whenever I’m forced to use a different ring. Pink Topaz will usually ensure that you get a full kit of gear, though.

You aren’t going to be fighting guards (hopefully), so Serendibite is pointless. Black Opal can help hide you from those nasty spellcasters, but you shouldn’t waste your precious AP on making sure your turn ends in towns. Amethyst is useless because you shouldn’t draw from the spell deck.

(Small) Hand Management

You know what they say about guys with small hands *cough*

Since you’re going all in on the fighting stats, learning how to manage your tiny number of cards is the only thing you’ll really have to think about when playing Horace. Basically, just follow these guidelines:

  • If you get Hot Rot Wine or Strategist, hold onto them. Most of your losses will be because you breach the palace, but then die as the other three players do everything in their power to stop you or weaken you before the big fight. Hot Rot Wine and Strategist let you challenge the king without giving anyone else the chance to react.
  • If you get any healing items, hold onto them but use them as soon as you need them. Sometimes you’ll just need a little extra boost to make it to that far-away quest while your rivals pelt you with spells and trickery. The aforementioned spells and trickery will also probably rob you of your cards, so use them before your opponents can steal them.
  • Draw only from the item deck. Milling through the item deck is the most reliable way to get healing consumables and, if you’re lucky, Hot Rot Wine.
  • Burn all spells, trickery, and items that you aren’t going to equip as soon as possible. This shouldn’t be too hard considering your opponents will be dropping perils everywhere around you. You need to keep those cards flowing in order to fill out your equipment slots with better items. Exceptions can be made for Simeon’s Arms and Biff’s Black Market, since they give you equipment.
  • You may draw from the Trickery deck if you have 1 or 2 healing items in your hand already, and are confident in the equipment you are currently wearing. Gold doesn’t help you while it sits in your pocket, after all.

Pretty obvious rules. Don’t stress about them too much or get too attached to your cards. It’s amazing how every Wake the Trees will find it’s way to you.

Countering Horace

Countering Horace is pretty straightforward. Treat him like you would any other strong, but stupid, hero:

  • Dump your extra spells / trickery on him.
  • Play perils in his path. He’s probably not going to get past them unharmed.
  • Give him rot. He may be able to deal with rot better than some other heroes, but he has no reliable way of getting rid of it, and can’t reliably get corrupted either. Every point of rot that you can give him is an extra dice for the king when they fight each other.
  • If you really want to make a Horace angry, keep a spare Glamour in your hand. Wait for Horace to enter a peril or fight, and check to see if he burns some, but not all of his cards. Chances are that he’s pretty attached to whatever he held on to with a hand that small. Immediately use Glamour on him after his turn for a free healing item or nice piece of equipment. This trick works against any hero with a small hand size, but it’s especially good against Horace because he doesn’t hold onto rot cards like Fang or random Shield cards like Magna.



  • Play Horace during Fury Friday or when you want to alt-tab out and do something else while it isn’t your turn.
  • Max out your fighting stats and bum-rush your quests and then the king.
  • Get smacked in the face with every spell and trickery in the game, and pretend to like it. Choke back the tears, you’re supposed to be a man.
  • Use emotes. This makes people commend you at the end of the game. I don’t know why.


  • Get distracted from completing your quests as early as possible.
  • Waste a quest on wits or spirit. Go play a less manly hero if this thought crosses your mind.
  • Lose hope if you get bullied and lose some progress. Remember, if another hero breaches the palace before you, you can kill them and take their place. You are dangerous even with only your base stats and a few items.
  • Purposefully get rot. You can handle a little bit of rot, but more than 2 points is going to make your fight against the king too difficult.
Volodymyr Azimoff
About Volodymyr Azimoff 13365 Articles
I love games and I live games. Video games are my passion, my hobby and my job. My experience with games started back in 1994 with the Metal Mutant game on ZX Spectrum computer. And since then, I’ve been playing on anything from consoles, to mobile devices. My first official job in the game industry started back in 2005, and I'm still doing what I love to do.

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