Blood of Steel gameplay basics tactics strategies guide.
Guide to Basics
Part 1: Intro to Blood of Steel
Blood of Steel is a medieval battle simulator where you select a famous historical figure to play and also have a platoon of 12-40 troops depending on the hero you pick. Many of the heroes are famous generals and tacticians in history such as Alexander the great (Macedonian, Greece), Caeser (Roman, Italy) and Zhuge Liang (Han Dynasty, China). Blood of Steel combines fun mechanics you may have seen in other triple-A titled medieval combat games; fast-action sword and spear fighting (dark souls, assasin’s creed, conqueror’s blade), issuing orders to troops (rts’s), horse back riding, archery (zelda), shooting ballista / catapaults (m&b2 bannerlord), siege ladders, battering rams –> ai controlled in Siege mode. Fighting with swords/spears/bows that makes the game feel like a ancient war movies or tv shows such as ‘Kingdom of Heaven’, ‘Braveheart’ and <Romance of the Three Kingdoms>.
Part 2: Basic Combat Ideas for New Players
There are ‘special’ combo moves to learn for each hero. To see the combo move, go to the hero’s page and hover your cursor over the heavy attack (mouse button 3) icon marked ‘MB3’.
In general, spears are strong at fighting cavalry and long spears pointed in the right direction can stop a cavalry charge as well as Ying Zheng’s chariot. The longer the spear, the stronger the spear troops are at attacking in one direction, but are vulnerable on the sides and in the back. To protect the sides (the flanks), arrange your troops up side by side or stand next to a wall (cliff or stair case) where your troop’s vulnerable back and sides won’t be exposed to charges.
Shield users and cavalry are usually great at taking out unprotected archers who did not find a safe place to shoot from. A well defended archer on highground can rain arrows like artillery to deplete enemy trooops, especially in a city map with roofs. Hence, city roofs with a small ramp entrance to defend is a great spot for archers.
In wide open fields and deserts with no buildings, playing cavalry is popular because the horse can gather speed and charge freely, then dash away before the infantry can hit back. So people often play cavalry in desert or wide open field maps; so it is advantageous to pick a spear hero. However, this may end up like rock-paper-scissors, so try to observe what your team needs and pick a hero that has good synergy (will cover in part 4) with your team mates.
Starting out in Blood of Steel, new players have an easier time playing shield users like Caeser (first hero you get) and Ling Tong. Both Caeser’s and Ling Tong’s troops have good armor and hold a big shield to block arrows or melee attacks. However, I realized new players score better in the match when using Isabella and Joan. The spears have a longer range than swords, and when both teams have a large ‘blob’ of troops, the spears have an advantage over swords. Furthermore, new players queueing for games do not usually know how to position their archers well (high ground or off to the side, so arrows end up being blocked by their own team’s troops or shields).
The in game tutorial is pretty good at teaching you the basics for both melee and range weapons. Melee weapons (swords, spears, lances, clubs, chain) have 4 directions (up, down, left and right) to attack and to block. Move your mouse in the direction you want the hero to swing from when using a melee weapon and an arrow in the middle will be highlighted. Click and hold left mouse button to pull your hero’s arm back and release to swing your weapon in the direction of the arrow. To block, right click and nudge your mouse in the direction your enemy is going to swing their weapon. To parry, left-click attack in the direction the enemy’s attack is coming from barely a split second after they start swinging they’re weapon. This is quite hard to do if your ping and/or fps is bad.
You can feint by holding left click to pretend to attack from one direction, then right click to cancel and attack from a different direction.
While some high ranked players have gotten very good at using directional attacks and blocks with weapons, I have noticed the average player in a pvp blob uses ‘wsad’ walking controls while attacking to keep themselves safe while attacking. First press ‘d’ a few times to move back, left click and hold in a direction to prepare an attack, then move forward to bring your weapon into range of hitting an enemy before releasing the left-click.
Shields do not require a direction, and can be left clicked to block attacks from the front. Shields are amazing at blocking arrows from the front, but if the archer is on a high ground or shooting arrows straight up and dropping arrows from the sky (edward I and li guang) the shield user will still get get hit from the top. Caeser’s over-lapping shields “tetsudo” formation and Diao Chan’s “turtle” formation can block arrows dropping from the sky.
Bear in mind that since shield troops (e.g. Isabelle, Richard I) hold the shield on the left hand, they will walk towards your ‘blob’ or team mates with their shield pointing to your team’s right side, thus you would ideally position your archer troops on the back left of your army to shoot at the enemy’s exposed right hand which holds the weapon. This will be especially useful for Territory War when fighting 10x guard patrol corps as well as in the PvE maps such as Creed of Guardian.
Range bows, crossbows, shields, various throwing weapons (throwing axe, throwing daggers, fire pot) are pretty much single direction, unlike melee weapons. Where you aim is usually where your arrow is going to go, but bear in mind that most archer heroes are right-handed, imagine you are holding a bow right-handed, so to shoot to your back left is possible, but not so easy to shoot to the back over your right shoulder. However, Catherine (pistol mode), Sibylla (one-handed crossbow) and Zhuge Liang (2x one-handed crossbows) do not appear to have that same issue. Archers usually press shift to zoom in to aim better, so you may be able to sneak up on archers to attack them from the sides and back if they do not watch their mini-map.
One move with spears I like using is to run towards opponents, and once the hero has picked up speed, press shift when about 6 feet (or 1.8 meters) away to dash attack for bonus damage. The damage crit is high, although not quite as high as a cavalry charge attack.
Cavalry can be tricky to use, because it takes a while to learn how to time the weapon swings. For lances charging at a full gallop, release the left click about 10 feet away (3 meters) so the attack swing will hit when your arm fully extends the lance. If you played mount & blade II, this will be pretty intuitive, but if not, then it will take some time to practice using lance. For other mounted melee weapons like swords and halberds, the maximum damage appears to be when the weapon swings and the enemy is right next to you at the extended edge. To hit infantry units standing on the ground, aim low.
Part 3: PvP – Legion War, Hero Arena, Siege, Territory War
When queueing Legion War, select cavalry units for wide open maps and shield/spear/archer for close quarter city maps like Constantinopole and Jerusalem. Or you could bring spears to wide open maps, knowing that people will tend to pick cavalry, especially if no one else in your team selected spears.
For Hero Arena, bringing Ling Tong, Zhang Bao, Leonidas, Zhuge Liang are usually popular picks. Protect your team mate’s backs, and take advantge of opponents who overextend into your team when baited into attacking someone on your team with low armor or hp.
In Siege, I typically choose Baldwin I or Godfrey, or Bu Lianshi. Alexander is another popular and OP choice in siege, both in defending the ladder as well as capturing control points.
Siege Mode is great for getting a lot of hero and unit kill count, because there are a lot of bots in siege mode (or at least there used to be a lot more bots).
Territory War (TW) is a 3 point ‘capture the flag’ mode, similar to most legion war maps with 3 control points to capture. This takes a lot of coordination and many guilds communicate on voice chat via discord. Alexander is once again a very popular choice because the long spears are OP when fighting in tight corners of a city, and as long as your team works closely together with an archer taking the high ground and no one over overextending, and there’s a good mix of spears/shields/cavalry in the blob, your guild would usually do well. One issue to be aware of in TW is ‘back-capping’. There is a maximum of 10 v 10 players in a map at any one time, and the battle could be fought a long time. However, if you attacked someone (Battle A), another 5 man stack can initiate on your team and start a separate instance (Battle B) to capture the 3 points and cause you to lose the battle. Hence, you see a lot of people complaining in World Chat when they have been ‘back capped’. TW is in North America evening time on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Part 4: How to Use Melee Warriors –> Swords
32 two-handed swordsman troops; Good at running into position with “5” button, Echelon formation. Button 4 “unleash fury” lasts for 20 seconds, and heals based oh how much rage has been generated. Heals even more if killing enemy units while “unleash fury” is still ongoing, similar to a vampire. Excellent at being in a blob fighting other blobs. Excellent at 1 v. 1,
40 sword-shield troops, strong against archers. Can throw spears which helps against cavalry archers kiting you. The tetsudo formation is amazing in cities; Caeser players typically move around ‘inside’ their tetsudo formation.
40 sword-shield troops, strong against archers. Echelon to boost speed and sneak attack archers or flank enemy formations, then switch to turtle formation when engaged for the boost to defense. Diao Chan’s sword is almsot 2/3rds as long as she is tall, great for swinging left and right to hit multiple enemies.
24 hammer troops, not easy to use. Pretty much a glass cannon with a dash. Not many people have armored well against Frederick because he uses blunt damage. Easy to counter Frederick with archers shooting from a distance of with Macedonian spears (which can counter almost any infantry if pointed in the right direction).
24 two-handed sword troops, one of the easiest and most fun heroes in the game. Flank enemy archers/enemy infantry, press ‘3’ to activate zeal and start swinging. Especially like using middle mouse button in heavy attack combos such as left click, then middle button cilck.
40 shield troops. One of the most difficult to master, but potentially one of the best supports if used well. Select the team mate doing the most damage (tab to see who killed the most, but still has the most units left and is likely to keep fighting and generate focus for you). Got to keep Han Xin safe because he’s a healer so he can focus on providing support.
24 vikings. Harald and his units regen hp over time after the fight ends, or when Harald kills enemies while blood fury is active. So activate blood fury if you think you’re about to kill an opponent. So hit and run tactics are great for Harald against enemy infantry, because he can turnt he blood fury on to gain a speed boost. However, Harald’s attack speed swing is somewhat slow.
24 ninjas. Hattori does bonus damage against the back of enemy troops, so take advantage of enemies facing away from you. Also, Hattori is frequently picked in night or foggy matches. Press 5 to throw shurikens right before engaging to weaken the target.
40 Macedonians with long spears. Alexander is a favorite pick often seen in Legion Wars and Territory Wars. One way to counter Alexander is using arrows, as well as attacking Alexander’s phalanx from the sides or back. Also, Richard I’s yell-taunt can bait the phalanx formation to disable it. If you have cavalry, a rear end charge or a side charge is super effective against the phalanx.
Part 5: PvE – Lu Ban, Creed of Guardian
Lu Ban’s Academy spawns mobs at nearly the same exact order each time you play it. Once in a while there may be strange pathing glitches but you can usually recover from any odd happenstance. The important thing to remember is that Joan and Sun Shangxiang builds the right side area, Ling Tong and Yue Ying builds and defends the left side while Lyu Bu builds and defends the mid. Like the other PvP maps, it’s basically playing rock paper scissors, where Lyu Bu can charge in to debuff enemy armor and help whichver side is struggling with taking out their elite units. It is a good idea to build at least one tower on each side to gain more assist gold income. The metal plates on the ground is where you build the archer towers, and up front you want to upgrade as many tier 4 ballista ‘7’ towers as possible. If the team upgrades enough ballista towers up front, you usually don’t need to leave the front and can just dps near your first outpost till turn 6. The archers build up top on the higher middle platform, and try to upgrade their dps first. Zilik wrote a detailed guide to Lu Ban so I’ll go on to describe the other maps instead.
Creed of Guardian is not easy, and typically you’d want to blob and ‘bum rush’ the enemy’s spawn point with infantry till about 11k score. There are several tactics that usually work, but they typically center around stacking all the infantry near Guan Yu, mostly with at least 2 spears to counter the late game cavalry. At the same time while the cavalry spawns, enemy archers (mostly yue ying and philips in the late game) also show up in the south and west of Guan Yu. Shield heroes that can run out and kill the ai archers Caeser, Ling Tong and Diao Chan, but you want to be at full troops, or nearly full troops with minimal enemy swords/infantry/cav near you when you wander out to of your blob. Not taking out archers fast enough could seriously impede your team’s score. Mid game, Godfreys and Hattori’s also appear, so you’d want to group up and hit as fast as possible.
Part 6: Basic Tactics
The general idea is to put the tanks in front to protect the dps troops. This can be spears that can reach over the shields and poke the enemy across the front line, or using archers who can shoot over the shields from a distance.
Have archers move to highest point in map and defend the archers with full team, while maybe a fast unit like cavalry runs to cap points. This tactic is sometimes referred to as ‘fortress’. If the opponent is using a fortress tactic, your team might have an easy time staying out of range and capturing other control points. If possible, try to bait the opponent into overextending into a fight to break the fortress.
Another good synergy is Isabella’s damage buff placed to boost archer dps or spear dps. Or if the opponent’s Isabella is boosting the enemy, throw an axe to take down the Isabella flag. Only 1 hit is needed to break the flag. Or maybe have a cavalry charge at the flag to hit it, but if there are many enemy troops surrounding the flag, then run away and try to get the enemy troops to follow.
Part 7: Frequently Asked Questions by New Players
How to use Diamonds: click Store -> click ‘Path of Awakening’ -> click Diamond awakening
How to use Hero Shards: click Store -> Hero -> Exchange Shop
The advice I’ve heard is buy tier 1 plates then save till you can afford tier 3’s.
Most high ranked players I’ve heard use melee damage plates and then hp plates for the rest of their slots. This is because playing heavy melee is popular, and since heavy melee troops already have high armor, what they need is more hp.