AFK Journey – How to Build Your Team (Honour Duel)

Guide to Build Your Team

Early Game

In the early stages of the game, we’re constrained to utilize whatever heroes the game provides. Consequently, mastering the art of assembling a functional team from a random assortment of heroes becomes crucial. In this section, I’ll outline strategies for constructing an effective team from a diverse pool of random heroes.

In my opinion, a team consists of three parts: the front-line, back-line, and support. I’ll address each of these parts separately and highlight notable heroes for each role.

The rule of thumb is to use a 2-2-1 configuration, which translates to 2 tanks, 2 damage dealers, and 1 support, or alternatively, 2 tanks, 2 support characters, and 1 damage dealer.

Front-line (Tank)

Before diving into individual heroes, it’s important to understand how faction advantage and disadvantage work:

The 15% damage buff combined with damage mitigation is a significant factor that cannot be overlooked. The effectiveness of your frontline hinges on whether you’re at an advantage or disadvantage in terms of faction matchups. Additionally, faction bonuses play a crucial role. For instance, a team composed entirely of heroes from one faction enjoys a 22% bonus, whereas a 3-man faction bonus is only 10%. Hence, our primary end-game objective typically revolves around constructing a team comprised of heroes from a single faction, or at most two factions (a 4-1 or 5-man team).

However, RNG may prevent us from assembling a single faction team early in the game. Therefore, it’s advisable to prioritize building a strong front-line initially before concentrating on maximizing faction bonuses.

In the early game, I recommend having 2 tanks, 2 DPS, and 1 support. Select your tanks based on availability, faction bonus, and faction advantage/disadvantage. For instance, using Granny Dahnie against a Mauler team may not yield favorable results, especially early in the game. If you have access to multiple tanks, opt for the one that counters the enemy faction. You can often infer the enemy faction based on the artifact they possess.

Each faction boasts a main tank. Here’s a rundown of the primary tanks for each faction:

  • Lightbearer: Lucius (S). His ultimate ability grants a shield and can stun an enemy at close range. His potent stun makes him effective against many heroes such as Granny or Temesia.
  • Graveborn: Thoran (A). While Thoran is formidable in regular mode, he’s slightly nerfed in Honor Duel mode. Nonetheless, he retains his ability to self-resurrect after death, making him a resilient option.
  • Wilder: Granny Dahnie (S). Granny Dahnie’s ultimate ability offers self-healing and applies control effects across a broad area, establishing her as, in my view, the premier tank for PvP engagements. Her primary vulnerability lies in her comparatively lower durability compared to other main tanks. Consequently, it’s crucial to equip her with defensive gear as soon as feasible.
  • Mauler: Lumont (A). Lumont is a sustain-oriented tank who excels when surrounded by multiple enemies. While a solid choice for a Mauler-focused team, he’s not a must-have due to the abundance of strong front-line Mauler alternatives.

All of these main tanks excel at their designated role of absorbing damage for the team. Having one of these units in your team during the early game significantly enhances your chances of victory. Your choice should be guided by your endgame strategy and the artifacts available to you.

There are also sub-tanks, which are heroes capable of assisting in soaking damage while also offering utility and/or additional damage to the team.

  • Lightbearer
    • Korin (A+): Grants shields to the weakest ally every 9 seconds, lasting 5 seconds. Ideal for countering assassins like Silvina and Vala.
    • Temesia (A): Ignores walls and can traverse the map while dealing damage. Gains immunity to control effects after casting her ultimate multiple times. Extremely potent when left unchecked but vulnerable to control-oriented heroes like Granny, Cecia, or Arden.
  • Graveborn
    • Salazar (S): Suitable for hyper-aggressive Graveborn compositions as a replacement for Thoran. Offers damage mitigation and possesses exceptional PvP-oriented skills.
    • Igor (S): Highly effective in PvP scenarios, capable of shutting down numerous heroes such as Silvina, Parisa (early game), and Vala. Can serve as the vanguard hero or positioned strategically in the backline for mobility. Main weakness lies in lacking damage output, which can be mitigated by equipping him with a Bone Amulet.
  • Wilder
    • Eironn (S+): Boasts the most potent control effect skill in the game, essential for all Wilder-based teams.
  • Mauler
    • Antandra (A): A solid tank unit capable of replacing Lumont. Provides defense to the foremost hero and synergizes well with any tank in the early game.
    • Brutus (A): Possesses built-in invincibility upon death.
    • Satrana (A): Functions more as a tank than a damage dealer. Can sustain indefinitely if all enemies are “ignited.” To ignite an enemy, Satrana or the two closest allies in the starting position must deal damage to the enemy three times. Recommended to carefully read her skill description due to her unique mechanics.

Notable Front-line Synergies

  1. Temesia + Korin: Temesia and Korin exhibit strong synergy, with Korin’s ability to sustain Temesia’s survivability while Temesia focuses on dismantling the enemy backline.
  2. Granny + Eironn: Eironn’s role involves grouping the enemy backline and frontline together, hindering the enemy frontline’s effectiveness. Granny capitalizes on this by applying an AOE stun to the enemy backline once Eironn has consolidated them.
  3. Salazar + Igor: Salazar’s third skill enables him to stun enemies below 70% HP regardless of their location, accompanied by significant damage output (300% ATK). Igor’s mobility allows him to traverse the backline, dealing damage that can trigger Salazar’s skill.

Backline (Damage)

In the early game, selecting a backline hero hinges on choosing one whose ultimate can serve as your win condition.

To simplify the process, I’ll rank each hero within their respective faction and assign grades ranging from S to C based on their strength. Note that this is for early games (which is without gears, and therefore this rank is somewhat also true for normal modes).

  • S: overpowered and highly recommended.
  • A: solid hero
  • B: niche pick
  • C: not recommended

Lightbearer

  1. Vala (A): Vala possesses the potential to single-handedly carry the team when left unattended. However, her effectiveness diminishes at higher ratings due to numerous counterplay options.
  2. Cassadee (A): Cassadee stands out as the premier damage dealer in the Lightbearer faction. While her damage output is respectable, her true strength lies in her ability to stun opponents. She can knock back an enemy every 8 seconds, and her ultimate has the potential to knock back everyone in a 3-tile-wide line. She synergizes exceptionally well with crowd control-oriented heroes such as Arden or Carolina.
  3. Mirael (B): Mirael’s utility is limited by the lengthy cooldown of her ultimate ability, rendering her a niche pick. She finds viability in maps with narrow chokepoints, where enemies can be lined up for maximum impact. Nevertheless, there are superior damage dealers available.
  4. Marilee (C): Marilee only reaches her full potential when her EX weapon is unlocked, which corresponds to Mythic rarity in this mode. As such, it will prove challenging to progress to the endgame with Marilee on your squad.

Graveborn

  1. Cecia (S+ or A): Cecia’s primary drawback in normal mode is the lengthy time it takes for her to unleash her ultimate, often proving disadvantageous in most PvP encounters. However, in Honor Duel, certain gears enable heroes to immediately use their ultimates. Consequently, Cecia becomes a conditionally S-tier hero when equipped with her best-in-slot gear, the Gaze of Power. This gear, costing only 20g, allows her to unleash her ultimate immediately at the start of the round. Even without her gear, she can single-handedly decimate an entire backline with a single ultimate, establishing herself as one of the best damage dealers in this game mode.
  2. Silvina (A+): Regarded as the premier assassin in the game, Silvina possesses the ability to teleport to a symmetrical tile and stun an enemy for 5 seconds. She synergizes effectively with Carolina and Salazar.
  3. Carolina (A): Carolina’s prowess lies in hurling snowballs at enemies under control effects. She complements Cecia and Silvina exceptionally well. Most of her damage stems from the snowball rather than her ultimate, and thus it’s crucial to pair her with another hero capable of applying control effects, such as Eironn, Arden, Granny, or Cecia.
  4. Viperian (B): Viperian can deal substantial damage when paired with Smokey. However, he struggles to scale effectively into the late game and fails to align with the overarching theme of the Graveborn faction.

Wilder

  1. Parisa (S): Parisa stands as the premier nuker in the game, with her ultimate ability scaling with time. Essential in every Wilder-based team, if kept alive, she ensures victory in every fight.
  2. Arden (A): Although Arden’s damage output falls short of Parisa’s, he compensates with an AOE control effect skill in his ultimate form. His Entangling Roots skill serves as a counter to numerous heroes. His true potential is reached at Mythic form, and therefore, he’s only A-tier in early games.
  3. Bryon (A): Bryon emerges as an early game burst-damage dealer capable of swiftly eliminating the enemy front-line. Teamed with Lyca, who provides attack speed and initial energy boost, Bryon’s damage potential amplifies. His ultimate, summoning a thunderbird that drains his energy while dealing damage, activates immediately upon entering the battle. Falls off in the late game.
  4. Lyca (B): Lyca serves as a budget alternative to Rowan, providing initial 120 energy and attack speed for allies. Additionally, she applies a physical defense debuff.

Mauler

  • Seth (A): Seth’s power escalates as more enemies’ HP falls below 50%. His damage output increases over time, but maintaining his survivability proves challenging as he tends to leap into the midst of the fray.
  • Shakir (A): Shakir has the ability to transform into a wolf form with his ultimate, providing damage reduction and bonus ATK for nearby allies. He ranks as one of the two primary damage dealers in the Mauler faction.
  • Odie (C): Odie attains S-tier status exclusively in mythic rarity. However, reaching mythic rarity with Odie is exceedingly arduous due to his ineffectiveness in the early game. Employing him in your squad typically results in difficulty progressing past the initial 5 rounds.

Support

  1. Rowan (S): Rowan distinguishes himself as the sole support character capable of instantly healing allies who fall below a certain HP threshold, making him an invaluable counter against burst damage. He reigns supreme as an absolute powerhouse in the early game.
  2. Hewynn (A): Hewynn stands as the sole healer capable of providing healing to every ally on the map, with the ability to channel her ultimate for 9 seconds.
  3. Niru (A): Niru offers vital support for the Graveborn team, with the capability to shield an ally from a fatal blow using his ultimate. Additionally, his damage scales with lost HP, allowing for significant single-target damage. While he possesses a single-target heal with an 8-second cooldown, it’s important to note that he shouldn’t be solely relied upon as a healer. His second and sixth skills prevent an enemy’s HP recovery for 8 seconds.
  4. Damian (A): Damian serves as a decent sub-healer, showcasing resilience as an unkillable hero. However, his healing capability falls short compared to Hewynn’s. His cart can be utilized to bait Silvina’s teleport, though this tactic isn’t always foolproof, as Silvina may target someone near Damian’s initial position. Moreover, destroying Damian’s cart resets Pale Crown’s teleport counter.
  5. Smokey (B): Smokey’s vulnerability to stun and limited heal range make him a challenging healer to utilize effectively. While he remains viable in the early game, he’s not an optimal choice for the late game.

Early Game Team Example & Tips

What proves effective in the early game often falls short in the late game, and vice versa. During the initial stages (first 3 rounds), reliance on items is unfeasible, as certain purple gears become available after the 3rd round (level 2 shops can have these gears, but chances are very slim). Instead, victory hinges on synergies to secure success.

I’d like to share some notable hero combinations that you should remember:

  1. Rowan: Having Rowan on your team often ensures victory against a team lacking Rowan’s support.
  2. Bryon + Lyca: This formidable duo can swiftly dismantle any frontline tank in the absence of support or defensive artifacts, making it one of the most potent early game backline combinations.
  3. Silvina + Salazar + Carolina: Known as the trinity of Graveborn combo, Silvina initiates by stunning the enemy for 5 seconds. During this window, Silvina chips away at the enemy’s health, aided by Carolina’s snowballs to bolster damage output. Salazar can then deliver the finishing blow with his second skill, which has no range limit. This strategy effectively trades your Silvina for the enemy’s win condition, leveling the playing field to a 4v4 scenario. However, be wary of counters such as Igor, Rowan, Granny, or Arden.
  4. Control Effects + Arden or Carolina: Utilizing control effects in conjunction with Arden enables him to rapidly accumulate energy whenever an enemy is under control effects. Similarly, Carolina can capitalize on control effects by hurling snowballs at affected enemies.
  5. Igor + Damian: This pairing can prolong Igor’s survivability significantly, potentially forcing a draw or tipping the scale in your favor in a 1v1 situation.

Below are the ideal squad recommendations for each faction during the early stages of the game. It’s essential to work with the heroes you have and seek alternatives for any missing ones.

Lightbearer

  1. Lucius + Rowan + Vala + Korin + optional hero: Form a Vala-centric squad with Lucius and Rowan as your front-line support.
  2. Lucius + Rowan + Cassadee + Korin + Temesia: Utilize Temesia as your win-condition while Cassadee applies control effects across the board.

Graveborn

  1. Salazar + Silvina + Carolina: Employ Silvina and Salazar to clear out the enemy’s backline. Note that this strategy is most effective when accompanied by Salazar or the Pale Crown artifact. It’s advisable to equip Silvina with a dagger for optimal performance.
  2. Cecia + Rowan: Utilize frontline heroes to safeguard Cecia’s survival while Rowan assists her in using her ultimate. Cecia can serve as a potential win-condition in this setup.

Wilder

  1. Granny + Bryon + Lyca + Hewynn + Damian (or Rowan). Enhance Granny’s survivability with two supports while Bryon and Lyca rapidly dismantle the enemy frontline. Transition to the late game meta team upon obtaining Gaze of Power for Hewynn.
  2. Granny + 3 Supports + Parisa. Parisa is your win condition, and you are trying to keep Granny and Parisa alive with all of your healers.
  3. Granny + Eironn + Hewynn + Damian / Rowan + Parisa. Again, Parisa is your win condition, and you are relying on Rowan for early Eironn + Parisa ultimates.

Mauler: Select 3 random heroes and add Seth and Shakir. Be strategic in placement, especially avoiding matchups against Lightbearer teams. Alternatively, consider Odie + Smokey in the backline for added support. Maulers excel in open-field combat but struggle in choke points, making map and artifact considerations crucial.

Remember, prioritize legendary heroes over epic ones, taking both rarity and tier into account when making selections.

Mid-Late Game

Duel Store is upgraded to level 3 after the 3rd round. This is when elite gears become available (purple color gears). Some of the heroes become very powerful with their best in slot gears, and this is a good time to transition into your late-game team. I will give a detailed explanation of how to run these teams.

Graveborn – Hyper Aggression Deck with No Healers

This is an example of a Graveborn team. Notice that there’s no healer. This is a hyper-aggressive deck that’s meant to finish the fight in the first 10 seconds. The strength of this deck is its easiness to gear up while only using purple gears.

My ideal graveborn team consists of:

  • Igor – Carolina – Salazar – Cecia – Silvina.

Let me explain why they are in the team.

Igor (best gear: Bone Amulet)

Igor’s job is to soak damage from the enemy’s key backline heroes. He can completely shut down Silvina and Vala. Furthermore, he can tank Parisa’s ultimate without dying, making him a great addition to any team. His only weakness is the lack of damage, but if you give him the Bone Amulet, he can kill the entire team by himself in the absence of healers. He plays a key position in this deck because of the bone amulet, and the Igor & bone amulet combination is what makes me think that this deck is the strongest team in this game mode.

Silvina (best gear: Mask of Fury (artifact: Pale Crown), Hunting Armor, or Peer’s Call (artifact)

Silvina’s 2nd skill allows her to teleport and stun an enemy that is located in a symmetrical position. Her stun is a great way to counter pretty much every hero in the game. I explained earlier that Igor can wipe out the entire team by himself if there’s no support. Silvina’s job is to stun enemy support such as Hewynn, Rowan, or Smokey. Because her stun takes priority over all instant casts in the game including Eironn’s, placing her in the correct position guarantees that you are preventing the target from casting any ultimate for 5 seconds.

Mythic Hewynn’s ultimate comes with stun immunity, so you want Silvina to stun Mythic Hewynn so that she’s prevented from using her ultimate before she’s further stunned by Cecia / Carolina. It’s worth mentioning that Silvina plays a key role in the “Pale Crown” artifact. In this case, she can cast multiple “teleport” skills upon kill or assist, and you want to stack as much ATK as possible.

Therefore, Mask of Fury (20g) or Sword of Justice (40g) are both great choices. In other cases, I recommend actually using Hunting Armor to keep Silvina alive in the backline as much as possible, as she is “targetable” without Pale Crown artifact. Peer’s Call is an end-game gear that is optional but also arguably better than Hunting Armor as it comes with both offensive and defensive buffs.

Remember that you are using Silvina to make a one-to-one trade with the enemy healer. If she kills Hewynn, it’s a very successful trade. If she survives to kill one more damage dealer, then it should be a game over.

Cecia (best gear: Gaze of Power or Fire Dance)

Cecia’s job is to apply control effects to the enemy backline and bring their health below 70%. This will allow Salazer’s 3rd skill to further stun and finish the enemy backline. This AOE stun also helps with Carolina’s snowball witchery. Carolina throws snowballs at enemies under control effect, and each enemy can be hit every 1.5 seconds. This means we want to apply control effects to as many enemies as possible and Cecia does a great job. Eironn’s a great alternative to Cecia, but Cecia does more damage and is cheaper to gear because of Gaze of Power.

Gaze of Power on Cecia is when this team can properly function. Without it, this team can easily be defeated by a sustain-oriented team with a proper healer as Graveborn has no sustain.

Salazar (best gear: Hunting Armor, Grandmaster Crown, or Concealer)

Salazar is such a powerhouse and the centerpiece of the graveborn team that holds it together. His 4th skill gives him 20% damage reduction, and his 2nd skill has a potential to whip enemies within two tiles. This skill can do massive damage when the enemy hp is below 70%, which is easy to achieve with the help of Cecia + Gaze of Power.

His best skill is his 3rd skill, Spirit Shackles, which stuns an enemy with less than 70% HP for 5 seconds and absorb their ATK. This skill also has no cooldown, making him a great hero to have with Silvina and Cecia. He’s a must-have, and his only weakness is that he cannot tank as much as Thoran. Giving him Hunting Armor turns him into a solid tank. He also recovers HP whenever he imprisons an enemy. Salazar’s gear is not as important as others, so you have freedom to choose whatever gear you find useful for him.

Carolina (best gear: Hunting Armor or Fire Dance)

Carolina is in charge of the damage output of this team. Her snowball does an insane amount of damage, but can only throw snowballs at controlled enemies. This is why we’re running Silvina to guide her to kill a target of interest. If you are running “Snow Herb” artifact, her snowball cooldown is further reduced, and she becomes the best damage dealer in the game. She needs a bit of time to ramp up her damage, and you can read about the details of why in her skill description.

Win Conditions:

  • Keeping Cecia alive is your “win condition.” Lose her early, and the fight is over.
  • Silvina’s job is to stun the enemy healer and prevent the healer from using ultimates until Cecia’s ultimate is triggered. She also becomes your win condition if you have a Pale Crown artifact.
  • Salazar’s job is to tank and provide the additional damage needed to get the first kill.
  • Igor’s job is to stay alive until the end in a mirror match and use his bone amulet to have a significant advantage over the enemy Igor. He can easily 3v1 or 4v1 the leftovers when equipped with a Bone Amulet.
  • Carolina is only your win condition if you are running Snow Herb. Otherwise, you can have her equip Hunting Armor and be a bait. If your concern is mainly with the Wilder deck’s mythic Hewynn, you can also have her equip Fire Dance so you can add more damage to your initial burst damage. This will make placement more difficult, making you weaker against the Graveborn team, but stronger against the Wilder team.

Placement Order:

  • Place Salazar, Carolina first.
  • Always place Silvina last. Target the enemy win condition. It’s usually Parisa or Hewynn for Wilder, and Gaze of Power Cecia for Graveborn.
  • If you are fighting a graveborn team (predict based on artifact) and you run Silvina with a Mask of Fury, then you must save both Igor and Silvina last, and use Igor to counter the enemy Silvina. Mask of Fury reduces haste by 50%, and your ATK SPD & Haste determines whose Silvina goes first. When both Silvinas have the identical attack speed, then the attacker’s (you) Silvina will ALWAYS hit first. This is very important, and holds true not just for Honor Duels but everywhere else. You’re welcome.

Artifacts, Variations, and Examples

There are many variations to this deck, and if you are running an ultimate-oriented artifact such as Glowing Blossom, you can consider taking out Igor and/or Silvina and replace them with heroes whose ultimates are more powerful such as Niru, Hewynn, Eironn, Parisa, or Arden.

You can also use Thoran instead or Igor or Carolina when you have Obsidian Earring:

Crimson Gem is another great artifact that pairs well with the Graveborn team.

Since Carolina is not a melee hero, you can put Thoran or another melee range hero in her place. In the second example, I have Hewynn with Crimson Abyss as an optional pick to counter certain decks that I cannot wipe with my burst damage. Be flexible with your hero picks.

Igor doesn’t die, so if you run Crystal Cell with Igor as your front-line, it often works out well. The additional 25% damage goes well with the theme of this deck, which is to kill before you are killed.

Igor and Silvina do not rely on their ultimates for a kill, and Salazar is still strong without an ultimate as well. You can use these 3 heroes + Thoran (because he doesn’t die easily) to make Breeze Rider a viable artifact.

Inspiring Horn is not a bad artifact to have, since the Silvina deck prioritizes getting a kill first. The main weakness of this artifact is that until that first kill happens, there’s zero buff coming from the artifact, so you must rely on your gears + heroes only to get that first kill. Therefore this is a difficult artifact to work with especially when you fight Wilder deck with a good Mythic Hewynn placement.

Easy consecutive wins with Pale Crown.

Doesn’t always have to be pure Graveborn

If you run Pale Crown, you can consider using Niru instead of Igor or Carolina but I still prefer the team above.

And lastly, Snow Herb doesn’t always have to be Graveborn-only.

It’s actually much more versatile if you can finish this team composition compared to a pure-graveborn team for Snow Herb artifact.

Final Note

The Graveborn team is actually the most consistent team for a 9-win fight because they can have a huge power spike when you buy a 20g item. Cecia and Gaze of Power, Silvina and Mask of Fury, and Igor and Bone Necklace. I was stuck at 2500 points for many days while trying to climb using Wilder until I came to this realization. Placement is everything for this deck. How you place your heroes will completely change the outcome of a fight, so try to reduce the number of mistakes you make.

Wilder – Eironn-centric combo-wombo Nuking Deck

My ideal Wilder team consists of

  • Granny – Eironn – Hewynn – Parisa – Arden

Let me explain why they are in the team.

Granny (best gear: flexible but Grandmaster Crown. Early game: Hunting Armor)

Granny’s main weakness is that she can be easily killed at epic rarity. I would prioritize giving her Hunting Armor as soon as you find one. Her ultimate comes with an AOE control effect that counters many heroes such as Temesia, Hewynn (mythic form), Smokey, Silvina, and Cecia.

Eironn (best gear: Sleeping Reverie. Early game: Gaze of Power)

In Mythic rarity, Eironn can use his ultimate at the beginning of the battle, and gather everyone into one single clump. He’s still great in early games because he can bring backline heroes into your damage dealer’s range that are otherwise unreachable. Mandatory in late game, and highly recommended in early game.

Hewynn (best gear: Crimson Abyss. Early game: Gaze of Power)

You can run Damian or Rowan instead of Hewynn in the early game until you can get yourself a Gaze of Power. Hewynn with Gaze of Power solves the biggest weakness of Wilder team which is its weakness against a hyper aggressive deck such as Mauler or Graveborn.

In mythic form, she becomes immune to control effects. If you give her Crimson Abyss, she will use her 9 seconds ultimate every 10 seconds, making her vulnerable for only 1 second out of 10 seconds. She also provides damage mitigation to the entire team during that 9 seconds window in mythic form. She becomes the strongest character in the entire team and makes Wilder the strongest endgame team in its final form.

Parisa (best gear: Hunting Armor or Fire Dance. Early game: Beast King’s Claw)

Eironn with Sleeping Reverie groups all enemies together, and Mythic Parisa can choose two of five enemies and deal a 1-tile AOE damage to each, effectively hitting enemies twice if they are all grouped together. Fire Dance allows you to hit everyone right when Eironn casts his ultimate.

If the target does not die, then the next time she casts her ultimate, she marks an additional hero that wasn’t marked before. Her ultimate will continue to mark everyone, so even if the first ultimate doesn’t penetrate through Hewynn’s heal + damage mitigation, eventually she’ll have her marks on all 5 heroes and the ultimate damage will scale to 5x, making her the best nuker in the game that scales with time.

Therefore, the earlier she fires her ultimate, the faster she scales with time. Usually the first hit is enough to wipe the entire team, which is why running Eironn (Sleeping Reverie) + Parisa (Fire Dance) is the best combo in the game that has almost no counter.

You can counter this by running Hunting Armor on everyone in your team except Hewynn. If your Hewynn survives, then you can just eat the nuke, and nuke back to beat this team in the mirror fight.

Arden (best gear: Hunting Armor or Fire Dance)

Arden is there for additional damage and control effects. He gains energy whenever an enemy is cc’d (crowd control or control effect). We’re running Granny and Eironn, so his ultimate will charge much faster than Parisa’s. His ultimate also snares everyone in 3 tile radius (basically the whole map), and does some insane damage when paired with Granny / Eironn ultimate.

He isn’t as strong as Parisa until he reaches Mythic form, which is why I consider Parisa to be better than Arden. However, in mythic form, they are equally strong and you can also choose to run just one of them and replace the other with another hero with more utility.

Win Conditions:

  • Keeping Hewynn and Parisa alive are your win conditions. Hewynn will counter the Graveborn team, so keep her safe from Silvina. Parisa scales with time and can easily wipe the entire team by herself when left alone.
  • You can run Damian instead of Arden in order to keep your win conditions alive.
  • Keeping Eironn until he uses his first ultimate is also important. I often give him Hunting Armor during mid-game (round 3-7) until I can get him to Mythic form.
  • Granny not dying is also very important. Give her Hunting Armor as I mentioned above.

Placement Order:

  • General rule of thumb is to place Hewynn and Eironn the last.
  • Always place Hewynn last. She’s your win condition. Be aware of Vala, Temesia, and Silvina. Placing Hewynn diagonally relative to Temesia will make Temesia stomp on your Hewynn.
  • Place Eironn last because he can be used to counter Vala, Silvina (if you use Hunting Armor), and side flankers such as Shakir.
  • Don’t group your Hewynn and Parisa together, or risk both of them getting nuked by Temesia, Cecia or another Parisa.
  • When facing Silvina, place your Granny in the middle of the formation first if she has Hunting Armor. She’ll stay alive for the duration of Silvina’s stun and can follow up with her ultimate which will kill Silvina. Place the rest of your team on the other side of where Silvina will land.
  • Hewynn has a 4-tile range single target healing skill with a cooldown of 5 seconds, so be mindful of the skill range.

Artifacts, Variations, and Examples:

While the Wilder deck is the strongest endgame deck, they are actually weaker than the graveborn team until you can ascend your Hewynn to Mythic form, and give her Crimson Abyss. Early Gaze of Power is also quite important for Hewynn, making this deck not as consistent as Graveborn.

These are some notable artifacts that I would run Wilder deck with.

Glowing Blossom allows your heroes to cast their ultimates before the enemies. If you use Gaze of Power or Fire Dance, your heroes will often use their ultimates twice in the first 5-10 seconds.

This is the absolute strongest endgame artifact in the game when paired with Wilder (just imagine 3 Arden ultimates, 2 Eironn ultimates, Granny ultimate, and 2 Parisa ultimates all casted in the span of 10 seconds).

Oracle Sculpture is a Lyca-oriented artifact that is difficult to make work. Substitute Lyca with Arden, and give Lyca a bone necklace to solve her weak damage problem. In early game, you can run Bryon + Lyca combo until your Hewynn gets a Gaze of Power.

Fragrang Bag works very well with the Wilder deck thanks to Hewynn and her AOE heal. Spam Hunting Armor so that no one will die.

Swifty Book is a great counter to Illusion Censer (and many others). We’re running Bryon here because Swifty Book forces the fight to be close range. We no longer really need Eironn because the artifact will group all of the enemies together. Bryon works extremely well with this artifact because he can bypass the enemy frontline and kill the enemy backline very fast using his thunderbird + buffed normal attacks.

Honorable mention. Eironn with a damage gear + Gruglin Mask can wipe the entire team with a single ultimate. I am sharing my failed attempt to show how difficult it is to make it through the early game when your score is high.

Another honorable mention. Illusion Censer works great until it doesn’t. This artifact will counter any team that does not have Hewynn and Damian, but the problem is that it reduces ALL the heroes’ damage, not just the enemies’. Keep in mind that the enemy also has an artifact that strictly benefits theirs, and in the endgame, everyone is running Hewynn, so this deck is going to be very weak when you are fighting another Wilder deck with a better artifact in the endgame (round 7+).

Lightbearer Team – High-Sustain Deck

The Lightbearer team is weaker than the Graveborn or the Wilder. Getting a consistent 9 win is very challenging as you could get countered so hard by the hyper aggressive Graveborn team. The additional 15% damage disadvantage is too big to overcome, and Vala, Lightbearer’s main carry, is completely shut down by Igor. Still, Lightbearer is a fun faction to play with, and their early games can be quite strong.

My ideal lightbearer team is made of

  • Lucius – Korin – Vala – Optional – Hewynn*

Let me go over the reasoning behind these picks.

Lucius (best gear: flexible but Grandmaster Crown. Early game: Gaze of Power or Hunting Armor)

In my experience, Lucius is by far the sturdiest tank in the game. In the beginning of the fight, he will immediately knock the first hero he sees, using his bash skill. This stuns the enemy for a full second, giving enough time for your backline to melt the stunned tank in early game. He also reduces enemies’ ATK by 8%, and heals the weakest ally every time he gains a shield. This goes very well with Korin, who can bestow shields upon allies.

Lucius and Rowan together can do a fairly good job of keeping the entire team alive when grouped together. Because Lightbearer’s main sustain comes from Lucius’ shield, your team works better when it’s all grouped together. Therefore, Artifacts such as Swifty Books aren’t very effective against Lightbearers team in early game when Lucius + Rowan can keep the entire team alive very well.

Korin (recommended gear: Hunting Armor, Bone Amulet, or Grandmaster Crown)

Korin can tank, deal damage, and protect allies. He’s great at providing the last bit of sustain needed for the Lightbearer team. Korin also scales with the number of ultimate usages. Check out his 5th skills. In mythic form, he becomes a monster because of this skill. Rowan is a must-have if you want to use him. Place him near Rowan in the beginning so that his 5th skill is activated as soon as possible.

Vala (recommended gear: Fire Dance, Hunting Armor, Peer’s Call, or Colorful Exoplanet)

Vala is great at bypassing the enemy frontline and killing the enemy’s high value heroes such as Parisa or Hewynn. However, she’s easily countered by an off tank in the back such as Igor, Korin, or Eironn. Therefore, having her will make you weaker against Graveborn teams but stronger against Wilder teams.

Optional

Cassadee (best gear: flexible, but recommend Bone Amulet or Hunting Armor)

Cassadee comes with Magic DEF reduction + two control effects skills. She also blesses an ally with Tidal Strength, which can strengthen normal attacks of the ally.

Lucius + Cassadee can stun an enemy for 2.5 seconds every 8 seconds, which may not sound like much, but is greatly annoying when you are on the receiving side of this combo.

Rowan (best gear: Gaze of Power)

Rowan is a great support that can immediately heal 45% of allies’ max HP. He can also recover 400 energy for an ally in the beginning of the fight, making him a great pick both in early and late game. He helps Lucius spam his ultimate as much as possible, and is a must have for the Lightbearer team.

Temesia (recommended gear: Bone Amulet, Mask of Fury, Gaze of Power, or Hunting Armor)

Temesia’s animation speed is not affected by ATK SPD or Haste. Instead, she gains 1% damage for every point of ATK SPD / Haste.

Mask of Fury increases ATK by 100% but reduces Haste by 50%, so this is a free 50% ATK bonus. Bone Amulet can also do wonders on her as Temsia can run across the map, applying the damage-over-time debuff on everyone she crosses. Lastly, Hunting Armor can keep her alive a bit longer and buy her enough time for her to ramp up as she scales with more ultimate usages.

Gaze of Power can let her use her ultimate immediately, reducing the number of ultimates needed for her to reach her ultimate form (she needs to cast her ultimates twice).

Hewynn:

There’s just no replacement for Hewynn from the LB team. She’s the best healer in the game. This is an example of a team that I used. The only risk this team has is an early stun on Hewynn, which is what prevented me from getting a 9 win.

This composition will keep your team alive till the timer runs out, so long as your team doesn’t die immediately upon the beginning of the battle because of the Eironn + Parisa combo.

Here’s an example of this team surviving the Eironn combo-wombo burst damage on round 7. Eironn had a Gaze of Power + only epic rarity which helped my guys not die immediately. In order to survive the combo, we must spam Hunting Armor on everyone as soon as possible.

Win Conditions:

  • In the early games, Vala can be your win condition. Keep her alive, and have her snipe enemy backline heroes one by one.
  • Temesia ramping up could easily be your win condition as well. She excels in staying alive on the map with 3 walls.
  • Lucius + Rowan is the main source of sustain for your entire team. If Rowan falls before you can kill enough enemies, your team will fall.

Placement Order:

  • Place Korin last and use him to counter assassins.
  • Place Vala last and use her to target high value heroes. She’ll often get countered against the Graveborn, so be mindful of possible Igor / Thoran bait.
  • Rowan needs to be placed 2 tiles behind the front line.
  • All of your heroes with important ultimates should be placed within 2 tiles of Rowan, so that his ultimate can charge everyone’s ultimate.
  • Don’t spread out Lightbearer teams too much, or Lucius won’t be able to heal everyone.
  • Be mindful of your counters such as Cecia or Parisa – AOE nukers.

Artifacts, Variations, and Examples:

Lightbearer team does not work very well in high score games. They stopped working for me past 1500. I’ll try to provide a few examples of my recent games where I used Lightbearers with some success.

Luxurious Sachet is a Lightbearer artifact. This artifact grants a bonus equal to 5% of the total stats of all Lightbearer heroes which is roughly equivalent to 25% stat bonus. This is a huge buff, and if you can focus on ascending your heroes as early as possible, you can snowball off of the stat bonus, and go through the early rounds unscathed.

I stopped using Vala as she was countered too many times by Igor. Temesia with Bone Amulet is in charge of the damage, while everyone else is providing shields and utility to keep everyone alive.

I am also stacking three Grandmaster Crowns for additional stat bonus as the artifact bonus scales with stats.

As I mentioned before, Lucius is one of the sturdiest tank in the game. Put him in the front for an easy 25% damage bonus.

Rowan is the best hero for Immortal Flame. While a pure Lightbearer team is not effective, you can put Hewynn into every team, and solve the sustain issue. We are using Granny + Rowan + Hewynn to keep the front line alive while Vala is picking off enemies one by one. Korin provides shields for weak allies to keep everyone alive. He also does true damage, which is insanely useful.

Notice the gear choice. Peer’s call + three hunting armor = everyone except Hewynn is invincible against Wilder Nuke combo. This is what you have to do to get 9 wins when you are fighting meta Wilder / GB team every round.

Lightbearer team is all about high-sustain, and that prolongs the fight. Mystic Crystals is a good artifact to supplement the lack of damage in Lightbearer teams.

Pyrocatalyst doesn’t work in high skill queues, but is very fun to play. The problem with Mirael is that her energy regen rate is much slower than other damage dealers, making it very difficult for her to cast her ultimate before she’s killed. Once you can get your hand on early Fire Dance, you might be able to turn it around, but by then, you probably have 2 losses. Here, I tried to fight the issue with Hewynn, but couldn’t find more copies of her.

This is even worse than Pyrocatalyst. I think this is an artifact that needs rework. Do not recommend playing this one.

Honorable Mention: Art of Ruling + Temesia

The 35 energy per second regen and 30% bonus stat makes it easier to prevent her from dying before she casts her ultimate twice. However, Arden or Granny can completely counter Temesia, making this very difficult to work in early games.

Mauler Team – Melee-Oriented Team

  • Only play the Mauler team when you have Bone Scroll artifact.
  • Seth and Shakir are your main melee damage.
  • Odie is amazing if you can actually raise him to Mythic.
  • Smokey is optional.
  • Mauler team comes down to whether you can get the open map often enough. They do horribly in maps with choke, so they are not consistent and therefore I do not recommend them.

I will go over Mauler teams in more detail when I get time, but all you need to know is that they are not for beginners, and the heroes do not scale well with gears, making this team difficult to work with. Play something else if you are beginners.

Artifacts

In this section, I will present a very short guideline and tier list of all of the artifacts in the game. To keep this section simple, I won’t share the reasoning behind why.

S-Tier (Very Strong)

  • Pale Crown – Give Silvina a damage gear as soon as possible
  • Snow Herb – Play around Carolina, and make sure to have heroes with control-effects to assist her. Some examples include Salazar, Silvina, Eironn, Cassadee, Arden and Granny.
  • Crimson Gem – You can play around Silvina / Igor
  • Glowing Blossom – Play Wilder team and treat as if every hero comes with instant ultimate
  • Fragrant Bag – You can play Lightbearer or Wilder. I strongly recommend getting Hewynn into your team, and maybe consider adding a second support such as Rowan. Try the following composition: Rowan – Hewynn – Lucius with Vala – Temesia carry.

A-Tier (Strong)

  • Bone Scroll – This is strong as long as you don’t run into a series of LB teams.
  • Illusion Censer – You can easily cheese your way into a 9-win game by stacking heals. Granny is a must-have. In the endgame, you will lose unless you have a strong Wilder meta team though.
  • Art of Ruling – Play a very strong front-line hero such as Lucius, Granny, or Temesia and play around them.
  • Lithe Larkspur – This is another ultimate-spamming artifact that is weaker than Glowing Blossom because your ultimate gauge charges slower than Glowing Blossom for the very first ultimate. The damage penalty is also a reason why I am marking it down from S-tier.
  • Swifty Book – While this could possibly be an S-tier artifact, you can get screwed by your own artifact if you do not run 2 tanks and cover both the front and back of the formation because of Igor/Silvina/Temesia. Granny is a must-have. Play Wilder
  • Breeze Rider – This is a difficult artifact to master at first, but once you realize this is just a busted Graveborn artifact, games can be very easy in the early stage. Later on, it’ll be all about killing the other side’s Hewynn.
  • Luxurious Sachet – Very strong Lightbearer artifact that gives you a tremendous advantage early game, but 5-man Lightbearer is not very strong and this one forces you to build a pure LB team.

B-Tier (Average, Viable)

  • Inspiring Horn – This is a very powerful artifact if you can actually get a first kill. Until then, you aren’t getting any bonus from your artifact.
  • Lucky Cage – This artifact is quite good at its maximum level but early game isn’t as strong as other artifacts above.
  • Tranquil Flask – Wilder artifact that’s alright, but better ones exist.
  • Pyrocatalyst – This artifact only works at low rating.
  • Obsidian Earring – This is an average Graveborn artifact that’s viable, but not exceptional.
  • Rock Necklace –  Very strong endgame artifact if you build a meta Wilder team with Arden, but the early game is weak.
  • Golden Blossoms – Decent artifact that can counter many of the nuke comp, but is not as strong as other A-tiers.
  • Proud Greaves – Can be quite advantageous in some match-ups, but can also easily be countered by Vala or Silvina.
  • Oracle Sculpture – Lyca is just meh.
  • Relic Shard – Almost an A-tier item but requires having your hero killed… and if your carry (Temesia / Vala) gets killed, it loses all its effectiveness.
  • Gruglin Mask – This is the strongest endgame artifact but getting there’s very hard and RNG-dependent. Play Eironn and he can one-shot everyone without death-proof skills/items.
  • Flame Orb – Great at its final form. Weak in the beginning.
  • Immortal Flame – Rowan is recommended, and that kind of forces your team composition to be LB-oriented. The advantage from the artifact doesn’t outweigh having to play LB.
  • Crystal Dew – Gears offer more than what this artifact gives, but the early few games can be easier.

Underpowered (Could Easily Get 0 Wins)

  • Dawn Antlers – Marilee is trash.
  • Mystic Crystals – Most fights can end in 30 seconds.

Gears

Here, I will go over notable gears that you should consider buying.

S-Tier Gears (Mandatory)

Hunting Armor: for 20g, this item gives you one more life. This is a must-have item for Granny and Salazar. I would also give this to my back-line heroes for endgame if I want to prevent getting wiped by teams that have multiple instant ultimate casters. This item also counters the popular Pale Crown Silvina. This is undoubtedly the best gear in my opinion for most of your heroes.

Gaze of Power: another 20g item that is actually the best in slot for Cecia. This is a great starter gear for Rowan and Hewynn as well. Eironn also benefits from having this item until he becomes Mythic but note that his ultimate when using Gaze of Power will have a limited range compared to his Mythic version where he can cast his ultimate across the map.

Crimson Abyss: best gear for Hewynn. Mythic Hewynn with Crimson Abyss is a meta-defining combination.

Sleeping Reverie: Eironn’s best in slot gear that deserves to be in S-tier because Eironn’s ultimate is guaranteed to proc first. This will stun everyone in the opposing side, buying you time to cast your ultimates without interruption.

Fire Dance: this allows your nukers to cast their ultimates instantly. This is an upgrade from Gaze of Power. For example, Parisa, Carolina, Mirael, and Arden benefit from this.

A-Tier Gears (Useful Most of the Times)

Exquisite Leather: this could make the difference in the early game where that first cast of Cecia or Parisa ultimate could be all you need to win a fight.

Grandmaster Crown: huge stat bonus. Give it to non-core heroes that are mythic.

Bone Amulet: This gear is insane when you put it on Igor.

Sword of Justice: this is the best gear for Breeze Rider artifact. This is also one of the best gear for Silvina when you are using her Pale Crown artifact.

Beat King’s Claw: this is one of the best gear for round 1-3. 40% damage bonus is very big, and this goes well on any nuker such as Parisa and Vala.

Cold Dagger: great starting weapon for Silvina.

Mask of Fury: Good for Temesia (whose speed is not affected by haste) and Silvina. This gear can make a big difference during early game but falls off later as 50 Haste reduction can be a bit too much penalty. For example, when you use Silvina to counter another Silvina, Silvina with faster attack speed will teleport first. This puts you at a huge advantage when you are facing a pale crown Silvina and have to counter Silvina. If your Silvina’s slower, then your only option left is to have Igor tank Silvina’s first strike. This is still a great way to boost your teleport damage when you use Silvina to assassinate Hewynn.

Night Apostle: great gear early game for your front-line when you can’t raise them to legendary fast enough. This is great for Temesia and Granny who aren’t as sturdy as other tanks.

Colorful Exoplanet: this is a situational gear that can easily be countered in the late game. While this gear gives the best ultimate damage output for many of the nukers, your nukers can be wiped first if the opponent runs a multiple heroes with Fire Dance.

Leaf of Life – good early game life regen, but don’t spam these too much as it could be a waste of 10g.

Peer’s Call – an expensive take on Hunting Armor. Use this when you want some more stat bonus for your carry that needs to stay alive.

B-Tier Gears (Situational)

Shadow Gloves: 25% ATK SPD for 10g is a good value for early game on someone like Bryon, Odie, or Marilee.

Cleric’s Vestment: you can put this on your tank (or Igor) to have them pull aggro from your backline. A situational pick at best in my opinion.

Sharp Bow: a decent way to gain some damage bonus, but is situationally good as certain maps will not allow you to gain distance from the enemy frontline. Keep in mind that the damage dealer should have a range of 5.

Totem Bracers: giving this item to someone like Salazar (who always aims at low hp target) or Temesia (who scales damage from ATK SPD and also applies damage to everyone) can be very fun.

Flame Greaves: best gear for someone like Odie and Marilee who needs to ramp up during early game. This is also a great gear for Bryon who can shell out a burst of damage during the first 10 seconds of the game. Basically give this to someone that needs to kill an opponent in the first few seconds.

Forest Guardian: can be used on Igor, Smokey, or Damian to give a little bit of additional healing for your high value heroes.

Deer’s Blessing:This is a good gear on Smokey.

Concealer: this turns any of your heroes into a poor man’s Silvina.

Violet Horn: Situational gear for someone with a flexible gear spot.

Totem Bracers: can be useful for Temesia or Salazar.

Messenger Boots: decent gear for someone tanky (so that hunting armor is not necessary) with a flexible gear slot.

Starlight: good for someone like Eironn or Granny when you need an additional damage.

Arbiter Set: Arbiter’s Blade + Armor sets are great when you need to give control immunity to someone like Smokey. However, costing 80g and having to buy two different gears make them not as attractive as other gears.

Fallen Dagger only applies to the wearer’s ultimate. 30% reduced ultimate cost is what this gear gives you.

Resource Management

In order to consistently win, you need to maximize your income during early games. When you do not use the hero in the current round, the hero comes with an honor duel badge bonus.

For example, I am not placing Thoran in this round, and he’s getting a bonus symbol on top of his portrait as shown below.

After the round, you can see that he has this symbol in the bottom right corner.

When you use him in the following round, you will be awarded 7g per every new hero you are using.

If you can alternate between different heroes each time during the early game when most heroes are still in epic rarity, you can earn a significant amount of tokens early on, which will make your late game easier.

This is why it’s totally viable to pick 3 x 18g packs instead of 2 x 33g packs or 33g + 18g pack.

Once you decide which team composition / faction you want to use, it’s not worth buying the 18g pack (or even 33g pack). Instead, buy the individual hero pack shown below.

The lock button on the top right corner “locks” this choice so that you could keep it from resetting. This is particularly useful when you want to keep rerolling to see if you can ascend someone more important.

Shop level is upgraded to level 3 after 3 battles. A level 3 shop has more purple gears than a level 2 shop, so your chance of getting a Gaze of Power earlier is improved if you don’t spend your token until round 3 is over.

So the important skill is to draw 9 heroes using a 3x18g pack, and try to form a working team where you can switch in/out some heroes based on the enemy team composition in order to maximize the income while not losing any early rounds, all the while not spending much token after round 1 and 2.

Round 3 is also when you get access to the 2nd line of your artifact. Sometimes, the artifact’s 2nd line will only apply to a particular faction, so you can decide which faction you’d like to use based on the level 2 buff from your artifact.

I hope this was helpful to you!

Egor Opleuha
About Egor Opleuha 7137 Articles
Egor Opleuha, also known as Juzzzie, is the Editor-in-Chief of Gameplay Tips. He is a writer with more than 12 years of experience in writing and editing online content. His favorite game was and still is the third part of the legendary Heroes of Might and Magic saga. He prefers to spend all his free time playing retro games and new indie games.

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