Attack and Defense runes: When to use them

alone ROFI was tempted to put this article under the KoM101 category, but realized this actually isn’t that simple, going by the mistakes I see people make in attacking and defending. I’ve seen some weird attack reports, with people misusing runes and Tactical Troops.

alone ROIIn this article, I am gonna lay out the basics of when to use defensive, and when to use offensive runes. By no means is this stuff really complicated, but apparently many people still do not have a complete hang of it. So when do you use which runes? That and more, after the break.


1. So, what runes do we have?

In total we have 6 attack and defense runes at our disposal. On the attack side, we have the Combat rune, Major Combat rune, and Rune of Fury. The Combat rune adds 20% attack for 24 hours, the Major Combat rune does the same but for 7 days, and the Rune of Fury adds 100% attack for 2 hours. Both Combat runes stack timewise, popping two major Combat runes increases attack by 20% for 14 days. Runes of Fury do the same, 2 RoF’s increase attack by 100% for 4 hours. Combat runes and Runes of Fury together stack attack bonus wise, in that a RoF and a combat rune together give 120% attack bonus, the maximum you can get with these runes in any possible combination.

rune combat lineupOn the defense side we have three similar runes: the Shield rune, the Major Shield rune, and Rune of Invulnerability. They give, like the combat runes, 20%, 20% and 100% bonus to defense for the same periods of time. They also work and stack in exactly the same way.

rune defe lineup

2. When do we use them?

To figure out when you need them, we only have to think about when attack is important, when defense is important, and when these factors are NOT important. In some situations, defense of your troops is not important at all and you can spare the precious runes. Same for attack. Now unless your spending good money, especially the Runes of Fury and Runes of Invulnerability aren’t that easy to come by, and what you have is used up in campaigning, tournaments or TKing. Lets go through some situations.

2.1. Rules of thumb (attacking other players)

swordshieldThe rule of thumb is that you will need to use attack runes when attacking, and defense runes when defending. This seems to be overly simple, but here’s the reason why. In MOST cases when you attack another (open) player, his army will vastly outnumber yours. When your small wave hits, both armies will dish out one attack, and battle will be over in one round.

There is nothing to do about this; there is no possible defensive buff you can get to NOT be annihilated in one round of combat. Therefore, it is absolutely useless to even consider defense for your troops. In these situations, you will use a Combat rune and a Rune of Fury, if you’re going for good TK ratios/maximum damage, and do not have a ‘no-runes’ agreement with your opponent.

Likewise, if you are open for attackers, you usually have an army MUCH larger than what the enemy can send to your gates. No matter what, your troops will defeat the wave in one round of battle. In this case, you want to focus exclusively on defense, trying to limit your own losses, while ignoring your attack values. In this case, use a Shield rune and Rune of Invulnerability to get good TK ratios and lose less troops.

This also works the other way around: If you are defending, but the attack force is much larger than what you are defending with, you are probably going to be wiped out in one round. In such a case, even while you are defending, it is better to pop attack runes than defense runes. Likewise, attacking a much smaller enemy benefits more from defensive runes than attack runes. So the rules of thumb here are:

  • Use defensive runes against much smaller armies to limit losses
  • Use offensive runes against much larger enemies to maximize damage

2.1.1 Attacking evenly sized armies

Absent from paragraph 2.1 is the situation when the attacking and defending armies are roughly the same size, for example when you have nearly zeroed a player or someone is almost done zeroing your army.

In these circumstances, neither defense nor offense can be discarded, and your battle performance will benefit from both combat and defense runes, as you try to destroy the enemy army while lowering your own losses.

  • Against evenly matched armies, use both offensive and defensive runes

2.1.2 Farming other players

Most players farm other players to get resources, as it is much more efficient compared to producing it yourself. Usually when you farm, you’re not specifically looking for TK’s, and most cities you hit will be closed. Excluding the possibility that you have an endless supply of runes….

  • Don’t waste runes when farming, unless you’re looking for a fight

I added that last bit because in some cases, you will run into large unprotected walls, open cities with no hero assigned, or you open up yourself in hopes of provoking players to retaliate against your farming and runing up for easy TK’s. For these situations, follow the previous paragraphs.

2.2 In campaign

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUGCampaigning is the second instant in which you want to use combat and defense runes, but also here, people make mistakes, I know from firsthand experience. Players basically campaign for two reasons: (1) To get Campaign High Scores, and (2) to farm items or kill Goblins for GK tournaments.

2.2.1 Campaign High Scores

In trying to get Campaign High Scores, it is both important to limit losses of your troops, as well as maximize damage to the Goblins. This will help you DEcrease Efficiency and Vitality scores, which in turn INcreases your overall score.

  • For Campaign High Scores, use both offensive and defensive runes

2.2.2 Campaign farming or Goblin Kill

The other possible use for campaigning is farming items such as Metals and Gems, or killing Goblins for a GK tournament or getting Smaug loot. The difference to CHS is that for these instances, you’re not aiming for the best high score, but rather just defeating the Goblins and taking the loot, while minimizing troop losses. So usually you send out the max number of troops anyway, making offensive runes unnecessary. Even the biggest Goblin maps, such as Smaug, can be defeated in one combat round without offensive runes.

  • For campaign farming and GK, use only defensive runes, if necessary

I put the ‘if necessary’ at the end because for some cases, runes are a waste altogether. For example, I am farming for my level 2 Guardian levels in one of my cities, for which I need to attack Clearing the High pass part 2 maps. Even without defensive runes, I lose a very small amount of troops, so I’m definitely not wasting an RoI on these maps, and in most cases not even a normal defense rune.

3. Alliance Boss Battles

Alliance Boss Battles (ABB) can take quite some toll on your troops, as the Elite Mounted Goblins are pretty strong. But should you use runes when fighting them? Well, in my opinion, no, for a couple of reasons.

For one, you can only attack a Boss every 4 hours (that’s if you don’t spend 50 mithril to attack sooner…), so even if you do this all day (6x), overall losses will be limited. Secondly, the battles are set up such that you only lose part of your troops. Especially the higher bosses cannot be killed by one attack. But that fortunately doesnt mean that if you attack with 120k T5, they all get killed. Lastly, it is supposed to be a team effort, so you don’t even need to send full armies at the Bosses to begin with.

So, normal runes can be used, but I would save the RoF/RoI, as you would use them for only one attack. If you plan to do other stuff besides attacking a Boss, such as TKing, using RoF/RoI is an option.

  • For ABB, use normal runes in most circumstances
  • For ABB, only use RoI/RoF if you have other uses for them as well

4. Tactical troops: Stone Giants

The addition of Tactical troops to the game really changed how we campaign or attack other players, as well as defending our own cities. Im mentioning them here because they can function in a similar way as some runes.

stone giantEspecially Stone Giants are used heavily in defending open cities, and while they have 100 Might, they still give better defending ratios compared to T1, which makes them very attractive. But, I’ve also seen them being used in attack waves against an open city with millions of troops!

Now ask yourself: what use would SG have in an army? Right, they are for defense, and we just discussed in chapter 2.1, that defense is useless in attacking an overwhelming opponent army, basically providing large amount of free TKs. In general, Stone Giants should be added only when your troops, or some of them, have a chance at survival by increasing your defense. So:

  • Use Stone Giants only against much smaller, or evenly sized armies

I haven’t played around with the new Tactical troops yet, but in general just assume that high defense units follows the above rule, while high attack units should be added against overwhelming enemy armies. If the new units require additions, I will add them here accordingly.

5. Conclusion

To wrap things up, here are all tips for using runes and SG as mentioned in the above paragraphs:

  • Use defensive runes against much smaller armies to limit losses
  • Use offensive runes against much larger enemies to maximize damage
  • Against evenly matched armies, use both offensive and defensive runes
  • Don’t waste runes when farming, unless you’re looking for a fight
  • For Campaign High Scores, use both offensive and defensive runes
  • For Campaign farming and GK, use only defensive runes, if necessary
  • For ABB, use normal runes in most circumstances
  • For ABB, only use RoI/RoF if you have other uses for them as well
  • Use Stone Giants only against much smaller, or evenly sized armies

That’s it for now on this subject. If I’ve missed anything, let me know and I will add it in!

4 thoughts on “Attack and Defense runes: When to use them

  1. Funny, I keep having this same conversation… Another one that is puzzling that I see all the time. People sending Pack mammoth’s with a 100K attack army. What is that all about?


    • I have no clue. The only thing I can think of is that they have use in the case of the defending party closing, in that case, the mammoths guarantee the attacker takes all rss back with him/her.

      Other than that, it seems a weird/dumb choice indeed…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.