AFK Arena War of Wits Guide
Foreword: This guide was originally imagined to serve as a quick reference guide for all those who enjoy playing War of Wits (WoW), as well as for those who would like to get better at it (heh). (If anything, may it bridge the gaps between those two). Keeping that in mind, I’ll do my best to make it as easily accessible as possible, beginning with just the most important-ish framework and character notes, and then flowing into some more in-depth analysis of heroes, relics, gameplay, mechanics, random helpful thoughts, observations of note, and- of course- all the latest, leetest hacks (watermelon + watermelon + tail sniff = babality!!!!!)
Sorry it took so long. If you find it helpful, pass it on to a friend and your guildies. If you find it helps you, I’ll gladly accept any flowers you may have left ;)
Hope it helps.
Credentials: Global 89 as of Thursday, Feb 18 (Rating 1900) – Autolyças – Guild Deputy of Defaced – ID: 46318704
This current iteration of War of Wits features the 4 primary factions of afkA and all 5 hero classes, with each faction possessing precisely 2 unique heroes of each class-type, for a sum total of 40 heroes altogether. We also have 12 different relics or “buff cards” and there are 2x of every card in the deck, for a grand total of 104 cards in the game deck. Each match begins with the elimination of 1 faction and 1 class, leaving us with a playing deck of 72 (40-10=30, 30-(3×2)=24 unique heroes per match, 24+12=36, 36×2=72).
Each match starts with 3 Factions: 1 Strong, 1 Neutral, 1 Weak. The very first thing you should do when a match begins is internalize which one is which. So, when a match begins by showing no Maulers/Warriors, my thought process is something like “No Maulers? Ok, so Wilders will be safe plays, and Lightbearers are now strictly a liability.”
In what is often a game of inches, the factional damage bonuses (+25%) are not only enormous — they’re free. By identifying which faction has no threat of being countered (Strong), which faction will behave normally (Neutral), and which faction has no ability to threaten (Weak), right from the beginning we can use that information to help us build the strongest team possible.
While this strategy may seem obvious, in a game that is all about building up faction bonuses, building based upon which ones are vulnerable/invulnerable to counter can be the difference we didn’t see coming until it is too late to do anything about.
Using the example above of a game with no Maulers: Wilders are Strong- they will never be hard countered; Graveborn are Neutral- they behave as normal; Lightbearers are Weak- they are vulnerable to GB, with zero chance of a trade-off advantage. In this Mauler-less environment as you begin to build toward faction bonuses and make tough calls, all things being equal would you rather have a 5 Mirael or a 5 Solise? What about when your opponent’s 4 Kelthur suddenly becomes a 7 Kelthur? This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t ever take a Mirael/LB when there aren’t Maulers- there are dozens of scenarios where she could be the right choice for you that turn- but by thinking about the factions in this way (Strong, Neutral, Weak) we can get a clearer picture of what’s going on as the two teams are being constructed.
The objective of the game is to build a team that will defeat the team your opponent is able to build.
The goal of each turn is to make the choice most likely to increase your chances of winning.
When we think about the game this way, we’re able to see beyond just what’s going on with our own team, and we start thinking about how our choice of cards might influence what our opponent will do next. The cards we leave behind are every bit as important as the cards we pick up – arguably more so. The goal of the game is not to build the absolute best team that you can, but rather to build a team that will defeat the team your opponent is able to build. We could approach this objective by building the biggest and baddest boys in town, sure, but if we look to the second part of our mission statement, there is clearly more than one way to achieve our objective.
The goal of the game therefore, in broadest sense, is to control the choices your opponent is making at all times. Winning at War of Wits means controlling what cards are on the table as best you are able to, so that you are in the drivers seat from beginning to end. Have a plan for what you’re picking next, and a backup plan in case that choice isn’t there any more, and a back up backup plan in case some surprise shit happens.
The unpredictability of the game is one of the best and most exciting parts of it. If choosing the best card for you means leaving the best card for him on the table, consider what your hand most likely looks like if you take his best next card instead of your own. What does his hand look like if he gets it? What does his hand look like if he doesn’t? If his team is full of Tanks and Support characters, and there are 2 DPS heroes on the board right now, 5 and 6, how viable is your team with the 5? How much better is it with the 6? If you take the 5, does that leave him without any damage to speak of? How many turns are left? How likely is this sacrifice to achieve the goal you have in mind? How likely is it that he will still get a DPS and your sacrifice will be for naught? Etc. If he starts the game off with 4 straight Maulers, it’s probably a bad plan to start trying to block his 5th, because there are 6 turns still to go. However, if it’s the last turn of the game coming up, and he’s 4/5 Maulers with only 1 on the board, hell freakin’ yes you snag that shit (UNLESS there’s something on the board that you really need to give you a fighting chance).
Keys to Winning:
•Stout Front (strong front line)
—Winning can only be achieved by your team doing enough damage to make their whole team die. This probably sounds ridiculous, but I’m serious about it. Knowing which character(s) will be capable of doing fatal damage to your opponent’s team faster than he can to yours is, rather obviously, absolutely essential. Your team full of Tanks might stay alive for a long time, but usually they’ll lose, eventually — even to a lower-level, Weak faction team, if that team is given enough time to wear them down. I once had a level 4 Ferael take out my team of 5 Maulers levels 8-7-8-6-6. I couldn’t BELIEVE I had lost. I had been so sure I would face-roll, I even poked my roommate and had him watch the battle (he plays, shoutout @Fenrirsimpact ;D). When I went back and looked at the Battle Log, I had Brutus, Anoki, Numisu, Ankhira, and Safiya (I cant say this enough, Safiya is TRASHHHHHHH—like an absolute dumpster fire of rotten garbage cat. If you doubled up your Safiya or Lyca and think you did yourself a favor, you’re in for a hateful surprise). Basically, I had jack-all and didn’t know it. 45% haste on jack-all, is still jack-all. Knowing which characters will do damage (and when) is everything.
—Don’t let your opponent double up a character, not ever, never, not ever never never ever, and while this sounds obvious, it really cannot be overstated. The fastest way people will lose a match-even at 1700+ — even at 1800+ — and, I assume, at 1900+ but I’ll report back—the absolute FASTEST way anyone will lose a match is to let their opponent get a character 8+ by mistake. I say mistake, because there are rare situations where you might allow it, but we will address those much later on.
—Try to take higher level characters (5 or 6) whenever possible. You will see each card exactly twice, unless your opponent takes it first. That said, passing on a 3 and waiting for it to come back around as a 5 is much easier, because passing on a 4 means the opponent will then be facing their “last rites” 5. This is where controlling the environment comes into play, where being aware of what else is on the table can help inform your decision to wait or not. How useful will that card be as a 4? Does it complete a class bonus (take it), or does it just further a class bonus (maybe wait)? Is this a class bonus that you just want (maybe wait), or a class bonus that you likely need to win (take it now, don’t risk it)…? And so on.
—Because of the simplistic, two-dimensional nature of heroes in this game format, without a Stout Front (a strong front line) more often than not your back line will never get going. This was probably the biggest change I needed to make to take my game to the top level. I can’t tell you how many times I built teams I thought were killer, only to whiff – hard – because they got bowled over before they could achieve anything. Your primary rule of focus for your own team (aside from taking higher level characters who are preferably from the Strong or Neutral faction) should be on building a front line that can stand up to the onslaught while your back line gets rolling.
—For those familiar with the RPG concept of “The Holy Trinity”, this is often a good way to approach the Stout Front. The “Holy Trinity” of gaming is the classic Tank, Healer, DPS set-up. Tank takes the damage, Healer keeps everyone alive, DPS puts the bad guys in the dirt (DPS stands for Damage Per Second, and is widely used to refer to any character class whose primary function is dealing damage). Often times the most reliable way to keep your front line up is to employ a healer and/or shielding. Especially with the expanded hero pool of this iteration of WoW, opportunities to double up your heroes are infrequent and not at all to be relied upon. So when there aren’t any double-ups for your Tank in sight, Nemora, Silas, and Lucius belong to a special group that is able to turn a mediocre Tank into the wall that you need them to be. The Tank and Support union buffs are excellent assists for our Stout Front purposes (Ulmus too to some extent) but neither of them can do it alone and we’ll cover those later on.
—With that excellent transition, we come to the final guiding principle for victory, which is synergy, Utilizing your heroes in the most effective way possible is how you will win the real battles in the trenches, where nobody doubled anything up, both of you have jack-all for heroes and bonuses, and it’s already battle time. Besides the Holy Trinity, there are characters who do significant amounts of damage to enemies currently affected by control abilities, as well as a few specific pairs of heroes who just work well together. I will list, explain, and maintain as much a list as I can in the tail section, and there are surely more still unexplored as yet.
War of Wits Turn Play Checklist
•No Doubles (check opponent’s heroes)
•Stout Front (do I have a strong front line?)
•Factions Matter (stick to Strong/Neutral if possible – see below)
•Let Them Grow (5’s and 6’s play much stronger)
•What’s Leftover (what does he need? DPS? Heals? Tank? stop him!!)
•Seriously, No Doubles (check again)
Heroes Cheat Sheet
Ankhira: Pair with Skriath/Tasi/Ferael for damage to controlled enemies.
Anoki: Just don’t. (Okay, sometimes if you really need a tank).
Belinda: +30% ATK Buff to highest level ally. ULT is targeted AoE.
Brutus: Low hp makes him a liability, but ULT +50% DMG to all for 15s
Cecilia: -60% ATK Debuff to highest level enemy. ULT targets lowest hp.
Drez: Leaves battlefield at 50% HP, gains 700 energy and returns.
Eironn: Groups enemies together. ULT does 32% to single target.
Estrilda: Small Buff to all allies. ULT reduces enemy dmg by 60% for 8s.
Ferael: Haunts enemies to slow energy gain. ULT is blanket AoE.
Gorvo: Boosted Shields + HP recovery. ULT is an AoE Taunt (!!!)
Gwyneth: Place in middle (4) for chance to proc stuns above and below.
Hendrik: Stops fatal damage to BACKLINE ally, once per battle. High HP.
Hogan: Great tank even at level 3. If you need one, grab him.
Izold: Gains ATK for lost HP. Ustoppable at 7+. Grab him early.
Kelthur: After death becomes unkillable ghost for 25s (can still ULT!)
Khasos: +20% Life Leech to allies. Place in middle to maximize ULT. Add to GB buff, LL <333~
Lorsan: +80% Haste Shield to highest level ally. ULT -300 Energy AoE.
Lucius: Great even at low level. Heals lowest hp ally. ULT shields allies, lasts 7s.
Lyca: Nerfed bad. Haste buff only lasts 5s. Very low HP. Do not trust. Place middle if you must.
Mirael: Very low hp. ULT is difficult to aim, fires forward. Place middle. Watchout for Cecilia.
Nara: Hooks enemy opposite her, reduces ATK and energy recovery by 65%
Nemora: Heals highest ally 35%, and 1200 energy over 10s(!). ULT heals ALL.
Niru: Gains ATK/DEF/HP/energy for each dead body, both ally and enemy alike.
Numisu: Places totems to distract enemies. ULT heals 2 ally, prioritizes frontline.
Oden: Ports highest HP enemy onto ‘weakest’. ULT -500 energy highest level enemy.
Raine: Marks enemy below 50% HP for 2x DMG. ULT +35% DMG to ALL enemy 15s.
Rosaline: Follows the ally positioned directly ABOVE her. ULT restores that ally’s energy.
Safiya: Garbage cat. Strictly for ATK buff on backline allies.
Saurus: Gains +20% ATK/DEF every 8s. ULT is a personal shield. High HP.
Saveas: Untenable self-harming fool. Liability more often than not.
Seirus: Small frontal AoE atk. ULT waves DD + knockback + stun to ALL enemies.
Shemira: Beast. Level 5+ she rapes. ULT deals massive DoT with LL, to ALL enemies.
Silas: Heals allies and reduces enemy HP recovery. ULT makes low HP ally invulnerable 7s.
Skriath: Pair with Tasi/Ferael for damage to CTRL. ULT swirls enemies in a sand vortex 5s.
Solise: Stuns single target 2s. ULT Blanket AoE pollen, so her normal attacks reactivate AoE.
Tasi: Teleports out of harm’s way. ULT sleeps all enemies 7s, but DMG is reduced 70%.
Thoran: Resurrects once with 75% HP, stuns nearby enemies. Great with GB buff’s LL.
Torne: It’s complicated. Good tank, stops enemies health recovery. Absorbs dead bodies like Niru.
Ulmus: Constantly heals most injured ally 4% HP/s. ULT AoE stun on current target.
Warek: Self-dispell every 5s removes CTRL. ULT is frontal AoE, raises his ATK20% + LL15% each use.
•The anti-faction buffs are both really good, and worth grabbing every time if it’s the one with 2 active (so the Crown in a no Maulers game, or the Shackles in a no Graveborn game). Also, it’s important to view it as a defensive move as much as offensive. In a no Maulers game, Even if he’s building Wilders, that Crown is still likely to mess your side up, so take it before he does. Still often worth letting them grow just like heroes, to a certain extent, but not if he’s gonna grab it first.
•Next best is probably the Ring, which is just as good at 3 as it is at 6. Where it gets REALLY interesting though, is 7-9, because at 7 it starts to buff level 6 toons…..and at 9 it buffs LEVEL 5’s I bet some of you didn’t know that…)
•The Trap is great as an anti-Stout Front tool. You definitely want to let it get to 5/6 if that’s possible, but it will help you break through your opponent’s strong front so you can get to the cushy backline.
•Hunter arrow is not bad at 5/6, especially to try and reduce a doubled up DPS like Shem or Gwyneth who might shred you from the back, or as a first turn grab instead of a low hero.
•The leaf and the statue are ok at 5/6 if you know for sure you’re going to be activating them, or also as a first turn grab instead of a low hero.
•The Voodoo totem is still pretty trash even with its upgrade, although it does start affecting level 5s at 7-9 kind of like the ring.
•I haven’t seen effective use of the hourglass or banish scales.
•The horns are more of a distraction than a help most times. You’re wasting turns chasing half of a leaf/statue buff imo.
Arguably bonuses are what this game mode is all about. That said, in my opinion they still should always take a backseat to the basics and the hero dynamics I’ve covered already up above. No amount of union or faction bonus is going to save you from a level 9 Shem with Ros beneath her.
Class Unions: If you’ve paid attention to the details in descriptions of each class bonus, you might have noticed something – the difference between 3, and 4… is really not very big. The ONLY one where I would say the difference seems large, is the Tank buff. (Feel free to disagree, I’d actually love if some discussion started up about this. Bonuses are honestly kind of hard to track, it’s the kind of thing where you need detailed logs data to start to see for certain where they’re differentiating. Let me know what you guys have seen in the comments.)
Warrior: Far and away the best class bonus is the Warrior one, which everyone likely knows by now. Once they pop, the hurt don’t stop. 3/4 is a 5% bonus to ATK and 30% Life Leech after first Ult. The 4/4 difference is only that it’s 15% ATK, same LL. I think the LL seems to be the game changer here, but let me know if you disagree. Either way, its the strongest bonus, and it’s especially good with Warek because of his own ULT bonuses. He becomes nearly unstoppable at 7+ with bonus. Same for Izold. Also Khasos comes with +20LL for allies as it is, so if you can add him in there, all the better.
Ranger: This bonus got nerfed so hard from the last versions of WoW. It’s still good, but now it goes off when an enemy is low hp (not after a kill – bye bye Numisu totem trick). The difference between 3 and 4 seems minimal, so don’t chase it.
Support: This one is so great as an ancillary HP boost! Work in Ulmus and/or Nem with a Support boost and he will last all night for you, ladies. Again, 3 and 4 are similar, so don’t chase, but do keep in mind that this one only activates as many times as the number of support chars in your formation.
Tank: This is another great one, turning all of your tanks into poser Hogans with a 50% damage reduction the first time they dip below half HP (ok but back to Hogan, can you believe he’s the best tank and not even a tank?!). This is the one where 4 seems a real step above 3, as it makes the 50% reduction last for 9 seconds rather than 6.
Mage: Idk wtf this does. No seriously. I don’t. I guess it kills dying things faster kind of like the hunter one? Helps finish the job? Let me know in comments if you think it’s important. …I just know Shem kills shit.
Faction Bonus coverage coming shortly. (8:35pm PST.)
**Closing Thoughts (for now):
Long descriptions coming soon, but this is a quick reference cheat sheet for use during matches. I’ll update with the longer ones as well as lots of strat I haven’t written up yet. Been working on this a long time, and if waited to post til I felt it was done we’d have no WoW left ;D.
Let me know what you think, corrections, additions, feedback, etc. Totally open to updating and changes people suggest. A few final thoughts for the time being:
•Opening turn best move is to take a buff if there’s a good one, like the ring or the 2x factions debuff (the 1x only useful if they’re confirmed to be building that fac).
•Don’t double up tanks if there’s a strong DPS choice and you still need damage. A 9 Lucius will lose the match every time if he has no DPS support, he just does it slower. Plus, leaving the double on the table forces the opponent to take a low level toon they probably don’t want, so you get a free double up of your choice if there’s something else good on the board. Think of it like a free play in American Football, and be the Aaron Rodgers of WoW.
•Always be analyzing what your opponent is building, and how well your team stacks up against it. Don’t get tunnel vision on your build.
•You’re just going to lose sometimes. If you play enough, it’s going to happen in surprising and nauseatingly unavoidable ways. Don’t get tilted. If you lose 3 matches in a row…or especially 4…consider taking a break. The anger can throw you off your game, and before you know it you’re in a free fall. Don’t get tilted.
And no doubles. Seriously…check his cards again. ;)