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The Banner Saga Units Abilities, Master Classes, and Unit Placement

banner saga
In The Banner Saga, you can choose to be either humans or Varls. Both races have distinctive attributes and characters.

While Varls have more Strength and Armor, Humans tend to have more Will Power and Mobility but have less Strength and Armor.

Basic Units are transformed into Advanced Units (Rank-1) and get their Active Abilities. As for Passive Abilities, they’re already at Basic Unit’s disposal.

Read on to know more about various units’ Active and Passive Abilities.

Skystrikers
The Passive Ability of this duo is called Puncture. While in Rest phase, they’re able to do 1 Strength damage for every 2 Armor broken. They have a Will Power of 6 and have a natural movement range of 3 squares.

Rain of Arrows is the Active Ability of Sky strikers. This ability lets you fire an arrow in the air and set a trap on a tile in its range.

Any opponent unit caught in the trapped tile will not only take strength damage but will also be stunned for their next turn.

However, the effect of Arrow lasts only for a single turn. Furthermore, it can also damage your own units.

Siege Archer
Siege Archer is almost identical to Skystriker but have better Armor and Armor Breaker. Her Armor Breaker can reach 2 and Armor can reach 10. As for her Strength, it’s a bit less than the Skystriker.

Her Active Ability is called is called Slag and Burn and unlike Rain of Arrows; covers an area comprising of five squares.

During her next turn, anyone in the radius of a square gets -1 Strength and Armor. It means that Varls who cover three tiles will get -3 Strength and Armor.

Thrashers
The Passive Ability of Thrashers is called Shieldwall. The Shieldwall works the best when you’ve units adjacent to Thrasher. This ability lets you give and receive +1 armor to all adjacent units.

To get more Armor, you should consider having two Thrashers/Axemen which will grant both units with +2 Armor.

The Active Ability of Thrashers is called Bloody Flail.

The Bloody Flail strikes in four hits, which deal +1 damage to Strength or Armor. This ability is not determined by Thrasher’s strength or opponent unit’s Armor.

Backbiters
Run-Through is the Active Ability of the Backbiters.

Using this ability, the Backbiters target an area up to two squares away. The Backbiter will run over any units in these squares and do +1 armor damage plus attacking their backs. They can also run over ally units for +2 armor damage.

Backbiters can get stunned if they run over a square trapped with Rain of Arrows. However, if an opponent unit standing over the its Rain of Arrows trap will still take damage.

Like Warhawks, Backbiters also see their potential realized at full strength so you need to keep them alive until the end game.

Warhawk
Warhawk’s Passive Ability is called Heavy Impact. Heavy Impact not only damages the targeted enemy unit but also the adjacent enemy unit for +1 damage.

As for its Active Ability, it’s called Tempest, which targets the two adjacent units in a clockwise direction. In addition to this, Heavy Impact can also be used alongside Tempest, which increases the collateral damage.

While playing against a Warhawk, these are the only deadly abilities at its disposal. These units see their potential realized near the full strength so you should protect them for last rounds to act as finishers.

Warleader
The Special Ability of Warleader is called Forge Ahead. This ability lets you change the turn order on the Initiative Bar; you can choose the next turn after Warleader’s turn. Furthermore, he also has a natural break of 4. As for its Passive Ability, its same like Warhawk, i.e. Heavy Impact.

Considering planning a unit’s turn before Warleader so that you can use Forge Ahead and take that unit’s turn twice in a cycle.

Provokers
These tanks have return the Favor as their Passive Ability. With this ability, if an opponent’s unit attacks you, that unit will suffer from +1 armor damage.

As for Archers, since they maintain a safe distance while attacking; they’re safe from Provokers’ Passive Ability.

The Provoker’s Active Ability is called Malice which taunts an enemy unit to attack him. This ability is pretty useful since the enemy can’t control the unit and you can divert its attention.

Strongarm
Strongarm posses high strength but low armor than Provokers. They should always be considered in 1-on-1 fights as they’re difficult to take out.

The Special Ability of Strong arms is called Battering Ram, and it targets four empty squares.

Any units passing through these squares suffers from +1 Armor Damage. Battering Ram should be used to keep the opponent units from reaching your formations and base.

As for the Passive Ability, Strongarm also posses return the Favor.

Master Classes
Master Classes have better Stats and Abilities. The Master Classes includes the Bowmaster, Axemaster, Warmaster, and Shieldmaster.

The Bowmaster has a natural range of 5 and her ability – Bird of Prey – grants her +1 range, which is pretty useful for taking out archers outside her range, i.e. one square away.

You should consider using it because puncture remains in effect even in Rest phase. Furthermore, the Bowmaster also has two Armor Break.

Try placing them in a position where you could get most out of their range. Birds of Prey can increase the range with +1 and can take out an Archer with 15 Armor and 1 Strength.

The Axemaster has an ability called Stonewall.

With Stonewall, the Axemaster can absorb three damage to Strength and Armor. The attacking unit must deliver a strike having more than three damage to hit.

You should consider using Axemaster to chase down enemy units and holding enemy ground without the fear of getting damage.

Although the Axemaster can absorb three damage with Stonewall, this effect can be increased by placing adjacent Axemasters which will maximize the effects of Stonewall.

Furthermore, note that by using the abilities of the Axemaster and Warleader, you sacrifice a turn to do so; try balancing your damage output.

The Warmaster has +1 more damage than Warhawk and has an ability called Sundering Impact. This ability makes sure that the Warmaster doesn’t miss any hits.

In addition to this, he’ll also do +1 damage to Strength and Armor to adjacent units.

The only way to get rid of Warmaster’s Sundering Impact is to have an Axemaster at your side, which will absorb the damage. Warmaster also has a decent Break (up to 3).

And finally, the Shieldmaster has an ability called bring the Pain, which is an improved version of Return the Favor.

Using this ability, the Shieldmaster does the normal Break Damage but if the enemy unit attacks him; he’ll deal +2 Break Damage instead of +1.

Furthermore, this ability improves as the Shieldmaster ranks up.

Tips & Strategies
Until now, we have talked about various units, their abilities, and how can you utilize them in a better way. In this section, I’ll be sharing some more tips to get more out of each unit and dominate the battleground.

When it comes to distributing the Will Power and Exertion, you shouldn’t forget about Archers. Archers have a decent range and can weaken the strongest of opponent units in no time.

Grant them with Exertion and make sure to protect them most of the time. On the other side, keep an eye on opponent Archers and their movements; they can be an imminent threat to your units.

When playing against Archers, remember that they can’t attack units adjacent to them. If you plan to save a vulnerable unit from getting shot by an Archer; place a Provoker near the Archer and use Malice.

When it comes to properly using Malice, try combining it with Slag and Burn. However, note that both Slag & Burn and Rain of Arrows can also damage ally units; same is the case with Warhawk’s tempest.

Remember it attacks in clockwise direction and target it correctly.

Furthermore, Rain of Arrows and Slag & Burn are triggered instantaneously when you kill the Archer attacking you. So keep that in mind and try not to set the trap on yourself.

If opponents’ Slag & Burn comes into effect before your Slag & Burn; it’ll get triggered before time. At times you’ll face opponent units having high Armor and low Strength. If this happens, your best bet is to use Bloody Flail.

By using Bloody Flail, you can save a lot of turns and Will Power. Furthermore, consider placing your Thrashers adjacent to each other to maximize the benefit from Bloody Flail and Shield Wall.

Since Varls occupy more squares on the board, they can easily be trapped by Rain of Arrows. While playing as Varls, don’t rush into to attack the enemy and try to flank them to avoid traps.