The Banner Saga Tips and In-Depth Strategy Guide

Tips and strategies to dominate your opponents in The Banner Saga.

The Banner Saga
Unit placement and their order on the Initiative Bar are the most important things in a battle.

During the battle, one side takes top side of the board, and the other side takes the down side of the board. The team on the top side always takes the first turn.

Depending upon your playstyle, these formations and order can vary but there are a few tips that you should keep in mind to maximize your chances of victory.

The Banner Saga Tips and Strategy

You should consider placing the units (you don’t want to get hurt) in the back rows.

As a general rule of thumb, the front rows are the most vulnerable to attacks, middle rows are neutral, and the back rows are the safest. Placing units with high damage output in the front row seems like a good idea.

Take order into consideration, if you have a unit in the front row but its turn is at last on the Initiative Bar; it’ll remain at constant danger throughout its turn.

It’s important to realize what you want your units to do? For example; if you want the unit-1 to weaken the enemy, unit-2 to provide support, and unit-3 to act as a finisher. In these circumstances, you need to order their placement near each other.

Another technique that you can use is to save the last slot on the Initiative Bar for a safe play.

In this way, you can position your five units and see all of opponent units before playing your last unit. However, it primarily depends upon your side on the board.

Try and place your high damaging units ahead of your opponent so that you get to attack first in a head-on situation.

As for picking up units for your team, it entirely depends upon you and how you play! However, a mixed team is far better than a team solely comprising of Archers or melee units.

The Banner Saga In-depth Strategy

How to Make your Turn Count
A turn advantage in The Banner Saga plays an important role in determining a victory or a defeat.

The concept of turn advantage can easily be elaborated by an example of a Warhawk and an Archer. Warhawk needs one turn to kill the Archer while the Archer needs two.

As you can see that in this situation, Warhawk has a turn advantage of 1 so obviously he’s going to win. This also means that the Warhawk has more Strength/Armor than the Archer. Therefore, you need to create a situation which gets you a turn advantage.

Generally, turn advantage can be explained in two ways; first, killing an opponent unit one turn early and second, outlasting your opponent’s move for 1 extra turn. But it all depends upon your playstyle.

As you already know, that in The Banner Saga: Factions, Strength and Attack Power are identical. A unit with one strength will also have one Attack Power.

In other games, this is not the case as those games have separate gauges for Strength and Attack Power.

This is why maiming is a good idea since it can leave the opponent units powerless. It also means that in The Banner Saga, having fewer units with high stats can prove to be more fatal.

Because in this way, your opponent will be forced to wait more to get their damaging units’ turn.

All in all, you may want to create a situation to put yourself on a turn advantage. This will lead you to victory with a last unit standing. This is a difficult task to obtain as you never know with human behavior, and it’s all a guess game.

However, you should also know that your mistakes can lead to a turn advantage to your opponents.

For example, a unit with one strength is able to do one damage when put against another unit with six Armor. No matter what you do, you’ll always be at a turn disadvantage in these situations.

Hobbling is a phenomenon in which you damage an opponent’s unit in his initiative order, you’ll mask its ability to have a turn-advantage over you.

You can also increase your chances of turn advantages by planning. For example, you can willingly take damage while controlling an Archer because you want to use her as an Armor Breaker.

Planning and executing your strategies are two very different things. It’s very much possible that your opponent comes up with a counter-strategy that has better output and chances of victory.

Attacking & Defending
It’s very important to know when to attack and when to defend? Knowing these things can put you at huge advantage over your opponent and claiming victory.

A general misconception is that whoever delivers the first strike tends to get an advantage. However, this is not the case as there are several important factors that play their part.

For instance, the utilization of Will Power is an important factor and can turn the tides in a battle.

Sometimes, sending in your unit and delivering the first strike also seems like a good idea but only if that particular unit is supported by other units.

Sending an isolated unit will ruin your formation, and your unit might get taken out.

However, in case of 1-on-1 battles, delivering the first strike is very crucial as it puts you on a turn advantage. As for defending your formation, the idea is generally helpful when you’re unaware of how the opponent will approach you.

The opponents might also use their Will Power to rush at you, which will put them in front, and you’ll be at an huge advantage.

Holding your ground and moving for a couple of blocks also seems like a good idea as you’ll constantly be maiming opponents with high damage output. This can reveal enemy weaknesses, and you can expect them to make a mistake.

Whatever the case may be; you need to learn to act in various scenarios and know when to attack and when to defend.

Whether you plan on attacking or defending your ground, the most important thing is the movement.

By hovering over the opponent units, you can learn about both their Natural and Will Powered movement range. This will provide with a good idea to move your units where they are less susceptible to attacks.

Try and gather around a vulnerable unit is good tactic; especially if that unit is in danger of being taken out.

For example, if your Archer is vulnerable to attack, you can gather some of the units and form a formation around her to protect her.

How to Use Exertion
As I have already mentioned in my other guides that exertion when combined with the Will Power lets your unit travel farther and deal more damage. This not only allows you to keep your units out of danger but also reach the opponent which are hard to reach otherwise.

When it comes to using the Will Power, you don’t need to use it entirely to get on the other side of the board. Sometimes, using the Will Power at the very beginning of the match can put you at a huge disadvantage.

For example, you have a Backbiter with three Exertions and his ability. This will force the enemy to put his Archers at least 10 squares away from your Backbiter.

The Archers surely can’t assist their team from that far away, and that will put you on an advantage.

Even having one exertion will make your opponents feel pressurized, and you will have more flexibility to move around.

Units as Threats
Units can also be seen as threats as they can impose any imminent threat at any point during the match. It is important that you familiar yourself with your own threats and enemy threats.

By knowing this, you’d be able to eliminate the enemy threats while keeping yours alive.

This can be done either by gaining yourself some turn advantages, minimizing damage by Hobbling, and coordinate attacking.

Other than this, you can also place more than one threats near your enemy and get yourself more than one way of attacking. This will leave your enemies with only one choice and i.e. putting yourself at an advantage.

In these kinds of situations, your opponent will only be left with with a choice of either attacking/defending unit-1 or unit-2. This is more difficult to follow when your enemies are aligned in a tight formation. Therefore, it should only be used when you’ve broken your opponent’s formation.

Maai to Gain Territory
In an offensive team, the Backbiters are irreplaceable; not even by Thrashers and Warhawks. Why? Because they have longest and strongest Maai in the game.

To understand it in a better way, let us take an example of two Thrashers with three Exertion and six Will Power.

One of them has 10/6 (Armor/Strength) and the other one has 6/10 (Armor/Strength). Since a Thrasher has 5+ (Will Power and Exertion), the Maai is 8 for both. However, it’s not equally strong for both.

The strength of unit’s Maai is determined in two numbers: the Absolute Number and the Relative Number. The Absolute NNumber determines how much damage it can yield in a single turn.

In this way, the absolute Maai of two hypothetical Thrahsers are 6(9) and 10(13).

Relative Number takes enemy armor into consideration and therefore, we’ll need an enemy unit to determine it. Because Absolute Number is altered by enemy armor that might come within its range.

If we have 10/12 biter outside the range, our relative Maais are 1 60% hit chance (4 at 90% hit chance) and 1(4). The Thrasher with higher strength is clearly the stronger deterrent.

The reason why I have explained this in terms of territory and not units is because The Banner Saga takes territory into consideration along with units. This is why 8/12 Biter is good and two Biters who can back each other up for 10/12 are an amazing choice.

Even if you don’t execute the Maai, it can still pressurize the opponent.

Other than this, they’re better than Warhawks because Warhawks are larger. Despite the fact that their Maai is quite strong, it can easily be evaded. Furthermore, they don’t have three Exertions, which make their Maai 1-2 shorter than that of Backbiters.

And lastly, Warhawks have less strong Armor and they can be crippled by Biters quite easily; provided a little help from Archers.

All in all, Biter’s Maai is a great way to gain hold of vast areas on the board and limiting your enemy’s options.

Found anything missing or confusing? Do let us know in the comments below!

Haider is a freelance contributor, who loves video games, playing guitar, and aviation. He is a competitive FPS player and also enjoys exotic RPG games like Diablo and Xenogears (his favorite game of all time) ...