Combat Units and Comparative Ratings (by Kayi)

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to our Cookie Policy.


You can find new board on address:
Please register there to continue with usage.

Old forum is in read only mode and will stay like that for some time

Ikariam team

  • Combat Units and Comparative Ratings (by Kayi)

    This thread is meant to help all new and old players alike who are wondering which units are best and/or how to best use those units.

    Each unit has strengths and weaknesses. This guide was created by me to give you a rundown of those strengths and weaknesses.

    Short info (and FAQ as they're asked) before the guide.

    Please ask questions or other related info in PMs instead of cluttering the thread. A fleet/warship comparison has already been requested, as well as a request for a stickied defense guide for people being farmed/attacked.

    These are My Opinions.

    I rated these units based on their relative stats, their relative costs. Stat Vs. Upkeep Vs. Training Cost. survivability vs. Damage vs. Total Costs (both in retraining troops that die and in long term upkeeps). And many other subtle considerations that I gave each unit.

    That said, this is all my opinion on it. An opinion many members of the community have come to respect and seek guidance from (which is why I agreed to add more information to this guide and have it stickied).

    Since all scores, notes, commentary, and everything else about this guide is my personal opinion, feel free to disagree or ignore it if you don't like it or agree with it.

    "Mixed Combat" and "Standard Unit"

    "Mixed Combat" implies not using all of 1 type of unit.
    "Standard Units" listed are the best units to have as your all purpose high-numbers units in mixed combat.

    This idea of mixed combat and standard units is so units that are cheaper to train can absorb damage and take deaths, instead of your higher ranked units dying.

    If you feel the urge not to have mixed combat, or to ignore which units are recommended for mixed combat, that's still your choice like everything else. This guide is only to help by offering tips that I personally use.

    Any unit not listed as a standard unit should only be used in Mixed Combat typically. (Which is just about all units)

    What should the ratio be for this "Mixed Combat"?

    It varies depending on how large the combat is, which units you're using, which fodder you're using, and many other factors.

    10 to 1 may be enough for Phalanx:Steam Giant ratio on defense. (or maybe even too much)
    At the same time, 20 to 1 is only just barely enough for Swordsmen:Rams ratio for attacking. (I lost 3 rams with a 30:1 ratio in a recent battle)

    Try to find your own balance. But if you absolutely can't figure it out, start at 10:1 and adjust accordingly.

    What about Workshop Upgrades?

    These don't work as of v0.2.1 (when this was written) or earlier (when I came up with these stats through using the troops). However after looking over the amount of boosts the units get with upgrades, I have seen that each upgrade will offer between 20% and 25% (on average) boost to each unit's base stats. Because no unit really stands out insanely with upgrades (or totally flops), this guide will remain the same even after upgrades become functional (v0.2.2, we hope).

    What that means is if a unit scores high now, it would still score high with one upgrade, two upgrades... all upgrades.. or anything in between. If you're unsure what to upgrade, pick the best units according to this guide and upgrade them.


    If you have any further questions, feel free to PM me them and I'll see if it's worth adding to this list.

    Now on to the guide!

    ----- ----- ----- ----- -----

    Strengths - They cost no sulfur, so for towns cut off from getting outside resources they can be built as a desperation attempt.

    Weaknesses - They're weak. Their stats are pathetically low. They're noobfodder and die like mad.

    Notes: If you can train better, do it. Though some people debate that they have a purpose in large scale combat, the truth is their low armor makes them too weak to be usable even for good fodder. Use swordsmen instead at the very least.

    *SPECIAL* Standard Unit.
    In combat, units dying is a normal thing. Especially in big combat. But when it happens, THIS is the unit you want taking the deaths.
    Slingers are the lowest cost units in the game. But they also have dirt low armor. I am only listing them as standard class units because of many people who claim they're useful to absorb damage. I personally think they're too weak to though. (see my note directly above)

    Kayi's Combat Score
    Defensive use: ** (2 stars, wimpy)
    Offensive use: ** (2 stars, wimpy)
    Training cost: **** (+*) (4 stars normal, 5 for no sulfur bonus)
    Upkeep costs: **** (4 stars)
    Overall: *** (+**) (3 stars, 5 stars if no sulfur and under attack, or otherwise desperate for units)

    ----- ----- ----- ----- -----

    Strengths - They're the BEST unit in the game in terms of stats vs. production cost. And "assult" special gives them an even bigger edge when attacking.

    Weaknesses - Only slightly more armor (double) of slingers, means many will die in combat.

    Notes: This unit is the ultimate farm-breaker. If you're being farmed and want to damage your enemy fast, its fast training and cheap production is unrivalled in hurting your enemy as quickly as possible.

    *SPECIAL* Standard Unit.
    In combat, units dying is a normal thing. Especially in big combat. But when it happens, THIS is the unit you want taking the deaths.
    Swordsmen's low cost per armor makes him the ultimate unit (nearly tied with Phalanx) for absorbing damage from enemy attackers.

    Kayi's Combat Score
    Defensive use: *** (+**) (3 stars normal, 5 for farm-breaking)
    Offensive use: ***** (5 stars, Perfect attacker, deserves 6 with assult)
    Training cost: ***** (5 stars, best cost effectiveness)
    Upkeep costs: ***** (5 stars, one of the best cost effectiveness)
    Overall: ***** (5 stars, ultimate unit in many ways, almost deserves 6 stars)

    ----- ----- ----- ----- -----

    Strengths - They're the best defender in the game in stats vs. production cost (and 2nd best in the game in stats vs. upkeep cost). This makes them great for training a bunch and sitting them in a town. Resistance only enhances this boost. Plus higher base armor means walls benefit them even more than other units.

    Weaknesses - Low damage is the tradeoff for having so much armor. If you only have phalanx in a formation, combat may be forced to take many rounds as your damage won't be high enough to end it quickly. Requires cooks in this event.

    Notes: Although this unit is highly geared towards defense, offensive use is encouraged as well thanks to their high armor values. But only to be teamed with better damage attackers (such as swordsmen or gunsmen).

    *SPECIAL* Standard Unit.
    In combat, units dying is a normal thing. Especially in big combat. But when it happens, THIS is the unit you want taking the deaths.
    Phalanx's low cost/high armor makes them the ultimate damage absorber (actually better than swordsmen even).

    Kayi's Combat Score
    Defensive use: ***** (5 stars, deserves 6 stars... make that 7 stars with resistance)
    Offensive use: **** (4 stars, see special notes)
    Training cost: ***** (5 stars, one of the best)
    Upkeep costs: ***** (5 stars, 2nd best in the game)
    Overall: ***** (5 stars, ultimate unit in every way that swordsman lacks, the two compliment each other, also deserves 6 stars)

    ----- ----- ----- ----- -----

    Strengths - Balanced stats. Not too high of cost. uhm... that's it.

    Weaknesses - Archers suck. They have no real advantage in anything, they cost more to produce, they cost more in upkeep, their only edge is a little more damage and armor in attacking, or a little more damage in defending.

    Notes: Sometimes used before players have Gunsmen to bolster damage of defenders. But very little other use.

    Kayi's Combat Score
    Defensive use: * (1 star)
    Offensive use: * (1 star)
    Training cost: *** (3 stars)
    Upkeep costs: *** (3 stars)
    Overall: 0 (I don't even give this unit 1 star because it has no real purpose other than being a stepping stone before gunsmen)

    ----- ----- ----- ----- -----

    Strenths - The next logical step in combat after Phalanx. They cost only slightly more (in stat vs. production ratio) than archers and the other units, but they have a huge edge in higher armor and MUCH higher damage. Because of their higher production cost though, they're best sent into combat alongside lower units (swordsmen/phalanx) as a damage booster, not as a primary attacker.

    Weaknesses - They DO cost worse in training and upkeep than archers, but their considerably higher and attack geared stats gives them a purpose, which offsets them from archers and makes them worth having.

    Notes: Should never be used alone in combat, always send with other units. Avoid losing too many as their training costs are relatively high. But their high damage makes them great boosts, especially mixed with phalanx in defense.

    Kayi's Combat Score
    Defensive use: **** (4 stars, great for buffing damage and hiding in a wall)
    Offensive use: *** (3 stars, nice for unit-killing boosts, but lack armor to survive)
    Training cost: **** (4 stars. Though technically worse than archers, their purpose in combat makes training cost more worthwhile)
    Upkeep costs: **** (4 stars, same comment as in training costs)
    Overall: **** (4 stars, a nice allround unit for buffing your total damage)

    ----- ----- ----- ----- -----
    Steam Giant

    Strengths - If you can't tell its strengths, you've got a problem. HUGE damage, HUGE armor, Resistance on top of that. This unit is THE BEST in the game in stats vs. upkeep. Their resistance skill and base 140 armor make them almost unkillable monsters on defense after wall bonuses kick in. With enough damage to wipe out many enemy attackers.

    Weaknesses - From gunsmen to steam giants there's a sickeningly high spike in resource cost to produce.

    Notes: Best used as an overall booster amid an army, same commentary as gunsmen about mixing units. Their (much) higher cost makes it all the more vital to be absolutely certain not to let them die. But if you can be sure they'll live, they're worth their weight in gold.

    Kayi's Combat Score
    Defensive use: ***** (5 stars, better than phalanx in many ways)
    Offensive use: ** (2 stars, too costly if any die, dangerously wasteful)
    Training cost: ** (2 stars, horrible cost efficiency, but not the worst)
    Upkeep costs: ***** (5 stars, BEST upkeep efficiency in the game, deserves 7 stars for besting Phalanx)
    Overall: ***** (5 stars. No question about it, this unit is the lord of combat)

    ----- ----- ----- ----- -----

    Strengths - Insanely fast training time relative to its damage and armor. Good stats.

    Weaknesses - Same insane production costs penalty as Steam Giant, no real edge similar to archers, too generic of a unit.

    Notes: Looks cool and doesn't require military research to train. This encourages some players to go for Gyro instead of gunsmen so they can finish their science research tree. Similar to all higher end units, should be mixed with lower units.

    Kayi's Combat Score
    Defensive use: * (1 star, no real advantage anywhere, just higher stats)
    Offensive use: * (1 star, no real advantage anywhere, just higher stats)
    Training cost: * (1 star, no advantage plus high costs equals bad)
    Upkeep costs: * (1 star, higher upkeep, no benefits, etc. etc.)
    Overall: * (1 star. Yes, higher rank than archer, because at least this unit has enough stats to be worth using in a mixed combat situation)

    ----- ----- ----- ----- -----

    Strengths - Insane base damage, assult on top of that, and enough armor to survive combat fairly well. If you insist on having a unit that dishes out maximum damage, this is it.

    Weaknesses - Despite its insane damage and good armor, it's still a resource guzzler. And nearly 4 times the upkeep of steam giants.

    Notes: Best used for intimidation factor alongside steam giants. This unit, like all high end machina, must avoid dying at all costs.

    Kayi's Combat Score
    Defensive use: 0 (zero stars... Too high of upkeep for no real edge)
    Offensive use: ** (2 stars, it's got assult and enough of a kick that intimidation isn't it's only edge)
    Training cost: ** (2 stars, on par with steam giant for production costs just about, it does have nice stats)
    Upkeep costs: 0 (Worst. Upkeep. Ever. But used in small clusters, it's not unthinkable to have them)
    Overall: ** (2 stars. Yeah, despite its flaws, it's still a decent unit if used in moderation)

    ----- ----- ----- ----- -----
    Doctors and Cooks

    Strengths - Doctors "heal" dead units. Reviving them. Cooks restore stamina between rounds, letting your units fight longer.

    Weaknesses - Automatic zero star combat units. They are not meant to fight. They have borderline no stats compared to their production cost. If used like normal units, they're more pathetic than slingers.

    Notes: Both of these units are rated zero or five star, depending on situation. And should be looked after with the same tenacity as machina units. Dying for them is bad, but mixed into big fights, these units are more powerful and useful than an army of steam giants.

    Kayi's Combat Score
    Offensively or Defensively: 0 or ***** (5 stars, perfect for what they do)
    Training cost and Upkeep: 0 or ***** (5 stars, perfect for what they do)

    Used properly: ***** (5 stars, perfect unit)
    Used improperly: 0 (zero stars, worst units ever)

    ----- ----- ----- ----- -----
    Rams, Catapults, and Mortars

    Strengths - "ram" special ability. Can cause breaches. Each breach gives all of your troops +10% damage for the rest of that fight.

    Weaknesses - High cost to produce, high upkeep, pathetically tiny stats. If used like normal units, they're more pathetic than slingers.

    Notes: Like machina units, these should be defended vigorously. If used against a weak wall or without proper support, they all have a zero star rating, used properly they're some of the most powerful units you can buy.

    Notes 2: Because of the utter weakness of these units in stat vs. production cost values, using larger units purely for their boosted damage is a stupid move. HOWEVER. The larger units DO have improved survivability due to higher armor. Keep this in mind when deciding which one to build. Rams will die more often, but you can have a lot more, while mortars survive bigger hits, but cost more in both training and upkeep.

    Kayi's Combat Score
    Defensive use: 0 or less (Negative Stars... Used purposely on defense is stupid, if they get caught in a defending fight, so be it, but don't purposely put them in one.)
    Offensive use: 0 or *****
    Training cost: 0 or ***** (5 for Rams, 4 for catapults, 3 for mortars)
    Upkeep costs: 0 or ***** (5 for Rams, 4 for catapults, 3 for mortars)

    Used Properly: ***** (5 stars, these units can make an unbeatable city into a cakewalk)
    Used improperly: 0 (Negative negative! Used wrong, these units are worse than any others (except cooks and doctors))

    The post was edited 1 time, last by Kayi ().