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Overview

The purpose of this guide is to clarify both strong and weak sides of all units available in this game. Although the subject is quite popular, all the related infromation is scattered among different guides and discussion. Here is an attemtp at an in-depth guide which would be at the same time comprehensive and clear for a person who is new to this game.

In case you know nothing at all about Grepolis as yet, you may want to review the Basics first, as well as The Battle System before reading this guide.

General information

Each unit in Grepolis has a number of parameters which reflect its behavior and effectiveness in combat. These parameters include price of the unit in terms of resources you need to spend for its production, farm spaces (or population) the unit consumes and, in case of mythic units, also favor (check out The Gods to learn more about it).

There are also “battle” parameters of a unit. These include attack value which is attributed of one of three types: blunt, sharp or ranged. For example, a slinger has ranged attack equal to 23. For naval units, the attack parameter has no type, just a plain numeric value (for example, 180 for Trireme). Each land unit also has three defense values, one per each attack type: swordsman, for instance, has 14 defense against blunt, 8 against sharp and 30 against ranged attack. Whenever a battle encounter happens between land units, the attack value of the offensive unit is measured against the corresponding defense value of the defending units. For naval units, it is simpler: only one type of defense present, so it is just a numeric value.

Other properties of units include speed and loot capacity. Speed reflects how fast a unit will be able to reach its destination and loot capacity indicates how much resources it will be able to carry from a battle in case of victory.

Additionally, some units have specific properties. There are transport boats which can carry land units across the ocean; there are some mythic units which can fly and so they are able to cross the ocean fast and without a transport; there are specific naval units called fire ships which kill enemy battle ships in 1:1 ratio regardless of the attack or defense parameters. All such specific units will be regarded indivdually in the dedicated section of the guide.

Unit effectiveness

To be able to discuss effectiveness of units, we need first to define a set of clear and easily measurable criteria. The basic unit parameters mentioned above provide the basis for such criteria:

  • Attack strength per resources spent
  • Attack strength per farm space
  • Attack strength per favor spent (for mythic units)
  • Defense (of each type) per resources spent
  • Defense per farm space
  • Defense per favor spent
  • Attack effectiveness in relation to existing defensive units and vice-versa

Detailed definition of each of the above criteria will be listed below. We will also consider additional qualities like speed, flight ability, loot capaticity. One of the main purposes of this guide is to help you decide which units you should use in each particular situation, and this can usually be done based on the above values.

Building your army

As a new player you will inevitably face this question: how do I build my army? What units or unit compositions are the most effective? There is no simple answer to these question which would work for all players in all situation. However, there are some very important factors which must always be considered and which will help you limit your options and understand what will be the consequences of your choice.

Unit categories

First of all, let us review the exact definitions of the criteria listed above. We will start with the two which are most essential:

  • AA/F: Attack per farm space
  • AD/F: Average defense per farm space

AA/F is defined quite obviously – it is unit attack strength (no matter what type it is) devided by its population cost. For example, for an archer AA/F = 8/1 = 8 and for a horseman AA/F = 55/3 ~ 18,3.

AD/F is a bit more complicated. For land units, it is a sum of all types of defense devided by 3 and than by population cost. For sea units, it is simply defense devided by population cost. For example, a chariot has AD/F = 76 + 16 + 56 / (3 * 4) ~ 12,3; for a bireme AD/F = 160/8 = 20.

It may appear confusing why these particular parameters were chosen as 'essential' but this is easily explained. Population cap is the main limiting factor for an army, especially at later stages of the game. Accordingly, a player is interested to have maximal values of attack and defense per population used by his army. A high AA/F value basically means that a unit is good at offense, while a high AD/F value indicates that it is a good defensive unit. Based on these two properties, we will now devide all units into 3 categories: offensive, defensive and balanced. Below is the list of all units with corresponding AA/F and AD/F values. The last column, A/D, represents the attack/defense ratio.

Unit Population Attack
Attack
Defense
Defense
Defense Impact weapon
Defense
Blunt
Defense Stabbing weapon
Defense
Sharp
Defense Shooting weapon
Defense
Ranged
Attack
AA/F
Defense
AD/F
A/D
Swordsman
Swordsman
1 5
(Blunt)
- 14 8 30 5 17,3 0,3
Slinger
Slinger
1 23 (Ranged) - 7 8 2 23 5,7 4
Archer
Archer
1 8 (Ranged) - 6 25 12 8 14,3 0,6
Hoplite
Hoplite
1 16 (Sharp) - 18 12 7 16 12,3 1,3
Horseman
Horseman
3 55
(Blunt)
- 18 1 24 18,3 4,8 3,8
Chariot
Chariot
4 56 (Sharp) - 76 16 56 14 12,3 0,9
Catapult
Catapult
15 100 (Ranged) - 30 30 30 6,7 2 3,4
Minotaur
Minotaur
30 420 (Blunt) - 675 300 560 14 17,1 0,8
Manticore
Manticore
45 945 (Sharp) - 170 225 505 21 6,7 3,1
Cyclop
Cyclop
40 756 (Ranged) - 945 10 1310 18,9 18,9 1
Harpy
Harpy
14 266 (Blunt) - 105 70 1 19 4,2 4,5
Medusa
Medusa
18 425 (Sharp) - 625 435 375 23,6 26,6 0,9
Centaur
Centaur
12 156 (Ranged) - 150 450 60 13 18,3 0,7
Pegasus
Pegasus
20 100 (Sharp) - 900 250 300 5 24 0,2

We can see now clearly how all land units fit into the three categories defined above.

  • Defensive units (A/D << 1): Swordsman, Archer, Bireme, Pegasus
  • Offensive units (A/D >> 1): Slinger, Horseman, Catapult, Light Ship, Manticore, Harpy
  • Balanced units: (A/D ~ 1): Hoplite, Chariot, Trireme, Minotaur, Cyclop, Hydra, Medusa, Centaur

While defensive units should never be used for offense, and vice-versa, balanced units can be used both for defending and for attacking. Based on these categories we shall analyze possible compositions for defensive and offensive armies.

Land army

Defensive army

We will start with an assumption that a defensive army must have all the three defense values roughly euqal. The reasoning behind this assumption is quite simple. Let us review an example: defensive army consisting of 100 hoplites and 100 archers. It will have following defense values:

  • Blunt:19*100+5*100=2400
  • Sharp:12*100+25*100=3700
  • Ranged:7*100+12*100=1900

To keep things simple we will assume no wall nor any other bonuses present for defense or attack. In case this army is attacked by a force of 100 slingers, having ranged attack 23*100= 2300, it will almost certainly be defeated. So we have a situation when your army, worth 200 farm spaces, can be defeated by an army only worth 100 farm spaces. This is exactly the situation that we need to avoid.

Let us now review a different example, a defense army consisting of 50 archers, 50 swordsmen and 100 hoplites. The defense value will be:

  • Blunt: 19*100+5*50+7*50 = 2500
  • Sharp: 12*100+25*50+8*50=2850
  • Ranged: 7*100+12*50+30*50=2800

This would require about 130 slingers to defeat – or about 50 horses. Clearly this defense is more effective even though it amount to the same 200 farm spaces. And if it seems to you that 200 farms spaces for defense against 130 or 150 for offense is still unfair, you should remember that in actual combat the defender is likely to have a wall bonus; and there are other factor in this game which make the defense easier - some of them will be mentioned later in this guide.

However, you should not assume that a perfectly balanced defense is always a perfect defense. There are some other important factors to be considered.

In the table above you can see that some defensive units have AD/F value higher than the others. The highest one goes to Medusae, but they are mythical units and therefore their production is limited. The army composition given above is an example of a balanced defensive army with nearly highest possible ratio of total defense to farm spaces used without mythical units – 13,6. The composition can be made just a little better by slightly modifying the numbers: 97 hoplites, 51 archers and 52 swordsmen. It will have following defensive stats:

  • Blunt: 2780
  • Sharp: 2855
  • Ranged: 2851
  • AD/F: 14,4

Further we will refer to this composition as 'equal composition'. Can we consider it as ideal? Not really. There are a number of things that do not fit into the 'balanced' defense concept. All of them are related to the probability of being attacked by one or another type of unit.

Let us assume now that the probablity is equal that you will be attacked by any of the three attack types. Let us further assume that for each of the attack types, the attacking force will contain the best (with regard to AA/F) unit for that type of attack. As this may seem a little confusing, let us regard a 600 FS attacking army which illustrates the same principal.

  • Blunt attackers (~200 FS total)
    • Horses, 66
  • Sharp attackers (200 FS total)
    • Hoplites, 200
  • Ranged attackers (200 FS total)
    • Slingers, 200

Now let us calculate the attacking values of this army:

  • Blunt: 66*55=3630
  • Sharp: 200*16=3200
  • Ranged: 23*200=4600

We can see that these values are different for each attack type. Accordingly, if we base on the assumption of equal probability of any attack type, we may want to adjust our defense in respect to these values. This would make our 200 FS army consist of 104 hoplites, 17 archers and 79 swordsmen and the defense values would be 3080 vs blunt, 2305 vs sharp and 3302 vs ranged. Further we will refer to this as 'probability composition'.

Of course, the equal probability assumption is rather bold. However, the probability composition has another advantage. Let us suppose that an opponent managed to scout our army before attack and has a chance to tailor his own force accordingly. Now, in case he finds that we use equal composition, he will be able to attack with slingers and he will need to send 124 of them to have a 50% chance of beating our troops. However, in case he finds that we use a probability composition, he will need either 144 slingers or 144 hoplites or 48 horsemen to have the same chance. That means he will have to use at least a 144 FS army – against 123 in the case of equal composition. So whenever you don't feel secure from scouting, you may want to consider this army composition for defense.

Finally, let us adjust the compositions above to include mythic units in them. In fact, we will only include two mythic units: medusa and pegasus. The first is number one as far as AD/F is concerned, while Pegasus, although slightly behind in that regard, is cheaper in favor: it has about 20% higher defence/favor cost ratio.

Since mythic units are so population heavy, we will increase our FS limit to 1000. Also we will introduce a favor limit: the favor price of mythic units in our army must not exceed 3000.

Equal composition with medusae

Unit composition:

  • Medusae: 14
  • Swordsmen: 259
  • Archer: 289
  • Hoplite: 200

Parameters:

  • Blunt defense: 17710
  • Sharp defense: 17787
  • Ranged defense: 17888
  • AD/F: 17,8

You can see that AD/F value is significantly higher now thanks to the usage of Medusae.

Probability composition with medusae

Unit composition:

  • Medusae: 14
  • Swordsmen: 488
  • Archer: 219
  • Hoplite: 41

Parameters:

  • Blunt defense: 17634
  • Sharp defense: 15961
  • Ranged defense: 22805
  • AD/F: 18,8

This defense is so good in fact, that an attacking force that does not contain mythic units will need to be not much less than 1000 FS. If a 2000 FS army built according to this composition is fortified by a maxed out wall and tower, beating this force will be extremely costly for an attacking army and will require cooperation of armies from many cities.

There are also other bonuses to using medusae in defense which will be discussed later in the balanced army section.

Equal composition with pegasi

Unit composition:

  • Pegasi: 12
  • Swordsmen: 265
  • Archer: 495

Parameters:

  • Blunt defense: 17480
  • Sharp defense: 17495
  • Ranged defense: 17490
  • AD/F: 17,5

This army is very good as far as resources spent per defense point are concerned. Average defense per resource ratio AD/R = 9,55 compared to equal composition with medusae AD/R=7,03. It also requires only 2160 favor compared to 2940 in case of medusae.

Probability composition with pegasi

Offensive army

Building an offensive army is actually easier than building a defensive one. While a defense has to be balanced against all types of attack, offense is most effective when it pure. So we will need to consider three types of attacking armies: blunt, sharp and ranged.

The choice between them in most cases is based either on scouting data – or simply on the fact that you already have some units and it's easier to build more of those than to start working in a different direction. There are some other factors which will be mentioned in corresponding section. It must be noted, however, that in case your opponet uses a probability composition for defense, and you attack with non-mythical units only, you will need to spend the same amout of FS regardless of attack type you choose.

Blunt attackers

There is only one non-mythical blunt attacker – horseman. It is also arguably the most popular attacking unit in Grepolis: not only does it have good AA/F value, but it has good speed and carries a lot of loot which makes it ideal for farming villages. And since you will want to farm villages in all your cities whenever possible, it is just as well if your attacking army can do this in its 'off-duty' time.

There is a more subtle reason to using horsemen for attack: non-mythical units specializing in blunt defense have lowest AD/F among all defensive units. Even if your opponent choses to build a defense of 300 hoplites, you will be able to counter it with 100 horsemen (that is the same 300 FS). If you were building slingers you would find it much more difficult to deal with a defense of pure swordsmen, and hoplites as attackers do even worse against archers.

If you have a chance to complement your blunt army with mythic your units it will become even more formidable and versatile. Harpies have AA/F even a little higher than horses, they are also fast and carry lots of loot and they also fly. If the last bit seems insignificant to you, consider this: most of your attack will have to go overseas, which means that you'll need transport ship to carry your horses. Transport ship also take FS: 3 regular boats without bunk research will carry 20 horses. This adds 21 FS to the original 60 of the horses, and lowers their AA/F to 13,6. If you have bunks research, it will 14,5 – but still so much lower than the initial 18,3 value. Harpies do not suffer from this setback, which makes them so much more effective.

Sharp attackers

If you decide to focus on sharp attack, you have a choice between hoplites and chariots. Hoplites have a slightly higher AA/F, they are cheaper resource wise, the associated research requires less points and is accessible earlier in the academy. Chariots have the bonus of speed and better loot, which makes so much more effective at farming, though still much worse than horses.

All non-mythical sharp attackers are balanced units, so your sharp attacking army will contribute a lot to your defense as well. This will be covered in more detail in balanced army section.

On the other hand, archers are very popular defensive units and they are very effective for sharp defense. For this reason, you can often encounter defensive armies which are best defended against sharp. So if you are going for a chariot/hoplite offense, make sure your opponent is not stockpiling archers: this will make your attack extremely ineffective, even if you win your losses both in resource and in farm space will be a lot higher.

There are two mythical units with sharp attack, and both are excellent attackers. Medusa has the highest AA/F (and AD/F also as already mentioned) and Manticore has the 2nd best, only a little lower. Also Manticores can fly, so the same bonus as for harpies applies to them.

Ranged attackers

Slingers have the highest AA/F value among all non-mythical units (and the only mythical unit to just barely beat them is medusa). They are also accessible very early in the game. The only problem with them is that they won’t be able to do much farming, unless you have an army of at least 500 of them.

Slingers are countered very effectively by swordsmen, but since in the mid to later game swordsmen are arguably the least popular defensive unit, slingers are likely to find a breach in opponent’s defense. It is really important to note: even if a player builds swordsmen, he most likely does only to maintain a balanced defense. What it means is that attacking with slingers will at least be as effective as with any other unit. It is different with horses, for example, since your opponent may happen to have a lot of hoplites or chariots, and be heavily defended against blunt while being weak to other attack types.

Based on this, it may be a good idea to go for slinger attack, if you know nothing about your opponent’s defense. Unfortunately, there are no flying mythic units to complement ranged offensive army, unlike the blunt and sharp cases. Cyclop and centaur are mythical ranged attacker but since they are actually worse than slingers both in terms of AA/F and in terms of resource cost – and they also consume favor – there is not much point in building them

Balanced army

Coming soon.

Summary: army compositions overview

Naval army

In this section we will cover the question of naval army composition and strong/weak sides of different naval units.

There is a lot less diversity in naval units compared to land. Also, naval units have only one type of attack/defense. Below is the list of naval units and their basic characteristics - same as for land units above.

Unit Population Attack
Attack
Defense
Defense
Speed
Speed
Attack
AA/F
Defense
AD/F
A/D
Bireme
Bireme
8 24 160 15 3 20 0,2
Light Ship
Light Ship
10 200 60 13 20 6 3,3
Trireme
Trireme
16 180 250 9 11,3 15,6 0,7
Hydra
Hydra
50 1000 715 8 20 14,3 1,4

We can see that there is only one offensive unit - Light Ship, and only one defensive, bireme. Two naval units can be considered balanced, Trireme and Hydra.

An army of 13 biremes and 7 Light ships will have approximately the same defense and offense as an army of 10 triremes. The population cost will be 161 for bireme/light ship combination and 160 for triremes. This means that triremes are not more effective than bireme/light ship combination if you go for balanced naval army, and they are way less effective if you go for either pure offense or defense. Also, they are a lot slower. For these reasons, triremes are almost never used in Grepolis.

As for Hydra, an army of 27 biremes and 47 light ships is equivalent to 10 hydras in offense and defense, but it will cost 659 population against 500 for the hydras. This means that a balanced army may benefit from Hydras, but the drawback is the fact that they are very slow, slower even than triremes. There can be a place for them in a conquest world, but this will be covered in 'Using your army' section.

In general, however, the standard approach when building a naval army is to have some cities dedicated to light ships only, and some to biremes only. Hydras have no place in such layout. And for your first city, hydras are not an option anyway.

Using your army

Coming soon.


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