Expanding the Basics-Optimizing Vanguards (Maximizing your Openers)

“Vanguard” means the units you choose to start the game. Let’s check out how the Vanguard works and then I’ll share a couple of examples of Vanguards that I like.

You can have 12 units in your warband in game of Factions: Battlegrounds. Prior to the game, you select the 12 you’d like and “bench” the rest. Out of those 12, you have to select the units you’d like to start the battle with!!




Because players start with 10 gold, and only 3 units in the game currently cost more than 10 gold, you can pretty much select whatever you want as long as you spend a MINIMUM of 5 gold. (Players keep whatever leftover gold they have from recruiting vanguards.) The player with the Terrain tile advantage must select their Vanguard first.

Vanguards don’t last long! Rarely does a vanguard unit survive the whole battle, but that does not mean they do not play a crucial part in the difference between victory and defeat.

A “good” vanguard is totally subjective, but what I try to accomplish with my vanguards revolves around 3 goals. I try to set the foundation for my overall strategy, provide a steady resource flow which allows me to maintain multiple units throughout the battle (more activations!), and score roughly the Vanguard gold cost in Victory Points (VPs). Here are 2 vanguard examples I like to utilize (both start off with 3 units).






The Zermano Battlemage is an elite unit, one of the best overall in the game in terms of cost slot. At an affordable 5 gold, she has an outstanding 4 rank and is a Captain, is a solid melee fighter, but most importantly has the ruthlessly efficient Ice Missle spell. At 4 range it can start to pick apart enemies across the board and with a 4 rank she will get the chance to use it a couple of times. (Remember, you start off with 10 mana!)

The Scouting Gargoyle is ideal at capturing resource centers, and in the vanguard, with only one unit generating gold, I am going to need it desperately to capture the closest Gold Mine. With it’s flying and immunity to range, it has the evasion to be successful most of the time.

For only 1 gold, the Manawing Aku is a must. 2 Ice Missle spells from the ZBM will already deplete my mana, and with more spellcasters potentially waiting warband I’ll need mana. The Aku speeds up that process, generating up to 2 mana (and no less than 1) per round, and it’s ability to fly gives it a bit more evasion.






This warband is built to force the opponent to either rush into melee or give up control of the middle tile where half resource centers are located, either choice works fine for Kragg! The Monstrous Ogre has an awful rank, but that is of no consequence for it’s role in this vanguard. It’s excellent health of 7, plus Natural Toughness means its an automatic problem. The Ogre is headed straight for the frontline and the center tile. Odds are it will completely overmatch the first few units it meets.

The Goblin Stonethrower provides a bit of a ranged threat for a bit , but it is primarily chosen to generate some gold. All 3 units in this vanguard generate gold, and combined with resource centers and the automatic +1 gold per round, I’m likely to be right back at 10+ gold within 2 rounds or so.

The Goblin Scout has one purpose. Rush ahead using that 3 movement and capture a Gold Mine. If it does, it will double the return in gold on it’s cost. Also, it is a 100% gaurantee that the Goblin Scout and likely the Goblin Stonethrower will be eliminated- quickly. Prior to their death, the Stonethrower may wound something with a ranged attack and the scout should rack up 2-4 gold. That’s well worth it.

By the time the opposition has eliminated the Monstrous Ogre and dealt with whatever carnage it left behind, enemy units will be in the middle of the battleground, probably trying to re-group a bit, and Kragg will have enough gold and a few of it’s top level Victory Point scorers on the battleground.


While tempting, it generally does not work to simply put your most powerful, expensive unit in the Vanguard. This makes it really easy for enemies to develop a strategy right away to eliminating it and scoring huge points. It also makes it very hard to re-coup resources. The more units on the battleground, the more activations you have, and the more activations you have, the more choices you have. The more choices you have, the better!

What do you look for in a Vanguard?? Hit the replies!!

2 thoughts on “Expanding the Basics-Optimizing Vanguards (Maximizing your Openers)

  1. I like starting out with the Ihalaban General and the Savage Mameleu. The general will help force the already placed in water Savage go further to capture a resource center. The goal is to have him camp at a resource center that is in the water. And for the General to capture more gold. The general will generate gold while the other generates mana. The next one I usually bring in is the Ihalaban Salamangkero which will help bring in the Regal Minokawa or the grand Bakunawa with her one time use Runestone using mana to buy a unit instead of gold. Both are high in life and attack to hopefully eliminate the opposing teams units early on and take control over the board.


    • That’s a great vanguard for Ihalaban, helping speed up the process of getting your biggest monsters in play. A lot of opinions on starting with Aquatic units though, it does give the opponent an easy opportunity, but the Mameleu is cheap, and Ihalaban can run out of resources quickly, and it seems to be working for you!!

      Liked by 1 person

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