Hello everyone! I’m TR, and I’m going to be writing some strategy-focused articles that’ll help you bring your Factions: Battlegrounds gameplay to the next level! This is going to be my first installment in a little series about vanguards. In Factions, your “vanguard” is made up of the units you recruit with the initial 10 gold you’re given at the start of a match. Vanguards are extremely important because they set the stage for how the rest of the match is going to play out, and making full use of your opening units is a great way to start the match with an advantage you can snowball throughout the later stages of the game.
The number one thing to keep in mind with your vanguard is that you should spend as much of your 10 gold as possible to start the game with as much power on the board as you can. Vanguards are complicated enough to fit into more than one post, so right now, let’s look at vanguards through this lens: How many units should be in my vanguard?
The pros of having many different units at the start of your game is that you gain resources faster, since each unit generates either gold or mana, and you can pressure multiple different resource tiles right at the start. The big con is that, the more low-cost units you have in your warband, the weaker your warband is overall, since you have a limited number of units you can include.
It’s generally not a good idea to only start with one unit, because you’re limiting how much gold and mana you can generate, as well as how much of the board you can pressure. In addition, multiple enemy units can often focus fire the biggest threat on the board, leaving you with nothing. There is one exception to that rule, but I’ll go more into that when I look at faction-specific vanguards.
There are two different types of two-unit vanguards: ones that use two units of equal power (like two 5-costs or a 6-cost and a 4-cost), and ones that use one powerful unit (7/8-cost) alongside one cheaper utility unit (2/3-cost). The former allows you to be much more flexible with where and when you apply pressure to the board, while the latter allows you to establish a large threat on the board without the downsides of a one-unit vanguard.
Most factions max out at a 3-unit vanguard, but Zyan, Zermano, and Kragg can begin matches with four units! The exact composition of 3/4-cost vanguards can vary wildly, and I can write a more in-depth post about that later, but right now i’ll just talk about when you should go for a max-unit vanguard and when you shouldn’t. If one of your major strategies centers around a unit that costs 10 or more gold, it’s good to start gaining gold early on with a lot of gold-generating units. Likewise, if you want to be casting spells every turn, starting with a few mana generators is a great idea. Outside of those scenarios, a max-unit vanguards might not be for you, especially if your low-cost units lack attack power. If you get stuck with a lot of low-power units, you’ll be generating resources but you won’t be able to put pressure on your opponent’s enemies.
I hope this post helped you figure out which type of vanguard is best for you! I’ll try to post regularly about advanced strategy. If you have any questions or requests for topics, feel free to leave a comment or to message me on the Factions Discord server by tagging @Afraid. I’ll see you all on the battleground!