Learning how to attack effectively is a crucial skill in Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire. In this guide, we’re going to give you tips and strategies to attack more effectively, do more damage and have fewer casualties on offense.
If you have read the previous article in this series, the Combat Defense Guide, you will have a good idea of the base mechanics of combat in the game and how you can apply them for defense. Let’s cover the basics again as a refresher.
Basic Attack Strategies
The most basic strategy when attacking someone is to find out what kind of troops they have and send the best counters for those troops. Every troop type has a counter:
Don’t worry siege, you’ll get your chance to shine.
- Strong Against: Warriors >> Cavalry >> Mages >> Warriors
- Weak Against: Cavalry << Warriors << Mages << Cavalry
- Siege are weak against everything except traps.
- When you attack, the damage from your troops is applied to the opponent’s lowest troop tier, divided proportionally between those troops
- If the defender’s lowest tier would all be killed, damage will roll over to the next highest troop tier
- Damage from their troops is also applied to your troops in the same way.
- Traps count as one tier lower for purposes of damage. There is no tier 0, so reinforced walls, t1 traps and t2 traps will all share damage with your t1 troops.
Given the above information, the most basic attack strategy is to select troop type based on whatever your opponent has the most of at their lowest troop tier. This will cause more casualties. This must be balanced with the damage your own troops are likely to take.
What I mean by that is, if your opponent has 10k t1 warriors, you ideally want to send more mages to do the most damage. But what if they have a row of t2 cavalry behind the t1? Any mages you send are going to take more casualties. Combat in this game is about using troop compositions and gear to navigate such situations.
Let’s examine some basic attack strategies based around sending troops against type.
One Troop Type, Highest Tier
This technique, also called “the missile”, is sending a march of the same troop type. This will maximize casualties if you target the troop type that the opponent has the most of at the lowest tier.
While this technique can maximize damage output, it also results in higher casualties on your side unless you have higher tier troops than your opponent and a lot of armor. If you don’t mind replacing a ton of expensive and slow-to-train troops, the losses may be acceptable to you. Otherwise, use one of the techniques below.
One Troop Type, Two Tiers
This is a variant of the above technique that take advantage of the way damage works. Let’s say t3 troops are your highest troops tier. For this technique, you would send a single troop-type, but some of them would be t2 and the rest t3. The lower tier is meant to soak the damage from the defender while the higher-tier is meant to do the bulk of the damage.
You should send less of the lower-tier than higher tier; the exact ratio is going to depend on what the defender has. Try a test attack and then scale up or down as required on the second march depending on casualties.
Equal Troop Types
This technique is meant to mitigate casualties while attacking by sending an equal distribution of troop types. This troop configuration will usually take less damage while causing less damage, depending on your research, Hero skills and gear. It is not the best technique to use if your attack boosts and tiers are not very high in comparison to the defender though; at that point calling for rally backup is appropriate.
The Honor Guard
This technique is a combination of the techniques above. What you do is send a single troop type of your highest tier troops, and a meat wall of equal troop types a tier lower. This maximizes damage done while keeping your higher-tier troops safe.
An example: Let’s say t3 is your highest tier, and the defender is mage-heavy at their lowest tier. What you would do is send a balanced-troop-type group of t2 in the same march as t3 cavalry. Your t3 is meant to do the bulk of the damage, your t2 to protect the t3.
This technique is excellent for deploying higher-tier siege against traps to minimize siege casualties. You can read more about deploying siege below.
Send Your Hero
Including a hero with combat skills and gear in your march will greatly increase the power of your troops. If you are having trouble getting through a tough opponent, send your hero.
Warning: Do not send your hero with the first attack when you are level 15 Citadel or higher if you aren’t positive what the result will be. If your entire march is killed, your hero will be captured by the opponent. For that reason, it is generally best practice to send a “test” march without your hero. If you get survivors back, you can send your hero in the next march.
Or you can just call for rally backup, if the target is really tough. We discuss that further down in the guide.
For these strategies to work for you, you need to know what the opponent actually HAS. There’s a safe way to do this provided in the first level of the Combat research tree: Scouting.
If I could give you one single strategy to follow religiously, it would be to always scout. You need to know what an opponent has in their empire, even if they are much weaker than you. Attacking blind is a recipe for disaster, or at best taking a spin on the Roulette Wheel of Unnecessary Casualties.
For that same reason, don’t attack targets who have anti-scout on. It may be a bluff, but they might be trying to lure you into some kind of trap-filled murder hole that you won’t even get a survivor’s report back from. Don’t make assumptions about who you can take out if you don’t have the details.
Scouting is the first skill in the Combat research tree, and you should level it as soon as possible. It is so important that they put it right there for you. Get to level 10 as soon as you can so that you have exact information to base decisions on. In the meantime, at least get it to level 5 before you go out rampaging, so that you can tell what troops the enemy is defending with.
In the first part of the article, we talked about sending the right troop mix for what the opponent has on defense. What happens if your scout report comes back showing a big hot mess of tiered traps? That’s when you use siege. But you have to use them at the right time.
Send Siege To Wreck Traps
If the scouting report shows that the defending player is hiding behind a large number of bricks or other traps, you will want to use siege to bust help bust down the walls. Siege are strong against traps, and traps are weak against siege. Traps are not weak against any other troop type.
To decide when to send siege, it is critical to understand how traps work. Normally, your combat damage will be applied to the opponent’s lowest tier of troops first, with any extra spilling over if they are all killed.
Traps act as one tier level lower than their actual tier for purposes of when they get damaged by your forces. There is no tier 0. That means that tier 1 and tier 2 traps will get damaged at the same time as the opponent’s t1 troops. T3 traps will get damaged at the same time as any t2 that the opponent has, and will not get damaged if the opponent has a huge meat wall of tier 1 in front of them.
Remember from the beginning of the article how I mentioned that the troops take damage proportionately? What that means is, if a defender has 90k t1 and 10k traps, 90% of any damage you send at him is going to be applied to the troops and not the traps. Siege will cause more damage the higher the percentage of traps in your opponent’s lowest troop tier.
You can also send a small portion of your force as siege every march while you are battering down a huge meatwall of other troops; that will kill some of the traps as you go.
It is also useful to have some siege around as a gathering force, as they have a much higher load than other troops. A march full of any tier siege can clean out a defeated empire’s unprotected rss in fewer marches, and can also be used to gather from rss tiles. Siege move much more slowly though.
Rally Big Targets
Some targets are too big to hit without sustaining an unacceptable number of casualties. A target may only have lower tier troops, but have so many of them that half or all your march is eaten when you send it to attack and you barely put a dent in their forces.
This is what rallies are for. These are the basics of rallies:
- Rallies are group strikes led by a single person.
- When a rally is started, other players can add a march of their troops to the rally up to the troop limit of the rally.
- Troop limit per rally is determined by the leader’s Guild Hall level and research in the Combat Tree.
- Ideally, the person with the best combat boosts from gear or research should lead the rally because troops will take on all boosts of the leader.
As general practice, don’t join a rally unless the leader is asking for people to join, and follow any of the leader’s instructions about troop tier or type. Past level 14, the leader can get their hero captured if the rally fails badly, so they are the ones with the most on the line.
When people join a rally, their donated troops will converge on the rally leader’s location. When the rally launches, all of those troops will be joined together into one march and head towards the target.
Damage resolution for rallies works exactly the same as for normal attacks. Damage will be applied to the lowest tier in the rally first, spread out proportionately between all the rally members. This means while rallies cause more casualties, they sustain less casualties as well.
Thus rallies can be an effective way to attack larger targets that cannot be effectively attacked alone, but if you have a mixed-tier rally, be advised that whoever is contributing the lowest tier is going to suffer horrendous casualties.
Target empires have this annoying habit of shielding when you port in next to them and start unloading with high-tier troops. This is doubly annoying when you don’t have ports and are sending armies or rallies slow-crawling across the map. In fact, there are few sights more disheartening than when a long march is almost there and the target shields in the last few seconds, forcing your troops to trudge back home.
Utilize surprise whenever you can. Porting in right on top of them is often effective, but you don’t have to be that flashy. After all, ports are expensive. And that still gives them a few seconds to shield if they are paying attention, or if your troops have to walk through a hive.
A very cheap tactic is to keep starting and canceling rallies against the target, or continuously send 1-troop marches at them over the course of hours or even days. Scout them frequently and then do nothing.
Get them so used to your name on the red screen that they get complacent. Make it a normal part of their game experience. Then hit them very, very hard.
Attack When They Can’t Shield
It’s even better to hit when your opponent can’t shield at all. This is when they have a troop march out or are included in a rally. This is most useful when you have a port, but you don’t necessarily need one if you are close enough and good at timing.
Watch the target on the map. Click on occupied tiles near their empire. Do you see their name anywhere on a tile that is farther away than you are? They’ll have to recall those troops to protect their empire.
Are they sending marches against other empires or joining a rally? Watch for the orange arrow trail indicating a troop movement. Troops marching means a solo troop march; airships means a rally. When they have troops on the way back from a rally is one of the best times to strike, because people tend to send their highest-tier troops out on a rally which leaves their base less defended. And rallies cannot be recalled.
This tactic is especially useful during kill events when everyone is trying to score points by killing opposing troops. Long rallies and marches become extremely common, which leaves empires exposed.
Read The Battle Report
This is really important for both attack and defense, but especially on attack. Reading the battle reports is primarily a way to refine your strategy. You find out what works and what doesn’t by analyzing battle reports.
It’s also useful to glance over these between attacks, or send another scout. When time is critical and you are worried the target will shield, you may have to just send a wave of marches immediately and hope you have the right troop mix, but when in doubt take a quick peek at the reports to see what is going on.
This also prevents you from throwing troops into an account built as a trap, or someone who is otherwise very heavily researched in the Defense tree. If your troops aren’t eaten immediately by the Trap empire, it may be multiple marches before you realize that only 5% of your forces are coming back alive without looking at the reports.
Some of your troops will have to survive for you to get a report, so if your whole march got swallowed up you may be left with unanswerable questions about what the hell just happened.
Sounds obvious, but a slight difference in research can make all the difference in whether an attack works or not. The better your Combat Research is, the stronger your attacks will be. Check out our Research Guide to learn more about which research to target.
And Now You Are Invincible
Well, no actually. It’s impossible to be truly invincible in Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire, no matter how powerful you are or how much you know. Someone with higher tiers, better research or more troops will almost always come along. And with rock-paper-scissors as the core combat mechanic, even that isn’t a guarantee.
But if you have read this guide all the way through and put the points into practice, you will win more battles on both offense and defense. You will notice that others do not follow these principles. You’ll find people gathering on tiles while offline, or heroes unprotected in empires. You’ll find people using the wrong types of troops or throwing wave after heavy-casualty wave into the maw of your traps because they aren’t reading their battle reports or didn’t scout first.
Invincible or not, knowledge gives you a major edge.
Next up, we’re going to go in-depth on the research trees in our Research Guide.