Part 5: Defensive Cores
Welcome to the fifth article in the series on budget rally trapping. For this article, I’m going to go over my general strategy when making a set of defensive cores, and what boost and debuff values I try to shoot for in a general sense. Then, I’ll cover the basics of crafting counter missile defense cores, as in cores that are designed to defend against a particular attacking troop type. I’ll highlight some of the defensive cores and pieces I like the best. I’m going to use my example values from a six piece core set, so this may be beyond the scope of rally trapping on a relative ‘budget,’ but can easily be adapted for four piece core sets by just trying to get as close to the values as possible.
Just to recap, the premise of using defensive cores to defend against rallies relies on switching from your permanent gear to a preset with the hero tree skilled to take a rally and the defensive cores assigned to that preset (“popping” cores, from here on) right before the enemy rally arrives (or alternatively, equipping them and teleporting before the enemy rally leader can cancel the rally; the pop ‘n port). If you plan on being reinforced or pretending to be offline in a hive or something, it is critical that you do not pop your cores too early, as worthwhile rally leaders will cancel their rally before it lands, and you’ll be stuck with your cores counting down and no more points than you had before the opposing alliance set a rally on you.
There’s two methods that I tend to use to craft cores. The first method is to stack Troop Defense, Troop Health, and Enemy Attack Debuff in every core in my defensive set, with the occasional Troop Attack piece thrown in for good measure. The other way consists of making all-out cores of different types and combining them into one defensive set. By this I mean you make a core that’s all attack; every piece you use is Troop Attack or some variation thereof. You repeat this a couple of times, and then you make a couple of cores that are all Troop Defense and/or Troop Health (depending on your troop counts), until you have enough for a full defensive set. This would be altered relative to what sort of goals you have for that particular set of cores. Either way works fine, but I find that the second method makes it easier to keep track of what my totals are as I go about making the set, but the first method is easier to get the defensive stats higher in terms of absolute values. It’s really just preference though.
An example of an all-out defensive piece.
Ideal Goals for a Generalized Defensive Six Piece Core Set Including Gems and 4th Gems (With higher troop numbers, like I have)
- 700%-800% overall Troop Attack
- 3000%+ overall Troop Defense
- 2000%+ overall Troop Health
- 400%+ Enemy Troop Attack Debuff (Enemy Troop Defense and Health Debuff are also good)
Obviously if you only have four piece cores unlocked, these values might seem pretty lofty. Taper the listed values for four or five pieces, and not having fourth gem slots if that applies to you. Just subtract a few hundred percent from each value for your goals, and just try to get in the ballpark. The fewer troops you have, the higher your Troop Attack boost needs to be. This is the value I’ve found can kill the entire rally for my troop count. If you run a straight T3/T4 trap you’ll almost certainly need more than 700% overall Troop Attack.
If you’re a straight T3/T4 trap with troop totals closer to 20 million – 25 million or so and have unlocked six piece cores, shoot for more like:
- 1000%-1200% overall Troop Attack
- 2500% overall Troop Defense
- 2500% overall Troop Health (even defense/health, or slightly heavier on health)
- 400%+ Enemy Troop Attack Debuff
Opposing rally leaders nowadays tend to use Frostbitten or Dragon Bone from my experience, and these two sets (as well as a huge variety of custom missile sets with huge debuff values) make it rather difficult to decide what route to take when making defensive cores. Personally, I focus more on overall Troop Defense and overall Troop Health than overall Troop Attack, because my higher troop numbers make up for lower overall Troop Attack values in sheer numbers. I’d rather not waste Troop Attack that could’ve gone towards saving more of my troops. Note you should also have about 130% of each troop type attack at a minimum when skilled to take a rally with altar bonus boosts, as well. In any event, besides your permanent gear and all-around defensive cores, crafting counter missile cores to defend with are another option if you have three or more presets available to put cores in, in addition to a preset for your permanent defensive gear.
Goals for Full Sets (7 total, not full set bonus) of Counter Missile Cores
- Similar overall Troop Defense and Troop Health goals (2000%+), and ideally overall Enemy Troop Attack Debuff as well. 200%-400% Overall Troop Attack would be good, but the opposing troop type attack is the focus with counter missile cores
When Defending Against Infantry Missile Cores
- Boost Ranged Attack (1200%+, ideally)
- Cavalry Defense (500%+. the more, the better)
- Enemy Infantry Attack/Defense/Health Debuff if possible
When Defending Against Ranged Missile Cores
- Boost Cavalry Attack (1200%+, ideally)
- Infantry Defense (500%+. the more, the better)
- Enemy Ranged Attack/Defense/Health Debuff if possible
When Defending Against Cavalry Missile Cores
- Boost Infantry Attack (1200%+, ideally)
- Ranged Defense (500%+. the more, the better)
- Enemy Cavalry Attack/Defense/Health Debuff if possible
Counter missile defensive core sets take quite a bit of work, and are tough to keep up to date and crafted if you aren’t spending regularly. I’ve used them in a few events and find them to be more trouble than anything else, but if you’re on the smaller-side power-wise as a rally trap they can be hugely beneficial. Remember, you’ll need three presets at a minimum just for the cores (one for each set), and you’ll need to be able to recognize your opponent’s cores rather quickly, or have people in your alliance that can so you know what set to use.
Here’s a few of the cores I like to use in generalized defensive core sets. If there’s enough demand for an article about cores to use in counter missile defense sets, I’ll write that up but this is just a generalized defensive list. Some of them may have a specific enemy troop type debuff that makes them best suited for defending against a particular type, but for the purposes of the list, it’s not really important. It is more efficient to use them against that troop type, but the other boosts of those cores may make it worth using them against every troop type. I’ll leave it to you to click through for the specific stats.
Feathered Headband (more so recently, with the Frostbitten cores making the rounds)
Plated Food Armor (mostly because of good troop defense + built-in ranged defense, tbh)
(same image as above is used)
Nagas Tail (if you can find it)
Firecrackers (yes, firecrackers)
Drinking Horn (if you can find it)
Ice Crystal (yes, Ice Crystal. Great base defense and easy to come by)
Pieces to Consider (in no particular order aside from overall grouping)
Defensive Pieces (predominantly Troop Defense/Health, may have Debuffs as well)
Winter Glass (if you aren’t saving them for Frostbitten core sets.. as a rally trap, not sure why you would)
Asgardian Ingot (if you aren’t saving them for Odin core sets)
Shards of Ice (if you aren’t saving them for Odin core sets)
Fire Sigil (currently, given the frequency Frostbitten cores are used)
Combination Pieces (Offensive and Defensive Buffs/Debuffs)
Star Sigil (currently, given the frequency Frostbitten cores are used)
Broken Antler (if you aren’t saving them for Frostbitten core sets)
Mortality (if you aren’t saving them for Four Horsemen core sets)
Ancient Scroll (if you aren’t saving them for Ryujin core sets)
This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the cores that perform pretty well defensively. There are certainly other worthwhile cores and pieces that are not listed here. If one you like is omitted, this article is not a commentary on whether it should be used or not, just what I often use and would suggest. Hopefully these two lists can get you to a good starting point for your overall defensive core sets if you are a novice core crafter, or give you a few more ideas if you weren’t aware of them if you are well-versed in core crafting. There isn’t really a universally agreed upon “minimum value” one needs for crafting a good set of defensive cores. Just remember that after a certain point, overall Troop Attack is self-limiting as you can only kill a bit over 3 million troops max, while overall Troop Defense, overall Troop Health, and Enemy Troop Attack Debuff have no real limit on effectiveness. The higher, the better.
When crafting a set of defensive cores to equip when an enemy rally is incoming (a few seconds away, ideally), good baseline overall Troop Attack values to aim for are 700%-800% if you have a high troop count, and 1000%-1200% or so (closer to 1200% is safer, really) if you run a traditional T3/T4 trap as recommended earlier in the series for the sake of cost, simplicity, and ease of maintenance. Overall Troop Defense becomes more important than overall Troop Health when you have very high (100m+) troop totals from my understanding, so stack more overall Troop Defense if you have a lot of troops, and stack overall Troop Health with more traditional troop numbers (15m-30m). You still want 2000%+ Troop Defense, even with smaller troop totals, as large Defense Debuff values can be devastating when present in the enemy rally leader’s cores. This is particularly true when someone has stacked overall Troop Health but didn’t boost overall Troop Defense much. Enemy Troop Attack will dampen the enemy rally to an extent, and Enemy Troop Health Debuff will make the enemy rally considerably easier to kill if high enough (300%+).
These stat values have worked well for me in defensive core sets I have made, but there is quite a bit of variation in the quality of cores you can be hit with, even across the same set of cores. I’ve seen a guy gem a Frostbitten core set with a couple of Siege gems before. I’ve also seen Frostbitten core sets drop a rally trap that was online and cored in time like 150m power. I do need to say that I can’t make any guarantees. A new core set with 2500% Defense Debuff could come out and mess everything up. Who knows? Such is Game of War nowadays. This is the final originally planned article in the series, but there may be another or two. Thanks for reading, and I hope this helps at least a few people.