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Budget Rally Trapping 105: Defensive Cores (Part 5)


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.

Screenshot_2016-02-16-12-53-41 Screenshot_2016-02-16-12-53-36

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.

Core Suggestions

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.


Minotaur Helm

Emerald Helm

Stone Peak Helm

Feathered Headband (more so recently, with the Frostbitten cores making the rounds)



Wolfsbane Corset

Emerald Armor

Famishing Armor

Krampus Pauldron Gauntlet



Manticore Tooth Club

Star Blade

Hunting Spear




Red Scale Boots

Plated Food Armor (mostly because of good troop defense + built-in ranged defense, tbh)

(same image as above is used)

Emerald Legging

Nagas Tail (if you can find it)



Firecrackers (yes, firecrackers)

Nose Chain

Minotaur Horn

Drinking Horn (if you can find it)

Jeweled Bangle


Ice Crystal (yes, Ice Crystal. Great base defense and easy to come by)

Peshesh-Kef Wand

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)

Rib Bones

Asgardian Ingot (if you aren’t saving them for Odin core sets)

Bronze Doves

Earth Icon

Earthen Jar

Engraved Silver

Illusion Token

Immortal Ivy

Palm Branch

Paper Crane

Snake Totem

Shards of Ice (if you aren’t saving them for Odin core sets)

Pestilence/Plague (if you aren’t saving them for Four Horsemen core sets)

Leather Gorget

Large Claws


Hunger/Ivory Powder/Famine (again, use an alternate piece if saving for the Four Horsemen core set)

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)

Rusted Gorget


Mortality (if you aren’t saving them for Four Horsemen core sets)

Jade Dragon, Jade Horse (if you aren’t saving them for Dragon King core sets)


Hieroglyph(s) of Sight, Smell, Taste (if you aren’t saving them for Ra core sets)

Glass Shard

Flute of Harmony

Ancient Scroll (if you aren’t saving them for Ryujin core sets)

Antique Pottery


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.

TL;DR Version

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.


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  1. Profile photo of Big D

    hay there, how do you think this holds up against the new core gear? epically over the past couple months; nike and ares… i read so many posts of new ZERO records… anything above that you would update based on that?

  2. This is extremely outdated, 100m is not nearly enough troops nowadays! I started calling at 300m t2. But have now gone to 600m+.
    With the larger rally sizes, that is really minimum. Must b noted I don’t use cores. Although I have the ability to. I’m pretty much fully researched defence wise!

    • Yes with the new Hephaestus cores and Nike you will do better with cores. Last week in the coliseum I took a Hephaestus and lost 28mill t2 with a five piece frost lord and two big firecracker cores I still won on points bye 224mill to his 226 but that is a lot of troops I lost would have done better with cores

  3. I used this article to build my t4/t2 rally trap. It’s a good grounding on how to start. I’ve went a slightly different way in that I use hospitals. my trap is currently 3.1b with 2.2b troop power and will eat everything with standard gear except frost and zues. For these I use a core to defend normally 3200 min defence. In 10 rallies I’ve had 960k T2 killed. So although it wasn’t cheap to build it is a budget rally trap to maintain. Hospital capacity is 1.9m now so I shouldn’t loose anymore troops.

  4. Add hostile19 to line. We have a Rally trap room where we discuss everything and work together to improve ourselves. Although we are all from different kingdoms we can work together to become better!!

  5. My problem isn’t building core sets that are affective , but having enough defensive pieces to make my cores effective . You don’t get a lot of them in packs….any other way to find them???????? Especially like earth, earthen jar, fresh lotus, and illusion token

  6. I just don’t bait anymore… Too hard to keep up. BF (before frostbitten), you could have 5 bils in haunted xena holding offline. Now xena is considered as bad gear. You need to be about 10 bil and full Frostlords gear before you can even consider holding heroes offline.

  7. How do you know what troop type the opposing team is sending?

    • When incoming attack is coming your watchtower will show red around your screen and a little red box on bottom right (looks different depending on if it is scout, solo attack or rally march) Click on that red icon and you can see the # and type of troops.

  8. A lot of Zeus sets out there this last KVK. Traps that used to eat heroes burning and losing 5-7MM per hit. We hit a guy and killed 30MM troops in one hit and he lost 650MM power and he was in defense gear. It’s a different world. People were rallying 7 Billion players and solo hitting 2 Billion players.

    • The guy could have hit the nerf on t1 and that probably made him lose 650mil in a hit. What defense gear was he in and what was his initial power?

      • Yeah it seems odd, but he lost almost 22 power per troop killed, so it wasn’t all T1 or even T2. He lost T2 T3 and T4 in the hit. This was an outlier as most weren’t like this, but point is, Zeus hits HARD.

  9. New cores and research is starting to make this dated already. Successful 2M rally traps from a month ago now burn on solo hits.

  10. Ok I have a question just starting to make a rally trap. I am 4.5 bil power (which isn’t alot in my kingdom regularly see 20 bil players being hit) I have 165 mil troops 45 mil are mixed t4s reg and strat and the remaining 120 mil are t2s 20 mil of each reg and strat troop type. What kind of percentages do I need to be looking for in a core?

    • When dealing with a high troop count(like yourself), you would want to get your defense stats as high as possible. I am a solid t3/t4 rally trap and a set up up about 800% combined troop attack (counting research from individual troops). 3000% of defense( combined with the defense researches and individual troop stats). I cap my health at around 800% because my troop count is so high I dont need to worry about the health of my troops. With you, I would recommend to get your defense on your core sets as possible. Here is a basic oultine I use on my core sets

      Helmet – Ra Helmet and boost it with troop attack
      Armor – Emerald Dragon(defense)
      Feet – Red Scale Boots)(defense
      Weapon- Hunting Spear(defense)
      Accessories – FireCrackers x2(defense)
      Minotaur Horn (Health)

    • Profile photo of Lubears

      You don’t. Train more T2 and you won’t need to core.

  11. I’m a t2/t4 rally trap – it’d be great to add material in here for what works for the t2/t4 setup rather than just the t3. I’d be happy to help contribute

    • Try combo atrack/defence I use 2.5k defence and 1k type attack ( cav inf or ranged) and it for missile defence as a minium those stats kill

    • To rallies, especially today’s cores, you need a high t2 troop count. I have 60 mil t4s mixed and 400 mil t2s mixed with emerald gear. Eat 4.5 rallies with any core set.

  12. Profile photo of Bryant O.

    Okay, so my setup is this,
    12 Million T4:
    3Mil Regular and Rest are Strategic(Mixed)
    And 10Mil T3 Regular.
    33.3Million of each Regular T2.
    How well would this work?
    I have full FROSTLORD set.
    2400% Defense
    1000% Health
    650% Attack.

    Please help

  13. What is the formula for obtaining the actual numbers when everyone talks about % numbers I.e. 3000% defense 2000% health 400 % attack debuff? Are you taking the total troop % and adding it to the individual troop numbers?

  14. Not sure if anyone else uses this strategy but I’ve had a fair bit of success as a rally trap mixing cores and regular gear, specifically frostlord helm, boots and weapon with famishing armour and firecrackers accessories. with good pieces I get defense over 3800% and I have not done a ton of research nor do I have the ideal level 6 gems I would like. Last DK rally I took I capd and just lost 2k t2s. I have no hospitals.. Anyway, it saves me from having to craft three extra cores each time and I get the 75% upkeep reduction from the helm. Working for me right now.

    • Sorry, meant to say thanks for the article,very informative.

    • it’s and interesting tactic, never tried that myself…but it seems weird that you have lost only 2000 t2…I guess either he popped up cores too late or simply his cores stats have not uploaded(i heard it happens quite often, never happened to me personally)

    • IllinoisBlue, Your tactic is very similar to the one I use as well. Saves lots of cores that way. And don’t forget the Colossus gear (helm, foot armor, and weapon) with it’s great troop-specific attack debuff. It still works remarkably well with the correct troop power….Myr

  15. I appreciated the article and it is very informative!

  16. I miss the days when their weren’t articles on just about every type of trap possible. You actually had to take the time to test out strategies or learn from getting zeroed. Now, when KE hits, the majority of accounts you find to hit are traps or are to big to rally. This really blows when you are working out strategies to win KE, which last I checked was done by outscoring your opponent….

    Power KE helped even the gap between traps vs rally points equality, but realistically, unless you get lucky, traps still have all the advantages. MZ might as well add back gathering RSS for KE points back to the KE scoring system….If i’m going to be bored, then I might as well win free stuff from MZ and go back to hanging out in our alliance sexting room….at least i’ll leave with a smile.

  17. Another great article. One piece of constructive criticism: Your method wastes a lot of core power by not matching the preset to the incoming march, IMO. Part of that is because you stack too much defense and health, and not enough biased attack debuff — which is more powerful than either health or defense in preserving your troops.

  18. hey guys need some help here…when rally trapping does the troops that get wounded in my hospitals count toward weather i win the rally and grab a hero? currantly i can grab heros from the fiercest rally against me…my understanding is if i kill more troops than the rally march does then i win…how do my wounded troops factor in?….is it simply who kills more?

    • You need to do the following to capture a hero:
      Kill 100% of the incoming march
      Have your total Troops lost (killed and hospitalized) and Traps lost be less than the number of troops you killed.
      Have a Prison

    • “when rally trapping does the troops that get wounded in my hospitals count toward weather i win the rally and grab a hero? ”

      Short answer: Yes, hospitalized troops count.

  19. I guess the change in the nature of articles is indicative of how GOW has changed. Before, there were numerous actual reviews about equipment and how to farm, etc. but now, it’s pretty much limited to two things (1) core sets for whales to figure out how to spend their money and then (2) for everyone NOT a whale, advice on how to get HIT by whales (“trap” advice, not BUDGET). There’s really nothing else left. You are either a whale, or get hit by whales. Everyone else has left the game.

  20. Im a rally trap converting to atk account. But anyways i find having with more than 1500 health is pointless. The reason for that is because most atk cores dont have a lot of health debuff so having 1000-1250 is more than enough. Right now i have def cores for this kvk running around 3500 def 1200 health and atk debuff 800. Atk debuff is more imprtant than having tons of health since its a tier 1 boosts plus having atk debuff lowers their atk so they dont kill a lot of troops. In the game my SN is Eastep pm me if you have questions

  21. This article should be renamed. There is nothing budget about these suggestions. I have a big trap I have been running for months that utilize much of the info in this series, but it is far from cheap. I also have several of what I would call budget traps for scoring in KE. This article is far from what I utilize there…Not bashing this article as a lot of the info is very good, but it is not how to do it on a budget.

    • I pointed that out in the previous write up… but you’ll have some MZ ra,ra, types come in and proclaim all this rally trap stuff can be done with $2-300 – that is utter nonsense, but the cheerleaders will still argue saying it’s possible t o do by farming, selling RSS, and being in a good and supportive alliance to help you – very similar to game reviews that proclaim this game can be enjoyed without spending a lot of money.

      I can tell you this – if one finds themselves in an alliance that is willing to gift you enough 3 day speeds, and provide RSS beyond the speeds and RSS you might get for $200 in packs to complete the necessary minimum research and troop training, and trap building to be effective, you still have to acquire stuff that you can’t obtain via gifts… like mats, etc… try keeping a decent supply of cores and regular gear by doing map digs and killing monsters, and winning a few solo and inferno’s here and there…. know what I mean?? it’s just not happening or relaistic.

      Additionally, It’s not a budget trap if you are spending thousands on another account and gifting it like many do with a jumper with minimal spending on that particular one…. the money is being spent even by those who gift you.

      As to this latest write up – all well and good, but it omits the elephant in the room… those cores are only good if they load upon command… and it’s all to often they won’t because MZ has failed miserably at maintaining quality of their app programming and infrastructure. But it is also likely that is by design to maximize pack purchases… if the trap loses troops, it has to buy packs to replace them.

      • I have a question – can solo trap be a “budget” account? If we know rally traps are far from budget, what about solo then? How much it’d take to maintain them? And what’s the minimum – maximum power recommended for a solo trap nowadays?

      • Solo traps range between 300 mil and a bil, they can be budget but it’s best to get a 50%off pack or two for gear to limit loses

      • My budget rally trap cost me about $1000 to build and takes about $50-100 a month to maintain. Maybe that doesn’t sound like budget to some but compared to the big rally leaders that spends tens of thousands on their accounts and hundreds of bucks a month to maintain, it’s budget.

  22. I have eagerly awaited each of these posts and I want to thank you very much! Very well written and informative.

  23. Great post! LOL, i don’t know how often people would specifically burn frostbitten or other high-end core sets to hit a rally trap (say in the 2b +/- range), unless it has already been burning from previous rallies elsewhere. It is a fairly ‘expensive set’ according to rally leaders among people I know. Prob more likely to be used against higher power (perhaps 3b-4b onwards?) I mean these days its common to see people trying to zero the 5b-10b big boys and so the better sets are usually save for those big days, just based on what i’ve heard.

    Depends on individual approach to game i suppose. I normally like to craft one very good defensive suit aside specifically to counter frostbitten (much higher inf attack due to its high attack debuffs), and use a default balanced defense suit for most other occasion (perhaps against the older cores). But then it’s always better to err on the safe side and use the best cores you can to defend. its always good to know the strengths and weaknesses of the various cores/sets opposing rally leader would possibly use and so you counter it accordingly.

    • Frostbitten is an expensive set, but it is usually saved for KE’s in general. And when we burn it we hit everything with it, especially 2bil traps. You get two hours (almost) to score as many points as you can with it, so once its lit, its game on.

      • I’m not a rally leader but frost is expensive, I made a set of it and that’s been me saving parts since release and maybe 5 packs ( between the 50% and full ones) to get it, I wasn’t trying but I got it lol

    • It really depends on your kingdom. Our kingdom is at a constant war, and anyone offline may be rallied at anytime, regardless of power, and by any core. I’ve witnessed frost and dragon bone being popped for solo traps in our kingdom on a regular basis.

      Additionally, many of these situations also vary if your kingdom is ancient or not. We fight often, but when an outlander group jumps in, they usually lose their hero quickly because they hit a rally trap, and then get rallied regardless of size until they shield or port back to their kingdom. 2 days ago our kingdom zeroed a 40B player who had to much pride to shield after losing his hero.

      Some kingdoms have leaders who are afraid to spend their cores except for wonder or KE. Others will use them up if 200M solo traps drops their skirt.

    • Profile photo of Lubears

      Really depends on your kingdom and how “expensive” expensive is to them.

      I do much the same now. One defensive set with high infantry attack and ranged defense, other is just an overall defensive set. When dragonbone first came out, I had one with high cavalry attack and infantry defense. Works well and is far less of a hassle than having all three counter missile defense sets.

  24. This is helpful. Thanks

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