A Beginner’s Guide to The Banner Saga: Factions: Tips For Success

Attention, strategy fans! In late February, developer Stoic released a free-to-play game on Steam called The Banner Saga: Factions. Featuring deep strategy and turn-based combat, Factions is a PvP game that sees players going head-to-head with their teams of six warriors against others from around the world.

And while it’s a completely accessible game that anyone can jump into, there are still many parts of The Banner Saga: Factions that will take some time and experimentation in order to truly master. If you’re a newbie to the game and still trying to figure things out, here are a few tips to help get you going.

Armor vs. Health

Whenever you attack an enemy, you’ll have the option to either do damage to their armor or to whittle away at their health. While it might seem like a no-brainer to spam their health bar and forgo the armor, there’s a unique strategy in finding balance between them. After all, the more you degrade their armor, the more susceptible they are to taking more damage. When their armor number falls, you’ll find that your warriors are able to deal greater amounts of damage on an enemy’s health status than when they have full use of their protective wear. Also, your health also represents your strength, a.k.a. how much damage you can dole out. Find a good balance between attacking the two and use your warrior team to its fullest extent to capitalize on your damage-dealing potential.

Pay Attention to Team Management

After accruing a certain amount of kills, each of your teammates will be eligible to be promoted. Promotions earn you new abilities and an increase in skill points, so be ready to dole those out as soon as you’re able.

Also, play around with stat distribution in order to make your characters into the killing machines most capable of clearing the battlefield of your enemies. Like the armor vs. health debate, there’s a lot of room for experimentation here to really find a happy place  to help you with success.

It also helps to pay attention to the queue in battle to see when certain players on your team (and the enemy’s) are up for their next turn. Knowing your moves ahead of time is crucial in a game like this one.

Be Ready to Grind

The Banner Saga: Factions may be free to play, but it’s definitely not pay to win. The game gets pretty stingy with its in-game currency, only awarding you nominal amounts after each battle. Of course, multipliers and additional quantities of renown are available to purchase (for reasonable prices at that), so there’s always the option to hand over real cash in order to forgo the hours and hours it will take to gain any headway in the money front.

But if you want to hold on to your pennies, get ready to grind it out through playing match after match after match. Once you feel somewhat confident in your abilities, you can always enter tournaments with the opportunity to earn large quantities of renown after defeating the other players. For a beginner player, however, this might not be the best option. After all, you’re still learning the ropes, and it’s not hard for things to go south in battle very, very quickly.

Organize Your Team

Before a battle even begins, you’ll have the option to move your characters around and place them in specific starting positions. There were times that I played where this really helped to dictate the pace of a fight. Some characters are better suited to start in one place than another, and finding a good balance with this could potentially give you the edge heading into the fight.

Make Use of Abilities

Many warrior classes have their own unique abilities that can be used throughout the game. Some can attack multiple times, some can set traps, an others can even attack and cause splash damage. Abilities will come in handy during combat scenarios and have the potential to turn the tide of battle when used in the right way. Pay attention to them, and know when they’re the most useful for maximum effect.

Use Willpower for Max Damage

Each character has the opportunity to use Willpower throughout a match that allows them to add additional damage points on their attacks. This can be a necessary asset to success in battle, especially if you know how to manage it. After all, willpower will deplete and won’t regenerate on its own (the only way you can get additional willpower is to kill enemies and use the horn at the top of the screen or by waiting a turn). I found that it was best to use willpower to deal a large amount of damage to an enemy’s armor, then to swoop in with another warrior and take advantage of heightened health damage allowance from lack of armor. Of course, there are a million other ways to go about doing it, but this is one that worked well for me.


Have any other tips or tricks for new players in The Banner Saga: Factions? Share them here!

(And for more turn-based strategy goodness, check out our XCOM: Enemy Unknown Review)