Fire and Sand: A Hard-Hitting Guide to the Orcs

You dream of the wasteland. You hear your name in fire. Songs written in blood.

The Orcs are calling you home.

Orc Basics

The Orcs are a proud, fast, warrior race, excelling in melee combat and buffing units. If you want to smash Zombie face with sheer, overwhelming force, the Orcs are the race for you. Let’s have a look at their defining characteristics; we’ll go into more detail a little later.

  • Brawler Nation: Orc units and heroes typically have very good Strength-to-Gold ratios, making them exceptional melee combatants.
  • Shock and Awe: Orcs have access to three of the fastest usable melee units in the game, as well as a buff that can keep pace!
  • Compulsion is for Cowards: The Orcs have zero crowd control ability. None. Here in the desert, we care about killing Zombies, not moving them around.
  • Gold Before Glory: Orcish units and heroes are very expensive, and their towns generate only middling Gold. You’ll want to “persuade” some Goblins or Dwarves to join the cause in order to fund your war effort.
  • Even in Death: Blighted Orc settlements represent more Zombie strength than any other race, with a fallen Fortress producing up to 9100 base strength for the undead. Luckily, the Orcs are also well suited to handle this scenario.

Bread and Butter

First things first; let’s look at the Orcs’ core fighting units. Starting, of course, with their basic unit trained at settlements:

Core Units

50 Orcish Swords

These bad boys are the core of your biggest armies, because:

  1. They are downright cheap compared to your other options (seriously).
  2. There are fifty of them (see the section on Buffs).

Barring a compelling reason to do otherwise, there should even be several sets of these in your deck! Not because you might want to drop them at settlements for instant power, though you might, but because putting them in your deck allows you to drop them at Banners, reinforcing your armies with fifty fresh warriors while on the move.

  • Cost: 300 Gold
  • Total Strength: 600
  • Speed: 4 Hours/League by Road
  • Strength Per Gold: 2.0
  • Type: Orc Warrior

25 Wolfriders

These outriders are great at clearing graves or racing ahead to defend frontier towns. They are on the expensive side, but this much power and speed is absolutely worth it.

  • Cost: 400 Gold
  • Total Strength: 600
  • Speed: 3 Hours/League by Road
  • Strength Per Gold: 1.5
  • Type: Orc Wolf Warrior

10 Wolf Chariots

The little brothers of the Wolfriders are more vulnerable in melee, but come with a mana-free ranged attack at the start of every combat that makes them phenomenal graveyard-clearing machines with far less micromanagement than other races require.

  • Cost: 225 Gold
  • Total Strength: 300
  • Speed: 3 Hours/League by Road
  • Ability: Chariot Charge: Before any combat, the enemy suffers a ranged attack with X*15 Strength (150).
  • Strength Per Gold: 1.3
  • Type: Orc Wolf Warrior

Buffs, Buffs, and More Buffs

The Orcs have more passive army-buffing Heroes than any other race, with a full eight buff cards available. These “Generals” mostly don’t stack with themselves, but they do stack with each other, so it’s not uncommon for each unit in an Orcish army to have +10 Strength or more. As a result, the best units for the core of Orcish armies are plain old Orcish Swords, simply because there are so many of them to empower! The first Generals to look at are the unconditional ones: these are good anytime, anywhere.

Unconditionally Buff

Desert Maiden

The iconic Orc Buff, she provides all your Orcs with +6 Strength. This represents a 300-Strength boost on just a single unit of Orcish Swords. Add that to the fact that she’s one of the cheapest heroes available, and you can immediately see why she should always be a part of every Orcish army.

  • Cost: 125 Gold
  • Total Strength: 180
  • Speed: 4 Hours/League by Road
  • Ability: Orc Ferocity: All Orcs in her Army gain +6 Strength.

Jolly Tavern Keeper

At first glance, the Jolly Tavern Keeper seems inferior to the Desert Maiden, but there are three important facts to consider:

  1. He buffs all units in his army, not just Orcs. So if you’re stuck with Humans or some other inferior combatants in your army, the Tavern Keeper will do his best to help them keep up with your real warriors.
  2. He stacks with the Desert Maiden, so you don’t have to choose one or the other! You can, and should, put more than one General in any army big enough to be worth mentioning!
  3. He gives free beer to everyone in his army.

Free beer is the great equalizer.

  • Cost: 250 Gold
  • Total Strength: 60
  • Speed: 4 Hours/League by Road
  • Ability: Ale For All: All units in his army gain +4 Strength.


The Butcher is the underage cousin of the Tavern Keeper. He gives out a smaller bonus, but is a stronger hero on his own, making him ideal for leading smaller groups of non-Orcish “warriors” into battle. Of course, he’s also great as yet another +2 Strength on all your Orcish Swords. The Jolly Tavern Keeper outstrips the Butcher’s strength once the army size gets above 90, but a Butcher remains a welcome addition to any army.

  • Cost: 250 Gold
  • Total Strength: 240
  • Speed: 4 Hours/League by Road
  • Ability: Bacon For All: All units in his army gain +2 Strength.

Wolfpup Handler

How great would it be if there was a General that could keep up with your Wolfriders and Chariots? The answer is: it’s really great. The Wolfpup Handler is the cheapest hero in your entire civilization, moves at three hours per league, and buffs your other fast units. She’s even a Lurker, so you can drop her immediately on the troops she buffs, and playing a bunch at game start makes for the most efficient expansion of any race! Are you kidding me?!

Use her early on to claim Mana Pools and settlements, then meet up with your Wolves to push their melee strength over the top.

  • Cost: 50 Gold
  • Total Strength: 24
  • Speed: 3 Hours/League by Road
  • Ability: Heart of the Wolf: All Wolves in her army gain +6 Strength.

Scarface Lord

Scarface isn’t a General in the normal sense, as he doesn’t provide a passive buff. Instead, he has an ability that can be even better if you have the Mana to make use of it, and why wouldn’t you? Do you have a better use for your Mana than making your armies stronger? I thought not.

Every twelve hours, the Scarface Lord can give a single Unit +1 Combat Experience for eight Mana. This doesn’t seem like much until you think about the long term. Each level of Combat Experience gives a permanent +1 buff to each individual in the unit. What’s more, if you merge a less experienced group into a more experienced one, they all get the benefit of the increased Combat Experience. Finally, the twelve hour cooldown and cost of eight Mana mean that you can use his ability twice each day with only a single Mana pool. That’s like paying 16 Mana to put another Butcher in your army every day.

  • Cost: 175 Gold
  • Total Strength: 180
  • Speed: 4 Hours/League by Road
  • Ability: Battle Ready: Every 12 Hours, the Scarface Lord can give a unit in the same location +1 Combat Experience. Costs 8 Mana.

Other Buffs

Yes, it’s true! The Orcs have yet more combat buffs available to them. These are temporary or situational buffs that can turn specific close fights into outright massacres when used properly.

Situational Improvements
  • Vicious Sergeant gives all units in his army +3 Strength in Deserts, and comes with 240 Strength himself. Need to fight some Zombie Orcs on their native terrain because compulsion is for wimps? This guy can help even the odds.
  • Outcast Warchief gives all units in his army +4 Strength in Forests or Swamps, and is also 240 Strength himself. Not even Immortal Trolls can stand against his army!
  • The Blood Shaman can temporarily give all Orcs (& Gobs & Trolls) within 4 Leagues +6 Strength, while reducing the Strength all Humans, Elves, and Dwarves in the area by the same amount! Be careful, because this affects not only your units, but also those of your allies and any Zombies in range, so careful positioning is critical when making use of his Blood Moon ability. But if you find yourself in a position where you can affect both your own Orcish army and a horde of unaligned Zombies, twelve Mana pretty much buys you a free, flawless victory.

Rare and Specialized Troops

No matter how unstoppable your armies are, sometimes it’s more expedient to get something done with spellcasting. Other times, you simply don’t have the right resources to get everything done. That’s where these specialists come in.

Specialist Troops

Shaman Priestess

The Priestess hold four spots in the default Orc deck, and much of the time that’s plenty. She has the unique ability to burn graveyards from afar, making her a powerful asset near graveyards that are too well-defended or too inconvenient to march to. However, the ability costs a whopping twelve Mana, so if you’re using her frequently, you’re not going to be casting much else unless you have an inordinate number of Mana Pools under your control.

In rare situations, the Priestess can be used to convert Mana into Valour. In general, this isn’t a great idea, but it can be very helpful in a pinch, when you’re desperate for more Valour and your army isn’t quite strong enough to win any nearby battles.

  1. Find the Zombie group that you can most nearly kill with your army. The closer the armies are in Strength, the better, because you’ll inflict far fewer casualties if you’re badly outmatched.
  2. Position a Shaman Priestess within range of where the battle will take place.
  3. Send your army into a battle, knowing they’ll die.
  4. As soon as the battle ends, use the Gift of Flame to torch the Graveyard from a safe distance.
  5. You’ve now gained some Valour for the zombies you killed, without providing a new graveyard full of Orcish bodies right next to you.

Again, this is pretty marginal, but it can make a huge difference when you can pull it off.

  • Cost: 175 Gold
  • Total Strength: 60
  • Speed: 4 Hours/League by Road
  • Ability: The Gift of Flame: Burn a Graveyard within 1 League. Restores in 8 Hours. Costs 12 Mana.

Dragon Banner

All races have a Common Banner-type unit, but it’s particularly important for the Orcs since it allows you to deploy Generals directly into your armies. Keeping a Banner with your army means you never have to wait around for reinforcements; you can forge ahead and keep slaying those Zombos. Almost every Orc deck should contain a fair number of these.

  • Cost: 150 Gold
  • Total Strength: 120
  • Speed: 4 Hours/League by Road
  • Ability: Dragon Banner: You may deploy Orcs at the Dragon Banner.


The Slavedriver is the Orcish counterpart to the Humans’ Marshal. He allows you to train Orcs (or Goblins or Trolls, but why would you want them? They’re weak and slow, respectively, and your army has room for neither of those things) for Mana instead of Gold. This can be hugely important on maps where you start far from the action and can’t quickly generate Valour with which to claim Goblin or Dwarf gold-slaves, or simply maps without those greedy little buggers at all!

Remember, as well, that you can Raise Slaves from a settlement you don’t actually own! They’ll simply appear as neutral defenders, and if you do ever claim the town, you’ll gain control of them.

  • Cost: 175 Gold
  • Total Strength: 150
  • Speed: 4 Hours/League by Road
  • Ability: Raise Slaves: While in any Orc, Goblin or Troll Settlement the Slavedriver can train a new Army without paying the normal gold price. Restores in 12 Hours. Costs 12 Mana.

25 Dragon Brigade

These guys are basically Wolfriders who have traded their signature speed for a powerful ranged attack. They’re only a touch more Gold than Orcish Swords, making them quite affordable for their power, but they’re harder to buff with Generals and they’re Mana-hungry. Nevertheless, these guys can do a heck of a lot of damage, especially if you have several groups of them and you pull the Fire + Merge trick a few times in a row. I typically save them for time-sensitive defensive maneuvers, since one stack can often hold a town on their own.

  • Cost: 325 Gold
  • Total Strength: 600
  • Speed: 4 Hours/League by Road
  • Ability: Fist of the Dragon: Range 1 Attack with X*12 Strength (300). Restores in 10 Hours. Costs 10 Mana.
  • Strength Per Gold: 1.85
  • Type: Orc Warrior


You’ll probably never want a Dragon in your Deck since there’s little advantage over simply training one once you’ve got the Lair, but Dragons are the Orcs’ fastest, and final, warrior. With 3 Flying Speed, a thousand Strength, and a ranged attack nearly as strong, Dragons can do everything reasonably well: clear graves, protect settlements, and assist far-flung allies. Their Gold efficiency isn’t very good, but the free one you get at most Lairs usually pays back the up-front Valour cost right away.

  • Cost: 1250 Gold
  • Total Strength: 1000
  • Speed: 3 Hours/League - Flying
  • Ability: Flaming Breath: Range 1 Attack with X*750 Strength (750). Restores in 10 Hours. Costs 12 Mana.
  • Strength Per Gold: 0.8
  • Type: Dragon

Those Other Guys

Finally, there are a few cards that just don’t often see play, or are so situational that they’re usually limited to single player games.

Unusual Picks
  • The Elder Shaman is the most specialized card the Orcs have. The Elder Shaman can, for four Mana, burn every civilian in the settlement he’s at (for no gain). Obviously, this is only useful if you are definitely going to lose the settlement and have no other way of dealing with the resulting graveyard. I only start considering this guy in Nightmare games where a scorched-earth policy looks prudent and I don’t expect to have the Mana to use a Shaman Priestess instead.
  • Dragon Rider is basically a stronger, faster, cooler Dragon with an even better attack. However, by the time you can play him, you probably already have a few regular Dragons on the field, thus relegating the mighty Dragon Rider to “win more” status, and making him a dead card the rest of the time.

Stages of Warfare

The Orcs are not what you would call a “finesse race”. However, playing them well does require good planning. As the war progresses, your priorities must shift. Additionally, Nightmare difficulty is often a totally different beast, so we’ll tackle that separately.

"Hard" and Easier

Early On

As with any race, the very early game is all about resource growth and damage control. Your top priorities in the early game look something like this, more-or-less in this order:

  • Send Wolfpup Handlers to Mana Pools and Wolfriders or Chariots to any border towns that they can reach in time to save. Send Dragon Banners to the front lines as well.
  • Claim at least one Orcish border town for deploying Heroes.
  • Claim as many Goblin or Dwarven towns as possible, prioritizing those near the front lines. These will be your gold farms, because Orcish towns generate very little gold–especially since you’ll be militarizing much of your population.
  • Claim at most one settlement near your starting position, ideally a Fortress with a unit of Swords on it, on your way to the front. Don’t waste time claiming settlements that are far from the action.
  • Fear Nothing. Don’t be shy about taking fights that you can barely win. You have plenty more civilians to turn into warriors, and you need all the Valour you can possibly get right now. Fight all the time.
  • Deploy a Shaman Priestess and send her towards the most dangerous Graveyards nearby (Orc Fortresses, Dragon graves, etc.).

The Height of Conflict

The midgame is when you’ve finished the first round of damage control. You’ve likely beaten the first large threat headed your way, possibly with massive casualties. You’re gathering strength for confrontations with the largest groups of Zombies, picking up the towns you skipped in the early game, and pumping out two to three hundred warriors a day. Your priorities here are pretty simple:

  • Group your Wolfpup Handlers with your Wolfriders and Chariots, and send them out as their own high-speed army if they were part of your main force before.
  • Keep a Shaman Priestess near each main army. Keep the main armies moving on roads as much as possible, fighting everything, while the Priestesses follow behind, burning hard-to-reach graveyards.
  • Continuously reinforce your “slow” armies by delploying Generals and Swords to their Dragon Banners.
  • When you have Wolves in hand, pick further-away or inconvenient targets, then deploy one to three cards as necessary along a path to that target. Group them up at the far reaches of your empire, and go burn graves or defend Mana Pools.
  • Make sure to merge any units with Combat Experience with newer troops to maximize their power!

Cleanup in Aisle Z

By the time the endgame rolls around, there’s probably only one real threat left in your region, and it’s likely no match whatsoever for your armies. This is where I typically merge everyone together and then go nuts with Scarface Lords, and stomp the rotting guts out of the last pitiful stacks while my Dragons clean up any stragglers. Priorities:

  • Crush face with the biggest armies you can possibly raise.
  • Have fun.

This guide continues below!

32000 characters isn’t enough…


Wow, these gudes are awesome!


A More Dangerous Game — Nightmare Difficulty

Before too long, you’ll find that you can handily roflstomp the Immortals on the Normal and Hard difficulties, and you’ll step up to Nightmare. The feel of Nightmare difficulty is so far removed from that of easier modes that it merits a little section of its own.

Nightmare Considerations

On this difficulty level, you’ll usually be throwing away much of your strategy from easier modes, because there simply isn’t time for all that. On Nightmare, the Zombies start much stronger and ramp up incredibly quickly. This is true for all races, of course, but Orcs are a particular challenge on Nightmare difficulty for a few reasons:

  • Blighted Orc settlements are by far the most dangerous sources of basic Immortals in the game (remember that from Basics?), and on Nightmare you’ll often start the game with nearly an entire Fortress up in arms, in the desert, two leagues away. That’s a horde over ten thousand Strength with decent move speed, with two or three more armies of similar size close behind, before you even have one General in play.
  • As you’re well aware by now, you have no sources of compulsion. That means you will be losing more Orc towns while you work to raise a competitive army.
  • Nightmare games often begin with at least one Boss Immortal already on the field. If it’s a Master of Coin or Queen of Lies, you’ll struggle mightily to afford an army. And speaking of Bosses…
  • The Queen of Lies is one of the strongest early-game bosses there is, and it’s typically your job to stop one from rising. With no compulsion, against 10k stacks and often Blighted Dragons as well. Good luck with that.

In this sort of situation, the three distinct phases above don’t really exist. Instead, you’re going to spend at least the first several days improvising tactical, stopgap solutions to immediate problems. This will affect every part of your game, including your choice of what cards to put in your deck, so let’s start there, by mentioning some Nightmarish adjustments to the standard deck priorities. Any Cards I don’t mention have more or less the same values and roles in Nightmare as they do in easier difficulties.

The Deck of Nightmares

  • Core Generals: The Maiden, Butcher, and Tavern Keeper are crucial to get out early in Nightmare. To maximize the efficiency of every Orcish Sword, you must always have a General in hand. Remember that the Butcher actually provides more value than the Tavern Keeper when the armies are small because of his high base strength. The Tavern Keeper pulls even at 89 other units in the stack. Less than that, prefer the Butcher.
  • Dragon Banner: In general, the Banner is even more important in Nightmare, as your army will always be on the move and constant deployments are critical. However, there are big exceptions, like any game with a Master of Coin that no one has a quick way to kill. When that little bastard is in the picture, all but the cheapest of your cards are basically unplayable, so if you forsee having to deal with one (or more…) of them, reduce the number of Banners you bring.
  • 50 Orcish Swords: As your highest-population unit, these guys are still vitally important both offensively and defensively. Before bringing too many of the 50 Swords card, though, consider the same factors as for the Dragon Banner.
  • Vicious Sergeant: The Sergeant becomes almost a core part of your army in Nightmare, because you’re often forced to do so much fighting in the Deserts.
  • 25 Dragon Brigade: Bring them all. Unless you think you can get your hands on some living Dragons, the Dragon Brigade is the only tool you’ve got for sniping nasty Bosses guarded by huge hordes of undead.
  • Wolfpup Handler: There’s basically no downside to bringing a bunch of these; they’re dirt cheap, great in your starting hand, and in a pinch you can throw them at advancing hordes to buy yourself time.
  • Wolfrider: I don’t find myself playing these often in Nightmare. They’re in the Essentials so you’ve always got a few, but they’re too expensive to merit more than the base four copies when efficiency is so critical and Bosses so common. You’ll often need two units of them just to burn graves reliably.
  • 10 Wolf Chariots: In this mode, Chariots are basically more affordable Wolfriders. You’ll want to pair these with Wolfpup handlers as much as possible to give them a little extra toughness. The main problem is that Graveyards just don’t stick around very long in Nightmare, so Graveyard-clearing specialists are less valuable overall. And speaking of which…
  • Shaman Priestess: Don’t bring any, beyond the four you’re stuck with in the Essentials. She’s not totally useless on this difficulty; there are certainly still times when it’s appropriate to play and use her. But she is the Orc who gets hit the hardest by Nightmare Mode, for two main reasons:
    • Restless Souls rise as Immortals incredibly quickly. The only Graveyards you’re likely to get to in time to burn are those of your own fallen cities.
    • The Gift of Flame is expensive, and Mana is very scarce on this difficulty. “Scarce” as in “you’re lucky if you still have one Mana Pool two days in”. It quickly becomes hard to justify spending 12 Mana to burn only a hundred or so bodies.
  • Elder Shaman: This guy is who you’ll be using instead of the Priestess, to the extent that you’re using either. For a fraction of the cost, the Elder Shaman prevents your doomed citizens from ever becoming restless souls. He can also torch Monster lairs and Neutral settlements, which is a big plus.
  • Slavedriver: He’s somewhat map-dependent, but in the right situations he can be a lifesaver. Some times to consider bringing a few:
    • You’ve got a defensible Mana Pool but little available Gold.
    • You’re low on Valour (far from the action or there’s an early Queen of Lies), but some fringe settlements could be saved with a single round of troops. Remember that you don’t have to claim the settlement to Raise Slaves there, and if the Slavedriver sticks around, you’ll get all the Valour from the combat (unless it’s an ally’s town, of course).
    • You’ve got plenty of Valour, but Gold and Mana are tight. Once deployed (175 Gold ~ 9 Valour), the Slavedriver has a much better Troops-to-Valour ratio than training with Gold. His costs break even after a single use.
      • 50 Swords = 300 Gold = 15 Valour
      • 50 Swords = 12 Mana = 6 Valour
  • Scarface Lord: One or two is plenty; you don’t want to draw him until late in the game when you’ve got a serious, established army that can take some fights without massive casualties.

Butcher of the Sands

There’s no one list of priorities at this difficulty level. Every Nightmare game is hugely unique, and priorities must be adjusted on the fly as the local and global situations continue to develop. There is only one overall consideration for the Orcs in Nightmare, and it’s this:

  • Assemble an army at least twice as strong as the strongest Immortal horde within 3-5 Leagues of any of your settlements: a “permanent army” that can fight the strongest enemies around with < 50% losses.

That’s all. How you go about doing that depends on the map, your allies, your hand, and a host of other things. Rather than try to list all the possible considerations, instead here’s a short list of miscellaneous tactics that can be useful to buy time or strengthen your position incrementally.

  • Send a small, early army to fight Zombie stragglers at older Graveyards. If this army can survive long enough to rejoin your main forces later, you can get a substantial Strength bump by merging all your other Swords into the ones that have been out gaining Combat Experience from small battles all game.
  • If you need to reinforce a position but can’t quite get there in time, send low-strength Heroes like Wolfpup Handlers or Shaman Priestesses on suicide missions to intercept the approaching army. Each extra combat buys you an hour, and when the sacrifice rises from the dead, you get +1 Combat Experience for free.
  • If an Immortal horde could choose between two targets and you can’t defend both at once, send your army to one (Mana Pool or Fortress, given the option) and an Elder Shaman to the other. If the Zombies head for your army, great. If not, it’s barbecue time.
  • Get used to selling your Valour for Gold and Mana, but don’t sell any more than you absolutely need at any given time. The situation could change at a moment’s notice.
  • An army behind Fortress walls with a Vicious Sergeant gets the same buff as Zombie Orcs, so if your troops outnumber the dead, it can be worth engaging in the Desert, even at an abandoned settlement.
  • Use every means necessary to remove population from doomed settlements. Dragon Banners can even be used, with careful movement, to “steal” doomed population out of unclaimed or indefensible cities.
  • Don’t be afraid to use “noncombatants” to win a pitched battle over a critical objective.

Other Races

It’s shameful to admit, but sometimes you might want to put cards from other races in your deck. This could be because it’s a harder mode where you’ll need every possible option available, or because you’re hoping to do something useful with those Goblin cities other than watch them make bank for your war chest, or because you didn’t actually pick the Orcs but there’s an Orc Fortress kind of near your starting town so you’re going to run over there before you really start playing. Whatever your reasoning, here are the cards I feel work best with the Orcs from each inferior race.

Making Use of Other Races


  • 40 Wing Warriors: These guys are absolutely insane if there are any Gryphons on the map. They’re cheap, the buff lasts a day, and they scale globally with living and Immortal Gryphons alike. One squad of these can hold a town pretty much indefinitely if there are a bunch of Plagued Gryphons on the map. Wing Warriors are one of the few units in the game that can occasionally be tougher than your Orcs.
  • 20 Gold Miners: Gold and Valour are the lifeblood of the Orcs. These guys give you more of the former, so they can be worthwhile if you get them early. Their Mana-to-Gold ratio (on average) is the same as a Slavedriver (but the Slavedriver has a shorter cooldown – you pay for the flexibility of actual Gold).
  • Mountain King: If you absolutely have to cross lots of Mountains without Roads, this guy gives you a little extra speed. Unless the map is chock-a-block full of Mountains, though, he’s not worth the deck slot.


  • Tactician: The Tactician gives a big buff in Forests, and as a bonus, he can keep up with your Wolves.
  • Healer: Not that your armies were anemic in any way, but giving all your units an extra 25% saving throw in combat makes even small armies basically unkillable.
  • Dark Forest Witch: Whereas the DFW is a staple of any Elf deck, she’s just candy for the Orcs. Use her like artillery, to soften up any huge stacks before you get into melee with them. Her damage scales linearly with the target population, so you’ll want her to be the first ranged attack you use, so there’s more population to hit. As a bonus, she can often pay back her Mana cost or even generate some, especially on higher difficulty settings.


  • The Tinker: Put this guy with your Wolves and watch him generate Gold for you while you burn graves! Even though he’s a Goblin, he’s definitely worth keeping around.
  • Bounty Hunter: Just like the Tinker, except the Bounty Hunters go with your biggest armies, for the best payouts. Make your combats generate Gold and Valour!
  • Dealer: This card is just stupid good. Bring a few in any game where you’ve got quick access to Goblin settlements. The more players, the better!
  • Spider Rider: This is a marginal card, but it can have merit in some situations. The Spider Rider allows you to return cards to your deck, for redeployment elsewhere in the future. It’s primarily useful for an army that’s sent on a critical mission to a useless part of the map. After they’ve done their job, you can bounce them (for a refund!) rather than watching them trudge across the map for the rest of the game. The Spider Rider can also be used to push population back into civilian life, so when you find yourself with Dwarven Hammers too far from the battlefields, you can sound the Horn of Despair to send them back to work in the Gold mines.


  • Cowardly Noble: He may be a gutless coward, but he can really pile up the Gold with all the Valour you’re earning.
  • Blind Justice: Like the Cowardly Noble, Blind Justice is perfectly suited to life in a civilization so excessively proficient in combat.
  • Enchantress: Once of few strong debuffs in the game, and she can keep pace with your army. Use her to reduce casualties in the big fights, or turn a loss into a victory.


  • Tangle Mage: Not necessarily worth bringing with your army, but a Tangle Mage or two can really speed up an endgame where you’ve cleared out your side of the map, and now you want to get your army fifteen leagues away to fix the mess your allies have made. You can also use them to defend far-flung Mana Pools. They’re intolerably slow, though, so make sure to plan ahead if you see these possibilities developing!
  • Ironshell Sergeant: Like the Tangle Mage, you don’t want to keep this guy with you, but it can be very useful to hire one if you need to defend a Troll town against overwhelming odds.
  • Bridge Witch: As with all the other Trolls, don’t put this slowpoke in your armies. However, her power can be a glorious thing, bringing all the enemies to you instead of forcing you to chase them down in the Swamps. This is the only compulsion effect that’s really justifiable with an army as strong as yours.

The Short Version

Orcs are fantastic melee warriors, with great maneuverability and a whole host of passive unit buffs but no crowd control whatsoever. Their towns are populous but not prosperous, so they rely on Goblin or Dwarven slave towns to generate Gold. In every stage of the game, the Orcs’ primary goal should be to find the biggest Immortal stack around and march out an army to kill it in honorable, if massively one-sided, violence.

Math for nerds

Updated 2018-05-28


I’d suggest adding mana pools to the things elder shamans can torch. Not that it’s always a good play, but sometimes it may be a necessary one.

It was actually in my original draft, until I noticed this Trello card indicating that it’s not intended behavior and will likely be removed soon.

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Sorry for the bump; I’m trying to figure out why I can no longer edit the original post here. @JayKyburz @IHG-BlightedPea Do either of you know why editing seems to be disabled or how to turn it back on? I’d very much like to update this guide, as some of the information isn’t even true anymore.

Wow, a very good and extensive guide, and one I can get behind. Orcs are awesome. If the edit thing gets fixed, maybe add the additional plus to the wolf handler that she’s a lurker: A very fast unit that doesn’t use up your hero summon? That’s an awesome perk if she’s in your first hand of the game (Or even better, if there’s three of her in there :smiley: ) and you can instantly buff a cavalry unit you summon with a handler without having to wait to merge them for a couple of hours.

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Thanks mammon! One of the edits I’ve got on deck is for her, in fact! Any other suggestions while I wait for the editing thing to be resolved? :wink:

@IHG-BlightedPea @JayKyburz It looks like there’s just a post edit time limit setting somewhere in the admin features: Free to edit post at any time - feature - Discourse Meta Would it be possible to set that value to 0 so people can always edit their posts? I don’t feel like there’s a lot of risk of abuse around here.

Sorry @DrBwaa, I totally missed this post in May. If ever you really need to get my attention feel free to email me.

I will have a look for this setting now. (Should be done.)

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