The Top 5 Wargroove Commanders
By Antonio Guillen @hypecaster
Choosing the right commander in Wargroove is critical.
When playing versus mode on symmetrical maps, choosing your commander might be the only differential between you and your opponent. Of course everything else comes down to an outright battle of wits, but you might as well try to pick a good commander to give you an edge.
We’ve tested each of the 12 commanders on offer to find which were the most practical and ranked them, taking into consideration their mobility, durability, strength... and cuteness.
But let’s kick things off with a few general tips for victory…
1. Strike First
Remember that striking first is invaluable because a unit’s remaining HP is directly tied to their offensive strength (more on that later).
It’s best to place each unit with purpose and complete these mini-objectives as quickly as possible: Start with capturing villages for income, take key choke points on the map, build a solid defence with ranged units in the mix, and finally, gather a mobile force of offensive units.
2. Get Moving
Mobility is key. Transport units (Wagons, Balloons, and Barges) are relatively inexpensive but the speed at which they allow you to move units great distances is invaluable. Don’t underestimate the power of taking valuable ground first or setting up a blitz attack the enemy never saw coming. Doubly powerful if fog of war is in effect.
3. Survey the Battlefield
In most scenarios, win conditions include killing the opponent’s commander or capturing their stronghold. Remember that winning a match depends on landing one crucial blow to these units so always be mindful of their health and position on the battlefield.
It may be tempting to constantly go on the offensive (aggression is generally rewarded) but don’t get carried away. We learned the hard way that if use your commander to lead the charge its very easy to overextend yourself and leave yourself open to a devastating counter-attack.
4. Study up
Understanding the damage matrix inside and out is huge. Knowing how much damage each unit can inflict on an enemy unit will help you spend your gold as efficiently as possible when building your army. It may seem obvious but, if you see your opponent favouring a particular type of unit, be sure to build up units that can effectively counter them with critical attacks.
5. Wound Enemies
You don’t have to kill every enemy. If you leave enemy units at low health their attack power is nerfed and they can remain a strategic barrier. Try leaving enemy units gimped at a bottleneck and watch your opponent have to deal with the traffic.
So, without further delay, here are our picks for the top five Wargroove commanders.
Groove: Elder Shield
Description: Emeric deploys a magical gem. Its aura provides a defensive bonus to all nearby friendly units.
Charge Speed: Fast
It may be tempting to focus on offence in Wargroove, but being able to setup a solid defence against an incoming siege attack is incredibly important. Emeric’s Elder Shield places a crystal that grants up to 24 surrounding units in its area a +3 terrain defensive bonus.
It may seem like slight bump, but when used correctly that extra protection can help you outlast your opponent during a key skirmish or contribute to a sustainable offensive push.
Keep in mind that all alchemists in range are able to deliver critical hits, giving units typically used to counter air units and grant healing, an offensive edge - hopefully when your opponent least expects it!
Groove: Healing Aura
Description: Mercia raises her sword to the sky and heals all surrounding units by 50%
Charge Speed: Fast
Mercia’s groove is incredible. Being able to heal multiple units in a pinch has clear advantages but her Healing Aura also features a killer combination of fast recharge speed and a large area of effect.
Keep in mind that Mercia not only heals up to 24 friendly units in that large AoE, but she also restores her own health. This can be extremely useful when going toe-to-toe with an opposing commander potentially giving you just enough power at the right time to win a match.
Groove: Wild Growth
Description: Greenfinger picks five tiles within a range of five on which to instantaneously grow vines, blocking enemy movement.
Charge Speed: Medium
Never underestimate how much controlling movement on the battlefield can impact a game. If your enemy can’t reach you they can’t attack you. If they can’t escape, then it’s game over.
With Wild Growth, Greenfinger can spawn vines to create key choke points on a map, or generate a defensive wall around valuable (and expensive) units.
Trebuchets are powerful units but they suffer from a unique vulnerability issue, they can’t move and attack in the same turn. Try moving them into position and then surrounding them with vines to give them a chance to fire off a few decisive volleys.
We’ve won plenty of battles with the pin-down method. If your opponent makes the mistake of using their commander too aggressively you can use vines to cut off their escape. Simply keeping a commander in range long enough for more of your units to surround them makes for an easy kill.
Groove: Shield Jump
Description: Ragna leaps into the air. Upon landing she deals 65% of the damage she would inflict at full health to surrounding units.
Charge Speed: Slow
Ragna is by far the most versatile commander, her Shield Jump offers a perfect mix of range and power that can be used to keep herself alive or unleash destruction.
Normally, you should be extra careful when using your valuable commander to attack on the frontlines, but with the ability to leap out of danger if things get too hairy, Ragna has much more leeway.
Offensively, Ragna’s Shield Jump is even more impressive, as it deals a significant amount of splash damage to up to 24 enemy units!
As we mentioned before, weakened enemies are at a significant disadvantage, so being able to lay the smack down on so many units at once can really turn the tide of battle.
Description: Caesar's majestic presence inspires all adjacent units to dig deeper and have a second go.
Charge Speed: Medium
Was there any ever any doubt? For the record the honour of Top Commander wasn’t awarded on cute-factor alone. With the ability to reset up to four surrounding allies for a second turn, Caesar is by far the most lethal commander in the game.
Normally powerful units with limited movement range can be weakened or countered before they get a chance to attack. With Inspire you can use your first move to close the gap to a valuable target, then have Caesar inspire them to strike again in the same turn!
Better yet, if you’re already in attack range, even a few cheap Archers can pummel an opposing commander or stronghold and then recharge for a devastating second volley.
We’ve had the most success with this pup and you’d be hard pressed to make an argument that any other commander has a better groove for ending a game quickly.
In the end you should choose a commander that best suits your personal playstyle - though if you’re anything like us, the cute pup was going to be your pick every time, regardless of where he landed on this list.
Win or lose we are loving our time with the game and we’re excited that it’s both a critical and commercial success. The news that developer/publisher Chucklefish recouped development costs after only 3 days of sales was very welcome, if not at all surprising.
On top of that, everything they’ve said hints at a bright future of patches and DLC. In Chucklefish’s February AMA on Reddit the developer was fairly tight lipped when asked about the possibility of commanders and factions being added to the game, but they are undoubtedly aware that its a popular request.
So who knows, maybe we’ll get some new factions with another lethal commander that can challenge Caesar for his crown! For now though, the goodest of boys is definitely our top pick.
That’s all folks. We hope this information helps lead you to victory. Best of luck out there on the battlefield!
Antonio specialises in video production, audio engineering and graphic design, and co-hosts the Switch Talk podcast. The Switch has brought him back to his first love: Nintendo. He turns to gaming for escapism, gravitating towards RPGs, FPS and Action/Adventure games. His favourite game of all time is Super Mario World.