This article shall help you to build a powerful army quickly. Such an army can be the key to beat opponents you can't beat in duels. I assume you know the basics about PVP, otherwise invading is covered here. There you can also find a formula about attacking strength of an army:
Attacking strength =
(Army size) * (Player Attack stat + 70% Player Defense stat)
+ (Total Attack of soldiers, weapons, equipment, spells and generals)
+ (70% Total Defense of soldiers, weapons, equipment, spells and generals)
+ % luck factor
For defense, just exchange attack by defense and vice versa. The three important factors are army size, player stats and army elements (soldiers to spells and generals), I try to cover them one by one in the following.
Army size is the first important factor. A bigger army allows you to use your stats more and it allows more soldiers etc.. Make sure you raise it to 501 (standard maximum size) quickly. This can be done by adding people in Facebook, sending them a gift (or army invite) and waiting till they accept. There are Facebook groups specialized on this, otherwise you can look into this thread of the official forums: []. Also you can find other players in monster battles and the forums in general, joining a (preferably large and active) guild helps too.
If you don't want to keep some people as your Facebook (FB) friends, you can remove them as soon as they became your army members. Just keep in mind there are a lot of advantages for having many CA friends in FB, like getting many gifts or the opportunity to join their monsters. Some rewards are directly bound to army size, like the Feats of Strength or the damage bonus at Ragnarok, so removing people from FB does not help you.
Finally you can improve the maximum army size to 521 or 541 if you use the right general. Chase can be achieved by doing Deathrune Siege raids till you got 25,000 battle hearts which needs a lot of patience though. Alternatives come from the old Alpha Chest: Artanis, Crom and Mephistopheles. Mephistopheles is the only general who increases maximum army size to 541, the three others only increase it to 521. The bonus of 20 or 40 doesn't seem much, but it means an advantage of (up to) 4% respective 8% on other generals, a lot for CA standards. For many characters this is better than using the popular PVP generals Malekus, Corvintheus, Xira, Halcyon and Evalice.
Attack and defense stats
Your attack and defense are the second important factor. They are trump in duels, and they are still important in invasions. If you are more active in PVP (for instance trying to climb the rank ladder fast), focus more on attack. If you are rather passive (for instance playing on weekends only), focus more on defense. Make sure you finish the Training Grounds early for cheap +5 attack and +5 defense.
There is a rule of thumb: A PVPer (high BSI, meaning: (attack + defense) / level > 5) gets 95% of his invading strength from attack and defense, a monster hunter (low BSI, 2 or less) still 90%. Of course there are exceptions, but you get the idea, the sum of both stats is important. Despite this you can make it to Prince with a BSI of about 3, through invading with Chase. At least this is my personal experience.
As pointed out above, soldiers etc. ("army elements") are not that important in general. However, they can help to turn close battles into wins and to spend less precious skillpoints on attack and defense. Especially at low level a quickly built strong army can be a very powerful tool to overcome your opponents. These are recommended tactics on the road to such an army:
1. Achieve battle rank 12 and war rank 3 as soon as possible, to build a solid base line.
2. Improve the base line by easily lootable but powerful elements.
Units have the highest stats among the elements, so focusing on them first helps. Weapons and items add mediocre amounts to army strength, while magic helps much less. Generals are negligible according to the formula, which might not be intuitive at all.
Since soldiers are important, you can beef your army with a lot of Phonenixes (20/16), at least as far as you can afford it financially. As soon as Valor Knight / Barbarian Captain are available (see below), Phoenixes can be replaced by them.
You can achieve Battle Rank 12 by duelling, invading or a mix of both. Since you read this guide, invasion will likely be your preference. Rank 6 allows buying the soldier Valor Knight (22 attack/18 defense), rank 9 the magic / spell Championship Aura (3/3) and rank 12 the item Commanders Plate (7/7). You can ignore the weapon Gladiator Sword (5/4) from rank 3 since Ornate Axe (7/7) for war rank 3 is clearly better.
At rank 15, 18 and 21 you can buy more powerful soldiersand items, but the improvement is not that big. The only notable exception is the Battle Rank 18 Royal seal, letting you upgrade your lowest magic (which should be the 3/3 Championship Aura), to the 5/5 Royal Seal. Since good magic is hard to get in great numbers, this should be one of your priority once you have access to it. Don't be disapointted this 5/5 comes so late, you will need it in the invasion option of Conquest Duel, during Arenas, and in DeathRune Raids. And, well, in defending against others' Invasions !
War Rank 3 offers Ornate Axe (7/7), as said. The soldier Barbarian Captain (23/20 and no upkeep!) at rank 6 and the spell Arcane Blast (4/4) at rank 9 are nice alternatives to the battle rewards, but ranking up in war needs a lot of stamina and it's not that easy to find beatable opponents with a high rank. Higher rank rewards sound powerful, but usually come very late. If you are interested in war, check Strategy Guides/War Council Formations.
Looting powerful army elements
Probably the most efficient way to boost your army composition are Vincent battles. You have to join a guild to fight him, but the basic version will give you 2 or 3 epics for only 20,000 damage. Any epic and rare from him helps to improve above the base line, with the highlights being the soldier Orc Champion (50/50), the weapon Exsanguinator (32/22) and the spell Swarm of Darkness (20/16). Alpha Vincent needs more activity for same results, but is probably more popular because you can create a general from his exclusive legendary loot. So expect to do more than 20,000, still the effort is low.
If you don't like guilds or need some variety, older world monsters are an alternative. Genesis, Skaar and Ragnarok drop one nice epic for a bit more than 500,000 activity, also the rares can be helpful. A few million activity at Bahamut, Azriel and Red Plains can also result in decent epics and rares. Hunting Cronus, normal Bahamut and Alpha Bahamut for some time will improve your soldier collection.
Additionally there are a couple Gifts which can raise your baseline equipment used, making your invasions a bit stronger. Best Alchemy Recipes are :
Any gift parts that are no longer useful should be given to Kobo in the Goblin Emporium. He takes any gift that *doesn't* have atk/def stats (even if they're zeroes). He will give you lots of low grade stuff, but sometimes offers nice rewards, like Deathshield (24/24) or Deathrune Hellplate (18/27), and is the only source for Serene, Serene's Arrow and Celesta's Devotion.
If you have a solid gifting-friend base, the most helpful army additions are Conqueror's War Helm (12/14 item from Legacy Malekus gift) and Moltensteel Blade (17/12 weapon from Legacy Malekus gift). It's a lot of gifting but doesn't cost you any stamina or energy.
Don't scoff at these low stats items. By upgrading your lower tiers items, you can boost your effective attack and defense by thousands.
Not recommended sources
Bigger monsters drop powerful army elements, but they are too expensive, the ratio between their stats and the invested stamina + energy is low. Likely you will fight these monsters anyway for their top loot, so enjoy a slight army boost from the drops as a nice little side-effect.
Also there are some single time opportunities to earn something for your army, like Reinforcements as well as Demi-Power blessing, arena and Duel Champion rewards. While the single item may be powerful, it doesn't add much to your army in general. One point of player attack adds more than the powerful soldiers Gehenna (115/115) and Typhonus (125/125) together (+501/+521/+541 compared to +408=+115+115*0.7+125+125*0.7).
Chest contents and monthly generals (especially their gear) add a bit to army strength, but this costs a lot of favor points. Stamina / energy refills help you level up which has a much higher benefit for your army. Buy chest pulls if you want the top generals or the guild abilities, the tiny army boost from the items will be a side-effect. Buying the gear of monthly generals usually makes no sense (keep in mind: you could refill multiple times instead), so especially don't do this just to boost your army.
For players with level over 300
If you have an army of 501, and no special general to increase your army, and we can imagine that you can get 501 of these (impossible for the general and the soldier) :
- Best Weapon : Living Death 69.6 total ATK
- Best Equipment : Mandible Crown 113.5 total ATK
- Best Spell : Whirlpool 56.6 total ATK
- Best General : Gale 66.2 total ATK
- Best Soldier : Urmek 252 total ATK
It means : (69.6+113.5+56.6+66.2+252)*501=557,9*501=279'508
With Player ATK=1000 and Player DEF=1000 :
In reality, with "normal" equipements and soldiers :
It means: (20+20+20+20+20)*501=557,9*501=50'100 => ~5% of total invasion for player ATK=1000/DEF=1000
Conclusion: Invade is close to Duel if you are a player with LVL>300
Get an invasion general (Chase / Artanis / Crom / Mephistopheles).
Have at least mediocre attack and defense (BSI like 3 or higher).
Rank up in battle and war to be able to buy numerous strong army elements.
Refine them by drops from Vincent and older world monsters.