Guild Battles combines the competitiveness of PvP with the team work found in monster hunting. The great thing about guild battles is that every fight is different from the other. There are a lot of guilds that your guild can fight against. Every guild is also trying hard to improve themselves (adding more to their attack/defense stats, buying Deianira and Resistances, recruiting more powerful players from other guilds, setting up new gate formations). So even if your guild gets to face the same guild more than once, you may find that each encounter is different.
To start with, there is really no perfect, absolute strategy when it comes to guild wars. This guide only provides a few guild war tactics and maneuvers that your guild can use and modify so that it fits to your style. Whether these tactics would be effective for your team or not depends on your guild members themselves: their build and availability whenever there is an engagement.
Communicate with your Guild
The most important aspect of guilds in general is communication between members. During guild battles, communicate with your guildmates on your battle strategy like which gate to hit, when to hit, share about who you can beat, who is going to hit who etc. You don't want to be a divided group when you are up against a strong, active adversary.
There are two types of battle arena that uses the Guild Battle system: Festival Battles and regular Guild Battle Auto Matches. Both of these uses the basic premise of guild battles. However, there are a few rule changes between them and it would or wouldn't affect a guild's battle plan depending on the guild's strength and availability.
Guild Battle Auto Matches - This is the regular guild battle. It lasts for 5 hours and allows the guild to opt in whenever they feel like it. Due to the long battle duration, most guilds use it as a place to farm guild coins to purchase guild class abilities from the guild shop as that is the main prize of battling in this arena. Leaderboard rankings also depend on the number of guild points/guild coins the guild has accumulated.
Festival Battles - This battle lasts for an hour and is automatically generated based on the preferred time set by the individual guilds. Farming is ill-advised as only victory is important in this arena. The leaderboard and prizes (new banners with various effects, new weapon, new unit) are awarded only to guilds with a high win ratio. The stun level is also increased to 200 health.
Note: Arena Season 3 used the Festival Battle format although it allowed token refills. It has now been concluded and not available to battle in.
Remember to set your class before the guild battle is initiated. Once the fight starts, you can't change your class for the current battle anymore. Communicate with your guild on your schedule so you could change classes if you need to (esp. if you are switching to Rogue or from Mage for Guild Monsters).
Cleric - Clerics heal and revive weakened and stunned allies, affecting your guild score. They have 2 good support generals and with a Heal ability that can turn the tide of the battle if used correctly. They are essential in any guild battle, especially for small guilds. It's hard to imagine a team without clerics winning consistently. It is recommended that your strongest guild members play in guild battles as clerics.
Mage - The class to counter cleric healing with their splash damage. Very important in gate-clearing situations. They have the best support general out of all the 4 classes. You can take down enemies you can't beat by using mages, through regular gate damage or Polymorph. If a guild has high participation, excellent coordination and decent builds, having several mages can effectively nuke most gates or two at the start of the battle with their gate damage.
Rogue - This class can save you tokens by dealing more damage to an enemy, especially so if they have insane health (3000+). Their support general, Deshara, allows them to effectively counter enemy Resistance upgrade (up to level 4) if they are using it and works well with Mage's Polymorph. They also have two excellent support abilities in Evade and Poison. Their other support general, Raziel, is not preferable over Deshara for most of the battle but he could be very handy during late enemy suicide rallies. High attack builds (aka glass cannons) are more fit to take this class, although pure defense builds (aka walls) with a very strong build can be good rogues as well.
Warrior - Ineffective before, but becoming a force nowadays. Warriors are seemingly the "experts only" class that relies on setting up their class powers and general instead of their innate ability to be truly effective. They have two useful generals in Ameron and Oberon. Their support abilities are for increasing damage that, if set-up right, can truly be devastating especially in festival battles. They are still vulnerable on defense (suiciders) but warriors can't be underestimated now.
If you are trying to farm for coins/points, avoid rogues and mages. Stick to clerics so you can prolong the battle until the 5 hour limit. Warrior is also a good choice but considering you won't have healing abilities as warriors, your opponents may stomp you out and end the battle early thus preventing you to efficiently farm. If you do choose Warrior, don't use Whirlwind, Shout and Leadership.
If you are looking for quick take downs, go with rogues and mages with a few fully decked warriors (if you have) and support clerics. Try to set-up your warriors in-between your rogues for shout/leadership. Recommended to let the Rogues attack first (those with Ambush/Backstab), then bombard with the mages. Clean up with the rest. Save a few tokens from a few mages in case you need to cast Polymorph to seal a gate.
Resistance - Resistance lowers the damage you take by 10-40 depending on level. Considering you can only heal via cleric victories, this upgrade is a necessity to be able to last long in guild battles. Resistance can be bought at the Guild Shop.
Whirlwind - A very useful skill for Warriors. It allows them to also hit enemies adjacent to their target. Ameron amplifies those damages if he is equipped. Good in guild battles, much better in the shortened festival battles.
Shout - A great, opening card for Warriors. Only affects the one or two player(s) beside the warrior in the same gate plus it doesn't stack. Use this at the start then switch back to Whirlwind or Resistance. Shout can be bought at the Guild Shop.
Leadership - See Shout. Leadership can be obtained from the Annihilator Chest and can be created via alchemy.
Confidence - Follow-up to Shout/Leadership. Win the next 5 attacks to get a perma +50 to your damage then switch to Resistance + Whirlwind and keep spinning on three enemies...with confidence! Confidence can be bought at the Guild Shop.
Evade - A great skill for Rogues. It gives them a chance to take no damage from duels offensively and defensively. Suicide strikers will now think twice in hitting them. Combined with Resistance (for Class Level 4+) and Dahpne or Raziel, rogues can truly annoy the attacking enemies. Evade can be bought at the Guild Shop.
Ambush - A limited but useful ability early in guild fights. Only activates when the Rogue attacks an opponent with Full Health. Rogue attacker must be fast so he can hit the enemies before they go on the offensive themselves. Must also coordinate with the guild so that clerics and mages stand back for a while as to not ruin the "ambush". Ambush can be bought at the Guild Shop.
Backstab - See Ambush. Backstab can be obtained from the Annihilator Chest and can be created via alchemy.
Poison - An excellent skill for Rogues. This bleeds targets for extra damage as long as tokens are used by or on the inflicted target (until he/she is stunned). Also inflicted on the attack so Rogues deal regular damage as they are poisoning the enemy. Truly a killer. Lasts for 5 rounds but can be reapplied. Poison can be bought at the Guild Shop.
Polymorph - A good upgrade that allows players to defeat an otherwise unbeatable opponent. Costs 1 token to cast and the caster must not be stunned. The polymorph target's next attack will also be ineffective if he attacks before the auto-win attack can get him. If you are almost done cleaning a very active gate and there is a tough cleric that no one in your guild can beat, use Polymorph and get a Rogue (with a level 4 Deshara if possible) to hit him. Also, late in the game you can use this skill to block enemy attacks and help in preventing damage to your team. Also excellent tool for farming. Polymorph can be bought at the Guild Shop.
Magic Barrier - A decent but generally limited use ability for Mages. Soaks up damage for x attacks or 1 hour (either offensively of defensively), which ever comes first. Costs 1 token to cast and applicable only to the caster him/herself. Better than suiciding and could be used as a distraction during late game rallies. Magic Barrier can be bought at the Guild Shop.
Mana Shield - See Magic Barrier. Mana Shield can be obtained from the Annihilator Chest and can be created via alchemy.
Confuse - A decent interrupt skill for Mages. Costs 1 token to cast and the caster must not be stunned. The confused target has a chance to attack him/herself, rendering his attack useless. Lasts for 5 rounds but can be reapplies. Confuse can be bought at the Guild Shop.
Heal - An nice upgrade in special situations. Costs 1 token per use and the user and target must not be stunned. Instead of attacking other players to heal your guildmates, just directly heal them for a much larger amount of health per token. This is mainly used when trying to bring up your score if you don't have enough token to bring down the opponent's score. Using Elaida increases the heal effect. Very, very important for clerics in festival battles. Heal can be bought at the Guild Shop.
Dispel - A decent ability for Clerics which may become more valuable with the release of the guild shop buffs of confusion and poison.. Dispel removes polymorph or other buffs from an inflicted ally and heals them for 20 health. Costs 1 token to cast. The choice to dispel or simply break the buff by spending token(s) is a judgement call. Dispel can be bought at the Guild Shop.
Cleanse - See Dispel. Cleanse I and II can be obtained from the Annihilator Chest Cleanse III can be created via alchemy and heals for 35 points.
Fortitude - A nice opener move for clerics. Costs 1 token to use and caster and target must not be stunned. Can only be used once per ally. Fortitude extends a targets health and heals them at the same time. Very useful for small guilds especially in festival battles. Fortitude can be bought at the Guild Shop.
Might - This upgrade gives +1 to +4 ATT and DEF depending on level. The boost is not really impressive although it still has a situational use. If you encounter an enemy that is your equal (i.e. out of 10 tokens, you won 5 and lost 5 against that person), this upgrade may be able to turn the luck factor into your favor. Of course, you can always ask a stronger guildmate to stomp that guy out but if ever you have to do it yourself (i.e. you are the strongest in your guild or your stronger guildmates are offline or out of tokens and you need to hit this guy), this tool may come in handy. Might was available via the Powerstone Gift Promo that ended on December 9, 2010.
Try to equip your best attack boosting general when attacking (Xira, Aurora, Azriel, Malekus, Elora etc.) and your best defending general when on stand by (Halcyon, Corvintheus, Ambrosia, Celesta). If you are confident of your stats on getting a victory, you could use other "effect" generals:
A great all-around guild battle general. She adds 20 more damage to your output regardless whether you win or lose. So even if you are sure that you will lose, it is better to put up Deianira so you can chip a bit more health from your enemy. Best suicide attack general. It's also worth noting that Rogues' Evade cannot prevent her bonus damage. Deianira also gives a +10% Damage Rune bonus in Guild Battles (+30 damage and +15% Rune Dmg at Level 50)
A great general when defending. Daphne at level 4 subtracts 20 damage from the total that you took and throws it back to your attacker. Works really well for Rogues as an alternative to Raziel combined with Evade. Very strong clerics and mages may choose Sanna/Zurran (if they have) over her for their gate abilities.
General for extreme situations. Tyxeros at level 4 randomized your damage output from 0-340 (0-170 if stunned). If you have the enemy completely pummeled, you can use him for fun. If you are losing but still have a small window of opportunity to steal a win, use him as a desperation move to reverse the score but only after you have exhausted all your cleric Heals.
General for Warriors. Ameron amplifies the damage Warriors do to adjacent enemies when performing Whirlwind. Use him instead of the Keira with Signet of Keira combo as Whirlwind is much better than the Warrior innate ability. He is an epic chest general from the Annihilator Chest though so you'll need some luck and FP (and maybe a few more) to land him.
General for Rogues. Deshara at level 4 improves your Rogue extra damage by 40 points. Use her instead of the Lotus with Signet of Lotus combo. She's also your best general to make your auto-win attack if you opt to use Polymorph.
Raziel the Silent
General for Rogues. Raziel at level 4 improves Evade activation rate by 6%. Consider using him when your enemies are staging late game rallies, especially so if they are suiciding. For the other 50-min (Festival) or 4 hour (regular Guild Battles) that you'll have to sit on defense, Deshara or Daphne could take his place. He is an epic chest general from the Annihilator Chest though so you'll need some luck and FP (and maybe a few more) to land him.
General for Mages. Zurran at level 4 improves Mage splash damage by 8, bringing it to a nice +18 output. Stomp out Sanna revived opponents with this guy. Use him instead of the Sylvana with Signet of Sylvana combo. He is an epic chest general from the Annihilator Chest though so you'll need some luck and FP (and maybe a few more) to land him.
General for Clerics. Sanna at level 4 improves your healing by 4 points. It may not mean much but in the long run it adds up and would cost your enemies a few more tokens than normal to bring your health down again. Use Sanna when your gate really needs healing like if a lot of members have half health or less. When reviving stunned players, she will force an enemy "clean-up mage" to use 2 tokens to re-stun instead of 1 if they don't have Zurran. Use her instead of the Azriel with Signet of Azriel combo. She is more efficient and much, much, much easier (maybe even cheaper) to obtain.
General for Clerics. Elaida at level 4 improves your healing with the Heal ability (the one bought at the Guild Shop) by 25. This is useful in late game rallies when trying to bring up your score. Don't leave Elaida on the defense, her ability is not tied with the Cleric innate ability (the +10 to the entire gate upon victory). She is your crunchtime player. She is an epic chest general from the Annihilator Chest though so you'll need some luck and FP (and maybe a few more) to land her.
The generals Vincent, Crissana, Serylius and Serene as well as Darius, Severin and Sanna, if you have their equipment, modify your health stats. You can use these to give you a boost (or handicap) in guild battles. Before the battle starts, equip either Vincent, Crissana, Serylius, Darius (if you have his Terran Plate), Severin (if you have his Truthseeker Pendant) or Sanna (if you have her Saintly Robes) to increase your health for guild battles. Avoid equipping Serene as she decreases it but if you like to give yourself some handicap, you are free to do so. Vincent will give +150 health @ level 4, Crissana and Serylius will give +40 @ level 4, Darius with his armor will give +80, Severin and his amulet will give +50, Sanna with her armor will give +30 while Serene will deduct 140 from your max. Among these generals, Darius is the most accessible and is also the second best health modifier.
Setting your gate up correctly is your first line of defense in guild battles. Most guilds like to set-up a "pillar gate", which consists of the guilds' strongest and most active members. They are mostly made of clerics, with a few mages for anti-cleric attacks on enemy gates.
Even with the "pillar gate", it's good to have all gates covered so the enemy will not have a "freebie" in the form of a weak, inactive gate. Try to set up a few strong (cleric) members in the other gates, so that they will not fall easily, and force the enemy to spend more tokens on trying to kill off that gate.
People who are online at similar times should be placed together into one gate. This is so that they can actively support each other during guild battles. With no supporting guildmates from the same gate, a single active player can spend the rest of the battle stunned. Unless you are trying to farm, stunned active players are never good.
If your guild is small (less than 25-30 members), you wouldn't have to worry much about this one.
This is where we cover different battle tactics you can employ during guild battles.
Hit the clerics first
The only good enemy cleric is a stunned enemy cleric. Hitting and stunning the clerics first means that they won't be able to heal and revive allies and thus lock their score into place. The active ones should take priority, so that you won't have to deal with their healing as you begin your attack. It is recommended to focus on one gate at a time. If your active players are outnumbered on a gate, evaluate your situation. If you feel your team can't keep up with their numbers, move on to a different gate where you have more control over who gets and stays stunned.
This is a tactic employed when an enemy cleric suddenly enters the battle and starts healing his/her stunned gatemates (or if one of your guild members loses to an inactive cleric). Use a mage's splash damage to save tokens and re-stun those revived players. It's also quite handy when suicide striking a cleric (if you have no other choice left) for the same reason as before.
If you are on the receiving end of this tactic, you can use Sanna to heal and revive your guildmates. This will force mages to spend two tokens instead of one to re-stun you. With two attacks, your resuscitated guildmates can use the delay in between attacks to start attacking/healing again before the enemy mage can finish the clean-up.
Mage Bombing / Rogue Slaughter
For guilds that are mostly mages or rogues. Requires great coordination, high participation and decently strong builds to effectively run. The key is to overrun an enemy gate (or two) with your mages/rogues before they can disable you. Rogues can choose to pick on only actives instead of a single gate clearing.
Even if your weak guildmate can't defeat anyone on the opposing guild, they can still assist you by continually losing or "suiciding" against players to lower their health count, thus affecting their score. Use Deianira to increase your damage. The best class to suicide against is the Warrior, as it's ability is individual-based. Other than getting only half damage, there is absolutely no harm in throwing yourselves at this class.
The mages are a bit dangerous, as they can damage your gate with their splash damage ability. Try to avoid getting a guildmate stunned when suiciding on mages. Rogues are also very dangerous if they have Evade active. You may end up wasting tokens for no damage done. It's recommended to leave them alone and only hit them last when you have no other targets to hit. Clerics are the worst class to employ this tactic. Only do this if you must, for instance, when you have to stun a certain player to finally lock their gate out of the fight. If there are already stunned players on the opposing gate, try to get a mage for clean up so you could have control of the gate, especially if there are active clerics just waiting for the chance to use their tokens against your guild.
The Polymorph ability can be an alternative to this tactic; try to prioritize by hitting the clerics first if you choose this plan of attack.
Stock and Awe
This method involves stocking tokens, instead of using them up as soon as you get them. How many tokens you want or need to stock will depend on your situation. For example, an enemy gate has 4 active but weakened clerics. Stock 4 tokens and stun them all in quick succession before they have a chance to heal themselves.
On a large scale, try to get your guild to use this tactic and eliminate an enemy gate or two in one swift strike.
Sit and Wait
Similar to the tactic above (Stock and Awe), this involves waiting for the right opportunity to strike. Use one token up so you maximize your regen, then wait for the enemy to start throwing their tokens in. You can then pick your target/s (among the enemies that entered the battle) and bring them down, preferably their whole gate if possible. Be careful, because once you use your first token you identify yourself to your opponents as an "active" player for that current battle and may be attacked because of your active status!
It's also recommended to have a few tokens in hand in case of emergencies or a quick tactic maneuver: e.g. if you need to use Heal on a stunned ally gate, or you need to splash a revived enemy gate.
Playing it Safe
Although somewhat underhanded, as well as dishonourable in my book, this is a tactic that is not prohibited by the game's rules. You can choose to test your target first by engaging him to battle outside the guild war. Go to the guild page of your adversaries and find the keep link of your target. Duel him/her and see if you can win. If you can, unleash your tokens in the guild fight. If not, pick another target. Your tokens are limited so make them count.
Be warned that by doing this, you can turn a friendly guild battle into an ugly bickering between right and wrong. Most players consider 'testing' to be cheating and nobody likes a cheater. Keep that in mind if you plan on using this tactic.
Here's the way you can do this.
After the battle has begun, hit the 'Guild' button next to 'Gift/Army'. Then, under 'Main', hit the 'Battle' button. You should see something like this: "You Guild Master and Officers have declared WAR on XXXXXXXXXX. ATTACK NOW!". XXXXXXXXXX is the link to your opponent's guild. Hit that link and look for your desired target in the list and challenge him/her to a duel.
These are not really tactics but just general tips on how to approach different situations in guild battles.
No need to Stun
If the clock is ticking down and your scores are close, choose targets that are low in health and try to weaken them below 200 health. There's no need to stun them as being below 200 counts them as "out" in the guild score. Use your remaining tokens on other targets. Use Mage Suppression to keep them below 200 in case the clerics in the same gate are going all out trying to get themselves back above 200 health. Of course, if there is still pleny of time left, you have to stun.
Do not tempt fate
Unless you are intentionally trying to farm guild coins/points efficiently, do not lose to a healthy inactive cleric when there are already stunned active clerics on the same gate. If you are unsure of a victory, avoid attacking clerics. Tell your guildmates to do the same. You do not want to undo the work of keeping those actives down. Tokens are limited in guild battles, so try to not waste them by reviving the enemy yourself. Attack non-clerics, or move on to a different gate with no stuns yet. You can also ask one of your mages to assist you as a security measure in case you lose.
Polymorph and Deshara
As stated before, the Mage Polymorph ability is most efficient when used in cooperation with a Rogue with a level 4 Deshara. Since you are sure of victory on your next attack, it's best to have a Rogue hit your target. He will deal an additional 100 damage. If he has a level 4 Deshara equipped, the extra damage will become 140. That is almost equivalent to two attacks.
All Four Classes Working Together!
This formation aims to get the highest amount damage one can inflict in a guild battle. It's needs a lot of attention and coordination to pull off effectively. May not be worth it, but it's fun to try. One of each class is needed for this set-up, though 2 clerics are preferred for convenience in case you run into Deianira. The Warrior must have Leadership III and must be strong enough to win offensively. The Rogue must have Backstab III, Deshara. The Mage needs Polymorph and a high enough attack to successfully inflict it. The Cleric(s) must be strong enough to win when attacking as well, although they can be substituted with Heal.
Have the Warrior and Rogue placed next to each other on a gate. The two Clerics must be in the same gate as well; although, if using the Heal alternative, they can be in other gates. The Mage can be wherever. Have the Warrior attack first and successfully trigger Leadership III. The Rogue will now have +12 damage bonus together with +70 from Backstab III, +100 from a victory and +40 from Deshara for a total +222 extra damage. To ensure a winning hit, have the Mage use Polymorph on a target. Once Polymorphed, have the Rogue unleash pain on the defenseless enemy. Heal with clerics if needed.
In Arena 3, the damage is even higher with the +50 Reinforcement bonus. But, since the players and gate placements are random, it's nearly impossible to set-up.
Warriors may have crap innate ability but they can still be very effective if you have all the cards properly set-up. It is recommended to have all Warrior skills for the optimal set-up, but if you don't you can still make do with what you have. Equip Oberon before the battle starts. Have Shout/Leadership + Whirlwind and/or Resistance (depends on your class level). Once it starts, equip Ameron or Deianira (if you don't have the epic general). Attack to trigger Shout/Leadership then swap it with Confidence. Get 5 victories and you're all set. Just keep using Whirlwind from here onwards. If you aren't at level 5 yet to equip 3 abilities, you can swap out Confidence to have Whirlwind + Resistance equipped. Otherwise, you can just leave it there if you like or equip Might if you have. Additionally, it helps your team if you can set two Rogues beside your Warrior.
If you would like to share your own tactics in guild battles, feel free to do add to this guide.