How to play Knalgans

From Wesnoth

General Knalgan strategies

The Knalgans have perhaps the greatest tactical flexibility of any faction. Because of this, there is no one way to play the Knalgans. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your personality. You can use dwarves for power and defense and outlaws for movement and low prices.

  • Dwarvish Fighter: It can take more hits than most units, making it a great defender. It also has two damage types, making it offensively versatile. It shares the downsides of all dwarves: slow movement (though few terrains slow it down) and low defense on non-specialized terrain.
  • Dwarvish Thunderer: Although powerful, it can just as easily do no damage at all, making this a tricky unit to know how to use. Fortunately, it is almost as durable as the fighter.
  • Dwarvish Ulfserker: This utility unit has value in many match-ups. It will ensure that either its opponent or it dies. Thus, it has a 100% kill chance against a non-melee unit such as the dark adept, and a very high kill chance against many non-melee-centric units, such as the Mage, Saurian Augur, Bowman, Elvish Shaman, and a wide variety of others. The problem is that your opponent can very easily kill an Ulfserker: they will lose to any dedicated melee unit unless very exceptional circumstances are in play (traits, extreme defensive differences (remember that the ulf cannot get nearly as high defensive values as the Dwarvish fighter, for example), starting hitpoints, time of day, or a combination of the above). Since it is an expensive unit, letting an elvish fighter kill your ulf out of the blue is unwise: however if he just killed a Mage and in killing the ulf the fighter is severely weakened, this is obviously a good trade for you. When using Ulfs, plan how you want them to kill and how you want them to die.
  • Footpad: Opinions on the footpad vary widely. In this guide you will not see them recommended often, but many good players consider these a staple unit of the Knalgans. Regardless, this is not a unit you should overrecruit or your offensive power will be very low. It has excellent defense where your dwarves might be very vulnerable and you might not want to risk your more costly riders. Use it for it's great ZoC abilities even if its offense isn't high-powered.
  • Poacher: Also a very useful unit for the Knalgans, this unit provides a reliable ranged attack to counterbalance the power of the thunderer, plus it fills many useful hexes (notably forests and swamps) well.
  • Thief: This unit is possibly the highest damage-dealing unit in your arsenal when used correctly. A strong thief at night does 12-3 damage: the equivalent of a level 2's damage output. However, they have very few hitpoints and their low resists compound this problem. High defense and low cost offset these disadvantages. Remember to backstab with it whenever possible.
  • Gryphon Rider: Possibly the best scout in the game in terms of combat, this is tempered by its high cost. Use it as a lookout for enemy advances and pick off weak or wounded units that are retreating behind enemy lines.

A good first turn recruit against random would consist of a Gryphon Rider, two Dwarvish Fighters, a Dwarvish Thunderer, a Footpad, and a Poacher.

Keep in mind that that the dwarves should stay in mountains, hills, and other high-defense terrain and the outlaws should stay in any non-grassland terrain, if possible. Keep in mind that since your footpads and thieves have 60 defence on grassland, and your enemy will often have 40 or even 30, it can often be to your benefit if the enemy chooses to attack them on open ground.

Knalgans vs Undead

If you know you're playing against Undead, the smartest thing to do is to recruit a Dwarvish Ulfserker. He will automatically kill any Dark Adept that he attacks. He is also good for taking on Ghosts during day, or even Ghouls and Skeleton Archers. Here are the units you will want to recruit to counter Undead units:

Dwarvish Ulfserker: counters Dark Adepts, and most other undead units in daytime. Don't recruit many unless the opponent has no Skeletons. Skeletons can kill an Ulfserker even in day. Ulfs are also expensive, so you don't want to trade them 1-for-1 with Undead units unless you get a Ghost. Be mindful of what can counterattack them on your opponent's next turn.
Rating: A

Dwarvish Fighter: counters Skeletons, Skeleton Archers, and is a generally high HP unit that can soak up nighttime damage for your front line. (Dwarvish Fighters are probably the best all-around L1 heavy infantry in the game.)
Rating: A+

Dwarvish Guardsman: Do not recruit this unit if you are fighting Undead. His Pierce damage is less useful than even Blade against Undead. His low damage also makes him a bad unit to counter-attack with.
Rating: D

Dwarvish Thunderer: This is a good unit to have in your front line in mountains. His high defense and good resistances should keep him alive from nighttime Skele attacks, and his 18-1 ranged will make it very risky for Dark Adepts to come after you. Thunderers are also good to attack Ghosts, as 2 ranged hits will kill a Ghost - this even works at night.
Rating: B+

Thief: Do not recruit this unit when fighting against Undead.
Rating: F

Poacher: A utility unit versus Undead. It's good for finishing Ghosts and killing Walking Corpses. It can also be used to pick at Skeletons and Ghouls. Money is spent better on other units, but don't forget that he may be useful.
Rating: C

Footpad: This weak character is really only useful versus Undead as a cheap scout. His Impact damage is good against Skeletons and Skeleton Archers, and he has the added bonuses of being Chaotic (which deals more damage when Undead try to advance at night), and being hard to hit. His best feature is his ranged attack versus Skeletons at night, and that's only 6-2. Recruiting 1 on your first turn to grab villages is likely the only use you'll get from this guy, unless you need a unit to occupy forest hexes (which dwarves do very poorly at 30% defense).
Rating: B

Gryphon: Probably not the best expenditure of gold versus Undead, but they do serve many purposes that can justify their cost: they give extended view of battle, allowing you to know what is coming and to counter appropriately; they are good for getting behind enemy lines to finish hurt Dark adepts; They serve as good ZoC units for plains and forest hexes. Unlike the Footpad they do not have negative resistance to Blade and Pierce - the weapons of skeletons.
Rating: B-

Generally you'll want a good dose of Dwarvish Fighters, a few Thunderers, a Gryphon for vision/utility, an ulf or two, and maybe a Poacher or Footpad. Dwarves are really what you want to use, for their high HP and decent resists. This helps them survive the nighttime onslaught, and their neutrality will give them good damage in defense and also the ability to press the attack in daytime. Don't be afraid to send an Ulfserker at a ghost in daytime -- make sure to check the CTK, but it should be good if your Ulfserker is at high hp: bonus if you can get great terrain. Defeat for the Ghost will be nearly certain if the Ulfserker is Strong.

Dark adepts will, as always, be the main danger to your army: they'll knock dwarves out of their mountains, footpads out of wherever, and even gryphons are in danger from them. Be especially mindful of where her dark adepts will most likely attack next turn.

Knalgans vs Rebels

This is one of the trickiest match-ups to play. Both factions are Neutral, so neither has an advantageous time of day to attack (with their main units). To win this battle you will need smart recruits and good unit placement, as well as a little luck; the same goes for your opponent. Knalgans may have a slight advantage with the "one unit must die" Ulfserker, but Rebel defense as well as heal, slow, and magic are serious counters. Look for opportunities to grab mountains and hills, especially if they have no forest next to them. Forests are your biggest enemy, so occupy them with your Outlaw counterparts or Gryphons.

Dwarvish Ulfserker: counters Mages, Elvish Shamans, and oftentimes Elvish Archers. Again, don't recruit too many of these, as Elvish Fighters will easily come back to finish them off, and they are 5 gold cheaper. If you get a chance to take out a Mage, do so. Not only will you gain 1 gold in attrition, but another unit will likely have to expose itself or get hurt to finish you off. Elvish Archers should be #2 on the "to kill" list, and they are sometimes worth jeopardizing your Ulfserker for if you catch one of them off of forest. Again, the reasoning is you only lose 2 gold in the trade and the opponent must waste moves and usually HP in order to finish you. Again, they may also expose themselves. You might be able to get away with ulfing Woses if it's nighttime and you're in a mountain. Make sure he isn't a Quick, Intelligent Ulf, and check the CTK as always.
Rating: A-

Dwarvish Fighter: Again, these will be the meat of your forces. Any front without one of these will succumb to Elvish Fighters. Dwarfs beat Elves 1-on-1, but they are more expensive. They are good damage soakers and damage dealers. Stay on preferred terrain at all times.
Rating: A+

Dwarvish Guardsman: Guardsmen are great for holding frontline villages and chokepoints - with backup. A lone Guardsman can hold out for a turn, if lucky 2 or 3, while on a town, but he deals very little damage in return, especially against the ranged specialized Rebels. Recruit 1 if necessary, and no more than 2. They just aren't worth the lack of offensive/counter-attack units.
Rating: B

Dwarvish Thunderer: Another staple. This unit is great against Rebels with luck. Stick him on a mountain and Elves will hurt themselves trying to remove you. They aren't so great for dependable offense against the high defense of the elves, but their counter-attacks are great.
Rating: A-

Thief: Unlike when fighting Undead, you'll want 1 or 2 of these guys depending on your play style. At night, a combo of thieves can destroy Woses, Elvish Archers, Mages, and Shaman. Keep them in the forest hexes your opponent will want, but not in daytime.
Rating: B

Poacher: Poachers are useful to fill up forest hexes and to attack Elvish Fighters. Their main usefulness is as a counter-attacking utility unit to grab forest and press at night. They are cheap, somewhat weak, but deal more dependable offensive damage than the Thunderer. 5-4 at night is equivalent to a 17 gold Elvish Archer, and you only spend 14.
Rating: B+

Footpad: Don't recruit this unit when fighting Rebels. It lacks both firepower and hitpoints even while in the forests Footpads and Elves both enjoy.
Rating: C-

Gryphon: These monsters are incredible useful against Rebels. Their utility lies in fighting any water battles against the weak Merman Hunters, scouting, taking opportunistic attacks against poorly placed Elves, and if you find a hurt Wose, you may consider attacking one - even though Gryphons have a weakness for Impact. At night they do essentially equal damage to each other, and you may not be able to get the finishing blow with one of your slower units. Do so as a calculated risk when you only need 1 hit to kill. Otherwise it's quite a risk.
Rating: A-

Generally you'll want a healthy dose of Dwarvish Fighters and Thunderers, along with several gryphons for map control. An Ulfserker, perhaps a Guardsman, and some Outlaws will provide added flexibility. Whichever chaotic units (if any) you recruit, make sure to protect them at day.

If your opponent purchases scouts, feel lucky - they are next to useless against you. Beware of ambushes, and don't scout unsure forests with your Gryphon in daytime. Take as much tactical forest as you can with the appropriate units, and make a stranglehold on mountains. Ulf when you get a good chance, and be ready to counter in day as well as pressing at night. Each battle will play out differently in this matchup according to what your opponent recruits, so see what he has early, and keep track of any Woses. Also, do not let your Ulfs be slowed or they are certainly dead.

Knalgans vs Drakes

These guys are big and nasty. They will burn and freeze you. Thunderers will be your main weapon, but they will require support units as well.

Dwarvish Ulfserker: Good for killing Augurs, scouts, and maybe Burners. Not really a good choice against Drakes in general (because drakes can damage it faster than it can damage them), but can serve some purposes.
Rating: B

Dwarvish Fighter: A good unit to use against saurians, but generally the Fighter is not how you want to go against Drakes.
Rating: B

Dwarvish Guardsman: Guardsmen are worth the price against Drakes. Their Pierce goes right through Drake resistances, and a Strong one actually gets an additional point of damage on top of the point he gets for having the Strong trait (but not against Clashers). A couple of these are a good buy, especially if you plop them on villages.
Rating: A-

Dwarvish Thunderer: This should be your unit of choice versus Drakes. A Thunderer does 20-1 damage to Drakes in ranged, and Burners will do (6/5/3)-4 damage in return. Thunderers have much better defense than Burners, but do suffer from having 8 less HP. Thunderers have the benefit of costing 4 less gold. You'll want to use their "luck" attack on the easily hit Drakes as much as possible. Thunderers should be the meat of your army.
Rating: A+

Thief: Not really useful against the Drakes, they are best used to counter Saurian Augurs, which are better countered by using Dwarvish Fighters.
Rating: D+

Poacher: Another great unit against Drakes. Their attack at night deals a good 5-4 against all Drakes. Having better defense on Forest and villages, 1 or 2 of these guys aren't a bad idea.
Rating: A-

Footpad: Don't recruit this unit when fighting Drakes.
Rating: F

Gryphon: Useful for early village grabbing, Gryphons also can be used against the weak Saurians or Drake Burners. These fliers are probably the only way you'll hunt down retreating hurt Drakes. Don't recruit too many due to their cost and lack of a ranged defensive weapon. Drakes can pin these units far better than any other faction.
Rating: B+

Recruit a Gryphon and a good mix of Dwarvish Thunderers, Dwarvish Guardsmen, a Poacher or two, and maybe a Dwarvish Fighter. Your opponent will likely get some Saurian Augurs to take away your high defense advantage, so having that Dwarvish Fighter around to take them out is usually quite helpful along with the Gryphon. Basically, recruit Pierce, Pierce, and more Pierce. Maintain your advantageous defensive terrain as much as possible, because if you don't, and you put yourself on an even playing field in that respect, you will quickly be torn apart by the Drakes superior daytime damage and HP. The daytime onslaught will be brutal, so prepare for a counter-attack and try to keep your Guardsmen up front to get best use of their Steadfast. It will be the difference between 7-4 and 6-4 daytime Burner damage and 6-4 to 5-4 daytime non-strong Clasher damage. The Guardsmen also have 8 more HP than the Thunderers. If you can level a Guardsman (with 4 kills at 70% xp, or 3 kills and 1 battle if he's Intelligent), you will have a serious roadblock to use at your disposal.

Knalgans vs Knalgans

A tough battle. Dwarves have great defense, and no way to combat great defense. The high HP and the resistances will make this a game needing a lot of strikes to kill. Don't think you'll be able to rush in and win - you're going to need intelligent unit placement and again, some luck. Focus on levelling (non-Gryphon) units if possible as the added damage will be needed.

Dwarvish Ulfserker: As always, one of these utility guys isn't a bad buy. Catch a Thunderer off his perch, or a Thief or Poacher in daytime, and that's one less unit to deal with.
Rating: B

Dwarvish Fighter: One of these is a must. Use it against any unit. These guys are hard to kill.
Rating: A-

Dwarvish Guardsman: Use these to hold villages and frustrate your opponent.
Rating: A

Dwarvish Thunderer: Use these to besiege enemy villages or poke at DFs or Gryphons.
Rating: B+

Thief: Not a good buy unless used to counter Thunderers and Poachers. Their blade attack does little to Dwarves unless backstabbing at night (8-3). Better to use Dwarvish Fighters for melee.
Rating: C

Poacher: An alright cheap buy for ranged forest grabbing.
Rating: B

Footpad: Don't buy this unit even if your opponent is bothering you with Gryphons. You can get 3+ Footpads for the price of 2 Gryphons, but it's not worth it. The weakness to Impact guarantees at least a 4-2 attack with these guys even in daytime, but unfortunately, unless you get bonus hp from traits, they will die in 2 hits from Gryphons, so it is still a risky buy - especially since they are useless against all other Knalgans. Just say no once again.
Rating: C+

Gryphon: Useful as your only scout unit. Use these to get behind enemy lines to village steal, kill the wounded, or to pin a Dwarf on bad terrain. These guys are also good forest and plains holders for crucial areas that your Dwarves will fare poorly on.
A-

Recruit a Gryphon, a Guardsman, a Thunderer, a Fighter, an Ulfserker, and a mix of other useful units. This game will be won through fighting from hills and mountains, getting and keeping a money advantage, leveling a unit, and waiting for your opponent to take a risk that they shouldn't. Keep them off of your mountains at any cost. If they get there you will spend precious moves, attacks, and HP trying to take them off. It's usually better to ignore enemies on mountains than to fight them.

Knalgans vs Loyalists

Defend in day, strike at night. That's how the battle will go. Beware the Horseman and Mage and be prepared to counter these heavy daytime hitters. Again, an Ulfserker can be your best friend, especially if you can catch a Horseman at night or a Mage.

Dwarvish Ulfserker: If you get one, don't get it until turn two or later. Grabbing one in your initial recruit will only make him impotent during the first few turns of daytime. Ulfserkers are what you will use to kill Mages, grind up horse meat at night, and get rid of Bowmen - though they shouldn't be recruiting many. You shouldn't need more than 1 unless they go mad with Mages.
Rating: B

Dwarvish Fighter: Good to fight Spearmen, having these guys is a necessity. These are also your best unit to defend against Heavy Infantry.
Rating: A

Dwarvish Guardsman: Get one of these guys. These will make your front line immune to Horsemen. Also useful to counter-attack Cavalry, Mages, and Bowmen. If HI get close enough, milk XP off of them with your ranged attack. The level will come faster than you expect.
Rating: A

Dwarvish Thunderer: Get one or two. Good against essentially all of the Loyalist units, the pierce ranged is even better against the two mounted units.
Rating: B+

Thief: These guys can be used against most Loyalist units at night, but avoid trying to backstab Spearmen. Even at night their firststrike can get nasty on this low HP unit. I recommend the Poacher instead of this guy.
Rating: B-

Poacher: A great unit to counterattack Loyalists and press the attack at night. His multiple strikes are of better use against the high defense Fencer, though his ranged pierce is best against the mounted units. His attack does a modest 3-4 to Heavy Infantry at night (compared to a Thunderers 11-1), and you'll want to use this unit against Spearmen outside of day as well. Although they are weak in daytime, they serve many purposes and are well worth the 14 gold.
Rating: A-

Footpad: Do not recruit this unit when fighting Loyalists.
Rating: C

Gryphon: Useful as scouts mainly, you can use these to run down hurt horses, go for 1-attack-kills on Fencers (9% chance if they have no bonus hp), or again, to try to hold important grassland hexes. Beware during day though, as HI, Mages, and Horsemen can all tear Gryphons apart quickly. Recruit no more than 1.
Rating: B

Recruit a Fighter, a Thunderer, a Guardsman, and a Gryphon depending on the layout of villages. Fill out your army with what you think will serve you best for that particular battle. Water battles will be nearly pointless. Cheap Mermen with higher defense will easily rout your Gryphon(s). Avoid sea battles unless you can taunt a Merman within range of a ranged unit (who can stand on decent terrain). A Gryphon's extra sight is good for spotting long range Horsemen, so it usually is worth having one around, but recruit no more than one. They don't counter any unit very cost-efficiently, so use it primarily as a scout and utility unit.

You'll want to press as hard as you can at night, more so than even against Drakes. The reason for this is that Loyalists have no level 1 Neutral or Chaotic units. Every unit the opposing player has will suffer a penalty at night - unless he has a Lieutenant behind his front line. Because of this possibility, don't press too close to his castle until you have gained a monetary advantage, as you will start losing units more rapidly when he comes back at you with an additional +25%. Put your Guardsman up front - this will dissuade any charge attacks. Keep a Dwarvish Fighter or Dwarvish Ulfserker nearby in case the player chooses to besiege you with Mages. Spearmen that attack a Guardsman in day will deal nearly equal damage to each other, which can add up quickly. Counter any advance with Thunderers and Poachers. Don't expose your Dwarves to poor terrain or they will die.

You'll want to whittle away at Heavy Infantry with Poachers and Thunderers and you'll want to give the killing blow to a Fighter. Upgrading Dwarvish Fighters should be your main priority as they are your best defense and counter to the easy Spearman-wave attack. Once leveled up, the massive HP on the Steelclad will also give it the ability to withstand attacking Heavy Infantry and Mages.

Basically, Loyalists have an incredible amount of versatility. You'll have to play smart and counterattack very well in order to win. Deal free damage when you can, and limit the number of hexes you can be attacked from - especially during day. Start commencing your attack before night actually breaks. You'll want to maximize your advantage over those 2 turns, so make sure they don't creep away before night hits. As always, stay on good terrain, and make sure Fencers can't skirmish around to kill any weak units you may be hiding.

Knalgans vs Northerners

The biggest problem you will have with Northerners will be their numbers. Northies will gladly trade units with you and gain a monetary advantage. Make them depend on luck by staying on good terrain, and their high upkeep may start to become a factor.

Dwarvish Ulfserker: Recruit one of these guys if you're really having a problem finishing their units off, or your opponent likes to use Assassins. He's expensive, and Northerners are melee oriented, so most of their units will be able to take a majority of this unit's HP away, if not kill him outright. Assassins' Poison will quickly erode your army's HP though, so having one may prove valuable. Since Assassins cost 17 gold you'll only lose 2 in attrition, and you'll likely take lots of hp from another unit with you.
Rating: A-

Dwarvish Fighter: Again a necessity. His damage dealt in defense is how you'll deal a majority of your damage. If possible, get a rotation of these guys in the front line. You'll deal more damage than your opponent on average, but he will come with more units - 4 Grunts cost the same as 3 DFs.
Rating: A

Dwarvish Guardsman: Another good guy to have one of if not more. He can survive nighttime assaults better than the fighter, and will still do respectable damage back to the enemy. Use your ranged attack on Grunts to make them turn around and heal.
Rating: A

Dwarvish Thunderer: Nice to have. Their combination of good resistances and ranged damage make them good counter-attackers. For cheaper ranged counter-attackers, use Poachers as they will also be used to hold forest hexes. Recruiting DTs may crowd your hill hexes, especially since that's what the Northies will be grabbing.
Rating: B

Thief: Not a great buy against Northies. His melee-only nature along with his Chaotic alignment make him most effective in the same way Northeners are. Avoid the urge to recruit these guys.
Rating: C

Poacher: Again, these guys you'll want to recruit a few of. When the Northies come after you at night, you can make a strong counter-attack with their 5-4 ranged.
Rating: A-

Footpad: This guy can be a utility unit against Northerners, but the money is better spent elsewhere. Footpads can harass Grunts and Wolfs, take forest hexes, and block Assassins from poisoning your Dwarves. Not the best buy, but you may be able to get your money's worth.
Rating: B+

Gryphon: Again, it's usually good to have one of these guys to scout, plug up grassland, and be a defensive damage dealer. He's also good for trapping/killing Assassins and being a target for their poison.
Rating: A-

The biggest thing you need to worry about will be poison; this cannot be overemphasized. If you get a good foothold on mountains and hills, poison will be the weapon of choice to knock you off your perch. Be ready to fill in with a replacement unit, and try to kill assassins before any other units. Melee strikes will have to get through your resistance - poison does not. You also don't deal any damage back when poison hits you. If you know you're going to be facing poison on the next turn, have a plan for how you will be rotating units to villages to detox and heal.

Recruit a Dwarvish Fighter and a mix of other good units. Stay on villages or mountains for the first assault to minimize the effect any poison will have and reduce the chance of it hitting. Let your opponent attack you, and then counter-attack with your Poachers and Thunderers if you have them - even a Guardsman's ranged attack will add up. Send Ulfserkers against Assassins whenever you get a decent chance, as the Poison will hurt more than their melee attacks. If the northerner overrecruits assassins, you should be able to power through his ranks, so normally eliminating an assassin removes the immediate threat of poison.

Allow your opponent to attack you from forest hexes if they are next to mountains that you occupy. Your 70% defense will outdo his 50% defense, and his confidence will be higher to attack since he won't be on grass. Even if an Assassin uses that hex, if an Ulfserker is within reach, he should be able to take him out from on top the mountain.

To kill Trolls, you will want to focus exclusively on them until they die. Thus it is best to ignore them and kill others than to only do a minimal amount of damage to Trolls each turn. Their regeneration will give them essentially limitless HP if you do this. Kill his friends and then focus on him. If there are several, take them out one at a time. Try to avoid water battles with Nagas, unless there is only one. You won't want any Gryphons you get to be pinned, especially where you cannot help them, so be cautious with water battles.

To sum up, kill poisoners fast, get units that deal good melee damage in defense, and get good counter-attacking ranged units

See also

Factions of the Default Era

Description: DrakesKnalgan AllianceLoyalistsNorthernersRebelsUndead
How to Play: DrakesKnalgan AllianceLoyalistsNorthernersRebelsUndead

This page was last modified on 12 March 2014, at 21:10.