How to play Dunefolk

From The Battle for Wesnoth Wiki
Factions of the Default Era

Description: LoyalistsRebelsNorthernersUndeadKnalgan AllianceDrakesDunefolk
How to Play: LoyalistsRebelsNorthernersUndeadKnalgan AllianceDrakesDunefolk

All informations is made for Wesnoth 1.15.x and later. Dunefolk/Khaliphate is much different in 1.14 and older versions.


Dunefolk units

Dune Burner is the only unit with fire from the Dunefolk faction. Use him to attack skeletons or woses. Compared to mages, they are generally better in defense, cheaper and not as strong when using ranged attack.

  • good defense in mountains and villages
  • lawful, slight vulnerability to blade attacks
  • strong vs skeletons, woses and saurians; weak vs cavalry, ulfserkers and grunts
  • average melee attack (blade), strong ranged attack (fire)

Dune Herbalist can heal himself and all adjancement units. Basically a healer with melee impact damage.

  • good defense in mountains and villages
  • liminal, slight vulnerability to blade attacks
  • strong vs goblins and skeleton archers; weak vs almost everyone, especially ghosts and archers/mages
  • average melee attack (impact)

Dune Rover is a good, balanced fighter, usable in most situations.

  • good defense in mountains and villages
  • liminal, no vulnerabilities. Also better on sands then other units.
  • strong vs most enemies when massed; weak vs skeletons and heavy infandry
  • medium melee attack (blade), medium ranged attack (pierce)

Dune Skirmisher is your fast unit, important in difficult fights against important targets.

  • good defense in almost any terrain, but low hitpoints
  • lawful, slight vulnerability to blade, pierce and impact attacks
  • strong vs wounded units, mages and healers; weak vs any unit good in melee fighting (grunts, cavalry...)
  • strong melee attack (pierce), weak ranged attack (impact)

Dune Soldier is the Dunefolk version of the grunt or wose. Strong, melee oriented unit for both attack and defense.

  • good defense only in castles, average in most terrains
  • lawful, slight vulnerability to impact attacks, good against pierce and blade. Can be upgraded into 3 useful units.
  • strong vs saurians, mages, archers; weak vs skeletons, trolls
  • strong melee attack (blade)

Dune Rider is very fast on flat terrain. They are simply horse archers.

  • good defense in mountains and villages
  • liminal, vulnerability to pierce attacks. Can be upgraded into 3 useful units.
  • strong vs wounded units and drakes; weak vs spearmen, saurians and skeleton archers.
  • average melee attack (impact), strong ranged attack (pierce)

Naga Dirkfang is both melee and ranged attacker, that can be good even on dry lands when leveled up. Both attacks are blade.

  • good defense in water (50-70%) and swamps
  • neutral, Can be upgraded into 2 more powerful units.
  • strong vs anyone in water; weak vs anyone on dry land
  • average melee attack (blade), average ranged attack (blade)

Starting troops - random opponent

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(96 gold)

On the maps with a lot of water, recruit one or even two naga dirkfang in the first turn.

Probably the best possible way is to go for Dune Apothecary, who can heal wounds, but cannot remove poison from friendly units. Some units, like Dune Shieldguard, can be useful only against some enemies. Dune Explorer is your guys, if you need a fast leader for some reason.

General Dunefolk Strategies

Dunefolk is a new faction in Battle for Wesnoth. They have variety of useful units, but you can also mass a lot of their cheap and powerful Dune Rovers to ensure good progress. They have multiple ranged attackers, while some can do a lot of damage in melee combat (Dune Soldiers). Remember, that you can always heal your units, but your Dune Herbalists are very different from other healers, because they can heal themselves. Upgrade at least one to get a powerful level 2 healer.

Dunefolk defend well in mountains, but they are not very mobile there. However, they are good in desert sands and beaches. They can be good against any enemy, if proper strategy is applied. They do not like mages very well, so use your fast horse archers (Dune Riders) to hunt them down on open plains or use Dune Skirmishers to chase them, if they are not well protected from every corner.

Dunefolk have access to healing via herbalists, charge with powerful Dune Cataphracts and together 5 (!) units with skirmisher speciality. Dune Soldiers can became very defensive, very offensive and also very motivating with leadership, if they get to level 2. While this looks nice, Dunefolk have also disadvantages. They are not good in forcing enemies to retreat from their favourite terrain. With no magic attacks and very limited poison and marksman attacks, it is hard to defeat factions line Knalgan Alliance.

Dune Skirmisher is good for finishing enemies and that way gaining lots of experience. They need less experience than others to promote to level 2, so your strategy can be focused on using Dune Striders, that are stronger and can slow in ranged combat, or with Falconers. Falconers can make enemy unit weaker, if placed properly.

Dunefolk have access to blade, pierce and impact attacks, same as any other faction. However, their burners can use fire attack.



Almost every unit in Dunefolk army is good in defending villages. You need villages to help you with poison, because your healers can cure it only on level 3. Riders can move to enemy villages quickly and use their arrows to harm anyone who will try to capture it back. Universally usable Dune Rovers are the best guardians of the villages.

Dunefolk vs Loyalists

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Loyalists and Dunefolk are similar. To defeat them, you must use your strenghts against their weaknesses. Both armies have access to cavalry and numerous foot soldiers. Loyalists have more melee units, while you can use your fast units with ranged attack to engage them first.

One of the main problems are mages. They can be killed very fast, but they can also kill your units quickly. So, if they can defend mages, there is a big problem for you. With army of skirmishers, you can do a lot of damage and get out of there if needed.

Loyalists are also known for their simply spearmen strategy. Only your riders are vulnerable to them. Also, with lots of spearmen, your skirmishers are useless. Dune soldiers can defeat spearmen, bowmen, fencers and cavaliers.

  • Burner: No one from loyalists faction is vulnerable to fire. Burners are generally a good unit, but they are not needed in this match.
  • Herbalist: As always, these guys are needed to heal wounds. Loyalists will probably do not get a lot of ranged units, so they can be relatively safe and heal your guys for longer time.
  • Rover: General purpose infantry with good cost is always usable option. They can both attack and defend.
  • Skirmisher: These guys are good against some enemies. They are very similar to fencers and can harm horsemen. Their most important job is to neutralize mages or wounded units. They can also get some villages.
  • Soldier: Very important front-line unit. Use their strengh to advance and do not forget to heal them. They are your anti spearman weapon, and they can kill other units as well.
  • Rider: Much faster than many loyalist units. Good to take some villages. Also, they have good ranged attack, that can be used against other cavalry. Spearmen and horsemen can kill them fast, so move quickly between villages.
  • Naga Dirkfang: Good in water. They have ranged attacks, what can be useful.

Dunefolk vs Rebels

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Dunefolk can fight rebels in an interesting battle. Two factions with good ranged units, healing and even the (more or less) balanced fighter costs 14 gold in each faction.

Everyone know, that rebels love forests. Can you force them out? Probably no. At least with basic units. Elves does not have complicated vulnerabilities, with exception of a wose. But will they use woses if you can cut them down with your blade weapons and also burn them with burners?

Elvish fighters might be dangerous. They are good against your skirmishers, burners and herbalists, but they are generally weak against your dune soldiers. So, logically, rebels will use someone good against your soldiers. But who? 4 elvish units use mostly blade and pierce damage, so they will need to attack your strong, sturdy soldiers with mages. Kill mages, fighters and everyone else with a combination of soldiers, rovers, skirmishers and herbalists. You will need also some burners for extra ranged damage and to prevent enemy from using woses. As always, dunes rider are important to get villages, but they can be attacked by faster elvish scouts and gravely injured or slowed by archers and shamans.

Battle plan: Kill elves outside of forests. Shamans might be a priority with archers and mages. Use soldiers as a front-line units and reinforce them with cheaper rovers and herbalists. Get villages and if possible, fight far from forests.

  • Burner: Fighters can do a lot of damage to them. Even archers and scouts in melee attack. Use them, to get rid of the woses and to attack during the day, because they are lawful.
  • Herbalist: Essential healer with impact damage. No enemy in this battle have vulnerability to impact and killing rebels have priority over healing. Pick one or two of them, not more.
  • Rover: Good, because they are stronger than elvish archers in melee and stronger than elvish fighters in ranged. Thats about it. Plus, they can attack woses, mages etc.
  • Skirmisher: Suprisingly, this unit is very good against Rebels. Rebels have low HP, so you can attack a lot with skirmishers. Do not recruit too many, but they can make sure, that wounded elves or woses will not get to the forest hexes. Also, good skirmisher is always good against mages.
  • Soldier: Rebels are good in blade and pierce. This guy is resistant to blade and pierce and can survive long and hit hard. Your main unit.
  • Rider: Effective, but not as much as in other duels.
  • Naga Dirkfang: Similar unit to mermens, but they have blade attack. So, they can help cutting down woses.

Dunefolk vs Northerners

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Northerners are cheap. Cheaper than you, but generally similar. They can prepare attack with lots of strong units, so this is generally a balanced scenario.

As always, some units are better. As Dunefolk, pierce and blade is no problem, you have anough of it. But the troll whelps are resistant. While generally it is not very hard to hit troll whelps, they regenerate even when fighting and getting them out of the mountains might be complicated. However, there is a unit, you can use - dune burners.

Most of the northerners are good only in melee attack, so shoot them with your multiple ranged units - rider, burner, rover, naga dirkfang and if needed (mostly to get some free experience), even skirmishers.

Because you are alive, poison will harm you a lot. For dunefolk, it is very hard to get a powerful level 3 healer, who can cure poison, and northerner player knows that. He will probably make several assassins to harm your forces. Deal with them, when they are in the open places. Assassins have vulnerabilities to blade (-30%), impact and pierce (-20%), so hit them with your units, that are generally good in these. Remember, that 1HP assassin can still poison any of your units. To deal with them, soldiers looks a good idea, but they do not have any ranged attack to retaliate. So, rovers can be better in the hunt for assassins.

  • Burner: Burner burn enemies. Simple. Goblin spearman, grunts, whelps and everyone else can be killed by fire. Just do not attack assassins with them, if villages are far away.
  • Herbalist: Useful, as always. They can also effectively attack assassins or even troll whelps, two of the most annoying enemies in this match. Definetly get them!
  • Rover: Good against everything with exception of whelps - and they can still harm them with their ranged attack.
  • Skirmisher: Specialised assasin, who costs more than most enemy unit. Not a very good idea, but they can be used to kill assassins. Weak against grunts and other units with full health. They can also steal villages, what hurts a lot - but generally whelps do no need them. Do not over-recruit them.
  • Soldier: Solid, strong unit, that can hold the line. When poisoned, they do not need to get away ASAP and can fight a while. Their resistances helps them against assassins, archers, grunts and wolf riders, but they are generally not that great against whelps. In simply words, whelps are good against blade and soldiers are weak against impact.
  • Rider: Dune Rider is a prime enemy of Wolf Rider. Wolves are faster, but lack ranged attack. Your dune riders are vulnerable only to pierce, while wolf riders use blade. However, wolf rider is one of the few fast units without weakness for pierce. Dune riders are also good to finish grunts and prevent injured assassins to get away.
  • Naga Dirkfang: Like in most battles, these water units are great. Even against other nagas. Because they have ranged attack, they can work well with your riders and skirmishers to hunt down enemies that comes close to water.

Dunefolk vs Undead

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Undead skeletons are good against your pierce and blade damage. Dark Adepts can make a lot of damage and ghosts can attack your lawful/liminal/neutral units during the night and heal themselves. So, undead are strong. On the other hand, you have units, that are especially good against them. Keep a good mix of units to cover your weaknesses.

Because all of your units are living, undead (and orcs) will try to use poison. Ghouls are a problem, because they can force your units to flee, you can cure your units only with level 3 healers and 3 your units are vulnerable to poison. Burn them or shoot them with ranged attack. That unit is surprisingly strong in defense, so you might need to focus fire.

Your strategy is centered on Dune Burners. You simple need fire to defeat skeletons, ghouls and to retaliate against their strong ranged attack. Burners are not invulnerable, so mix them with other units and of course, try to get enemy villages. Because of your burners, it is possible that you will not face many ghosts in this battle.

  • Burner: Good ranged damage that is especially effective against skeletons and skeleton archers. Very important unit, use a lot of them.
  • Herbalist: This healer have impact damage, what is nice and useful. It is possible that enemy will try to poison them, so they need protection. Feel free to crush skeleton archers any time, especially during day.
  • Rover: All-around unit, that can be used against adepts and even against ghouls. Weak to skeletons, but cheap. Good to have, but you should buy 1 or 2, because you need gold elsewhere.
  • Skirmisher: Good against adepts, weak against everyone else. Same as rover, do not mass them. 1 or 2 should be enough.
  • Soldier: Another nice and powerful unit, that can be used against other enemies than undead. They are lawful, so their attack will be much stronger during the day. While weak in attacking during night, you can use them as a shield for other units. However, if you somehow manage to get a captain, it will be great help for other your units.
  • Rider: Horse archers are an interesting choice. Their attack is pierce and impact, so he and herbalist is the only unit with impact attack in your army. You need a unit to get villages, because enemy ghosts and bats will try to get yours. Riders are also great when winning, because they can block a way of the enemy leader to his own keep.
  • Naga Dirkfang: As usual, these nagas are good. Blade attack is not what you need, so use them only in maps with lots of water.

Dunefolk vs Knalgans

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This is tough, maybe the most frustrating match in Battle for Wesnoth. Defeating knalgans is problematic for a number of reasons.

First, they are much better and faster on hills and mountains. They can easily attack your units and exploit your vulnerabilities. Last and not least, you do not have magic attacks. While you have access to poison and marksman attacks, it all comes with level 2 units, and you can always upgrade to unit that might be better or more needed.

You have to use your solid melee attackers to fight dwarves and outlaws - but they will fire at you with poachers. You can also try to find a perfect unit against poachers, but you will find none in your arsenal. At the end, both factions will fight with a strange mix of units. Dunefolk can use classic blade/impact/pierce attacks, but dwarves are good against them. So even your nagas with blade attack will have limited use. It is possible, that enemy will recruit a fast moving gryphon rider, who can also make things worse, if he collect some villages from you. To make it even more horrific, even cheap thieves that costs only 13 gold can kill your fighters and healers at night.

So... what can you do? Mixing units a lot and using the cheapest and most versatile unit you got - dune rovers. Your biggest advantage is healing, so try to heal more than 1 your unit every turn. Also, you will need to upgrade dune soldiers to get a really powerful unit - or a captain with leadership. In general, your units are faster in flat plains, so you can use hexes just out of reach of the dwarves.

  • Burner: Fire damage? Nice! But blade vulnerability is not what you want against dwarvish fighters, ulfserkers and gryphon riders. Use them to kill enemies, but do not use them a lot, because they might die quickly.
  • Herbalist: You can heal your units, knalgans cannot. So these guys will be the primary target. While not very useful in combat, in closed maps these guys are a must. Make sure to cover them, because gryphons can attack them from far away. Also, as a melee only unit, poachers and even thunderers might come to get some free damage.
  • Rover: All-around unit with balanced ratio of attack and defense. Keep them in front. They are a good unit, but not perfect. Use other units as well, based on what your enemy will do.
  • Skirmisher: Great for units, that knalgans do not have. Vulnerable to everything knalgans have. On the other hand, they have good defenses in terrain and knalgans cannot use marksman/magic attacks, so they can be of some use. While you do not need them very much, they are fast and can help finish some outlaw or dwarf.
  • Soldier: Lots of HP, good melee attacks. They are your meat shield. They are a little vulnerable to hammers from dwarvish fighters, while having good resistances to pierce and blade. A trio of soldiers, rovers and herbalists is a good strategy, where soldier is your "tank". Upgrade one to a captain.
  • Rider: Use them to both grab villages and add additional ranged attack. They are good in flat plains, but dwarves will try to use difficult terrain against you. Beware of the thunderers.
  • Naga Dirkfang: Good in water. Dwarves are good against blade, so try to attack thieves and footpads that come close to water. They are okay against gryphons and much cheaper.

Dunefolk vs Drakes

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Drakes like fire. Saurians do not like fire at all. Your only unit with fire is terrible against drakes and wonderful against saurians. So, as many others, you have to deal pierce damage to drakes and blade to saurians.

Drakes do a lot of damage and none of your units is resistant to fire or anything else. In comparison, dunefolk units are more "normal", while drakes and saurians have both strenghts and weaknesses. Make sure to use more units than drake player, because in 1v1 their units are more powerful.

Mobile drakes, crashers and augurs will be your enemies in this battle, but they can (same as you) change their tactics if needed. Drakes can use units to exploid your vulnerabilities. You should know, that you have multiple good units against saurians, so enemy will probably use mostly drakes.

Will some drake gliders come to your territory to steal your villages? You bet they will come. Skirmishers and riders are the best way to stop them. Do not forget to use ZOCing with your units.

  • Burner: Great against saurians. Blade is good, fire is good... but drakes are good against both. So, use them to make sure, your enemy will not use saurians. Or simply make this guys when you see that enemy uses a lot of them.
  • Herbalist: Good, important and fragile. They will try to kill him and with their offensive capabilities, you will simple need a few of them.
  • Rover: This is your miracle guy. Good against drakes, solid against saurians and cheap. What else can you need? Much cheaper than Drake Clasher, so if you face them, you must have at least one more unit than your enemy.
  • Skirmisher: Wounded drake killer, additional damage dealer with pierce damage and a useful specialist. Still, they are not your main fighters and overrecruiting can be bad in many reasons, because their HPs are low. Attack with other units, like rovers, finish with skirmishers. Try to upgrade on of these guys.
  • Soldier: Strong unit with lots of HP, but only average defenses. If you recruit him, he will not be a primary target and drakes will simply find another targets. You can use them in closed maps to guard important route, but other than that, you should use another units. They are good against saurians.
  • Rider: Fast unit for village grabbing and provide good ranged attack. Good, very good, but not so much against a combination of clashers and saurians. Do not over-recruit.
  • Naga Dirkfang: Based on water. They are also good in marshes and can defeat saurians there, so definetly a good unit to have. Almost useless against drakes.

Dunefolk vs Dunefolk

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Strategy to defeating dunefolk as dunefolk is simple. Dunefolk have some advantages and disadvantages, but it have also a good unit for everything - dune rover. Other units are good as well, but there is no single good target for your skirmishers.

Because your will probably see a lot of rovers, take also units who are good against rovers - dune soldiers. Especially with healing from herbalists. In fights between two dunefolk leaders, speed is important - and it is possible that more riders will be used. Do not let your enemy have more mobile cavalry than you have.

  • Burner: Fire damage is nice, but no one have vulnerability to fire. However, vulnerability to blade can be a problem against massed rovers. Do not buy this guys, unless you are a skilled player who know how to use them effectively in this match.
  • Herbalist: Impact damage is not very useful, while their healing is nice. If you can heal more than 1 unit every turn, take them. If not, take a single one.
  • Rover: Good for everything, with exception of fighting soldiers. use them a lot.
  • Skirmisher: Same as burner. Use them if you are a skilled player. Otherwise, one should be enough.
  • Soldier: This is your rover killer and he is also good against burners, herbalists and riders. Use them together with herbalists and rovers.
  • Rider: You need them, probably more than in other matches.
  • Naga Dirkfang: Surprisingly, they are awesome fighters. If you play small multiplayer map with shallow water, even small rivers, they can guard other units, when combined with herbalists.


How to play specialists: Horseman - Mages - Skirmishers

This page was last edited on 19 April 2021, at 19:34.