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The Good Guide v4.0
The Good Guide. By Impronoucabl
Your only hope at doing well on highgrounds multiplayer.

Heart Merry Xmas, 1 week early TongueHeart



2.Glossary of terms

3.Before you play

   3.1 Factions, packs, stuff like that.

   3.2 Army construction

       3.21 Units

      3.22 Commanders

4.Playing the game

   4.1 Basics
   4.2 Strategy

      4.21 Macro

       4.22 Micro

5. Q & A

6. Conclusion


Hello, and welcome to The Good Guide. Here you will learn the art of war; the ways of the highlands and of course, how to get good. This mere guide will be the pathway to victory; the weapon of choice against other players. Arm yourself well, for the highgrounds can be a dangerous place (not really  Big Grin ) especially for newbs.

Be sure to also check out the <insert hyperlink> guide to highgrounds meta (under construction atm).

This guide has been divided into sections for easy quick future reference, and as a certain other guide to the galaxy says, DON'T PANIC.

1. The intoduction. This is section 1. If you can't figure that out, you might need to read English for dummies

2. The glossary of terms. Basically, for any shorthand I use I'll put the full thing here.

3. The preparation. This section goes through everything that needs to be done before starting a match. From which packs to buy, to how to build your army.

4. The actual battles. This part goes into the strategy of using your army to outwit your opponent.

5. F.A.Q. This is where many common questions are answered.

If you find this guide helpful, please rate it.

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If you are looking for a specific ability, please check section 4.

Attack = Attack generated. Not to be confused with damage

C = Crystal (as a resource)

Commander = A special custom unit. See section 3.22.

Damage = Not to be confused with attack. Damage dealt to a city due to a battle. Calculated from total attack.

Disable = Units/abilities used to stop a player's win condition.

Disruption = Units/abilities used to cripple a player's economy.

G = Gold (as a resource)

Producer = A unit that has either X Gold, X Wood, X Crystal, X Recruit

W = Wood (as a resource)

Win condition = A method to win (See section 3.2)


This section is about all the choices you have to make before starting a match. Most notably army construction, but also includes which packs you should buy, etc.

3.1 Factions

Please note this is by no means a comprehensive list of units, only the most significant ones.

GOLD Greed is good!

Gold is the default faction, but by no means is it easy to master. Out of the 3 factions, it is the most flexible, though lacking in specialization aside from front wounding. It is capable of strong rushes and devastating sieges, all whilst being the best faction to hybridise with.

All gold units are available in the gold pack. Gold packs do not contain hybrid units.

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FORESTGo big, or go home!

Forest (AKA wood) is the newest faction of the 3, and has the craziest endgame of them all. This is both it's greatest strength & weakness; to get there, it has the best early production in the game,  but it has a very weak mid-game to compensate. It is also quite difficult to engage & play around the opponent as the forest faction, though if you make it to late-game, you'll have enough firepower to ignore them.

All forest units are available in the forest pack. Forest packs do not contain hybrid units.

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CRYSTALWait and see!

Crystal is the most dynamic faction, having the most tricks & surprises. You'll be playing quite tentatively against a crystal opponent; you never know when they spring their surprise (and who's to say they only have 1?). In exchange, crystal lacks the ability to rush (at least, in a way that definitely won't be patched by the devs soon). While crystal's endgame might be weaker then forest's, crystal units tend to be far more cost efficient than wood (& a bit more than gold's).

All crystal units are available in the crystal pack. Crystal packs do not contain hybrid units.

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Just a quick note on core & commander packs: Core packs can contain any unit that exists, except for actual commanders (which you can't get in any pack anyway. See Section 3.22). Commander packs contain all new units released after v1.41, which you can check Here.

Ccgmatrix also contains the full list of units available (there are more units available than those listed here).

3.2 Army construction

There are many ways to make an army, I've just outlined a simple method below. My biggest tip to newbs is to keep your army as small as possible.


Every army needs some way of winning. It doesn't have to be big, nor complicated, as long as it works & you have one, then it is fine. Obviously, some win conditions are better than others. There are 4 main types of win conditions: Rush, Overpower, Disable and Combo. It is not uncommon to see some win conditions as a mixture of these four.


My personal specialty, rush wins by doing as much damage1, as quickly as possible, before the opponent is ready to counterattack. The general rule of thumb is that rushes will win against an "empty" opponent on an average of 5 turns.

[Image: o1PqjGj.png]


Overwhelm armies are quite the opposite of rushes, they take time to generate a decent economy to produce very high amounts of attack1. These must have high attack (~40+) to offset the attack1 generated by the opponent & still do damage.

[Image: JH4kbOd.png]


Disable armies are quite different to the other 2 above mentioned win conditions; instead of focusing resources into getting higher attack1, these armies focus on reducing it instead. This is usually done via wounding, but is also possible via defense.

[Image: NPCtJxW.png]


Combo armies win by setting up a unique board position & then exploit it to generate tons of attack1. They work best as a surprise, although some are still strong without the surprise. Unlike overwhelm, combos tend to be hard to sustain, & can be easily disabled.

[Image: GE9f2uE.png]

1 Damage & attack are not to be confused here. Attack is generated each turn & then determines damage dealt.

Part B - Production See also: Section 4.21

Great, so you've found your end-game. The big question is how do you get there. While you may think production is as trivial stuffing your army full of producers, that is hardly optimal. All armies need production to be viable, even rushes. As a general rule, you want 1/4 to 1/3 of your army to be dedicated producers, although you can slide those numbers a bit if you know what you're doing in a hybrid &/or rush army. This may sound obvious, but make sure that if you include an unit, you are capable of hiring that unit. There's no point in adding a Blight to your army if the most wood you can produce is 16. However, do keep in mind that you can sell units to get some extra resources, especially those with windfall.

Recruit is probably the most undervalued resource ability by most players, especially newbs who have high handicaps. The best way to understand the true value of recruit is to play a hybrid army with no additional recruit. What happens is that your army simply becomes too unreliable to be of any use; in one game, you could get a perfect draw, but in the other 99, you lose one turn more than half the time (Or your army has a far higher production/win condition ratio than 1/3, in which case, it becomes very difficult to win.) Yet another rule of thumb is 4 recruit (co-incidentally the same as most cities) is good for armies of size <16 units. For every 2 units above that, I recommend 1 additional recruit per turn.

However, there is a hidden rule about the first hand you draw: You will always draw at least one unit that you can play on the first turn. While this can allow for more space for other stuff, you should be wary of anything else that you could draw on your 1st turn that ISN'T a producer. If you don't, you could be left with nothing to do for several turns, while your opponent wins. Ensure that you always have a turn 2 play. If you are skipping your 2nd turn more than 20% of the time, there is no chance that army will be viable.

The one other thing that may stop an economy from being viable is disruption. Basically disruption is when people are jerks & decide to spam arrow against your back producers, or other strategies that deny production. There are 2 ways around it: you can either play around it (section 4.12) or you can get some defense. Healing sometimes works, but defense is usually* better. Always keep this in mind when making an economy; that is the time when you are taking the risk of no defense/healing, not necessarily during the game.

*I.e not always

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3.21 Units

There are 4 major resources in this game, gold(g), wood(w), crystal© & space. All units cost some combination of these, and it is up to you as a player to decide which units are better at exchanging these resources for attack &/or damage.

Cost standards:
2G gets you:                |2C gets you:                   | 2W gets you:               |
1 Gold (production ability) |1 Crystal (production ability) |1 Wood (production ability) |
1 Heal                      |0.66 Heal                      |1 Heal                      |
1 Gamble                    |0.5 Bolt                       |2 ___Pack                   |
1 Defense                   |1 Defense                      |0.75 Defense                |
2 Attack/honor/flourish/etc |2 Attack/honor/etc             |1.75 Attack/etc             |
0.75 Wound/Arrow            |0.5 Fireball/Arrow             |1 Wound                     |
Note: these numbers are not 100% based on units, if you are trying to decide the "best" faction to use, I recommend you read section 3.1 instead.

What about space? Space is special, & unlike the other resources. Everyone starts off with 10 available spaces (unless you're in a special event) and every unit costs 1 space (although some abilities may require some as well). Because of this, it is usually the player who can fit the most abilities in the least amount of space that wins, especially in the end-game situations. Purely cost efficient units & massive economies will not win games if you cannot generate more attack than your opponent.

E.g You have a Tarim & you opponent has a Jimein. Your unit is far more cost efficient, but clearly Jimein wins every round.

[Image: pdeck-29efc732e9a9de7a8a74743720bd0486.png]

There is always a balance between cost efficiency & space efficiency; a unit that is cost efficient will never be space efficient & vice versa.

3.22 Commanders

Commanders offer a new twist on the Tcg genre; a fully customisable unit. There are 2 ways to use a commander; as a support to an existing army, or as a cornerstone to a new army. Both have their own advantages & disadvantages, but in both cases you'll probably want a very specific set of abilities on him/her/it. Depending on which slot your commander is in, naturally leveling him/her/it into those abilities varies in difficulty, from very hard at the lower slots, to very time consuming in the higher slots. Before you try aiming for a specific build, always have at least two (one at higher slots) backup plans for your commander. Respecs are not as expensive as they once were, but still aren't cheap.

Commander supporting an army

Commanders of this type usually act as a surprise factor, although they can also be used as healers & producers. These types of commanders usually have lots of freedom; they may vary from a cheap rush unit, to a honor multi-wounder, to a wall of defense.

An army supporting a commander

These commanders are far less flexible, as they have to win games (almost) alone. They are usually very expensive, some only entering the battlefield via matriarch2. They typically generate at least 20 attack, or have a wound/arrow combination at the front. The best way to deal with these is to knock them out; wounds are almost always healed on the same turn.

When leveling a commander, keep in mind that upgrades offered depend on what s/he/it already has; if you are intent (very close) on one particular ability, it is easiest /quickest to leave that slot open/fully upgraded, as that will prevent pesky upgrade options from blocking new ability options. When using this strategy, make sure you still have several levels before the cap to upgrade your desired ability once you get it.

[Image: yusYhjh.png]
Image credit goes to cuddlebeam


Highgrounds is a surprisingly simple game, when reduced to its core components. There are 5 core abilities:

X Attack – This unit will generate X attack.
– This is your bread and butter skill. It is currently the only way to achieve victory, aside from forfeit. Damage will be dealt equal to the difference in attack generated by each army, divided by 4, plus one, rounded down.
– So if you generated 9 attack, & your opponent generated 2, (9-2)/4 + 1 = 2.75, 2.75 rounds down to 2, so you’d do 2 damage to their city.

X Wound – This unit will attempt to wound X units, starting from across, going down.
– Wounded units cannot act. So if you wound a unit before its turn, it will not act, however, turns are asynchronously, & they can act while they’re being wounded. This is a very important skill, which will decide matches, especially in higher levels of play.
– So if you have a wound 2 unit, & you opponent has 2 units with no defense (see below) then your unit & your opponent’s 1st unit will act. Both their units will be wounded by the end of turn.

X Heal – This unit will remove wounds from X of your units starting from the top of the back row, going down, then the top of the front row and finishing at the bottom of the front row.
– This is the reverse of wound, removing it from your units, rather than applying it to your enemies. It has a specific priority, from the top of the back row 1st, etc that you will need to familiarize yourself with. Having at least 1 healer is standard in most armies.

X Defense – This unit will reduce the attack generated by the unit opposite it by X. This unit will stop X wound attempts from wounding this unit. The total damage reduced & wound attempts stopped can’t be greater than X.
– Defense is a slightly more complicated ability, as it has 2 parts to it. The first part is damage reduction, where units opposite this one will have their attack reduced by up to X (Can be used as Pseudo-Honor {see below}). The second part is the wound prevention mechanic. These parts are independent of each other, & will trigger only when necessary. The X determines the maximum number of times either part can trigger.
– So if you have a unit with 3 defense, your opponent has a unit with 7 attack, then they will generate 7-3=4 attack (or 2 damage). If they had a unit with 4 wound, then only your defense unit would be wounded, as 4-3 = 1, therefore 1 unit is wounded. If you had units below it, they’d be fine. If you opponent had a unit with 4 attack & 1 wound (in that order), then your unit would be wounded, & they’d generate 1 attack.

X Crystal/Gold/Wood – This unit will generate X Crystal/Gold/Wood
– This is another basic bread & butter skill. Units that produce resources will be the backbone of many different armies, & there is a section devoted all about production(see section 3.2B).

Please do note that these 5 are all active abilities, or abilities that occur when the unit takes an action. Passive abilities are different as they can be active at other times, in addition to when the unit is taking an action. You must make sure you know these 4 abilities, as they are the foundations of the highlands. Once you are familiar with those, there are a few more notable abilities you should know:

Active abilities

X Honor – If there is an unwounded opponent opposite this unit, then it has X attack.
X Rampage – Same as attack, except if there are no units opposite the attacking unit (on the front row) then it will generate twice as much attack.
X Arrow – Same as wound, except it hits the back row instead of the front.
X Drain – Same as Arrow, except if it hits Y unwounded units, then it will gain Y heal.
X Knockout – This unit will *remove* (from the battlefield) X wounded units, starting from across (On the front row), going down. It has no effect on un-wounded units.
X Reap – Same as Knockout (see above), except for the back row.
X Bolt – This unit generates attack equal to X times the number of units your opponents have on the front row. This will bypass defense
X Spearhead – This unit generates attack equal to X times the number of units o your back row.
X Revenge – This unit generates X attack for each other wounded unit on your front row. If this unit is wounded during its action, it will not count towards that number.
X Frenzy – This unit generates attack equal to the total damage you have taken.

X Recruit – This unit allows you to draw an extra X units each turn, up to a maximum of 10.
X Charity – Same as X Gold, except, if you have < 8 hp remaining, you get an extra 4 gold.

Passive abilities

Dormant – This unit is hired wounded.
Renegade – This unit’s disband cost is 0.
Frail – If this unit is wounded, it is knocked out immediately.
Vanish – As part of this unit’s action, it will remove itself from the battlefield (any action, even the side without vanish, will trigger it).
X Toxic – When this unit is wounded by another unit in the front row, it generates X attack. (Note, the wounder MUST be in the front row)
X Windfall – This unit’s disband cost is X.

And to complicate things further there are different timings for abilities (in the order the occur, in each step each unit acts from top to bottom as usual):

1. Back row buffs
2. Front row buffs
3. Front row actions
4. Siege/Guardian
5. Back row actions

Actions in the same row & step do not necessarily act at the same time, because order matters; Attack-wound will pierce defenses to wound units, whilst wound-attack will do generate more attack, but won't wound the same unit.

If you can get your head around that, here are some more abilities to know about! (feel free to skip; huge wall-o-text incoming)

X Attack Squire – This ability buffs the attack/etc of the unit in front of it by X. This bonus is doubled if the unit being boosted is a knight. This bonus is applied to attack if available, then to honor/rampage/gamble; it will not double buff. It does not buff ____pack abilities.
X Burnout – This unit will be wounded if it generates X or more attack. This attack is measured after defense damage reduction is calculated.
X ____Pack – This unit generates X attack for each unwounded ____ adjacent to it (including itself). Adjacent “____” units that are knocked out before this unit acts are also included. Dogpack will also trigger with soldiers, Foxpack with thieves, wolfpack with hunters. This is not a multiplier, & such will be calculated before defense.
X Fireball – This unit will attempt to wound X units across from it. It is a horizontal ability, & will not go “down” as many other wounding abilities do.
X Flare – Same as X Fireball, except it will fire in both directions, wounding your own units. You do not have to have a unit behind it for it to work.
X Flourish – Same as X Attack, except if the unit opposite this one is wounded at the beginning of this action, it will generate an additional 4 attack. This is not a multiplier.
X Gamble – Same as X attack, except if there are exactly the same number of units on the front row for both players when this unit takes its action, then it will generate 4 times as much attack. This bonus is a multiplier & will be applied after defense.
X Guardian – After front row actions, if you would take more than one damage, then this unit is wounded & you take X less damage. Guardian does nothing if you only take 1 damage. Guardian will trigger from the top of the back, going down, then the top of the front, going down, until all damage is reduced to 1.
X Paladin – Same as heal, except it works during the buff phase. It prioritises the front row first, then back row.
X Protect – This ability buffs the defense of the unit in front of it by X. Protect will only work if that unit already has defense.
X Siege – After front row actions, if your commander is on the battlefield (front or back row, wounded or not), if you would do 1 or more damage, you do an additional X damage. If your commander is present at the start, but not at the end of the fight, siege will not trigger. This will bypass defense.
X Transform – This unit will replace itself with the next unit in your army with a cost of X or less. The unit this unit transforms into will not take its action, unless the transform was in the front row, & it has either siege or guardian. There is currently an exploit with transform that is too long to fit here. Please keep that in mind.
X Zealot – Same as X spearhead, except it only counts the wizards on your back row. This will bypass defense.

Duo Randal – Same as wound 2, except only works if Randal is unwounded on the battlefield.
Duo Tydus/ Duo Rainer(Ryun) – Same as 4 gold/crystal, if Tydus/Rainer is on the battlefield.
Duo Rainer(Raeus)/ Duo Raeus – This unit produces an additional 3 attack if Rainer/ Raeus is unwounded, & on the battlefield.
X Blood Rage – Removes up to X (friendly) units below this one. For each one, all your units get +1 to their Attack/etc. If the sacrificed unit shares a unit type with the Blood Rage unit, this bonus is doubled. This will buff ____pack abilities. This will also double buff units with more than one attack ability.
X Barbarian Berserk/ X Knight King/ Fighter King – This unit will buff the attack/etc of all barbarian/knight/fighter units, similarly to Attack Squire, but with no knight bonus. This will double buff units with more than one attack ability.
X Skeleton King – This unit will buff the attack/etc & defense by X. Each part of this ability only works if the skeleton has defense or attack/etc. This will buff ____pack abilities. This will double buff units with more than one attack ability.
Stone Wall – This unit biffs the defense of all mountain units by 2. This only works if the mountain unit has defense.
X Golem Surge/ X Spirit Lord/ X Dragon Queen/X Barbarian King – This unit generates X attack for each Golem/Spirit/Dragon on your front row. This will bypass defense.
X Totemfarm/ X Tribal dues – This unit generates X crystal/gold for each totem/troll on your front/back row.
X Tribal Hex – This unit has Toxic Y, where Y is equal to 5 times the number of trolls on your front row.
Smoke Bomb/ Golem Shield – This turn, assassins/golems are immune to wound. Wound attempts will not be successful, but will count as a successful wound when determining multi-wound situations. This is done during the buff phase.
X Deathbolt – This unit generates attack equal to the square of the number of wounded units on your front row.

X Greed – Same as X gold, except if you have < 8 health, then you will lose 4 gold. It is not possible to have negative gold, but it is possible to lose gold income from other sources.
X Steal – This unit will generate the same resources as the next X units (on the back row) opposite it. Additionally, it will prevent them from generating resources. Recruit is unaffected. Greed/Charity will have their base values stolen, no modifiers will be applied. Stealing from a Tax unit yields 0 gold. Duo abilities are immune to steal.
X Tax – This unit will generate X gold for each unit on the opponents back row. Similar to bolt.

X FarmerKing/ X taskmaster – This unit will buff resource production of all farmers/harvesters by X. If a farmer/harvester has 2 production abilities, both will be buffed. Recruit will not be buffed.
X Matriarch – Removes up to X (friendly) units below this one. For each one, it will be replaced by another unit that shares a unit type the original unit, with a greater or equal cost from your army, up to a maximum of 15 + cost of original unit. It will take its action this turn.

[Image: Y1KH3eS.jpg]
Image credit goes to psilanthropist & o0lit3. I stole it off this thread. Tongue

4.1 Basic strategy

Ok, basic stuff:

– Read The Good Guide. From start to finish. The read the guide to highground's meta (under construction atm.) From start to finish.

– Play a resource producer on turn 1. No exceptions. No exceptions. Angry

– Keep rampage units at the bottom, & honor units closer to the top to maximize your damage output. (side note, keep honor units away from wounded units.)

– Place your most important unit (multi-wounders usually) on the very top slot, to ensure they get a chance to act. Failing that, keep them right below a unit with defense.

– Juggle your units! Don’t leave them in the same spot unless specified above! Failure results in your opponents sniping away your most important units. Move them up down, heck, even left & right occasionally.

– If you are using a defense unit for damage reduction, avoid placing it too low where it may be blocking nothing, & avoid placing it against wounded units, who generate no attack to block.

– Read your opponent's commander abilities. You've got nothing else better to do while waiting for them.

– If you have any questions not covered in this guide, post it below & I'll reply within a day or 2.

4.2 Advanced strategy

Like most strategy games, there are 2 major points of strategy, microstategy, & macrostrategy. If you're unfamiliar with these terms, I'll give a quick explanation. Microstrategy is the plan to get the most out of individual effectiveness; or how to deal with the most immediate obstacles. It usually involves precise movements of units. Macrostategy is the bigger picture; the plan to win the game. This usually involves the correct setup & resources to reach the win condition.

4.21 Macro

As I mentioned earlier in the basic strategy section, Always play a producer on turn 1. If it weren't for the decreasing cost efficiency of large producers, resources grow exponentially. As such, the earlier you play your producers, the better. However, with recruit, it scales with units out; the more units you have out, the more likely you'll recruit the unit you need. As a result, you generally need less recruit as the game progresses (barring crazy shenanigans with transform). Damage is fairly independent of pacing; it holds the same value throughout the game with the only exceptions being Charity, Greed & Frenzy - related armies.

Whenever you hire a new unit, consider those priorities.

4.22 Micro

Microstrategy is more about utilizing what you currently have to fully counter your opponent. It'd help if you knew how they thought....

The Crazy Guy

This player doesn’t care about strategy at all, & randomly places all his/her units along the battle field (Kinda like the A.I atm). While they may be the most unpredictable of opponents, basic strategy should be more than enough to beat them.

The Newbie

These players are generally having their first few games, & will mostly leave all their units wherever they started on. They usually either always disband any wounded units immediately, or never do, waiting for the heal.

The Casual

This player has now had some experience with Highgrounds, & will act according to the last seen positions of your units. They are rather predictable if you know what is in their army, & you merely need to think a step ahead of what they’re doing.

The Numbercruncher

More astute players will try a more probability based approach, ignoring their opponent.They will consider what is on the field, & the most advantageous positions they can take, then take the safest counter to all of them. Of course, there is no such thing as a perfect counter, so if you take a risk & manage to predict their “safest” arrangement, you should be able to create havoc with them.

The Veteran

These players will look at all the above views & consider the most likely one based on the previous actions their opponents have done. They switch between mindsets to counter how you play against them, but if you can adapt, then you’ll be on an even playing field. They will actively guess your next move, & keep you on your toes.

The Master

Similarly to the veteran, the master will consider each of the above views, but the thing that splits the masters & the veterans is that masters will also consider units that you may of possibly drawn, preparing for surprises before you’ve surprised them. The easiest way to counter these players is to use a completely unfamiliar army, where the units you may be using are less predictable.

5. Q & A

Q. Tl;dr?
A. It'd still be too long, so you might as well read the whole thing. For quick tips, see Section 4.1.

Q. Is there any way I can get gems faster than just the weekly/daily goals?
A. Yes, you can pay to buy gems. There are also a few achievements that have gem bonuses. Other than that, no, none that I'm aware of.


And that's the end of The Good Guide. I'd really appreciate it if you gave me some invisible internet points by rating it well. Good luck on your adventures on the highgrounds, but of course, Have Fun!
Self proclaimed Highlord of Highgrounds

I dare you to say my name properly!
Wow, awesome!
Founder, Lead Designer on Hero Generations
Bravo sir. Actually surprisingly concise considering how much ground you had to cover.

I guess I'd better stop being lazy and write something or other before you cover everything Smile

Looking forward to the meta game guide (revision 1 of many I'm sure).
Wow. Can it be tacked as Important thread until update, so it won't be lost below new ones?

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