“Blood! Blood! Blood!” The crowd cheers as your Gladiators cast their foes down in the arena! From the stands, you look proudly upon the warriors you trained, as they raise their weapons in glorious victory. Magnanimously, the Caesar lets the defeated live, and your fighters help them up to share in the crowd’s adulation.
They too deserve the crowd’s cheers, for they have given your warriors, and therefore the audience, a good show. None of that happens in any sort of cutscene in Gladiator Heroes, but with the way the game lets you get attached to your Gladiators, it’s easy to imagine such things as you play.
Gladiator Heroes is a tactical positioning-based turn-by-turn auto-fighting game with an initially annoying city-builder you eventually get used to, published by Genera Games. While the city-builder aspect starts out fairly painful early in the game with the seemingly agonizing timers, the actual battles are real brain-tinglers.
You fight a formation of Gladiators, and to defeat them, you can place your Gladiators roughly anywhere on the arena, in such a way where they will be able to take advantage of the arena’s layout, focus down a particularly dangerous enemy, or attack the target from behind.
The AIs of different Gladiator classes, the ability to use Skills outside of a Gladiator’s turn at any given time, the trap layout of the map, and even the strength distribution of the enemy team (Sometimes, you get maps which have one really strong Gladiator, a ton of really weak Gladiators, or any mix of the two and everything in between) make for a fun time.
One thing that makes Gladiator Heroes stand out is the incredibly simple ability to rename your Gladiators and craft them into unique fighters as they level up: Being able to come up with names for your Gladiators and being given a choice between two random skills to choose from every few level ups is a wonderful recipe to get attached to your warriors, even if they’re lowly one-stars you got out of a Wooden Statue. You’ll find yourself rooting for them in battle not just because you like loot, but because you want to see your students Mightymurderix and Kickbuttius Ouchrelian grow stronger and win!
With all that out of the way, let’s get started with our Gladiator Heroes beginner’s guide, as we share with you a bunch of tips, tricks and strategies to defeat your enemies and become the greatest Lanista!
THE BIG GAMES: COMBAT TIPS
Gladiator Heroes is a rather tactical game with a strange sort of turn-based auto-combat. Every turn, your Gladiators will move toward a target and attack them, without commands from you. The faster a Gladiator is, the longer the distance they can move during a turn. You cannot determine who they will attack first, but you can (hopefully, sometimes they do something that’ll leave you scratching your head like walk all the way to the other side of the map to attack someone other than the guy you placed them behind and next to) influence them since you decide where they go at the start of a battle.
A lot of this game is proper positioning, with you trying your best to get behind the enemy or have them focus one target during the beginning of the match, or put your Gladiators in range to smack the enemy into walls.
Skills are NOT tied to the turn-based movement, meaning you can utterly ruin an enemy turn by, say, smacking an opponent away with a shield bash as they blunder your Gladiator’s attack range, or use any skill to turn a Gladiator around right as they’re about to get stabbed in the back. Here’s some tips and notes regarding how to entertain the crowds.
Positioning For Backstabbing
You could fight honorably, but the crowds love a good smart play just as much as they love mindless carnage. At the start of every match, you can position your Gladiators more or less anywhere on the field some distance away from enemies and obstacles.
If you notice, the enemy Gladiators will turn around to face any Gladiator placed nearest to them, even before the fight starts. You can use this to your advantage: One potential scenario is you placing a tanky Gladiator with a Taunt skill near the enemy, then place your damage dealer behind the enemy some distance away, especially the ones who have some sort of ranged attack or some way of closing the distance quickly. Backstab attacks do extra damage in this game, so getting an early backstab can be the advantage you need to ensure a win.
Turning Around With Skills
Skills in Gladiator Heroes can turn the battle around when used wisely, but that’s a given in any game. One other thing they can turn around though: Your Gladiators. Cheap close range skills may lack the reach necessary for mid-battle repositioning and sudden attacks, but they can be a godsend if your Gladiator is cornered and swarmed, likely due to certain battles only allowing you one Gladiator in the arena.
Skills can be used to turn a Gladiator to face an attacking enemy, preventing backstab damage when timed correctly. Since skills are the only thing not controlled by the game’s turn system, you can do them whenever the heck you want as long as you have the Tactical Points for them. Keep in mind of course that the more you use a skill, the more expensive it gets.
One weakness this tactic does have though: Enemies that use spears. Most short range skills are just short enough that spear-using Gladiators can poke at them without being in skill range. If you want to hit spear Gladiators with short range skills, you’ll have to corner them.
That being said, it can also be done with long range skills when dealing with spearmen, though the low cost of shorter range abilities helps with this particular use.
To The Wall You Go!
One way for your Gladiators to do extra damage is to slam enemies into walls. Gladiators not only occasionally pull off heavy attacks at random, sometimes you get one with a knockback skill. Once they have their backs against the wall, slap them into that wall for some extra pain.
This is why trying to stop your team from getting backstabbed by placing them with their backs to the wall is a bad idea: One heavy attack, one wide-swinging two-hander loving Gladiator’s smack, or one shield slap and they take the extra damage anyway! Unless they’re one of the heavy classes like the Barbarian, Beast or Warrior, since they’re completely immune to knockback.
Eventually, obstacles of certain differing types start appearing in arenas, such as spike pads, spike poles, and retractable spike poles. Gladiators are typically smart enough to avoid stepping on them, so making use of such traps is similar to making use of walls: Smack the enemy into them!
Of course, knowing how certain traps work can dictate your next moves after your smack: Enemy Gladiators will fly past spike pads while taking heavy damage, spike poles act as traditional walls and stop Gladiators as they smack into them, and retractable spike poles can be walked over until they go up, whereupon they act as spike poles until they go down again.
Movement wise, Gladiators will avoid spike pads and non-retracted spike poles, but they will happily and safely walk over retracted spike poles. This means spike pads typically act as obstacles and choke points in maps, along with spike poles, and you can use them to delay dangerous enemies from attacking you depending on the arena’s layout and where you put your Gladiators.
KNOW YOUR FOE
While there are nine classes with many, many different skills, you can generally get an idea of what enemies are capable of (and their strengths and weaknesses) based on the weapon they carry.
Guardians and Valkyries: Frontline Bread And Butter
The starter Guardians and the later Valkyries use a sword and shield, and while the game treats them as tanks, they’re both closer to jack of all trades and masters of none thanks to the skills they might get:. Guardians tend to get close range attack skills, self buffs that let them hold the line such as a knockback-proof stance, and activated team buffs or the ability to taunt, with their jump attack skill being the odd one out of their skillset.
Valkyries on the other hand tend to have skills more suited to getting them into the battle, such as a dash-and-bash that lets them run toward an enemy to smack them into a wall, and more overt support skills like the ability to heal the whole team.
Titans, Beasts and Barbarians: Large And In Charge
The above tips about walls and traps won’t work against Barbarians, Beasts and Titans, who are all too large to be affected by any sort of knockback, even knockback from skills. They can also swing wide with their basic attacks, making them good for battles where you’re vastly outnumbered by comparative weaklings.
Titans are generally crammed with offensive AOE skills or ways to prevent enemies from escaping such as stuns, Barbarians have a lot of offensive skills that violently move them to their enemies, and Beasts come mostly with support skills like the ability to heal or provide defensive buffs, along with a few offensive skills.
Shamans and Hunters: Anger-Inducing Rears
Shamans and Hunters carry spears, and both of them have long reach and a rather evasive AI where they run in, stab once, and sometimes back away, all in the same turn. This makes them very good at taking advantage of traps and at using other teammates as cover, since their hitbox can reach past one person or obstacle blocking their way.
Their long reach also means they can often attack in such a way that classes with shorter weapons cannot retaliate or target them with most shorter-ranged skills, allowing them to more reliably perform backstabs.
Shamans have a bevy of support skills, such as a powerful heal-over-time and the ability to dispel debuffs from teammates, while Hunters are more suited for long-range attacks, with spear throws that can cause debuffs such as bleeding, poison, or most painful of all, stun.
Assassins and Rogues: Backstabby Rushers
Assassins and Rogues use dual wield weapons, are very, very soft, and always get the first turn as long as they’re of equal level to everyone else. They can move long distances during their turn, and require no passive skills to hit twice in a single turn. Worst (or best if they’re on your side) of all, they often move in between strikes in an effort to get behind their opponent, more actively going for backstabs than other classes.
And if they didn’t walk all that far to get in attack range, they usually end their turn by running away, like spear-users. Assassins are more for direct violence, with skills that typically involve attacking the enemy and causing heavy damage, such as a bleeding slash or AOE spin, while Rogues can leave various traps and disable traps from other Rogues, while ignoring stage hazards like spike pads and poles.
GENERAL TIPS AND TRICKS
Gladiator Heroes’ city builder tends to defy the common logic found in other similar builders like Ant Legion or Lords Mobile, for one simple reason: Speed-ups don’t exist, and the only way to speed up building construction is through speedups.
With 4 hour timers appearing within your first week, and 1 hour timers being normal for upgrades, you have two choices: Use your gems to rush to HQ level 4 or 6, or be very patient and save all your gems for your first max-star Gladiator. Rushing the HQ allows you to get a more balanced team early, important for getting through the missions in the campaign.
Not rushing the HQ on the other hand lets you save for a Golden Statue, which lets you have your first max-star Gladiator. Of course, you don’t typically need high star Gladiators to get through the missions, and good tactical placement and well-timed skills mixed with proper Gladiator care willgenerally let you do more than just get by. Here are some tips for outside the realm of combat.
If you are unsure which skill to pick for your Gladiators when you either get them new or they level up enough to get new skills, think carefully and pick something that will work well with the Gladiators you already have, and their skills.
Say you have a Gladiator who hits hard but is squishy, and you have to pick between a taunt and a damage skill for your new recruit. Naturally, you pick the Taunt, so your new guy can take the heat off your squishy damage dealer, so they can do their backstabbing unbothered.
Save Your Better Statues
As you play the game, you might get some Gladiator Statues early on that allow you to summon from the Gladiator Residence gacha without spending any gems. Before you do so, try to save at least one or two of them, and gun for HQ Level 4 or even 6 as fast as you can, even if it means you have to use some Gems to speed it up, or not if you’re willing to wait a week or so.
This way, instead of having nothing but Sword and Shield users, you can have a more balanced team. That being said, don’t try to hoard all of them, just some of them. You still need bodies on the ground to win, since a lone Gladiator is far easier to outflank than a group, no matter how strong they are. And the enemy Gladiators typically outnumber you heavily from the offset.
At the very least, try to get three or four Gladiators before saving your statues, and try your best to save them for every time you unlock a new class.
Save For Premium or Gold Statues
Never, ever buy the cheap statues like Wood, Marble or Silver, since those can drop from battles if you’re lucky. While the writer of this article rushed construction timers with gems to get more information as quickly as they can, they generally advise you to be patient and save gems for the really good statues, Gold and Premium, which guarantee max-star Gladiators.
That being said, starting proper gem hoarding after you get to lv6 might be a good idea, as the further you are in the campaign (for which you need upgrades to the Caravan building to unlock new missions), the bigger the regular battle rewards.
New Gladiator? No Problem!
Once your HQ reaches a certain level threshold (usually once you unlock a new class or two), the starting level of newly acquired Gladiators increases, such that they start out a rank (equivalent to ten whole levels!) higher than before.
This way, you can use them in battle immediately. That being said, this doesn’t mean you should toss your old Gladiators out if they’re at a lower level: They’ll only still start with one skill and no passive beyond whatever happens to be inherent with their class, so it’s worth keeping your veteran Gladiators around if they’ve already unlocked at least their first passive skills.
Upgrade Quick Structures First
Always check which structures take the least amount of time to upgrade, then upgrade them first. You’ll very quickly start hitting the hour-long mark with upgrades barely even two days in, and the lack of speed-ups means the only way to mitigate these timers is with gems.
Since you only have one build queue for as long as you don’t fork over money, go for the easy stuff first: The HQ has a City Level Requirement for leveling it past certain thresholds, and building and upgrading structures increases your city level. Doing the easy stuff first means that by the time the HQ is next, you’ll have hit the level threshold you need, then you can go for it.
Be A Potion Salesman
There is one huge reason you should upgrade your infirmary other than just efficiency: Profit! Consumable items that you get from battle can be sold for gems in the Storehouse. While some are useful such as boosts that increase your Gladiators’ stats, most of what you’ll get are healing potions that, with a well-upgraded Infirmary, become rather redundant, in particular the 30% Heal consumables.
Say you’ve got an infirmary with room for 4 Gladiators. They’ll all heal at the same time for a measely 5 minutes (though this increases along with gold cost later on), which means you have a choice between getting a heal now with a potion, or selling the potions for 1-2 gems a piece!
The 5 minutes spent healing your whole team in the infirmary can go towards speeding up your HQ instead, or getting new Gladiators if the fight rewards have been unkind for a while. Potions are best used much later into the game once your Gladiators have high enough HP that the Infirmary starts taking a while, but by then your city and team should be running smoothly enough not to worry about it.
LANISTA’S DUTY: STRENGTHENING YOUR GLADIATORS
As a Lanista, your job is to train your Gladiators to become stronger and more skilled in fighting. The audience demands spilled blood and glorious spectacle. Your Gladiators are there to deliver both, and you’re here to make sure they do. Here are some notes about powering your Gladiators up and readying them for the audience’s entertainment.
Once a Gladiator reaches a certain EXP threshold, they can be leveled up. This means spending Gold and waiting some time as they train in the Training Center meant for their favored weapon. Like in most games, they get EXP by fighting, though you can get items from battle that, when used on them, gives them an EXP boost.
Reaching certain level thresholds allows them to unlock both active and passive skills, of which you can pick one of two everytime to craft your very own unique Gladiator over time. Remember that while a Gladiator is leveling up, you can’t use them to fight.
It only takes a few minutes for each Gladiator to do so. If you’re waiting for all of them to bulk up, that would be a good time to take a break.
Fighters, Arm Up!
As the Lanista, it’s your responsibility to procure equipment for your Gladiators. Unluckily for your warriors, the game offloads that responsibility onto them, since your main source of weapons is through battle rewards.
Each type of Gladiator prefers a certain type of weapon, with Guardians and Valkyries preferring the defensively inclicned Sword and Shield, heavies like the Titan, Beast and Barbarian preferring wide-swinging two-handed weapons, sneaky fast classes like Assasins and Rogues preferring highly damaging Dual weapons, and Hunters and Shamans preferring long, incredibly annoying Spears.
Later on, they’ll be able to equip Armor, which naturally increases their Defense, and therefore their ability to take a hit. Later on, your Gladiators will unlock armor slots, which are also tied to their classes.
Not to be mistaken for leveling up, Training is something you get your Gladiator to do every day. If you inspect your Gladiator, you’ll notice a Training bar. This determines how sharp and ready your Gladiator is for combat, and you fill it up by telling them to train in one of your training structures.
You don’t need this bar to be full to let them fight, though it is generally advised that you fill it up before entering combat, since it acts as a really long passive overall buff that makes fights easier. It takes a day for Training to wear off, so this is going to be part of your daily routine, just like one practices with their weapon in real life so they don’t forget how to use it.
Training is useful enough that the Barbel consumeable you get from battles is worth using rather than selling for gems. Fighting maintains a Gladiator’s training level, so don’t leave your extra fighters sitting in the bench too long!
At one point, you’ll be able to construct a Forge. Remember all those scrap weapons you’ve been selling to make space in your Armory? Turns out you use them as materials to power up existing equipment.
The level of equipment is typically more important than tier in the beginning, but once the forge is unlocked, it goes upside down: High tier weapons can be forged more than lower tier ones, allowing them to have a higher maximum strength. Note that you can only use either scrap of the same type, or lower level weapons to power up a weapon depending on its current level.
It’ll be a while before you can benefit from the Forge though: Early on at least, by the time you’re ready to upgrade it, you’re already getting weapon drops too powerful for that forge level to upgrade anyway!
Never Pay To Reveal Skills Early On
Revealing a Gladiator’s skills costs a whopping 200 gems. This allows you to see the Gladiator’s future skills, to see whether they’re worth keeping… but it doesn’t unlock those skills. Gems are typically used to get gold and premium statues, which are in turn saved until you unlock new Gladiator classes by upgrading your city and HQ.
Rather than waste 200 gems to see if a Gladiator is worth keeping, just spend time unlocking Gladiator slots in the Gladiator Residence structure. If you want to use gems for skill reveals, do it much later in the game when you’re swimming in statues and have gems to spare. Early on, you’ll want to spend gems to get to HQ level 6 ASAP, or to save up for your first 5 star Gladiator.
And this is the end of our Gladiator Heroes beginner’s guide. If you, fellow Lanista, have your own tips or tricks to share, feel free to leave them in the comment area below!