Stoic Studio  Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Stoic Studio  RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network The Banner Saga 3 Has Been Fully Funded - New Stretch Goal Announced Wed, 01 Feb 2017 01:26:24 -0500 Rob Kershaw

Following the announcement that The Banner Saga 3 would be Kickstarted, Stoic have confirmed that it is now fully funded -- less than 7 days after the original campaign began.

Stoic's co-founder and Technical Director, John Watson, also revealed that since the initial $200,000 target was met, a stretch goal of $250,000 has been added which will allow gamers to play as Dredge if the new target is also hit.

Offering his thanks to the backers, Watson said:

“We’re thrilled to have funded the Kickstarter in less than a week. Once again it’s down to the amazing support of the community, and we truly appreciate every backer that has helped us reach our funding goal.

This is huge for us and have now revealed the first stretch goal! A big thanks again to all of our supporters for helping us get this far.”

The Viking role-playing game's third chapter will take players beyond the wall of Darkness into a previously unseen world. Player choice once again comes to the fore, and the decisions you make will be as important to your endgame as your victories on the battlefield.

With 34 days to go and the target at over $215,000 at the time of writing, it looks likely that the first stretch goal will easily be met. We're anticipating more goals to be added as the Kickstarter rumbles on.

Did you back the Kickstarter? Are you excited by the new stretch goal? Let us know in the comments!

The Banner Saga 3 Kickstarter is Happening Tue, 24 Jan 2017 06:09:18 -0500 Rob Kershaw

The Banner Saga developer Stoic has announced that the third game in the lauded series is not only still in development, but will be funded by Kickstarter to polish off the final touches.

The first two games of the Banner Saga trilogy were met with critical acclaim -- not to mention multiple BAFTA nominations. But the first sequel did not perform as financially well as the opening chapter. Much of this could be explained by the timing of The Banner Saga hitting Kickstarter at its pinnacle, before the crowdfunding site became the go-to destination for wannabe developers (and thus oversaturated with projects). 

However, the studio is refusing outside funding other than what it makes through this Kickstarter campaign and aims to raise at least $200,000 over the next 42 days in order to complete the last chapter of the Viking role-playing game's story.

Whilst the stretch goals are yet to be defined, the pledge rewards at the top two tiers include a seat at a board meeting where you can help shape the entire game's direction, and a likeness of yourself in the game.

Are you excited to learn about the final chapter of The Banner Saga? Will you be helping to fund the game through Kickstarter? Let us know in the comments!

Banner Saga 2 Released for iOS and Android Sat, 01 Oct 2016 18:52:18 -0400 Alex Anderson_0905

The sequel to the award-winning indie game, The Banner Saga, The Banner Saga 2 was released for mobile devices Thursday. The game was released for PC, Mac, and consoles earlier this year and received glowing reviews on all platforms. 

The game's predecessor, The Banner Saga, was awarded Pocket Gamer’s Best RPG of the Year and Best Android Game of the Year. The development team, Stoic, is now working on the third and final installment of The Banner Saga, which is going to bring the epic saga to a climactic close. 

In Banner Saga 2, players will lead their Viking clans to even more hostile settings while keeping them alive by managing resources and making decisive strikes against enemies. The game truly is a turn-based strategy RPG at heart as you drive your forces through enemy lands and recruit more characters to harden your Viking army.

Banner Saga 2 is available in the App Store and on Google Play for $4.99.

Banner Saga Complete Collection on Sale Thu, 11 Aug 2016 03:55:10 -0400 Joey Marrazzo

If you've been holding back on purchasing The Banner Saga Parts 1 and 2 for Xbox One, now is the time to buy.

For a limited time only, The Banner Saga Complete Pack which includes Banner Saga 1 and Banner Saga 2 is on sale for $33.99 if you are an Xbox Live Gold member.

The Banner Saga is developed by indie developer Stoic.

"This story driven tactical RPG puts players in some tough situations throughout their epic journey and forces them to make some very hard and sometimes devastating decisions." 

The decisions that you make in The Banner Saga Part 1 will transfer over to The Banner Saga Part 2 so you can continue your adventure.

Both games have been received very well by critics and gamers alike with Banner Saga 1 having an 82 on Metacritic and Part 2 having an 83.

This offer is for a limited time only so hurry on over to the Xbox Store or turn on your Xbox One to take advantage of this great deal for two amazing games.

Banner Saga 2 out NOW on Xbox One Sun, 03 Jul 2016 10:12:23 -0400 Joey Marrazzo

After being available on PC and Mac since April, The Banner Saga 2 was finally released for the Xbox One. 

The Banner Saga is a indie trilogy of games created by Stoic. "This story driven tactical RPG puts players in some tough situations throughout their epic journey and forces them to make some very hard and sometimes devastating decisions." Those decisions will follow you into each entry of The Banner Saga with it changing the story of the game based on your previous decisions. 

The Banner Saga 2 was released for PC in April and received great acclaim from the critics. 

The Banner Saga 2 is a part of the Xbox Games with Gold Program for the month of July. If you download The Banner Saga 2 on Xbox One you will also receive exclusive passive ability boost and the Tome of X which is a book of catalogued pastimes, competition, and puzzles. 

The Banner Saga 2 will be released for PlayStation 4 on July 5th. 

The Saga Continues: Banner Saga 2 Reviewed Mon, 09 May 2016 16:39:30 -0400 Vrothgarr

Sagas have a very weighted aesthetic, sometimes somber but always heroic. Wrapped in the myth-dusted context of a fierce history, a saga is a tradition that embodies the struggles of men and women against pitiless nature, fearsome enemies, or their own flawed decisions. The three-man team that is the Austin, Texas-based Stoic Studio presents a singular vision of this Viking tradition with a game built upon a framework of the greatest elements of choice-focused narrative design and stands upon a solid foundation of turn-based, tactical RPG combat.


Stoic Studio is: a former DC Comics (Justice League) artist, Arnie Jorgensen; a programmer who worked on the Hubble telescope, John Watson; and a short story and indie games writer who worked with both of these guys on Star Wars: The Old Republic, Drew McGee. By the by, Arnie was SW:TOR’s lead concept artist, and John was its lead combat programmer. The unique sum of their vision is nothing less than a flawless execution of very old and very new traditions.

Despite efforts made by King, the developers of Candy Crush, the concept of sagas goes beyond one franchise, one genre, or one culture. Here, Stoic Studio has managed yet again to encapsulate a saga that feels ancient, in terms of design, aesthetic, and presentation, while possessing the quality and finish of the very best of the new. The first Banner Saga title won a BAFTA for its modern affirmations of traditional design concepts, and no one should be surprised if they win again here. This sequel is an improvement in every way.

Giving out a perfect score is not something that should be done lightly or praising good design because it suits the reviewer’s tastes. No game is a universal 10/10; somebody out there hates Ocarina of Time for what they believe to be a good reason. There will be pieces that people don’t enjoy. But truly, there are no real flaws with The Banner Saga 2This review is shorter than most for I cannot tear myself away; something sublime is happening here.

The Land of the Unsetting Sun

The Banner Saga 2 stands on four main pillars: choice-driven storytelling, breathtaking art design, tactical turn-based combat, and heartstopping audio. The foremost of these pillars of tradition that uphold The Banner Saga 2 is the art and animation. Somewhere between Don Bluth and classic Disney, every single part of the whole is exemplary. The environments and backgrounds, particularly the brilliant use of foregrounds, give immense scale to your undertaking. Each character you meet feels unique to this world alone despite the clear Norse influences. Having such wide panoramas creates a scale for this game which feels monolithic and makes you and your characters feel rather small in the face of such a staggeringly beautiful tale.

Choose Wisely

Picking up the pieces of the first saga, The Banner Saga 2 will allow you to load a previous save which changes the story based on what decisions were made previously. If you don’t have a saved game, you’ll have the chance to make similar, though certainly less dramatic or impactful, choices. This is normally where I’d talk about where the story goes, but The Banner Saga 2 has such an ineffably personal feel to every moment that I feel like I’d be taking something away from your first hours in the game. Suffice it to say that the threat of the Dredge has not ceased since the defeat of the Bellower, and it is up to you to lead your clan through the land of the unsetting sun to a place of safety.

The game begins at Chapter 8: Forth From Their Homes. Immediately, it’s made clear that the storytelling is a main focus in the game in both quality and quantity. Familiar friends are further developed, taking into account your decisions in the previous saga. New allies and enemies flesh out a rich tapestry of heroes, villains, and everyone else left in between. Character classes are perfectly suited to this world, ranging from Landsmen, Menders and Shieldbangers, to Poets, Archers, and Raiders. The choices you make with these men and women, whether deciding who gets what items, to assigning tasks before battle, to where to move during battle, all feel like they come at some cost.

Combat and the overarching tactical RPG mechanics are immensely deep, but not by virtue of their scale or complexity. The strategic approach of needing to overcome an enemy’s armor to attack its health, which directly impacts its damage, brings about an unparalleled feeling of dread and hope with each blow you exchange with the enemy. The battles achieve a perfect rhythm only possible in the best turn-based RPGs. Well paced action at this slow a speed is a rare pleasure. The dynamic idling animations are far more than the usual “battle stance bounce” that most RPGs have which gives the eye time to enjoy the finely detailed character and environment art.

Dare to Struggle

The Banner Saga 2 isn’t the most punishing tactical RPG gameplay, but it’s close. Once you grasp the flow and rhythm of the turn-based battles, you’ll find success, but even on Easy there is gravitas behind every fight. This game does not permit careless decision making at any level. None of the side quests feel trivial, as if every movement on the battlefield could create a ripple effect that leads to the destruction of your clan and your failure as their leader. The strategic depth never really lets you feel like things went perfectly, and the atmosphere that surrounds each encounter is fully supported by the art, sound, animation, and most importantly every decision--no matter the size or the matter--that led you to this point.

The impact of your choices doesn’t rely on a good/evil binary scale. No points are awarded. Events unfold through brilliant writing and design that allow you to feel the effects of your decision instead of simply counting them. Your decisions impact not only the individuals you know and have spent many hours fighting beside, but also the hundreds of humans and giant varl that march under your banner. While friends can die, you are given charge over your group entirely and have a direct count of how many clansmen, fighters, and varl remain. Some choices may lead to increasing these numbers. Many will not.

The Horns of Battle, The Song of Silence

The sounds of the Banner Saga are not the most prominent pillar, but the subtlety of the themes, the grandeur that matches the stunning environments, and the ancient intensity of the battle music puts its quality on par with every other aspect of the game. The score was created by composer Austin Wintory, who was nominated for a Grammy beside John Williams for his work on Journey. A wholly identifiable sound palette emerges from The Banner Saga 2, from the soundtrack itself to the sounds of every strike or spell.

Some games have had a hard time pricing themselves lately. It’s very rare nowadays to see this level of quality on all fronts available for $19.99 USD. I don't think many would be surprised to see this priced out to $30 or even $40, and most of players would gladly pay for such a unique experience. With the first installment currently on sale for $4.99 USD, there is no excuse to not at least begin your saga there.

Banner Saga 2 was reviewed on PC, but is also available as of April 19th on OS X, PS4, and Xbox One.

PAX East 2016 Panel: Indie Developer Stoic Studios gave an in depth look at all things Banner Saga Sat, 23 Apr 2016 17:24:36 -0400 Cresta Starr

Indie developer Stoic gave fans an in depth look at The Banner Saga 2 at PAX East 2016.  In addition to discussing all things Banner Saga, Fans got to see the exclusive reveal of "The Banner Saga - In Memoriam" a trailer by Cartoonist Kris Straub.

The Banner Saga is an epic tale about humans and a viking warrior race called the Varyl. In this story-driven game players must make hard decisions on and off the battlefield. Every choice the player makes changes the story around them. So it's up to the player to make the decisions count. The Banner Saga 2 picks up right where The Banner Saga leaves off. A more detailed look into The Banner Saga and the Skinny on The Banner Saga 2 can be found right here on Game Skinny.


Moderated by Jesse Cox, the panel consisted mostly of people from the Stoic team -- with the exception of Grammy Nominated composer Austin Wintory. The Stoic team included:

  • John Watson (Technical Director)
  • Arnie Jorgensen (Art Director)
  • Matt Rhoades (Technical Designer)
  • Drew McGee (Writer)

One of the main questions asked by the community was how The Banner Saga come to be? The team at Stoic wanted to create a mix of Oregon Trail and King of Dragons Pass kind of game. They moved the theme from British to Norse mythology to be told over 3 parts. Despite utilizing a brighter color pallet, they wanted to tell a dark, adult, player driven story. 

Stoic also talked in-depth about the art style of The Banner Saga. They wanted to emulate a rotoscoped look so that all the movements look more fluid. They also said that the art style was influenced by the Disney movie Sleeping Beauty. That same art style could be seen in their exclusive short that they showcased here at PAX East 2016. Titled "In Memoriam," it was an homage to all the characters that died during The Banner Saga. But to lighten the mood, the video short was done in a more comedic manner.

Check it out below:

For Stoic, multiplayer was another hot topic from the community as well. With no real plans to bring co-op or multiplayer to The Banner Saga and The Banner Saga 2, Stoic did hint at maybe adding it to the game The Banner Saga Factions. If multiplayer is your flare, there is also a board game for The Banner Saga available at their booth here at PAX East.

Lastly, Fans wanted to know how much time was spent researching all the Norse mythology needed for The Banner Saga and The Banner Saga 2. Stoic stated that they kept the feel and themes of Norse mythology, but did not copy it verbatim. Since the ins and outs of the game kept changing as development continued, it was easy for them to use books as a reference for the culture, but not the actual storyline. It's why there are no helmets with horns for the "Viking-esque" Varyl. It also allowed the music to change and flow with the story and not be constrained by Norse guidelines.

Without a doubt, Stoic is very invested in The Banner Saga's story and its community. If you want to keep up with all things Stoic has in store, be sure to follow them and The Banner Saga on Twitter and on their website.

Trailer for PlayStation 4 Version of The Banner Saga Released Sun, 14 Dec 2014 18:57:25 -0500 Mary-Kate Wagamon

Last weekend, during the 2014 PlayStation Experience, Indie game developer Stoic announced the upcoming release of The Banner Saga for PlayStation 4 and Vita. Then, a few days ago, Stoic also released a trailer to go along with their announcement. 

The Banner Saga, a viking-themed RPG, originally released for Steam on January 14th of this year. The game features a 2D animation style, and according to the game's developers, "[the player's] choice in travel, conversation, and combat determines the outcome of [their] own personal story as well as the survival of an entire civilization." 

The Banner Saga, which will release for PlayStation 4 and Vita in 2015, supposedly will also have two sequels. Along with revealing plans for the PlayStation 4 and Vita versions, Stoic also announced The Banner Saga 2. The new trailer gives a glimpse at the story of the second game, and a race new to The Banner Saga: centaurs. Make sure to check out the trailer, below:

The Banner Saga 2 is set for release in 2015. 

Banner Saga Traveling Tips and Master Guide List Fri, 24 Jan 2014 11:59:49 -0500 Synzer

I've done a number of Banner Saga guides and this will be the portal to all of them. I go over basic combat and strategy, explain each player and enemy unit, go over all abilities, and other helpful tips to give you an edge in combat.

I'd also like to give you some travelling tips to keep your caravan running smoothly. If your goal is to go through the game without losing people to starvation, then you definitely want to do many battles.

Banner Saga Traveling Tips

Fight ALL the battles!

Following combat strategies and using the right units will help you win battles, but you can always lower the difficulty if it gets too hard. The core of the game is about traveling and the story anyway.

You will lose people in wars, but as long as you win battles, you will get renown and sometimes supplies. You can use renown to buy supplies in big towns.

Watch your back!

There are many events that come up in your travels. Make sure you are careful, sometimes you have to ignore people. I tried being nice and got most or all of my supplies taken on more than one occasion. It really takes good judgement.

Paying attention to what the characters say and how they say it can clue you in on their intentions. Sometimes helping people are allowing them in to the caravan will lead you to more supplies.

It is also good to inspect Godstones or other places that give you such an option. You might find supplies or items that characters equip.

Avoid drama

Sometimes, people just want to start drama. Don't let it fly! If someone is causing friction in the group, toss them out faster than you can say "Dredge." If you don't, it might come back to haunt you. Again, this doesn't work in every case, so learn to read the situation.

Hopefully these simple tips will lead you through the game without starvation. Check out the links below for anything else about Banner Saga.

Banner Saga Guide List

Be sure to check out my Banner Saga review if you haven't already. Visit Stoic Studio's official website to stay current on any news or contests they have. Let me know in the comments about any questions or suggestions you have!

Banner Saga Guide: Destroying the Mighty Dredge Tue, 21 Jan 2014 08:33:28 -0500 Synzer

My last two guides went over class abilities of the humans and varl. This time, I'll tell you all about the dredge. The dredge are tough if you don't know how to fight them. The smaller dredge can usually be killed pretty easily, but they all have one thing in common. You need to take down their armor before attacking.

This guide will cover dredge abilities including

  • Explanation of each dredge ability
  • Strategies for each dredge unit

Banner Saga Dredge Abilities

The dredge have different classes just like the humans and varl. There are melee, ranged, and special dredge. I will go over the ranged first.

Ranged Dredge

Ranged dredge all have the passive ability Back Off. This causes the dredge to run several spaces away from their attacker when they get hit. They also all throw stones at their targets.

This ability can prove troublesome when you are fighting multiple dredge. If you chase the dredge running away, it can put you in a vulnerable position and the stronger dredge will attack you. The best way to deal with this is to use your own ranged units to finish them off.

  • Slag Slingers are dredge that throw stones attached to a rope. They do not do anything else and do minimal damage. These dredge are the easiest to deal with.
  • Flame Slingers and Fire Slingers are identical, but Flame Slingers are slightly stronger. They have the Shatterstone active ability. This ability throws two bombs to an area that explode on the next turn, dealing two strength and armor damage.

When fighting these dredge, it is best to spread out. You don't want to get bombs thrown into a group of units and take unnecessary damage.

  • Sun Slingers and Spark Slingers are also the same, Sun Slingers do more damage. They have the active ability Sunstrike. This ability causes an explosion that stops the use of exertion for one turn. Exertion uses willpower to deal additional attacks.

Keep any units that rely on exertion away from these dredge. Losing the ability to use exertion can really hurt you in a battle.

Melee Dredge

All melee dredge have the passive ability, Splinter. This ability causes adjacent dredge to take damage when that unit takes at least three armor damage.

  • Grunts are the most basic dredge units. They have no abilities, other than splinter. Enraged grunts and Vicious Grunts do more damage.
  • Scourge Warriors are giant dredge with a tuning fork sword and the active ability, Tremble. This ability summons another dredge to the battlefield. It's best to take their armor down early in case you need to kill it quickly. When it uses tremble, you have time to kill it before another dredge enters the battlefield.
  • Stoneguards are giant dredge with a shield and the active ability, Kindle. This ability knocks back all adjacent units with the shield, doing armor damage. It has high armor, so its best to start on it early and do not surround it.
Special Dredge

These dredge do not fit into the other categories because they have very special mechanics and are not fought often.

  • Stonesingers are melee/support dredge with the passive ability, Disease Strike. Contact with this dredge causes disease, losing one strength each turn. They also have the active abilities Rupture and Umbrage. Rupture causes units to explode, doing strength damage equal to their remaining armor and damaging all adjacent units. Umbrage causes dredge allies to lose two armor, but permanently gain three strength.

Just stay away from these dredge, trust me. Kill them with ranged units, but do not engage them with melee. Their Umbrage ability can cause a lot of trouble, so take them out fast.

  • Bellower is a giant dredge called a Sunder. It has the passive ability, Indomitable, and the active ability, Quake and Despair.

Indomitable makes Bellower invincible, each turn it will recover armor and strength, it will also not go below one strength. There is an ability that can defeat Bellower, but it is only possible the last time you fight it.

Quake and Despair stuns one target for a turn and pushes back all other enemies, three spaces. This ability really messes up your strategy. There is nothing you can do against Bellower except the Silver Arrow ability that you get while going through the story.

I covered all the dredge that I know of. Please comment if I've missed any or if you have any questions.

Banner Saga Guide: Skills for Kills Part Two Fri, 17 Jan 2014 05:20:21 -0500 Synzer

My previous article went over Banner Saga Abilities for humans. This one will cover the Varl. They do not have ranged units like humans, but they still have a variety of classes.

If you want to know the basics of combat and strategy, visit my Banner Saga Combat guide. I you want an in-depth look at each unit, then visit my Banner Saga Unit guide.

This guide will cover class abilities including

  • Explanation of each Varl ability
  • Best uses of each Varl ability

Banner Saga Varl Abilities

The varl are all melee. They can be separated into two basic classes, shieldbanger and warrior. Varl also have a slightly bigger range because they take up four spaces. I'll go over shieldbangers first.

Shieldbangers all have shields, and the passive ability Return the Favor. This ability causes any unit who attacks the Shieldbanger to lose one point of armor for each strike. This is great for enemies that hit multiple times because they will lose armor for each hit.

  • Shieldmasters are shieldbangers with the Bring the Pain active ability. This ability does normal armor damage and adds an extra point of damage to their passive ability. Each rank of the ability adds another point to their passive, when using Bring the Pain. This allows them to cause up to three armor damage for every strike they take. This is very useful when you want to charge enemies, or punish them for attacking you.
  • Strongarms are shieldbangers with the Battering Ram active ability. This ability will knock the target back, up to four spaces. It does normal armor damage, plus one for each unit the target is pushed through. Each rank adds two armor damage for every unit they are pushed through. You can use this to devastate a row of enemies, or push an ally out of harms way. Just don't push friends into combat!

Warriors are pure attackers and often have a lot of strength. They all have the passive ability, Heavy Impact. This ability causes all enemies standing next to the target to take one point of strength damage if the warrior uses a strength attack.

This is very useful when attacking big targets that take up four spaces because you can potentially hit more targets.

  • Warhawks are warriors with the Tempest, active ability. This ability is a swinging attack that hits multiple units. It starts at two units, then goes up by one each rank. Tempest does normal strength damage and activates their passive ability. If you wait until multiple enemies have taken armor damage, you can devastate an entire group of enemies with one attack.This ability also hits allied units, so watch where you swing!
  • Warmasters are warriors with the active ability, Sundering Impact. This ability causes the user to deal an extra point of damage to strength and armor, plus a bonus to their passive ability. The first rank adds one to the passive, the second rank adds another strength damage to that,  and the last rank adds a total of one strength damage and two to heavy impact damage.This can do a lot of armor damage to a group of enemies if you are at maxed rank.
  • Warleaders are warriors with the Forge Ahead active ability. This ability causes an ally to become next in line on your team's turn order. The first rank only works on allies next to the user, but the last rank lets them use this ability from anywhere on the battlefield. This is an extremely useful ability because you can change your tactics in the middle of combat. If you need a unit to attack quicker, or use a skill, just make them go next. You can also use this to get allies out of harms way.

That covers all the abilities of Varl and concludes the guide on player class abilities. Next time, I'll go over dredge units and their abilities.

Did you find this guide helpful? Have anything to add? Have any questions? I'd love to know, so tell me in the comments!

Banner Saga Guide: Skills for Kills Part One Thu, 16 Jan 2014 07:25:12 -0500 Synzer

Abilities can really turn the tide of battle in Banner Saga. Some character types have passive abilities that apply to every class of that type. There are also some unique abilities between each class of the same type. Everyone has two things in common. There are three ranks of each ability, and they needs kills to upgrade their abilities.

If you are looking for a basic combat guide, check out my Banner Saga Combat Guide. If you want more of an explanation on units, then visit my Banner Saga Unit Guide.

This guide will cover class abilities including:

  • Explanation of each human ability
  • Best use of each ability

Banner Saga Human Abilities

Each character type, archer, melee, and mender, have different classes. Each class has their own abilities.  Let's start with the archers.


All archers have the passive ability, Puncture. This ability does more strength damage if the user does not move that turn and based on how much armor the target has lost. For every two points of armor the target has lost, the archer will gain one point of strength, as long as it doesn't move.

The Eagle Eye class has the active ability, Thread the Needle. This ability can hit a target up to five spaces away and will hit ever unit in a straight line on its way to the target. It does normal strength damage, plus up to three armor damage, depending on the rank, and puncture damage if standing still. This is a great ability if you can get enemies to line up, but be careful, friendly units will also be hit if in the line of fire.

Skystrikers have the Rain of Arrows ability. This ability shoots up to three arrows on an unoccupied tile. Any enemy that step on the target will take normal strength damage and get stunned, ending their turn. Each rank adds an extra arrow and strength damage to the ability. This ability is a great defensive tool. You can protect allies by placing traps near them, to stop enemies that target them.

Bowmasters have the Bird of Prey ability. This ability increases the range the user can shoot and gives it a 100% chance to hit. The ability initially gives the user two more tiles of range, each rank adds an extra tile. This works with puncture, so it is a good way to use that passive ability on enemies that are otherwise out of reach.


There are three types of melee units for humans: landsmen, spearmen, and raiders.

Landsmen have the passive ability Light Step. This ability allows the user to pass through allied units. This ability is useful for getting into position, or escaping a dangerous situation.

  • Hunters are landsmen that have a bow and axe. These units can attack from far away or melee range. The active ability, Mark Prey, is a melee ability though. Mark Prey does armor damage to the target and causes all allies within melee range of the target to automatically attack the target. This ability will not, however, work with ranged units. It does one armor damage and goes up by one every rank. This ability is great when used near high damaging allies within range of the target. You may even be able to finish a target off by using this ability once.
  • Wardens are landsmen with the active ability, Rally. This ability grants allies with willpower, from anywhere on the battle field. It starts at two, then goes up by two each rank. This helps a lot when an ally is short on willpower and needs it to finish off an enemy.

Each spearman has the passive ability Embolden. This ability grants one willpower to the spearman, and any adjacent allies, when the spearman gets a kill.

  • Spearmasters are spearmen with the active ability Impale . This ability will impale the target, then knocks them back one space. Impaled targets will bleed the next turn if they move any spaces. If the target moves next turn, it will take one strength damage for each space moved.. This ability knocks the enemy back one extra space for each rank.

All raiders have shields and the passive ability Shield Wall. This ability adds one extra armor to the raider and allies when the raider moves next to an ally. This ability lasts as long as the raider stays next to an ally. Additional raiders add to the ability, up to four armor if four raiders stand in a square formation.

  • Thrashers are raiders with the Bloody Flail active ability. This ability will randomly do one damage to either armor or strength, multiple times. It does four strikes at rank one and goes up by one each rank. Each adjacent ally increases the damage of this ability by one. This ability is useful on targets with high armor because you have the potential to do a lot of strength damage. Putting allied units near a thrasher not only gives it an attack bonus, but will grant extra armor because of th passive ability.
  • Grudgewielders are raiders with the Guts active ability. This ability knocks all units next to the user back two spaces, friend or foe. Each rank adds an extra space to the knockback. All units hit by this ability, take one strength damage, plus one for each space knocked back. This is great for hitting a group of enemies and knocking them away from allies, just don't do it near friends.
  • Raidmasters are raiders with the Stone Wall active ability. This ability will resist three damage for each strike to the user. Each rank adds an extra two to the resist. This is great for charging into a group of enemies, or stopping a strong enemy from hurting allies.
  • Backbiters are raiders with the Run Through active ability. This ability allows the user to run to an enemy up to two spaces away. When they reach the target, they stab them in the back for normal strength damage. Each unit the user runs through on the way to the target, takes two armor damage. Each rank adds an extra space the user can run through.

Eyvind has two active abilities, Arc Lightning and Mend. Arc lightning strikes an enemy up to six spaces away with lightning from the sky. This ability does two strength damage to the target and one additional damage to each unit diagonal to the target. Arc lightning can hit allied units, so be careful. Each rank adds one extra damage to the first strike.

Mend restores an ally's armor up to six spaces away. The amount restored is equal half of the user's current willpower. Each rank adds an extra point of armor.

That's all the human abilities. If I have missed any, or you have any questions, let me know in the comments. Part Two will go over the Varl's abilities.

Banner Saga Guide: Choose Characters Wisely Wed, 15 Jan 2014 14:29:09 -0500 Synzer

Now that you know the basics of fighting from my Banner Saga Combat Guide, I'll teach you about the different classes and their abilities. The classes in Banner Saga are pretty straightforward, spearman, archer, etc., but there are many different versions of each class. Each one has their own ability and stat distribution.

This guide will cover the classes of Banner Saga including:

  • Class mechanics
  • Positioning

Banner Saga Player Classes

There are two races that players control in Banner Saga: humans and varl. I would like to say that I have not met every character because your choices in the story will determine who you come across. I will update as I find new ones.

Humans are what you'd expect and take up one space on the board. They are the only race with ranged units.

Varl are horned giants and take up four spaces on the board. Most of them have high attack and/or defense, so you will usually put them in the battle first to take hits.

First, let's go over the human units. Humans can either be archers or melee. There is a special class called mender, but it's the only one.

Human Classes

Archers are the ranged units, and one of your strongest. They can hit enemies from far away without fear of retaliation, unless you don't have any other units protecting them. The archer units are bowmaster, eagle eye, skystriker, and hunter.

Archers have to attack from a minimum of two spaces away, but can attack up to five spaces away. There are some exception to this rule. You will generally want to stay as far away from the enemies as possible, because they survive too many hits. They get a bonus to attack if they don't move that turn, so there are times to take advantage of this.


Melee units take more damage to kill, usually, and often have shields. They get up close and personal with the enemy during battle. The melee units are spearmaster, thrasher, warden, grudgewielder, raidmaster, and backbiter.

Melee units can only attack from one space away, except for the spearmaster, who can attack up to two spaces away. You want to take down the weaker enemies first as human melee units, so position them in that area before the fight starts. It is sometimes wise to have a varl or two nearby just in case.


There is only one mender in the game, Eyvind. You want to treat him like an archer unit and stay away from enemies. His range is bigger than archers, though, so it is most important to constantly move him away from danger.

Varl Classes

All varls are melee classes. They are divided into two catergories: shield users, and pure melee. The varl classes are strongarm, warleader, warhawk, warmaster, and shieldmaster.

Varl are huge and having  few on the battlefield can completely protect your human units if needed. This might cause them to take a lot more damage, so be careful. They can only attack from one space away, but they take up four spaces, so they have a bigger range technically.

Shield users

These are the ones you want to put first into battle and attack the stronger units. Other classes can't take as much damage as shield users, so they make good protectors. Position them in front of the weaker units and always put them between the enemy and weaker units during combat.

Pure Melee

These units usually do the most damage. As varl, they can take more damage than humans, but don't get surrounded. They excel at strength damage, especially if you weaken the enemy's armor first. Position them closer to the stronger enemies, but don't get caught in a big group. These units go perfectly with the human melee units.