Banner Saga Guide: Skills for Kills Part Two

I wrap up my player abilities guide for Banner Saga with the Varl. These giants will really help you on the battlefield.
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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.

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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!

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After gaming for 25 years, Synzer leveraged his vast knowledge of RPGs and MMOs into a job as a games journalist, covering the games he loves. Five years later, he's still writing about Kingdom Hearts, Pokemon, and Knights of the Old Republic. Synzer has a bachelor's degree in English and creative writing. You can see him in action on his YouTube channel ( and Twitch (