Dune Spice Wars is a complicated game in general, but things get even more complex when you factor in the four different factions. While each faction mostly plays the same, they each have their own strengths and weaknesses, meaning they fall best into a specific playstyle.
We’ll help walk you through each faction in Dune Spice Wars, as well as how to best play them, their bonuses, and the best councilors.
House Atreides is very much the “standard” faction of Dune Spice Wars, excelling in diplomacy and being average in nearly everything else. Atreides starts with the strongest standing in the Landsraad, and your best bet is to double down on diplomacy and political power. Make sure early Landsraad votes go in your favor and you’ll soon find you have an advantage over the competition.
Atreides may not have military units as strong as the Harkonnen, but military operations can also be a big focus for the faction. Because of the Peaceful Annexation bonus, Atreides can annex villages without a fight, letting you expand quickly and build a strong military network. A mix of diplomacy and military is also a viable option; As a general rule, you’ll want to focus on research in the green and red sections.
With the general overview out of the way, we’ll go through the house’s bonuses and the best councilors to choose. All of the councilors are viable depending on your playstyle, but we’ll pick two that are the most useful in our experience.
- Peacefully annex villages without a fight.
- Other factions lose no authority from treaties with you.
- Start with a higher Landsraad standing.
- Cannot pillage neutral villages.
- Gain 10% Solari at 5,000 Hegemony while under a positive Landsraad resolution, or 105 military power under a negative one.
- Ignore charter prerequisites for Landsraad standing at 10,000 Hegemony, (you can vote on game-winning resolutions).
- Thufir Hawat — This hugely beneficial councilor gives each agent an additional trait and grants your villages +20% production whenever they’re targeted by an operation. Easily the best benefits of the bunch.
- Duncan Idaho — Allying with Sietches can give you a leg up, and Idaho gives you a huge boost in relations. At the same time, you can annex villages for -10% authority, which lets you expand even faster.
House Harkonnen focuses on military conquest, and they easily have the strongest military units in the entire game. Because of that, you’ll want to heavily invest in the red section of the research tree, giving your military as much strength as possible.
While it can be tempting to conquer villages as fast as possible, make sure you reinforce your own villages so that you’re not left wide open. This faction benefits from a network of Airfields, letting you move units across your territories quickly.
Harkonnen have the easiest time winning through Domination and destroying the other three factions. However, you can also focus on Hegemony, as conquering a large number of neutral regions helps with that victory condition. If you choose Hegemony, you’ll also want to engage in the Landsraad, and try to gain as much influence as you can.
Below are the bonuses for Harkonnen and the two best councilors. House Harkonnen starts out with -10% resource production, in general, but has abilities that can counteract that.
- Increases the resource production of a village for a short time (but increases the chance of rebellion) with Oppression.
- Gain +5% village resource production per active militia in that village.
- Gain 10% unit power and +100% agent recruitment speed at 5,000 Hegemony whenever you have a village under Oppression.
- Assign an agent to a mission at 10,000 Hegemony to reduce its cost and prep time but lose the agent.
- Iakin Nefud — Nefud’s ability refunds 50% of a unit’s cost when it dies, tremendously useful for a military focus. It essentially lets you constantly keep your army on the attack.
- Feyd-Rautha — Feyd-Rautha lets you use Corruption on resolutions, causing a loss of Landsraad standing for whichever faction is elected. At the same time, Rautha can be beneficial if you use Oppression more often than not, giving you 10 influence each time you kill a rebel.
The Smugglers benefit the most from manipulating the economy and using intrigue, so you’ll want to mostly focus on the blue and orange sections of the research tree. This is very much a slow-burn faction that relies on building up a lot of money and a large economy with weaker military units in turn.
The most unique ability of the Smugglers is the Underworld Headquarters, which lets you build small bases in villages controlled by other units. These bases have two construction slots and drain resources from your opponent to you.
Because the Smugglers start out with low Landsraad standing, you should focus on taking villages early on, then switching to infiltrating the other factions once you have a sizable territory. Needless to say, you should also put a fair amount of focus on espionage and agents, which will help you take advantage of other factions even more.
Here are the Smuggler’s bonuses and best councilors.
- Can install Underworld Headquarters in enemy villages.
- Can place a bounty on Landsraad resolutions.
- Have access to the Black Market, which makes additional events appear.
- Unlock contraband offers and get 50 Landsraad votes at 5,000 Hegemony.
- Unlock elite Mercenary units — they are purchased with Solari and have 20% power — at 10,000 Hegemony.
- Staban Tuek — With this councilor, you’ll gain +0.5 Influencer per Underworld Headquarters, and each Headquarters produces +5 Solari if there are other regions next to it that also have a Headquarters.
- Lingar Bewt — Again doubling down on Headquarters, this councilor reduces the cost of installing one based on available water. They also do the same for annexing a village.
The Fremen are a good all-around faction that benefits from quick expansion and exploration. However, they have very limited influence in the Landsraad, and it takes a lot of work to get a decent number of votes. The Fremen have great military units that require less supply and water than other factions, so they’re great for hit-and-run attacks.
The Fremen should focus on winning through military domination or Hegemony, either building a strong army of their own or allying with Sietches. Unlike other factions, the Fremen don’t need to send an agent to ally with a Sietch; they can just do so when enough trade has happened. This can give you a huge advantage in both resources and military.
In terms of research, the Fremen should focus either on the red section for military or the orange for economy. At the start of a match, conquer a few villages and build a strong base, then focus on expanding outward to gain more Hegemony.
Here are the Fremen’s bonuses and best councilors.
- Military units have -30% supply drain.
- Can form alliances with Sietches outside of your own territory.
- Can use thumpers to summon Sand Worms and move units (no access to airfields).
- Spice Fields collect on their own and don’t need a harvester.
- Thumpers can be restocked automatically and can summon better worms that travel further at 5,000 Hegemony.
- Military units will gain power in relation to how much Hegemony you have at 10,000 Hegemony.
- Stilgar — Every village you capture boosts Sietch detection. You can ally with more Sietches and get more bonuses the more you conquer villages. At the same time, you gain +1 authority production for each Spice Field you have.
- Otheym — This councilor supports a hit-and-run playstyle; your units gain +10% speed across the board. A unit alone gets +20% power and +2 armor. This is a great councilor to pick if you want to focus on inciting rebellions in other factions.
And those are the four factions in the game, alongside their strengths and weaknesses, bonuses, and best councilors. For even more tips and help, make sure to check out our Dune Spice Wars guides hub.