Banner Saga Guide: Choose Characters Wisely

Picking the right unit in Banner Saga is important, but so is positioning them. This guide will teach you what you need to know.

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.

I have explained all the player classes that I know of. My next article will go over class abilities. If you know of any that I've missed, or have any questions, then let me know in the comments!

Guide Editor

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 (

Games The Banner Saga Genres RPGStrategy Platforms PC Tags stoic studio 
Published Jan. 16th 2014

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