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Commanders are the heart of Rise of Kingdoms. There are many many possible builds players can choose when developing their commanders. There are also many opinions as to which build is "best". This guide explains how to go about planning your build, and lists some common builds.

Planning your Commander build

The first thing to consider is how long you expect to play for, or how much money you are planning on spending on the game. Legendary Commanders are the best, but also the most difficult to upgrade. Next, are Epic, Elite, and finally Advanced. Most F2P (Free to Play) players focus on Epic and Elite commanders. P2P (Pay to Play) players may go after one or multiple Legendary commanders.

Selecting roles

Additionally, you will want to consider what role you will take in your Alliance:

F2P players typically won't be leading large rallies later in the game, but they will do a lot of PvE (Player vs Enemy) vs Barbarians and some of the Barbarian Forts.

Normally you'll want to focus on at least one of above for your primary commander, and then have decent additional commanders.

Specializing troops

For attacking type commanders, there are two types - those that have skills and talents specialized to one troop type, and those that enhance all troop types equally.

The advantage of specializing is that if you can get a full march of one troop type, the buffs are effectively much higher, and you will be able to win more battles and march faster. There are several builds that focus on Cavalry, which can get you the fastest march speeds in the game, along with good attack buffs. The downside to specializing is that unless you plan on spending money to accelerate troop training, it takes a long time to get a full march of specifically one troop type. Hence typically P2P players specialize.

F2P players often choose to generalize, as they can train all troop types simultaneously, the best way for them to get a large army is to train them all. So your main attack commander would buff all units the same. You still might upgrade a cavalry-only hero for quick marches to get runes, help build alliance buildings or other non-combat missions where quick marches help.

Lastly, there is a small rock-paper-scissors type buff with the 3 unit types. Cavalry has a 5% bonus against Archers, Archers have a 5% bonus against Infantry, and Infantry has a 5% bonus against Cavalry. All 3 have a 5% bonus vs Siege. It is a small effect but can turn the battle if all things else are equal.

Luck

To some extent, your build may rely on luck getting statues. Eventually, you will get them all, but you likely won't want to wait weeks or months to use XP tomes on your favourite commander.

Importance

Finally, for many players, the exact troop selection isn't THAT important. Every skill and talent provides marginal improvements (0.5% attack, 3% march speed, etc). True that together these can add up to making armies 30~50% stronger, which is critical for end game PVP, but for casual players, this isn't a huge difference. So don't forget to just have fun!

Commander Specialities

Rarity Name Talent 1 (Red) Talent 2 (Yellow) Talent 3 (Blue) Specialty Unit Specialty Typical Role
Legendary Julius Caesar Leadership Conquering Attack Primary All PvP attack
Legendary El Cid Archer Versatility Skill Primary Archer PvP (fast)
Legendary Richard I Infantry Garrison Defense Primary Infantry PvP defense
Legendary Cao Cao Cavalry Peacekeeping Mobility Primary Cavalry PvE or PvP (fast)
Legendary Frederick I Leadership Conquering Attack Primary All PvP attack (strong)
Legendary Minamoto no Yoshitsune Cavalry Peacekeeping Skill Primary Cavalry PvE or PvP (fast)
Legendary Yi Seong-Gye Archer Garrison Skill Primary Archer PvP defense/attack
Legendary Cleopatra VII Integration Gathering Support Gathering Siege (gathering) Gathering
Legendary Charles Martel Infantry Garrison Defense Primary Infantry PvP defense
Legendary Hannibal Barca Leadership Conquering Attack Primary All PvP offense
Legendary Æthelflæd Leadership Peacekeeping Support Primary or Secondary All PvE (exp bonus) or PvP debuffing
Legendary Mehmed II Leadership Conquering Skill Primary All PvP offense
Legendary Constantine I Infantry Garrison Support Secondary Infantry PvP support
Legendary Saladin Cavalry Conquering Support Primary or Secondary Cavalry PvP
Legendary Seondeok Integration Gathering Attack Gathering Siege (gathering) Gathering
Legendary Ishida Mitsunari Integration Gathering Support Gathering All Gathering
Legendary Genghis Khan Cavalry Versatility Skill Primary Cavalry PvP attack
Legendary Alexander the Great Infantry Versatility Attack Primary Infantry PvP attack
Legendary Artemisia I Archer Garrison Defense Primary Archer PvP defense
Legendary Attila Cavalry Conquering Attack Primary Cavalry PvP attack (optimal)
Legendary Charlemagne Leadership Conquering Skill Primary All PvP attack
Legendary Edward of Woodstock Archer Versatility Skill Primary Archer PvP attack
Legendary Guan Yu Infantry Conquering Skill Primary Infantry PvP attack
Legendary Leonidas I Infantry Versatility Defense Primary Infantry PvP attack
Legendary Takeda Shingen Cavalry Versatility Mobility Primary Cavalry PvP attack
Legendary Tomyris Archer Conquering Attack Primary Archer PvP attack
Legendary Wu Zetian Leadership Garrison Support Primary All PvP defense
Legendary Theodora Leadership Garrison Defense Primary All PvP defense
Legendary Yi Sun-sin Leadership Garrison Defense Primary All PvP defense
Legendary Chandragupta Maurya Cavalry Conquering Skill Primary Cavalry PvP attack
Legendary William I Cavalry Versatility Attack Primary Cavalry PvP attack
Epic Baibars Cavalry Conquering Skill Primary Cavalry PvP attack
Epic Belisarius Cavalry Peacekeeping Mobility Primary Cavalry PvE or PvP attack
Epic Eulji Mundeok Infantry Garrison Attack Primary Infantry PvP defense
Epic Lohar Integration Peacekeeping Support Primary All PvE (exp bonus)
Epic Joan of Arc Integration Gathering Support Primary, secondary, or gathering All Gathering, PvP or PvE
Epic Hermann Archer Garrison Skill Primary Archer PvP defense
Epic Pelagius Cavalry Garrison Skill Primary Cavalry Defense/Fast attack
Epic Sun Tzu Infantry Garrison Skill Primary Infantry Defense
Epic Scipio Africanus Leadership Conquering Attack Primary All Attack cities
Epic Kusunoki Masashige Archer Garrison Skill Primary Archer Defense
Epic Osman I Leadership Conquering Skill Primary All PvP attack
Epic Keira Archer Peacekeeping Skill Primary Archer PvE
Epic Boudica Integration Peacekeeping Skill Primary All PvE (exp bonus)
Elite Šárka Integration Gathering Skill Gathering All Gathering
Elite Lancelot Cavalry Versatility Mobility Primary or Secondary Cavalry Fast march
Elite Tomoe Gozen Archer Versatility Attack Secondary Archer PvP attack
Elite Gaius Marius Leadership Gathering Skill Gathering All Gathering
Elite Constance Integration Gathering Skill Gathering All Gathering
Advanced Markswoman Archer Peacekeeping Skill Secondary Archer Useless (archer only vs barb??)
Advanced Dragon Lancer Cavalry Versatility Mobility Secondary Cavalry Fast march
Advanced City Keeper Infantry Versatility Attack Secondary Infantry PvP Defense
Advanced Centurion Integration Gathering Attack Gathering All Gathering

F2P Suggested builds

PvE (Barbarians)

This will likely be your main commander. Many choose Lohar​, with Boudica​ as secondary for hunting barbarians for their increased experience gain from their passive skills. Æthelflæd with her skill Synergy at level 4 will be more effective at gaining increased experience than Boudica, however. Look to use the peacekeeping or versatility talent trees for Insight to gain more experience. Some equipment also grants damage to barbarians or experience gain, so look to give your peacekeepers this equipment to make them more effective.

Gathering

Get some of the gatherers (Centurion, Constance, Šárka, Gaius Marius, Joan of Arc​, Cleopatra VII​​​​​​​, Seondeok​​​​​​​, Ishida Mitsunari​​​​​​​) and upgrade all their gathering and march talents and skills. Prioritize lower rarity gathering commanders, as they are easier to maximize gathering talents earlier. Use other gathering commanders as secondary for an extra gathering speed bonus.

The exception perhaps is Joan of Arc​​​​​​​​, who also has some very good fighting skills, and many players use her as a secondary commander. You can fully upgrade all her skills and talents for gathering, and in the end, it won't make a difference if you use her as a secondary commander. If you want to use her as primary, don't put talent points into her gathering tree.

Most gatherers have a resource-specific preference, where they gather that specified resource faster than others. Therefore, if the gatherer's skill prefers a certain resource, try to keep them gathering that specified resource type. Others do not have a specific preference, and they should be gathering whatever resource is needed most.

PvP Offense

If you are free-to-play, you likely won't be leading major attacks, only joining in, so you might just care about march speed, or applying debuffs to help other armies do more damage. Accordingly, prioritize cavalry to move quickly around the map, or commanders with the support tree.

For attacks in the open field, you'll either have to use a unit specialized commander or get one of the very rare legendary commanders, either way with preferably with multi-target active skills​​​​.

For attacking cities, Scipio Africanus​​​​​​​ is an easy choice early on.

PvP Defense

You will need to have a primary and secondary commander assigned to your Wall. All garrison/defense commanders are specialized, and you can choose anyone you like. You can choose between your highest ranked commander or any commander with the garrison talent.

Fast attack

You'll likely want to make a specialized fast march for quickly joining rallies or gathering runes. Some combinations:

  • Lancelot​​​​​​​ and Dragon Lancer​​​​​​​ (Cavalry). While these aren't the best units in the end game, they are the easiest to upgrade and have their passive skills directly increase march speed.
  • Cao Cao​​​​​​​ and Minamoto no Yoshitsune​​​​​​​ are also great fast cavalry commanders, but they are much harder to upgrade.
  • Hermann​​​​​​​ and Tomoe Gozen​​​​​​​ (Archers). These are harder to upgrade compared to Lancelot​​​​​​​ and Dragon Lancer​​​​​​​. El Cid​​​​​​​ has the best Archer March Speed but he is hard to upgrade.
  • Richard I​​​​​​​ is the only commander with Infantry specific march speed bonus. Not really something to shoot for. He has also been disabled since kingdom 1032.
  • Commanders with slowing effects like Æthelflæd or Baibars may be able to make up for a lack of march speed momentarily.
  • Some talent points can increase march speed beyond commander skills.

P2P

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Upgrading

Experience

Commanders gain experience by fighting Barbarians, Holy Site Guardians, some other neutral units, and Experience Tomes. Higher rarity commanders require more experience to gain levels. Each star extends the maximum level of a commander by 10 levels.

Caution - Sometimes it is UNDESIRED to level up your commanders as fast as possible with experience. See the below section on Skills.

Talents

Each commander has a talent tree with 3 specialties. Each time your commander gains a level, a talent point is made available, and more talent points are made available when promoting to star levels 5 and 6.

Caution - It is hard/expensive to undo poor talent choice, as talent resets are expensive. If you are not sure how to purpose the commander, don't spend the talent points until you are.

Talent points of secondary commanders have no effect on the march or battle.

Skills

Skills are the most important upgrade for commanders, without them, the talents and stars don't make a difference. All commanders have one active skill, which triggers when the commander's rage meter maxes out at 1000. They then may have 3 or 4 additional passive skills.

All commanders start off with their one level 1 active skill.

To enable more skills, their star level must be upgraded. Once the skill becomes available, the skill may be upgraded with Sculptures. However, for almost all main lead commanders, you will want to upgrade their first skill first to level 5 before enabling other skills!

Higher rarity commanders require more sculptures to upgrade their skills. To upgrade all 4 skills to level 5, it takes:

  • Legendary: 690 sculptures
  • Epic: 440 sculptures
  • Elite: 340 sculptures
  • Advanced: 240 sculptures

When upgrading skills, one of the available skills will be randomly selected to upgrade until they are all level 5. For epic and legendary commanders, this enables their final expertise skill, enhancing a previous skill or activating their new expertise skill.

Stars

Once your commander has reached level 10, you can upgrade his or her star level. But wait until you have maxed out their primary skill to level 5 unless you are sure what you're doing.

Before you upgrade, decide if you want to attempt to jump to 3 stars (so the commander can get a secondary commander on marches), or not. In most cases you do.

To do the 3-star trick:

  1. Apply 2 starlight sculptures, to get to 40 or 80% of the first star.
  2. If it doesn't critical, apply one more to get to 60 or 80%.
  3. If it doesn't critical, apply one more to get to 80%, but hopefully not 100%.
  4. Then if you can get it to 80%, apply 6 stars all at once. This will take you to 150% stars, and you'll have a good chance that it will critical, you'll get double experience, and the 3rd star will open.
  5. If you're unlucky and miss it, you'll just have to wait until the hero levels to level 20.

This trick doesn't work for the 4th or later stars as those required too much star experience.

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