Commanders are the heart of Rise of Kingdoms. There are 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.
- 1 Planning your Commander Build
- 2 Commander Specialities
- 3 F2P Suggested Builds
- 4 Upgrading
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. Your starting commander will be an Epic commander. Most F2P (Free to Play) players focus on Epic and Elite commanders. P2P (Pay to Play) players will go after Legendary commanders.
Additionally, you will want to consider what role you will take in your:
- PvE (vs Barbarians)
- PvE Rally lead (vs Barbarian forts, Passes, Holy Sites)
- PvP Rally lead (vs other player cities, Ark of Osiris structures and other alliance structures)
- PvP Defense (vs incoming attacks from other players)
Normally you'll want to focus on at least one of above for your primary commander, and then have decent additional commanders.
There are two ways commanders buff troop 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 commander 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. These effects can be boosted from troop-specific talent specialties. All 3 have a 5% bonus vs Siege. It is a small effect but can turn the battle if all things else are equal.
To some extent, your build may rely on luck getting starlight sculptures and commander sculptures. Eventually, you will get them all, but you likely won't want to wait weeks or months to use Experience tomes on your favourite commander.
Finally, for many players, the exact troop selection isn't THAT important. Every skill and talent provides marginal improvements (0.5% attack/defense/health, 3% march speed, etc). True that together these can add up to making armies 30~50% stronger, which is critical for end game PvP (Player versus Player), but for casual players, this isn't a huge difference. So don't forget to just have fun!
Each commander has access to 3 of 15 different specialties in their talent tree, the red tree determining which troop type they should buff, or evenly buffing all troops, yellow tree determining what they should excel at doing, and the blue talent tree determining what they do best in combat. Commanders are not limited to the following suggested roles, but in general, sticking to what they do best is most effective, as these talent trees will synergize with the commander's skills.
|Rarity||Name||Specialty 1||Specialty 2||Specialty 3||Position Specialty||Unit Specialty||Typical Role||Civilization|
|Legendary||Æthelflæd||Leadership||Peacekeeping||Support||Primary or Secondary||All||PvE or PvP debuffing||Britain|
|Legendary||Alexander the Great||Infantry||Versatility||Attack||Primary||Infantry||PvP offense||Other [Greece]|
|Legendary||Artemisia I||Archer||Garrison||Defense||Primary||Archer||PvP defense||Other [Persia]|
|Legendary||Attila||Cavalry||Conquering||Attack||Primary||Cavalry||PvP offense (optimal)||Other [Huns]|
|Legendary||Cao Cao||Cavalry||Peacekeeping||Mobility||Primary||Cavalry||PvE or PvP offense (fast)||China|
|Legendary||Chandragupta Maurya||Cavalry||Conquering||Skill||Primary||Cavalry||PvP offense||Other [Maurya Empire]|
|Legendary||Charles Martel||Infantry||Garrison||Defense||Primary||Infantry||PvP defense||France|
|Legendary||Cleopatra VII||Integration||Gathering||Support||Gathering||Siege||Gathering||Other [Egypt]|
|Legendary||Constantine I||Infantry||Garrison||Support||Secondary||Infantry||PvP support||Byzantium|
|Legendary||Edward of Woodstock||Archer||Versatility||Skill||Primary||Archer||PvP offense||Britain|
|Legendary||El Cid||Archer||Versatility||Skill||Primary||Archer||PvP offense (fast)||Spain|
|Legendary||Frederick I||Leadership||Conquering||Attack||Primary||All||PvP offense (strong)||Germany|
|Legendary||Genghis Khan||Cavalry||Versatility||Skill||Primary||Cavalry||PvP offense||Other [Mongolia]|
|Legendary||Guan Yu||Infantry||Conquering||Skill||Primary||Infantry||PvP offense||China|
|Legendary||Hannibal Barca||Leadership||Conquering||Attack||Primary||All||PvP offense||Other [Carthage]|
|Legendary||Harald Sigurdsson||Infantry||Conquering||Skill||Primary||Infantry||PvP offense||Other [Norway]|
|Legendary||Julius Caesar||Leadership||Conquering||Attack||Primary||All||PvP offense||Rome|
|Legendary||Leonidas I||Infantry||Versatility||Defense||Primary||Infantry||PvP offense||Other [Greece]|
|Legendary||Lu Bu||Leadership||Conquering||Skill||Primary||All||PvP offense||China|
|Legendary||Mehmed II||Leadership||Conquering||Skill||Primary||All||PvP offense||Ottoman Empire|
|Legendary||Minamoto no Yoshitsune||Cavalry||Peacekeeping||Skill||Primary||Cavalry||PvE or PvP offense (fast)||Japan|
|Legendary||Ramesses II||Archer||Versatility||Attack||Primary||Archer||PvP offense||Other [Egypt]|
|Legendary||Richard I||Infantry||Garrison||Defense||Primary||Infantry||PvP defense/debuffing||Britain|
|Legendary||Saladin||Cavalry||Conquering||Support||Primary or Secondary||Cavalry||PvP offense/debuffing||Arabia|
|Legendary||Takeda Shingen||Cavalry||Versatility||Mobility||Primary||Cavalry||PvP attack||Japan|
|Legendary||Tomyris||Archer||Conquering||Attack||Primary||Archer||PvP attack||Other [Massagetae]|
|Legendary||William I||Cavalry||Versatility||Attack||Primary||Cavalry||PvP attack||Britain|
|Legendary||Wu Zetian||Leadership||Garrison||Support||Primary||All||PvP defense||China|
|Legendary||Yi Seong-Gye||Archer||Garrison||Skill||Primary||Archer||PvP defense/offense||Korea|
|Legendary||Yi Sun-sin||Leadership||Garrison||Defense||Primary||All||PvP defense||Korea|
|Legendary||Zenobia||Infantry||Garrison||Support||Primary or Secondary||Infantry||PvP defense||Other [Palmyra]|
|Epic||Belisarius||Cavalry||Peacekeeping||Mobility||Primary||Cavalry||PvE or PvP attack||Byzantium|
|Epic||Diaochan||Integration||Peacekeeping||Support||Primary or Secondary||All||PvE||China|
|Epic||Eulji Mundeok||Infantry||Garrison||Attack||Primary||Infantry||PvP defense||Korea|
|Epic||Joan of Arc||Integration||Gathering||Support||Primary, secondary, or gathering||All||Gathering, PvP support||France|
|Epic||Kusunoki Masashige||Archer||Garrison||Skill||Primary||Archer||PvP defense/offense||Japan|
|Epic||Matilda of Flanders||Integration||Gathering||Defense||Gathering||Siege||Gathering||Britain|
|Epic||Osman I||Leadership||Conquering||Skill||Primary||All||PvP attack||Ottoman Empire|
|Epic||Pelagius||Cavalry||Garrison||Skill||Primary||Cavalry||PvP defense/Fast attack||Spain|
|Epic||Scipio Africanus||Leadership||Conquering||Attack||Primary||All||PvP offense||Rome|
|Epic||Sun Tzu||Infantry||Garrison||Skill||Primary||Infantry||PvP defense/offense||China|
|Elite||Lancelot||Cavalry||Versatility||Mobility||Primary or Secondary||Cavalry||Fast march||Britain|
|Elite||Tomoe Gozen||Archer||Versatility||Attack||Secondary||Archer||PvP attack||Japan|
|Advanced||City Keeper||Infantry||Versatility||Attack||Secondary||Infantry||Kind of useless||Other|
|Advanced||Dragon Lancer||Cavalry||Versatility||Mobility||Secondary||Cavalry||Fast march||Other|
F2P Suggested Builds
PvE (Player versus Environment)
This will likely be your main commander early on. PvE will always be something you should do, as they are a major source of experience, drop rewards that are worth your action points, and events can have neutral targets to be defeated as tasks. Many choose commanders with increased experience gain from their passive skills, combined with peacekeeping talent tree, for hunting barbarians. Regardless of experience gain is the perk of reducing action point costs from the peacekeeping talent tree and increased damage to barbarians and neutral targets which peacekeepers excel at from their passive skills and peacekeeping specialty talent tree. Some equipment also grants damage to barbarians or experience gain, so look to give your peacekeepers this equipment to make them more effective. For Barbarian Forts and Holy Sites, look to use your best 2 peacekeepers to stack their damage to barbarians passive skills.
Get some of the gatherers (Centurion, Constance, Šárka, Gaius Marius, Joan of Arc, Matilda of Flanders, Cleopatra VII, Seondeok, Ishida Mitsunari) and upgrade all their gathering talents and skills. Prioritize lower rarity gathering commanders as primary gatherers, as they are easier to maximize gathering talent specialties (at level 37, this is enough talent points to max Superior Tools in the gathering tree) earlier, and require less experience to level up. Use other gathering commanders as secondary for an extra gathering speed bonus. Some normal quality equipment on your primary gatherers will also increase your gathering speed. At City Hall level 22, you will have access to 5 marches, so look to develop 5 primary gatherers.
The exception perhaps is Joan of Arc, who also has very good fighting skills, and many players use her as a secondary commander, or even primary. 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 has a higher gathering speed for a certain resource, try to keep them gathering that resource type. Others do not have a specific preference, and they should be gathering whatever resource is needed most.
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 marches do more damage. Accordingly, prioritize cavalry to move quickly around the map, or commanders with the support specialty/talent.
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, and your best equipment equipped synergized with the troop types in your march. Fight on alliance territory as much as possible to make use of your alliance's Alliance Technology war buffs.
You may want to scout your target to know which pairing they are using and how good their commanders are, especially if it is an enemy alliance structure or garrison prior to attacking, though this will notify the enemy that they may become a target.
You will need to have a primary and secondary commander assigned to your Wall to lead your city's garrison, and also if you become the captain of defending an alliance structure or holy site, of whom you should leave your best equipment on when offline. All garrison/defense commanders are specialized, and you can choose anyone you like for defending your city. Read skill descriptions carefully, as most garrison commanders' relevant skills do not apply to strongholds, which are alliance structures like flags and fortresses. You can choose between your highest power commander, but preferably any commander with the garrison talent, and well upgraded. Be wary of reinforcing your allies, as this will kill a portion fo the troops you send to help defend.
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.
- Alexander the Great has this bonus while on the map and Harald Sigurdsson (Infantry). They are legendary commanders however, and are unlocked later, so it is best to use other commanders with at minimum talents for all march speed.
- Some equipment also grants increased march speed.
- Talent points can increase march speed beyond commander skills.
P2P (Pay to Play)
Template:Todo A lot of the same goes for P2P players, so keep in mind all the other comments in this guide. As you would be buying bundles with money, you will have access to Minamoto no Yoshitsune and Hannibal Barca, and a lot more resources and items. The key difference is that leading major attacks and defenses in the open field and on Holy Sites, the highest level Barbarian Forts, and rallying enemy alliance structures will be a major role. This is because you will have and/or be able to obtain the resources (experience tomes, starlight sculptures, commander sculptures, and equipment) to develop commanders' levels, talents, and skills better, faster, and more quickly. As well, you be able to increase your alliance's Alliance Technology faster with more donations, and your own Technology with more normal resources. This will result in you having good expertised legendary level 60 6-star commanders, higher rallying capacity in your Castle, and better and more troops of the highest tier to use, which all combined makes your marches and garrisoning ability stronger than most. Speaking technically, these efforts all increase the stats of your troops led by your commanders. This prowess will likely be needed by your alliance for major tasks.
Focus should be prioritized on the main offensive and peacekeeping marches, as at all stages, there will be more targets to rally. Work on one march and commander at a time, focusing on a unit-specific combination. The goal here is to be as strong as possible (and as you want). You may want to have a garrison commander pairing set up as well, as having all those resources may make your city a target for plundering.
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, up until level 60.
Caution - Sometimes it is UNDESIRED to level up your commanders as fast as possible with experience. See the below section on Skills.
Each commander has a talent tree with 3 specialties (as in the table above). 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 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 for most commanders. 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 commander sculptures. However, for almost all primary 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, (16 total skill upgrades) it takes:
- Legendary: 690 sculptures
- Epic: 440 sculptures
- Elite: 340 sculptures
- Advanced: 240 sculptures
and many starlight sculptures to unlock all non-expertise skills from upgrading to star level 4.
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.
Once your commander has reached level 10, you can upgrade his or her star level. But wait until you have maxed out their primary active 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:
- Apply 2 starlight sculptures, to get to 40 or 80% of the first star.
- If it doesn't critical, apply one more to get to 60 or 80%.
- If it doesn't critical, apply one more to get to 80%, but hopefully not 100%.
- 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.
- If you're unlucky and miss it, you'll just have to wait until the commander levels to level 20.
This trick doesn't work for the 4th or later stars as those required too much star experience. However, if you have enough good stars, you could upgrade the level directly to 4 stars.
Optimal Skill Distributions for Legendary Commanders
While every commander drastically improves upon unlocking their expertise, doing so require a significant amount of their hard-earned Legendary Sculptures. This table therefore provides the ideal skill distribution for each commander before they become useable.
|Ideal Skill Distribution||Commanders|
|5/1/1/1||Charlemagne, Cao Cao, El Cid, Frederick I, Guan Yu, Lu Bu, Tomyris|
|5/5/1/1||Æthelflæd, Alexander the Great, Artemisia I, Charles Martel, Constantine I, Cyrus the Great, Julius Caesar, Leonidas I, Mehmed II, Minamoto no Yoshitsune, Mulan, Richard I, Yi Seong-Gye|
|5/5/5/1||Ramesses II, Saladin, Takeda Shingen, William I|
|5/5/5/5||Attila, Chandragupta Maurya, Edward of Woodstock, Genghis Khan, Hannibal Barca, Harald Sigurdsson, Nebuchadnezzar II, Theodora, Wu Zetian, Yi Sun-sin, Zenobia|
|1/5/0/0||Cleopatra VII, Ishida Mitsunari, Seondeok|