A "Deck" is a term used in tooth and tail to describe the unit composition of a players army. Before each match begins players may choose 6 units to play with during the match, these units/fortifications are often referred to as the players deck. Decks are generally pretty flexible and can incorporate may different kinds of combinations, but there area few "optimal combinations, as well as "standard" units found within most, if not all, decks.
Core composition, are the primary units that are critical to almost every deck, as they are fundamental to victory. While no one unit is considered mandatory for a deck, certain archetypes are. For example, most powerful decks contain either squirrels and/or lizards, as these two units are considered the most well-rounded, and are very cost efficient in almost every situation. Another typical unit found within most decks is a single Tier 3 unit. As Tier 3 units are both expensive, and time consuming to implement, their impact on the game is profound once in play. Due to this high impact they are often signs of the end of the match. While some combinations exist that combine the powers of 2 or more different kinds of Tier 3 units, it is often very rare, as most players build their decks around which Tier 3 unit they incorporate into their deck. While some Tier 3 combinations are very strong, top players will often find the slot you sacrifice for the rare occasion where you can create two separate Tier 3 units to be generally not worth it. Once you have your Tier 3 unit and your core front-line (squirrels/lizards), almost every deck will include a Tier 2 unit, to act as an elite part of ones army, that is chosen based on your specific play-style. An example would be that Snakes are generally considered very micro heavy, and as such would not fit a player who rarely if ever micros individual units. Chameleons, on the other hand are often used as tanks, or hit and run units, making them work well with players who prefer to use the "move all" command instead of micro-ing each unit. The last 2-3 slots are usually up to the player as to which tier they choose from, though many will fill one of those slots with a second Tier 1 unit.
***It is important to note that the above outlines only general game-play rules, and is by no means mandatory when creating your deck, even at the highest levels of play.
Another general rule concerning decks, is that with the exception of Tier 1 units, a player should avoid getting more then 2 units of the same tier. This is often due to either; the high cost of slow build times of Tier 3 units, the high cost and unique effects of tier 2 units, and the lack of offensive power, of fortifications. Ultimately having more then 2 of a unit tier (with the exception of Tier 1) is wasteful, and most games will see a lack of use of one of the extra units of a given tier.
Some examples of strong unit combinations commonly chosen together are:
- This combination is almost always chosen together, as the badger (while powerful) is nigh unstoppable with 6 or more pigeons healing it and decent micro. This is due primarily to the fact that the badge can attack while moving, allowing players to move her out of range of enemies while being healed and still retaliating to the few enemies that pursue her before re-engaging.
- The proximity needed for lizards to engage will often protect toads while they close the distance, allowing them to more often connect with your opponents army. Though this combination fall in and out of favor depending on the effectiveness of toads in general.
- Fox/Pigeon or Falcon
- As the Fox is often used to harass and get free kills on enemy units, thanks to her speed damage and range, her inability to see uphill can lead to her running into an ambush. Flying units can see unobstructed by high ground and as such will always provide the fox vision in an area, allowing her to pick off units uphill and avoiding fatal ambushes.
- Boar/Pigeon + Falcon
- Though the boar is seldom chosen, he can be powerful with the support of an air army, acting as a meat shield for the high damaging low hp falcons. He is also able to, with the help of the pigeons, withstand Snake hits, and deal with armies of Tier 1 units. While opposing air units counter Uncle Butters you falcons can focus them, while uncle butters acts as a hefty meat shield for them.
- Moles/Lizards and/or Squirrels
- As of the latest patch, moles are incredibly effective at tanking hits. As such, they are excellent replacements for the more costly Chameleon tanks, that can also be used to tear through defensive structures or warrens while your other Tier 1 deal with opposing units.
- Make sure to have high-health units to tank for your weak ('Squishy') units.
- Protect your Assets! Walking a Badger through a minefield is not a good idea! (in most circumstances, anyway)
- Make sure to balance your economy and your military (your 'tail' and your 'tooth')
- Scout often.
- Triple scout your opponents base, within the first 2 minutes of the game; First scout to find them, Second to see if they are building 8 farms, 2 warrens, sneaky moles/mines or 6 farm 1 warren, third to confirm that they have not changed their opening once you left.
- Play your game, not a counter to theirs.
- you chose your deck prior to the match with a goal/play style/strategy in mind, while adapting to your opponent is great, you can't play a long game if you chose no tier 3's, adapt within the confines of your chosen deck.
- Don't overextend
- just because you've badly crippled your opponent doesn't mean you have won the game. Be careful of moles or lizard base trades.
- If you have knocked out the opponents main gristmill and still find them in the game, build a gristmill on that side of the map, they may be trying to all in on your base while your away, after having built sneaky gristmills or campfires.
- Know unit counters and when/how to apply them
- e.g. if your opponent is using snakes to harass and you don't have lizards (a solid counter to snake harass) try to position a section of you army in fog of war, and bait the snakes in before closing the trap and surrounding them, or keep your opponent pressured so that they cannot afford to spend time harassing.
Story Mode/Heroic Tips
Act I: Bellafide
The Bone-pit Riots - the unstoppable force...
Strategy - Both the mission itself as well as the heroic achievement in this mission are fairly straight forward. The key thing if you are struggling is to take your time and to allow your units time to heal if necessary.
Black Sledge Uprising - Viva la revolution...
Strategy - The easiest way to play this mission is to simply take your time, the enemy will not attack, this will allow you to build up the 8 warrens required for the heroic achievement as well as give you time to feel out commanding troops in a proper combat situation.
45 South Dockside - the immovable object...
Strategy - The easiest way to play this mission is to build farms and then scout out the enemy positions. Once you understand the enemy attack routes simply build as many turrets as you can, making sure you build up your farms while you build. The simplest way to ensure the heroic is completed is to build four farms at the beginning then build six turrets, two farms, two turrets one farm two turrets one final farm. This mission is fairly straightforward and requires little for you to do.
Fuel of Firebrand - all your base are belong to us...
Strategy - There are two ways to approach this mission, the first options sees you focus on saving up 360 food to buy the 6 gristmills for the heroic achievement, selling them before they build, as the achievement is completed once 6 gristmills are BEING claimed. Once this is complete you may continue the mission as normal by using your own style of play to beat the AI. The second option is to play very aggressive early game causing havoc on your enemy to the point where they are contained and cannot attack or properly defend, then simply claim the 6 gristmills before finishing off your opponent. It's during this mission that you should start working on "kiting" the frogs and focusing them down before they can reach your units. Uncle butters is a very strong pickup early.
Hollow in the Gut - 2 fast 2 turret...
Strategy - Much like the earlier mission playing aggressive early plays to your advantage especially if you want to complete the heroic achievement. In order to help facilitate an aggressive play style it is recommended to sell most if not all your turrets in order to better help you churn out early squirrels. Another tip is to build moles to help you take down structures faster, letting your other units focus on dealing with units while your moles go to work on turrets, and the opponents gristmill. You do not need a large number of units to win this mission, 3-4 warrens should be enough to take out the opponent with careful micro and cautious attacks. Your first targets should be enemy turrets, clear them out to have an easier time dealing with the base. Don't be afraid to let Bellafide tank a few turret volleys to allow your moles to get in closer. When you do end up attacking turrets make sure to attack by leading with your moles as squirrels will be mowed down, and as you have a small number of warrens will take too much time to re-spawn.
To the Ends - the enemy of my enemy.....
Strategy - For the final mission in Act 1 keep up that aggressive play style, leveling the field with an enemy who has a larger economy then yourself. There are two things to focus on when trying to achieve this missions heroic achievement, firstly micro-ing units becomes critical as any unit deaths will not be replaced. Secondly, Hopper can build warrens without affecting the achievement so finding and recruiting her early will make the mission that much easier. As the mission loads begin scouting for ferrets, as these units can attack from a greater range then pigs can fire, and do enough damage to kill early units without being hurt. Another options is to search for an early uncle butters as he supported with a few squirrels is enough to overcome the early defenses of the enemy. Once you have a couple of ferrets begin poking the enemy, killing pigs or warrens that are isolated and undefended. As the game passes the first minute begin to scout for additional units to help support the ferrets artillery strikes, by this point the enemy should be too weak from your initial attack to be able to overcome your army. Should you struggle to cripple Archimedes retreat back to your base, and focus on attacking with Hopper and her units, or strike a base or from an angle that Hopper is not, forcing your enemy to split his units or lose structures. Building early farms is not recommended as you cannot produce warrens and the intense micro managing of units leads to their prolonged lives anyway, needing for less food expenditure.
*Beware of mines spawning near mercenary units, sometimes you may purchase a unit only to have a nearby mine destroy it, if possible check for mines by running forward the quickly back, allowing units to avoid the direct hit damage, or sending in a squirrel to take the hit.
Act II: Hopper
Snikaree Liberation - it wasn't me, it was the one armed mouse...
Strategy - In order to make this mission easiest, it is strongly recommended to scout each section with hopper, if the opponent has hard hitting units send in the chameleons first, as they are strong enough to tank shots. If the enemy encampment is poorly defending you can just push in with all your units. If looking to attain the heroic achievement make sure to heal your units after every engagement as each unit is worth a significant value.
The Sand Kiln at Levacaloo - too hot to stop...
Strategy - Once you have scouted the enemy base, begin scouting for water as this will aid in the mission greatly. Once you have managed to reach 160 food head back to base and prepare to build an early fox. Once Kasha is built its time to head out and sniper his farms, as you can build moles anywhere begin saving money to build around five moles. Once they are built make sure Kasha has killed most of the enemy units then send in the moles to kill one of the enemy gristmills. If the opponent is in a bad position or there is no nearby water next to your base, begin building a couple of squirrel warrens and a couple of ferret warrens (if you have the resources a chameleon warren will help immensely in tanking the enemy attacks, this will help you both attack and defend your base. Use Kasha to push out of your base and the ferrets and squirrels to support her and wipe out two of the enemies four gristmills. Once two have fallen retreat back to water/base wait for any dead units to re spawn and then finish off the other two gristmills. This mission can be a pain, as the sand burns your units, thus it is important to wipe out half of the enemies gristmills to prevent later attacks to become to disadvantageous for your units.
The Siege of Ragfall Road - the road most traveled...
Strategy - This mission is probably one of the simpler ones. In order to beat this without too much pressure or pain its strongly recommended to mass lizards, as their speed will be invaluable soon. Once the enemy begins spawning warrens and units its time to put any lizards you have to work, every 30 seconds run around the map and hunt down any warrens you see, in order to prevent units from spawning in. periodically return to base to increase your warren count, though remain focused on lizards as Kasha cannot hit warrens, and the other units are too slow. In order to achieve the heroic make sure you get a fully farmed base once you have 12 lizards, this lets you snowball into having a massive army, that is A) impossible to kill and B) high in value. Try to build six farms and two warrens before the first minute as this will be strong enough to handle the first wave, then try to get two farms for every warren until you hit 15 unit count, then focus solely on units until you hit 30, then go back for a new gristmill and 4-8 farms.
Scrape Town Cut-Purse - You die when you are killed...
Strategy - This mission requires careful control of your units and your commander. The first thing you should do is sell your fox warren, as it will do nothing for you early game. The simplest way to complete it is to scout the map for food supplies playing very cautiously. one you have both chameleons out on the map its time to look for more. once you manage to find 2-6 chameleons (depending on map generation) and six lizards try to find one opponent gristmill and wipe it out. scout for any additional chameleons or food on route to the second enemy gristmill. if done quickly 4-6 chameleons should be enough otherwise an additional two may be needed. It cannot be stressed enough that both your commander micro and chameleon micro should be focused on heavily in this mission as deaths of either may be too costly.
Scrape Town Racket - Scraping by was never my style...
Strategy - Turrets, This mission can rely heavily on map generation, as it sometimes spawns weaker merchants in very isolated places, therefore it may be helpful to restart the mission until you get an ok map. You start with 4 chameleons and those units will quickly become worthless, so use them to take out early warrens before the real strategy can be put into action. firstly begin circling the map picking up food, and figuring out the most efficient patter for running. As you circle the route, begin laying turrets near weak merchants as well as out of the way areas, where warrens may spawn. eventually once the map is covered in turrets, so that they each reach the border of the other and thus are always firing begin to double up turrets on the outer parts of the map, as your chameleons can move easier within the center. Once every turret has a second begin creating more based on the above patter, outward coming in. The beginning of this map is the most difficult as you have to actively hunt warrens while trying to collect food. So it may be beneficial to try and set your chameleons to one side of the map while you build more turrets on the other. Most important aspect of success of the heroic mission is map generation so make sure its favorable, or simply restart.
The Hungry Face a Stiff Wind - The patient face a stiff hand...
Strategy - This mission is fairly simple, push outward with your entire army right as the map starts. Both your heroic objective and normal one are tied to the say overall goal, destroy the enemy gristmill. Unless you spawn with terrible map RNG you should be able to make your way (slowly due to wind) to the enemy gristmill before the first owl attack. While the opponents gristmill is the primary target don't be afraid to let kasha kill units and the lizards kill turrets while the slower owl and chameleons catch up ( they will deal with the gristmill). try to path around barbed wire and away from any turrets you can avoid, as it costs time and units to deal with them outright. The opponent almost always spawns on a far corner and opposite side of the map.
Frozen in Noe - Warm-ups over...
Strategy - The only difficulty with this mission is trying to complete the heroic. As your unable to build warrens build a ton of barbed wire. Your focus is taking out enemy gristmills and your barbed wire is simply to delay any enemy units that will try to attack your undefended base. begin working your way around the map clearing out and claiming all the campfires, using your ferrets to siege the turrets while remaining safe from retaliation. Take advantage of the campfires you start with to burrow around and scout the map within the first minute. This will help you determine a good line of attack and preempt where to use all that barbed wire you'll have.