Astronarch: Beginners’ Guide

Astronarch is a very interesting roguelike/auto battler.

Some newcomers have mentioned it might be a bit hard to conceptualize the gameplay so I decided to write this guide.

I think the best way to describe it would be something like Slay the Spire, Dota Auto Chess and if anyone remembers it the old java game Stick Ranger.

The battles take place automatically, you get to decide everything else.

Imagine you are the team leader for a group of very dumb players who will basically do what you tell them to do/smash and nothing else during battle and its up to you to make sure you guys make it to the last boss. Sounds fun right? 🙂

The basics

So you will get to select three heroes when the game starts.
After each boss at the end of the level you will get to go back to the tavern and select one more making it in total 5 heroes towards the end.

Morale system

Heroes fight until they get knocked out, there is no death per se. They will just be down for the rest of that battle. You will however lose one morale per hero.

You will start with a certain number of morale. If this goes to 0 your heroes will give up and go back to the tavern and it’s game over. This is your runs actual HP.
If you manage to defeat enemies flawlessly you will get a whooping +3 morale. This is a big deal because morale can be used for more things than just not losing. You might get events later on that can give you items or gold of buffs depending on if you are willing to sacrifice some morale.

It’s a fun mechanic and it’s always hard to know if getting that extra item/potion is worth it or if you will be dangerously close to ending your run because of going a bit low on your morale.
If you die to a boss you lose all your morale, ending the run.

Important tip: Try to always win battles without losing any of your guys. This can be hard but if heroes gets knocked out you will get -1 morale per hero knocked out and lose out on the +3 morale bonus, this is a big deal.

I advice new players to fight a lot of battles early on. Killing one simple stone golem will boost your heroes morale equally much as defeating four demonic demons in the later levels.

Items:

So I wont get into what each specific item does, there is a “wiki” for this in the game after all but I still feel that it’s important to explain the role of items.

Items are extremely powerful. You will almost have the different classes in the role DPS/Tank/Healer but knowing what items to give them and which one of those to upgrade is the key to winning.
There are several times per run where I prefer to skip upgrading my heroes and sell a very rare ability orb in order upgrade an item. I do this as much as I can, having some items fully upgraded is just that important.

You can upgrade an item twice, usually the item basically becomes +100% better as good at what it does when you do. Meaning that if you have an item that gives +5 ATK and a 20% chance to do double damage after upgrading it it will do +10 ATK and 40% chance to proc, the last upgrade will do 15 ATK and 60% chance for proc.

Since upgrading your items is very expensive, usually costing 100G which is something you can buy two other items for it’s important that you know which ones to upgrade and why. You will usually be able to have about 6-7 fully upgraded items at the end of the game.

Most items appear several times during a run so don’t worry about not getting the item you need unless its of unique rarity.

Some items can make your heroes insane. There is for example an item that when upgraded gives -9 mana cost to your spell per cast. This will turn your caster into a spell machine gun after a couple of casts. Of course this is if he can manage to make it to that point.

Many of my runs have ended with me being greedy and thinking “this would hypothetically give my mage one million DPS after buffing himself for 30 seconds” only for him to reach that point when the whole party is whiped and he has 4 enemies with full HP against him.

Finding a good balance here is to a very large extent the biggest part of the game.

Gold:

Gold is extremely important. If you dont have gold you will not be able to buy/upgrade equipment and you will have a harder and harder time winning making you eventually run out of morale.

Good economy management is very important. Never buy anything or upgrade anything you will use just because you will use it for a while.

Starting bonus

After each boss you will be offered a boon which is a freebie that affects all your heroes. It’s free but this is a hard game, think carefully which one of these will fit your strategy.
The first ones are always:

+ 10% HP
+ 15% Defense
+10% Attack
+15% Cooldown

On later levels these are different, I have no real preferences except that if you use healers then +20% heal is an absolute must its insanely good.

Map

Normal battle
Pretty straight forward, you fight a battle. If you win you get gold and to choose between 3 items or the gold the most item is worth. If you lose you dont get any gold and only get to choose 1 item or the gold its worth.

Boss
Same as before but with a boss. You also get a very important ability orb allowing you to upgrade your passive or active abilities depending on if it is red or blue. It’s also worth 100g which is a lot of gold. Always do these if you can.

“?” or Events
Random scripted event that can be just about anything. Free money/items or maybe you give one of your items away to get a random one. Maybe you get free gold and morale but you bleed the next battle.
It can also be a normal battle or a shop.

Shop
You get to shop, duh.
Get these whenever you have gold which should be most of the time. You get to see 6-7 random items and a couple of potions which can be very important given how crucial items are in this game. If you are looking for a specific item your best bet is to look for it in shops.

Classes

There are 18 different classes.

All classes their own stats and one passive ability and one active ability. You can upgrade these twice each. This is the only thing except for their base stats making them unique. Since you will probably get around 10 ability orbs you will not be able to upgrade all of your guys abilities so I would try to find a balance of units with active abilities and passive abilities.

The berserkers passive ability is very core on him whereas he can make do without his active. The priest will however need his heal to be good and skip his passive. This way you will only need 4 ability orbs in total for these characters freeing them to be sold and spend that gold on upgrades.

Nobody will be able to tank everything though so you will have to build your teams accordingly.
I would recommend having a main tank whose role it is to basically just tank until he dies and then a semi-tank that can do ok damage/buff people but also last for a couple of seconds if he really has to with your main DPS behind him blasting away and hopefully killing everyone hitting them before they kill your semi-tank.

Your healers and DPS in the back however can focus on just that though being a bit cookie cutter.
You need a wall between your DPS and the enemies.

Here’s a brief description on the classes from my experiences with them and what they do.
I also included when I usually pick them. If I write pick 1-3 that means they are in my starting team otherwise I add them on the later pick ups. If you are in group 1-3 I consider you a “core” hero meaning a lot of my strategy will revolve around you.

I also included the ammount of ability orbs I spend on them. You usually get 8-12 ability orbs per run if you play your cards right and who to invest them into is very important.

You would want half your heroes to have passive abilities you want to upgrade and half your heroes that have active abilities that you want to upgrade.

You can sell an ability orb for 100gold which is a free upgrade so having a hero that is “good enough” at what he does without any ability orbs so you can spend them/their gold on a core hero is actually a valid strategy.

In general (but far from always) your tanks dont need their actives because they dont need more damage they need HP/survival from passives and your DPS rarely need their passives. Some heroes are greedy and need both upgraded to be optimal.

Battle

The auto battle

So if you cant do anything during battle then why is there a section about it here?

Well, because the biggest part of battle is how you prepare for battle.

You will plan everything out and take your guys from A to B but before battle you also get to position them and equip them. There’s a lot of this, It’s not uncommon that you swap your equipment around. It’s also a fun part of the game, when you master it.

Initially you might see this more when you for example realize that this boss will kill your berserker fairly quick so you should give your axe that gives +4% attack to your guy in the back instead maximizing how long it is in battle and winning the battle instead of losing it.

You also select how your party is standing and who hits whom.

Having your mouse cursor over the enemies will tell you their stats and how much damage they hit for and what their spells do.

This is obviously very important, if you start battle without knowing what monsters do and therefore focus/avoid to you then you can’t expect to win. After a couple of runs you will know this by heart so it wont be as much reading.

Everything else is up to your guys and the decisions you have made for them thus far.

My rules of battle

These are more tips to make you understand how battles go but whatever.

Rule 1:
You cant out-heal the enemies.
The main rule of battle is that in general you will not be able to out-heal the incoming damage so you need to kill them faster than they kill you. Even if you have 3 healers out of 5 it’s still a balance about doing more damage to them than they can to you and at that point you basically just have a heal and get beaten up because you cant kill them at all.

Rule 2:
Don’t be greedy with your builds.
You will have a lot of items that POTENTIALLY will give you maximum attack speed if you just survive for 30 seconds, but what use is that if you dont.

Most battles are the most dangerous after 10-20 seconds. That’s when the monsters have cast their nukes two or three times getting your tanks down to 25% and your heroes still haven’t gotten their healing over times up and cool downs enough defense to survive the onslaught.

On easier settings you can get away with being a bit sloppy here but the margins tightens a lot when you do the harder difficulties.

Don’t be greedy, you need to kill the baddies before they kill you and to survive long enough to do so. If you have survived for 30 seconds you should in general be close to winning or losing. I know it’s fun to play around with the idea to have a demi-god berserker with one million hp and def and a team dedicated to get him up to that point but the game is very well balanced and if this was a valid strategy it would be a very simple one.

Rule 3:
Pay attention during battle.
This might be an auto-battler but if you don’t know what is happening and why you are winning or losing you wont be able to improve.

When trying out new stuff I usually hover my mouse over buffs/debuffs to see how many stacks are racking up. You also obviously will see where the HP is going, if your tanks HP is slowly going down instead of hopefully up between attacks.

After the battle you will be able to see damage dealt by whom. This is how I noticed that poison is over powered. You would not guess it from seeing a bunch of numbers in the 5-6 damage flashing by but after seeing that my rogue did 90% of the damage where 60% of that damage was purely from poison I realized that that was a nice strat to go.

You should really pay attention to this, you get information and information is important to understand the game.

You can click the text and change this into healing/tanking.

Good luck out there.

Potions

You only direct influence over battle.
You can use 3 potions per battle. These cost money and need to be bought/found.
Potions are very powerful if used correctly, almost useless if not.
Each run you will find something like 4-5 potions for free.

There is not too much to go into here really, potions are straight forward. They heal, the make your characters immune to damage for 2,5 seconds or poison/slow enemies, drain their mana and whatnot.

I have no other tip then to make them count. I mostly use them early on to hep me generate morale by making sure I win alternatively hold on to them for hard boss battles.
Even if you wont use them it’s the equivalent of 100G per run you could use for an upgrade so it’s definitely something you should be careful with.

Stats and status effects

Base stats:

HP: Health points. You run our, you get knocked out.
MP: Mana points. You get 10 MP/second naturally. If your berserker has 55 MP it means he will have to get 55 mana points for casting his spell. Naturally you want this to be as low as possible if you want to cast a lot.
ATK: Your normal attack damage.
DEF: Defense, each defense increases your effective HP with 1%. If you have 1000 HP and 50 DEF your enemies will have to do 1500 damage to you for you to get knocked out. There is piercing damage that bypasses defense though so be careful.
SPD: How many seconds per attack you have. if it’s 1.5 that means you have to wait 1.5 seconds for your guy to hit the baddies. Quickest attack speed possible is 0.2 and slowest possible attack speed is 5.0.

There is also a thing called “frail” and “protected stats.
If you have a buff that gives +10 attack it can usually get disabled. Both frail and protected count as your actual stats, not a buff and therefore can not be dispelled. Units will start to dispel or spell steal a lot towards the end so this is a very good thing.
Frail stats will however be decreased by 5 whenever you hero get an attack on him.

Status effects:

Negate
Absorbs a positive/negative buff depending on if you cast this on you or your enemies. Will not remove a debuff that is already active only the coming ones.
Bleed/Fire
Damage over time. Usually for 10 seconds.
Poison
Damage over time, never runs out (!)
Ruin
60% less healing over 10 seconds
Healing
Healing over time, usually 10 seconds.
Doom
Will take 80% max HP after 10 seconds.
Max HP/Attack speed/Attack/Defense/Max mana
Can wither be buff or debuff, increasing/decreasing these stats.
Silence
Stops enemies from casting but almost importantly drains their mana while doing so
Disarmed
Stops enemies from hitting and again, more importantly drains the attack meter.

Positioning

Positioning is very important.
It decides who will be focused by whom.
Do you think your tank can handle 4 guys wailing away on him?
Try splitting the battle up, having your druid tank a couple of hits instead while you put your mages bursting the people attacking your druid down before they can kill him.

Having a main tank is advisable but half a lot of battles having your tank focused will have him and then also your other guys killed.
Again: Positioning matters a lot.

Your heroes can stand in two separate 2×2 grids, the enemies will as well.
It kind of look like this.

You can swap them around as much as you want before the combat but when you start fighting you will be unable to move them until the battle is over.

As you can see it is basically four areas with another four areas inside of them.
You have control over two areas and the enemies will be inside the other two facing you.

Your guys and your foes will primarily attack the big square straight in front of them.
If its empty they will go over to the next area on the square that is closest to them.
It’s pretty basic when you understand how it works, take your time to move people around to see who will attack whom.

Important: Read up on your skills and what they do.
You will see a lot of skills regarding healing/buffs only works in adjacent positioning. That means within the “big square”, so if you have a dude standing in the top your cleric wont be able to heal him. And some AOE abilities are only on adjacent t enemies, not all the cells.

Some enemies have abilities that will whack your heroes around. This is bad, that means your main tank can get thumped and flung across the screen where your healer cant get to him, or that your healer end up in a spot where he can only heal himself.

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Post Author: Robins Chew

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